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Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L0283 • Isaac Lawson to Carl Linnaeus, 7 June 1739 n.s.
Dated 27 Maii 1739. Sent from London (Great Britain) to Stockholm (Sweden). Written in Latin.

Isaacus Lawson amico suo praestantissimo Carolo Linnaeo s[alutem] p[lurimam] d[icit].

Audivi, nescio quo pacto, credo a GronovioGronovius, Johan Frederik
(1690-1762). Dutch. Naturalist, senator
of Leiden. Linnaeus’s benefactor and
friend. Published Flora Virginica
(1743, 1762) together with John Clayton.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, te tandem factum esse beatum; scilicet uxorem duxisse, hinc & invenisse te illud, quod physici vocant centrum motus, Chemici punctum saturationis & mathematici incommensurabile. Quam felix![1]

Te frustra expectassem superiore anno in Germania quum mente jam antea decrevisses alia via in patriam redire.[2] Magna cum voluptate & emolumento illud iter perfeci, ubique enim offendi cordatissimos Viros, Honoverae Hugonem tui amantissimum: Goslariae permansi mensem, neque unquam in tota vita majori humanitate amplexus fui quam ibi, & adhuc sumopere[sic] doleo me non diutius permansisse, quum Ramelii montis proventus sit fere epitome totius rei metallicae; temporis tamen penuria coactus fui memet Zellerfeldam & Clausthaliam conferre; sunt loca contigua & constituunt aulam quasi Sylvae Hercyniae: ibi profecto expertus sum opisthocheimóna[a][a] : MS1 [opisthocheimón, Greek=
afterwinter]
Hippocratis vel hyemem secundariam, & quidem acerbissimam: rediit tandem laetum ver & visitavi loca metallica vicina, omniaque summa oeconomia tractari & mores hominum ibi esse purissimos comperi. Consumtis tribus hebdomadis Andreasbergam progressus sum, ubi multa curiosa & profundissimae totius Sylvae Hercyniae fodinae: accumulavi ubique mineralia, quae pro parte in aream projecta fere omnia vestimenta destruxere, antequam pervenirem Zuedlinburgum, in qua urbe infelicissima omnia in ordinem redigere constitueram, ut mitterem varia ad GaubiumGaub, Hieronymus David
(1705-1780). German. Physician,
professor of chemistry and medicine at
Leiden.
, GronoviumGronovius, Johan Frederik
(1690-1762). Dutch. Naturalist, senator
of Leiden. Linnaeus’s benefactor and
friend. Published Flora Virginica
(1743, 1762) together with John Clayton.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, CramerumKramer, Johann Andreas
(1710-1777). German. Chemist and
physician, member of the scientific club
in Leiden of which Linnaeus was
president.
. Postea recto itinere per regionem planam veni Berolinum: visitavi dein Halam & Lipsiam, in ultimo loco vidi HebenstrectiumHebenstreit, Johann Ernst
(1703-1757). German. Anatomist and
explorer. Professor in Leipzig in 1729.
Travelled in North Africa 1731-1735.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
& LudwigLudwig, Christian Gottlieb
(1709-1773). German. Physician.
Professor of medicine in Leipzig. One of
Linnaeus’s early opponents.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
amicos tuos, tandem Dresdae HencherumHencher, (?-?). German. Archiatrum qui te impatienter expectavit. Freybergae fere quotidie plures cum HenkelioHenckel, Johann Friedrich
(1678-1744). German. Chemist,
mineralogist. Councillor of mining and
mine physician at Freiberg.
transegi horas: deficiunt ei quaedam gemmae orientales primi ordinis ad conficiendu[m][b][b] : MS1 [manuscript damaged;
inserted readings have been taken from
ED1
]
suum Lexicon minerale reale;[3] credo fore opus re v[era][b][b] : MS1 [manuscript damaged;
inserted readings have been taken from
ED1
]
sine pari: utinam in mea esset potestate ei comparandi quae desunt. Visitando dein plurima Saxoniae loca metallica perveni Thermas Carolinas in Bojohemia, sed quum itinera nocturna in carpentis apertis neutiquam arriderent & aestas jam nimis esset provecta, coactus fui meditatum iter Pragam, Viennam & forte in Hungaria seponere: debui itaque per loca devia illud derigere versus Rhenum, & circumeundo quasdam urbes praecipuas Flandriae tandem iterum exosculatus sum Hollandiam & sub fine Autumni perveni in Angliam. Ad te citius scripsissem, sed nescivi quo pacto epistolam inscriberem.

Vivo, & victurus semper, credo, sum in magna obscuritate, ubi tamen occasio dabitur, non deero in promovendis & scriptis & nomine tuo. Fui aliquot abhinc diebus cum MilleroMiller, Philip (1691-1771).
British. Gardener of the Chelsea Physic
Garden. Corresponded with many
botanists. His rich herbarium was sold
to Joseph Banks. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
, mihique dixit te ab eo desiderasse semina sed non scripsisse quaenam; ubi vero sciverit, lubentissime parabit.

Per otia tua quam maxime a te expeto, ut mihi colligas mineralia Suecica: hoc mihi persuadeo esse per amicos in tua potestate, & vellem quidem hoc ita fieri, ut non nomine sed re habeam a te tuum systema Lapideum: pro his quibus teneberis pecuniam solvere lubentissime rependam.

Aveo videre Philosophiam tuam botanicam,[4] non adeo responsum ad SigesbekiumSiegesbeck, Johann Georg
(1686-1755). German. Prussian botanist,
doctor of medicine at Wittenberg in
1716, physician and director of the
botanical garden at St Petersburg
1735-1747. One of the most bitter
opponents of Linnaeus’s sexual system.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, quum, quod ille a te protulerat non ita mereatur responsum:[5] existimavit Gronovius illud non ab eo sed a Viro quodam Guelferbytae provenisse; hoc tamen credo esse sine fundamento; vir ille, certus sum, te amat, neque in botanicis ita est versatus ut auderet semet immiscere, sed si quis esset culpandus alienus, crediderim potius virum, cujus aures honestum inter medicos nomen Vulvae offendit. Noli amabo multum festinare, sed ubique omnia perpendere & correcte & nitide, quantum fieri potest evulgare: sunt certe nimis multi errores in libris a WishoffioWishoff, Conrad (?-?). Dutch.
Publisher in Leiden 1710-1750. Wishoff
published Classes plantarum and
Genera plantarum by Linnaeus as
well as Pehr Artedi’s
Ichtyologia. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
impressis; charta quoque pro Hollandia est sat sordida:ille Curco[6] modo pecuniam posset lucrari, te non magis curaret quam Antichristum.

AndrewAndrew, John (1710-1772).
British. Student and Linnaeus’s friend
in Leiden, doctor of medicine at Oxford,
physician at Exeter. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
fuit nuper Londini; rediit ante aliquot dies Oxoniam: colit adhuc tuam methodam [sic] sexualem, eamque propagavit inter amicos praeterita hyeme in Cor[nubia][b][b] : MS1 [manuscript damaged;
inserted readings have been taken from
ED1
]
.

Samuel DaleDale, Samuel (1659-1739).
British. Apothecary and physician.
, qui pharmacologiam scripsit,[7] eunte mense martio hujus anni ad plures commigravit; testamento reliquit herbarium suum & illud quod a RajoRay, John (1627-1705).
British. Naturalist and clergyman. One
of the most influential botanists before
Linnaeus.
[8] possedit societati pharmacopolarum ChelseanaeThe Chelsea Physic Garden,
British. Founded in 1673 by the Society
of Apothecaries.
, & omnes botanicos suos libros, quos praedicta societas non haberet.

Fac me, oro, certiorem quid agitur in Suecia, praeprimis in re literaria? Numquid exoticae plantae per longas vestras hyemes ali possunt? Quid fit in regno fossili? Docimasiamne alicubi doces? De omnibus aliquid communices, de temet vero multum.

Quando occasio dabitur videndi SolbergiumSohlberg, Claes (1711-1773).
Swedish. Physician, studied natural
history and medicine at Uppsala
1723-1734. Accompanied Linnaeus on his
tour in Dalecarlia in 1734 and on his
Dutch journey. Doctor of medicine at
Leiden in 1735.
natu majorem dic quaeso ei quod sponte promiserat se missurum lapides; si hoc rogatus fecisset, existimassem modo eum more aulico egisse. Nemini promisi, tamen sollicitus admodum sum de conquirendis mineralibus Angliae pro amicis in Germania, & nuper, suadente CollinsonoCollinson, Peter (1694-1768).
British. Merchant and amateur naturalist
in London, corresponded with many
scientists. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, duos libros concionum cujusdam Ecclesiastae famigerati misi in Pensilvaniam ad virum quendam pium ut ab eo allicerem fossilia pro amicis. Nos habere curiosa in regno lapideo in Anglia haud ita pridem agnovi ex collectione Woodwardiana;[9] illam examinando transegi aliquot dies Cantabrigiae cum viro incomparabili Carolo MasonMason, Charles (?-?). British.
Director of the Woodwardian collection
of mineralogy at Cambridge.
, cui cura hujus collectionis mandata est.

Heri modo accepi reculas meas ex Hollandia, hinc omnia habentur confusissima circa me; nolui tamen omittere occasionem hanc ad te scribendi per virum praestantissimum FileniumFilenius, Peter (1704-1780).
Swedish. Bishop of Linköping.
Studied in England, professor of
Oriental languages at Lund.
. Dabis spero brevi responsum.

Vale charissime Linnaee & perge me amare.

Sequenti modo inscribas ad me epistolam. A Monsieur Monsieur Isaac Lawson at Mr. Clark’s, the golden head Gerrard Street; Sohoe Londo[n].

Londini 27 Maii 1739.

[address] Viro Inclyto Carolo Linnaeo / Holmiae

upSUMMARY

Isaac Lawson starts his letter by commenting wittily on Linnaeus’s marriage, which he had heard about from Johan Frederik Gronovius.

The main part of this letter is however devoted to a report of Lawson’s long journey to famous mining districts in Germany in 1738. In Hannover he met Linnaeus’s dear friend Hugo. In Goslar he got an extremely nice reception and stayed for a month. From Goslar he went to Zellerfeld and Clausthal, where he inspects the mining works and is impressed by the efficiency as well as by the high moral standard of the population. After three weeks he leaves for Andreasberg where he visits the deepest mine in the whole region. Everywhere he collects minerals. Zuedlinburg is the next stop. Here he tries to put into order what he has collected and sends samples to Hieronymus David Gaub, Gronovius and Johann Kramer. He goes to Berlin and Halle. In Leipzig he meets Linnaeus’s friends Johann Ernst Hebenstreit and Christian Gottlieb Ludwig, in Dresden he meets Hencher who is eagerly looking forward to Linnaeus’s visit. In Freiberg he has daily meetings with Johann Friedrich Henckel, who is working on an extensive dictionary on minerals. After visiting several places in Saxony Lawson comes to the Bohemian town of Carlsbad, where he realises that his plans to visit Prague, Vienna and Hungary are not realistic. He returns to Holland after visiting some important places in Flanders. At the end of autumn Lawson is back in England. He would have written earlier to Linnaeus, had he only known his address.

Lawson has recently met Philip Miller who mentioned that Linnaeus has asked him for seeds. Unfortunately, Linnaeus forgot to specify which seeds, so the request cannot be fulfilled without supplementary information.

Lawson repeats his entreaty for Swedish minerals. He emphasises that he is very eager to study Linnaeus’s Philosophia botanica. He also comments on the sensational conflict between Linnaeus and Johann Georg Siegesbeck. A stern Linnean, he dismisses Siegesbeck’s attack as not worth answering.

Gronovius’s view that this pamphlet was not written by Siegesbeck but by a man from Wolfenbüttel is, however, not shared by Lawson. He believes that, basically, Siegesbeck admires and likes Linnaeus. If Siegesbeck was not the author of the pamphlet, Lawson would sooner suspect the person whose ears were offended by “vulva”, a perfectly normal word among physicians.

Lawson advises Linnaeus not to rush his writings; only after careful consideration, revision and polishing should he allow publishing. As a warning example Lawson mentions Conrad Wishoff, whose publications are bristling with misprints and are printed on poor paper. Lawson’s verdict about Wishoff is very severe, indeed; this trickster has but one interest in life: money.

John Andrew had been in London but returned recently to Oxford. He is a strong believer in Linnaeus’s sexual system and advocates it among his friends. Samuel Dale, the author of a book on pharmacology, died in March. In his will he bequeathed to the Apothecaries’ Society of London, Chelsea, his own herbarium, what he had got from John Ray and his botanical library.

Lawson wants to know everything that happens in Sweden, especially in the field of literature. How can exotic plants grow in Sweden with its long and cold winters? What happens in the realm of fossils? Above all he wants information about Linnaeus himself.

Lawson asks Linnaeus to remind Claes Sohlberg of his promise to send him minerals. Of his own accord Lawson will send minerals to his friends in Germany, and on Peter Collinson’s advice, he sent two books of sermons to a man i Pennsylvania with the secret motive to acquire minerals for his friends in exchange. This Lawson points out as a contrast to Sohlberg’s negligence. After visiting the Woodwardian collections in Cambridge and spending some days there with, Charles Mason, the director of these collections, Lawson realises that there are also interesting minerals in England.

Lawson complains of the great confusion around him caused by all the luggage that has arrived from his stay in Holland. However, he must take advantage of this opportunity to send a letter to Linnaeus with Peter Filenius. In the hope of getting a reply soon Lawson concludes his letter with his most affectionate greetings.

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. original holograph (LS, VIII, 459-460). [1] [2] [3]

upEDITIONS

1. Orbis eruditi judicium (1740)

upTEXTUAL NOTES

a.
MS1 [opisthocheimón, Greek= afterwinter]
b.
MS1 [manuscript damaged; inserted readings have been taken from ED1]

upEXPLANATORY NOTES

1.
2.
See also Isaac Lawson to Linnaeus, 10 April 1738 n.s.Letter L0249.
3.
It is unclear which dictionary Lawson refers to. Possibly Johann Friedrich Henckel was working on a new edition of Pyritologia, oder Kiess-HistorieHenckel, Johann Friedrich
Pyritologia, oder Kiess-Historie, als
des vornehmsten Minerals, nach dessen
Nahmen, Arten, Lagerstätten,
Ursprung
(Leipzig 1725).
(1725). A second edition of Pyritologia, oder Kiess-HistorieHenckel, Johann Friedrich
Pyritologia, oder Kiess-Historie, als
des vornehmsten Minerals, nach dessen
Nahmen, Arten, Lagerstätten,
Ursprung
, (1725) 2 ed. (Leipzig
1754).
was published in 1754.
4.
Philosophia botanicaLinnaeus, Carl Philosophia
botanica, in qua explicantur fundamenta
botanica cum definitionibus partium,
etc.
(Stockholm 1751). Soulsby no.
437.
was published in 1751. Linnaeus had used it as a working title long before the final version appeared. Fundamenta botanicaLinnaeus, Carl Fundamenta
botanica, quae majorum operum prodromi
instar theoriam scientiae botanices per
breves aphorismos tradunt
(Amsterdam
1736). Soulsby no. 253.
was indeed a forerunner. It is however unclear to which of these earlier works Lawson refers. See also Dahlgren, “Philosophia botanica, ett 200-årsminne”Dahlgren, K. V. O. “Philosophia
botanica, ett 200-årsminne”,
SLÅ 33-34 (1950-1951),
1-30.
.
5.
6.
Possibly Lawson had Curculio in mind, a notorious parasite in Plautus, CurculioPlautus, Curculio. .
7.
8.
Lawson refers to John Ray’s collections, which were presented to Dale, who later passed them on to the Apothecaries’ Society in Chelsea.
9.