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C18

Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L0311 • Johann Philip Breyne to Carl Linnaeus, 23 December 1739 n.s.
Dated a. 1739. d. 23. Decembr.. Sent from Gdansk (Poland) to (). Written in Latin.

Viro Nobilissimo, Clarissimo,
Carolo Linnaeo
M[edicinae] D[octori] Acad[emiae] Imper[ialis] N[aturae] C[uriosorum] et Reg[iae] Paris[inae] et Upsal[iensis] nec non Acad[emiae] Scient[iarum] Svec[arum]
p[ro] t[empore] Praesidi, Botanico Regio
et Classis navalis Sueciae
Medico Ordin[ario]
S[alutem] d[icit]
Ioannes Philippus Breynius
Med[icinae] Doct[or]

Litterae tuae[1] , quas nuper ad me dedisti, mihi gratissimae fuerunt. Non enim tantum a Viro, quem maxime facio, ad illustrandam, dicam potius reformandam Botanicam nato, proficiscuntur; sed simul tanti Viri aperiunt amicitiam, offerunt officia. Haec ambabus amplexus manibus, Tibi vicissim, Vir Inclyte, amicitiam et officia qualiacunque mea lubens meritoque dico. Annecto vota, ut Summum Numen Vitam Tibi largiatur, sanitatem et otium, quo Operibus Tuis Botanicis praeclaris plura eiusdem generis superaddere et Systema Botanicum ulterius excolere et ad perfectionis culmen, quousque nempe in hac rerum imperfectione datur, evehere Tibi liceat. Secundum hoc GronoviiGronovius, 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.
. Floram Virginicam[2] , cuius pars prima nuper lucem vidit, compositam esse certior factus sum. Clariss[imus] RoyenusRoyen, Adriaan van (1705-1779).
Dutch. Professor of botany, director of
the botanical garden of Leiden.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
vero mihi litteris significavit, se ordinem Horti Acad[emici] L(ugduni] B[atavorum] plane invertisse et ad methodum Tuam aptasse, quia verebatur, ne si ipse reformationem a Te, Vir oculatissime, inchoatam et adstructam non urgeret, omnia in pristinum chaos ruerent. Addit, numerum Studiosorum, qui Botanicam ex veris firmisque principiis summo ardore et oblectamento addiscunt, Lugduni valde magnum esse; quod inde patet, quod Genera Tua s[ive] characteres Plantarum[3] brevi rursus prelo committi debeant. Edidit idem Vir Clariss[imus] Prodromum Horti[4] brevi secuturi.

Ego sane optassem hanc methodum ante aliquot lustra innotuisse quam enim mihi Seni sexagenario, Nominum imis infixorum medullis mutatio difficilis sit, ipse omnium novi optime. Interim Filium habeo unicum[5] , qui nunc Lugduni Bat[avorum] studiis operam navat, non quidem medicis, sed, ut fata tulerunt, Juridicis; quo non obstante Historiae Nat[uralis] et Botanicae Studium, secundum Tuam inprimis Methodum, ipsi commendavi.

Redeo ad Litteras Tuas. Paterna Opuscula Botanica[6] nuper aliquomodo a me illustrata Tibi non ingrata fuisse, calculoque Tuo probari gaudeo et pro additis hinc inde notulis Tuis gratias ago.

Iis, quae de Azaleae Nomine mones nunc lubens subscribo. Anil s[ive] Indigo cum floribus et fructibus egregiam iconem vivis coloribus pictam cum specimine sicco, ut et seminibus recentibus proximo Tibi mittam vere. Flos cum flore Daleae Tuae nullatenus convenit.

Quae de Breynea scribis, non satis capio. Meam iconem, quam accuratam esse puto, JussieoJussieu, Bernard de
(1699-1777). French. Professor of
botany, brother of Antoine and Joseph de
Jussieu. Demonstrator at the Jardin des
plantes. Sébastien Vaillant’s
successor. Uncle of Antoine Laurent de
Jussieu. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
debeo, quae convenit cum ipsa PlumieriPlumier, Charles (1646-1704).
French. Botanist, travelled in Central
America and the Carribean. Linnaeus
generally approved of the descriptions
in his richly illustrated botanical
works.
. An non itaque errant Parisienses potius, quod Breyniae Plumieri, aliam diversam, ut fructus indicat, substituant. Et qua re Breyniam, quam in Generibus plantarum, recte, ut puto, inter Octandrias locas, in Methodo sexuali Polyandriis inseris? Quanta sane metuenda con[fusio] [a][a] : [manuscript damaged; inserted
readings have been taken from ED1
]
ex facili eiusmodo Mutatione, praesertim sine addita ratione.

Veram Theam in Horto Med[ico] Amstelodamensi conspectam fuisse non est quod dubites. Putasne hunc Botanicum, qui primus Theam luculenter descripsit et depinxit Cassinam pro Thea potuisse habere? Accedit, quod ante sexaginta annos, Cassina plane erat incognita. Nunc credo facile Cassinam, quae Thea Apolodictarum, in Hortis Belgii aliisque in defectu verae Theae, pro eadem inperitis demonstrari.

Santalum, quod folia fert pinnata, est Santalum rubrum; album vero et citrinum toto genere a rubro diversum, folia, ut vides, habes opposita.

Quae occasione Euphorbii de varietatibus mones, eatenus mihi probantur, quatenus Studium Botan[icum] facilitant. Mihi limites specierum et qua ratione a varietatibus differant necdum satis determinati videntur. Sed de hac materia alio tempore forte plura.

Ad cetera alio tempore respondebo. Nunc accipe binas observationes satis curiosas, Tibi, ut suspicor, ignotas, quae Historicam Botanicae litterariam concernunt.

In Biblioth[eca] Tua Botan[ica][7] p. 2 Io[anni] Antonii BumaldiMontalbano, Ovidio (1601-1672).
Italian. Author of botanical works,
Bologna. Wrote Bibliotheca
botanica
published under the
pseudonym Giovanni Antonio Bumaldi in
1657, which was reissued as an appendix
to Jean François Seguier´s
Bibliotheca botanica in 1740 and
again in 1762.
Bibliothecam Bot[anicam][8] librum vocas rarissimum Tibi non visum. Ego Libellum hunc in forma ut vocant 24. In supellectili mea libraria possideo. Scias vero velim, verum eius Auctorem esse Ovidium Montalbanum, alias satis clarum, qui sub nomine ficto anagrammatice latet. Cur fecerit hoc Montalbanus me fugit; nisi forte, quo liberius et cum excellentiori elogio de se ipso et scriptis suis loqui possit, ut in ipso Tractatulo p. 102 et 103 fecit. Huic Bibliothecae annectitur omnium Graminum ab Auctoribus eousque observatorum, numerosissima Nomenclatura.

Altera Hortum concernit Farnesianum[9] , cuius cum aliis auctorem facis Tobiam AldinumAldinus, Tobia . Physician,
director of Hortus Farnesianus.
, cuius et nomen prae se fert, quamvis revera Petrus CastellusCastelli, Pietro (1575-1657).
Italian. Physician, professor of botany
at Rome, founded a botanical garden at
Messina.
sit auctor eius. Quod Tournefortius iam subolfecisse videtur, in explicat[ione] Nom[inum] Script[orum] R. H. Institutionibus[10] praemissa, rationem licet non addat. Hanc accipe sequentem. Lege attentus Typographi Praefationem et collige ex ipsa characteres majores, inveniesque: Ego Petrus Castellus in gratiam Tobiae Aldini Scripsi cuncta, quae verba sane clarissime auctorum produnt. Puto itaque Cardinalis Farnesii olim Medicum, Chemicum et Horti Praefectum Tobiam Aldinum, Chemiae plus invigilasse, quam Botanicae; hincque Spartam publicandi Hortum ab Eminentiss[imo] Cardinali sibi demandatam, clam detulisse ami[co][a][a] : [manuscript damaged; inserted
readings have been taken from ED1
]
suo Petro Castello, qui strenue amici munere quidem functus, in eo tamen contra amicitiae peccavit leges, quod tecto licet modo amici sui publicaverit infirmitatem.

Sed quorsum excurrit Calamus; restat tantum ut a Te rogem, an non apud vos haberi possit Magni BrommeliiBromell, Magnus von
(1679-1731). Swedish. Physician and
naturalist, geologist. Head of the
Laboratorium Chymicum in Stockholm from
1724. Natural history collector.
Archiatri quondam Regii et amici mei antiqui et integerrimi Lithographia Svecana[11] , cuius olim primam mecum communicavit partiunculam; et quid denique novi jam a Te expectandum habemus, ac an Philosophia Botanica Tua[12] quondam promissa, brevi lucem visura sit.

Vale Vir nobilissime et me ama.

Dabam Gedani a[nno] 1739. d[ie] 23. Decembr[is]

P.S. Quidam qui Holmiae per aliquot vixit annos mihi rettulit, ibidem in foro hyemali tempore aves in prodigiosa quantitate venum exponi nigras Cornicibus aliquomodo similes, sed minores, esculentas et sapidas, quae ex Fioniae eo deferentur. Scire aveo, quaenam istae sint aves: an Monedulae? An alia species Corvini generis? Tu mihi scrupulum eximes; et si ab ornithologis hactenus non observata adumbratam figuram. Vale.

upSUMMARY

Johann Philipp Breyne is most grateful for the letter he just received from Linnaeus dated 12 September n.s. It is a letter not only from a man, born to reorganise Botany, whom he admires so much, but also a letter opening friendship and offering services. Breyne offers Linnaeus the same. He wishes Linnaeus will have a long life, health and time to develop and bring his botanical system to perfection. Johan Frederik Gronovius has made his Flora Virginica, the first part of which just came out, according to Linnaeus’s system. Adrian Van Royen has told Breyne in a letter that he has reorganized the Leiden university botanical garden, using Linnaeus’s method. Linnaeus once started the reorganisation. Van Royen also wrote that the number of students of botany in Leiden is very high and Linnaeus’s Genera Plantarum will soon be reprinted. He had edited the Prodromi fasciculi rariorum plantarum, which will follow soon.

Breyne had wished that he had learnt about Linnaeus’s method many years ago. It is however difficult for a sixty years old man to change names that have gone to the marrow. He has a son, Johann Heinrich Breyne, who is studying law, but he had recommended him to study natural science particularly according to Linnaeus’s method.

Breyne has seen from the letter that Linnaeus liked his father, Jacob Breyne’s botanical work, which he has illustrated. This makes him glad, and he thanks Linnaeus for the small remarks he has made here and there.

Breyne willingly gives his support to what Linnaeus says about the name of the Azalea. He will send a colour picture of Anil or Indigo with flowers and fruits and a dried specimen and new seeds next spring. The flower is not at all similar to Linnaeus’s Dalea.

Breyne does not quite understand what Linnaeus writes about the Breynia. He owes his picture, which he thinks is accurate, to Bernard de Jussieu, and it is similar to Charles Plumier’s. Perhaps the Parisians have made a mistake replacing plumier’s Breynia with another plant as the fruit indicates. And why does Linnaeus insert the Breynia, in Genera plantarum accurately, according to Breyne placed among the Octandria, into the Polyandria in his sexual system?

There is no doubt that genuine tea-plant could have been seen in the Botanical Garden in Amsterdam. Cassina was totally unknown sixty years ago, but now he thinks that Cassina is shown in Dutch and other gardens to ignorant people when real tea is lacking.

Santalum, which has pinnate leaves, is Santalum rubrum. The white or yellow one is completely different having opposite leaves, as Linnaeus can see.

Breyne supports what Linnaeus says regarding Euphorbium about varieties as long as it facilitates the study of botany. Still it is difficult to see how species differ from varieties, but perhaps he might come back to that later.

For the rest of the letter, he will answer another time. He has two rather strange things to tell, which he supposes are unknown to Linnaeus.

In his Bibliotheca botanica Linnaeus has called Giovannni Antonio Bumaldi’s Minervalia Bononiensis very rare, and he has never seen it. Breyne has got the very little book, the size is vicesmo-quarto (24o), in his library. Now he has found out that the real author of the book is Ovidio Montalbano. This name is hidden as an anagram in the fictitious name. The author is well known elsewhere, but why did he do this. Perhaps he wished to be able to speak more freely and with more approval of himself and his works, as he did in the “Tractatulum (p. 102 and 103).

The other remark concerns the Exactissima descriptio rariorum quarundam plantarum [...] in Horto Farnesiano. Linnaeus and others have regarded Tobias Aldinus as its author and it bears his name. As a matter of fact the author is Petrus Castelli. Tournefort seems to have had felt this in his Institutiones rei herbariae, though he gives no reason. If you read the typographer’s preface closely, picking out the capital letters you will find: “I Petrus Castelli wrote it all in Tobias Aldinus’s honour.” Tobias Aldinus, physician, chemist and director of the garden, seems to have been more interested in chemistry than botany, and secretly he transferred the task of publishing to his friend Castelli. The latter, however, violated the laws of friendship. Though only making an indirect reference to his own name he revealed his friend’s weakness.

Finally Linnaeus is asked if he has got Magnus Bromell’s Lithographia Svecana. Bromell was a friend of Breyne, and he had sent before part one of the work. What is to expect from Linnaeus? Will his “Philosophia botanica” come out soon?

P.S. Someone who once lived in Stockholm for a couple of years told Breyne that he had seen in winter a large amount of birds for sale. They were black, similar to ravens but smaller, edible and tasty coming from Funen. Breyne wants to know what kind of birds they are. Monedulae? Another species of raven? He wants a coloured drawing of it if it is not observed before by the ornithologists.

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. (LS, II, 157-158). [1] [2] [3]

upEDITIONS

1. Bref och skrifvelser (1916), vol. II:1, p. 325-327   p.325  p.326  p.327.

upTEXTUAL NOTES

a.
[manuscript damaged; inserted readings have been taken from ED1]

upEXPLANATORY NOTES

1.
See Linnaeus to Johann Philipp Breyne, 12 September 1739 o.s., 23 September 1739 n.s.Letter L0302.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.