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C18

Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L0371 • Carl Linnaeus to François Boissier de La Croix de Sauvages, 21 January 1740 n.s.
Dated 1740, Jan. 21 stylo gregoriano. Sent from Stockholm (Sweden) to Montpellier (France). Written in Latin.

VIRO INCLYTO,
D[omino] D[octori] SAUVAGES DE LA CROIX ,
Professori, Monspeliensium Medico summo,
S[alutem] pl[urimam] d[icit]
Carolus Linnaeus.

Ante mensem litteras tuas, amice venerande, omni auro gratiores habui; ex quibus perspexi, quam sis in me gratus et benignus; quibus autem mutua referram specimina nescio, cui nulla eloquentia, attamen solus gratissimus animus. In Boerhaavio amisi amicum integerrimum, paeceptorem fidelissimum, promotorem optimum; per te fata benignissima eumdem mihi concesserunt.

Quis hodie sceptra Esculapii inter medicos teneat? Animo cordato, per omnipotentem Deum juro, nulli haec concessurum alio quam tibi me obligatum sentio; non amicitiae ergo, nec alius causae, sed ratione qualicumque mea ductus haec scribo. Observata parentis mei Boerhaavii (ut medici) aeternum veneror. Utinam ita redegisset data uti tu solus!

Si preces meae apud te valeant, unice efflagito, ut edas Classes tuas Morborum Romana veste indutas! Certe si feceris, non mihi soli, non Academiis nostris Suecicis, sed toti orbi te obstrictum et venerandum imo et aeternum facies. Tu inter medicos solus es systematicus; tu glaciem fregisti solus, tu viam detexisti. Quod si vero haec non feceris, quid de te dicam? Aegre tum ne feras si alius hoc in se suspiciat; et si quidem male susciperet, salus communis publici anteferenda est et fama tua, te invito, propagabitur.

Breve istud tempus, quod Parisiis consumpsi, jussit vacua crumena; pauperrimus enim natus sum, et fui semper. Redux in patriam, nec mitiora illuxere astra ante initium anni 1739 praeterlapsi. Nescio, quo bono fato aegrorum turba me oppugnabat; praxis mihi contigit in regia hac sede, in qua vivo, Stockholmia, inter medicos patriae certe vastissima. Medicus dein Primarius classis navalis dictus fui, in cujus nosocomiis quotidie 100 ad 200 aegri detinentur; accessit dein officium publicum, quo in auditorio illustri Botanicen per aestates, Mineralogiam per hyemes publice docerem; mox Societas (Academia dicta) Scientiarum Stockholmia extructa fuit, quae observata omni trimestri ederet lingua vernacula in mathematicis, physicis, tribus naturae regnis, oeconomicis, non aliis, cujus Academiae primus Praeses ipse electus fui; sed mutatur hoc officium quotannis. Orationem habui in eadem Academia de Curiositatibus in Insectis, quae impressa est. Ferberi Hortum Agerumensem heic typis edidi; in Actis litterariis et scientiarum Upsaliensibus catalogum cum citationibus authorum dedi animalium Sueciae, ubi quadrupedes, aves, pisces, amphibia, insecta et vermes enumerata reperies. At in Actis scientiarum Sueciae descriptionem dedi Oestri Lapponum et Pici pedibus tridactylis.

Tandem obtinui privilegium dissecandi demortuorum cadavera in nosocomiis classis navalis, nec antea. Si per annum vixero, responsum dabo ad causam proximam febrium nec prius; ne hypotheses dabo ullas, sed veritates aeternas.

In specificis multum profeci per nosocomia. Planta, quam Linnaeam dixit Gronovius in Flora Lapponica seu Campanula Serpyllifolia, multum usus sum in rhumatismis, in infuso. Observavi folia aeque in hoc morbo specifica esse, ac unquam China in intermittentibus. Epidemica hodie tussis viget cum cephalalgia vehementi, dolore punctorio dextri lateris, sputo saepius cruento; pulsus vile indicium febris indicat; in hoc morbo [illustration] valet; ad gt. viij, quater de die exhibitus cum lacte, non fefellit, uti et in tussi ferina infantum. Vehementissimum frigus ante aliquot dies terras nostras vexavit; perniones non exulceratas solo illitu acidi [illustration] semper sustuli.

Sed, pro dolor, maligna gonorrhaea per concubitum cum lascivis et prostratae pudicitiae puellis omnes patriae nostrae juvenes fere inquinavit; olim in Belgio morbum hunc centies debellavi, sed vix amplius valeo. Audivi Monspelienses vestros in hujus cura excellere; pro amore tuo in me summo, doceas me hunc tollere morbum, non generali theoria, sed formulis et medendi methodo; quod si feceris, mihi mille nummos aureos unico in anno dederis.

Quod ad Methodum Artedi in Ornithologicis spectat, fateor, methodum non esse adeo facilem. Characteres dedit, differentias specierum, et species cum synonymis, descriptiones dein specierum nonnullarum, quas laudabiles puto. Methodos varias et quamplurimas ipsi dare facillimum fuisset, in classes naturales servare debuisset, voluisset. Statutis generibus et speciebus tua methodus longe facilior evaderet; inde tamen hoc incommodum sequitur, quod aliquot genera naturalia dilacerari debent, ita ut aliae species hujus classis ad unam classem, aliae vero ad alteram et diversissimam amandandae sint. Confer Artedi Ichthyol. Philos., § 170.

Est hic Domina nobilissima, corpore vegeto, cui dolor vehementissimus punctorius, sed momentaneus, apicem digiti intermedii occupavit, qui eam excruciat miserrime, inopinato ac si acu perforaretur; mox cessat, redit interdum omni minuta, interdum per horas cessat; tandem papillatae quasi rubrae seu pustulae minimae decem ad sexdecim apicem occupant; tum cessant parum punctiones, non tamen absolute; omni tempore redit, somnum millies interrumpit; cutis longitudinaliter corrugata nunc per dolorem est; et extimus articulus attenuatus, non tamen pallidior. Proximum et tertium demum occupavit digitum pari modo. Tertius nunc agitur morbi annus. Forte a terrore accepit, quum domum incendio tactam percepit. Nullum medicamentum morbum palliare valet. Frigus nocet et provocat punctiones. Quis morbus? Quae cura?

Nunc Dei gratia et valeo et bene valeo. Ante 2 menses uxorem duxi gratissimam nec pauperem. Si ad me in posterum litteras dederis, amice aeternum colende, venerande, eas mittas Stockholmiam et istas habebo certissimas. Upsaliae adhuc vivit botanicus professor Olaus Rudbeck, octogenarius vegetus et robustus; qui si obierit, forte Upsaliam petam, nec antea.

Si unquam navis Monspelio Stockholmiam petat, quaeso, mittas plantarum specimina et semina, et litteras; ego certissime mittam Hortum Cliffortianum et alia quaecumque publico dedi; mecum enim omnia ferre Parisios non volui, non potui. Vale et ter vale, Medicorum Princeps!

Dabam Stockholmiae, 1740, Jan[uarii] 21, stylo Gregoriano.

Quaeso, ne cesses ad me scribere, qui te et epistolas tuas tanti facio, quanti effari erubesco, Tu mihi Princeps, tu Oraculum!

upSUMMARY

A month ago Linnaeus received a letter [Sauvages to Linnaeus, 1 December 1739Letter L0315] from François Boissier de La Croix de SauvagesSauvages, François Boissier de
La Croix de
(1706-1767). French.
Botanist and clergyman and physician,
professor in medicine at Montpellier.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
. Sad news, indeed, was that Hermann BoerhaaveBoerhaave, Herman (1668-1738).
Dutch. Professor of medicine, botany and
chemistry at Leiden. One of the most
influential professors of medicine of
the eighteenth century. Linnaeus visited
him during his stay in Holland.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
had deceased. In him, Linnaeus had a very close and dear friend.

Who will now be able to take his leading position in the medical world? Linnaeus can think of none worthier than Sauvages.

Linnaeus entreats Sauvages to publish his Classes morborum [Linnaeus means the Nouvelles classes de maladiesSauvages, François Boissier de
La Croix de
Nouvelles classes de
maladies, qui dans un ordre semblable
à celui des botanistes,
comprennent les genres & les
espèces de toutes les maladies,
avec leurs signes & leurs
indications
(Avignon [1731]).
] in a Latin version. The whole world will receive it with gratitude.

After his return to Sweden, Linnaeus had initial difficulties in making his living as a physician in Stockholm, but in early 1739 conditions improved: numerous patients came for consultation, he became Physician to the Admiralty, he was appointed Lecturer of Botany and Mineralogy [at the Swedish Board of Mines, BergskollegiumBergskollegium, Swedish. The
history of the Swedish Board of Mines
dates back to 1630. It was named
Bergskollegium in 1644.
] and he became the first president of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences [Kungliga Svenska VetenskapsakademienKungliga Svenska Vetenskapsakademien,
Swedish. The Royal Swedish
Academy of Sciences, Stockholm. Founded
in 1739.
]. In this Academy, Linnaeus has lectured on Curiosities in insects, now in print [Tal, om märkwärdigheter uti insecterneLinnaeus, Carl Tal, om
märkwärdigheter uti
insecterne, hållit för
wettenscaps academien uti auditorio
illustri, då första
praesidentskapet aflades 1739. d. 3.
october
(Stockholm, 1739). Soulsby
no. 1341.
]. He has edited Johan Eberhard Ferber’sFerber, Johan Eberhard
(1678-1761). Swedish. Pharmacist and
physician in Karlskrona and at the spa
of Ronneby. He kept a botanical garden
and was a collector of natural history
specimens. Father of Johan Jacob Ferber.
, Joannis Eberhardi Ferber [...] Hortus AgerumensisLinnaeus, Carl Joannis
Eberhardi Ferber [...] Hortus
Agerumensis, exhibens plantas saltem
rariores, exoticas et officinales, quas
horto proprio intulit, secundum methodum
Linnaei sexualem digestus
(Stockholm
1739).
. He has published a catalogue of all Swedish quadrupeds, birds, fishes, amphibia, insects and worms [“Animalia per Sveciam observata”Linnaeus, Carl “Animalia per
Sveciam observata”, ALSS 4
(1736), 97-138 [1742]. Soulsby no. 1104,
Soulsby no. 1143
]. In the transactions of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences [Kungliga Svenska VetenskapsakademienKungliga Svenska Vetenskapsakademien,
Swedish. The Royal Swedish
Academy of Sciences, Stockholm. Founded
in 1739.
] Linnaeus has presented the Laplandic stingfly [“Om renarnas brömskulor i Lapland”Linnaeus, Carl “Om renarnas
brömskulor i Lapland”, KVAH
1 (1739), 121-132.
] and the three-toed woodpecker [“Carl Linnaei beskrifning på en ny fogel:Picus pedibus tridactylis”Linnaeus, Carl "Carl
Linnaei beskrifning på en ny
fogel:Picus pedibus tridactylis",
KVAH 1 (1740), 222-224. Soulsby
no. 1105.
].

Linnaeus has now got permission to dissect persons who die in the Naval hospital. These experiments will soon help him understand the cause of fevers.

In the treatment of rheumatism Linnaeus uses the plant Johan Frederik GronoviusGronovius, 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.
named Linnaea in the Flora LapponicaLinnaeus, Carl Flora
Lapponica exhibens plantas per Lapponiam
crescentes, secundum systema sexuale
collectas in itinere [...] Additis
synonymis, & locis natalibus omnium,
descriptionibus & figuris rariorum,
viribus medicatis & oeconomicis
plurimarum
(Amsterdam, 1737).
Soulsby no. 279.
in infusions. An epidemic cough is raging, accompanied by splitting headache and bloody expectorations. [This part of the letter has two illustrations, see the edition, p. 23].

Gonorrhoea is widespread and a terrible problem. Montpellier is famous for its treatment of venereal diseases so Linnaeus implores Sauvages to send him advice and instructions how to combat it.

The method used by Peter ArtediArtedi, Peter (1705-1735).
Swedish. Ichtyologist. Close friend of
Linnaeus.
in his Ornithologicis [miswriting for Ichthyologia sive opera omnia de piscibusArtedi, Peter Ichthyologia
sive opera omnia de piscibus, scilicet:
Bibliotheca ichthyologica. Philosophia
ichthyologica. Genera piscium. Synonymia
specierum. Descriptiones specierum.
Omnia in hoc genere perfectiora, quam
antea ulla. Posthuma vindicavit,
recognovit, coaptavit & edidit
Carolus Linnaeus
(Leiden 1738).
], in many ways, very good but leads to various complications. A revision is necessary.

Linnaeus presents a case. A noblewoman has terrible pains in her fingertips. What can it be? How could it be treated?

Two months ago Linnaeus married. His wife [Sara Elisabet LinnaeaMoraea, Sara Elisabet
(1716-1806). Swedish. Linnaeus’s wife.
Daughter of Johan Moraeus and Elisabet
Hansdotter Moraea. Mother of Carl
Linnaeus the Younger and of Elisabeth
Christina, Louisa, Sara Christina and
Sophia Linnaea.
] is lovely and not poor. Olof RudbeckRudbeck, Olof (1660-1740).
Swedish. Professor of medicine,
botanist, ornithologist, travelled in
Lapland. Linnaeus’s teacher.
, octogenarian, is still active. After his departure Linnaeus will perhaps try to succeed him.

Linnaeus asks Sauvages to send samples of plants and seeds- and letters. In return, Linnaeus will send his own publications, among them Hortus CliffortianusLinnaeus, Carl Hortus
Cliffortianus, plantas exhibens quas in
hortis tam vivis quam siccis Hartecampi
in Hollandia coluit [...] Georgius
Clifford
(Amsterdam 1737). Soulsby
no. 328.

P.S. Linnaeus salutes Sauvages thus: “You are my Leader, you are my Oracle!”

upEDITIONS

1. Lettres inédites de Linné à Boissier de la Croix de Sauvages (1860), p. 17-27   p.17  p.18  p.19  p.20  p.21  p.22  p.23  p.24  p.25  p.26  p.27.