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C18

Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L0467 • Abraham Bäck to Carl Linnaeus, 11 October 1742 n.s.
Dated d 30 Sept. 1742. . Sent from London (Great Britain) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Swedish.

Högädle och Widtberömde Herr Professor.

Efter min ankomst til London hafwer jag hafft den äran at skrifwa H[err] Professorn et bref til, d[en] 16 Aug[usti] sistl[edne]. Jag wet eij om det är framkommit. Til et prof af min tacksamhet för Herr Professorns mångfalldiga gunst emot mig, skrifwer jag så ofta til Herr Professorn som til min mor. Jag hoppas at Herr Professorn far fort til at gynna mig, och jag utbeder mig at få hädanefter, så wäl som härtils, hugna mig af förtroende och förswar emot mina owänner.

Snart i twå månader hafwer jag wistats i England. En wicka war jag i Oxfort. D[octor] Dillenius fägnade sig deröfwer, at Herr Professorn bekommit så beqwäm station til at upodla sina stora Pund med lika flit och accuratess för Botaniquen. Önskade at han hade Herr Professorn til hielp i sina arbeten. Ser eij frisk ut och lät höra sig trött och ledsen wid Oxfort. Sedan har jag uppehållit mig i Chelsea en månad, både til at öfwa mig mer i ritande hos Mr Ehret, en gammal Herr Professorns tjenare, såsom ock at hafwa bättre tilfälle til Hortum Chelseanum och Sir Hanses Musaeum. Mr Miller har warit rätt artig emot mig, gifwit mig frihet at taga hwad specimina jag welat. Han har fått Herr Professorns bref och lofwat sända frön. Om the blifwa färdiga, medan jag är i London, så skal jag draga försorg therom, at de richtigt komma til H[errar] Clason och Spalding, som alltid hafwa tilfälle at sända dem öfwer. Collinson har giordt mig mycken tjenst; Catesby har jag hafft nöije af och nu logerar jag i samma hus med Doctor Lawson. För öfrigit, uti hwad stånd Historia Naturalis är i England, wet Herr Professorn bäst. Ingen går öfwer dem, at leta up af alla winklar och wrår i Virginia och Carolina örter, samt planta dem här, caetera nihil. Om Herr Professorn wore i England et helt åhr öfwer, hwad mycket wackra Planter skulle orbis Botanicus få kundskap och characteres af. Jag har hällsat på D[octor] Martyn, Herr Professorns goda wänn. Han talar med mycken heder om Herr Professorn i sin Virgilii Georgicis, och citerar en hel passage af Flora Lapponica. Nästa sommar will han continuera sina Decades. Thet säijes at Dillenius har en samling af rara plantor, som kan blifwa så stor som Hortus Elthamensis, then han ärnar utgifwa, när han får subscriptioner. Thet war roligt at höra Dillenius säija efter många praeambler och aeqvivocationer, thet Herr Professorns method war den bästa til at betjena sig af, at finna namn til specimina sicca. Han swarade intet, när jag sade, thet sådan method måste wara jemwel den bästa til at kiänna crescentes plantas. Jag har examinerat många Americanas plantas, som jag här funnit i bloma, och med högsta satisfaction confererat Herr Professorns Genera, en bok som jag intet wille mista för alla andra Auctores i Botaniquen. Herr Professorns nomina specifica, huru wel äro de icke inrättade? Jag önskar, at H[err] Professorns Philosophia Botanica wore utgifwen, eller at imedlertid någon explicatio terminorum, som i fundamentis Botanicis äro upräknade, wore at tilgå för Begynnare i Herr Professorns method.

Jag hade lycka at komma öfwer en frisk bloma af en Buska, som Catesby fått nyligen ifrån Clayton, och under wägen begynt blomstras. Thet är utan twifwel Hamamelis Gronov. Linn. Gen. Gronovius lärer allenast hafft specimen siccum. Jag fant således:


CAL: Perianthium triphyllum, foliolo extimo ovato lanceolato, duobus reliquis minoribus obtusis.
Involucrum monopetalum, sed profunde divisum in quatuor lacinias obverse ovatas, duplo longiores Perianthio, extus & ad margines leviter villosas
COR. ut in Linn. Gen.
STAM. Filamenta 4 linearia plana aequalia, erecta, singula inter singula petala. Antherae introrsum flexae, ad invicem approximantes
PIST. ut in Linn. Gen.
PERICARP. Capsula bilocularis, bivalvis, utroque loculo per transversim dehiscente in maturo.
SEM. ut in Linn. Gen

I Gronovii specimine lära de warit förlorade foliola Perianthii. Thet jag kallar Involucrum, har han tagit för Perianthium. När jag får se huru blomstren fortfara, så kan jag determinera, hwilken af oss har rätt.

Hura har jag sedt i Bloma. Then har utom det petalum infundibuliforme, hwilket Herr Professorn sedt, understundom en strobilum coniformem, å hwilken såsom i squamulis sittja apices staminum. förmodeligen är nämnda petalum, pistillum eller något likt pistillo. Thet är wist, at det affaller, utan at något kommer up, som kan kallas stamen. Jag hoppas at bättre observera detta.

Ingen ting särdeles nytt kom denna gången ifrån Virginia, utom specimen af en ört, then Clayton kallar Magnoliae affinis. Jag har eij fått den om hand, så att jag kunnat examinera den. Claytons Characteres äro dessa:


Anonymos Magnoliae affinis foliis ovato Ė oblongis, acuminatis, subtus pallidioribus, serratis
CAL: Perianthium monophyllum, quinquefidum, persistens, laciniis rotundis, rigidis, patentibus.
COR: Petala quinque maxima, alba intus, dilute flavescentia, obverse ovata, perianthii laciniis plusquam septies majora.
STAM. Filamenta numerosa, erecta, subulata, purpurea, germini, undequaque insidentia; antherae di-vel tridymae incumbentes
PIST. Germen obtuse conicum, Stylus Cylindraceus, filamentis haud longior, stigma obtuse tridentatum flavescens, cauliculis paululum repandis.
PERIC. Pomum obtuse conicum non umbilicatum, pubescens carnosum, quinqueloculare, loculis membranaceis.
SEM. Quinque ovata, compressa, ossea, extremo fusca singulis loculis singula. Floret ad finem Maij in locis umbrosis, solo humida.

Herr Professorn är så gunstig och anmäler min ödmiuka respect til Doctor och Professor Celsius, H[err] Professor Beronius samt flera gynnare och wänner. Jag lefwer med nöije

HögEdle och widtberömde Herr Professorns
ödmiuke tjenare
Abraham Baeck.

London d. 30 Sept. 1742.

[a][a] : MS1 [added in the left margin f.
242v; there is no indication of where it
should be inserted]

Jag beder ödmiukeligen at innelychta recommenderas utan dröijsmåhl.

upSUMMARY

Abraham BäckBäck, Abraham (1713-1795).
Swedish. Physician, president of the
Collegium Medicum, Stockholm. Close
friend of Linnaeus. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
wrote a letter to Linnaeus from London on August 16 [this letter has not come down to us], but he does not know if it has disappeared on the way. To show his gratitude, Bäck writes to Linnaeus as often as he writes to his mother [Margareta Bäck-HedenbergBäck-Hedenberg, Margareta
Swedish. Mother of Abraham Bäck,
born Broo. Her first husband was Carl
Olofsson Bäck, her second husband
was Hallvard Hedenberg.
]. He hopes Linnaeus will continue to help him and to defend him against his enemies.

Bäck has been almost two months in England. He had been in Oxford for a week, where Johann Jacob DilleniusDillenius, Johann Jacob
(1684-1747). German/British. Studied at
Giessen. Sherardian professor of botany
at Oxford. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
had congratulated Linnaeus for his new position, which would help him to make use of his great talents in botany. Dillenius had wished Linnaeus could help him, for he did not seem well, and he was rather tired of Oxford. Since then, Bäck has been in Chelsea for a month to practice drawing with Georg Dionysius EhretEhret, Georg Dionysius
(1710-1770). German/British. Botanical
illustrator. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
an old friend of Linnaeusís, and to visit the botanical garden [The Chelsea Physic Garden] and Hans SloaneísSloane, Hans (1660-1753).
British. Physician, naturalist and
collector. Secretary of the Royal
Society in 1693, president in 1727.
Sloaneís collections of natural history
objects were donated to the English
nation and were one of cornerstones of
the British Museum (1759). Correspondent
of Linnaeus.
museum. Philip MillerMiller, 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.
has been kind to Bäck and let him take the specimens he wanted. He has got Linnaeusís letter [this letter has not come down to us], and he promises to send seeds. If Bäck gets these while he is still in London, he will arrange to send them to Linnaeus through the merchants Clason & SpaldingClason & Spalding,
Swedish. Trading firm, London.
. Bäck has also been well received by Peter CollinsonCollinson, Peter (1694-1768).
British. Merchant and amateur naturalist
in London, corresponded with many
scientists. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
and Mark CatesbyCatesby, Mark (1682-1749).
British. Naturalist and artist. Best
known for his illustrated work The
Natural history of Carolina, Florida and
the Bahama islands
(1736-1743).
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, and now he is living in the same house as Isaac LawsonLawson, Isaac (?-1747).
British. Scottish botanist and
physician. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
. Linnaeus is fully aware of the state of botany in England. Plants are collected and transferred to England from all of Virginia and Carolina. If Linnaeus could be in England for a year, there would be many new characters of such species. Bäck has seen Linnaeusís friend John MartynMartyn, John (1699-1768).
British. Physician, professor of botany
at Cambridge.
, who mentions Linnaeus honourably in his VirgilísVirgil, (70BCE-21BCE). ?.
Publius Vergilius Maro. Classical Roman
poet.
Georgica [Bäck refers to the Pub. Virgilii Maronis Georgicorum libri quatuorVirgil, Pub. Virgilii
Maronis Georgicorum libri quatuor. The
Georgicks of Virgil, with an English
translation and notes. By John
Martyn
(London, 1741).
, edited and translated into English by Martyn] and quotes a long passage from 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.
. He will go on with his Decades [Bäck refers to the Historia plantarum rariorumMartyn, John Historia
plantarum rariorum centuriae primae
decas
, I-V (London 1728-[1737]).
; no more volumes of this work was published after 1737] next summer. Dillenius is said to have a collection of rare plants as large as Hortus ElthamensisDillenius, Johann Jacob
Hortus Elthamensis (London 1732).
, and he will publish it when he gets subscriptions. Bäck was pleased to hear from Dillenius, after many preambles, that Linnaeusís method was the best one for putting names to dry specimens. Bäck had answered that it should be equally good for living plants, to which Dillenius has not answered anything. Bäck has examined many American plants and used Genera plantarumLinnaeus, Carl Genera
plantarum eorumque characteres naturales
secundum numerum, figuram, situm &
proportionem omnium fructificationis
partium
(Leiden 1737). Soulsby no.
284.
, which he would not be without for anything. Linnaeusís name system is superior, and Bäck wishes that Philosophia botanicaLinnaeus, Carl Philosophia
botanica, in qua explicantur fundamenta
botanica cum definitionibus partium,
etc.
(Stockholm 1751). Soulsby no.
437.
was published or that there was some explication for beginners of terms available like that found in Fundamenta botanicaLinnaeus, Carl Fundamenta
botanica, quae majorum operum prodromi
instar theoriam scientiae botanices per
breves aphorismos tradunt
(Amsterdam
1736). Soulsby no. 253.
.

Bäck had happened to get a fresh flower of a bush that had recently arrived from John ClaytonClayton, John (1685-1773).
British/American. Physician and
botanist. Born i England, moved to
Virginia in North America in 1715. His
herbarium collected in Virginia was
published by Johan Frederik Gronovius
and Linnaeus in Flora Virginica
(1739, 1743). Correspondent of Linnaeus.
to Catesby. It is no doubt a Hamamelis, described by Johan Frederik GronoviusGronovius, Johan Frederik
(1690-1762). Dutch. Naturalist, senator
of Leiden. Linnaeusís benefactor and
friend. Published Flora Virginica
(1743, 1762) together with John Clayton.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
. Bäck gives a full description of it.

He comments on some details that must have been missing in the specimen used by Gronovius, and he is confident that he will see who is right, when the flowering continues.

Bäck has also seen Hura flower. He comments on some details of its petals and stamens, but he hopes to be able to observe it better later on.

There is nothing new this time from Virginia except a specimen of Magnoliae affinis. Bäck has not been able to examine it thoroughly, but he gives a description.

Bäck sends his regards to the two Celsiusís [Anders CelsiusCelsius, Anders (1701-1744).
Swedish. Professor of astronomy,
Uppsala. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
and Olof CelsiusCelsius, Olof (1670-1756).
Swedish. Orientalist and theologian,
professor at Uppsala. Botanist and plant
collector, benefactor of Linnaeus.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
] , Magnus Olai BeroniusBeronius, Magnus Olai
(1692-1775). Swedish. Professor of
theology, Uppsala. Bishop of Kalmar in
1745, archbishop in 1764.
and other patrons and friends.

P.S. Bäck asks Linnaeus to forward an enclosure immediately.

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. original holograph (LS, I, 241-242). [1] [2] [3]

upEDITIONS

1. Bref och skrifvelser (1910), vol. I:4, p. 4-6   p.4  p.5  p.6.

upTEXTUAL NOTES

a.
MS1 [added in the left margin f. 242v; there is no indication of where it should be inserted]