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C18

Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L0630 • Abraham Bäck to Carl Linnaeus, 3 May 1745 n.s.
Dated 3 Maji 1745. Sent from Berlin (Germany) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Swedish.

Högädle och widtberömde Herr Professor

At detta måtte finna Herr Professorn i önskelig welmåga, är min hjerteliga önskan och anhållan. Jag har hållit nödigt wara, at berätta Herr Professorn en liten historia. En kiöpman ifrån Berlin som jag kiändt i Paris, kommer dessa dagar af sin Pariser-resa. Der hade han af H[err] ÖfwerHofintendenten Horleman hördt berättas thet jag skulle wara wiss om LifMedici-Sysslan hos Cron-Prinsen. Wid sin ankomst berättade han det hos änkedrottningens fruntimber; de hade hördt orätt, och saken kommer så till Änkedrottningen at samma kiöpman skulle hafwa rest ända til Leipsig i följe med en Doctor ifrån Paris, fransos til Nation, som Öf[werHof]Int[endenten] Horleman hade beställt til Swerige för Hans Kungel[ig] Höghet. Jag råkte sedan samma kiöpman, och med mycken möda kunde öfwertala honom, at eij löpa omkring med nouvellen, thet jag war dertil ärnad. Så wisst hade talet gått i Paris, at ingen twiflade derom. I dag war jag hos H[err] Envoyén Rudenskiöld, som begynner fråga mig, om jag wiste hwilken den franska Doctorn war, och huru Änkedrottningen blifwit illa til mods, när hon hördt en fransos blifwit kallad, huru hon förl[iden] Lögerdag skrifwit til Prinsessan at afråda henna förlita sig på en fransk Doctor, som gemenl[igen] äro så begifna på åderlåtning; Och huru han jemwel förl[iden] Lögerdag skrifwit til sin Bror, att fråga efter sakens sammanhang. Jag berättade honom, thet samma kiöpman sagt, det jag skulle wara föreslagen, och at det måtte wara orätt hördt af fruentimren. Lade jemwel til, at jag intet wet något ytterligare deraf, och at jag intet sökt derefter, men trodde mig i all händelse wara i stånd, at så wel tjena Hans Kongel[ig] Höghet, som någon af dem här föreslagna. D[octo]r Muzelius, til Exempel, til hwilkens öfwersändande allenast felade Kungens lof för honom at resa. Jag kiänner mannen. At jag eij sträfwade efter den sysslan. Men efter som jag wet det hennes Kungel[ig] Höghet har önskat hafwa en Accoucheur, åtminstone en som har någon insicht deruti, på det man eij måtte wara förbunden at wid förefallande måhl låta komma en ifrån främmande orter, om jag finge LifMedici lönen, el[le]r en Pension at resa til Strasbourg och på 1/2 åhr eller mehr ytterligare öfwa mig deruti, thet är alt hwad jag önskar och åstundar. At i den händelsen en annan skulle blifwa Lifmedicus, så wore dock en, som är kunnig i accouchement jemwel nödig. Jag wäntar Herr Professorns goda råd, och anhåller ödmiukast at Herr Professorn giör häraf nytta wid förefallande hos höga wederbörande. Jag twiflar eij thet ju brefwen med sista Posten hafwa giordt buller, och olagat anläggningarna.

Jag wet hwad det är för et capricieust djur fortuna medici apud magnates, i synnerhet om jag skulle den påtwingas, eij hafwande med mig såsom Marckskrijare en bok af deras namn full, som blifwit curerade, i synnerhet när jag hafwer owänner, som bara wänta tilfalle at störta mig. I så fatta omständigheter, min Gunstige Herr Professor, tror jag är bättre hafwa i början giöra med Smått folk, och genom dem såsom den rätta gången, komma småningom up til de stora. Så har man stadig grundwal at bygga på.

Bokhandlaren Haude skulle hafwa lust, tror jag, at uplägga Herr Professorns Swenska djur och örter. Han begiärar weta huru mycket det är, hwad papper och tryck, huru många figurer &c., &c.; med et ord omständigheterna af uplagan. Jag får sällan se Prof[essor] Gleditsch, så occuperad är han med sin horto. D[octo]r Lieberkühn har wist mig vegetationem seu palingenesiam putatam Euphrasiaes. Will man hielpa inbillnings krafften, så tror man sig se något, som liknar Euphrasiae. Eljest är han rätt missnögd med Preussen, för några ledsamheter som han hafft sedan en dog, som han skurit för sten. Låt mig weta om jag kan tjena Herr Professorn här på något sätt. framhärdar för öfrigit

Högädle och Widtberömde Herr
Professorns
ödmiuke tjenare
Abrah[am] Baeck.

Berlin d[ie] 3 Maji 1745

[a][a] : Ms1 [added in the left margin
of fol. 265v
]
Nu på stunden wisar mig Envoyén Rudenskiöld sit bref som han skrifwit til Baron Horn denna saken angående, och huru D[octo]r Eller war ombeden [b][b] : MS1 [added in the left margin
of fol. 264v
]
at föreslå LifMedicus, at jag hade önskat få gå til strasbourg at perfectionera mig i en branche de la medicine, som wore för en Prinsessans medicus nödwändig.

[c][c] : Ms! [fol. 268r] Nu är andra Tomen af van Svietens Commentarier färdig, och forsäljes til 5 R[iks]d[ale]r här i Berlin. van Svieten är Botanomedicus och Bibliothecarius hos Drottningen af Ungern. Han har eij hunnit genom alla morbos til Chronicos. Will continuera. D[octo]r Lieberkühn låter trycka i Leyden en Dissertatio de villis intestinor[um] som han wist mig Conceptet af; blifwer wacker. En god bok Cartheuseri Elementa Pharmacise säljes nu på Leipsiger Marcht. Jag fruchtar, at man har swårt hos oss til at få stuckna 3 stora figurer öfwer Renes connatos, som jag eljest hade redan sändt.

à La Societé Royale
des sciences à Upsal
Upsal
en Suede

upSUMMARY

Abraham BäckBäck, Abraham (1713-1795).
Swedish. Physician, president of the
Collegium Medicum, Stockholm. Close
friend of Linnaeus. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
hopes that Linnaeus is well. A merchant from Berlin, who had been in Paris, had heard from Carl HårlemanHårleman, Carl
(1700-1753). Swedish. Nobleman,
architect, royal superintendent.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
that Bäck was proposed as personal physician to the Crown Prince [Adolf FredrikAdolf Fredrik, (1710-1771).
Swedish. King of Sweden. Reigned
1751-1771. Married to Lovisa Ulrika.
Father of Gustav III. Chancellor of
Uppsala university 1747-1751.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
]. On his return, he had told this to the women at the Dowager Queen’s [Sofia Dorotea of HannoverSofia Dorotea of Hannover,
(1687-1757). German. Married to
Frederick Wilhelm I, mother of Frederick
II and Lovisa Ulrika, Queen of Sweden.
Queen of Prussia from 1713-1740.
] court, and they had misunderstood him and said to the Queen that the merchant had made the journey from Paris to Leipzig together with a French physician whom Hårleman had employed for this position. Bäck had seen the merchant and persuaded him not to spread this story. However, everybody in Paris had been sure of it. Then Bäck had seen Rudenschöld [Carl RudenschöldRudenschöld, Carl
(1698-1783). Swedish. Count.
Politician, diplomat and author.
Councillor, chancellor of Uppsala
University.Correspondent of Linnaeus.
] who had asked Bäck who the French physician was. Rudenschöld told that the Dowager Queen had been uneasy at this rumour, since she had written to the princess [Lovisa UlrikaLovisa Ulrika, (1720-1782).
Swedish. Queen of Sweden 1751-1771.
Married to Adolf Fredrik. Mother of
Gustav III. Sister of Fredric II of
Prussia. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
] and advised against employing a Frenchman, since the French are so keen at blood-letting. Rudenschöld had also written to his brother and asked about the matter. Bäck had told Rudenschöld that the merchant had told Bäck that Bäck had been suggested, and that the women must have misunderstood him. Bäck had added that he did not know more, that he had not applied but that he thought he could do as much as any of the others who had been suggested, such as Muzelius [Friedrich Hermann Louis MuzelMuzel, Friedrich Hermann Louis
(1715-?). German. Doctor of medicine,
Prussian “geheimrath”, member of
Obermedizinalacollegium in Berlin.
], whom Bäcks knows of. Bäck also knows that the Crown Princess wants a doctor trained in obstetrics, in order not to be forced to get one from abroad, and if Bäck gets half a salary or a scholarship, he is ready to go to Strasbourg for half a year to learn and practise that. If somebody else were to be appointed personal physician meanwhile, there would still be a need for somebody with that training. Bäck expects advice from Linnaeus and hopes that Linnaeus will work on Bäck’s behalf with those that he can reach. It seems that these letters have stirred up something.

Bäck is aware that there are risks involved in being a physician to prominent people, especially as he does not have a book full of names of people who have been cured and he has enemies. In that case, Bäck is quite satisfied to start with a practice for the lower classes and to build a position from there. Then, you have a better standing.

The bookseller HaudeHaude, German. Bookseller,
Berlin.
is interested in printing Linnaeus’s works about Swedish animals and plants [at the time of the letter, he must have meant [“Animalia per Sveciam observata”Linnaeus, Carl “Animalia per
Sveciam observata”, ALSS 4
(1736), 97-138 [1742]. Soulsby no. 1104,
Soulsby no. 1143
and Flora SvecicaLinnaeus, Carl Flora Svecica,
exhibens plantas per regnum Sveciae
crescentes, systematice cum differentiis
specierum, synonymis autorum, nominibus,
incolarum, solo locorum, usu
pharmacopaeorum
(Leiden 1745).
Soulsby no. 408.
]. He wants to know how much there is and what paper, types and plates are required

Bäck seldom sees Johann Gottlieb GleditschGleditsch, Johann Gottlieb
(1714-1786). German. Botanist and
sylviculturist in Berlin, disciple of
Anton Wilhelm Platz and Johann Ernst
Hebenstreit, supervisor of Caspar Bose’s
garden 1731-1735, professor at the
Collegium Medico-Chirurgicum in 1746.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, who is very busy in his garden. Johann Natanael LieberkühnLieberkühn, Johann Natanael
(1711-1756). German. Physician,
Berlin.
has shown him the so-called revival of Euphrasia, where you could see something similar to Euphrasia if you really helped your imagination. Lieberkühn is on the whole rather dissatisfied with Berlin, and he had lost a patient after a surgery for stones.

P.S. 1. Bäck adds that Rudenschiöld had just shown him a letter to Horn [Gustaf Jacob Horn af RantzienHorn af Rantzien, Gustaf Jacob
(1706-1756). Swedish. Nobleman. Civil
servant, chamberlain and marshal of the
court. Executed after the conspiracy
against the Swedish parliament in 1756.
]. Rudenschiöld had suggested that Johann Theodor EllerEller, Johann Theodor
(1689-1760). German. Prussian
“geheimrath”, director of Collegium
medico-chirurgicum and
Charité-Krankenhaus.
would suggest a physician, and mentioned that Bäck was willing to go to Strasbourg to train in obstetrics.

P. S. 2 Gerhard van SwietenSwieten, Gerhard van
(1700-1772). Dutch. Pupil of Boerhaave.
Called by Maria Theresa to Vienna, where
he organised the public health system.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
has published the second part of his “Commentarier” [Bäck refers to Commentaria in Hermanni Boerhaave aphorismos de cognoscendis et curandis morbisBoerhaave, Herman & Gerhard van
Swieten
Commentaria in Hermanni
Boerhaave aphorismos de cognoscendis et
curandis morbis
, 5 vols. (Leiden,
1742-1772).
], and it is for sale for five daler. van Swieten is botanical physician and librarian with the Queen of Hungary [Maria TeresiaMaria Teresia, (1717-1780).
Austrian. Reigned from 1740-1780.
], and he has not yet covered all the diseases, so more will follow. Lieberkühn is printing a dissertation “De villis intestinorum” [Bäck refers to [Dissertatio anatomico-physiologica de fabrica et actione villorum intestinorum tenuium hominisLieberkühn, Johann Natanael
Dissertatio anatomico-physiologica de
fabrica et actione villorum intestinorum
tenuium hominis
(Leiden, 1745).
] in Leiden, and it will be nice. Johann Friedrich Cartheuser’sCartheuser, Johann Friedrich
(1704-1777). German. Professor of
medicine and botany at Frankfurt an der
Oder. Father of Friedrich August
Cartheuser.
“Elementa pharmaciae” are for sale in Leipziger Markt [Bäck refers presumably to a preliminary version of Fundamenta Materiae MedicaeCartheuser, Johann Friedrich
Fundamenta Materiae Medicae Generalis
et Specialis
, 2 vols., (Frankfurt,
1749–50).
, which was published in 1749]. Bäck does not think it will be possible to have three large plates of “renes connate” cut in Sweden, so he has not sent that treatise yet [Bäck’s treatise was not published until 1780, “Renes connati”Bäck, Abraham "Renes
connati spinaaque dorsi
incumbentes", Nova acta
societatis regiæ scientiarum
Upsaliensis
, Ser. 2. vol. 3 (1780),
32-35
].

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. original holograph (LS, I, 264-265, 268). [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

upEDITIONS

1. Bref och skrifvelser (1910), vol. I:4, p. 51-53   p.51  p.52  p.53.

upTEXTUAL NOTES

a.
Ms1 [added in the left margin of fol. 265v]
b.
MS1 [added in the left margin of fol. 264v]
c.
Ms! [fol. 268r]