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C18

Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L0657 • Carl Linnaeus to François Boissier de La Croix de Sauvages, 15 October 1745 n.s.
Dated 4 octobris, quae vobis 15 octobris 1745. Sent from Uppsala (Sweden) to Montpellier (France). Written in Latin.

Amico Integerrimo,
D[omino] D[octori] FR[ANCISCO] de SAUVAGES,
S[alutem] pl[urimam] d[icit]
Carolus Linnaeus.

Hodie accepi litteras Tuas datas die 14 septembris, stylo novo; ego semper scribo secundum Gregorianum; adeoque videbis, quam cito et quo tempore poteris Upsalia responsiones habere.

Pro Classibus plantarum et D[omi]ni Ratte dissertationibus aeternas gratias habeo et dudum accepi.

Hisce lineis scriptis, accedit Bibliopola cum Haemastatice, opere magno, pro quo tot grates quot litterae. Utinam possem mittere Floram Suecicam, ante octiduum a typo absolutam!

Annon tu adhuc accepisti Hortum Cliffortianum et reliquos libros? Quaeso, ad hoc respondeas, ut possim litteras ostendere.

Scapi nomen, ni fallor, semper purum servavi.

Thyrsus, ex veterum omnium consensu, sumsi.

Panicula, in graminibus, adeo omnibus nota fuit, ut noluerim definire; omne gramen gerit fructificationes vel in spicam vel in Paniculam; Panicula a veteribus omnibus habetur uti flores in pendaculis ramosis, absque ordine aut numero aut proportione sparsi.

Subrotundum mihi semper fuit figura ad rotundam proxime accedens, adeoque fere rotundum; pro sphaerico nunquam habui. Sphaericum et globosum mihi idem fuit. Elliptica figura est subrotundae species, cum saepe et quando noluero adeo accurate et proprie determinare figuram, sed calycis eam sumere, uti opus saepe est in plurimis, quae foliis parum inconstantes sunt; pro cylindrico vix habui unquam.

De characteribus generum essentialibus tentabo in 8va editione systematis generum; quod vero specierum notas et differentias concernit, eae non ita facile determinantur.

De pinace non curas; absque eo nunquam certitudo numeri specierum; sine eo nullus sciat, num planta haec vel illa sit hujus vel alterius speciei; tunc primum erit chaos Botanices.

Hic hyemis brevi[a][a] : MS1 brevi scripsi non brevi
Linnaeus
cito nos obruat; indigitabo quas potero plantas et mihi conficere floram Monspeliensem, quam ad te mittam, ut Tu dein augeas, emendes, ut tandem obtineamus vestras plantas certas.

Si vixissem in Belgio aut in Gallia, ubi Bibliothecae refertae sunt herbariis, dudum Floram Europeam elaborassem; qui viderit Floram E. gr. Raj[i] Rumphii, Helveticas Halleri, synopsis Raj[i] non hoc unius anni esse opus, facile perspiciet; praesertim, ubi non licet ipsas plantas inspicere, praesertim ubi Musci, Fuci, Fungi tot. E Siberia plus quam 600 plantas novas accepi. Tentabo, si per 3 annos vixero.

Illecebrum. Gratias, quod mihi dixeris nulla huice generi esse petala. Nunc hoc factum et ratum est. In sicco flore nil tale video; habeo plantam antea siccam; sed minima sunt omnia.

Montia apud nos vulgatissima ad paludines.

Rhodiola; si tua fert fructus, nunquam stamina vidisti sed nectaria; si vero non fert fructus, debes inquirere feminam; ego hermaphroditum a parte femina abortientem non habeo, sed modo feminam, quae abortit ob defectum maris; affinis maximi est Sedi; sed tum et crassula et cotyledon et sempervivum erit Sedi species, aut totidem servanda genera.

Methodum calycinum edidi in Classibus plantarum; sed et illa frangit classes et genera naturalia. Qui velit Botanicen colere et nequit addiscere 24 vocabula e Graeca lingua desumta, quibus meae classes determinantur, is nunquam erit Botanicus; evolvat ter dichotomias et absque hisce nominibus perveniet ad plantas.

Decem vel duodecim plantae in numero errantes non tollunt usum systematis; qui de his quaerunt, illi adeant aliud systema, ubi nulla incertitudo. Si quis talem velit mihi monstrare methodum, ego mox rejiciam propriam et ejus colam. Famulus petiit quondam a D[omi]no, ut se reciperet in servitium; D[omi]nus interrogat, ubi antea fuerit et cur non ibi remanserit; respondit servus, quod non omnia ad vota evenirent; tum Dominus respondit: abeas, et cum eo perveneris, ubi omnia eveniunt secundum votum, me accersas, ut et ego ibi serviam.

Umbellifera, quam misit tuus frater, quantum ex pano specierum judico, est Tordylii species, quae Caucalis semine aspero, flosculis nitentibus, C. B. 152, quod olim ad me misisti; involucrum in hac specie adest. Universales, licet adeo arcte adnexum pedunculis umbellae, ut vix conspicientur; aderant et in hac tua, ad me missa.

Lysimachia sine dubio erat illa, quam ego putabam, licet numerus in hac variet; non reperio capsulas in litteris.

Zizyphum nunquam florentem vidi; gratias pro observatione. Sed quam Tua species?

In graminibus mea methodus est facillima, et omnes studiosi hic mox species indagare possunt, absque doctore; certe nulla alia methodus adhuc exstiterit in Botanicis. Nunquam genera graminum ab ullo determinata. Quaeso, ne cures paniculam vel spicam; tamen obtinebis genus; ego hoc adjeci, facilitatis, non necessitatis causa.

Fac, ut Frater Tuus Parisiis in Horto depingat plantam a Te nominatam; in Herbario Surianensi reperitur. Ibi reperiet plantam Hyperici aut Cisti facie erectam, foliis ovalo-lanceolatis, alternis serratis, pipulis acuminatis, ciliatis NB. Ultima nota distinguit plantam ab aliis omnibus.

Ego non possum procurare plantam ex meridionali America; sed si in boreali America esset, mox praestarem hoc.

De Maupertio et Swieteno audivi; de Hallero vero non, quod miror, cum ab eo ante mensem litteras habui Gottinga, ubi tum erat, sed ne verbum de hac re scripsit.

Salutes, quaeso, amantissimum virum D[ominum] D[octorem] Laugierum, qui Te mihi dedit. Columnam habeo, liber antea rarissimus erat. Aveo videre plantas Monnieri.

Gratias pro Caecilia Tua. Lacerta hidactyla; quod nomen cum tua citatione in Systemate adducam; adeoque Columna recte depinxit, p. XXXVI; an ungues in pedibus?

Anguis, adeoque Tuus est non venenatus s[ive] Natrix torquata Aldr[ovandi], Raj[i].

Anguis gigas, est portentum et mira res.

Realmuria est Scleranthus certissime; et stamina 5 in hac decederunt, uti saepe fit in Alpinis.

Juncus foliis articulatis floribus umbellatis T. Sic omnino.

Seguieria est Polycnemum illud, a quo ego Chenopodium confeci seu Chenopodium annuum humifusum, folio breviori et capillareo Tournef.

Buffonia videtur referri posse ad Moehringiae genus floribus tetrandris; sed de hoc inquiram melius. Flores in exemplari meo desunt.

Upsaliae dabam die 4 Octobris, quae vobis 15 Octobris 1745.

Linum minimum stellatum, quod misisti, egregie floret; haereo adhuc, utrum ad genus Lysimachiae vel ad Centunculum referam pulcherrimam plantam.

Monsieur
a Mons[ieu]r Franc[oise] de Sauvages
Professeur en Botanique
Montpellier[b][b] : MS1 zizyphus dod. zizyphus sativa
et silvestris J. B. [added by
Sauvages
]

upSUMMARY

Linnaeus has received François Boissier de La Croix de Sauvages’sSauvages, François Boissier de
La Croix de
(1706-1767). French.
Botanist and clergyman and physician,
professor in medicine at Montpellier.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
letter of 14 SeptemberLetter L0670.

He thanks Sauvages for Classes plantarum [Linnaeus means Sauvages’s thesis on classification of plants based on the leaves, the forthcoming Methodus foliorum, seu plantae florae MonspeliensisSauvages, François Boissier de
La Croix de
Methodus foliorum,
seu plantae florae Monspeliensis, juxta
foliorum ordinem ad juvandam specierum
cognitionem, digestae [...]
Méthode pour connoître les
plantes par les feüilles
(The
Hague 1751).
] and Etienne-Hyacinthe de Ratte’sRatte, Etienne-Hyacinthe de
(1722-1805). French. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
dissertations [de Ratte was the Secretary of the La Société Royale des Sciences de MontpellierAcadémie des sciences et
lettres de Montpellier ,
French.
Académie des sciences et lettres
de Montpellier was founded in 1706 as
the Société royale des
sciences de Montpellier and dissolved in
1793 during the Revolution. This society
formed by its constitution one and the
same organization with the academy of
Paris. It was reconstituted in 1795 as
the Société libre des
sciences et belles-lettres de
Montpellier, but disapeared in 1816. In
1846 it was revived as Académie
des sciences et lettres de Montpellier.
Its first journal was Histoire de la
Société royale des
sciences établie à
Montpellier avec les mémoires de
mathématiques et de physique
tirés des registres de cette
société
, vols. 1-2
(1706-1745), which were published
1766-1768.
.

At the time of writing the bookseller delivers Haemastice [Linnaeus means the, Statical essays, containing haemastaticksHales, Stephen Statical
essays, containing haemastaticks; or, An
account of some hydraulick and
hydrostatical experiments made on the
blood and blood-vessels of animals :
also An account of some experiments on
stones in the kidneys and bladder : with
an enquiry into the nature of those
anomalous concretions : to which is
added, an appendix, containing
observations and experiments relating to
several subjects in the first volume.
The greatest part of which were read at
several meetings before the Royal
Society
(London, 1733).
]. Linnaeus is very grateful and wishes he could send 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.
printed a week ago.

He is eager to know if Sauvages has received 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.
and other works sent to him.

Linnaeus discusses the plant names Scapus and Thyrsus and the definition of panicle (panicula). He resumes the discussion on descriptive terminology: subrotund, spheric, globose, elliptic, cylindrical. As to the essential characters of genera, Linnaeus will try to concentrate them into eight systems; the signs and differences of the species are not as easily determined.

Sauvages does not care very much about a general survey (pinax) of plants: Linnaeus maintains that without such surveys chaos will rule in botany. He will do his utmost to conclude Flora Monspeliensis [it is unclear what Linnaeus means. He might be working with Sauvages’s thesis, which was to be published in 1751, see above, or with his own Flora MonspeliensisLinnaeus, Carl Flora
Monspeliensis
, diss., resp. T. E.
Nathorst (Uppsala, 1756). Soulsby no.
1912.
]; Sauvages can then add and amend to make it complete. If Linnaeus had lived in Belgium or France, where libraries are well stocked, he would by now have written a European flora. If you have seen other floras, e.g. that of Georg Eberhard RumpfRumpf, Georg Eberhard
(1628-1702). Dutch. Naturalist and
merchant in the service of the Dutch
East India Company. Governor of the
Dutch colony Ambon. He published two
works on the flora of the isle of Ambon.
[Linnaeus refers to the Herbarium AmboinenseRumpf, Georg Eberhard
Herbarium Amboinense, plurimas
conplectens arbores, fructices, herbas,
plantas terrestres & aquaticas, quae
in Amboina et adjacentibus reperiuntur
insulis [...] Omnia [...] Belgice
conscripsit G. E. Rumphius [...] Nunc
primum in lucem edidit, & in Latinum
sermonem vertit Joannes Burmannus [...]
qui varia adjecit synonyma, suasque
observationes
, I-VII (Amsterdam
1741-1755).
], Albrecht von Haller’sHaller, Albrecht von
(1708-1777). Swiss. Naturalist and
poet, professor of medicine, botany,
anatomy and surgery at Göttingen
1736-1753. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
Swiss flora [Linnaeus means Enumeratio methodica stirpium Helvetiae indigenarumHaller, Albrecht von
Enumeratio methodica stirpium
Helvetiae indigenarum. Qua omnium brevis
descriptio et synonymia compendium
virium medicarum dubiarum declaratio
novarum et rariorum uberior historia et
icones continentur
, I-II
(Göttingen 1742).
] and John Ray’s European flora [Linnaeus means Historia plantarumRay, John Historia plantarum;
species hactenus editas aliasque insuper
multas noviter inventas & descriptas
complectens. In qua agitur primo de
plantis in genere, earumque partibus,
accidentibus & differentiis; deinde
genera omnia tum summa tum subalterna ad
species usque infimas, notis suis certis
& characteristicis definita, methodo
naturae vestigiis insistente
disponuntur
, I-III (London
1686-1704).
], you realize that such a work demands more than one year to compose. Linnaeus has now received more than 600 plants from Siberia to examine. He comments on Illecebrum, Montia, Rhodiola, Ledum.

In the classification of plants, Linnaeus has introduced a method that means a break with natural classes and genera but also an enormous simplification: those who can learn 24 terms borrowed from Greek can also easily classify all plants. Those who cannot do this will never become botanists. If somebody can present a perfect system, Linnaeus will be happy to adopt it.

Plants have been sent to Linnaeus by Sauvages and his brother [Pierre Augustin de SauvagesSauvages, Pierre Augustin de
(1710-1795). French. Brother of
François Boissier de La Croix de
Sauvages. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
]. Linnaeus identifies them as Tordylium, Caucalis, Lysimachia, Zizyphus.

He points out that his new method has made the identification of gramina very simple.

Linnaeus wants Sauvages to ask his brother to depict the Hypericum and Cistus found in the Botanical Garden of Paris.

Linnaeus cannot procure a plant from South America; had it been a North American plant, he could have complied with your wish straight away.

Pierre-Louis Moreau de MaupertuisMaupertuis, Pierre-Louis Moreau de
(1698-1759). French. Astronomer
and geodesist. Leader of the French
expedition to Lapland in 1736-1737 to
determine the shape of the earth.
President of the Prussian Academy of
Sciences.
, Lirtenus, Haller, Fabio ColonnaColonna, Fabio (1567-1650).
Italian. Botanist, painter and engraver.
, Alexander Ludwig LaugierLaugier, Alexander Ludwig
(?-?). Austrian?. Professor in botany
and chemistry at the University of
Vienna in 1749.
and Louis Guillaume Le MonnierLe Monnier, Louis Guillaume
(1717-1799). French. Physician and
naturalist. Professor of botany at the
Jardin des plantes in Paris. Personal
physician of Louis XV. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
are mentioned. Linnaeus is happy to have acquired Colonna’s very rare book [PhytobasanosColonna, Fabio Phytobasanos
sive Plantarum aliquot historia in qua
describuntur diversi generis plantae
veriores, ac magis facie, viribusque
respondentes antiquorum Theophrasti,
Dioscoridis, Plinij, Galeni, aliorumque
delineationibus, ab alijs hucusque non
animadversae. Fabio Columna auctore.
Accessit etiam piscium aliquot,
plantarumque novarum historia eodem
auctore
(Naples 1592).
]. He thanks for Sauvages’s description of the lizard he calls Caecila, lacerta bidactyla; it is now included in Systema naturae under this name. Sauvages described two snakes in his letter. One is Natrix torquata, the other, an extraordinary monster, is not known.

Linnaeus believes the genera of Realmuria, Seguieria and Busferica are Sceleranthus, Polycnemum and Tetrandis respectively.

PS. Linum minimum stellatum sent by Sauvages is flowering beautifully. Generically it belongs to Lysimachia or Centunculus.

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. original holograph (SLS, Ms 146). [1] [2] [3] [4]

upEDITIONS

1. Lettres inédites de Linné à Boissier de la Croix de Sauvages (1860), p. 73-81   p.73  p.74  p.75  p.76  p.77  p.78  p.79  p.80  p.81.

upTEXTUAL NOTES

a.
MS1 brevi scripsi non brevi Linnaeus
b.
MS1 zizyphus dod. zizyphus sativa et silvestris J. B. [added by Sauvages]