-Search for letters
-Search in texts






Link: • Sten Carl Bielke to Carl Linnaeus, 1745 n.s.
Dated . Sent from Åbo (Finland) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Swedish.


Sten Carl BielkeBielke, Sten Carl (1709-1753).
Swedish. Baron, government official,
patron of science, and naturalist. One
of the founders of the Royal Swedish
Academy of Sciences. Private pupil of
Linnaeus. Close friend of Pehr Kalm,
whose voyage to America he supported
financially. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
has asked Pehr KalmKalm, Pehr (1716-1779).
Swedish. Botanist and traveller,
professor of natural history at
Åbo. Disciple of Linnaeus.
Travelled in North America 1748-1751.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
to communicate to Linnaeus the good news that Heintzelman [Johann Gottfried HeinzelmannHeinzelmann, Johann Gottfried
(?-?). German. Botanist. Travelled in
eastern Russia.
] has given Bielke from St. Petersburg. Bielke, who starts writing this letter in Latin, has to swift to Swedish, as the [two] beautiful daughters of Otto Reinhold YxkullYxkull, Otto Reinhold
(1670-1746). Swedish. Governor of
Åbo, Finland.
interrupted him by suddenly entering the room, and they claim it would be indecent to write in Latin when they are present.

Bielke tells Linnaeus that he is enclosing Heinzelsman’s letter. At the same time Bielke makes many excuses for having opened a parcel that DuwaltDuwalt, Swedish. Baron. had got from Carl LagerflychtLagerflycht, Carl (1707-1773).
Swedish. Commission secetary,
chargé d`affaires at the Russian
court, deputy director.
in St. Petersburg, and addressed to Anders Johan von HöpkenHöpken, Anders Johan von
(1712-1789). Swedish. Count and
statesman. One of the founders of the
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.The
Chancellor of the Uppsala University
1760-1764. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, and found that the parcel only contained papers and not seeds as expected.

Bielke writes that he has asked Johann Georg SiegesbeckSiegesbeck, Johann Georg
(1686-1755). German. Prussian botanist,
doctor of medicine at Wittenberg in
1716, physician and director of the
botanical garden at St Petersburg
1735-1747. One of the most bitter
opponents of Linnaeus’s sexual system.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
for seeds from all the plants in his garden and asks himself why Lagerflycht did not take the opportunity to send the seeds. Bielke apologises once again for opening the parcel.

Bielke writes that he wrote to friends last week to ask them to send a transcript of Traugott Gerber’sGerber, Traugott (1710-1743).
German. Medical doctor, botanist,
director of the oldest botanical garden
in Moscow..
“Flora Ruthenica”, that the Academy plans to print in the future [this work was never published, the manuscript with the transcription, provided by Bielke, is preserved at the Linnean Society]. This flora will be useful for us as we live in similar climate. Bielke writes that he has asked for seeds of Larch and Siberian cedar. Bielke asks Linnaeus to inform him about Kalm’s journey next summer and Bielke says that if the first alternative does not work he suggests that the journey goes to Estonia and Latvia and the adjoining parts of Russia, Kurland and Lithuania, countries no botanist has visited so far.

Bielke writes that he has asked for seeds of tea from China and a description of the climate there of the most northerly growing teas. Bielke asks for Linnaeus’ advice on how to conserve the seeds, maybe in boxes with sand?

Bielke writes that he has asked for catalogues of medicinal plants growing outdoors in the medical gardens in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Bielke has asked for all the plants from the present garden in St. Petersburg as well as those from Siegesbeck’s time. Bielke has also written to Pehr ElviusElvius, Pehr (1710-1749).
Swedish. Engineer and mathematician,
secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy
of Sciences.
and asked him to contact LestocqLestocq, Russian?. , head of the Medical Board [in Russia], regarding information about and sending seeds of all plants from all medical gardens in Russia.

Bielke has asked for Glychyrrizam and Amygdalum s. Persicam manam and many others, some might be added to the “Philosophia Botanica”. Bielke has also asked for information on the climate in the southern part of Siberia and from the northern part of China from where he also expects lots of seeds. He hopes that these plants will be of use to the Swedish economy. Bielke promises to be useful and will be happy even if no-one except for Linnaeus, appreciates this and writes that people without knowledge can hardly appreciate the value of collections.

Bielke writes that it is a pity that we know so little about the plants in North America, knowledge that would be very useful. Bielke asks Linnaeus where Siberian Cythisus grows. Bielke also asks if Sibirian and Tataric plants can be found in other places around the world. Bielke writes that Linnaeus can ask Kalm to make a list of the above as well as a list of :1. Whether plants growing in alpine, in swampy, in aquatic, in dry areas or in groves keep their characters independent of climate or 2. How they might change according to e.g. altitude etc? 3. Whether you normally find the same species at the same latitude around the world? 4. Whether climate normally affects plant shape?

Bielke politely asks Linnaeus to get Kalm to write a list of species, since he himself is far from all books.

P. S. 1 Bielke asks Linnaeus kindly to send him seeds to be forwarded to Siegesbeck as he still has the opportunity to get seeds from Tatar country, from Siberia and from China and that Professor Steller might come back soon and although we have got a lot there is more to be expected. Bielke writes that Kalm can bring the seeds.

P. S. 2. Bielke writes that he has heard from Heintzelman that Johann Georg GmelinGmelin, Johann Georg
(1709-1755). German. Voyager, botanist
and chemist. At the initiative of
empress Anna of Russia he spent ten
years (1733-1743) exploring Siberia. In
1749 he became professor of botany and
chemistry at Tübingen. Together
with his nephew Samuel Gottlieb he wrote
Flora Sibirica (1747-1769).
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
and Siegesbeck have become reconciled. The credit is Bielke’s as Gmelin’s and Siegesbeck’s jealousy prevented Bielke from getting what he wanted.e


a. original holograph (LS, II, 13-14). [1] [2] [3]


1. Bref och skrifvelser (1909), vol. I:3, p. 197-201   p.197  p.198  p.199  p.200  p.201.