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Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L0890 • Johann Georg Gmelin to Carl Linnaeus, 15 March 1748 n.s.
Dated XV Mart. MDCCXLVIII. Sent from Tübingen (Germany) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Latin.

Viro Illustri,
Carolo LINNAEO,
Fautori suo,
S[alutem] P[lurimam] D[icit]
J[oannes] G[eorgius] Gmelin.

Utrasque Tuas suavissimas XXII & XXIX Januar[ii] exaratas rite accepi.[1] Gratissima mihi sunt, uti facile judicare potes, munera Tua sive animadversiones in stirpes transmissas. Non dubito, quin plura missurus & meam hac in re gratitudinem novis accessoribus provocaturus sis. Persuasissimum autem Tibi sit me gratitudine non esse defuturum. Esset Urtica illa cornuta digna species, modo non advertissem jam non esse urticae sed Buniae speciem, quae genera quidem toto, ut ajunt, coelo diversa sunt. Me primum ceratoidis Tournefourtiani nomen seduxit & vecordia, quod non satis contemplatus sim ipsam plantam. Sed bonus interdum dormitat Homerus.[2] Quid? Si omnes botanici tam assidui & tam perspicaces essent quam Tu, Tui similes haberes, quod ego quidem nollem, cum tanta Tibi debeas botanica, quae ipsa optet, ut summo Evergetae suo gloria et laus cum praeeminentiae specie tribuatur. Curabo, ut aliquando meliorem mappam Russiae nanciscaris. Sane Hassiana Strahlenbergiana non multo superior est.[3] Est quaedam non ita diu Petropoli impressa, quae tamen multis adhuc vitiis scatet. Spero brevi aliam prodituram esse meliorem. Nisi[a][a] : MS1 <Si> Nisi vero proxima aestate prodierit, curabo, ut qualemcunque meliorem tamen & Strahlenbergiana & Hassiana accipias. Est sine dubio planta umbellata, quae ex seminibus Sibiricis Tibi prodiit & quam non reperis in flora, Heracleum Kamtschaticum, cujus aliquam mentionem in flora feci.[4] Ego & Kamtschaticum & Sibiricum pro una eademque planta habui, & adhuc habeo, & facile inducor, ut Tecum credam esse Panax heracleum. Sed certe praeter magnitudinem nihil solidae differentiae inter hoc & vulgare sphondylium interesse puto. Flores enim in utroque albi sunt & maxime irregulares & foliorum eadem plane divisio est. No. 30 florae Sibiricae Tu scribis ab Heracleo vulgari solis floribus e luteo viridibus differre. Sed mihi & plantam silvestrem & hortensem contemplanti visum est flores tantum non esse regulares & vix inter se diversos, cum in Heracleo tam irregulares sint, ut radiati dici mereantur. Propterea accensui pastinacae, quia inter pastinacam & heracleum nulla mihi quidem differentia generica cognita est quam quae consistit in regularitate & irregularitate florum. Tu, quaeso, super haec adhuc cogita & scribe, quid sentias. Possem enim in praefat[ione] ad Tomum II de hoc monere. Nondum percipio inceptam fuisse impressionem Tomi II, quem credo Botanicis satisfacturum esse. Certe curabo, ut prodeant omnia. Si obtinere potero, ut in Germania aeri incidantur tabulae, non segnis ero. Sed Petropoli vel minima circumstantia variat rem. Eo ego non amplius ibo, licet innumerae gazae ibi adhuc delitescant. Aves & meae & Messerschmidianae & omnes, undecunque fuerint allatae, procul omni dubio incendio nupero consumptae sunt & animalia pleraque quadrupeda & simiae Tuae & alia, quorum si recordor jacturam, vix mihi a lacrumis temperare possum. Certissime etiam credo nihil herbariorum flammis ereptum fuisse, et nisi clanculum meum in Sibiria collectum herbarium in Germaniam misissem, abstulissent etiam hoc & flammis concessissent. Icones quaedam, quarum apographa nondum facta erant, veluti vi mihi sub discessum meum abreptae sunt, ut apographa antea fierent, quae tum ad me mitti possent. Ursi perpetuo & multoties, ut, quae apographa jam facta essent, mitterent. Sed nec responsum dederunt. Denique scribunt, postquam pleraque jam apographa facta essent, & autographa & apographa omnia flammis consumpta esse. Subdubitavi ab initio, annon glaucoma objicere vellent diffidentes forte promissis meis, quod rediturus sum, & propterea fingerent historiam. Sed rem ita se habere certo comperi. Quid ergo ibi faciam? Nidum vacuum & desertum ingressurus & multis violentiis me[b][b] : MS1 [added above the line] expositurus? Valeat hortus & valeant Musae Petropolitanae, quibus forte Parce [sic][5] proxime filum absolvet. Non tamen adhuc hae dicere audeo. Debet mihi Academia plus quam sesquimille rubelos, quos forte perderem omnes, nisi adhuc silentium servarem. Scripsi itaque Tibi tantum, amico integerrimo. Hierobotanicum summe Reverendi CelsiiCelsius, Olof (1670-1756).
Swedish. Orientalist and theologian,
professor at Uppsala. Botanist and plant
collector, benefactor of Linnaeus.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
extorsit mihi amicus criticus Petropoli.[6] Jam eo libro careo nec tamen vellem carere. Si pro pecuniis adhuc comparari potest, quaeso, coemas & mittas ad SalviumSalvius, Lars (1706-1773).
Swedish. Printer, bookseller, publisher.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
. Pecunias promptissime restituam, quam primum rescivero, quantum earum erogaveris. Sic et Tua omnia, dissertationes, libros, quam maxime optarem, ut habere possem. Obstupui, cum pertinacem Tuam solertiam in enodandis stirpibus Africanis adhibitam primo in recensione Halleriana novis Göttingensibus inserta,[7] tum in ipsa flora Zeylanica animo mecum volverem.[8] Illam vero dono optimi Halleri accepi, qui sane jam eodem erga Te animo esse videtur quam ego. Decentissimas Tibi gratias ago pro perhonorifica mei in dicta flora facta mentione, quam tyro adhuc non meritus sum, sed devotione Tibi debita demereri strenue cupio. Si alium praeter Te haberem, cui libros Tuos ad me transmittendi curam committere possem, certe omni Te labore eximerem, nec Tibi molestus essem. Quocirca rogo, si id sine magno Tuo incommodo fieri possit, ut mittas & pretium singulis addas, & certus sis me pretium omni cum gratiarum actione restituturum esse. Sed, quod saepe jam rogavi, maxime me Tibi obstringeres, si adderes quasdam plantas rariores Lapponiae inprimis etiam exemplum Peloriae siccatum. Posses inter chartas transmittendas interspergere. Nondum vidi GuittardiGuettard, Jean Etienne
(1715-1786). French. Naturalist,
geologist and mineralogist. Director of
the museum of natural history objects of
the duke of Orléans. Best known
for his geological and mineralogical
studies of France. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
observationes, sed curabo, ut accipiam.[9] Qualis fuerit radix, quae singultum excitavit fl[orae] Sib[ibiricae] 134, rescire nullo modo potui. Legi acta [Academiae][c][c] : MS1 [manuscript damaged] Turinensis, ex quibus concludo similem fuisse napello radicem, sed ce[rte][d][d] : MS1 [manuscript damaged] nihil definire valeo. Homo propterea accusatus diu mortuus est. Scribe, quaeso, proximis litteris, an epistolam Carlscronam[10] inscriptam eo mitti curaveris. HallerusHaller, Albrecht von
(1708-1777). Swiss. Naturalist and
poet, professor of medicine, botany,
anatomy and surgery at Göttingen
1736-1753. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
multus est in edendis libris. Horti novum indicem edit.[11] De methodico studio medicinae duo volumina proxime prodibunt. Continuat labores anatomicos, tabulas vasorum arteriacorum parat.[12] Invenit tunicam in foetu pupillam claudentem, quae post exclusum foetum paullatim evanescit. Quartum dissertationum anatomicarum volumen mox prelo exibit.[13] Poemata sua Germanica recudit & quae plura sunt alia. Est homo dies noctesque litteris incumbens & in Germania sine pari. An per fumariam, quae admirationem Tibi incussit, illam intelligis, quae Capnorchis Boerh[avii]Boerhaave, 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.
, an vero alteram, quae consueta fumariae structura gaudet foliis lobatis flore purpureo? Illa Sinica est, haec Sibirica.

Vale, Vir amicissime, & diutissime vive!

Dabam Tubingae d[ie] XV Mart[ii] MDCCXLVIII.

[address] A Monsieur / Monsieur le Docteur Linnaeus / Professeur en histoire naturelle & membre / de diverses Academies des sciences / à Upsal.

upSUMMARY

Johann Georg Gmelin has received Linnaeus’s letters dated 22 January 1748 o.s., 2 February 1748 n.s. and 29 January 1748 o.s., 9 February 1748 n.s, respectively. He is very grateful for Linnaeus’s comments on the plants sent to him.

Urtica cornuta is discussed. It turned out to be a Bunias, a totally different species.

Gmelin will send Linnaeus a better map of Russia. Philip Johan Strahlenberg’s map is not much better than the one by Hassius, which was printed in St Petersburg; it has a lot of errors.

Gmelin identifies Heracleum kamtschaticum with Heracleum sibiricum.

Linnaeus says that no. 30 in Gmelin’s Flora Sibirica differs from the common Heracleum sphondylion only through the flowers. Gmelin groups no. 30 with Pastinaca. Between Pastinaca and Heracleum there are no generic differences except as to the regularity of flowers.

Gmelin will not return to St Petersburg, though there are many treasures. Much, however, was destroyed recently in a fire. Gmelin secretly brought his Siberian herbarium to Germany. But some illustrations, of which there were no copies, were taken away from him by force. The fire has now consumed both copies and originals. There is thus no reason for Gmelin to return to St Petersburg.

The Imperial Academy of Sciences at St Petersburg owes Gmelin 1,500 rubles.

Gmelin wants Linnaeus to send him a new copy of Olof Celsius the Elder’s Hierobotanicon through Lars Salvius. A friend took Gmelin’s own copy.

Linnaeus showed his ingenuity regarding African plants both in a review of Haller in Göttingische Anzeigen von Gelehrten Sachen and in his own Flora Zeylanica.

Gmelin is eager to have some rare Laplandish plants and especially a dried Peloria. He has not yet seen Jean Étienne Guettard’s Observationes, but he will get it.

Gmelin does not know how the root of no. 134 in Flora Sibirica looked like. However, he can conclude from Acta Academiae Turinensis that it is similar to Napellus, but he cannot define it.

Albrecht von Haller has no equal in Germany. He is publishing a new index to the plants of the Academical Garden of Göttingen. Furthermore, two volumes on the methodological study of medicine will soon appear; he continues his anatomical studies, he prepares illustrations to De vasis cordis, he has found a membrane which closes the pupil in a foetus, he will soon publish the fourth volume of his anatomical dissertations and he is republishing his German poems.

Gmelin does not know whether Linnaeus’s Fumaria is Herman Boerhaave’s Capnorchis or another plant, which has the usual structure of the Fumaria with lobated leaves and a purple flower. The former is Chinese, the latter Siberian.

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. original holograph (LS, V, 53-54). [1] [2] [3]

upTEXTUAL NOTES

a.
MS1 <Si> Nisi
b.
MS1 [added above the line]
c.
MS1 [manuscript damaged]
d.
MS1 [manuscript damaged]

upEXPLANATORY NOTES

1.
Linnaeus’s two letters to Johann Georg Gmelin, dated 22 January 1748 o.s., 2 February 1748 n.s. and 29 January 1748 o.s., 9 February 1748 n.s., respectively, have not come down to us.
2.
Horace, Ars. 359 and Seneca, Ep. 22:6.
3.
4.
Johann Georg Gmelin probably refers to the map in Strahlenberg’s Das Nord- und Ostliche Theil von Europa und Asia .
5.
Parca is the Roman goddess of birth. She later became one of the goddesses of Fate.
6.
Celsius the Elder, Hierobotanicon sive De plantis Sacrae Scripturae dissertationes breves .
7.
Albrecht von Haller started a periodical for reviewing learned works, Göttingische Zeitungen von Gelehrten Sachen (Göttingen 1739-1752). From the year 1753 it was edited by die Sozietät der Wissenschaften and called Göttingische Anzeigen von Gelehrten Sachen.
8.
9.
Guettard, Observations sur les plantes .
Karlskrona, Sweden.
In 1753 there was an augmented edition of Haller’s Brevis enumeratio stirpium Horti GottingensisHaller, Albrecht von Brevis
enumeratio stirpium Horti Gottingensis.
Accedunt animadversiones aliquae et
novarum descriptiones

(Göttingen 1743).
.
Haller, Disputationum anatomicarum selectarum volumen IHaller, Albrecht von
Disputationum anatomicarum selectarum
volumen I
, I[-VII] (Göttingen
1746-1751).
(1746-1752).