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Link: • Magnus Lagerström to Carl Linnaeus, 20 November 1748 n.s.
Dated 9. Novembr. 1748. Sent from Göteborg (Sweden) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Swedish.


Due to excessive work, financial transactions at at the Swedish East India Company, Magnus LagerströmLagerström, Magnus
(1691-1759). Swedish. Director of the
Swedish East India Company.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
has not been able to answer Linnaeus’s letter of September 26 until now [this letter has not come down to us].

From this Lagerström can understand that his arrangements after the late Christopher Tärnström’sTärnström, Christopher
(1711-1746). Swedish. Clergyman and
botanist. At the recommendation of
Linnaeus, he was accepted as chaplain by
the Swedish East India Company. In 1746
he departed for China but died on the
island of Pulo Candor, Vietnam.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
untimely decease have been to his widow’s [Brita TärnströmTärnström, Brita
Swedish. Wife of Christopher
Tärnström in his second
marriage, born Stenhof.
] satisfaction. It is also good to know that the small things he sent have been of interest to Linnaeus. Lagerström will double his efforts to acquire specimens for his collections. Soon two ships will depart for India. He has given strict orders to members of the crew to collect things of interest. A couple of days ago he sent four parcels for Linnaeus’s collections with Abraham PetterssonPettersson, Abraham
(1724-1763). Swedish. Court chaplain.
, who will visit Carl RidderstolpeRidderstolpe, Carl (1684-1762).
Swedish. Baron. Vice-admiral.
in Stockholm. They contain:

1. A carved horn of a rhinoceros.

2. A freak of nature: a white stone representing St. George on horseback. Maybe these two items could be placed in some corner of a [natural-history] cabinet?

3. Parts of a bush growing in Cochin China, used like Chinese tea.

4. Lapis de Goa [stone from Goa], which is made by the monks of a Catholic monastery in Goa. It is said to be a panacea. Gourmands are said to use a little of this material to refine the taste ”of that unhealthy and ruinous foreign drink named punch”.

Lagerström also intended to send an elephant’s tusk to Linnaeus, but it is too heavy to be transported by Abraham Pettersson, and he is not sure that Linnaeus is interested either. The same goes for two big pieces of coral, of which one little twig is enclosed, and half the head of sword-fish and a suckerfish, 45 inches long.

Lagerström thanks Linnaeus for the hay seeds and all the answers to his questions. He also thanks for the information concerning the the plants in the Uppsala University Botanical Garden.

At the local textile factory, the dyer, who is Swiss, uses Hieracium umbellatum as a yellow dye, a plant very common everywhere in the neighbourhood of Gothenburg. He says that this use is widespread in Switzerland. The normal plant for producing the colour yellow here is Engskär [in Swedish; or Serratula tinctoria], of which a sample is enclosed.

There are some small white Indian beans called ”Callavances”. Has anybody tried to grow them here in Sweden? If so, it would be possible to produce something like Japanese soy, which is very much coveted by gourmands.


a. (LS, VIII, 358-361). [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]


1. Bref och skrifvelser (1922), vol. I:8, p. 161-163   p.161  p.162  p.163.