Fredrik Hasselquist to Carl Linnaeus,
27 December 1749 n.s.
L1077. Fredrik HasselquistFredrik Hasselquist (1722-1752).
Fredrik HasselquistHasselquist, Fredrik
The voyage was uneventful; visits by birds like Motarilla, Emberiza,Frigilla and Alauda sometimes broke the routine, but they were not very popular as they usually forbode bad weather.
He caught some of these birds and stuffed them. He has described 30 birds but is disappointed with not having seen a Procellaria; they are said to be found only in the Indian Ocean. In mid-November he visited the island of Milo. The season was unfavourable for collecting plants, but he found the following: Leontodon, there is a reference to Flora SvecicaLinnaeus, Carl Flora Svecica,
Strangely enough, he witnessed how a female capercaille was shot in a palm tree. He did not know that this bird could be found on these latitudes. He also saw European woodcocks. Probably they moved here over the winter.
Among fishes he has described a Scomber not mentioned by PeterArtediArtedi, Peter (1705-1735).
The Collegium Medicum of this city consists of five Greek doctors who treat Hasselquist respectfully and invite him to discussions. Smyrna is an ideal place for a naturalist, rich as it is in birds, plants and marine life. The consul’s servants and horses are at his disposal, and he lives comfortably in a house where his needs are provided for.
Hasselquist is impressed by the large number of edible cockles here; he has seen about ten species. One, called pina by the Greeks, is rather big, half an ell. If an octopus tries to find shelter inside, it is eaten by the cockle, whereas a prawn lives in symbiosis with it and warns it of dangers. This has been confirmed by the Commission Secretary JustiJusti, ?. Secretary at the
Hasselquist will not go to Constantinople and then to Syria as he first planned. It is easier to get a ship in Smyrna, and he hopes to go in the company of a visiting Armenian patriarch of Jerusalem. His constant problem is his shortage of money. If he could hire a servant to be his interpreter, it would be much easier to get information in places outside Smyrna, where European languages are not spoken.
Hasselquist entreats Linnaeus to do his utmost and use his influence to help him financiallly. The Archbishop [Henric BenzeliusBenzelius, Henric (1689-1758).
Rydelius has given him living Persian pheasants, incredibly beautiful Francolinus L, not mentioned in Systema naturae [Hasselquist refers presumably to the sixth edition, Systema naturae, 6th editionLinnaeus, Carl Systema
Letters to Hasselquist are taken care of by Gustaf CelsingCelsing, Gustaf (1723-1789).
1. "Herr Licentiaten Hasselquists Bref till herr Archiater Linnaeus, dat. Smirna den 16 Decemb. 1749" (1750), p. 249-252 .