-Search for letters
-Search in texts






Link: • Fredrik Hasselquist to Carl Linnaeus, 28 February 1750 n.s.
Dated 28 Febr. 1750. Sent from Smyrna (Syria) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Swedish.


Fredrik HasselquistHasselquist, Fredrik
(1722-1752). Swedish. Physician and
naturalist, explorer. Studied under
Linnaeus and Lars Roberg 1741-1749. Went
to Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Cyprus,
Rhodes and the island of Chios. Died
near Smyrna. Son of Magnus and Helena
Maria Hasselquist, brother of Andreas
Hasselquist. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
is now leaving Smyrna.

He has received a travel pass from the Turkish Emperor [Mahmud IMahmud I, (1696-1754). ?.
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1730
to 1754.
]. The route will be via Cyprus to Egypt, where he will visit Alexandria and Cairo and then proceed to Palestine. Hopefully he will make interesting observations in nature, which he will with time present for Linnaeus.

Spring has come, and everywhere there are lots of anemones, hyacinths [Hyacinthus orientalis L. [Hasselquist refers to Hortus UpsaliensisLinnaeus, Carl Hortus
Upsaliensis, exhibens plantas exoticas,
Horto Upsaliensis academiae a sese
illatas, ab anno 1742, in annum 1748,
additis differentiis, synonymis,
habitationibus, hospitiis, rariorumque
descriptionibus, in gratiam studiose
, I (Stockholm 1748).
Soulsby no. 424
] and a big and beautiful species of Ranunculus (chelidon. minus)[Ranunculus Ficaria L.] is very frequent in the winerys.

The almond tree bears blossoms on bare twigs, in beautiful contrast to the evergreen olive trees. Hasselquist wishes these trees were Swedish together with trees like Fumaria [Fumaria officinalis L], Draba [Draba verna L.] and Thlaspi [Thlaspi (capsella) bursa pastoris L.]. There are references to Flora SvecicaLinnaeus, Carl Flora Svecica,
exhibens plantas per regnum Sveciae
crescentes, systematice cum differentiis
specierum, synonymis autorum, nominibus,
incolarum, solo locorum, usu
(Leiden 1745).
Soulsby no. 408.

He has made the following observation about fig trees.

The owners of fig trees believe that there will be no fruit unless they are stung by the fig fly.

This fly has an enemy in another fly that kills it. In order to prevent this the owners paint red circles round the trunk below the branches.

The fig trees are often infested by insects. Hasselquist has seen lots of their nests, as big as a chickpea but empty.

The fig trees are often planted around the gardens as some kind of living fences; Hasselquist doubts if this would be done or recommended by Swedish farmers or economists.

Hasselquist has made about 500 descriptions of animals, birds, fishes, and plants, all of which he hopes to deliver to Linnaeus before his departure. He encloses a description of a bird. [Most of the observations Hasselquist made were later published in his Iter Palaestinum eller resa til heliga landetHasselquist, Fredrik Iter
Palaestinum eller resa til heliga
(Stockholm 1757).

It is apparent that the sea is constantly receding, it could not be easier to give evidence of this than here. Hasselquist He encloses a letter to Pehr ElviusElvius, Pehr (1710-1749).
Swedish. Engineer and mathematician,
secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy
of Sciences.
[Elvius had died the year before], in which he has written in detail about this phenomenon. Hasselquist has more to say on this subject, which he with time will tell Linnaeus; until tehn he will keep it to himself.

Again, Hasselquist wish to consult Linnaeus on his financial situation. Anders RydeliusRydelius, Anders Swedish.
Swedish consul at Smyrna, where he met
Fredrik Hasselquist. Correspondent of
is extremely helpful in economic matters. He has found a way of directing money to Hasselquist in Egypt. There Hasselquist can get money through the Levantine Company. It is to this company that money for his expedition should be directed.

He hopes that Grill [presumably Claes GrillGrill, Claes (1705-1767).
Swedish. Merchant, owner of the iron
works of Söderfors, Österby
and Iggesund. Director of the Swedish
East India Company. Also known as an art
collector and patron of arts and
sciences. Brother of Anthoni Grill and
Johan Abraham Grill. Correspondent of
] and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences [Kungliga Svenska VetenskapsakademienKungliga Svenska Vetenskapsakademien,
Swedish. The Royal Swedish
Academy of Sciences, Stockholm. Founded
in 1739.
will arrange economic transactions accordingly.

Hasselquist tries to live as cheaply as possible, which also means that he must abstain from interesting projects just to save money. He is eagerly looking forward to news from Linnaeus. Letters will reach him wherever he is if they are addressed to Rydelius.


a. (LS, VI, 323-326). [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]


1. Iter Palaestinum eller resa til heliga landet (1757), p. 578-581 .
2. Bref och skrifvelser (1917), vol. I:7, p. 13-16   p.13  p.14  p.15  p.16.
3. Herr archiatern och riddaren Linnaeus i Lärda tidningar 1745-1780 (2007), p. 97-100 .