Fredrik Hasselquist to Carl Linnaeus,
18 May 1750 n.s.
L1134. Fredrik HasselquistFredrik Hasselquist (1722-1752).
On May 13 Fredrik HasselquistHasselquist, Fredrik
The first thing he studied was the date palm. An Arab showed him the male and female flowers of these trees, and how they are made fruitful.
Hasselquist describes this in detail (a.-d.).
Other plants that he has studied are: Mimosa (Acac. Aeg.)[Mimosa Lebbek L.], Vitex (agnus castus), Ricinus (palam Christi), Mesembryanth (ex quo symbol Kali) [Mesembryanthemum copticum L.], and some species of Chenopodia. Alexandria is a miserable place where the riches of Egypt, Arabia, and Aethiopia are loaded. He wants to see Rosetta, ”the garden” of Egypt, and the Nile. In Cairo he will try to get some fragments of Ethiopian and Arabic natural history, e.g. Opobalsamum and Myrrh. He intends to go to Palestine this autumn and stay there until next spring. [Most of the observations Hasselquist made were later published in his Iter Palaestinum eller resa til heliga landetHasselquist, Fredrik Iter
He would like to know if there are things that Olof CelsiusCelsius, Olof (1670-1756).
Linnaeus can ask Celsius if he knows what ”the tree of the righteous” in the Book of Psalms refers to. Hasselquist believes it must be a Nerium (Rhododaphne Auct.).
In Sweden many learned men cannot believe that John the Bapist could have eaten locusts, as it says in the Bible, and try other explanations. However, the Bible tells the truth; in Egypt, Arabia, and Syria locusts are a natural dish.
Hasselquist encloses an insect, Libellula [Ephemera Coa], found on the island of Meteline. He has never seen this kind of species in Sweden and does not know, if it can be found there, in that case it would be unnecessary to send it such a long way. [In the left margain Linnaeus has added the following remark: This insect was taken out [from the envelope] of some unworthy soul [person], fol. 333r, folio page 7].
He reports an enormous plane tree on the island of Stanchio [Cos], the birth-place of HippocratesHippocrates, (460 BC - ca.370
He has left all his collections and annotations in Smyrna with Anders RydeliusRydelius, Anders Swedish.
In Smyrna Hasselquist received a letter from Edvard CarlesonCarleson, Edvard (1704-1767).
In Palestine and Smyrna he will need more money. Rydelius has promised to arrange this for him.
A Swedish captain, Olof ZeniusZenius, Olof Swedish. Captain.
1. "Fortsättning af H. Licentiaten Hasselquists Bref til Herr Arch. Linnaeus, Alexandria den 18 Maji sistledne" (1750), p. 257-260 .