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Link: • Carl Linnaeus to Cadwallader Colden, 21 August 1750 n.s.
Dated 1750 d. 10 Augusti.. Sent from Uppsala (Sweden) to Coldengham (USA). Written in Latin.


Linnaeus thanks Cadwallader ColdenColden, Cadwallader
(1688-1776). American. Physician of
Scottish origin, botanist, physicist,
politician. Lieutenant governor of New
York. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
for his letter of 9 February 1748-9 [Cadwallader Colden to Linnaeus, 20 February 1749Letter L1015], which he read with great satisfaction. Colden’s opinion on the generation of plants is the same as John Mitchell’sMitchell, John (1711-1768).
British/American. Physician and
botanist. Born in Virginia. After
studies in medicine at the University of
Edinburgh he returned to Virginia as a
physician, but left America for London
in 1746. Famous for his map of eastern
North-America, known as the Mitchell
Map, first published in 1755.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
in Acta Naturae Curiosorum [Linnaeus refers to Mitchell’s treatise, ”D.D. Jo. Mitchell Dissertatio brevis de principiis botanicorum et zoologorum”Mitchell, John ”D.D. Jo.
Mitchell Dissertatio brevis de
principiis botanicorum et zoologorum
deque novo stabiliendo naturae rerum
congruo, cum appendice aliquot generum
plantarum recens conditorum”, in
"Appendix", in Acta
Physico-Medica Academiae Caesare
Leopoldino-Franciscanae naturae
curiosorum exhibentia Ephemerides
, 8
(1748), 187-224.
]. Colden maintains that two species are of the same genus if they can produce offspring. Linnaeus does not call these distinct genera but varieties. For example, Ranunculus has several species, and nobody will deny that they belong to the same genus. However, they cannot possibly fertilize each other. On the other hand, Tulipiae and Brassicae, which are only varieties, can easily do so.

All the obscurities concerning botanical terminology Linnaeus has explained in Philosophia botanicaLinnaeus, Carl Philosophia
botanica, in qua explicantur fundamenta
botanica cum definitionibus partium,
(Stockholm 1751). Soulsby no.
, but it is being printed and has not yet been published. Linnaeus is sorry he cannot send a copy this time. In it Colden will find everything he needs.

Linnaeus sends the Acta Upsaliensia of 1743, where Colden can find the first part of his descriptions [Linnaeus here refers to his catalogued collection of plants brought together in the surroundings of his country seat, Coldengham, and communicated to Linnaeus, who published them under the title “Plantae Coldenhamiae"Colden, Cadwallader “Plantae
Coldenhamiae in provincia noveboracensi
americes sponte crescentes,"
Acta Societatis Regiae Scientiarum
(1743, [1749]), 81-136,
(1744-50 [1751]), 47-82.
]. The second part will appear in the issue of 1744, but it has not yet left the printer. The second part was published in 1751].

If Colden has more material to present, Linnaeus will be happy to publish it. Linnaeus would appreciate it if Colden would be so kind as to send some dried plants and seeds. This can be taken care of by the Swedish clergymen [at the Swedish congregation in Raccoon]. If Colden would like something from Sweden, Linnaeus will be happy to forward it. Many of Colden’s plants are very rare and have not been seen or described before. Linnaeus would love to have them in his herbarium. He sends his regards and grateful wishes to his ”Maecenas in Flora’s service”.


a. original holograph (New York Historical Society, Cadwallader Colden Papers, 1677-1832, Box 1: Scientific letters, papers and notes (1714-1763) , folder 1). [1] [2]