Carl Linnaeus to Jeronimo, marquis of Grimaldi,
30 June 1750 n.s.
L1212. Carl LinnaeusCarl Linnaeus (1707-1778). Swedish.
to Jeronimo, marquis of GrimaldiJeronimo, marquis of Grimaldi
Linnaeus has learnt through Gaspard RaibaudRaibaud, Gaspard (1695-1781).
Spain is truly the most beautiful among the countries of Europe. To everybody it seems to be a second India. The warm and mild climate produces all nature’s gifts that are necessary for the citizens, not to say almost superfluous.
There is a rumour that the Spanish King has recently decided with all his power to promote not only private agriculture and planting but also manufactures and commerce. The King is anxious to bring it all to the highest perfection.
All that nature has bestowed for the benefit of mankind, except the elements, are found under the names stones, plants and animals.
The first step of wisdom is to know the things themselves. The knowledge is found in the specific characteristics.
Without such a knowledge of the individual productions of nature no solid principles for the improved cultivation of fields, meadows or woods, no certain information related to plants whether for the purposes of medicine, food dyeing or other useful arts can be taught or acquired.
In order that such knowledge might be correctly acquired, Linnaeus will send a very dear disciple of his named Pehr LöflingLöfling, Pehr (1729-1756).
Löfling will search out the Spanish provinces and collect all species of plants, trees not to mention all the smallest mosses. He will also observe animals, birds, fishes, insects and the minutest worms. He will also investigate all the stones, minerals, fossils, and earths.
Löfling will describe all these things with the names of the authors, the nomenclature of the inhabitants, habitats, the use of the plants in the fields of medicine, dyeing, economy, etc.
Löfling will give a live specimen of every plant glued upon paper with the names of the botanists and the inhabitants. It will also be stated where a certain plant grows, what it is used for, its noxious properties.
Löfling will also state what useful plants can be found in Spain or can be cultivated. It will also be stated what plants are noxious for the fields, so that mechanics can find instruments to eradicate them. Löfling will state what plants are suitable for the soils, etc. He will daily describe the errors of the people regarding economy and suggest an emendation. He will teach where medical plants grow spontaneously and which can be exported to other countries. He will do the same regarding animals and stones. Not even the smallest insect will be neglected.
Sweden has successfully devoted itself to studying natural economy for twenty years. Before that natural economy was learnt through travels in England and by translating English book into Swedish. But the Swedish and English climates are very different.
If the Spanish King gives his permission, to the establishment of a garden, Löfling will see to it that all Spanish roots or seeds are cultivated there so that Spanish students can learn what their country produces. Spanish students can also be sent out together with Löfling so that they can learn from him.
For Linnaeus it is enough if Löfling sends some seeds of rare plants for the Uppsala University Botanical Garden or some dried plants for his herbarium.
Jeronimo, Marquis of Grimaldi, should see to it that Löfling can travel safely and at a small cost. In return Linnaeus promises that there will be nothing more useful for the natural economy of France.