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C18

Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L1234 • Joseph von Rathgeb to Carl Linnaeus, 24 September 1751 n.s.
Dated 24 7bris 1751. Sent from Venezia (Italia) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Latin.

Nobilissimo, Experimentissimo Doctissimoque Domino
Carolo Linnaeo,
Archiatro P[erillustri] Reg[is] Sve[ciae], Med[icinae] et Bot[anices] Prof[essori] Ups[aliensi],
Viro Celeberrimo,
S[alutem] P[lurimam] D[icit]
Josephus à Rathgeb Eques.

Exoptatissimas Litteras Tuas, Vir Celeberrime, decima Augusti ad me datas his diebus proximis accepi.[1] Etiam me id non fatente Tibi persuasum esse certus sum nulla re me magis oblectari idque varias ob caussas atque ob hanc in primis, quod nulla Tuarum Litterarum fuit, quae non adtulisset cognitionis Tuae singularis in re herbaria specimen aliquod, nulla qua lecta non fuerim de aliqua re edoctus. Ita etiam est de ultima, quam nunc ad me misisti. Ego autem nulla mora interposita eidem respondeo, ut sententiam meam habeas de Alsine Lotoides Sicula Bocconi, quam meo nomine insignire intendis. Ut cognovi Te hoc meditari, aperui animum meum libere me optare plantam seligas, quae in hortis nostris coli non reluctatur. Idem etiamnum est meum desiderium. Hinc autem non conjicias me plantam Europaeam expetere. Nam etiam Europae non indigenae, uti ex Asia, et quam plurimae ex America devectae, Clima Europaeum facillime tulerunt et perdurant. De Meadia nuper rescripsi, quam Tu Dodecatheon nominasti, alteri amplius adsignari non posse. Sed, quum caussam non habeo, cur festinemus, libenter expecto, usque dum cum integro Tuo commodo id fieri possit et usque dum ex longinqua regione aliquid Tibi afferatur, quod novum genus constituat quodque caelo nostro non adversetur. Alsine, ut libere dicam, quam proponis, quamvis planta Europaea, in ipsa Europa parum cognita certum est neque Patavii neque alibi in Italia visam. Accedit, quod eadem ab aliis plantis, quibuscum affinitatem magnam habet, vix bene distinguatur, et quod maximum est, nullibi reperiatur. Miror hanc apud Vos videri, ut credo, siccam. Nos autem neque siccam, multo[a][a] : MS1 <[illegible]>
multo [added above the line by
Rathgeb
]
minus virentem, habemus. Hinc est, quod, quae de staminibus huius plantae ex me quaeris, rescribere nequeo. Ita est de Bocconi plantis quam plurimis, quas, si quis methodo accuratissima, de qua Tibi orbis Botanicus aeternum debebit, examinare vellet, plura in iis corrigenda haberet. Si KalmiusKalm, Pehr (1716-1779).
Swedish. Botanist and traveller,
professor of natural history at
Åbo. Disciple of Linnaeus.
Travelled in North America 1748-1751.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
patriae iam redditus[2] nihil adtulit, quo novum genus constitueres, forte ille felicior erit, qui Chinam adiit[3] aut LöflingiusLöfling, Pehr (1729-1756).
Swedish. Botanist and explorer. Studied
under Linnaeus. Went to Spain in 1751
and took part in the Spanish expedition
to Venezuela in 1754, where he died.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, qui Americam peragratur.[4] Si neuter horum, uti iam dixi, non est, cur festinemus. Fortuna, quum minus id expectamus, aliquid offeret. Nonne ex China habuimus Ixiam, quae caelo nostro iam adsuevit? Haecne erit ultima, quam inde accepimus in hortos nostros translatam? Sed quum de Ixia iam loquor, patere, ut subjungam fructum me nuper observasse diversum ab eo, qui § 46 Gen. 11 describitur. [5] Nam loculi compressi non sunt, quum neque solitarium semen, sed duos seminum ordines plerumque sex paria & semina rotundissima nigerrimaque continent. Doleo, quod hac aestate non licuit observationes meas plurimas reficere, quas alio tempore super plantas instituere coepi, quasque Tibi, Vir Doctissime, non ingratas futuras sperarem.

Quae de ManettiManetti, Xaverio (Saverio)
(1723-1785). Italian. Physician,
professor of botany at Florence.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
Libro[6] animadvertis, Tibi argumento sint me non male saepius questum fuisse de studio Botanices apud Italos. Ipse autem Manettus Rex habetur, sed inter coecos etiam luscus Rex. Botanices studium magnos sumptus exposcit, quos in his oris munificentia publica non subministrat Patavio excepto, ubi largum stipendium, sed ubi minus quam alibi idem illud studium excolitur. Manettus solos 24 Taleros annuos assignatos habet. Quum Botanica eum totum exposceret, hac miseria certo sustentare se nequit. Commovetur animus vehementer, dum considero, quod Professor Patavinus vix absolutis viginti quinque lectionibus publicis, quae duodecima Junii finiunt, per reliquam aestatem alio secedit commodis suis inserviens, hortum etiam pauperrimum linquens hortulano inexpertissimo. Non illum pudet plantas multas alere, quarum neque nomina recte se habent. Ab eodem proximo elapso vere huc semina missa amico cuidam a planta, ut ipse scripsit, Chia collecta. Hoc nomine nunquam genus plantae insignitum. Ipse de eadem interogatus [sic] mihi respondit semina sibi hoc nomine missa. Bone Deus, ita negligens quis esse potest, ut plantas alat, quas neque de nomine cognovit. Volui in horto ipso plantam conspicere. Deprehendi Salviae specimen esse, et ni fallor, illam, quam olim Horminum Sylvestre Salvifolium minus C[asparus] B[auhinus]Bauhin, Caspar (1560-1624).
Swiss. Botanist and physician, Basle.
Bauhinís Prodromus and Pinax
theatri botanici
(1620, 1623, 1671)
were important works in the field of
botanical nomenclature.
P[inace],[7] Park[insonius]Parkinson, John (1567-1650).
British. Apothecary and botanist to
Jacob I. Author of Theatrum
botanicum
(1640).
et RajusRay, John (1627-1705).
British. Naturalist and clergyman. One
of the most influential botanists before
Linnaeus.
dixere aut quam Herm[annus] in Hort[o] Lugd[uni] Bat[avorum] Horminum pratense foliis serratis, floribus dilute coeruleis omnium minimis.[8] Nominavit Salviae speciem, cui Hormina recte subiecisti, esse. Nullus locus dubitandi relinquitur: Corolla bilabiata, labium superius concavum laevissime emarginatum, inferius trifidum, laciniis subrotundis media[9] duplo majori aliis duabus tota prominente, emarginatum.
Stam[en]: Filamenta duo, in quorum medio altera duo brevissima sterilia prominent, antherae uniloculares sub labio superiori reconditae.
Pist[illum]: Germina 4, stigma bifidum una cum antheris sub labio superiori reconditum.
Per[istylum]: Calyx connivens, ut bidentatus appareat.
Sem[en]: Quatuor ovata, glaberrima, subcinerea, lituris fuscis maculata.

Exemplar siccum adjicio atque etiam semina, sed haec ideo scribo non, ut de Planta aliquid dicam, quae est maxime communis, sed ut inde intelligas, quomodo res apud vos se habent.

Ad Manettum redeo, Tu in omnibus Linnaeus. De Niccolinia eum illico[b][b] : MS1 [added in the margin by
Rathgeb
]
admonui iampridem a Te Prasium dictam fuisse. Quod autem crediderit Te ex Genista Spartium ex Spartio Genistam fecisse, in caussa esse suspicor ipsum solummodo Genera Tua edit. II inspexisse, ubi § 690 Spartium Genista Tournef[ortii]Tournefort de, Joseph Pitton
(1656-1708). French. Botanist and
explorer, professor of botany at Paris.
& § 691 Genista Spartium Tournef[ortii] legitur, hic forte existimans Te omnes species Genistae Tournefortii ad Genus Spartium retulisse, quum tamen Genista tinctorica etiam Te auctore Genista remansit, de qua re Hortus Tuus Cliffortianus eum meliora edocuisset.[10] Hoc ferre nequeo, quod iam quivis sibi sumat nova genera constituere, quod summis in re Botanica Viris reservatum esse debet. Nihil dicerem de Manetto! Sed quis aequo animo ferat SeslerumSesler, Lionardo (17?-1785).
Italian. Physician in Venice.
cum sua Vitaliana, GriselinumGriselini, Francesco
(1717-1783). Italian. Cartographer,
journalist and naturalist, founded
Giornale díItalia di agricoltura.
cum sua Baillouviana.[11] Bone Deus! Homines flocci, nauci, quos neque in hac urbe quis cognoscit eo audaciae processisse. Griselinus saepius excitatus, ut de hoc suo novo genere plantam ferret, quam Tibi mitterem, centies promisit. Numquam promissis stetit. Dubito eamdem ab ipso unquam visam fuisse, quem in aliis rebus multis mendacissimum esse inveni. Sed quo progredior? Nimium abutor patientia tua! Si aliud exemplar haberem illius libri, in quo Germanus contra Te scripsit, mitterem aut saltem pauca illa folia, quibus in Te invehitur. Liber ineptissimus, nugarum plenus, rapsodicus multa nugatur in ortographia Germanica contra GottschediumGottsched, Johann (1668-1704).
German. Professor of physics at
Königsberg, author of Flora
prussica
(1703).
. Suppresso auctoris nomine prodiit. PoppowitschPopowitsch, Johann Sigmund Valentin
(1705-1774). Austrian.
Philologist and natural scientist,
professor at Vienna.
auctoris nomen est.[12] Ratisbonae degit. [13] Epistolae suae accerrimum responsum dedi increpando audaciam, qua nomini Tuo homuncio, uti ipse est, insultavit. Aliam epistolam suam postea non vidi. Summopere gaudeo me intellexisse ex Litteris tuis Reginam VestramLovisa Ulrika, (1720-1782).
Swedish. Queen of Sweden 1751-1771.
Married to Adolf Fredrik. Mother of
Gustav III. Sister of Fredric II of
Prussia. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
Musaeo colligendo intentam esse. Te absque dubio auxiliares manus dare confido. Sed inde honor litteris, utilitas maxima. Libenter etiam legi, quae de divitiis a KalmioKalm, Pehr (1716-1779).
Swedish. Botanist and traveller,
professor of natural history at
Åbo. Disciple of Linnaeus.
Travelled in North America 1748-1751.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
domum relatis commemorasti. Fac, saepius a te similia accipiam! Te nihil moveant, minus autem turbent, quae ignorantes oblatrant. Rectissime sentis Canes ad lunam latrare. Tibi orbis Botanicus in primis etiam aliae partes Scientiae naturalis aeternum obstrictae manebunt. Te Deus incolumem servet per annos plurimos. Tibi commoda & sanitatem largiatur! Me amore Tuo, quem maximi facio, semper prosequere! Quod si scis, quomodo Tibi animum meum gratum testari valeam, libere jube! Summa de Te est existimatio mea idemque amor. Vale!

Venetiis 24 Septembris 1751.

[c][c] : [added by Rathgeb] Tui addictissimus devotissimusque
Rathgeb[c][c] : [added by Rathgeb]

upSUMMARY

Joseph von Rathgeb has received Linnaeusís letter dated 10 August 1751 o.s., 21 August 1751 n.s.

Linnaeus has informed Rathgeb that he wants to name Silvio-Paolo Bocconeís Alsine Lotoides sicula after him. However, Rathgeb would prefer a plant that can grow in Italian gardens. Linnaeus has told Rathgeb that he cannot assign him Meadia, which Linnaeus himself calls Dodecatheon. Since Rathgeb is in no hurry, he suggests that Linnaeus names a new genus after him. Linnaeus has mentioned Alsine but Rathgeb means that although it is a European plant it is hardly known in Europe. It has never been seen in Padua.

If anybody were to examine Bocconeís plants according to an accurate method, he would find many errors. If Pehr Kalm has not brought back anything from which Linnaeus can constitute a new genus, perhaps Linnaeus will get something from China or from Pehr Löfling who is travelling through America. But there is no hurry. There is a Chinese Ixia that has grown accustomed to the European climate. The Ixia found in Italy has a different fruit to the one in Linnaeusís Genera plantarum (2nd ed.), § 46.

Xaverio (Saverio) Manetti is considered the king of botany in Italy. But the blind in just one eye is considered the king among the blind. Rathgeb mentions a professor in Padua, who is not ashamed to grow numerous plants of which he does not know the correct names. He sent a friend some seeds from a Chia. But no such genus exists! Rathgeb claims it to be a species of Salvia. It is Caspar Bauhinís, John Parkinsonís and John Rayís Horminum sylvestre Salvifolium minus or Paul Hermannís Horminum pratense foliis serratis, floribus dilute coeruleis omnium minimis.

Rathgeb has told Manetti that Niccolinia has already been called Prasium by Linnaeus. Manetti has misunderstood Linnaeusís Spartium Genista and Genista Spartium, probably because he has only studied §§ 690 and 691, respectively, in Genera plantarum (2nd ed.).

Rathgeb cannot tolerate that anybody among the Italian botanists thinks himself fit to name new genera. Lionardo Seslerís Vitaliana and Francesco Griseliniís Baillouviana are a disgrace. Rathgeb doubts that Griselini has ever seen a Baillouviana for he has proved a liar in other respects.

There is a work in German criticising Linnaeus and Johann Gottsched. The book was published without the name of the author, but was in fact written by Johann Sigmund Valentin Popowitsch in Regensburg. Rathgeb gave a sharp retort to a letter by Popowitsch criticising Linnaeus.

It pleases Rathgeb that the Swedish Queen will collect objects for a museum.

Rathgeb enjoyed reading about Pehr Kalmís acquisitions.

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. original (LS, XII, 160-161). [1] [2] [3]

upTEXTUAL NOTES

a.
MS1 <[illegible]> multo [added above the line by Rathgeb]
b.
MS1 [added in the margin by Rathgeb]
c.
[added by Rathgeb]

upEXPLANATORY NOTES

1.
Linnaeusís letter to Joseph von Rathgeb, 10 August 1751 o.s., 21 August 1751 n.s., has not come down to us.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
Linnaeus has added in the margin of the letter: folia ovala utrimque acuta serrata villosa non crassa, spica hirsuta; calyces bilabiati: l. sup. integro acuto, l. inferiore 2 fido, semina variegata ricini.
See Griselini, ObservationsGriselini, Francesco
Observations de François
Griselini de líAcademie des Sciences de
Boulogne sur la Scolopendre marine
luisante et la Baillouviana
(Venice
1750).
. Griselini, p. 7, thanks ďun illustre CavalierĒ. In Linnaeusís copy at the L.S. there is a note by Linnaeus saying that this Cavalier is Joseph von Rathgeb.
In his Untersuchungen vom MeerePopowitsch, Johann Sigmund Valentin
Untersuchungen vom Meere
(Frankfurt & Leipzig 1750).
, 351-398, Johann Sigmund Valentin Popowitsch criticises Linnaeusís scientific method.
I.e., Regensburg.