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Link: • Cadwallader Colden to Carl Linnaeus, 12 February 1751 n.s.
Dated Febry 1 1750-1, English style. Sent from Coldengham (USA) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in English.

Coldengham in the Province of NewYork
Febry1st 1750-1, English style


Mr Kalm being now on his return home, I cannot suffer him to go, without acknowledging the favours which I have received from you, a person so highly esteemed & distinguished in the republic of letters, & to whom the world owes so much, by the vast acquisition in knowledge which it has gain’d, in Botany & all parts of natural history, by your wonderful Skill and indefatigable labours. My last to you was entrusted to Mr Kalm’s care. In it I gave you several corrections of the Botanical observations which Gronovius sent to you from me, & which Mr Kalm told me are published in the Acta of your Academy. I hope you received them before those observations were published, & that the proper corrections were made before the publication. I am very desirous to see them as they are printed, & I must beg the favour of you to send them to Mr Collinson in London for me, if you have no opportunity of sending them to Philadelphia, if you have then please to direct them to the care of Mr Benjamin Franklin Post Master in Philadelphia, because I know not otherwise how to obtain them.

Mr Kalm has so much more knowledge in Botany & in Natural History than any in this Country can pretend to, & he has been so industrious, & has undergon such great difficulties in travelling through a great part of this vast Forest, & risked such dangers in his person from its Savage inhabitants, that as on the one hand, his zeal in the pursuit of knowledge cannot be sufficiently applauded, so on the other hand, I have no hopes left me, that I can be of farther use to you. However, Sr if there remain any thing in which you think I can give you information, you will give me the greatest pleasure in receiving your commands. And though it be too probable, that you may have no such inducement to write to me, yet I hope you will so far favour a person who has the greatest esteem for your merit, as to let me some- times know that you live & continue an ornament of your Country, by giving some account of the fruits that you daily produce

I am with the greatest respect
Your most obedient humble Servant
Cadwallader Colden

P. S. Mr Kalm was so industrious, that I could not persuade him to stay above one night, at my house in the Country, tho’ the fatigues he underwent required his taking some ease & refreshment. And my hapning to be deeply concern’d in public affairs depriv’d me, in a great measure, of the pleasure of his conversation while he was in the City of New York.


Pehr KalmKalm, 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.
is now on his way home. Cadwallader ColdenColden, Cadwallader
(1688-1776). American. Physician of
Scottish origin, botanist, physicist,
politician. Lieutenant governor of New
York. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
feels obliged to express his gratitude to Linnaeus for his favours and for his indefatigable labours in botany and science. Colden’s last letter [Cadwallader Colden to Linnaeus, 20 february 1749Letter L1015] was entrusted to Kalm. In this letter Linnaeus will find several corrections of the observations which Johan Frederik GronoviusGronovius, Johan Frederik
(1690-1762). Dutch. Naturalist, senator
of Leiden. Linnaeus’s benefactor and
friend. Published Flora Virginica
(1743, 1762) together with John Clayton.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
sent to Linnaeus to be published in the Acta of the Royal Academy of Sciences [Colden means the transactions of the Royal Society of Sciences at Uppsala, Kungliga Vetenskaps-Societeten i UppsalaKungliga Vetenskaps-Societeten i
Swedish. The Royal
Society of Sciences at Uppsala was
founded in 1728.
, Acta societatis regiae scientiarum Upsaliensis Acta societatis regiae
scientiarum Upsaliensis
and refers here 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.
, and where a second part was published in 1751]. Colden is very eager to see them in print and hopes Linnaeus will be so kind and send them to Peter CollinsonCollinson, Peter (1694-1768).
British. Merchant and amateur naturalist
in London, corresponded with many
scientists. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
in London or to the care of Benjamin FranklinFranklin, Benjamin (1706-1790).
American. Publicist, scientist and
, post master in Philadelphia.

Kalm has no equal in America in the field of botany and natural history. He has been very industrious and exposed himself to great difficulties and risks travelling through vast woodlands inhabited by savage tribes. His zeal in the pursuit of knowledge is admirable. Colden is afraid that after this he will be of no use to Linnaeus. However, it will always be his greatest pleasure to oblige Linnaeus whatever he wishes. Colden would highly appreciate to have news from Linnaeus about his life and ”some account of the fruits he daily produces”.


a. original holograph (LS, III, 81). [1] [2]


1. A selection (1821), vol. 2, p. 457-458   p.457  p.458.
2. The Letters and papers of Cadwallader Colden (1920), vol. 4, p. 256-258 .