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Link: • Pehr Osbeck to Carl Linnaeus, 21 October 1752 n.s.
Dated 10. Octob. 1752. Sent from Göteborg (Sweden) to (). Written in Swedish.


Pehr OsbeckOsbeck, Pehr (1723-1805).
Swedish. Clergyman, botanist explorer.
Studied at Uppsala under Linnaeus
1745-1750. Chaplain on ships of the
Swedish East India Company on voyages to
China. Vicar of Hasslöv (Halland).
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
lists with dates the seven nice letters [Linnaeus to Osbeck, 16 July 1752Letter L1457, 14 AugustLetter L1473, 21 AugustLetter L1468, 18 SeptemberLetter L1474, 16 OctoberLetter L1496; two letters, dated 22 July o.s. and 21 September o.s. have not come down to us ] he has received from Linnaeus since he returned from China, one of which had come through Magnus LagerströmLagerström, Magnus
(1691-1759). Swedish. Director of the
Swedish East India Company.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
. However, in none of these is there any mention of Syrupus Armoraciae or Infusum Dulcamarae, so Osbeck concludes that at least one letter must have been lost in the mail. Osbeck has not dared to remind Linnaeus of this, as he had thought that Linnaeus was fully occupied with other things, and he had also been surprised that Linnaeus had had time to tell him so much about the plants.

The latest letter [16 OctoberLetter L1496] and the copy of Lärda tidningar had pleased Osbeck very much. He believes that those, who had regarded his work with his natural history specimens during the voyage as a foolish work, now might envy Osbeck, but Osbeck does not care about that.

He will use the drugs mentioned. He hopes that he will get rid of his illness that might have also other causes, such as scurvy, for his jaws have bled sometimes.

Colvolvulus foliis bilobis, mentioned in Flora ZeylanicaLinnaeus, Carl Flora
Zeylanica; sistens plantas Indicas
Zeylonae insulae, quae olim 1670-1677,
lectae fuere a Paulo Hermanno [...]
demum post 70 annos ab Augusto
Günthero [...] orbi redditae

(Stockholm,1747). Soulsby no. 420.
as no. 75, should also be noted for the flora of the island of Asuncion, where it grew along the seashore like it does in Java and in China. The same applies for various lichens growing on the rocks.

Aralia caule nuda has leaves only in its top. The rest of its stem has no leaves, but it is very straight and full of thorns, as are its branches and the stems of the leaves.

The bird Diomedea is very common around Asuncion and also far out in the sea.

Several of the sailors had laughed at Osbeck when he stuffed his specimens aboard the ship, and some of them even said that he would let Osbeck skin a horse for him when they had returned home. Now, Osbeck laughs at all that, when he has been praised by learned people.

The Booby, which also means “fool”, was first seen by Osbeck on July 13, 1751, off the coast of Java on the way to China. Osbeck thinks that the white is male, the black female.

Osbeck does not know which bird it is that catches fish for the Chinese. That was not practiced near Canton. Osbeck has seen it depicted in Halde’s description of China, if it has a more hooked upper beak than the Booby has.

Osbeck wonders how he should report to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences [Kungliga Svenska VetenskapsakademienKungliga Svenska Vetenskapsakademien,
Swedish. The Royal Swedish
Academy of Sciences, Stockholm. Founded
in 1739.
] and to 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.
]. Should it be plants or fishes (maybe the one with yellow rings around its fins, poisonous enough to kill a man within two hours), and how many? Should the report to the Academy be in Latin, and the one to the society in Swedish?

Osbeck forwards greetings from Jonas AhlelöfAhlelöf, Jonas
(1717-1783). Swedish. Clergyman, dean
of Frillesås. Correspondent of
, who will be appointed to his parish on the following day.

P. S. Osbeck gives some more suggestions about what he could submit to the academies. He does not send anything until he has heard from Linnaeus, and he wants Linnaeus to read it first to avoid mistakes.

Osbeck also encloses a number of plants that have not been sent before. He asks Linnaeus to tell him their names according to the numbers they carry.


a. (LS, XI, 306-307). [1] [2] [3]


1. “Linnés korrespondens med Pehr Osbeck” (1974), p. 112-114   p.112  p.113  p.114.