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C18

Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L1799 • Carl Linnaeus to Abraham Bäck, 10-17? September 1754 n.s.
Dated . Sent from Uppsala (Sweden) to Stockholm (Sweden). Written in Latin.

Nobilissimo, D[omino] D[octori] BAECK
S[alutem] d[icit]
C[arolus] Linnaeus.

Noli ulterius a me urgere, ut commodem per Consistorium Kaehlero pecunias; proprio nutu hoc facerem; et si non eam ob causam, certe non opus haberes plus quam semel jubere me, qui tuis desideriis satisfacere omni studio semper annitor; ego locutus sum dudum cum fratribus et video me nihil posse absolvere solus, antequam D[ominus] Rosen una accedat, ut queamus conjunctis viribus adversarios debellare.

Doleo, quod non vacabis a reditu Majestatum; vereor, quod vires Tibi numquam sufficiant per autumnum commorari Drotningholmi.

Hodie literas habui a D[omi]no Lagerström, qui ad me misit cistam cum animalibus et fructibus Chinensibus, nec non ingentem collectionem pro Reg[ia] M[ajesta]te, quae omnia misit cum capitaneo Joh[anne] Rundsteen in nave Adolph Frideric ad Te, qui Holmiae commoraris, certe spe lactatus, quod non aegre excipias hanc ejus audaciam, sed uti patronus scientiarum facile ferres.

Postquam diu exspectaveram novae Arenariae florem, heri explicabatur, sed monstrosus, quod doleo, ut nequiveram ejus figuram obtinere.

Hodie habui literas a D[omi]no Halman, Theologo illo, qui gubernat filios Hillebrandi, qui scribit diffusissime omnia quae vidit in Dania et Hamburgi, ut vix potero omnia per integrum diem perlegere. Narrat etiam D[ominus] Hallman: har rest hädan till Swerige 5 dagar för wår ankomst (3 sept.); han har här mycket godt beröm, och är förlofwad med en kiöpmans dotter, som har 120,000 plåtar i arf äfter sin far.

Hesperis tristis notissima planta floribus exoletis, sed suaveolentissimis, at tantum noctu.

Geranium triste iisdem gaudet floribus quoad colorem, et eodem odore, etiam tantum noctu.

Cestrum itidem colore florum eodem, eodem odore fragrantissimo sed tantum noctu.

Quaerebam itaque Hortulanum, num Geranium gibbosum, qui [sic] eodem colore gaudet florum, sit noctu fragrans; respondebat se non observasse. Jussi adportari ollam et ingruente vespera totum conclave replebat fragrantissimo eodem odore, de die plane inodorus flos.

Altero die jussi etiam ollam cum Cheirantho fruticoso adportari, cujus odorem numquam observavimus et plane inodorus erat; at ingruente vespera certabat etiam hic flos cum priori eodem odore, eadem vehementia.

Cur itaque omnes flores nobis noti floribus exoletis sint singulari et proprio odore fragrantissimo eoque tantum noctu?

Dixerunt physici, quod hi odores suaveolentes de die non sentiantur, cum sint tenuissimi et avolant; adeoque posui ollam per dimidium diem in umbra Camerae sub campana vitrea, sed nullus odor emanavit; adeoque hi flores propria vi noctu odori, et de die plane non volatiles. Cur hoc?

Archiatren
Wälborne H[err] Doctor BAECK
Stockholm Drotningholm.

upSUMMARY

Linnaeus asks Abraham BäckBäck, Abraham (1713-1795).
Swedish. Physician, president of the
Collegium Medicum, Stockholm. Close
friend of Linnaeus. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
not to remind him again about Mårten Kähler’sKähler, Mårten
(1728-1773). Swedish. Physician, orator
and poet. Studied under Linnaeus and
Nils Rosén von Rosenstein. Served
as physician of the admirality at
Karlskrona. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
money that would be discussed in the Board of the University [Uppsala Universitets konsistoriumUppsala Universitets konsistorium,
Swedish. The Consistorium [Board]
of Uppsala University.
]. Linnaeus would take care of it quite by himself, and Bäck does not have to ask him more than once. However, Linnaeus sees no way forward without help from Nils Rosén von RosénsteinRosén von Rosenstein, Nils
(1706-1773). Swedish. Physician
and professor of medicine. Colleague of
Linnaeus at Uppsala. The founder of
modern pediatrics. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
, and he has not got that yet.

Linnaeus is sorry that Bäck cannot come to Uppsala after the King [Adolf FredrikAdolf Fredrik, (1710-1771).
Swedish. King of Sweden. Reigned
1751-1771. Married to Lovisa Ulrika.
Father of Gustav III. Chancellor of
Uppsala university 1747-1751.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
] and the Queen [Lovisa Ulrika Lovisa 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.
] have returned, and he is not certain that Bäck will stand staying at Drottningholm in the autumn.

Linnaeus has got a letter [Lagerström to Linnaeus, 7 September 1754Letter L1810] from Magnus LagerströmLagerström, Magnus
(1691-1759). Swedish. Director of the
Swedish East India Company.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
with a box of specimens of animals and fruits from China. Lagerström had also sent a large collection to the King. That shipment is addressed to Bäck and is on board a ship called Adolph Frideric, commander Johan RundsteenRundsteen, Johan Swedish.
Captain, employed by the Swedish East
India Company. Commander on the ship
Adolph Frideric.
. Linnaeus hopes that Bäck will not be offended by being used as the addressee.

The day before, Linnaeus’s Arenaria had at last produced its flower, and Linnaeus is sorry that he could not produce a picture of it.

Linnaeus had also received a letter [this letter has not come down to us] from Daniel Zacharias HallmanHallman, Daniel Zacharias
(1722-1782). Swedish. Clergyman. Pastor
at the Swedish legation in Madrid, dean
at Strängnäs. Linnaeus’s
student in 1744-1746. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
, the priest who teaches Henric Jacob Hildebrand’sHildebrand, Henric Jacob
(1707-1775). Swedish. Diplomat. Swedish
envoy in Spain. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
sons [Jacob Henrik HildebrandHildebrand, Jacob Henrik
(1742-1759). Swedish. Lieutenant.
and Claes Henrik HildebrandHildebrand, Claes Henrik
(1743-1809). Swedish. Lieutenant.
]. It contained a very extensive report from Hallman’s journey to Denmark and Hamburg, in such detail that Linnaeus could not read it in one day. Hallman had also reported on Johan Gustaf HallmanHallman, Johan Gustaf
(1726-1797). Swedish. Physician. At the
recommendation of Linnaeus Hallman
travelled in Europe to study the
mullberry tree. In charge of the
mullberry plantation in Stockholm.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, who was engaged to be married to a merchant’s [Samuel KrügerKrüger, Samuel (-1735).
Swedish. Wine merchant. Father of
Charlotta Fredrica Krüger, father
–in-law of Johan Gustaf Hallman.
] daughter [Charlotta Fredrica KrügerKrüger, Charlotta Fredrica
Swedish. Wife of Johan Gustaf Hallman,
daughter of Samuel Kruger.
], an heiress of 120,000 dalers.

Linnaeus reports on some observations on flowers that smell at night, not during the day: Hesperis tristis has flowers with a very sweet smell, but only at night.

Also Geranium triste and Cestrum have flowers of the same colour and smell, and also that only at night.

Linnaeus had asked his gardener [Diedrich NietzelNietzel, Diedrich (1703-1756).
German. George Clifford’s gardener at
Hartecamp. Became university gardener at
Uppsala, where he died. Correspondent
of Linnaeus.
] if Geranium gibbosum, which has flowers of the same colour as those mentioned, smells at night. When the gardener answered that he did not know, Linnaeus had had a specimen carried indoors, and it had filled the room with a pleasant smell at night. It did not smell during daytime.

The next day, Linnaeus had also ordered a pot with a Cheiranthum fruticosum to be carried indoors, as he had not observed any smell from that. However, at the beginning of the evening, it had competed with those mentioned in smell.

Linnaeus asks himself why these species during their flowering have their very strong and distinctive smell only at night.

Since some physicists had suggested that the heat and the light of the day made those feeble smells vanish, Linnaeus had placed a pot in a dark room under glass for half a day, but no smell could be noticed.

So, Linnaeus has to conclude that these species do smell only at night, and he wonders why that is.

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. original (KVA). [1] [2] [3] [4]

upEDITIONS

1. Bref och skrifvelser (1910), vol. I:4, p. 302-304   p.302  p.303  p.304.