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Link: • James Lind to Carl Linnaeus, 23 September 1754 n.s.
Dated 23d Sept. 1754. Sent from Edinburgh (Great Britain) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in English.

Edinburgh, 23d Sept[ember] 1754


Altho I have not the Honour of being personally known to you, I have the Pleasure of being well acquainted with your excellent Writings.

From a high Esteem of your talents, and an Opinion of your being one of the greatest Promoters of useful Knowledge, I have ventured to send you a small Performance of mine. - Perhaps it may serve to entertain you at leisure Hours. and if in reading it over any thing remarkable occurs to you, I shall take it extremely kind to have your Observations communicated to me in whatever Language you think proper. I have indeed chosen to address you in the Language in which my Book is written as without a tolerable acquaintance with the English Language it will not be easy for me to obtain the Pleasure I expect from your friendly & critical Remarks upon it.

I am not a little surprised, that after the most diligent Search made for all Books whatever, that have been written on the Scurvy; I never have been able to meet with any in the Swedish or Danish Languages; altho in these cold countries, and also in Norway I am persuaded the Scurvy is a very frequent Distemper.

You will perhaps observe that however small the merit be of my poor Performance; that yet it must have cost a good deal of Labour: viz. the 3d Part of my Book where a Synopsis is given of all that has been published on the Scurvy.

May I presume to ask it in the name of the learned World, & for the Benefit of Mankind, that in order to bring so useful a Subject to still greater Perfection, you will please, to favour me with an Information of any Observations or Writings upon the Scurvy, which you find, by the Index of my Book, have not come to my Knowledge. Perhaps, in your noble Library at Upsal such writings may be found as I mention p 446 of my Book, and many may be published in your Language which have not come to my Knowledge.

You promise in your Flora Lapponica to account why the Laplanders are never afflicted with the Scurvy, meanwhile their Neighbours are greatly distressed with it. When may we expect to have your Sentiments made publick on so curious a subject ?

I shall be happy in hearing that this has come safe to your hands & finds you in perfect good health - and have only further to entreat that after pardoning this trouble for which many Apologies are due (& which nothing but the Interest of Learning could have prompted me to have given you) you will do me the Justice to believe that I am with great esteem

your most obedient &
very humble servant
Jams Lind

PS Direct to Doctor James Lind Physician
in Edinburgh Scotland

PS I have sent you two Books published here by D[octor]r Alston, Professor of Medicine & Botany in this University.


When the Edinburgh physician James LindLind, James (1716-1794).
British. Surgeon at the Royal Navy
(1739-1748). Physician in Edinburgh
(1748-1758) and at the Haslar Naval
Hospital in Gosport, Hampshire
(1758-1783). Developed a cure for
treating scurvy with citrus fruits.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
writes this letter to Linnaeus, it is his first contact with his famous Swedish colleague; however, Lind is well acquainted with his ”excellent Writings”.

The reason for Lind’s writing is to inform Linnaeus that he has ”ventured” to send him a book he has written on the scurvy [Lind refers to his, A Treatise of the ScurvyLind, James A Treatise of the
Scurvy. In three parts. Containing an
inquiry into the nature, causes, and
cure, of that disease, etc.

(Edinburgh 1753).
]. Lind’s work is written in English. If Linnaeus has a ”tolerable acquaintance with the English language” and can read the book, Lind would be extremely grateful if Linnaeus would write back to him and give his opinion and his observations.

Lind is, however, surprised that he has not found any literature at all written in the Swedish, Danish and Norwegian languages.

As Linnaeus can see for himself, the third chapter of the book contains a synopsis of all the literature he has been able to find on the scurvy.

Maybe Linnaeus, with his access to the library of Uppsala UniversityUppsala University, Swedish.
Uppsala University was founded in 1477.
, can add new titles to the list.

In Flora LapponicaLinnaeus, Carl Flora
Lapponica exhibens plantas per Lapponiam
crescentes, secundum systema sexuale
collectas in itinere [...] Additis
synonymis, & locis natalibus omnium,
descriptionibus & figuris rariorum,
viribus medicatis & oeconomicis
(Amsterdam, 1737).
Soulsby no. 279.
, Linnaeus mentions that the Laplanders are never afflicted with the scurvy, meanwhile their Nordic neighbours ”are greatly distressed with it”. Linnaeus promises here to account for this remarkable phenomenon. When can the public expect this to happen?

Lind would appreciate to hear from Linnaeus that he has received this book and to hear that he is in perfect good health. Lind apologizes for all trouble he has given to Linnaeus and remains his most obedient and very humble servant.

P. S. 1 Lind gives his address.

P.S. 2. Lind mentions that he has also sent Linnaeus two books by Charles AlstonAlston, Charles (1683-1760).
Scottish. Botanist and physician.
Studied in Leiden under Boerhaave.
Professor of botany and medicine at
, Professor of Medicine and Botany in the University of Edinburgh.[Lind refers most certainly to Tirocinium botanicum EdinburgenseAlston, Charles Tirocinium
botanicum Edinburgense
and A dissertation on botany Alston, Charles A
dissertation on botany. By Charles
Alston, M. D. the King's Botanist in
Scotland, Fellow of the Royal College of
Physicians, and Professor of Materia
Medica and Botany in the University of
Edinburgh. Translated from the Latin by
a physician
(London, [1754]).


a. original holograph (LS, IX, 194-195). [1] [2] [3]


1. A selection (1821), vol. 2, p. 472-473   p.472  p.473.