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C18

Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L1831 • Carl Linnaeus to Abraham Bäck, 25 November 1754 n.s.
Dated 1754 d. 25 Novembr.. Sent from Uppsala (Sweden) to Stockholm (Sweden). Written in Latin.

Excellentissimo Viro,
D[omino] D[octori] ABR[AHAM] BAECK,
Regii Collegii Medici Praesidi,
S[alutem] pl[urimam] d[icit]
Car[olus] Linnaeus.

Leetor ex animo, quod valeas et bene stes cum D[omi]no Priore.

Occupatus in Chinensibus Lagerströmianis in memoriam revoco istius cistae, e China allatae, quam quondam Beatus Tuus Hospes in tua domo aperui, continentem innumeros et quidem circiter mille distinctos plantarum pugillos exsiccatos absque floribus et fructu.

Hae plantae omnes sumtae fuere a Pharmacopoliis Chinensibus, distinctae usui medico, non vero, ut tum suspicabar, Botanico.

Chinenses enim in suis pharmacopoliis nullis utuntur compo¬sitis, sed sic exsiccatis simplicibus plantis, quas norunt in suis morbis sibimet ipsis praescribere, tamquam medicamenta specifica, et si haec nil efficiant, fato funguntur suo.

Sic ditiores sunt Chinenses specificis quam omnes Europaei, quae longa experientia ipsis reddit notissima.

Perpendas, quaeso, quam male actum foret de nostra Medicina, si destitueremur Medicamentis sic dictis specificis, nobis hodie notis: Opio, Camphora, Moscho, China similibusque.

Perpendas itidem, quam felices evaderemus, si duplo plura ejusmodi medicamenta nobis innotescerent.

In tanta copia Medicamentorum specificorum Chinensium, quo¬rum pleraque nobis hodie ignota, si modo tertia pars nomen specificorum mererentur, et haec nobis innotesceret, longe majus augmentum obtineret Medicina, quam quas obtinuit per plura secula.

Annon itaque Medici, qui non crumenae et pecuniis corradendis unice solliciti, sed magis de promovenda arte intenti, debeant omnibus viribus incumbere, ut haec Chinensia iis innotescant? Quo infiniti homines fatis eripiantur praecocibus.

Videtur mihi haec res maximi momenti et quae a Praeside Regii Collegii Medici ejusque honoratissimis collegis non seponatur, sed qua fieri queat judicio et cura pensitetur, cum Ille fasces et sceptra artis gubernet.

Apud nos grassatur horrenda febris quaedam singularis et e Petechiarum genere, quas incipit cum gravedine et Cephalalgia; continuat febre vix manifesta, quae tamen vires omnes prosternit et humidum omne corporis quasi in viscidum vertit; plurimi demum diarrhaea corripiuntur; nonnullis exanthemata efflorescunt petechialia. Varii moriuntur; optimus

D[ominus] Holm Danus hoc morbo periclitatur et laboravit ultra 12 dies exhaustis omnibus viribus; caeterum sporadice grassatur; saepe unus in eadem domo, rarius 4 s[ive] 5; ultra 50 hodie in urbe laborant eodem morbo. Nonnulli decessere; qui evadunt, lente recuperant vires.

Quid optimus D[ominus] Wahlbom? Annon me adibit et quando?

Vale amicorum dulcissime!

Dabam Dabam Upsaliae 1754 d[ie] 25 Novembr[is].

Archiatren
Wälborne H[err] Doctor BAECK
Stockholm.

upSUMMARY

Linnaeus is glad that Bäck is well.

Linnaeus is working at Magnus LagerströmísLagerström, Magnus
(1691-1759). Swedish. Director of the
Swedish East India Company.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
Chinese material, and he remembers a box that he had opened during a visit to Abraham BäckBäck, Abraham (1713-1795).
Swedish. Physician, president of the
Collegium Medicum, Stockholm. Close
friend of Linnaeus. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
[about this box, see Lagerström to Linnaeus, 7 September 1754Letter L1810, and Linnaeus to Bäck, 10-15? September 1754Letter L1799. It had contained about 1,000 specimens of dried plants, without flowers and fruits. These must have been examples of Chinese medical plants, and not sent for botanical reasons as Linnaeus had thought at the time. The Chinese do not use composite drugs but only simple plants, dried, and they let them work as they can.

So, the Chinese are richer than the Europeans, due to their long experience, and Bäck should consider how much poorer European medicine would be if you did not use such plants, and also what luck it would be to get to know so many more medical plants of that kind.

If only a third of all those plants could become known to European doctors, medicine would make greater progress than for several centuries, so doctors, who are primarily eager not to make money but to promote their profession, should try to get acquainted with these Chinese drugs. Many patients would be saved by their doing so.

Linnaeus thinks that this is something that the Collegium MedicumCollegium Medicum, Swedish.
The Swedish Board of Physicians,
originally Collegium medicorum, in
Stockholm, was founded in 1663.
should pay attention to.

In Uppsala, there is an outbreak of a grave fever, starting with headache, then a slight temperature but weakness and often diarrhoea and eczema. Some die. Jörgen Tyge HolmHolm, Jörgen Tyge
(1726-1759). Danish. Professor of
economy and natural history, Copenhagen.
Linnaeusís student 1750-1751, 1754-1757.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
has been badly ill for 12 days and is very weak. Usually only one person in a family is ill, rarely four or five. Today, there are more than fifty cases in the city, and those who recover regain their vigour only very slowly.

Linnaeus wonders if Johan Gustaf WahlbomWahlbom, Johan Gustaf
(1724-1808). Swedish. Physician and
naturalist. Studied at Uppsala under
Linnaeus, anatomy, surgery and
obstretics at Wittenberg. Provincial
physician at Kalmar. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
will come and see him, and, if so, when.

upMANUSCRIPTS

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

upEDITIONS

1. Bref och skrifvelser (1910), vol. I:4, p. 317-319   p.317  p.318  p.319.