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Link: • Gerhard van Swieten to Carl Linnaeus, 12 March 1755 n.s.
Dated 12 mart:1755.. Sent from Wien (Austria) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Latin.


Gerard van SwietenSwieten, Gerhard van
(1700-1772). Dutch. Pupil of Boerhaave.
Called by Maria Theresa to Vienna, where
he organised the public health system.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
is pleased to know that Linnaeus has received the third volume of his publications [van Swieten refers to the Commentaria in Hermanni Boerhaave aphorismos de cognoscendis et curandis morbisBoerhaave, Herman & Gerhard van
Commentaria in Hermanni
Boerhaave aphorismos de cognoscendis et
curandis morbis
, 5 vols. (Leiden,
]. He is now working on the fourth, but because of other duties, the progress is slow.

It is a pity that Albrecht von HallerísHaller, Albrecht von
(1708-1777). Swiss. Naturalist and
poet, professor of medicine, botany,
anatomy and surgery at Göttingen
1736-1753. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
arrogance obscures all his undeniable merits. It has given him many enemies.

van Swieten has got the latest edition of Species plantarumLinnaeus, Carl Species
(Stockholm 1753). Soulsby
no. 480.
[this was the first edition, the next was published in 1762 Species plantarumLinnaeus, Carl Species
(Stockholm 1762-1763).
Soulsby no. 500.
], but not the fifth edition of Genera plantarum; [Genera plantarum [...] editio quintaLinnaeus, Carl Genera
plantarum [...] editio quinta ab auctore
reformata et aucta
(Stockholm 1754).
Soulsby no. 301.
], it is also missing in the Royal Museum [van Swieten means the natural history cabinets at the royal court]. van Swieten hopes that their representative in Sweden will be able to procure it. van Swieten would like to have access to Swedish academic publications, even if they are translated into German, as well as other literature that Linnaeus finds interesting, so they can find a place in the Royal Library. All costs will be covered immediately. It does not matter in what language the books are written because in this library they know all major European and Asian languages. It is a pity, though, that scientists do not use their common language [Latin]. Apart from his mother tongue, van Swieten knows eight others, now also Hungarian, but he finds it regrettable that so many excellent scholarsí works are inaccessible to so many.

van Swieten is pleased that science is thriving in Sweden, no wonder with Linnaeus at the helm.

Thanks to the imperial family [van Swieten refers to the family of Josef II, Emperor of AustriaJosef II, Emperor of Austria
(1741-1790). Austrian. Reigned from
], there is an enormous collection of minerals in Austria, second to none in the world. Jean de BaillonBaillon, Jean de . Director of
the Imperial and Royal Court Natural
History Cabinets of Vienna and
lieutenant colonel in the artillery.
is in charge of this treasure.

As to the animal kingdom, there is a very large zoological garden with ostriches, flamingos and many other rare animals.

The Emperor has studied polyps with interest without neglecting insects.

An imperial initiative has also created a botanical garden. The famous Dutch gardener Stekhovius [Adriaan StekhovenStekhoven, Aadrian Dutch.
Gardener, from 1753 in the service of
the Imperial estate, Vienna.
] is its superintendent, probably well-known to Linnaeus who must have visited his botanical garden in Leiden and seen his famous flowering Musa [banana]. In the botanical garden of Vienna there is an abundance of all kinds of exotic plants: ananas, aloe, coffee trees, peaches, cacti etc. The approaching spring will bring forth myriads of tulips, hyacinths, anemones, ranunculi etc.; everything is selected, only perfection is tolerated.

Preparations for a new botanical garden for the public are going on. Alexander Ludwig LaugierLaugier, Alexander Ludwig
(?-?). Austrian?. Professor in botany
and chemistry at the University of
Vienna in 1749.
, professor of botany and chemistry, has been appointed to be its superintendent. His brother, once physician in ordinary to the Lusitanian Queen [MariaIMaria I, (1718-1781).
Portuguese. Queen of Portugal, wife of
King Joseph I of Portugal.
] is known to Linnaeus. He is eager to come into contact with Linnaeus and exchange ideas and plants with him.

The study of medicine is now flourishing and well organized with an excellent Dutch professor lecturing and giving hospital training to the students. His name is Anton De Haen, famous for some fine theses, e.g. De colica pictonumDe Haen, Anton De colica
pictonum, dissertatio
(The Hague,
and De deglutitione laesa [De deglutitioneDe Haen, Anton De
deglutitione; vel, Deglutitorum in cavum
ventriculi descensu impeditis
(The Hague, 1750).


a. original holograph (LS, XV, 14-15). [1] [2] [3]