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Link: • Peter Collinson to Carl Linnaeus, 10 April 1755 n.s.
Dated Aprill 10: 1755. Sent from London (Great Britain) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in English.


Peter CollinsonCollinson, Peter (1694-1768).
British. Merchant and amateur naturalist
in London, corresponded with many
scientists. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
thanks Linnaeus for his letter of June 20, 1754 [this letter has not come down to us].

Collinson did all he could to help Linnaeusís friend [presumably Fredrik MalletMallet, Fredrik (1728-1797).
Swedish. Astronomer and mathematician,
professor of mathematics, Uppsala.
] to get into contact with English mathematicians.

Collinson thanks Linnaeus for the numerous dissertations he has received. He is particularly glad for Herbarium Amboinense, quod [...] sub praesidio [...] Caroli LinnaeiLinnaeus, Carl Herbarium
Amboinense, quod [...] sub praesidio
[...] Caroli Linnaei
, diss., resp.
O. Stickman (Uppsala [1754]).
, for he has the work it comments [Collinson refers to Georg Eberhard RumpísRumpf, Georg Eberhard
(1628-1702). Dutch. Naturalist and
merchant in the service of the Dutch
East India Company. Governor of the
Dutch colony Ambon. He published two
works on the flora of the isle of Ambon.
, Herbarium AmboinenseRumpf, Georg Eberhard
Herbarium Amboinense, plurimas
conplectens arbores, fructices, herbas,
plantas terrestres & aquaticas, quae
in Amboina et adjacentibus reperiuntur
insulis [...] Omnia [...] Belgice
conscripsit G. E. Rumphius [...] Nunc
primum in lucem edidit, & in Latinum
sermonem vertit Joannes Burmannus [...]
qui varia adjecit synonyma, suasque
, I-VII (Amsterdam
]. This work, 6 volumes, has no index, and Olof StickmanStickman, Olof (1731-1798).
Swedish. Physician. Linnaeus´s
student. Defended a dissertation pro
exercitio under Linnaeus. Practised
medicine in Stockholm (1763-1764) and in
Västra Bergslagen (1764-1784).
[who defended the dissertation under Linnaeusís presidium] has in part eliminated that defect.

Collinson considers it a curious exercise to show how spring advances in the Swedish provinces, as Harald BarckBarck, Harald (1722-1782).
Swedish. Student of Linnaeus. Defended
the dissertation Vernatio arborum
pro exercitio under Linnaeus in 1753.
Received the doctor´s degree in
Greifswald in 1756. Clergyman, vicar and
after 1780 dean of the church in
Bäckseda, Småland.
[Source:Sandermann Olsen]
does in his treatise [Collinson refers to the dissertation Vernatio arborumLinnaeus, Carl Vernatio
, diss. resp. H. Barck
(Uppsala [1753]). Soulsby no. 1739.

Collinson thanks the ingenious authors of Flora AnglicaLinnaeus, Carl Flora
, diss., resp. I. O.
Grufberg (Uppsala, 1754). Soulsby no.
and Herbationes UpsaliensesLinnaeus, Carl Herbationes
, diss., resp. A. N.
Fornander (Uppsala, 1753). Soulsby no.
[Collinson refers to Isaac Olof GrufbergGrufberg, Isaac Olof
(1736-1764). Swedish. Student of
Linnaeus. Defended the dissertation
Flora Anglica pro exercitio under
Linnaeus in 1754, and another pro gradu
under Samuel Aurivillius in 1760.
Secretary at the Collegium medicum in
Stockholm. Medical practitioner
there. [Source:Sandermann Olsen]
and Anders Magnus FornanderFornander, Anders Magnus
(1715-1794). Swedish. Student of
Linnaeus. Defended the dissertation
Herbationes Upsaliensis pro
exercitio under Linnaeus in 1753, and
another pro gradu under Samuel
Aurivillius in 1758. Physician to the
poor in Stockholm. [Source:Sandermann

From the title-page of John EllisísEllis, John (1711-1776).
British. Merchant and naturalist, expert
on zoophytes. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
dissertation on corallines, corals and polyps [Collinson refers to An essay towards a natural history of the corallinesEllis, John An essay towards
a natural history of the corallines, and
other marine productions of the like
kind, commonly found on the coasts of
Great Britain and Ireland. To which is
added the description of a large marine
polype taken near the North Pole, by the
Whale-fishers, in the summer 1753

(London 1755).
], Linnaeus can see that the English are not idle while Linnaeusís pupil makes discoveries in Italy [Collinson refers to Mårten KählerKähler, 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.
and his treatise "Angående en ny art af vatten-polyper"Kähler, Mårten
"Angående en ny art af
vatten-polyper, som äta sten",
KVAH (1754).
, originally an excerpt from a letter from Kähler to Abraham BäckBäck, Abraham (1713-1795).
Swedish. Physician, president of the
Collegium Medicum, Stockholm. Close
friend of Linnaeus. Correspondent of
about this finding; presumably Linnaeus had told Collinson about this in his letter from 20 June 1754, see above. See also Linnaeus to Philip MillerMiller, Philip (1691-1771).
British. Gardener of the Chelsea Physic
Garden. Corresponded with many
botanists. His rich herbarium was sold
to Joseph Banks. Correspondent of
20 June 1754Letter L1777].

It is a great concern to botanists that the work Pinax [Collinson refers to Caspar BauhinísBauhin, Caspar (1560-1624).
Swiss. Botanist and physician, Basle.
Bauhinís Prodromus and Pinax
theatri botanici
(1620, 1623, 1671)
were important works in the field of
botanical nomenclature.
, Pinax theatri botaniciBauhin, Caspar Pinax theatri
botanici sive index in Theophrasti
Dioscoridis, Plinii et botanicorum qui a
seculo scripserunt opera plantarum
circiter sex milium ab ipsis exhibitarum
nomina cum earundem synonymiis &
differentiis methodice secundum genera
& species proponens
(1623) 2 ed.
(Basle 1671).
is sinking into oblivion for ever, and Linnaeus is the only one who can restore it. To some extent, Linnaeus has saved its information by his Species plantarumLinnaeus, Carl Species
(Stockholm 1753). Soulsby
no. 480.
, but if Linnaeus continues to change old and good names into new ones that give no idea of the plant, Collinson thinks it will be impossible to attain perfect knowledge in botany.

Linnaeus had wanted to know who the English botanists are, so Collinson lists them, beginning with John Stuart, Earl of ButeStuart, John (1713-1792).
British. 3rd Earl of Bute. Scottish
nobleman who served as Prime Minister of
Great Britain (1762Ė1763) under George
. Collinson has already forwarded to Linnaeus comments from him and from another skilled botanist on Species plantarum [see Collinson to Linnaeus, 20 December 1754Letter L1992; in fact, the December letter was enclosed with this letter].

Collinson mentions seven more by name, William WatsonWatson, William (1715-1787).
British. Physician, physicist and
botanist. Studied at Halle and
Wittenberg. Physician to the Foundling
Hospital in London.
, Ellis, Georg Dionysius EhretEhret, Georg Dionysius
(1710-1770). German/British. Botanical
illustrator. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, Miller, Willmer [John WilmerWilmer, John (1697-1769).
British. Apothecary, botanical
collector. Demonstrator at the Chelsea
Physic Garden.
], John MitchellMitchell, John (1711-1768).
British/American. Physician and
botanist. Born in Virginia. After
studies in medicine at the University of
Edinburgh he returned to Virginia as a
physician, but left America for London
in 1746. Famous for his map of eastern
North-America, known as the Mitchell
Map, first published in 1755.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, John MartynMartyn, John (1699-1768).
British. Physician, professor of botany
at Cambridge.
, and they are all very skilled in Linnaeusís system. In addition, there are several men of nobility and gentry who know plants well but who do not make a special study of botany.

Mitchell, one of those mentioned, has left botany for some time to make a map of North America, which is being published in eight large sheets [Collinson refers to A map of the British and French dominions in North AmericaMitchell, John A map of the
British and French dominions in North
America with the roads, distances,
limits and extent of the settlements,
humbly inscribed to the Right Honourable
the Earl of Halifax and the other Right
Honourable the Lords Commissioners for
Trade & Plantations
]. It sells for one guinea, or a guinea and a half for a hand-coloured copy. It is a very good map that will bring Mitchell a handsome sum of money, which he deserves.

Collinson is glad Bäck is well, and he plans to write to him soon.

Collinson also thanks Linnaeus for the letter of November 23, 1754 [this letter has not come down to us], and he is glad that the package he had sent to Linnaeus had arrived safely [presumably Collinson to Linnaeus, 20 September 1753Letter L1641]. Linnaeusís letter to Miller has been delivered, and Miller promised to tell Linnaeus all he could about Rivina, Duglassia and Ligustroides [see Linnaeus to Miller, 20 June 1754Letter L1777 and Miller to Linnaeus, 17 September 1754Letter L1807. Miller will also tell Linnaeus what he is working on now.

In great hurry, Collinson has prepared a package of seeds for Linnaeus, and he has given it to Schulz [David Schulz von SchulzenheimSchulz von Schulzenheim, David
(1732-1823). Swedish. Physician.
Studied at Uppsala, where he attended
Linnaeusís lectures. Went to England.
Together with Nils Rosén von
Rosenstein he introduced inoculation for
smallpox in Sweden. Correspondent of
, see Schulz von Schulzenheimís letter to Linnaeus, 15 April 1755Letter L1893].

Collinson is very grateful to Linnaeus for all the information that Linnaeus receives from his agents and pupils all over the world and spreads to his colleagues. Especially, Collinson mentions the Nile and Brazil. The young Gronovius [Laurens Theodor GronoviusGronovius, Laurens Theodor
(1730-1777). Dutch. Naturalist. Senator
of Leiden. Son of Johan Frederik
Gronovius. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
] will be interested to hear about a new fish.

Linnaeusís last letter to Peder AscaniusAscanius, Peder (1723-1803).
Danish. Naturalist. Inspector of mines,
Norway. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
has arrived [this letter has not come down to us] and been delivered [see Ascanius to Linnaeus, 7 April 1755Letter L1897].

P.S.1. Collinson has a specimen of Mediola fol. Stelatis laceolatis [Medeola virginiana], not described in Johan Frederik GronoviusGronovius, Johan Frederik
(1690-1762). Dutch. Naturalist, senator
of Leiden. Linnaeusís benefactor and
friend. Published Flora Virginica
(1743, 1762) together with John Clayton.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, Flora VirginicaGronovius, Johan Frederik
Flora Virginica, exhibens plantas
quas v.c. Johannes Clayton in Virginia
observavit atque collegit. Easdem
methodo sexuali disposuit, ad genera
propria retulit, nominibus specificis
insignavit, & minus cognitas
descripsit J. F. Gronovius
, I-II
(Leiden 1739-1743).
. That is beginning to put forth its long spike of flowers. Collinson thinks it is the first time it has flowered in Europe, so he plans to ask Ehret to paint it. The bud looks first like a small cone in the centre of the leaves.

P.S. 2. Vitis idea Americana [Vaccinium macroparpon] is in full flower.

P.S.3. Convolvulus Scammoniaca Syrica stands in the open ground all winter, eight feet tall, and now in full flower.

P.S. 4. On the front of the folded letter, close to the address, Collinson has written a thank to Linnaeus for his letter of June 6 [1754?; this letter has not come down to us]], which he will answer at his earliest convenience.


a. original holograph (LS, XVII, 43-44). [1] [2] [3]


1. A selection (1821), vol. 1, p. 32-34   p.32  p.33  p.34.
2. ďForget not Mee & My Garden ...Ē (2002), p. 184-187 .