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Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L1897 • Peder Ascanius to Carl Linnaeus, 7 April 1755 n.s.
Dated 7 april 1755. Sent from London (Great Britain) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Latin.

Viro excellentissimo,
Praeceptori optimo,
Carolo Linnaeo Equ[iti],
S[alutem] D[icit]
P[etrus] Ascanius.

Accepi haud ita pridem, V[ir] E[gregie], literas tuas per D[omi]n[um] Collinsonium, mihi gratissimas, utpote diu exspectatas. Video TE accepisse ultimas meas ex Hollandia cum adjuncta theca plantas continente.

1. Quam gladioli speciem dicis, non potui, dum recentem examinavi, cum isto genere conjungere. Cunonia Buttneri est Watsonia Milleri, ut video ex ejus Dictionario Hortulanorum. Contuli meam figuram cum illius, penes ipsum Chelseae. Cunoniam florentem in Hollandia non vidi. Watsoniam ignoravi, ita ut mea planta sit ea ipsa species Cunoniae, quod distinctum (ni fallor) est genus, quam Watsoniam huc vocant a Pharmacopola Watson F[ellow] R[oyal] S[ociety].

2. Figuram quidem habeo, sed non satis adcuratam, ut publici juris fieri queat. Jucundissimum mihi esset, si ex seminibus Upsaliae floreat, et totum TIBI relinquo. Florista van Hazem meruit nomen, si placet.

3. Non est Cyanella Royeni, quam satis examinavi semper cum V stam. et totus habitus differt a mea.

4. Nil habeo, quod moneam.

Quod ad statum Hist[oriae] Nat[uralis] in Anglia adtinet, pauca sunt notatu digna pro ratione famae hujus regionis divitiarum etc. Pontopidani nostri Liber, Forsøg til Norges nat[urlige] hist[orie] in Anglicam linguam conversus est. Singularia ille refert de Monstro Siøe Ormen, Microcosmo etc. in parte 2da libri; testimonia fide historica fere digna affert; ceterum suspendo judicium; placebit interim liber Anglis, licet translatio erit satis prava.

Vidi Oxonium jam Mense octobri ultimo famosam adeo Musarum sedem, et quid mirum IX virgines ibi habitare, cum nulla in orbe academia possideat splendidiora palatia, numerosiores bibliothecas, gallerias, Musea etc.

Prodibit intra annum Hist[oria] nat[uralis] Jamaicae autore D[omi]n[o] Browne qui, jam redux, ibi per 9 annos vixit, Vir in hist[oria] nat[urali] peritus; meliora Sloanio multa praestabit. Examinavit ibi imprimis plantas et credo illum fere Centum nova habere genera et L correcta ex loco natali. Dabit hic vir egregius, qui systema sexuale sequitur, figuras omnium per exercitatissimum D[ominu]m Ehret, qui botanicam adhuc amat et botanicus est; salutem TIBI dicit officiosissimam. Fuit ante aliquot annos hortulanus Oxoniensis, sed plus siccus Professore, debuit abire; parum abest, quin fiat Pictor Horti nostri futuri. D[omi]n[us] Millerus mihi fasciculum seminum tradidit jam Mense februario, sed prius non potui mittere ob defectum occasionis. Non vidi Pr[ofessorem] Siptorffiium Oxonii, tum absentem, neque M[anu]scripta Dillenii et Sherardi, quod doleo; narratur mihi pro crepu[n]diis uti. Heic cum Pr[ofessore] Siptorffio locutus quaesivi de publicatione istarum rerum. Respondit tales res exigere longum tempus, nec literatos ad palatum bibliopolarum sese gerere debere.

Praedictus Watson in diario Anglico Mense Xbri recensionem Sp[ecierum] Plantarum faciens, multa contradicere voluit, sed nil nisi puerilia dixit. Imprimis aegre ferunt Angli exclusionem Meadiae Catesbeyi, cujus nullam eis reddere possum rationem. Laudatur ab omnibus Meadius et imprimis ab Ehretio pro singulari studio in Hist[oria] nat[urali]; 200tas figuras rarissima­rum plantarum ab Ehretio confectas pro 400tis guineis reliquit.

Musaeum Britannicum ex Vastissimis Collectionibus Sloanei et Regiae Societatis conficiendum incipient quam primum erigere in Domo Montague, sed vix intra Xnium perficiatur opus; erit tum operae pretium propter hoc solum videre Angliam; ambae hae collectiones jam in pessima con­fusione sunt, et multa penitus perdita per incuriam et defectum loci, sed ab omni angulo orbis in dies augentur.

Tractatum de Corallinis (sertulariis) nuper edidit D[omi]n[us] Ellis F[ellow] R[oyal] S[ociety]. Ope microscopii singularis detexit ista omnia esse Polyporum opera et Crustas, quas per totam longitudinem inhabitant haec animalia; multa specimina habet, ubi tentacula exserunt ex alis et summitatibus ramorum eodem modo quo Trembleyi; huc etiam pertinet manis mortua, ficus marinus cet. De lithophytis et in specie Flab[ello] Ven[eris] idem adserit, sed calculum adhuc vix audeo adjicere. Primus autor horum experimentorum est D[omi]n[us] Butnerus, qui nuper Parisiis Berolinum profectus est. Curiosa sunt experimenta, quae in litoribus proximis quam primum repetam. B[ernhardi] Jussiui sententia de hisce rebus huc usque heic non viget, sed chrystallisatio Bakeri; optimus hic est vir, cujus experimenta microscopica pul­cherrima, licet simplicissima sunt, confirmavit interim VESTRAM senten­tiam de generatione Chrystall[i].

D[omi]n[us] Dacosta Judaeus jam diu in edenda Historia fossilium lingua Anglica laborat. Egregiam certe Mineralium Collectionem possidet aut possedit. Nam hodie propter aes alienum incarceratus est, sed est Collectio in manibus amici, ita ut partibus possit uti. Est certe in sua provincia non leviter versatus, et species plures quam ullus alius nobis dabit.

D[omi]n[us] Hill famosissimus Angliae hist[oriae] naturalis jam est in pessimo statu; nullum credo mortalium cum majori audacia et ignorantia scripsisse, excusari tamen potest; nam debuit vivere, ergo debuit scribere.

Habui literas ex 24 martii a D[omin]o Gronovio. Incipit jam ex gravissimo morbo convalescere. Praefatio ad Floram Rauwolfii et ejus vita ad prelum parata sunt, cet.

Bene valeo inter Anglos, quorum humanitatem laudare debeo. Sed initio Mensis junii proximi ero Parisiis. Salutes, quaeso, conterraneos meos in specie D[ominu]m Holm.

Dab[am] London 7 april[is] 1755.

upSUMMARY

Peder AscaniusAscanius, Peder (1723-1803).
Danish. Naturalist. Inspector of mines,
Norway. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
thanks Linnaeus for the letter of recommendation ot Peter CollinsonCollinson, Peter (1694-1768).
British. Merchant and amateur naturalist
in London, corresponded with many
scientists. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
[this letter has not come down to us] he received some time earlier. In that, Linnaeus had commented on Ascanius’s four descriptions of new genera, found in the Utrecht garden, and Ascanius makes additional comments. He is not entirely satisfied with Linnaeus’s answers. – For one of them, Linnaeus had asked for a drawing that could be published, and Ascanius regrets he cannot send that.

Ascanius reports from his winter in England. Erik Pontoppidan’sPontoppidan, Erik (1698-1764).
Danish. Author, bishop at Bergen,
historian and antiquary, vice-chancellor
at the university of Copenhagen.
work has been translated into English and published [The Natural history of NorwayPontoppidan, Erik The Natural
history of Norway
(London, 1755).
].

Ascanius had been in Oxford in late October, and he is very impressed by that university.

Patrick Browne’sBrowne, Patrick (1720-1790).
Irish. Botanist who made six voyages to
the West Indies. In 1756 he published
The Civil and natural history of
Jamaica
(1756). Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
work on Jamaica [The Civil and natural history of JamaicaBrowne, Patrick The Civil and
natural history of Jamaica: in three
parts: containing, I. An accurate
description of that island [...] with a
brief account of its former and present
state, government, revenues, produce,
and trade: II. A history of the natural
productions [...] native fossils [...]:
III: An account of the nature of
climates in general, and their
different effects upon the human
body
(London 1756).
] is about to be published. Ascanius forwards greetings to Linnaeus from Georg Dionysius EhretEhret, Georg Dionysius
(1710-1770). German/British. Botanical
illustrator. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
. Ascanius had received a set of seeds from 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
Linnaeus.
but he had not been able to send it to Linnaeus. He has not seen Humphry Sibthorp in Oxford, nor the manuscripts from Johann Jacob DilleniusDillenius, Johann Jacob
(1684-1747). German/British. Studied at
Giessen. Sherardian professor of botany
at Oxford. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
and William SherardSherard, William (1659-1728).
British. British consul in Smyrna.
Collector of botanical specimens. Took
the initiative to the first chair in
botany at Oxford. The first professor
was Johan Jacob Dillenius. Owner of the
estate Eltham in Kent.
.

William WatsonWatson, William (1715-1787).
British. Physician, physicist and
botanist. Studied at Halle and
Wittenberg. Physician to the Foundling
Hospital in London.
had published a critical review of Linnaeus [Watson reviewed the Species plantarumLinnaeus, Carl Species
plantarum
(Stockholm 1753). Soulsby
no. 480.
in the Gentleman’s Magazine], but Ascanius thinks it is just puerile comments he makes.

The construction of the new British Museum, with Hans Sloane’sSloane, Hans (1660-1753).
British. Physician, naturalist and
collector. Secretary of the Royal
Society in 1693, president in 1727.
Sloane’s collections of natural history
objects were donated to the English
nation and were one of cornerstones of
the British Museum (1759). Correspondent
of Linnaeus.
and the Royal Society ‘sRoyal Society, London,
British. The Royal Society was founded
in Oxford in 1645 and sanctioned as a
royal society in 1662.
collections is about to start, but the work will go on for at least ten years.

John EllisEllis, John (1711-1776).
British. Merchant and naturalist, expert
on zoophytes. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
has just published a work on corals 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).
, and Ascanius makes a short discussion on the different theories concerning them. It seems that many microscopical investigations support Linnaeus’s views.

Emanuel Mendes Da CostaDa Costa, Emanuel Mendes
(1717-1791). British. Naturalist of
Portugese descent. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
is publishing a work on fossils in English, A natural history of fossilsDa Costa, Emanuel Mendes A
natural history of fossils
(London
1757).
. However, he is at present in jail due to debts, but his collection is safe in the hands of a friend so the work can go on.

John HillHill, John (1716-1775).
British. Pharmacist, physician and
supervisor of the botanical gardens at
Kew. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
is in very bad [financial] condition. Ascanius’s opinion about him is that no one has ever written with more impudance or more ignorance. He must write in order to exist.

Ascanius received letters from Johan Frederik GronoviusGronovius, Johan Frederik
(1690-1762). Dutch. Naturalist, senator
of Leiden. Linnaeus’s benefactor and
friend. Published Flora Virginica
(1743, 1762) together with John Clayton.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
in March. Gronovius had been ill but had begun to recover.

Ascanius likes England and the English. However, he will go to Paris at the beginning of June.

Ascanius sends his regards to friends, of which Holm is specially mentioned.

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. original holograph (LS, I, 195-196). [1] [2] [3]

upEDITIONS

1. A selection (1821), vol. 2, p. 479-483   p.479  p.480  p.481  p.482  p.483.
2. “Af Linnés brevvexling” (1871), p. 370-373   p.370  p.371  p.372  p.373.
3. Bref och skrifvelser (1916), vol. II:1, p. 100-103   p.100  p.101  p.102  p.103.
4. The Letters and Papers of Sir John Hill (1982), p. 62-63 .