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Link: • Peter Collinson to Carl Linnaeus, 12 May 1756 n.s.
Dated May 12th: 1756. 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 letters of August 10 and October 17, 1755 [these letters have not come down to us].

John MartynMartyn, John (1699-1768).
British. Physician, professor of botany
at Cambridge.
is in good health and has published a summary of the transactions of the Royal Society up to 1753 [Collinson refers to the Philosophical transactions. AbridgedMartyn, John Philosophical
transactions. Abridged
or, The
philosophical transactions (from the
year 1719, to the year 1733) abridged,
and disposed under general heads : In
two volumes
(London 1734).
, which Martyn published together with John EamesEames, (d. 1744). British.
Tutor. Dissenter. Employed at the Royal
Society of London abridging their
Philosophical Transactions
together with John Martyn. [Source:DNB
and the Philosophical transactions. Abridged[1756]Martyn, John Philosophical
transactions. Abridged [1756]
The philosophical transactions (from
the year 1743, to the year 1750)
abridged, and disposed under general
heads : The Latin papers being
translated into English

Georg Dionysius EhretEhret, Georg Dionysius
(1710-1770). German/British. Botanical
illustrator. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
is very busy teaching the noble ladies to paint flowers and has only had time to paint the Beveria, in France called Butneria. It is a nice little shrub which grows in the open air and flowers abundantly.

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
has reached no. 14 of his project [presumably Figures of the most beautiful, useful, and uncommon plantsMiller, Philip Figures of the
most beautiful, useful, and uncommon
plants described in the gardeners
dictionary, exhibited on three hundred
, I-II (London
]. John HillHill, John (1716-1775).
British. Pharmacist, physician and
supervisor of the botanical gardens at
Kew. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
is publishing a history of plants [Collinson refers to The British herbal : an history of plants and treesHill, John The British herbal
: an history of plants and trees,
natives Britain, cultivated for use, or
raised for beauty
(London 1756).
], and Collinson is sending Linnaeus a specimen. He criticises Linnaeus’s method, but unlike the foul-mouthed Germans, he treats Linnaeus like an English gentleman, with decency. Although the English do not agree with Linnaeus in all points, they honour him for his work at increasing knowledge.

Rubus arcticus is flowering with Collinson, but it grows slowly, so Collinson asks Linnaeus how to make it grow faster.

Patrick BrowneBrowne, Patrick (1720-1790).
Irish. Botanist who made six voyages to
the West Indies. In 1756 he published
The Civil and natural history of
(1756). Correspondent of
has published his “History of Jamaica” [Collinson refers to 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
(London 1756).
], with plates drawn by Ehret, and Alexander RussellRussell, Alexander
(c.1715-1768). British. Physician and
naturalist. In 1740 he went to Aleppo in
Syria as physician to the English
factory. Famous for his The Natural
History of Aleppo
(1756; 2nd ed.
1794). After his return to England and
Scotland he worked as a physician.
Half-brother of Patrick Russell.
has published a work on the natural history of the country around Aleppo, also with plates by Ehret [Collinson refers to The natural history of AleppoRussel, Alexander The natural
history of Aleppo: and parts adjacent.
Containing a description of the city,
and the principal natural productions in
its neighbourhood; together with an
account of the climate, inhabitants, and
(London, 1756).
]. The latter work is in large quarto and costs 1 pound 17 shillings.

Collinson has heard that Somnus plantarumLinnaeus, Carl Somnus
, diss., resp. P. Bremer
(Uppsala [1755]).
has appeared. He has observed these plants for many years.

Collinson wonders what progress Pehr KalmKalm, Pehr (1716-1779).
Swedish. Botanist and traveller,
professor of natural history at
Åbo. Disciple of Linnaeus.
Travelled in North America 1748-1751.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
is making with his report on North America, and how many volumes have been published [Collinson refers to En resa til Norra AmericaKalm, Pehr En resa til Norra
America, på Kongl. Swenska
Wetenskaps Academiens befattning, och
publici kostnad
, I-III (Stockholm
1753-1761). Soulsby no. 2586a.
, which was published with three volumes, the last one in 1761; the English translation was not published until 1770-1771, Travels into North AmericaKalm, Pehr Travels into North
America : containing its natural
history, and a circumstantial account of
its plantations and agriculture in
general, with the civil, ecclesiastical
and commercial state of the country, the
manners of the inhabitants, and several
curious and important remarks on various
(London, 1770-1771).
Soulsby no. 2586d.

Collinson has heard from Cadwallader ColdenColden, Cadwallader
(1688-1776). American. Physician of
Scottish origin, botanist, physicist,
politician. Lieutenant governor of New
York. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, who is well. Collinson thinks it is marvellous that Colden’s daughter [Jane ColdenColden, Jane (1724-1759).
American. The first female botanist of
her country, daughter of Cadwallader
] has studied and understood Linnaeus’s system; she is the first woman who has managed that, and Collinson thinks she should be celebrated.

John BartramBartram, John (1701-1777).
American. Botanist living in
Pennsylvania and Delaware. Father of
John Bartram the Younger and William
Bartram. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
is also well. His son [William BartramBartram, William (1739-1823).
American. Botanist, natural history
artist and ornithologist. Son of John
Bartram and brother of Johan Bartram the
is a good painter of plants, likely to become as good as Ehret.

Linnaeus should remember that Collinson is mainly a merchant with many interests in business, so he must have a pupil of Linnaeus’s to help him if he is to publish a description of his garden. As it is, he has it for his private use.

Collinson wishes Linnaeus will live happy as he has the love of mankind and can rely on Collinson as a sincere friend.


a. original holograph (LS, XVII, 53-54). [1] [2] [3]


1. A selection (1821), vol. 1, p. 38-40   p.38  p.39  p.40.
2. The Letters and Papers of Sir John Hill (1982), p. 66 .
3. “Forget not Mee & My Garden ...” (2002), p. 197-198 .