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Link: • John Ellis to Carl Linnaeus, 21 July 1758 n.s.
Dated July. 21 1758. Sent from London (Great Britain) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in English.


I rec’d your obliging Letter of the 26 of May last, but was then so unhappy as to lose my Wife, so that I was obligd to defer answering it till now. I lately rec’d also your favour of the 23d of June.

As to your first Letter, M[iste]r Collinson tells me he has rec’d your money and paid for D[octo]r Browne’s collection of Plants, which he says he[a][a] : MS 1 he [added above the
forwarded to you by D[octo]r Janisch, but cannot tell you the name of the Ship, but believes it was a Danish Vessel; he is much troubled that you have not yet rec’d those Specimens.

The book of Medical Observations is a present to you from that Society; I have desired Doctor Fothergill to thank them in your Name.

I have seen M[iste]r Bierken, whom I find to be a very polite and ingenious young Gentleman. I call’d at the place where the young Woman, that you think is a Troglodyte, is kept. She is in all respects like a Negro, but white like us; her hair is frizzled as the Negro’s is, but very white, she is near-sighted, and holds the book very close to her eyes, when she reads, she is constantly moving her eyes to and fro, sideways, but this imperfection I have seen in other people; she cannot read in the dark, nor does she sunshine prevent it, she speaks English very well,She is near 5 feet high, & about 14 years old; so that if she lives, she will be the common size of women of her own country.

I shall desire M[iste]r Edwards to send his last Volume to the Academy of Upsal.

Doctor Russel sends you a few seeds he lately rec’d from Madrass and as soon as he receives any fresh ones from Aleppo, he will send you some.

The animal like the Concha anatifera does not grow[b][b] : MS 1 <appear to> grow out of the two ear-like tubes, nor from the sides; there are 7 distinct animals of this kind sitting on a large Whale Balanus. I have sent you a print of it as done by Edwards, but I have got a better drawing which will soon be engraved.

The Plant of Kaempfer’s Amoenit. at No. 813, has not yet flowered, when it does I shall get a specimen for you.

You have plainly shewed me, that the Fibraurea of Miss Colden is already describ’d. I shall let her know what civil things you say of her – her Christian Name is Jane.

I must wait for a Specimen of the Yellow Root from John Bartram before I can give any further description of it.

In answer to your Letter of the 23 of June: I have bought one of the same sort of Microscopes, that I have used in my researches at the sea side, and have deliver’d it to M[iste]r Lindegren a Swedish Merchant here, whom M[iste]r Collinson recommended me to; he says the Capt[ai]n of the Ship’s name is Fescher. M[iste]r Collinson says he will pay for it. The Ship is to sail next week.

I am sorry to disagree with M[iste]r Miller, but he has an opinion that he knows better, and in a Publick Society, I think, no man should advance any thing for certain truth without he is sure of it; but as it would be too long to give you an account of the whole of this controversy, I must refer you to our Philosophical Transactions, which I suppose you have in your Academy.

As soon as this China Varnish tree produces any blossoms, I will send you a specimen. I must own it is only conjecture in me to call it a Rhus. I call’d it so, because he had suppos’d it to be one, and from the habit and manner of its growth.

M[iste]r Collinson, Ehret, & I were the other Day at M[iste]r Warner’s, a very curious Gentleman, at Woodford near this City, to see his rare Plant like a Jasmin, with a large double White flower, very odoriferous,[c][c] : MS 1 very odoriferous [added
above the line
which he rec’d about 4 years ago from the Cape of good hope. The Flowers are so large, that a specimen, which he gave me to dissect, was 4 Inches across from the extremities of the Limb.

This M[iste]r Miller has describd to be a Jasmin, in his Dictionary now publishing, and in his figures of Plants. As it is a double flower, the stamina, in many, grow into the Sections of the Petal; but this year it grows more vigorouly, and the parts of Fructification have appeard more distinct, especially in the Specimen he gave me, where, upon opening the tube, I discoverd 6 stamina adhering by the filaments to the inside of it, supporting as many antherae; three of the antherae were united together, but easily to be separated; these stamina corresponded to the same number of sections of the limb. The style has 3 stigmata, and is united to the germen, which is placd under the receptacle, and contains above 40 very small seeds, which, magnified, look’d like the acini of a Rubus. The Calyx has 6 alae or angles, [d][d] : MS 1 or angles [added above the
at equal distances, which end in so many erect[e][e] : MS 1 erect [added above the
foliaceous pointed[f][f] : MS 1 pointed [added above the
denticles. Sometimes the limb of the flower is divided into 5 Segments only, and then the stamina are but 5, and the alae of the Calyx are but 5, and the Stigmata but two. There were 3 rows of Petals or sections[g][g] : MS 1 or sections [added above
the line
in my specimen, 6 in each row.

M[iste]r Warner by my desire dried a Specimen for you last year, which M[iste]r Collinson sends you now, but I hope to get you a Specimen where the parts of Fructification are more distinct.

If you find this Plant to be no Jasmine, but an undescribed Genus, you will oblige me in calling it Warneria after its worthy Possessor.

I have seen the first Volume of your Systema Naturae. I wish there had been the figures to it. I suppose the Books that are coming for the Bookseller have the Plates, which will greatly illustrate them.

I am obligd to you for methodizing the Corallines mentioned in my Book.

The Polype from Greenland, with the bony stem, differs much[h][h] : MS 1 much [added above the
from the Accarbarium rubrum of Rumphius, as you will find when you receive the figure and description, which I have sent you of the latter. If there is any service that I can do for you here, you may be assured I shall do it with pleasure.

I am Sir, your most obed[ien]t humble Serv[ant],
John Ellis

P.S. I have here added:

a. Schetch of this curious plant of M[iste]r WArners and must note that it bears but one blossom each small branch and that the farina when vivid through the microscope differs from that of the Jasmine, appearing trilobated.


Farina of M[iste]r Warner’s

Farina of Common Jasmin

The Leaves are of this shape & grow opposite, they are not deciduous.


Not yet available


a. original holograph (LS, XVII, 94-95). [1] [2] [3]


1. A selection (1821), vol. 1, p. 96-100   p.96  p.97  p.98  p.99  p.100.


MS 1 he [added above the line]
MS 1 <appear to> grow
MS 1 very odoriferous [added above the line]
MS 1 or angles [added above the line]
MS 1 erect [added above the line]
MS 1 pointed [added above the line]
MS 1 or sections [added above the line]
MS 1 much [added above the line]