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Link: • Peter Collinson to Carl Linnaeus, 20 July 1759 n.s.
Dated July 20: 1759. 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.
greets Linnaeus through Bierken [Pehr af BjerkénBjerkén, Pehr af
(1731-1774). Swedish. Pupil of
Linnaeus. City medical officer,
Stockholm. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
], who is about to leave Edinburgh but who has had many agreeable conversations with Collinson, especially in examining Collinson’s cabinet of natural items. It has not been possible for Collinson to show him his garden, though, for af Bjerkén is not a botanist. The garden is full of plants and trees that are not to be seen elsewhere.

Collinson apologizes for not answering Linnaeus’s questions about Homines troglodytes, but John EllisEllis, John (1711-1776).
British. Merchant and naturalist, expert
on zoophytes. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
had undertaken to answer Linnaeus and Collinson did not want to repeat what Ellis was going to tell Linnaeus.

John FothergillFothergill, John (1712-1780).
British. Physician and collector of
natural history objects. Studied in
Holland, France and Germany. His cabinet
of zoological and mineralogical
specimens as well as his botanical
garden at Upton were well known.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
is very pleased by Linnaeus’s letter [this letter has not come down to us]. Linnaeus’s idea to procure Chinese plant samples is good, but it cannot be carried out, as the English are not permitted to go up into China, and it takes a long time to learn the language,

A Jesuit well skilled in physics and medicine could do it, for he has access to the Court and can get acquainted with Chinese physicians.

An alternative way would be for the Court of Russia to let two skilled Swedish physicians take part in a caravan to Peking and leave them there long enough and with proper permissions for them to learn Chinese. Then, it could be possible to know their art of healing and their materia medica. Collinson sees no other way to do it.


a. original holograph (LS, XVII, 66r-66v). [1] [2] [3]


1. A selection (1821), vol. 1, p. 51-52   p.51  p.52.
2. “Forget not Mee & My Garden ...” (2002), p. 217-219 .