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Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L2658 • Carl Linnaeus to Abraham Bäck, 29 January 1760 n.s.
Dated 29 januar. 1760. Sent from () to Stockholm (Sweden). Written in Latin.

Viro Illustri,
D[omino] D[octori] ABR[AHAM] BAECK,
Archiatro Praesidi,
S[alutem] pl[urimam] d[icit]
Car[olus] Linnaeus.

Laetor, quod valeas et mei non sis immemor.


1. Arthritis et Rheumatismus. Nescio, an ab ullo fuere relati ad morbos acutos vel referri debeant. Sunt certe maxime chronici, adeoque non febres. Quaeso, ne curam numeres inter signa morborum.


Cura vulgo duplex audit morborum Palliativa et Empirica. Palliativam vocamus rationalem, sed cura vera non est.


2. Phlegmone. e. gr. a contusione oritur inflamatio, sed ideo non Phlegmone nec inflamatio et Phlegmone idem sunt. Potest esse inflamatio absque febre.


Fixam terminorum notionem me non observasse vellem demonstrares; puto me hanc magis observasse quam ullus alius.


3. Morbus unus per alterum non debet dignosci; ego vero, ut paucis verbis definirem morbum, citavi terminos in alio morbo explicatos; quod non est dignoscere unum ex altero.


Methodum velis magis naturalem, quae procedit a simplicibus ad magis composita; idem et Botanici omnes urgent, et quod incipiamus dignoscere plantas incipiendo a fungis, muscis, filicibus, procedendo ad plantas perfectiores, vel qui dignoscat machinam humanam, incipiat a zoophytis, conchyliis, insectis, procedat ad Pisces, Aves demum ad Hominem. Qui error satis dudum demonstratus est.


4. Parum refert, utrum morbi externi vel interni primo loco ponantur. Non fero chirurgorum Parisiensium arrogantiam, qui ex hoc principio demonstrare conantur, quod Medici ab iis lucem et fundamentum mutuentur.


5. Gangraena sit morbus tam externus quam internus. Si vel omnes homines gangraena aut Peripneumonia morirentur, nihil inde sequitur. Hydropici &c. itidem moriuntur gangraena; ideo hydrops non affinis febrium.


Gorteri methodo nullam vidi magis absurdam et a legibus systematicis alienam.


6. Morbi generales solidior[es] fluidor[es] &c. non pertinet ad semioticem sed aitiologiam. Calamitas seculi ex eo oritur, quod medici confundunt caussam cum figuris externis.


Debet a Practico alia methodus institui, quae demonstrat caussas; doleo magnopere, quod ejusmodi methodus genuina etiamnum deficiat.


Tradere morbos infantum, partium &c. sub uno capite, est idem, quod dudum Botanici, dum Systemata plantarum a loco in quibus nascuntur tentarunt.


7. Dysmenorrhoea et Menorrhagia non magis affines inter se quam diarrhaea et obstipatio, ignis et glacies; quod idem de Parturitione et Graviditate valet.


Siphylitidem, quod attinet, fateor, quod nullus morbus mihi magis difficilis fuerit referre, necdum ipse satisfactus mihi.


8. Anxietas est morbus forte quem non novisti. Nec potuit Tibi innotisse, nisi eo laboraveris. Ego semel per 14 horae eo detentus fui. Sed de eo aliquando v[olente] D[eo] coram dicam. Potest esse symptoma febris; potest et esse absque omni febre. A difficili transitu sanguinis per cor creditur oriri; forte ita; certe minime a difficili transitu per pulmones, ut perperam Boerhaave.


Carpologia sit symptoma, sed in diversissimis morbis; in senibus absque alio morbo manifesto.

Ill[ustrissimus] Canc[ellarius] Aul[ae] Carleson hodie apud nos constitutus jubet haec raptim examinare. Vale et fave!

D[ie] 29 januar[ii] 1760.

Archiatren
Wälborne Herren
H[err] Doctor BAECK
Stockholm
Ulricksdahl.

upSUMMARY

Linnaeus is glad that Abraham Bäck is wellBäck, Abraham (1713-1795).
Swedish. Physician, president of the
Collegium Medicum, Stockholm. Close
friend of Linnaeus. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
[this letter is presumably a reply to a letter from Bäck, which has not come down to us].

Linnaeus does not call arthritis and rheumatism acute diseases, but chronic ones. He does not want Bäck to include the care of a disease among its signs.

Palliative treatment is a method but not a real cure.

Phlegmone is an inflammation that is due to, for example, a contusion. An inflammation is not the same, and you could characterize Phlegmone e as an inflammation without fever.

Linnaeus asks Bäck to give an example of where he has not used a fixed terminology, for he considers that he has done so better than most. One disease should not be described by another. But when Linnaeus wants to define a disease, he can use terms that are defined in descriptions of other diseases, to make the text shorter. Linnaeus favours a method that goes from simpler things to more complex ones, not only in botany and zoology, but also in medicine.

Linnaeus does not pay attention to whether internal or external diseases are treated first.

Gangrene is a disease that is both external and internal. If everyone died from gangrene or from pneumonia, you could not conclude anything from that. Even those who have dropsy die from gangrene, and therefore, dropsy is not related to fevers.

David de GorterísGorter, David de (1707 or
1717-1783). Dutch. Botanist and
physician. Succeeded his father Johannes
de Gorter as physician-in-ordinary to
the Empress Elizabeth of Russia. Son of
Susanna de Gorter, brother of Herman
Boerhaave de Gorter. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
method is totally absurd.

What is said of general diseases does not belong to the signs but to the causes. Many doctors commit fatal mistakes when they do not distinguish the cause and the external signs.

The doctors must pay more attention to the causes.

Treating diseases in children separately is about as absurd as trying to make a system of plants according to where they grow.

Difficulties in menstruation and normal menstruation are no closer to each other than diarrhoea and constipation, or fire and ice. One could say the same about childbirth and pregnancy.

Syphilis is the disease that Linnaeus has had greatest trouble to classify, and he is not satisfied with the result.

Anxietas [Angina? Dyspnoea?] is a disease that you must have experienced to know what it is. Linnaeus had it once for a quarter of an hour. It may be due to the blood not passing through the heart as it should, but not from some difficulties in the lungs, as Herman BoerhaaveBoerhaave, Herman (1668-1738).
Dutch. Professor of medicine, botany and
chemistry at Leiden. One of the most
influential professors of medicine of
the eighteenth century. Linnaeus visited
him during his stay in Holland.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
falsely proposes.

Carpologia is a symptom, but of several diseases, and it can occur in old persons without a manifest disease.

Edvard CarlesonCarleson, Edvard (1704-1767).
Swedish. Public official. President of
the Swedish Board of Commerce.
Accompanied Carl Fredric von Höpken
on his voyage to the Orient. Father of
Adolf Ludvig Carleson. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
has advised Linnaeus to go over this quickly.

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. original (KVA). [1] [2] [3] [4]

upEDITIONS

1. Bref och skrifvelser (1911), vol. I:5, p. 76-78   p.76  p.77  p.78.