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Link: • Alexander Garden to Carl Linnaeus, 2 January 1760 n.s.
Dated 4to Nonas januarii 1760. Sent from Charlestown (USA) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Latin.


Alexander GardenGarden, Alexander (1730-1791).
British/American. Doctor of medicine,
South Carolina. Correspondent of
thanks Linnaeus for the letter of 30 March 1759Letter L2538, which he had received a few weeks previously. He is very pleased at the positive response given by Linnaeus to his proposal.

Garden asks Linnaeus not to believe too much in John Ellis’sEllis, John (1711-1776).
British. Merchant and naturalist, expert
on zoophytes. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
description of Garden’s abilities as a botanist. Lack of talent, tenacity and literature has not hitherto prevented him from making progress, but much of the beautiful nature is still hidden to him. However, in recent years, he has collected a set of tools, and the latest addition to that is Hortus CliffortianusLinnaeus, Carl Hortus
Cliffortianus, plantas exhibens quas in
hortis tam vivis quam siccis Hartecampi
in Hollandia coluit [...] Georgius
(Amsterdam 1737). Soulsby
no. 328.
, a gift from Ellis. So he expects to make better progress in the future.

Garden answers Linnaeus’s comments on the suggested Ellisia and refutes its determination as a Swertia. He gives details which are against that. Furthermore, its taste – as taken from a dried specimen – is more Nicotiana than Gentiana, and its general view is also more Nicotiana. Garden sends Linnaeus a twig of the plant and asks for Linnaeus’s opinion after a repeated examination. Garden will be pleased to be corrected by Linnaeus.

Garden will give attention to the collection of insects and to the reptiles in the next summer, as Linnaeus requested. – Garden had been somewhat surprised at the request on the fish, but anyhow, he had collected as many as possible, had had their skin taken off so that Linnaeus would not receive only a bare description, and had tried to make a description of the species. He stresses that the illustrations found in Mark Catesby’sCatesby, Mark (1682-1749).
British. Naturalist and artist. Best
known for his illustrated work The
Natural history of Carolina, Florida and
the Bahama islands
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
work [Linnaeus refers to the The Natural history of CarolinaCatesby, Mark The Natural
history of Carolina, Florida and the
Bahama Islands: containing the figures
of birds, beasts, fishes, serpents,
insects and plants: particularly the
forest-trees, shrubs, and other plants,
not hitherto described, or very
incorrectly figured by authors. Together
with their descriptions in English and
French. To which are added observations
on the air, soil, and wate: with remarks
upon agriculture, grain, pulse, roots,
&c. To the whole is prefixed a new
and correct map of the countries treated
, I-II (London 1731-1743).
] are far from accurate to give a full and scientific view of the species. This is exemplified on the mullet (Albula).

Garden does not have Catesby’s work complete, so he does not know if all the fishes he sends are listed there. He has had to be content to attach a tag to each specimen with a number and the vernacular name of the fish, and from there, it will be easy to combine the character and the specimen.

Garden wants to be informed about the final characters of these fishes, or a method for their handling, and their final names. He has been very stimulated by this task to devote himself to the study of fishes and hopes Linnaeus will help him to keep this interest alive.

Garden concludes with a character of a beautiful bush, found for the first time three years previously in a wet and shady place. He encloses a dried specimen and asks Linnaeus to give it a worthy name and to include it in Systema naturae in its proper place.


a. original holograph (LS, XVII, 175-176). [1] [2] [3]


1. A selection (1821), vol. 1, p. 297-302   p.297  p.298  p.299  p.300  p.301  p.302.