-Search for letters
-Search in texts






Link: • Carl Linnaeus to Carl Christoffer Gjörwell, 24 October 1760 n.s.
Dated 1760 d. 24 octobr.. Sent from Uppsala (Sweden) to (). Written in Swedish.


In order to replay on Gjörwell’s letter [this letter has not come down to us] Linnaeus would need more time than the usual post-hour, and he has several necessary letters to write.

Linnaeus thanks Carl Christoffer GjörwellGjörwell, Carl Christoffer
(1731-1811). Swedish. Author,
publisher, royal librarian.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
for the praise that Gjörwall seems to spread on every occasion. Linnaeus tries to remember how many foreigners have visited him: Numerous Norwegians, a pary of Danes (twice this year) and two Germans. Several Russians also came and listened carefully to what he had to say. Johann Christian Daniel von SchreberSchreber, Johann Christian Daniel von
(1737-1810). German. Physician
and botanist. Became doctor of medicine
at Uppsala under Linnaeus in 1760.
Professor of botany and director of the
botanical garden of Erlangen.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
is the professor’s son in Bytzow [Daniel GottfriedSchreber, Daniel Gottfried
(1708-1777). German. Professor of
agriculture and economics at
Bützow, the father of Johann
Christian Daniel von Schreber.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
]. Nicolaas Laurens BurmanBurman, Nicolaas Laurens
(1734-1793). Dutch. Professor of
botany. Linnaeus’s pupil in Uppsala in
1760. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
is the son of the Professor of Botany in Amsterdam [Johannes BurmanBurman, Johannes (1707-1779).
Dutch. Botanist, professor of medicine
in Amsterdam. Close friend of Linnaeus.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
], who is among the greatest botanists of the era and who has published the Thesaurus Zeylanicus Burman, Johannes Thesaurus
Zeylanicus, exhibens plantas in insula
Zeylana nascentes [...] Cura &
studio Joannis Burmanni
, the Rariorum Africanarum plantarum, ad vivum delineatarum, iconibus ac descriptionibus illustratarum decas prima-[decima] Burman, Johannes Rariorum
Africanarum plantarum, ad vivum
delineatarum, iconibus ac
descriptionibus illustratarum decas
and the Plantarum Americanarum fasciculus primus[-decimus]Plumier, Charles Plantarum
Americanarum fasciculus primus[-decimus]
continens plantas, quas olim C.
Plumierius [...] detexit, eruitque,
atque in insulis Antillis ipse depinxit.
Has primum in lucem edidit, concinnis
descriptionibus & observationibus,
aeneisque tabulis illustravit J.
(Amsterdam 1755-1760).
. This youngster is his only child. Professor Burman is a nephew of the learned critic Pieter Burman the ElderBurman the Elder, Pieter
(1668-1741). Dutch. Professor of
history, eloquence and greek, Leiden.
in Leiden.

Linnaeus continues, commenting that following the publishing of Olof Celsius’sCelsius, Olof (1670-1756).
Swedish. Orientalist and theologian,
professor at Uppsala. Botanist and plant
collector, benefactor of Linnaeus.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
Plantis Biblicis [HierobotaniconCelsius, Olof Hierobotanicon
sive De plantis Sacrae Scripturae
dissertationes breves
], one could see what was needed to solve the problems, something that could not be done without an understanding of plant botany and knowledge of where the plants grew.

In that context, Linnaeus had sent Fredrik HasselquistHasselquist, Fredrik
(1722-1752). Swedish. Physician and
naturalist, explorer. Studied under
Linnaeus and Lars Roberg 1741-1749. Went
to Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Cyprus,
Rhodes and the island of Chios. Died
near Smyrna. Son of Magnus and Helena
Maria Hasselquist, brother of Andreas
Hasselquist. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
who was the most skilled. Following Hasselquist’s death, Linnaeus published his Flora PalaestinaLinnaeus, Carl Flora
, diss., resp. J. Strand
(Uppsala, 1756). Soulsby no. 1886.
based on Hasselquist’s collection of plants.

The orientalists did not know the names that the plants are now called.

In that context, the King of Sardinia [Carlo Emanuele III de SavoieCarlo Emanuele III, King of Sardinia
(1701-1773). Italian. Reigned
] dispatched Vitaliano DonatiDonati, Vitaliano (1713-1763).
Italian. Professor of natural history,
Turin. Travelled in the Balkans and in
the Orient. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
to Arabia during the previous year, taking with him a young Frenchman, but was robbed in Alexandria and deserted by his friends. It is not known whether he will continue his journey.

The learned Johann David MichaëlisMichaëlis, Johann David
(1717-1791). German. Professor of
Oriental languages, Göttingen.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
in Göttingen did the same thing, being financed by the King of Denmark [Fredrik VFredrik V, (1723-1766).
Danish. Reigned Denmark and Norway
] and being joined by Pehr ForskålForsskål, Peter
(1732-1763). Swedish. Naturalist and
explorer. Linnaeus’s student, professor
in Denmark in 1759. Joined a Danish
expedition to Egypt and Arabia in 1761.
Died at Jerîm, Arabia.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
who, with Linnaeus, both before and after his return from Germany, had gone through all parts of natural history in greater detail than one can believe. Nobody could be better suited. He is also knowledgeable in oriental languages, and, above all, well-established in erudition.

Linnaeus lists a number of his disciples, naming Peder AscaniusAscanius, Peder (1723-1803).
Danish. Naturalist. Inspector of mines,
Norway. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, who is now Professor of Natural History in Copenhagen.

Another disciple, Jörgen Tyge HolmHolm, Jörgen Tyge
(1726-1759). Danish. Professor of
economy and natural history, Copenhagen.
Linnaeus’s student 1750-1751, 1754-1757.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, now dead, who had visited Linnaeus twice, once for a year and then three years later. Holm was also Professor in Copenhagen.

Among those more erudite disciples who were travelling, Clas AlströmerAlströmer, Clas
(1736-1794). Swedish. Baron,
industrialist. Sent plants and specimens
to Linnaeus from his travels abroad.
Bought Linnaeus’s “little herbarium”,
now in the Natural History Museum in
Stockholm. Son of Jonas Alströmer,
brother of August, Johan and Patrick
Alströmer. Correspondent of
is in Spain and sent Linnaeus the most learned and edifying letters, Daniel SolanderSolander, Daniel (1733-1782).
Swedish. Naturalist, explorer. Student
in Uppsala under Linnaeus and Johan
Gottschalk Wallerius. Went to London in
1760. Curator of natural history
collections at the British Museum.
Botanist on Cook’s first voyage
1768-1771. Joseph Bank’s librarian.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
is in England, and he also makes the most through observations in nature’s three kingdoms. Lars MontinMontin, Lars (1723-1785).
Swedish. Physician and botanist. Studied
medicine in Uppsala under Linnaeus and
Nils Rosén von Rosenstein.
Provincial physician of the province of
Halland. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
had earlier that year left for the East Indies, travelling as ship’s priest. Fredric LogieLogie, Fredrik (1739-1785).
Swedish. Studied under Linnaeus in
Uppsala. Army officer. Forwarded to
Linnaeus the natural history specimens
sent by his brother Alexander from
Algier. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, who had grown up in Algiers, had been in Gibraltar during the summer and had made some beautiful collections.

Linnaeus continues, saying that fairly many, whom he had never met, honour him by stating that they are disciples of his work, naming 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
who had published the beautiful work on Jamaica [ 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).
], Nicolaus Joseph, baron von JacquinJacquin, Nicolaus Joseph, baron von
(1727-1817). Dutch. Botanist. In
1755 at the order of emperor Franz I of
Austria he went to the Antilles and
South America. In 1763 he became
professor of mineralogy and chemistry at
Chemnitz, later professor of botany at
Vienna and director of the botanical
garden at Schönbrunn. Correspondent
of Linnaeus.
in Vienna, who had recently returned home with most of the American plants and who travelled at the expense of the Emperor [Franz IFranz I, (1708-1765).
Austrian. Reigned from 1745-1765.
], and numerous unnamed others residing in England, Italy, France and Germany.

The three young Barons of the Demidov family [Alexandr Grigorevich DemidovDemidov, Alexandr Grigorevich
(1737-1803). Russian. Linnaeus´s
student. Brother of Pavel Grigorevich
Demidov and Petr Grigorevich Demidov.
Son of Georgij Akinfievich Demidov,
grandson of Akinfiy Nikitich Demidov.
, Pavel Grigorevich DemidovDemidov, Pavel Grigorevich
(1738-1821). Russian. Linnaeus´s
student. Brother of Alexandr Grigorevich
Demidov and Petr Grigorevich Demidov.
Son of Georgij Akinfievich Demidov and
grandson of Akinfiy Nikitich Demidov. He
created a natural history museum in
Moscow which was later given to the
University of Moscow. Correspondent of
], Petr Grigorevich DemidovDemidov, Petr Grigorevich
(1740-1826). Russian. Linnaeus´s
student. Brother of Alexandr Grigorevich
Demidov and Pavel Grigorevich Demidov.
Son of Georgij Akinfievich Demidov and
grandson of Akinfiy Nikitich Demidov.
] and their tutor were returning from Stockholm to visit Linnaeus. Linnaeus praises their intelligence, which is remarkably acute. Linnaeus taught them natural history for three hours every day, 18 hours a week, covering all three kingdoms of natural history. They planned to stay until the spring. In July, Linnaeus went through his entire garden every day, demonstrating the plants until 10 o’clock. As a result, all Linnaeus’s holidays had become the most demanding working days. Linnaeus had advertised that all who wished to see his garden were welcome to do so without cost, as Linnaeus was devoted to science, and at the same time he was able to keep his young doctoral students fully occupied.

At the present, Linnaeus was privately reading about the planting of woodland and hedges, which he considered could never be achieved unless the students, who were to be sent throughout the country, learnt about it. Linnaeus emphasized that this could not be achieved through regulations, but required knowledge of each tree’s species and its position in the landscape. Teachers of this must be well educated in botany and have worked in plantations, as well as having travelled through Sweden; otherwise the entire project would come to a halt.

Linnaeus mentions that his Fauna SuecicaLinnaeus, Carl Fauna Svecica
sistens animalia Sveciae regni:
quadrupedia, aves, amphibia, pisces,
insecta, vermes, distributa per classes
& ordines, genera & species. Cum
differentiis specierum, synonymis
autorum, nominibus incolarum, locis
habitationum, descriptionibus
(Stockholm, 1746).
Soulsby no. 1151.
, Systema naturae, 10th editionLinnaeus, Carl Systema
, 10th edition (Stockholm
1758-1759). Soulsby no. 58.
and the Species plantarumLinnaeus, Carl Species
(Stockholm 1753). Soulsby
no. 480.
were now out of print and needed to be republished, but that he had so much to do that he knows not which way to turn. Recently he had started to receive consignments of natural history specimens from all over Europe, and an unbelievable amount of insects and plants had been sent to him during the year. Just replying to all of them was laborious.

P.S. 1 Some years ago he had wanted to send a disciple to the Cape of Good Hope in order to examine the plants there, which were of the most remarkable and least known of all, but the Dutch refused permission. This year, Johannes Burman, who owns the Paul Hermann’sHermann, Paul (1646-1695).
German. Botanist, physician at Batavia,
professor of botany at Leiden.
, Henric Bernhard Oldenland’sOldenland, Henric Bernhard
(1663-1697). German. Botanist.
Travelled to South Africa with the Dutch
Cape Colony, where he participated in an
exploratory expedition and became land
surveyor and curator of the
Company´s Garden in Cape Town. His
uncompleted herbarium and catalogue of
the local flora was later used by, among
others, Johannes Burman.
and several others herbaria, except those that the local Governor sends annually, allowed his son to demonstrate them all to Linnaeus, who was able to examine them carefully, seeing more than if he had been there himself. Linnaeus now considers their history to be complete and he will no longer spend time in studying them. Nonetheless, it took time and tired the eyes to open the smallest dried flowers.

P.S. 2 As to what Linnaeus actually is doing at the moment, he is grateful if so little as possible will be generally known, because it could cause more harm than good, for example envy.


a. original holograph (KB, EP. G 10:2, 112).


1. “Hans lärjungar, arbeten, förtjenster och uppoffring för sin vetenskap:natural-historien” (1798), vol. V, p. 97-103 .
2. Bref och skrifvelser (1912), vol. I:6, p. 215-217   p.215  p.216  p.217.