-Search for letters
-Search in texts






Link: • Antoine Gouan to Carl Linnaeus, 18 December 1760 n.s.
Dated 18. mensis decembr. 1760. Sent from Montpellier (France) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Latin.


Antoine GouanGouan, Antoine (1733-1821).
French. Botanist, Montpellier. Student
under Sauvages. Director of the
botanical garden in 1767, later
professor of botany and medicine.
Although an admirer of Linnaeus he tried
to develop a hybrid of his system of
classification. Correspondent of
is pleased to have received the tenth edition of Linnaeus’s Systema naturae, 10th editionLinnaeus, Carl Systema
, 10th edition (Stockholm
1758-1759). Soulsby no. 58.
and Amoenitates academicaeLinnaeus, Carl Amoenitates
, I-X (Stockholm
1749-1790). Soulsby no. 1280.
, III [Gouan refers presumably to the edition of the third volume, which was published in 1756]. The previous month he saw that Linnaeus’s pupil, the learned Christian Friis RottböllRottböll, Christian Friis
(1727-1797). Danish. Botanist and
physician. Professor of medicine at
Copenhagen. Linnaeus’s student.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, had been appointed professor in Copenhagen. Gouan wonders whether Linnaeus has received his last letter [this letter has not come down to us] in which Johann Christian CunoCuno, Johann Christian
(1708-1790). German. Poet, botanist and
merchant. He made a fortune in the West
Indies and settled in Holland where he
kept a botanical garden. The later years
of his life were spent in Weingarten,
near Durlach in Germany. Correspondent
of Linnaeus.
had enclosed a work. Gouan has some questions as to species in Systema naturae. He wonders whether Peter Artedi’sArtedi, Peter (1705-1735).
Swedish. Ichtyologist. Close friend of
Ostracion, Gen. no. 3, is the same as no. 6 in Systema naturae, p. 331, and what numbers Artedi’s Balistes, Gen. 2, 3, 4, 5, correspond to in Systema naturae. He asks about Artedi’s Chaetodon and Cyprinus. Gouan has recently discovered that Balistes vetula is Artedi’s Capriscus, syn. 14. Considering its essential features, Balistes scolopax is much displaced regarding the genus and class.

Roche [Gouan means Bartolomo Giambattista RoncoRonco, Bartolomo Giambattista
], who had gone to Alexandria with Vitaliano DonatiDonati, Vitaliano (1713-1763).
Italian. Professor of natural history,
Turin. Travelled in the Balkans and in
the Orient. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, has now been banished to Sardinia. Ronco has promised Gouan about sixty new genera or species of fish. When Gouan has received them, he will send specimens to Linnaeus. There will also be plants and insects that Ronco has found. Xaverio (Saverio) ManettiManetti, Xaverio (Saverio)
(1723-1785). Italian. Physician,
professor of botany at Florence.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
had himself sent to François Boissier de La Croix de SauvagesSauvages, François Boissier de
La Croix de
(1706-1767). French.
Botanist and clergyman and physician,
professor in medicine at Montpellier.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
the Manettia that Linnaeus had received from Sauvages.

A few months ago Gouan had heard that the King of Spain [Carlos III de BorbónCarlos III de Borbón,
(1716-1788). Spanish. King of Spain.
Reigned from 1759-1788.
] wanted Linnaeus to be the head of the Society of Sciences, a university of medicine and a museum of natural history [Gouan presumably means the planning for, The Royal Spanish Academy of Sciences, Real Academia de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y NaturalesReal Academia de Ciencias Exactas,
Físicas y Naturales, The Royal
Spanish Academy of Sciences

Spanish. Its forerunner was the Academy
of Mathematics (Academia de
Matemáticas de Madrid), created
in Madrid 1582. In 1734 a Royal National
Academy of Medicine and Natural Science
(Real Academia Nacional de Medicina) was
founded. In 1752 a plan for a Royal
Society of Sciences of Madrid was drawn
up, but this project collapsed with the
fall of the Ensenada in 1754 and there
was no attempt to to revive it until
1834, and in 1847 the The Royal Spanish
Academy of Sciences (Real Academia de
Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y
Naturales) was officially founded. (Our
source: and
]. Gouan begs Linnaeus to recommend him. If Linnaeus recommends him, he will most certainly be accepted. Gouan would like to leave Montpellier. His whole future now depends on Linnaeus. Gouan is eager to know the answer from the King.

P.S. 1. When possible, Gouan will send the rare and new insects.

P.S. 2. [on a separate piece of paper, L.S., V, 151]. Gouan mentions a plant that originates from a herbarium of a student of medicine.

Gouan wonders whether Linnaeus’s Systema naturae, III, has been published [the 10th edition was published in two volumes, “Animalia” 1758 and “Vegetabilia” 1759. The third volume, “Mineralia” was never published].


a. original holograph (LS, V, 150-152). [1] [2] [3] [4]