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Link: • John Ellis to Carl Linnaeus, 21 December 1762 n.s.
Dated Decbr 21. 1762. Sent from London (Great Britain) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in English.

Sir Charles Linnaeus

I am ashamed that I have deferr’d answering your former Letter, which I receiv’d in October last. I have now the favour of yours of the 23 of November and have consulted with my good friend M[iste]r Solander about what he intends to do, and I find that after maturely weighing what you so kindly intended for him at Petersburgh and after consulting many friends here, he is determined not to accept of that professorship for many reasons, which he tells me he has wrote to you at large. I hope in time he will get something honourable to employ and distinguish himself. I am greatly obligd to you for the honour you intend me in giving me a new plant. I believe I met with it some years ago in M[iste]r James Gordons nursery Garden, and made a drawing of it which I magnified for my friend M[iste]r Peter Collinson, since which M[iste]r Solander has seen and describ’d it as a new Genus, and I suppose sent it to you. You’ll pardon me when I tell you that people here look on a little mean-looking plant as reflecting no honour on the person whose name is given to it, though I am convinc’d, as it is a distinct Genus, the compliment is equally great with the largest tree.

I sent you the specimen of a shrub, with white flowers, not unlike a Philadelphus, which D[octo]r Garden describ’d and added to his description of some Fishes he sent you. I desird this plant might be calld Schlosseria. If it is not too late, and you find it a distinct genus, I would rather choose to change plants with D[octo]r Schlosser. If this is not convenient, and you have any new genus of a[a][a] : MS 1 of you [added above the
specious plant, that will grow in England, you will do me much more honour, because I may communicate it to the Gardens of my friends here to put them in mind of me.

With regard to the conduct of our mutual Friend M[iste]r Solander, no man bears a better character here. He is constantly employ’d in the business of natural history and I am persuaded has made many discoveries of new genus’s in both the animal and vegetable world. His friends are considering of getting him employ’d in something that may be for his advantage and they are in hopes of succeeding. He is exceeding sober, well behaved, and very diligent, no way exspensive so that I hope he will do very well. I can assure you, the more he is known, the more he is likd, and now peace is near settled, he has a greater probability of succeeding, than when we were engag’d in the hurry of a troublesome, though Victorious War.

I am going to publish a short memoir on some few of the Coccus’s, especially to describe the male fly[b][b] : MS 1 fly [added above the
of the Cochineal. I shewd M[iste]r Solander 2 sorts, which I had observd at my friend M[iste]r Webb’s Garden, one on the Ananas, and one on the Ribes, which he says you have not yet describ’d but have not been able to discover the Males. We have a sort of Anser from America, that is not yet describ’d. As we shall be in the Country, at M[iste]r Webb’s, during the Holidays, we shall send you a description of it; it is not unlike the Barnicle of Willoughby in size. I have not met with any thing new from the Sea since I describ’d the Encrinus. Though the Sea Sponges are certainly of the animal Kingdom, yet we could not get them so recent as to describe the nature of them properly.

The seeds you sent me of the Rhubarb, which I sent to the Gouvernours of the Provinces in North America, I am afraid were lost, for though it is now a twelvemonth ago, I have not heard of their arrival. I must therefore intreat you to send me half an ounce inclos’d in a letter, and direct the cover of your Letter to Anthony Todd, Esq[uire] at the General Post-office, London. I shall be sure to receive it safe, for that Gentleman is the Secretary to the Postmaster General, and my friend. You may send any other seeds, not exceeding an ounce, the same way.

I have not heard from D[octo]r Garden this long time. I fear he is ill, I expected to hear of his receiving your obliging Letter to him.

Now we are to have a peace, I shall extend my Correspondence, and hope to meet with many new discoveries; which, if I do, shall immediately communicate them to you. I have still an inclination to enquire into the nature of Sponges. I am persuaded the Fibrae intertextae of Sponges are only the tendons that inclose a gelatinous substance which is the flesh of the Sponge. M[iste]r Solander and I have seen the holes or Sphincters in some of our Sponges, taken out of the sea, open and shut, while they were kept in Sea water; but discovered no animal like a Polype, as in the Alcyonium Manus mortui. In a Priapus, which D[octo]r Bierken dissected, I made a drawing of one of the Sphincters, which has a great deal of the appearance of one of the openings of the Spongia medullam panis referens, which drawing and animal I sent you by D[octo]r Bierken.

M[iste]r Solander is now with me, and joins with me in our best wishes for your health and prosperity.

I am, D[ear] Sir, with the greatest Regard,
Your much obligd Friend,
John Ellis

London Dec[ember] 21. 1762.

The Royal Society
at Upsal


Not yet available


a. original holograph (LS, XVII, 112-113). [1] [2] [3]


1. A selection (1821), vol. 1, p. 158-162   p.158  p.159  p.160  p.161  p.162.


MS 1 of you [added above the line]
MS 1 fly [added above the line]