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Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L3444 • José Celestino Mútis to Carl Linnaeus, 24 September 1764 n.s.
Dated die 24 Septembris 1764. Sent from Santa Fe de Bogotá (Columbia) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Latin.

Viro Clarissimo,
Experientissimoque D[omi]n[o],
D[omi]n[o] Car[olo] Linné,
Equit[i],
Sal[utem] pl[urimam] des[iderat]
J[ohannes] C[elestinus] Mutis.

Credideram procul dubio literas tuas, V[ir] H[onoratissime], accepturum me hac occasione, ut enim rationem nullam plurium, quas hucusque ab Jullio anni 61 afferres saltem illarum, quas Octobri proxime praeterito scripsi rationem reddidisse existimarem. Etenim spe fere omni dejectus conatus omnes meos delusos sero novisse videor. Nisi enim literarum omnium exempla servassem, exscripta iterum, quae diversis temporibus Tecum communicavi, neque mittere rursus neque negligentiae nota, qua forsan inculpatus inficior apud Te, V[ir] H[onoratissime], cujus literarium commercium me magni pendere non semel significavi, vindicari possem. Litteris tuis benevolentiae plenissimis, quamprimum accepi, eo quidem tempore, quo literarum commercium Tecum inire meditabar amplissimum responsum dedi. Iterum Martio anni 62 epistolam alteram scripsisse memini, adjungendo simul Formicarum Americae qualescumque meas observationes, simulque tibi significando Faunam Suecicam editionis posthumanae, qua adhuc non sine gravissimo rerum mearum incomodo carere me novi desiderasse. Ejusdem etiam anni labentis Jullio posteriores literas per viam Caracas fortunae tradere maluissem fecit, quod obsidione Anglorum in Habanam commercium nostrum ulterius interruptum fuisse, literasque meas illac ad manus Tuas pervenire spem fere nullam superesse intellexerim. Tum etiam plantarum quarundam descriptiones, tum novae in Cartaginem Proregem nostrum comitante meae Peregrinationis notitiam, literis illis adjungebam. Postea autem finito tandem bello, et commercio satis inito, Majo anni 63 quartas literas Cartagine datas rursus mittere constitui apud me meroris plenam, et laborum meorum obeundi fructus, spe fere omni destitutum. Adjungere etiam illis peroptaturnum videbatur, et novae per aliam viam in priorem Proregis sedem peregrinationis ideam, et itineris Americani, quod jamdiu meditabar, prospectum Proregis nostri testimoniis honorificentissime confirmatum, Hispaniarum Regi Potentissimo tunc temporis missum. Anni itidem ejusdem Octobri post longam quinquaginta dierum peregrinationem priori sede restitutus nimis festinanter scripsi eo potentissimum consilio, quod interrupti fere ab initio commercii nostri causam manifestares, et me curis justo pressum tandem libertatum velles. Januario itidem anni 64 vix ex aegritudine gravissima emergens, et a plenissima taediis plurimis recidiva non plane recreatus, sextas literas scripsi, quibus tunc addidisse memini descriptionem cujusdam Cracis, cujus speciem plane novissimam mihi credendam fecit corona ejus instar ficus pulcherrima, qua avis insignitur. Nunc iterum septimas dare decrevi, et ab humanitate amplissima tua mihi sperandum existimo, ne Tibi, V[ir] H[onoratissime], arguta nimium haec sedulitas videatur. Quod enim Cl[arissimis] Viris Alstroemer et Logie decendentibus et tibi etiam primis literis amplissime pollicus sum me omnes res meas diligentissime Tibi perscriptarum summa fide fieri semper curavi, et ita fieri in posterum curabo, ut omnes meas literas denuo exscriptas ad manus tuas pervenire efficiam, ut alibi etiam significavi. Harum enim omnium exempla mittere possum, et si forte minus Te delectarent, ne molestiam Tibi cum impensis meis exhiberem, facias me certiorem perquam vellem. Nunc vero ob turbulentam Medicinae praxin, qua demergor, et labores novissimos Naturalis Philosophiae elementa publice docendi, nimia temporis angustia sic premor, ut Orationi inaugurali pro Philosophia Newtoniana contra Peripateticos ad Scholas coram Prorege amplissimo, et Judicibus Sapientissimis habendae, finem adhuc imponere non potuerim. Quamobrem incoepti etiam operis de glebis aureis memorabilibus exemplum hac occasione, uti erat animus ad te mittere, ut Academiae scientiarum illud communicares me non posse facile perspicies. Verum ne plane ineptissimae hae literae tibi viderentur, iconem et flores quosdam Chinchonae adjungere duxi. An descriptioni suae figuram ullam addiderit Celeberrimus de la Condamine vel an plantam siccam examinasse tibi licuerit necne, cum nullam notam in descriptione Chinchonae editionis Holmiae 54 videam, non plane mihi constat.

Ne multis. Recentissimas accepi literas Gadibus datas ab Amicissimo et Canditissimo Doctore Salvarezza, in quibus erat, ipsum Januario labentis anni quamdam meam ad te missam epistolam Domino Bellman tradidisse. At quaenam ex superioribus quas dedi et ornatissima serie recensere existimavi, quaenam ex iis inqum esse potuerit dubitare me faciunt plurimae literarum mearum infaustae sortes. Sed hoc erit certius, si tu V[ir] H[onoratissime], ad me idem scripseris. Quapropter literas tuas et operum tuorum exemplum osculari impatiens expecto. Fac, valeas, et Amici procul remotissimi sed sincero et cultu devotissimo Te prosequentis, sis memor. Iterum Vale!

Dabam in Santa Fé Bogota die 24 Septembris 1764.

upSUMMARY

José Celestino MútisMútis, José Celestino
(1732-1808). Spanish. Botanist.
Went to South America in 1760 and lived
in Bogotá, which due to him
became an important centre of learning.
His comprehensive herbarium, manuscripts
and numerous watercolour botanical
illustrations were sent to Spain after
his death. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
is disappointed that he has heard nothing from Linnaeus. He had written several letters since July 1761. He hoped, though, that Linnaeus would at least answer the letter he wrote in October the previous year [Mútis to Linnaeus, 6 October 1763Letter L3320]. Mútis has kept a copy of all the letters he has sent Linnaeus. He is prepared to send them again to show that he has not been negligent. Mútis answered fully to Linnaeus’s first letter that he received when he was thinking of starting a correspondence with Linnaeus himself [Mútis presumably refers to a letter, written by Linnaeus in 1761, which has not come down to us, nor Mútis reply to that letter, presumably the letter he mentioned at first, from July 1761]. He wrote to Linnaeus a second time, in March 1762 [this letter has not come down to us], with some remarks regarding the American ants. He then mentioned that he eagerly wished to receive the second edition of Linnaeus’s Fauna Svecica, 2nd edition Linnaeus, 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
insectorum, 2nd edition
(Stockholm,
1761). Soulsby no. 1153.
. In July 1762, Mútis wrote to Linnaeus again [this letter has not come down to us], this time by way of Caracas, since the English had attacked Havana. Mútis enclosed some descriptions of plants with an account of his recent journey to Carthagena in company with the Viceroy [Pedro Messía Corea de la CerdaMessía Corea de la Cerda,
Pedro
(1700-1783). Spanish.
Naval officer and colonial official.
From 1761-1773 he was viceroy of New
Granada (present-day Colombia,
Venezuela, Panama and Ecuador) at Santa
Fé, South America.
]. When the war was over Mútis wrote a fourth time, in May 1763 [this letter has not come down to us], from Carthagena. The letter was accompanied by a sketch of a new route and a prospectus of an American journey that he had long thought about.

In October 1763, after a journey of fifty days to his usual abode, Mútis wrote to Linnaeus again to ask why their correspondence had ended. In January 1764, having just recovered from a severe illness, he wrote a sixth letter [this letter has not come down to us] in which he gave a description of a species of Crax. Now for the seventh time he writes again.

At the departure of 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
Linnaeus
and Fredrik Logie Logie, 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.
, Mútis had all his papers copied so that he can send duplicates of his letters. In this way they are the more likely to reach Linnaeus. He is able to send copies of all that he has sent Linnaeus. He is very busy at the moment. There is the practice of physics and the lectures on natural philosophy that he is giving. He has not yet had time to finish his inaugural discourse in defence of the Newtonian philosophy against the peripatetics which will be delivered in the schools before the Viceroy and a very learned audience. Mútis also has no time to finish his ”De glebis aureis memorabilibus”, intended for the Academy of Sciences [it is unclear whether he means the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Kungliga Svenska VetenskapsakademienKungliga Svenska Vetenskapsakademien,
Swedish. The Royal Swedish
Academy of Sciences, Stockholm. Founded
in 1739.
or Royal Society of Sciences at Uppsala [Kungliga Vetenskaps-Societeten i UppsalaKungliga Vetenskaps-Societeten i
Uppsala,
Swedish. The Royal
Society of Sciences at Uppsala was
founded in 1728.
, no article on this subject, however, was published in their respective transactions]. However, he sends Linnaeus an illustration with some of the flowers of the Peruvian Bark. He is not sure whether Charles Marie de La CondamineLa Condamine, Charles Marie de
(1701-1774). French. Geographer and
mathematician.
has given any illustration together with his description. Mútis wonders whether Linnaeus has had an opportunity to examine a dried specimen of Cinchona, since he sees no indication of this in the generic description of this plant in Linnaeus’s edition of 1754.

Doctor SalvarezzaSalvarezza, Spanish.
Physician, Cadiz. Friend of José
Celestino Mútis.
of Cadiz, who is a friend of Mútis, had in January given one of Mútis’s letters for Linnaeus to Jacob Martin BellmanBellman, Jacob Martin
(1706-1786). Swedish. Merchant, Cadiz.
Swedish consul there 1742-1766. His
brother´s son was the author Carl
Michaël Bellman.
. However, he does not know which letter; so many have gone astray. Mútis wants to know which ones Linnaeus has received. He eagerly awaits a letter from Linnaeus and some of his works.

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. original holograph (LS, XI, 85-86). [1] [2] [3]

upEDITIONS

1. A selection (1821), vol. 2, p. 511-514   p.511  p.512  p.513  p.514.