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Link: • Peter Collinson to Carl Linnaeus, 1 May 1765 n.s.
Dated May 1st: 1765. Sent from London (Great Britain) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in English.


Peter CollinsonCollinson, Peter (1694-1768).
British. Merchant and amateur naturalist
in London, corresponded with many
scientists. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
is glad that he can expect Linnaeus to be well again after his illness.

Collinson thanks Linnaeus for his letter of December 1 [Linnaeus to Collinson, 1 December 1764Letter L6083], and he congratulates Linnaeus on his recovery and on his daughter’s [Elisabeth Christina BergencrantzBergencrantz, Elisabeth Christina
(1743-1782). Swedish. Daughter of
Carl Linnaeus and Sara Elisabet Linnaea.
Sister of Carl Linnaeus the Younger and
of Louisa, Sara Christina and Sophia
Linnaea. Married to Carl Fredrik
Bergencrantz.Mother of Sara Elisabeth
] wedding. Collinson thinks back on the time that has elapsed since Linnaeus visited him in London, and he is surprised at how much happens during a short human life.

Collinson was sure Linnaeus had received John Ellis’sEllis, John (1711-1776).
British. Merchant and naturalist, expert
on zoophytes. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
account of the Penna marina [Collinson refers to ”An account of the sea pen, or Pennatula phosphorea of Linnaeus"Ellis, John ”An account of the
sea pen, or Pennatula phosphorea of
Linnaeus; likewise a description of a
new species of sea pen, found on the
coast of South-Carolina, with
observations on sea-pens in general. In
a letter to the honourable Coote
Molesworth, Esq; M.D. and F.R.S”,
Philosophical Transactions of the
Royal Society of London
, 53 (1764),
], for he knew Ellis had sent it as soon as it was published. Collinson sent a copy to Abraham BäckBäck, Abraham (1713-1795).
Swedish. Physician, president of the
Collegium Medicum, Stockholm. Close
friend of Linnaeus. Correspondent of
and Linnaeus can see it there, but Collinson would have sent it to Linnaeus if he had known that Ellis’s letter had been lost.

Collinson is sorry that Peter ForsskålForsskål, 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.
is dead, but he is glad that Forsskål lived long enough to send Linnaeus the Opobalsamum, on which the opinions of botanists were divided.

Collinson is surprised at Linnaeus’s ability to produce such great works as the catalogues of the Royal collections [Collinson refers to Museum S:ae R:ae M:tis Adolphi Friderici RegisLinnaeus, Carl Museum S:ae
R:ae M:tis Adolphi Friderici Regis
Suecorum [...] in quo animalia rariora
imprimis et exotica: quadrupedia, aves,
amphibia, pisces, insecta, vermes
describuntur et determinantur, Latine et
Suetice cum iconibus
and Museum s:ae m:tis Ludovicae Ulricae reginaeLinnaeus, Carl Museum s:ae
m:tis Ludovicae Ulricae reginae

(Stockholm 1764). Soulsby no. 1095a.
], and it is a work that suits Linnaeus well. However, he asks if there will be engravings published of those insects that are described only in text, for illustrations are necessary to get a real idea of the items.

Collinson congratulates Linnaeus for being able to stay at home and receive collections and specimens from all over the world.

Adam KuhnKuhn, Adam (1741-1817).
American. Physician, Philadelphia.
Studied under Linnaeus at Uppsala
University in 1762-1763. Linnaeus’s only
American student. Correspondent of
is translating Linnaeus’s travels into English, and Collinson looks forward to studying them.

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 successful with the [British] Museum and has been engaged to survey the museum of the Duchess of Portland [Margaret Cavendish BentinckBentinck, Margaret Cavendish
(c.1718-1785). British. Duchess of
Portland. Patron of natural history in
Englnad, owner of a collection of
shells. Born Harley.
], containing many shells, marine creatures, gems and stones.

Collinson offers Linnaeus some seeds from Maryland that will interest him. Linnaeus is free to give specimens to his friends, if he gets too many of one kind.

Spring is approaching, and the gardens are very entertaining.

Collinson had heard that Linnaeus did not think Saracena could flower in England. He assures that he has had both species of them flowering in his garden for many years, and the flower buds are now one inch high. It is a wonderful flower, and Georg Dionysius EhretEhret, Georg Dionysius
(1710-1770). German/British. Botanical
illustrator. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
has made a fine painting of it. It is a bog plant, like Ledum palustre, which is also flowering. Collinson knows how to cultivate them, and he will tell Linnaeus his method if Linnaeus wants him to. The leaves are special, for they collect rain and dew to help the plants in dry weather.

A work with the title The British zoologyPennant, Thomas The British
, 4 vols. (London,
began to appear in 1763 with Thomas PennantPennant, Thomas (1726-1798).
British. Naturalist, best known for his
works on zoology. Correspondent of
as editor. Three parts are published, and it will be finished next winter. Collinson encloses some information about it, and each volume with 25 plates costs two guineas.

P.S. 1. Collinson is waiting for the first ships of the year from Sweden, which will bring him his copy of Systema naturae, 10th editionLinnaeus, Carl Systema
, 10th edition (Stockholm
1758-1759). Soulsby no. 58.

P.S. 2. Collinson has observed that the martins return two or three weeks before the swallows. He wonders if this means that these two kinds of birds do not go to the same place, for if they did, they would arrive together.

P. S. 3.Collinson wonders if there can be no seeds of Cimicifuga.


a. original holograph (LS, XVII, 78-79). [1] [2] [3]


1. A selection (1821), vol. 1, p. 64-67   p.64  p.65  p.66  p.67.
2. “Forget not Mee & My Garden ...” (2002), p. 261-263 .