Documentation

Letters

-Search for letters
-Search in texts

Manuscripts

Editions

Links

Contact

C18

Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L3789 • Johannes Beckman to Carl Linnaeus, 14 August 1766 n.s.
Dated die XIV. Augusti 1766. Sent from Bremen (Germany) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Latin.

Vir illustris,
Fautor omni pietate colende,

Tandem aliquando tantum temporis nactus sum, ut TE de reditu meo in patriam certiorem facere possim. Iam vero meum est, TIBI, Vir illustris, qui me favore TUO & doctrina ornasti, gratias quam maximas agere. Persuasum TIBI habeas velim, me omnem occasionem arrepturum esse, TIBI TUISque gratum meum animum testificandi. Per totam vitam meam summa cum jucunditate TUI TUAEque doctrinae memoriam renovabo. Nam ego haud paullo Te vidisse et audivisse docentem malim, quam omnium eorum fortunas, qui in Galliam se oblectandi caussa abeunt.

Dedi omnem operam Hafniae, ut, quae miserunt viri eruditi ex Arabia, viderem, sed frustra. Nam quae sunt missa ab iis, in manus venerant imperitorum, ita ut iam omnia fere sint dilapidata & corrupta. Neque vel unicam plantam vidi novam in horto botanico, quia semina missa nunquam terrae mandata sunt. Celeb[errimus] Oeder non erat Hafniae, sed in provinciis Germaniae, quae sub ditione Danorum sunt, collecturus plantas ad Floram Danicam! Sed celeb[errimus] Zöga quaecunque visu erant digna ostendit mihi. In museo Moltkiano unicam speciem Cardii novam ex Arabia vidi, eamque omnium specierum pulcerrimam & artificiosissimam; cuius figuram propediem in opere Regenfusii videbis, in quod opus in posterum non Kratzenstein, sed Spengler dabit commentarium.

Cel[eberrimus] Ascanius servabat in museo Academiae animal, quod prorsus Di- delph[em] marsupialem refert, sed cui mammae extra abdomen & sine marsupio sunt, cuiusque figuram cel[eberrimus] Ascanius reperire non potuit. Num forte mas? Colligo hoc ex amoenit[atum] academ[icarum] 1 p. 279. At nonne tunc character in System[ate] Nat[urae] mutandus?

Cel[eberrimus] Spengler editurus est descriptiones & figuras conchiliorum rariorum collectionis suae, cui nonnulla insunt nova. Sed quid, quaeso, hoc? Erat ibi globus sine rugis & ramis, cuius diameter circiter 8 pollicum, e materia stuposa, qui intus habebat cancrum, cuius tantum chela ex augusto foramine eminebat. Num forte Alcyonium bursa? Jonstonus iam delineavit globum eiusmodi cum cancro.

Lubecae familiaritate Testorpii mercatoris divitis & eruditi fruitus sum, qui Tibi salutem perscribere iussit. Possidet pennam alarem sive remigem talem, qualem apud Te in praedio, ni fallor, vidi, quae habet 18 ocellos pulcerrimos. Longitudo eius spectantes in admirationem traducit, cum avis ipsa ingentis haud dubie erit magnitudinis. Frustra ubique hanc avem inquisivi, nihil nisi figuram hujus pennae inveni apud Olearium in Museo Gottorpiano Tab. 14. Fig. 4., qui vero auctor ne unum quidem verbum de ave protulit. Rogo Te vehementer, & rogat etiam Testorpius, ut me quae sit avis doceas.

Mirum mihi visum est frustum Matris perlarum, in quo erant pholades, quem ad modum in lapidibus esse solent. Ergo non lapides modo, sed testas adeo concharum possunt intrare, nec sunt ergo semper in altitudine superficiei aquae.

Nuper Anglus quidam in diario Anglicano, quod inscribitur Gentlemans Magazine, figuram dedit & descriptionem echini cuiusdam petrificati, cui adhaerent etiam nunc spinae tales, quales Lapides judaici sunt, ita ut nullum iam dubium esse videatur, quin isti lapides revera sint spinae echini, qui secundum figuram ad similitudinem echini mammillaris quam maxime accedit.

Alius vir mihi ignotus docuit nuper, animalcula ista in aceto esse vere larvas muscarum minimarum, quae in cellis vinariis frequentes esse dicuntur.

Squali vivipari sunt; at vidi squalum, qui Tibi Achantias vocatur, cui e medio corpore inter pinnas pectorales dependet vesica ovalis, tenuis, pellucida, ponderosa, arcte, repleta materia lutea, palpabili. Funiculus, quo haec vesica corpori connexa est, est longitudine unius pollicis. Est certe piscis, quem vidi, Squal[us] Achantias. Nam omnis Artedi descriptio p. 102. convenit. Quae vero diversa sunt, haec sunt tantummodo: piscis mei rostrum non est pellucidum; dentes nullos habet; foramina subtilissima inter oculos non vidi, corpus illud oblongum, quod in pinnis pectoralibus observavit Artedi, non perfecte adest, sed eius rudimentum adesse videtur. Num forte Squalus meus, de quo loquor, iuvenis est? Longitudo quidem huius piscis est 8 pollic[um] longitudo vesicae 2 ¼ pollic[um] diameter vesicae, ubi maxima 1 pollicis. Grato animo agnoscam. Vir illustris, si me, quid sibi velit haec vesica, vel uno verbo docere velis.

Non nescis Kraschennikovium historiam Kamtschatiae Russiae contexuisse. Iam habemus interpretationem Germanicam. Verum nihil novi ibi inveni, nisi quod Harengi per autumnum in lacubus pariunt, unde postea in mare redeunt.

lllustri Michaeli Goettingensi vehementer placuit argumentum botanicum a Te in dissertatione Karamischevi prolatum, quia illud confirmat sententiam, quam de Paradisi situ ex argumentis philologicis proposuit in praefatione ad compendium suum theologiae dogmaticae pag. 50. Descripseram etiam ista verba dissertationis Tuae celeberrimo Schlözero professori historiarum Petropolitano, qui ista repetiit & vehementer col¬laudavit in historia sua Russiae pag. 45.

Ignoscas mihi, Vir illustris, qui nondum Tibi lectu digna scribere potui. Veni Bremam die XI Augusti, ubi per aliquod tempus apud sororem meam mansurus sum, non parum sollicitus de incerta & anci¬piti rerum mearum fortuna. Nondum enim scio, quid agam. Obtulit quidem iterum Academia Petropolitana adiuncti officium, quod vero in me suscipere nolo ob rationes gravissimas. Tu, Vir illustris, multum sane me poteris iuvare, si, quemadmodum pro humanitate et favore erga me Tuo, pollicitus es, commendare velis Ottoni Munchhusio, qui mihi a Te admonitus facile locum inter professores Goettingenses com¬parabit. Iste vir illustris habet officium tale, quale habent in Suecia Landshöfdinge, vivitque Harburgi prope Hamburgum. Sed non erat ibi, quando eo veniebam, quam ob rem nuper ei scripsi omnia, quae me ei dicere iubebas. Est ille liber Baro Munchhusius non frater sed affinis atque intimus amicus istius Munchhusii, qui in patria mea clavum im¬perii tenet.

Quod reliquum est, Te, Vir illustris, rogo atque oro, ut me commendes illustri uxori totique familiae Tuae, atque ut favere pergas

Illustris nominis Tui cultori observantissimo
Johanni Beckmanno.

Bremae die XIV Augusti 1766.

[address]
A mons[ieur] Beckmann
à
Bremen
Bey H[err] Kaufmann Herm[an] Conrad Dwerhagen.

upSUMMARY

Johannes BeckmanBeckman, Johannes (1739-1811).
German. Professor of economy,
Göttingen. After a two-year stay in
St Petersburg, he travelled in Sweden
and Denmark in 1765-1766. Correspondent
of Linnaeus.
has at last had time to write to Linnaeus and tell him about his return to Germany. He is very grateful to Linnaeus and promises to take every opportunity to show his gratitude. His visit to Linnaeus is more worth to him than the fortunes of all those who go to France for pleasure.

In Copenhagen, Beckman had tried to be allowed to see what had been sent from the group of Danish scholars in Arabia, but in vain. What had come from there was in bad shape. No seeds had been sown, so that Beckman had not seen one new species in the botanical garden. Georg Christian von OederOeder, Georg Christian von
(1728-1791). German/Danish. Botanist
and economist. Studied under Albrecht
von Haller in Göttingen and became
professor of botany at Copenhagen.
Minister of finance for Norway. Started
the publishing of Flora Danica.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
was away collecting plants for [Flora danica]. Icones plantarum sponte nascentium in regnis Daniae et NorvegiaeOeder, Georg Christian von
[Flora danica.] [Flora danica].
Icones plantarum sponte nascentium in
regnis Daniae et Norvegiae, in ducatibus
Slesvici et Holsatiae, et in comitatibus
Oldenburgi et Delmenhorstiae: ad
illustrandum opus de iisdem plantis,
regio jussu exarandum, Florae danicae
nomine inscriptum
, 17 vol., Suppl.
(1 v.) (Copenhagen 1766 [i.e.
1761]-1883).
, but Johan ZoegaZoëga, Johan (1742-1788).
Danish. Botanist and economist.
Linnaeus’s student 1762-1764.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
had shown him some plants, and he had also visited Adam Gottlob Moltke’sMoltke, Adam Gottlob
(1710-1792). Danish. High court
official at Frederik V, statesman and
diplomat.
collections where he had seen a new Cardium from Arabia, to be published in a future work by Franz Michael RegenfussRegenfuss, Franz Michael
(1713-1780). German. Engraver and
art-dealer. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, Christian Gottlieb KratzensteinKratzenstein, Christian Gottlieb
(1723-1795). Danish. Physician and
physicist. Professor in Halle, from 1754
professor of experimental physics at
Copenhagen. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
and Lorenz SpenglerSpengler, Lorenz (1720-1807).
Swiss. Swiss-born zoologist, who moved
to Copenhagen, Denmark in 1743.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
[Beckman refers to the forthcoming Choix de Coquillages et de CrustacésRegenfuss, Franz Michael
Choix de coquillages et de
crustacés peints d'après
nature, gravés, en taille douce
et illuminés de leurs vraïes
couleurs
(Copenhagen 1758).
, where Spengler was responsible for a great amount of text].

Pehr AscaniusAscanius, Peder (1723-1803).
Danish. Naturalist. Inspector of mines,
Norway. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
had shown him a strange animal, new to both of them. Linnaeus had published something similar in Amoenitates academicaeLinnaeus, Carl Amoenitates
academicae
, I-X (Stockholm
1749-1790). Soulsby no. 1280.
, so Beckman asks for Linnaeus’s opinion.

Spengler is about to publish descriptions and pictures of rare shells in his collection. Beckman asks for Linnaeus’s opinion on the name of a round shell, eight inches in diameter, with a crab inside that just showed a claw outside the small opening of the shell.

In Lübeck, Beckman has visited Peter Hinrich TesdorpfTesdorpf, Peter Hinrich
(1712-1778). German. Merchant,
Lübeck. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, from whom he has greetings for Linnaeus. There, he saw an enormous quill with eighteen beautiful ornaments in the form of eyes. Neither Beckman nor Tesdorpf had an idea of the species of bird, which must have been enormous. They ask Linnaeus to tell them.

Beckman had also seen mother-of-pearl perforated by worms, like some kinds of stone, so Beckman concludes that these worms can get inside clams and are not confined to the water.

Beckman relates a notice published in The Gentleman’s Magazine on an Echinitis [Jacques-François DelucDeluc, Jacques-François
(1698-1780). .
and Jean-André DelucDeluc, Jean-André
(1727-1817). .
, ”On a very remarkable English Echinitis”Deluc, Jacques-François &
Jean-André Deluc
”On a very
remarkable English Echinitis”, The
Gentleman’s Magazine
, 36 (1766),
207-208.
] and recent information on the small larvae found in wine cellars.

Beckman had come across a specimen of the spiny dogfish, Squalus achantias, which was not quite the same as the one depicted by Peter ArtediArtedi, Peter (1705-1735).
Swedish. Ichtyologist. Close friend of
Linnaeus.
. Beckman specifies the differences and wants to know what they mean.

Stephan Petrovich Krascheninnikow’sKrascheninnikov, Stephan Petrovich
(1713-1755). Russian. Professor
of natural history, St Petersburg. Went
with Johann Georg Gmelin to Siberia and
came as the only member of the
expedition to Kamchatka. Correspondent
of Linnaeus.
description of Kamtchatka has been published in a translation into German [Opisanie Zemli Kamtschatkj […] d.i. Beschreibung des Landes KamtschatkaKrascheninnikov, Stephan Petrovich
Opisanie Zemli Kamtschatkj […]
d.i. Beschreibung des Landes
Kamtschatka
(Lemgo, 1766).
].

Johann David MichaelisMichaëlis, Johann David
(1717-1791). German. Professor of
Oriental languages, Göttingen.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
had been very pleased by the botanical information supplied by Linnaeus in Aleksandr Matveevich Karamyschew’sKaramyschew, Aleksandr Matveevich
(1744-1791). Russian. Disciple of
Linnaeus.
dissertation [Dissertatio academica demonstrans necessitatem promovendae historiae naturalis in RossiaLinnaeus, Carl Dissertatio
academica demonstrans necessitatem
promovendae historiae naturalis in
Rossia
, diss., resp. A. M.
Karamyschew (Upsala 1766). Soulsby no.
2323.
], since it had supported a theory of his on the location of the garden of Eden. The same information had also been forwarded to August Ludwig von Schlözer’sSchlözer, August Ludwig von
(1735-1809). German. Historian,
professor in Göttingen.
in St. Petersburg. [Schlözer referred to this in his Probe Russischer AnnalenSchlözer, August Ludwig von
Probe Russischer Annalen (Bremen
& Göttingen, 1768).
].

For himself, Beckman reports that he has reached Bremen, where he was staying with his sister. He does not know anything about his future, except that he has an offer from St. Petersburg which he does not want to accept. He asks Linnaeus to recommend him to Otto von MünchhausenMünchhausen, Otto von
(1716-1774). German. Chancellor of
Göttingen University. Correspondent
of Linnaeus.
, who could easily get Beckman a professorship in Göttingen. Beckman has tried to see him but he was not there when Beckman arrived.

Beckman sends his regards to Linnaeus and to all his family.

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. original holograph (LS, I, 491-492). [1] [2] [3]

upEDITIONS

1. Bref och skrifvelser (1916), vol. II:1, p. 257-260   p.257  p.258  p.259  p.260.