-Search for letters
-Search in texts






Link: • Peter Collinson to Carl Linnaeus, 25 September 1766 n.s.
Dated Sepn:25:1766. Sent from London (Great Britain) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in English.


During 1765, Peter CollinsonCollinson, Peter (1694-1768).
British. Merchant and amateur naturalist
in London, corresponded with many
scientists. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
has had sent Linnaeus three letters [Collinson to Linnaeus, 1 May 1765Letter L3596, 30 June 1765Letter L5984, 17 September 1765Letter L3635, the last with leaves of the Saracena and two specimens of Erica Cantabrica. Since a year has passed without an answer from Linnaeus, Collinson is annoyed at being treated so badly after so many years’ friendship.

Linnaeus is particularly annoyed that Linnaeus has not fulfilled his promise to send him the latest edition of Systema naturae, 10th editionLinnaeus, Carl Systema
, 10th edition (Stockholm
1758-1759). Soulsby no. 58.
, and he doubts he will get it before he dies. Collinson is tired of taking the matter up again and again, and he will send Linnaeus’s own letters back to him to show him that he really had promised it. He will not return to the matter again, however.

Some time ago, Collinson had observed a twig in a peach tree, two inches long, with a peach on one side and a nectarine on the other. The two fruits actually touched each other.

Since this is not the first time that Collinson has seen natural nectarines in peach trees, Collinson concludes that nectarines are an offspring of peaches.

Collinson has several different specimens, and they have grown from stones. On one instance, somebody eating a nectarine threw the stone away, and it came up. At first, Collinson thought the plant was a peach, but it developed into a nectarine plant and it brings fruits of a high quality. 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.
had seen it full of fruit, ripening two weeks later than those which grow against a wall. Thus, it can be considered as proven that nectarine trees can be produced from stones without grafting or budding.

Collinson wonders if Linnaeus or one of his pupils can find in his library if nectarines were known to ancient people, when they are first mentioned in botanical literature and from where it came.

The summer was very wet, which damaged the crop, but the harvest season was dry. However, the ears of wheat are very light, although Collinson hopes there will be enough to feed the nation. All export of corn has been stopped, to prevent sales to foreign markets and higher local prices.

On the other hand, the supply of hay is abundant, due to the wet weather, and the gardens are extremely beautiful. Collinson has not taken any of his exotic plants indoors, for there was no frost before October 4, and the plants fared better outdoors. Collinson is very glad to see the great variety of plants in his garden.

John HopeHope, John (1725-1786).
British. Doctor of medicine, professor
of botany, Edinburgh. Correspondent of
came from Edinburgh to see Collinson’s garden, and he was highly delighted to see so many new and curious plants that he had not seen elsewhere. He took several specimens with him back to Edinburgh.

Collinson hopes Linnaeus’s son [Carl Linnaeus the Younger Linnaeus the Younger, Carl
(1741-1783). Swedish. Botanist. Son of
Carl Linnaeus and Sara Elisabet Linnaea.
Brother of Elisabeth Christina, Louisa,
Sara Christina and Sophia Linnaea.
Attended his father’s lectures, had
private tutors (Löfling, Rolander,
Solander and Falk, all Linnaeus’s
students). Demonstrator of botany at
Uppsala. Succeeded his
] will come to England and visit him. It would please him very much.

In the Prince of Wales’s garden at Kew, Protea maior is flowering, and the Andrachne has flowered in John Fothergill’sFothergill, John (1712-1780).
British. Physician and collector of
natural history objects. Studied in
Holland, France and Germany. His cabinet
of zoological and mineralogical
specimens as well as his botanical
garden at Upton were well known.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
garden. Georg Dionysius EhretEhret, Georg Dionysius
(1710-1770). German/British. Botanical
illustrator. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
has painted it, and Collinson will send Linnaeus a print when it has been engraved.

Collinson asks about Linnaeus’s health and wishes him a long life.

P.S. 1. Collinson sends his greetings to Linnaeus’s son.

P.S. 2. dated October 4, 1766, returns to some issues:

Linnaeus’s latest letter to Collinson was dated August 15, 1765 [this letter has not come down to us].

Collinson mentions that it is the foramen ovale in the heart of the seal that makes it able to stay under water for a long time. If something similar could be discovered in the heart of the swallow, Collinson would no longer doubt that the swallow hibernates in the bottom of lakes. Collinson has tried to make Linnaeus help him to settle this issue, but Linnaeus has been deaf to all these proposals.

Collinson has seen several new animals from America, and he supposes Solander will report to Linnaeus about them.


a. original holograph (LS, XVII, 83-84). [1] [2] [3]


1. A selection (1821), vol. 1, p. 70-73   p.70  p.71  p.72  p.73.
2. “Forget not Mee & My Garden ...” (2002), p. 269-271 .