Carl Linnaeus to Peter Collinson,
28 October 1766 n.s.
L3807. Carl LinnaeusCarl Linnaeus (1707-1778). Swedish.
to Peter CollinsonPeter Collinson (1694-1768). British.
Linnaeus thanks CollinsonCollinson, Peter (1694-1768).
The reason why Linnaeus has not sent the latest edition of Systema naturae is that it is not finished [Systema naturae, 12th edition Linnaeus, Carl Systema
Linnaeus cannot remember if he wrote and thanked Collinson for Sarracenia. In addition, the summer has been very difficult for Linnaeus. Due to a fire in Uppsala, Linnaeus had to move all his belongings into his country estate [Hammarby] in a great hurry and without order and to bring them into order again out there. After that, he had been summoned to the Court and had to be there for a long time without being able to see friends or attend to his own affairs.
Linnaeus has never had a Nectarina nucipersica alive, and he has not been able to see how close it is to the Persica. According to tradition, the Persica once came from Persia, if the Persica of tradition is the same as ours. However, that is more probable than that it would be a Persea. Linnaeus will try to find when it became known to botanists as soon as he returns to town. Linnaeus is still in the country and will move to town in a fortnight.
Autumn has never been milder than this year. Persica and Armeniaca are still green outdoors, but the leaves of the vitis were bitten by frost three days ago. The crop of grain has also been very rich this year.
Collinson has asked if swallows have an open foramen ovale, as the seals are said to have. Linnaeus does not know. The swallows left Uppsala three weeks ago. Nature is so rich in devices that you cannot see in advance how it is arranged. Is the bat not dead the whole winter and returns to life in spring like a flee? Who could know that the fungi are animals and that their eggs develop in water and live like fish before they transform into fungi? Linnaeus often thinks of the words of Pliny [Gaius Pliny the ElderPliny the Elder, Gaius (23-79).
Now, everybody is working on zoophyte, which Collinson could have in great numbers, and on molluscs, the nature of which is incompletely known. It would be good if Collinson could pay them some attention, if he has some strength left, for they can only be investigated by somebody who lives in the middle of the sea.
Some years ago, Linnaeus received a substantial collection of insects from the governor of the Cape of Good Hope [Linnaeus refers to C. Rijk TulbaghTulbagh, C. Rijk (1699-1771).
Linnaeus sends his regards to their mutual friends and wishes Collinson a happy life.
1. “Peter Collinson om vegetativa mutationer samt ett brev från Linné” (1956), p. 299-307 .