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Link: • John Ellis to Carl Linnaeus, 21 October 1766 n.s.
Dated Oct. 21 1766. Sent from London (Great Britain) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in English.

By a Ship just arrivd from South Carolina, I have rec’d a letter, dated Aug[u]st 5, [a][a] : MS. 1 dated ... 5 [added above
the line
from our friend D[octo]r Garden, with one inclos’d in it for you which he has left open for me to read, as it contains the descriptions of 9 of those plants[b][b] : MS. 1 plants [added above the
he calls new Genera, there is nothing new in the Letter, only he advises that he has sent you the Specimens of those new plants in a pacquet, some few insects, and a bottle containing one of his new animal, your Siren, and 3 fishes, one of which he says is new. In the same letter, and in mine, he says that he has met with the Siren from 4 Inches to 3 feet & ½ long,[c][c] : MS 1 long [added above the
and that he never observed any difference, So that it must be a distinct Genus of Animal. These things as soon as I receive them from on board the Ship, I shall forward to you by the best method I can think of, together with his letter, which is rather too bulky for the Post. He further says he has rec’d your too letters which I inclos’d him. viz. one of the 15th of August 1765 and one of the 27th of December, 1765; but that your letter of the the 19th of May, 1765, which you mention, never came to his hand, and he therefore desires you, if there was any thing new in it, to send him a copy of it.

Since I wrote to you last I have been endeavouring to investigate the nature of your genus Corallina, and have lately added several new Species, some of which I have rec’d from the new ceded Islands in the West Indies.

I am the more sollicitous about them, as I find the French and D[octo]r Baster seem to think them Vegetables; particularly D[octo]r Baster supposes them nothing but Confervae incrustated. At the same time I am endeavouring to shew the nature of some of the Confervae, I have discover’d in the Polymorpha male parts in one plant, & what appears like an Amentum, and capsules full of Seeds, in another. The same I have seen in the Conferva plumosa, there is a bad figure of it in Pluken[e]t, Tab. 48. fig. 2. Dillenius has given a better figure, Ed. 3 of Ray’s Syn. Tab. 2. fig. 5, & calls it Fucoides purpureum eleganter plumosum. I have found the same male and Female parts[d][d] : MS 1 male ... parts [added
above the line
in the Fucoides rubens varie dissectum, of R. Syn. p. 37. I have a Conferva with fruit like a Rubus, when it is seen through a microscope, and this fruit is surrounded with petals, and sits on a footstalk. I expect to have the plate of these curious Confervae engraved, before Christmas. As also a figure of the Coluber Cerastes from a curious specimen I presented to the Royal Society. It was given me by D[octo]r Turnbull, who remembers poor Hasselquist, he brought it from Alexandria, where they say it is poysonous.

M[iste]r Gregg, who formerly sent me the kidneyshapd Sea Pen from Carolina, has lately sent to Lord Hillsborough, a curious collection of Specimens of Plants, which he gather’d himself in the Islands of Tobago, St. Vincent, Granada, and Dominica. Among them are the Brownea and Sloanea, the latter agrees with Loefling’s description exactly, so that what Miller has seen must be a chestnut. Besides these plants, there are some curious Birds and Submarine animals. When D[octo]r Solander and I have look’d them over, they are intended for the British Museum. There is, among the Sea production an Actinia, that arises, many together, in a row from wrinkled tubes, which Tubes[e][e] : MS 1 Tubes [added above the
adhere firmly to rocks, shells, &c.; this seems to come near to the Tubularia.

I shall send you a Specimen of them preservd in Spirits. I should be glad to know What you call Bohadsch’s Hydra; for there are many of them in that part of the world, and likewise what you call his Tethys. In the Actinia there are 2 rows of Tentacula, that surround the mouth at the top of it. The lines that run up & down are the tendons of the muscles[f][f] : MS. 1 of ... muscles [added
above the line
by which it extends & contracts itself.

While I am writing this Letter, Solander is examining some of L[ord] Hillsborough’s plants, and among them is the Jacquinia armillaris, or Chrysophyllum Barbano of Loefling wherin he says Loefling’s description is more accurate than any[g][g] : MS 1 any [added above the
other, especially in the figure of the Stigma and insertion of the filaments.

This is called the Dwarf Gum tree, and is common on the Sea Coast in all our new Islands.

N.B. Your description of the Calyx is most exact of any.

I wish you would continue to write to me[h][h] : MS 1 me [added above the
often, it will make me spare more time than I have done for the amusement of so agreeable a Correspondent as you are, and one whom I honour and regard so much.

Before I conclude I must tell you, I have met with a most remarkable Sponge near Chichester at Emsworth in Sussex in company with M[iste]r Brunnich, which I shall soon send you the plate of. M[iste]r Brunnich is now in Cornwall, he met with an accident in Wales from a fall from his horse, which has detained him longer than he intended.

My best Wishes attend you; and be assured of the love, honour, & esteem of, D[ea]r Sir, your obligd humble Serv[an]t,
John Ellis.

P.S. I have a New Pennatula, or Sea pen, the Largest and most Elegant I have seen, from the East Indies. I have had a drawing made of it; it is about 10 Inches long. I intend to have it engrav’d as soon as I can get a proper person to do it.

The R[igh]t Honorable
Sir Charles von Linné
Knight of the Polar Star
at Upsal
in Sweden
Post P[ai]d


Not yet available


a. original holograph (LS, XVII, 127-128). [1] [2] [3]


1. A selection (1821), vol. 1, p. 187-191   p.187  p.188  p.189  p.190  p.191.


MS. 1 dated ... 5 [added above the line]
MS. 1 plants [added above the line]
MS 1 long [added above the line]
MS 1 male ... parts [added above the line]
MS 1 Tubes [added above the line]
MS. 1 of ... muscles [added above the line]
MS 1 any [added above the line]
MS 1 me [added above the line]