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Link: • John Ellis to Carl Linnaeus, 5 December 1766 n.s.
Dated Dec. 5 1766. Sent from London (Great Britain) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in English.


I am oblig’d to you for sending me D[octo]r Gardens account of the Siren. I am sorry I could not get the rest of the things he sent you before the Ship saild, when I sent you the Specimens of plants. I have only got the Insects, which are of little value, and the Skin of a Siren. The things in spirits are not yet brought on shore but I hope to get them and as soon as I have an opportunity will send them to you. Peter Collinson spent the evening with me, and shew’d me a Letter you wrote to him about fungus’s being alive in the seeds, and swimming about like fish; you mention something of it to me in your last Letter. If you have examin’d the seeds of them yourself and found them to be little animals I should believe it. Pray what time of the year, and what kinds? I suppose they must be taken while growing and in a vigorous State. I intend to try, I think my glass will discover them, if they have animal life in them. The seeds of the Equisetum palustre appear to be alive by their twisting motion, when view’d through the microscope; but that is not animal life.

I have just finishd a collection of the Corallinae. I think there are 36 species, but[a][a] : MS. 1 but [added above the
I believe some of them will prove varieties. I have most of the copper[b][b] : MS. 1 copper [added above the
plates that represent them finish’d. They are most difficult to examine of all the Zoophytes; their pores are so small, and their manner of growing so singular. I have got a Copper Plate of the Coluber Cerastes finishd. I send you inclosd a copy of it; I have not yet given it in to the Royal Society. I had 2 specimens sent me from Egypt. I sent one to the Royal Society, upon Condition that it should be drawn & engrav’d, because the Figures in Alpinus are very indifferent. The person who gave it to me says it is[c][c] : MS. 1 is [added above the
accounted very venomous in Egypt. The teeth of these Specimens were taken out, for I could find none, it is drawn exactly of its natural Size.

I have just rec’d an acc[oun]t that I have[d][d] : MS. 1 I have [added above the
a pot of Seeds inclosd in wax, from the Northern parts of China, which[e][e] : MS. 1 which [added above the
is now on board an East India Ship lately arriv’d. I hope they will prove curious. They are for a present to her Roayl Highness the Princess Dowager of Wales, to be taken care of by M[iste]r Aiton, who is the best gardener for exotics in England. As soon as I get a copper plate engraved of my new Actinia I will send you a copy. I hope it will be done in two months at farthest. It is the most curious discovery among the Zoophytes (unless your Fungi) that has appeared for some years past. I think, from their rising out of this creeping tube, by which they adhere, they join the Actinias to the Sertularias. D[octo]r Fothergill has sent me a fine Specimen of the Isis Hippuris, with the true natural[f][f] : MS. 1 true natural [added above
the line
fleshy or calcareous whitish[g][g] : MS. 1 whitish [added above the
covering. The whole surface is full of holes, where the polype like suckers protrude themselves, each having 8 rays.

Pray let me know how your Teatree grows. It is very odd that, nothwithstanding we have had 15 Ships from China this year, we have not had one teatree brought home alive. I have sent a boy to China, whose dependance is on me, to try to bring over several sorts of Seeds in Wax. I expect him home next summer.

The English are much obliged to you for your good wishes. We every day see a Superiority in the Swedes over the other European Nations. All your people that appear among us are polite, wellbred, and learned; without the Vanity of the French, the heaviness of the Dutch, or the impudence of the Germans. This last nation has intruded on us[h][h] : MS. 1 on us [added above the
swarms of their miserable, half-starved[i][i] : MS. 1 half-starved [added above
the line
people, from the connexion that our Royal Family have had with them.

Let me hear often from you, it will oblige me to write, & find out something new to entertain you.

Sir, I am, with great Respect,
Your obligd & affectionate Friend,
John Ellis.

To The Right Honorable
Sir Charles Von Linné
Knight of the Polar Star
at Upsal
Post P[ai]d


Not yet available


a. original holograph (LS, XVII, 129). [1] [2]


1. A selection (1821), vol. 1, p. 191-194   p.191  p.192  p.193  p.194.


MS. 1 but [added above the line]
MS. 1 copper [added above the line]
MS. 1 is [added above the line]
MS. 1 I have [added above the line]
MS. 1 which [added above the line]
MS. 1 true natural [added above the line]
MS. 1 whitish [added above the line]
MS. 1 on us [added above the line]
MS. 1 half-starved [added above the line]