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Link: • Peter Collinson to Carl Linnaeus, 16 March 1767 n.s.
Dated March 16th 1767. Sent from Mill Hill (Great Britain) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in English.


Peter CollinsonCollinson, Peter (1694-1768).
British. Merchant and amateur naturalist
in London, corresponded with many
scientists. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
has retired to a small villa, where he admires the laws of vegetation and sees the swelling buds of the trees.

Collinson had read that the winter had been very severe, as Öresund had been frozen. Collinson could not imagine cold with that force.

Also England had had a severe winter, but not as severe as that of 1740. It had lasted for a month up till January 21, when the thaw began. Warm and sunny days began on February 1, and so it continued, so that Helleborus niger appeared fine on February 8, Galanthus and Acconitus vernalis on February 15, followed by crocus, violets and Primula veris. Collinson is delighted by the order of Nature and by the gifts of God Almighty.

Now, these plants have given place to others of a more tender nature, so that the garden is covered with more than 20 variants of Crocus, produced from seeds, and by Iris Persica, Cyclamen vernalis and Polyanthos. On March 16, Hyacinthus caeruleus and H. albus came in plenty, with anemones, Narcissus – Collinson’s favourites nowadays –and Polyanthus. Of the last, there are two wild species in the woods. Tulipa praecox comes next, and thus, Flora covers the garden with a variety of flowers.

Collinson hopes Linnaeus will be pleased by this report about the progress of Spring up to the middle of March.

Collinson thanks Linnaeus for his letter of October 8, 1766, promising to send Collinson a copy of Systema naturae, 10th editionLinnaeus, Carl Systema
, 10th edition (Stockholm
1758-1759). Soulsby no. 58.
. Collinson hopes he will see it.

Collinson understands the distress caused by the fire in Uppsala in 1766, and he is glad that Linnaeus could save his papers and books. He hopes they are now in good order again, so that Linnaeus can ask a pupil to look for the origin of the nectarine in the earlier botanical literature, when it was first described, and how and when it was introduced into Europe.

Collinson refers to his description in the former letter of the close relationship between peach and nectarine, and mentions that the tree he has, which was raised from a stone, gave several dozen fruit last year. He also asks who Perses was, whose name was connected with the name of the peach.

Bats and flies lie like dead all winter, but they do not go under water. Swallows cannot do so either without proper provision, and it really becomes Linnaeus to help to find out if such an apparatus exists. It is not sufficient to make the assertion; it has to be demonstrated that the necessary internal apparatus exists that makes it possible for a flying animal to go under the water and live there for several months.

In addition, there are four species of swallows, and it is not clear if they all have these habits, or if just some of them have.

Linnaeus had shown that mushrooms are of an animal nature and their eggs hatched in water. Now Linnaeus should go deeper into the issue of the swallows and explain it to the English. 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.
does not believe in the theory, but if an account has been published in Swedish, it should be sent to Solander, who could translate it for English scholars.

Collinson sends a print of the Andrachne that had 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 last year for the first time. It was raised from seed, sent from Aleppo in 1756. Its manner of flowering is very different from the Arbutus. Collinson has a large tree of the same seed, but it has never flowered, but it is beginning to shed its bark. Also in this respect, it is different from the Arbutus and more like the Platanus.

Collinson wishes Linnaeus good health. Collinson is now in his 73rd year, in perfect health and strength in body and mind, for which he thanks God.

P.S. Collinson asks Linnaeus to present a print of the Andrachne to Abraham BäckBäck, Abraham (1713-1795).
Swedish. Physician, president of the
Collegium Medicum, Stockholm. Close
friend of Linnaeus. Correspondent of
and to send Collinson seeds of Alstromeria that is described in Amoenitates academicaeLinnaeus, Carl Amoenitates
, I-X (Stockholm
1749-1790). Soulsby no. 1280.


a. original holograph (LS, XVII, 85-86). b. Contemporary copy (BL, Ms 28545, 140-140v). [2] [3] [4] [1] [2] [3]


1. A selection (1821), vol. 1, p. 74-77   p.74  p.75  p.76  p.77.
2. “Forget not Mee & My Garden ...” (2002), p. 271-273 .