Peter Collinson to Carl Linnaeus,
16 March 1767 n.s.
L3888. Peter CollinsonPeter Collinson (1694-1768). British.
Peter CollinsonCollinson, Peter (1694-1768).
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
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).
Collinson sends a print of the Andrachne that had flowered in John Fothergill’sFothergill, John (1712-1780).
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).