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C18

Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L4004 • Peder Ascanius to Carl Linnaeus, 4 December 1767 n.s.
Dated 4to Xbris 1767. Sent from København (Denmark) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Latin.

Illustrissimo Celeberrimoque Viro,
Carolo v[on] Linnée Equ[iti],
S[alutem] P[lurimam] D[icit]
Petrus Ascanius.

Per aliquot annos Itinera dum feci in variis Daniae Provinciis, Regio mandato, observationes Mineralogicas et Oeconomicas principem quidem finem habui, pictore ut plurimum destitutus.

Interim circa Metropolim, ubi Copia pictoris facilior, variorum, praecipue piscium, figuras collegi; ex hisce natus est Libellus Iconum primus, quem Tibi, Vir Celeb[er]rime, officiosissime adjectum offero.

Nam ad Hist[oriae] nat[uralis] perfectionem facilior et certior mihi videtur via, si quis propriam sumserit Partem, propriam Provinciam, alienis sepositis, ita nata est Flora Tua et Danica Oederi.

Has inter Icones duas piscium novas species Labri nempe et Gadi, avium totidem, invenies. Tringae ferrugineae descriptionem, me inscio, ad Te misisse D[omi]n[um] König video. Islandica quidem appellari queat, sed ex observationibus D[omi]ni Teilmanni didici illam magna copia in septentrionali Jutia habitare, et varietatem griseam esse illius vestitum primi anni, uti in multis aliis avibus, ita sententia Islandorum confirmata est.

Reditu nupero D[omi]ni Niebuhr finita tandem est Missio nostra Arabica. Societas haec Literaria minus bene quidem ab initio composita fuit, hinc dissensio et adversa fortuna. In Egypto multo dispendio varia quidem observata et collecta fuere, sed eadem adversa fortuna domum missa, paucissimis servatis. Post adventum in Jemen Arabiae, destinationis proprium Locum, ubi sani adventarunt omnes, pestifera quasi tabes totam invasit Societatem quae, si Mathematicos Gallorum exceperis, majori sumptu et adparatu nusquam instituta fuerit. In parte mathematica multa tamen a Niebuhrio speramus. In colligendis rebus naturalibus, maxime marinis, praeter B[eatum] Forskålium, spartam suam bene implevisse Kramerum, ex Sarcinis, quas jam lustro, invenio, quem in finem etiam hunc Societati adjunxi, cum de observatore tantum cogitaverat c[e]l[e]b[e]r[imus] Michaelis, neglecto pictore et collectore.

Ad Scientiam naturalem autem proprie quid in M[anu]scriptis et observatis defunctorum lateat adhuc ignoro, sed breve incipienda disquisitio, a Commissione (ut vocant).

Quae domum missa sunt Naturalia maxime ad conchologiam perti­ nent, ubi varia nova et curiosa, ludunt maxime Labio suo digitato Strombi, pro varia aetate animalis, interdum nullo interdum plurimis ita ut in hisce genera stabilita omnino deficiant solis observationibus, in vivo perficiendis, sed quam paucis hoc datum!

Cardii speciem olim ab Egypto missam, pulcherrimum testaceum, et cujus alterum exemplar in ultimis sarcinis inveni, Tibi jam dudum a D[omi]no Spenglero missum video et insertum titulo Retusi, sed descriptio minus quadrat.

Specimina olim rariora, partim nova, cum satis magna copia jam possidet Musaeum, quae omnia fere ex mari rubro et sinu Persico, impetrata Superiorum licentia, nonnulla Tibi, Vir Illustr[issime], transmittere conabor, exspectaturus a Te mineralia rariora aut inquilina aut peregrina. Interim, ut valeas in Scientiae emolumentum mihique favere pergas velim!

Dabam Charlottoburgi 4to [Decem]bris 1767.

P. S. D[omi]n[us] König olim Missionarius naturalista Islandicus jam in Indiam missus est, titulo Medici missionis Evangelicae in Tanjour.

D[omi]ni Oederi salutem Tibi dico. Petit, ut per aliquem Legationis Sueciae recipere velis Fasciculum Florae proximum et sequentes, Schedulamque manu tua signatam illi mittas.

upSUMMARY

Peder AscaniusAscanius, Peder (1723-1803).
Danish. Naturalist. Inspector of mines,
Norway. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
has been travelling in Denmark and made mineralogical and economic observations. He had no painter with him for much of the tour.

When he got one, he collected material for a small book [Icones rerum naturaliumAscanius, Peder Icones rerum
naturalium, eller Teigninger til
natural-historiens oplysning og
forbaedring
(Copenhagen, 1767).
], which he now sends to Linnaeus as a gift. It is mainly fishes that are depicted there.

Ascanius thinks it is best to devote oneself to one part of natural history at a time, mentioning both Linnaeus’s Flora [presumably Flora Svecica 2nd ed.Linnaeus, Carl Flora Svecica
: exhibens plantas per regnum Sveciae
crescentes, systematice cum differentiis
specierum, synonymis autorum, nominibus
incolarum, solo locorum, usu
oeconomorum, officinalibus
pharmacopaeorum
2nd ed. (Stockholm
1755). Soulsby no. 409.
] and [Flora danica]. Icones plantarum sponte nascentium in regnis Daniae et NorvegiaeOeder, Georg Christian von
[Flora danica.] [Flora danica].
Icones plantarum sponte nascentium in
regnis Daniae et Norvegiae, in ducatibus
Slesvici et Holsatiae, et in comitatibus
Oldenburgi et Delmenhorstiae: ad
illustrandum opus de iisdem plantis,
regio jussu exarandum, Florae danicae
nomine inscriptum
, 17 vol., Suppl.
(1 v.) (Copenhagen 1766 [i.e.
1761]-1883).
].

Some of the pictures of fishes are commented upon.

Carsten NiebuhrNiebuhr, Carsten (1733-1815).
Danish. Explorer of Arabia. In 1761 he
visited Egypt and the Arabian peninsula.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
has returned, and with that, the unfortunate expedition to Arabia is concluded. Much was collected, but it met with some accidents during the transport back to Denmark, so that a great deal was lost. The whole group had reached Jemen, but there, pestilence hit them, and Niebuhr is the only survivor. Pehr ForsskålForsskål, Peter
(1732-1763). Swedish. Naturalist and
explorer. Linnaeus’s student, professor
in Denmark in 1759. Joined a Danish
expedition to Egypt and Arabia in 1761.
Died at Jerîm, Arabia.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
and Christian Carl KramerKramer, Christian Carl Danish.
Physician.Joined a Danish expedition to
Egypt and Arabia in 1761.
had been very busy collecting specimens, particularly of marine creatures.

Ascanius does not know what can be found in the manuscript notes made by the deceased participants, which still have to be investigated.

Ascanius mentions some examples of items that had reached Denmark, namely shells and a nice turtle. He will try to keep Linnaeus informed on the progress of the work at the material, if he is given permission by the authorities. In return, he asks for mineral samples.

P.S. 1 Johan Gerhard KönigKönig, Johan Gerhard
(1728-1785). Danish. Physician, born in
Polish Livonia. Private pupil of
Linnaeus in 1757. Visited Iceland. Went
to Tranquebar in India, to Thailand and
Ceylon. He died on his way to Tibet.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
has gone to India.

P.S. 2 Georg Christian von OederOeder, Georg Christian von
(1728-1791). German/Danish. Botanist
and economist. Studied under Albrecht
von Haller in Göttingen and became
professor of botany at Copenhagen.
Minister of finance for Norway. Started
the publishing of Flora Danica.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
sends his regards and suggests an exchange of new publications with the Swedish embassy as an intermediary.

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. original holograph (LS, I, 197-198). [1] [2] [3]

upEDITIONS

1. A selection (1821), vol. 2, p. 485-488   p.485  p.486  p.487  p.488.
2. “Af Linnés brevvexling” (1871), p. 375-376   p.375  p.376.
3. Bref och skrifvelser (1916), vol. II:1, p. 105-106   p.105  p.106.