-Search for letters
-Search in texts






Link: • Jacob Jonas Björnståhl to Carl Linnaeus, 16 January 1768 n.s.
Dated 16. jan. 1768. Sent from Paris (France) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Swedish.


Jakob Johan BjörnståhlBjörnståhl, Jacob Jonas
(1731-1779). Swedish.
Orientalist. Studied in Uppsala and
attended Linnaeusís lectures. Travelled
in Europe and Asia (1767-1779). Died in
Saloniki, Greece. Correspondent of
expresses his deep reverence and respect for Linnaeus, his gracious benefactor, and wishes him health and prosperity for the new year. This wish he shares with all Europe, and all Nature, whose interpreter is Linnaeus, now an immortal name. Although Björnståhl has spent two weeks at Versailles and seen the magnificent court, his ways of thinking have not changed. Louis François Augier dí AngervilleAngerville, Louis François
Angier dí
(1706-1779). French.
Member of the Académie des
sciences, belles-lettres et arts de
Rouen. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
of Rouen was extremely happy to have greetings from Linnaeus. He was very courteous to Björnståhl and his companions [Adolph Fredrik RudbeckRudbeck, Adolph Fredrik
(1754-1825). Swedish. Military officer.
Son of Adolph Rudbeck, brother of Carl
Fredrik Rudbeck. Accompanied, together
with his brother, Jacob Jonas
Björnståhl on his travels,
but returned soon to Sweden.
and Carl Fredrik RudbeckRudbeck, Carl Fredrik
(1755-1814). Swedish. Military officer.
Son of Adolph Rudbeck. Brother of Adolph
Fredrik Rudbeck. Accompanied, together
with his brother, Jacob Jonas
Björnståhl on his travels.
]. He promised to send seeds to him. C. Pinard [Bertrand PinardPinard, Bertrand (d.1792).
French. Physician, demonstrator at the
botanical garden of the Académie
des Sciences, Belles-Lettres et Arts de
Rouen. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
] showed Björnståhl the botanical garden there. He promised to send seeds of Melogena frutescens to be shipped to Linnaeus the following summer. He also mentioned Calceolaria as a rare plant.

Bernhard de JussieuJussieu, Bernard de
(1699-1777). French. Professor of
botany, brother of Antoine and Joseph de
Jussieu. Demonstrator at the Jardin des
plantes. Sébastien Vaillantís
successor. Uncle of Antoine Laurent de
Jussieu. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
has been very kind to Björnståhl and sends his regards. He arranged for Björnståhl and his companions to attend to a public meeting at the Academy of sciences in Paris [Académie royale des sciences, ParisAcadémie royale des sciences,
French. The French
Académie des sciences was founded
in 1666 and became a royal academy in
1699. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
]. Duchesne, father and son [Antoine DuchesneDuchesne, Antoine French.
Castle warden at the French Royal court.
Father of Antoine Nicolas Duchesne.
and Antoine Nicolas DuchesneDuchesne, Antoine Nicolas
(1747-1827). French. Naturalist and
horticulturist, Versailles.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
], have been incredibly hospitable; they were very happy to have greetings from Linnaeus and have done their utmost to make Björnståhlís visit as pleasurable as possible: they have put him into contact with great philologists, they have arranged for them to attend at a meeting of the Royal Academy of Inscriptions and Humanities [Académie Royale des Inscriptions et Belles-LettresAcadémie royale des
inscriptions et belles-lettres,

French. The Academy was founded in 1663
as an informal working group. In 1716,
by royal decree it became the
Académie Royale des Inscriptions
et Belles-Lettres.
] in the Louvre, they have invited him to Versailles and offered free board and lodging, which he declined, they treated him to a stately dinner. For all this Björnståhl is grateful to Linnaeus as it is thanks to his prestige that he is treated like royalty. Björnståhl held out the prospect of Linnaeusís son [Carl Linnaeus the YoungerLinnaeus the Younger, Carl
(1741-1783). Swedish. Botanist. Son of
Carl Linnaeus and Sara Elisabet Linnaea.
Brother of Elisabeth Christina, Louisa,
Sara Christina and Sophia Linnaea.
Attended his fatherís lectures, had
private tutors (Löfling, Rolander,
Solander and Falk, all Linnaeusís
students). Demonstrator of botany at
Uppsala. Succeeded his
] coming and visiting them, to which they are eagerly looking forward. Antoine Nicolas Duchesne is planning to travel later and visit Linnaeus. He is now studying law but is at heart a botanist. He has written two botanical works [Björnståhl refers to Histoire nouvelle des fraisiersDuchesne, Antoine Nicolas
Histoire nouvelle des fraisiers
(Paris, 1766).
and Manual de botaniqueDuchesne, Antoine Nicolas
Manual de botanique, contenant les
proprietés des plantes utiles
pour la nourriture, d`usage en medicine,
employées dans les arts,
d`ornement pour les jardins et que l`on
trouve à la campagne aux environs
de Paris
(Paris, 1764).
] which he presented to Björnståhl. Björnståhl asks Linnaeus to write to these two gentlemen and express his gratitude for their kindness to a countryman and protegé. That would demonstrate Swedish honesty and gratitude, and encourage them to remain true friends. Björnståhl has visited Claude RichardRichard, Claude (1705-1784).
French. Botanist. The kingís gardener at
the Trianon. Father of Antoine Richard.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
at the Trianon. He and his son [Antoine RichardRichard, Antoine (1735-1807).
French. Gardener at the Trianon. The son
of Claude Richard.
] send their regards to Linnaeus. They have a box full of rare seeds collected in Majorca and Minorca that will be sent with the new French Minister, François Emmanuel Guignard de Saint PriestGuignard de Saint Priest,
François Emmanuel

(1735-1821). French. Statesman. In
1768, appointed to be French minister in
Stockholm, but was sent to Istanbul
, who will go to Sweden in May. He will then also bring something from Duchesne. They complain bitterly of the fact that the plants Linnaeus had sent to them with the Ambassador Louis Auguste Le Tonnelier de BreteuilBreteuil, Louis Auguste Le Tonnelier
(1733-1807). French. Prime
minister. Diplomat in St Petersburg,
Stockholm, Vienna and Naples.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
had died on board the ship because of neglect. [If Björnståhl refers to a letter from Linnaeus to de Breteuil, this letter has not come down to us, but the question is discussed in a letter from de Breteuil to Linnaeus, 17 November 1766Letter L3821]. The problem of transportation and post exchange is very serious, but the Ministry responsible, to which Björnståhl accompanied Duchesne, has no solution to it. Instead, they asked Björnståhl to ask Linnaeus about that; they wanted good suggestions on this matter, as the King of France [Louis XVLouis XV, (1710-1774).
French. Reigned 1715-1774.
] is himself very anxious to have an exact and smooth correspondence between Linnaeus and Trianon; An illustration of the situation is that a letter written by Linnaeus to Duchesne on 15 July 1767Letter L3934, the same day as Björnståhl left Uppsala, did not arrive until Christmas, i.e. two months after Björnståhlís arrival in Paris; Linnaeus hade sent it by post and not with Björnståhl just to avoid this kind of delay. Duchesne has already written about Zizania, Cornucopia and Ortiga Fev. Richard asks Linnaeus to procure, at any cost, Olof RudbeckísRudbeck, Olof (1630-1702).
Swedish. Physician, historian,
naturalist. Founder of the Uppsala
University Botanical Garden. Professor
of medicine at Uppsala.
, Deliciae vallis JacobaeaeRudbeck, Olof Deliciae vallis
Jacobaeae, sive Jacobsdal [...] dn.
Magni Gabrielis De la Gardie [...]
praedii et hortorum prope Stocholmiam,
eulogium & descriptio
. A certain Swedish gentleman has promised him that book long ago, but seems to have forgotten that. Björnståhl is eager to do his utmost to meet any wish from Linnaeus.

P.S. 1. Björnståhlís young fellow travellers as well as Peter HernquistHernquist, Peter (1726-1808).
Swedish. Veterinarian. Studied at
Uppsala under Linnaeus, at Greifswald,
Lyon and Paris. He established Swedenís
first school of veterinary medicine at
Skara. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
send their respects. So does JannelJannel, French. who offers his services to Linnaeus. A message to Björnståhl can be enclosed in a letter to Duchesne, as they see ecah other often, and then it will cost Björnståhl nothing. He also gives his address in Paris.

P.S. 2. Björnståhl will apply to the Board of the University of Uppsala [Uppsala Universitets konsistoriumUppsala Universitets konsistorium,
Swedish. The Consistorium [Board]
of Uppsala University.
], for a prolongation of the Wrede scholarship. For this Claes EkebladísEkeblad, Claes (1708-1771).
Swedish. Count, councillor, chancellor
of Åbo University. Correspondent
of Linnaeus.
grace is needed but Björnståhl also, as usual, trusts in Linnaeusís benevolent support. Every day Björnståhl sees the great Joseph de GuignesGuignes, Joseph de (1721-1800).
French. Orientalist. Professor of the
Syrian language at the Collège
royal de France.
, famous for his Histoire général des Huns, Turcs, Mongoles et autres Tartares occidentauxGuignes, Joseph de Histoire
général des Huns, Turcs,
Mongoles et autres Tartares
, 4 vols. (Paris,

P.S. 3. The Linnean theses that Björnståhl took to France have caused much admiration. Especially Dí Angerville is impressed while Jussieu is more critical. Björnståhl has helped Duchesne correct the plant names grammatically. Le Journal de Trévoux Le Journal de
pour l'Histoire des Sciences & des
] (1701-1767).
that Duchesne used to consult in these matters is full of mistakes. The King of France knows Linnaeusís name very well and often speaks of him, and the Crown Prince has asked if they know Linnaeus.

P.S. 4. Linnaeus has revealed that what in the Trianon was believed to be the first tea plant in Europe was another species. Now Richard and Duchesne want Linnaeus to send them through Björnståhl a sample of the real tea plant from Uppsala. Björnståhl has declared he is willing to do so, provided they would publish in the Gazettes, that they have recived the real tea from Uppsala.


a. original holograph (LS, II, 31-32). [1] [2] [3]


1. Bref och skrifvelser (1909), vol. I:3, p. 225-230   p.225  p.226  p.227  p.228  p.229  p.230.