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Link: • John Ellis to Carl Linnaeus, 15 March 1768 n.s.
Dated March 15. 1768. Sent from London (Great Britain) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in English.

Dear Sir,

I have lately rec’d a letter from D[octo]r Schlosser of Amsterdam, advising me that he had rec’d a Letter from D[octo]r Pallas, dated 20th November 1767, O[ld] S[tyle] from Petersburgh;[a][a] : MS. 1 from Petersburgh [added
above the line
wherein he confesses that he is now convinc’d that your Genus of Corallina are Animals, and that M[iste]r Meese has impos’d on him; for Meese had found the same Corallina on the Sea Shore; and it is possible this might have been blown to Bergummer heath by the Winds.

The Acorns which were inclosd in Wax by a new method have succeeded,[b][b] : MS. 1 have succeeded [added
above the line
which is the inclosing each Acorn first in soft pliable bees wax, and when the whole number you intend to inclose are roll’d up separately, and quite cold and hard, some melted wax must be put into a thin deal box, about half full; and when the wax is cool enough to bear your finger in it, the Acorns must be plac’d in rows till the box is full; afterwards pour[c][c] : MS. 1 pour [added above the
more wax on them when it is barely fluid, so that they may be cover’d quite over; and let all cracks, after the wax cools, be fill’d up with very soft wax. In this manner they will keep very well for a twelvemonth. Care must be taken to choose the Acorns sound, and neither too fresh from the tree nor too old; and they must be wiped very clean, that no condens’d perspiration may[d][d] : MS. 1 may [added above the
remain on their Surface. You will see an acc[oun]t of those I preserved for the Royal Society in the public Papers; every body here seems pleasd with the success of this experiment.

I have now discoverd why putrid vegetable substances yield volatile alkaline Salts, the same as animal substances.[e][e] : MS. 1 the ... substances [added
above the line
I put a rotten potatoe into water, about 10 days ago, in a glass, and coverd the top with a Card, having a weight on it to keep it close, and plac’d it on a Shelf in a room over the fire place. In 4 days the water was full of small animalcules, so that, I believe, for every particle of the potatoe there were 10 minute animals, as in the Experiment with the Fungi. In order to know for certain whether these animals came from the potatoe or the water, I boil’d a small potatoe till it was ready to fall to pieces. I likewise boil’d some water for half an hour, and then put the mash’d potatoe and the boil’d water together in a glass, and they were placed in the same warm situation, with a card over it.[f][f] : MS. 1 with ... it [added above
the line
I examin’d a drop of the liquor 4 days after, and could perceive millions of animalcules, of a tadpole shape, turning about the crystalline round particles of the potatoe in all directions, just as I had observ’d them turning the seeds of the Fungi last autumn. I must inform you I us’d the largest magnifiers I had, which were the 1 and 2 of Wilson’s Microscope. I wish you would try the same experiments; you’ill find many new scenes in nature will be discover’d by this hint. I have shewed the Experiment to Solander and a very few friends, but have not yet made it public.

I wish Baron Munchausen would try the same.

You mention, in one of our Letters, that you see, in our Newspapers, that they have got the true Tea tree in America; but you must not mind such acc[ount]s; they are false.

I have discover’d the eggs of a Gorgonia in the Polype like suckers of the Gorgonia Muricata. I have had a Specimen of it, preservd in Spirits, from the West Indies, which has given me new lights into the nature of the Gorgoniae. I have likewise had some Corallines in the same spirits, which are full of Slime, and not hollow, but filled with irregular tubes, I mean the Corallina nervo tenuiore fragiliorique internodia nectente, of Sloane, Hist. Jamaica, vol. I. tab. 20, fig. 4. This is what M[iste]r P[hilip] Miller gave to the Premium Society, for the Lichen Roccella.

We have got a New pine from China; it was raised last summer at the Princess of Wales’s Garden at Kew by M[iste]r Aiton.

I have many things to say, but have not time at present, only to assure you that I am most sincerely Yours,

John Ellis


Not yet available


a. original holograph (LS, XVII, 145-146). [1] [2] [3]


1. A selection (1821), vol. 1, p. 227-229   p.227  p.228  p.229.


MS. 1 from Petersburgh [added above the line]
MS. 1 have succeeded [added above the line]
MS. 1 pour [added above the line]
MS. 1 may [added above the line]
MS. 1 the ... substances [added above the line]
MS. 1 with ... it [added above the line]