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Link: • Pieter Boddaert to Carl Linnaeus, 22 March 1768 n.s.
Dated 11 ante Calendas Apriles 1768. Sent from Utrecht (Netherlands) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Latin.


Pieter BoddaertBoddaert, Pieter (1730?-?).
Dutch. Naturalist and physician. Friend
of Albert Schlosser, whose cabinet of
natural history objects he described.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
thanks Linnaeus for a letter that had arrived after only a short time [this letter has not come down to us ].

Boddaert has still some doubts about Linnaeus’s system, but not so that he condemned it or that he thought that his own approach was freer from mistakes. On the contrary, Linnaeus is to be honoured as the one who has given this material some order. But Boddaert would prefer a system where you could attribute a living creature to its order at the first sight, without closer investigation. He gives some examples and wants to be able to classify beasts without exposing himself to great danger.

A number of examples are given where Boddaert questions Linnaeus’s observations on details of the teeth of various quadrupeds.

After a remark that a parallel from plants, that Linnaeus had mentioned, would lead to the theory that differences are more evident in the parts meant for propagation, Boddaert explains that he has not launched his theory to question Linnaeus’s system, which had already been accepted, but only to try to make characteristics of animals clearer to his friends. Maybe he will not publish his system, and the world will do well without it when it is compared to those of Linnaeus and others.

In the letter, Boddaert encloses a copy of a translation of Peter Simon Pallas’Pallas, Peter Simon
(1741-1811). German. Naturalist and
explorer. Pallas studied at the
universities of Göttingen and
Leiden. In 1768 he was called to Russia
to take part in an expedition to
Siberia, the aim of which was to study
the passage of Venus. Pallas remained in
Russia for the greater part of his life.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
Elenchus zoophytorumPallas, Peter Simon Elenchus
zoophytorum sistens generum
adumbrationes [... ] et specierum [...]
descriptiones cum selectis auctorum
(The Hague, 1766).
[Boddaert refers to the Lyst der Plant-DierenPallas, Peter Simon & Pieter
Lyst der Plant-Dieren,
bevattende de algemeene schetzen der
Geslachten en korte beschryvingen der
bekende zoorten met de bygevoegde naamen
der schryveren, in het Latyn
beschreeven, door P. S. Pallas vertaald,
en met Aanmerkingen en Afbeeldingen
voorzien door P. Boddaert
, translation of Elenchus zoophytorum]. However, Pallas, its author, had sent Boddaert some additional material, and Boddaert had also found some points that should be complemented. That was not yet finished, and Boddaert will send it, together with a manuscript on his own method, in due time. On the whole, Boddaert has noticed that plates in scholarly publications often are of a very low quality. He asks Linnaeus not to be insulted by this remark, which he refers to lazy and ignorant engravers, and he mentions some examples.

Boddaert admits that he has learnt all he knows from Linnaeus and the other eminent scholars, so he does not feel worthy of what Linnaeus has promised. He can send just small details from Holland, where his profession as a doctor keeps him fully occupied.

Boddaert longs to see the second and third parts of Systema naturae, 12th editionLinnaeus, Carl Systema
, 12th edition (Stockholm
1766-1768). Soulsby no. 62.
] [Boddaert refers to the second and third volumes, ”Regnum Vegetabile” and ”Regnum Lapideum” of the 12th edition, published in 1767 and 1768], and he asks Linnaeus to tell him if he could help him in any matter. He sends a book with the bookseller RöderRöder, Dutch?.
Bookseller, Utrecht.
, who is leaving for the bookfair in Leipzig and who will give it to some Swedish bookseller that he meets there. Boddaert hopes it will reach Linnaeus in due course.


a. (LS, II, 81-82). [1] [2] [3]


1. Bref och skrifvelser (1916), vol. II:1, p. 290-291   p.290  p.291.