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Link: • Jacob Nicolai Wilse to Carl Linnaeus, 16 March 1769 n.s.
Dated 16mo Martii 1769. Sent from Spydeberg (Norway) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Latin.


Linnaeusís widespread reputation among all scholars had led to the fact that Jacob Nicolai WilseWilse, Jacob Nicolai
(1736-1801). Danish. Clergyman in
Norway. Professor. Correspondent of
had heard of Linnaeus and enjoyed Linnaeusís works already at the beginning of his studies at the University of Copenhagen in 1759. Tycho Holm [Jörgen Tyge Holm Holm, Jörgen Tyge
(1726-1759). Danish. Professor of
economy and natural history, Copenhagen.
Linnaeusís student 1750-1751, 1754-1757.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
] had been his teacher in botany. Unfortunately, Holm had died just as he was going to publish his Flora Daniae [this work was published as "Fortegnelse över danske planter"Holm, Jörgen Tyge
"Fortegnelse över danske
planter", in Den Danske Atlas
eller Konge-Riget Dannemark [...]
, 7 vols. ed. Erik
Pontoppidan (Köpenhamn, 1763-1781).
in Den Danske AtlasPontoppidan, Erik Den Danske
Atlas eller Konge-Riget Dannemark [...]
, 7 vols. ed. Erik
Pontoppidan (Köpenhamn, 1763-1781).
, published by Erik PontoppidanPontoppidan, Erik (1698-1764).
Danish. Author, bishop at Bergen,
historian and antiquary, vice-chancellor
at the university of Copenhagen.
]. Wilse had continued his studies of botany and other subjects, hoping that he would eventually find some facility in his native country Norway to make experiments in botany, agriculture, horticulture and physics among other things. For some years, Wilse had various positions in Denmark and among other things taught mathematics to some Russian noblemen, one of them Prince de Kurakin Alexander Borisovich KurakinKurakin, Alexander Borisovich
(1752-1818). Russian. Prince. Statesman
and diplomat.
, under the auspices of De Saldern [presumably Caspar von de SaldernSaldern, Caspar von Danish.
Russian and Danish Minister and Privy
Councillor (Councillor).
]. At last, in 1768, Wilse could take over a clerical position in the parish of Spydberg, situated between Kristiania and Fredrikshald. Now, in the first spring he is there, Wilse is planning to establish a small botanical garden with plants that can stand the climate of southern Norway, which is about the same as that of Uppsala. He was for some time uncertain whom he could approach to obtain suitable plants but found it most convenient to apply to the greatest, and also the nearest, source available. In confidence of Linnaeusís generosity, Wilse now asks Linnaeus for seeds of plants belonging to the Siberian or the Canadian flora or having special quality in economy, beauty or scarcity, which grow outdoors in the garden of Uppsala. He mentions eight examples of such plants. In addition, since Wilse has recently become a member of the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters [Det Kongelige Norske Videnskabers SelskabDet Kongelige Norske Videnskabers
Selskab, The Royal Norwegian Society of
Sciences and Letters
Founded in 1760 by Johan Ernst Gunnerus,
Gerhard Schøning Peter Friederich
Suhm as the Trondhiemske Selskab (the
Trondheim Society). It received Royal
affirmation of its statues in 1767 and
became the Kongelige Norske Videnskabers
Selskab (the Royal Norwegian Society of
Sciences and Letters). Its publications
are Det Trondhiemske Selskabs
, 1-3 (1761-1765) and Det
Kongelige Norske Videnskabers Selskabs
, 4-5 (1768-1774).
] led by Johan Ernst GunnerusGunnerus, Johan Ernst
(1718-1773). Norwegian. Bishop of
Trondheim. Together with Gerhard
Schøning and Peter Friederich
Suhm he founded in 1760 Det Kongelige
Norske Videnskabers Selskab [The Royal
Norwegian Society of Sciences and
Letters]. Author of Flora
(1766-1776). Correspondent
of Linnaeus.
he knows that he will work rather much with rare or useful plants in the future, so he asks Linnaeus also for rare or remarkable exotic plants in general. Wilse does not know how he will be able to do Linnaeus services in return, so he just promises that he will, for the rest of his life, do all he can to fulfill any requests that Linnaeus will make to him.

P.S. Wilse remarks that Linnaeus can use Swedish, French or Latin, if he sends an answer. He also gives his address, formulated in French.


a. original holograph (LS, XVI, 248-249). [1] [2] [3]