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Link: • Nicolaas Laurens Burman to Carl Linnaeus, 3 March 1769 n.s.
Dated 3 Martii die 1769. Sent from Amsterdam (Netherlands) to (). Written in Latin.


Nikolaas Laurens BurmanísBurman, Nicolaas Laurens
(1734-1793). Dutch. Professor of
botany. Linnaeusís pupil in Uppsala in
1760. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
is most delighted by Linnaeusís letter that declares his love to the Burmans [Burman means himself and his father Johannes BurmanBurman, Johannes (1707-1779).
Dutch. Botanist, professor of medicine
in Amsterdam. Close friend of Linnaeus.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, the letter is presumably Linnaeus to Burman, 21 November 1768Letter L4129]. Burman would have answered long ago if he had not been ill and put off everything he ought to do. Six weeks ago he was almost dying from febris catarrhalis but now he is recovering. Among the first things he has to do is to answer Linnaeus thanking him for all the work he has put into Burmanís plants. He admits that he had not dared to hope for more than the half of it. Burman prays to God that Linnaeus will show his kindness to him in the future, too, and that Linnaeus will have a long life to be able to explain the secrets that probably no one else can.

Burman congratulates Linnaeus on having received the Cape bulbs, and he is sure that they will flower. Burmanís bulbs flower every year except Amaryllis bulbisperma. For six years they have not received specimens of Antholyza, Brunswigia or Alethris.

Burman encloses, or will send with the first ship, some Indian seeds, some of them rare. Linnaeus probably possesses all the Cape seeds that the Burmans have. No plants has germinated for three years. Burman recently received from Pieter BoddaertBoddaert, Pieter (1730?-?).
Dutch. Naturalist and physician. Friend
of Albert Schlosser, whose cabinet of
natural history objects he described.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
a letter and a parcel with his translated works [Burman refers to Boddaertís translation of Peter Simon PallasísPallas, 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.
Spicilegia zoologicaPallas, Peter Simon
Spicilegia zoologica quibus novae
imprimis et obscurae animalium species :
iconibus, descriptionibus atque
commentariis illustrantur
, Dierkundig mengelwerkPallas, Peter Simon & Pieter
Dierkundig mengelwerk :
in het welke de nieuwe of nog duistere
zoorten van dieren door naauwkeurige
afbeeldingen, beschryvingen en
verhandelingen opgehelderd worden : in
het latyn beschreeven / door den
Hooggel. Herr P.S. Pallas ; vertaald en
met aanmerkingen voorzien door P.
(Utrecht, 1768-1770).
] together with his excellent work on scarabs. Burman will send it to Linnaeus through Daniel BalguerieBalguerie, Daniel (1733-1788).
Swedish. Swedish agent in Amsterdam,
succeeded his father Pierre Balguerie.
as soon as possible. Boddaert seems to be a very good obliging friend, a law-court official (scabinus) at Vlissingen. He left Zeeland and studied medicine at Utrecht, took a doctorís degree, married and now makes a living by his practice.

Linnaeus had asked how Burmanís life is. He is still a bachelor, satisfied living with his dear father but when he was ill he noticed how unhappy he would have been if he had lived without his father. Therefore he intends to look for a wife, if it pleases God and He will grant him life and health. He liked the solitude earlier but now when he has experienced a very dangerous situation, being without mother and sister, though he has many friends, he realizes that it would be a comfort to have someone to look after him, tied to him by blood and bond.

A month ago he was co-opted to his father with the title of Professor. Two years ago he was appointed financial manager (Penningmeester) of the lake (Watergraefs Meer) where their estate is situated. Since three years ago he is doctor at an orphanage (Burger Weeshujs) and, since a month, at another orphanage where children of parents not professing any religion and foreigners are brought up (Aalmoesiniersweeshujs). Two years ago he was appointed doctor of a home for old people, succeeding his father, and also one home for prostitutes (Spenhujs) and another one for beggars (Willige Rasphujs). With Godís help he has been successful and appreciated by many magnates and he hopes to acquire more so that other doctors will envy him.

Overburdened with work he does not have a spare moment and he does not know where to start, in particular when he is supposed to make an inaugural address. He cannot find any material that does not seem boring to the audience. There are very few in his town that understand this science and he does not know how, or from where, he can find something suitable. He would be most grateful if Linnaeus could help him.

This summer Burman will be busy with his Cape flora [Burman refers to the section in Flora IndicaBurman, Nicolaas Laurens
Flora Indica: cui accedit series
zoophytorum Indicorum, nec non prodromus
florae Capensis
(Leiden &
Amsterdam, 1768).
, which deals with plants in this area] and he hopes that he can discuss the tricky plants with Linnaeus. He willingly offers specimens of all the plants he has in duplicate.

Recently Bergís [Peter Jonas BergiusBergius, Petter Jonas
(1730-1790). Swedish. Physician and
botanist. Professor of natural history
and pharmacy at Collegium Medicum,
Stockholm. Linnaeusís student.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
] Flora Capensis [Descriptiones plantarum ex Capite bonae speiBergius, Petter Jonas
Descriptiones plantarum ex Capite
bonae spei, cum differentiis specificis,
nominibus trivialibus et synonymis
auctorum justis secundum systema sexuale
et autopsia concinnatae et sollicite
(Stockholm, 1767).
] was presented in a Geldern publication under this presumptuous title. Burman had a letter from Bergius where he asked for dried plants and seeds.

The bookseller Petrus SchoutenSchouten, Petrus Dutch.
Publisher, Amsterdam. Son of Salomon
whose father Salomon SchoutenSchouten, Salomon (1689?-1750).
Dutch. Bookseller and publisher,
Amsterdam. Linnaeusís publisher. Father
of Petrus Schouten.
printed Flora LapponicaLinnaeus, Carl Flora
Lapponica exhibens plantas per Lapponiam
crescentes, secundum systema sexuale
collectas in itinere [...] Additis
synonymis, & locis natalibus omnium,
descriptionibus & figuris rariorum,
viribus medicatis & oeconomicis
(Amsterdam, 1737).
Soulsby no. 279.
would like to publish a new edition with Linnaeusís additional observations. Burman asks Linnaeus not to do it for his sake [this refers to Linnaeusís plans to publish a second edition of this work, but that was never done]

Burman congratulates themselves that Linnaeus wants to publish a new edition of Materia medica [Burman refers to the forthcoming, Materia medica 2nd ed. Linnaeus, Carl Materia medica
per regna tria naturae secundum genera
differentias synonyma loca durationes
culturas nomina simplicia praeparata
. 2nd ed (Leipzig &
Erlangen, 1772). Soulsby no. 971.
], and that the third part of his Systema naturae, 12th editionLinnaeus, Carl Systema
, 12th edition (Stockholm
1766-1768). Soulsby no. 62.
[the third part, ďRegnum lapideumĒ was published in 176] and the seventh of his Amoenitates academicaeLinnaeus, Carl Amoenitates
, I-X (Stockholm
1749-1790). Soulsby no. 1280.
[vol. 7 was published in 1769] have been printed. He hopes that Lars SalviusSalvius, Lars (1706-1773).
Swedish. Printer, bookseller, publisher.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
will send them with the first possible ship. Perhaps he also wants to buy the plates of Flora Lapponica?

The Burmans have no Ortega either, now. Linnaeusís seeds pleased them very much, and Burman is very delighted at the seeds of Cheiranthi fenestralis, which he wanted for the estate and which also is missing from their garden.

Burman asks how 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
] is. He has not heard or seen anything from him. Does he not want to have foreign correspondence? Burman has often written, but he receives no answers or such short ones that he cannot learn anything about his situation. Burman has, however, been told by travellers that he is living as a bachelor in a house opposite his fatherís and holds a professorship. It would please Burman to hear that he is well since they were very close friends when Burman stayed in Uppsala. Now Burman has learned from a letter to his father [Linnaeus to Johannes Burman, 10 February 1769Letter L4186] that the son has succeeded Linnaeus and Burman congratulates them both and hopes that the son will follow in his fatherís footsteps and acquire an immortal name [Linnaeus meant in his letter that same favour was granted to his son by the King after Linnaeusís death, not that he was already his successor].

Burman is very grateful for Linnaeusís observations on his Cape plants and his Flora Indica, and, if Linnaeus wants to continue, Burman will send plants this summer.

If time permits Burman will work on his Cape flora and when it is finished he wants Linnaeus to examine it. He will only add illustrations of those not reproduced before.

Smallpox has been raging in and around their town this winter. More than 300 people have died. There are doctors who have begun to treat the illness according to Suttonís [Robert SuttonSutton, Robert (c.1703-1788).
British. Introduced a method of
inoculation against smallpox. Father of
Daniel Sutton.
and Daniel SuttonSutton, Daniel British. Son of
Robert Sutton, and cooperated with him
on a new method of inoculation against
] and Demsdhaliusís [Thomas DinsdaleDinsdale, Thomas British.
Physician who was one of the pioneers
within inoculation against smallpox.
] method with varying success. Some let the sick out in the open air in the middle of the winter. Burman follows his fatherís practice. He will never try to use mercury as remedy.

A cattle disease has been raging in several provinces this autumn and winter. Almost all the cows in Geldern villages are stricken and there are no remedies. A reward of ten thousand florins is offered to the person who can find a remedy. Pieter CamperCamper, Pieter (1722-1789).
Dutch. Professor at Franeker, after that
in Amsterdam and in 1763 at Groningen.
in Groningen will soon try to publish work on the nature of this disease in Dutch [Lessen over de sterfte van het RundveeCamper, Pieter Lessen over de
sterfte van het Rundvee

Adriaan van RoyenísRoyen, Adriaan van (1705-1779).
Dutch. Professor of botany, director of
the botanical garden of Leiden.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
wife died this week and from a letter Burman has learned that van Royen is also ill. They say that Hieronymus David GaubGaub, Hieronymus David
(1705-1780). German. Physician,
professor of chemistry and medicine at
has cataract in the eyes. Few are said to study medicine at Leiden and Utrecht.

The letter paper cannot take more and Burman and his father send their best regards to Linnaeus and his family.


a. (LS, II, 530-531). [1] [2] [3]


1. Epistolae ineditae Caroli Linnaei (1830), p. 115-120 .
2. Bref och skrifvelser (1943), vol. II:2, p. 267-270   p.267  p.268  p.269  p.270.