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Link: • Jonas Theodor Fagraeus to Carl Linnaeus, 10 February 1770 n.s.
Dated 10 Febr. 1770. Sent from Alingsås (Sweden) to (). Written in Swedish.


Jonas Theodor FagraeusFagraeus, Jonas Theodor
(1729-1797). Swedish. Physician at
Alingsås. Correspondent of
addresses Linnaeus as his greatest patron in the world, thanking him for the guidance he has long looked for. He wonders whether, in his last letter, he told Linnaeus that he had discovered ”clavem methodi naturalis”; if so he regrets that he had written more than he had intended and entirely in contrast to the truth. What Fagraeus had intended to write was that he had worked with this “Lapis Philosophorum”, but had the same fate as other creators of gold. For a long time Fagraeus has attempted to supplement Johann Georg Gmelin’sGmelin, Johann Georg
(1709-1755). German. Voyager, botanist
and chemist. At the initiative of
empress Anna of Russia he spent ten
years (1733-1743) exploring Siberia. In
1749 he became professor of botany and
chemistry at Tübingen. Together
with his nephew Samuel Gottlieb he wrote
Flora Sibirica (1747-1769).
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
Flora SibiricaGmelin, Johann Georg Flora
Sibirica, sive Historia plantarum
(St Petersburg 1747-1769).
according to Adriaan van van Royen’sRoyen, Adriaan van (1705-1779).
Dutch. Professor of botany, director of
the botanical garden of Leiden.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.

Fagraeus now humbly wishes to ask a favour of Linnaeus not to discard this attempt. Fagraeus knows not whether Giovanni Antonio ScopoliScopoli, Giovanni Antonio
(1723-1788). Italian. Physician and
naturalist. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, Louis GérardGérard, Louis
(1733-1819). French. Botanist,
Cotignac, Provence. Correspondent of
or Michel AdansonAdanson, Michel (1727-1806).
French. Botanist. Travelled in Senegal.
An opponent of Linnaeus. Correspondent
of Linnaeus.
, all of whom had made use of Linnaeus’s “ordines naturales”, had come further with the key than Fagraeus had. However, from their work it could be seen how others were also groping in the darkness for “metodus naturalis”. Fagraeus entreats Linnaeus to correct his errors.

Fagraeus would be delighted if Linnaeus could, as a result of these innocent attempts, himself devote some thought to the key to “ord. Naturales”. Fagraeus at least hopes that there would be some pearls in Ennii’sEnnius, Quintus (c. 239
BC-c.169 BC). Italian. Roman poet.
soup, as the old saying goes.

Fagraeus’s entire classification with “characters generum” amounts to more than 14 pages but if Linnaeus has time to think about it, and desired it, Fagraeus would be pleased to send him a copy. Fagraeus foremost asks how to distinguish the cryptogams from the other herbs, but wishes even more to hear what Linnaeus thinks about his efforts. Fagraeus apologises for the four pages of the letter that have certainly perplexed Linnaeus, adding that he should have avoided including the fifth. Alingsås is not Uppsala, where Fagraeus has received so many oral tutorials.

Then follows a list of Fagraeus’s classifications: “Animalia”, “Vegetabilia”, and “Fossilia ”, with sub-orders in “Animalia” being “ Theria”, “Dermes”, “ Insecta ” and “ Vermes ”, and of “ Fossilia” being “ Mineralia ”, “ Lapides”, “ Terrae ” and “ Aquae ”.

This list is followed by a postscript where Fagraeus states that he included the classifications intentionally in order for Linnaeus to see how “Regnum Fossile” has given him reason to include both “Regnum Vegetabili” and “Animali”. Dividing “ Fossilia ” into more groups than is common, reminded Fagraeus of their medical and economic use, preferably since, he, together with Johan Gottschalk WalleriusWallerius, Johan Gottschalk
(1709-1785). Swedish. Professor of
chemistry at Uppsala.
, was required to classify “ Mineralia et Aqvas artificiales”.



a. (LS, IV, 97-102). [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]


1. Bref och skrifvelser (1912), vol. I:6, p. 28-32   p.28  p.29  p.30  p.31  p.32.