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Link: • John Ellis to Carl Linnaeus, 10 May 1771 n.s.
Dated May 10. 1771. Sent from London (Great Britain) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in English.

Dear Sir,

It is with pleasure I inform you that we have certain accounts from the East Indies, that our worthy friend D[octo]r Solander, & M[iste]r Banks, with the Astronomers, were safe arrivd at Batavia the 10 of Oct[ober] 1770, and that they proposd to sail for England in a months time; so that we have great hopes of seeing them here next month.

This news gives universal joy to the Learnd & Curious in England; but it must give the highest satisfaction to you, who esteem him so deservedly; and to all his Countrymen.

I was much disappointed in not seeing your present King, as I hear he proposd coming to England if his Father had not died.

I hear that D[octo]r Solander will, as soon as he arrives, be introducd to the Royal Family. He has been kept from the knowledge of our King by the interposition of some great men, who favour Quacks; but I hear his Majesty is determind to see him when he arrives,[a][a] : MS. 1 he arrives [added above
the line
and probably then will reward his merits.

I have had two letters lately from our Friend D[octo]r Garden of Carolina. He has sent over a new Tortoise, or Testudo, and proposes sending you a specimen. I have desird M[iste]r Pennant to give an account of it in our Transactions, as he is now writing a Fauna Americana. D[octo]r Garden is much obligd to you for your last letter, which he ríd in Dec[em]b[er], and says he has more things to send you soon.

I have had so severe a fit of sickness in March last, that I expected never to have livíd to have finished my acc[oun]t of Zoophytes.

I recollected what you desird me to do often, and have now set about it in earnest.

I cannot reconcile my self to vegetating animals: the introduction of the doctrine[b][b] : MS. 1 of ... doctrine [added
above the line
of this mixt kind of life, will only confuse our Ideas of Nature. We have not proof sufficient to determine it; and I am averse to Hypotheses.

I am resolvd not to mention D[octo]r Pallas in my book by name.

I shall adopt very few but your Synonyms.

I have made some discoveries in the Gorgoniae, which I hope will please you. I have been[c][c] : MS. 1 been [added above the
very particular in this Genus, by the advice of my friend Solander, as he thought it had not yet been sufficiently cleard up. Nothing retards my work so much as the Engravers, who are not to be depended on; my best workman[d][d] : MS. 1 been [added above the
is dead.

I have introducd the Actinia among the Zoophytes, but am doubtful, though I have added to that Genus the Actinia Sociata, whether it is not a new genus. I sent you over a specimen of it some time ago, but never recíd your opinion of it. It is represented in one of the plates I sent you, with a dissection, shewing its internal part.

Look at Pallasís Sertularia Gorgonia, and youll find a Sertularia overrun by an Alcyonium. I have a curious plate of this, to shew the absurdity of his making this a new[e][e] : MS. 1 new [added above the
species. I have detected many Errors in him; so that I think he had no reason to find so much fault with you.

In all probability the new and many curious Observations that must have been made by Solander and Banks on the Submarine world will retard me some time longer. I am not satisfied about the ovaries of the Antipathes. Marsigliís acc[oun]t puzzles me. Solander, no doubt, has been attentive to this Genus, which is in great plenty in the East Indian Sea.

I have discoverd many new animalia infusoria, the viewing of these amuse me while I am at breakfast.

Last autumn I had some of the common Hydra of the ditches, which I had preservd some time, and fed with minute worms, with which the River Thames abounds. Some of these were infested with a kind of lice, but differently shaped from those of Trembley. In order to kill these animalcula, I put into a watchglass, half full of water, in which the Polype with its [lice were] placíd, to be viewd by the Microscope, 2 drops of a decoction of the Ger[anium zonale]. The lice were killed immediately, and the Polype rendered insensible for 4 hours, after which, it recoverd, and was perfectly free from lice. I observd the ends of 2 of the claws were rotted off; but this might happen from the animalcula corroding them.

I have mentiond to you before that the animalcula infusoria,[f][f] : MS. 1 infusoria [added above
the line
which arise from the decaying stalk of the Geranium zonale, are killd by the fresh juice of the leaves of the top of the[g][g] : MS. 1 top of the [added above
the line
same Specimen, that has been put into the water on purpose[h][h] : MS. 1 on purpose [added above
the line
to produce these animals.

The figure on the side represents the animal which I call volvox torquilla [illustration in the left margin].

I always rejoice to hear from you, pray oblige your
Most affectionate Friend,
John Ellis

Grays Inn London. May 10. 1771.

The Honorable
Charles Von Linné
Knight of the Polar Star
at Upsal
Post p[ai]d


Not yet available


a. original holograph (LS, XVII, 158-159). [1] [2] [3]


1. A selection (1821), vol. 1, p. 259-262   p.259  p.260  p.261  p.262.


MS. 1 he arrives [added above the line]
MS. 1 of ... doctrine [added above the line]
MS. 1 been [added above the line]
MS. 1 been [added above the line]
MS. 1 new [added above the line]
MS. 1 infusoria [added above the line]
MS. 1 top of the [added above the line]
MS. 1 on purpose [added above the line]