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Link: • Thomas Pennant to Carl Linnaeus, 17 November 1771 n.s.
Dated Novr 17th 1771.. Sent from Downing (Great Britain) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in English.


Thomas PennantPennant, Thomas (1726-1798).
British. Naturalist, best known for his
works on zoology. Correspondent of
was honoured to receive a letter from Linnaeus dated 22 October [1771]Letter L6308. Pennant hopes that Linnaeus by now has received his Synopsis of quadrupedsPennant, Thomas Synopsis of
(Chester, 1771).
and Indian zoologyPennant, Thomas Indian
([London, 1769]).
. He would like to have Linnaeus’s opinion.

Pennant is honoured that Linnaeus wants to receive his works. He therefore sends the remainder, i.e., his folio edition of the The British zoologyPennant, Thomas The British
, 4 vols. (London,
with 132 plates uncoloured.

Regarding his “Journey to Scotland” [Pennant means his A tour in ScotlandPennant, Thomas A Tour in
Scotland, 1769
(Chester, [1771]).
] with 18 plates, only five are related to natural history, the rest are of ruins, etc.

Pennant will send his things with the first ship in the spring.

Pennant admires Linnaeus’s worthy disposition in bearing with those that differ in opinion from him. It is the mark of a great and generous mind, which will obtain the applause of the world and the consolation of his own conscience. Pennant wishes that Jean-Louis Leclerc, comte de BuffonBuffon, Jean-Louis Leclerc, comte de
(1707-1788). French.
could imitate Linnaeus. Pennant sees that Buffon in his last volume of his “Ornithologie” [Pennant refers to the part of the Histoire naturelleBuffon, Jean-Louis Leclerc, comte de
Histoire naturelle
générale et
particulière avec la description
du cabinet du roi
, 44 vol. (Paris,
, where the birds were described in 1770] has involved Pennant in his general abuse of the world. He has very erroneously supposed that Pennant mistakes one bird for another; i.e., an owl that Pennant called “the short eared” for that which the French call “le petit” or Linnaeus’s Strix scops.

The following year Pennant intends to publish his Genera of birdsPennant, Thomas Genera of
(Edinburgh, 1773).
with a short introduction of their external parts, a definition of each genus, etc.

Pennant encloses a scheme of his system. He follows John RayRay, John (1627-1705).
British. Naturalist and clergyman. One
of the most influential botanists before
in the greater divisions and Linnaeus in the arrangements of the genera. Pennant makes a new division of Columbinae, which he separates from Linnaeus’s Passeres. He also separates Aves aquaticae pedibus planatis from Linnaeus’s Anseres. Pennant intends to treat zoology in geographic arrangements, i.e., to begin with the history of the animals of North America for which he has made vast collections. He wishes that Pehr KalmKalm, Pehr (1716-1779).
Swedish. Botanist and traveller,
professor of natural history at
Åbo. Disciple of Linnaeus.
Travelled in North America 1748-1751.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
would publish his promised work, since it would be of great use to Pennant.

Pennant discusses a plate which was done for the Gentleman’s Magazine for June 1771 [see Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 41, 1771, p. 249] with Perca cabrilla, Perca labrax and Squilla coelata. They all come from Gibraltar from whence he often receives rare things, since he patronizes a gentleman there [Pennant means John WhiteWhite, John (1727-1780).
British. Vicar of Blackburn. Brother of
Gilbert White. Correspondent of
] in his intention to publish a fauna of Gibraltar [the intended work, White’s ”Fauna Calpensis” was never published].

Pennant laments the second voyage that Daniel SolanderSolander, Daniel (1733-1782).
Swedish. Naturalist, explorer. Student
in Uppsala under Linnaeus and Johan
Gottschalk Wallerius. Went to London in
1760. Curator of natural history
collections at the British Museum.
Botanist on Cook’s first voyage
1768-1771. Joseph Bank’s librarian.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
is about to undertake because it will be both dangerous and unpleasant. Solander will sail with Captain James CookCook, James (1728-1779).
British. Explorer, navigator and
who is to command two ships to sail in March. After a stay at the Cape of Good Hope it will sail directly for the Antarctic circle. Cook will try all the lower parts of the South Sea as far eastward as Cape Horn in search of a southern continent. Pennant believes that Cook will never reach so far south as he proposes on account of ice because Jean-Baptiste Charles Bouvet de LozierBouvet de Lozier, Jean-Baptiste
(1705-1786). French.
Naval officer and explorer.
, a French captain who in 1739 discovered land in 54o s. lat. 27 or 28 long. found it so set about with ice that he could not even land. Pennant foresees great difficulties the nearer he comes the Pole.

Pennant hopes that Solander will send Linnaeus his account of the plants, since a liberal and communicative disposition is the highest honour to a man of science.


a. (LS, XI, 431-432). [1] [2] [3]