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Link: • Jacob Jonas Björnståhl to Carl Linnaeus, 25 April 1772 n.s.
Dated 25 Aprilis 1772. Sent from Roma (Italia) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Swedish.


As Linnaeus’s respectful servant Jakob Jonas BjörnståhlBjörnståhl, Jacob Jonas
(1731-1779). Swedish.
Orientalist. Studied in Uppsala and
attended Linnaeus’s lectures. Travelled
in Europe and Asia (1767-1779). Died in
Saloniki, Greece. Correspondent of
now sends seeds from Rome and Naples. The ones which are numbered are from Rome, the names given are local, significant for the ignorance in botany, especially in Rome; Giovanni Francesco MarattiMaratti, Giovanni Francesco
(-1777). Italian. Professor of botany,
is conceited and no follower of a system. A lot of other seeds, less rare, will be shipped together with Björnståhl’s books. The enclosed seeds are said to be rare and were enthusiastically welcomed in Paris when Jean-Marie d’AoustAoust, Jean-Marie d´ (c.
1740-c.1812). French. Marquis, later
mayor of Quincy.
sent them to the Jardin du Roi [Jardin des plantes, ParisJardin des plantes, Paris,
French. The Jardin des plantes was
founded in 1597 to produce flower models
for the manufacturing of tapestry in
Paris. In 1626 it became a garden for
medical and pharmaceutical plants. In
1739 it was again transformed to le
Jardin du roi, where also a natural
history museum was built. Later in the
eigteenth century a zoological garden
and a library were added.
]. He is Flemish, a keen botanist and a friend of Björnståhl’s. d’Aoust, a convinced Linnean, sends his respects and his thanks for all knowledge that Linnaeus has given him.

The seeds from Naples were given by Nicola PacificoPacifico, Nicola (1734-1799).
Italian. Professor of Botany, Naples.
, a kind nobleman who has studied Linnaeus’s works and is the owner of a beautiful garden. Domenico Maria Leone CyrilloCirillo, Domenico Maria Leone
(1739-1799). Italian. Physician and
naturalist, Naples. Correspondent of
is too engaged in medicine to have time for botany. He has promised seeds but has forgotten his promise, because he is busy visiting his patients all day long. Maraldi of Ferrara now lives on Capri and will write a treatise about the natural history of this island. Thus Björnståhl has contacted all possible botanists in order to make them deliver seeds to Linnaeus. No wonder that a country with mountains and metals have excellent men witihin mineralogy, ”docimastiques”, metallurgy etc. It is remarkable though, that, thanks to Linnaeus, people in Italy, France, India and Africa have to turn to ”the icy North” to be informed of their own plants! Linnaeus has made Sweden famous throughout the world. Unfortunately, Björnståhl is not a botanist but he hopes that he will compensate for this lack of expertise by his diligence and good intention. It would be wonderful if he could send seeds of a completely new species to Uppsala University Botanical Garden!

There are unusually many Swedes in Rome this winter. Björnståhl mentions two brothers named Cronstedt [Fredrik Adolf Ulrik CronstedtCronstedt, Fredrik Adolf Ulrik
(1741-1829). Swedish. Count.
Superintendent at the Royal court, later
governor of the province of
Gävleborg. Brother of Sven Jakob
and Sven Jakob CronstedtCronstedt, Sven Jakob
(1747-1791). Swedish. Count. Conductor
at the fortification. Brother of Fredrik
Adolf Ulrik Cronstedt.
], Emanuel De GeerDe Geer, Emanuel (1748-1803).
Swedish. Chamberlain. Envoy in Holland.
Councillor in Sweden. Son of Charles De
Geer and Catharina Charlotta Ribbing.
, Fredrik Adolf von NumersNumers, Fredrik Adolf von
(1745-1792). Swedish. Military officer,
lieutenant at the time of the Italian
journey 1771-1773, later colonel.
, Carl Fredrik RudbeckRudbeck, Carl Fredrik
(1755-1814). Swedish. Military officer.
Son of Adolph Rudbeck. Brother of Adolph
Fredrik Rudbeck. Accompanied, together
with his brother, Jacob Jonas
Björnståhl on his travels.
, Jakob Tobias SergelSergel, Jakob Tobias
(1740-1814). Swedish. Sculptor.
, and Johan Jacob FerberFerber, Johan Jacob
(1743-1790). Swedish. Professor of
chemistry at Mitau, of mineralogy at St
Petersburg. Superintendent of the board
of mines, Berlin. Correspondent of
. They were all invited by De Geer to celebrate Christmas. All these gentlemen are a credit to their country. If Linnaeus sees young De Geer’s parents [Charles De GeerDe Geer, Charles (1720-1778).
Swedish. Entomologist and natural
history collector, Leufsta Bruk. Member
of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
in Stockholm and Académie des
sciences, Paris. Corresponded with
Réaumur, Bonnet and other
naturalists. Husband of Catharina
Charlotta Ribbing and father of Emanuel
De Geer. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
and Catharina Charlotta RibbingDe Geer, Catharina Charlotta
(1720-1787). Swedish. Wife of Charles
De Geer, mother of Emanuel De Geer. Born
Ribbing af Zernova.
], he can report that their son is very popular and loved everywhere. They have all been ”indescribably well received” by the Pope [Clemens XIVClemens XIV, (1705-1774).
Italian. Pope from 1769-1774. Succeeded
Clemens XIII.
]. Many celebrities have visited Rome lately: Duke of Glocester, brother of the English King, the Duke of Saxony-Gotha, the Princess of Saxony, and Alexej Grigorjevitj OrlowOrlow, Alexej Grigorjevitj
(1737-1808). Russian. Gneral admiral at
the Russian fleet.
. He is now in Livorno, where he next day will have two ships blown up, to show the Duke of Glocester, who has gone there too, how the Russians burnt the Turkish fleet in the Mediterranean. Jean Etienne GuettardGuettard, Jean Etienne
(1715-1786). French. Naturalist,
geologist and mineralogist. Director of
the museum of natural history objects of
the duke of Orléans. Best known
for his geological and mineralogical
studies of France. Correspondent of
has been in Rome and in Naples, a learned and cheerful man; he has now left for Loretto, Ravenna, Bologna and Florence, where they have an appointment with him in Florence in a fortnight. Now De Geer is travelling with him. If they meet again in Florence it will be fun, thereafter they will therafter accompany each other to Venice. Guettard intends to write a description of the physical character of Italy. Björnståhl spends most of his time in libraries reading dusty Arabic, Syrian, Greek and Hebrew manuscripts; he hopes that Ferber, as a real botanist, sends more and rarer seeds to Linnaeus, Björnståhl wishes that they will reach Linnaeus in time to be sown this spring.

If Linnaeus would honour Björnståhl with a letter, it should be sent to Turin or Geneva. He is grateful for Linnaeus’s letter of 9 November 1770 that did not reach him until 19 August 1771 [this letter has not come down to us]. After that Björnståhl has had no news from Uppsala. He sends his respects to all the professors there and mentions by name: Johan IhreIhre, Johan (1707-1780).
Swedish. Philologist. Professor of Latin
and later of eloquence and political
science at Uppsala.
, Carl AurivillusAurivillius, Carl (1717-1786).
Swedish. Professor of Oriental
languages, Uppsala. Correspondent of
, Lars HydrénHydrén, Lars
(1694-1789). Swedish. Professor of
poetry 1744 and of theology 1753,
Uppsala. Dean at the Uppsala cathedral
1764. Father of Anna Catharina Waldius
and father-in-law of Erik Waldius.
, Christopher ClewbergClewberg, Christopher
(1706-1776). Swedish. Professor of
Oriental languages in Uppsala, in
theology 1760. Vicar at the parish of
Denmark, outside Uppsala. Brother of
Carl Abraham Clewberg.
, Erik HesselgrenHesselgren, Erik (1715-1803).
Swedish. Professor of oriental
languages, and theology, Uppsala.
, and Johan FloderusFloderus, Johan (1721-1789).
Swedish. Professor of Greek, Uppsala.
Close friend to Carl Linnaeus and his

P.S. A learned friar by the name of Antonio MinasiMinasi, Antonio (1736-1806).
Italian. Dominican monk and naturalist.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
has made many discoveries in natural history. He sends letters [Minasi to Linnaeus, 20 June 1771Letter L6060 and 13 September 1771Letter L6059] and other things to be forwarded to Linnaeus by Björnståhl, through Björnståhl’s companion [Carl Fredrik Rudbeck], because these things can not be sent by ordinary post.


a. original holograph (LS, II, 40-41). [1] [2] [3]


1. Bref och skrifvelser (1909), vol. I:3, p. 241-245   p.241  p.242  p.243  p.244  p.245.