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Link: • Domenico Vandelli to Carl Linnaeus, 17 May 1773 n.s.
Dated . Sent from () to (). Written in Latin.


Domenico VandelliVandelli, Domenico (1735-1816).
Italian. Physician and botanist. Left
for Portugal in 1764, where he was a
professor at the university of Coimbra.
He was the founder of Ajuda botanical
garden in Lisboa and of the Coimbra
botanical garden, where he was also the
first director (1773-1791).
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
writes to Linnaeus to inform him about a major change in the research in Portugal, namely the overthrow of the old Jesuit dominance in the University of Coimbra. The Jesuits had maintained a very conservative policy, where everything was done in the name of religion. Now, through Sebastião de Melo, marquis of PombalMelo, Sebastião de
(1699-1782). Portuguese. Statesman,
Prime Minister to King Joseph I of
Portugal, responsible for radical
educational and financial reforms.
the university had been brought back to modern studies, not only of all kinds of languages and into training of young noblemen, but also of natural sciences. The vast area of buildings, formerly devoted entirely to the needs of the clergy, had been transformed into hospitals, museums and laboratories. New statutes had been set up, and even published in Latin, and by them, medicine, mathematics, physics, chemistry and natural history are guaranteed a strong position.

The Marquis of Pombal also chose new professors and got rid of the old ones. Vandelli himself was appointed Professor of Natural History and Chemistry, but was allowed to keep the leadership of the Lisbon Botanical garden. In addition, Vandelli had donated his Lisbon museum to the University and had decided to transfer his second museum, still in Padua, to Coimbra.

The Marquis of Pombal had also decided to use some ground for a botanical garden, and the Jesuit college was to be changed into a palace for nature with laboratories, medical facilities and much more. The situation is especially good for medical treatment, due to the pleasant climate. However, much work had to be done to clean the subterranean basements of the old buildings of all the filth that the Jesuits had assembled.

On May 13, there had been a formal ceremony, when the cornerstone had been laid for the new constructions, and a memorial tablet had been set up. The Marquis of Pombal had been the object of praise from all the assembly, the city, the nobility, and even the clergy.

Vandelli expresses his satisfaction with the development and admits that Linnaeus is lucky to live in a country where the religious societies are not powerful. But now, due to The Marquis of Pombal and his mandate from the king [Joseph IJoseph I, (1714-1777).
Portuguese. Reigned from 1750.
]. Portugal is in a better state.

On this occasion, Vandelli had given a lecture, influenced by Linnaeus’s methods and system. The general content of that lecture is outlined.

For the future, all specimens and signs on the progress of natural history from the whole of the realm, also Brazil, Africa and the Isles, shall be delivered to Coimbra, from where much important news in these areas is to be expected.

Joseph BanksBanks, Joseph (1743-1820).
British. Naturalist, president of the
Royal Society. Together with Daniel
Solander he took part in Cook’s first
voyage. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
is in Belgium, but will soon return to the Pacific. Vandelli wishes he could go with him. But Vandelli is now installed in Coimbra, and he must stick to his new task.


a. (LS, XVI, 78-81). [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]