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Link: • Nicolaas Laurens Burman to Carl Linnaeus, 10 September 1773 n.s.
Dated 10 Septembris die 1773. Sent from Amsterdam (Netherlands) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Latin.


Fortune has finally provided Nicolaas Laurens BurmanBurman, Nicolaas Laurens
(1734-1793). Dutch. Professor of
botany. Linnaeusís pupil in Uppsala in
1760. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
with a letter from Carl Peter ThunbergThunberg, Carl Peter
(1743-1828). Swedish. Botanist,
physician, explorer. Professor of
medicine and botany at Uppsala. Studied
medicine under Linnaeus in Uppsala,
medicine and surgery in Paris, natural
history under Johannes Burman in
Amsterdam. Travelled in South Africa in
1772-1775, in Japan 1775-1776, Java and
Ceylon in 1777-1778. Correspondent of
and now he can write to Linnaeus. Burman and his father [Johannes BurmanBurman, Johannes (1707-1779).
Dutch. Botanist, professor of medicine
in Amsterdam. Close friend of Linnaeus.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
]often talk about Linnaeus and they regret that there has been no correspondence between them for a long time. Burman is, however, sure that Linnaeus wants to hear about his father, Linnaeusís long-time friend. The father has been ill the whole winter suffering from the quartan. He was so weak that his life was in danger in the spring, but he recovered using cinchona bark and milk. In the summer he could run his practice and give his botanical lessons. Now, in the beginning of autumn, he is weaker and the fever is returning, and Burman is so worried that he cannot express it with words.

Recently, Peter Simon PallasPallas, Peter Simon
(1741-1811). German. Naturalist and
explorer. Pallas studied at the
universities of Göttingen and
Leiden. In 1768 he was called to Russia
to take part in an expedition to
Siberia, the aim of which was to study
the passage of Venus. Pallas remained in
Russia for the greater part of his life.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
sent Burman plants and seeds from Siberia. He wrote that he also had sent many to Linnaeus [if these plants and seeds were accompanied with a letter or letters from Pallas, these have not come down to us]. It has been said that Pallas is now staying in Moscow and will return to St Petersburg at the end of this year or the beginning of the next.

It hurts Burman to see what has happened to Thunberg and he regrets what he suggested to him but he only tried to help him with his journey. When Thunberg was in Paris, Burman suggested a journey to the Cape and Japan that he accepted. He returned to Holland to pass a surgeon examination in Dutch. He did so successfully but was unlucky because so many chief surgeons, who had earlier travelled to India, were present that Thunberg could not have a position as primarius [first surgeon]. Although the examiners testified to his skill and knowledge, he had to accept an inferior position if he wanted to go. There was a ship for him going to Jakarta. Burman talked to the magnates of his town and Thunberg was granted 300 florins. Though Burman increased that sum, Thunberg had to spend so much staying as a guest in Holland that the money was almost used up before his departure. He was placed on another ship setting out for the Cape, and the magnates recommended him to the new governor who was going on the same ship. He promised to help Thunberg but died during the journey. Thunberg was without help for some months (in poverty as Burman thinks). Burman wrote to friends at the Cape to help Thunberg with money that he would pay back, and the magnates , too, sent him some aurei. Recently Thunberg sent plants and seeds and Burman asked the directors of the garden to send money. The directors sent 300 florins (the magnates sent 300 too) and Burman sent 70. Burman also wrote to the Cape authorities asking them to help Thunberg. Burman supposes that Thunberg has now been rescued. More will be sent next year and he hopes that Thunberg can go to Japan.

Burman has been very busy lately and very concerned about his fatherís illness and he cannot write more. He encloses a Geranium that has flowered the whole summer two years in a row. Burman asks for its name, if Linnaeus knows it, and where it is described.

Burman and his father send their best regards and wish Linnaeus a prosperous life and health.

P.S. Burman sends his regards to Linnaeusís son [Carl Linnaeus the YoungerLinnaeus the Younger, Carl
(1741-1783). Swedish. Botanist. Son of
Carl Linnaeus and Sara Elisabet Linnaea.
Brother of Elisabeth Christina, Louisa,
Sara Christina and Sophia Linnaea.
Attended his fatherís lectures, had
private tutors (Löfling, Rolander,
Solander and Falk, all Linnaeusís
students). Demonstrator of botany at
Uppsala. Succeeded his
]. He has not heard from him for some time. Will he continue his Decades [Burman refes to the Decas prima [et secunda] plantarum rariorum horti UpsaliensisLinnaeus the Younger, Carl
Decas prima [et secunda] plantarum
rariorum horti Upsaliensis sistens
descriptiones & figuras plantarum
minus cognitarum
] ? He asks Linnaeus to favour him in the future. The second part of the Mantissa plantarum altera, 2nd ed. Linnaeus, Carl Mantissa
plantarum altera
(1766), 2nd ed.
(Stockholm 1771). Soulsby no. 312.
indicates that he will.


a. (LS, II, 539-540). [1] [2] [3] [4]


1. Epistolae Burmannorum ad amicos (1873), p. 42-44 .
2. Bref och skrifvelser (1943), vol. II:2, p. 285-286   p.285  p.286.