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Link: • Vitaliano Donati to Carl Linnaeus, 31 May 1750 n.s.
Dated Pridie Kal. Junias.. Sent from Venezia (Italia) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Latin.


Vitaliano DonatiDonati, Vitaliano (1713-1763).
Italian. Professor of natural history,
Turin. Travelled in the Balkans and in
the Orient. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
has long wanted to contact Linnaeus to tell him how much Linnaeus meant to him. When Donati had seen how all nature had opened up to Linnaeusís methods of investigation, how all Europe followed him and that true knowledge of Nature was found in Linnaeusís works, Donati had abandoned Joseph Pitton de TournefortísTournefort de, Joseph Pitton
(1656-1708). French. Botanist and
explorer, professor of botany at Paris.
method, in which he was trained from his youth, and adopted Linnaeusís. However, there were many enemies of Linnaeus in Italy, so Donati had kept his standpoint secret and avoided taking part in discussions, so as not to get into difficulties. Later, when Donati had to publish Historia marina Adriatici [Della storia naturale marina dellí AdriaticoDonati, Vitaliano Della
storia naturale marina dellí Adriatico
saggio giuntavi una lettera del Signor
L. Sesler intorno ad un nuovo genere di
piante terrestri
(Venice 1750).
] earlier this year, he had reduced his praise of Linnaeus on purpose, in order not to annoy his enemies, although he had ventured to use terms like mas, femina. When the work appeared, Donati had been declared a pupil of Linnaeus, a major battle had started, and even people who had seemed to be followers of Linnaeus had attacked him, led by Giulio PontederaPontedera, Giulio (1688-1757).
Italian. Director of the botanical
garden and professor of botany at Padua.
He rejected Linnaeusís system. Linnaeus
named a family of Narcissoides,
Pontederia, after him.
. He had made a speech against the sexual system at a public event held each year on May 5, a speech that could not be surpassed in hatred, malevolence or its disregard of truth. Pontedera had continued to apply Tournefortís methods and to attack Donati and Linnaeus, but Donati can assure Linnaeus that Pontedera never has owned or even seen a single page of Linnaeusís works. He has what he uses from Adriaan van RoyenísRoyen, Adriaan van (1705-1779).
Dutch. Professor of botany, director of
the botanical garden of Leiden.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
Florae Leydensis ProdromusRoyen, Adriaan van Florae
Leydensis Prodromus, exhibens plantas
quae in horto academico Lugduno-Batavo
(Leiden 1740).
, where he says that he has gathered what he needs to know. Among Pontederaís followers is Jean François SéguierSéguier, Jean François
(1703-1784). French. Antiquarian
and botanist, Nimes. Correspondent of
, and Donati knows of others but does not dare to mention them. Donati reports this to Linnaeus in secret, and he asks Linnaeus never to let it be known that he had given him the information. Donati just tells him the facts, so that Linnaeus can make his own defence and be a patron and teacher to Donati and to Lionardo SeslerSesler, Lionardo (17?-1785).
Italian. Physician in Venice.
, the two who are eager to make Linnaeusís system known all over Italy and to protect it from its enemies.

Therefore, Donati asks Linnaeus to tell him if Linnaeus finds anything in this that does not agree with Linnaeusís meaning and intentions. Donati is very eager to satisfy Linnaeus and to protect and promote Systema naturae, which is easiest, truest and best suited to reveal the uniformity and majesty of nature.

The letter ends with a wish that Linnaeus will live long, and with the address of the merchants Pietro Wonucler and Sons in Amsterdam, who will forward any answering letter from Linnaeus to Donati.


a. (LS, III, 308-309). [1] [2] [3]