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C18

Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L5295 • Johan Peter Falck to Carl Linnaeus, October-December? 1765 n.s.
Dated . Sent from St Petersburg (Russia) to (). Written in Swedish.

upSUMMARY

Johan Peter FalckFalck, Johan Peter (1732-1774).
Swedish. Professor of botany and
curator of the botanical garden of St
Petersburg. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
still suffers from the severe fever that he had caught earlier, in September. He feels obliged to answer Linnaeus’s letter of 9 September [this letter has not come down to us]. He is most grateful for the letter.

Falck has the pleasure of congratulating Linnaeus on his oldest daughter’s [Elisabeth Christina LinnaeaLinnaea, Sara Christina
(1751-1835). Swedish. Daughter of Carl
Linnaeus and Sara Elisabet Linnaea.
Sister of Carl Linnaeus the Younger and
of Elisabeth Christina, Louisa and
Sophia Linnaea.
] marriage. May God allow Linnaeus to experience more such joyful events and see his most esteemed family blessed with a third and fourth generation.

Because of his sickness, Falck has not been able to deliver the requested material of Spiraea sorbifolia that autumn, which makes him very sad. However, if Linnaeus could have patience with him it will be in Uppsala next summer. Only God knows with what pleasure he serves Linnaeus. Falck knows of no one else who has such debt to fulfil as he himself. But fate has brought him to a place where it is impossible for him to fulfil his duties, which is somewhat embarrassing to Falck.

God forbid, that Alstroemeria will be put in exile. Who would else be better to accompany her than a multicoloured tulip or a wrinkled double flower of Carnation.

Johann Jacob Lerche Lerche, Johann Jacob
(1703-1780). German. Naturalist.
Military physician in Russian service at
Astrakan. Travelled in Persia.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
has promised to introduce Falck to an American priest in the town who is greatly interested in plants. If Falck can obtain anything through this acquaintance Linnaeus will receive a share.

Falck especially asks Linnaeus not to mention that he provides him with seeds etc; there are such rumours in the Academy. Falck has often been asked if he provides Linnaeus with such things. But he always answers in an evasive way that he has not seen anything here that is not plentiful in Uppsala. Falck encloses a leaf of an unknown tree with bipinnate leaves. It is said to originate in China, but who can trust such stories that are so often false.

The story of the last delivery that Linnaeus write about is well known to Falck, but of such delicacy that he prefers only to tell Linnaeus in person. A piece of a cut leaf is enclosed now. It originates from a plant said to be rhubarb Rhaponticum. It comes from a specimen found in a private garden close to a stand of Rheum palamatum. That particular plant had not flowered that summer. It is said to have a short inflorescence and never produce seeds. Falck says that it is absolutely not Rhaponticum, but it might be Rheum compactum. He cannot remember ever having seen Rheum compactum in Uppsala. Therefore, he is somewhat uncertain what it is. But, if it is that species, it will contradict Philip MillerMiller, Philip (1691-1771).
British. Gardener of the Chelsea Physic
Garden. Corresponded with many
botanists. His rich herbarium was sold
to Joseph Banks. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
in Chelsea whose species intended for pharmacy is nothing but Rheum palmatum.

On Falck’s request the owner of the private garden granted him access to some root samples to be taken from each plant stand. The roots of Rheum palmatum were in general appearance similar to those of the true Chinese Rhabarbarum with its veins and other characters. The roots of the other plant were whitish yellow, and neither the smell nor the taste of it resembled the previous one. The first had developed a tuber-shaped root, big as a hand. The other one had fusiform roots like an ordinary red beetroot. Both plants were said to be seven years old. If Linnaeus, with the help of the enclosed leaf sample, can confirm that it is Rheum compactum, Falck will send a piece of the living rhizome.

Falck conveys his deepest admiration to Linnaeus’s wife [Sara Elisabet LinnaeaMoraea, Sara Elisabet
(1716-1806). Swedish. Linnaeus’s wife.
Daughter of Johan Moraeus and Elisabet
Hansdotter Moraea. Mother of Carl
Linnaeus the Younger and of Elisabeth
Christina, Louisa, Sara Christina and
Sophia Linnaea.
], the young married daughter and her husband [Carl Fredrik BergencrantzBergencrantz, Carl Fredrik
(1726-1792). Swedish. Officer in the
Royal Westrobothnia regiment. Married
Linnaeus’s eldest daughter Elisabeth
Christina in 1764. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
] (whom Falck had not yet the honour to know), the honourable young daughters [Louisa LinnaeaLinnaea, Louisa (1749-1839).
Swedish. Daughter of Carl Linnaeus and
Sara Elisabet Linnaea. Sister of Carl
Linnaeus the Younger and of Elisabeth
Christina, Sara Christina and Sophia
Linnaea.
, Sara Christina LinnaeaLinnaea, Sara Christina
(1751-1835). Swedish. Daughter of Carl
Linnaeus and Sara Elisabet Linnaea.
Sister of Carl Linnaeus the Younger and
of Elisabeth Christina, Louisa and
Sophia Linnaea.
, Sophia LinnaeaLinnaea, Sophia (1757-1830).
Swedish. Daughter of Carl Linnaeus and
Sara Elisabet Linnaea. Sister of Carl
Linnaeus the Younger and of Elisabeth
Christina, Louisa and Sara Christina
Linnaea. Wife of Samuel Christoffer
Duse.
] and to the honourable Linnaeus.

P.S. Falck’s illness was caused by high fever, combined with innumerable melancholic symptoms. Falck asks God to help him. His melancholia increases every day. It is impossible to hope for some relief while he still is in Russia. To ride a horse is too expensive and to exercise on foot is not as easy as in Uppsala. Too much meat to eat, lack of joyful and encouraging stimulation will certainly contribute to the problems, etc.

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. (LS, IV, 138-139). [1] [2] [3]

upEDITIONS

1. Bref och skrifvelser (1912), vol. I:6, p. 51-53   p.51  p.52  p.53.