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Link: • Carl Linnaeus to John Bartram, 24 June 1769 n.s.
Dated 1769. d. 24 junii.. Sent from Uppsala (Sweden) to Pennsylvania (USA). Written in Latin.


Linnaeus has got an opportunity to send a letter to John BartramBartram, John (1701-1777).
American. Botanist living in
Pennsylvania and Delaware. Father of
John Bartram the Younger and William
Bartram. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
with a Swedish theologian who is leaving for North America [presumably Nils CollinCollin, Nils (1746-1831).
Swedish. Dean of Racoon and Pennsneck
from 1773 to 1786, thereafter in
Philadelphia. From 1791 the only
Swedish clergyman to serve at the
Swedish Lutheran congregations in
America, where he stayed until his
]. He has just heard from Bentzelstierna [presumably Mathias BenzelstiernaBenzelstierna, Mathias
(1713-1791). Swedish. Public official,
member of the Royal Swedish Academy of
Sciences. Linnaeusís fellow student at
Lund. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
] that his old friend Bartram is well and still active in botany.

Bartram had sent a herbarium and a box full of seeds to Sweden many years ago. It was addressed to Her Majesty the Queen [Lovisa UlrikaLovisa Ulrika, (1720-1782).
Swedish. Queen of Sweden 1751-1771.
Married to Adolf Fredrik. Mother of
Gustav III. Sister of Fredric II of
Prussia. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
]. However, fully occupied by other duties as Royal persons are, she had not paid attention to the gift. At a recent visit to the Court, Linnaeus had heard that the material was set aside somewhere. When the Queen had ordered it to be opened and Linnaeus had seen what was in it and added names to the specimens, they had both been very sorry that it had been neglected for so many years. Linnaeus regrets that Bartram had not mentioned Linnaeusís name in the address. Then, it would have been taken care of and been saved. Nothing distresses Linnaeus so much as seeing so many rare seeds destroyed.

Among the specimens is Hudsonia, the fructification of which Linnaeus has not seen before, and several others.

It will be a long time, if at all, before there is someone in North America who is better than Bartram at defining plants.

Linnaeus has just got a Zizania [Zizania aquatica, "annual wildrice" in English], into his garden. He had looked for it in vain for a long time.

If Bartram meets somebody who is leaving for Sweden, Linnaeus asks him to send some seeds of Panax and Senega with them.

Linnaeus asks Bartram with some emphasis, to make a list of all plants he knows, while he is still alive as Bartram is better than anybody on the North American plants. The list should also tell if they are annual, biennial or perennial, the kind of soil and habitats of the plants, such as wet or dry places, forests, shadows or sunshine, etc. Any remarkable fact that Bartram wants to add is also welcome. This will be the basis of an inventory of North American plants, and nobody is better suited than Bartram to make it.

Linnaeus has asked many people why North American plants grow easily in Europe but almost never get fruit. This happens not only in Sweden, where the climate is cold, but also in Montpellier where the summer is warmer and the summer not shorter than in North America. Linnaeus hopes he could get some hints of the causes of this if he could know more about the climate and the localities where the plants grow in their homeland.

Linnaeus hopes Bartram will have a long life and regard Linnaeus as one of his friends.


a. original holograph (Salford City Archive, U12/C1-19).