Carl Linnaeus to John Bartram,
24 June 1769 n.s.
L6108. Carl LinnaeusCarl Linnaeus (1707-1778). Swedish.
to John BartramJohn Bartram (1701-1777). American.
Linnaeus has got an opportunity to send a letter to John BartramBartram, John (1701-1777).
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).
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.