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C18

L0783     

Carl Linnaeus [+] to Johann Georg Gmelin [+]

Uppsala, Sweden, 25 February 1747 n.s. [Display apparatus in new window]

Viro Claro Nobili et Honestissimo,
D[omino] D[octori] J[OHANNI] G[EORGIO] GMELINO,
s[alutem] pl[urimam] d[icit]
Car[olus] Linnaeus.

Hodie Tuas accepi candidissimas et amicissimas literas, quibus suaviores nullae esse mihi possunt.[1]

Doleo, et numquam satis dolebo, jacturam Rei herbariae per Stellerum[+], qui tanto itinere terras antea non tritas solus calcavit. Si ullo modo comparare poteris ejus collectanea, nullam occasionem intermitte, quanti demum constabunt. O Bone Deus, quod tantum virum eripuisti![2]

Semina Ceratocarpi me nondum accepisse credo, licet manibus palpo, antequam plantam viderim enatam; ita eandem videre flagro vivam et virentem. An monocotyledonis aut dichotyledonis sit, videre opto.

Numquam dolui, quod Flora Tua desideratissima prelum subierit, sed morae impressionis impatiens quotidie tamquam esuriens eam exspecto.[3]

Optimus Hallerus[+] in me valde iratus est, quod maximopere doleo. Ego non scripsi contra eum, sed aliquibus in locis dixi eodem modo, quo ille de me solitus fuit. Si ego colligerem ea,[a] quae ille antea dura dixit de me, replerem aliquot philyras. Ille putat me multa contra eum dixisse, ubi numquam de eo cogitavi. Sed transeat, irascatur, scribat. Ego numquam intermittam colere et amare et magni facere Virum de Re herbaria optime meritum.[4]

Ego nescio, quid dixit Siegesbeckius[+] de Anandria in Academia[+], nec curo, [b]quid dicat miser.[b] Illum enim intactum reliqui. Istum virum despicio, sed alium nullum excepto Heistero[+].[5]

Parum refert, unde Barbarum vocabulum Knawel ortum sit. Non ferit fundamenta Botanices.[6] Et ejus Polygonatoides et nomine et omine stultum est. Verbo Nebulo est, uti Tu ipse dicis. Ego subscribam.

Pro imagine Tua gratias ago devotissimas. Exspecto eandem a D[omi]no Lagerflycht[+] prima data occasione. Animo te vidi. Sed laetabor videre faciem Tuam et in ea formabo mox animam candidissimam. Eris inter meos penates s[ive] Botanicos collocandus in auditorio Botanico.

Mitto figuram ad Acrosticum.

Petilium Tuum, quod gratiosissime misisti s[ive] Lilium istud e China facie Ireos, floribus luteis, mihi videtur esse species Ixiae, nisi novum velis genus formare, quod medium esset inter Irides, Gladiolum et Ixiam.

Lilium floribus reflexis cinnab[arinis]. Forte erravi. Plantae nostrae tam tenerae sunt, ut vix 2 vel 3 folia adhuc possideant, multo minus flores aut caules.

Non placet, quod Hominem inter ant[h]ropomorpha collocaverim, sed homo noscit se ipsum. Removeamus vocabula. Mihi perinde erit, quo nomine utamur. Sed quaero a Te et Toto orbe differentiam genericam inter hominem et Simiam, quae ex principiis Historiae naturalis. Ego certissime nullam novi. Utinam aliquis mihi unicam diceret! Si vocassem hominem simiam vel vice versa omnes in me conjecissem theologos. Debuissem forte ex lege artis.[7]

Ovem distinguo a solis cornibus, sic ante me omnes. Utinam aliae sup[p]eterent[c] notae; lubenter acciperem. Vellus nil facit. Vellem lubenter plures notas assumere, si modo scirem aliquot constantes. Dantur et caprae pilis cervinis uti gazellae.

Picus. Modo caput supra rubrum sit et totum corpus nigrum. Non ita sollicite distinguo purpureum et rubrum.

Ermineum. Habemus animalculum in Lapponia frequentissimum, quod vocatur “Hermelin” nobis s[ive] “Ermineum”. Hoc semper album. Alterum nobis Mustela frequens in Suecia, aestate rubrum, hyeme, ut creditur, album. Forte in hac re cum rusticis nostris erravi. Haec enim animalcula numquam viva habui. Et parum de his novi. Quidquid me de his docere velis gratus agnoscam. Utinam velles indigitare differentias et vitae modum!

Vulpes. Quae de his dicis, pulchra et docta et quae ante Te nullus praestitit. Accepi ante annum dimidium vulpem album et vidi eundem diversum pedibus leporinis, &c. Caeruleum Tu me docuisti esse ejus varietatem, quam vivam non vidi. Vulpem caudae apice albo habemus frequentem, sed nigro apice numquam vidi. Sed quo referam ferrugineum aut cruce nigra inscriptum?

Gulonem numquam vidi nisi valde remotum. Est longus, pedibus brevibus, voracissimus, agilissimus, arbores ascendens, saliens. Ergo hujus generis putavi. Tu me docere potes, qui habes et vides eundem quotidie in vivario Imperatricis.[8]

Talpa cauda nulla. Sic dixit Seba[+]. Annon recte?

Sciurum utrumque volitantem habet Seba. Non audeo temere combinare, postquam tot species vespertili[on]um similium viderim diversas; in altero etiam cutis a capite ad manus et inde ad pedes, dein inter utrosque pedes, quod non in nostro extenditur.

De Anandriae reliquis floribus accipies mense majo v[olente] D[eo] proximo. Si iste tomus, qui anandriam continebit, non prius prodeat, alias proximis literis.[9]

Upsaliae d[ie] 14 febr[uarii] 1747.

Viro Clarissimo / D. D. Gmelin / Professori Petropolitano / St Petersburg.


SUMMARY

Linnaeus hopes that Johann Georg Gmelin will be able to take care of Georg Wilhelm Steller’s collections.

Linnaeus has not yet received the seeds of Ceratocarpus. He wishes to know whether it is monocotyledon or dichotyledon.

He eagerly exspects to receive Gmelin’s Flora Sibirica.

Albrecht von Haller is angry at Linnaeus for having criticised him. However, Linnaeus will always consider him a great botanist.

Linnaeus is indifferent to what Johann Georg Siegesbeck has said about Anandria in the Imperial Academy of Sciences of St Petersburg. He despises Siegesbeck and Lorenz Heister, nobody else.

Linnaeus is not interested in the meaning of Knawel.

Linnaeus is grateful for the portrait of Gmelin, which he expects through Johan Lagerflycht.

Gmelin’s Petilium seems to be a species of Ixia.

Linnaeus might be wrong about Lilium floribus reflexis cinnabarinis.

Linnaeus placed man among the Anthropomorpha (”the human-like), which caused irritation. He does not care what name is used. But he wonders whether Gmelin and the rest of the world can name a generic difference between man and ape based on the principles of natural history.

Linnaeus distinguishes the sheep solely through the horns, because there are no other adequate characteristics.

The Picus (”black woodpecker”) is defined through the fact that the head is red on the upper side and the whole body black.

The Ermineum (“ermine”) is a very frequent small animal in Lapland which is always white. There is another one, Mustela (“weasel”), which is frequent in Sweden. It is red during summer and white, Linnaeus thinks, during winter; he has never seen one alive.

What Gmelin says about the fox is learned. Linnaeus has a male white polar fox distinguished by its hare-like paws. Gmelin has told Linnaeus that the blue fox is a variant.

Linnaeus has only seen a Gulo (“glutton”) at a distance. It is long, agile, with short legs and climbs trees.

Albert Seba talks about a Talpa cauda nulla (“mole without tail”). Linnaeus wonders if that is not correct then.

Seba has two Sciuri volitantes (“flying squirrels”). Linnaeus would not dare to put them in the same group, since there are so many species of Vespertiliones (“bats”).

Linnaeus will write more about Anandria in his next letter, if the volume which contains it has not been published first.



MANUSCRIPTS

a. original holograph (UUB, G152a).

72 dpi :  [1] [2] [3] [4]


EDITIONS

1. Joannis Georgii Gmelini Reliquias quae supersunt commercii epistolici (1861), p. 54-56.

TEXTUAL NOTES
a. MS1 [added above the line]
b. MS1 <haec> quid dicat miser [added above the line]
c. MS1 <superent> sup

erent


EXPLANATORY NOTES
1. See Johann Georg Gmelin to Linnaeus, 19 December 1746 o.s., 30 December 1746 n.s.[+].
2. In 1741 Georg Wilhelm Steller[+] was shipwrecked together with Vitus Bering[+] at the island, which got its name after Bering. Bering died but Steller was saved. However, on his way home he was arrested in Siberia and died in November 1746. Some of Steller’s collections were saved by Gregorij Demidoff[+], who had founded a botanical garden in his Solikamsk at the Ural mountains. He realised the value of the material and also sent duplicates to Linnaeus.
3. Gmelin, Flora Sibirica[+].
4. See the correspondence between Linnaeus and Albrecht von Haller.
5. See Linnaeus to Gmelin, 4 April 1744 o.s., 15 April 1744 n.s.[+], note.
6. See Linnaeus to Haller, 26 September 1739 n.s.[+].
7. In Systema naturae[+] of 1735 Linnaeus placed man at the top of the animal kingdom and included in the same order Anthropomorpha, i.e. the ape. However, in Fauna Svecica[+] (1746) Linnaeus had to defend himself. In his Summa dubiorum circa classes quadrupedum et amphibiorum[+] (1743) Jacob Theodor Klein[+] reasonably denied that man could be called anthropomorph (“human-like”) or quadrupedia (”four-footed”), and Linnaeus changed the terms Quadrupedia to Mammalia and Anthropomorpha to Primates in Systema naturae of 1758. Linnaeus divides Homo sapiens into five races. See G. Broberg, Homo sapiens L. Studier i Carl von Linnés naturuppfattning och människolära[+], 153-253. For nosce te ipsum (”know thyself”) as a criterion to separate genera, see esp. 282-286, and G. Broberg, “Homo sapiens. Linnaeus’s classification of man”[+], 156-194.
8. I.e., the Zoo of Empress Elisabet[+].
9. Linnaeus, Dissertatio botanica de Anandria[+].