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Louis H Roc
LONDON, JOHN VAN VOOHST ; PATERNOSTER Row.
L I N N M U S.
JOHN VAN VOORST, PATERNOSTER ROW.
LONDON : PRINTED BT WOODFAI.L AND KINDER,
ANGEL COURT, SKINNER STREET.
Birth of Linnaeus. A short account of his father and
mother. His childhood, and early love of flowers.
School-days. His distaste for learned studies. A
year at the Gymnasium. Linnaeus goes to the Uni-
versity at Lund. Finds a friend in Stotxeus. Quits
Lund for TJpsala. His poverty and sufferings.
Celsius befriends and patronizes him. Friendship
between Linnaeus and Artedi. The first idea of the
" Systema Naturae " . . . . . 1
Linnaeus appointed to lecture in the Botanic Garden
at Upsala, as Assistant to Rudbeck. His disagree-
ment with Rosen. Determines to go to Lapland.
Visits his birth-place. The "BiKung." Linnseus
starts on his adventurous journey. A sketch of his
Lapland tour, extracted from his Diary. Safe re-
turn to Upsala . . . . .26
The Linnaea, Borealis. Linnasus lectures on the Art of
Assaying, at Upsala. Rivalry between him and
Rosen. He visits the great Swedish mining dis-
tricts. Account of this tour, and his companions
in it. Linnaeus at Fahlun. A matrimonial project.
Linnaeus resolves to visit a foreign University
and take a degree as M.D. Goes first to Stenbro-
hult, and visits his mother's grave. He journeys to
Hamburgh. The "Seven-Headed Hydra." Lin-
naeus proceeds to Amsterdam. And thence to Har-
dervyck, where he takes his degree. -Gronovius sees
the "Systema Naturee" in MS. and prints it, at his
own expense. He introduces Linnaeus to Boerhaave.
The "Fundamenta Botanica" printed. Linnaeus
and Artedi meet at Leyden. Accidental death of
the latter. Linnaeus publishes his friend's work
on Ichthyology. Linnseus introduced to Mr. Clifford,
with whom he resides some time. The " Flora Lap-
ponica " . . 54
Linnaeus visits England. His interviews with scien-
tific men in London. At Oxford gains the friendship
of Dillenius. Fascination of the manners and ad-
dress of Linnaeus. His lady correspondents and ad-
mirers. The furze on Putney Heath. Linnaeus
returns to Holland. Completes the "Hortus Clif-
fordianus." The "Critica Botanica" and "Genera
Plantanun." Linnaeus pines for his native land.
Journeys to Paris, and visits Leyden, where he stays
some time. Publishes the "Classes Plantarum,"
' ' Corollarium Generum," and "Methodus Sexualis."
His choice companions at Leyden. Johan Bartsch.
The death of Boerhaave, and his parting inter-
view with Linnseus.- Illness of Linnseus, and his de-
parture from Holland. He visits Paris. Is well
received by the brothers Jussieu, and other accom-
plished naturalists. Made a Member of the Aca-
demie des Sciences. Returns home, and visits his
father and his betrothed. Goes to Stockholm to
establish himself as a physician there. Adversity
soon followed by prosperity. Chosen Member of the
Upsal Academy. His merits and fame. Is patron-
ized by Count Tessin. Marriage of Linnseus.
Friendly intercourse between him and the celebrated
Haller. Affecting letter of Haller on the loss of his
wife. " In the midst of life we are in death" . 80
Review of the early career of Linna3us. His prosper-
ous circumstances. Obtains the Botanic Chair at
Upsala. Is deputed by Government to travel
through (Eland and Gothland. Goes to reside at
Upsala. His great enjoyment in the duties of his
new position. The Garden at Upsala embellished
and enriched by him. Publication of the "Flora
Suecica." "Fauna Suecica." Linnseus as teacher
and lecturer. Surprising results of his popularity
in the prosperity and fame of the University of
Upsala. The pupils of Linnseus. Early deaths of
several of their number. Labours, talents, and
successes of others. Kindness and liberality of Lin-
naeus to his students.- His pride and satisfaction in
them, and their zeal and devotion to him . .113
Fame and honours. The "Flora Zeylenica."
Linnaeus and Rosen co-professors at Upsala. Lin-
naeus publishes his "Materia Medica." Travels
through Scania. Returning thence, visits his aged
father. An attack of gout cured by eating straw-
berries. The " Philosophia Botanica." The spirit,
energy, and diligence of Linnaeus. His ardent
temperament. The Flowers Asleep. Mrs. Hemans'
lines. Linnaeus at the Swedish Court. His favour
with the Queen. Honours and nobility. The
"Species Plantarum." Haller's eulogy on this
masterpiece. Linnaeus purchases an estate. De-
scription of his villa. His personal appearance and
natural disposition. His inordinate vanity. His
domestic virtues. His two sons and four daughters.
His wife. Her unnatural conduct towards her
son . . . . . .140
Dangerous illness of Linnaeus. The skill and kind-
ness of Rosen. Anecdote of Sir H. Moncrieff. The
"Silfer Brollop." Marriage of the eldest daughter
of Linnaeus. A picture of the home life of Linnaeus
by Fabricius, one of his most famous pupils. First
symptoms of old age. The Diary of Linnaeus. His
devout acknowledgments of Divine favour and bless-
ing. His farewell oration before the University.
Vivacity and spirit shown in the correspondence of
Linnseus. His letter to Pennant. " It is now too
late." The ruling passion strong in death. Death of
Linnseus. Honours paid to his memory. The na-
tional taste for the study of Natural History inspired
by his labours. Sir J. E. Smith purchases Museum
and Library of Linnseus. And founds the Linnsean
Society. Concluding remarks. "The Observing
Eye." What one man may do. Patrick Neill and
the Horticultural Society of Edinburgh. Encourage-
ment and rewards promised to the young student of
Botany . . 16(5
HIS CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH.
IT has well been said, that though the
lives of men devoted to silent study
and secluded labour contain few of those
stirring incidents which embellish the bio-
graphies of statesmen and heroes, they are
scarcely less alluring and instructive. We
love to know under what circumstances our
favourite authors conceived and completed
the works which instruct and delight us,
4 LIFE OF LINKSU8.
brought up by his maternal uncle, Sven
Tiliander, himself a clergyman, who edu-
cated the lad with his own children, and
being fond of plants and gardening, in-
spired in his nephew also a love for horti-
culture : so that this predilection appears
to have been, in some degree, hereditary.
Young Nils was sent, in due time, to
school, and afterwards to the university
of Lund, where he had to struggle for
some years with poverty, and to apply
very diligently to his studies, in order
that he might qualify himself for the pro-
fession of his choice. Returning to his
native place, he was admitted to holy
orders, and was first curate and afterwards
co-pastor. Soon after he attained to 'this
degree, he was married to the eldest daugh-
ter of the pastor, Christina Brodersonia ;
of whom her son says " She possessed all
LIFE OF LINN^US. 5
the virtues of her sex, and was an excellent
economist." No doubt she found ample
room for the exercise of this her distin-
guishing excellence, for her husband's sti-
pend was small, and she brought him a
goodly family of two sons and three
daughters. We may well believe that
thrift and frugality were necessary in the
menage of this small household.
Linnaeus tells us, that the young couple
welcomed their first-born with joy, and
reared him with the tehderest solicitude,
" devoting the utmost attention to impress-
ing on his mind the love of virtue, both in
precept and example." He has drawn a
charming picture of his birth-place ; it was
situated in a very pleasant valley adjoining
the lake Mb'klen, which formed a bay, in
the centre of which stood the parish church
of Stenbrohult. On the banks of this
6 LIFE OF LIN1UBUS.
fine lake, surrounded by hills and vallies,
woods and cultivated grounds, the father of
Linnaeus dwelt ; his garden and his fields
yielding him, at the same time, both
amusement and profit. The young Carl
had no sooner left his cradle than he was
constantly in the garden, in which, to use
his own expression, he almost lived ; de-
lighted with the brilliant hues and fragrance
of the beauteous shrubs and flowers which
flourished there. In a letter to Baron
Haller, written at the time of his father's
death, Linnaeus says, " He was an un-
common lover of plants, and had a select
garden of numerous rare species/ 5
The favourite taste of the father was
quickly imbibed by the child, who was his
constant companion while he cultivated the
choice parterre, and eagerly tried to yield
such slight aid as his childish powers per-
LIFE OF LINN^US. 7
mitted. He has recorded the first occasion
when this innate passion was decidedly
displayed, or rather, perhaps, when it sprung
into consciousness. He was hardly four
years old when he chanced to accompany
his father to a rural fete at Mb'klen, and in
the evening, it being a pleasant season of
the year, the guests seated themselves on
the flowery turf and listened to the good
pastor, who entertained them with remarks
on the names and properties of the plants
which grew around them, showing them
the roots of Succisa, Tormentilla, Orchides,
&c. The little Carl attended, with the
utmost eagerness, to all he saw and heard,
and " from that time never ceased harass-
ing his father with questions about the
name, qualities and nature of every plant
he met with ;" an unlooked-for result of
the evening lecture, and which seems to
8 LIFE OF LINN31US.
have cost the worthy man no small trouble ;
for the child (not unlike other children,
for that matter) "very often asked more
than his father was able to answer ; " in
addition to which he " used immediately to
forget all he had learned, and especially the
names of the plants. To cure him of this
mischievous habit of inattention, his father
refused to answer his questions, unless he
would promise to remember what was told
him ; which judicious management wrought
a speedy and effectual cure ; insomuch that
he tells us, he ever afterwards retained
with ease whatever he heard. Besides this
retentiveness of memory, he possessed an
"astonishing quickness of sight;" an
almost necessary qualification for the study
of his favourite science.
When the boy was eight years old, a
separate plot of ground was assigned him
LIFE OF LINN^IUS. 9
by his father, which was called "Carl's
Garden/' and which he soon stored with
collections of plants and wild flowers
gathered from the woods and fields around
his dwelling. At the same time he intro-
duced a variety of weeds ; a treasure
which it afterwards cost his father no
small pains to eradicate from his flower-
beds. The enterprising youngster even
tried the experiment of establishing a
swarm of wild bees and wasps in the
garden, the result of which was a devas-
tating warfare waged against the domestic
At length it was thought desirable that
these flowery pursuits should give way to
more serious occupations ; and he was com-
mitted to the charge of a private tutor,
whom he calls, " a passionate and morose
man ; better calculated for extinguishing
10 LIFE OF LINN.SUS.
a youth's talents than for improving them/'
Nor did he fare any better in his next
remove, which was to the grammar-school
of Wexio, where the masters " pursued
the same methods, preferring stripes and
punishments to encouragements and ad-
monitions/' Probably the boy evinced his
distaste for such coercive measures, since we
find him soon removed from school to the
care of another private teacher, of whose
mild and gentle disposition he speaks in
terms of approval ; nevertheless he, too,
failed to inspire in his pupil a love for the
studies which were considered necessary as
preparatory to admission into holy orders ;
for Nils Linnaeus, desirous that his eldest
son should become his assistant, and even-
tually his successor, designed him for the
It was not till three years later that
LIFE OF LINN^IUS. 11
Carl received promotion to a higher "form"
in the school, called the " circle ; " and the
principal use he seems to have made of
the greater liberty allowed him in this
new rank, was to shun the usual exercises
and give himself up to the study of
his favourite pursuit the knowledge of
flowers. He acknowledges that his time
was chiefly spent in wandering about the
outskirts of the town, and making himself
acquainted with all the plants he could
According to the system then pursued
in Sweden, it was necessary that youths
should pass from the schools or private
tutors, to a superior seminary, called the
Gymnasium, where the higher branches
of literature were taught ; and accord-
ingly, at the age of seventeen, the young
Linnaeus was removed thither. But the
12 LIFE OF LINN^US.
original predilections of his mind were
here still more strikingly evinced and
matured. He showed the strongest dis-
taste for theological studies ; in meta-
physics, ethics, Greek and Hebrew, and
theology, his companions far outstripped
him ; but in mathematics, and particularly
physics, he as much excelled them. His
favourite science, botany, which at that
time was wholly neglected, still continued
to be his most engrossing pursuit, and he
soon contrived to form a small library of
books in that branch. Among others he
mentions the Chloris Gothica of Bro-
melius, and Rudbeck's Hortus Upsaliensis,
which he confesses his inability then to
comprehend clearly ; nevertheless, he says
he " continued to read them day and night,
and committed them to memory/' His
own copies of these books, " used with
LIFE OF LINN^IUS. 13
the utmost care and neatness," were
preserved among his library, and after his
death were sold with his collection. The
zeal and eagerness he evinced in these
studies procured him, both among masters
and scholars, the name of " the Little
At the end of two years his father
went to Wexio, " hoping to hear from the
preceptors the most flattering account of
his beloved son's progress in his studies
and morals/' But he was sorely disap-
pointed at learning that, unexceptionable
as the general behaviour of the youth had
been, he was evidently quite unfit for a
divine ; and indeed, in the opinion of the
authorities, it was pity to incur any further
expense towards giving him a learned edu-
cation, some manual employment being far
more suitable for him. The youth, they
14 LIFE OF LINN^IUS.
thought, would be well placed as apprentice
to some tailor or shoemaker !
Grieved at having thus lost his labour,
and supported his son at school for
twelve years (an expense he could very
ill afford), to no purpose, the venerable
clergyman went his way, pondering what
course to pursue. It chanced that he was
suffering from a complaint which required
medical advice, and he betook himself to
the house of Dr. Rothmann, the provincial
physician, also a lecturer in physics ; to
whom, in the course of conversation, he
mentioned his perplexity with reference to
his son Carl. Rothmann suggested that,
though the opinions of his colleagues might
be correct as to the boy's inaptitude for
theological studies, there was good reason
to believe he might distinguish himself in
the profession of medicine, and possibly
LIFE OF LINNJ1US. 15
that he might accomplish great things in
the pursuit of natural history. At the same
time he liberally offered, in case the father's
circumstances did not permit him to main-
tain his son in a course of studies, to take
him into his own house and provide for
him during the year he must remain at the
Gymnasium. This generous proposal was
gratefully accepted, and the result was
most satisfactory. Linnaeus received from his
benefactor a course of private instructions
in physiology, with so much success that
the youth was able to give a most accurate
report of all he had been taught. At the
same time this worthy teacher put him
into the right method of studying botany,
showing the necessity of proceeding in a
scientific manner, and directing his atten-
tion to the system of Tournefort. The
very imperfections he found in this work
16 LIFE OF LINN^US.
stimulated his desire for something more
perfect, and were, in this way, of use to
the future naturalist.
The year following (1727), Linnaeus
proceeded to the University at Lund, fur-
nished, as he has himself recorded, with a
" not very creditable certificate." This
curiosity, after its kind, was to the effect
that youth at school may be compared to
plants, which sometimes baffle all the skill of
the gardener, but, being transplanted to a
different soil, occasionally turn out well.
With this view, and no other, the bearer
was sent to the University, which, pos-
sibly, might prove propitious to his pro-
Happily, the young man had a friend
at the University, in his former preceptor,
he of the mild and gentle disposition, who
kept back the doubtful recommendation,
LIFE OF LINN^IUS. 17
and procured his matriculation as one of
his private pupils.
At Lund, Linnaeus lodged in the house
of Dr. Stoboeus, professor of medicine, and
physician to the King. This eminent man,
perceiving the industry of his lodger, and
his acquirements in natural science, allowed
him free access to his excellent museum of
minerals, shells, and dried plants ; and,
highly delighted with the idea of a hortus
siccus, he immediately began to collect all
the plants which grew in the vicinity,
and to " glue them upon paper/' Still he
was denied the privilege of access to the
doctor's library ; but, as it fell out, he
managed to obtain that also. He formed
an acquaintance with a fellow lodger, a
young German student, who enjoyed the
advantage he coveted, and, in return for
teaching him the principles of physiology,
18 LIFE OF LINN31US.
he obtained of this youth, books from
Stoboeus's library. He passed whole nights
in reading the volumes thus clandestinely
procured ; but it happened that the mother
of Stobceus, who was infirm and ailing,
lay awake several nights in succession, and
seeing a light constantly burning in
Linnaeus's room, fearful of fire, desired her
son to chide the young Smalander for his
Two nights after, at midnight, the lad
was surprised by a visit from his host, who
found him, to his astonishment, diligently
poring over his books. Being asked why
he did not go to bed, and whence he had
procured the books, he was compelled to
confess everything. Stobceus ordered him
immediately to go to bed ; and the next
morning, calling for him, gave him per-
mission to make what use he pleased of his
LIFE OF LINNJ1US. 19
library. From that time this excellent
man admitted the youth to the utmost
familiarity, received him at his own table,
and treated him even as a son.
While botanizing in the country, in the
following Spring, Linnaeus was bitten in
the right arm by a venomous reptile, and
so serious were the consequences, that his
life was endangered. As soon as he was
partially recovered he returned to his
father's house, in order to recruit during
the summer vacation, and while staying in
Smaland he was persuaded by his kind
friend and benefactor, Dr. Rothinann, to
quit Lund for Upsala, as a superior school
of medicine, and affording besides, many
other advantages of which he would gladly
In this University the first and most
ancient seat of Swedish learning, and the
20 LIFE OF LINMEUS.
scene, in after-years, of his greatness our
young student underwent a severe process
of training. Poor and unknown, he had
no means of adding to the scanty pittance
his parents were able to allow him.
Scarcely could they afford to give the
small sum of 200 silver ducats (about 8*)
towards the expenses of his education
there. In a short time he found his pockets
quite empty ; and having no chance of
obtaining private pupils he vainly looked
for any other source of maintenance. In
a few words he thus touchuigly records the
tale of his sufferings, and the first beam of
hope that shone across his path. "As
Petronius says, poverty is the attendant of
a good mind; and Linnaeus was not without
it in this University, ... he was obliged
to trust to chance for a meal, and in the
article of dress was reduced to such shifts
LIFE OF LINN^IUS. 21
that he was obliged, when his shoes re-
quired mending, to patch them with folded
paper, instead of sending them to the
cobbler. He repented of his journey to
Upsala, and of his departure from the roof
of Stoboeus ; but to return to Lund was
a tiresome and expensive undertaking.
Stoboeus too, had taken it very ill, that a
pupil whom he loved so sincerely had left
that University without consulting him.
' Labor tamen omnia vincit
Improbus ; et duris urgens in rebus egestas.' VIRG.
"It chanced one day, in the autumn of
the year 1728, whilst Linnaeus was very
intently examining some plants in the aca-
demical garden, there entered a venerable
old clergyman, who asked him what he
was about, whether he was acquainted
with plants, whence he came, and how
long he had been prosecuting his studies ? "
22 LIFE OF LINN31US.
To all these questions lie returned satis-
factory answers, and was then invited to
accompany his interrogator to his house,
which proved to be that of Dr. Olaf
This estimable and learned man was
just returned from Stockholm, where he
had been engaged as a member of the
Ecclesiastical Commission, and he was at
that time preparing his celebrated work
upon the plants mentioned in the Holy
Scriptures, which he published in 1745,
having travelled to the East on purpose
to make it more complete. Little did
Celsius imagine that the youth whom he
first met by chance in the academi-
cal garden at Upsala, was destined, in
after-years, by his genius, to immortalise
its fame. He, however, soon discerned
the merits of Linnaeus, took him under
LIFE OF LINM3US. 23
his protection, offering him board and
lodging in his own house, and allowing
him the full use of his library, which was
very rich in botanical books. Among all
his patrons Linnaeus appears to have che-
rished most the memory of this venerable
man, never referring to him but in terms
of reverence and gratitude.
The friendship and patronage of one so
distinguished did not fail to procure for the
youth the advantages he so much needed.
Before long the son of Professor Eudbeck,
and other young men, became his private
pupils, and by this means his pecuniary
wants were supplied.
Nothing, however, seems to have given
Linnaeus so much satisfaction in reviewing
the events of this period of his early
history, as the intimate friendship he now
contracted with a fellow-student named
24 LIFE OF LINN31US.
Pehr Artedi, who afterwards distinguished
himself by his knowledge of fishes and
umbelliferous plants. To the picture he
has drawn of his friend, Linnaeus has
added a slight sketch of himself, which
will interest the reader. There was a
great difference in the personal appearance,
as well as the temperament and disposition
of the two youths. " Artedi was of a tall
and handsome figure, more serious, and of
a deliberate judgment ; whereas, his friend
was short in stature and stout ; hasty
in temper, and of a sanguine turn/'
With an honourable spirit of emulation
the two companions pursued their favourite
studies. " They divided the kingdoms and
provinces of nature between them, and
while Linnaeus yielded the palm to Artedi
in Ichthyology, the latter acknowledged
Linnaeus to be his superior in Entomology.
LIFE OF LINNJSUS. 25
Each kept his discoveries to himself, though
for no great length of time, since not a
day passed without one surprising the
other by narrating some new fact, so that
emulation produced mutual industry of
research, and stimulated each to new ex-
Linnaeus was now in his twenty-second
year ; about which time he met with a
review of Le Vaillant's treatise " sur la
structure des fleurs;" by which his curio-
sity was excited to a close examination of
the stamina and pistils, and perceiving the
essential importance of these parts of the
plant, he formed the design of a new me-
thod of arrangement, founded upon these
This was the first dawning idea of that
great system upon which his subsequent
fame was based.
26 LIFE OF LINN&US.
LINNAEUS appears to have been, from the
first, convinced of the importance of the
idea he had conceived, and lost no time in
drawing up a little treatise on the sexes of
plants, in conformity with what he believed
to be " genuine botanical principles." This
essay he showed to Celsius, who commu-
nicated it to Dr. Rudbeck ; and the per-
formance was honoured with the approba-
tion of that professor, who desired to
become better acquainted with the author
of so " masculine a composition." This
LIFE OF LINN^US. 27
introduction was a most important one for
Linnseus. It led the way to his being ap-
pointed to lecture in the botanical garden,
as an assistant to Dr. Kudbeck, whose
advancing age made him incapable of per-
forming all the duties of his office.
Linnaeus thus found himself placed in a
situation of responsibility; and being au-
thorised to take the management of the
garden, he arranged it according to his own
method, and became actually a teacher in
the very place where he had, the year
before, applied for the humble situation of
gardener. His prospects were now bright
and hopeful ; Dr. Kudbeck thought so well
of him that he engaged him as tutor to his
children, and took him into his own house,
in that capacity, by which means he had
access to a fine collection of books and
drawings on natural history. He tells us
28 LIFE OF LINN^US.
that, at this period, his mornings were
passed in giving instructions to the stu-
dents, and his evenings in composing " the
new system," and "meditating a general
reformation of botanical science/' It was
now, too, that he began his Bibliotheca
Botanica, Classes Plantarum, Critica Bo-
tanica, and Genera Plantar um, though these
works were not completed till about seven
years after, when he published them in
Holland, during his stay there. After
thus enumerating his engagements, he adds
significantly " hence not a moment
passed unoccupied during his residence
Linnaeus was not, however, permitted long
to enjoy, without interruption, his new
prosperity. "Scarcely had he surmounted
poverty, before he became an object of
envy/' and found himself compelled to re-
LIFE OP LINN^IUS. 29
nounce the flattering hopes he had che-
rished. In the following year, Dr. Rosen
returned from his foreign travels, and being
in high professional reputation at Upsala,
hoped to procure the reversion of Professor
Rudbeck's office. He immediately applied
for permission to lecture publicly on botany,
which Rudbeck was unwilling to allow,
not judging him competent ; and he there-
fore tried to induce Linnaeus to give up the
lectures to him, spontaneously. This, how-
ever, Linnseus was prohibited doing by his
patron. This unfortunate collision of in-
terests appears to have awakened an evil
spirit of rivalry between Rosen and Lin-
nseus. This affair, together with a do-
mestic chagrin he endured in the family
of the Professor, made him turn his atten-
tion with eagerness to a new field which
opened before his adventurous spirit.
LIFE OF LINN^US.
Rudbeck had often related to him the
curious facts he had noticed, and the plants
he had discovered during his travels in
Lapland, and in this way had excited a
great inclination in the mind of the youth
to visit that country. The whole fruits of
Rudbeck's expedition thither had unfortu-
nately been destroyed in the dreadful fire
at Upsala, in 1702 ; and the Royal Aca-
demy was then meditating the design of
sending out a second expedition of disco-
very to that country. The friends of Lin-
naeus succeeded in procuring his appoint-
ment to this laborious undertaking, and it
was decided he should set out on the
journey the year following. In conse-
quence of this arrangement, Linna3us left
Upsala in the autumn, and spent the winter
months in his native place.
He had been succeeded, in the home of
LIFE OF LINN^US. 31
his childhood, by a younger brother, who
was at that time in his fourteenth year,
and who seems to have imitated the ex-
ample, or rather to have shared the natural
tastes of Carl. His parents, especially his
mother, had been deeply disappointed at
the failure of their expectations from their
elder son ; and now set their heart on
having, in Samuel, a worthy successor to
his father's office, in the room of Carl.
But the stripling showed a strong inclina-
tion to love flowers better than divinity ;
and it was only in compliance with the
earnest representations and commands of
his parents, that he yielded to their wishes,
and eventually became a preacher, in the
year 1741 ; on his father's decease succeed-
ing him in the rectory of Stenbrohult,
His natural predilections, however, still con-
tinued strong within him, and he shone as
32 LIFE OF LINN^US.
an eminent connoisseur and author in one
branch of natural science, and in the year
1768 published a work on the breeding of
bees, which met with so favourable a re-
ception that its author was called " King
of the Bees " (Bi Kung). It will be rea-
dily imagined that the two brothers, with
such natural similarity of tastes, enjoyed
the temporary season of intercourse now
afforded them, and which probably, in the
course of their lives, was seldom if ever
renewed for so long a period.
Early in 1732, Linnaaus left his father's
house, to set out on his arduous under-
taking. On his way to Upsala he paid a
visit to his former friend and preceptor
Stobceus, at Lund ; and studied his col-
lection of minerals, the only branch of na-
tural history with which (he tells us) he
was unacquainted He shortly after pro-
LIFE OF LINN^US. 33
ceeded to Upsala, from which place he set
out on his journey alone, May 12, 1732 ;
" being at that time within half a day of
twenty-five years of age."
During this journey Linnaeus travelled
over the greater part of Lapland, skirting
the boundaries of Norway ; and returned
to Upsala by the eastern side of the
Bothnian Gulf, having, in five months,
performed a journey of near 4000 English
miles, mostly on foot. He necessarily en-
dured many hardships, and vast fatigue,
and his life was several times imperilled.
Bogs and forests intercepted his way, and
food, even of the coarsest description, it
was occasionally no easy matter to procure.
Yet, amid all difficulties his spirit was un-
flagging, and obstacles only seemed to
quicken his zeal. The natural curiosities
of the country, the manners of the people,
34 LIFE OF LINN^US.
and the general features of the various
regions he traversed, all were observed and
written down for future use. He collected
above 100 plants, entirely undescribed and
unknown before, and upon his return ar-
ranged all the Flora of Lapland according
to his own favourite system, and delivered
publicly an account of his journey.
The result of Ms botanical observations
was not published till several years after-
wards, during his residence in Holland.
The general account of this expedition,
entitled Lachesis Lapponica, (or a Tour in
Lapland,) originally written in the Swedish
language, was translated into English for
Sir J. E. Smith, and published in two 8vo.
volumes. This expedition was the first
and most difficult of all the six journeys
of Linngeus. He spoke of it afterwards in
one of his academical addresses, in these
LIFE OF LINN^IUS. 35
words: "My journey through Lapland
was particularly toilsome, and I own that
I was obliged to sustain more hardships
and dangers in that sole peregrination
through the frontier of our northern world,
than in all the travels I undertook in other
parts. But having once sustained the toils
of travelling, I buried in the oblivion of
Lethe all the dangers and difficulties I en-
dured; the invaluable fruits I reaped having
compensated for every toil." Writing to a
friend on the same subject, he says, " All
my food in those fatiguing excursions con-
sisted, for the most part, of fish and rein-
deer's milk. Bread, salt, and what is found
everywhere else, did but seldom recreate
my palate. One of the greatest nuisances
which I met with in Lapland, was the im-
mense numbers of flies ; I used to keep
them off by drawing a crape over my face.
LIFE OF LINN^IUS.
. . . This numberless quantity of teasing
insects is not, however, without its utility.
They serve as food to the birds of passage,
and the latter are a valuable branch of the
A short sketch of this tour, with occa-
sional extracts from Linnseus's diary, will
probably be acceptable to the reader ; and
the more so, as this is the only one of his
journeys the record of which is accessible
The youthful traveller started on his ad-
venturous journey " without incumbrances
of any kind, and carried all his baggage on
his back ;" by which means alone, he was
enabled to prosecute the objects he had in
view. Leaving Upsala by the northern
gate, he travelled for a considerable dis-
tance through fertile corn-fields, bounded
by hills, and the view terminated by exten-
LIFE OF LINN^US. 37
sive forests. "With respect to situation
and variety of prospects," the young Swede
was of opinion that scarcely any city could
stand a comparison with this. At a short-
distance from the gates, he left, on the
right, old Upsala, the place renowned for
the worship of the primeval gods of Sweden,
and for the inauguration and residence of
her earliest kings. Here, in days of high
antiquity, human sacrifices were offered at
the shrines of the Pagan deities ; and here
our traveller noticed the three large sepul-
chral mounds, which tradition has assigned
to the bodies of Odin, Frigga, and Thor.
" Cheered with the song of the charming
lark," which attended his steps through the
lowland, his approach to the forests was
welcomed by the redwing, "whose amorous
warblings from the tops of the spruce firs/'
appeared to him to rival the nightingale
LIFE OF LINNJEUS.
itself. As the summer was advancing, he
thought it not desirable to lose time by the
way, nor to stray far from the high road,
in the early part of the tour ; but atten-
tively observing what presented itself to
him as he passed along, he noted the
various plants, animals, and insects, to-
gether with the general features of the
Arrived in the province of Hedelpad, he
ascended its highest mountain, leaving his
horse " tied to an ancient Runic monumen-
tal stone/' He found several uncommon
plants here ; and from the summit, gazed
on the country spread out below, varied
with plains and cultivated fields, villages,
lakes, and rivers a most picturesque and
romantic region. The descent was very
difficult, and even dangerous. Leaving this
mountain, Linna?us took his route along
LIFE OF LINNJEUS. 39
the sea-shore, which was spread with the
wrecks of vessels, telling to the feeling
heart of the young traveller a sad tale of
woe. " How many prayers, sighs, tears,
vows, and lamentations all, alas ! in vain
rose to my imagination at this melan-
choly spectacle ! " he exclaims. The sight
reminded him of a student who, going by
sea from Stockholm to Abo, experienced so
severely the terrors of the ocean, that he
chose to walk back round the head of the
Bothnian Gulf, rather than adventure
himself again upon the deep ! This youth,
afterwards a Professor at Abo, assumed the
surname of Tillands, expressive of his at-
tachment to terra flrma, and Linnseus
named, in honour of him, a plant which
cannot bear wet.
In five or six days, Linnaeus reached
Hernosand, the principal town of Anger-
LIFE OF LINX3TS.
mania, on the Bothnian Gulf, and visited
a tremendously steep and lofty mountain
called Skula, where was a cavern, which he
desired to explore. Here he was within a
hair's breadth of a fatal accident, for one of
the peasants who accompanied him, in
climbing up, loosened a large stone, which
was hurled down the track Linnaeus had
just left, and fell exactly on the spot he had
occupied. " If I had not (he says) provi-
dentially changed my route, nobody would
ever have heard of me more ; I was sur-
rounded by fire and smoke, and should
certainly, but for the protecting hand of
Providence, have been crushed to pieces."
From this point of the journey a change
came over the face of nature. The country
was covered over with snow, in some places
inches deep ; the pretty spring flowers dis-
appeared, and in their place nothing but
LIFE OF LINN.EUS. 41
wintry plants were seen peeping through
the snow. At length, on the 23rd of May,
he reached Umoea, in West Bothnia, where
he turned out of the main road to the left,
designing to visit Lycksele, Lapmark ; by
which means he lost the advantage of the
regular post-horses, and found the ways so
narrow and intricate, that at every step
he stumbled. " In this dreary wilderness I
began to feel very solitary, and to long
earnestly for a companion (lie says) ; the
few inhabitants I met had a foreign accent?
and always concluded their sentences with
an adjective." As the night shut in, the
way-worn traveller began also to long for
a good meal, and has thus recorded the
result of his application, on arriving at a
village where he passed the night : " On
my inquiring what I could have for supper,
they set before me the breast of a cock
42 LIFE OF LINN^US.
of the woods, which had been shot and
dressed some time the preceding year.
Its aspect was not very inviting ; but the
taste proved delicious, and T found, with
pleasure, that these poor Laplanders know
better than some of their more opulent
neighbours, how to employ the good things
which God has bestowed upon them/'
The bird is prepared by a process of salting
and drying, and will keep even for three
years, if necessary. Linnaeus next pro-
ceeded up the river of Uincea as far as
Lycksele, where he was hospitably received
by the worthy pastor of the place, and the
next day, being Whitsunday, he stayed there,
and would fain have remained longer, but,
for fear of the floods impeding his journey,
he hastened his departure on the morrow,
and on the 1st of June entered the terri-
tories of the native Laplanders, passing
LIFE OF LINN^US. 43
through wild forests, with no traces of
roads. A more desolate picture of wretch-
edness than this region presented, one
cannot imagine. Fenny marshes, flooded
by the rivers, and bogs utterly impassable,
where at every step the water was above
the knees, and ice at the bottom. "We
pursued our journey (continues the diary)
with considerable labour and difficulty, all
night long, if that might be called night
which was as light as the day, the sun dis-
appearing for half an hour only, and the
temperature of the air being rather cold."
The poor inhabitants had themselves, at
this season, nothing to eat but a scanty
supply of fish ; for they had not begun to
kill their reindeer, nor to milk them. In
addition to these evils, the villainous bites
of the gnats and other insects tortured the
unhappy traveller, till at length he ex-
44 LIFE OF LINN^US.
claims, " I had now my fill of travel-
Gladly would he have returned by the
way he came, but he could find no road
back to the boat, and even the hardy Lap-
landers themselves, " born to labour, as the
birds to fly," could not help complaining,
and declared they had never been in such
extremity before. It is evident that even
the robust frame of Linnaeus was begin-
ning to yield to the combined effects of
fatigue, exhaustion, and hunger. He at
length obtained some food which he was
able to eat, and after incredible exertions
succeeded in retracing his steps to the river,
on which he again embarked, and returned
to Umcea ; having, as he ingenuously ac-
knowledged, " with the thoughtlessness of
youth, undertaken more than he was able
LIFE OF LINN^IUS. 45
From Umoea Linnaeus proceeded to Pi-
thosa, which he reached after two days'
journey "the night being as pleasant for
travelling as the day." He notices the
beauty of the fresh shoots of the spruce
fir, which constitute one of the greatest
ornaments of the forests which adorn this
part of Sweden.
Being anxious to proceed with all haste,
in order if possible to reach the Alps of
Luleau Lapland, " in time to see the sun
above the horizon at midnight, which is
beheld there to the best advantage," the
traveller made no longer stay at Lulea than
was needful for the purposes of exploring
the neighbouring coast and islands. He
has noted the various entomological and
other specimens he observed, and after ad-
miring the beauty of some of them, ex-
claims, in a sort of rapture, "The ob-
46 LIFE OF LINN^US.
server of nature sees with admiration that
the whole world is full of the glory of
God/' The last day he spent at Lulea,
he writes " Midsummer-day ; Blessed be
the Lord for the beauty of summer and
of spring, and for what is here in greater
perfection than almost anywhere else in
the world the air, the water, the verdure
of the herbage, and the song of birds."
After Divine Service next day, Linnaeus
left the town and embarked on the river
of Lulea, which he " continued to navigate
upwards for several successive days and
nights, having good accommodation both
as to food and boat/' At length he ar-
rived at Quick] ock, situated close to the
Alps. He was accompanied by a mine-
master, named Swanberg, who was at that
time journeying to Kurivari. During this
voyage, Swanberg, who had taken great
LIFE OF LINNJIUS. 47
delight in Linnseus's conversation, " offered
to instruct liim in the art of assaying
within a very short time, if he would
agree to visit Calix, in his way home-
ward." At Quickjock, the wife of the
curate provided our traveller with stores
sufficient for eight days, and procured him
a Laplander, whose assistance as interpreter
and servant was highly necessary.
" On my first ascending these wild Alps
(he says), I felt as if in a new world.
Here were no forests to be seen, but moun-
tains upon mountains, larger and larger, as
I advanced, all covered with snow. No
road, no tracks, nor any sign of inhabi-
tants were visible. The declining sun never
disappeared sufficiently to allow any cooling
shade, and by climbing to the more elevated
parts of these lofty mountains, I could see
it at midnight, above the horizon. This
48 LIFE OF LINN^US.
spectacle I considered as not one of the least
of nature's miracles, for what inhabitant of
other countries would not wish to behold it ?
O Lord, how wonderful are thy works ! "
In this frozen region, there were no
traces of verdure, save in the deep valleys
between the mountains. Very few birds
were visible except some ptarmigans, those
hardy inhabitants of the bleak mountain
tops. A pretty little incident, recorded by
Linnaeus, shows so kind a heart, that it
must not be omitted here. "The little
Alpine variety of the ptarmigan was now
accompanied by its young. I caught one
of these, upon which the hen ran so close
to me, that I could easily have taken her
also. She kept continually jumping round
and round me, but I thought it a pity to
deprive the tender brood of their mother ;
neither would my compassion for the mo-
LIFE OF LINNAEUS. 49
ther allow me long to detain her offspring,
which I returned to her in safety."
After a long and wearisome journey along
these mountain passes, the traveller reached
one of the cottages of the country. Here
the inhabitants, sixteen in number, received
him kindly, and gave him two reindeer
skins to sleep between. In the morning
some hundreds of reindeer came home to
be milked, and it amazed the stranger to
perceive that, although to his eyes they
were all perfectly alike, yet each of the
herd had its appropriate name, and was
readily distinguished by the owners.
Steering his course S.W., Linnaeus pro-
ceeded to the lofty ice mountains, or
" main ridge of the country," which he
had no sooner reached, than a storm over-
took him, accompanied by a shower of thin
pieces of ice, which soon encrusted his gar-
50 LIFE OF LINN31US.
ments. The cold was intense, and the
whole country was one dazzling waste.
No sooner, however, had he crossed the
summit of the ridge than a change was
perceptible, and soon, from the lofty
heights, he beheld the ample forests of
Norway lying far beneath. The whole
appearance of the country was perfectly
green, and notwithstanding its vast extent,
looked like a garden in miniature. The
descent was slow and long protracted, but
at length he reached the plains, of which
he had enjoyed so glorious a prospect.
"Nothing (he exclaims) could be more de-
lightful to my feelings than this transition
from all the severity of winter, to the
warmth and beauty of summer. Oh ! how
most lovely of all is summer ! The ver-
dant herbage, the sweet-scented clover, the
tall grass, reaching up to my arms, the
LIFE OF LINKEUS. 51
grateful flavour of the wild fruits, and the
fine weather that welcomed me at the foot
of these Alps, seemed to refresh me both
in mind and body."
Here Linnaeus found himself close to
the sea-coast, and he went to sea in a boat
to search for the natural productions of that
element. He would fain have approached
the celebrated whirlpool, called the Mael-
strom, but he found no one willing to
venture it. On the 13th of July, he ar-
rived at the parsonage house of Rorstadt,
from the occupant of which, himself a
traveller and a naturalist, Linnseus received
a cordial welcome. A rather significant
entry tells us that here, " in this far dis-
tant nook of the wide peopled earth," the
young enthusiast found an object of sur-
passing interest. "The pastor (he says;
has a handsome daughter, named Sarah
52 LIFE OF LINN51US.
Rask, eighteen years of age ; she seemed
to me uncommonly beautiful ! "
The next morning, Linnseus took his leave
of this elysium, and proceeded on his way.
Climbing the mountains again, he found a
work of " no small fatigue and exhaustion,"
and he has given us a most painful account
of the subsequent route he pursued towards
the Alps of Tornea, "What I endured,"
he concludes, " is hardly to be described ;
how many weary steps I had to set, the
precipices that came in my way, and my
excessive fatigue. Water was our only
drink during this journey, and it never
appeared so refreshing as when we sucked
it out of the melting snow." At length,
tired of advancing further into this inhos-
pitable country, he determined to return to
Quick] ock. In the course of his journey
thither, his life was twice endangered,
LIFE OF LINKEUS. 53
but at length he reached the place of
his destination, "having been four weeks
without tasting bread." After resting some
days at Quickjock, Linnaeus descended the
river again to Lulea, where he " learned the
art of assaying from the mine-master Swan-
berg, at Calix, in two days and a night ; "
and thence his journey was continued
through Tornea. He had intended to
visit the mountains, but before he could
get thither the winter set in, and he was
obliged to return along the coast on the
eastern side of the Bothnian Gulf. The
last entry in his journal is dated October
1 Oth, and is as follows "About one o'clock
P.M. I arrived safe at Upsala. To the
Maker and Preserver of all things be praise,
honour, and glory for ever ! "
54 LIFE OF LINN^US.
THE little plant, of which a figure is given
on the title-page, is the Linnsea borealis,
selected by the youthful naturalist as his
own flowery prototype. He afterwards
distinguished many of his friends by affix-
ing their names to various plants : and he
seems to have chosen this humble floweret
to be called after himself, when he gathered
it at Lycksele, May 29th, 1732. It is
common in West Bothnia, and in almost
all the great northern forests ; but it may
be easily overlooked, because it grows only
LIFE OF LINN^IUS. 55
where the woods are thickest, and its
delicate twin blossoms are almost hid
among the moss, and interwoven with ivy.
Their smell resembles that of the Meadow-
Sweet, and is so strong during the night,
as to discover the plant at a considerable
distance. Linnaeus traces a resemblance
between this lowly Lapland flower and his
own early lot. Like it, unfolding in a
remote northern region, he was unknown
and overlooked, without the advantages of
fortune or place. The world thought not
of him, while, in poverty and obscurity, he
pursued his scientific researches ; few knew
or valued the solitary wanderer, who,
taking for his motto the words, " Tantus
amor floruin, " ("Thus great is the love of
flowers,") explored the recesses of nature,
and culled the treasures of the mountain
and glen, the forest and moor, returning
56 LIFE OF LINNJ2US.
enriched with these sylvan spoils, which,
in due time, he presented, arranged in new
and beauteous order, to the delight and
astonishment of kindred minds in every
At first, indeed, he seemed to reap but
a humble reward for his toils. " On his
arrival at home, he presented to the Aca-
demy of Sciences an account of his expe-
dition, which obtained their approbation,
and they gave him 112 silver dollars" (not
more thanlO) "his travelling expenses.''
In the following spring he began a
private course of lectures on the art of
assaying (which he had learned so cleverly
from his chance companion during the Lap-
land journey). This art had never been
taught at Upsala before ; and the novelty
of the subject, the skilful manner in which
he communicated instruction, and the rea-
LIFE OF LINN^US. 57
sonable terms he exacted, secured Linnseus
a considerable number of pupils.
Unfortunately that spirit of rivalry
whose germ had already occasioned him
so much trouble, now broke out afresh
with renewed violence. The jealousy of
Rosen was rekindled, and LinnaBus accuses
him, in his diary, of the meanness of ob-
taining, partly by entreaty, partly by
threats, his MS. lectures on Botany
(which he valued more than anything
else he possessed), and which he after-
wards detected his rival in surreptitiously
copying. This formidable enemy next pro-
ceeded to use all his influence to prevent
Linnseus from obtaining the means of sub-
sistence. He procured for another candi-
date the place of Adjunct in the Medical
Faculty at Lund, which would have been
very advantageous to Linnseus, and in the
LIFE OF LINKZBUS.
following year obtained from the Arch-
bishop (whose niece he had married) an
order to prevent all private medical lec-
tures in the University. This act, for
which no motive can be assigned, save that
of a base malice, deprived Linnaeus of his
only means of obtaining a livelihood, and
seemed the death-blow to his hopes. It is
said that Linnaeus was so exasperated on
this occasion, as to draw his sword upon
Rosen. He has not himself recorded this
incident ; and, if he wished it to be for-
gotten, it may reasonably be inferred that
he regretted it.
Thus thwarted in his efforts to resume
his engagements at Upsala, Linnaeus turned
his attention to mineralogy, and in order to
improve his knowledge in this branch of
science he visited the great Swedish mining
districts. At Fahlun he was introduced to
LIFE OF LINNJ1US. 59
Baron Reuterholm, Governor of Dalecarlia,
by whom he was employed to investigate
the productions of that province. Several
of his students applied for permission to
accompany him in this tour ; and he chose
seven of the ablest and most zealous among
them, forming, as it were, a caravan of
naturalists, by whose assistance he might,
with the greater ease, prosecute his objects.
He acted himself as Governor, and took
the lead of the whole enterprise, while to
each of the band he assigned a distinct
department, adapted to his knowledge and
Nahemann, the first of the staff, had
signalised himself by a treatise on the
Dalecarlia n language ; and he was to act
as geographer, and give an accurate de-
scription of all the villages, mountains,
lakes, rivers, roads, &c., to say morning
60 LIFE OF LINN^US.
and evening prayers, and to preach on
Sundays. The second companion was a
naturalist, and was to make observations
on the four elements. The third acted as
metallist. To the fourth was assigned the
botanical part of the enterprise, in addition
to that of provider general of stores, &c.
The fifth was the zoologist of the party ;
and to the sixth the office of draughtsman
and general supervisor was entrusted. By
a strict observance of rules and regulations
laid down for the general direction of all,
the tour was carried out with the utmost
convenience and ease, and to the perfect sa-
tisfaction of the President, by whose saga-
city and excellent management the whole
was designed and effected. In the course of
this expedition, the mountains of Dalecarlia
were twice explored, and a part of Norway ;
and the materials collected formed the Iter
LIFE OF LINN^US. 61
Dalecarlium, a work which, it seems, was
After his return from this journey, Lin-
naeus remained at Fahlun, where he gave a
course of lectures on the subject of assay-
ing, which was numerously attended. Here
he soon gathered around him a circle of
friends and admirers. His diary thus
records his satisfaction : " Linnseus here,
at Fahlun, found himself quite in a new
world, where everybody loved and assisted
him, and he acquired considerable medical
practice/' Here he first became acquainted
with Browallius, afterwards Bishop of Abo
who conceived a particular regard for Lin-
nseus, and desired his instruction in botany,
* A particular fruit of this journey was a list of pasture
herbs, which was afterwards published under the title of
" Pan Suecus," and inserted in the second part of the
" Amoenitates Academical," a collection of the academical
dissertations of Linnaeus.
03 LIFE OF LINN^US.
mineralogy, &c. This judicious friend ad-
vised him to go abroad, and take his
doctor's degree, by which means he might
settle with more favourable prospects, and
he further suggested the desirableness of
aiming at some advantageous matrimonial
engagement. Over the management of the
latter delicate project, love and prudence
seem to have equally presided, and we
have, in Linnaeus's own account of the
matter, reason for believing that he at-
tained his wishes in every respect. He
says that Dr. John Moroeus, to the hand
of whose daughter he aspired, was a man
of considerable property (for his situation in
life); and it was evidently with some
trepidation that the penniless student ven-
tured to make his proposals. Probably
had he been instigated by prudence only,
he had remained silent ; but love was at
LIFE OP LINNJ3US. 63
work, and tie ventured, at length, after
having assured himself of the favourable
dispositions of his mistress towards him, to
apply to Dr. Moroeus. The worthy phy-
sician "thought well of Linnaeus, but not
of his prospects in life." He wavered
about giving his consent to the union,
" voluit et noluit," says Linnaeus, in a
letter to a friend ; and ultimately decided,
that after a probation of three years he
would give his final answer.
Thus, in the 29th year of his age, Lin-
naeus found himself virtually betrothed ;
and it was thenceforward his grand object
to procure some settled and remunerative
occupation. Having fixed upon medicine
as a profession, he resolved, in accordance
with the advice of Browallius, to take a
doctor's degree. For this purpose he con-
trived to procure about 15, and set off
64 LIFE OF LINNAEUS.
on his way to the University of Harder-
wyck, " bent on seeing as much of the
learned world as his chances and means
might enable him to do/' He did not go
unaccompanied ; a medical student named
Sohlberg took the place which would have
been occupied by his beloved friend Artedi,
had he not recently left Upsala, to proceed
to England. His first visit was to his
native place, in order to pay his dutiful
respects to his father, who had, a short
time before, lost his faithful wife. She died
the preceding summer, in the 45th year of
her age. Thus she was not permitted to
see the success and honours which her
eldest-born was destined to achieve. Poor
mother ! Her sun had gone down when
it was yet mid-day ; she had borne the bur-
den and heat of the noon, but the season of
rest, of ingathering and rejoicing, she tasted
LIFE OF LINNAEUS. 65
not in this life : for she is laid in her
lowly grave, in the shadow of the church
of Stenbrohult ; and thither her son re-
pairs, to shed in secret the tear of filial
love and regret. Perhaps he has never
more longed for the sympathy of a mo-
ther's heart than now, when he feels the
anxieties and fears of " hope deferred,"
and to whom could he have so unre-
servedly communicated the thousand hopes,
joys, fancies, and desires that throng around
his heart, as to her who lies there ? Ah,
in vain he sighs, and longs for some re-
sponse; there is no sound save that of the
murmuring breeze that waves the harebells
which cluster over the greeri sod beneath
which she lies. "Alas! my mother;"
and again, " Alas, alas ! my mother," he
cries, and the bitter tears fall fast. . . But
soon he has dried them; he may not yield
66 LIFE OF LINN^US.
longer to grief: the day of life is yet be-
fore him, and he must gird himself and go
on his way; and do his work ere it be
night, and he too shall lie down and sleep.
Linnaeus continued his journey through
the southern provinces of Sweden, and
crossed to Elsineur, from which place he
proceeded, by sea, to Lubeck, and thence
to Hamburgh ; where he continued for
about a month. In this city he received
many civilities from the literati and scien-
tific men to whom he had introductions,
among others, Professor Kohl, Dr. Jcenisch,
and M. Von Sprekelsen. His whole time
was employed in " viewing the fine gar-
dens and everything else worthy of atten-
tion." The public library he examined
" with great eagerness/' and also the prin-
cipal cabinets of natural history, and the
botanical gardens, and private libraries,
LIFE OF LINN^US. 67
in one of which he was much pleased at
finding the botanical work of Hay, which
he had so long wished to see.*
In the museum of the Burgomaster An-
dersen, there was a seven-headed monster,
which had been regarded as "a masterpiece
of nature," and figured by the celebrated
Seba, in his " Thesaurus :" it was esteemed
so valuable, that it had been pledged in
security for a loan of 10,000 marks (750).
" Linna3us thought himself extremely happy
in obtaining a sight of this curiosity, which
he viewed at the place where it lay, depo-
sited in a box about an ell and a half long,
and embalmed in a perfect manner. He
gazed with the utmost wonder at this
prodigy, and could not sufficiently admire
it ; " till at length, bent upon a close in-
* Linnaeus, as he frequently told Ms pupils, never ceased
to esteem Ray as one of the most penetrating observers of
the natural affinity of plants.
68 LIFE OF LINN^US.
spection of the marvellous phenomenon,
he, with keen eye, examined the gaping
mouths of the beast, some of which had
been shrivelled up, worn by the edge of
time, and showed the teeth, which, it seem-
ed to him, bore a strong resemblance to those
of weasels ! Weasels' teeth in a serpent's
mouth ! Strange, and wholly inconsistent
with the established laws of the Regne
Animal ! There must be something amiss.
Regardless of " disagreeable embarrass-
ments," and of all probable results, the
young naturalist pronounced the famous
seven-headed Hydra that rare masterpiece
of nature, which had formerly been exhi-
bited on an altar in a Catholic Church at
Prague (!) to be a deception, composed of
weasels' jaw-bones covered with serpents'
skins ! It may be readily imagined that
this discovery by no means enhanced the
LIFE OF LINNAEUS. 69
value of the prodigy ; and in the end, Lin-
naeus found it would be his wisest course
to follow the advice of Dr. Josnisch, who
whispered in his ear, to begone with all
possible speed if he wished to avoid end-
less delays and litigations. " I had but
one friend in Hamburgh/' he was wont,
in after-years, to say ; "that was Dr. Jce-
nisch, and, truly, he was a friend indeed ! "
Without delay, therefore, Linnaeus pro-
ceeded to Amsterdam, where he spent
eight days, " and saw all the splendour
and expense bestowed on that city."
Thence he proceeded to Hardervyck, and,
after having undergone the requisite pre-
vious examinations, he obtained his degree,
June 23rd, 1735. On this occasion he
published and defended a thesis on the
" Causes of Intermittent Fever," in the
dedication of which to his friends and
70 LIFE OF LINNAEUS.
patrons, it is remarkable that among other
names we find that of Rosen.
Having obtained the object of his visit
to Hardervyck, Linnaeus returned to Am-
sterdam, and thence to Ley den, where he
visited Professor Van Eoyen. But, of
all the persons he met with in Holland, he
said, " there was none who paid him more
attention than Dr. J. F. Gronovius, who
returned the visit Linnaeus paid him, and
saw his Systema Naturae in MS., which
astonished him, and he requested permis-
sion to get it printed at his own ex-
pense." That work was accordingly
published in eight large sheets, in the
form of tables; "which edition (says
Sir J. E. Smith) is now a great bib-
liothecal curiosity." This was the germ
of that system upofl which are in a great
measure founded most of the zoological
LIFE OF LINNJ1US. 71
systems in use at the present day, and
which many botanists still prefer to any
By the advice of Gronovius, Linnaeus
waited on the celebrated physician, Boer-
haave, to whom, after eight days' applica-
tion, he obtained admittance. The ante-
chamber of this illustrious man was always
as much crowded as that of a minister
of state, and even Peter the Great was
unable to obtain immediate access to him.
So far had the renown of this oracle of
medicine extended, that a letter from the
Emperor of China, simply directed to
" Boerhaave the famous physician in Eu-
rope," was duly delivered. Boerhaave
showed Linnseus his garden (not far from
Leyden), stocked with all the plants that
would bear that climate, and Linnseus had
thus an opportunity of manifesting his
72 LIFE OP LINNJ1US.
skill in the science of botany, of which
he availed himself to such purpose, that
Boerhaave advised him not to leave Holland
immediately (as he had intended doing), "but
to take up his abode and remain there.
This advice Linnaeus was not in circum-
stances to follow ; in fact, his little store
of money was now all expended, and (as
he significantly intimates) he knew the
disposition of his father-in-law too well to
trouble him on that score. He, therefore,
proceeded to Amsterdam, on his way home-
ward ; where, being desired by Boerhaave
to present his respects to Dr. Burmann,
the Professor of Botany, he found himself
most cordially welcomed, and so generously
urged to remain and make the house of
the Professor his home for some months,
that he yielded to the invitation, and re-
mained there till the year following.
LIFE OP LINN51TJS. 73
During this period he printed his Fun-
dam enta Botanica, a small octavo of 36
pages, in the form of aphorisms ; of which
Sir J. E. Smith (in his biographical notice
of Linnseus in Rees's Cyclopaedia) says,
" It contains the very essence of botanical
philosophy, and has never been superseded
nor refuted. The subsequent performances of
the author himself and of his followers, have
been excellent in proportion as they have
kept to the maxims of this little book."
In connection with this publication, Lin-
nseus has recorded an incident which pleas-
ingly indicates his fidelity to the early
friendship of his youth. " No sooner (he
says) had I finished my Fundamenta Bo-
tanica, than I hastened to communicate
them to Artedi ; who, on his part, showed
me the work which had been the result
of several years' study his Philosophia
74 LIFE OF LINN^US.
Ichthyologica, and other MSS. I was de-
lighted with his familiar converse. Mean-
while, overwhelmed with business, I grew
impatient at his detaining me too long.
Alas ! had I known that this was the last
visit, and these the last words of my
friend, how fain would I have tarried to
prolong his existence \"
A few months previously Linnaeus had
found an opportunity of aiding his unfortu-
nate friend, whom he had met with at
Leyden, on his return from England, where
"he had spent all his money/' and was
now in great difficulty, having no means
of obtaining funds sufficient for his neces-
sities. His friend comforted him with the
assurance that he was now in circum-
stances to relieve his urgent wants ; and,
still more, he procured for him remunera-
tive occupation. He has thus recorded the
LIFE OF LINNJ3US. 75
facts connected with this transaction, and
with the disastrous end of Artedi : " Al-
bertus Seba, a German apothecary at Am-
sterdam, had, a short time before, requested
Linnseus to assist him in completing the
third volume of his Thesaurus ; but, being
otherwise engaged, Linnseus could not accept
this offer ; and besides, this third volume
related chiefly to fishes, which he liked the
least of all the branches of zoology. Lin-
nseus went to Seba with Artedi, whom he
recommended as the first man in Ichthyo-
logy. The work was accordingly put into
Artedi's hands, with the promise of a hand-
some recompense ; and he lived comfort-
ably at Amsterdam, where he at length so
far completed the undertaking, that only
six fishes remained ; but, one evening, on
leaving Seba's to return to his own house,
he fell into a canal, and was, unhappily,
76 LIFE OF LINN^US.
As soon as the tidings of this distressing
event reached Linnaeus, he went to Am-
sterdam, anxious to obtain possession of
When they were fellow students at Up-
sala, the two friends had reciprocally con-
stituted themselves heirs to each other's
books and manuscripts ; and the time was
now come for Linna3us to redeem his pledge,
and do all in his power to preserve from
oblivion the works of his deceased friend.
The landlord, however, having made out an
exorbitant bill, refused to deliver up his
effects, and it was necessary to have re-
course to the liberality of Mr. Clifford, to
advance the money. In 1738, Linnseus
published the principal of these MSS.,
which was the work on fishes ; in the
preface to which he says " How fortunate
shall I deem myself if I have perpetuated
the memory of my deceased friend, and
LIFE OF LINN!US. 77
rescued from oblivion a work which is one
of the best and most meritorious of its
After LinnaBus had been some months
with Burmann, he was introduced to Mr.
Clifford, a rich banker, whose garden at
Hartecamp was one of the finest in the
world, and who was the most enterprising
botanist and horticulturist of the day.
He had been advised by Boerhaave to se-
cure the services of Linnaeus to arrange
and describe his magnificent collection of
plants and natural curiosities, and, certain
of finding in Linnseus a man equal to the
task, he considered himself fortunate in
persuading Burmann to give him up.
Thus was Linnaeus removed to Clifford's,
"where," he has told us, "he lived like
a prince, had one of the finest gardens in
the world under his inspection, obtained
78 LIFE OF LINNJ1US.
permission to procure all the plants that
were wanted in the garden, and such books
as were not to be found in the library ;
and, of course, enjoyed all the advantages
he could wish for in his botanical labours,
to which he devoted himself day and
night." He now first set about getting
his Flora Lapponica printed, and was as-
sisted by the contributions of a society at
Amsterdam, which offered to advance the
plates for it. This work, which is one of
the happiest literary compositions of its
author, is strikingly characteristic of the
state of his mind at the time it was
written. Its principal charm is derived
from the delight which the writer takes
in his subject. Sir J. E. Smith speaks in
terms of high admiration of it, and says,
" The enthusiasm with which his imagina-
tion retraces every idea of his Lapland ex-
LIFE OF LINNJ1US. 79
pedition turns the wild scenes of that
country, even in the mind of his reader,
into a paradise inhabited by all that is
innocent and good. His effusions resemble
the longings of an exiled Swiss, and are,
in fact, incipient symptoms of that oppres-
sion of the heart which, after a while, ren-
dered his abode in Holland, with all its
scientific charms, no longer tolerable to one
born in the purer air of Sweden, and nur-
tured among her Lapland Alps."
LIFE OF LINttEUS.
IN the year 1736, Linnaeus paid a visit to
England. He did so by the request and
at the expense of Mr. Clifford, who was
desirous to procure various botanical novel-
ties for his collection, and to communicate
with some of the most celebrated botanists
and horticulturists of the day. He carried
with him a letter from Boerhaave to Sir
Hans Sloane, the accomplished naturalist
and collector in natural history, and after-
wards founder of the British Museum.
This letter is still preserved among the
LIFE OF LINN.EUS. 81
archives of that institution, and it is
written in the strongest language of re-
commendation. Notwithstanding such an
honourable introduction, however, the old
baronet was indisposed to do justice to the
merits of a young man whose innovations
on established systems he viewed with
suspicion and dislike ; he therefore treated
the stranger with coldness, and dismissed
him without any marks of regard. One
of the principal objects of interest to Lin-
nseus in this country, was the botanical
garden at Chelsea ; and from the keeper
of that collection, Philip Miller, the famous
botanist, he experienced much attention,
and was supplied with many rare plants,
and the garden at Chelsea was afterwards
the first in Great Britain that was ar-
ranged according to the Linnsean system.
Dr. Shaw, the oriental traveller, Professor
82 LIFE OF LINN^US.
Martyn, Peter Collinson, and many other
men of true science, received him as be-
seemed the high testimonials he bore, and,
admiring his genius, forwarded his objects
by all the means in their power ; and on his
return to the Continent, continued long to
correspond with him on subjects of mutual
interest in science.
From London our traveller proceeded to
Oxford, where he paid his respects to the
celebrated Dillenius, justly considered one
of the first botanists of the time. This
learned man was not by any means dis-
posed to regard Linnseus favourably. He
had received from Gronovius a sheet of
the Genera Plantarum, and conceiving it
to be written in opposition to him, was
irate, and, pointing to the young Swede,
said to a gentleman who chanced to be in
his company at the moment of Linnseus's
LIFE OF LINN^IUS. 83
entry " See ; this is the young man who
confounds all botany ! " Linnaeus did not
understand English ; but the word con-
found, so similar to the Latin, confundere,
let him into the secret of the Professor's
words. He, however, showed no sign of
comprehending him. Linnaeus almost des-
paired of gaining the friendship of this
learned man, and obtaining from him the
plants he wanted. At length, on the third
day of his visit to Oxford, he went to take
leave of Dillenius, and, in parting, said
" I have but one request to make of you.
Will you tell me why you called me, the
other day, the person who confounds all
botany ?" Unable to evade so direct a
question, Dillenius took him to his library,
and showed him the sheet of his Genera
which he had obtained. It was marked
in sundry places with notes of query.
84 LIFE OF LINN^US.
"What signify these marks?" said Lin-
nseus. " They signify all the false genera
of plants in your book," answered the
other. This challenge led to an explana-
tion, in which Linnaeus proved his accu-
racy in every instance. The result was an
entire change on the part of Dillenius, who
afterwards detained Linnaeus with him a
month ; and found so much satisfaction in
his company, that he kept him always in
close converse, scarce leaving him an hour
to himself. At last he parted from him
with tears in his eyes, after making him
the offer to stay and share his salary,
which would have sufficed for them both.
There must, surely, have been something
peculiarly prepossessing in the manners and
address of Linnseus, by which he secured
the attention and won the good- will even
of strangers ; and, what awakens both
LIFE OF LINN31US. 85
surprise and interest, is the fact that he
knew no modem language but his own.
How, therefore, he managed to carry on
an intercourse with others, it is difficult
to conceive ; above all, how it was that
he contracted a friendship and close inti-
macy with those whom he could only
address through the medium of the Latin.
He has expressly stated in his diary, that
he never learned any language ; not even
Dutch, though he lived three years in
Holland. " Nevertheless, " he ^says, " I
found my way everywhere well and hap-
Despite this great obstacle, Linnaeus
appears to have counted among his friends
and correspondents some of the fair sex,
in several countries. Lady Ann Monson,
in London, and Mrs. Blackburne, at Ox-
ford, were among this number ; and he
00 LIFE OF LINN^US.
had a most enthusiastic admirer in Miss
Jane Golden of America, who was intro-
duced to his notice, by one of his corre-
spondents, as the only lady then known
to be scientifically acquainted with the
Linnsean system. She had drawn and
described 400 plants, according to his
method, using English terms. Pleased
with the favour and interest thus mani-
fested, Linnaeus acknowledged his sense
of them by preserving the names of these
ladies in the vegetable kingdom ; and,
among others, he denominated two beau-
tiful plants, Monsonia and Coldenia.
The study of botany was so greatly
promoted and facilitated by the easy and
pleasant method introduced by Linnseus,
that it is no wonder the ladies acknow-
ledged with gratitude their obligation to
the naturalist who first originated a me-
LIFE OF LINNJ1US. 87
thod by which this delightful study could
be brought within the attainment of all
who loved it.
Bousseau, in the preface to his " Lettres
sur la Botanique," says, after his piquant
fashion, " Nothing could be more absurd
and ridiculous, than, if a woman asked the
name of some herb or garden flower, to
give, by way of answer, a long tirade of
Latin names which sounded like a conjura-
tion of hobgoblins ! " In place of this
uncouth technology, Linnaeus substituted
an easy and descriptive nomenclature, which
renders the science more attractive, and
was, besides, far more appropriate to the
Linnaeus is said to have been much struck
with London. " Of his observations on the
natural history of this country," observes
Sir J. E. Smith, " nothing is preserved but
LIFE OF LINN^US.
a tradition that the golden bloom of the
furze on the commons about London, es-
pecially Putney Heath, delighted him so
much that he fell on his knees, in a rap-
ture, at the sight." He was always an
admirer of this plant, and vainly endea-
voured to preserve it in a greenhouse
through a Swedish winter.
Having fully accomplished the purposes
of his visit to this country, Linnseus de-
clined the many urgent invitations he re-
ceived to prolong his stay. During this
journey he had greatly enriched the garden
and herbarium of his excellent patron ; and
immediately on his return to Holland he
completed the arrangement of this fine
collection, and undertook the superintend-
ence of the Hortus Cliffortianus, a mag-
nificent volume, splendidly illustrated, in
which all the plants in Mr. Clifford's pos-
LIFE OF LINN^US. 89
session were enumerated and described.
This work, he tells us, he both arranged
and wrote, and also corrected for the press;
performing the whole within nine months.
In the intervals of this arduous under-
taking, when fatigued by it, he used (to
employ his own expression) to " amuse
himself with the Critica Botanica, which
he got printed at Ley den." At the same
time he continued the impression of his
Genera Plantarum, which appeared in
So much constant study and exertion
seem, at length, to have affected his health
and spirits. He became so much enervated
that he felt no longer able to bear the
climate of Holland ; he pined for his na-
tive air, and, despite of all the advantages
of the situation in which he found himself,
he resolved to leave. Clifford was in des-
LIFE OF LINN^IUS.
pair when he perceived the intention of his
favourite. He made him the most inviting
offers, which he urged with all the warmth
and earnestness of friendship ; but no tiling
availed. He " longed to be at home," and
persuaded himself that the climate of Hol-
land could not long be healthy for a
On his way to Paris Linnseus went to
Leyden, designing to " bid farewell to all
his friends and acquaintance/' There he
was prevailed on by Professor Von Royen
to remain with him a few months, in order
to assist him in arranging the University
Garden. This determination on his part
was very displeasing to the friend he had
just left, and to whose entreaties he had
turned a deaf ear. He excused himself
to Mr. Clifford as he best could, assuring
him that he had no other motive than the
LIFE OF LINN^IUS. 91
desire to do honour to himself and his
patron ; and he remained long enough to
accomplish his purpose. At the same time,
he assisted Gronovius with his Flora Vir-
ginica, which was published about the same
time as Yon Royen's Hortus Leydensis ; both
these naturalists having adopted Linnaeus'
names and principles. With his charac-
teristic industry, " that the evenings might
not pass uselessly/' he employed them in
working at his Classes Plantarum, which
was published during his stay at Ley den.
This work is " a complete view of all the
botanical systems ever known." Here,
also, he published his Corollarium Gene-
rum, and his Methodus Sexualis.
His indefatigable attention to the pur-
suit of science did not so wholly engross
Linnseus as to prevent him from enjoying
the recreations of social intercourse; and
y LIFE OF LINN^US.
he has given an entertaining account of
some of his choice companions at Leyden.
A party of six or seven " kindred spirits "
formed themselves into a club, and, meet-
ing at each other's houses, discussed subjects
of mutual interest. Each was distin-
guished for something in which he pecu-
liarly excelled. John Lawson, a learned
Scotchman and traveller, was skilled in
history and antiquities. Of him Linnseus
makes honourable mention, as " a man of
great judgment." He also proved himself
substantially friendly ; for several times
he supplied Linnaeus with money, always
saying he had still enough left for his own
necessities. Liberkuhn, a Prussian, was
possessed of " incomparable microscopes," by
which he aided the investigations of the
rest. There were, beside, Kramer, a Ger-
man, "who possessed a wonderful talent
LIFE OF LINNJ1US. 93
of remembering everything that was read
to him," and was learned in chemistry ;
and Von Swiaten, a skilful physician.
But of all the company, Linnaeus preferred
Johan Bartsch, whom he instructed in
botany and entomology, and whom he
has described as "a genteel, handsome,
ingenuous, and well-behaved youth."
This talented and promising young
student died prematurely, to the great
grief of Linnaeus, who had procured him
a medical appointment at Surinam, through
the influence of Boerhaave. He unhappily,
shortly after his arrival, fell a victim to
the climate and the ill-usage of the Gover-
nor, as Linnaeus has pathetically lamented
in his Flora Suecica, when writing of a
plant to which he had given the name
of his unfortunate friend.
Linnaeus continued at Leyden till the
LIFE OF LINN^ITS.
spring of 1738. Not long before his depar-
ture, he had an affecting interview with the
great Boerhaave, then on his deathbed.
This illustrious man, who had proved him-
self so generous a friend to the young and
inexperienced naturalist, from the time of
his first arrival in Holland, was then so
ill that he received no visitors. He, how-
ever, made an exception in favour of Lin-
naeus, and took an affectionate and sorrow-
ful leave of him. His parting words were,
" I have lived out my time, and done what
I could. May God preserve thee, from
whom the world expects much more !
Farewell, my dear Linnseus ! " Tears and
exhaustion forbade him to continue. On
the return of Linnaaus to his lodgings, he
found, as a parting gift from the venerable
invalid, an elegant copy of his Chemistry.
On the point of leaving Leyden, the
LIFE OF LINNAEUS. 95
subject of this memoir was seized with a
very severe ague ; from which he had
hardly recovered, before he was attacked
by a more dangerous disorder. He at-
tributed his cure entirely to the skill and
attention of Dr. Von Swiaten (one of the
company of friends before alluded to).
He was indefatigable in watching the
invalid ; and as soon as he was able to be
removed, the amiable Clifford received him
to his former home, at Hartecamp, where
he spent some weeks, until his strength
was sufficiently restored to enable him to
travel. No sooner had he left Holland
and reached Brabant, than his whole frame
seemed at once invigorated, and he breathed
a new life. It had been the intention of
Linnaeus to travel through Upper and
Lower Saxony, and the Danish dominions ;
and to visit Baron Haller at Gottingen,
96 LIFE OF LINN^US.
and Professor Ludwig at Leipsic. But
all his plans were disarranged by his te-
dious illness, and he hastened on to Paris,
which he was very desirous to visit before
returning to Sweden. In this capital he
remained a month ; availing himself of the
advantages he enjoyed through the atten-
tions of the celebrated brothers Jussieu, to
whom he carried a letter of recommenda-
tion from Von Royen. He inspected the
botanic garden, the herbariums of the
Jussieus and others, and visited the neigh-
bourhood of Fontainebleau, where he "saw
no small number of exotic plants, and was
especially gratified by an opportunity of
examining almost all Vaillant's Orchideae
in flower." He also formed an acquaint-
ance with Reaumur, and other accomplished
naturalists, and was admitted a correspond-
ing member of the Academic des Sciences,
LIFE OF LINNJ1US. 97
a distinguished honour to be conferred on
a young foreigner.
Efforts were made to induce him to
settle at Paris ; hut his heart was set
upon his native country. He, therefore,
having seen all that was most remarkable,
took leave of his generous and truly liberal
friends, by whom he had been treated in
the most cordial and affectionate manner.
With Bernard de Jussieu, the younger
brother, he continued ever after to cor-
respond on terms of mutual amity.
Embarking at Rouen, after a passage of
five days our traveller reached Helsingburg,
in Scania, from whence he proceeded to
Stenbrohult, to see his venerable father.
After some days devoted to filial duty and
affection, Linnaeus hastened onward to
Fahlun, eager to behold again the object
of his affections, from whom he had been
98 LIFE OF LINNAEUS.
so long separated. They had constantly
corresponded with each other, by means
of a mutual friend, who unhappily proved,
in the end, unworthy of the trust reposed in
him, and endeavoured to supplant Linnaeus
in the affections of his mistress. This
treachery was discovered, and its author
condignly punished for his unworthy con-
duct. The lady received her lover favour-
ably, and they were formally betrothed.
It was necessary to postpone their mar-
riage till some eligible settlement could be
procured ; and Linnaeus turned his eyes
toward Stockholm, where he hoped to es-
tablish himself as a physician. According-
ly, in September, 1738, he took up his
residence in that city, with what results,
in the first instance, he has recorded after
a serio-comic manner. " Being unknown
to everybody, people were unwilling to
LIFE OF LINN31US. 99
trust their lives in his hands. Nay, they
even hesitated to trust him with their dogs !
Abroad he had been honoured in every
place, as Princeps Botanicorum ; but in his
own country, he was looked upon as a
Klim, newly arrived from the subterranean
regions ! No one cared how many sleepless
nights and toilsome hours he passed. Had
he not been in love, he would certainly have
left Sweden and gone abroad." This ad-
verse state of things continued a while ;
but, by a fortunate cure he effected, a
sudden change was wrought in the popular
feeling, and the tide turned in his favour.
" After so long a succession of cloudy pro-
spects," he writes to a friend, "the sun broke
out upon me. I emerged from obscurity
obtained access to the great, and every un-
favourable prestige vanished. No invalid
could now recover without my assistance ;
100 LIFE OF LINN^IUS.
I was busy in attendance on the sick, from
four in the morning, till late in the evening;
nor were my nights left undisturbed."
Notwithstanding these complaints, it is
evident that the scientific merits of Lin-
naeus were not overlooked by his country-
men. He was unanimously chosen a mem-
ber of the Upsal Academy, the only one
then existing in Sweden. Very shortly
after this time a plan was formed for in-
stituting a new literary society at Stock-
holm. The most active promoter of this
project was Captain Triewald, who fre-
quently consulted Linnaeus, Baron Hopken,
and Alstromer. These four meeting to-
gether, formed their regulations, and laid
the foundation of the Academy. This
society, however small in its beginning,
rose speedily to an honourable esteem, and
being incorporated by royal authority, was
LIFE OF LINN^IUS. 101
by-and-by augmented with all the most
learned men of the country. The office of
President was first allotted to Linnaeus,
who, in compliance with the rules, held
the post three months, at the end of which
time he resigned it ; on which occasion
he made an oration in Swedish, on the
"wonders of the insect tribes/' This ad-
dress was printed in the Transactions of
The merits and fame of Linnseus rose
from this time into higher repute, and
attracted to him the attention of Count
Tessin, who had been tutor to the King
of Sweden, and was himself well versed
in the sciences, and a lover of natural
history. This nobleman showed him the
utmost favour, and through his influence
procured him a salary of 200 ducats per
annum, on consideration that he would
102 LIFE OF LINK&US.
give public lectures on botany and mine-
ralogy. And this was but the commence-
ment of his benefits, which Linnaeus, desi-
rous of transmitting the memory of his
benefactor to posterity, has thus enumerated
in his last edition of his great work, the
Sy sterna Naturse.* " He received me, a stran-
ger, on my return ; he obtained me a salary
from the States, the appointment of phy-
sician to the Admiralty, the professorship
of botany at Upsal, the title of dean of
the college of physicians, the favour of
two kings, and recommended me by a
medal to posterity."
Linnaeus appears to have marvelled at
his own sudden prosperity, which, he inge-
nuously says, came to him without any
special merit of his own. In addition to
the lucrative situations thus given him,
* Edit. Optima. [XII.] Holm., 1766.
LIFE OF LINN^US. 103
his practice as a physician continued to
increase, and brought him in what he re-
garded as a large income. This propi-
tious season he considered, "the proper
time for reaping the fruit of all his pains."
He, therefore, entreated that his marriage
might not be any longer delayed ; and
as Dr. Moroeus yielded his consent, this
request was acceded to, and on the 26th
of June, 1739, he was married to Sara
Elizabeth Morcea, at the country house
of her father, near Fahlun.
At the end of a month Linnaeus carried
his bride to her new home, being anxious
to resume the duties with which he had
been entrusted. Shortly after his return,
he received a letter from the celebrated
Haller, containing a most generous pro-
posal, which, had it arrived a few months
earlier, when Linnaeus was in so much
304 LIFE OF LINN51US.
perplexity and want, might possibly have
effected an entire change in his future
course. It will be remembered that Lin-
naeus wished to visit Haller on his home-
ward journey, but was prevented doing
so by his long illness at Leyden. They
had, for some time previous, carried on a
correspondence which was commenced by
Linnaeus, who, having heard from Grono-
vius a report that Haller intended to
write against his new system, addressed
to him a letter deprecating his opposition,
and begging for his friendship. In this
letter he expresses, in most earnest and
reiterated language, his aversion to all con-
troversy ; and declares it to be his opinion
that all teachers and professors should es-
pecially eschew it, as calculated to detract
from their dignity and usefulness. " What
man (he asks) was ever so learned and
LIFE OF LINN^US. 105
wise, who, in correcting others, did not
now and then show he needed correction
himself? Something always sticks to him.
I dread all controversies. Who ever fought
without some wound or hurt ? Time is
too precious ; and can be far better em-
ployed by us both. Besides, the serious
contentions of our time may, fifty years
hence, seem to our successors no better
than a puppet-show ; let there be peace
between us ! "
What good sense and practical wisdom
are here displayed ! How much would the
interests of science and truth have been
promoted, if all philosophers had spoken
and acted in accordance with these senti-
ments ! The anxiety of Linna3us was
speedily removed by an amicable reply
from Haller, assuring him that the report
which alarmed him was but an idle tale,
106 LIFE OF LINN51US.
and at the same time expressing his cordial
disposition to fraternize with one whom
he regarded as a co-worker. From this
time these two remarkable men continued
a friendly intercourse, which was, however,
not ^infrequently disturbed by jealousy and
literary disagreement. Considering their
different genius and way of thinking, it
could hardly have been otherwise. Lin-
naeus aspired to reign as monarch over the
science of his choice, and claimed universal
homage. Haller, piqued and indignant at
so much assumption, said, " this man re-
gards himself as a second Adam, and gives
names to all the animals, according to their
distinctive marks, (a significant concession !)
without ever caring for his predecessors.
He can hardly forbear to make man a
monkey, or the monkey a man ! "
Notwithstanding these occasional skir-
LIFE OF LINNMJS. 107
mishes, the personal and reciprocal esteem
and regard between the two illustrious
rivals was genuine and prolonged. Haller
gave a striking proof of his good will to
Linnaeus in the letter above referred to.
He was, at that time, meditating a return
to Bern, and, in the prospect of relin-
quishing his Professorship of Botany at
Gottingen, he proposed to instal Linnaeus
in his place. " I have fixed upon you (he
writes), if the situation be worth your
having, to inherit my garden and my
honours ; and I have spoken on this sub-
ject to those in whose hands these concerns
are placed." Linnaeus, in his reply (dated
Stockholm, September 12, 1739), acknow-
ledges, in the warmest terms, his sense of
so much kindness. " I can only say (he
concludes) in one word, I have had a nume-
rous acquaintance among my fellow crea-
108 LIFE OF LINKEUS.
tures, and many have been kindly attached to
me, but none has ever made me so bountiful
an offer as yourself. I can't give you an
answer ; but, as you have placed yourself
in the light of a father to me, I will lay
before you a short history of my life up to
the present time/' He goes on to narrate,
in a few words, the principal events of his
history, concluding with his recent mar-
riage, and proposing to pay Haller a visit,
and bring his " little wife " with him. In
the answer to this letter, Haller makes
affecting mention of his personal affliction
in the loss of a wife endeared to him " by
her manners, her accomplishments, and her
connexions." He closes with these words :
" Adieu ! May you long live happy with
your Moroea, and enjoy deserved fame !
But, may the Supreme Governor of all
things teach you, as well as me, that there
LIFE OF LINN&US. 109
is nothing in this uncertain state which can
shield us against the terrors of an approach-
ing and inevitable eternity ; fame, riches, and
the dearest attachments are of no avail ;
nor anything else but the divine favour."
Solemn and impressive language from
the lips of a man, who, in the midst of
life and its busiest and most fascinating
pursuits, had been suddenly arrested, and
taught the insecurity and insufficiency of
all he had hitherto accounted desirable
of attainment ! All was now " less than
nothing and vanity" in his esteem, for it
would avail him nothing in the day when he
must appear in the presence of God ! What
effect this touching appeal produced on the
mind of Linnaeus we know not. Possibly
it made slight impression, coming, as it did,
in the hour of his own domestic felicity,
and at the season when he had just attained
HO LIFE OF LINN^US.
his warmest desires, and found himself, after
long and toilsome ascent, about to reach the
crowning pinnacle of his ambition. That
he was by no means an inconsiderate and
undevout observer of the works of the
Great Creator, has already been seen, in
the various allusions contained in his Lap-
land tour, and elsewhere ; and, in his
works generally, frequent and pleasing
evidence is given of his acquaintance with
Scripture, and of his desire to acknowledge
the sense he entertained of the divine per-
fections in the works of nature. Good and
excellent as these feelings in themselves
are, they must not, however, be suffered
to mislead the mind. We must not attach
so much importance to them as to suppose
that they constitute the whole of true re-
ligion. The heart of man is too prone to
mistake natural, for revealed religion. But,
LIFE OF LINKZEUS. HI
to suppose that the truths which this last
alone can teach us, are to be learned by
the most attentive regard to this lower
world, and all its varied and marvellous
productions, is an error, fatal to the best
and highest interests of the soul.
Linnseus, in the preface to one of his
works, has suggested, that probably the
study of the various works of creation
formed one of the principal pleasures and
employments of the paradisaical state ;
and, indubitably, when man was pure and
unfallen, the book of nature was his
Bible, in which he read the perfections and
attributes of God, and saw, as in a mirror,
an image of things spiritual and divine.
But it is otherwise now ; and while, from
the birds of the air and the flowers of the
field, the Christian observer draws lessons
of humility, confidence, and love, he knows
LIFE OF LINNJEUS.
that in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ
alone he sees the whole mind and will of
God revealed. He has learned a the wis-
dom of God/' in the mystery of the Cross,
*& v*- T
and from that standing-point he looks on
the beauties and the marvels of creation
around him, and loves and admires them,
with a joy peculiar and surpassing, as he
recognises in them the handiworks of Him
who is "the brightness of the Father's
glory," and " by Whom also, He made the
worlds of Whom, and through Whom,
and to Whom are all things." /*> c~V^
4$Wtr '"*fa\ -
*}w (w-^ c*-*^ "j "H-o
^ - iC*~*- O*<
LIFE OF LINN.EUS. 113
OUR illustrious naturalist may now be re-
garded as having attained the objects of
his ambition. He found himself inde-
pendent in his circumstances, surrounded
by Mends and admirers, happy in his do-
mestic relations, and in circumstances to
pursue, with ardour and success, his
favourite studies. If the youthful reader
be disposed to pause awhile, and retrace
the steps by which Linnaeus had thus
reached so high a point in the toilsome and
difficult ascent to fame and honours, he
cannot fail to perceive that, while much
LIFE OF LINN-EUS.
was undoubtedly owing to the original
talent with which he was endowed, yet
this alone would have been unavailing, had
it not been joined to an inflexible determi-
nation and an unwearying diligence which,
flowing from the principle of love, never
tired, but pursued, till they had attained
their object. His labours were incessant
and abundant. Though, at the outset, he
encountered a thousand obstacles and
drawbacks from the indifference and oppo-
sition of others, yet his hope and confi-
dence never failed. He had faith in him-
self; and strong in that self-reliance, he
bore up amid difficulties with a never-
He was not to be diverted from the
choice he had made ; but, even while com-
pelled to obtain the necessaries of existence
by lecturing and otherwise, was " inwardly
LIFE OF LINNAEUS. 115
meditating a general reform of botanical
science/' His means were scanty, and
when lie had succeeded in procuring Tour-
nefort, the " principal guide" in the study
of botany, he was involved in great per-
plexity by the inaccuracies and imperfec-
tions of his system. In short, he "found
the science wholly neglected," and had to
arrange and methodise it. We cannot but
admire as we see him going over completely
new ground in the wide field of natural
history at large ; classing and naming birds,
insects, and flowers, often according to a
system which his own ingenuity and pene-
tration devised, to supply the deficiencies
of former naturalists. An accurate exami-
nation of the minuter parts of the object
under his consideration, frequently enabled
him to arrive at a juster conclusion as to
the order or genus to which it belonged,
116 LIFE OF LIXNJEUS.
than those who had preceded him ; and
with an indefatigable industry, having as-
certained these points, he proceeded to
arrange and methodise for himself.
Having obtained such a satisfactory set-
tlement, accompanied by so many privi-
leges and sources of emolument, we might
have supposed Linnaeus would feel himself
permanently established at Stockholm. But
there was yet another object, on which his
heart was set. This was the botanic chair
at Upsala. A plentiful income was, indeed,
not to be despised ; and yet he sighed to
be released from his medical duties, that he
might devote all his time and attention to
his beloved science. One of his biographers
has said very quaintly and very truly,
" He was, upon the whole, fonder of meddling
with plants than with patients/' And,
writing to Haller, we find him complain-
LIFE OF LINN^US. 1T7
ing, " Once I had plants and no money ;
now what is money good for, without
The post he coveted was vacated by the
death of Professor Rudbeck, shortly after
the marriage of Linnseus, and he offered
himself as a candidate. But, notwithstand-
ing his fame, he was disappointed in this
object. His former rival, Dr. Rosen, had
greater claims, according to the statutes of
the University, and to him it was given.
He attained, however, this summit of his
wishes very shortly after ; for the medical
chair in the same University being resigned
by M. Roberg, he was appointed to it ; and
by a private arrangement with Dr. Rosen
an exchange was effected between them,
giving him the superintendence of the
Botanic Garden and charge of the whole
department of natural history. In the
118 LIFE OF LINN.EUS.
meantime the war between Sweden and
Russia began, and Linnseus being apprehen-
sive lest he should be commanded to attend
the fleet, in his official capacity as physician
to the navy,* thought himself fortunate to
receive, at this juncture, an order from the
States to travel through Oeland and Goth-
land, for the purpose of describing the pro-
duce of those countries. One principal
object to which his researches were directed,
was the discovery of an earth fitted to
make porcelain ; but in this he was un-
successful. His tour was, nevertheless, of
great utility. He made observations on
the habits and manners of the people and
on natural history in general ; and dis-
* During the year 1740 Linnseus acted in this capacity,
and it may not be uninteresting to mention, that, finding
himself, after his morning visits to the sick in the Naval
Hospital, constantly affected by a cardialgia, he attributed
it to the effluvia of the place, and found singular benefit
from the use of coffee.
LIFE OF LINN51US. 119
covered numerous plants, some of them
useful in medicine and dyeing. Above all,
he first pointed out to the natives of those
shores the use of the Sea Reed Grass, to
arrest the sand, and bind together the soil
on the sea banks. In this journey he was
accompanied by six of his students, and
subsequently published an account of the
Immediately on his return (in the au-
tumn of 1741), Linnaeus removed, with
his wife and infant son, born in the spring
of that year, to Upsala, which was thence-
forward his constant residence. On the
17th of October, he assumed his profes-
sorial office, and gave an address, occa-
sioned by his recent journey, on the Benefit
of Domestic Travel. This animated and
spirited discourse has been considered one
of the most pleasing of his orations. Pro-
120 LIFE OF LINKEUS.
bably his love for his native land inspired
him with a zeal which gave life and energy
to his words ; and beside, he was doubtless
flushed with the pleasurable feelings inspired
by his recent appointment, and the attain-
ment of his most cherished desires.
Linnaeus appears to have enjoyed, to the
utmost, his new position ; and to have
found, in the discharge of its duties, the
happiness of his life. His attention was
first given to the Botanical Garden, which
he calls his " elysium ;" and the enthusiasm
with which he set about improving it knew
no bounds. At his appointment everything
was in a state of dilapidation and confu-
sion. This institution had been com-
menced about the middle of the preced-
ing century, by the celebrated Swedish
naturalist Rudbeck, and, under his aus-
pices, it flourished for a season. But the
LIFE OF LINNAEUS. 121
dreadful fire which devastated the city in
1702 entirely destroyed it ; and the whole
tiling had fallen into decay. It did not
even contain fifty exotic plants.
Immediately on his instalment, Linnseus
applied to the chancellor of the University,
who, fortunately, was a man of scientific
acquirements and taste ; and it was re-
solved that the garden should be laid out
anew, a green-house erected, and the super-
intendent's house rebuilt. All this was ac-
cordingly done ; and before long Linnaeus
had the satisfaction of seeing the grounds
enlarged and properly laid out, and himself
in a suitable habitation ; the old house of
stone built by the Rudbecks which was,
he protests, " a veritable owl's nest," being
converted into "a lodging fit for a Pro-
fessor/' On the 18th of July, 1743, he
took possession of this commodious abode,
122 LIFE OF LINKEUS.
which adjoined the Garden, and thus af-
forded him more favourable opportunity
for its constant visitation and superintend-
ence, and the embellishing and enriching
this place was the favourite study of his
life. His zeal, talents, and wide-spread
renown soon produced the desired effect,
and, in a few years, the garden at Upsala
ranked equal, if not superior, to similar
institutions in Europe. Contributions to
its stores continually poured in from all
quarters, and the most celebrated botanists
vied with each other in presenting to its
distinguished superintendent the treasures
of every region and climate of the globe.
Six years after the establishment of this
Garden, the new Professor published its
description. The number of foreign species
of plants at that time amounted to one
thousand one hundred. Filled with delight
LIFE OF LINN^IUS. 123
as he beheld these fruits of his labours
with a glad heart he burst into this ani-
mated expression of joy and thankfulness,
on occasion of a public celebration. " I
render thanks to the Almighty, who has
ordered my lot so that I live at this day ;
and live, too, happier than the King of
Persia. I think myself thus blessed, be-
cause, in this academic garden, I am prin-
cipal. This is my Rhodus, or rather, my
Elysium ; here I enjoy the spoils of the
East and the West, and, if I mistake not,
that which far excels in beauty the gar-
ments of the Babylonians, and the porce-
lain of China. Here I behold myself the
might and wisdom of the Great Creator,
in the works by which He reveals Himself,
and show them unto others."
Linnaeus now continued, in an uninter-
rupted career, following out his duties as
LIFE OF LINN^US.
Professor, and thoroughly absorbed in the
discharge of his general academical func-
tions. He published, in 1745, the first
edition of his Flora Suecica,* and in the
year following the Fauna Suecica ;* " which
works (says Sir J. E. Smith) are models for
similar compositions ; especially their second
editions, published many years after, with
specific names, and many valuable addi-
tions/' On the latter of them the author
tells us he had laboured 15 years.
As a teacher and lecturer, Linnaeus in
a particular manner distinguished himself,
and it will be interesting to regard him in
this character. Formerly the University
lectures had been neglected, or considered
more as a matter of form than of instruc-
tion. But, at his appearance a new epoch
* A description of the Swedish plants; and of the
Swedish animals, birds, fishes, insects, &c. A local
LIFE OF LINN^TJS. 125
commenced. The hall in which he de-
livered his addresses was presently crowded,
and, before long, overflowed. By his genius
he charmed, and by his enthusiasm he
earned away his hearers, so that he in-
spired them with a measure of his own
ardour; and his favourite. science, botany,
was now diligently studied, and its impor-
tance so highly rated, that a regulation
was made by which the young divinity
students were obliged to learn the elements
of botany and domestic medicine, to enable
them to act as physicians, in remote dis-
tricts, where professional aid could be but
tardily and with difficulty procured.
He gave lectures on natural history, the
medicinal properties of plants, dietetics,
and other, subjects beside botany ; and his
delivery is said to have been a model for
popular speakers, energetic, instructive,
126 LIFE OF LINN^US.
and entertaining. One of his hearers
eulogizes him thus, " Science streamed with
peculiar pleasantness from his lips ; he
spoke with a conviction and perspicacity
which his deep penetration and ardent zeal
imparted to him ; and it was impossible
to hear him without attention, and without
participating in his enthusiasm/' It is
evident he possessed, in a remarkable de-
gree, the power of personally interesting
his students and attaching them to him-
self. The results were very striking ; the
ordinary number of pupils had been
500 ; after his death it was reduced
to the same average. It now speedily
reached 1000; and in 1750, during which
year Linnseus was rector, it amounted to
1500. The fame of the University spread
over Europe, and even to America, and
young men of various countries flocked
LIFE OP LINNAEUS. 127
thither. Impressed with the importance
of conveying instruction in a popular
manner, and by personal observation, Lin-
naeus took his students into the fields and
woods, there to gain an intimate acquaint-
ance with the productions of nature.
During his summer lectures he made excur-
sions, twice in the week, at their head ; and
was often attended by them to the number
of 200. They went in parties, to explore
different districts of the country, and when-
ever some rare or remarkable plant, or any
other natural curiosity, was discovered, a
signal was given, by a horn or trumpet, at
the sound of which the whole corps gathered
around their chief to hear his demonstra-
tions or remarks. After exploring the
neighbourhood "from early morn till dewy
eve," the various detachments congregating
together, returned with flowers in their
128 LIFE OF LINN^US.
hats, and, clustering around their leader,
marched to the sound of drums and trum-
pets through the city to the garden. The
eclat given to these floral exploits made
them matters of general interest, and not
unfrequently foreigners and persons of dis-
tinction came from Stockholm to accompany
Linnaeus and his young companions.
There is another circumstance connected
with the instructions of our naturalist, too
remarkable to be passed over. He com-
municated his ideas to his pupils in so
happy and persuasive a manner, that they
became converts to any system he had
himself adopted, and imbibed his zeal and
enthusiasm in the cause. Thus natural
history was studied, not merely as a branch
of polite education, but for its own sake,
and the advancement of the science. Never
was there so much done for its promotion
LIFE OF LINN-EUS.
in so short a time, as during the period when
he flourished. His lecture-room became the
nursery of eminent and celebrated men, who,
possessing the same thirst for knowledge as
their master, travelled to all quarters of the
globe, to study Nature and collect her trea-
sures. Linnaeus gave them ample oppor-
tunities to exercise their talents, and, after
imbuing them with a love of foreign
travel and research by pointing out the
delight of discovery in the most fascinating
terms, he sent them out, on the right and
on the left, affording them his counsel and
assistance, and not unfrequently obtaining the
aid of Government in defraying the expenses
incurred. In a few years his most per-
severing and adventurous pupils were distri-
buted over the whole world, and we are as-
sured that their various histories would alone
form a volume of the most interesting kind.
LIFE OF LINKEUS.
In his Critica Botanica, speaking of the
enthusiasm for science by which all its true
votaries have been distinguished, he says,
" Must I call madness or reason that desire
which allures us to seek and examine
plants? If I look back on the fate of
naturalists, I am persuaded that the irre-
sistible attractions of nature alone can in-
duce us to face such dangers and troubles.
No science had ever so many martyrs as
natural history/' He proceeds to enume-
rate a long list of those who fell a sacrifice
to their exertions in the cause ; and some
of his pupils painfully illustrated the truth
of these statements. Not a few of them
fell victims to the elements or the diseases
of a pestilential climate, and over several
their illustrious master shed the tear of
regret. Three of his young pupils found
an early grave in Asia. The first of these
LIFE OF LINN^IUS. 131
C. Ternstroem, " a young man who
seemed born to collect natural curiosities,"
went out to China, but unhappily died im-
mediately after his arrival.
Soon after, Linnseus became the origi-
nator of a second attempt. He represented,
in one of his lectures, in the most eloquent
and persuasive manner, the extraordinary
merits and great celebrity a youth might
obtain by travelling through Palestine, and
inquiring into and describing the natural
history of that country, which was at that
time unknown, and had become of the
greatest importance in the illustration of
Scripture, and the study of Eastern phi-
logy. This certainly was an enterprise
full of danger, but one to which a young
enthusiast, and one, too, of true Chris-
tian feeling and love, might gladly devote
himself. Such an one was Frederic Hassel-
132 LIFE OF LINN^US.
quist, who, listening to the eloquent words
of his master, said, " Send me." The ener-
getic representations of Linnseus, and the
obvious importance of the mission, awakened
a general interest, and private liberality soon
provided the necessary funds. The young
naturalist was successful in his mission, and
fulfilled the expectations of his patrons ;
but he was not destined to reap the re-
ward of his toils. The burning sands of
the Arabian deserts had affected his lungs ;
and he sickened and died on his way
home, in the thirtieth year of his age.
Linnseus published the journey of Hassel-
quist, and gave him a place of honour in
his catalogue of worthies. The project
thus commenced was revived shortly after
by the celebrated Professor Michaelis, of
Gbttingen, who demonstrated the necessity
of obtaining a more extensive knowledge
LIFE OF LINNJEUS. 333
of that country, which was the theatre of
most of the events recorded in the sacred
scriptures. Through his influence an ex-
pedition was sent into Arabia, and five
persons were selected ; among them Fors-
kal, a pupil of Linnseus, and well versed
in the eastern languages. The journey
proved fatal to all who engaged in it,
excepting M. Niebuhr, who afterwards
published an account of this memorable
expedition. Poor Forskal died, in the
thirty-first year of his age ; his observations,
however, were not lost ; his surviving
companion published them at Copenhagen,
and sent a copy of the work to LinnaBus,
who regarded Forskal as one of his most
worthy and excellent pupils "whose name
he never mentioned without respect."
Loefling, another favourite pupil of Lin-
na3us, was chosen by the Spanish govern-
134 LIFE OF LINN^IUS.
ment to travel through their South Ame-
rican settlements, where he sickened and
eventually died in the bloom of his youth*
distinguished for his zeal and talents. This
loss singularly affected his great teacher,
who said that, of all his travelling disci-
ples, there was none more remarkable for
his love of plants and his botanical learning,
nor had any a finer opportunity to enrich
his favourite science.
The melancholy fate of these young men,
cut off thus in the flower of their days, by
no means deterred others from following in
their steps. Among them were many whose
destinies were auspicious, and by whose
labours and talents the science of natural
history was advanced. The names of Kalm,
Thunberg, Sparrman, Solander, Fabricius,
and others, are well known in the scientific
world ; and there is perhaps nothing more
LIFE OF LINNMJS. 135
truly honourable to the memory of their
great master, than the fact that he was the
founder of such a school of able and en-
So much was he beloved and respected
by those whom he instructed, that they
prided themselves in transmitting to him
their collections, and communicating the
rich harvest of information and discovery
they reaped. Scarcely had he to complain
of an instance of ingratitude or neglect
among them. Not a few, settling in distant
universities, were afterwards promoted to
professorships, and did lasting honour to
the memory of Linnaeus, by promulgating
his system and illustrating it by their
The records of his diary are everywhere
interpersed with notices concerning the
proceedings of his pupils, and he notes
136 LIFE OF LINN^US.
down, with the most minute care, the
contributions he received from them, and
records the most striking events in their
history, occasionally breaking out into a
eulogy of one or other of his favourites.
Thus, Burmann he pronounced the most
penetrating of any he ever had under him ;
and of another he says, " How much I
loved and esteemed Gieseke, he cannot him-
self but know. I initiated him into the
higher secrets of science, and laboured to
instruct him in the natural orders of
plants." And again " If Fabricius come
to me with an insect, or Zoega with a
moss, I pull off my cap, and say, ' Be you
my teachers/ " These are Ms own words,
To the poor, and even to the rich, foreign
students who resided at Upsala entirely on
his account, he was most generous ; refusing
LIFE OF LINN^US. 137
the perquisites which he should have re-
ceived for his lectures. To the former he
remitted the money from purely benevolent
motives, while he declined it from the others,
that he might convince them how nobly
proud he was of his science, so that he
would fain make it free of cost to those
who sought after it. One of them having
repeatedly urged him to accept a Swedish
bank-note as an acknowledgment for the
pains he had taken to teach him, he said,
" Tell me, candidly, are you rich, and can
you afford it? Can you well spare this
money on your return to Germany ? If
you can, then give the note to my wife
but, if you be poor, so help me heaven,
I will take not a single farthing from you."
" You are the only Swiss that visits me,
and I feel a pleasure in telling you all
I know, gratis," was his answer to another
138 LIFE OF LINNJEUS.
who importuned him in the same manner.
Some of them, finding him inflexibly refuse
to take his fees, used slyly to leave the
money upon his chest.
This liberal conduct on the part of Lin-
naeus was the more honourable, as he was,
undoubtedly, parsimonious in his habits,
and fond of money. " Gold, the noblest of
metals, did not a little recreate his sight,
and inspire him with fondness." " And
why/' asks Dean Boeck, one of his most
intimate friends "why should not gold
have been amassed by him who hoarded up
all that was precious and beautiful in the
lap of nature?" An ingenious plea; but
there is another and more natural way of
accounting for these seeming anomalies in
his character. If we recall to mind the
extremes of poverty which so long and so
heavily oppressed him in his early days, we
LIFE OF LINNMJS. 139
can readily account for a frugality which
sometimes bordered upon meanness, and no
longer wonder that he who had been at his
wits' end for a daily meal, knew too well
the value of gold to despise or squander
it. At the same time his natural benevo-
lence prompted him to generous deeds ;
and he found a pleasure in rendering to
young and meritorious men whose circum-
stances resembled his own, the same kind-
nesses as he had himself experienced at the
hands of a Celsius and a Rudbeck.
140 LIFE OF LINN^SUS.
WHILE the spirit of Linnaeus was thus
diffused by means of his disciples, and his
fame spread over most parts of the civilized
world, honours, both foreign and domestic,
accumulated upon him. He was admitted
a member into most of the scientific
societies of Europe. The Imperial academy
distinguished him by the name of Dioscorides
Secundus; a gold medal of him was struck
by some of his friends in 1746, and in the
following year he received from the king
the title of Archiater, that is, Dean of the
LIFE OF LINN.&US. 141
College of Physicians. He was also the
only Swede chosen into the new-modelled
academy of Berlin. Although far from
indifferent to these things, he appears to
have felt a superior satisfaction in the
acquisition, about this time, of the her-
barium collected by Professor Herman in
Ceylon. It had fallen into the hands of an
apothecary at Copenhagen who was igno-
rant of the treasure he possessed. In his per-
plexity about naming the dried specimens
of plants he applied to Linnaeus, who speaks
in ecstacy of the delight it gave him to re-
cover this treasure, which had been missing
more than fifty years, and was given over
for lost. He spent day and night ex-
amining the flowers, which, from the length
of time they had been dried, occasioned him
much trouble. Hence originated another
of his works, the Flora Zeylanica.
142 LIFE OF LINN.&US.
From the time that Linnaeus and Rosen
were appointed professors at Upsala, it
should seem that the credit of the place as
a medical as well as botanical school had
been rapidly increasing ; and it is certain
that the united zeal and ability of these
two able teachers attracted to the Uni-
versity many young men who were invited
to the study of medicine, by the excellent
manner in which it was taught. Although
Linnasus declares, in his diary, that he gave
up the general practice of physic on his
establishment there, he appears ever to
have paid great attention to the science,
and his lectures on medicine, diet, and the
animal economy were in high repute ; nor
is he, it must be confessed, at all behind-
hand in commending his own skill in this
department. In the year 1749, he pub-
lished for the use of his students, his
LIFE OF LINN^IUS. 143
Materia Medica, and subsequently two
other works on medicine, the Genera
Morborurn, and Clavis Medicinse ; which
are pronounced by Sir J. E. Smith to be
at once striking and instructive. His idea
of a systematic arrangement of diseases
was afterwards carried out by other authors ;
and it is evident that the talent of Linnseus
was most conspicuous in his classification of
natural objects. He excelled in a happy
perception of such general characteristics as
brought together things most nearly allied
to each other ; and it was he who first
perceived and declared the difference be-
tween a natural and an artificial botanic
During the summer of this year he tra-
velled, in the public service, through Scania,
the most southerly of the Swedish pro-
vinces, and on his return from this his
144 LIFE OF LINN^US.
sixth and last tour, he visited his birth-
place, where his venerable father had died
the preceding year, aged seventy-four, and
where he had now the satisfaction of seeing
his younger brother (the Bi-kung) honour-
ably installed as his successor in the living
of Stenbrohult. The following year, during
which he executed the office of rector of
the University, was one of laborious exer-
tion to Linnseus, who attributed to the
over-excitement and fatigue he had under-
gone, a violent attack of the gout, which
proved so severe as apparently to endanger
his life. He chanced one day, while the
malady affected him, to eat some straw-
berries, and experienced immediate relief;
and to this simple remedy he thought he
owed his recovery from that and other subse-
quent fits. To this illness, distressing as it
was to the patient, the world is indebted,
LIFE OF LINN.EUS. 145
for the publication of one of his most
valuable and remarkable books, the Philo-
sophia Botanica. This work, " which em-
braces the whole range of botanic science,
and indeed all the principles of natural
knowledge," had been long projected, but
hitherto he had not arranged and selected
his materials, so as to communicate them to
others. This illness, however, prompted
him to rescue from the grave (to which
he supposed himself hastening) what he
believed would prove of value to those
he left behind. Accordingly, his pupil
Loefling was employed, sitting by his bed-
side, to write down whatever in the inter-
vals of his sufferings he was able to com-
municate ; and in this way was produced
the work of which Rousseau said, " It is
the most philosophical book I ever saw in
146 LIFE OF LINN^US.
The spirit and energy of the man were
evinced by such traits as these, of which
there are many sufficiently striking on re-
cord. For instance, it is said that when
he was confined by a violent access of his
disorder, the return of one of his pupils,
bringing a valuable collection of plants and
natural curiosities so delighted him, that,
springing up from his couch, he recovered,
through pleasure at the sight of these
treasures! On the other hand, the disap-
pointment of his expectations keenly affected
him in an opposite manner, of which he
gives a remarkable instance in his diary.
He had been very anxious to procure living
specimens of the cochineal, and one of his
pupils who had wholly applied himself to the
study of insects, returning from Surinam,
sent him a cactus with cochineals in a jar.
It chanced that Linnaeus was lecturing at
LIFE OF LINNAEUS. 147
the time they arrived. The gardener opened
the jar, took out the cactus, cleansed it
from the dirt, and of course from the insects,
and replaced it in the jar. By this unto-
ward accident these long-desired treasures
were destroyed before Linnaeus even had a
sight of them, and so vanished all his hopes
of rearing them, in the conservatory. This
grieved him so excessively that it brought
on one of the most dreadful fits of lateral
headache (meagrim) he ever felt.
It is evident that he was never so much
at home, so entirely happy, as in his gar-
den, and while searching into the secrets
and hidden properties and workings of
nature. Hence he reckoned it among the
choicest favours vouchsafed him by Provi-
dence, that he had been "inspired with an
inch-nation for science so passionate," as to
become the source of highest delight to
148 LIFE OF LINN^US.
him. His diligence and minute observa-
tion were continually adding to his know-
ledge, and imparting some fresh light in
the study he loved. It is interesting to
see him carefully noting the observations he
thus personally made, and gradually per-
fecting his theories and systems. " He led
very active and bustling life," says one
who visited him at Upsala. " I never saw
him at leisure ; even his walks had for
their object discoveries in natural history."
On one occasion he had received the seed
of a rare plant, which he was anxious to
rear. He succeeded in this object. The
plant bore two flowers. Delighted with
them he desired the gardener to take
especial care of them ; and two days after,
returning home late in the evening, he
eagerly went to the garden to see how they
were thriving ; but they were not to be
LIFE OF LINKEUS. 149
found. The next night the same thing
occurred. In the morning the flowers re-
appeared, fresh and beautiful as ever. The
gardener supposed them to be new ones, as
he had not been able to find them the two
previous evenings. The attention of Lin-
naeus was immediately caught, and he
visited for the third time, at nightfall, his
fugitive flowers. They were once more
invisible ; but he found them at last,
deeply wrapped up in, and entirely covered
by, the leaves. This discovery stimulated
his curiosity, and he visited his garden and
hothouses in the night-time, lantern in
hand, desirous of observing minutely the
condition of the plants under the influence
of darkness. He found the greater part of
the flowers contracted and concealed, and
the vegetable kingdom almost entirely in a
dormant state. From these facts he formed
150 LIFE OF LINNJ1US.
his theory of the sleep of plants, and proved
that it occurred at regular periods, like
that of animals. This discovery gave him
the idea of forming a sort of vegetable
timepiece, in which the hours of the day
were marked by the opening and closing of
certain flowers ; and in the same manner,
he formed a rural calendar for the regula-
tion of the labours of husbandry. The
tables in this Calendarium Florae (as it was
designated) were formed from observations
made on the common plants of Sweden in
the garden at Upsala in 1755. Mrs.
Hemans's pretty lines on this subject
may probably recur to the mind of the
'T was a lovely thought to mark the hoxvrs,
As they floated in light away,
By the opening and the folding flowers
That laugh to the summer's day.
LIFE OF LINN J! OS. 151
" Yet is not life, in its real flight,
Mark'd thus even thus on earth
By the closing of one hope's delight
And another's gentle birth ?
" Oh ! let us live so that flower by flower
Shutting in turn, may leave
A lingerer still for the sunset hour
A charm for the shaded eve."
About this time, the Queen of Sweden,
Louisa Ulrica, sister to the great Frederic
of Prussia, having a great taste for natural
history, showed much favour to Liimseus.
She had formed a very fine collection of
shells and insects, and he received com-
mands to repair to the country palace of
Drotningholm, to describe and arrange them.
Her Majesty was so much pleased with the
conversation of her distinguished subject,
that she treated him with the regard due to
an honoured guest, and, that he might have
everything to his content, permitted him to
indulge in his habitual habit of smoking,
152 LIFE OF LINMGUS.
even in her apartments ; at the same time
giving him many proofs of her considera-
tion and munificence. Whether, however,
he felt not so entirely at ease as in his own
study, or his attention were distracted by
the variety of objects, it seems that the
work he produced on the museum of the
queen was by no means one of his most
correct. Indeed, after mentioning with
evident satisfaction the honours showed
him, Linnaeus somewhat significantly, and
very curtly, adds, " Thus was he obliged to
be a courtier, contrary to his inclination."
In the same year 1754 Linnseus also
published a magnificent folio volume, con-
taining descriptions of the rarer animals,
birds, &c., of the king's collection in Latin
and Swedish, with plates and a preface,
which is pronounced by a competent judge,
" one of the most entertaining and eloquent
LIFE OF LINNAEUS. 153
recommendations of the study of nature
that ever came from the pen of an enthu-
These services were rewarded by suitable
marks of royal favour and consideration,
and on the 27th of April, 1753, he re-
ceived from the hand of his sovereign the
order of the Polar Star, an honour which
had never before been conferred for literary
merit.* On receiving his patent of nobility
he called himself Von Linn4"f" and took for
the motto on his coat of arms, the words,
" Famam extendere factis ;" the helmet
which surmounted the crest was adorned
* Not long after, the King of Spain paid him a very dis-
tinguished compliment. He invited him to settle at Ma-
drid, with the offer of an annual pension, for life, of 2000
pistoles, letters of nobility, and the free exercise of his
religion. This extraordinary proposal proves in what esteem
the talents of Linne were held by foreigners.
f* In accordance with the universal custom of the coun-
try, which prescribes the prefix Von, and abolishes the
affix us, in the names of those who are ennobled.
154 LIFE OF LINN^TJS.
with a spray of his own flower, the Lin-
In the same year appeared the Species
Plantarum, which his great rival, Haller,
terms his " Maximum opus et seternum."
It contained a description of every known
plant, arranged according to the sexual
system. On this masterpiece its author
had bestowed all his abilities ; but the
incessant labour and close confinement
brought on a pain in his right side, and
laid the foundation of a distressing in-
ternal disorder, from which he ever after
The emoluments derived by Linnseus
from his various publications are said to
have been by no means great. His dif-
ferent appointments, however, had pro-
cured him a considerable degree of wealth,
and in 1758 he purchased the two estates
LIFE OF LINMUS. 155
of Hammarby and Sb'fja, for above 2,330.
The former was about a league distant from
Upsala, and there, during the last fifteen
years of his life, he chiefly resided in the
summer. Here he kept, comparatively
speaking, a little University, his pupils
following him thither, and many of them
lodging in the neighbouring villages. To
several he gave private courses of lectures,
completely laying aside the state of a no-
bleman and Professor, while he discoursed
with them on his favourite topics. A few
years after he came into possession of this
property, he erected a small building upon
an eminence which commanded one of the
finest views imaginable of the surrounding
country, and there he kept his collection of
natural history. Numerous distinguished
visitors and all the curious came to see
this place, and pay their respects to its
156 LIFE OF LINN&US.
distinguished owner, who relates with the
utmost naivete, the gratification it afforded
him to listen to their compliments. At
the same time he expatiates on. his plants,
zoophytes, shells, insects, and animals, not
forgetting the paper-hangings which adorned
his parlour covered with drawings of the
rare plants of the East and West Indies,
and the tapestry of his bedchamber em-
broidered with curious insects.
The mention of this villa, which he says
he bought chiefly for the enjoyment of his
family, naturally inspires a desire to know
something of the private character and life
of the great naturalist. From his own
account of his personal appearance, we
learn that he was a little below the stand-
ard height, and of a strong and compact
figure. He rather stooped in walking,
having contracted this habit from the fre-
LIFE OF LINN^US. 157
quent examination of plants and other
objects. His head was large and a good
deal raised behind, and there was a wart
on the side of his cheek. His hair was of
a dark brown, till silvered by age, when
his brow became much furrowed and
wrinkled. His eyes were brown, bright
and piercing, and his sight exceedingly
keen. His ear, too, was very acute, and
quick in catching every sound except that
of music, in which he took no delight.
His natural temperament, he tells us,
was vivacious ; prompt to joy, sorrow, and
anger, but the latter was speedily appeased,
and he was so averse to disputes that he
never would answer any of his numerous
assailants. In his early days he was full
of energy and spirit, and through life his
movements were rapid and agile. In his
habits he observed the strictest temperance
158 LIFE OF LINNJiUS.
and method. He never delayed anything
he had to do, and noted down immediately
what he wished to preserve in memory.
He has recorded that he never neglected a
lecture ; and by rigid economy of time,
and a regular and exact distribution of the
hours, he completed those extraordinary
labours which remain lasting proofs of his
talents, acuteness, and industry.
Linnaeus's foible was vanity, and in-
ordinate desire of fame. This is nowhere
more strikingly seen than in the pages of
his diary, from which such frequent quota-
tions have been made. This curious and inte-
resting document was drawn up by him for
the use of his intimate friend, Dr. Menander,
Archbishop of Upsala, to serve as materials
for a history of his life. It was evidently
written at different times, and by various
hands, and is disjointed and incoherent in
LIFE OF LINN^IUS. 159
style, frequeut and abrupt transitions being
made in the construction from the third to
the first person. At the head of it Linnseus
wrote a few lines, in which he says, " I
have here drawn up my own panegyric,
which I should never have shown to any-
body in the world but the only one of my
friends who has proved himself ever and
If it be unbecoming and even ridiculous
for a man to speak of himself as he has
done (observes one of his biographers), the
justice and accuracy of his statements, had
they come from any other source, could not
have been called in question.
It is agreeable to turn from the observa-
tion of this weakness in a great man, to
notice the pleasing little traits interspersed
here and there, in this private record of his
history, and especially the occasional touches
160 LIFE OF LINN^US.
of domestic affection. If he took delight
in mentioning the progress of his pupils,
and the acquisitions he made through their
means, with a still deeper feeling he alludes
to his children. Thus, after mentioning the
many kindnesses and presents he received
from his Royal Mistress, he adds, " But
what, above all, pleased Linnaeus was, that
the excellent Queen inquired after his only
son, and being informed that he had a taste
for natural history, she promised to send
him, at her expense, to travel over Europe,
in which gracious promise Linnaeus heartily
At a somewhat advanced period of his
life another son was born to him, whose
early death he thus touchingly notices:
" My little son Johan, who had just begun
to talk a little, was attacked with the
epidemic cough which now prevailed, and
LIFE OF LINSLEUS. 161
after having been ill eight days, he took leave
of this world, in the night, between twelve
and one o'clock. He had not attained
the age of three years." Beside these two
sons, Linnseus had four daughters, the eldest
of whom inherited much of her father's
taste for natural history. She first discovered,
while walking at nightfall in her father's
garden at Hammarby, a luminous property
in the flowers of the nasturtium, which are
sometimes seen to flash, like sparks of fire,
in the evening after dark. The youngest
daughter was cherished by Linnseus, as the
darling of his family ; and this predilec-
tion was, perhaps, partly occasioned by a
remarkable occurrence which took place at
her birth. She was, to all appearance, still-
born ; but her father, perceiving the vital
spark was not entirely extinct, hastened to
reanimate her by emitting his breath into her
162 LIFE OF LINN^US.
lungs. This treatment was successful, and
the infant revived and lived. The Danish
Professor, Vahl, is reported, when a student,
to have made an impression on the heart of
this young girl, but her father did not think
proper to countenance his advances. This
circumstance is supposed to have prevented
his showing that favour and encouragement
to the young Dane, which his talents and
scientific zeal deserved. Both these daughters
married. Of the two others, nothing is
known but that they remained single, and
after their father's death lived at Ham-
marby, with their mother, who survived to
a very advanced age.
Of this lady, Linnseus makes honourable
mention, and numbers her as among the
choice gifts bestowed on him. " She was,"
he says, "the wife for whom he most wished,
and who managed his household affairs
LIFE OF LINNAEUS. 163
while he was engaged in laborious studies."
The truth, however, undoubtedly is, that,
though a good housewife, she was in no
respect a pattern of a sweet and amiable
mother and spouse. Quite the contrary.
Her picture is thus drawn by one of the
pupils of Linnd, who had abundant oppor-
tunities of judging from personal obser-
vation. " His wife was tall, robust, domi-
neering, and selfish. She frequently robbed
us of the joys which brightened our social
hours ; and, destitute herself of the advan-
tages of a liberal education, her influence
worked disadvantageously for her children.
The young ladies, her daughters, were all
good-tempered, but rough children of nature,
and destitute of the external accomplish-
ments they might have acquired by a better
training." But the most extraordinary
and reprehensible point in her character,
164 LIFE OF LINN^IUS.
was an unnatural dislike to her own son,
which she manifested in the most offensive
manner, in a constant series of petty per-
secutions, so that, during his youth, he
lived in a slavish restraint and continual
fear of her. There appears to have been
no cause in the behaviour of the youth to
occasion this ill-treatment. On the con-
trary, he was of a gentle and docile nature,
and early distinguished himself by diligence
and industry in the studies to which he
was trained. In his eighteenth year he
was appointed Demonstrator in the botanic
garden at Upsala ; and when he attained
the age of twenty- one was nominated
Assistant Professor of Botany, in the Uni-
versity, with the promise to succeed to all
his father's academical functions. He is
said to have personally resembled Linnaeus,
and to have possessed a noble and excellent
LIFE OF LINN^US. 165
heart ; but he was not endowed with the
same energy and resoluteness, nor had he
an equal degree of self-possession, love of
fame, and consciousness of superiority.*
The painful circumstances of his domestic
lot told unfavourably upon him, and chilled
and cowed his spirit, which would have un-
folded and strengthened beneath the foster-
ing care of maternal love.
But what can we think of the conduct
of Linnaeus, who appears to have yielded,
in a most reprehensible degree, to this
domestic tyranny ? That he loved his son,
is evident; but that he feared his wife still
more, can hardly be doubted
* As a lecturer, too, he wanted the animation which
characterized his father. His style is thus described by the
celebrated eminent mineralogist Schultz : "His delivery
was fluent ; but mixed with a certain cold indifference. It
appeared as if his exertions were rather a strict perform-
ance of the duties of his station than a real zeal, flowing
from a natural fondness for his science. His father, on the
contrary, betrayed, even in his conversation upon subjects
relative to natural history, an enthusiastic predilection
and a most scrutinising zeal."
LIFE OF LINN^US.
THE year 1764 was marked by three
events of domestic interest in the life of
Linnseus. Early in the Spring he was
attacked by a violent pleurisy, which
threatened to cut short his existence. He
relates how, with great difficulty, and
through the kind assistance and consum-
mate skill of Rosen, he was brought safely
through the crisis. It is truly pleasing to
read in his private memoranda, the grati-
tude he felt to his old rival, and the ex-
pressions of intimate regard which thence-
forward prevailed between them. There is
something instructive and consolatory in
LIFE OF LINN^IUS. 167
the thought that age and mature experience
operate to soothe the asperities and cool
down the rivalries of an earlier stage of
life, so that a man embraces, with a sort of
tender eagerness, any opportunity to be
reconciled to a former adversary, and to
heal the breach that has separated them.
This incident in the life of Linnaeus re-
calls to my mind an anecdote related by
Dr. Cockburn, of Sir Harry Moncrieff.
Chancing one day to meet a person who
had formerly been an illiberal opponent of
his, he seized the occasion to address the
man kindly, and with a degree of friendly
cordiality which somewhat surprised the
object of it. Being asked the reason of this
behaviour, he replied, " He is a foolish, in-
temperate, creature enough, but, to tell you
the truth, I dislike a man fewer every day
I live now !"
LIFE OF LINN^US.
Recovered from this illness, Linnaeus re-
tired to Hammarby, to enjoy the fresh
invigorating air of the country, and to
celebrate his " Silfer Brollop,"* a Swedish
custom of commemorating the return of
the twenty-fifth wedding-day. Three days
after, he married his eldest daughter, Lisa
Stina (of whom mention has already been
made), to an officer in the Swedish army.
One of his most celebrated pupils, Professor
Fabricius, has given some interesting par-
ticulars respecting his eminent master, at
this period of his life.
" For two whole years/' he says, " I was
so fortunate as to enjoy his instruction,
guidance, and confidential friendship. When
I became acquainted with the Chevalier Von
Linne', although he had not attained his
sixtieth year, increasing age had already
* Silver Bridal.
LIFE OF LINN^US. 169
furrowed his brow with wrinkles. His
countenance was open, almost constantly
serene, and bore great resemblance to his
portrait in the Species Plantarum. But his
eyes of all the eyes I ever saw, were the
most beautiful. They certainly were but
small, but they shone with a brilliancy, and
had a degree of penetration, such as I never
observed in another man. His mind was
noble and elevated, though I well know some
persons have accused him of several faults.
But his greatest excellence consisted in the
systematic order of his thoughts. What-
ever he did or said was faithful to order,
truth, and regularity. His passions were
strong and violent ; his heart open to every
impression of joy, and he loved jocularity,
conviviality, and good living. An excel-
lent companion he was, pleasant in conver-
sation and full of entertaining stories ; at
170 LIFE OF LINN^US.
the same time, suddenly roused to anger, he
was boisterous and violent, but immediately
his displeasure subsided, and he was all
good-humour again. His friendship was
sure and invariable, science being generally
its basis ; and every one who knew him
must be aware what concern he always
manifested for his pupils, and with how
much zeal they returned his friendship.
" Not a day elapsed in which I did not
see him, either being present at his lectures,
or, as frequently happened, spending several
hours with him in familiar conversation.
" We were three Kuhn, Zoega, and I, all
foreigners; and this was one reason why he
showed himself so exceedingly kind to us.
Jn winter we lived directly opposite his
house, and he came to us almost every day,
in his short red robe de chambre, with a
green fur cap on his head, and a pipe in his
LIFE OF LINN.EUS. 171
hand. He came for half an hour, but
stayed a whole one, and sometimes two.
His conversation on these occasions was
extremely sprightly and pleasant. It either
consisted in anecdotes relative to the learned
men in his profession, with whom he had be-
come acquainted in foreign countries, or in
removing our difficulties, and giving us other
kinds of instruction. He laughed heartily,
and his countenance indicated the friend-
liness and good fellowship of his nature.
"In summer we followed him into the
country. Our life was then much happier.
Our dwelling was about a quarter of a
league distant from his house at Hammarby,
in a farm. He rose very early in summer,
mostly about four o'clock. At six he came
to us, because his house was then building ;
breakfasted with us, and gave lectures upon
the natural orders of plants as long as he
172 LIFE OF LINN^US.
pleased, and generally till about ten o'clock.
We then wandered about among the neigh-
bouring rocks, the productions of which
afforded us plenty of entertainment. In
the afternoon we went to his garden, and
in the evening mostly played at the Swedish
game of trissett, in company with the
" Occasionally the whole family came to
spend the day with us, and then we sent for
a peasant, who played on an instrument re-
sembling a violin, to which we danced in
the barn of our farm-house ; and though the
company was but small and the dances
superlatively rustic, we passed the time
merrily. While we danced, Linnd sat look-
ing on, and smoking his pipe ; sometimes,
though very rarely, he danced a Polish dance,
in which he excelled every one of us young
men. He was exceedingly delighted when
LIFE OF LINN.EUS. 173
he saw us in high glee, nay, even if we be-
came noisy. His only anxiety was, that
we might be well entertained. Those days,
those hours, will never be erased from my
memory, and every remembrance of them
is grateful to my heart I"
In this simple and natural picture we
get such a peep into the home life of Lin-
naeus as makes us better acquainted with
him ; and the bonhommie and kind-hearted-
ness here displayed give the key to much
of that popularity which he seems through
life to have secured. The freshness and
spring of his character continued as long
as his mental faculties lasted unimpaired.
The first symptom of decay in his powers
was a failing of the memory, which in his
youth had been so uncommonly vigorous.
Even at the time when Fabricius was with
him, he remarked with concern, that he was
174 LIFE OF LINNMJS.
often unable to recollect the names of his
friends ; so much so, that, on one occasion,
he saw him much embarrassed, when, after
writing a letter to his father-in-law at
Fahlun, he had great difficulty in remem-
bering his name. These premonitory signs
of age did not prevent him from continuing
his usual engagements, and he laboured
diligently in preparing new editions of his
principal works during the succeeding three
or four years.
And now the shadows of evening began
to gather around him those cold shades
that make themselves felt, and whose chills
bespeak the near approach of darkness and
the grave. He saw his early friends and the
associates of his riper years fallen, or drop-
ping on all sides, and exclaimed, "Ego infelix
socius resto ; " and, casting his eyes on the
one of them in whose friendship he most
LIFE OF LINNJEUS. 175
confided, he committed to his care the diary
which has been spoken of, begging him, as a
last act of friendship, to translate it into
Latin, and to arrange and prepare it for pre-
sentation to the French academy, of which
he was a foreign member. He seems, before
sending it, to have added at the close, a
sort of summary of his deeds, his merits,
his honours and his obligations. With scru-
pulous care, and that love of truth and
justice which always characterized him, he
reckoned up, under the latter head, the
various aids afforded him by his pupils and
friends, and, conscious of his higher obliga-
tions, he enumerated the favours he had
received from the Divine hand which he
acknowledged had led and prospered him.
After stating that over the door of his room
he had caused this sentence to be inscribed,
" Innocui vivite ! Numen adest," and
176 LIFE OF LINKEUS.
adding that he had " always entertained
veneration and admiration for his Creator,
and endeavoured to trace his science to its
author," he proceeded to record the deal-
ings of Providence on his behalf how God
had caused him to spring up from a tree
without root, and had planted him, and
made him to flourish, inspiring him with
an ardent love for nature, giving him what
he most desired, and, where he had failed
to attain his objects, making even his dis-
appointment subservient to his good ;
granting him favour in the eyes of the
learned and the noble, a wife and children,
houses and lands, and safety and protection ;
and he concluded with these remarkable
words : " He hath permitted him to visit
his secret council chambers, and to see more
of the creation than any mortal before him,
and given him greater knowledge of natural
LIFE OF LINN^US. 177
history than any one had hitherto acquired.
' The Lord hath been with him whitherso-
ever he hath walked ; and hath cut off his
enemies from before him, and hath made
him a name like the name of the great
men that are in the earth.' " 1 Chron.
There is something striking and impres-
sive in this close to the great naturalist's
autobiography. It is evidently the earnest
and sincere utterance of his heart ; the
acknowledgment of his fealty, his dutiful
tribute to the Divine Author of his being
and well-being. Would that he had added,
with the illustrious Bacon, " Thy creatures
have been my books, but thy Scriptures
much more. I have sought thee in thy
fields and thy gardens. I have found thee
in thy Word and thy Temples ! "
In December, 1772, Linnaeus resigned
178 LIFE OF LINN^US.
his office of Rector of the University,
which he had thrice exercised, and on this
occasion he gave an Oration " On the De-
lights of Nature." It was the last ever
delivered by him, and was so much admired
by the audience, that the morning after,
a deputation was sent to him in the name
of the University, to request that he would
print it in the Swedish language.
This address was a befitting termination
to the public exertions of the venerable
man who was himself the most striking
instance of that on which he dilated the
peculiar pleasure attending the pursuit of a
science, which, unlike so many of the ob-
jects in which men seek happiness, is one of
the richest and most permanent sources of
Even beneath the pressure of increasing
infirmities the fondness of Linnseus for his
LIFE OF LINN51US. 179
beloved studies continued undiminished, and
his desire of adding to his knowledge was
keen as ever. Some, of his letters at this
period are full of vivacity, and strikingly
express the ardour of his zeal. An idea of
their spirit may be gained from a short
extract taken from one (dated August 8th,
1771). "I received an hour ago" (he
writes) " yours of the 1 6th July, nor did I
ever get a more welcome letter, as it con-
tains the happy tidings of my dear Solan-
der's safe return. Thanks and glory to
God, who has protected him through the
dangers of such a voyage. If I were not
bound fast here, by sixty-four years of age
and a worn-out body, I would this very
day set out for London, to see this great
hero in botany. Moses was not permitted
to enter Palestine, but only to view it from
a distance ; so I conceive an idea in my
180 LIFE OF LINN^US.
mind of the acquisitions and treasures of
those who have visited every part of the
Not long before his final illness he wrote
in a similar strain, to Mr. Pennant, the
celebrated zoologist. After warmly thank-
ing Mm for the present of two of his works
on natural history, he adds, " I will peruse
and re-peruse your synopsis a thousand
times ; and after having read the work, I
will ask you many questions and never
prove ungrateful to you. I will enter into
no disputes about methods. Whether
nature is Calvinistic, Jewish, or Mahomedan
is all one to me, and the knowledge of the
species is the only thing I shall look to.
Would that I could see your other works,
especially that on birds ! "
In his reply to this letter, Mr. Pennant
entreated him not to forget his promise of
LIFE OF LINN^IUS. 181
writing the natural history of Lapland,
which he had given in the preface to his
Flora Lapponica. He replied, " It is now
too late." (Nunc nimis sero inciperem.)
And, indeed, his labours were nearly at an
end. In the Spring of 1774, while lec-
turing in the Botanic Garden, he suffered
an attack of apoplexy, the debilitating
effects of which obliged him to relinquish
all active professional duties and to close
his literary occupations. In 1776 a second
seizure supervened, which rendered him
paralytic on the right side, and impaired
his mental powers so much that he became
a distressing spectacle. Yet, even then,
with the natural flow of cheerfulness so
peculiar to him, he thus described his own
situation : " Linnseus limps, can hardly walk,
speaks unintelligibly, and is scarce able to
write." Nature remained, to the last, his
182 LIFE OF
sole comfort and relief. He used to be
carried to his museum, where he gazed on
the treasures he had collected with so much
care and labour, and as long as possible he
continued to manifest peculiar delight in
examining the rarities and new productions
which had been latterly added to them by
some of his pupils.
It is scarcely possible to find a more
striking illustration of the "ruling passion
strong in death," than is afforded in the
instance of Linnaeus. Well did he prove
the truth of the motto of his youth,
" Tantus amor Florum."
Lingering and painful were the last twelve
months of his existence ; but at length, on
the 10th January, 1778, he gently ex-
pired, in his sleep, having lived precisely
seventy years, seven months, and seven days.
LIFE OF LINN^US. 183
The death of Linnaeus was regarded in
Sweden as a national calamity. The whole
University went into mourning, and all
the professors, doctors, and students then
at Upsala attended his funeral. The King,
in his speech to the States in the same
year, publicly lamented his death, and
ordered a medal to be struck in his honour;
and in 1798 a monument was erected to
him in the cathedral at Upsala, where he
But the most enduring honours to the
genius of Linnaeus consisted in the extent
of his fame, and the influence of his labours
upon science. By his writings, correspond-
ence, lectures, and active zeal in sending
his pupils into all quarters, he inspired a
national taste for the study of natural
history, so that it became in Sweden " the
study of the schools, by which men rose
184 LIFE OF LINNJEUS.
to preferment/' And by the order, per-
fection, and immediate application of theory
to practical uses, which he introduced into
the science of botany, he awakened a
universal interest in it, which formed an
era in its history. The museum and library
of Linnaeus passed into the hands of his
widow on the death of his son (who sur-
vived him but a few years) ; and eventually
the whole collection was purchased of her by
the late Sir J. E. Smith, for the sum of
1029. The sale was precipitated before
the return of the King of Sweden, who
was then on his travels, and it is a
curious fact, that a vessel was despatched
by the Swedish Government, to intercept
the ship which was bearing away the
prize. The treasure, however, reached
England in safety, and its learned and
amiable owner, having gained possession of
LIFE OF LINNJEUS. 185
it, showed himself desirous to communicate
the benefit of it as extensively as possible
to the public. With this view, he, in the
year 1788, drew the plan of an institution
to be called the Linnaean Society, intended
for the promotion of discoveries and im-
provements in natural history. Of this
society, Sir James was, most properly,
chosen president, and it obtained a Royal
Charter in the year 1802. In his will he
desired that the Linnsean Collection should
be offered, after his death, to the Society,
and it was accordingly purchased by that
body for the sum of 3000 guineas.
Having brought my pleasing task to a
close, I wish to add a few words recommen-
datory of the study of Botany for its own
sake. We are no longer in the infancy of
the science, and its utility is put beyond
question. Of its benefits no one doubts.
186 LIFE OF LINN^US.
Our food, our physic, our luxuries, are all
improved by it. All this is acknowledged.
But are its benefits, as a mental exercise,
sufficiently considered ? And yet, what
study is calculated to afford more delightful
instruction to the young, at once gratifying
a taste for beauty, and training the youth-
ful mind to thought and observation ?
Affording, too, the most healthful gratifica-
tion and innocent enjoyment, its pleasures
spring up beneath our feet, and, as we
pursue them, reward us with simple and
true joys. All is elegance and delight in
this charming study, and there are no
painful, distressing or unhealthy experi-'
ments to be made. Its stores present an
inexhaustible variety ; the circling seasons
bring a succession of flowery treasures, and
even when Nature retires into her dormi-
tory, and sleeps beneath the warm shelter
LIFE OF LINNAEUS. 187
of her snowy coverings, there are her more
hidden secrets over which we may pore,
while we arrange the stores we have accu-
mulated, or imitate their beauties by the
mimic art of the pencil.
In short, the youth who loves botany
for its own sake has a pure source of hap-
piness always at command, and would find
himself neither solitary nor desolate had he
no other companion than a humble moss or
weed, finding, as he will ever find, some-
thing to examine or illustrate, and a great
deal to admire.
It has been said that almost every one
who takes up the study of nature, does so
either avowedly or tacitly hoping that he
may make some discover} 7 for himself. Nor
has the aspiring young naturalist any need
to despair ; for wherever persevering in-
vestigation is at work, new facts are
188 LIFE OF LINNAEUS.
brought to light, and much that is curious
and valuable in natural history is con-
tinually being added to its stores. It may,
perhaps, at first sight, seem surprising that
much of interest in natural history has been
observed and verified in the immediate
vicinity of the metropolis. The reason is
soon given. It is because there are good
observers there who, determined to use their
eyes and understanding, see much that is
curious and instructive, though the hills
about Hampstead and Highgate are their
only Alps and Pyrenees, and the gardens
at Kensington their nearest approach to a
forest. Mr. Yarrell assures us that a young
ornithological friend of his sent him a list
of birds observed by himself in Kensington
Gardens, including nearly seventy species ;
an unusually large number for so limited
a locality, in such a situation.
LIFE OF LINN31US. 189
A very striking and instructive fact,
proving how much may be done even by
one intelligent and active naturalist for the
advancement of science and the promotion
of general taste is given in Lord Cockburn's
Memorials. He mentions that the Horti-
cultural Society of Edinburgh was chiefly
the work of Patrick Neill, a printer. This
useful citizen was a most intelligent florist,
the author of several excellent works on
horticulture, and himself an amateur culti-
vator of flowers ; the exotics in his small
acre garden at Canonmills putting many a
grander establishment to the blush. Prin-
cipally to this man was due the commence-
ment of a society, " which " (says Lord
Cockburn) "was one of the first buds of
that extraordinary and delightful burst of
floral taste, which has since poured such
botanical magnificence over our great places,
190 LIFE OF LINN51US.
and such varied and attainable beauty
round our cottages. It is not " (he con-
tinues) "in our public establishments or in
our great private collections that its chief
triumph is to be looked for; but in the
moderate place, the villa, and especially in
the poor man's garden; in the prevalence
of little flower societies, its interest as a
subject of common conversation, and the
cheap but beautiful and learned practical
works that are to be found in the houses
of the humblest of the people."
Encouraged by such examples, may
many a young reader of this little volume
be induced to devote himself with loving
zeal to the study of botany, and he will
assuredly reap an excellent reward, not only
increasing his knowledge and giving a use-
ful stimulus to his mind at present, but he
will be guided to thoughts and habits useful
LIFE OF LINN51US. 191
for the future. For it is certain that no
one can rightly enter upon this and kindred
pursuits without having cause in the end
to pronounce them profitable both here and
WoodfallaiidKinder,Priuters,Angel Court,Skinuer Street, London.
LONDON, DECEMBER 1857.
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ANIMAL KINGDOM, by Professor T. EYMER JONES. Svo,
Second Edition, 1 11s. Gd.
MANUAL OF BEITISII BOTANY. By C. C. BABINGTON, M.A.
&c. Fourth Edition, 10s. Gd.
JOHN VAN VOOEST, 1 PATEENOSTER BOW.
Adams & Baikie's Manual of Nat. Hist. 10
Adams's Genera of Mollusca 4
Aikin's Arts and Manufactures 12
Anatomical Manipulation 9
Ansted's Ancient World 8
Elementary Course of Geology .... 8
Geologist's Text-Book 8
Gold-Seeker's Manual 8
Scenery, Science, and Art 11
Babington's" Manual of British Botany. . 6
Baptismal Fonts 13
Beale on Sperm Whale 1
Bell's British Quadrupeds 1
Ibbetson's Geology of Isle of Wight S
Instrumenta Ecclesiastica 13
Jenyns's Observations in Nat. History. . 9
Johnston's British Zoophytes 4
Introduction to Conchology 3
Terra Lindisfarnensis 7
Jones's Animal Kingdom 9
Natural History of Animals 9
Knox's (A. E.) Game Birds, &c 1
Kambles in Sussex 2
Knox (Dr.), Great Artists & Great Anat. 9
Latham's Ethnology of British Colonies 10
Ethnology of British Islands 10
Ethnology of Europe 10
British Reptiles 2
British Stalk-eyed Crustacea 4
Bloomfield's Farmer's Boy 14
Man and his Migrations 10
Leach's Synopsis of British Mollusca . . 4
Letters of Rus^icus 10
Lowe's Faunae et Florae Maderee 6
Manual Flora of Madeira 6
Malan's Catalogue of Eggs 1
Martin's Cat. of Privately Printed Books. 1 1
Burton's Falconry on the Indus 2
Cocks's Sea- Weed Collector's Guide 7
Couch's Illustrations of Instinct 9
Cumiiiing's Isle of Man 10
Dallas's Elements of Entomology 4
Dalyell' s Powers of the Creator 10
Rare Animals of Scotland 10
J.lohl on the Ve^etab'e Cell 6
Motley and Dillvrvn's Labuan 11
Moule's Heraldrv of Fish 3
Newman's British Ferns 7
Domestic Scenes in Greenland & Iceland 12
Douglas's World of Insects 5
Dowden's Walks after Wild Flowers . . 7
Drew's Practical Meteorology 12
Drummoud's First Steps to Anatomy . . 9
Economy of Human Life 14
Elements of Practical Knowledge 12
England before the Norman Conquest. . 12
Entomologist's Annual 4
History of Insects 5
Owen's British Fossil Mammals 8
on Skeleton of Extinct Sloth 8
Paley's Gothic Moldings 14
'Manual of Gothic Architecture 13
Poor Artist 12
Prestwich's Geological Inquiry 8
Salvin and Brodrick's Falconry 2
Evening Thoughts 12
Everv-day Wonders 12
Flv Fishing in Salt and Fresh Water . . 3
Selby's British Forest Trees 6
Shakspeare's Seven Ages of Man 14
Sharpe's Architectural Parallels 13
'Decorated Windows 13
Shield's Hints on Moths and Butterflies 5
Siebold on True Parthenoeenesis 5
Smith's British Diatomacese ^
Sowerbv's Thesaurus ConchyUorum .... 4
Spratt's (and Forbes's) Travels in Lycia 1 1
Stainton's Butterflies and Moths 5
History of the Tineina R
Strickland's Ornithological Synonyms.. 2
and Melville on the Dodo " 2
and Hanlev's British Mollusca 3
and Spratt's Travels in L\ cia 11
Garner's Nat. Hist, of Staffordshire 11
Birds of Jamaica 2
Canadian Naturalist 11
Handbook to Marine Aquarium . . 11
Manual of Marine Zoology 11
Naturalist's Kambles on Dev. Coast 11
Sunday-Book for the Young 12
Tugwell's Sea-Anemones 4
Vicar of Wakeiield, Illustr. bv Mulrcady 14
Wall on a new Sperm Whale 1
Watts's Songs, Illustrated bv Cope .... 14
Ward (Dr.) on Healthy Respiration 12
Ward (N. B.) on the Growth of Plants. .
White's Selborne 11
Wilkinson's Fifty-two Wild Flowers . . 14
Williams's Chemical Manipulation 7
Wollaston's Insecta Maderensia 5
on Variation of Species 10
Woodward on Polarized Light 10
Gray's Bard and Elegv 14
Gregg and Lettsom's British Mineralogy 7
Griffith & Henf rev's Micrographic Diet. 9
Harvey's British Marine Alga; 7
Sea-side Book 9
Henfrey's Botanical Diagrams 6
Elementary Course of Botany 6
Rudiments of Botany 6
Translation of Mchl 6
Vegetation of Europe 6
& Griffith's Micrographic Diet. . . 9
YarrelPs British Birds 1
British Fishes 3
Exotic Butterflies .... , . 6
on the Salmon ... .3
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