CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 38/78
Alt Ref No91
TitlePapers of David Skene: correspondence: Letter from John Ellis, Gray's Inn, London, to David Skene
Date26 March 1765
Extent1 item
Creator NameJohn Ellis (c.1710-1776), zoologist
DescriptionLetter from John Ellis, Gray's Inn, London, to David Skene in which he rejoices 'to have as ingenious a correspondent in that part of our island'; he would like the specimen of sertularia or corallina muricata; he discusses progress of new volume and mentions that he is looking for hen wares (fucus scoticus latissimus adulis dulcis) and pepper dulse (fucus piperis odore); he refers to lack of 'lovers of Natural History' in Scotland and to recent growth of interest in England 'owing chiefly to some scholars of the excellent Linnaeus ... especially Dr. C. Solander ...'; he describes collecting trips with Solander; he describes his collection of fuci and conferrae which were mostly collected around Penzance and Scilly Isles; he mentions Mr. Borlase, rector of Ludyvan in Cornwall as being particularly helpful in collecting items for him; he believes that Skene may find more specimens and rarer specimens near Aberdeen and suggests that they exchange rarities that they have found; he comments on arbutus uva ursi and requests some small specimens of fucus piperatis; he states that he has a little correspondence with William Hudson but that he is jealous and uncommunicative, 'consider his book a compilation with very little merit'; he hopes that Solander will be persuaded to publish a Flora Britannica commenting that it should be like the Flora Suecica (1755); he remarks that Dr De Costa is intending a second volume; he states that he had received a letter from Linnaeus who had lately published a dissertation on the opobalsamum or 'balm of gilead' and had received a specimen from Arabia; Ellis remarks that it was a form of Amyris, that other kinds grow in Jamaica and clarifies a mistake in the materia medica where it is called pistachia vera; he has received some seeds of rheum or true rhubarb from Dr Mounsey who brought it from Muscovy and that it is growing well in his garden, his tea plant from Canton grows well but has no blossoms; he suggests methods of observing polypes or suckers of the sertularia alive and in motion using aquatic microscope, 26 March 1765.
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