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as far as possible, I will avoid it. May there be peace in our days !
“ 2. I have always, from the time I first heard your name, held you in the highest estimation ; nor am I conscious of ever having shown a contrary disposition. Why then should you provoke me to a dispute? Let me know if I have unwillingly offended, and I will omit nothing to satisfy you. I ask but for peace.
“ 3. If my harmless sexual system be the only cause of offence, I cannot but protest against so much injustice. I have never spoken of that as a natural method; on the contrary, in my Systema, p. 8, sect. 12, I have said, “No natural botanical system has yet been constructed, though one or two may be more so than others; nor do I contend that this system is by any means natural. Probably I may, on a future occasion, propose some fragments of such an one, &c. Meanwhile, till that is discovered, artificial systems are indispensable.' And in the preface to my Genera Plantarum, sect. 9,—I do not deny that a natural method is preferable, not only to my system, but to all that have been invented.
But, in the mean time, artificial classification must serve as a succedaneum.' Therefore, if you establish a natural method, I shall admit it.
6 4. If you detect any mistakes of mine, I rely on your superior knowledge to excuse them; for who has ever avoided errors in the wide-extended field of Nature? Who is furnished with a sufficient stock of observations? I shall be thankful for your friendly corrections. I have done what I could of myself; but a lofty tree does not attain its full stature by the first storm that bursts forth.
“ 5. I have been acquainted with most botanists of distinction, who have all given me their encouragement; nor has any one of them thwarted my insatiable desire of natural knowledge. Will you be more severe than any body else ? You appear, by your dissertation, too noble to triumph over the ignorance of others.
“ 6. You may, with great advantage, and without injury to me, display your profound learning and intimate knowledge of the works of Nature, so as to acquire the thanks of all the learned world. Do but turn over the writings of botanists in general, and you will see, by their earlier performances, how they are puffed up at first with their own consequence, and scarcely able to keep from ass
assaulting others; of which I myself have perhaps been guilty, which I deeply regret, having now learned better. But when these same people have passed a few years in the field of battle, they become so mild, candid, modest, and civil to every body, that not a word of offence escapes them. This chiefly leads me to doubt the truth of the report in question ; for I know your reputation has already been long established.
6 7. It seems wonderful to me that I should have excited so much of your displeasure; for I cannot but think there is no work of any author more in unison with my ideas than this essay
yours. “ 8. I, and perhaps I alone, have acquired what I know entirely by the rules you have laid down, of studying without a master. I am still but a learner; and you must pardon me if I am not yet become learned. If knowledge is to be acquired by your mode, the hope of it, at least, still serves to illuminate my path.
“ 9. I doubt, indeed, whether you, or any other lecturer, can enter into controversy with propriety. Professors and teachers should, above all things, acquire the confidence and respect of their hearers. If they appear in the light of students, how much of human imperfection must appear, and what a depreciation of their dignity! What man was ever so learned and wise, who, in correcting others, did not now and then show he wanted correction himself? Something always sticks to him. We have lately seen an instance of this in a most distinguished professor, the ornament of his university, who, having long indulged himself in attacks upon schoolmasters, has at last got so severe a castigation from one of this tribe, that it is doubtful whether he can ever recover his ground at all, and certain that he cannot recover it entirely. A very wise physician has declared, that he would rather give up physic, and the practice of it altogether, than enter into public controversy.
“ 10. Look over the whole body of controversial writers, and point out one of them who has received any thanks for what he has done in this way. Matthiolus would have been the greatest man of his day if he had not meddled with such matters. Who is gratified by the mad Cornarus,' or 'the flayed fox,' (titles bestowed on each other by Fuchsius and Cornarus)? What good have Ray and Rivi. nus done with their quarrels ? Dillenius still laments that he took up arms against Rivinus; nor has the victory he gained added any thing to his fame. Did not Threlkeld give him much more just cause of offence? But he was now grown wiser, and would not take up the gauntlet. Vaillant, at
one time a most excellent observer, attempted to cut his way with authority through the armies of Tournefort ; has he not met with his deserts ? and would he not have risen much higher had he left him unmolested ?
“ 11. I dread all controversies, as, whether conqueror or conquered, I can never escape disgrace. Who ever fought without some wound, or some injurious consequence ? Time is too precious, and can be far better employed by me as well as by you. I am too young to take up arms, which, if once taken, cannot be laid aside till the war is concluded, which may last our lives. And, after all, the serious contentions of our time may, fifty years hence, seem to our successors no better than a puppet-show. I should be less ashamed to receive admonition from you than you must be to take it from me.
“ Behold, then, your enemy, submissively seeking your friendship; which, if you grant him, you will be more certain of securing a friend than of stirring up an adversary. I know you to be of a more generous nature than to level your attacks at one who has not offended, unless any enemies of mine have raised doubts in your mind against me. If, after all, I cannot obtain that peace which, by every argument and supplication, I seek of you, I hope you will at least be so generous as to send me whatever you may print on the subject, and I will take care to convey my answers to you.
“ If the news I have heard be without foundation, I earnestly beg of you to forgive me for the trouble I now give you.”
Linnæus is here exhibited under the influence of
fear, with much flattery and humiliation soliciting the forbearance of a powerful rival; but the report which had reached him was false, and Haller hastened to dispel from the mind of the young botanist the apprehensions under which he laboured. The correspondence thus commenced continued with great regularity, the letters of Linnæus manifesting entire confidence in Haller; who, however, from a feeling of envy, or, as he alleges, in his own defence, thought proper to publish what had obviously been intended to remain private. The publication of these epistles, as we have seen, was productive of great distress to their author; and more especially of the following one, which gives an account of his earlier years. The Swiss professor concludes one of his notes in the following generous terms:-“ Farewell, my dear Linnæus ! may you enjoy your health and your botanical pursuits, with every advantage for the prosecution of your labours ! My studies and engagements, of a different kind, draw me unavoidably aside; but my inclination always leads me to the charms of Flora. To botany I wish to devote my leisure and
fortune to the col. lecting of drawings, plants, and books. May you, from whom Flora expects more than from any other mortal, make the most of your advantages, and one day or other return to a more genial climate! If at any time
my native country should invite me, or I can ever, as I hope, return to it, I have fixed upon you, if the situation be worth your having, to inherit my garden and my honours, such as they are. I have spoken on this subject to those in whose hands all these concerns are placed. As soon as I hear from you, I will tell you all the news I can,