Ref NoMS/276
TitleCorrespondence of John Ellis: J - W and miscellaneous MS
AdminHistoryJohn Ellis FRS (1714-1776) was a British linen merchant and naturalist. He was the first to publish a written description of the Venus flytrap in a pamphlet entitled "Directions for Bringing over Seeds and Plants from the East Indies and Other Distant Countries" (1770). He imported numerous American seeds and was particularly interested in the problems connected with the transportation of plants and seeds. The "Natural History of Many Uncommon and Curious Zoophytes", written with Daniel Solander, was posthumously published in 1786. Ellis was a correspondent of Carl Linnaeus who described him as "a bright star of natural history".
DescriptionThe second volume of bound correspondence of John Ellis, containing letters of correspondents whose surname start with the letters J-W, as well as miscellaneous manuscripts. Letters are pasted on folio sheets which are individually numbered.

Folios 1-4: 4 letters, JALABERT, Isaac, dated 1749-1752:
Folio 1: Scarborough, July 18, 1749. Regarding moving plants to Walthamstow.
Folio 2: Scarborough, August 6, 1749. Regarding the sale of a horse.
Folio 3: Scarborough, August 22, 1749. Discusses the cause of his ill health and the aforementioned horse.
Folio 4: April 2, 1752. Hopes to send compliments to Mr and Mrs Webb, Miss Smith, and the young gentleman.

Folio 5: 1 letter, KNOX, -, Whitehall, April 21, 1773. Mr Knox presents his compliments to Ellis, is much obliged to his message of yesterday respecting Dominica and begs he will not disclose his intention of resigning the agency until Mr Knox can call upon him which he intends doing tomorrow or the next morning.

Folios 6-7: 2 letters, LEE, James, dated 1769:
Folio 6: Vineyard, November 11, 1769. Regarding the preservation of seeds. Praises Ellis's method of coating the seeds with wax.
Folio 7: Vineyard, December 17, 1771. Letter giving his opinion on preserving seeds. Lee suggested preserving the seeds in water hermetically sealed.

Folio 8: 1 letter, LIGHTFOOT, J, Uxbridge, February 18. Regarding specimens of Theobroma angusta.
Folio 9: 1 letter, LIMERICK, Lord, Dundalk, May 13, 1753. On the advisability of having an agent for the Linen Board in London.
Folio 9: 1 letter, LINNAEUS translation, April 1761.
Folio 10: 1 letter, LOGAN, William, junr, Edinburgh, December 12, 1769. On his proposed thesis for his MD degree "What is the food of plants and how may it be altered so as to be usefull to Pharmacy?" concerning electricity and plant nourishment. Refers to Dr J. Fothergill as his late patron.

Folios 11-12: 2 letters, MACBRIDE, D., dated 1770-1771:
Folio 11: Dublin, May 29, 1770. Introduces Reverend Mr Caldwell. Concerning the "ort" & scurvy. Asks if Banks and Solander thought of taking malt with them.
Folio 12: Dublin, January 19, 1771. In regard to a change made in the composition for preserving the wooden bottoms of Man of War.

Folios 13-15: MACKENZIE, Mordach, dated 1756-1758:
Folio 13: 15 November 1756, Constantinople. Notes on the myrrh tree, balm of Gilead. Sends some powdered Henna. He and the Ambassador have failed to see the polypes.
Folio 14: June 2, 1756, Constantinople. Congratulations on essay, 1755.
Folio 15: January 3, 1758, Constantinople. Has been unable to get the root and seed of Henna as requested by Ellis. Details his and Mr Porter's vain attempts to see the Corallines with a cuff's microscope.

Folio 16: 1 letter, MARSHAM, R., Norfolk, 18 June, 1759. Asking for information about the Fir Oak which he believed was not to be found in Norfolk.

Folios 17-20: 4 letters, MARTIN, Samuel, Governor, dated 1769-1772:
Folio 17: New York, April 29, 1769. Thanks for seeds of the true Rhubarb. Asks for seed of English Spear grass. Will endeavour to get the seeds and plants J. E. asked for. Discusses politics.
Folio 18: New York, December 3, 1770. Has sent a parcel of specimens to J. E. The seeds if the Rhubarb have not come up.
Folio 19: Ashsted, November 10, 1772. Thanks for Ellis's books. Christopher Baldwin has published many of his experiments in agriculture under the name "Mayo".

Folio 20: 1 letter, MELVILL, General, Great Pultney Street, January 11, 1774. Sends Monsieur Monnerau's essay on coffee, which he considers "affords the best lights and directions".

Folios 21-24: 4 letters, MIDLETON, Lord, dated 1760-1761:
Folio 21: Tunbridge Wells, August 10, 1760. Asking advice as to ripeness of seeds of trees for planting.
Folio 22: Charles Street, June 13, 1761. Asking advice as to planting Guernsey Lily roots. Enclosing a letter from Dr Templeman.
Folio 23: Charles Street, May 18, 1761. Inviting Ellis to "Pepper-Hara".
Folio 24: Pepper Harrow, April 8, 1770. Thanks for Seeds. Invites J.E.

Folios 25-26: 2 letters, MILLER, Thomas, dated 1766-1767:
Folio 25: Mobille, February 21, 1766. Addressed J. E., "agent for his majesty's province of West Florida, Lodnon". Gives an account of West Florida.
Folio 26: London, April 16, 1767. Asking for a grant of 20,000 acres in His Majesty's province of West Florida.

Folio 27: 1 letter, MILNE, Colin, Crane Court No 3, November 19, 1770. On a point re grafting. Solicits J. E's influence to get him elected F. R. S.
Folio 28: 1 letter, MOLESWORTH, Coote, Dr, Chichester, November 29, 1761. General chat.

Folios 29-30: 2 letters, MORE, Samuel, secretary, Society of Arts, London, March 10, 1774. Acknowledging "An Historical Account of Coffee".
Folio 31: 1 letter, NEALE, E, Lombard Street, January 19, 1759. On packing small seeds for the West Indies. Written on J. E's letter to him dated 18 January.
Folio 32: 1 letter, NEEDHAM, Turberville, Paris, September 24, 1755. Thanks Ellis for the plates he sent.
Folio 33: 1 letter, NEWTON, Lord, Dublin, January 12, 1766. Thanks for seeds.

Folios 34-35: 2 letters, NORTHINGTON, Lord, dated 1770:
Folio 34: Grainge, September 7, 1770. Thanks for seeds. Invited Ellis to dine with him and return to Grainge with him.
Folio 35: no date, Ellis's draft of letter to Lord Northington.

Folios 36-38: 4 letters, OEDER, George Christian, Dr, dated 1754-1757:
Folio 36: Paris, November, 1754. Interesting remarks and advice regarding the Essay, 1755, advising J. E. not to attempt a classification until more forms are known; suggesting as title "Observations on some sea productions ambiguous between the vegetable and animal reigns". Much satisfied with Bernard de Jussieu, Paris Garden, the Duke of Ayen's garden.
Folio 37: Christiansand, November 12, 1757. The letter is in Latin. Original and copy in a clearer hand. Mentions his microscope: guod in Anglia prasens emi. Natural history notes. Information regarding Flora Danica paintings.
Folio 38: Christiansand, November 12, 1757. The letter is in Latin.

Folio 39: 1 letter, PEERS, M., Miss, Walhamstow, July 11, 1760. Asking his advice about buying the lease of some houses in Crutched Friars.

Folios 40-43: 4 letters, PENNANT, Thomas, dated 1769-1770:
Folio 40: Edinburgh, September 14, 1769. Asks for Ellis's assistance as a veteran naturalist will ever be thankfully received, in connection with British zoology. Thanks for introducing him to Dr Hope and Dr Skene.
Folio 41: Downing, October 13, 1769. Asks Ellis what he is doing and how his history and engravings are going on. He mentions that he heard Lord Hillsborough is collecting birds of the Universe. The rest of the letter is notes on his own work.
Folio 42: Downing, December 3, 1769. Regarding the explanation of a mollusca class. Thinks he has discovered the Sable in North America.
Folio 43: Downing, October 29, 1770. Informs Ellis that his message was delivered to him at Orford by Sister Blackburne. He remarks that the collection of birds that Lady received from North America furnished him with ample materials for his plan.

Folio 44: 1 letter, PRINGLE, John, Sir, Pall Mall, November 11, 1771. Introducing Dr Ingen Housz, F. R. S.

Folios 45-47: 3 letters, PULLEIN, Samuel, dated 1755-1760:
Folio 45-46: Castleblakeney, June 10, 1755.Letter to Reverend Stephen Hales. Has recovered MS of his Treatise on Silkworms, which had not been published owing to the failure of a Dublin bookseller.
Folio 47: London, November 2, 1760. Accusing J. E. of taking his information about the preservation of seeds, as his own.

Folios 48-51: 4 letters, QUINN, Henry Dr, dated 1749-1762:
Folio 48: Dublin, March 24, 1749. In regard to an investment for the professors. Asks for orange trees and 10s. 6d. a piece for a friend.
Folio 49: Dublin, April 4 & 19, 1754. Personal letter regarding friendships.
Folio 50: Dublin, February 26, 1760. Acknowledging "Paper relative to the business of Agent...".
Folio 51: Dublin, January 29, 1762. Thanks him for curious article on star stones.

Folios 52-53: 2 letters, RAM, Abel, dated 1744-1746:
Folio 52: Gorey, May 1, 1744. Regarding botanical specimens.
Folio 53: Gorey, September 2, 1746. His improvements in agriculture.

Folio 54: 1 letter, ROBINS, D, Fort George, July 21, 1772. The letter was sent to J. E. by Gov J. Ellis, cf letter 26 July 1772. Containing a description of the Greater Wild Ginger.
Folio 55: 1 letter, ROBINSON, John, April 16, 1774. Acknowledging J. E.'s petition to Parliament, which he will lay before Lord North.
Folio 56: 1 letter, ROBINSON, Pickering, Georgia, April 14, 1761.Thanks Ellis for garden seeds and vine cuttings.

Folios 57-61: 5 letters, ROMANS, Bernard, dated 1772-1774:
Folios 57-58: New York, October 19, 1773. Regarding the payment of a grant of £50. Sends a Certificate of Existence sealed and signed by the Mayor of New York, Whitehead Hicks.
Folio 59: Pensacola, August 13, 1772. Two documents pasted on folio, titled "Scheme for a Botanical Garden in West Florida" and "Some Observations on a Catalogue of Plants published by John Ellis, F. R. S".
Folio 60: New York, March 1, 1774. About his collections and drawings. Asking for a patent for the culture of Jalap in Florida.
Folio 61: New York, May 14, 1774. His financial difficulties. Again asking for the exclusive right of curing and vending Jalap.

Folio 62: 1 letter, ROQUES DE MAUMOND, Zelle, Pays d'Hannover, September 2, 1765. The letter is in French. President des Eglises Confederees de la Basse Saxe & Pasteur etc. Asking for shells, corallines, fossils & c. for giving lessons in natural history to "notre jeune noblesse".
Folio 63: 1 letter, ROSNER, Dr, Leyden, January 8, 1756. Thanks for benefits received when in England and his friendship with Dr Schlosser.

Folios 64-65: 2 letters, ROYEN, David Van, dated 1755-1766:
Folio 64: Leyden, May 12, 1755. The letter is in Latin. With much courtesy opposes Ellis on corallines.
Folio 65: Leyden, undated. Introduces Constantine Scepin. Mentions Buttner, Allamand, Count Betnick, etc., and refers to a specimen of Halleria.
Folio 65: Walbrook, December 22, 1766. Apologises for not writing sooner and discusses the sending of seeds.

Folio 66: 1 letter, RUSSELL, William, Walbrook, London, April 2, 1757. Sends excerpt from a letter from Dr Mordach Mackenzie stating that he cannot see anything with the Cuff microscope sent to him by Ellis.

Folios 67-87: 21 letters, SCHLOSSER, J. A. Dr, dated 1755-1768:
Folio 67: Ludgvan, July 15, 1755. His find, with Borlase, of a "new" sea production, specimens of which he sends.
Folio 68: Bristol, August 30, 1755. On his journey from Oxford to Bath and Cornwall. Roman remains at Bath. Dr Lucas of Bath. Refers to the animal they found in the vermicul at Brightelmstone.
Folio 69: Amsterdam, September 3, 1755. Thanks for his kind welcome in England.
Folio 70: Amsterdam, September 9, 1755. Sends a copy of his doctorate thesis for Lord Macclesfield.
Folio 71: Amsterdam, November 19, 1755. Chemical discussion.
Folio 72: Utrecht, November 19, 1755. Chemical discussion.
Folio 73: Amsterdam, December 5, 1755. Quotes from a recent pamphlet on the causes of the Lisbon Disaster, which he calls a "waterquake".
Folio 74: Amsterdam, February 17, 1756. Has been elected F. M. R. S., backed by Ellis. Chemical discussion. Mr Trembley.
Folio 75: Amsterdam, December 27, 1756. On rectifying blunders made by Mr Miller. Praises Ellis's history of Corallines. Encloses a letter to Mr Klynhoff.
Folio 76: Amsterdam, March 19, 1757. Discusses plants. Introducing Mr Kendrick, an Englishman.
Folio 77: May, 1767. Introducing Mr Smith and hoping to acquaint him with gentlemen in London who have complete collections of fossils, minerals, etc.
Folio 78: Amsterdam, August 23, 1759. Introducting Dr Gartner, who will bring the seeds.
Folio 79: Amsterdam, June 5, 1760. Introduces Dr Claussen, physician.
Folio 80: Amsterdam, September 1. Says he is a doctor of physic. Aks Ellis to get him "a very best Telescope, made by the famous Mr Short". Sends greetings to friends.
Folio 81: Amsterdam, February 15, 1766. Mentions Peter Woulfe, Alchorne, and Pallas.
Folio 82:, Amsterdam, May 18, 1764. Regarding Solander and Collinson.
Folio 83: Amsterdam, February 21, 1764. Will get recommendation for Solander from Assistant Professors. Is sending a paper on a fish for the Royal Society.
Folio 84: Amsterdam, June 5, 1768. Sends a specimen of the "terrestrial coralline". Remarks he has heard Dr Baster is growing blind.
Folio 85: Amsterdam, February 5, 1768. Will send a specimen of "terrestrial coralline" of Pallas; and quoting at length from a letter received from Pallas, who "is a little doubtful of his (Meese's) sincerity. Criticises Linnaeus.
Folio 86: Amsterdam, July 3, 1768. Pallas's "terrestrial coralline", found by Meese, "eight hours from the sea"; gives particulars supplied by Meese of its finding.
Folio 87: Amsterdam, March 3, 1768. Introduces Dr Cogan, by whom he sends two works by Pallas. Death of his wife, some months after the birth of a daughter.

Folios 88-90: 3 letters, SEALY, William Reverend, dated 1764:
Folio 88: Whippingham, Isle of Wight, February 6, 1764. Invites Ellis to visit him.
Folio 89: Whippingham, Isle of Wight, February 18, 1764. Arrangements for Ellis's visit.
Folio 90: Whippingham, Isle of Wight, April 9, 1764. Hopes for the visit. Sends a few specimens.

Folio 91: 1 letter, SHAFTESBURY, Earl of, April 24, 1758. Thanks for perusal of papers from Georgia, which he has sent to Mr Stanhope. Sends compliments to Governor Ellis.

Folios 92-106: 16 letters, SKENE, David, dated 1765-1770:
Folio 92: Aberdeen, March 15, 1765. Regarding Ellis's Essay. A new coralline described. Natural History in Scotland. Plants, white, coral, etc.. Will send Ellis specimens.
Folio 93: Aberdeen, April 17, 1765. Sends specifications for Sertularia muricata. Linnaeus's Sertularia volubilis.
Folio 94: Aberdeen, May 16, 1765. Sending a specimen of the Baderlocks (fucus).
Folio 95: Aberdeen, July 5, 1765. Thanks for the microscope. Gives details of his investigation on Sertulariae.
Folio 96: Aberdeen, November 13, 1765. On certain corallines. Refers to Sertulariae brought back from Kamschatka by Stellar.
Folio 97: Aberdeen, December 5, 1765. Sending a specimen of the Tamarisk Coralline "for your friend Dr Pallas". Refers to Donati's Essai de l'Histoire Naturelle de la Mer Adriatique, a thin quarto. Skene was Agent to the Commission for Sick & Hurt Seamen "during the War", and cannot obtain a payment from the Government because of some vouchers being lost in Government office.
Folio 98: Aberdeen, December 9, 1765. Sends box of specimens; concerning Donati's coralline, etc..
Folio 99: Aberdeen, January 19, 1766. Thanks for plan of the Lord Chancellor's Conservatory. £50 was owing to Dr S. Re Fuci, corallines.
Folio 100, February 23, 1766. Asks Ellis to forgive his criticism on the Essay. Refers to his old acquaintance Dr Garden. Informs that he has had a letter from Linnaeus about Sertularia.
Folio 101: Aberdeen, March 16, 1768. His father's death. Concerning Pallas.
Folio 102: April 21, 1766. Thanks for plate of the Siren. Sending a box of marine specimens. Has at last received payment from the Government.
Folio 103: Aberdeen, October 6, 1768. Thanks for plate of Dionaea and notes and queries about the uses of the plants in catching insects. Asks about the History of Zoophytes and comments on classification.
Folio 104: Aberdeen, December 16, 1768. Has heard a false rumour from the Duke of Athol that Ellis is dead. [The letter is lengthy and the full transcription is available in the aforementioned printed catalogue of Ellis manuscripts and correspondence.]
Folio 105: 1759. Regarding his specimen collection and experiments.
Folio 106: Aberdeen, July 14, 1770. Regarding Ellis's repetition of Needham's experiment of producing animalcula in infusions made with boiling water.

Folio 107: 1 letter, SLADE, Thomas Sir, Navy Office, December 10, 1770. Sending two planks for Ellis's inspection.
Folio 108: 1 letter, SCHREBER, J. C. D., Leipzig, September 20, 1768. The letter is in Latin. Asks for specimens of grasses and mosses and gives a list of desiderata.

Folios 109-120: 11 letters, SOLANDER, Daniel Charles, dated:
Folio 109: New Burlington Street, May 13, 1774. Cannot accept Ellis's invitation to visit him, as he has made up a party to go to Kew and Richmond. The Museum Bill has been thrown out of the House of Commons.
Folio 110: Mitre, August 24, 1774. Sends some of the two seeds lately received from the Cape. Kew Garden to be seen only on Thursdays. Notifies Ellis that Sir John Pringle and several of his friends now dining at the Mitre give their compliments.
Folio 111: London, November 9, 1774. Has examined Dr Fothergill's Corals, and set aside those to be figured.
Folio 112: London, November 22, 1774. Concerning Dr Fothergill's corals.
Folio 113: New Burlington Street, no date. Solander's compliments to Ellis and returning of his plate.
Folio 114: no date. Informs Ellis that he has received his two letters.
Folio 115: no date. Informs Ellis that he will write to him soon in greater detail.
Folio 116: October 4, no year. Solander sends compliments to Ellis after having returned from Surrey. Notifies Ellis that he will meet him the next day at 12 at his Chambers in Gray's Inn.
Folio 117: May 3. Solander sends compliments and apologies for not being able to meet.
Folio 118: no date. Sends compliments.
Folios 119 and 120, 2 letters pasted on one folio. 1) no date. Sends compliments. 2) November 23, no year. Presents his compliments and invites Ellis to Gray's Inn.

Folio 121: 1 letter, TODD, Antony, General Post Office, August 16, 1771. Inviting him to dinner at Walthamstow at 3.
Folio 122: 1 letter, WARNER, Richard, (Ellis to Warner). On the curious plant in Warner's garden, which was later described as Hardenia.
Folio 123: 1 letter, WEBB, Philip Carteret., London, December 10, 1759. About building of his green house.

Folios 124-125: 2 letters, WEBB, Mrs R, dated 1765:
Folio 124: Busbridge, September 20, 1765. Gives notes on her flower garden.
Folio 125: Busbridge, October 1, 1765. About her visitors.

Folio 126: 1 letter, WEGG, E. R., Beaufort, Bay of Mobile, February 1775. Has also discovered the Jalap in Florida. Describes it, and is sending specimens to England from the King's Garden etc.. Liquorice in Florida.

Folios 127-132: 6 letters, WHATLEY, George, dated:
Folio 127: Marseilles, January 29, 1749. Addresses Ellis as "My Dr Friend Mr Professor". Sends seeds of the wax tree and of Eruca or Rouquette.
Folio 128: Marseilles, February 26, 1749. Will send plants. Sends pattern of woollen dyed with Gommelaque. Lord Chesterfield's plants. Is sending a book of German and Dutch drawings for learners, to be forwarded to Mrs Burrows, Basinghall Street.
Folio 129: Marseilles, April 9, 1749. Regarding the obtaining of plants.
Folio 130: Marseilles, July 9, 1749. Concerning forwarding a letter to Jack Ford. Systema Sexualis Plantarum.
Folio 131: Baythorn House, August 18, 1768. Refers to J. E.'s microscopic experiments. Sends him specimens of blighted wheat and makes funny remarks on them.
Folio 132: Baythorn House, August 30, 1768. Comments on the American colonies. Baron Munchhausen wrong. The same subject.

Miscellaneous notes:

Folio 133: "Case of the Nurserymen and Gardeners".
Folio 134: Notes on organs.
Folio 135: Letter from Pennsylvania, apparently from Philadelphia.
Folio 136: Botanical plate inscribed "J. Miller. Sculpt".
Folio 137: A rough diagram of piping in a house.
Folio 138: Draft letter titled "Thursday afternoon" on the subject of the cultivation of coffee.
Folio 139:"Copy of a letter to be wrote to Dominica from, W Ellis of Jamaica, method of gathering coffee on the islands".
Folio 140: "Fresh water turtle, commonly called, soft shelled turtle from Alexander Garden".
Folio 141: "Act of the canvolvers pandurata from Romans Wegg, Dr Garden, Mr Aiton".
Folio 142 and 142b: "Account of the Theobroma, drawings etc".
Folio 143: "Dillen: Hortus Eltham, p. 101, February 85".
Folio 144: "A method introducing warm fresh air into stoves & greenhouses and letting off the foul stagnant air..."
Folio 145: Letter regarding trade of the West and East India companies. Second letter relates to New Guinea.
Folio 146: "Plants growing in the East Indias".
Folio 147, Document in Arabic script without a date and signature. The first part of the document is instructions for dying goat skins with kermes (a red dye made from insects). The second part gives the quantities to be used.
Folio 148: Four scraps of paper with accounts for various items.
Folio 149: 2 folios, List of trees.
Folio 150: Architectural drawing.
Folio 151: "Description of the Grand Duke's Goa Double Jasmins".
Folio 152: Pencil drawing of Lasinium Indicum.
Folio 153: "The order of Linnaeus shells"
Folio 154: Two scraps of paper, one with a description of an eel like creature and the other on the recording of the temperature of water.
Folio 155: Pencil drawn plan of a house.
Folio 156: Notes on feeding cattle.
Folio157: Accounts and pasted drawn figures of various entertainment characters such as harlequin, etc..
Folio 158: "Design of a cascade sixty foot high for Theod Jacobsen Esq of Londonne"
Folio 159: Pencil drawing.
Folio 160: List.
Folio 161: Thought to be a draft of a letter to Albrecht von Haller. [See "A Selection of the Correspondence of Linnaeus and other Naturalists", edited by J. E. Smith, volume 1, 1821, page 171.]
Folio 162: Regarding Cherokees.
Folio 163: Method of cultivating pine stones.
Folio 164: Regarding Pay Bills.
Folio 165: Regarding properties of the "pith".
Folio 166: In Latin.
Extent1 (of 2) volumes
Related MaterialMS/275
NotesThis is the second volume of the two bound correspondence volumes of John Ellis. A certain number of smaller miscellaneous MSS of John Ellis follow the letters.The letters included in this volume are those put aside by Sir James Edward Smith when editing his Selection of the Correspondence of Linnaeus. Both volumes are now placed with the Linnaean Correspondence on account of the considerable number of letters having contemporary references to Linnaeus. The volume contains 1 loose letter in folder inside labelled "Linnaean".
Publn_NoteFull transcriptions of all letters within the volume are available in the printed "Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Library of the Linnean Society of London, Part IV, Calendar of the Ellis Manuscripts (The Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers of John Ellis)" by Spencer Savage.
Creator NameEllis, John
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