Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/865

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SKETCH OF CAROLUS LINNAEUS.

The numerous works of Linnæus appeared now in rapid succession, and honors and invitations came to him. He declined a liberal offer from the King of Spain to settle in that country; purchased the estates of Sofja and Hammarby, at the latter of which he built a museum of stone; was made a Knight of the Polar Star, and in 1761 received a patent of nobility, antedated to 1757, in deference to which he Gallicized his Latin name, inserted a von in it, and became Carl von Linné. The last reward was, however, not for his scientific achievement, but was granted in recognition of his having devised a way to improve the quality of the pearls of the fresh-water mussels of Sweden. When sixty years of age, Linnseus's memory began to fail; in 1774 he suffered an apoplectic attack; two years later he lost, by another stroke, the use of his right side; and he died of a hydropsy in 1778. While all the academies of Europe made him their associate, and princes gave him the most striking marks of their consideration, still "in the simplicity of his life he was little accessible to the honors of the world. Living with his pupils, whom he treated as if they were his children, some singular plant, or some animal varying a little from the ordinary form, would give him more joy than anything else. He was never troubled by the attacks of his antagonists; and although he had some distinguished ones—Haller, Buffon, and Adanson—and they frequently treated him unjustly, he was never at the pains of replying to them. ... His society was charming, and all who came in contact with him conceived a tender attachment to him. His only weakness seems to have been a too great fondness for praise. Strongly attached to religion, he never spoke of the Deity but with respect, and embraced with marked pleasure the numerous occasions which natural history offered him to declare the wisdom of Providence."

The publications of Linnæus are described under more than one hundred and eighty titles. The earliest in date was the "Hortus Uplandicus," or list of cultivated plants of Upsala, in which he first outlined his plan for classifying plants according to their organs of reproduction—stamens and pistils—which appeared in 1731; and the last was his "Plantæ Surinamenses," 1775. The period of his literary activity thus lasted forty-four years. His great merits were the introduction of a system of botanical classification which, though wholly artificial and unnatural, served as an efficient tool till a philosophical system, based on affinities, could be worked out, and the extension and general application of an exact system of nomenclature. He sought to cover the whole domain of nature, and therefore wrote on minerals, animals, and plants. In mineralogy he paid particular attention to the forms of crystals, and based his classification on them. In zoölogy he looked to the organs of mastication and digestion,