Letter from Manasseh Cutler to Lorenz Florenz Friedrich von Crell, November 24, 1786



Needs Review


[?Spowich?], State of Massachusetts, Nov. 24 1786


Botany and zoology have been so little pursued in North America that many of our native plants and animals remain unknown to European naturalists. The vastly extended tracks of uncultivated lands in this country, open an extensive field to the researches of the botanist, and still afford a favourable opportunity for distin-uishing, with no small degree of accuracy, the exotic plants, [crossed out] from [end crossed out] which have been introduced, from those which are indigenous. My leisure hours have been employed, for several years past, in exploring the plants and animals of this part of America; I have made it a particular object of my inquiry to ascertain the vege-tables used by the Aborigines for medical and [?oecanomical?] purposes. As few books on natural history have found the way into this part of America, and being much alone in these pursuits, I have been induced to wish for the advantages of a correspondence in Europe, and especially to be honored with information from a Gentleman who is so obliging as to make the proposal to you, encourages me to hope it will meet your approbation. Any communications, in my power, which you may wish to receive from this country, I shall make with the greatest pleasure, and shall wish to be informed of the present literary characters in Europe,--of the late publicaitons particularly those on natural history, and of several other particulars, which, with your leave, I shall make the subject of another letter. W. Vaughan has requesteda botanical paper, published in the 1st Vol. of the Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for your perusal. It was an hasty production, which I was induced to communicate to that Society, rather from the solicitations of some

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Needs Review


some of my friends [crossed out] rather [end crossed out] than from my own inclination. Certain local circumstances led me to adopt a method, which I should, otherwise not have chosen, particularly with respect to those plants which are not arranged under any of the general of Linnaus, and with regard to trivial names. My principal intention was to give some general idea of the native vegetable productions of this part of America, and to convince my countrymen, among whom this science has been much neglected, that botanical inquires are not useless speculations.

I am, with the highest respect, Sir, your most obedient humble Servant Manasseh Cutler

Professor Crell, Helmstadt

P.S. If you favor me with a letter, please to direct it to the care of Thomas Reswell Esq. Merchant at Boston

Copy Professor Crell at ?Helmstad] in Brunsweig Not in Dr. [?Cutler's Life?]

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