Publisher Information: Geneva: 1822.
Boissier, Henri (1762-1845). Autograph letter signed to André Melly (1802-51). Geneva, 21 March 1822. 2pp. plus integral address leaf. 202 x 155 mm. Docketed.
From Professor Henri Boissier, founder of Geneva's natural history museum, to the young Swiss businessman André Melly, acting as the museum's purchasing agent in England, regarding the purchase of insect specimens for the museum. Boissier informs Melly that the museum's collections have recently been augmented "par un don de coléopteres de M. le Dr. Peschier où il y a de bonnes choses, & par un achast de quelques bons papillons & insectes exotiques que m'a procuré M. Prévost" [by a gift of coleoptera from Dr. Peschier containing some good things, and by a purchase of several good butterflies and foreign insects from M. Prévost].This last purchase "a un peu réduit la somme que la cours avait mit à ma disposition. Je ne peut donc vous faire payer pour le moment qu'un bon de f. 400 que je vous prie d'employer, comme vous le jugerai convenable, surtout en orthoptères, hémiptères & névroptères dont nous sommes très mal fournis" [has reduced somewhat the amount made available to me from the course. At this moment I can only pay you the sum of 400 francs which I urge you to use, as you see fit, primarily for orthoptera, hemiptera and neuroptera, which we greatly lack]. Boissier lists several species of each that he wishes to acquire, including "criquets & sauter[elles] exotiq[ues]" [foreign crickets and grasshoppers] and "termites ou fourmis blanches" [termites or white ants]. He instructs Melly to expedite the shipment of insects to him so that he will have enough time to unpack them and put them in cases.
"Dr. Peschier" may refer to Geneva native Charles Gaspard Peschier (1782-1853), a pioneer of homeopathic medicine in French-speaking countries. M. Prévost, another Genevan, was a founder of the firm of Prévost and Morris in London. Boissier's correspondent, André Melly, ended up settling in England in 1822 (the year that this letter was written), and becoming a prominent businessman in northern England. He acted as agent to the Viceroy of India and then to the Egyptian Government, dying of fever while on a tour of the Nile in 1851.Book Id: 40466