Christopher Tärnström (1711 -1746) was the first of Linnaeus' followers
to be instructed to study and document flora and fauna outside Europe,
hence the name the first Linnaeus apostle.
Tärnström travelled as ship's chaplain on the East Indies Ship Calmar.
The ship sailed from Göteborg (Gothenburg) in Sweden for China on
13 February 1746. Unfortunately the Calmar was too late to take advantage
of the southwest monsoon winds between Sumatra and Java and was forced
to find a winter birth in the Pulo Condor islands not far from what
is now known as Con San in Vietnam. The Calmar stayed here until mid
April the following year, and when she did leave port it was without
her ship's chaplain! Following a few weeks illness, Tärnström died
at the age of 35 on 4 December 1746. He was buried not far from their
camp in Calmare Bay.
After four years of careful research, Kristina Söderpalm has transcribed
all Tärnström's material and this will be the first time that the
work has been made available in Swedish. Life on board as described
in Tärnström's journals is arguably better than any other 18th century
descriptions. The journals are also personal diaries in as much as
he describes his own feelings and thoughts. His ambitions with respect
to the study of nature and how field studies à la Linnaeus were carried
out, are particularly well described in his notes from Cadiz and in
even more detail from Pulo Condor (Vietnam).
The book includes an introduction, Tärnström's Journals, comments,
sourses, related literature and an appendix that includes Tärnström's
instructions; pay role; mealtimes, Anders Gadd's story from Pulo Condor
including a Swedish-Candorian dictionary.
About the author and transcriber: Kristina Söderpalm was born in Lidköping in Sweden
in 1940. Her first, after graduating from Lund University in 1967,
was as a superintendent at Göteborgs Stadsmuseum. She lives in Göteborg
where she devotes much of her time to studying the Swedish East India
Company. She has published a number of books and articles on the subject.