February 19 is the birthday of my very dearest friend, Dr. Daniel Solander, one of the most remarkable men that virtually no one has ever heard of in the twenty-first century. Physician, natural philosopher, linguist, spy, probable natural son of Linnaeus, he was my closest friend, companion and colleague for almost twenty years until his untimely and tragic death at my home at age forty-nine because of a catastrophic cerebral haemorrhage.
My failure to complete our joint project, the Floralegium of the plants of Australia shortly after his death has been cited as the principal reason for his historical obscurity. My failure has been attributed to my low opinion of him and my regard for him as a mere servant. No assessment could be more cruel or erroneous. The loss of his genius made completion of such a monumental project near impossible for me given the deep grief I was plunged into after his death. My failure weighs on me heavily.
Happy 280th Birthday, dear friend.