Supplementary Appendix 268.1

Johann Diederich Gries in Bamberg
Late September 1800 [*]

Elise Campe’s account of Johann Diederich Gries’s visit to Bamberg provides not only one of the few sources attesting Caroline’s disposition after Auguste’s death, but also an account of how (and when) the sojourn of Caroline, Wilhelm Schlegel, and Schelling in Bamberg concluded in early October 1800. His biography picks up in Frankfurt: [1]

The final hours of his stay in Frankfurt were sad ones. A newspaper that had fallen into his hands the evening before his departure contained the extremely depressing news of the death of his dear friend Eschen, who had met an untimely end in an open ice crevice in the Savoy Alps. A letter from Geneva in the same newspaper recounted the horrific event in considerable detail.

In Wetzlar he had learned in a similar way of the death of yet another friend, Fischer from Höchstetten, as well as that of the charming and amiable Auguste Böhmer. He was profoundly moved; they will never hear your voice again, they are silent, silent for ever, were the words he heard over and over in his head. [2]

It was with the most melancholy emotions that he continued on his journey the following morning, 17 September [?]. He traveled by way of Würzburg, where found Siebold with his amiable young wife and, in their home, a splendid Viennese grand piano; [3] Siebold himself gave him a guided tour of the magnificent hospital, and they passed the evening amid music and intimate conversation. [4]

He then traveled on to Bamberg, where he expected to find Schelling, whom he was hoping to persuade to accompany him on the journey to Vienna. [5] Here, however, he was surprised by the quite unexpected presence of August Wilhelm Schlegel and his wife. Gries’s reunion with this woman after Auguste’s death was almost painful, and more painful still the way Madam Schlegel initially displayed her grief at the loss of her daughter with such extreme vehemence, thereafter falling into a disposition of incomprehensible indifference. [6]

Gries was still profoundly moved by the death of the attractive young girl, who through self-sacrifice had cared for her mother through the latter’s serious, tedious illness, accompanying her then to the mineral springs in Bocklet, where after only a few weeks she herself fell victim to a malevolent illness. —

Bamberg, which at the time constituted a center for medicine among German universities the way Jena did for philosophy, owed its reputation especially to the two primary pillars of the Brunonian system, namely, Marcus and Röschlaub. The latter gave Gries a tour of what was in comparison to the hospital in Würzburg a considerably less imposing, but in its internal facilities far more excellent hospital.

The physician Hufeland came to Bamberg as well at just this time, and Schlegel — not without some justification — compared his trip with that of Pope Pius VI to Vienna. [7]

Gries spent his days in Bamberg in this pleasant company and his evenings usually with the Schlegels and Schelling; unfortunately, because he was unable to convince the latter to accompany him to Vienna, he himself became indecisive concerning in which direction he should now direct his wanderer’s staff. Although he lacked neither recommendations nor money to make the trip to Vienna, he despised traveling alone and was also apprehensive about the dangerous situation caused by the war. [8]

After considerable deliberation to and fro, he decided to return to Jena with Schelling and then, by way of Berlin, travel on to Hamburg, where he intended to spend the winter. His letter to his brother to that effect was written but not yet posted when the old enchantment of the nixie of the Saale River awakened with renewed power, and the attraction of his beloved Jena soon eclipsed that of the powerful Hanse city on the Elbe.

On 1 October [1800] he left Bamberg in Schelling’s company, traveling as well with the Schlegels, who were going to Braunschweig, as far as Koburg. [9] The undisturbed journey accorded Gries more than a few memorable hours as a result of the openness of his traveling companion. Weighty words were exchanged, and Schelling even shared a letter from Goethe in which the latter told him that Schelling’s philosophy was until now the only one to which he felt drawn and which he was now diligently studying. [10]

The hours thus passed quickly indeed amid such an animated exchange of ideas, and on the evening of 3 October [1800] Gries greeted anew not the magnificent imperial city [Vienna], as had originally been his wish and intent, but rather once more his unpretentious, modest Jena, where he had already experienced too many wonderful hours not to be justified in expecting similar ones in the future.


[*] Aus dem Leben J. D. Gries 46–48. Footnotes are those of the present editor. Back.

[1] According to Elise Campe’s account (47), Gries departed Frankfurt for Bamberg on 17 September 1800 on his journey to southern Germany. A chronological problem arises insofar as the Hochfürstlich-Bamberger Intelligenzblatt (1800) 74 (23 September 1800), 336 (cited in Romantische Liebe und romantischer Tod 197) — the Intelligenzblatt that kept track of events such as the arrival of foreign (non-resident) guests in Bamberg — reports that a certain “Herr Gries, doctor from Hambug,” resided in the hotel “Im weissen Lamme” during the period 14–20 September 1800.

Elise Campe, writing from a distance of almost fifty years after Gries’s visit, may have misread a date (perhaps “11 September” as Gries’s departure date from Frankfurt); that the Intelligenzblatt made such an error during the month or even week of Gries’s arrival seems less likely, though cannot be excluded.

Excerpts from Gries’s biography pertaining to this period are scattered over several documents in this edition:

  • Concerning the first part of his trip south (he had left Göttingen on 22 July 1800), see Wilhelm’s letter to him on 7 July 1800 (letter 265a), note 6.
  • Concerning Gries’s earlier stay in Göttingen and his anticipated journey south, see the editorial note and note 2 to Wilhelm’s letter to him on 10 May 1799 (letter 236c).
  • Concerning Gries’s month-long visit to Jena in September 1799, see Caroline’s letter to Auguste on 16 September 1799 (letter 244), note 10 (albeit with chronological problems).
  • Concerning Gries’s studies and translation work in Göttingen during the preceding winter 1799–1800, see the editorial note to Caroline’s letter to him on 27 December 1799 (letter 258).
  • Concerning Gries’s in part wry responses to his examiners during his doctoral exam in Jena during the spring of 1800, see Wilhelm’s letter to him on 16 March 1800 (letter 258r), note 11.
  • Concerning how Gries spent the winter and spring of 1800–1801 after his return to Jena from Bamberg with Schelling, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 27 April 1801 (letter 312), note 14. Back.

[2] They are silent, silent for ever: Cited in English; from the “Songs of Selma” in James Macpherson’s Ossian. The lines were also included in Goethe’s Die Leiden des jungen Werthers, in Werther’s letter of 20 December. The original passage reads as follows (The Works of Ossian, the Son of Fingal, trans. James Macpherson, vol. 2 [Paris 1783], 152–53; illustrations: frontispieces to The Poems of Ossian, the Son of Fingal, trans. James Macpherson, Cameron and Murdoch’s Edition, vol. 2 [Glasgow 1797]):


Cease a little while, O wind! stream, be thou silent a while! let my voice be heard over the heath; let my wanderer hear me. Salgar! it is I who call. Here is the tree, and the rock, Salgar, my love! I am here. Why delayest thou thy coming?

Lo! the moon appeareth. The flood is bright in the vale. The rocks are grey on the face of the hill. But I see him not on the brow; his dogs before him tell not that he is coming. Here I must sit alone.

But who are these that lie beyond me on the heath? Are they my love and my brother? — Speak to me, O my friends! they answer not, My soul is tormented with fears. — Ah! they are dead. Their swords are red from the fight. O my brother! my brother! why hast thou slain my Salgar? why, O Salgar! hast thou slain my brother? Dear were ye both to me! what shall I say in your praise? thou wert fair on the hill among thousands; he was terrible in fight. Speak to me; hear my voice, sons of my love! But alas! they are silent, silent for ever! Cold are their breasts of clay!

Oh! from the rock of the hill; from the top of the windy mountain, speak ye ghosts of the dead! speak, I will not be afraid. — Whither are ye gone to rest? In what cave of the hill shall I find you? No feeble voice is on the wind: no answer half-drowned in the storms of the hill.

I sit in my grief. I wait for morning in my tears. Back.

[3] Gries was an excellent pianist. Back.

[4] The Juliusspital in Würzburg recurs later in this correspondence (F. Harrach and Leonhard Zertahelly, Plan Der Kreis-Hauptstadt Würzburg [München], 1845):


Here an illustration of the facilities (Carl Heffner, Würzburg und seine Umgebungen: ein historisch-topographisches Handbuch [Würzburg 1871], following p. 8):



[5] Concerning Schelling’s interest in Vienna, see his letters to Fichte in September and November 1799 (supplementary appendix 241.1, entries 5, 6, along with note 13). Back.

[6] Illustration from L. F. Huber (=Therese Huber), Die Familie Seldorf: Eine Geschichte, vol. 1 (Tübingen 1795):



[7] Hufeland announced his visit to Bamberg to Schelling in a letter from Jena on 7 September 1800 (Fuhrmans 2:250; full text in Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on 27 February 1801 [leter 292], note 7), saying he might be in Bamberg in “as soon as 12 days,” and that he was “looking forward to making his [Andreas Röschlaub’s] personal acquaintance.”

It may be recalled that Hufeland was an adamant opponent of the Brunonian method. See Wilhelm’s letter to Johann Diederich Gries on 16 March 1800 (letter 258r), note 5.

Although the anti-papal movement of Febronianism in the German Catholic church itself eventually faded, it did influence the ecclesiastical reforms of Joseph II, which included religious tolerance, the right of the state to regulate ecclesiastical affairs and to reform abuses, and the restriction of the rights and powers of the pope. They issued in the Toleration Edict of 1781, which included, among other points, the suppression of certain religious orders and the seizure of monasteries from the pope and their transfer to diocesan bishops. Pius took the unusual step of visiting Vienna itself in 1782, though his mission was essentially a failure.

Although the emperor received him respectfully, the minister Kaunitz did not. In the end, the pope obtained from the emperor only a promise that the reforms would not violate Catholic dogmas or compromise the dignity of the pope. To add insult to injury, the emperor accompanied the pope on his return as far as the monastery of Mariabrunn, then suppressed this monastery a few hours after the pope had left it.

Even later, Pius VI was plagued by the anti-clericalism of the French Revolution, the French even invading papal territory in 1796 and setting up the revolutionary Roman Republic in 1798; Pius himself died in Valence, France in 1799. Back.

[8] Concerning the French military campaign and its ultimate focus on Vienna, see Auguste’s letter to Schelling on 4/5 June 1800 (letter 261), note 3. Also Wilhelm Schlegel’s letter to Gries on 7 July 1800 (letter 265a), note 5. Back.

[9] See the postal route between Bamberg and Jena in Schelling’s letter to Adalbert Friedrich Marcus on 3 May 1800 (letter 259o), note 7. On the return trip, Schelling and Gries, who would be proceeding on to Jena, would separate from Caroline and Wilhelm in Coburg; the latter would then take the different route that led north by way of Hildburghausen, Meinungen, etc., to Gotha, and then to (or apparently past; they do not seem to have stopped) Göttingen and on to Braunschweig.

After returning to Göttingen before mid-October, Wilhelm traveled on to Hannover while Caroline returned to Braunschweig. For a map of these routes, see Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter on 18 September 1800 (letter 268), note 1. Back.

[10] Schelling had only just received this letter, which Goethe had written on 27 September 1800 (cited in Schelling’s letter to Goethe on 8 August 1800 [letter 265k], note 1). Back.

Translation © 2014 Doug Stott