Supplementary Appendix 377c.1

H. E. G. Paulus concerning problems at the university in Jena
and dissatisfaction among faculty members in 1803 [*]

You can probably not so easily imagine the changes that have been conceived and born in the past 6–8 weeks here, changes that, insofar as they affect my friends and in part me as well, have robbed me of practically all my time. Many of those friends had legitimate complaints because of personal neglect by Weimar, and all of them because of neglect on the part of the university, considering that for the past five years they have allowed several faculty members to leave whom we would count among our better members, then either did not fill the resulting vacancy at all or did so arbitrarily and thus sometimes poorly, sometimes well, but the latter merely by chance.

Even though I am not among those who are dissatisfied for personal reasons, I must nonetheless say that since the proceedings against Fichte, I have had to acknowledge and in part state that the university has not by a long shot been addressing in any cogent way precisely that through which alone Jena can maintain its reputation, namely, by attracting men whose activities tend beyond the commonplace. For since Jena cannot exist as a territorial academy, its inclinations, to put it succinctly, must tend toward being a kind of universal academy, which might attract those who have already pursued studies elsewhere and now find themselves wanting to inquire concerning that in which the spirit of the age is advancing.

The malady mentioned above, long held at bay, reached a full gallop at the beginning of this semester, when Geheimrath Loder, for whom the duke had otherwise done considerable favors, and who is an excellent private [i.e., unsalaried] anatomical lecturer, possessing moreover a precious collection in the area of physiology and already having done so much for the academy as a whole through his activities and prudent manner, was prompted by a cold response from the duke to accept an appointment in the form of an extremely gracious cabinet summons to Halle to succeed [anatomist Philipp Friedrich Theodor] Meckel [who had died on 17 March 1803], an academy for which presently the king intends to do everything possible.

Before that, Schelling, Goethe’s protégé, had requested a pension, received none, and, notwithstanding all the philosophers on the faculty are invalids, was allowed to leave. The university also allowed an excellent mathematician, Stahl, to leave for Coburg. Insofar as there is considerable talk now about the new and yet anticipated universities in both the north and the south, and insofar as at precisely the same time our own duke in Weimar has remarked on several occasions that “Jena will not be able to keep itself afloat after all,” and insofar as those facta [facts] have indeed prompted us to acknowledge the truth of these predictions, so does it come as no surprise that the one or other faculty member has begun looking about, some here, some there.

Apart from me, the jurist Hufeland also received offers from Würzburg, whereas Loder, with his indefatigable activity, tried to win as many as possible for Halle. The Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung also received offers from both Würzburg and Berlin, as did Schütz and Ersch. Loder, by way of a hasty trip to Potsdam, decided that the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung would move to Halle after the new year for a royal compensation of 10,000 Thaler, remaining, moreover, a private journal, and that Schütz would receive 1200 Thaler, Ersch 800 Thaler, one of Schütz’s sons 200 Thaler along with suitable academic positions there, and that Bertuch’s son-in-law, Froriep, would also be going there.

This spark then ignited the barrel of gunpowder, though — unfortunately not in the desirable fashion. The duke and Goethe themselves now want to establish a privileged [officially sanctioned] Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung of Jena, in direct opposition to that in Halle. Certain people are referring to it as the “patent newspaper.” It could perhaps even become merely a project newspaper, for geniuses are rarely those capable of establishing or maintaining a creation consisting of both spirit and a complicated organization.

The geniuses of Jena, however, have not yet managed sufficiently to draw the attention of their earthly representatives to the fact that above all, men of a philosophical inclination and literary import need to be attracted for all subjects, not merely the more visible, that is, for all positions that despite the present stopgap solutions are yet vacant. Although they are enjoying playing with the doll of the new Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, the latter will come into such collision with an extremely expensive castle construction and other expenses on the part of the prince that even Griesbach, who has long and laboriously tried to work against such imprudent measures, suspects that an influenza of Egyptian darkness has descended on our regions for a time, and now — laughs, until he can resume his activities.

Serenissimus offered my humble self a 200 Thaler supplement 6 days ago, an honor I acknowledge with due respect but cannot accept or decline before a week to ten days have passed, since I am obligated to await word not only from Würzburg [which Paulus would accept], but also from Erlangen. Although I was to become editor of the new Literatur-Zeitung, I owe too much gratitude to the yet existing one to participate in any such declared antagonist of that journal and thereby to sacrifice my own responsibilities and the peace and quiet attaching to the latter.

You, too, esteemed sir, are herewith explicitly solicited by Griesbach, Schütz, and myself to consider the future Hallische Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung as the “only genuine and legitimate” one and, as one of its oldest friends, to continue to be as active as your time allows in supporting it with your contributions, contributions that far exceed my praise. Please also be so kind as to relate this situation to your other friends. [1]


[*] Paulus writes to Christian Friedrich Schnurrer in Tübingen around June 1803 (so Fuhrmans 2:506n12 contra the dating in Reichlin-Meldegg, who dates it to January 1803 [Schelling had already left Jena]). Back.

[1] Concerning the further “blood-letting” of faculty in Jena during this and the immediately following period, see Fuhrmans 2:507n12:

Hence in 1803–4, Loder, Schütz, Hufeland, Paulus, Niethammer, and Schelling all left — a serious case of “blood letting” for Jena. Concerning the general dissatisfaction, see esp. a letter Paulus wrote to Schnurrer (probably in June 1803) [above]. One primary complaint was the lack of interest on the part of the Saxon-Thuringian princes who were responsible for Jena.

“When professors received offers from other universities, they [the authorities responsible for the university] were not prepared to offer salary increases, and simply let those faculty members go” etc. (The physician Loder, for example, had enjoyed an extremely good relationship with Karl August von Weimar — as well as with Goethe. But when he received an offer from Halle, the duke reacted rather coolly, just as he allegedly similarly reacted to the other myriad offers to Jena professors from other universities by remarking that “Jena will not be able to keep itself afloat after all” . . .) . . .

Niethammer, having failed to secure an appointment to full professor in 1798, had tried and failed again in 1803. Although at Schiller’s insistence the university had promised him the next vacant full professorship in theology, when such did indeed become available when Paulus left in the autumn of 1803, the university thought it needed to appoint a more distinguished theologian, even after declaring that they had “forgotten” Niethammer’s previous involvement in the Fichtean dispute. So they appointed Johann Philipp Gabler from Altdorf, whose son [Georg Andreas Gabler (1786–1853)] soon became a student of Hegel [in Jena] and in 1833 even succeeded him in Berlin.

Niethammer viewed his non-appointment as a “humiliation before the entire German public”; a sharp letter to the duke made things even more tense, and a supplemental salary from the duke’s fund for chamber-titles could no longer save the situation. Hence in the summer of 1804, Niethammer, too, went to Würzburg, following Hufeland, Schelling, and Paulus. Reform-minded Bavaria attracted these and other scholars, while Jena’s fame quickly faded. Back.

Translation © 2016 Doug Stott