Supplementary Appendix 381g.1

Friedrich Wilhelm von Hoven on his and Henriette von Hoven’s
initial period in Würzburg [*]

Paulus and Schelling had also arrived in Würzburg shortly after me, and indeed their arrival was all the more welcome to me insofar as, despite all asseverations of friendship from my colleagues, I nonetheless still knew no one in Würzburg to whom I might turn in confidence other than these fellow countrymen. [1] For they are Württemberger, and regardless of where Württemberger come together in the world, they always come together as friends and hold tightly to one another as such, indeed generally more tightly than in the fatherland itself.

Since when I myself arrived in Würzburg Count von Thürheim happened to be in Bamberg with his family for business and needed to stay a bit longer, I did not want to delay in visiting him there, and was just about to depart when I received a letter from him inviting me to come straightaway to Bamberg and to bring Schelling along as well, since he wanted to discuss with us the anticipated changes and institutions of the university.

Although many, many years had passed since I had last seen him, [2] his disposition toward me had remained unchanged from that which I had enjoyed as his fellow pupil at the Stuttgart Academy. He received me as the old friend of his younger years, as did his spouse with equal cordiality. Indeed, she acted as if she had already known me for many years. The count’s own goodwill toward me had rubbed off on her as well, and I had barely entered the room before she said to me that she, too, was happy to see me in Würzburg, since she in fact had already long known me as one of her husband’s most beloved friends; similarly, his first remarks after taking over the university trusteeship was allegedly that now his old friend from earlier days would have to be appointed in Würzburg as well.

Even before my visit in Bamberg, I had learned that Count von Thürheim was planning to transfer the university from Würzburg to Bamberg; there was as yet no word, however, whether the government had authorized that plan. Schelling was greatly in favor of the plan, whereas I, as much a stranger in Würzburg as Bamberg, could not yet judge. In the meantime, however, Schelling had presented the plan to me quite plausibly, drawing my attention especially to the excellent general hospital in Bamberg, which was far superior to the Julius Hospital in Würzburg in every respect.

But by the time we arrived in Bamberg, the matter had already been decided; the administration had rejected any plans to transfer the university to Bamberg, the university was to remain in Würzburg once and for all, where funding was available, and now the only question was how to organize the administration’s various new university institutions as effectively as possible. The administration had already sketched out a general plan, and Count von Thürheim was now merely to work out the details, and it was in this respect that Schelling and I were to contribute. Whereas I, with so little experience in university matters, was not really able to make much of a contribution, Schelling was precisely in his element, and one cannot deny that the university owed him a great deal in this respect as well.

Our stay in Bamberg lasted two days, and we dined with Count von Thürheim daily. Marcus was invited to join us the very first day, and I was enormously pleased to make the acquaintance of this man about whose renown Schelling had said so much. And everything he had said was true, for Marcus was a man of intellect and considerable practical talents, and a convivial man whose company was also extremely pleasant.

I visited the hospital with him, for whose general organization he was responsible, and I had to admit that the Julius Hospital in Würzburg lagged far behind it. I was, however, less impressed by his bedside manner than with the hospital itself, and especially by his examinations, which he carried out with medical Rath Kilian, who had recently been appointed in Bamberg from Jena. The examinations seemed much too circumstantial to me, and yet despite that circumstantiality nonetheless never seemed to lead to any firm results. . . .

Far be it from me, however, to diminish Marcus’s considerable practical talents, and I will certainly not hold it against him that he believed there was no greater medical clinician than he himself. All the more, however, do I hold it against him that, believing in his own excellence, he was primarily responsible for suggesting to Count von Thürheim that the university be moved from Würzburg to Bamberg. That is, he wanted to become professor of clinical medicine at the university, and since because of various relationships and circumstances he could not leave Bamberg, the university was to come to him. Marcus is long dead, and I will refrain from speaking about other intrigues in which he engaged against both the university and especially against me personally after his plans failed.

After my return to Würzburg, my colleagues were overjoyed to hear that the university would not be transferred to Bamberg. None of them really wanted to move there, especially the Siebold family, who would no longer have been the Academia Sieboldiana in Bamberg, as [Göttingen professor August Gottlieb] Richter [1742–1812] referred to them. [3] I, too, was glad that the university remained in Würzburg.

Though the Julius Hospital in Würzburg did indeed lag far behind the general hospital in Bamberg, there was as little a lack of sick people of every sort in the former as in the latter. Clinical instruction could be carried out as effectively in the one as in the other, and there was no real reason Thomann should have been replaced by Marcus. [4] Thomann was an extremely intelligent man, and was as skilled at the patient’s bedside as was Marcus, and the accusation that he adhered to the stimulation theory applies equally to Marcus himself, who was similarly a stimulation theoretician, except that he openly confessed to being an adherent of the Schellingian philosophy of nature, something perhaps Thomann also might have done; that philosophy was just reaching its acme at the time.

Since lectures at the university were not to begin until December, I had plenty of time to prepare my own. Although I was already busy doing just that in my inn, Zum Kleebaum, [5] I had more leisure to do it in my new apartment, whose furnishings had progressed to the point that at least I myself could move in. So I left the inn and returned solely as a boarder.

In the grand edifice in which I was living, however, I was utterly alone; the concierge was the only other person living there, and this solitude in such a large and old building genuinely did have something unnerving about it. I was, however, quite comfortable there, and though I slept quite well, I was often awakened by the bell at the entrance to the concierge’s apartment, and since it sounded just like my house bell in Ludwigsburg, when I awoke I always thought I was back in Ludwigsburg, and often got up to hear where I was being summoned.

Only once was I genuinely frightened. A peculiar noise in the chimney of my sleeping quarters woke me one night. Although at first I thought it was a thief, the locked entry to the building made it impossible for any thief to enter. So I got up, fetched a light, and looked up into the chimney. A young kestrel had fallen into the chimney. I grabbed him, put him in my office, and the next morning released him to join his comrades, which had taken up residence in the tower of the nearby Neubaukirche. [6]

I spent most of the day preparing my lectures. I used my leisure time to visit my countrymen Paulus and Schelling, who were still living in their inns, and my colleagues, whom I was quite keen on getting to know. . . .

In the meantime, work on my apartment had progressed to the point that I could now move in with my entire family, so I immediately sent for them to come to Würzburg. My wife already had everything ready for departure, and she arrived in Würzburg with our children during the final days of November. [7] The transport with our furniture and the other effects we had decided to take along to Würzburg had arrived a few days earlier.

I need not point out how overjoyed we were at being together again safe and sound. Immediately after exchanging warm greetings, I led my wife through the rooms of our new apartment. But she simply could not bring herself to be pleased with it. She found it not only too spacious for our needs, but also uncomfortable. In the meantime, however, she accommodated herself, as did I, to the circumstances, something we could do all the more readily insofar as the edifice immediately abutting the seminary building, namely, the beautiful and large but as yet unfinished Borgias Building, was to be finished out and made into apartments for me, Paulus, and Schelling, a goal toward which certain measures had indeed already been taken.

We were assigned the upper story in the seminary’s main building for our apartment, Paulus the lower story for his, and Schelling an apartment in the adjacent building. Because Schelling had already moved in when my family arrived in Würzburg, and Paulus into his only a few days after us, the three Swabian families were soon living together in one house. [8]

This circumstance alone was reason enough to stick together loyally as fellow countrymen. We men were already sufficiently acquainted to continue the cordial relationships we had established earlier; my wife knew only Schelling’s wife, but that acquaintance had been but a passing one made in Ludwigsburg, where they met for the first time; [9] they would have to become better acquainted over time.

Although she was not yet acquainted with Madam Paulus at all, from their first meeting she already sensed that they would soon become more intimate friends, nor did that initial impression prove false. The longer the two women knew each other, the more trusted friends did they become, something that doubtless contributed to my wife becoming more comfortable with the separation from her family, more satisfied with her new circumstances, and more indifferent toward the inconveniences of our apartment. She saw that in Würzburg, too, she had found a friend with whom she could be as close as she had been with those she had left behind in her fatherland.

All the less, however, did a similar relationship develop between my wife and Schelling’s, who wanted to play the role of a lady. Just as Schelling was allegedly the first man at the university, so also did she want to be the first lady. She wanted to attend all the distinguished social gatherings, host such gatherings at her own home, and shine in both as the wife of the foremost philosopher in Germany as well as, in her own capacity, as one of the most intelligent, cultivated, and erudite women.

She had thus arranged her apartment — which was already quite beautiful — in the most handsome and tasteful manner, decorated it with furniture after the latest fashion, and in general taken all the steps necessary to create, as they say, a grand house in Würzburg. At the same time, however, because she was concerned not to distinguish herself in too ostentatious a manner in the presence of the wives of other professors, she wanted especially my wife to follow her example. Every time she came to visit my wife, she made that wish known, albeit not directly by directly suggesting that my wife imitate her example, but rather indirectly by not being satisfied with anything she saw in our apartment, instead viewing everything with indifference or indeed with reproach, justifying that reproach by adducing as an excuse our status as the house of a professor.

My wife, accustomed to remain constant under all circumstances, took no notice of these insinuations. She felt quite comfortable with the simple furnishings and arrangements she had implemented in our household in Würzburg, as did her friend Madam Paulus, who was of exactly the same mind. It is easy enough to see that no genuinely cordial relationship could develop between the two women, [10] and just as they rarely met in society, so also did they see each other only occasionally at home, whereas Schelling and I were always on cordial terms, indeed, I even attending his lectures. . . .

I had already been lecturing for several weeks when Count von Thürheim, having finished his business in Bamberg, returned to Würzburg with his family. He had hardly arrived at his apartment before he sent news to me that he had returned; and soon thereafter he himself appeared. Here my wife saw him for the first time, and his handsome figure, engaging comportment, and intelligent conversation made an extremely pleasant impression on her. She soon also made the acquaintance of his spouse as well, who behaved with such charm and good intentions toward her that my wife soon forgot she was in the presence of a distinguished lady. The count and countess spent nearly every evening with us. The count himself consistently proved to be the same friend I had known in my youth, and the countess became increasingly fond of my wife, so much so that she soon found she needed to keep her company.

Of course, this cordial relationship between the count’s family and my own soon vexed many of the other professors, though it vexed Schelling and his wife the most, who had expected to be invited to the evening visits the count and countess paid us. Because the latter wanted to be alone with us, however, we could understandably not really invite anyone else, a circumstance that certainly did not excuse us with Schelling and his wife, both of whom began behaving more coldly toward us, maintaining their previous cordiality only externally. In our own turn, we could make do all the more easily with this chilly behavior as our relationship with the count’s family and the Paulus family became increasingly intimate. . . .

I mentioned earlier how the Borgias Building, which immediately abutted the seminary itself, was to be renovated into apartments for Paulus, Schelling and me. After I returned to Würzburg [from a trip back to Württemberg], those renovations were almost finished, and when my wife arrived, it was far enough along for us to move into the apartment a few days thereafter. We moved into the second story, Paulus into the third, and Schelling was to occupy the fourth, though he decided to remain in his previous apartment, which was in fact not a poor decision at all, since that apartment was not only quite handsome, but also because immediately adjoining the living area it also had a classroom more beautiful than any other one might find in Würzburg, and which was, moreover, large enough to accommodate the crowd of students wanting to attend his lectures. Instead of Schelling, it was the professor extraordinarius of medicine Dr. Paulus, brother-in-law of my earlier housemate Paulus, and Professor Fischer, who had been appointed to the philosophical faculty, who moved into the fourth story apartment of the Borgias Building.


[*] Biographie des Doctor Friedrich Wilhelm von Hoven: Von ihm selbst geschrieben und wenige Tage vor seinem Tode noch beendiget, ed. Andreas H. Merkel (Nürnberg 1840), 159–68; 185–86. Back.

[1] All three new professors were from Swabia; referring to one’s territory or state as one’s “fatherland” was normal at the time. Von Hoven arrived initially without his wife and children, who came at the end of November when their apartment was ready. Back.

[2] The two men had been schoolmates in Stuttgart. Back.

[3] Indeed, it was said that it was “Karl Kaspar von Siebold who ensured that Würzburg would remain the site of the Julius University when he put his Bamberg opponent Marcus in the shade after Franconia had become part of Bavaria” (Philipp Franz von Siebold and His Era: Prerequisites, Developments, Consequences, and Perspectives, ed. A. Thiede, Y. Hiki, G. Keil [Berlin, Heidelberg 2000], 45). From Göttingen years, Caroline likely was already acquainted with Siebold’s son, Adam Elias Siebold, who received his doctorate in Würzburg in 1798 and was now also on the medical faculty. Back.

[4] See Marcus’s letter to Schelling on 20 July 1803 (letter 380c), in which Marcus mentions Thomann as one of the old guard trying to thwart the changes Marcus was proposing. Back.

[5] One of the oldest (ca. 1600) and best-known of the traditional inns in older part of Würzburg; indeed, anecdotally Martin Luther is said to have stayed there on his way to Worms and still owed the inn for the wine he drank. It was located at Spiegelgasse 70 (what today is Eichhörnstraße 21; in 1838 [Intelligenzblatt von Unterfranken und Aschaffenburg des Königreichs Bayern 3215], a furnished room is posted for rent “at house no. 42, across from the inn Zum Kleebaum”; on the map below, no. 42 is situated clearly just across from no. 70), an earlier street later incorporated into the Eichhörnstrasse; the inn was close to the original Spital Gate (Tor) opposite the hospital Bürgerspital zum Heiligen Geist (Otto Handwerker, Geschichte der Würzburger Universitaäts-Bibliothek bis zur Säkularisaation [Würzburg 1904], 68; map: Kreishauptstadt Würzburg: Gemessen durch Carl Handwerk im Jahre 1832; Bayerische Landesbibliothek Online):


In 1861 the inn’s name was changed to Fränkischer Hof, and after 1920 it housed the Central Café. The building was destroyed by allied bombing on 16 March 1945. Back.

[6] The Neubaukirche adjoined the Old University near where Schelling and Caroline had their apartment. The von Hovens lived in the wing across from the Schellings (17th- or 18th-century engraving; Würzburg Universität, Universitätsarchiv):


Here a photo of the Neubaukirche before its destruction in World War II; the Schellings lived in the edifice to the left (S. Göbl, Würzburg: Ein kulturhistorisches Städtebild, 4th ed. [Würzburg 1901], 117):



[7] Caroline and Schelling had been in Würzburg since early November. Back.

[8] Concerning the housing arrangements, see the supplementary appendix on the Schellings’ residence in Würzburg. Back.

[9] See Henriette von Hoven’s letter to Charlotte Schiller on 14 February 1803 regarding her meeting with Therese Huber in June 1802, cited in Caroline’s letter to Luise Wiedemann on 19 June 1803 (letter 380), note 26. The von Hovens had traveled to Murrhardt with Caroline and Schelling the previous summer to visit Schelling’s parents. Back.

[10] Viz., between Caroline and Wilhelmine von Hoven. Back.

Translation © 2017 Doug Stott