Supplementary Appendix 407.3

Ferdinand III’s Processional through Würzburg, 4 May 1806 [*]


The Night of 4 May

Alongside all the other celebratory activities already described, today Würzburg’s universal joy actually transformed night into day. Indeed, even silent masses of stone were to be animated and, through artificially created masses of fire, testify to how high the flames of love and devotion were rising up in the hearts of Würzburg’s residents. It was like a public invitation to every neighbor near and far to come and behold our town transformed, as it were, into a burning altar on which through the symbol of fire these new subjects lifted up to heaven their offerings of wishes for the welfare of the new regent and indeed for the entire fatherland.

The number of spectators exceeded all expectation. Indeed, the town gradually filled up such that general consensus, comparing the numbers at all previous such events, estimated that the number of non-residents clearly exceeded that of residents themselves. It was especially noticeable how many people from rural communities had come, and every public road into town was filled with people hastening to be part of this singular spectacle. How pleasing it was to behold the throngs of people in the streets during the afternoon hours, and to see how they occasionally lingered gazing at the specially erected symbols to satisfy their curiosity, and how intently they observed all the activities with which each and every resident prepared these arrangements on his house.

Throughout the day, the Domstraße provided the most touching scenes, for the honorific framework erected by the prince-electoral administrative Rath on the side of the town hall held a life-sized portrait of the Most Illustrious Prince Elector himself.

[The old town hall is located near the Main River in Würzburg on Domgasse/Domstraße, here in relation to Caroline’s apartment (Kreishauptstadt Würzburg: Gemessen durch Carl Handwerk im Jahre 1832; Bayerische Landesbibliothek Online); second illustration: the view from the town hall (at left) directly up Domgasse and toward the cathedral (illustration from Ludwig Lange and Ernst Rauch, Original-Ansichten der vornehmsten Städte in Deutschland, ihrer wichtigsten Dome, Kirchen und sonstigen Baudenkmäler alter und neuer Zeit [Darmstadt 1832], n.p.):]



The square before this edifice was so uninterruptedly and completely occupied by crowds of people that no one could even pass through. All eyes were transfixed by the prince elector. Farmers and rural residents could not get enough of this sight, and the expressions on the faces of these people, people so utterly incapable of dissimulation, amply demonstrated that the mere sight of their prince was a veritable feast for their eyes. One might also point out that many of the rural residents from neighboring locales where the grand battle took place in 1796 in which Archduke Karl victoriously carried the day, could be heard telling their children and wives: “Aye, behold! That is the brother of our dear Prince Karl about whom you still tell tales and who once rescued us from certain destruction!” [1]

Between 8:00 and 9:00, just at twilight, the town was enveloped for a short time in artificial flames. An especially striking effect could be had from Residence Square looking down the Graben; this broad street had been turned into a veritable temple of mosaics of light. Similarly also toward the cathedral and on the New Promenade, where the garlands affixed to the garden banisters presented such an enchanting spectacle to the eye that spectators could easily forget where they were.

[(Kreishauptstadt Würzburg: Gemessen durch Carl Handwerk im Jahre 1832; Bayerische Landesbibliothek Online):]


Every single house, even the more modest ones in the most isolated alleys, were illuminated at least with candles, and even poor hovels radiated, if not from bright candles and lights, then at least from the unmistakable fire of true and good hearts. Public buildings, the royal palace, everything was tastefully and magnificently illuminated such that each tried to outdo the other. The various symbols that had been fashioned all expressed allegorically by way of various allusions and inscriptions the one heartfelt message, namely, that Ferdinand is the ruler of all hearts, and there is but a single voice concerning his well being.

At 9:00 p.m., His Royal Highness was driven out from the Residence accompanied by a detachment of citizen cavalry and into town with his Most Illustrious Family to view the illumination. [2]

[Residence Square (illustration from Ludwig Lange and Ernst Rauch, Original-Ansichten der vornehmsten Städte in Deutschland, ihrer wichtigsten Dome, Kirchen und sonstigen Baudenkmäler alter und neuer Zeit [Darmstadt 1832], n.p.):]


During this ride into town, an incessant volley of cannon fire resounded from the fortress, and an immeasurable crowd of people accompanied their carriage, filling the air with nonstop cries of Vivat!

[The Marienberg Fortress overlooking the town (Herbipolis. Würtzburg. Gesamtansicht von Norden, vom Steinberg aus, colorized copper engraving by Matthäus Merian [1648]:)


What a shame that toward 10:00 p.m., a small, brief thunderstorm produced a gust of wind and a bit of rain that extinguished some of the most beautiful illumination arrangements. Almost ninety carriages followed behind that of His Royal Highness, forming a solemn processional precisely according to the order assigned by numbered tickets distributed by the police. Everything proceeded quite according to this plan, everyone was in a joyful mood, and yet not the slightest excess was observed. For this evening dedicated to public enjoyment was celebrated wholly and entirely with the appropriate reserve and moderation, and every person believed that it would be a transgression against our Territorial Father to disrupt this magnificent celebration in his honor through any disorderly acts, or to dishonor it through any excessive behavior. The processional took the following path through town.

From the Royal Residence down toward the Red Building [part of the Bürger Hospital],

[S. Göbl, Würzburg: Ein kulturhistorisches Städtebild, 7th ed.[Würzburg 1904], 133:]



past the Bürger Hospital, the entire length of the Semmelsgasse, toward the New Gate, then down the Strohgasse past the Hauger Church [St. John in Stift Haug], through the Pfaffengasse past Herr Administrative Rath Milon [Pfaffengasse 184] toward the brook,

[St. John in Stift Haug, illustration — albeit from the opposite side of Ferdinand’s route — from Würzburg und seine Umgebungen: ein historisch-topographisches Handbuch, ed. Carl Heffner [Würzburg 1871], plate following p. 54; maps: here and following: Friedrich Harrach and Leonhard Zertahelly, Plan Der Kreis-Hauptstadt Würzburg (München, 1845); Bayerische Staatsbibliothek:]


then down the Graben at the Moor Apothecary [Spiegelgasse 73] and the Fränkischer Hof [?] almost up to the Ox Inn [Viehmarkt 365], past the cranes


[Waterfront cargo cranes, late 18th-century engraving by an unknown artist:]


toward the Fleischbank and Karmeliter Straße up toward the municipal house [Rathaus, Domgasse 529 ] at the bridge, around the fountain and across the bridge,

[The Rathhaus with the fountain (Carl Heffner, Würzburg und seine Umgebungen: ein historisch-topographisches Handbuch [Würzburg 1871], 179); the Main Bridge, from C. Heffner and D. Reuss, Würzburg und seine Umgebungen: einhistorisch-topographisches Handbuch (Würzburg 1852), 208:]




then to the right up toward the Kaiser Inn [Gasthaus zum römischen Kaiser; Zellergasse 160] and German House [Schottenanger 116], then the complete turn toward the Castle Square; down the same German House Street again back across the bridge to the Domgasse;



up the Domgasse through the governmental arc toward the Kürschnershof

[ed. note: which at the time was open to the Domgasse; see map below; illustration of the Kürschnershof with its passage to the Domgasse still visible: S. Göbl, Würzburg: Ein kulturhistorisches Städtebild, 7th ed. [Würzburg 1904], 63:]



then left to Market Square, and round about on the left side of Market Square and down as far as the Church of St. Mary,

[Church of St. Mary in 1832; (illustration from Ludwig Lange and Ernst Rauch, Original-Ansichten der vornehmsten Städte in Deutschland, ihrer wichtigsten Dome, Kirchen und sonstigen Baudenkmäler alter und neuer Zeit [Darmstadt 1832], n.p.):]


then across in front of St. Mary toward the Royal Glazier [Markt 338] and Mohr House [Markt 343] toward the Dominican Church and up past the Reidner House, out the street toward the Scharten baker [Schartengasse 67], then down toward the Eichhorn and the first street toward the Leichen- and Guttenbergischer Hof [Herrengasse 579],


past the Prince Bishop’s House [at the cathedral], toward the Kerpen [Paradeplatz 80] and Bayerischer Hof [Hofgasse 599] toward Residence Square; from there to the right down the Upper Grabenallee as far as the Church of St. Michael,


[St. Michael’s, illustration from S. Göbl, Würzburg: Ein kulturhistorisches Städtebild, 7th ed.[Würzburg 1904], 88:]


and from there to the right toward the Zoblicher Hof [Schulstraße 66] toward Kapretz [Schulstraße 63] and Herr President von Seuffert [Schulstraße 367], down the Neubaustrasse incline past the Neubau Church

[Historisches Album der Stadt Würzburg. Zweiunddreissig photographische Ansichten, ed. V. Jos. Stahgel, introd. Franz X. Wegel (Würzburg 1867), illus. 15:]


and Borgias Building and up as far as the Church of St. Michael; from there toward the Churches of St. Stephan and St. Peter

[Illustration of St. Stephans from S. Göbl, Würzburg: Ein kulturhistorisches Städtebild, 7th ed.[Würzburg 1904], 85:]


past Geheimrath von Hammer [Elefantengasse 279] down toward the Reuerer Cloister [Sandergasse 248] and the Guttenberg Hof [Sandergasse 250], down long Sander Street toward the Johannine Fountain, from there up Johannine Street toward the Viertelhof [Kirchengasse 151] and through the Brunnen Gässchen up the Neubaustrasse


and down toward the Augustine church, the length of the Augustiner Strasse and again around the fountain [Brunnen] in front of the Stang House [apothecary, Um den 4 Röhrerbrunnen 187], down the Franciscan Gasse toward the house of Medical Rath Pickel [Franziskanergasse 158, whose plan to insult the Bavarians with his illuminations was thwarted by the police], from there toward the Franciscan Church, past the house of Territorial Directory Rath [L. D.] Klinger [Franziskanergasse 159], toward the Stadion Hof [Schulgasse 89/Blattnersgasse 90], down the Platnersgasse [Blattnersgasse]


and again through the governmental arc toward the Neumünster Dechants Hof [Martinsgasse 364] and toward Cathedral Square, and again up past the Bayrischer Hof [Hofgasse 599] toward Residence Square, and from there through the Capucin Gasse back into the Residence itself.


We are still too overcome by delirious joy to understand properly what all this means and what this national celebration signifies. Not until everyone can reflect calmly on everything that has happened during these four days, my dear countrymen, can you understand what good fortune has been bequeathed to a nation that loves its prince, counts itself fortunate beneath his scepter, and can now live under his protection as if under the gentle rays of the springtime sun. What will our descendants say when they read this, and what will they still be hearing the elderly relate after so many years?

[Here an overview of Ferdinand’s route, which was indeed as complicated and perhaps, in Caroline’s defense, as tiring as it seemed:]



[*] Bonaventura Andres, “StaatsBegebenheiten. Vom vierten bis zum sechsten May, als den [sic] erfreulichen Geburtstag unseres Durchlauchtigsten Churfürsten,” Chronik des Churfürstenthums Würzburg 1 (1806) 9 (10 May 1806), 97–102.

Initial representative processional illustration to provide a sense of the scenes in Würzburg: not Ferdinand, but rather the doubtless similar processional of Empress Marie Anne Caroline in Vienna in 1831 (excerpt from J. Höchle, Einzug Ihrer Majestät Marie Anne Caroline . . . in der k. k. Residenz Stadt Wien am 27 Februar 1831 (“Entry of Her Majesty Marie Anne Caroline into Vienna, 27 Feb. 1831”) (1833); Kunstbibliothek Berlin. Back.

[1] See Ludwig Ferdinand Huber’s letter to Caroline on 27 June 1796 (letter 164), note 4. Back.

[2] Ferdinand III, a widower since 1802, had three children at the time: Leopold (1797–1870); Maria Luisa (1799–1857); and Maria Theresia (1801–55). Back.

Translation © 2018 Doug Stott