Letter 137c

137c. Wilhelm Schlegel to Georg Joachim Göschen in Leipzig: Amsterdam, 13 January 1794 [*]

Amsterdam, 13 January [17]94

Most esteemed Sir and Friend! [1]

Since my brother writes that it is not certain whether my next letter will find him still in Leipzig, please pardon the liberty I take in troubling you with the enclosed, which might otherwise perhaps have to endure a lengthy detour. Should my brother still be there, might I ask you to see that it is delivered to him?

My lady friend recently related to me that she has decided to remove, through complete openness, any mistrust toward the two of us that our ambiguous behavior and statements must have occasioned in you. To my other, considerable obligations toward you, you added the gracious and cordial reception whereby you justified this trust. Without a doubt, we will always have reason to be grateful for the fortuitous course of events that brought us to you. Where otherwise could we have found a more noble willingness to help people who were so wholly unknown?

Now we will be obliged to you in an ongoing and extraordinarily important fashion if the covert judgment on my lady friend, and on me as her friend and confidant, regardless of what form that judgment may take, acquires no influence on statements you yourself may make about us. Perhaps one fortunate consequence of the avowals might be that you rely more on your own personal acquaintance than on rumors that, I fear, mercilessly condemn my lady friend.

Please retain your gracious inclinations toward me for the future! How I wish I could return to Germany someday that I might request from you in person the abidance or renewal of those inclinations. You will always have a claim to my most ardent and heartfelt gratitude. Please give my kindest regards to your spouse, whose amiable reception will also remain forever unforgettable for me.

Your completely devoted,

Aug. Wilh. Schlegel

. . . [2]


[*] Source: Körner (1930), 1:23–24; 2:10–11. Back.

[1] Wilhelm’s relationship with Göschen was likely initiated by Friedrich Schlegel, perhaps as early as the end of 1792 (see Walzel 71–72, where Friedrich relates to Wilhelm various publication possibilities for a translation the latter had done). Concerning the general relationship between Wilhelm, Caroline, and Georg Joachim Göschen, see the account by Göschen’s grandson, Viscount Goschen, The Life and Times of Georg Joachim Goschen, Publisher and Printer of Leipzig 1752–1828, 2 vols. (New York, London 1903), 2:173– 81 (supplementary appendix 137c.1). Back.

[2] Wilhelm’s postscript regarding Göschen’s project of publishing Christoph Martin Wieland’s works is not included here. Back.

Translation © 2011 Doug Stott