Letter 202d

202d. Christian Gottfried Schütz to Wilhelm Schlegel in Dresden: Jena, late July 1798 [*]

[Jena, late July 1798]

Notwithstanding that not one of the letters you promised to write me when you departed has yet found its way to me, and that you did not even per tertium [1] have a copy of your beautiful poem on the tribute to the king sent to me, [2] I nonetheless want to be the first to relate to you that the rescripts for your professorship are now complete and that you yourself should be receiving the official notification within a week.

The court in Meiningen, which confessed sine fuco et fallaciis morem majorum [3] to knowing absolutely nothing about you yet (which I add as an aside lest you perhaps consider yourself as already being world famous), joined the other courts [4] after I trumpeted quite a moral attestation for you through the mouthpiece of my faculty, and thus do we have the pleasure of greeting you as professorem philosophiae. But what a pity you are still in Dresden at this time, otherwise I would have had the pleasure tomorrow week of introducing you at the conclusion of my prorectorate, something I will, however, now have to leave for my successor, Herr Dr. Paulus.

Herr Schelling has also become a professor of philosophy. [5]

Please extend my kindest regards to your wife and brother, and return to us soon, and do so, moreover, as I both hope and wish, quite healthy and contented.

The raging wisdom of Paul I has dealt us a wretched blow by suddenly recalling all Russians, Livonians, etc. from all German universities, whereby we immediately lose 70 academic fellow citizens here, most of whom belonged to the very best civibus academicis [6] from a literary, moral, and economic perspective. [7]

Stay well.

Yours truly,


[*] Source: Körner (1930), 79–80. Back.

[1] Latin, “by a third party.” Back.

[2] “Am Tage der Huldigung. Berlin 6. Juli 1798,” Jahrbücher der preussischen Monarchie unter der Regierung Friedrich Wilhelms des Dritten (1798) 2 (May, June, July, August), unpaginated following p. 95 of the Anzeiger, which follows the normal p. 268 (Sämmtliche Werke 1:160–61). See the translation of this poem of homage to Friedrich Wilhelm III. Back.

[3] Latin, ” in primitive fashion and without ceremony or disguise” (letter 1 from Cicero, The Letters of Cicero to Atticus, vol. 1, ed. Alfred Pretor [Cambridge 1873], 45). Back.

[4] See the footnote on the responsibilities of the dukes of the Ernestine line in Saxony in the supplementary appendix on Germany in the 18th century. Back.

[5] For the brief text of the announcement of both appointments in the Intelligenzblatt of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, see Wilhelm’s letter to Goethe on 18 July 1798 (letter 202b), note 4. Schütz himself, as prorector of the university, signed both the appointment decree for Wilhelm (dated 30 July 1798) and his doctoral diploma from the university later (dated 24 October 1798). Back.

[6] Latin, “academic citizens.” Back.

[7] In late July 1798, Paul I recalled Russian students studying at German universities to remove them from the influence, however modest, of ideas associated with the French Revolution, though in Jena’s case possibly also because of the growing reputation of Fichte’s philosophy of freedom (see Wilhelm G. Jacobs, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, rowohlts monographien [Reinbeck 1984], 64).

Such students included those from Livonia, Courland, and Estonia. Economic considerations are also informing Schütz’s lament here, since sixty-five such students left Jena with considerable debts, much to the chagrin of their creditors (Heinrich Bosse, “Jenaer Liebhabertheater 1775–1800,” Jahrbuch der deutschen Schillergesellschaft li [2007], 101–39, here 123.; see esp. the Allgemeiner Litterarischer Anzeiger [1798] no. clxi [11 October 1798], 1643):

With them [i.e., these students], the German universities are also losing their purses, purses packed with Louis d’or; e.g., in Jena alone, these students annually brought an average of 25,000 Reichsthaler into circulation.

Jena students enjoy an evening together in 1760 (illustration from Ernst Borkowsky, Das alte Jena und seine Universität [Jena 1908], 107):


Concerning the geography of the Baltic states at the end of the 18th century — with the region of Livonia, Estonia, Courland, Lithuania, and Latvia (Lettia) — see Thomas Kitchin, A new map of the Northern States containing the Kingdoms of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway (London 1790):


See Matthias Asche, “Reval/Tallinn und Dorpat/Tartu; Hermann Marsow,” Europa Reformata, ed. Michael Welker, Michael Beintker, and Albert de Lange (Leipzig 2016):

Historically, Livonia, rather than being a state in the modern sense, consisted instead of a loose alliance of five ecclesiastical territories: the branch of the Teutonic Knights that had remained after the Prussian state of the Teutonic Order had transformed into a secular duchy after 1525, headed by the Livonian Master of the Order; the prince-archbishopric Riga; and the archbishoprics Dorpat, Ösel-Wiek (Estonian Saaremaa), and Courland (Latvian Kurzeme), all of which were at least formally members of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. These five were joined by the bishop of Reval, who, however, like all Danish bishops — for the bishopric Reval was subordinated to the archbishopric of Lund — had no secular area of rule apart from the cathedral precinct. . . .

Although the Livonian alliance had already had to withstand severe internal strains in the early sixteenth century in any case, the Russian invasion of the archbishopric of Dorpat in 1558 led to the final collapse of the world of the old Livonian states. Back.

Translation © 2012 Doug Stott