Letter 369h

Letter 369h. Wilhelm Schlegel to Christian Gottfried Schütz in Jena: Berlin, 18 September 1802 [*]

Berlin, 18 September 1802

Esteemed Herr Hofrath!

A review of the publication Encomium for the Most Recent Philosophy in no. 225 of your Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung this year contains from that piece the following excerpted passage that is highly slanderous against Herr Professor Schelling:

Except may heaven forbid that he suffer the misfortune of killing in reality those whom he heals in ideality, a misfortune that befell Schelling, the One and Only, in Boklet in Franconia in the case of M. B.*, as malicious people maintain.

Since no statement is added either to refute or even mildly to disapprove of this passage, the reviewer’s decision to excerpt it is clearly an intentional attempt to disseminate a pasquinade through reprint.

I can only assume that this pasquinian mischief inadvertently crept into the A.L.Z. quite without Your Esteemed Sir’s previous knowledge, and in that case you will doubtless thank me for drawing it to your attention and for offering to you the only means of satisfaction that might suffice for rescuing your own honor and for retracting as far as possible this perpetrated slander, namely, that of reprinting no. 225 with a different review replacing this pasquinian one, and of then sending it out to all the subscribers of the A.L.Z. along with a notice by or specifically signed by the editors of the A.L.Z. in the Intelligenzblatt in which they request that this review, which currently constitutes a blemish on the A.L.Z., be viewed as having never been published and to replace that earlier review with the reprinted page.

For reasons I need not explicate for Your Esteemed Sir, I have assumed responsibility for representing the rights of Professor Schelling. Since it is imperative swiftly to counter the impression the dissemination of this review might make among the uninitiated, I must urge an equally swift response, and if Your Esteemed Sir does not within three days after receipt of this letter send precisely this answer to Professor Schelling, who will be forwarding this letter to you, I will view this action as a refusal to provide due satisfaction and will proceed accordingly. [1]

Your Esteemed Sir’s most devoted,

A. W. Schlegel


[*] Source: Christian Gottfried Schütz, Species facti nebst Actenstücken zum Beweise dass Hr. Rath August Wilh. Schlegel der Zeit in Berlin mit seiner Rüge, worinnen er der Allgem. Lit. Zeitung eine begangne Ehrenschändung fälschlich aufbürdet, niemanden als sich selbst beschimpft habe / von C. G. Schuetz. Nebst einem Anhange über das Benehmen des Schellingischen Obscurantismus (“Species facti [the particular character or peculiar circumstances of the thing done; the particular criminal act charged against a person] along with documents proving that Herr Rath Schlegel, currently residing in Berlin, has rebuked no one but himself with his Rebuke, in which he falsely accuses the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung of having committed a defamation of honor / by C. G. Schuetz. With an addendum concerning the comportment of Schellingian obscurantism”) (Jena, Leipzig 1803), 3–6.

Reprinted in Wilhelm Schlegel, To the Public. Rebuke of a Defamation of Honor Perpetrated in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (letter/document 371b), 19–22.

This letter constitutes the first volley in the quarrel with Christian Gottfried Schütz and the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung concerning the implication that Schelling contributed to the death of Auguste in Bocklet on 12 July 1800 by meddling in her treatment.

Schütz, by publishing the review to which Wilhelm here refers, was less interested in Auguste’s death than in taking the opportunity to discredit Schelling’s philosophy in a larger sense and to avenge Schelling’s past and current behavior toward the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung and its editors, who at the time were Schütz himself and Johann Jakob Griesbach but who earlier included Gottlieb Hufeland.

Concerning this shift in focus from Auguste’s death to Schelling’s philosophy, see the supplementary appendix on the scandal surrounding Auguste’s death. Back.

[1] Viz., will publish his rejoinder, To the Public. Rebuke of a Defamation of Honor Perpetrated in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (letter/document 371b). Schütz responded to Wilhelm directly (i.e., without sending the response first to Schelling) on the day he received this letter, namely, 24 September 1802 (letter 369k). Back.

Translation © 2016 Doug Stott