Letter 374a

374a. Goethe to Schelling in Jena: Weimar, 7 January 1803 [*]

Weimar, 7 January 1803

For the sake of brevity, I am sending along to you the draft of a supplicat that needs to be returned to me copied and signed as soon as possible. [1]

A blanquet for power of attorney will also be necessary, for which I am sending along a form. This needs to be properly prepared and the seal prepressed. [2]

The appointment of a curator sexus is necessary. [3] It can be done in Jena before any judicium [4] (the university attorney, the magistrate, city council). The procedure is to tell the judicium that one would like to petition such-and-such a person as the curator sexus and to have a curatorium [5] issued in that regard. The chosen man and future curator will also need to sign the documentation. He need not be a legal professional. Rath Schlegel will need to send a similar blanquet mutatis mutandis, [6] then I will take care of the rest. Stay well.

Weimar, 7 January 1803



[*] Sources: K. H. Hahn, “Zwei ungedruckte Briefe Goethe’s an Schelling,” Goethe. Neue Folge des Jahrbuchs der Goethe-Gesellschaft 19 (1957), 219; Fuhrmans 2:477. Back.

[1] I.e., a petition, here: for Caroline and to be excused from appearing before the high consistory in Weimar for purposes of being granted a divorce (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Scheidung [“divorce”] [1788], Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, Museums./Signatur DChodowiecki AB 3.775):


See Johann Gottfried Herder’s missive to Wilhelm Schlegel on 14 December 1802 (letter 373b), and Schelling’s letter to Goethe on 28 December 1802 (letter 373c). Back.

[2] See Adelung 1:1042: “[Germ.] Blanquêtt: from French blanquet, and Middle Latin blanquetum, a signed white sheet of paper whose primary content is then supplied by a person other than the signee, whence such a blanquet constitutes unrestricted authority. Italian carta bianca; French carte blanche.” Also Johann Christoph Adelung The New and Complete Dictionary of the German and English Languages, composed chiefly after the German Dictionaries of Mr. Adelung and of Mr. Schwan, 3 vols. (Leipzig 1796–99), 1:408, s.v. blankett: ” A Blank Bond, a Blank to be filled out, full Power.”

Erich Schmidt, (1913), 2:641, enumerates several items from Caroline’s papers that are now accessible through the Digitale Edition der Korrespondenz August Wilhelm Schlegels, including the following:

(1) an undated missive from Wilhelm Schlegel granting full power of attorney to Caroline in the legal matter pending before the ducal high consistory council (transcription by the translator; line breaks as in original):

Blanquet zur Vollmacht in der bey dem Herzogl
Oberconsistorio zu Weimar anhängigen Rechtssache,
die Ehe-Trennung zwischen mir und meiner bisherigen
Ehegattin, Caroline geboren[e] Michaelis, betreffend,
in allem wie absteht.

A. W. S.
Professor zu Jena

Blanquet for full power of attorney in all regard in the legal matter before the Ducal High Consistory in Weimar concerning the divorce between me and my previous spouse, Caroline née Michaelis, herewith relinquished.” Back.

[3] Latin, “guardian of the sex,” here: to represent Caroline. Back.

[4] Latin, here: “office of judge, authorized legal official(s).” Back.

[5] Latin, “guardianship.” Back.

[6] Latin, “things being changed that have to be changed,” here: “making necessary alterations while not affecting the main point at issue.” Back.

Translation © 2016 Doug Stott