Letter 376a

376a. Schelling to Goethe in Weimar: Jena, 7 March 1803 [*]

Jena, 7 March 1803

To avoid having anything happen in the Schlegel matter that might run counter to your own beneficent guidance, circumstances require that I once more burden you with an account of things.

The attorneys have been unable to calm themselves and have now set a third hearing (for the 15th of March) that the matter might receive its rightful, excessively protracted consideration. Madame Schlegel has responded by authorizing Herr Hufeland to present the reasons that he himself proposed even though they had already been clearly enough stipulated in the initial missive to the duke. [1]

Although his hope was to arrive at his goal through a “deft use of those reasons,” he nonetheless constantly acts as if the outcome of the entire negotiations depended solely on their (the attorneys’) presentation and on the High Consistory perceiving all these reasons to be sufficient. If there be reason to fear that precisely this presupposition along with their particular cleverness might delay the matter even more, it would be eminently desirable for them to be appropriately enlightened in this regard by some means or other.

For it does indeed seem, according to your own more recent assurances as well, that one might be justified in having confidence in the compassion of His Excellency at least to the extent that one did not have to fear potential disfavor arising from the initial authorities that might affect the ultimate, successful outcome of this matter.

Please be so kind as to forgive me for having to discuss solely such things with you. . . .



[*] Sources: Goethe und die Romantik 1:232–33; Fuhrmans 2:493.

At issue is once again the delay in the processing of Caroline and Wilhelm Schlegel’s divorce petition and esp. the increasingly irksome delays caused by the attorneys in the matter, Georg Friederich Ernst Hesse and Karl Friedrich Victor Hufeland, despite Goethe’s attempts to guide things in a more straightforward manner.

See the previous correspondence between Schelling and Goethe, on the one hand, and Schelling and Wilhelm, on the other, especially since early January. Back.

[1] Either the original petition (letter/document 371), or the subsequent petition Caroline presented to the duke to avoid having to appear personally before the High Consistory (see Schelling’s letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on 7 January 1803 [letter 374b]). Back.

Translation © 2016 Doug Stott