Letter 378c

378c. Joseph Friedrich Schelling to Schelling in Swabian Halle: Murrhardt, 30 May 1803 [*]

Murrhardt, 30 May [1803] after 7:00 a.m.

To our considerable delight, we just this moment received your kind note from Swabian Halle, and it is with equal delight that we will all be anticipating the joyous arrival this evening of both you and your worthy traveling companion. [1]

Yesterday the local district office requested the loan of our diable for today. [2] We agreed all the more willingly because your last missive from Jena had you arriving only during the first days of June. Our best coachman is also away just now. Hence nothing remains except for you to take the Jena coachman all the way here.

Carl will ride out to meet you on horseback as far as the so-called New Tavern, two hours this side of Halle. A chaussée [3] the coachman can hardly miss will take you there from Halle. [4]

Our hearts and house are open and awaiting you for the evening, and we are counting the seconds till then. [5]

Do but depart, for Carl will himself be mounting and leaving within the half hour.

Your father,


[*] Sources: Plitt 1:464–65; Fuhrmans 3:1. Back.

[1] Caroline writes in her letter to Luise Wiedemann on 5 June 1803 (letter 379) that the journey from Jena to Murrhardt took nine days (they departed Jena on 22 May 1803) and proceeded by way of Bamberg, where they spent two days, and Würzburg, where they spent one day (anonymous, Departing Postal Coach [ca. 1830]):


Concerning the overall route and the general location of Swabian Halle (as Schelling’s father spells it), see Johann Wilhelm Ritter’s letter to Hans Christian Örsted on 22 May 1803 (letter 378b), note 1. Back.

[2] Fr., “luggage carriage,” often with only two wheels. Back.

[3] Fr., “causeway, paved roadway,” in eighteenth-century Germany generally a stone carriageway of some sort that was considerably better and faster than dirt roads. See esp. Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter on 16 April 1795 (letter 149), note 4. Back.

[4] Murrhardt was located to the east of what might have been a more or less direct route between Swabian Halle and Stuttgart.

At the time, however, the highway leading south from Swabian Halle toward Stuttgart extended only from Halle itself to what was known as Zum Stok, the “New Tavern,” which, although located on the highway, was not an actual village or even a hamlet and thus does not appear on traditional maps.

Here such a period tavern or inn located on the open highway (anonymous, Landschaft mit Wegbiegung, Bäumen und Gasthof, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur Z 3280):


Although discussions during precisely this time suggested extending the highway on to Stuttgart in connection with the redistribution of territory following the Principal Conclusion of the Extraordinary Imperial Delegation (Reichsdeputationshauptschluss) (see Adalbert Friedrich Marcus’s letter to Schelling on 30 April 1803 [letter 377c], note 3), financial considerations prevented the undertaking.

See Philipp Ludwig Hermann Röder, Geographie und Statistik Wirtembergs: Welcher die neuen Entschädigungs-Länder enthält, 2 vols. (Ulm 1804), 2:141–42, 196:

The most urgently needed highway is that to Stuttgart, and the magistrate, having acknowledged this need, has indeed already had a paved chaussée built leading [from Halle] through Michelfeld and Bubenurbis and on to the New Tavern, from where the road is to take travelers through Löwenstein territory to Sulzbach, where the highway is already paved all the way to Stuttgart. [See multiple maps below.]

Alas, this wonderful project foundered on the financial incapacity of Löwenstein, the expense required by such a road bringing the plan to nought. The chaussée that has already begun, however, can be forked into the two necessary highways, namely, to Stuttgart and Heilbronn. Although there is indeed already a highway from Heilbroon to Halle that had to be built during the French war, it makes a considerable detour to the north, through Neuenstein and Oehringen.

In the meantime, the road that has already been started that passes by the New Tavern and that would continue through Württemberg and Löwenstein territory [all the way to Stuttgart] would certainly be preferable [for economic reasons].

Halle has already accomplished much in the way of building good and even handsome roads. From Halle itself, roads proceed (1) by way of Michelfeld, Bubenurbis all the way to the New Tavern, which is the projected road to Stuttgart . . .

[Enumeration of locales subject to Halle administration] Michelfeld, a pastorate on the Bibers River and located on the highway to Sulzbach and Stuttgart through the Michelfeld Valley. . . . Bubenurbis or Bubenorbis, a village with a church, also located on the highway from Halle to Sulzbach and Stuttgart.

Old Maibach, a hamlet, not far from the small river Orn.

New Maibach, also called Ober Maibach, a village near the preceding.

Zum Stok, a tavern located on the highway, also called the New Tavern. . . .

[Anthonie Waterloo, Travellers halting at an inn (ca. 1629–90); Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur AWaterloo AB 3.13:]


Ziegelbronn, a village on the Hohenlohe boundary.

The New Tavern where Carl and, as it turns out, August Schelling were to meet Caroline and Schelling was thus presumably located just between Bubenurbis and Ziegelbronn (map: Jacques de Michal and Matthäus Seutter, Suevia Universa: IX Tabulis Delineata, in quibus Omnium, non solum ad Circulum pertinentium Episcopatuum, Ducatuum, Marchionatuum, Principatuum, Abbatiarum Comitatuum, Dynastiarum, Civitatum Imperialium ut et Ordinis Equestris, Sed etiam Omnium Eidem inter et adiacentium Statuum Territoria, Urbes, Oppida, Monasteria, & distincte et accuratißime reperiuntur [ca. 1725]; Bayrische Staatsbibliothek):


An arrival by carriage (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Schnell und ungleich ist die Fahrt, die uns durch das Leben träget [1778]; Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur DChodowiecki AB 3.252):


On the following, broader image of the same map, one can see Murrhardt’s location in relation to the previous locales to which Carl and August Schelling would be riding out to meet Caroline and Schelling; note also Sulzbach to the west, where the proposed highway was to meet up with the chaussée that already took travelers to Stuttgart:


In the final view of the same map, one can see the relationship between Swabian Hall, Murrhardt, and Stuttgart; Caroline and Schelling would presumably be taking the previously mentioned chaussée between Sulzbach and Stuttgart for their excursions to the latter, and Caroline will be visiting the mineral-springs spa in Cannstatt:



[5] Not only had Schelling’s parents never met Caroline, they also had not seen their son since 1796 (Bergisches Taschenbuch für 1800 Zur Belehrung und Unterhaltung; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache Theodor Springmann Stiftung):



Translation © 2016 Doug Stott