Letter 382a

382a. H. E. G. Paulus to Christian Friedrich Schnurrer in Tübingen: Würzburg, 15 January 1804 [*]

[Würzburg, 15 January 1804]

Schelling’s apartment is located within the quarré [1] of the university buildings in the wing directly opposite us, over the library, so that we communicate with one another through the kitchen. [2] (Perhaps comparing a floor outline to my description can give you a more vivid idea of my topographic existence; surely your son can help, who no doubt has visited Dr. Feder in the library.) [3]

I am not infrequently alone with him (Schelling), since I must indeed praise his comportment here until now as having been both quite active and yet simultaneously cautious, just as I have always respected his imaginative mind and wealth of knowledge. [4] His lectures were initially virtually overrun because of the most rampant curiosity on the part of the Würzburg residents. And even now they still attract an extraordinary number of attendees. That said, one cannot really count on that situation continuing, since the diligence of the Würzburg natives is not particularly laudable. . . .

Since there were not yet any Protestant students of theology here, I was pleasantly anticipating having a break from teaching this winter. The administration, however, absolutely wanted Catholic seminarians to attend my lectures as well. So I am lecturing from 3:00 to 4:00 on theological encyclopedia solely for Catholic students. The seminarians are very attentive.

All the more vehemently, however, does the prince bishop now object to their attending lectures on philosophy and theology by Protestants. Recently, in fact, on the same day he assured me at lunch that he had nothing against me personally, and that as soon as “his seminarians” were more mature he himself would send them to me, — he sent a threat to the seminary, saying that he would refuse to consecrate anyone a priest who was attending lectures by either me or Schelling. It is for the administration to do something about this now.

This behavior is quite variously opposed in public opinion, and if the administration were on better terms with the Knights of the Empire, it would be universally condemned. [5] It has not yet caused me any personal unpleasantness. Our university is absolutely free of any influence by the bishop, and once vacant positions have been filled, it will be able to maintain itself quite on its own.


[*] Source: Reichlin-Meldegg 1:373. Back.

[1] Fr., “quadrangle”; here the living arrangements in the former seminary complex (Universität Würzburg, Universitätsarchiv):



[2] Concerning the living arrangements in Würzburg, see also the supplementary appendix on the Schellings’ residence in Würzburg. Back.

[3] Here the old library in Würzburg, located beneath the Schellings’ apartment (frontispiece to Otto Handwerker, Geschichte der Würzburger Universitäts-Bibliothek bis zur Säkularisation [Würzburg 1904]):


Schnurrer’s eldest son, Christian, had just attained his doctor of laws in 1803 and had visited Würzburg as part of a student trip on his way to Jena.

Schnurrer, responding (Fuhrmans 3:41) to a letter and query from Schelling on 19 January 1804, remarks that Christian was currently in Göttingen and would likely not return to Würzburg. Schnurrer writes Schelling again, however, on 30 March 1804 (Fuhrmans s 3:70–71) asking him if he might take his younger son, Friedrich Schnurrer, under his wing in Würzburg, as it were, and facilitate the young medical student’s acquaintance with the medical-school facilities and faculty there in anticipation of furthering his study there, something the young man did indeed do the following year.

See the location of the library arcades on the illustration in note 1 above. Here a floor plan from the opposite direction; the quadrangle is marked by Universität (top) and Neubau K. (bottom), with the von Hovens and Pauluses on the right side, the Schellings on the left side (Neuester Plan der Kreishauptstadt Würzburg, mit nächster Umgebung und Angabe der Stadt Strassenbau-Projecte [n.d.]):



[4] Schnurrer answers Paulus on 24 January 1804 (Schelling im Spiegel seiner Zeitgenossen: Ergänzungsband: Melchior Meyr über Schelling, ed. Xavier Tilliette [Torino 1981], 49), noting: “I am quite gratified to hear that you meet frequently with Schelling, albeit only alone — I understand the meaning of your parenthesis,” i.e., meeting with Schelling without Caroline. Back.

[5] Knights of the Empire: Imperial knights, Reichsritter, were in Franconia, among other places, members of the lesser nobility who were lords over “dwarf territories” not immediately subject to more powerful lords but who nonetheless, unlike princes and counts, had no vote in imperial matters.

Because most of their territories were too small to support a separate administration, these lords formed an umbrella organization, the Knights of the Empire (Reichsritterschaft), N.B. with the support of the emperors at the time, who were always looking for leverage against the more powerful territorial lords, including prince bishops (thus Paulus’s allusion), a situation that explains the captions in the following illustration from 1710: “under the command of the emperor”; “under the shadow of the eagle”; “nobility of the empire” (Jacob Müller [engraver], Observationes Illustres Juridico-Equestres: Zweyter Theil . . . [Nürnberg 1710]):



Translation © 2017 Doug Stott