Letter 387k

387k. Friedrich Karl von Thürheim to Schelling in Würzburg: Würzburg, 7 November 1804 [*]

[Würzburg, 7 November 1804]

The undersigned felt obliged to submit to His Prince Electoral Highness the missive sent by Professor Dr. Schelling to the undersigned under the date 26 September.

His Same Highness responded to said missive on the 29th of last month, stipulating in terminis: [1]

that the author of said letter be informed of Your Highness’s justified displeasure at the arrogance said author has demonstrated, arrogance presenting, moreover, a convincing demonstration of how little is the extent to which speculative philosophy makes people more reasonable and moral, and to draw said author’s attention to the sovereign territorial edict concerning freedom of the press, which stipulates that modest straightforwardness and the examination of useful truths be esteemed, whereas the inurbanity and intemperateness of excessively passionate writers be directed back to the limits and boundaries of the legally obtaining ordinance.

Be such herewith officially related to said professor.

Würzburg, 7 November 1804

Prince Electoral General Territorial Commissar in Franconia
Count von Thürheim [2]


[*] Sources: Plitt 2:36–37; Fuhrmans 3:134–35.

This missive is Thürheim’s response to Schelling’s letter to him on 26 September 1804 (letter 387e). Back.

[1] Latin, “in [these] terms.” Back.

[2] See Kuno Fischer, Schellings Leben, Werke und Lehre, 3rd ed., Geschichte der neuern Philosophie 7 (Heidelberg 1902), 114–15 (illustration: Taschenbuch fur Häusliche und Gesellschaftliche Freuden auf das Jahr 1801; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):

Count von Thürheim brought Schelling’s missive before the prince elector himself, and now what was expected did indeed come, namely, an extraordinarily stern, gruff rebuke in an extremely humiliating form. . . .


Given the nature of his missive to the trustees, Schelling by all rights should have responded to such a rebuke by immediately requesting his own dismissal. But he did not. Instead, he remained, accepted the rebuke, refrained from all polemic that might appear as an attack against the government, and even ceased working on the anticipated piece “Description of the Sect currently opposing Philosophy in Bavaria” about which he had spoken only a few days earlier [in his letter to Carl Joseph Windischmann on 24 October 1804 (letter 387g)].

After this second rebuke (the first being Thürheim’s letter to Schelling on 22 April 1804 [letter 383c]), Schelling likely began to focus specifically on finding a way to leave Würzburg; Fuhrmans, 3:134fn, adduces further documents both pro and contra Schelling in what had become a tedious, ennervating public quarrel.

Although the Schellings had been in Würzburg just over a year and were already the subject of gossip and rumors about their departure, they did not leave until the late spring of 1806. In the meantime, not least throughout 1805, these feuds continued (anonymous, Curieuser Weiber Krieg [17th century]; Germanischen Nationalmuseum; one of many treatments of this theme):



Translation © 2017 Doug Stott