Letter 395a

395a. Adalbert Friedrich Marcus to Schelling in Würzburg: Bamberg, 17, 24 August 1805 [*]

Bamberg, 17 August 1805

. . . The news about Würzburg greatly surprised me. Will you be having to move out of your apartment as well? [1]

In Munich, here, and everywhere, people are extremely tense. The story is in any case quite stupid, and I also fear considerable confusion as a result of which all the better institutions will suffer not inconsiderably. — Nothing can come of our trip now. [2] But we must speak soon.

Let Röschlaub go; nothing can be done with him. Lately he believes people are afraid of him. When he speaks about you, he always mentions the same thing . . . you should never have meddled in the discipline of medicine [3] — but does that mean that this particular field is exclusively his alone? — Because he is utterly disposed for compromise, one must be quite on one’s toes in any conversation with him. [4] . . .

24 August 1805

Rumor is rampant here that the university will be transferred here from Würzburg. [5] . . .

Röschlaub is here again. He did not visit you on his return trip. He visited the hospital, and his peculiar demeanor displeased me this time even more than the first. . . .

Unless I am quite mistaken, he will likely pull some imprudent trick against both you and me soon. He can only hurt himself, and must be spared as long as possible. —

The famous Stransky has a certain measure of influence over him, and is goading him on. He is like an insulted mistress who becomes all the more irreconcilable the more she senses the diminution of her charms. [6] . . .


[*] Source: Fuhrmans 3:230–32 (Neueste Post. Karte von Deutschland und den angrenzenden Laendern [Vienna 1805]):



[1] Given the possibility of imminent war between Napoleon and Austria, the Bavarian government was looking for an appropriate locale to which to transfer its operations, and commensurate arrangements were being made in Würzburg. This question concerning a change of residence eventually affects only the Borgias Building in Würzburg insofar the prince elector Maximilian IV Joseph, as a precautionary measure, moved his court and entourage to Würzburg and in the process took over the Borgias Building.

The Schellings, however, were still living in the west wing of the Old University quadrangle above the library (here viewed from the north; Universität Würzburg, Universitätsarchiv; essentially the same illustration in R. Fick, ed., Auf Deutschlands hohen Schulen: Eine illustrierte kulturgeschichtliche Darstellung deutschen Hochschul- und Studentenwesens [Berlin, Leipzig 1900], 358):


The following illustration shows the entire complex of the Old University and seminary.

The (now suspended) seminary ceded to the electorate of Bavaria as a result of secularization in 1803 is here the triangular structure to the right (east) of the Old University.

The Regent’s Building forms the west (left) wing of the seminary triangle and essentially abuts the east wing of the Old University quadrangle. The main seminary building (Geistl. Seminar) is the top (north) side; and the Borgias Building (where eventually the Pauluses and von Hovens, but not the Schellings, moved) the bottom (south) side. Each complex (Old University, Seminary) had its church (Neuester Plan der Kreishauptstadt Würzburg, mit nächster Umgebung und Angabe der Stadt Strassenbau-Projecte [n.d.]):


The Schellings remained in their apartment in the old university complex and thus did not have to move, though other faculty members did. See also the supplementary appendix on the Schellings’ residence in Würzburg. Back.

[2] Marcus had earlier spoken of a trip to Italy with Schelling. The Schellings themselves, however, were at this time still entertaining thoughts of picking up the trip they had canceled earlier. Caroline still mentions the possibility in her letter to Pauline Gotter in August 1805 (letter 395); see note 11 there. Back.

[3] Esp. since leaving Jena in the late spring of 1803, Schelling had had considerable contact with physicians.The more specific reference may be to Schelling’s decision to publish a medical journal, viz. the Jahrbücher der Medicin; see esp. what is possibly Schelling’s final letter to Röschlaub in late September 1805 (letter 397b), in which Schelling seems to reproach Röschlaub for precisely such an objection.

See esp. also Friedrich Hoven’s critique of Schelling’s allegedly disastrous influence on medical students in Würzburg in Caroline’s letter to Beate Gross on 4 August 1805 (letter 394), note 9. Back.

[4] See Röschlaub’s letters to Schelling back on 26 January 1805 (letter 389b) and 9 April 1805 (letter 392c). Back.

[5] It was not; Würzburg passed to Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany under the terms of the Treaty of Pressburg in December 1805, and faculty members at the university were required to take an oath to the new territorial lord in the spring of 1806, an oath Schelling declined to take.

Most of the Protestant faculty members that had been brought in during 1803 and afterward were assigned to positions elsewhere by the Bavarian government. Schelling, significantly, did not receive a university position as a result of these changes; the two vacant positions in Landshut went instead to his adversaries Friedrich Köppen and Jakob Salat. In fact, despite his success at the lectern in both Jena and Würzburg, he did not teach again until 1820, in Erlangen (Hans Jörg Sandkühler, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, Sammlung Metzler [Stuttgart 1979], 72–73). Back.

[6] The relationship between Schelling and Andreas Röschlaub had been deteriorating during recent months. See the final exchange between them, namely, Röschlaub’s letter to Schelling on 24 August 1805 (letter 395c) and Schelling’s to Röschlaub in late September 1805 (letter 397b) (Goettinger Taschen Calender vom Jahr 1786):



Translation © 2017 Doug Stott