Letter 395c

395c. Andreas Röschlaub to Schelling in Würzburg: Bamberg, 24 August 1805 [*]

Bamberg, 24 August 1805

It was not possible for me, as much as I may have wanted, to stay in Würzburg during my transit. I arrived late at night and had to leave early the next morning, since I have to hasten home. [1]

Your missive, which presumably left Würzburg for Landshut when I had already been in the Bamberg area for three or four days, could have reached me sooner had it been sent directly here. I received it yesterday from Landshut, and will respond soon. [2]

It will be very good if you yourself will someday present your system for us. Quite inferior goods have hitherto not infrequently been presented as such by those who simply parrot you.

That someone like Schelling has “travellers passing through,” or correspondents from afar, etc. relate so much to him about all I am asserting against him, seems a bit peculiar to me, all the more so since things I assert on his behalf are not also related.

I am familiar with the chapter on “affected sentimentality” and “mopish dejection.” But I know that in the year 1805 much is called such that several years ago was as a matter of fact not called such. Whether Stransky’s opinions please you or not? —

To me he is an honest man and friend. May you instead have me myself relate everything to you, and do not explain it for yourself by pushing something off, for my sake, on a young man whom I value. What I otherwise think of your philosophy I will say publicly. Henceforth we do not need “travelers in transit” for such.

But I do also wish that what you present against my opinions, e.g., in your lectures, you also say publicly, viz., in your published writings. I confess I find it equally peculiar that you act as if you intend to tolerate no contradiction, and I view it as an insult to me that you hitherto seem to have wanted to spare me. Feel free to voice, without reservation, any objections you have against my opinions, or what you consider my opinions, and also to do so in your published writings just as you do in your lectures. I will then respond in kind. We can, after all, remain friends in the process, assuming you are not considering assuming a different status toward me, with which admittedly much from you might not entirely concur.

I do know that I have hitherto been a true friend to you. But I will not be importunate with my friendship. —

I congratulate you if you are faring better with your new clan than when you have various honest men as friends who are sincerely attached to you without, however, merely parroting your words. I would be very sorry to have misjudged you. But I myself do hope never to be without friends; just as I have always greatly respected your intellect and will never attribute the tension between us to your heart, but rather solely to certain influences on you. I am speaking frankly to the man whom until this hour I have considered my friend. If you ever were genuinely such, you will not hold such frankness against me. I hope that you will afterward not find me unworthy of your respect, even should I have been robbed of your favor.

Herr Walther and Dr. Marcus wanted to arrange a little triumph for themselves at my expense with the philosophy of nature before the trustees in Landshut. [3] But I added considerable salt to their enterprise. My views — the knavish presiding faculty member said in unequivocal language before the assembly — were to be proven false. I demonstrated to them that none of them knew my views in any event, and then they ran around trying to defend themselves in the most pathetic fashion and with mere shadow boxing, and finally could not but fail in the entire attempt. They were unable to resolve a single argument I presented. I was happy to let them come at me with their propositions.

I am quite keen on properly describing my adversaries and have no need of distortion. I am concerned solely with genuine knowledge and truth. I have no ulterior motives. I also intend in what follows to keep my inner disposition as pure as previously. If you truly want to be my friend, then let me challenge you to demonstrate as much by granting no further favor to such base people. I for my part ask not to be spared. Only weaklings and invalids seek to be spared. Stay well. [4]

Your friend,


[*] Sources: Plitt 2:66–68; Fuhrmans 3:235–36. Presumably Röschlaub’s last letter to Schelling. — Dating according to Fuhrmans 235n1; Plitt dates it to 29 August 1805, which is impossible insofar as Schelling refers to it in his letter to Windischmann on 27 August (letter 395e). Back.

[1] To Landshut after stays in Frankfurt, Aschaffenburg, and Bamberg (Post Karte Durch ganz Deutschland, ed. J. Walch [Augsburg 1795])



[2] Schelling’s letter of 30 July 1805 (draft published in Plitt 2:62–64; Fuhrmans 224–26), in which he remarks:

A traveller in transit related here how you intend to declare me to be a pagan, yourself, however, to be a Christian philosopher, and Tieck to be the only Christian writer. I do not believe this, nor will I ever believe that you allow yourself to be taken in by the sentimentality, or better: affected sentimentality and mopish dejection of the sort in which for some time now certain persons have been engaged without the slightest feeling of justice, and which I am beginning to find quite repugnant in both poesy and philosophy. —

Such an assertion would be a Bamberg thesis for the knight of Greifelfels [see Caroline’s letter to Julie Gotter on 8 August 1802 (letter 369)] and would quite suit his adulatory disposition; this remark probably derives from him but was then attributed to you, just as also what gossips or people around me say is ascribed to me. Back.

[3] See Adalbert Friedrich Marcus’s letters to Schelling on 17 and 24 August 1805 (letter 395a), in which he essentially advises Schelling no longer to take Röschlaub seriously and also mentions Röschlaub’s presence in Bamberg at the time. Back.

[4] Schelling responded in late September 1805 (letter 397b), after which the two men essentially broke off their relationship. As demonstrated by much of the recent correspondence, the foray of Schelling’s philosophy of nature into medical scholarship and practice never enduringly enhanced its philosophical status and arguably contributed to its demise. Back.

Translation © 2017 Doug Stott