Letter 400c

400c. Schelling to Carl Joseph Windischmann in Aschaffenburg: Würzburg, 16 January 1806 [*]

Würzburg, 16 January 1806

How truly pleased I am, my beloved friend, to hear of the end of your physical ailments; my most ardent wish now is for a full and complete recovery for you. [1]

I am quite grateful for your asseverations of friendship, which I do believe are sincere, particularly amid this dissolution of previous circumstances and relationships we are facing and which in part we are already experiencing, when it is doubly necessary that those who feel and perceive what is right close ranks together. [2]

You cannot believe what difficulties face every worthwhile enterprise just now; for example, I have not yet been able to realize the projected philosophical journal, whose idea I have, however, not yet completely abandoned. [3] I have similarly still been unable to get the second issue of the Jahrbücher printed and have no idea yet what will become of the third. [4]

I will be grateful to heaven if I can but find enough peace and quiet here to finish what I have started; I have no motivation to begin anything new, since I will not be remaining here much longer in any case. [5] There can be no doubt whatever that we foreigners, those who received appointments here from elsewhere, will not be left over to the new government; and yet we have still not been told anything official! But what a prospect, now having to move to Bavaria proper. [6]

As soon as I have found a peaceful patch of German earth, I intend to undertake something radical and thorough with the idea of either perishing completely in this war of good versus evil or of attaining complete victory. Half measures are of no use, and yet my previous situation has prevented me from doing more. . . .

Within my reclusive situation in Jena, I was always less focused on life than on nature, within which almost my entire reflection was restricted. I have in the meantime come to understand that religion, public faith, and life within the state are the points around which everything moves and at which the lever must be positioned if this dead mass of humanity is to be convulsed.

And indeed, these are precisely the points where all those have ultimately taken up positions and dug themselves in for whom science has become all too powerful. . . .


[*] Sources: Plitt 2:77–78; Fuhrmans 3:293–94. Back.

[1] Caroline had mentioned Windischmann’s eye problems as far back as her letter to him on 1 December 1804 (letter 388) and to Anna Maria Windischmann the following day, 2 December 1804 (letter 388a). Schelling mentions the problems in his letters to Windischmann on 7 December 1804 (letter 388b) and 26 February 1805 (letter 390b). On 2 March 1805 (letter 390c), Windischmann mentions to Schelling that his eyes have improved. Whether this same ailment recurred is uncertain. Back.

[2] The changes effected by the Treaty of Pressburg were becoming increasingly clear. See, e.g., Adalbert Friedrich Marcus’s letter to Schelling on 2 January 1806 (letter 400b). Back.

[3] Schelling had been planning a journal less focused on a strictly scholarly audience. See his letter to Windischmann from Würzburg on 8 October 1805 (Plitt 2:75–76; Fuhrmans 3:274–76):

The time has come where our cause must take on a more public presence; when we must speak not to the rabble, but to the people, not in a popular fashion, as do those who merely flatter the common sensibility, but rather in penetrating, moving, comprehensible fashion, as did the Reformer. . . . Those whom we might humiliate through criticism will despair as soon as they see that we ourselves are turning to that better portion of that particular class whom they have tried to deceive, and that we are now opening their eyes.

Schelling presumably had contacted the publisher Philipp Krüll in Landshut (the letter addressee is missing; Fuhrmans 1:336–38, here 337) about publishing the journal, remarking that, in addition to emphasizing in a generally comprehensible fashion those parts of philosophy connected more directly with “life,” another goal would be to present a survey of and respond to all those accusations and objections leveled at contemporary philosophy in part by the former (those writing from a less scholarly perspective) and in part by scholars (in the stricter sense). Back.

[4] See Caroline’s letter to Windischmann on 28 September 1805 (letter 397), in which she bemoans the trouble they had had securing copies of the first issue of this periodical. Concerning the periodical, see Caroline’s letter to Anna Maria Windischmann on 2 December 1804 (letter 388a), note 2. Back.

[5] As a result of the cession of Würzburg to Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany by the Treaty of Pressburg on 26 December 1805 as discussed in previous letters and supplementary appendices, the Schellings had not surprisingly already decided as early as mid-January 1806 to leave Würzburg in any case. Schelling himself genuinely departed for Munich in mid-April 1806, Caroline on 20 or 22 May 1806 (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



[6] Würzburg was strictly speaking part of Franconia rather than Bavaria, and Schelling knew in any case that he had copious adversaries in Bavaria “proper,” including Catholic scholars; see Kuno Fischer’s discussion of Catholic opposition to Schelling in Bavaria. Back.

Translation © 2017 Doug Stott