Letter 401c

401c. Schelling to the Intelligenzblatt of the Jenaische Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, 28 March 1806 [*]

Literary News

I. Universities and other public educational institutions

From letters from Würzburg, 10 March. One result of the recent transfer of Würzburg to the prince elector of Salzburg is that the Protestants scholars whom Bavaria appointed to its service from other states have undeniably been placed into what at least temporarily is an awkward situation, one they could not well have foreseen. Bavaria has made no comment on their wholly altered situation and the resulting consequences.

The reason may reside in political considerations and the current flux, where even the possessions of states themselves have not yet been finalized and hence similarly the locales and conditions of the transfer of these men could not immediately be determined. It would be unfair to expect anything different in this regard from a government that has hitherto consistently behaved justly in such determinations.

The public course of events has been the following to this point: apart from Herr Hufeland, who was transferred to Landshut in place of Feuerbach, it is Stahl, and Herr Medicus who are now to fill the unoccupied positions in physics and the cameral sciences there; moreover, Herr Niethammer and Herr Fuchs, the Protestant clergymen, changed over to Bamberg in their capacity as consistory councilors, insofar as only few Protestant pastorates were actually lost through the loss of Würzburg, the remainder being unconditionally transferred. This involved a solemn presentation with the imperial acquisitions commissar, Herr von Hügel, though involving no commitment ceremony. The demand to submit lectures for the coming semester was met by Paulus, Martini, Mannert, and Hoven.

At the actual commitment ceremony, absent were, apart from those already placed: Paulus, who reported sick, and Schelling. A few days later, the university secretary distributed to all professors newly employed by the Bavarian organization and who had submitted their lectures the oral notice that although Herr von Hügel had provisionally authorized the course catalog to be printed, this was not to be taken as a guarantee to these faculty members concerning their future positions, and that any further determination would be reserved for the new government.

People are quite eager to see how this rather peculiar situation will ultimately develop. If no new university be established, and no new one acquired — which in the case of Erlangen has for now become quite doubtful insofar as it is not being occupied with the principality of Ansbach [1] — then one can anticipate that these previous faculty members of the university Würzburg will be dispersed. Mannert is said to have declared his desire to remain in Würzburg.

Schelling is said to have received an invitation in this regard, based perhaps on his excellent reception by Herr von Hügel; in the meantime, however, he has declared in no uncertain terms that he will not be remaining here, [2] and will, it is said, be departing for Munich very shortly. [3] — This is the conflicting situation in which one now finds the enterprise that commenced only a few years ago amid such new and promising expectations. [4]

A history of the University of Würzburg under Bavaria written by an impartial hand would be very interesting indeed. That it was composed of a mixture of extremely contradictory elements is sufficiently well known, as is the fact that a preponderance of bad elements did indeed restrict the sum of good, and that especially personal relationships exerted an extremely detrimental influence.

Nonetheless, more was accomplished on behalf of the whole than one might have been expecting under such circumstances; nor were these effects lost for Würzburg itself, something the residents themselves in part acknowledge and in part will yet come to acknowledge.


[*] Source: Intelligenzblatt of the Jenaische Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1806) 29 (28 March 1806), 233–34; repr. Erich Frank, “Caroline, Schelling, and the Jenaische Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung,” 59–60.

Anonymous letter. Concerning Schelling’s anonymous correspondence in the Intelligenzblatt of the Jenaische Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1806) 29 (28 March 1806) (this present letter/document 401c) and (1807) 6 (19 January 1807) (letter/document 420d), see Erich Frank, “Caroline, Schelling, and the Jenaische Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung,” 58–59:

As an addendum here [to Schelling’s and Caroline’s reviews in the Jenaische Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung], two anonymous missives might be included that Schelling wrote to the Intelligenzblatt of the Jenaische Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung and which are not entirely without some biographical interest.

On 20 December 1804 (letter 388f), Schelling had offered to provide “[n]ews about the new educational concepts in Franconia and the procedures whereby they are being implemented.” Heinrich Karl Abraham Eichstädt was indeed interested in such news (letter of 30 December 1804), and Schelling’s missive sent on 10 March 1806 was probably the first such.

In a letter to Eichstädt on 2 April 1806 (Plitt 2:83–84; Fuhrmans 3:324–25), however, Schelling requested the following:

Because of the uncertainty of virtually all these circumstances, however, [regarding Würzburg possibly being transferred back to Bavaria, which did not happen until 1814; Schelling is possibly alluding to circumstances amid which “for a moment it even seemed that Napoleon was planning to undo the entire agreement”; see Caroline’s letter to Julie Gotter on 12 March 1806 (letter 401), note 9], I would prefer that the news I sent you regarding Würzburg for the Intelligenzblatt not be printed yet, and do hope that my letter is not arriving too late to have that piece withdrawn. As soon as something has been decided here, it will be replaced by another.

It was, however, already too late, and this present piece was indeed published in the Intelligenzblatt of the Jenaische Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung on 28 March 1806. Except for a letter to Carl Joseph Windischmann from Würzburg on 17 April 1806 (letter 401e), this present letter essentially constitutes Schelling’s swan song for his and Caroline’s time in Würzburg. The remaining letters from Würzburg all come from Caroline’s hand.

Here a map of the locales Schelling mentions in this letter, including Munich, to which he and Caroline now begin preparing to move (J. Walch, Neueste Post-Karte von Deutschland und dessen angrenzenden Laendern [Augsburg 1813 ]):



[1] Concerning Erlangen’s status (in connection with that of the Paulus family), see Dorothea and Friedrich Schlegel’s letter to Karoline Paulus on 23 February 1806 (letter 400h), note 1. Back.

[2] In her letter to Julie Gotter on 12 March 1806 (letter 401), Caroline relates with suspiciously similar words that

Schelling, who was not present at the general presentation before the imperial commissar, Herr von Hügel, did visit him afterward and was received with the greatest favor and with exceptional cordiality; although people were then also immediately saying that he would be staying here, he never considered that for a moment. Back.

[3] Schelling departed on 18 March 1806 (“Le coche de voyage du dix-huitiéme siécle,” in anonymous, “La locomotion terrestre: Les ancients coutures de voyage,” La nature: Revue des sciences etc. 16 [1888], premier semestre, no. 768 [18 February 1888], 177–79, here 177):



[4] Viz., in 1803, after Würzburg had passed to Bavaria and the latter decided to reform the university more in the spirit of the Enlightenment. Back.

Translation © 2017 Doug Stott