Letter 401d

401d. Schelling to Maximilian von Montgelas in Munich: Würzburg, 2 April 1806 [*]

Illustrious Imperial Count,
Gracious Lord!

During Your Excellency’s most recent visit to Würzburg, my most ardent wish was to present to you those particular steps I had already taken with His Royal Highness of Bavaria with regard to a swift resolution of my future situation and to request once more your beneficent support of those same steps. Unfortunately the host of other obligations commanding your attention thwarted my repeated attempts. Were it not such a particularly important matter, I would never importune Your Excellency in writing about my concerns had you not, in your uniquely gracious fashion, already given me the assurance of benevolent assistance. My intention was simply to request, during a projected visit to Munich, some words of guidance and a final, conclusive support for my specific, formal petition.

I have learned through Herr Director Schilcher, however, that a special request of this sort to Your Excellency would, moreover, hasten the decision concerning my situation to the extent that my present circumstances genuinely require from virtually every quarter. Hence the first and the last, the beginning and the end do indeed lie in Your Excellency’s hands, and I am unable to deny myself the flattering confidence that a more serene future for me may indeed come all the more certainly from those hands.

The primary points supporting my petition can be found in the attached presentations.

One hardly need explicate for Your Highness’s refined and perceptive sensibility why a position in the Academy of Sciences and Humanities is the one I cannot but desire above all others at the present time. Such a position alone would return to me the external peace and quiet that, quite the opposite of diminishing my interior activity, would instead quite revivify it. [1]

Your Excellency is inclined to promote not only the good as such, but indeed the most agreeable and select good, and may I not hope that in this instance as well you will not consider it squandered. Amid constancy alone can prosperity flourish, a situation particularly applicable to scholarly endeavor, in which I myself might similarly find the means to express my gratitude in the only genuinely worthy fashion, namely, through works whose refinement in both content and form bestow upon them enduring value.

The attached documents contain, as I myself believe, everything that would appear to render possible an official initiative in this regard. And should, moreover, my journey to Munich genuinely come about, I hope I might in Anspach be permitted to demonstrate to Your Excellency personally my esteem, and in the meantime assure you of the most profound esteem with which I have the honor of being

Your Excellency’s

most humble and
wholly obedient
Schelling [2]

Würzburg, the 2nd of April


[*] Source: Bayerische Staatsbibliothek; transcription by translator.

This letter of particular interest insofar as it attests that even at this late date (Schelling departs Würzburg for Munich hardly two weeks later), Schelling still has no secure, assured position in Munich, which did not yet have a university in any case.

Ansbach (Anspach), mentioned later in this letter, is located ca. 85 km southeast of Würzburg, Munich another ca. 190 km south of Ansbach (Neueste Post. Karte von Deutschland und den angrenzenden Laendern, ed. T. Molls [Vienna 1805]):



[1] Concerning Schelling’s sometimes contentious experiences in Würzburg, see his letter to to Carl Joseph Windischmann on 21 February 1806 (letter 400g), note 5. Back.

[2] Schelling received the appointment to the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Back.

Translation © 2017 Doug Stott