Letter 404

• 404. Caroline to Meta Liebeskind in Ansbach: Würzburg, 27 April 1806 [*]

[Würzburg] Sunday evening [27 April 1806]

|433| What a fine thing, you asking that I refresh and reinvigorate you — for where am I myself then to find such reinvigoration? [1] For here neither the sun nor the stars shine, and the wind is just so raw. [2] On top of that, in the ten days I have been alone, [3] I have spent 6 with a headache and the onset of a more serious illness; but all that has now passed, and yesterday, my dear, I also received a letter from Munich. Schelling arrived there safe and sound, which no doubt pleases you as well, for is it not true that he is worthy of all joy and all love and is infinitely amiable in his inner splendor? [4]

Indeed, you yourself say that even the children sense it. And he confirms what he told you about the littlest one: [5] “He is a good and sweet boy who will surely give you much joy.” He took Adalbert along all the way to Eichstädt, and my own opinion of the boy has considerably improved ever since both Köhler and Schelling praised him for being such a deft fellow.

And what honors you paid my friend. [6] But do tell me, was he also wearing a garment worthy of a wedding, or was he too comfortable to unpack because he feared having to pack all over again. For now that he does not have me, who will help him? Between us, I hope this journey he is taking by himself will advance him considerably with respect to both cultivation and social agility; later on he will perhaps need but a single manservant to carry the handkerchiefs and tobacco pouch behind him. The precious fellow! He wrote me the very next day after his arrival, mentioning only that the moment was just right insofar as nothing had been decided yet but was indeed about to be. [7]

I for my part am sooner quite indifferent to the actual form of the employment; [8] |434| it must merely result in according us a freer and quieter existence. [9] He is again very pleased with Munich itself. [10] Might it really be possible that Liebeskind be transferred to Munich? I confess I would not know whether such a turn of fate would provide more fun or more entertainment for me. [11]

I do have a plan, namely, that if Schelling gets news soon and is accorded his modest place in Bavaria, I see absolutely no reason why he should make the journey back here yet again and thereby lose valuable time. I can, after all, easily enough travel to Anspach by myself, nor would there be any lack of traveling companions. I will then rest a day in A[nspach], where you would absolutely not have to go to any great trouble for me, and then you would simply climb into the carriage with me to Munich; for cover and service we would take Adalbert along dressed in the most charming jockey outfit [12] — The coachman would doubtless be willing to stay in Munich for a day, and you would then have seen Munich. Would you not fear this fatigue? [13]

We are laboring here with respect to the arrival of the regent, about which no one knows anything for certain but everyone is believing and hoping. Countless illumination edifices are standing ready, the lamps are being driven around on carriages, there is not a single piece of tallow to be found in the city, the citizenry is drilling day and night, it seems they will yet burst from sheer patriotism and affection if the Lord does not come soon. [14]

And when are your guests leaving? [15]

Just imagine, Sturz is seriously bedridden with the measles; it had to be a children’s disease that either costs the man his life or brings him to his senses. [16]

Please send an answer soon to your



[*] Ansbach is located ca. 50 km southwest of Nürnberg and ca. 85 km southeast of Würzburg (Neueste Post. Karte von Deutschland und den angrenzenden Laendern, ed. T. Molls [Vienna 1805]; illustration: J. Poppel, “Ansbach,” in Das Königreich Bayern. Seine Denkwürdigkeiten und Schönheiten, ed. Hermann von Schmid, vol. 1 [Munich 1875]):




[1] Meta Liebeskind’s letter to which Caroline is here responding seems not to be extant. Back.

[2] In her letter to Schelling the previous day (letter 403), Caroline mentions that the “air is dark with snow”; see also note 38 there. Back.

[3] Schelling had departed Würzburg on 18 April 1806. Back.

[4] Schelling had stopped in Ansbach for a layover on Saturday, 19 April 1806, leaving again at 4 a.m. the following morning. The Liebeskinds were currently residing in Ansbach. Back.

[5] The Liebeskind’s youngest child had been born in May of 1802. Back.

[6] I.e., Schelling. Back.

[7] According to these remarks, Schelling arrived in Munich on 21 April 1806; his letter to Caroline of 22 April 1806 seems not to be extant (Neueste Post. Karte von Deutschland und den angrenzenden Laendern [Vienna 1805]):



[8] Concerning the various factors determining Schelling’s future employment with the Bavarian government, see his letter to Georg Friedrich von Zentner on 19 January 1806 (letter 400d), note 7. Schelling ultimately received an appointment to the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Back.

[9] The Schellings, Caroline’s private life included, had been involved in controversy and quarrels, some quite vitriolic, essentially from the moment they arrived in Würzburg back in November of 1803. See Fuhrmans 1:349–50:

Had the Bavarian administration still viewed Schelling as the grand, celebrated philosopher of the sort he had been when he received his position in Würzburg back in 1803 . . . it likely would have been a foregone conclusion that he be appointed to a position in the real territorial university, i.e., in Landshut, or that a position be freed up there for him . . .

But no one in court circles now considered appointing Schelling to a position that would provide his philosophy room to exert yet greater influence. Influential circles (Jacobi?) probably vehemently opposed Schelling’s appointment in Landshut, and the administration was not willing to subject Landshut to even more partisan quarrels.

(In this context, see the following satirical illustration by Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki in 1780, “Die Philosophen” (The philosophers), Illustrationen zu Erasmus’ Lob der Narrheit in sechs Abteilungen [1780]; Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur DChodowiecki WB 3.31):


Hence it was delighted to have the opportunity to make Schelling a member of the Academy. Indeed, it was probably even surprised when Schelling immediately accepted the offer. But this acceptance was no accident; for all the battles and adversaries in Würzburg had fatigued Schelling somewhat . . . Hence he did not at all find the prospect unfavorable that he might, at least for a time, retreat from the “front,” something an academy, where he need not deliver lectures, sooner made possible than did a university.

See the following illustration of the entire academy (at the time of this illustration: Jesuit) complex in 1664 (Ansicht des Jesuitenkollegiums in München, Deutsche Fotothek; Foto: DDZ,2008; Aufn.-Nr.:df_tg_005238):


Though the Academy’s purpose had hitherto been to provide a center for scholarship in the town that lacked a university [i.e., Munich itself], it had nonetheless led an existence to which few people paid notice and which was not even particularly significant. . . .

But enough: Schelling accepted. This solution, however, was in reality an awkward one, constituting in fact a somewhat embarrassing solution for both Schelling and the administration. But he was looking for peace and quiet, at least for a time, and he did indeed find it in Munich.

([1] Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Szenen aus dem Alltagsleben [n.d.]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Graph. A1: 161; [2] frontispiece to Restif de la Bretonne, Die Zeitgenossinnen: vom Verfasser des neuen Abeillard, vol. 1 [Berlin 1781]):




[10] Caroline and Schelling had already visited Munich between 7 and 24 September 1803. Back.

[11] Genealogische Kalender auf das Jahr 1810; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:


The Liebeskinds moved to Bamberg in 1807, and then to Munich in 1808, where Caroline and Meta — childhood friends from Göttingen — did indeed remain good friends (Neueste Post. Karte von Deutschland und den angrenzenden Laendern, ed. T. Molls [Vienna 1805]):



[12] Here less in the sense of “equine groom, handler” than as a young lad or page in a typical livrée (livery), similar to the role Auguste played earlier (see her letter to Cäcilie Gotter on 18 February 1799 [letter 220] with cross references; also supplementary appendix 220.1), and to the lad in the following illustration by Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki (Das Goldstück [1793]; Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur DChodowiecki AB 3.955):



[13] Almanach, Der neuesten Moden (Vienna 1795):


Fatigue in French in original.

Meta Liebeskind does not seem to have made the trip to Munich with Caroline, who speaks about her possible route to Munich over the next several letters as well as about potential traveling companions.

Concerning Schelling’s route to Munich see Caroline’s letter to him on 21 April 1806 (letter 402), note 17. Ansbach 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]):



[14] Ferdinand’s grand arrival in Würzburg itself on 1 May 1806 occupies considerable space in coming letters. Back.

[15] Uncertain allusion; perhaps Gottlieb Mehmel, whom Caroline mentions in her letter to Schelling on 21 April 1806 (letter 402). Back.

[16] Concerning Karl Joseph Sturz’s illness, see Caroline’s letter to Schelling on 25 April 1806 (letter 403) (Genealogischer Calender auf das Jahr 1785 [Berlin]; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):



Translation © 2017 Doug Stott