Letter 417c

417c. Schelling to his Father and Mother in Murrhardt: Munich, 7 August 1806 [*]

Munich, 7 August 1806

Here at last I must take a moment to remember myself to you, my dear parents; your upcoming 69th birthday; [1] the prospect that you might be celebrating it in Stuttgart and that I thereby might at least take a modest part in the celebration through this letter doubly prompts me to write to you today. May you celebrate this day, one so dear to us all, often and with both joy and health in the future as well in the circle of your children — but ah! why am I alone, of those still alive, unable to participate this time! [2]

Recent events have caused concern and worry for you as well; indeed, it appears that in your advanced years you have entered into that particular bad time whose consequences we now must experience so early. [3] But we must all make do: Rex est, qui metuit et qui sperat nihil; hoc regnum sibi quisque dat. [4]

I hope it will give you some joy to hear that my lot has now been resolved in favor of Munich and that I may hope to rest up from the previous storms in this safe harbor. The Bavarian government has comported itself quite nobly toward me and compensated me for the previous unpleasantness. Since leaving Würzburg service, I have been drawing a temporary salary here of 1500 fl., with which one must admittedly live prudently, though the final word has not yet been spoken.

To wit, I have received written assurance for a position in the Academy of Sciences and Humanities, though the formal appointment will probably not take place until next month, since Geheimer Rath Zentner will be away till then for reasons of health, and also because the reorganization of this body will not be completed till then. [5]

In any event, the honorable nature of this distinction will no doubt please you, and to me it will also provide peace and quiet and a life free of harassment and will also free me from all the squabbles and rows of university life. For now I would prefer nothing be made public concerning my future position, though in the meantime certainly everyone may learn from other sources that I will be remaining in Munich as an académicien.

I must close now, my dearest parents, and once more wish you health and happiness for your 69th birthday, and for myself your continuing love.



[*] Sources: Plitt 2:98–99; Fuhrmans 3:350–51. Back.

[1] Joseph Friedrich Schelling was born on 13 August 1737. Back.

[2] It may be recalled that Schelling’s younger brother Gottlieb Schelling had fallen in action near Genoa during the summer of 1800, and that Schelling had interrupted his stay in Bocklet to return to his parents’ home at the time in Schorndorf. It was upon his return to Bocklet that he found Auguste so grievously ill. Concerning that journey, see Auguste’s letter to him on 4/5 June 1800 (letter 261), esp. editorial note and note 1. Back.

[3] Concerning Schelling’s parents’ hardships amid the current military developments, see Karl Schelling’s letter to Schelling on 19 May 1806 (letter 416a), note 1, and Beate Gross’s letter to Caroline on 25 May 1806 (letter 416b), also with note 5 there. Back.

[4] From Seneca, Thyestes 388–90 (trans. Jasper Heywood, Seneca: His Tenne Tragedies, part 1, Publications of the Spenser Society 43 [n.p. 1887], 56–57; special printing of Seneca and His Tenne Tragedies . . . Imprinted 1581): “A Kyng he is that feare hath layde aside, / And all affects that in the breast are bred: . . . Eche man him selfe this kyngdome geeues at hand.” Back.

[5] The Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities was transitioning from a private to a state-run organization. Back.

Translation © 2018 Doug Stott