Letter 419

• 419. Caroline to Luise Wiedemann in Kiel: Munich, 30 November 1806

[Munich] 30 Nov[ember 1806]

|477| Your letters took only 10 days to get here, and I received them undamaged at a time when, for me, they truly seemed sent from heaven. [1] Although I basically already knew that the Angel of Death had just managed to pass all of you by, I did fear that the sheer number of refugees and the general distress |478| would hard press you. [2] May God continue to prevent the worst from happening there! I had hoped that all of you would be almost as safe as we here; but who is really safe?

Now, however, I see that some of the most horrific scenes have occurred right there in your very vicinity, though some of the most commendable as well in this ignominious war. From the thousands of newspapers he reads at the Museum, practically none of which ever reach me, Schelling related almost everything you yourself reported. [3] You can imagine with what profound sensibility for the age in which we live he relates it all to me.

We have received letters from Jena and Weimar — Goethe wrote to my husband as someone who managed to remain firm and unshakeable even amid such storms [4] — they spent 72 hours basically in mortal fear; one can get over losing money and similar valuables, he maintained, if one but manages to salvage that which is most precious and dear. Public accounts say that on the day of the battle, he wed Mademoiselle Vulpius — as if trying to establish and indeed tighten bonds precisely at a time when all bonds seem sundered! [5]

His own house escaped the plundering because marshals were immediately quartered there. [6] The Frommanns also managed to get through without being plundered even though they did have to feed 130 men for almost a week.

I received a letter from Wesselhöft, her brother, who lives in the former Schütz house and who fared all the worse. [7] He was subjected to the attacks of the marodeurs for 3 days, was disrobed with his wife and housemates down to their shirts, abused, and more than once had a bayonet at his breast [8] — on the morning of the battle itself, fire broke out in the Johannisgasse; no one could extinguish it, the streets were blocked with reinforcement troops, indeed, no one even wanted to extinguish it, as if people simply wanted everything to perish. [9]

The letter |479| gave a fairly accurate and detailed account of the days during which all this devastation descended so suddenly on this peaceful area. [10] After the battle, he took care of a great many of the wounded in the plundered house, and yet amidst all this misery and horrific distress, when people seemed to act like nothing but animals, there were also scenes of noble-mindedness and circumspection, and even events of pure chance that brightened their day. For example, once, when they had absolutely nothing more to eat, a lost ox wandered behind their garden, which they then caught and on which they exercised the rights of war, afterwards refreshing themselves and slaking their hunger. —

Hegel’s house was plundered, [11] and one of our very close acquaintances, Schelver in the Botanical Garden, had a particularly awful time of it. [12]

The elder Stark claims he was robbed of 12,000 rh., presumably in valuables. [13] Our acquaintances in Halle are also in bad shape; Steffens, I hear, is planning to go to Hamburg. [14] I have been especially worried about his father-in-law, though I have heard nothing yet regarding him (he left with the minister with whom Luise Schr. lives). None of the reports mentions anything about Giebichenstein. [15]

In Jena and Weimar, where they never get discouraged and where, like ants, they immediately rebuild whatever is torn down, they are thinking only of helping themselves out again in this situation and of holding everything together; that is the general sense in which Goethe has written as well. Their greatest worry may well be whether they will remain under their present rulers. No harsh declaration has yet been issued against the duke, and he himself has provisionally sent the historian (Johannes Müller) to the Hero. [16]

But precisely that is the point, namely, that even the most innocent and modest existence is no longer secure; it is not just those particular areas where the actual torrent of war is rushing forward that are suffering such devastation; every person who belongs to any state is now unsettled, and is often being torn from the ground by the very roots. [16a]

Since you last wrote, our own fatherland has again been taken. [17] May God grant that the |480| conditions are not such that our mother is suffering. But if her pension is no longer being paid out, then we must do everything we can to keep this in effect with the French administration, and I doubt not that the name Michaelis has not already been forgotten in France. [18]

As far as Philipp is concerned, I now think it just as well that Hufeland’s wish for him was not implemented. [19] Does no one suspect yet who the future ruler of Hannover may be? [20] Just how the loot of the world is being distributed is something about which I am similarly not going to rack my brains. And what does it matter in any event? For truly, there is certainly no love lost regarding any of the regents who are now coming to ruin. Any country can easily enough come up with the very same sort again.

The only exception I would make in this regard is the tragic fall of the Braun [Braunschweiger], though for that territory, too, his successors are sooner a matter of indifference. [21] Perhaps his connections with the house of Baden can help the designee find another means of support. [22] But our our eldest brother — how will he take the catastrophe? [23] If any of you have news, please send it along to me.

Schelling tells me that the old duke is being brought to the crypt in Braunschweig and that they are proceeding with the proper decorum, the theater having been closed and a period of mourning stipulated. No doubt there will be not a single dry eye the day the body arrives. [24] Happy the land that still harbors and indeed is permitted to harbor such sentiment, and which has not become completely dulled and, on top of even that, is sooner inclined to despise those who brought it to ruin. —

All the reports concur that the blindness and stupidity on the part of the Prussians reached incredible proportions, that they all lost their heads — or had none to lose in the first place, making one mistake after the other, and are doing so even still! The surrender of all the fortresses! [25]

We are now reading the history of the Seven Years War; that was certainly a different battle than this seven-day one. Often with everything lost, but then |481| everything rescued by the spirit that in fact did not perish, the very last spark from the ashes being rekindled and transformed into a bright flame. [26]

You will be doing me an enormous favor of love by not neglecting to write me. Of course, I would also like to speak with all of you — although such letters quite often end up with the Moniteur, I have not yet lost any of them. [27] I am particularly pleased that Wiedemann’s hearing has returned. —

I must confess that for several reasons I was extremely worried about Lotte’s husband, as you call him. — You can just let me know briefly whether he is out of all danger. [28] — What are the Campes doing!? Napoleon will doubtless show him favor. Campe can now say to him, “Behold, the generation you have overcome I myself brought up to be such.” [29]

Has our good Madam Meyer finally been freed from so much suffering and such a sickly husk? [30] The other Madam Meyer has probably not spoken about me, for what could she say? Hamburg, too, will probably be occupied soon if it is not already. [31] Your wish regarding Altona will probably not be fulfilled, that will probably go with Hamburg. [32]

Iffland has made an application to our king — they are negotiating with him. [33] And even in a general sense, there will probably be quite a few people again who will now urgently be trying to get to Bavaria. [34]

30 November

Jacobi has long suffered from head gout; [35] yesterday Schelling was able to visit him again for the first time in weeks. He has not really managed to comprehend clearly the catastrophe that has occurred in the north. —

Let me advise you to cultivate Reinhold’s acquaintance as well — even if it is not really the right thing, it is at least a stimulus. [36] Schelling is thinking about writing a short piece: “Francophobia and Repentence in One Act.” |482| Is that not a piquant idea? You can easily enough guess Meinau and Eulalia in this context. [37] Next time I will write to Mother.

Madam Huber just finished writing her husband’s biography, a bizarre work of art with respect to what she has both omitted and veiled, and one that quite frankly made me ill and disgusted me. [38]

Give my regards to your children [39] — oh, could they but be here with me. Were the world more tranquil now, I would feel even more keenly how far away from all of you I am — and how far from me that which I once possessed. As it is, however, the universal woe sooner directs me to calm myself with regard to my own sorrows.


[1] Caroline is surprised (“only 10 days”) because Kiel is located so distant from Munich, farther even than Luise’s earlier residence in Braunschweig (“Central Europe: Wars of the Third Coalition 1805–7,” Cambridge Modern History Atlas [Cambridge 1912]):


The mail had, moreover, been severely disrupted by the military developments between Munich and Kiel associated with the battles of Jena and Auerstedt and their aftermath. Back.

[2] The reference here and in the following (“horrific scenes”) is to the battle of Lübeck and the refugees it generated. See the description of the siege in the supplementary appendix on the flight of generals Blücher and Hohenlohe, though esp. note 3 there. Back.

[3] Schelling was reading these periodicals not in a museum in the usual sense, but at a reading society, the Museum, at Prannerstrasse 20 in Munich, that had been formed at an initial board meeting on 15 October 1802 with Count Rumford contributing to the articulation of its statutes (concerning Rumford earlier, see Caroline’s letter to Anna Maria Windischmann on 2 December 1804 [letter 388a], esp. note 5 there with cross references).

Here the location of the society’s facilities on an 1809 map of Munich; the Schellings lived at Karlsthor 7, at bottom left, with Prannerstrasse 20 several streets over, at upper right, but still on the west side of town (Königlich Baiersche Haupt und Residenzstadt München am 1. Januar 1809 [Munich 1809]; Bayerisches Landesvermessungsamt München, Nr. 558/03):


Concerning this reading society, see supplementary appendix 419.1. Back.

[4] See Goethe’s letter to Schelling on 31 October 1806 (letter 417h); Caroline paraphrases much of that letter’s content here. Back.

[5] Goethe married Christiane Vulpius on 19 October 1806. Opinion long had it that Goethe was prompted to marry Christiane at just this time out of gratitude for her steadfast actions during the French plundering of Weimar (representative illustration from 1808: Der neuesten Moden Almanach auf das Jahr 1808):


Though Caroline could not have known the back story to Goethe’s actions in this regard, she does nonetheless inadvertently intimate what was likely at work. Caroline remarkably anticipates Goethe in this sentence’s wording, namely, “als wenn er Bande noch hätte knüpfen und fester anzeiehen wollen in einem Augenblick, wo alle Bande gelöst scheinen,” for at Christmas of this same year, Goethe remarks in a letter to Karl August in precisely this regard: “Wenn alle Bande sich auflösen wird man zu den häuslichen zurückgewiesen, und überhaupt mag man jetzt nur gerne nach innen sehen” (“[at a time] when all bonds are being sundered, one turns one’s attention back to domestic circumstances, and in general quite prefers now to focus on interior concerns”).

Goethe was clearly apprehensive concerning the “sundering of all bonds,” social and legal, with the arrival of Napoleon and the imposition of French administrative governance in conquered territories, the precariousness of Karl August’s status as duke (see esp. the supplementary appendix on Friedrich Müller’s odyssey on behalf of Duke Karl August after the battles of Jena and Auerstedt), and the extralegal nature of his, Goethe’s, status with respect to his house, property, and heirs. To wit, Goethe did not own his house in Weimar outright, was not married to Christiane Vulpius, and their son, August, was, moreover, strictly speaking illegitimate. See in this context esp. Peter J. Schwartz, “Why Did Goethe Marry When He Did?,” Goethe Yearbook 15 (2008) no. 1, 115–30. Back.

[6] Concerning the experience of the Weimar residence following the battles of Jena and Auerstedt, and specifically the experiences of Charlotte Schiller and Goethe, see supplementary appendix 417g.1.

Peter J. Schwartz, “Why Did Goethe Marry When He Did?,” 119, suggests that the officer who quartered in Goethe’s house, Marshal Augereau, “would doubtless have known what a liability Goethe’s unmarried state might have become under the Napoleonic dispensation,” and “knew enough of Goethe’s peculiar position to gauge the moment as optimal,” optimal, namely, for Goethe to address his legally precarious position by marrying Christiane not so much out of a sense of gallantry, but rather for urgently practical considerations in the face of the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and its concomitant political and social restructuring. Back.

[7] Concerning the Wesselhöft residence in Jena and the reason for Caroline’s reference to it as the Schütz house, see the pertinent section in the supplementary appendix on Johanna Frommann’s experiences in Jena, October 1806, also with note 13 there. Back.

[8] (1) Fr., maraudeurs, “marauders” ([1] Almanach der Revolutions Opfer für das Jahr 1795; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung; [2] Georg Phillip Rugendas, Raubzug [ca. 1721–45]; Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur GPRugendas d.J. AB 2.50):




[9] Concerning the fire in the Johannisgasse in Jena, see the pertinent section in the supplementary appendix on Johanna Frommann’s experiences in Jena, October 1806 (Das alte Jena und seine Universität: eine Jubiläumsgabe zur Universitätsfeier [Jena 1908], 227):



[10] Wesselhöft seems to have included at least parts, if not the entire account that Johanna Frommann composed during the autumn of 1806 to chronicle these events in Jena; see the entire supplementary appendix on Johanna Frommann’s experiences in Jena, October 1806. Because in his letter to Hegel on 11 January 1807 (letter 420a) Schelling asks that he relate to Johanna Frommann that Caroline intends to write Johanna Frommann to thank her for her letter, one might an reasonably assume that Johanna Frommann herself sent Caroline a copy of this account. Back.

[11] See Karl Rosenkranz, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegels Leben (Berlin 1844), 227–29:

The Jena Catastrophe, Autumn 1806

The passage of Prussians troops through Jena and their mustering in the town’s public squares gave Hegel the occasion to express his opinion of the future of the Prussian army. He did not think it capable of much, and unfortunately his expectations were confirmed. All the details of Jena’s fate in those days is so familiar that one need not adduce Hegel’s numerous letters to Niethammer from this period, notwithstanding that they would indeed provide copious material.

Hegel was indeed able to hold out for a while before the battle when the French began breaking into and plundering houses; Hegel then provided the soldiers with whatever food and drink he had at hand. When several seemed about to commit even worse abuse and threatened him, he fortunately noticed that one of them was wearing the cross of the Legion of Honor on his breast. Hegel pointed to it and remarked that he hoped that a man honored by such distinction would also treat a simple German scholar honorably, whereupon the soldiers calmed down a bit and were satisfied with but a bottle of wine.

But when the violence became increasingly severe and dangerous, and when the fire began spreading, Hegel put the final manuscript of his Phenomenology into his satchel that was to be sent to Bamberg, left all his other books and papers to their fate, and on 14 October found refuge in the house of the university prorector Gabler, whose son, Hegel’s later successor in Berlin, made available an empty student’s room in the upper story of the house where Hegel might stay temporarily.

Because a high-ranking officer had taken quarters in Gabler’s house, the house was protected from plundering. After the battle, Napoleon immediately had the previously unchecked fires brought under control and reestablished order at least to a certain extent, whereupon Hegel immediately returned to his residence. There he found that the soldiers had essentially ransacked everything, and stolen his paper, quills, and penknife. He had to run around and find friends in order merely to write a letter, in one of which he referred to the war as the grand “God be with us” and maintained that no one imagined things would be this bad.

In Hegel’s necrologue in the Prussian state newspaper — whence it found its way into many biographies — Eduard Gans maintained that Hegel finished his Phenomenology of Mind under the thunder of the cannons at the Battle of Jena. This assertion is not entirely false insofar as Hegel was just about to send off the final sheets of the manuscript in order to keep to the stipulated delivery date. His letters to Niethammer, who was employed in Bamberg, attest his considerable anxiety and worry concerning the possibility that all his laborious work in those pages might utterly perish and be irretrievably lost in these restive times. He did not know whether the manuscript he sent off had already arrived, what Bamberg’s fate was, or whether under such circumstances he would even receive his fee from the publisher, which he desperately needed.

In short, he knew nothing. After the town had been plundered, he literally did not have a single Pfennig to his name and turned to Niethammer in an increasingly awkward situation, who however, promptly proved his friendship yet again, sending Hegel an assignation to be paid out in Jena that assuaged Hegel’s difficulties at least for the moment.

Rosenkranz cites the familiar passage from Hegel’s letter to Niethammer concerning Napoleon (ibid., 229):

I saw the emperor — this World Soul — riding out of town on reconnaissance. — It is indeed a strange feeling to see such an individual who, concentrated precisely here, at a single point, and sitting on a horse, reaches out over the world and masters it.

A seductive moment in history whose details artists understandably sometimes cannot help fictionalizing; note the manuscript under Hegel’s arm, here juxtaposed with a 1917 postcard with essentially the same view (from Poultney Bigelow, “The German Struggle for Liberty,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine xci [1895] no. dxlii [Junl 1895], 202–18, here 209):



[12] Concerning Franz Joseph Schelver’s experiences in Jena and his fate after losing essentially everything, see Goethe’s letter to Schelling on 31 October 1806 (letter 417h), note 3. Back.

[13] See Fuhrmans 3:415–17, here, 415fn1, whose source for Schelling’s letter to Hegel on 22 March 1807 (letter 421b) was Briefe von und an Hegel, ed. Johannes Hoffmeister and R. Flechsig, 3 vols., 3rd ed. (Hamburg 1969), 1:157, which contains the following bracketed editorial remark:

According to Hoffmeister, The first half of the first page contains the request that Hegel, who in the meantime was living in Bamberg, have Niethammer forward from Bamberg to Jena a package of household linens that Caroline wanted to send to a family in Jena whose house had been plundered. Back.

[14] Concerning Henrik Steffens’s experiences in Halle, where he was teaching as a colleague of Schleiermacher, and his fate after Napoleon shut down the university there, see supplementary appendix 417j.1. Back.

[15] Johann Friedrich Reichardt’s estate at Giebichenstein had been plundered, and he himself was on the run, initially to Danzig, having become disenchanted with post-Revolution developments in France as well as with Napoleon following a visit to Paris in 1802. His book Napoleon Bonaparte und das französiche Volk unter seinem Consulate (Germanien 1804) had incensed Napoleon, and Reichardt eventually accompanied the royal family and court all the way to Königsberg and ultimately to Memel at the northeastern edge of the empire (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):


Louise Schr.? Back.

[16] It was not the historian Johannes Müller whom Karl August dispatched to negotiate with Napoleon, but rather the later chancellor Friedrich Müller, though Karl August had indeed seen Johannes Müller in Berlin.

The stakes, moreover, were unnervingly high, precisely as Caroline suggests. Because Karl August had not remained neutral in the latest war between Prussia and France, and, worse yet, had not only put troops in the field but had also engaged to lead those troops in battle, Napoleon was set on divesting him of his ducal sovereignty the way he had already divested the dying Duke of Braunschweig of his, recognizing the latter no longer as “duke” but merely as “general.”

See above concerning Goethe’s apprehension at the precariousness of the legal status of his own, Goethe’s, family were Napoleon genuinely to divest Karl August of his title.

It may be recalled (supplementary appendix 417g.1) that Duchess Louise had remained in Weimar even after most of the court had fled, and that her constancy and courage had convinced Napoleon not to destroy Weimar immediately and to give Karl August a chance to return to Weimar with his troops (Steube [artist] and A. Zschokke [engraver], Napoleon in Weimar [1840], Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig, Inventarnummer VS 1720 GOS-Nr. gr017377):


The continuing story, however, provides a more complicated, exciting, and sometimes bewildering account of how precipitately events progressed in the wake of the French army and high command’s triumphant and brutal march toward Berlin and Poland following the battles of Jena and Auerstedt, even as the remnants of the Prussian army, including especially Generals Blücher and Hohenlohe, whom Karl August was trying to reach, were being pursued in flight through northern Germany. See the supplementary appendix on Friedrich Müller’s “odyssey” across Europe on behalf of Karl August (“Central Europe: Wars of the Third Coalition 1805–7,” Cambridge Modern History Atlas [Cambridge 1912]):



[16a] Caroline seems to have grasped at least in a preliminary fashion the significance of developments that had already issued in the end of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. The earlier Treaty of Lunéville coupled with the advance of French troops across Europe similarly provided the prelude to Napoleon’s current “grazing through one country after the other with his sharp teeth and then tossing them to his protected regents” (thus in her letter to Julie Gotter on 12 March 1806 [letter 401]). Back.

[17] Luise and Caroline’s “fatherland” was Hannover, in the circle of Lower Saxony.

The French commander Edouard Adolphe Mortier had occupied Hannover on the 12th November without opposition; it would be incorporated, along with the duchy of Braunschweig, into the new Kingdom of Wesphalia under Jerome Bonaparte, in which status it would remain until 1813 (Central Europe in 1812, from William R. Shepherd, Historical Atlas [New York 1923], Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection):



[18] Now that France was in control of the Hannoverian territories, including Göttingen, they could easily cut Madame Michaelis’s university pension.

Caroline’s father, Johann David Michaelis, had carried on regular correspondence with scholars in Paris and had enjoyed respectful relations with the French even during billeting in Göttingen during the Seven Years War; See Luise Wiedemann’s memoirs, page 4 with note 6. Back.

[19] Uncertain allusion; had Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland, who had fled with the Prussian king and queen (leaving his wife and child behind, unsecured, in Berlin), tried to secure Philipp a position in Berlin? Had such come about, Caroline is quite right in suggesting that Philipp would be even worse off.

Philipp was in any case a resident of Harburg, just across the Elbe River from Hamburg, which Mortier had also occupied, after Hannover, on 19 November, the next day issuing an order to the sequestration of all English products and manufacturing goods in the city, regardless of their ownership (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):


Draconian measures were threatened to all who gave false information to the French, and English merchants were arrested outright, then released, but remained under military guard. Back.

[20] As mentioned above, it would be Jerome Bonaparte as king of Westphalia. Back.

[21] Abbreviation (Braun) as in original. Duke Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand von Braunschweig had died amid terrible suffering after the catastrophe at Auerstadt on 10 November 1806 in Ottensen. See the supplementary appendix on the battles of Jena and Auerstedt, section 9. Back.

[22] Friedrich Wilhelm of Braunschweig, Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand’s designated successor (Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, mortally wounded at Auerstedt, had died on 11 November), had been taken prisoner after the debacle at Lübeck (see note 2 above) and no longer had a duchy in any case, Napoleon having dissolved the Duchy of Braunschweig for having put troops in the field against him at Auerstedt. Friedrich Wilhelm of Braunschweig was married to a princess from Baden, Marie Elisabeth Wilhelmine. Back.

[23] See Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter on 28 November 1806 (letter 418), note 4. Back.

[24] The duke’s body was not brought back to Braunschweig until much later. See Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter on 28 November 1806 (letter 418), note 7. Back.

[25] See C. H. Gifford, History of the Wars Occasioned by the French Revolution from the Commencement of Hostilities in 1792 to the End of the Year 1816, 2 vols. (London 1817), 1:517—18, picking up on the end of the account of the the flight of Generals Blücher and Hohenlohe, autumn 1806 (map: “Central Europe: Wars of the Third Coalition 1805–7,” Cambridge Modern History Atlas [Cambridge 1912]):


The surrender of the army under General Blucher left no corps of Prussians in the field upon the German side of the Oder [River]; and his obstinate and skillful resistance, as it was the most glorious, so it was the last of their exertions to avert the total ruin and downfall of their monarchy. Their fortified places seemed emulous which should first open its gates to the enemy, and those which were best supplied with the means of defence were commonly the first to surrender. When Spandau capitulated, October 24, the French observed, that, well defended, it might have sustained a siege of two months after the trenches had been opened.

Stettin surrendered on capitulation to the first column of French troops which appeared before it, October 29, who found, to their surprise, that it contained a garrison of 6,000 fine looking troops, 160 pieces of cannon, and abundant magazines of all sorts.

Custrin, a place of considerable strength, and of great importance on account of its situation upon the Oder [River], surrendered to Marshal Davout as soon as it was invested and summoned, November 1, though its garrison consisted of 4000 men, amply provided with magazines.

Magdeburg, the bulwark of the Prussian monarchy on its western frontier, capitulated to Marshal Ney, November 8, after a few bombs had been thrown into the city; and Hameln, the chief fortress of the electorate of Hanover, had not even that excuse for its surrender, which took place November 20.

In Magdeburg were found 22,000 troops, including 2,000 artillery men; and in Hameln there was a Prussian garrison of 9,000 men, with six months provisions, and stores and ammunition of every kind. The French general, to whom the place was given up, had no foreces with him, except two Dutch regiments and a single regiment of French light infantry. Never were the effects of panic terror more visible or more fatal than in these occurrences. The battle of Auerstadt had deprived the Prussians of all courage and confidence, and seemed even to have bereft them of understanding.

The fortress at Erfurt had already capitulated to French troops back 16 October 1806), Glogau would do so a few days after Caroline is here writing, on 3 December 1806, while Kolberg (October 1806–2 July 1807) and Gradenz (January–7 July 1807) held out till the cease fire preceding the Treaty of Tilsit (7–9 July 1807), though the bombardment at Gradenz continued till December 1807. Back.

[26] 1756–63, pitting Friedrich II of Prussia and England against Austria, Russia, France, Sweden, Saxony, and the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. Friedrich, enjoying victories in 1756 and 1757, suffered serious losses in 1758 and 1759 before Peter III of Russia finally sued for peace in 1762 and both France and Sweden withdrew. After further Prussian victories in 1762, Austria, too, concluded the Peace of Hubertusburg on 15 February 1763. Back.

[27] Uncertain allusion. At the time, the term moniteur referred not least to the newspaper Gazette nationale ou Le Moniteur universel, known as the Moniteur (1789–1901; the shortened version Le Moniteur universel became the official title in 1811), the official government newspaper following the Revolution. Caroline herself had made its pages in 1793; see her letter to Friedrich Wilhelm Gotter on 16 May 1793 (letter 127). Is she using the expression to refer to the official censor? Or is the reference to mail and parcels getting lost en route? Back.

[28] Uncertain allusion. Or is Caroline referring jestingly with Luise (“as you call him”) to the Otth’s infant son Heinrich Gustav Otth, who had been born earlier that year on 2 June 1806 and may have been ill? Back.

[29] Campe was, among other things, an author of children’s books and had long been an active pedagogue in Braunschweig. Here the frontispieces to his two publications on advice (left) for “inexperiened youths” and (right) for his daughter (Theophron, oder der Erfahrne Rathgeber für die unerfahrne Jugend, 2 vols. [Vienna 1784]; Väterlicher Rath für meine Tochter, 2 vols. [Brauinschweig 1809]):



[30] The wife of Johann Valentin Meyer in Hamburg had died two months earlier, on 26 September 1806 (Leipzig Taschenbuch für Frauenzimmer zum Nutzen und Vergnügen auf das Jahr 1794; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):



[31] Hamburg had been occupied by the French on 19 November 1806 (see above). Back.

[32] Uncertain allusion; Altona, as part of the Duchy of Holstein, was subject to the Danish crown and until 1806 had been part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. Back.

[33] See Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter on 28 November 1806 (letter 418), note 12. Back.

[34] Presumably also a reference to non-Bavarians who had, e.g., moved to Würzburg as part of the reorganization of the university there in 1803 and then left after Würzburg changed hands at the end of 1805 as a result of the Treaty of Pressburg. Back.

[35] Although “head gout” was regularly discussed in medical treatises, it was still not accurately understood and was also even being questioned as a serious illness. A. F. M. Willich, “Analysis of Fashionable Complaints,” Lectures on Diet and Regimen: Being a Systematic Inquiry into the Most Rational Means of Preserving Health and Prolonging Life . . . for the use of families, in order to banish the prevailing abuses and prejudices in medicine, 2nd ed. (London 1799), 57–60, here 57, remarks (illustration: anonymous, Taschenbuch für Studenten und ihre Freunde [Halle 1797], illustration following p. 164):

The greater number of our fashionable complaints and affections are nearly related to each other. The gout, formerly a regular but rare disease, which attacked only the external parts of persons advanced in years, has now become a constitutional indisposition, a juvenile complaint, torturing the patient in a thousand different forms. The famous Podagra and Chiragra of our ancestors are now nearly obsolete, and instead of the gout in the feet or hands, we hear every day of the nervous gout, the gout in the head, and even the fatal gout in the stomach. No rank, no age, no mode of life seems to be exempt from this fashionable enemy.



[36] Karl Leonard Reinhold had been a professor of philosophy in Kiel since 1794, where he had also been close friends with Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi. He had, however, long been philosophically estranged from Schelling. See Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on 19–20 July 1801 (letter 326), note 29, and on 23 November 1801 (letter 331), note 16; also Schelling’s letter to Wilhelm on 10 December 1801 (letter 335a), note 4. Concerning Jacobi’s view of the quarrels, see Schelling’s letter to Caroline on 1 May 1806 (letter 406), note 10. Back.

[37] A parody of the title of August von Kotzebue’s earlier play Menschenhass und Reue (Berlin 1789); Eng. trans. The Stranger. A comedy. Freely translated from Kotzebue’s German comedy of Misanthropy and repentance (London 1798), which was performed in Weimar with August Wilhelm Iffland as guest artist on 28 April 1798 (Das Repertoire des Weimarischen Theaters, 28).

See the plot summary in Walley Chamberlain Oulton, The Beauties of Kotzebue; Containing the most Interesting Scenes, Sentiments, Speeches, &c. in all his Admired Dramas. Freely translated; connected and digested under appropriate heads, alphabectially arranged; with biographical anecdotes of the author; a summary of his dramatic fables, and cursory remarks (London 1800), xv–xvi:

Misanthropy and Repentance; a Play — Five Acts.

Eulalia [“Madame Müller,” though secretly: Baroness Meinau], having been seduced [by a friend] from her husband and children, retires, full of remorse; and under this assumed name, endeavours by acts of benevolence to atone for her offence. She is received by Countess Wintersen into her family, whose brother Horst falls in love with her.

Thus circumstanced, she is obliged to acknowledge her crime to the Countess. Count Wintersen’s life having been preserved by a stranger, (who leads also a solitary life, and though in appearance an enemy to mankind, is secretly a friend to the distressed) the Countess sends him an invitation; but as he avoids company, Horst seeks him to enforce it. —

In this stranger, Horst discovers an old friend [Baron Meinau], who tells him that he has derived his misanthropy from false friendship and the infidelity of his wife. Being prevailed upon to accept the Countess’s invitation, he there meets his wife. [Both resist reconciliation even though both desire it] —

At the instigation of Horst, another meeting takes place, when Eulalia entreats permission to see her daughter and son — the children having been previously sent for, are brought in; their presence, and the evident contrition of Eulalia, work upon Meinau, who forgives, and receives her again to his arms.

The author has exerted his utmost skill to excite pity for Eulalia, that the forgiving scene may not be censured; and, indeed, the pathos diffused throughout the piece renders such catastrophe, though not strictly moral, desirable. Kotzebue produced this play in 1787, during a severe illness: he finished it and another (immediately after undertaken) in about nine weeks. This drama has been performed with considerable success at Drury-lane, under the appropriate title of the Stranger, and has required less alteration for the English stage than any other of the author’s works.

See also the earlier review and remarks in the supplementary appendix on Julie Saint Albain.

Caroline’s is presumably imagining the play transferred to a setting in which someone’s Francophobia is overcome by loved ones, as in Kotzebue’s piece. But whose? And by whom? Back.

[38] L. F. Hubers sämmtliche Werke seit dem Jahre 1802, nebst seiner Biographie, 4 vols., ed. Therese Huber (Tübingen 1806–19):


The publication contains letters and a biography and has indeed been considerably retouched, though Erich Schmidt, (1913), 2:656, maintains that Therese did not deserve Schiller’s warning to Christian Gottfried Körner back on 25 April 1805; it may be recalled that Minna Körner’s sister, Dora Stock, had once been engaged to Ludwig Ferdinand Huber. Concerning the relationship between Ludwig Ferdinand Huber, Dora Stock, and (at the time:) Therese Forster, see esp. Therese Forster’s letter to Christian Gottlob Heyne on 22 March 1793 (letter 121a) with note 7.

The following passage by Schiller, here cited from Schillers Briefwechsel mit Körner: Von 1784 bis zum Tode Schillers, 2 vols, ed. Karl Goedeke, 2nd ed. (Leipzig 1878), was for reasons of family piety (it casts an unflattering light on Schiller) not included in the first edition of the correspondence, Schillers Briefwechsel mit Körner, 4 vols. (Berlin 1847), 4:393, nor, of course, in the translation of that edition by Leonard Simpson, Correspondence of Schiller with Körner, 3 vols. (London 1849), 3:333, both of which do, however, include Körner’s remarks (which cast at least a slightly unflattering light on Körner) that prompted Schiller’s response

Körner writes to Schiller on 17 April 1805, his penultimate letter to Schiller (Correspondence of Schiller with Körner, 3 vols. [London 1849], 3:331–2):

I received yesterday a letter from Huber’s widow — very artistically written [gedrechselt, literally: “turned”] — overbounding in compliments — and reproaches at my implacableness.

Her object is to get back Huber’s letters in exchange for mine, as she wishes to publish some of them in his biography. I am glad of the opportunity of getting back my letters. Her observations on the cause of my quarrel with Huber are not lady-like. I shall send her a short and cool reply. I feel no resentment against Huber; but I cannot persuade myself that I could have acted in any other manner towards him. I am not aware of having shown the slightest degree of hostility to him; but he lived out of my sphere. I may have answered somewhat harshly to his last letter, which aroused his indignation. Our former bonds were snapped asunder for ever; — and explanation could have led to nothing — wherefore an attempt at reconciliation?

Schiller responds to Körner from Weimar on 25 April 1805 (Schiller’s final letter to Körner; Schillers Briefwechsel mit Körner, ed. Goedeke, 2:485):

You must extricate yourself from Huber’s widow as soon as you can. One only soils oneself with such iniquitous personalities, and the only gain is annoyance and vexation. How impertinent for the woman even to approach you; she is capable of even more if you do not frighten her away. Back.

[39] Emma and Minna (Taschenbuch auf das Jahr 1802 für edle Weiber und Mädchen; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):



Translation © 2018 Doug Stott