Letter 425

• 425. Caroline to Pauline Gotter in Gotha: Munich, 24 August 1807

[Munich] Monday, 24 Aug[ust 1807]

|503| The long route between Gotha and Munich is beginning to become so frequented that we will soon be able simply to send personal envoys. [1] You, however, will probably be able to get more information from the envoy to whom I am giving this letter of accreditation than, as chance would have it, your own was able to give to me, my dearest Pauline. For I saw her only in passing, though it was certainly enough that she did indeed bring me letters that I otherwise doubtless would not have received so soon.

Frau von Fladt (Weishaupt’s niece) brought Herr Schlick and his daughter to see me [2] — but since no one was home, I knew nothing about the visit until the following morning, when purely by chance we were accompanying a visitor to see the crowns of our king and queen along with the sword and orb that had come from Paris [3] — as we were leaving, the Schlicks and someone who was accompanying them called to us.

Fortunately Caroline had the letter with her; [4] I invited them to come to my home, and though they were indeed so inclined, they had not the time. Schelling lunched with them the following day at the Pappenheims’, and the arrangement was for them to come by and see us after they were finished there. As it happened, however, |504| they traveled on further that night with the chamberlain von Herdta; [5] so Caroline had to pack, and I did not see them again — all of which I relate to you in so long-winded a fashion lest you think that I neglected them.

They did, by the way, not want for friends here either from Gotha or of the musical sort. When I saw Schlick, I recalled how handsome the man was back when the mother and I were still very young. [6] Why did nature not also give him a handsome daughter?

I was not really envious of you for having had Napoleon pass through there, though I do occasionally wish I could see him just once that I might perhaps come to like him more. [7] Everyone says that his appearance has an element of reconciliation about it. For me, he has always been nothing more than destiny personified, something I neither hate nor love but with regard to which I simply wait to see whither it will lead the world.

I cannot, however, but feel sorry for you, my good children, for having lost your hearts to the Riepenhausens. [8] During recent days, there was again someone here with whom you are familiar, namely, Baron Rumohr, who one fine morning came up with the idea of traveling from Lübeck to Munich. [9] We only first made his acquaintance here, and even though the fellow is indeed a bit odd and still lacks the appropriate consistency of character, he became quite fond of us and we even more of him. [10]

He was loath to part, and we will perhaps be seeing him again for a lengthier time. All of you doubtless know how deeply involved with the Riepenhausens he became, having squandered his money, faith, and hope on them in the belief that art was emerging anew in them. Not only did they reward him with all sorts of roguish knavery, but he himself has now also become convinced that their art is limited to an extremely |505| mediocre talent. He maintains that the studies from which he was prompted to expect so much from them were in fact works by Hummel, and that they themselves are quite incapable of producing anything competent. He found their piety as hollow and empty as their works. [11]

And indeed, the outline sketches for Genoveva, with which all of you are presumably familiar, attest both. Between reminiscences from old German or Florentine paintings one also finds such from English copper engravings, and the whole of it appears as a modern masking of customs from antiquity. —

Rumohr has a genuine understanding and view with regard to art, and it was a delight to visit the galleries here with him; he spoke about wonderful things with Schelling. Schelling took a fatherly interest in him in a larger sense as well, and it would be a shame were this pure soul to come to ruin for lack of a stronger friend, on the one hand, and yet because of a surfeit of means for a beautiful existence, on the other. [12] At least for now, he is unable to make it completely on his own initiative.

Schwarz related to us, among other things, how Rumohr once wanted to test the Riepenhausens’ virtue and found them quite weak; one would be less inclined to condemn them too much in this regard had they not been so very hypocritical beforehand, which also made Rumohr rather indignant. Their worse characteristic, however, is an inclination to perpetually slander others, even their closest friends and benefactors. Have you now heard enough to recognize them as true renegades they are? [13]

Tell your mother that my youngest brother just wrote and told me that on a journey from Harburg to Kiel he visited our old friend Meyer in his cell in Bramstede, where the latter is continuing his witty life with witty words and otherwise quite contentedly. [14] Schröder’s country estate is not far from there. [15] The child of Meyer’s housekeeper |506| had just been inoculated with cowpox and seemed to Phillip to have been inoculated earlier with a rather noticeable similarity to the master of the house as well. But do forgive me, my dear Pauline; it is hardly appropriate for me to relate such frivolous things to you. [16]

By contrast, have Schlichtegroll tell you all the quite serious things about the recently established Academy. [17] He, of course, knows more about it than I and is initiated into all its mysteries. [18] I would, by the way, be quite curious in hearing how Munich as a whole comes across in his stories, since southern Germany must look quite strange to anyone who has never really lived so far south. Jakobs, of course, would sense this even more, since he has hardly seen anything other than Saxony. Schelling, however, would certainly welcome it if Jakobs were to come help the youth here by training teachers, since that is what is most lacking. Although they are indeed intent on accomplishing good things here, they are not beginning with the roots. [19]

As far as titles are concerned, let me relate to you the following for future reference, something also customary for Catholic Germany. We are not called Frau Professor here because my spouse no longer occupies an office of that sort. Indeed, we bear no title at all except that of Frau von Schelling — corresponding to Madame Schelling in Saxony.

Everyone here is called Frau von and gnädige Frau [gracious madame, mistress], which has the same status as, e.g., the country’s academiciens, that of the country’s highest councilors. If a Herr Academicien occupies no higher office than that of a privy councilor etc., he is called Herr von. To this point at least, they have not yet been accorded an exclusive title. —

The university professors have that status as well, and, e.g., in Landshut, all call themselves Hofräthe. [20] In Würzburg, however, they have no title other than Professor, which is why Schelling now prefers to |507| forgo all titles, since here in the residence — where everyone at the secondary schools [Gymnasium], the lyceum, and the cadet institute, even down to the dance instructors, is called a professor — the professor is considered something profoundly bourgeois, to which we in any case must take exception.

Here all of you would be the charming and witty Fräulein Gotter, just as Fanny and Fritze Wiebeking are wholly and completely Fräuleins themselves, just not by birth. [21] Schlichtegroll’s wife will be Frau von Schlichtegroll! I hope he is taking his uniform along so that you can become acquainted with that of Schelling as well. Schlichtegroll even has a couple of additional bangles on his own, since, as secretary, he bears the title Director. [22]

As you see, I thought that because the letter would need no postage this time, I could afford to write all sorts of things like this that in their own turn are not worth a single Kreuzer (or three Hellers) but which provide you with the same sort of insight into our customs here that Kotzebue’s plays provide, for example, for Vienna. [23]

Give my warmest regards to your Fräulein sisters, and to your Gracious and, even more so, kind mother. [Errands.]

Stay very well!


[1] I.e., rather than relying on postal coaches, whose routes and timing were often inconsistent because of geopolitical and military developments. Gotha is located ca. 375 km from Munich (Thomas Kitchin, Germany [n.p., n.d.]):



[2] Grosbrittannischer historisch-genealogischer Kalender auf das Jahr 1799; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:


Johann Konrad Schlick and his daughter, Caroline, were passing through Munich on their way to Venice (September) and on to Rome, where they stayed until May 1809 under the patronage of Prince Friedrich (1774–1825; from 1822 Friedrich IV of Sachsen-Gotha-Altenburg, who lived in Rome between 1804 and 1810), and where Caroline received further vocal training and learned Italian (William Shepherd, Germany and Italy in 1803, Historical Atlas [New York 1926]):


In September and October 1808, they took a side trip to Naples (“Italy in 1799: The War with Naples 1798-9,” The Cambridge Modern History Atlas, ed. Sir Adolphus William Ward et al. [London 1912]):



[3] Because Maximilian Joseph and his wife were originally supposed to be officially crowned as king and queen after that status became effective on 1 January 1806 (making Maximilian the final prince elector of Bavaria and its first king — as Max I), in early 1806 orders were given to prepare crowns according to a design by the royal Napoleonic architect Charles Percier, whose design largely followed that of the crown used in Napoleon’s self-coronation in 1804 in Paris. Insignia and gold ornamentation were accordingly ordered from Parisian goldsmiths, jewelers, and textile specialists.

The royal Bavarian jeweler Borgnise, who secured some precious stones for the objects from the Bavarian treasury collection and others through private purchase (eventually an enormously expensive undertaking for the royal house), traveled to Paris four times in the matter. The cushions on which the objects were kept similarly came from Paris. The Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities was charged with determining what inscriptions the crowns, scepter, scabbard, and apple were to bear (Schelling was not yet in Munich and not yet a member of the Academy).

The objects had been delivered from Paris to the Royal treasury collection in Munich on 2 March 1807. Because geopolitical circumstances prevented the coronation of Maximilian Joseph, however, none of his successors were crowned either, and these objects were brought out only at important occasions of state.

In any event, although Caroline does not specify where she, Schelling, and their companion went to view these objects, it can hardly be any other location than the Royal Treasury Chamber itself in the Residence complex, which in 1807, however, was not yet in its present (since 1958) location in the Königsbauhof just off Max Joseph Square, whither it was transferred from the “Old Royal Treasury Chamber,” the successor location (since 1897) to the location Caroline visited.

That is, Caroline visited the chamber in its original location adjoining the Ahnengalerie, or Ancestors Portrait Gallery, on the ground floor of the south wing of the Grottenhof (alongside the Kapellenhof) in the Residence (Königlich Baiersche Haupt und Residenzstadt München am 1. Januar 1809 [Munich 1809]; Bayerisches Landesvermessungsamt München, Nr. 558/03):


This chamber was accessible through a door on that south wing and was established in 1730 by Francois Cuvilliés in what is today the Porcelain Cabinet, room 5 in the Residence Museum tour (here the Grottenhof courtyard, from Marie Luise Schroeter Gothein, Geschichte der Gartenkunst … hrsg. mit unterstützung der Königlichen akademie des bauwesens in Berlin, 2 vols. [Jena 1914], 2:109; second illustration: photograph from O. Aufleger and W. M. Schmid, Führer durch die k. Residenz zu München: Historisch-topographische Beschreibung [Munich 1897], plate 12; third illustration: photograph from R. S. Francé, München: Die Lebensgesetze einer Stadt [Munich 1920]):




See Friedrich Wilhelm Bruckbräu, Neuestes Taschenbuch der Haupt- und Residenzstadt München und den Umgebungen, für Einheimische und Fremde (Munich 1827), 55:

The entire collection is housed in handsome glass cabinets and is estimated to be worth several million Gulden. . . . In the center cabinet on the right, one finds the pieces that in the strict sense are the permanent legacy and property of the royal family, namely, the crowns of the king and queen along with the sword, scepter, imperial orb, and anointing casket, all of which were produced in Paris in 1806.

Here the royal crown, sword, and orb (from: Sabine Heym, “Prachtvolle Kroninsignien für Bayern — aber keine Krönung,” Bayerns Krone 1806: 200 Jahre Königreich Bayern, ed. Johannes Erichsen and Katharina Heinemann [Munich 2006], 37–49; © Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen, München):


See also, closer to Caroline’s time in Munich, A. Klebe, Skizze von München im Jahre 1810 (Munich 1810), 117–19:

The Royal Treasury Chamber is located on the right of what is known as the Churfürstenhof [Kappelenhof] and has for several centuries contained the collection of the precious stones and jewels of the royal house. Before entering the chamber designated for their safekeeping, however, one passes through what is known as the Ancestors Gallery, in which the portraits of the princes of this state can be viewed.

This collection of precious stones and jewels began under Duke Albrecht V in the year 1551, which explains why so many of these objects are still designated by the first initial of his name. As early as during the reign of its founder, Albrecht V, but then later also under Max I, a decree of 20 January 1616 declared this treasury to be an inalienable possession as the family treasury of the direct line of descendants of the house. Its value is estimated to be several million Gulden. A great quantity of pearls, diamonds, and other precious stones has been assembled together here, set in order insignia, shoe buckels, agraffes, rings, necklaces, etc. . . .

Under the reign of the Majesty of the current King, this treasure has been enriched by the royal crown, imperial sword, imperial orb, scepter, queen’s crown, and the queen’s diadem, all of which were made in Paris in 1808 and all of which are of the utmost splendor and beauty. The royal crown is set with the most radiant and largest diamonds, and on the queen’s crown one admires the exceptional size and beauty of the pearls. One reads the following inscriptions on these precious objects:

On the imperial orb: In signum Concordiae patris et patriae.

On the imperial sword: Nec temere nec timide.

On the scepter: Cui non Civium servitus tradita, sed tutela.

The royal treasury keeper, Herr Kummerer, oversees this treasure, and is the person to whom one turns when wishing to view it.

Here such a viewing of the crown jewels in an anonymous photograph from the reopening of the Royal Treasury Chamber in 1958: the sword, orb, king’s crown, and queen’s crown; missing: the scepter:



[4] I.e., the Gotters’ letter to Caroline from Gotha. Back.

[5] Uncertain identity; the Weimar administrative chamberlain and later Stuttgart mining director Ludwig von Herda zu Brandenburg (1749–1816)? Back.

[6] Caroline seems to have seen Regina Schlick perform earlier in Gotha; the latter married Johann Konrad Schlick in October 1785, when she was twenty-six years old, and Caroline four years younger and living in Clausthal. Caroline was next in Gotha during part of 1794 and up till April 1795. Back.

[7] Napoleon had left Tilsit on 9 July 1807 and was back in Saint-Cloud outside Paris by 27 July; Caroline is presumably referring to his passage through Gotha during that journey. Back.

[8] See Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter on 10 July 1807 (letter 423), note 18, in which she remarks that the “Riepenhausen brothers have, despite their considerable piety, proven to be the worst sort of mischievous and villainous good-for-nothings.” Back.

[9] On his lengthy journey to Munich from Lübeck, Rumohr had first passed through Gotha, where he made the acquaintance of the Gotter family; Rumohr’s family home was in Lübeck (W. R. Shepherd, Historical Map of Central Europe about 1786 [1926]):



[10] Toiletten Kalender für Frauenzimmer (Vienna 1796); Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:


Both before and after his stay in Italy with the Riepenhausens and Ludwig Tieck 1805–6, Rumohr had spent time in Munich. In the autumn of 1807 he returned to Lübeck from Munich by way of Frankfurt. While in Munich, he joined the Academy of Fine Arts and became more closely acquainted with Robert von Langer.

He became acquainted with Henrik Steffens in Hamburg during the autumn of 1807, who then spent the winter with him at his estate Rothenhausen outside Lübeck (“Central Europe: Wars of the Third Coalition 1805–7,” Cambridge Modern History Atlas [Cambridge 1912]):



[11] Göttinger Taschen Calender Für das Iahr 1796; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:


While Rumohr complained about the Riepenhausens’ lax and nonchalant attitude toward their work in Rome and their inability to engage in serious study, the Riepenhausens similarly complained about Rumohr’s lethargy and inclination to view the world as a mere “stimulant of life” without writing or doing anything more (Andreas Andresen, “Franz und Johann Riepenhausen,” Die deutschen Maler-Radirer (peintres-graveurs) des neunzehn ten Jahrhunderts nach ihren Leben und Werken, 3 vols. (Leipzig 1869), 3:86–122, here 88–90). Back.

[12] Rumohr had come into a considerable inheritance when his father died in 1804. See Rumohr’s letter to Ludwig Tieck on 26 September 1807 (letter 425b), note 2. Back.

[13] Göttinger Taschen Calender Für das Iahr 1795; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:


Caroline mentions Schwarz’s earlier visit to her and Schelling in her letter to Luise Gotter on 10 July 1807 (letter 423).

In a letter home after Rumohr had left Rome, the Riepenhausens wrote that “an architect, Schwarz, is now our only friend; I can say no more about him than that he unites everything in his personality that constitutes a magnificent person” (Andreas Andresen, Die deutschen Maler-Radirer (peintres-graveurs) des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts, 89). Back.

[14] “In his cell”: that is, in his monastery-like existence in his Bramstedt estate; Caroline’s jesting reference alludes to Meyer having never married. The edifice at center in the following illustration ca. 1850 (the Bramstedt gatehouse) still stands today (lithograph after Ad. Hornemann [Hamburg, ca. 1850]):


Luise Wiedemann and her family had been living in Kiel since the summer of 1805. Bramstedt is located 60 km north of Harburg directly on the route to Kiel, which is located another 50 km northeast of Bramstedt (Neueste Post. Karte von Deutschland und den angrenzenden Laendern [Vienna 1805]):


Luise had already visited Meyer in Bramstedt earlier. See Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter on 7 September 1797 (letter 185), note 8; also Luise Wiedemann’s letter to Caroline on 4 September 1805 (letter 396). Back.

[15] The actor Friedrich Ludwig Schröder had retired in 1798 to his estate at Relling (modern Rellingen), 20 km northwest of Hamburg (Map of the Empire of Germany including all the states comprehended under that name with the Kingdom of Prussia, &c. [London 1782]):


Meyer and Schröder were close friends; after Schröder died in 1816, Meyer wrote his biography, F. L. W. Meyer, Friedrich Ludwig Schröder: Beitrag zur Kunde des Menschen und des Künstlers, 2 vols. (Hamburg 1819; 2nd ed. 1823). Back.

[16] Aglaija: Ein Taschenbuch für das Jahr 1815; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:


Caroline here adds her own dig to Philipp’s still (at least for Erich Schmidt) extant letter of 6 August 1807 concerning Friedrich Ludwig Wilhelm Meyer’s insinuated relationship with a “miller’s wife.”

To wit, Luise Wiedemann, in her letter to Caroline on 4 September 1805 (letter 396), had earlier written that “I do not know who mentioned a miller’s wife whom he allegedly found beautiful; I did not learn anything about that except that he said the view from his window was not bad at all, and were I to stay longer, he would take me along a very charming path to a mill.” Back.

[17] The reconstituted Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities had opened on 27 July 1807, with its president, Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, delivering the inaugural address. See Caroline’s letter to Beate Gross on 31 July 1807 (letter 424), note 5. Back.

[18] Schlichtegroll was the director and general secretary of the reconstituted Academy. Back.

[19] The philologist Friedrich Jacobs eventually arrived in Munich on 3 November 1807 (Erich Schmidt, [1913], 2:658: October) to begin his career there as a teacher at the secondary school (Lyceum) and as a private tutor to the the crown prince, Ludwig. He was a regular member of the Academy in its philological-historical section.

In his autobiographical Personalien (Leipzig 1840), 73–133 (with considerable primary documentation in the appendix), however, he gives a detailed account of his time in Munich (November 1807–December 1810) and of the difficulties he and many of the “imported” academics from northern (which their adversaries often equated with “Protestant”) Germany experienced, e.g., his sincere powerlessness in the face of the intrigues carried on by Johann Christoph von Aretin and others despite the favor Jacobs enjoyed with the crown prince (summarized in the entry on Jacobs in the ADB 13:604–7).

See the letter he wrote in November 1807, shortly after arriving in Munich, to a friend back in Gotha; text in supplementary appendix 431.1. He finally tired of the intrigues and hostility and returned to Gotha in 1810. Back.

[20] Aulic Councilors. Munich did not yet have a university. The original university in Ingolstadt had been transferred to Landshut in 1800 because of the French military threat, but was not moved to Munich until 1826. Back.

[21] I.e., Fräulein as a designation of nobility over against the bourgeois Demoiselle. Back.

[22] Schelling was a regular member of the Academy of Sciences and Humanities, not an officeholder. He would acquire the title “director” in 1808 as general secretary of the Academy of Fine Arts; see Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter from Munich on 6 June 1808 (letter 433) concerning his membership in the two academies. Concerning titles in Bavaria at this time, see also Schelling’s letter to Johann Friedrich Cotta on 15 May 1808 (letter 432c), note 1.

The official stipulations for the uniforms of the various grades of Academy members had been issued on 19 June 1807 and published on 1 August 1807. Schlichtegroll as secretary would have had a slightly different uniform than Schelling as a regular member. See supplementary appendix 425.1. Back.

[23] August von Kotzebue had accepted the position of royal theater director in Vienna in 1798 but then left at the end of the year because of differences of opinion with the theater personnel. When he left, however (Friedrich Cramer, The Life of August Von Kotzebue [London 1820], 127):

the Emperor granted him an annual pension of one thousand florins for life, and appointed him dramatic writer to the Court Theater, with permission to reside wherever he liked. He was only bound to send his dramatic compositions to Vienna, previous to their being performed any where else. Back.

Translation © 2018 Doug Stott