• 426. Caroline to Luise Gotter in Gotha: Munich, 12 November (December?) 1807 [*]
[Munich] 12 November (December?) 07
|507| You should not conclude from the fact that I have not written since your last greetings as delivered by Schlichtegroll that I have perhaps forgotten you, my precious and loyal friend — nor, however, do I find it useful to say anything to excuse myself or to explain things, since it too often happens that I do indeed go for months without writing, without, however, spending any less time with my friends in thought.
Instead, I confidently anticipated a loving parcel sent through Jacobs and was not deceived; indeed, |508| my expectations are invariably exceeded. I was already truly delighted by the light-as-a-zephyr verses from them both, from Zilia and Lina,  and now a genuine zephyr arrives, one woven by your own loving hands that I immediately threw about my neck to warm me — so in a very real sense, your goodness and love now truly envelope me.
Could I myself but now think of a truly thoughtful way to repay you, something equally appropriate! But more than anything else — could I but see all of you arrive here as well, just as do all the others from Gotha, who arrive one after the other, yet none of whom, unfortunately, have yet really been the right ones for me.  I cannot see why such a mother with three such daughters could not also be summoned from abroad to contribute to the cultivation of the land of the Bavarians.  All of you could accomplish just as much good through both teaching and example as all these men think they do.
Jakobs admittedly already had to relate to me absolutely everything he knew about all of you, and it included quite a bit of good news! I have not yet seen her, for the poor woman arrived sick, had to keep to her bed in the inn for several days, and can in the meantime still not yet leave her apartment, whither she finally had them carry her, but has nonetheless recovered to the point that she can at least use her time gradually to begin setting up her apartment.  Frau Schlichtegroll fared considerably better in that regard and has already accommodated herself entirely to her new circumstances and gotten comfortably settled.
Yesterday evening, among other things, she gave a grand tea, though the guests included almost exclusively non-Bavarians. The Saxon colony is multiplying in leaps and bounds.  Who in the world would still have thought about fat Hamberger were there no Augean Stables library here to be tidied up!  Because I do think you will be interested to learn how |509| your countrymen are faring here, I will not beat around the bush, at the same time convinced that you for your own part will let none of this go any further, since it would otherwise immediately begin making the familiar rounds. I will, of course, not be telling you anything really new, since everyone is continuing as essentially the same characters we already know.
Schlichtegroll, for example, who now occupies a position that could use and indeed adorn an extremely independent sort of man,  has turned it into something quite subaltern, behaving not as the general secretary of an academy, but as the private and domestic secretary of its president, into whose arms he has utterly and completely thrown himself. Now, although our president is indeed a good and upright man, he is vain at his very core and strives for nothing but influence and splendor of every sort, and yet is no longer intellectually sharp enough not to take flattery as merit. He has a couple of elderly sisters living with him who with their own pretensions resolutely support those of their brother and who have apparently coddled and spoiled him for a lifetime. 
Although he probably did indeed attract witty and interesting groups of people around him in the past, he is now basically more comfortable dealing with considerably less intellect and all the more obliging complaisance. Such is the tone of the household he now keeps. Schlichtegroll fits perfectly and has maneuvered himself so deeply into a certain kind of reverence that he is now universally viewed as nothing but a weak tool, and should the 70-year-old president happen to die, Schlichtegroll will basically have no other choice but to assume the same subordinate role with the successor.
For the rest, however, he is certainly doing nothing unjust, and instead does indeed contribute and make himself useful in lesser spheres whenever he finds an opportunity and is able. She has taken the same path and put herself at the service of the Jacobi household, albeit with a genuinely more independent slant, allowing her endless flattery and |510| cordiality to radiate on everyone. We could never have imagined beforehand that she would put herself in such a situation, not least because her sister, who was indeed acquainted with the Jacobis earlier in Düsseldorf, now has virtually nothing to do with them. 
The president, however, will even tell you that she — “is a wit” — Schelling remarked that although he himself might otherwise have been rather astonished by such a claim, nonetheless because he had recently seen how Frau Schlichtegroll kissed Jakobi’s hand, he now also quite understands that she is indeed a wit. —
Please do not take this too seriously or ill — though, quite frankly, it certainly does not in the least concur with our own dispositions. In the meantime, however, a cordial understanding does obtain in this respect as well. Schlichtegroll is consistently accommodating to Schelling, indeed, to the point, really, of devotion, while she — between us — flirts with him. [9a]
I do believe one can expect a considerably more independent and nonetheless gentle manner of behavior from Jakobs.
I must also mention that I almost did not recognize Madam Schlichtegroll. She looks older than one might expect, and her gaunt figure along with the distortion of her face and the excessive use of rouge give her the appearance of a caricature. By contrast, one cannot help noticing that Madam Wiebeking looks prettier by the day; she has a fine and delicate little head and looks far younger than her sister. No one here can believe that she is the elder of the two. Sara Schlichtegroll also noticeably stands out compared with her cousins, though she seems to me not to have much good sense. 
Since Herr Rousseau is talking about his departure; I suspect he is going back wholly under protest and that his two brothers-in-law together were unable to get him a position.  Would he but go soon that I might send the speech along with him that Schelling delivered on the king’s name day.  |511| He charged me with laying it at the feet of the Gotter Fräuleins  in the hope that it would not go entirely unread, not least because it deals with art, and, after all, all the fine arts are kindred to those young ladies.
Perhaps Schlichtegroll has already brought you the speech along with the news of how much applause accompanied its reception. I myself had the pleasure of witnessing its delivery, listening to it from the vantage point of a concealed gallery. Schelling spoke with such dignity, manliness, and enthusiasm that friend and foe alike were captivated, and such that the reaction was but a single voice from the crown prince and ministers who were present on down to the very least of the spectators. For several weeks afterward, the court and town could talk of nothing but Schelling’s speech. He is also acknowledged as the only one who spoke with dignity with regard to both content and form.
All of you will probably come to the same conclusion if you compare Schlichtegroll’s and Breier’s speeches, which were also published.  Schlichtegroll, moreover, allegedly delivers such speeches with utterly impermissible maladroitness, and Breier utterly in the manner of a sermon. — Jakobi, who in general respects and to a certain extent is even fond of Schelling but who admittedly concurs with him as regards neither character nor philosophy, remarked that toward the end of the speech his own admiration increased virtually to the point of bewilderment, and one could indeed see a bit of that in him. 
All of you there have probably received or will yet receive another greeting from us during these days. I charged Werner, the author of Consecration of Power, with visiting all of you. He was traveling from here via Stuttgard and Frankfurt and Gotha back to Berlin.  It is perhaps astonishing but nonetheless true that I have not yet read his Consecration of Power, nor have I had a particularly good preliminary impression of any of his other works |512| based on the fragments I have seen. 
But through his own character, the man has indeed awakened in me an interest in his work, and in that which I genuinely do now know of him one cannot fail to see a grand talent that is certainly capable of further development (though the author himself is no longer young).  Until now, however, he has squandered his powers of presentation on improper notions. This business with “secret orders” has ensnared him, and a love of allegory has led him astray from proper poesy.  I can well imagine that he really might yet compose a competent play someday; I do not know of many writers about whom I might say the same thing. [19a]
This, too, I must also relate to the children, namely, that Madam Bernhardi came through here from Rome and spent a good week with us.  So I was able to learn quite enough about all the goings-on in Rome and, further, comprehend enough to conclude that the Riepenhausens are to be reckoned among the most corrupt young people that this earth has to offer.  Frau Bernhardi herself then continued on to Prague, where she intends to bring an end to the lawsuit with Herr Bernhardi, a lawsuit that in reality is about the children, of whom he does not want to give her custody. 
She is presumably also waiting there for Knorring to return from Livonia.  Very shortly they will be buying a villa near Rome, where they will settle for good and quite after the manner of poets, it seems. Poor Frau Bernhardi had to endure a great deal in Rome but does, I must say, look quite Roman now. Even her features have taken on this character, the result being that her external appearance, despite the clumsiness, has acquired something truly interesting about it.
But how I have prattled on to you here, my worthy friends. Please forgive me if some of it is not particularly well organized or written. I have been in haste and, moreover, not entirely without a headache. [Requests.]
|513| One more thing: there has been much joking here — by the witty Bavarians themselves, no less, who are somewhat less than happy at seeing so many foreigners arrive — about the fact that the well-known necrologist was elected secretary of the Academy, which many denounce as an ill omen indeed. The jokes doubled after the first meeting of the Academy itself went quite necrologically, and the self-same gentleman not only took office, but also seduced the others into participating in obsequies, as if there were not other things needing to be done around here. This remark refers to the speeches by Schlichtegroll and Breier and to the interim remarks by Jacobi, which have been published under the title “First Public Meeting of the Academy.” 
Adieu, my dears.
[*] Dating: This letter is clearly dated incorrectly in the editions of both Georg Waitz, (1871), 2:338 (Waitz’s letter 352), and Erich Schmidt, (1913), 2:507 (letter 426), who read: “[München] 12. Ocktober 07,” i.e., the day Schelling delivered his speech “On the Relation of the Plastic Arts to Nature” before the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
Caroline, however, writes in this present letter that “for several weeks afterward, the court and town could talk of nothing but Schelling’s speech.” That statement sooner fits 12 November or December (Fuhrmans 3:462n1 notes the incorrect dating). Schmidt, who did not have access to some manuscripts and in such cases relied on Waitz’s readings, likely adopted Waitz’s dating here, and the question is then whether Caroline herself or Waitz made the error.
Caroline is otherwise not wont to write Germ. Oktober as Ocktober, though such does not entirely preclude the possibility here. On the other hand, she may have followed a convention at the time illustrated by a letter Carl Joseph Windischmann wrote to Schelling on 10 December 1804 (Fuhrmans 3:146, albeit a letter that may not actually have been sent) of indicating the month with a Roman numeral standing for the actual Latin numeral rather than the sequence of months in the year, e.g. (in Windischmann’s instance), “dn 11 xber” to indicate not “[the] 11 October,” but “11 decem ber.” Following this convention, “11 October” would be written “11 8ber,” “11 octo ber.” If Caroline indeed used this convention in this letter, Waitz may inadvertently have read “12 xber” as “12.10.,” or “12 October,” rather than as “12 decem ber.” The dating thus remains undertain without access to the manuscript. Back.
 Presumably family pseudonyms for Julie Gotter and Pauline Gotter; the sister Cäcilie Gotter had always been more inclined to painting and drawing than to writing, but she may be behind one of the pseudonyms as well. Back.
 Caroline has in previous letters mentioned various former residents of Gotha who had moved to Munich; indeed, what might even be called a “Gotha colony” (Fuhrmans 1:352; Caroline below refers to the “Saxon colony”) had developed as part of her social circle there, some of whose “members” even acted as couriers for letters to and from Gotha. Because Caroline herself had as a young girl attended the boarding school of Mother Schläger, and because over the years she had — as attested in this correspondence — variously visited Gotha and even lived there for a while with Auguste (February 1794 till the spring of 1795), she was acquainted with a variety of present and former residents and families.
She speaks of Charlotte von Wiebeking, née Rousseau and her daughter Fanny in her letter to Luise Gotter and her daughters on 4 January 1807 (letter 420); of Friedrich Jacobs in her letter to Pauline Gotter on 24 August 1807 (letter 425); of Auguste Schlichtegroll, née Rousseau in her letter to Luise Gotter on 10 July 1807 (letter 423), and of the latter’s husband, Friedrich von Schlichtegroll — who was now general secretary of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities and who along with Jacobs had come to Munich through the mediation of Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi — and later in this letter also of Julius Wilhelm Hamberger and Karl Julius Rousseau. Back.
 “Abroad” in the sense of “not in Bavaria“; despite the geopolitical changes at the hands of Napoleon during recent years and the end of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, Germany was still not a unified country, and a person’s “fatherland” was the particular principality, former imperial town, or broader administrative entity in which that person had been born and raised. Back.
 I.e., former residents of the Duchy of Saxony-Gotha-Altenburg, who also tended to socialize together in the Bavarian capital (Carlo Goldoni, Opere complete, vol. 15, Commedie die Carlo Goldoni [Venice 1912], 149):
 It was through Friedrich Jacobs that Gotha librarian Julius Wilhelm Hamberger became Hofrath and librarian at the Royal Central State Library in Munich under Johann Christoph von Aretin, though he did not arrive in Munich until March 1808.
Cleansing the Augean Stables. Eurystheus imposed upon Hercules the task of cleansing in one day the stalls of Augeas, king of Elis. Augeas had a herd of 3000 oxen, whose stalls had not been cleansed for 30 years. Hercules, without mentioning the command of Eurystheus, went to Augeas, and offered to cleanse his stalls in one day, if he would give him the 10th part of his cattle. Augeas agreed to the terms; and Hercules, after taking Phyleus, the son of Augeas , as his witness, turned the rivers Alpheus and Peneus through the stalls which were thus cleansed in a single day.
But Augeas, who learned that Hercules had undertaken the work by the command of Eurystheus, refused to give him the reward. His son Phyleus then bore witness against his father, who exiled him from Elis. At a later time Hercules invaded Elis and killed Augeas and his sons. After this he is said to have founded the Olympic games.
 Schlichtegroll was general secretary of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Back.
Jacobi was a native of Düsseldorf, where his inherited estate, Pempeldorf, became a popular cultural salon; he had left in 1794 to escape French occupation, and ultimately landed in Munich (site plan: Ernst von Schaumburg, Jacobi’s Garten zu Pempelfort: ein historischer Beitrag zur Feier des 25jährigen Jubiläums des Künstler-Vereins ‘Malkasten’; nebst einem Plan des Gartens [Aachen 1873], final plate; Düsseldorf, Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek; illustration: Pempelfort on a 1904 postcard):
[9a] Retif (or Restif) de la Bretonne, Les contemporaines; ou, Avantures des plus jolies femmes de l’âge présent, 42 vols. in 12 (Leipsick 1780–85), vol. 6 (1780), story 38, illustration p. 436, “La belle laide, ou la délabrée”:
 Sarah (Maria) Schlichtegroll’s cousins in this context were Fanny and Fritze Wiebeking (representative illustration: Berlinischer Damen Kalender auf das Jahr 1803; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):
 Karl Julius Rousseau did not return to Gotha, remaining instead in Munich. It was doubtless through his brother-in-law Karl HeinrichWiebeking (the other was Friedrich von Schlichtegroll) that Rousseau, previously a private lecturer in law in Jena, became an administrative official in bridge building in Munich; he is probably also the later Ansbach administrative official with whose son, Emil, the young playwright Friedrich Hebbel (1813–1863) had an intimate relationship in Heidelberg. Back.
 It was in the “Maximilian meeting” on 12 October 1807 — the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities’s celebration of King Maximilian Joseph’s name day — that Schelling delivered his important lecture “On the Relation of the Plastic Arts to Nature” about which Caroline now speaks. Back.
 An allusion to Caroline’s explanation of Bavarian civil titles in her letter to Pauline Gotter on 24 August 1807 (letter 425); see the paragraph in that letter that begins “As far as titles are concerned.” Back.
 Speeches, that is, at an earlier meeting of the Academy, which explains why Caroline goes on to say that Schlichtegroll “allegedly” speaks in a certain way, since she seems not to have attended. The official history of the Academy, Geschichte der Akademie vom Jul. 1807 bis Ende 1808 (Munich 1809), xxxvii–xxxix, recounts that at the Academy’s first public meeting on 28 September 1807, Friedrich von Schlichtegroll delivered a short obituary for the deceased legal historian, diplomat, and Academy member Christian Friedrich Pfeffel (3 October 1726–21 March 1807, though the official account dates his death to 1806; Pfeffel was the brother of Gottfried [or Gottlieb] Konrad Pfeffel, who appeared earlier in this correspondence).
Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Breyer then spoke about the “father of Bavarian history,” Johannes Aventinus (1477–1534) (both pieces were published in Erste öffentliche Sitzung der königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu München [Munich 1807]), after Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi had spoken in an introductory fashion about the custom of establishing symbols of gratitude to noble persons taken by death. Hence allegedly not only Pfeffel would be honored, but a considerably older grave also adorned.
See, however, the final paragraph in this letter concerning the Bavarians’ unease at the “necrological” character of this initial Academy meeting. Back.
 Caroline (and Schelling in his own letters) is mistaken. Jacobi was vehemently opposed to the “deception” of language he felt had been perpetrated in the speech. He wrote to Goethe on 23 February 1808 (Briefwechsel zwischen Goethe und F. H. Jacobi, ed. Max Jacobi [Leipzig 1846], 244):
I was thinking about writing you something more about Schelling’s speech, about what I have against it; namely, against its core, which is merely artificially covered with so much sweet fruit. Tout les gouts sont pour moi respectables [Fr., lit. “for me, all tastes are respectable”], Voltaire says in one of his mischievous poems. I can follow him on this point as a philosopher and demand only that every person confess his taste clearly and plainly.
There are only two types of philosophy, each fundamentally different from the other. Let me call them Platonism and Spinozism. One can choose between these two minds, i.e., one can be captivated by the one or the other such that one must adhere to but one alone, consider but one alone to be the spirit of the truth. The deciding factor here is a person’s entire disposition.
It is not possible to divide one’s heart between the two, and even less possible genuinely to unite them. Wherever the appearance of the latter emerges, there language is engaging in deception, there one encounters duplicity. I find that precisely this deception, a methodology that wholly bewitches the understanding, has been consistently applied in Schelling’s speech, which is why I dislike the entire piece.
Jacobi’s reaction marks the beginning of his irrevocable estrangement from Schelling, an estrangement culminating in their dispute in 1811, after Caroline’s death. Although Schelling and Jacobi continued to have a cordial relationship during 1808, Jacobi had already distanced himself from Schelling’s work (as attested in letters to others as well, e.g., to Friedrich Bouterwek and Jakob Friedrich Fries), indeed, Jacobi’s publication Von den göttlichen Dingen und ihrer Offenbarung (Leipzig 1811) against Schelling was actually begun in late 1807 or early 1808, and in fact attacks a position Schelling had by 1811 largely abandoned (details see Fuhrmans 3:463–5fn1). In any event, Caroline has severely misread Jacobi’s reaction.
The official history of the Academy, Geschichte der Akademie vom Jul. 1807 bis Ende 1808 (Munich 1809), xl, merely remarks laconically that after the previous business of the Academy had been discussed, “Dr. Schelling, Regular Member of the Philological-Philosophical Section, delivered in celebration of the King’s name day a lecture “on the relationship of the plastic arts to nature,” noting also its immediate publication. Back.
 Zacharias Werner had arrived in Munich from Vienna and associated closely with Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi while trying to secure a position of some sort in Bavaria. He spent some time at the court in Gotha and, considerably assisted by Goethe, three months in Weimar as well (“Central Europe: Wars of the Third Coalition 1805–7,” Cambridge Modern History Atlas [Cambridge 1912]):
 Caroline is referring to Werner’s recent dramatic poem Martin Luther oder die Weihe der Kraft: Eine Tragödie (“Martin Luther or the consecration of power: a tragedy”) (Berlin 1807); here the six copper engravings in the edition of 1807 she would have read:
August Wilhelm Iffland, incidently, was known for his portrayal of Luther (Spemanns goldenes Buch des Theaters: Eine Hauskunde für Jedermann, ed. Rudolph Genée et al. [Berlin, Stuttgart 1902], following no. 245):
And specifically in Werner’s Weihe der Kraft (Almanach für Theater und Theaterfreunde auf das Jahr 1807 [Berlin 1807], plate 4 following p. xxiv, Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):
Caroline seems to be familiar with Werner’s first work (“other works”), Die Söhne des Thals: Ein Ordensgemälde, part 1: Die Templer auf Cypern (Berlin 1803); part 2: Die Kreuzesbrüder (Berlin 1804). Here the frontispiece to the 1803 volume, The Templars on Cyprus:
 Werner was about to turn 39; Caroline herself had just turned 44. Back.
 Werner had been a committed member of the Freemasons, which he had joined while working in Warsaw during the 1790s and whose teachings — more of the mystical than of the Enlightenment variety — had inspired his initial drama mentioned above, Die Söhne des Thals (“The sons of the valley”), which had treated the dissolution of the Knights Templar; here the frontispiece to vol. 2 (1804), Brothers of the Cross:
Here a drawing by E. T. A. Hoffmann of Werner reading aloud from Die Söhne des Thals (Gustav Könnecke, Bilderatlas zur Geschichte der deutschen Nationallitteratur, 2nd ed. [Marburg 1895], 356):
[19a] Despite her criticism, Caroline exhibits here a keen sense for Werner’s dramatic potential. His plays, some of which enjoyed considerable stage success, inaugurated or initiated what was essentially a new trend for German playwrights in what became known as “tragedies of fate” in contradistinction to the previously, broadly speaking, popular chivalric and bourgeois plays, on the one hand, and the loftier plays and dramatic sensibilites of Goethe and Schiller (perhaps also Shakespeare in translation), on the other. The florescence of those popular plays along with the plays of Goethe and Schiller coincided approximately with Caroline’s lifetime, and it is of some interest to find her sensing that Werner might indeed be capable of something quite, as she puts it, “competent.” Back.
 Sophie Bernhardi was on her way from Rome to Prague; see her letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on 19 September 1807 (letter 425a) for her version of her visits with Caroline. Concerning her itinerary, see esp., with a map, note 1 there. Back.
 Wilhelm Bernhardi and Felix Theodor Bernhardi. Sophie had been involved in a bitter custody dispute with Bernhardi for custody of the children (Leipziger Taschenbuch für Frauenzimer zum Nutzen und Vergnügen auf das Jahr 1803; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):
She, with the children, had essentially been on the run from her husband (and the Prussian authorities) (“Le coche de voyage du dix-huitiéme siécle,” in anonymous, “La locomotion terrestre: Les ancients coutures de voyage,” La nature: Revue des sciences etc. 16 , premier semestre, no. 768 [18 February 1888], 177–79, here 177):
Concerning the content of the initial Academy meeting on 28 September 1807, see note 14 above.
Friedrich Schlichtegroll had earlier (1796) been derided in the Xenien as a “necrological creature” for his editorship of the (later biographically nonetheless extremely valuable) Nekrolog auf das Jahr . . . (i.e., 1791–1800), enthaltend Nachrichten von dem Leben merkwürdiger in diesem Jahr verstorbener Deutscher, containing eulogies and biographies of recently deceased Germans, continued as Nekrolog der Teutschen (1802–6) and Neuer Nekrolog der Deutschen (1824–54). The two Xenien read as follows (illustration: Johann David Schubert, Rabe mit einem Ring im Schnabel [ca. 1800]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Graph. A1: 2570):
Of all who report about us, you are my favorite,
Since all those who read about themselves in you
Will fortunately read you no longer.
77. Signs of the Raven.
Beware but of the raven who creeps up behind you,
For this necrological creature sets his sights solely on cadavers.
Translation © 2018 Doug Stott