Letter 435

• 435. Caroline to Pauline Gotter in Gotha: Munich, 16 September 1808 [*]

[Munich] 16 September 1808

|531| Although I was about to write your dear mother, when I received your letter I decided instead to surrender myself to these more immediate and fresh impressions and write to the dear daughter instead. It was not without particular attentiveness that during the summer I heard about all your comings and goings and how well your lighthearted sensibility was faring amid it all. [1]

Did you really have to clamber up rocks in Bohemia and tear your clothes on wild bushes merely to have the pleasure of making an acquaintance that could just as easily be had right in the vicinity? [2] I wonder how much botany you really learned, for if he genuinely explicated the entire metamorphosis of plants to you in its entirety, it seems you merely gazed into the old gentleman’s eyes; [3] indeed, Schelling believes you were really looking over to the side and in fact were looking for the younger gentleman. Since Herr Riemer was there, the élève was doubtless also not absent even though you wholly passed over him in silence in your letter. And you expect us to believe that it was the magnificent father and his wonderful charms that actually delighted you so! [4] Be that as it may, I will take it just as you have related it and not give you any more trouble on that account.

Your news about the sequel to Wilhelm Meister was of particular interest to us. Do you happen to know whether it is Meister’s mastership that will perhaps be portrayed? [5] You also should have written and told us how the real master himself is doing, though I think one can probably conclude the best |532| simply from the fact that he has taken to climbing mountains together with a wild young girl.

But now that you are indeed so inclined to undertake such things and are so cheerfully disposed, how would it be were you finally to set off on a journey to see me? I am certainly more inclined to propose such to you now that you in your own turn are involved in such proper adventures, since such journeys are invariably a bit of an escapade in any case.

Unfortunately we missed several excellent and quite appropriate opportunities for actually getting you here. The only one I know of now would be Herr R[oussseau], and I’m sure you would think that proposal neither excellent nor appropriate. [6] Indeed, could we but make a madam out of him! I honestly do not think it would constitute much of a loss for women.

There is almost only one way he might bring you here otherwise, namely, hand in hand, for he is now a man who has both position and wealth, quite acceptable at any time, and I entreat you, should he perhaps lay it at your feet, be not so foolish as not to pick it up. [7] I already told him recently that he should bring us solely a charming Gotha lady. The emphasis on that word was not particularly flattering to the others, and he fell absolutely silent at it. And I must tell you that I am almost afraid he will not be stopping by to pick up any requests from me at all because Schelling, by chance, simply never visited him again.

By the way, the serious side of my fun is simply that you are always welcome here, anytime you might choose to come, something I want to make perfectly clear lest you hesitate, at any time or hour, to quickly seize any opportunity that might present itself. I have already often written and told your mother that the only reason I have not invited one of you to come stay with us is that our own arrangements here were not yet set up for such, and then also because we have perpetually been on the verge of yet another journey ourselves. [8]

Last spring I had to anticipate that that |533| journey would indeed come to pass in the course of the year. Schelling, however, still has various works to complete before he can leave Munich, and I honestly know not how long that will be. Since you would be among your countrymen here, [9] I am not making an immodest suggestion by saying that you should pay no further attention to that particular consideration. Time will provide an answer. One can anticipate that there will still be regular carriages traveling to and fro. Schlichtegroll’s sons are still in Gotha, as is Jakobs’s heart, etc. [10] And Madam Niethammer was in your neck of the woods just this past summer. [11]

I wish we had dared to bring this about long ago, along with a thousand other possibilities as well, for time is passing us by in this world, and it would long have been such a blessing for me to have had someone around who is dear to me. Of course, everything is also fine just the way it is, since an earlier trip here would have required that you forgo your trip to Karlsbad, which would have been a loss to you for all time. If you but firmly resolve now to come visit me, you will surely find a way. Although until now I have among other things not really had the space to accommodate anyone, I will indeed have such in my next apartment. [12]

We together with two others took a most charming trip up to the Bavarian mountains and lakes this past August. Munich itself is situated in the worst part of Bavaria, whereas with respect to strangeness and amiability those areas surpass anything I have ever experienced in the way of mountains. [13]

Our Herr Rumohr has already run off from us. He has been absent for 2 months now and sends no news at all. We have heard from Cologne only that the same sort of “art-loving baron” was sighted there. [14] It is too bad that he so utterly lacks reason and is so boring and Punchinello-like, [15] since heaven did indeed endow him with one special sensibility, namely, for art, in which respect he |534| is a fount of the most sophisticated and simultaneously sensuous perceptions. [16] His sense for hearty eating is equally well developed. There can be absolutely no criticism of his understanding of cuisine, except that it is abominable to hear someone speak as intimately about a sea crab as about a portrayal of the little Lord Jesus. [17]

From Rome a painter has finally arrived about whom one can genuinely be excited, namely, Wagner, who was born in Würzburg. He brought a large painting along with him portraying the council of Greeks at the beginning of the 10th song of the Iliad. Our age has not yet seen such bold composition that at the same time has been kept both severe and modest. [18]

According to Schlegel’s most recent letters from Copet, [19] Madame de Staël was intending to spend the winter here, something only the possibility of war will prevent, albeit a possibility that at least according to Napoleon’s most recent message to the senate has again raised its head. [20]

Jakobs has journeyed to Switzerland along with his two eldest sons to secure a place for them, perhaps in Geneva, after not quite knowing what to do with them here. [21] They are quite unwilling to accommodate themselves to being taught anything, and the boys do indeed have a rather unbridled nature. [22] The third will be going to the cadet academy. [23] Marie is suffering with knee problems and limps. The good woman, I believe, is pregnant again. Jakobs is absolutely unable to get used to living in Munich, and I do not really know, but the whole undertaking does not appear quite as rosy to the Schlichtegrolls either as it did at the beginning. But believe me, the source of the problem resides within them themselves! [24]

I was already afraid that Michaelis would not come; there is probably some problem with the food for such a trip. [25]

They are sending Wiebeking, however, to Kassel with a stupendous expense account in order to wed several rivers. [26] For the Oceanids, however, that is, his Fräuleins, [27] though they can certainly be called rich, well educated, |535| and well brought up, there are as yet no such nuptials in sight. [28]

Ah, but what a wicked age it is, my dear Pauline. Do not let it tempt you. Remain steadfast in your fondness for me and write soon. In the future, address your letters to Herr Director Schelling, [29] and do not bother franking them; the commonwealth must pay for them.

Stay well, with which wish I think of each of you individually, visualizing and embracing each. Nor have I forgotten the dear one who now rests in peace. [30]


[*] This letter is Caroline’s response to Pauline Gotter’s letter to her on 6 September 1808 (letter 434).

Although Caroline is writing from her apartment at Hinter der Gemälde-Galerie 63 ¾, during the course of this letter she mentions her and Schelling’s final residence in Munich and as such her final residence in the larger sense. Back.

[1] The reference is at least to Pauline’s stay in Karlsbad as related in her previous letter to Caroline. She was, however, apparently elsewhere as well, since the chronology she provides in that letter together with that gleaned from Goethe’s diaries does not account for the three months away from her family she mentions. Back.

[2] See, e.g., similar rock formations frequented by visitors in the Harz Mountains, where Caroline herself lived during her first marriage (Eberhard Siegfried Henne, engraver, Ankunft auf dem Brocken [ca. 1800]; Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur ESHenne V 3.2799.a):


“Right in the vicinity”: the acquaintance was Goethe, whom Pauline had met in Karlsbad even though he normally resided, of course, in Weimar, a mere 56 km east of Gotha (Post Karte Durch ganz Deutschland, ed. J. Walch [Augsburg 1795]):


Bohemia: Before the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation in 1806, Bohemia, where the mineral-springs spa of Karlsbad (Carlsbad) was located, was one of the empire’s circles. In his book on Germany in the eighteenth century (see also the supplementary appendix on Germany in the late-eighteenth century), Jakob Gottlieb Isaak Boetticher describes the principal towns of Bohemia as follows (A Geographical, historical, and political Description of the Empire of Germany, Holland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Prussia, Italy, Sicily, Corsica, and Sardinia, trans. from the German [London 1800], 85; map: ibid., frontispiece, “Reduced Index to Chauchard’s Maps”):


The chief towns are Prague, in the middle of the country, on the Muldau, the capital of the kingdom. It contains 70,000 inhabitants, a great number of whom are Jews, an university, and is an archbishop’s see. It belongs to none of the sixteen circles [of Bohemia]. Eger, a fortified town, on the river Eger, in the circle of Saaz. It has springs of mineral water, as have likewise the villages of Sedlitz and Scheititz, in the same circle. Carlsbad, a town near the Eger, and Töplitz, in the circle of Leutmeritz, have famous warm baths.

Concerning the history of Bohemia as a circle of the Empire (not included in the supplementary appendix mentioned above because Caroline never spent time there), see supplementary appendix 435.1. Back.

[3] The “metamorphosis of plants” refers to Goethe’s theory of plant generation as articulated in a treatise from 1790 and, more recently, in a poem to Christiane Vulpius in 1797.

See the remarks on the poem, “The Metamorphosis of Plants” (1797), in Goethe’s Minor Poems selected, annotated and re-arranged, ed. Albert M. Selss (London, Dublin 1875), 95, xxviii:

This poem contains a rhythmical version of Goethe’s essay ‘Die Metamorphose der Pflanzen’, written in 1790. It was primarily designed for the instruction of Christiane, his wife, who had taken part in his botanical studies. Its main object is to explain the theory of a primordial leaf, from which all plants spring and to which they invariably conform. The word Metamorphosis should not be taken in the sense of the Mutationist theory of Darwin, as denoting a tendency to deviate from one species to another. This theory was unknown to Goethe. Metamorphosis in Goethe’s sense signifies the development of the original seed, or primary unit, from which all plants rise by successive stages to their maturity. . . .

In [this poem] Goethe traces the development of plants back to the smallest unit, which he calls the primordial leaf Urpflanze or Urblatt He regards the calyx, corolla, bud, pistil, flower and fruit as modifications of a single pervading original.

Illustration from Francis Wall Oliver, The Natural History of Plants: Their Forms, Growth, Reproduction and Distribution, vol. 1 (London 1904), 12:



[4] Élève, Fr., “pupil, student.”

As Erich Schmidt, (1913), 2:660, points out, Goethe’s son, August, was studying at the university in Heidelberg, i.e., was not a member of Goethe’s party in Karlsbad. It is not clear whether Caroline is referring, mistakenly, to August Goethe or to someone else. Pauline similarly nowhere mentions this imputed love interest in her own letter. According to his diary, Goethe left Weimar for Karlsbad on 12 May 1808, having written August Goethe in Heidelberg on 2 May (Weimarer Ausgabe 3:3:331, 334). Goethe similarly not only does not mention August in his description of the journey to Karlsbad, but notes receiving and responding to a letter from August in Karlsbad itself on 3 June 1808 (ibid., 342). Goethe similarly nowhere mentions a younger man as part of his social group in Karlsbad. Hence Caroline and Schelling’s allusion is unclear. Back.

[5] See Pauline Gotter’s letter to Caroline on 6 September 1808 (letter 434), note 6. Back.

[6] Pauline had mentioned Karl Julius Rousseau’s journey from Munich to Gotha in a postscript to her letter to Caroline. Back.

[7] An abrupt and, for Pauline, perhaps disconcerting inclination on Caroline’s part to engage in unsolicited matchmaking (Taschenbuch auf das Jahr 1805 für edle Weiber und Mädchen, Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):


It may be recalled that Caroline herself had pertly resisted such attempts on the part of Pauline’s own parents back in the autumn of 1791. See the sequence of letters beginning with Friedrich Wilhelm Gotter’s letter to Caroline on 27 October 1791 (letter 105).

Caroline’s suitor at the time was the clergyman Josiah Friedrich Löffler, and the episode amusingly recalls Mr. Collins’s proposal to Elizabeth Bennet and the latter’s reaction in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: A Novel, 3 vols. (London 1813), a novel set essentially contemporaneous with the setting with this present letter (illustration by Hugh Thomson, Pride and Prejudice [London 1894], 132):



[8] To Italy, a journy, however, that never materialized.

That said, according to rumors circulating in the German community in Rome in August 1808, the Schellings were allegedly already en route to Italy. Friedrich Tieck wrote to Wilhelm Schlegel on 13 August 1808 (Schelling im Spiegel seiner Zeitgenossen, ed. Xavier Tilliette [Torino 1974], 192):

I do not know whether I already wrote and told you about the enormous stir Schelling’s oration has caused among artists here, so much so that if and when he does come he will be quite besieged and venerated. It is really quite comical to see how everyone is curious about whether he is coming, and how long rumor has it that he is already on his way. Indeed, I, too, am curious to see him again, except that I cannot imagine he will come without his wife, since she has always been so keen on seeing Italy. Back.

[9] I.e., residents of Gotha; concerning the “Gotha (or Saxon) colony” that had emerged in Munich, see Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter on 12 November (December?) 1807 (letter 426), especially with notes 2 and 5 there. Back.

[10] Concerning Jacobs’s uneasiness and homesickness in Munich, see esp. the letter he wrote in November 1807 to a friend back in Gotha; text in supplementary appendix 431.1. See also Caroline’s letters to Luise Gotter on 9 March 1808 (letter 431) and on 6 June 1808 (letter 433). Back.

[11] Rosine Niethammer had undertaken a journey to Jena; see Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter on 6 June 1808 (letter 433), note 35. Back.

[12] The last apartment in which Caroline lived was located in Munich at the address Im Rosenthal 144. She and Schelling moved into this building during the autumn of 1808, and she seems already to be familiar with the apartment.

Here the apartment’s location (at bottom right) in relation to their initial apartment at Karlsthor 7 (top left) (here and following: Königlich Baiersche Haupt und Residenzstadt München am 1. Januar 1809 [Munich 1809]; Bayerisches Landesvermessungsamt München, Nr. 558/03):


Here in a closer view of the street:


Note the garden area in the back, which belonged to the house and was extant much later as well:


Illustration: Münchner Polizey-Uebersicht (1805) xxv and xxvi (Saturday, 25 June 1805), plate xxv (house on left; its later number was 15, handwritten at top):


In 1805 the owner (through inheritance) of what was known as the Stangha House was Baptista Stangha, a merchant in Landsberg and the son of Julius Stangha (also Stangka), an assessor and merchant who had purchased the house in 1783.

The residents of this house in 1805 (which at the time had but three stories; though see photographs below) were the electoral councilor (i.e., “prince-electoral”; Bavaria was not yet a kingdom) Herr Maier; the territorial directorate registrar Herr Wurmsthaler, and retired Manor Lord von der Au Herr Schroedl (ibid., plate annotation).

Interestingly, buildings 7 and 8 in the building ensemble at Karlsthor 7, where Caroline and Schelling lived when they first moved to Munich, were owned by this same Rath and ecclesiastical-financial secretary Mair (Maier) (Verzeichniss der sämmtlichen Hausbesitzer der Stadt [München] und ihres Burgfriedens [Munich 1803], 110), and he may well have been the contact through whom they secured this apartment Im Rosenthal 144.

Martin Wagner uses this address in a letter to Schelling on 16 June 1809 (Fuhrmans 3:615fn), and the Akademisches Taschenbuch für die Mitglieder der königl. Akademie der Wissenschaften zu München auf das Jahr 1809 (Munich 1809), 148, lists this address for Schelling in 1809, though its edition of 1811 (p. 171), i.e., after Caroline’s death in 1809, lists Schelling as having moved back to the Karlsthor ensemble, this time at no. 9 in the left rondell rather than, as in 1806, at no. 7 in the right rondell.

Here, in order, the rear and front view of the house Im Rosenthal 144 shortly before its demolition in 1909 (first photo from the Sammlung Karl Valentin. Quelle: Stadtarchiv München, Sign.: DE-1992-FS-NL-KV-0196; second photo uncertain, presumably from the Stadtarchiv München).

At some point after Caroline and Schelling lived here, a fourth story was added (evident in the street view by the different exterior window trim and in the rear by the double-fluted trim between the third and fourth stories) and the street level had risen presumably as a result of successive pavings or stonework. Note that the front door is now below street grade and is accessible by a below-grade sidewalk:




[13] Erich Schmidt, (1913), 2:660, notes that Caroline wrote down some Schnaderhüpfl from the area around the Schliersee in the Bavarian Alps, a type of improvised epigrammatic song consisting of a single stanza sung by residents of the alps in Bavaria and Steiermark. One person or part sings a stanza and another responds, often with an ad hoc improvised counter. These songs usually involve humorous or cheeky texts, and in Bavaria and Austria there are even competitions in which singers try to best one another, often with improvised counters to display improvisatory skill. Schmidt regrettably did not include the song to which he is here referring, but the remark does attest Caroline’s visit to Schliersee (Wandkarte der Alpen… unter der Leitung des Vinzeux von Haardt [Vienna 1882]; Bibliothèque nationale de France; département Cartes et plans):


Here an example of a Schnaderhüpfl from Das deutsche Volkslied, ed. Julius Sahr, 3rd ed., 2 vols. (Leipzig 1908), 2:37 (verses renumbered):


1. To my love I went, it made me glad,
I will go no more, the way is too far.

2. The higher the steeple, the more beautiful the bells;
the more distant my darling, the greater the joy.

3. To the Bavarians I will go, if I am but able,
My darling is more precious than money on the table.

4. Than money on the table and money in the bank,
But where is my darling? Time just drags on.

Illustration of the Schliersee from Herman Schmid and Karl Stieler, The Bavarian Highlands and the Salzkammergut (London 1874), 48:


It is regrettable that Caroline says no more about this trip; Schelling mentions in a letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on 26 August 1808 (Krisenjahre 1:602) that he had received Wilhelm’s previous letter the day before departing on this journey, and that he and Caroline had only just returned from this trip to the Bavarian Alps and part of Tyrol (illustration of Schliersee: Joseph Anton Sedlmayr, engraver, Ansicht von Schliersee [n.d.]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Top 21d: 2.2):


See in any case Caroline’s letter to Beate Gross on 31 July 1807 (letter 424), in which she bemoans the Munich area, “where even though no particular natural charms captivate us, a certain element of comfortable contentment does make us tend to stay put.” See esp. note 4 there. Back.

[14] A jesting allusion to the title of the earlier book by Wilhelm Wackenroder and Ludwig Tieck, Herzensergiessungen eines kunstliebenden Klosterbruders (Berlin 1797) (Outpourings of an art-loving friar); see Caroline’s review of this book.

Carl Friedrich von Rumohr did not last long in Munich. According to his letter to Caroline on 7 March 1808 (letter 430), he was anticipating arriving in Munich in early April, but was putting aside only a “meager annual sum” with which to study in Munich and then crisscross Germany in search of art (see also his letters to Caroline in early 1808 [letter 427] and to Ludwig Tieck on 26 September 1807 [letter 425b]).

In his letter to Caroline on 7 March 1808 (letter 430), Rumohr remarks that “I am thinking about weaving Friedrich Schlegel and various others into this wonderful work, and if possible about establishing a society for the study of German antiquities.” His journey to Cologne was likely intended as a visit to Friedrich and Dorothea Schlegel in this connection.

According to Caroline in this letter, however, he seems to have left Munich at latest by mid-July, when he headed for the Rhine River area (as Schelling similarly remarks in a letter to the publisher Friedrich Perthes on 5 August 1808 [Fuhrmans 409]), and seems yet to have spent time in Stuttgart in July as well, where he looked up Karl Schelling, who writes to Schelling on 20 July 1808 (Fuhrmans 3:506):

The Herr Baron [von Rumohr] arrived here last Sunday [17 July] and came looking for me three times before he found me. He ran out of money here, and no exchange was accepted. He recounted this misfortune to me and would have been glad had I advanced him some money or otherwise been able to secure some for him. But since he is an utter stranger to me, and you have never described him to me, I did not get involved and thus do not really know how he [made it further]. In general, I found him to be a rigid, cold sort of personality. Back.

[15] Pulcinella (Polichinelle, Punch, Hanswurst), a stock character in the Italian commedia dell’arte and a precursor of the character of Punch in British puppet shows and of Hanswurst on the German stage (Samuel Orchart Beeton, Beeton’s Dictionary of universal information; comprising a complete summary of the moral, mathematical, physical and natural sciences, part 52 [London 1861], 1448, s.v. Punch):

Punch, or Punchinello, punch, is the name of the principal character in a well-known puppet-show, which is exhibited about the streets. The name is supposed to be a corruption of Policinella or Pulcinella, who is usually the leading character in Neapolitan puppet-shows. According to Galiani, the name is a corruption of Puccio d’Aniello, a vintager, characterized by a very large nose and grotesque appearance, and remarkable for his wit and drollery. He subsequently went on the stage, and became extremely popular, and was personated all over the country.

On being transported into Britain, the name became Punchinello, and for shortness Punch. The puppet-show of “Punch and Judy” embodies a domestic tragedy, treated in a broadly farcical manner. Punch himself is represented as a short obese personage, with an enormous hump on his back, a wide mouth, long chin, and hooked nose; and his wife Judy is in most respects his counterpart, while his dog Toby is an important character in the performance.

Illustration from Maurice Sand, Masques et bouffons: Comédie-Italienne, texte et dessins, 2 vols. (Paris 1860), plate following 1:128:


See also the discussion of other characters associated with the commedia dell’arte in Caroline’s letter to Luise Wiedemann on 31 January 1807 (letter 421), esp. with notes 10 and 12. Back.

[16] Rumohr’s Italienische Forschungen, vols. 1 and 2 (Berlin, Stettin 1827); vol. 3 (Berlin, Stettin 1831), is sometimes viewed as the work that established the discipline of source-critical art historiography. Back.

[17] J. E. Gailer, Neuer Orbis Pictus für die Jugend oder Schauplatz der Natur der Kunst und des Menschenlebens, 5th ed. (Reutlingen 1842), plate 124:


Rumohr’s book on cooking and cuisine, Geist der Kochkunst (1822), is still in print today (Eng. trans. The Essence of Cookery [London 1993]):



[18] See this synopsis of the passage (The Iliad of Homer: From the Text of Dindorf, Books 1–12, ed. S. H. Reynolds [Rivingtons 1870], 272):

Agamenon and Menelaus, in the course of the night, awake Nestor and others of the chiefs, and go round with them to visit the watches (1–193). A council is held, and Diomed and Ulysses are sent to spy out what the Trojans are doing (194–208).

For the text of the entire passage, see supplementary appendix 435.2.

Johann Martin Wagner, The Council of Greeks at Troy (1807) (far left: King Menelaus; far right: Ajax; center: Nestor; over Nestor’s right shoulder in the background: Diomedes and Odysseus approaching on the battlefield (300×440 cm; Würzburg, Martin von Wagner Museum der Universität Würzburg; Maximilian I acquired this painting in this same year, 1808):


In 1817, Schelling mentions this piece in his “Johann Martin Wagners Bericht über die Aeginetischen Bildwerke im Besitz Seiner Königlichen Hoheit des Kronprinzen von Bayern. Mit kunstgeschichtlichen Anmerkungen von F. W. J. Schelling,” Sämmtliche Werke, 9:111–206, here 115, referring to the author:

who has long been familiar to the most respected representatives of German friends of the arts as a practicing artist of the most distinguished power and skill, and who in his grand painting, completed eight years ago, of the Council of the Greeks at Troy demonstrated a primal sensibility, nourished through Homer and a profound familiarity with antiquity, for the heroic spirit of earliest Greek antiquity . . .

Wagner’s essay with Schelling’s introduction has been translated by Louis A. Ruprecht, Jr., as Johann Martin Wagner with F. W. J. Schelling, Report on the Aeginetan Sculptures With Historical Supplements (Albany, NY 2017). Back.

[19] Not extant. Only Schelling’s letter to Wilhelm on 10 September (see below) seems to have survived among their correspondence during this period, though at the end of Schelling’s letter to him on 26 August 1808 (Krisenjahre 1:605) mentioned above, Schelling does invite Wilhelm to visit them during the autumn of 1808. Back.

[20] Caroline, unwittingly anticipating military developments as far forward as the spring of 1809, seems to be alluding to a report in the Baierische National-Zeitung (1808) 219 (Thursday, 15 September 1808), 892, i.e., the previous day, according to which the French minister of war had appealed to Napoleon to levy an additional force because of the urgency of the military situation in Spain; he also mentioned the ominous news of Austria’s rearmament in response to French defeats in Spain (at the same time, even Czar Alexander was reconsidering his alliance with Napoleon). The French minister of war writes to Napoleon:

The rearming of Austria has often elicited my concern. The foreign minister has assured me that the best of relations obtain between France and Austria, and that one must view the troop levies in Austria in part as a precautionary measure, and in part as the result of the fear-mongering perpetrated by the numerous English agents at all their courts.

The wording of the missive from Napoleon on 4 September 1808 to the senate in Paris was then appended to the war minister’s request:

Senators! My foreign minister has already presented to you the various tractates and constitution of Spain. — My minister of war has already described for you the needs and circumstances of my army. — I have resolved to address the matters pertaining to Spain with the greatest diligence, and to destroy the English army in that country. — My alliance with the Russian czar leaves no hope for England that it might carry out its plans. I believe in peace for the continent, but I have no intention and indeed must not be dependent on the false calculations and errors of other courts, and since my neighbors are strengthening their armies, it is my duty to strengthen mine as well.

The Senate accordingly approved a special levy of 160,000 soldiers from the scheduled classes from 1807 to 1809 and, in anticipation, from 1810 as well. But French problems (despite victories) in what was known as the peninsular campaign in Spain and Portugal throughout 1808, with Napoleon himself going to Spain in September 1808, eventually encouraged Austria. Michael Glover, The Napoleonic Wars: an illustrated history 1792–1815 (New York 1978), 135–36, carries this thread further, mentioning that

reports of renewed belligerency in Austria had reached Napoleon in Spain and when he returned to Paris on 23 January [1809] he devoted his energies to building up his army in Germany which had been reduced to 90,000 men by the withdrawal of corps for Spain. Before the end of March he had more than doubled its strength by adding to it the 3rd and 4th battalions of French regiments and by raising large contingents from the German satellites and the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. From Spain he withdrew only the Imperial Guard (22,000 men) and a few dragoons. Being convinced that the Austrians would not move before the end of April [1809], he stayed in Paris and left the German command to Marshal Berthier, an admirable chief of staff but no field commander.

Opinion in Austria was divided on the wisdom of renewing the war, but fortified by a subsidy of £2 million and £400,000 a month and the promise of diversionary attacks by Britain, she moved sooner than Napoleon had anticipated. On 9 April [1809] the Archduke Charles invaded Bavaria with 140,000 men and three days later the Archduke John with 50,000 advanced into Italy, and on 15 April defeated the French viceroy, Eugène de Beauharnais, at Sacile. Simultaneously the peasants of the Tyrol rose against their Bavarian masters and demanded to be returned to Hapsburg rule.

Napoleon hurried back from Spain to engage the Austrians in Bavaria and drive them back across the Danube River; eventually he occupied Vienna. Back.

[21] Friedrich Jacobs two eldest sons were Friedrich Wilhelm Josias (Fritz) Jacobs and Wilhelm Jacobs. Back.

[22] Friedrich Jacobs, Personalien (Leipzig 1840), 86–88:

Since moving to Munich, I had in part instructed my children myself and in part had them instructed in auxiliary subjects by students at the lycée; one of the youngest attended a private institution; the third, who was inclined toward military service, received a place in the royal cadet institute, which at the time was under the direction of General Werneck. The two elder sons were inclined more to practical than to scholarly lives, the eldest especially to economics; which is why I thought about the Fellenberg Institute in Hofwyl, which had an extremely good reputation at the time in the newspapers.

Indeed, I was about to enter into negotiations with Fellenberg when a friend from Lausitz, whom I had asked to have a closer look in Hofwyl during a trip to Switzerland, informed me that despite the enthusiastic descriptions by Madam Therese Huber in the Morgenblatt, the part of the institute to which I was intending to entrust my sons was not even organized yet, indeed, was to a certain extent merely a utopian notion.

So I changed my plan, and since I had found it advisable to dispatch my children away from home for a while, I decided to take them to the institute of my friend and countryman, Senior Pastor Gerlach in Geneva, with which I was quite familiar. I myself had worked laboriously throughout the entire year, and decided to recover a bit by means of a journey. I departed on such on 12 September 1808, traveled by way of Lindau, Costnitz, Zürich, and Bern, along the Leman River, arriving in Geneva on the 19th, where I found everything quite according to my wishes.

“Central Europe: Wars of the Third Coalition 1805–7,” Cambridge Modern History Atlas (Cambridge 1912):


I remained there several days until my children were settled in the institute, visited Ferney and magnificent Coppet, then hastened back to Munich by the same route, pressed by time insofar as the written examination for teachers was awaiting me at the beginning of October.

Wilhelm Schlegel had been made a corresponding member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Munich and had corresponded with Schelling concerning the academy’s structure, functions, etc. (Krisenjahre 1:577–80; Fuhrmans 3:523–28) as well as with respect to some requests for materials he needed for his own work (e.g., Johann Nepomuk Strixner, Albrecht Dürers christlich-mythologische Handzeichnungen in lithographischer Manier gearbeite [Munich 1808]; Johann Christoph von Aretin’s periodical Aurora; see Krisenjahre 3:317fn256; Fuhrmans 1:420fn125).

Friedrich Jacobs took with him on his journey a letter from Schelling to Wilhelm from Munich on 10 September 1808 (Krisenjahre 1:613), since Jacobs, as just seen, had intended to visit Coppet as well. Because Jacobs did not have sufficient room in his luggage for the lithographs and journal, however, Schelling instead enclosed a copy of the constitution of the Academy of Sciences and Humanities, another of the constitution of the Academy of Fine Arts, and the two lectures already published (Jacobi’s Über gelehrte Gesellschaften, ihren Geist und Zweck and Schelling’s “On the Relation of the Plastic Arts to Nature”). The copies of the two constitutions were still at Coppet when Josef Körner assembled the documents now constituting Krisenjahre der Frühromantik (see ibid., 3:353). Back.

[23] Gustav Jacobs, the third son of Friedrich Jacobs, was enrolled in the Munich Cadette Academy together with young poet Count August von Platen (1796–1835), who as a ten-year-old wrote to his mother (Der Briefwechsel des Grafen August von Platen, 5 vols., ed. Ludwig von Scheffler, Paul Bornstein, et al., vol. 1 [Munich, Leipzig 1911] 1:9): “I really like visiting Madam Schelling because she has so many beautiful books.”

Jacobs’s fourth and youngest son, Paul Emil Jacobs, was but six years old at the time. Back.

[24] Although the Schlichtegrolls remained in Munich, Caroline had already commented concerning Friedrich Schlichtegroll’s uneasy demeanor as general secretary of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities; see Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter on 9 March 1808 (letter 431), note 15. Back.

[25] Uncertain allusion; Fritz Michaelis? See Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter on 28 November 1806 (letter 418), note 5. Back.

[26] Georg Heinrich Karl Wiebeking was a distinguished hydraulics engineer, and had indeed received a commission to “wed” several rivers, namely, the Weser and Elbe by means of a canal between the Aller (which flows into the Weser) and Ohre (which flows into the Elbe; A compleat map of Germany, comprehending the differents seats of the present [viz. seven years] war [London 1759]; Bibliothèque nationale de France; département Cartes et plans):


The project is described succinctly as follows in Johann Kretzchmar, “Napoleons Kanalprojekte zur Verbindung des Rheines mit der Elbe und Ostsee,” Zeitschrift des historischen Vereins für Niedersachsen (1906), 139–150, here 140:

When the French arrived in the country [the Treaty of Tilsit had consolidated most of the Prussian lands west of the Elbe with Braunschweig and parts of Hannover to form a Kingdom of Westphalia for Jerome Bonaparte], it was, perhaps surprisingly, King Jerome who became particularly interested in the potential of inland waterways. He first considered connecting the Elbe River with the Weser River by using the Ohre River and Aller River, since both rivers flowed quite close to each other at Oebisfelde and Calvörde, where they are separated only by a swampy lowland, the Drömling, such that connecting them by means of a canal would not present any particular difficulty. In 1808 Jerome commissioned the Bavarian engineer F. von Wiebeking study the terrain and work out a plan. Wiebeking was prepared to complete the project within three years at a cost of 2,730,000 Francs. The canal, however, was not built, though no one knows why.

For a considerably more detailed account of this grandly conceived project and of Wiebeking’s exploratory journey during the autumn of 1808, see supplementary appendix 435.3. Back.

[27] In Greek mythology, Oceanus (here, jestingly: Wiebeking as a hydraulics engineer), was the son of Uranus (the sky) and Ge (the earth) husband of Tethys, and father of the (3000!) Oceanides (sea nymphs; here, jestingly: the Wiebeking daughters) and the river gods.

These Oceanides, as daughters of Oceanus, were nymphs of the ocean as opposed to the Nereides, nymphs of the Mediterranean Sea (daughters of Nereus) and the Naiades, nymphs of fresh water. Here an Oceanide in full human form (they were also portrayed as mermaids) on two sea horses (Bernard de Montfaucon, L’antiquité expliquée et représentée en figures, 5 vols. of 2 parts each (Paris 1719ff), vol. 1a, plate xxxiv, p. 72, “Tritons, Nereides, Chevaux Marins”:



[28] Fanny Wiebeking did not marry until 1818; Fritze Wiebeking, however, seems to have married Martin Heinrich Köhler soon after this present letter (wedding date unknown), though he died in the field in 1812. Back.

[29] Concerning titles in Bavaria at this time, see the pertinent section in Caroline’s letter to Pauline Gotter on 4 August 1807 (letter 425) and Schelling’s letter to Johann Friedrich Cotta on 15 May 1808 (letter 432c), note 1.

In a letter to Schelling from Jena on 3 February 1809 (Alexander Ecker, Lorenz Oken. Eine biographische Skizze. Durch erläuternde Zusätze und Mittheilungen aus Oken’s Briefwechsel vermehrt (Stuttgart 1880), 206; idem, Lorenz Oken. A biographical Sketch. With explanatory notes, selections from Oken’s correspondence, and a portrait of the professor, trans. Alfred Tulk (London 1883), 124; Fuhrmans 3:588), Lorenz Oken is still puzzled concerning just how to address Caroline: “My regards to your wife — for I hardly know what title she now bears.” On 23 February 1809, Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi (Fuhrmans 1:435; here letter 439a) addresses Schelling in a letter as “most esteemed Herr Director,” and in his response to Oken’s query, Schelling himself writes on 6 May 1809 (Fuhrmans 1:442–43):

p.s. Since you have asked me on several occasions already concerning my title, let the following serve as clarification: my title is that of a council director [Germ. Kollegiendirektor, director of a council or official corporate body] vis ut [Latin, “with the same force as”] that of a professor, namely, a Hofrath; my office is: ongoing [general] secretary of the one and member of the other academy; the most succinct way to write me would thus be: To Director Schelling — and my wife is: Frau Director [feminine, Germ. Direktorin]. Are you satisfied now? Back.

[30] Uncertain allusion, possibly Eleonore Gotter, sister of Luise Gotter’s late husband, Friedrich Wilhelm Gotter. Back.

Translation © 2018 Doug Stott