Letter 442b

442b. Schelling to Martin Wagner in Würzburg: Munich, 7 August 1809 [*]

Munich, 7 August 1809

I really should have written you long ago, my dear friend, but it was not really possible; among other annoyances, for several weeks I had to keep in part to my bed and in part to my room. [1] This summer is even worse than last. . . .

I regret that under the present circumstances there can probably not really be any thought of financial support. [2] I have often, very often wished you were here if only to have an intelligent discussion about so many things. But I do not really know how I should respond to your questions. Should you pick up and come here “lock, stock, and barrel”? [3] Why not? No one will attack you along the way; the roads are secure. [4] But I know not whether you will prefer being here rather than in Würzburg. I myself will perhaps be leaving as soon as the end of this week and will be in Württemberg till the end of next month. [5] But do come there as well, where we can spend some merry days together. . . .

By autumn, God willing, we will have peace. [6] All of us here are faring no better. So it seems to me you ought to linger patiently a couple of weeks yet in Würzburg, then take an excursion to Swabia and in October move here and spend the winter with us. [7] Arrange things such that you can begin a new piece of work here, to which end I will offer you one of our back rooms. God only knows how things stand in Rome; you have probably already seen from the newspapers that the pope is no longer there. [8] . . .

At the very least, I definitely hope to see you here in October, and then we can discuss what is to be done further. . . . So do please come visit me in Swabia; and in any event move here in October for certain. If you wish to write me there, address the letter to Maulbronn via Stuttgart; and stay very well. Our kindest regards.

Schelling [9]


[*] Sources: Plitt 2:167–68; Fuhrmans 3:621–22. Schelling’s sincere and high personal regard for Martin Wagner comes to eloquent expression in this letter. Concerning Caroline’s equally high esteem for Wagner (a painter “about whom one can genuinely be excited”), see her letter to Pauline Gotter on 16 September 1808 (letter 435), also with note 18 there. Back.

[1] Wagner had written Schelling from Würzburg on 16 June 1809 (see below).

Schelling had been ill since ca. 26 June 1809 with, initially, catarrhal fever, and then a persistent cough. Caroline mentions the illness in her letter to Pauline Gotter on 7 August 1809 (letter 442), i.e., this same day, as does Schelling the same day in a letter to Carl Joseph Windischmann ([N.] Schwerdtgeburt, Moritz Müller, Ein Kranker auf seinem Lager [1814]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Graph. A1: 1831):



[2] Viz., for Wagner in Munich (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



[3] In a letter to Schelling from Würzburg back on 16 June 1809 (Fuhrmans 3:614), Wagner had queried Schelling concerning the possibility, because of problems he was having in Würzburg, of picking up and coming the Munich “lock, stock, and barrel.” Back.

[4] Because the theater of war had moved considerably eastward, to the outskirts of Vienna, after the rout of the Austrian army back in April 1809, the French army was largely in control of the area between Bavaria and Würzburg (“Central Europe: The Austrian War 1809,” The Cambridge Modern History Atlas, ed. A. W. Ward, G. W. Prothero, Stanley Leathes, and E. A. Ben [London 1912] [University of Texas, Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection]):



[5] In his letter to Carl Joseph Windischmann on this same day (letter 442a), Schelling provides a completely different itinerary, maintaining that he “will for several months be leading a completely solitary life in the Maulbronn monastery.” By contrast, Caroline, also writing on 7 August 1809 (letter 442), mentions to Pauline Gotter that they will “be back here at the end of September.” In any case, Schelling and Caroline did not be leave until the end of the following week, namely, on Friday, 18 August 1809. Back.

[6] Schelling is alluding to the peace negotiations that had commenced between the French and Austrians after the Austrian defeat at the Battle of Wagram, which was joined by the failures of the Austrian campaigns in Poland and Italy. These developments had prompted Franz I on 17 July 1809 to ratify the armistice of 12 July. The negotiations resulted in the Peace of Schönbrunn on 14 October 1809, barely a month after Caroline passed away in Maulbronn. Back.

[7] Wagner did indeed journey to Munich and move in with Schelling at Im Rosenthal 144, albeit under circumstances wholly different than either had imagined (Penelope Taschenbuch für das Jahr 1813 der Häuslichkeit und Eintracht; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):


To wit, Wagner departed Würzburg on 31 October 1809 after an urgent missive from Schelling, who reported Caroline’s passing to him and had already returned to Munich alone and in a precarious emotional state. See Wagner’s account of the autumn of 1809 in his memoirs (letter/document 450b). Back.

[8] Caroline and Schelling had never ceased trying to arrange a journey to Italy.

As a result of Napoleon’s quarrels with Pope Pius VII, who had refused to join Napoleon’s continental system, Napoleon confiscated Vatican territories. The French then occupied Rome in February 1808 and incorporated the papal states themselves into France in May 1809. After the pope excommunicated Napoleon in June 1809, Napoleon simply had him arrested on 6 July 1809 and imprisoned at Savona, near Genoa (Histoire Populaire de La France, vol. 2 [Paris 1863], 346):



[9] Caroline and Schelling’s close friend from their Würzburg days Georg Michael Klein wrote Schelling on 10 August 1809 from Würzburg (Fuhrmans 3:624):

I hope your stay in Maulbronn will be both enjoyable and wholly salutary and restorative for your health; I wish the same for your esteemed spouse and ask that both of you remember your devoted friend,

GM Klein Back.

Translation © 2018 Doug Stott