Letter 444

• 444. Caroline to Meta Liebeskind in Munich: Maulbronn, 28 August 1809

[Maulbronn] 28 August [1809]

|561| Today it is from within monastic walls that I write to you [1] — we have been away from the capital for hardly 10 days now and are already immersed in blissful unknowing. [2] Although we were hoping that peace would follow close behind us, what we found en route instead was war, especially between Augsburg and Ulm, [3] where throughout the entire day we encountered sometimes cuirassiers from Spain coming toward us, [4] sometimes depots of infantry, and above all frightful powder supplies, wagons loaded with barrels so heavy that they had to have a team of 10–12 horses pulling them. [5] In Zusmarshausen we got tangled in a horrible crush. [6] A procession of wounded soldiers had arrived with us, while an infantry battalion was entering from the other side just as a herdsman was driving his considerable herd of livestock through town. [7]

We did have good weather, though, except that we arrived in Ulm in the middle of a violent thunderstorm — and unfortunately, ever since we have been here in Maulbronn it has been raining as well, which is all the more aggravating because Maulbronn itself is more a place from which one can easily get to any number of charming locales, prospects, and landscapes than a place that is beautiful in and of itself. [7a] |562| As soon as the weather cheers up, we will be roaming the countryside round about here on foot and horseback.

In the meantime, my dear, write to me and let me know how things are with you. —

It almost seems we have yet again missed our chance to see the great emperor. When we came through Stuttgard, they had been expecting him there sometime during the next few days. The cannons were already set up to greet him. [8] Here one has access only to what the newspaper reports, which is not always the correct or even latest news. If he was in Munich, please relate to me everything you know about it, and in a historical style — I just saw that General Beaumont is advancing through Munich [9] — who knows whether we were not subject to billeting. [Requests.]

The work Materials Concerning the History of the Austrian Revolutionary War is undeniably by the same hand as the Plans? [10] How do things now stand with Tyrol? I have not yet read anything more in the newspapers than we already knew two weeks ago. [11] I hope you have some news from Adalbert. [12] Regards to both you and your husband from both of us, also to the Flads. —

We even passed right beneath her windows. [13] Günzburg is beautifully situated. I would have no trouble at all living there. [14] In Ulm we climbed up the cathedral just as Martin Miller was preaching. [15] As we passed by, we heard him going on about the trials and tribulations of life, and his exposition seemed as musty as the text itself. [16] Sturz no doubt arrived, did he not?

Do not forget my address here: To Herr Director Schelling in Maulbronn via Stuttgard. [17]

Stay well, and please do not read this letter so hastily that you end up reading things in it that are not really there. [18] [Requests.]


[1] Namely, from the Maulbronn monastery complex. Here (1) the front gate and (2) a view back toward that gate from the just inside the monastic walls, as well as (3) a view of the courtyard and fountain ([1, 2] Eduard Paulus, Die Cisterzienser-Abtei Maulbronn, 3rd ed. [Stuttgart 1889], 13, 91; [3] Robert Stieler, Maulbronn [1870]):




Here an overview of the former monastery complex with its intact monastic walls in a drawing from 1882; the front gate is in the top left-hand corner (Eduard Paulus, Die Cisterzienser-Abtei Maulbronn, 2nd ed. [Stuttgart 1882], fig. 217, p. 96; 3rd ed. [Stuttgart 1889], p. 98):


Caroline is writing from the ephorat, the house of the ephorus (Schelling’s father) at lower center adjoining the church complex at a right angle and overlooking the rear courtyard (actually: the cemetery) behind the church (photo of ephorat by the translator):



[2] Possibly a distant allusion (under Schelling’s influence?) to the late-14th-century Middle English mystical meditation The Cloud of Unknowing (see A Book of Contemplation the Which is Called the Cloud of Unknowing, in the Which a Soul is Oned with God, ed. Evelyn Underhill [London 1912]). See also Lotte Michaelis’s letter to Caroline in November 1785 (letter 64), note 8a.

Caroline and Schelling had departed Munich on 18 August 1809, something Caroline confirms in her letter to Philipp Michaelis on 16 August 1809 (letter 443) and Schelling in his letter to Luise Gotter on 24 September 1809 (letter 448).

Caroline and Schelling seem to have traversed the same route — in the opposite direction — that originally brought them to Munich from Murrhardt and Stuttgart in 1803, though in this instance they would proceed from Stuttgart on to Maulbronn, another 45 km, where Schelling’s father was now prelate.

Stuttgart is located ca. 230 km from Munich. Schelling was born in nearby Leonberg ([1] Neue und vollstaendige Post-Carte Durch ganz Deutschland [1804]; Bibliothèque nationale de France; [2] William R. Shepherd, Historical Atlas, 2nd ed. [New York 1921], 143):



Here Leonberg in the mid-nineteenth century (frontispiece to Beschreibung des Oberamts Leonberg [Stuttgart 1852]):


For Caroline’s brief but animated description of this route between Stuttgart and Munich at the time, see the pertinent paragraph and notes in her letter to Luise Wiedemann on 8–17 September 1803 (letter 381). Back.

[3] Franz Ludwig Güssefeld, Neue und vollstaendige Post-Carte Durch ganz Deutschland (1804); Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Cartes et plans:


Given her following description, Caroline and Schelling seem to have encountered some version of the following, all-too-common scenes of French cavalry, infantry, and munitions on the march (ca. 1800) and of similar troop and munitions movement from the previous century (16th–17th century), albeit in Caroline and Schelling’s case within the confines of narrower postal roads and, notably, what at the time were often quite tiny villages ([1] artist: Wilhelm von Kobell; engravers: Adam von Bartsch and Christian Gottfried Heinrich Geissler; © Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, Brown University Library; by permission; [2] Justus Danckerts, Stefano della Bella, Kriegsszene mit Kanone und einem eine Lanze tragenden Soldaten rechts im Vordergrund [ca. 1655–1701]; Herzog Anton Museums./Signatur JDanckerts AB 3.52; [3] Marie-Joseph-Louis-Adolphe Thiers, Collection de 350 gravures, dessins de Philippoteaux, etc. pour l’histoire du Consulat et de l’Empire, 2 vols. [Paris 1870], no. 132:)





[4] Cuirassiers were mounted cavalry soldiers who wore two-piece armor consisting of a breastplate and backplate fastened together to protect the rider especially in close hand-to-hand or cavalry-to-cavalry combat and from musket and pistol fire from a distance (illustration of French cuirassier officer from Theodore Ayrault Dodge, Napoleon: A History of the Art of War, vol. 4 [Boston 1907], 453):


The armor was issued to additional French regiments after the Battle of Wagram a few weeks earlier. Here French cuirassiers at the Battle of Eylau back in February 1807 (Marie-Joseph-Louis-Adolphe Thiers, “Charge des cuirassiers à Eylau,” Collection de 350 gravures, dessins de Philippoteaux, etc. pour l’histoire du Consulat et de l’Empire, 2 vols. [Paris 1870], no. 119:)



[5] The “cuirassiers from Spain” presumably refers to French soldiers being withdrawn from the lengthy Peninsular War (in Spain and Portugal) in which France was now caught and which was not going the way Napoleon had anticipated.

Concerning the broader course and prospects of that engagement from the beginning of 1809, see Michael Glover, The Napoleonic Wars: an illustrated history 1792–1815 (New York 1978), 141–44 (a familiarity with the locales and battles is not necessary to understand the overall sweep; (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Elementarische Landkarte von Europa, in Kupfersammlung zu J[ohann] B[ernhard] Basedows Elementarwerke für die Jugend und ihre Freunde: Erste Lieferung in 53 Tafeln. Zweyte Lieferung in 47 Tafeln von L bis XCVI [Leipzig, Dessau, Berlin 1774], plate xl):


When Napoleon returned to Paris in January 1809 he left a set of instructions for the complete subjugation of the Peninsula. Unfortunately these instructions reflected his illusion that the Spanish business was over, and bore no relation to reality. The main operation was entrusted to Soult who was ordered to march from Coruña by way of Vigo and Oporto so as to reach Lisbon on 10 February [1809], four weeks after the Battle of Coruña. He was then to detach troops to join Marshal Victor who was instructed to seize Seville, Cadiz and Gibraltar. The operation, wrote the Emperor to King Joseph [his brother, whom he had made king of Spain], “will settle the Spanish business. I leave the glory of it to you.”

This was moonshine. Even if Soult had had the 44,000 men shown on his muster-rolls it would have been physically impossible for him to have reached Lisbon on 10 February. As it was the pursuit of Moore and the Battle of Coruña had reduced his marching strength to 23,000 and although he was opposed only by an armed peasantry, he did not reach Oporto until 29 March. There he had to halt in a vain attempt to re-establish his communications with Galicia and Leon. By that time Britain had taken the decision which was irrevocably to frustrate Napoleon’s plans for the Peninsula and elsewhere. . . .

The decline of Napoleon’s empire can best be dated from the moment when Britain decided to reinforce her small force in Portugal, using the manpower of Portugal and Spain to make up for the numbers which she herself could never deploy in the field. Henceforward the French were to be committed to a struggle which cost her armies an average of 50,000 lives a year and which she could never win.

The Spanish campaign had been underway since March 1808 but had not gone entirely according to plan over the course of the year and would continue through 1809 (not ending, indeed, until 1814). After returning to Paris in January 1809, however, Napoleon had set about building up the sheer numbers of his armies back in Germany in anticipation of Austrian belligerency.

Part of that plan had been to withdraw forces from Spain, and here in the late summer of 1809, given the tremendous losses the French army had recently suffered during the campaign of the War of 1809 until now, especially at Aspern and Essling and Wagram (the Baierische National-Zeitung [1809] 197 [Saturday, 26 August 1809], 839, recounted that “120 young military surgeons recently arrived in Augsburg from France on their way to Austria to report to the [French] army”), as well as now having to deal with the insurrection in Tyrol, it is not surprising that reinforcements were being drawn from other campaigns.

These troop enhancements, of whatever numbers and frequency, were not the only military activity on the roads on which Caroline and Schelling traveled. The Tyrolean insurrection against Bavaria had been underway since April 1809, the territories of Tyrol and Vorarlberg having been taken from Austria by the Treaty of Pressburg and ceded to the Bavarians (coinciding with Maximilian I being elevated to the status of king in Bavaria), and the Tyroleans were not at all happy with the reforms introduced by the Bavarians, including in ecclesiastical and religious matters.

That conflict continued until the end of 1809, and was likely contributing, with the Peninsular War, to the movements of troops and supplies between Munich, Augsburg, and Ulm. The Tyrolean campaign, about which Caroline queries Meta Liebeskind later in this letter, was taking place just to the south of Munich and Augsburg (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):



[6] Zusmarshausen (Zusmarhausen on the map below) is located ca. 32 km west of Augsburg and 60 km east of Ulm (Franz Ludwig Güssefeld, Neue und vollstaendige Post-Carte Durch ganz Deutschland [1804]; Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Cartes et plans):


From a distance (early postcard):


Inside the village (early postcard):



[7] Such tiny village streets could quickly become clogged (Anton Mirou, Dorf an einem Flüsschen mit Dorfpresse [ca. 1620]; Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur Museumsnr. MMerian AB 3.316):


The wounded were presumably from either Tyrol or Spain, though there were certainly other military engagements continuing in other parts of Germany as well. Caroline does not say from which direction the wounded arrived. Back.

[7a] Schauplatz der Natur und der Künste, vol. 2 (Vienna 1775), plate 32:


Maulbronn was in any case certainly isolated (Eduard Paulus, Die Cisterzienser-Abtei Maulbronn, 3rd ed. [Stuttgart 1889], plate 5):



[8] Unfortunately, at this time, Napoleon was at his headquarters in Vienna during the negotiations following the battles of Aspern, Essling, and Wagram [Marie-Joseph-Louis-Adolphe Thiers, “Conférences à Schoenbrunn pour fixer les bases du traité de paix entre la France et Autriche,” Collection de 350 gravures, dessins de Philippoteaux, etc. pour l’histoire du Consulat et de l’Empire, 2 vols. (Paris 1870), no. 184:]



[9] The Baierische National-Zeitung (1809) 197 (Saturday, 26 August 1809), 839 (i.e., two days before Caroline is here writing; perhaps she received the paper in Maulbronn), reported the following:


Lindau, 22 August. Today we saw the French division general Count von Beaumont depart. From here he went to Kempten, and from there he will continue on to Munich, where he will advance with his division.

And the Baierische National-Zeitung (1809) 199 (Tuesday, 29 August 1809), 845 (i.e., the day after Caroline is here writing), reported the following:

Bavaria. Augsburg, 24 August. . . . This evening at 6:00, Herr Division General Imperial Count von Beaumont arrived here from Lindau. His stay, however, will last only a few days because he will be continuing on to Munich. . . .

Munich, 29 August. Today 70 wagons brought in 8–10,000 firearms, maces, pikes, etc. along with several standards that were then deposited in the armory.

His Excellency Division General and Senator Herr Count Braumont [Beaumont] arrived yesterday evening at 7:00.

Here Beaumont’s route from Lindau on Lake Constance on to Munich (Franz Ludwig Güssefeld, Neue und vollstaendige Post-Carte Durch ganz Deutschland [1804]; Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Cartes et plans):


See below concerning his prior engagements in Tyrol and his stay in Bregenz, just south of Lindau. Back.

[10] In their annotations, both Erich Schmidt, (1913), 2:663, and Georg Waitz, (1871), 2:369, have the first title slightly wrong.

The title of the first piece, actually several anti-Napoleon pamphlets whose authors must be conjectured (hence Caroline’s query), is Johann Christoph von Aretin and Joseph von Hörmann, Materialien zur Geschichte des österreichischen Revoluzionirungs-Systems, nos. 1–3 (Nürnberg 1809). The second piece is Johann Christoph von Aretin, Die Plane Napoleons und seiner Gegner besonders in Teutschland und Österreich (Munich 1809), which similarly originally appeared anonymously. Back.

[11] Having departed Munich on 18 August 1809 and, two days before, related news from the Baierische National-Zeitung to Philipp Michaelis (see Caroline’s letter to him on 16 August 1809 [letter 443]), Caroline had presumably already read the Baierische National-Zeitung (1809) 186 (Saturday, 12 August 1809), 787, which had reported the following (next two maps: Franz Ludwig Güssefeld, Neue und vollstaendige Post-Carte Durch ganz Deutschland [1804]; Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Cartes et plans):

Bregenz, 8 August [1809]. The subjugation of Tyrol and the swift march of the troop corps of His Excellency the Imperial French Division General and Senator Count von Beaumont from Innsbruck to here [Bregenz] across the Adlerberg, Bludenz [Pludenz], and Feldkirch completely disrupted and routed the Vorarlberg insurgents whom they saw attacking them from behind.


This corps, which had penetrated into Tyrol through the Scharniz [a strategic mountain pass on the German border]


departed on the 3rd [of August] from Innsbruck and arrived on the 6th [of August] in Dornbirn, 2 hours [south] of here [Bregenz], after having routed several companies of insurgents near Rankweil and having confiscated their weapons. Yesterday morning at 8:00, the French troops arrived here; the insurgents had abandoned Bregenz the day before yesterday, and as soon as His Royal Highness and Crown Prince of Württemberg learned of this in Lindau, he sent Württemberg troops here to occupy the town. The entirety of Vorarlberg has been returned to peace and order, and now disarmament is taking place, which should be finished shortly.

His Excellency Count von Beaumont arrived here yesterday simultaneously with His Excellency the Royal Bavarian General Commissar Count von Reisach, and the cordial, heartfelt behavior of these two distinguished gentlemen gives cause for reassurance for the good fortunes of Vorarlberg and for the highest expectations.

It is the arrival of General Beaumont and his troops in Munich on 29 August 1809 and the possibility of billeting in private homes there to which Caroline is alluding earlier in this letter.

The last newspaper report in the Baierische National-Zeitung that Caroline could have read in Munich itself was that on 18 August 1809, the day of her and Schelling’s departure. After largely positive reports similar to the one above concerning Beaumont in Bregenz in the regular edition of the Baierische National-Zeitung that day, the news was less encouraging in the Beylage, or supplement, on the same day, Beylage zur baierischen National-Zeitung (1809) 190 (18 August 1809), 809:

From the Inn River, 16 August. Marshal the Duke of Danzig had advanced with the First Division of the Royal Bavarian Army toward Sterzing to support the troops of General Rouyer, who had encountered resistance from the insurgents of the Puster Valley in the mountain passes between Sterzing and Brixen.

Because in the meantime a detachment of the 3rd Bavarian Division had similarly encountered insurmountable barriers on its march up via Laneck along the banks of the Inn River in the narrow ravines of the Upper Inn Valley, which had been rendered wholly impassable by the masses of stone that had been rolled down, and because the mountain dwellers of this area had recently been seduced by the summons of despised rebel leaders and taken up weapons themselves, Herr Marshal with his two divisions retreated from Sterzing across the Brenner Pass, arriving in Innsbruck on the afternoon of 11 August [1809], where the entire army corps now was gathered in a concentrated position.

The rebels from the Puster Valley and the Vintschgau simultaneously moved increasingly close to the capital [Innsbruck], at the same time inciting the mountain residents of the surrounding area to take up arms in part through their outlaw example and in part through threats and violence, whereby the enemy severed supply routes and all communications of the surrounded army from the rest of the country on every side.

(Rudolf Leuzinger, Reise-Relief-Karte von Tyrol, nebst den angrenzenden Gebieten [Augsburg 1890]; Bibliothèque nationale de France):


On the morning of the 13th [of August], the armed farmers who had assembled in extremely great numbers around Innsbruck undertook a general attack on the troops. The battle lasted till 6:00 in the evening. The insurgents finally had to withdraw after having lost almost 1000 of their own on the battlefield. On the following day [14 August 1809], they kept their considerable distance from Innsbruck and did not risk another attack on the united army corps.

At Rattenberg threats were discerned against the detachments of Colonel Count von Oberndorf and of Major Count von Tauflirch, the latter of whom was now temporarily commanding the corps of the Colonel and Brigadier Count von Arco, who had been killed in action on the field of honor on 13 [August; see Caroline’s letter to Philipp Michaelis on 16 August 1809]. This column, though consisting largely of untested young soldiers, nonetheless repulsed the enemy with great courage and fearlessness, thereby also thwarting its plan, which was apparently no other than to take control of Innsbruck.

(Rudolf Leuzinger, Reise-Relief-Karte von Tyrol, nebst den angrenzenden Gebieten [Augsburg 1890]; Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Cartes et plans):


After the Duke of Danzig had on the same day ordered all the wounded capable of transport taken under escort from Innsbruck toward Kufstein, he himself removed to Schwaz and Rattenberg with the 1st Royal Bavarian and the French and allied divisions of General Rouyer. On the afternoon of the 15th [of August], the 3rd Army Division commanded by Herr General Lieutenant von Deroy followed, which had been charged with covering the retreat into the Lower Inn Valley.

What Caroline perhaps did not know yet was that on 15 August 1809 Andreas Hofer and his troops had indeed taken Innsbruck for the third (and, as it turned out: final) time; though the town itself was still in chaos and confusion, he addressed the crowd of supporters, from the Golden Eagle Inn (*r [author], Andreas Hofer und der Freiheitskampf in Tyrol 1809, vol. 3 [Leipzig 1841], plate following p. 68):


Concerning the eventual fate of the unsuccessful Tyrolean insurrection and Hofer himself, see the supplementary appendix on the War of 1809, chaps. 18 and 19. In October 1809, Tyrol was divided into three parts, one of which remained a Bavarian territory. Back.

[12] Adalbert Liebeskind was on active duty in the Tyrolean campaign, having been mustered out of the Munich cadet school on 17 March 1809, when he was seventeen, and enlisted in the Bavarian army as a second lieutenant.

He made it through the campaign unscathed and continued on active duty with the Bavarian army during the coming campaigns that decided Napoleon’s fate. From 1812 he also participated in the Russian campaign, during which he was taken prisoner. He returned to Munich in the spring of 1814 (“Ich hatte einen Hang zur Schwärmerey,” 155, 164, 212). Back.

[13] Therese Huber had been living in Günzburg since 1807; Meta Liebeskind would immediately understand the reference. Back.

[14] Caroline’s remark that she “would have no trouble at all living there” (in Günzburg) is noteworthy insofar as she and Schelling had only been in Munich for three years. Indeed, in her letter to Philipp Michaelis on 16 August 1809 (letter 443) she remarks that “actually I would not mind if we did not return [to Munich] at all.”

Several remarks in Schelling’s and others’ letters following her death in October 1809 confirm that he and Caroline were wearying of life in the Bavarian capital and of the incessant geopolitical upheavals and wars. Such a remark, especially about a village as small as Günzburg, attests her attraction to a locale essentially quite the opposite of the urban Bavarian capital (Franz Ludwig Güssefeld, Neue und vollstaendige Post-Carte Durch ganz Deutschland [1804]; Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Cartes et plans):


See Eward Augustus Domeier, A Descriptive Road-Book of Germany (London 1830), 86, 408:

Gunzburg is situated at the influx of the Gunz into the Danube: it was formerly in the Margraviate of Burgau, but is now in the kingdom of Bavaria; it contains 350 houses and 3000 inhabitants. The town possesses a Chateau, a Gymnasium, an Elementary School, a Piarists’ Church, and an Institution for English young ladies. The convents have been suppressed. The country is very agreeable; the old chateaus of Reisensburg and of Landestrost afford very picturesque points of view.

Matthäus Merian, Antike Ansicht von Günzburg, Schwaben, Bayern (Frankfurt 1643):


Romantic Chateau Reisensburg (Adolph Kunike after Jakob Alt [1826]) and an early photograph (postcard) of the main street in Günzburg:



The Distance from Ulm to Günzburg by land is three German miles; the excursion by water is remarkably agreeable, as the scenery is so varied, that it is like passing through a park: from Ulm to Elchingen, the left bank is the most beautiful; but from Elchingen to Günzburg, the right is the finest.

Johan Christoph Lauterbach, Nova et accurata territorii Ulmensis cum dominio Wainensi descriptio Iohanne Christophoro Lauterbach (Noribergae 1715); Bibliothèque nationale de France:



[15] Because work on the cathedral in Ulm had for various reasons largely ceased in 1543 (including lack of money) and did not recommence until 1844, its appearance during Caroline and Schelling’s visit would have been essentially that in the illustration of Matthäus Merian in 1643 (Antike Ansicht von Ulm, Baden-Württemberg, printed by M. Merian [Frankfurt 1643]):



[16] Johann Martin Miller, the author of Siegwart: eine Klostergeschichte, 2 vols. (Leipzg 1776), one of the most popular novels of its day, had long — thus Erich Schmidt’s opinion, (1913), 2:663 — become stagnated and soured in his position as cathedral preacher in his hometown of Ulm (pulpit and sermon scenes from the Taschenbuch für Damen [1807]; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):


Here the interior of the Ulm Cathedral ca. 1800, i.e., essentially as Caroline and Schelling would have seen it (© Stadtarchiv Ulm):


Erich Schmidt also authored the article on Johann Martin Miller in the ADB 21:750–55; see 751–52, where he writes the following about this period in Miller’s life:

His novels made him famous for a while, just as his Nonnenlieder had earlier, and he was celebrated on shorter journeys and even received invitations from several aristocratic families (the Fuggers, Arcos). In April 1780 he became pastor at the Ulm branch Jungingen and married on 27 June 1780, though his marriage remained childless. His writing quickly dried up.

He found his real calling as an educator of the normal citizenry and of youth, and in Ulm was also active in journalism with his brother-in-law Mohler. Following his first creative rush, his poems trickled in only sparingly from 1775 onward and certainly from 1780 onward. His oft-interrupted correspondence with Voss is full of complaints and laments: about the demise of the poetic alliance [the “Göttinger Hainbund” of their earlier days], about his lonely life, which was never realized amid an idyllic country parish as he originally desired, and about the “black monk’s habit.”

He shows himself during this period to be the dullest sort of rationalist. Deriving absolutely no joy from his vocation, he stagnated and soured, vigorously smoking his pipe at home and at his philistine cronies’ table at the tavern, taking no further part in the grand literary developments of the age, casting off his earlier enthusiasm, even that for Klopstock, as being misdirected, maintaining instead a stale remnant of poesy by persisting solely in his recollections of Göttingen.

(Theater-Kalender, auf das Jahr 1779 [Gotha]):


In addition to his office in Jungingen, in August 1781 he was appointed professor for natural law and then, in early 1797, for Greek at the Gymnasium in Ulm. On 19 August 1783, he was elected cathedral preacher, and in 1797 took over as teacher of catechetical theology. During Ulm’s Bavarian period, in 1804 he was appointed consistory councilor, and in 1809 district administrator and — against his wishes — early preacher at Trinity Church in Ulm. In 1810 he returned, with Ulm now part of Württemberg, to the cathedral and became ecclesiastical councilor and deacon for Ulm.

Concerning Caroline’s earlier acquaintance with and opinion of Johann Martin Miller’s novels, see her letter to Julie von Studnitz on 23–28 May 1779 (Caroline was but sixteen years old) (letter 7). See also Lotte Michaelis’s letter to Caroline in November 1785 (letter 64), esp. with note 9 in connection with the use of Miller’s text in the performances of Theresia Paradis.

These considerations notwithstanding, Johann Martin Müller had earlier published several volumes of sermons that were favorably reviewed, e.g., Predigten für das Landvolk, 2 vols. (Leipzig 1781), and Predigten über verschiedene Texte und Evangelien, hauptsächlich für Stadtbewohner (Ulm 1790), the latter of which was reviewed anonymously (by “K.q.”) in the Oberdeutsche allgemeine Litteraturzeitung 5 (1792) 54 (Friday, 4 May 1792), 392–93, in which the reviewer remarks:

Out of the plethora of sermons dispatched out into the public during a lengthier period that hardly merit a look, these deserve our attention and commendation. Herr Miller, preacher at the cathedral and professor at the Gymnasium in Ulm, already published four volumes of sermons for rural church members that this reviewer thought deserved a place alongside those of [Heinrich Gottlieb] Zerrenner [1750–1811] [Predigten, ganz und stückweise, für die lieben Landleute (Magdeburg 1785)].

Here there now follows a volume of sermons for town and city residents that commend themselves no less through their delivery, tone, style, and language. Their value resides especially in the frequently adduced biblical-historical events that through purposeful explication and application are all the more certain of addressing a congregation insofar as undeniably no sermon is better able to captivate a listener’s attention than the historical. [List of sermon titles.]

Several among these sermons are wholly historical and as such can certainly serve as a model for young preachers for orienting their own sermons. Instead of the usual prayers after the main part of the sermon, Herr Miller instead almost always reads an appropriate hymn, all of which he also reprints here, since the congregation in Ulm uses a hymnal that is rather lacking in genuinely good hymns.

It seems to us that no one has more calling for introducing himself to the people than precisely Herr Miller, whose lieder from Siegwart continue to resound even today among the people. Such an undertaking is all the more worthy insofar as there is no great superfluity of good hymns in the surrounding area either, and even the Nördling Hymnal, which this reviewer leafed through recently, incorporated passages whose pathetic and crude nature are certainly not beneath those that Herr Miller tries to correct and improve in the seventh sermon [“On acquiring a childlike disposition pleasing to God”] from this Ulm collection.

Among the other sermon titles the reviewer adduces, one finds, e.g.,

“The means of protection against anxious worry at the turn of the year”;
“That it is good that our future fates are hidden”;
“The dignity and distinguishing features of human beings before all other creatures”;
“The nature of love for God”;
“Who is my neighbor whom I must love?”;
“What does love for one’s neighbor involve, and what does it not involve?”;
“Motivation for love of one’s neighbor”;
“Remembering our deceased friends”;
“Dealing with bad people”;
“How Jesus dealt with tax collectors and sinners”;
“On brotherly punishment”;
“The nature of the world as proof of God’s love”;
“Comprehensibility and facility of the teachings of Jesus”;
“That it is good when God often does not answer our wishes and prayers”; and
“The detrimental effect of false expectations in religion.” Back.

[17] Concerning Schelling’s status as a director, see his letter to Johann Friedrich Cotta on 15 May 1808 (letter 432c), note 1, and Caroline’s letter to Pauline Gotter on 16 September 1808 (letter 435), note 29. Back.

[18] This cryptic remark, which Meta Liebeskind could, of course, understand but which is obscure to an uninitiated reader, may derive from Caroline’s relationship with Meta herself and/or from recent gossip in Munich according to which the Schellings’ “journey” was in fact a way to facilitate a divorce.

After telling Luise Wiedemann in a letter on 17 March 1809 (letter 441) that the Meta and Johann Heinrich Liebeskind along with their four sons had settled in Munich (they had in fact been in Munich since late 1807), Caroline quips unkindly that “heaven knows she is neither graceful nor charming, but rather very old and ugly. I never found her to be witty.” As noted in note 40 there, the reason for Caroline’s unkind remarks is uncertain, since Meta Liebeskind was one of the persons to whom Gottliebin Schelling wrote following Caroline’s death in September (letter 446).

It may be recalled, however, that Meta had been Caroline’s housemate in Mainz and fellow prisoner in Königstein during the spring and summer of 1793, and that Caroline suspected Meta of having betrayed the secret of her pregnancy.

See the dramatic description in Friedrich Schlegel’s letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on 28 August 1793 (letter 134), in which he speaks of Caroline receiving a letter from Frankfurt with the words “People know about it in Maynz,”, whereupon she was “fairly stunned with fright and pain, and for a long time could utter only single words”; “We think it most likely that Madam Forkel was the traitor, out of envy over her [Caroline’s] earlier release [from Königstein].” See esp. note 14 there. Meta Liebeskind may have known that Caroline suspected her of such duplicity and indeed may even have been culpable of such.

After Caroline’s death, Meta Liebeskind quickly exchanged letters with Schelling, who reassured her that Caroline had indeed valued her friendship, to which Meta responded on 14 October 1809 (cited in Monika Siegel, “Ich hatte einen Hang zur Schwärmerey,” 166; manuscript from Schell 8, 14. Oktober o.J. [no year], Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften):

Ah, how I would now truly and properly enjoy her company if I but still had her, now that I possess that bittersweet conviction in my heart that she genuinely was fond of me, and that she did indeed think highly of me.

In this same letter on 14 October 1809, Meta recounts to Schelling the malicious gossip set into motion by Rosine Eleonore Niethammer in Munich after the Schellings’ departure on 18 August 1809, mentioning that Caroline had on several occasions remarked that she “yearned to get away from Munich,” a remark that prompted Madam Niethammer to suspect a connection with the last time Caroline had taken such a journey, namely, in May 1803, when she and Schelling left Jena together after Caroline and Wilhelm Schlegel’s divorce had become final (this and following letter citations from ibid.; illustrations: [1] Göttingischer Taschen-Kalender für das Jahr 1810; [2] Berlinischer Damen Kalender auf das Iahr 1799; both: Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):

You want me to tell you more about Madam Niethammer’s malicious gossip? I am not keen on doing so, since it will provoke rather base emotions for you just as it does for me; but since it is your will, I will do so. . . . That particular time as well [viz. in May 1803] (you know what base souls understand by that), she also first took a journey. —

That is the malicious interpretation these women were whispering to each other and that I heard only a few days before the unfortunate day [on which Caroline died] and that made me so unspeakably indignant. . . .


And the source of these infamously senseless rumors is precisely the one I mentioned to you [i.e., Rosine Niethammer]. And I have also learned that it was she who at Jacobi’s house first maliciously turned the not entirely dishonorable sisters against Caroline, perhaps out of petty fear . . . perhaps merely from a base inclination to engage in prattle.


Nor did Caroline think well of her, something I can demonstrate for you from letters she wrote me when we were living in Bamberg. Later we never spoke about her again, and I avoided doing so as well, since it seemed to me that Caroline, possibly because of circumstances unknown to me, had some reason to spare her.

Because Meta was wary lest Schelling accuse the husbands of engaging in such gossip as well, she writes him on 6 October 1809:

On that particular evening, she [Caroline] also said something to Madam Niethammer about not returning that Madam Niethammer then interpreted in a rather base way and turned into a sort of malicious bit of gossip. But do not hold it against him, since he is quite innocent in all this and, quite to the contrary, greatly esteemed Caroline.

Meta is also keen to remove any suspicions from the Jacobi family:

The Jacobis, who did indeed speak to me both nobly and tenderly about Caroline, seem to regret quite painfully that they did not take the opportunity to become more closely acquainted with her. But otherwise they are quite fair in speaking about her, and have already remembered her manes [the good spirits of the dead in Roman mythology] quite graciously on several occasions. Several evenings ago, Jacobi himself spoke with considerable emotion and, at least for me, in a genuinely moving manner about her.

Meta Liebeskind mentions Caroline’s remarks about not returning to Munich in her letter to Gottliebin Schelling on 14 September 1809 (letter 447). Back.

Translation © 2018 Doug Stott