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211 Hnmboldt (Alex. Von) LETTERS to 

i??K IT*! hagen Von Euse > 1827-1*58, 
with Explanatory Notes and a full Index of 
Wamea. 8vo, oloth, 75c. London, I860. 
















, (9 


" YOUR last letter, so honourable for me, contained 
words which I should not like to misunderstand. 
' You scarcely permit to yourself the possession of 
my impieties.' After my speedy decease you may 
deal as you please with such property. We only owe 
truth in this life to such persons as we deeply esteem, 
therefore it is due to you." 

Letter from Alexander von Humboldt to Varnhagen, 7th Decem- 
ber, 1841. 


THESE letters have created the most lively sensation 
all over Germany, where, within a few weeks 
after their first publication, a fifth edition has 
already appeared. In the present eventful state of 
affairs they have been hailed as fresh and startling 
evidence of the fact, that liberal principles and a 
strong feeling of German nationality and unity have 
long been steadily gaining ground, even among the 
highest classes of Prussian society. Opinions and 
sentiments, such, for instance, as those recorded in 
the " Diary" after Letter CXXXIV., become porten- 
tous signs of the times when uttered by men in the 
position of Humboldt and Varnhagen. To this 
feature of the book, far more than to "the deli- 
cious bits of scandal" in it as has been surmised, 
the powerful effect which it has produced from one 
end of the country to the other is mainly to be attri- 

The fair editor of the original Letters has ex- 
patiated at some length on the propriety of pub- 


lishing them so soon after Humboldt's death. 
This is a question with which the publishers of the 
English version can have no concern. The book 
having once been brought before the world, the 
correspondence, and the effect produced by it, be- 
come matters of contemporary history, which ought 
not to be withheld from the public of any civilized 
country. Some objection may be made that cer- 
tain passages, which bear upon living persons here, 
have been retained in the translation. But, as most 
of the letters containing these personal allusions have 
already gone the round of the papers, even the sup- 
pression would have defeated its own purpose, by 
creating a suspicion that the original contained pas- 
sages of greater acerbity than is really the case. 
And with due deference to the established rules of 
literary propriety, it might after all be asked which 
is the more desirable to be attacked while living 
and able to defend oneself, or to incur posthumous 
obloquy, which our surviving friends may or may 
not feel disposed to ward off from our memory ? 



THE following letters of Humboldt contain materials 
of inestimable importance for forming a true, legiti- 
mate, and unveiled picture of his mind and character. 
It was his will and desire that they should be made 
public at his death, as will be seen distinctly expressed 
in the extract on a previous page. Nowhere has he 
expressed himself with less reserve or more sincerity 
than in his intercourse with Varnhagen, his long tried 
and trusty friend, whom he loved and valued above 
all others. In him he reposed the most unreserved 
confidence, and although ordinarily in the habit of 
destroying most of the letters addressed to him, it was 
with Yarnhagen that he deposited such as he con- 
sidered important and desired to have preserved. He 
reckoned upon Varnhagen, who was the younger of 
the two, surviving him. 

Yarnhagen, however, died fiist, and transferred to 
me the duty, now become doubly such, of publishing 
these wondrous records of the life, activity, and habits 
of thought of this great man. In fulfilling so sacred 
a duty it became an act of piety to let every word 
remain exactly as it was written down. To have 


presumed to alter his expressions would indeed have 
been to offer an insult to the shade of Humboldt ! 

Therefore, I have necessarily paid 110 greater heed 
to the well-meant desire of my publishers, to make even 
the slightest alterations, than I did to my own personal 
wishes and inclinations. One thing only was here to 
be considered eternal truth truth which I owe to 
Humboldt, to history, to literature, and to the revered 
memory of him who has bequeathed to me this task. 
Behold then the bequest, unaltered and entire as it 
has been deposited in my hands ! 

A vivid commentary on Humboldt' s letters is sup- 
plied by passages in Varnhagen's Diary the latter 
giving us the spoken as well as written expression of 
Humboldt' s thoughts. Unfortunately but very few 
of Varnhagen's letters have been preserved or come to 
hand. Those we have, however, bear fully the impress 
of the noble friendship, the ever-active interchange of 
thought, the true fellowship of common labour in the 
cause of science and freedom, which bound Humboldt 
and Varnhagen together for so many years. 

The letters of numerous other famous and distin- 
guished persons, which are added, exhibit Humboldt 
in his wide -spread intercourse with the world, in his 
manifold relations to Scholars and Men of Letters, 
to Statesmen and Princes, all of whom sought him, 
and paid him homage. 


Berlin, February, 1860. 

P R E E A C E 


ALTHOUGH it cannot be within my province to seek 
to reply to the verdict which certain journals have 
made it their business to pronounce on my having 
committed to the press the Humboldt- Varnhagen 
correspondence, I yet feel it incumbent upon me to 
notice at some length the protest of Alexander von 
Humboldt himself, inserted in the daily papers by 
the late General Hedemann, against any unau- 
thorized publication of his letters. I am the more 
prompted to do this, as that protest has been pub- 
lished by the General with pointed reference to this 
publication ; and, therefore, with the evident inten- 
tion of producing the erroneous belief that the letters 
directed to Varnhagen were included in that protest. 
In justice to myself I must not allow such a belief 
to gain ground, although there is enough in the 
protest itself to refute it. 

In this document, a portion of which has only 
been communicated by the General, Humboldt first 
of all states that more than two thousand letters were 
written by him every year to all sorts of persons. 


He therefore says, "I contest the pretended right 
even of those who by chance or purchase have 
become the possessors of confidential letters of mine," 
and then he protests against such letters being 
printed, even after his death. 

It was of course quite natural that Humboldt 
should have denied the right of unrestricted publica- 
tion of his letters to those who had become possessed 
of them by purchase or by gift ; nay, more, con- 
sidering the immense extent of his correspondence, 
even to those to whom they were originally ad- 
dressed ; but this by no means excludes the supposi- 
tion that he might have expressly conferred such a 
right in any special case, and that consequently it 
might have been conferred in the present instance. 

Now that such a special case existed with regard to 
the letters directed to my uncle, is undeniably shown 
by the passage affixed by me as a motto to the book, 
from a letter dated 7th December, 1841, of which I 
will quote here only the following words: "After 
my speedy decease you may deal as you please with such 

Such a publication, therefore, is not at variance 
with the protest ; on the contrary, the one con- 
firms the other. In the protest, Humboldt ex- 
pressly prohibits the printing " of such letters 
only as I have not myself set aside for publi- 
cation." It is therefore evident, from that very 
document, that letter* may, and even must exist 
somewhere, which Humboldt himself had set aside 


for publication. The letter of December 7th, 1841, 
clearly points out where those letters existed. 

Thus, instead of clashing, that protest and the 
present publication go hand in hand. 

The permission for publication, qualified by the 
express clause "in case of death," is granted as ex- 
plicitly as possible in the letter of December 7th, 1841. 

It may be suggested that, in granting that per- 
mission, Humboldt had perhaps no distinct recol- 
lection of what letters he had sent to my uncle 
in former years ; yet Humboldt, at all events, was 
thenceforward perfectly aware of the special authori- 
zation given once and for ever, and all the letters, 
the publication of which has been so strongly com- 
mented upon, upon the ground of their containing 
objectionable matter, are of dates posterior to De- 
cember, 1841. 

The intention of having such publication effected 
after the death of Humboldt was always entertained 
by both men. Both of them, as I have in the most 
positive manner been informed by Varnhagen, would 
in the course of years revert again and again in their 
conversations to this subject, and I have occasionally 
myself been present whilst it was under discussion. 

No one has a right to impugn such a statement 
on my part. 

Any one who is willing and able to see, will find 
throughout the correspondence itself the clearest 
evidence of Humboldt' s having always acted on the 
supposition that these letters would be published 



after his death ; nay, tliat he not only sanctioned 
it, but that he felt greatly interested and desirous 
himself that their instructive contents should be 
brought to the cognizance of the public amongst 
whom he had lived, soon after his death. 

Ample proof of this intention occurs all through 
the book. I will content myself with quoting a few 
passages only. In the letter of 28th January, 1856, 
(p. 246), it is said: "I hand over to you, my dear 
friend, as your own, Madame de Quitzow," (nick- 
name for Princess Lieven, see letters CLXIX. and 

When Humboldt says in the protest, " I contest the 
alleged right, even of those who by chance or pur- 
chase have got possession of confidential letters," and 
on the other hand declares, in the passage quoted just 
now, that he was depositing the letter in Varnhagen's 
hands, " as his own" just as he says in the letter of 
December 7th, 1841, " you may deal as you please 
with such property" there is ample and irresistible 
proof of how little that protest applies to the letters 
sent to Varnhagen, as it could never have occurred 
to Humboldt to speak of an alleged right, where he 
had granted the right of property himself, and in 
explicit terms. 

On the 1st April, 1844, Humboldt writes to 
Varnhagen, (p. 110): " What I in my Careless conceit 
destroy is saved in your hands." Humboldt, we may 
gather from this, wished himself that these instruc- 
tive documents should be preserved for the benefit of 


his contemporaries, and he sent them to Vamhagen, 
for the very purpose of saving them from being- 
burned, as was his usual custom of dealing with the 
shoals of letters which he was in the habit of receiving. 

On the 30th November, 1856, Humboldt writes, 
(p. 265) : " Pray take care of my pupil's letter " (a 
letter of H.R.H. the Duke of Weimar), " as well as 
of the paragraph in which I am mentioned as being 
discussed in the Belgian Chambers as a Materialist 
and Republican, who must be put down !" 

It was therefore Humboldt himself who urged the 
preservation of these documents. As he took no 
interest in autographs, he could only have wished 
them preserved for the sake of their contents ; wit- 
ness the paragraph respecting the debate in the 
Belgian Chambers, as a record of the character of 
the times, all of which plainly marks his desire to 
have them laid by for the purpose of publication 
after his death. 

Whenever Humboldt wished that the publication 
of one of the letters sent to my uncle should be put 
off until after the death of himself or of the writer of it, 
he expressly states so. Thus, in sending the letter 
of Arago he appends the remark (p. 63), "To his 
gifted friend Varnhageii von Ense, with a very 
urgent request to avoid any publication of it, as 
being an autograph letter, until after Arago' s death." 

That the letter would and should be published is 
treated by Humboldt as a matter of course. Only 
as Humboldt might die before Arago, and the letter, 


even in that case, was not to be published in the life- 
time of its writer, the further exceptional clause is 
added in the present instance, that publication must 
not take place before Arago's death. Such an addi- 
tional caution does not occur with reference to other 
letters, as, for instance, to that of Princess Lieven, 
or that of the Grand Duke of Weimar, &c. 

If, on the other hand, a letter of a third person 
was not to be published, on account of its peculiar 
contents, even after the writer's death, Humboldt, 
remembering the permission given to Varnhagen, 
expressly stipulates that the document should be 
returned to him. Thus, with regard to the letter of 
July 4th, 1854 (p. 221): " I inclose a very crabbed 
letter of poor Bunsen, which you will keep very 
secret, and kindly send back to me by-and-by to my 
Berlin residence." 

In the same way, for instance, in a letter of 9th 
September, 1858 (p. 313), Humboldt requests the 
return of " three curiosa" he is sending one of 
them a letter from Queen Victoria. There are other 
passages also to the same effect. 

It is impossible to imagine a more stringent and 
more complete series of proofs of Humboldt' s posi- 
tive wish and expectation that the letters sent by him 
to Varnhagen should be published after his death. 
The fact forces itself the more strongly on our convic- 
tion, if we remember that the two men had, besides, 
such frequent opportunities personally of conversing 
upon the matter. 


It may be asked, why did Humboldt specially 
wish for the publication of the letters sent to my 
uncle ? 

A plain and distinct answer to this question 
is given in the letter of December 1841, in which 
spontaneously granting to my uncle the wholly un- 
solicited permission to publish the letters after his 
death, he says : " We only owe truth in this life to 
such persons as we deeply esteem, therefore it is due 
to you." The logical counterpart of which is : In 
death we owe it to all, and first and foremost to our 
own nation. 

Why did Humboldt wish for this publication at 

Read (p. 266) the postscript to the letter of Novem- 
ber 30th, 1856, where, sending to Varnhagen a notice 
bearing on his character and political opinions, which 
he was anxious to have preserved, he says : " What 
men believe or disbelieve is usually made a matter of 
discussion only after their death" 

It was, moreover, his wish that his convictions 
should not be liable to be discussed. He had willed 
that the picture of his mind should go down to pos- 
terity pure and unfalsified. 

A giant intellect, so fervently venerated and 
acknowledged by his nation, that the mere fact of 
his views being known on certain questions may 
exert the most powerful and incalculable influence on 
the people and its progress ; it was that very reason 
which made him wish that the whole people should 



be granted access to the workings of his innermost 

He knew well, in laying this injunction on my 
uncle, to what trusty hands he was confiding his re- 

As to the Diaries of my uncle, they too are not to 
be considered as the jottings of mere idle moments. 
He repeatedly exacted from me the positive promise 
to publish them. Discussing this subject, shall I ever 
forget in what animated and impassioned speech he 
inveighed with crushing argument against those 
who indulged a mistaken tender regard for an indi- 
vidual at the expense of duty to the people and to 
historical truth ! Foreseeing very clearly the objec- 
tions which have now been raised against the pub- 
lication, he described most accurately and pointedly 
their mental and intellectual sources. 

This is all I have to say. For myself the question 
is settled by the fact that I have only executed the 
behests of both the great departed. 

And I trust I am light, if, with due respect to 
all to- whom respect is due, two such great, illus- 
trious names as those of Humboldt and Varnhagen 
are to me much better authority than the opinions 
of those who have objected to the publication. 

This is my first and last word in this affair. I 
cannot be expected to answer polemical attacks. 
It would also be the more hopeless to try and 
come to an understanding, as difference of opinion 
In this matter naturally springs from a total di- 


vergence of principle and thought. I readily ac- 
knowledge the right of an opinion adverse to the 
publication in those of my opponents, to whom a 
tender regard for persons of exalted rank appears a 
higher duty than what is due to the people and its 
welfare, to the establishment of retrospective histo- 
cal truth, and to the development of future political 
progress. With them it is impossible to argue. But 
if others, who profess to entertain liberal principles, 
chime in with that opinion, I cannot consider it my 
business to open their eyes to the state of their own 

Berlin, 10th March, 1860. 

By way of postscript to this perfect justification of 
the publication, the following letter of gift is now 
added : 

Berlin, 7th of December, 1856. 

To my dear niece, Ludmilla Assing, who for many 
years has bestowed upon me most loving care and 
attendance, I have in gratitude presented all my 
books and manuscripts, all my literary papers and 


collections, and have delivered these things to her 
complete, whilst my hand is still warm, so that she 
may even now dispose of them according to her own 
best judgment. If a few of these objects are still 
in my own keeping, it is only for the purpose of 
gradually arranging, selecting, and rendering them 
more complete. This act of donation I testify with 
my own hand. 





I. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .1 

II. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . 1 

III. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .2 

IV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . 3 
V. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .4 

VI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . 4 

VII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .5 

VIII. Varnhagen to Humboldt . . 7 

IX. Humboldt to Rahel . . . .9 

X. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . 10 

XI. Humboldt to Eahel . . . .12 

XII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . 12 

XIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .13 

XIV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . . 14 
XV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .15 

XVI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . ... 15 

XVII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .19 

XVIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . 20 

XIX. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .21 

XX. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . 22 

XXI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .23 

XXII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . 24 

XXIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .26 

XXIV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . 26 
XXV. Humboldt to the Princess von Piickler . . 28 

XXVI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . 28 

XXVII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .30 

XXVIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . . 31 

XXIX. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .33 

XXX. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . . 34 



XXXI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . .35 

XXXII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . 36 

XXXIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .36 

XXXIV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . 39 
XXXV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .40 

XXXVI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . . 42 

XXXVII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .45 

XXXVIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . 45 

XXXIX. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . . 46 

XL. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . 47 

XLI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .48 

XLII. Metternich to Humboldt . . 50 

XLIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .52 

XLIV. King Christian VIII. of Denmark to Humboldt . . 53 

XLV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . . .55 

XL VI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . 56 

XLVII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .57 

XL VIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . 58 

XLIX. Guizot to Humboldt . . . .61 

L. Arago to Humboldt . . .... 62 

LI. Humboldt to Bettina von Arnim . . . .64 

LII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . ... 65 

LIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .67 

LIV. Humholdt to Varnhagen . . 67 

LV. Humboldt to Spiker . . . .70 

LVI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . ... 71 

LVII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .72 

LVIII. King Christian VIII. of Denmark to Humboldt . .74 

LIX. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .75 

LX. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . 77 

LXI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .79 

LXII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . 83 

LXIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .84 

LXIV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . 85 

LXV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .90 

LXVI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . 91 

LXVII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .92 

LXVIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . 93 

LXIX. Humboldt to Varnhagen . ... .98 

LXX. Humboldt to Varnhagen . 99 

LXXI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .100 

LXXII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . . 101 


PA as 

LXXIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . .102 
LXXIV. Humboldt to the Prince of Prussia . . .104 
LXXV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 105 
LXXVI. Humboldt to Varnhagen , . . .108 
LXXVII. J. W. T. to Humboldt . . . Ill 
LXXVIII. The French Ambassador, Count Bresson, to Humboldt . 112 
LXXIX. Arago to Humboldt . . . .114 
LXXX. Four notes of Friedrich Wilhelm the Fourth to Hum- 
boldt . . . . 115 
LXXXI. King Christian VIII. to Humboldt . . .117 
LXXXII. John Herschel to Humboldt . . . 118 
LXXXIII. Balzac to Humboldt . . . .121 
LXXXIV. Sir Robert Peel to Humboldt . . . . 122 
LXXXV. Metternich to Humboldt . . . .123 
LXXXVI. Prescott to Humboldt . . . 124 
LXXXVIL Madame de Recamier to Humboldt . . . 126 
LXXXVIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . , 126 
LXXXIX. Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany, to Humboldt . 127 
XC. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 128 
, XCI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .129 
XCII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . . 131 
XCIIL Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .132 
. XCIV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . . 133 
XCV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .134 
XCVI. Humboldt ,to Varnhagen . . , . 135 
.XCVII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .136 
XCVIII. Metternich to Humboldt . . . 137 
XCIX. Jules Janin to Humboldt . ' . . .138 
C. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 140 
CI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . , .141 
CII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 143 
CHI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .144 
CIV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 145 
CV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .146 
. CVL Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .147 
CVII. Humboldt .to Varnhagen . . . .149 
CVm. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 150 
, CIX. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .151 
CX. Humboldt to Friedrich Wilhelm the Fourth . .152 
CXI. Bessel to Humboldt . . . .154 
CXII. Victor Hugo to Humboldt . . . 160 
CXIII. Friedrich Rueckert to Humboldt 161 



CXIV. Alexander Manzoni to Humboldt . . 162 

CXV. Thiers to Humboldt . . . .164 
CXVI. The Princess of Canino, Lucien Bonaparte's widow, to 

Humboldt . . . . 164 

CXVII. The Duchess Helene of Orleans to Humboldt , 165 

CXYIII. The Duchess Helene of Orleans to Humboldt . . 165 

CXIX. The Duchess Helene of Orleans to Humboldt . 166 

CXX. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 166 

CXXI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . , .168 

CXXII. Metternich to Humboldt . . . 168 

CXXIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . , . .171 

CXXIV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 171 

CXXV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .173 

CXXVI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 173 

CXXVII. Mignet to Humboldt . . . .174 

CXXVIII. Humboldt to Baudin . . . 176 

CXXIX. Humboldt to Varnhagen . , . .178 

CXXX. Metternich to Humboldt . . . 180 

CXXXI. Prince Albert to Humboldt . . .181 

CXXXII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 182 

CXXX1IL Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .183 

CXXXIV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 187 

CXXXV. Humboldt to Varnhagen .... 190 

CXXXVI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 190 

CXXXVII. Metternich to Humboldt . . . .191 

CXXXV1II. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 192 

CXXXIX. The Duchess Helene of Orleans to Humboldt . 192 

CXL. Humboldt to* Varnhagen . . . 194 

CXLI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .196 

CXLII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . . 197 

CXLIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .198 

CXLIV. Humboldt to Bettina von Arnim . . 199 

CXLV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 200 

CXL VI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .202 

CXL VII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 204 

CXLVIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .206 

CXLIX. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 206 

CL. Humboldt to Varnhagen .... 208 

CLI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 210 

CLII. Humboldt to Varnhagen .... 211 

CLIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 212 

CLIV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 213 



CLV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 216 

CLVI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 217 

CLVII. Arago to Humboldt .... 219 

CLYIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .220 

CLIX. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 220 

CLX. Varnhagen to Humboldt . . . .225 

CLXI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .228 

CLXII. Humboldt to Bettina von Arnim . . . 230 

CLXIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .232 

CLXIV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 233 

CLXV. Humboldt to Varnhagen .... 231 

CLXVI. Varnhagen to Humboldt . . . 235 

CLXVIL Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .236 

CLXVIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 237 

CLXIX. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 242 

CLXX. The Princess Lieven to Humboldt . . 244 

CLXXI. Varnhagen to Humboldt . . . .245 

CLXXII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 246 

CLXXIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .248 

CLXXIV. Varnhagen to Humboldt . . . 249 

CLXXV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .250 

CLXXVI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 250 

CLXXVII. The Prussian Minister- Resident von Gerolt to Humboldt 251 

CLXXVIII. Varnhagen to Humboldt . . . .253 

CLXXIX. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 255 

CLXXX. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .256 

CLXXXI. Grand Duke Karl Alexander of Saxe- Weimar to 

Humboldt . . . . 256 
CLXXXII. Vamhagen to Humboldt . . . .256 
CLXXXIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 258 
CLXXX1V. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .259 
CLXXXV. Mettemich to Humboldt . . . 261 
CLXXXVI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .262 
CLXXXVII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 263 
CLXXXVIII. Humboldt to Vamhagen . . . .265 
CLXXXIX. Karl Alexander, Grand Duke of Saxe- Weimar, to Hum- 
boldt . . . . 266 
CXC. Jobard to Humboldt . . . .267 
CXCI. Lines by Varnhagen on Hildebrandt's Picture of Hum- 
boldt' s Study, and on the Legend appended to it 
by Humboldt himself . . . 269 
CXCII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .270 



CXCIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . 272 

CXCIV. Karl Alexander, Grand Duke of Weimar, to Humboldt 273 

CXCV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 274 

CXCVI. Varnhagen to Humboldt . . . .276 

CXCVII. Varnhagen to Humboldt . . . 278 

CXCVIII. Varnhagen to Humboldt . . . .280 

CXCIX. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 281 

CC. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .282 

CCI. Karl Alexander, Grand Duke of Weimar, to Humboldt 283 

CCII. Varnhagen to Humboldt . . . 284 

CCIII. Varnhagen to Humboldt .... 286 

CCIV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 287 

CCV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .287 

CCVI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 289 

' CCVII. Karl Alexander, Grand Duke of Saxe- Weimar, to 

Humboldt . . . . 290 

CCVIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .291 

CCIX. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 292 

CCX. Karl Alexander, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar, to 

Humboldt . . . . 293 

CCXI. Thiers to Humboldt . . . .294 

CCXII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 295 

CCXIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .296 

CCXIV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . ... 298 

CCXV. Varnhagen to Humboldt . . . .300 

CCXVI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 301 

CCXVII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .303 

CCXVIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 305 

CCXIX. Prince Napoleon to Humboldt . . . 306 

CCXX. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 308 

CCXXI. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .309 

CCXXII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 310 

CCXXIII. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . .311 

CCXXIV. Humboldt to Varnhagen . . . 312 

CCXXV. Humboldt to Ludmilla Assiiig . . .315 




Berlin, 25th September, 1827. 

ALLOW me, my dear friend, to offer you the. best copy 
of my Paper* I have left. The last lines will make 
you more indulgent towards the rest. 

Tuesday. A. V. HlJMBOLDT. 



JBerlin, 1st November, 1827. 

You once said something to encourage me in my 
attempts at giving a vivid and true delineation of Nature 
(i.e., one in strictest accordance with the results of 
observation). That your words have left an agreeable 
impression on my mind, you may perceive by the 
accompanying slight expression of my gratitude, f I 
have almost entirely remodelled the " Explanations," 

* " On the principal Causes of the Variation of the Temperature of the 
Earth's Surface." 

f A copy of "Aspects of Nature" (Ansichten der Natur). In the Third 
Edition, The Rhodian Genius, vol. ii., pp. 297 308. TR. 


and added the " Bhodian Genius," which Schiller ap- 
peared to fancy. 

With kindest regards, yours, 


Strange that Koreff * has never sent me a line to 
acknowledge all we have been doing for him here. 



Berlin, 21 st November, 1827. 

Wednesday night. 

As I rely more on your good nature and my own 
notes which I followed strictly than on the report of 
it taken down by my audience, I herewith send you, 
my esteemed friend, the whole of the fifth Lecture, 
together with to-day's recapitulation of it. You cer- 
tainly will find no anti-philosophical tendency in it. 
Make any use of the papers you like only no copying 
for the press and be so good as to send them back by 
Saturday. That the notes were intended merely for 
my own use, you will perceive from the absence of 
order in their arrangement. The desire, however, of 
acting candidly sets me above any anxiety the whisper 
of vanity can create in me. 


These papers (the Lectures) were to have been shown to Pro- 
fessor Hegel, in consequence of a report that had reached him, that 
Humboldt had allowed expressions hostile to philosophy to creep 
into them. 

* The well-known physician at Paris, one of Eahel's correspondents. TR. 



Berlin, 1 5th April, 1828. 

Might I disturb you to-day for a few moments, be- 
tween a quarter past two and three, to ask for advice in a 
literary matter. My book is to be called "Entwurf einer 
PhysischenWeltbeschreibung" ("Outlines of a Physical 
Description of the World") . I wished upon the title to 
have indicated the special occasion of the Lectures, and 
at the same time to have insinuated that I was giving 
more than the Lectures contained, and matter of 
another kind. " From Eecollections of Lectures in 
the years 1827 and 1828, by Al. v. Humboldt," has, 
I understand, been found absurdly pretentious. I 
give it up with all my heart ; but " Souvenirs d'un 
Cours de Physique du Monde," " Souvenirs d'un Voy- 
age en Perse," appear to me unobjectionable. How 
am I to manage the title " Outlines of a Phys. D., 
by A. v. H." (" re-written on the occasion of Lectures," 
or, " partly re- written from Lectures") ? All these have 
a clumsy look. Adverbs are out of place in title- 
pages. How would it be if I were to add in small 
print, " part of this work was the subject of Lectures, 
in the years 1827 and 1828 ?" That's long, and then 
the verb ! " On occasion," is perhaps better. I trust to 
your ingenuity. I am sure you will help me out of 
this maze. 

Yours sincerely, attached and obedient, 


Note ly Varnhagen. It was I myself, who had, at the table 
of Prince Augustus, criticised the first title he mentions; Hum- 
holdt had heard of it through Beuth. 

B 2 



Berlin, 3rd April, 1829. 

I shall call, that I may thank you in person ; that I 
may enjoy for some few moments the pleasure of your 
return, and congratulate you on the favourable im- 
pression your new official activity* has produced every- 
where ; and that in the present unfortunate state of my 
family affairs, I may entreat pardon from your highly 
gifted wife, whose friendship is so dear to me. The King 
never allows a book to be presented to him,- not even 
by Prince Wittgenstein. It must take the ordinary 
course. I will, however, recommend itf very, very 
strongly to Albrecht. J I am done up, and am off in 
a week. 

Friday. A. HT. 



Berlin, 26th April, 1830. 

This moment returned from Potsdam, I find your 
valued letters and delightful present. " Zinzendorf" 
will be a source of great pleasure to me. The book 
displays as peculiar a character as Lavater or Car- 
dan. The new pietistic fever which lee/ an (p. 22) to 

* Varnhagen was at this time sent as Envoy Extraordinary to Kassel, 
having been absent from the political arena since 1819, in consequence of 
the great offence taken by the Court of Berlin at the liberal tendencies dis- 
played by him during his diplomatic position at the Court of Baden from 
1816. TR. 

f One of Ranke's works. 

\ Secretary to Altenstein, Minister of State for Educational and Ecclesias- 
tical Affairs ; formerly Cabinet Councillor under Baron Stein. TR. 

A biographical memoir, by Varnhagen, of Count Zinzendorf, the founder 
of the famous Moravian settlement of Herrnhut. TR. 

rage at Halle has made me smile. Your conclusion of 
the work is full of dignity and grace. I am delighted 
to hear that you are kind enough to wish to keep my 
" Cri de Petersbourg," a parody delivered before the 
Court a hasty two nights' work, an attempt at flattery 
without servility at talking of things as they should 
be. As you, and my dear old friend your gifted wife, 
take an interest in all my good fortune, I must tell 
you that the King is sending me to the Emperor,* 
during the Session of the Diet. I shall probably travel 
with the Crown Prince, who is to fetch the Empress 
to the rendezvous at Fischbach.f 


A. HT. 

Let us hope Zinzendorf's letters to the Saviour 
were more legible than this scrawl ! 



Berlin, 9th July, 1830. 

I trust you, and your excellent and accomplished 
wife, will allow me on the eve of my departure, to offer 
you my warmest thanks for your new and highly ac- 
ceptable present, f I was not personally acquainted 
with the man whose peculiarities you so thoughtfully 
develope. He was one of those who owe their distinc- 
tion to their individuality, and attain to greater conse- 
quence by their actions than through their writings. 
Such a character excites my wonder as a curiosity a 

* Nicholas of Russia. The Russian Diet is meant. TJR. 
t A country seat of the King of Prussia, in Silesia. TR. 
J " Memoirs of John Benjamin Erhard, Philosopher and Physician." By 
K. A. Varnhagen von Ense. Stuttgart and Tubingen, Cotta. 1830. 

man who fancies that his recollections extend to the 
first year of his life (the Margravine's estimate was 
different : J'etais un enfant tres precoce ; a deux ans je 
savais parler, a trois ans je mar chats!), has, like 
Cardan, a Familiar in a black cloak,* soberly 
makes love to old maids, only to convert them to 
virtue and literature, and who looks upon the fate 
of German professors under German princes as more 
tragical than that of the Greeks. The " Church 
Gazette "f will not number him among believers ; and 
the Schimmelmanns, \ my friend, will not give you much 
thanks for a book which recalls the Saturnalia of a 
sentimental Danish-Holstein mob. I am delighted 
beyond measure that you are going to take Harden- 
berg in hand a difficult, but grateful, task, if you 
can only discriminate between the various epochs, and 
party spirit will, for once, be quiet. Even in Hegel's 
case it seems at last, to my great joy, -to be silenced 
in the Academy. 

Most gratefully yours, 
Friday. A. HuMBOLDT. 

We find the following entry in Varnhagen's Diary, under the above 
date : "After the Revolution of July, Alexander von Humboldt said 

* Erhard was under the impression, as related in the work of Varnhagen, 
that he was attended and guarded by a supernatural being who always 
appeared to him wearing a black cloak or cape. Jerome Cardan, the dis- 
tinguished physician and astrologer, entertained a similar opinion, as has 
been also the case with many celebrated persons in ancient and modern 
times, from Socrates to our own day. TR. 

f The " Church Gazette " is the ultra- Lutheran paper, edited by Dr. 
Hengstenberg. TR. 

J The noble family of the Schimmelmanns, one of whom was a Minister 
of State, were great friends of Humboldt and of the Varnhagen family. TR. 

Hardenberg, Chancellor of State from 1810 to 1822. The memoir alluded 
to in the text seems never to have been published. TR. 

to Gans,* who entertained extremely sanguine hopes with reference to 
the new Government : ' Believe me, my dear Mend, my wishes coin- 
cide with your own ; but I have very feeble hopes. I have watched 
the change of dynasties in Paris for the last forty years. Each has fallen 
from its own incapacity. Fresh promises are always ready to take the 
place of their predecessors ; but they never are fulfilled, and the same 
ruinous course is entered on anew. I have known, and, indeed, in 
some instances, "been intimate with most of the men of the day. 
Among them were some of distinguished talent and the best inten- 
tions, but they did not last. Sometimes they were no better than 
their predecessors, and often turned out even greater rogues. No 
Government has as yet kept faith with the people ; none has looked 
on its own interests as of subordinate importance to the public good. 
Until that happens no power will be permanently established in 
France. The nation has always been deceived, and now will be 
deceived again. Then again, too, will it punish these frauds and 
tricks, and for that it is already ripe and strong.' " 



Berlin t ^rd January, 1833. 

Of course it was me your Excellency lately met 
in the full blaze of a noonday sun. Unfortunately I 
recognised you too late, as you also were too late in 
recognising me. Fain would I have hurried after you, 
but a pace rapid enough to have overtaken you would 
have been unsuitable in my present state. I wanted at 
the time to have mentioned to your Excellency a cir- 
cumstance connected with Baron Billow, f in London. 

* Edward Gans born 1798, died 1839 ; Professor of Law at the University 
of Berlin, and representative of the Hegelian School of Philosophy. He en- 
joyed a great reputation for conversational power. TR. 

f Baron Billow was the son-in-law of Wilhelm von Humboldt, and Prussian 
Minister in London from 1827 to 1841. He is called here daring by Varn- 
hagen, because, contrary to his instructions, he cultivated the friendship of 
the Whigs, and especially of Palmerston ; the danger alluded to was his 
impending recall, and replacement by Bunsen. TR. 


The news was fresh at the time, from a perfectly reliable 
source, and probably new even to you. It was an expres- 
sion of the King's to the effect that the danger in 
which that daring ambassador was involved might be 
considered as blown over. Since then your Excellency 
has had the news from all sides, and my story is out 
of date. 

At last we Prussians have got a general popular 
representation, or rather we have had it this long 
while, only we did not know it. My Lord Bishop Eylert* 
has opened our eyes and spoken the great word first 
a second Mirabeau that, in lucidity of thought and 
boldness of expression. I can fancy not only the 
" Rittersaal," but the whole Schloss, trembling as those 
mighty words thundered in the Assembly, " The re- 
presentation of the whole nation, of all estates and inte- 
rests is the "Ordensfest" (Chapter Anniversary !)f I 
bow with reverence and admiration before this colossal 
audacity, this new, unheard-of combination, whereby the 
miserable Institutions which hitherto have passed cur- 
rent as the representative Institutions of Europe, whether 
as Parliaments, Chambers, States-General, Cortes and 
the like, were hurled back again into their nothing- 
ness. I have heard the orator only through the dumb 
mouth of the " State Grazette." But your Excellency 
was doubtless present, and you surely pity me, and say 
as of old was said when a speech of Demosthenes was 
read, " Oh, if you had only heard the man deliver it !" 
To have witnessed the approving smile, the gracious 
satisfaction, and the cheerful glances of the as- 

* Eulemann Friedrich Eylert, an evangelical bishop and author of a " Life 
of Friedrich Wilhelm III." TR. 

f The Ordensfest was the anniversary meeting of the Chapters of the 
Orders of the Black and Red Eagle. TR. 


tounded audience must still further have heightened 
the effect. 

Oh, our Protestant parsons ! They are speeding on 
a goodly road, and bid fair to yield in nothing to their 
Catholic brethren, even in the days when priestcraft 
was fullblown ! A canting black-coat, such as this, 
makes us the laughing-stock of Europe. Constitu- 
tion or no Constitution, granted or denied, does 
not for the moment trouble me, but that the fel- 
low should try to palm off this " Ordensfest " upon 
us as a substitute for it, is a piece of impudence that 
deserves to be rewarded with the madhouse or the gaol. 
And yet there's not a song, a street-ballad, or a cari- 
cature to lash such unseemliness ! All is still ! 

And now, as it is time for bed, I will lay me down, 
wishing pleasant dreams to you and to myself. 

"With the deepest respect, &c., &c., &c. 


(Compare A. v. Humboldt's Note to Eahel of 1st Feb. 1833.) 



Berlin, 1st February, 1833. 

That I answer you thus early, dear madam, bodes 
no good. In this country, if anything is to come to 
maturity, it must last for fourteen months. There is 
then hope for it. The letter, which I beg of you not 
to leave in your friend's hands, will tell you all. At 
first, all was kind and interested attention, both when I 
spoke and when I wrote ; but this morning the very 
charming drawings were returned. The word that is 
underlined* might leave me still some hope, but I 

* Underlined in the letter to which allusion is made. TR. 


prefer deceiving myself to deceiving others, and the 
decision of Beuth's* character, with whom alone in 
this matter the decision rests, forbids all hope. That 
I have advocated most actively the views you en- 
tertain needs no proof. That ought to be with you 
an historical credo. Oh, that you could give me a 
word of consolation as to my. dear friend Yarnhagen, 
the only polished pillar of the literature (in the nobler 
acceptation of the term) of our Country, " since," as 
says the bishop with the drawn sword, " the most 
distinguished talents, as such, deserve no distinction." 
There is nothing to wonder at in such a thing being 
said ; but what is especially sad in it, appears to me 
to be the baseness of the society in which one lives here, 
and which is not even excited by such unworthy state- 
ments. Gruard carefully, both of you, your better nature. 

A. H. 



Berlin, 3rd February, 1833. 

I am infinitely grateful and deeply affected by your 
beautiful letter. Grace and euphony of language 
ought always, as here, to accompany grace of manner. 
My brother, who was here for two days, but mostly at 
the beck and call of princes, who have the privilege of 
asking without being denied, commissions me to tell 
you, my dear friend, how sensible he is of your flatter- 
ing offer ; but he is so much engaged in printing his 
quarto, on the Asiatic languages akin to the San- 

* Peter Christian Wilhelm von Beuth, Privy Councillor, Director of the 
Department of Commerce, Trade, and Public Buildings of the Ministry of 
Finance from 1821 to 1845. TR. 


skrit, that he cannot accept it, albeit he considers it of 
very great importance. He wishes, for the sake of 
the great man who is now no more,* that you should 
undertake the task. I am grieved to hear that you 
and your gifted wife have but a fragment of health 
between you, which you courteously lend to one 
another a kind of mutual instruction, or Azais-com- 
pensation,t which I very much lament. I have re- 
ceived a long letter from Mme. de Cotta.J It appears 
she is likely to take upon herself the publication of 
the "Allgemeine Zeitung," another anti-salic move- 
ment. How strange that at certain times one prin- 
ciple pervades the entire world 1 The revival of faiths 
of yore ; the inextinguishable yearning after peace ; 
the mistrust of all improvement ; the hydrophobia of 
all talent ; the enforced uniformity of creeds ; diplo- 
matic love of protocols car dines rerum. 

A. HT. 

Note of Vwnhagen. I had answered, in consequence of Rahel's 
indisposition, in her name, the letter which had been addressed to 
her on the 1st, and in the postscript had expressed a wish that 
"Willhelm Ton Humboldt might review for the "Jahrbiicher der 
Kritik," the concluding volume of " Faust," which was then 
shortly expected to appear. 

* Goethe. See Varnhagen's note to this letter.- TR. 

f Alluding to a work by Azais, "Application des Compensations a la 
Revolution de 1789." Paris, 1830. TR. 

J The widow of the eminent publisher. TR. 

At that time the first literary review in Germany. TR. 




Berlin, 9th February, 1833. 

I have been with Beuth again to recal to his recol- 
lection his old friendship for L. He thought it wonld 
be more to the interest of the family to separate the 
purely architectural drawings from the mere landscapes 
and engravings. The architectural were the only ones 
of use to his institution, and if it were an object to the 
family, he was prepared to purchase to the extent of 
some hundred thalers (400 to 500 thalers?) Uninvit- 
ing as the proposal is, I thought, my dear lady, I might 
mention it to you. Beuth wishes, in the event of its 
being entertained, to treat with some one who will 
call on him at his own house. May the spring-time be- 
stow on both of you warmth, cheerfulness, and strength. 
The Byzantine empire (I mean ours here), is seriously 
divided into two parties, one espousing the cause of 
Bunsen's " Gresangbuch," the other that of Eisner's 
"Liederschatz."* The sympathies of the men of the 
sword and of all the aides-de-camp are with the " Lie- 
derschatz." I am still undecided. 

Saturday. A. HT. 



Saturday, 9th March, 1833. 

A mind like yours, my noble-hearted friend, requires 
solitude and calm. It is ever drawing on its own re- 

* Eisner's " Liederschatz " is a collection of sacred hymns. TH. 


sources. Imagine, I only learned the fearful tidings* 
from Prince Carolath last night. You know how 
warm, how long-tried, and how indulgent a friend I lose 
in one who was the ornament of her sex. How amiable 
I found her, even in the trifling business I had to 
arrange for her with Beuth ; so familiar with all that 
is mutable and melancholy in life, and yet so cheerful, 
so full of serenity. Such powers of mind, and yet so 
genial, and so full of heart ! The world will long 
appear to you a dreary waste. To know, however, 
that you gave to that sweet spirit until it was sighed 
away, whatever mind and heart and grace of manner, 
such as yours, my dear Varnhagen, had to give, is, 
after all, balm for the wound. Take care, I pray you, 
of your health. 




Berlin, 3rd December, 1833. 

Pardon, a thousand times pardon, that I have been 
so long in sending you back the classical studies 
of Friedrich Schlegel. I have read them carefully, 

* Rahel, of whose death Humboldt is here speaking in terms of such 
infinite grief, requires some notice in this place. She was the wife of Varn- 
hagen von Ense, and exercised great influence in Berlin. During the war 
of freedom, which preceded the Congress of Vienna, her exertions in pro- 
moting the national cause were unremitting. She accompanied her hus- 
band to Vienna in 1814, and remained until July, 1815. On her return 
she threw open her salons, and became the centre of all learning, intelligence, 
and fashion. Her decease was severely felt, and her husband published, in 
1834, a work entitled, " Rahel. Ein Buch des Andenkens fur ihre Freunde." 
Subsequently, he published the " Galerie von Bildnissen aus Rahel's 
Umgang" (Two volumes, Leipzig, 1836). Tn. 


and am convinced that many of the opinions on the 
Hellenic age, which the moderns arrogate to themselves, 
lie buried in Essays prior to 1795 (a Deucalion age !). 
Angelus Silesius* too, whom I have now for the first 
time learnt to appreciate, has given great pleasure to 
us both.f There is an air of piety about it that strikes 
one like the breath of genial spring, and the mysterious 
hieroglyphics of our late friend render your gift doubly 
dear tome. Spiker,j in announcing Oltmann's death, 
has committed the very extraordinary error of mis- 
taking a genitive for a signature, "Alexander von 
Humboldt's Astronomical Observations." I shall let 
it stand without putting it right. Your old and 
attached friend, A. HUMBOLDT. 



'Berlin, 9th December, 1833. 

I send you, my dear friend, a few lines from the 
amiable Duchess of Dessau. Every kind allusion to 
our (Eahel) must be dear to your heart. 

Sunday. A. V. HUMBOLDT. 

* Johann Schemer, otherwise known as Angelus Silesius, born in 1624, 
a physician at Breslau ; afterwards became a convert to popery, and a priest. 
He was chiefly known by his religious and mystic poems, and died 1677. 
One of the most important of his works is the " Cherubische Wandersmann." 
Humboldt, in the letter above, alludes to the work published by Varnhagen 
at this time which he had just received in which. Varnhagen had given 
extracts from Silesius. It is entitled, " Ausziige aus Angelus Silesius und 
Saint Martin" (von K. A. Varnhagen von Ense), Berlin, 1834. TR. 

f Meaning himself and his brother Wilhelm. TR. 

J Editor and proprietor of a popular newspaper at Berlin. -TR. 

Jabbo Oltmann, deceased 1833, a German astronomer. TR. 


Dessau, 1st December, 1833. 

Accept my best thanks for the books you sent 

me. Each of them interested me in its own way. I 
lament not to have known " Rah el " personally, the 
more so, as having clearly realized her inner self, I 
would fain have made acquaintance with her outward 
form, and recognised in it the working of the germ 
within. FUEDERIKA, Duchess of Anhalt. 

Still full of wonder about E., " the book of all 
books." May I ask you, my dear friend, for Friedrich 
Schlegel's complete works say the third volume ? 



Berlin, 19th December, 1833. 

Prevented by the tedious, restless life at Court from 
personally informing myself as to my friend's health, 
I am driven, alas ! to writing to beg you will kindly 
send me back the letter of the Duchess of Dessau, con- 
taining the kind expressions about our dear beatified 
friend. A. v. HUMBOLDT. 




Berlin, 27 October, 1834. 

I am going to press with my work, the work of my 
life. The mad fancy has seized me of representing 
in a single work the whole material world, all that is 
known to us of the phenomena of heavenly space and 


terrestrial life, from the nebulae of stars to the geograph- 
ical distribution of mosses on granite rocks, and this 
in a work in which a lively style shall at once inter- 
est and charm. Each great and important principle, 
wherever it appears to lurk, is to be mentioned in 
connection with facts. It must represent an epoch in 
the mental development of man as regards his know- 
ledge of nature. The Prolegomena are nearly ready, 
containing, The inaugural Lecture (discours d'ouver- 
ture) entirely recast (I delivered it viva voce, but dic- 
tated it the same day) ; the picture of Nature ; induce- 
ments to the pursuit of Natural Philosophy to be found 
in the spirit of the age ; which are threefold : 1 . Poesie 
descriptive, and vivid pictures of scenery in modern tra- 
vels ; 2. Landscape-painting, visible representations of 
exotic life, its origin, when it became a necessity of 
life and a source of exquisite delight ; why the ancients, 
with their desire to gratify the senses, could not have 
possessed it; 3. The vegetable kingdom, classification 
according to the characteristics of the plants (not 
botanical garden fashion) ; the history of the physical 
description of the World ; how the idea of the Universe 
of the connection between all phenomena has been 
becoming clear to different nations in the course of 
centuries. These Prolegomena form the most impor- 
tant part of the work, and contain, first, the general 
heads. They are followed by the special part, com- 
prehending the detail (I enclose part of a tabulated 
list) : Space the physics of Astronomy the solid 
portion of the globe its interior and exterior 
the electro-magnetism of the interior Vulcanism, 
i.e., the reaction of the interior of a planet upon its sur- 
face the arrangement of matter a short Geognosy 


sea atmosphere climate organic life distribu- 
tion of plants distribution of animals races of man 
languages, and so on, to show that their physical 
organisation (the articulation of sound) is governed by 
intelligence (the produce and manifestation of which 
is speech). In the special part all statistical results, 
as exact as in Laplace's " Exposition du Systeme du 
Monde." As these details are not capable of being 
treated from a literary point of view, in the same way 
as the general combinations of natural science, the pure 
facts will be stated in short sentences arranged almost 
tabularly, so that the student, in a few pages, may find 
under the head of Climate, Terrestrial Magnetism, &c., 
results, in a condensed form, which it would take many 
years of study to acquire. Uniformity of style, (i.e., 
harmony in the whole as a literary production) will be 
attained by short introductions to each chapter in the 
special part. Ottfried Miiller has followed this plan 
with great success in his admirably-written work on 

I wanted you, my dear friend, to have from me per- 
sonally a clear idea of my undertaking. I have not 
succeeded in compressing the whole into one volume ; 
and yet it would have left the grandest impression in 
that abbreviated form. I hope two volumes will include 
the whole. No foot-notes, but notes at the end of 
each chapter, which may be passed over, but contain 
sound erudition and additional details. The whole is 
not what has hitherto been commonly called " Physical 
Description of the Earth," as it comprises all created 
things Heaven and Earth. I began it in French fif- 
teen years ago, and called it " Essai sur la Physique du 
Monde." In Germany I intended at first to call it 



" Buch von der ISTatur," after those we have in the 
middle ages by Albertus Magnus. All these, however, 
are too vague. My title at present is " Kosmos : Out- 
lines of a description of the physical World, by A. v. 
H. ; enlarged from Sketches of Lectures delivered by 
him in 1827 and 1828. Gotta." I wanted to add the 
word "Kosmos," to force people indeed to call the 
book so, in order to avoid their speaking of it as H.'s 
physical description of the earth, and so throwing it 
into the class of such writers as Mitterpacher.* Weltbe- 
schreibung (description of the World), a term analogous 
to Weltgeschichte (history of the World), would, as an 
unusual word, be confounded with Erdbeschreibung 
(history of the earth). I know that Kosmos is very 
grand, and not without a certain tinge of affectation ; 
but the title contains a striking word, meaning both 
heaven and earth, and stands in contrast to the "Graa" 
(that rather indifferent earthy book of Professor Zeune, 
a true Erdbeschreibung). My brother, too, is for the 
title " Kosmos ;" I was long in doubt about it. 

Now; my dear friend, for my request ! I cannot make 
up my mind to send away the beginning of my manu- 
script without begging you to cast a critical glance over 
it. You have yourself so great a faculty in respect of 
grace of style, and are at once so talented and independ- 
ent, that you will not hastily condemn phrases for being 
peculiar or differing from your own. Be kind enough 
to read the Address, and add a sheet, writing on it, 

"I should prefer to ," without giving 

any reasons. Do not, however, find a fault with- 

* Ludwig Mitterpacher, the author of a work entitled " Anfangsgrunde 
der Physischen Astronomic," Vienna, 1781 (Principles of Celestial Mechanics). 


out helping me to mend it ; and put me at my ease 
about the title. 

Yours very faithfully, 

Monday. A. V. HlJMBOLDT. 

The besetting sins of my style are, an unfor- 
tunate propensity to poetical expressions, a long par- 
ticipial construction, and too great concentration of 
various opinions and sentiments in the same sentence. 
I think that these radical evils, inevitable as they are 
from the construction of my mind, will be diminished 
by strict simplicity and generalisation which exist 
beside it (a soaring, if I may be vain enough to say so, 
above observed results). A book on Nature ought to 
produce an impression like Nature herself. The point, 
however, to which I have especially, as in my "Aspects 
of Nature/ 3 paid attention, and in which my style 
differs entirely from Forster and Chateaubriand, is this, 
that I have endeavoured in description to be trutJiful, 
distinct, nay even scientifically accurate, without get- 
ting into the dry atmosphere of abstract science. 



Berlin, 28th October, 1834. 

You have comforted and cheered me by your kind 
letter, and still kinder care. You have entered 
thoroughly into the spirit in which I have approached 
my task ; only the expression of my affectionate con- 
fidence an evidence of the extent to which your talent 
is appreciated by the Humboldt family has made you 
too indulgent and complimentary. Your remarks 

c 2 


exhibit a degree of nicety, good taste, and penetration, 
that makes the alteration of it a work of positive 
pleasure to me. I have made use of all, at least 
almost all nineteen -twentieths and more. One is 
always a little obstinate about what one has originally 
written one's self. I beg you a thousand pardons for 
sending you some pages, which (in the new matter 
towards the end of the Address) I had not looked 
through. Some of the phrases were completely en- 
tangled. You must allow me, one of these days, to 
thank in person. I will then show you the correc- 
tions at the end of the Address. I should have been 
happy, could I have shown our (Eahel) some of these 
pictures of travel. 

Yours most gratefully, 


If only we had, in German, a book of synonyms as 
good and as simply arranged as the one I send you, 
and which I have no doubt you are not acquainted 
with ! It was recommended to me by the Abbe 
Delisle, as saving a vast deal of time in the event of 
one's having to look for an equivalent. You see at 
once the word which may be substituted. I will call 
for the book. 



Berlin, Sunday, 6 A.M. 

5th April, 1835. 

You, my dear Varnhagen, who do not shrink from 
pain, and who, even sympathetically, trace and con- 


template it in the depths of the heart ; you must in 
this sad time receive some words of affection which 
both brothers offer you. 

His release is not yet come. I left him at eleven 
last night, and am now hastening to him again. 
Yesterday was a less trying day. A state of semi- 
stupor, much tolerably calm sleep, and each time he 
woke, words of love and comfort the clearness of that 
great mind that grasps and analyses everything 
turned inward on itself. His voice was very feeble, 
husky, and of a childish treble, for which reason 
leeches were again applied to his throat. Perfect 
consciousness ! ! " Think of me very often," he had 
said the day before ; " but mind you do so cheerfully. 
I was very happy ; and to-day has been another happy 
day for me, for love is the highest good of all. Soon 
I shall be with our mother, and gain insight into the 
higher and better order of things." 

I have not a shadow of hope left. I never had be- 
lieved these old eyes had so many tears left. It has 
lasted now a week.* 



Berlin, 5th May, 1835, 

I have, alas ! been so haunted by a host of princely 
visitors, so hurried along by the blast, cold, yet un- 
refreshing,. that I could not find time to thank you 
for Bollmannf and my late (brother's) biography. I 

* Wilhelm von Humboldt died at Tegel, 6 P.M., 8th April, 1835. 

f The memoir written concerning Justus Erich Bollrnann, by Varnhagen, 


was not then mistaken as regards the latter, in which 
I had already recognised your handiwork, and the 
censor's " teachings up," when the " State Gazette" 
fell into my hands. One should take care not to 
speak in such papers about men of mark, even with 
talent such as yours ; the problem is a difficult one to 
solve, what with the family, the censor, and a public 
cold as ice. The name of Mundt^ reminds me of some 
very remarkable pages in his Madonna, on the pro- 
pensity of Germans to give way to strong but indistinct 
feelings in contemplating nature. There is much truth 
in these observations, and I thought I read in them 
a condemnation of myself. So much, my dear friend, 
about this world, now desolate for us both. 

Most gratefully yours, 


I must say, I am sorry you do not wish to see the 



Berlin, 6th May, 1835. 
I return you the parts forwarded to me, as they 

(see " Denkwurdigkeiten," vol. iv.) is here alluded to. This person was a 
Hanoverian, known chiefly for an unsuccessful though daring attempt to 
liberate Lafayette from the fortress of Olmiitz in 1791. He subsequently 
lived in England and the United States, where he was engaged in mercantile 
and financial speculations ; died at Kingston, Jamaica, whither he had 
gone on a mission connected with the Barings. TK. 

* Theodor Mundt, an author of some note, attached to the literary school 
of Young Germany, one of the curators of the Eoyal Library at Berlin. 
The title of the book alluded to is "Madonna. Unterhaltungen mit 
einer Heiligen," .Leipzig, 1835. It created a sensation at the time, and 
manifests talents of no mean order, but grotesqueness and want of reality 
preponderate in it. TR. 


might make a break in your series. I was personally 
intimate with almost all the people whom Bollmann 
so vividly and truly depicts. We see how he him- 
self rises as he advances in life, and becomes engaged 
in more important affairs. Strange line of life 
medecin de sametage. I have now formed a better 
opinion of him through you; for, without being able to 
get at the real cause, I found, these last few years, that 
Bollmann was not popular in Lafayette's family. 

A. HT. 



Berlin, Saturday, 2,3rd May, 1835. 

If, my dear friend, the " Morgenblatt "* of the 18th 
May falls into your hands, be kind enough to cast a 
glance at a not altogether agreeable article, " Wilhelm 
von Humboldt's Burial." My brother is there repre- 
sented as dying, deserted by his family. To such 
misrepresentations, however, I pay little attention. I 
want now to guess what that other thing is which, 
like music, my brother " knew nothing of, and which 
one cannot call by its right name." Is that God, or 
some sort of profligacy ? I know of no such saying of 
his. Do try, my dear friend, to find out how the sen- 
tence is interpreted by the public. My brother's re- 
tirement, too, from political life was so universally 
known that it seems extraordinary to say they do not 
know whether he was to blame for it ? You see how 
gladly I avail myself of your acuteness and affec- 

* The "Morgenblatt," at this time one of the leading literary- papers 
of Germany. TR. 


tion, for supplying my own deficiency in respect of 
the former. 

Yours most gratefully, 




Berlin, 28th March, 1836. 

A mind like yours, my generous friend, is able to 
devise in its tenderness and its vigour a justification 
for all. I am therefore not afraid, after so long an 
absence, and a winter cut up by princely attendances 
and festivities, to come before you this morning with 
a request. You are the only man in this town, poor 
in tone and intellectually desolate as it is, who dis- 
plays a soul for the measured expression of sorrowful 
sentiment and for harmony of style. May I beg of 
you to cast a critical glance over the accompanying 
sheets.* Einging the changes of laudation for forty 
individuals has been an odious style- destroy ing neces- 
sity. It was settled who were to be invited to the 
high table. I think, too, that I have saved myself 
rather cleverly by certain individual hints, and a 
graduated panegyric. I beg you will allow me to call 
to-day towards eleven to fetch the sheets for which 
the printer is in a hurry, and to profit by any obser- 
vations you may be disposed to make. If necessary, 
I will alter sous votre dictee at your house. It would 
be an act of charity if you would receive me by your 
bedside. Yours, with deep respect, 

Monday. A. HUMBOLDT. 

I shall call at eleven. 

* Preface to Wilhelm von Hutnboldt's work on the Kawi language. Tn. 


On the llth May, 1836, Varnhagen wrote in his Diary: "Alexander 
von Humboldt called on me quite early this morning, and stayed 
an hour and a half. The French princes, who arrived here to-day, 
furnished the chief subject of conversation. The perplexity of the 
King is not small. He wishes to show his guests every attention, and 
at the same time to make these attentions appear at St. Petersburg as 
incivilities. Ancillon,* the minister, has not yet ventured to tell the 
Crown-prince the real object of this journey. He has left it to chance 
to inform him of it. Our princes were -greatly enraged, and railed at 
the unwelcome visit. The Princesses Auguste and Marie, who spoke 
favourably of it, got hard words. There was a talk of a row in the 
theatre ; some people, it was said, would applaud, but it was hoped 
far more would hiss them. An incident of the kind has already 
occurred on their passage through Treves. Our princes, however, 
in spite of any feeling of their own to the contrary, will, in com- 
pliance with the King's desire, which has been very plainly intimated 
to them, be extremely polite. The Queen of the Netherlands, who 
happens to be here just now, and who was believed to be most 
hostile to them, sets a good example, and announces her intention of 
receiving the visitors at her house. The ambassador, M. Bressonf 
and Baron Humboldt, had previously advised against the visit. 
That it has now become an accomplished fact appears to have been 
brought about by Prince Metternich, who, wanting the good offices 
of France in Eastern affairs, and at the same time wishing to give 
no offence to Russia, puts Prussia forward, as, after her example, the 
reception of the French princes at Vienna will be a matter of course. 
The affair may certainly be called an event, and one likely to ex- 

* Friedrich Ancillon, born 1767, at this time Prussian Secretary of 
State for Foreign Affairs. He published several works connected with states- 
manship and history. In politics his views were moderate, as may be per- 
ceived by his work entitled " Ueber den Geist der Staatsverfassungen und 
dessen Einfluss auf die Gesetzgebung " (Berlin, 1825). TE. 

f Count Charles Bresson, Peer of France, born 1798, from an early age 
destined for diplomacy. He was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary to 
the Court of Berlin in 1832, and continued there as Minister Plenipotentiary. 
About the end of 1832, it was his diplomatic skill alone, which prevented war 
between France and Prussia. Louis Philippe created him a Count and Peer 
of France in 1837, in consequence of his successful negotiations in reference 
to the marriage of the Duke of Orleans. TR. 


ercise great influence on people's minds and views a fact obvious 
to every one. Our Court, every one must think, either has not the 
principles it has hitherto appeared to have, or it is too weak to 
maintain them, and is forced to feign others. In both cases bad !" 



Berlin, 31st May, 1836. 

The following refers to an article, attributed to Major von Eado- 
witz, in the " Allgemeine Zeitung," in which Baron Raumer's 
work (" Letters on England") had been unfavourably reviewed. 

The writer of these letters* must have had little to 
fear from any of Frailty's trumped-up charges. In his 
(Kadowitz's) general opinion ahout the shallowness 
and tameness of this " man of vast historical research/' 
I quite agree. Besides, von Eaumer reads as if one 
were smarting under the corporal's rattan, and that is 
a thing I cannot stand, and will not forgive. 



t, 24 April, 1837. 
It is a great consolation that in this city, intel- 
lectually deserted (how brilliant it was in Eahel's 
palmy days !), both brothers are still living in the 
memory of him in whom alone sound sense, delicate 
moral feeling, and elegance of diction have survived. 

* Eaumer, in these letters, had discussed, in rather unnecessary detail, 
the relative morality of the cooks and maid-servants in London and Berlin. 


All my searches to-day for the separate impression 
of the Essay were fruitless. I have not even, I find, 
the special volume of the Academy for 1822, as I 
was then living in Paris. But this I will bring you 
in a few days. I will also show you the list of all 
my brother's posthumous works, which I have been 
at some pains to prepare, and which you, perhaps, 
will enlarge. Cotta will print them all, as well as the 
eight hundred sonnets and the religious poems from 
Spain, which are also as yet unprinted. I work with 
pious devotion at the arrangements for this Edition, so 
that I may die in peace before its completion. 

How could I ever have suspected you, dear friend, 
of wanting to exhibit me at the excellent Princess's, 
to make a Sontag of me, in fact (after the precedent 
adopted in the drawing-room of the Princess Belgio- 
joso) ! I shall be happy to lecture to a small circle of 
from twelve to fifteen persons, certainly not otherwise, 
because Berlin is a little, illiterate, and over- spiteful 
town, and would call it absurd if I were to have a 
third performance, after already having had two, unfor- 
tunately so public ; and, besides that, I am happily no 
Sontag in Berlin, and the lecture can, therefore, be 
very properly kept a secret de comedie. "You will be 
charitable enough to treat the matter in my view of 
it, and not to blame me. 

With all respect, yours, 

A. v. H. 




J'arrive la iiuit meme de Potsdam et j'accepte avec 
plaisir 1'aimable offre de Madame la Princesse pour 
demain mercredi soir a huit heures precises, car le 
spectacle dure une lieure. Je crains de prendre jeudi, 
vu 1'incertitude des perturbations planetaires. Toutes 
les personnes que vous voulez bien choisir, me sont 
agreables, je prierais seulement Madame la Princesse 
de ne pas inviter Bauch, Gaiis, et M. et Mad. Kiihle 
parceque deja ils ont passe* par cet ennui. M. de 
Varnhagen ajoutera qui il voudra. Eien ne surpasse 
le tact qu'il.a pour deviner qui pourrait avoir quelque 
indulgence a m'entendre. Mille respectueux et affec- 
tueux hommages. AL. HUMBOLDT. 

Ce mardi 2 Mai 1837. 



(No date.) 

I called, my dear friend, for two reasons: 1. To 
bring you the opus of Minister Kamptz* (" Casus in ter- 
minis," 25 copies printed), which, perhaps, you have 
not yet seen, and which called forth another very 
violent one from the late Minister of Mecldenburg- 
Strelitz, Von Oertzen, of scalded memory. f How 
one may be hoaxed you may read, p. 30 and line 2, 
2. To ask you not to laugh at me if, to-morrow, you 
are invited to a lecture at the Princess's. I vow to 

* " Der Demagogen Verfolger." TR. 

t Von Oertzen was literally scalded to death in a vapour bath. TR. 


you that vanity (although I am by no means free 
from that) has less to do with this step than indecision 
of character and good nature. I thought myself 
obliged to give the Princess this gratification her 
daughter, too, urged me strongly, and she showed 
me a harmless list of ten persons. If you wish to 
propose, or bring with you, one or more friends, I 
have no objection ; but no one, mind, who has already 
heard me. Your friends are mine. I can look for 
indulgence from them. I maintain that a man is not 
altogether without merit, if, after having spent his 
life among figures and stones, he has given himself 
the trouble to learn to write Grerman. 


AL. HT. 

I hope also to be able to get you the violent 
pamphlet of the Strelitz Minister, in which there is 
much more wit (i. e. than in that of Kamptz). 

Varnhagen in his Diary of 3rd May, 1831, remarks: "In the 
evening the long-talked-of lecture of Baron Humboldt, at the 
Princess von Piickler's. The lecture was very fine, and made a 
very favourable impression. I spoke to General von Riihle* about 
Humboldt' s character; he entirely agreed with me, 'that we shall 
never know what we have possessed in him until he is dead.' 

" Baron Humboldt was with me yesterday, and brought me the 
little pamphlet (of which only twenty-five copies were printed), of 
Minister von Kamptz, ' Casus in terminis,' in which he places the 
change of dynasty in France in the best light, and justifies the 
Mecklenburg marriage. This was so contrary to his former princi- 
ples that I said to him at once, ' If he could see his double we 
should have him imprisoning himself.' There are plenty of persons 
still who oppose the marriage. Duke Charles of Mecklenburg- 
* General von Ruble, geographer and cartographer. TR. 


Strelitz has regularly intrigued to prevent it, and tried to form an 
alliance in the Mecklenburg and Prussian families an alliance and 
a pledge against all marriages with the house of Orleans. In fact, 
there was some talk of a formal protest against it. All this in most 
violent opposition to the expressed sentiments of the King. Duke 
Charles is now really ill, from vexation and annoyance, not only at 
this, but other matters." 



Berlin, Wth May, 1837. 

At length, my dear friend, I can send you the Part 
of the Academy's Transactions, which contains the 
important Treatise on History. I will, soon exchange 
with you this part, which I have borrowed, for another, 
which you shall keep. It appears there have never 
been any separate impressions of it taken. You dis- 
appeared so suddenly from the last performance, that I 
greatly fear your leaving the house on that eventful 
day was merely a sacrifice on my account. I am 
eternally oscillating between Potsdam and Berlin. 
To-morrow again to Potsdam, where (on the 16^) we 
are expecting the amiable Princess,* who has thrown 
discord into the whole Hellenic camp, and whom they 
will now be delighted to find not pretty enough 
"by far." 

Most gratefully yours, 

Wednesday. A. HuMBOLDT. 

Je savais depuis longtemps que le General Bugeaud 
ne parlait pas franais, je vois k present que sa veritable 

* Helene, Princess of Mecklenburg - Schwerin, afterwards Duchess of 


langue est le Mongol. What a Timour-like pro- 
clamation that of the armee civilisatrice !* 

My brother's Essay is, as regards language, one of 
the most finished of his productions. " Grod governs 
the world. The problem of history is to trace out 
these eternally secret decrees " (p. 317). That is, after 
all, the result ; and as to this result I have at times, 
I will not say quarrelled, but had discussions with 
my brother. It is a result which at any rate falls in 
with the oldest sentiment of all, and one which has 
found utterance in every human tongue. My brother's 
treatise is a commentary on this vague feeling, de- 
veloping, interpreting, and eulogising it. In the 
same way the physiologist assumes so-called vital 
powers, in order to explain organic phenomena, because 
his knowledge of the physical powers, which operate 
on so-called inanimate nature, are insufficient to ex- 
plain this play of living organisations. Does that 
prove vital powers to exist ? I know you will be 
angry with me, because you opine that the leading 
idea of this glorious treatise does not give me entire 
satisfaction. *> 



Wednesday, 17th May, 1837. 

You have prepared me a great treat, my much- 
honoured friend. I hope these " Observations on the 
Art of Historical Writing " will one day be added to 
a new part of your excellent minor works. The brain 
grows dizzy as one watches the profusion in which 

* The proclamation by which Marshal Bugcaud initiated his command in 
Algiers. TR. 


materials are borne in upon us from fresh sources in 
every land. You show us how such matter may be 
subordinated to mind. A thousand years hence, and 
things will be much simpler. Nations have been able 
to preserve their individuality in spite of the march 
of armies from one end of the Continent to the other. 
Since the great epoch of Columbus and Grama, when 
one quarter, nay, one hemisphere, of the globe made 
acquaintance with the other, that restless element, the 
sea, has made the ubiquity of a certain species of 
civilization, that of Western Europe, a possibility. 
Across each boundary line of the firm earth new man- 
ners, new beliefs, new wants force their way among 
the most isolated clusters of remote lands. Are not 
the South .Sea Islands already Protestant parishes? 
A floating battery, a single man-of-war, changes the 

fate of Chili 

The Princess Helene, by her sweet grace and intel- 
lectual superiority, achieved, yesterday, the mastery 
over much rude and stubborn matter. It was most 
absurd to see how some people strove to look solemn, 
dignified, and silly. I am especially delighted 
that she goes to her new home with the greatest 
cheerfulness. I wish she were crossing the Ehine 
with a less retinue. Her mother is a worthy, well- 
educated lady, but timid ; and as to the others who 
figure in her suite, there would be no great loss if 
they remained on this side the stream. Fortunately, 
the great Trench world is free from the petty jeering 
and fault-finding which reign paramount in Berlin 
and Potsdam, where empty-headed folk keep pecking 
for months together at a caricature drawn by their 
own feeble imagination. 


I admitted Privy Councillor Miiller,* (who appre- 
ciates you and your productions,) to a share in my 
enjoyments. But, lawyer-like, he went off upon the 
very first sheet, No. 63 (" Eezension des Provincial- 
rechts von Groetze").f Would you, my dear friend, 
send me the first part of that review for Miiller ? 

Very gratefully yours, 




Monday, 30th May, 1837. 

My dear Friend, The Part of the "Academy's 
Transactions " is entirely at your disposal until I can 
send you a copy of it for yourself. The communica- 
tion you send for our talented friend Gans is par- 
ticularly agreeable to me. Hegel's historical studies 
will interest me specially, because till now I have en- 
tertained a wild prejudice against the theory that every 
nation must be the representative of some particular 
idea ; that everything has happened " that it might 
come to pass " as was written by the philosopher. I 
shall read it carefully, and shall be quite ready to 
quit my prejudice. 



* Cabinet Councillor of King Friedrich Wilhelm III. TR. 

f Review of the " Treatise on Provincial Law," by Von Goetze. 




Saturday, 1st July, 1837. 

To-morrow Tegel, and Monday off again to that 
everlasting watering-place, where the sight of the 
Prince of Warsaw* will not do much towards cheering 
up my weary soul ; it is therefore not permitted me 
personally to present my sincere thanks. " Sophie 
Charlotte"! and Hegel's " Philosophy of History" will 
accompany me, and afford me real enjoyment. My 
own taste will lead me to read you. There is indeed a 
forest of ideas for me in this Hegel, whom Gaiis, in such 
masterly style, has reproduced with the full stamp of 
his great individuality : but to a man like me, spell- 
bound, insect-fashion, to earth and the endless variety 
of natural phenomena which it contains, a dry theo- 
retical assertion of utterly false facts and views about 
America and the Indian world is enslaving and oppres- 
sive. For all that I do not fail to recognise the grandeur 
it contains. 

In you all is at once profound and gentle, and 
you possess what he wants, never-fading grace and 
freshness of language. A. HUMBOLDT. 

I have ordered my life right badly, and am doing all 
I can to arrive at early stupidity. Gladly would I re- 
nounce the European beef, which Hegel (p. 77) talks of as 
being better than the American, and take up my abode 
with poor weak crocodiles (alas ! they're twenty-five 
feet long). Pages 442 444, our worthy friend has evi- 
dently been polishing up to make them more palatable. 

* Prince Paskiewitch. TR. 

t A biographical memoir by Varnhagen. TR. 



Berlin, 4th October, 1837. 

There are times, my dear friend, when you are 
pleased to confer durability on fleeting productions of 
the day, and to preserve what would otherwise be scat- 
tered to the winds, and so I send you the short Ad- 
dress which the papers gave in such a mutilated form. 
The substance of it will please you, even though you 
may think the language might have been better chosen 
had it been more thoroughly prepared. The political 
Hanover I found as you have represented it, and pri- 
vate conversations with King Ernest full of both rage 
and fear, have confirmed your view. Leist of Stade,* 
with his five hours' speech, has, I am told, again been 
doing honied mischief. 


A. HT. 

Stieglitz'f appearance here was to me like a visit 
from a ghost. He was Wilhelm's oldest friend, and 
once saved his life when he was bathing in the Leine. \ 
(My brother called out to him with unexampled sto- 
icism, "I'm a dead man, but never mind!"} There's 
something " uncanny " in the influence of that man's 

* Leist, Councillor of State, principal adviser of King Ernest Augustus 
of Hanover in the abrogation of the fundamental law (Grundgesetz) of that 
kingdom, and of the dismissal of the seven Gottingen professors. TR. 

f Stieglitz, born 1767, at Arolsen, died 1840 ; an original writer upon 
medical subjects, and physician to the King of Hanover. TR. 

J The river Leine near Gottingen, where the two friends were students. 

D 2 




Saturday, 22nd October, 1837. 2 A.M. 
After a very depressing stay of nearly a week in 
Potsdam, I find on my return your affectionate token 
of remembrance. Accept this very evening, my dear 
friend, my warmest thanks. You have praised my 
endeavours the object of my highest ambition to 
avoid fossilization, so long as I am permitted, to be 
active, and to hold fast the belief that "Nature 
has laid her curse upon stagnation." Youth is the 
emblem of Progress, and the ruling powers here (the 
Berlin world-elephants) sont des monies en service 

extraordinaire. Good night. 




Berlin, Tuesday, ItJi November, 1837. 
The beginning of my letter is poor : the end of it more 
rational. But you must not lose the dramatic effect of the 
whole ! 

What you ask, my dear friend, is attended with mortal 
risk, involving, as it does, not only my own feelings, but 
those of a family who nervously suspect allusions in 
every word. The more telling and spirited your sketch, 
particularly at pp. 10 15 [" He started from leading 
principles" . . " What many entirely deny him" . . ], 
the more unearthly everything appears in this short 
essay, as the softening element would be implied in 
the portraiture of a complete and, in the political and 


literary world, not altogether unimportant life. This 
more complete portraiture is, however, now impossible ; 
therefore, my desire will always be to care for his fame 
by the circulation of his literary works. To omit to 
alter anything in this beautiful essay would be to rob 
it of charm and vigour. You have written the whole 
in the noblest spirit, but there are passages (Eeineke 
Fuchs, the relation to Madame de Humboldt) which 
especially just now are not very pleasant to touch 
upon. As you expect me frankly to state my indi- 
vidual impressions, I will record them. They are 
often merely doubts. 

P. 5. " A stranger to abstract thought " . . . The 
term "middle philosophy" refers probably to that of 
Kant, to which he was most strongly inclined. He 
especially believed that metaphysics, but of the pre- 
Hegelian order, was that study of his youth in which 
he excelled. I merely wish for a closer definition. 

P. 6. "In the proper sense of the word unproduc- 
tive "? The philosophy of language, on entirely new 
principles, spirit of antiquity, treatment of history, 
depth of feeling in poetry in all these departments 
he has not produced any unimportant work. 

P. 8. " Style downright ice/' Soften this a little. 
You do so p. 30, where you have the word ' warms.' 

P. 13. "A reputation is soon gained, and the name 
Mephistopheles or Eeineke . ." One could wish the two 
distinguishing names away, as everything in the pre- 
ceding one is couched in the happiest and liveliest 
of style. " Mephistopheles " reminds one of Duke 

P. 14. This question about heart and the saying 
of Talleyrand, which I was not acquainted with, and 


which could only be made sense of by the supposition 
of an insinuated reproach of political indecision, are 
rather unpleasant. " C'etait un des homines d'etat 
dont 1'Europe de mon temps n'en a pas compte trois 
ou quatre," I have heard from Talleyrand's own lips. 

P. 15. "What many entirely denied him;" . . . 
very acute and fine. The old Princess Louisa said of 
you, " You were most to be feared when you were 
taking up one's cause." 

P. 18. My brother often related that Stieglitz saved 
his life, but the words, which would have appeared 
boastful in his mouth, I hear now for the first time 
from Stieglitz. They are very characteristic and true. 
There is therefore nothing to desire but a word, which 
shall explain all, and prevent misunderstanding. 

P. 23. That he had an unbounded admiration for 
Eahel is very, very true ! 

P. 28. " Principles of constitutional government." 
If ever you make use of these papers, my dear friend, 
make this interpolation : " although at a later period 
in other articles he has earnestly, in the most decided 
way, urged the necessity for a constitution founded on 
a general representation of the people." The limi- 
tation is needful. I have myself had in my hands his 
plan for a constitution and system of election, and in 
these opinions he died. 

P. 31. Instead of " avarice," too great thriftiness. 

Once more I read, and being more composed, find it, 
on the whole, among the best things you have written. 
Pp. 6, 7, 1012 ! 1320, 2427, 30 ! ! You have 
reproduced all, yes, nearly all, and that with infinite 


kindliness, which you here and there appeared to have 
treated rather severely. "II n'y a rien de maudit," 
said the great painter Gerard, " que de consnlter la 
famille sur la ressemblance du defunt. II y a de quoi 
se prendre, telle est leur exigeance ! Us auraient fait 
bon marche du parent vivant." That's what you will 
say of me. In conclusion, I ask myself whether I am 
not, by begging you in the commencement not to 
print the paper, robbing my tenderly and anxiously 
beloved brother of a great fame. 

I sJiould, indeed, be robbing him of fame, for who 
is there that could write about him with such pene- 
trating truth and eloquence? What I therefore now 
wish to sacrifice, and venture to entreat of you, is after 
all a trifle. With your skill in composition, the change 
is easily made. I allude to the few lines which in pages 

13 and 14 I have underlined; Rahel's opinion (pages 

14 and 15) not included. She is always gentle, just, 
and graceful. Eeceive then, my honoured friend, my 
warmest, heartfelt thanks. Don't answer this; I 
shall call on you to-morrow about twelve. 





Berlin, 9th June, 1838. 

I arn very happy, my honoured friend, in being able 
to present you with the only volumes of the great 
Eussian poet* which have yet appeared. May I call 
on you to-morrow (Sunday) at one o'clock, that my 

* Pusclikin. 


eyes may see the beautiful eyes which have led you, 
to our literary benefit, into the labyrinth of Scla- 
vonic languages ? 

I have called twice on Mr. TL, and as he was 
not at home, I left a card for him, in addition 
to which I have written him an affectionate letter, 
with offers of service for Petersburg (for the jour- 
ney to Geneva), but have not heard a syllable from 
him since. Such behaviour in a young man, who but 
for me would still be sitting at Orenburg as a small 
Cossack official, is difficult of explanation. 

Most gratefully yours, 

A. HT. 

If I may call don't answer this. 



Berlin, 3rd August, 1838. 

I look upon you, my honoured friend, as the arbiter 
not only of good taste, but also of grace and aristo- 
cratic manners. I have written two essays, which have 
not yet been printed, for Cotta's* new Quarterly pub- 
lication, with which his advisers are much delighted : 
a description of the natural features of the plateau of 
Bogota, and on the fluctuations of the yield of gold 
since the middle ages. He sent me for the two 
(making four sheets in print) a draft on Frege for 
fifty Friedrichs d'or, that is more than twelve 
Friedrichs d'or per sheet. Much as I want money, 
I should like to send back half of it ; but in carrying 
out this resolve, it occurs to me that I ought first to 

* Deutsche Viertel-Jahrschrift. 


make inquiries as to what may be now considered the 
maximum pay for articles in journals, whether six, 
eight, or ten Friedrichs d'or is customary ; I should 
then have less to return. It may be of consequence 
to me at some future time. Pardon this matter-of- 
fact question, and be indulgent enough to write me in 
a few days a couple of lines. I am going to-day to 
the island. 


In Yarnhagen's Diary, of 9th August, 1838, there is the follow- 
ing remark : " Humboldt, in a long visit, gave me the news from 
Toplitz. Both the King of Prussia and the Emperor of Russia have 
carefully avoided being left alone with each other, as each appre- 
hended embarrassment from it. The Emperor spoke on several 
occasions very contemptuously of the present form of Trench govern- 
ment, and was particularly severe on King Louis Philippe. Prince 
Metternich was gay and careless ; for the present he was wholly 
without apprehension, but harboured the gloomy foreboding, that 
with Louis Philippe's death affairs would take a fresh turn and war 
would be inevitable. "Will he try to make others think so for the 
nonce ? I ask. In dealing with Metternich, one must always apply the 
test of seeing how far any particular opinion fits in for the moment 
with his position." 

9th of April, 1839 Yarnhagen records in his Diary : " Humboldt 
called unexpectedly, and made the most profound apologies for not 
having seen me for so long a time ; and now he emptied out his 
budget with its thousand bits of news from Paris and from here ; 
nearly two hours of it. He looks upon affairs in Prance as very 
critical, and has written to Prince Metternich lately in this spirit, 
that ' To-day the French crisis is entirely internal, but to-morrow 
even it may take an outward turn, and how needful will it then be 
for Germany to bo consolidated in itself, and that the absurdities of 
Cologne and Hanover should be put an end to.' ?) 


On the 19th. of April, 1839, Yarnhagen relates in his Diary : 
" Yisited Humboldt, who told me a great number of things, and 
showed me a fine portrait of Arago, that pleased me mightily ! He 
spoke much of the Anglo-Russian complications in the East Indies 
and Persia, and related to me what he had heard from the mouth of 
the Russian Emperor himself on the subject. The Emperor was 
embittered against the English, and thought it of the highest im- 
portance to counteract their dominion in Asia. Humboldt allows 
that I am right in saying that a good fifty years must pass away 
before any real danger' from Russia will threaten the English in the 
East, but that apprehension and zeal might even, without necessity, 
produce a conflict in Europe,* before it would come to a collision in 
that quarter ; both sides, however, would no doubt bethink them- 
selves before bringing matters to such a pass." 

On the 25th May, 1839, Yarnhagen writes in his Diary : " Met 
Humboldt ' Unter den Linden.' "We had a long chat. He told me 
that people about the Court, the King excepted, who never speaks 
ill of the dead, and the Crown Prince, who even expressed some 
regret, had spoken abominably about the death of Gans. The other 
princes were delighted the Princess von Liegnitzf spoke most 



Berlin, Monday, 3rd June, 1839. 

The bookj which you lent me, dear friend, is a 
precious book, as indeed everything must be called 

* Humboldt's political insight lias been verified by the events of 1854, 
when " apprehension and zeal " really brought about a war, the probability 
of which Russia seemed to have more fully foreseen than England or 
France. TR. 

f The morganatic wife of Friedrich William III. TR. 

Dorow's " Memoirs and Letters," vol. iii. 


precious which denotes the individuality of man. My 
brother's letters are very fine ; his critique on the 
Chancellor does much honour to his character, and the 
conclusion, which appears to detract somewhat from 
the praise he has expressed, conceals a profound 
political meaning. It may have reference to another 
grander termination, to which that development of 
events might have led. I am more especially de- 
lighted with the recognition of your talent, of your 
powers of delineation, and the recognition of the rich- 
ness of soul which (revealed to few) lies in Kanel's 
letters. Adam Miiller's* aristocratic crotchets and the 
Princess,! so boorishly natural in her amours, hunch- 
backed, and therefore sure to be to some degree unchaste, 
furnish a capital contrast between political and social 
rubbish : " to save the Fatherland means," says Gentz's j 
first man, "reinstating the Prussian nobility in its 
privileges, and leaving it untaxed, in order that after a 
short negotiation it may present to the monarch its 
' don gratuit/ Moreover the man shall remain chained 
without hope of release to the soil." How the Mont- 

* Adam Miiller, born in 1779, at Berlin. He became, like his friend Gentz, 
a religious apostate and political renegade ; he was at last employed in the 
Chancellerie of Prince Metternich, and died in 1829. Varnhagen is loud 
in praise of Miiller' s personal amiability and of his great conversational 
parts. TR. 

f Sophie Wilhelmine von Baireuth. 

Friedrich Gentz, a native of Breslau, born 1767. In 1802 he left 
Prussia, entered the Austrian diplomatic service, and became a convert to 
Catholicism. In politics he began as an ardent liberal, but ended by being 
one of the most sophistical defenders of Conservative doctrines. His numerous 
writings against Napoleon caused much excitement, and obtained for him a 
subsidy of 9000 from England. Among other topics which engaged his 
attention was the " Jnnius" question, and he indicated Sir Philip Francis as the 
author of the letters. One of the works which obtained him great credit 
was a Treatise upon the " Finances of Great Britain," published at Ham- 
burg in 1801. TK. 


morencies of the Ukermark* must have been delighted 
at seeing the stuff which had lain uselessly in their 
poor souls, now moulded into precise dogmas in such 
polished language by so talented a writer ! This spirit 
of caste is not confined to time or space. Once again, 
when I shall be no more, it will appear spectre-like 
and threatening. I am often asking myself whether 
Adam Muller might not again collect subscriptions 
among the knights who lie stretched out on the sacks 
in the Wool Market (like the Homeric heroes) at 
their ease. Benjamin Constant has very prettily ex- 
pressed this immutable heirloom of pride in the parable 
of the shipwreck, " Grand Dieu, je ne suis pas assez 
indiscret pour votis prier de nous sauver tous. Sauvez- 
moi tout seul." 

If you have a few moments' leisure just turn over 
the leaves of the third volume of my " History of the 
Geography of the Middle Ages," and see what I have 
said on the views entertained by Christopher Columbus 
in respect of Nature, and on his style, vol. iii. p. 232. 
The dream, p. 316. It was the subject of a reading at 
Chateaubriand's and Madame Kecamier's, and took, as 
every outburst of feeling does when manifested between 
dreary steppes of minute erudition. I hope soon to 
be able to offer you the five volumes already out. The 
negligence of my bookseller prevents my doing so at 

A. HT. 

On the 9th June, 1839, Varnhagen observes in his Diary: 
"Humboldt confirms the opinion I have more than once expressed, 
that too much must not be inferred from the silence of authors, He 
adduces three important and perfectly undeniable facts, as to which 
one finds no evidence in places where one would naturally, above all 
* The Counts Arnim-Boitzenburg. TR. 


others, expect to find it. In the records of Barcelona there is not a 
trace of the triumphal entry made by Columbus ; in Marco Polo no 
mention of the great wall of China, and in the archives of Portugal 
nothing about the voyage of Amerigo Yespucci in the service of that 
Crown. ("History of the Geography of the New World," Pt. IV. 
p. 160, et seq.) 



Friday, 13th September, 1839. 

M. Piaget has left a very agreeable impression on 
me. He would probably be most useful in the College 
Franqais, as Professeur de litterature ou d'histoire, but 
the pedantic preceptorial examination stands in the 
way. I will use every exertion with M. von Werther ; 
the rather unliterary moustache and the long sleek 
South Sea hair will, I fancy, somewhat astonish the 

Your old and attached friend, 


Wonderful, indeed, that the Neufchatel Council ad- 
vise the Cabinet against Piaget. Par jalousie de 
metier ? 



Berlin, 29th December, 1839. 

It is a noble and right charitable act that you have 
done in lending me this little work,* which would other- 
wise certainly have escaped me. The praise bestowed 
on it by you who are able so vividly to sketch the picture 

* Fr. Jacobs' " Jubelschrift fur Kries in Gotha." 


of a life, and to colour it so pleasingly without obliterat- 
ing the outline, is of great authority. Kries,* moreovej, 
was one of the friends of my youth. We attended 
Heyne's lectures at the Seminarium together. I will 
return you the book soon. 


(In great haste.) 



Wednesday afternoon, 26th February, 1840. 

I lament, dear friend, having missed you ; I was 
suffering sadly in my foot from a wretched little whitlow 
on my toe, and only got to-day (for the first time) as far 
as the house of my neighbour Leopold von Buch.f 
Best thanks for Sesenheim. J 

No doubt you were right in rescuing from oblivion 
the little work, the character of which is German in 
the highest degree, and which, owing to your preface, 
has won such an interest with thoughtful men. There 
is throughout this little book a fine perception of 
that which a German must always hold sacred and im- 
portant in the literature of his country. The writer ran- 
sacks Sesenheim and Drusenheim, as others the Troad. 
The proper names are unhappily less poetical. Passages 
pp. 12 & 13 are extremely graceful in style. Then we 
have the philologist in awkward indecision as to that 

* Friedrich Kries, a mathematician and Professor in the Gymnasium at 
Gotha TR. 

f Leopold von Buch, born in 1777, died in March, 1853, the celebrated 
geologist. TR. 

" Wallfahrt nach Sesenheim." By August Ferdinand Nake. Edited by 
K. A. Varnhagen von Ense. Berlin, 1840. 


which he has but half investigated; uncertain, as over an 
old manuscript which he has read too hastily. Whether 
Frederika's* sisters, " whose parts we have no business 
to take," page 48, or whether the catholic priest who had 
"effected her ruin," and then, according to another 
reading, had " not effected her ruin ;" be pleased with 
all this I do not decide; we are also not yet clear 
about the Troad and the Scamander, and Helen had in 
her time to put up with a deal of Greek scandal. 
Your old and very grateful friend, 

A. v. HDT. 



Monday, 9th March, 1840. 

The Crown Prince, to whom I took your " Lebens- 
buch " this morning, has commissioned me, my dear 
friend, to express to you his " friendliest thanks." In 
doing so he recalled to mind your "Sophie Charlotte," 
your " Seydlitz," your ever graceful language, and your 
powers of delineating critical relations in life. I read 
him your outspoken passage about Grimm. It pleased 
him much, and gave rise to a conversation about 
Hanover. He spoke very sensibly on the subject : 
"the King of Hanover does not know how to manage 
Germans ; he doesn't know how easily they are won over 
if only one knows how to avail one's self of a moment of 
genial impulse, /should, on the very day on which the 
news of the close of the Gottingen election reached Ha- 
nover, have sent an aide-de-camp or civil functionary to 

* The daughter of the pastor of Sesenheim, with whom Goethe, then a 
student at Strasburg, had a romantic and somewhat serioiis love affair. TR. 


Gottingen to return my thanks to the professors, and 
to ask them whether it would he agreeable to their 
feelings if I were to reinstate all the seven professors." 
These are words that flow from a noble nature. I shall 
not talk to the Crown Prince about your Essay on 
Niebuhr, with which I thoroughly agree. 

Your old and attached friend, 

A. v. HOT. 



Wednesday, ISth March, 1840. 

An insipid pamphlet of M. Gretsch against MelgunofF, 
and against a book utterly unknown to me Konig's* 
full of Siberia, bow-strings, secret service money, 
and Eussian patriotism an intolerable production ! 
Would you like to read it, my dear friend ? You are 
the only one of us that can understand it entirely. 
The book would almost reconcile me to M. Melgunoff, 
against whom I had begun to conceive some little dis- 
like. I certainly have no recollection of him, or the 
conversation I had with him; but he must have 
strangely interpreted and translated in his own style 
the language I addressed to him, when he makes me 
enter the lists against one, the treasures of whose 
mind and the grace of whose diction as well as man- 
ner, I am always praising. Is it likely that I should 

* Heinrich Konig, a German novelist of some note, published in 1837, 
assisted by a Eussian friend, Melgunoff, " Literarische Bilder aus Buss- 
land" (Literary Pictures from Bussia). Nicolaus Gretsch, a Bussian Coun- 
cillor of State, a most prolific, but very shallow author, attacked Konig's book 
in the pamphlet to which allusion is made above. TR. 


break out against you in the only conversation I ever 
had with a man who brought me a letter from your 
own hand ? Who will attribute to me such indiscreet 
Orinoco manners? 

Marheineke* has also been campaigning in the criti- 
cal journals, more against Savignyf than against 
Stahl. j There is much sharpness in the air, and the 
Blacks give no quarter. The end of the philippic is 
very eloquent, arriving at the climax of the transition 
from the Eationalists through St. Hegel to Galileo. 
Unfortunately the twelve preceding pages are destitute 
of all colour, and indifferent in style. Gorres and 
Schelling can colour better. The only thing that 
interests me in all this is the dramatic part, and the 
talent which is or is not displayed. CaBsareopapy, 
territorial system, nay, the " authority of a decided 
positive system of dogmas and of a marked physi- 
ognomy " which M. Marheineke, p. 41, wishes to see 
introduced, are to me horrors or carnival pleasantries. 
Both parties are only different sorts of compression 
engines, and a " philosophically " established Christian 
dogmatism of " marked physiognomy" is, of all corsets, 
to me the most oppressive. 

Eaumer (Karl) has published " Crusades " cru- 

* Philip Conrad Marheineke, an eminent German divine ; in philosophy a 
follower of Hegel ; died 1846. TR. 

f Friedrich Carl von Savigny, author of the " History of Eoman Law in 
the Middle Ages," esteemed leader of the historical school in jurisprudence ; 
an ultra-Conservative in politics and religion. TR. 

J Friedrich Julius Stahl, a Professor in the University of Berlin, and one 
of the editors of the New Prussian Gazette (" Kreuzzeitung"). He was born 
and bred an Israelite in Bavaria, and started in early life as a republican and 
a demagogue. At the present time the learned Professor is conspicuous as an 
ultra- Prussian, an ultra-Lutheran, and ultra- Absolutist. TR. 

Joseph Gorres, a profound scholar, in his youth an ardent Republican, 
in his old age an ultra- Conservative and fanatical Catholic. TR. 



sades against the geologists. The Saracens are Leo- 
pold von Buch (your new convert) and myself. 

A. HT. 

And Sintenis* in Magdeburg, and the Neufchatel 
Council, "who issued a proclamation against the 
Deluge," all 1840. Three comets won't suffice. 

I have a letter from the Marquis of Clanricarde, at 
St. Petersburg, dated 5th March : " No news has been 
heard for the last four or five weeks, of the expedition 
to Khiva." " It is purely an attack upon the Khan, 
whom they propose to dethrone and to put his brother 
in his place." You see he tries to appear perfectly 
unconcerned. What an innocent lamblike policy ! 



Vienne, ce 29 Mars, 1840. 
Mon cher Baron ! 

mettant point en doute, que Monsieur le Prince 
Eoyal, auquel j'ai 1'honneur de repondre aujourd'hui, 
vous donnera connaissance de ma declaration, c'est a 
ma lettre a S. A. E. que je m'en rapporte. Vous 
verrez que je me mets a ses ordres, et cela toutefois 
sous la reserve de mon ignorance archeologique. A 
cette ignorance vient se joindre celle des attributions 
de la Presidence. 

Voici en tout cas, ce que je pense d'une position 

* Wilhelm Friedrich Sintenis, a Protestant minister at Magdeburg, a 
Rationalist, very obnoxious to the ultra-religious party of that city. In con- 
sequence of a criticism upon a picture which he published in the " Mag- 
deburg Gazette," he was denounced from the pulpit by his opponents in 
1840, and the affair made a great noise at the time throughout Prussia. TR. 


individuelle dans son rapport avec une association 
scientifique quelconque. 

II y a trois especes d'hommes. Les uns sont de 
veritables savants, et leur nombre est fort restreint. 
D'autres sont amis des sciences en general, ou de 
telle branche des sciences en particulier ; leur nombre 
est bien autrement etendu. La troisieme classe qui 
est la plus nombreuse, c'est celle des ames seches, des 
esprits etroits, des viveurs qui souvent sont de tres 
bonnes gens, mais pour lesquels les sciences et les arts 
sont du superflu. 

Je me range dans la seconde de ces categories. 
Moi et mes confreres pouvons servir utilement la cul- 
ture morale pourvu que nous ne nous en melions pas 
trop en detail. La ou je crois pouvoir faire le bien, 
je regarde comme un devoir de m'y vouer ; dans la 
presente occasion cependant je n'aurai que de la bonne 
volonte a mettre dans la balance. Comme ma pro- 
fession de foi est renfermee dans mes explications en- 
vers 1'auguste Protecteur, c'est a ce que j'ai pris la 
liberte de lui dire, que je prends celle de vous ren- 

II y a si longtems, mon cher baron, que vous 
n'etes venu nous voir, que quand vous vous corrigerez, 
vous eprouverez plus d'une satisfaction ou bien des 
progres fort reels, que nous avons faits sur les terrains 
qui vous comptent au nombre des dominateurs. Jac- 
quin, dont la perte est tres regrettable, a ete parfaite- 
ment remplace par Endlicher, homme d'un genie 
eminent. Baumgarten et Ettingshausen sont des 
savants tres distingues. L'ecole poly technique marche 
a merveille, et forme des savants et des ouvriers fort 
utiles. Rossi est le premier opticien de nos terns et 

E 2 


le jeune Voigtlander marche sur ses traces. L'eta- 
blissement du Baron Charles Hiigel a ouvert un nouveau 
et vaste champ a la botanique. Les sciences et les 
arts marchent ainsi a souhait. Ce qui leur manque, 
c'est un inspecteur tel que vous. 

Vous vous plaignez, mon cher baron, de vous 
trouver etre le plus ancien des etrangers dans 1'In- 
stitut. Ce sort est sans doute triste, parcequ'il est 
inevitable, a moins qu'on ne fasse la sottise de s'en 
aller avant d'autres, mais il est nature!. J'eprouve le 
meme sentiment, et cela sur un champ qui certes est 
le plus vaste des champs ! De tous les Eois et chefs 
de cabinet en foiiction entre les annees 1813 et 1815 
les seuls vivants sont le Eoi de Prusse et moi. 
L'epoque n x embrasse cependant qu'un quart de siecle, 
tant il est vrai que 25 ans sont toute une epoque his- 
torique ! Ne nous decourageons pas pour si peu de 
chose, et allons comme si de rien n'etait. 

Mille sinceres hommages, mon cher Baron. 




Thursday, 9th April, 1840. 

Here are two salamanders.* The black (black-edged) 
King of Denmark is not only a Norway-constitutional, 
but also a mineralogical king, who has written very 
nice memoirs on Vesuvius. As his predecessor was 
an astronomical king, gave comet prizes, and presented 
great men, like General Miifningf and myself, with 

* Notes snatched from the fire. TR. 

f Friedrich Ferdinand Carl von Muffling, Commissioner at Wellington's 


chronometers, and as he died of a comet (the night 
Galli discovered his), it came to pass that the Danish 
astronomers feared for their heavenly trade under an 
earthly (subterranean) king. I was asked to take ad- 
vantage of the favour which of old was evinced for 
me. I therefore sought for a pretext which I never did 
before, of offering my congratulations on his accession. 
This is the occasion of the black drama. The letter 
is simple and intelligent. 

A. HT. 

Eead M. Quinet* (the passage on Goethe and Bet- 
tina), and return me the poison. 



Copenhague, ce 13 Janvier, 1840. 

Monsieur le Baron de Humboldt ! Parmi les lettres 
particulieres qui me sont parvenues depuis mon avene- 
ment au trone, aucune ne m'a fait un plus sensible 
plaisir que celle que vous m'avez adressee sous la date 
du 17 Decembre. Votre souvenir a le plus grand 
prix pour moi, et je me rappelle avec un bien grand 
interet les entretiens que j'ai eus avec vous, Monsieur 
le Baron, a Paris, il y a deja nombre d'annees, mais 
depuis vous avez enrichi les sciences de nouvelles 
recherches et la Siberie exploitee par vous, comme 

head quarters in the campaign of 1815, and afterwards, during the occupa- 
tion of the Allies, for five months Governor of Paris ; in 1841, President of 
the Privy Council. TR. 

* Edgard Quinet, a French poet, published, in 1839, a work under the 
title of " Allemagne et Italic," betraying, in some passages, a great hostility 
to Germany. TR. 


jadis 1'Amerique, offre aux sciences naturelles des 
aper$us nouveaux, qui ne sont dus qu'a vous, Monsieur 
le Baron. Oui, je m'estimerais heureux de m'entre- 
tenir un jour avec vous sur ces nouvelles recherches. 

Les sciences naturelles offrent toujours des interets 
nouveaux, et je ne negligerai certainement pas de 
concourir a leur avancement autant qu'il dependra 
de moi. 

Les travaux astronomiques et geodesiques de votre 
celebre ami Schumacher meritent certainement ma 
protection. Ce savant s'est acquis un nom europeen 
et j'apprecie ses rares merites. Quand aux observa- 
tions magnetiques d'apres la methode de Gauss je 
in'occupe de les amplifier ici a Copenhague, ou un 
observatoire etabli depuis 1834 pres de 1'ecole poly- 
technique sera place plus convenablement sur le rem- 
part de la ville et nous y etablirons deux differents 
emplacements, Fun pour les observations sur la de- 
clinaison, Tautre pour Tappareil de rinclinaison. Le 
celebre Oersted dirigera cet etablissement. 

Je m'estime heureux, Monsieur le Baron, de pou- 
voir vous entretenir de ravaiicement des sciences na- 
turelles dans mon pays, vous y puiserez la certitude 
que je ne negligerai aucune occasion pour justifier les 
bonnes idees que vous avez de mon interet pour les 
sciences et pour tout ce qui peut tendre a eclairer mes 
sujets et les rendre heureux. 

Je desire, Monsieur le Baron, que vous trouviez 
souvent le loisir de vous entretenir avec moi et je 
m'empresserai de cultiver des relations si agreables 
pour moi. 

La Eeine me charge de ses complimens pour vous, 


et je saisis 1' occasion pour me dire avec la plus haute 
consideration, Monsieur le Baron de Humboldt, 

votre tout affectionne 



Saturday, Llth April, 1840. 

The Crown Prince is very desirous of being allowed 
to look at your interesting letter from Prince Metter- 
nich. Would you, my dear friend, send it to me this 
evening by half-past seven ? 

.A.. _tLT. 

On the subject of this letter, Varnhagen remarks in his Diary of 
the 2nd of April, 1840: "A long autograph letter from Prince 
Metternich turned up at home. He declares my picture of. the 
Vienna Congress to be perfectly true, with some slight exceptions 
that could be easily set right. He himself circumstantially confirms 
the relation of the arrival in Yienna of the news of Napoleon having 
left Elba a letter of historical value !" 

On the 5th of April, 1840, Yarnhagen again mentions this letter 
of Metternich in his Diary : " Humboldt called at noon. He had 
heard of the letter yesterday from Wittgenstein ; Wittgenstein had 
spoken about it to him, Count Orloff, and other strangers as a most re- 
markable thing. Humboldt, too, was exceedingly astonished and de- 
lighted ; he gave me a letter to read that Prince Metternich had 
written to him on the position of certain Natural Historians in 
Yienna, and on the Presidency of the ArchaBological Society in 
Home. Humboldt tells me melancholy stories of the machinations 
of the Ehenish-Westphalian nobles, which find favour with the Crown 
Prince. A scheme is on foot for erecting a grand Catholic educa- 
tional establishment for the nobility, an establishment in which the 
Jesuits can build themselves a nest. On some one remarking that the 


Crown Prince, in his absence of mind, seemed never to have reflected 
that the illness of the King might bring about an important change 
in affairs, the Minister, Yon Rochow, replied : ' You may depend 
upon it he has thought of it, and has had a good many things ready 
to bring forward, more particularly several regulations in respect of 
Church matters, to which I shall feel myself obliged to offer the 
strongest opposition.' " 



13th of April, 1840. 

The Crown Prince has expressly commissioned me, 
my dear friend, to present you his thanks for so inter- 
esting a communication. Count Alvensleben was pre- 
sent. All considered the letter to reflect great honour 
upon you and your description of the Congress,* and also 
to be remarkable for its noble simplicity in the relation 
of a memorable occurrence. f ' Et tout cela prouve que ma 
fille est muette" and that one lets a talent like yours 
(talent of advice, description, and well-tried worldly 
wisdom) lie fallow, in order that one day, at your 
death, as at my brother's, men may wonder and 
lament that they had not earlier thought of employ- 
ing you. " Cosi va il mondo." 

A. HT. 

I am thoroughly Quakerised. Mrs. Fry and William 
Allen ; little sermons in gaols (the most horrible the 
Quakeress, perhaps, had ever seen), and little tracts 
against dram drinking. 

* The Congress of Vienna. TR. 



Friday, 29th of March, 1840. 

Decide, master of elegant diction and euphony I 
had : " So weit Humanitat (Gesittung) den Erdkreis 

I now prefer, 1. " Er hat gleich machtig, so weit 
Gesittung und Weltverkehr reichen, auf die Herrscher 
wie auf die Volker gewirkt" (reichen, not reichten 
that I detest) ; or, 2. "So weit Gesittung und Welt- 
verkehr die Menschheit veredelten ;" or, 3. " Die 
Menschheit empf anglich machten ;" or, 4. " Die 
Menschheit geeinigt." 

Would not No. 4 (the last) be best? Perhaps you 
may have an inspiration. Slip a note quietly into my 
hand to-night at Stagemann's ;* perhaps the old read- 
ing is best after all. 

A. HT. 

" Humanitat " I shall give up in any case, having 
read in the last volume of Campe's Dictionary so many 
jokes directed against it. 

" Sed quamquam, primo statim beatissimi saeculi 
ortu, Nerva Caesar res olim dissociabiles miscuerit prin- 
cipatum ac libertatem ; augeatque quotidie felicitatem 
imperii Nerva Trajanus." Tacitus in Agricola, cap. 3. 

Also on that same old Nerva, (noble, refined, and 
literary in his taste) : " Quod si vita suppeditet, princi- 

* Friedrich August von Stagemann, born 1763, at Vierraden, in the 
Ukermark, in 1809, became Councillor of State, and subsequently editor of 
the " Staats-zeitung." Known as a poet of some pretension. Died December, 
1840. TR. 


patum divi Nervae, et imperium Trajani, uberiorem 
securioremque materiam senectuti seposui: rara tern- 
porum felicitate, ubi sentire quae velis, et quae sentias 
dicere licet." Tacit. Hist. I. 1. 

In order to avoid too special references, I shall simply 
give the numerical quotations ; thus : Tacit. Vita Ag. 
c. 3, Hist. I. 1. 




Berlin, Tuesday night, 27th October, 1840. 
That I was so long without calling upon you, my dear 
and valued .friend, before and after my northern cam- 
paign, is only because there are impossibilities in life 
against which it is vain to struggle. I wanted to hasten 
to you immediately after the festivities here, but the un- 
certainty of my journey to Paris (I declined it because 
at the time it would neither have been honourable to the 
King or to myself, since Prussia could not play an 
independent part), the approaching departure of Billow, 
the arrival of Greneral Hedemann,* who is still ailing, 
and has his family with him, as well as a rheumatic fever 
which kept me six days at home, brought all to nought. 
To-morrow, 8 A.M., I shall have again to migrate to 
Sans Souci, but only, as I hope, for a few days. I now 
therefore take up my pen to have some little confiden- 
tial talk with you. First of all, sincere thanks for 
your talented and noble treatment of the very ordinary 
tc Erinnerungen von M. Arndt "! I had indeed ob- 
served the hostility evinced towards you. The tone 

* Son-in-law of Wilhelm v. Humboldt. TR. 


of your review is the noblest kind of revenge.* This 
man, whom I never personally knew, owes his advance- 
ment to important events, and not to himself. Strange, 
is it not, that in these latter days, in the evening of 
his life, an importance has been given him which has 
not arisen entirely from a love of justice? 

As you love everything that is characteristic, I will 
return your kindness with another but very small one. 
I. present you with a letter from Guizot, which he wrote 
to me, not altogether without an object, when I was at 
Konigsberg ; the underscoring is my own, as you would 
guess if I did not tell you. I showed the letter to the 
King ; it was written after the Belgian,! Billow, and 
Guizot had been at Windsor, and the business promised 
well, as it does now, when Thiers, all at once, shows 
himself so complaisantly weak, and Palmerston so dog- 
matically defiant. Do not, however, let the letter get 
out of your hands. 

I thank you heartily for the news of the Grimms. 
It is of great importance to me to follow exactly the 
course of events. During the months that I was 
living on the "historical hill/'j surrounded, in 
turn, by elements the most contradictory, I pro- 
ceeded independently in one course. The King had 
given his orders about the Grimms to others, not to 
me ; as, however, nothing had been done by the 
time he returned from Konigsberg, I presented a 
" Pro-memoria " to the King on the occurrences at 
Konigsberg, as well as on the necessity of insisting 
on his own will as the only means of propitiating the 

* Varnhagen had written a review on these Reminiscences. TR. 
f Leopold, King of the Belgians. TR. 
Sans Souci. TR. 


public mind in matters which have excited the sym- 
pathies of all, and of appointing -the two Grimms, 
Albrecht and Dahlmann.* For Dahlmann there re- 
mained but little hope ; Albrecht was invited and 
declined, sheltering himself behind his gratitude to 
Saxony. It would have been a satisfaction to the 
sevenf if Albrecht had been appointed Professor at 
Berlin ; at any rate they will learn in Hanover that the 
King has made an offer to the Elbinger. As regards 
the Grimms, the King has determined that Minister 
Eichhornj shall propose to them to come as Acade- 
micians, and as they live like man and wife, offers them 
a pension, the amount to be fixed by themselves. That 
the King insists upon such matters being managed 
with delicacy, you may see in the negotiation with 
Tieck. As librarians, the excellent people are of little 
use, and whether Wilhelm, as Corresponding Member 
of the Academy, lectures or does not lecture is of 
little consequence. The great thing is to have them. 
There can therefore be no question about " Einschmug- 
geln," "Erniedrigung," " zu spat ihrer gedenken," 
dans un regne de cent jours! It is at least honourable 
to the Ladenberg administration that I have been able 
to induce them to propose Dahlmann in a formal and 
complimentary way as Professor at the University of 
Breslau, where there is a vacancy. I have done my 
duty in opening the way : the carrying out of the 
scheme is not in my hands. As soon as ever I return 
from Potsdam, I shall urge strongly upon Eichhorn 
that he ought at once, and purely as a matter of public 

* Albrecht, a native of Elbing, one of the seven dismissed German profes- 
sors. Dahlmann was another. TR. 
f Professors. 
I Minister of Public Worship. TK. 


business, to take the affair of the Grimms in hand 
an affair essentially German and of national import- 

The interference of a number of persons in these 
sort of matters is injurious, though excusable from the 
general interest they create. 

I wonder, my dear friend, if you will be able and 
willing to read these few lines, the sense of which is 
less open to criticism than the sound. Diplomatist 
that you are, I need not implore you not to read my 
letter to the "Child;"* still she must be made ac- 
quainted with the real posture of affairs, in respect of 
which I have been guilty of no neglect. 

A. HT. 

A most melancholy circumstance has occurred ; the 
only son of my friend, the astronomer Bessel, a young 
man, twenty-five years of age, of extraordinary mathe- 
matical talent (he was at the School of Architecture), 
died yesterday. Nervous fever. 

Bopp's Eeview gives me great pleasure. 



Londre8 t 24 Aout, 1840. 

MONSIEUR LE BARON, Yous etes parfaitement aim- 
able d'avoir pense a m'envoyer les deux nouveaux 
volumes des ceuvres de Monsieur votre frere. Je vous 
remercie, et du present qui a eu lui-meme tant de 
valeur, et du souvenir qui en a au moins autant pour 
moi. J'espere bien qu'a travers toutes nos affaires, 

* Bettina von Arnim. 


car ce sont vos affaires comme les miennes, je viendrai 
a bout de lire quelque chose de ce grand travail. Je 
voudrais employer mon tems d'une facon aussi complete 
et aussi variee que vous savez le faire. Grardez-en un 
peu pour travailler au succes d'une bonne et sage 
politique. Elle vous doit deja beaucoup. Elle a encore 
besoin de vous. 

J'envie au baron de Biilow le plaisir de vous voir. 
Je regrette infiniment sa societe a Londres. La con- 
versation, la vraie conversation, nourrie et libre, est 
fort rare ici. La sienne me manquera beaucoup. Je 
voudrais bien aller quelque jour vous faire une visite 
cnez vous, voir de pres votre pays, celui de tous ou 
1'esprit humain joue le plus grand role, et sonnouveau 
Eoi, digne,-me dit-on, d'un tel pays. En attendant, 
gardez-moi, je vous prie, Monsieur le Baron, toute 
votre ancienne bienveillance, et croyer a la duree 
comme a la sincerite des sentimens que je vous porte 
depuis bien long- tems. 


Note ly HumboUt. Begu a Konigsberg pendant les fetes. A. 




Paris, 12 Mars, 1841. 

Je ne dois pas, je ne veux pas croire que tu m'aies 
demande serieusement* si je verrais avec plaisir ton 

* Note ly Humloldt. I had asked [Arago] if he thought it possible 
that the difference of our political wishes (war with Germany) could 
disturb our mutual relations ? 

A. HT. 


voyage a Paris. Est-ce done que tu douterais de mon 
invariable attachement? Saches que je regarderais 
toute incertitude sur ce point comme la plus cruelle 
injure. En dehors de ma famille, tu es, sans aucune 
comparaison, la personne du monde que j'aime le plus 
tendrement. II faut aussi te resigner, tu es le seul de 
mes amis sur qui je compterais dans des circonstances 

Je suis vraiment heureux de la pensee que je pas- 
serai quelques soirees avec la personne a qui je dois 
mon gout pour la meteorologie et la physique du globe. 
II y aura pour toi un lit a Pobservatoire. 

Le pauvre Savary est dans un etat deplorable. Le 
medecin m'assure que sa maladie de poitrine ne per- 
met aucun espoir. Quel malheur ! 

Tu arriveras a Paris a Touverture de mon cours 
d'astronqmie. Mon nouvel amphitheatre est d'un luxe 

Je suis charme de la guerison du pauvre Sheiffer* 
(est-ce ainsi?). Ton bon cceur t'a toujours cree une 
nombreuse famille. 

Adieu, mon meilleur ami. Mon attachement pour 
toi ne finira qu'avec ma vie. 


Note by Humloldt. To his gifted friend Varnhagen von Ense, 
with a very urgent request to avoid any publication of it, as being 
an autograph letter, until after Arago's death. 

* A preposterous French corruption of the name of Seiffert, Humboldt's 
valet, to whom he was much attached, and to whom he bequeathed his 
library. TR. 



(Copy in Yarnliagen's handwriting.) 

Saturday, 2lst November, 1840. 

How could you, my dear madam, for one moment 
doubt my gratitude for information as to the real con- 
dition of these noble-minded men, for whom, after 
suffering such unmerited distress, and such long 
and shameful neglect, a position free from care 
is at last about to be prepared! I have considered 
that for the two of them in such a position in Berlin 
three thousand thalers would be requisite, and have 
acted throughout upon this supposition. The King 
has made it a rule never to let any matter connected 
with finance originate with him. He has besides, as 
is the case with all princes, no standard by which to 
measure the wants of literary men. The great minds 
who are to be gathered together have the same 
homely wants as lesser ones. He who wills the end, 
must, therefore, will the means as well ; especially 
in a matter which attracts the eyes of all, and is 
intimately connected with the national honour. The 
Minister, Eichhorn, to whom all these arrangements 
are confided, is delighted at the expected arrival of 
the Grimms. He has of old been on the most 
friendly footing with Jacob Grimm. It is not more 
than an hour since I was with him, defending my view 
of the matter. He assures me that he will carry out 
everything gradually in the best manner possible, but 
that confidence should be reposed in him, and that he 
ought to be allowed to act without being interfered 


with. Accept, madam, the expression of my highest 
esteem and most grateful sentiments. 




Berlin, April 22nd, 1841. 

Your letter has been a source of unbounded comfort 
to me. I see from it that we are the same friends 
still, and that you have attributed my long and to 
me very sad invisibility to the distraction of my 
position, and to the constant employment of energies 
always striving to reach an unattainable goal. In 
the evening of a chequered though not altogether well- 
spent life, it is a consolation to retain the esteem of 
those to whom we are united in thoughts, feelings, and 
aspirations. I shall thank you in person. As for 
Mr. L., I must intercede for him with the Princess of 
Prussia this very afternoon, and will also endeavour to 
induce her Imperial Highness* to aid me with her usual 
energy. With unaltered respect and affection, 

Yours, A. v. HUMBOLDT. 

I had occasion while at Potsdam to read to the 
King, at his request, Schelling's Lecture on Nature 
and Art (Philosoph. Schriften, vol. i., 1809). The 
passages on Eaffaelle, Leonardo da Vinci, and the pos- 
sibility of a new age of prosperity for Art, are as grace- 
ful as any our language can produce. The reading 
produced on the King the impression of a beautiful 
song, but the bird is now sixty-seven years old, and 
passes from one golden cage to another ! 

* Grand Duchess of Weimar, mother of the Princess of Prussia, and sister 
to the Emperor Nicholas. TR. 



Varnhagen says, in his Diary of the 25th April, 1841 : " Hum- 
boldt called, and remained with me upwards of an hour and a half. 
I found him looking ill, but lively, cheerful, and more than ever 
inclined to chat. He praises the King for his noble way of think- 
ing, and his good intentions, but considers him no man of action, 
and that when he acts he does so by fits and starts, without settled 
purpose or moderation. Be it, however, good nature or timidity, it 
is certain he often does not dare to do things which he is extremely 
anxious to do, and which he could easily accomplish. Thus, for 
instance, he is now waiting with impatience for Minister von "Wer- 
ther to tender his resignation, and asks Humboldt if he (Yon Wer- 
ther) had not expressed to him some intention of doing so." 

On April 30th, 1841, Yarnhagen remarks: " Humboldt has 
many enemies among literary men, as he has at Court. Attempts 
are incessantly made to abuse him, but if any one opens his lips 
decidedly in his praise, blame is at once silenced, as few persons are 
capable of maintaining it. A gentleman told me lately that he did not 
know what to think of Humboldt, he could not arrive at any clear 
opinion about him. I replied, ' Think always what is best of him. 
Give him credit for invariably intending what is best, and then you will 
be least likely to go wrong.' Another gentleman expressed himself 
ironically on another occasion thus : ' Humboldt was a great man, 
until he came to Berlin, then he became an ordinary one.' Moritz 
Bobert* answered that Eahel had often said, ' In Berlin nothing 
retains its place, everything declines and becomes shabby ; aye, if 
the Pope himself were to come to*Berlin he would not long remain 
the Pope ; he would become something ordinaire, perhaps a riding- 
master !' This saying of Eahel is most true. I remember it well, 
but it has never yet been put on paper. This peculiarity of Berlin 
deserves, however, deeper investigation. It indicates a lively power 
of undeveloped greatness, and may, if developed into something 
Positive, carry Berlin on to its highest fame ; but if it stops short in 
the mere Negative, it will of course become her shame ! ' Yonder,' 
as Goethe somewhere observes, ' live an irreverent race of men.' 
The idea is somewhat similar." 

* One of the brothers of Rahel Yarnhagen. TR. 



Saturday, April 24th, 1841. 

Very sorry, my dear friend, not to have found you ! 
Correct the title, which I must send off. Of course it 
is necessary to say " that this is not the lecture of 
1828," and this sentence I have been wishing to in- 
troduce aphoristically into the title in smaller type ; 
such a thing may be unusual after the name, but 
I wish that you should approve of it. 



Entwurf einer physischen "Weltbeschreibung, 


!N"ach Umrissen von Vorlesungen aus den Jahren 1827 und 1828, 
erweitert und berichtigt durch die Forschungen (Entdeckungen ?) 

der neusten Zeit. 

Naturso vero rerum vis atque majestas in omnibus 
momentis fide caret, si quis modo partes ejus ac non 
totam complectatur animo. Plin. Hist. Nat., lib. 7, 
c. 1. 

Outlines of a Physical Description of the "World, 


After Sketches of Lectures from the Years 1827 and 1828, enlarged 
and corrected by Eesearches (Discoveries ?) of the latest Times. 




Wednesday, "28th April, 1841. 

Be very kind and indulgent in reading me. I wish 
you to have a very complete conception of the compo- 
sition of my work. In Chap. A,, I have made many 
improvements. Cast your eye especially over p. 37, and 

F 2 


over the Notes. Schelling's name, pp. 37, 68 ; Hegel, 
p. 66. The distinct assurance (p. 64), that I am not 
attacking the originator of the Philosophy of Nature,* 
will, I trust, make my pungent severity on the " merry 
Saturnalia," le lal en masque of the maddest Natural 
Philosophers, more pardonable in his eyes. II f aid avoir 
le courage d'imprimer ce que I' on a dit et ecrit depuis 
trente ans. It was a lamentable epoch, during which 
Germany sank far below England and France. A 
system of Chemistry, in which one did not get one's 
hands wet. 

Diamond is flint arrived at consciousness 
Granite is ^Ether. Carus. 

The side of the moon which is turned towards 
the earth has a different convexity to that of the 
side which is turned away from it . Reason The 
moon would fain stretch out her loving arms ; 
incapable of this, she gazes fixedly at the earth, 
and thus has lengthened out the lower portion of 
her face. 

Granite blocks on rocks are spasmodic products 
of Nature. 

Forests, as everybody knows, are the hair of 
the animal Earth, and the distended equatorial 
the belly side of Nature. 

America is a female figure, long, slender, watery 
and, at the 48th degree, icy cold. Degrees of lati- 
tude are years ; Woman is " old" at forty-eight. 
The East is oxygen, the West hydrogen. It 
rains when eastern clouds mingle with the western. 
Petrifactions in rocks are not relics of what has 

* Sclielling. 


once had life. They are Nature's first attempts 
at creating animals and plants. (In Siberia dogs 
devoured for years one of these specimens of " first 
attempts," a putrid elephant at the mouth of the 

Here are the Saturnalia for you ! Give a special look 
at the notes en gros, some of which (A, p. 40-49, 
B, p. 55-57) I enclose. 

The bulk of the work I should like to be charac- 
terized by universality of design and breadth of view, 
written in an animated and even, where possible, a 
graceful style, and with the technical expressions trans- 
formed into others which should be happily chosen, 
descriptive, and pictorial. 

Correct freely, dear friend 1 I shall follow you with 
pleasure where I can. I want to banish into the notes 
some not quite ordinary erudition. The book should 
thus become the reflex of myself my life my person, 
now grown so very old. Treating the subject in this 
desultory way I can proceed aphoristically. I want 
rather to suggest than to lay down. Much will be per- 
fectly intelligible to thoso only who are thoroughly 
versed in some one branch of Natural History. My 
mode of treatment, however, is, I think, calculated not 
to disturb those whose acquirements are less. My 
aim is to soar above the things'which we know in 1841 . 
Hens agitat molem. Oh, may the spirit still be there ! 
That such a work will not be finished by one born 
of the comet-year 1769, is as clear as day. The seve- 
ral fragments must appear in Parts of from twelve to 
fifteen sheets, so that those who see me buried will 
have something complete in every Part. So of the 
" Prolegomena/' Nos. 1 to 4 shall come out together, 


containing my "Inducement," descriptive poetry, which 
you have not yet seen ; a portion of my work, from 
which I expect much. No. 5, containing the " History 
of the Theories of the "World," which I have quite 
ready, is to fill the whole of the Second Part. 

Throughout, the simple and scientifically descriptive 
must be incorporated with the rhetorical. It is so 
in Nature herself. The glittering stars delight the 
senses and inspire the mind, and yet everything 
beneath the vault of Heaven moves in a path of 
mathematical precision. The main point is for the 
language to be always dignified ; the impression of 
the grandeur of Nature will not then be wanting. 

I am sure you will not scold me for quoting (C) in 
a note (all notes to be in small print, never at the foot 
of the page, but at the end of each section) the little- 
known passage of Shakspeare ? I had said that the 
knowledge of Nature was not exactly necessary for 
enjoyment, but that it increased it. Pardon my haste. 
I am going to-morrow morning with the King to 
Potsdam for six or seven days. 

Your grateful and unreadable friend, 





Shakspeare's " Love's Labour Lost." Act 1, scene 1. 
Biron thus speaks to the King of Navarre : 
" These earthly godfathers of Heaven's lights, 
That give a name to every fixed star, 


Have no more profit of their shining nights, 
Than those that walk, and wot not what they are ; 
Too much to know, is to know nought but fame, 
And every godfather can give a name." 

" Den ird'schen Pathen aller Himmelslichter, 
Die jeden Fixstern alsobald getauft, 
Kommt ihre Glanzesnacht nicht mehr zu Statten, 
Als denen, die hingehn, unwissend wer sie sind ! 
Zu vieles wissen, heisst den Ruhm nur kennen, 
Und jeden kann ein Pathe wohl benennen." 

Daignez me renvoyer cette page. Je me sers de 
votre belle traduction dans une note qu'on imprime 
dans mon Kosmos. Vous permettrez que je dise, 
from Spiker's translation. Cela me fera plaisir aurai- 
je a encourir la fureur du Marquis Auguste de Schlegel 
ou de Tieck Acorombonus ? Dites-moi s'ils ont aussi 
traduit ce morcean ? Amities. HT. 

Note ly Varnhagen. Unhappily, the translation of Spiker is bad 
from every point of view. 



Monday night, May 3rd, 1841. 

I am afraid, my dear friend, that I shall have to go 
to Potsdam again on Thursday, and thence, on the 10th 
or 12th, "to Paris. I am to send some copy to Gotta 
before then. Do not leave me so long in suspense 
between punishment and indulgence. I beg you to 
send me a few lines with the MS. 






Tuesday, May 4th, 1841. 

Even if I deduct, my dear friend, the delicate and 
gentle words which, your desire to tranquillise me has 
added to your sentence, there still remains much, 
very much in your welcome letter of to-day which 
makes me very happy. 

I shall to-morrow morning, about 11, impose upon 
you the penance* of receiving me for a few moments, 
and of accepting my thanks. 

The " schmeichle mich " must be a mistake of the 
copyist ; at least, it is not so according to the best of my 
judgment. A wrong accusative, p. 44, you had better 
show me. It cannot be " Einsicht in den Zusammen- 
hang-" one does look into it. Spikerf shall disappear. 
I had a foreboding of the evil, and prefer omitting the 
whole passage, even in English, which rather contains 
a panegyric on ignorance, than indicates that knowledge 
can increase enjoyment. 

With reference to the " Saturnalia," I see you leave 
me perfect liberty. You say, in mentioning the Dane, \ 
"I only make the remark, I do not protest." 

I did not wish to mention Steffens, however much he 
may deserve some rebuke for his great ignorance of 
all experimental science, and his culpable vain laziness. 

* 5th. May fast day. 

t See Letter LV. with Varnhagen's note. TR. 

Henrich Steffens, a native of Stavanger, in Norway, born 1773, a pupil 
of Schelling, probably his greatest disciple in the so-called " Natur Philo- 
sophie." Pietist. Also known as a novelist. From 1831 to 1845 he was 
Professor in the University of Berlin, and died early in the last-named 
year. TR. 


I call " Saturnalia " that merry but short farce of 
which I lately gave you some specimens, which were 
not however from Steffens, but a few steps lower in 
the scale, from his worshippers. If Steffens were a 
poor scholar, oppressed by the mighty, I should be 
more timid ; but, since you love autographa, I will 
present you with one from which you shall learn how 
northern Kings believe that there is in Berlin a school 
of philosophy headed by Steffens, which is salutary to 
theologians, et gui nest pas celle de Hegel! ! Steffens 
will imagine that he was comprehended in the number 
of the " deep and mighty thinkers against whose 
advice we acted." Besides, the perilous phrase is im- 
mediately followed by another : " Abuse of youthful 
energies for serious minds which have in an equal 
degree turned themselves to philosophy and observation, 
have remained strangers to these Saturnalia." Such 
a phrase is a defense, a fort detache, and Steffens 
certainly imagined that he too had turned himself 
to experimental Philosophy, because he once went 
down a pit in Freiberg. By softening the matter 
I should spoil all, and we should, in writing, have the 
same courage we exhibit in speaking; but both in 
the same easy and cheerful manner. Have you dis- 
covered in Steffens's tedious autobiography (which has 
been dinned into me at Sans Souci) how saintliness and 
an aristocratic bias may be traced in him to a twofold 
indoctrination of some of his ancestors by an Arch- 
bishop and a King ? Ce sont des heritages ! 





Copenhagm, ce 25 Mars, 1841. 

Monsieur le Baron ! C'est a moi de remercier 
doublement le celebre Conseiller intime Dieffenbach 
de 1'attention qu'il a eu de m'envoyer ses ouvrages sur 
1'art de guerir le strabisme et le begayement, puisqu'elle 
in' a valu le plaisir de recevoir votre chere lettre du 24 
fevrier. Introduit par vous, Monsieur le Baron, on 
est sor de reussir ; dans ce cas-ci les oeuvres et la repu- 
tation de Tauteur dispenseiit d'en dire davantage, mais 
vous rendez pleine justice aux services signales que le 
Conseiller intime Dieffenbach a rendu a I'humanite, et 
je m'empresse de les reconnaitre en conferant mon ordre 
de Danebrog a ce savant distingue. Ma lettre a ce 
sujet lui sera remise par mon Envoy e le Comte de 
Eeventlau, et je recommanderai particulierement au 
Chevalier Diefienbach les chirurgiens danois qui visi- 
teront Berlin, pour s'approprier Fart qu'il vient 

Le porteur de cette lettre qui j'ose recommander a 
votre protection est le Candidat en theologie Borne- 
mann, jeune homme doue de talents et de connais- 
sances, que j 'envois a Berlin aupres de mon compatriote 
StefFens pour etudier la philosophie ; non precisement 
celle de Hegel, qui trouve d'autres proneurs a notre 
universite, mais celle qui peut contribuer a rectifier les 
idees souvent exagerees de nos philosophes modernes. 
Steifens est retenu a Berlin par des liens sacres, fondes 
sur la reconnaissance qu'il doit au Eoi, mais je desire 
que son genie et ses connaissances ne soient pas perdues 


pour nous, et que ce jeune savant profite de ses lumieres, 
avant qu'elles ne cessent de vivifier tout ce qui vient en 
rapport avec mon celebre compatriote, qui, a mon avis, 
vaut, a lui seul, toute une faculte academique. 

Je suis avec le plus grand interet, fonde sur 1'amitie 
la plus sincere et des rapports (de position) que je ne 
saurais meconnaitre, tout ce que votre excellent Eoi fait 
et entreprend pour le bonheur de ses sujets, pour la 
nationalite germanique et pour la conservation de la 
paix. Que ses efforts soient benis du Tout-puissant, 
et ses peuples verront une prosperite affermie et aug- 
mentee, ce qui contribuera puissamment au bien-etre de 
leurs voisins. 

Le Eoi a eu tant de bonte pour mon fils, je ne puis 
assez le recoiinaitre. J'envisage, Dieu merci, son 
avenir sous les auspices les plus heureux, fondes sur 
Funion avec Taimable Duchesse Caroline de Mecklen- 

J'apprecie les vceux que vous m'adressez a ce sujet, 
et je suis avec la plus haute consideration, Monsieur le 
Baron Humboldt, votre 

tout affectionne 




Berlin, May 17th, 1844. 

(Written at Varnhagen's, and left with the Preface to Wilhelm v. 
Humboldt' s works.) 

I am very grieved at not being able to shake hands 
with you before leaving, harassed as I am by the pre- 
parations for to-morrow's start ; first Potsdam, then 


Paris, till October. To you I turn again as the source 
till Eiickert* returns, the only source of pure taste, 
linguistic perception, and nicest sense of propriety. 
Tell me (but be indulgent the while), what part of 
the Preface I must omit. But where you find a fault 
pray help to mend it. I wrote the two pages late at 
night in a gloomy frame of mind. They err, perhaps, 
in having somewhat too sentimental a tendency in 
their praise. 

P. 1, line 2. " Noch," because I have lived to see 

L. 10. "Die hochbegabteri Geister," perhaps dis- 
pleasing to you ; " Menschen ?" 


Yarnhagen wrote, on November 21st, 1841, the following remark 
on Humboldt. " Read to-day Alexander von Humboldt's Des- 
patches, written from Paris in 1835, to the King. "Not the least 
like what comes from Alexander Humboldt! They might have 
been written by anybody, and, worst of all, no one could have written 
them otherwise than they are! Such is the nature of political 
affairs. They resolve themselves into trifles of no intrinsic import- 
ance, but made weighty from a general understanding that they 
shall be so regarded. Add to this the stereotyped hypocrisy of forms, 
assumptions, and exaggerations, and truth must ever be in danger 
of being lost. And I examined myself, and confessed that were I 
once engaged in the like matters, I, too, should be unable to raise 
myself out of this groove ! And then, people wonder that in 
England and France journalists become ministers ! As though 
very ordinary despatches were not infinitely easier to write than 
first-rate leading articles !" 

* Friedrich Euckert, the German poet. TR. 




Friday, December 3rd, 1841. 

Among that for which I have to thank you, ray dear 
friend, I best like Hormayr's* vigorous letter. Le 
style est tout Thorame. He is not like the men we see 
around us, the best of whom lose themselves in " sup- 
pressions, euphonisms, instigations, and indecisions." 
His faith in Minister's! liberalism may fairly be sup- 
posed to rest on a misconception of the motives of 
acting. There is no doubt that Count Minister has, 
in the noblest way, contributed to the deliverance of 
Germany ; but never, we may be sure, with a view to 

* Joseph, Freiherr von Hormayr was born at Innsbruck, in 1781, and was 
distinguished during the invasion of the Tyrol by Napoleon, whose armies, 
in 1809, he kept at bay, and whom he baffled at all points. At the truce of 
Znaim, in August 1809, the Tyrol and the Voralberg were evacuated, and 
Hormayr returned to historical studies, from which he was carried, together 
with many other persons, to a temporary prison. In 1828 he abandoned the 
Austrian service, and entered that of Bavaria, accepting office in the Depart- 
ment of Foreign Affairs. In 1832 he was despatched to Hanover as Kesident 
Minister, and in 1839 removed to Bremen as Bavarian Representative to the 
Hanse Towns. Here he remained until 1846, when he was recalled to 
Miinchen, where he died in 1848. During his residence at Bremen he 
published his two most important works, " Lebensbilder aus dem Befreiungs- 
Kriege " " Pictures from the War of Freedom," (1841 44) ; and " Anemo- 
nen aus dem Tagebuche eines alten Pilgermannes " "Anemones from the 
diary of an old Pilgrim" (1845-47). In these works he exposed the 
Austrian government, in a more powerful manner than had ever been previously 
attempted by any German writer. He was the author of several other works, 
one of them a " History of Andreas Hofer" (1817). Tu. 

f Ernst Friedrich Herbert, Count von Miinster, a native of Hanover, 
born in 1766. A well-known diplomatist, who, after occupying many high 
posts, among which was the Hanoverian Ambassadorship at St. Petersburg, 
became Minister in London, served forty-two years in various capacities, 
and was relieved of office in February, 1831, upon the appointment of an 
English Royal Duke to the Viceroyship of Hanover. He declined both 
rank and pension, but accepted the Grand Cross of the Bath, with the 
insignia of which the King himself invested him. TR. 


letting in upon us the light which, down to the present 
moment has been dreaded like a spectre. Bruno 
[Bauer]* has found me pre-adamitically converted. 
When I was young the Court Clergy held opinions much 
the same. The one who confirmed me said, that the 
Evangelists had made a variety of notes, from which 
in later times biographies had been romanced (gedich- 
tet). Many years ago I wrote: "Toutes les religions 
positives offrent trois parties distinctes ; un traite de 
moeurs partout le meme et tres pur, un reve geolo- 
gique, et un my the ou petit roman historique, 
le dernier element obtient le plus d'importance." 
I send Baron Seckendorf's book. He is also in favour 
of a Constitution, to wit the " re puro," in whom the 
people are - incarnate in a philosophical sense, of 
course. It must be popular ; indeed, but for a shrewd 
suspicion on his part that it would, he would never 
have printed it. We should never allow such persons 
to be in any doubt as to our own sentiments. I have 
replied to him in his capacity of Yice-President, that I 
should read his book with attention, widely as our views 
differed with respect to popular representation. How 
murky and oppressive is the atmosphere in this the 
evening of my life. 

With unaltered attachment, your 


The day before the date of the above letter (December 2nd, 1841), 
Yarnhagen wrote in his Diary: " Humboldt with me yesterday. 
Accounts from Paris. "What he thinks of aifairs here. He thinks 
seriously of retiring. He knows very well that it is his name only 
that weighs with the King, that his influence is far exceeded by 
others. Thiers said to him. in Paris, ' People talk so much about 

* Bruno Bauer, one of the most daring Biblical exegetists of the day. TR. 


revolutionary France, but it appears to me that Prussia is in a pretty 
state of commotion too!' In a letter from Guizot to Humboldt 
much was said in praise of the King. Humboldt showed it to him. 
When they came to the word succes the King cried, ' Good 
God! things look but poorly in that quarter. The less we say 
about that the better !' Humboldt finds in fact that the tone of 
public feeling here has become alarmingly low. The King has ene- 
mies even in the highest circles. Minister Eichhorn is universally 
hated, and cuts a wretched figure at Court. There seems no longer 
to be any doubt about Bunsen's going to England as our Ambassador. 
Count Stolberg is about the only one who openly depreciates Bun- 
sen. Humboldt makes merry with Bunsen's sanctimonious little tract, 
'Passion Week."' 

On December 3rd, 1841, Yarnhagen remarks: "I have just re- 
ceived a note from Humboldt. He sends me a pamphlet of President 
von Seckendorf, in which ' a Constitution is demanded, to wit, the 
re puro, the incarnation of the people.' He adds : ' It must be 
popular ; indeed, but for a shrewd suspicion on his part that it would 
be so he would never have had it printed.' At the end he says, in 
deep melancholy, ' How murky and oppressive is the atmosphere in 
this the evening of my life !' Hard to be Humboldt, and yet obliged 
to speak thus, on the pinnacle of honour and in the fullness of 
fame. There is in truth little that can be a source of pleasure to 
him, and nothing but his satirical vivacity makes life at this place 
in any degree tolerable to him." 



Berlin, Monday night, Dec. 7th, 1841. 

I have no time, my dear friend, for writing to thank 
you for your talented representation of Schwerin's* life 
a work of solid historical worth. A thoroughly ap- 

* " Loben des Feldmarschalls Grafen von Schwerin." 8vo. Berlin. 1841. 


preciative penetration into the individuality of this great 
man animates the whole : and in depicting, to be true 
to Nature is the most essential point of all. A surly 
counsel to [the King to] ride away, and a victory 
gained entirely by himself, had placed an insurmount- 
able barrier in the hero's path. The aged hero dying 
standard in hand in the bloody fight, at the head of 
13,000 unsympathizing men, forms a closing scene that 
is truly picturesque. Like Columbus he was poetically 
grand and prosaically penurious. In one respect (a 
point which I have no doubt has been overlooked by 
many), this work does great credit to your talent as an 
historian; I mean the contrivance, indeed, by which 
you prevent the story of the fight being broken off by 
the narrative of Schwerin's death.* 

I will bring you myself the " collected works," and 
prefer my request for the second part of Hormayr'sf 
precious pepper draught. 

Your last letter, so honourable for me, contained 
words which I should not like to misunderstand. 
" You scarcely permit to yourself the possession of my 
impieties/' After my speedy decease you may deal as 
you please with such property. We only owe truth 
in this life to such persons as we deeply esteem, there- 
fore it is due to you. 

A. H. 

On the 1 8th December, 1841, Yarnhagen wrote in his Diary : " I was 
told to-day, but quite in confidence, the romantic story of the King's 

* See Coxe's " House of Austria," Vol. II. p. 403 ; Wraxall's Memoirs, 
Vol. I. p. 162. TR. 

f " Anemonen aus dem Tagebuclie eines Pilgermannes." See note, p. 77. 

intended journey to England to be present at the christening of the 
Prince of Wales. The thing, I was told, had been very quietly arranged, 
and the promising opening it afforded had contributed much to making 
the appointment of Bunsen as ambassador palatable at the English 
Court. This latter part of the statement makes me rather suspicious 
of the whole. I am sure this is not the real state of our diplomatic 
relations. If, however, this story has any foundation in fact, and 
the project is really entertained, Bunsen must of course have some- 
thing to do with it, and great results, in my opinion very dangerous 
things, may be expected from that. Close connection with Eng- 
land would be a serious matter, but intimate union with the Anglican 
Church and the Tories, downright ruin ! All Prussia, all Germany, 
all Europe would assume such a union to exist, whether it did or 
not. That alone would be a thousand pities, and cost the King more 
in the opinions of his people than he can just now afford to lose I 
hope the whole is a myth ! Humboldt says : ' The howling mania 
is mightily on the increase. He was howled at when he was leav- 
ing by a few; but now that he has returned, by all.' His smart and 
witty remarks are truly refreshing in the midst of our dull-witted 

Before his departure for England, Humboldt came to take leave 
of Yarnhagen, who wrote about it in his Diary, January 14th, 1842 : 
" Humboldt came to take his leave ; he departs to-morrow evening. 
He had called at Count v. Maltzan's,* of whose life there was little 
hope to-day. ' His death will bring us Canitz, not Billow,' said Hum- 
boldt, complaining. I consoled him by saying that Canitz too might be 
put aside. ' And who is to come then?' ' Bunsen.' ' That would be 
too bad indeed. He will, no doubt, accompany the King on his return ; 
that is already arranged.' Humboldt gets into a dreadful passion when 
speaking of Canitz, and he cannot understand how it is that I no longer 
fear this Canitz, arch- aristocrat, arch-theologian, by that same token 
silly, I might say downright stupid, the arch-anti-French, maliciously 
satirical, and often undignified, Canitz. ' You are a Tory yourself,' 
said Humboldt. ' I do not know exactly how that may be,' I replied, 

* A Minister at that time on the point of death. TR. 



' but Canitz is honest, clever, and straightforward, will carry his 
point, and as to the rest, affairs and events will break him in.' " * 

After Humboldt's return, Varnhagen writes, February 24th, in 
his Diary : "Humboldt has given me a very favourable account of 
England. At court, great splendour, but a simple and natural mode 
of private life ; conversation easy and friendly, and good-natured in 
its tone, even between the members of rival political factions. Peel 
he does not like, did not like him before, says that he looks like a 
Dutchman, is rather vain than ambitious, has narrow views. Lord 
Aberdeen's taciturnity is invincible. It has not, however, the effect 
of making folks believe he could if he would say something good. 
Bunsen has, in numerous instances, shown an utter want of tact : 
all the world is against him. The King more than ever disposed to 
take his part. Even Englishmen say, 'The whole affair of the 
King's journey is only an intrigue of Bunsen' s.' 

" "With reference to our affairs here there is much speculation, sur- 
mising and assurance. Eor foreign affairs for the present, the pious 
Arnim is sent for from Brussels at a later period Canitz will be 
appointed; or, as I say, Bunsen. Count v. Alvensleben is men- 
tioned as going to Vienna, and Radowitz, as a provisional ar- 
rangement, to Carlsruhe, until the embassy at the Diet becomes 
vacant. I suppose they have not yet the courage to take Bunsen 
and put Biilow aside ; but every month, every week, will add to 
their courage, and then both will happen. Maltzan's recovery 
is despaired of. The days on which he is somewhat better are fol- 
lowed by violent relapse, and his lucid intervals succeeded almost 
invariably by greater darkness. A sad condition !" 

* Freiherr von Canitz, Prussian ambassador at Hanover, afterwards 
Secretary for Foreign Affairs from 1846 18. His principles were 
of the strongest absolutist order combined with pietistic tendencies. 




Berlin, Monday, 2Sth February, 1842. 
I should be glad, my dear friend, to have a couple 
of lines to relieve me from the anxiety I am in about 
your health. I have secured a pension of 300 thalers 
(a miserable sum, but one likely to increase) for the 
right gifted poet Freiligrath,* of Darmstadt, who is 
much impoverished, and living abroad without any 
settled means of support. Can you lend me his 
poems ? 

A. HT. 

Note ly Varnhagen. On Tuesday Humboldt sent me the follow- 
ing, together with the feidlleton of the "Journal des Debate," in 
which Philarete Chasles rails and scoifs in a vulgar way at German 
literature, and the greatest German writers : 

And this wretch has, under Guizot's administration 
become Professeur des Langues du Nord (litt. Anglaise- 
Allemande) au College de France. Keep this silly and 
insipid piece of rascality. 

A. HT. 

* Humboldt seems to have had but an imperfect knowledge of Freiligrath's 
circumstances at the time. The poet certainly depended on his literary 
labours as a means of subsistence, but he was not " impoverished," and, at 
all events, accepted the pension (returned by him, two years later) only as 
an encouragement to his talent, having no idea that it could be meant, as 
would appear from this letter, as a royal alms-giving. Humboldt, it must 
be borne in mind, interested himself for Freiligrath not at the request of 
Freiligrath himself, but at the desire of the late Chancellor von Miiller, at 
Weimar, who, without Freiligrath's knowledge, had asked Humboldt to use 
his inflence in the poet's favour. TR. 

G 2 




Berlin, 16th March, 1842. 

Pray make yourself quite easy about the mishap. 
The King buys Italian pictures, but never French 
ones. Cherubim's portrait is certainly very fine, and, 
as far as I can remember, I saw it at Cherubini's own 
house. As he is still alive, and Ingres * is very rich, 
I do not comprehend how the portrait can be for sale. 
Tell the intelligent " Child "f you gave me the 

In the last number of the " Journal des Debats " 
that has reached us, is a severe very good article about 
the abominable Jew-law with which we are threatened, 
and about which I have already expressed some very 
strong language. 

Most gratefully yours, 
Wednesday. A. HT. 

It was intended in the preamble of the law to speak 
of that "miracle of God in preserving the Jewish 
people amongst other nations, and of the will of Grod 
in keeping that people in isolation/' To that I made 
answer, "The law was opposed to all principles of 
State policy, which aimed at the union of all classes ; 
that it was a dangerous presumption in weak humanity 

* The distinguished painter, for many years Director of the French 
Academy in Rome. He may be known to many persons in this country by 
Calamatta's beautiful engraving of his Vceu de Louis XIII. Tn. 

f Bettina von Arnim. " Kind " is a Weimar coterie term, which was in 
use among Goethe's set. It does not exactly mean "child," but rather " pet." 
Bettina von Arnim, who was not exactly the most unaffected of ladies, 
appropriated the word in publishing " Goethe's Correspondence with a 
Child "meaning herself. TR. 


to pretend to the interpretation of the primaeval 
decrees of God ; and that the history of dark ages might 
tell us what excesses such interpretations were apt to 

Under an appearance of outward splendour, and in 
the enjoyment of the somewhat fantastic preference of a 
high-minded prince, I live in a moral and mental iso- 
lation, such as can only be produced by the barren 
condition of the mind of this divided, erudite land, 
repellant at poles of similar denomination, still 
grumbling, and day by day contracting towards the 
East, a true steppe country ! May you be satisfied 
with him who has the courage, though alone in it, of 
adhering to his opinions (avoir le courage de ses 



Berlin, 21st March, 1842. 

My dear and so happily restored Friend ! 

It is a matter of infinite joy to me to learn from 
your welcome letter that the very agreeable society at 
the Princess's has bodily, and with my culpable ma- 
terialism I shall therefore also say spiritually, re- 
freshed you. Such society, mostly this same barren 
Berlinish ornamental matter blown together, assumes a 
perfectly different aspect in the house of the Princess 
Piickler. It is, as it were, the spirit that should inspire 
the State. The matter seems ennobled. 

I still keep your copy of the system of " Christian 
Doctrine,"* having formerly at Potsdam been much 

* " Die Christliche Glaubenslebre," by Strauss. Tubingen. 1840. TR. 


amused with the Straussian " Saviour :" we learn from 
that work not only what he does not believe (which is 
less new to me), but what is more, what was believed and 
taught by the black men who understand how to im- 
pose fresh fetters upon mankind, who even put on the 
armour of their former enemies. The passage about 
Spinoza I shall be glad to copy out. Will not the 
recent date of the Second Part of the " Christian Doc- 
trine" (1841) be urged as an objection, in these days 
when people boast of lecturing from notes made a long 
while before ? It would seem to me to have been better 
strategy had he pointed out the unheard-of anachro- 
nisms, with some remarks about the new-fangled 
faith* in the whole historical romance of the Apostolic 
myth-collectors. A man who teaches so publicly 
himself, must put up with the publicity of the defence 
of those who differ from him. Such an oral introductory 
communication, couched in a gentle tone of remon- 
strance, would only make a later publication of it diffi- 
cult, and produce a haughty smile or a denial. Not the 
Spiiiozistic mishap ; no : only this abuse of the noblest 
intellectual powers in the service of brutalising doc- 
trines of dark ages is really painful to me. Personally, 
I confess, the man possessed no attraction for me ; 
but I felt a sort of liking for him, as indeed I am 
always carried away and excited when, as in his speech 
on Art, the gentle breath of fancy gives warmth and 
life to euphony of speech. Now I have done with him. 
In his last speech, not that on Art, but the one delivered 

* The remainder of this paragraph refers to Schelling, who had been 
called to Berlin by the King, and who, after a silence of thirty years, came 
forth as the champion of a system of mystic philosophy, which, in many 
respects, is diametrically opposed to* his earlier opinions. TB. 


under the glare of torches, there is a hint at going 
away, as after an accomplished (and well-paid) musical 
tour. I suppose this is only a sentimental expression to 
create alarm. 

Now for a few answers in reference to the biography, 
of which I am almost frightened to think, not on 
account of politics, but from family considerations. I 
fully rely upon your promise. The man will surely 
never wish to give pain to so many ! 

Wilhelm was born in Potsdam, as his father was 
a Eoyal Chamberlain, and at the same time Acting 
Chamberlain to Elizabeth, Princess of Prussia. He 
left Potsdam when the Princess was taken to Stettin. 
My father enjoyed to the last the highest favour of 
the Prince of Prussia, who regularly every year paid 
him a visit at Tegel. This will explain to you the pas- 
sage in the English Despatch where it is said (I think 
very early in 1 7 7 5 ; " Eaumer's Contributions to Modern 
History," vol. v., p. 297): "Hertzberg or Schulenberg 
could form a Ministry, but those have the greatest 
probability of success, although they are of a different 
stamp, who are considered the Prince's favourites. 
Among the first of these is Baron Humboldt, formerly 
a functionary in the allied army, a man of natural 
good sense and of a fine character ; Baron Hordt, an 
enterprising spirit/'. . . The vtwc& functionary is a strange 
mistake. My father (Major) was aide-de-camp to 
Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick, after having served 
for a long time in the Finkenstein Eegiment of 
Dragoons. He was often sent by the Duke to 
Friedrich II. in the worst times of the Seven Years' War. 
Therefore Friedrich II. writes in his letters on Wedel's 
Dcconfihire, " I have said to Humboldt everything 


which at such a distance can be said." (Manuscript 
letters which the King very lately bought in Prussia.) 

My family comes from Eastern Pomerania. My 
brother and I were for a long time the last of our 
name. My mother was a Colomb, cousin of Princess 
Bliicher, and consequently niece to the old President 
in Aurich (East Friesland). Her first husband was 
a Baron Holwede. By this marriage she had my 
half-brother Holwede, late of the Gensdarmes regi- 
ment. My mother had the credit of having, at the 
instigation of old Privy Councillor Kunth, given 
us an extremely careful education. Wilhelm, in his 
earliest years, was brought up under Campe,* then our 
private tutor. The foundation for his profound know- 
ledge of Greek was laid by Loffler, the liberal-minded 
author of a work on the Neo-Platonism of the early 
Church Fathers, then Chaplain to the Regiment 
of Gensdarmes, and afterwards Chief Consistorial 
Chancellor at Gotha. After Loffler, Fischer of the 
Grey Friarsf taught Wilhelm Greek for some years, 
a man who, although it was not generally known, 
besides mathematics had a considerable knowledge 
of Greek. That Engel, Eeitemeier, Dohm, and Klein 
for a long time delivered to us lectures on philo- 
sophy, jurisprudence, and politics you already know. 
Whilst at the University in Frankfort, j for six months, 
we lived with Loffler, who was a Professor there. In 
Gottingen we both for a year frequented Heyne's 
philological lectures. 

My father was the proprietor of Tegel (formerly a 

* The well-known pedagogue, afterwards a bookseller at Braunschweig. 

t The oldest of the six colleges in Berlin. TR. 

I On the Oder. Tit. 


shooting box of the great Elector, and therefore' held 
only by hereditary tenancy, Wilhelm being the first 
who possessed it as a manor, and therefore Schinkel* 
pulled down four turrets in order to preserve the one 
ancient tower of the time of the great Elector) and 
Eingenwalde, near Soldin, in the Newmark. Eingen- 
walde afterwards belonged to me, and then to Counts 
Eeede and Achim Arnim. Wilhelm, at his death, 
possessed Tegel, Burgorner, and Auleben (acquired 
through his wife at the time the Dacheroden entail 
was cancelled), Hadersleben, in the circle of Magde- 
burg, and the Castle of Ottmachau in Silesia, which 
after the Peace of Paris was given him as a dotation.f 

Sonnet I., 394, refers to a second child, I think, which 
Madame von Humboldt lost in Eome. One was 
buried in Paris. 

I implore you not to communicate to the compiler 
anything as if coming from me. He would certainly 
mention it in his Preface, and then I should be respon- 
sible for much that I fear. 

Excuse this stercoran-babble of a hash. 

A. HT. 

Note ly Varnhagen. He had, I suppose, just been reading of the 
Stercoranists in Strauss' s " Christian Doctrine." Hence the word 
here .J 

* Schickel, a Berlin architect, to whom that city owes a considerable 
portion of its great architectural splendour. TE. 

f He was one of the Prussian diplomatists who signed that peace. TR. 

J Stercoranists. " Quasi videlicet doceamus, corpus Christi dentibus 
laniari, et in insta/r alterius cujusdam, cibi in corpore humano digeri " (For- 
mula Concordise), in reply to the Calvinist insinuations of " Stercoranism." 
Strauss, Dogmatik, II., p. 601, has some very cynical remarks on the same 
subjects. TR. 




Thursday, 31st March, 1842. 

Having this moment only returned with the King 
from Potsdam, I find Lao-Tseu, which has a peculiar fla- 
vour of pre-herodotic antiquity. The letter which accom- 
panies the Chinese philosopher puts me into a melan- 
choly mood. I see that you have not yet the courage 
of believing in your recovery, nor the consciousness of 
returning physical strength. That your intellectual 
vigour is not diminished, each of your letters attests. 
I hope I have not lost any of these letters. I wrote 
to you, about a week ago, a letter of four long pages 
about the dogmatising Christian philosopher, and on 
the answers to the questions of the biographer who 
troubles me with his saintly curiosity. My letter, I 
hope, has safely arrived. It also contains much chit- 
chat about my brother's early education. You do not 
mention my talkativeness at all. Must I be under 
any uneasiness about it ? 

We have succeeded with Bulow. He will come on 
Saturday. It might be the beginning of something, 
perhaps, or the end, le bouquet, the scenic effect of 
the stage? I yesterday dined with Tholuck* and 
Beckedorfff in Potsdam. I should otherwise not 
have seen them. 

Your faithful and attached, 

A. HT. 

* The well-known orthodox Theologian and Professor of Divinity at Halle. 

t Ludolf von Beckedorff, of the Tholuck school. TR. 



Berlin, 6th April, 1842. 

After the insolently promulgated sentence of the 
Inquisition in the case of Bruno Bauer, I suppose I 
must no longer retain possession of your Strauss. I 
return you with many thanks this remarkable book, 
which has furnished me with much matter for thought. 
The method of its logical arrangement is excellent ; 
besides which, it imparts to us the whole history 
of the religious beliefs current in our time, especially 
the priestly craft with which people, Schleiermacher- 
like,* profess all forms of the Christian myths, 
accommodate themselves to dissentients, and, the 
" chalice being drained," will have themselves put 
under the sod with a cortege of Eoyal carriages ; while 
for each of these myths a so-called philosophical 
explanation has been substituted. 

What I do not like in Strauss is the recklessness he 
evinces as regards Natural History, and which allows 
him to see no difficulty in the evolution of the organic 
from the inorganic, not even in the creation of man 
out of primaeval Chaldaic mud. That he seems to make 
very light of the wonderful things beyond the grave I 
am the more inclined to pardon him, because, with 
very moderate expectations, the surprise comes upon 
us in a much more agreeable and welcome form. For 
you, happy man ! it will be no surprise. In to- 
day's inquisitorial formulary one phrase has struck me 

* Allusion to Schleiermacher's profession of the orthodox faith on his 
death-bed. The King, Friedrich Wilhelm III., when hearing of it, ordered 
the court carriages to follow his funeral.- Tu. 


as genuinely Spanish, and revolting. It is that the 
culprit would " himself acknowledge." Neque aliud 
reges, aut qui eadem ssevitia usi sunt, nisi dedecus sibi 
atque illis gloriam peperere. 

I send you a " Don Juan." The language is very 
beautiful, and there is much imagination. I am 
curious to know how you like it. The constitutional 
Roi des Landes* said yesterday again at his table, 
before forty people, the Grb'ttingen professors had 
spoken in an address of their patriotism : " Profes- 
sors have no country at all. Professors, whores (that 
there should be no mistake in the matter, he added des 
putains), and danseuses were to be had anywhere for 
money ; they will go wherever they are offered a few 
groschen more." What a shame Jo call that a Ger- 
man prince ! 

Yours faithfully attached, 

Wednesday Night. A. HT. 



Berlin, 7th April, 1842. 

Our unknown friend is very amiable. I have ceased 
to feel any anxiety. You know how to heal every 
wound. I send you with pleasure a copy of the few 
lines which, as I intended, reached the King's hands 
on the following morning. I made use of that round- 
about way because I was thus enabled more freely to 
express my discontent in writing. The matter is now 

* King Ernest Augustus of Hanover. Les Landes is a flat tract of country 
near Bordeaux, in physical peculiarities similar to the Hanoverian territory. 


in better train ; perhaps, however, not irrevocably 
given up. I must therefore most earnestly beg you 
not to let those lines go out of your hands ! They 
would certainly find their way into the newspapers, 
and tend to frustrate my exertions in an important 
matter. The King sent for me very early, and it 
redounds to his honour that he heartily thanked me 
for the free expression of my opinion. 

I did not go to Potsdam to-day, because I wished to 
urge, in a full sitting of the Academicians, the election 
of the talented Jewish natural philosopher, Eiess. It 
turned out honourably for the Academy ; only three 

I shall be in attendance upon the King from to- 
morrow until Sunday. I will try to rout out for 
Stuttgart some autograph poem of importance of 
"Wilhelm von Humboldt's. What I have are, unfortu- 
nately, only copies. Take care of your health, my 
dear friend. It is not quite firmly restored. Yours, 

Thursday Niglit. A. V. HuMBOLDT. 



Friday, June 24, 1842. 

Your kind remembrance, my dear and accomplished 
friend, conferred upon me a benefit so much the greater 
as I came back from Sans Souci greatly suffering 
from a cold. Besides, I live in all the horrors of 
moving to dreary lodgings in an absurd part of that 
Siberian quarter of the town, the Oranienburger Strasse, 
and have hardly an inkstand upon my table. 

For the present only the expression of my grati- 


tude. My affection for Marheineke, I have myself 
expressed to him. A thunderbolt in the form of a 
Ministerial Warrant, inserted in the newspapers, with 
some specimens of censor cleverness, would have been 
more salutary than the impracticable law for regulating 
the press, and a grand inquisitor for establishing the 
liberty of the press. We have so much to say to each 
other, and I hope yet to be able to pay you a visit 
before you leave. And then the cheering sight of four 
Crown Princes and Heirs Apparent : the one a pale 
sciatic creature, the next a besotted Icelander, the 
third a blind political fanatic, and the fourth obstinate, 
opinionated, and feeble- witted.* Such is the future 
monarchical world ! Yours, 

A. HT. 

I am going with the King to the Ehine. That I 
could not allow myself to be paraded at St. Peters- 
burg you will understand. The Chancellor has the 
pleasure of being still exposed to the coarse invectives 
both of the non-invited and of those who were ex- 
pelled from the banquet. How glass buttons, peacock 
feathers, and ribbons excite men, to be surelf 

Note of Varnhagen. Marheineke' s article on the Anglican Church, 
in the " Jahrbiichern fur wissenschaftliche Kritik," with a few 
stupidities perpetrated by the censor. 

Varnhagen, in his Diary on the 26th June, 1 842, writes, on the 
subject of the new Order : " Humboldt has given me a circumstantial 
account of the institution of the new Order. The King at first wrote 
down a list of names in Sanscrit characters. This list was commu- 

* The Crown Prince of Wiirtemberg, and the Heirs Apparent, now Kings, 
of Denmark, Hanover, and Bavaria. Tr. 
j* Allusion to the new Order pour le Me rite. 


nicated to Humboldt, Eichhorn, Savigny, and Thiele, for their 
opinion. Then it was much altered; several names were added, 
others struck out, and for six weeks the suspense lasted. At first, 
the King wanted to nominate forty-six members, as many as there 
were years in the reign of Friedrich the Great. The number forty he 
rejected on account of the ridicule thrown on the Quarante of the 
French Academy. At last he limited the number to thirty. In all this 
the King proceeded according to his own mind. Arago had been origi- 
nally nominated by the King. Metternich was added at the King's 
express and constantly urged wish. Rumohr* was struck oif the list. 
Steffens, the King thought, was in reality not strong enough, either as 
a philosopher or as a naturalist. Liszt was the King's decided choice, 
and no objections had any effect in his case. Spontini was to have 
had the Order, but Savigny and Privy Councillor Miiller pre- 
vailed on him to omit his name. Against Moore it was alleged to 
the King that he had lampooned Prussia in verse. ' That is nothing 
to me ? ' was his reply. Against Melloni they objected that he had 
been a Carbonaro and chief of a revolutionary Junta. ' That is per- 
fectly indifferent to me/ was his answer; and he would have nomi- 
nated O'Connell had he but shown sufficient scientific qualifications. 
The King wished to have the names of Eaumer and Eanke ; but 
Eichhorn and Savigny only that of the latter ; thereupon both were 
omitted. In contradiction to the opinions expressed above (in the 
case of Melloni, Moore, and Arago), the historian Schlosser was put 
aside on account of his party- spirit (?). Metternich had spoken in a 
bantering spirit of the See of Jerusalem, and therefore he was made 
a member, that he might not scoff at the Order too. Humboldt 
thinks that to have been the secret motive. For Metternich' s sake, 
Uwarofff was not named, because then the former would not have 
been the only one of his class. LinkJ was not considered to be im- 
portant enough." 

On the 27th of June, 1842, Varnhagen added, "Supplementary 
remarks to yesterday's notes. Humboldt told me he had announced 

* Carl Friedrich Ludwig Felix von Rumohr, the noted art critic. Tu. 
t The Russian diplomatist. TR. 
The botanist. -TR. 


to the King beforehand, that the Academy of Sciences would elect, 
as a member of their body, M. Riess, a Jew, and that the King 
had replied, he would give his assent to the election without any 
hesitation. 'I hope,' added he, 'that your brother has not com- 
mitted the folly of putting in the statutes, that no Jew ought to be 
in the Academy.' Minister Eichhorn knew that the King had no 
scruples, but to himself the thing was disagreeable, and he thought 
it also offensive to Thiele, Rochow, Stolberg, and others. He there- 
fore kept back for six weeks the application of the Academy for the 
Royal Assent, and then he wrote to the Academy to know whether 
they were aware that Riess was a Jew. The Academicians were 
indignant at that question, and unanimously replied that they 
adhered to their statutes, that they had made an election in accord- 
ance with them, and that they returned the Minister's question as 
an improper one, without answering it. This rebuke Eichhorn 
quietly pocketed, and at last despatched to the King the request for 
his assent, which was immediately granted. However, the King- 
seemed to feel some dissatisfaction on ascertaining that he was grant- 
ing what Eriedrich the Great had refused, viz., the admission of a 
Jew to the Academy. Eriedrich did not give his consent to the elec- 
tion of Moses Mendelssohn, because, as it was believed, they did not 
know whether the Empress of Russia, Catherine, who was a member 
of the Academy, would be pleased with such a colleague." 

On the 30th of August, 1842, Yarnhagen remarks in his Diary : 
"Humboldt tells me of Eichhorn' s meannesses, and much of the 
King's amiability, good humour, wit, and joviality. But he thinks 
that he does not give up his favourite views ; that he will adhere to 
his intentions, even if he should appear to withdraw them. The King 
was more pleased with Count Mortimer Maltzan than with any other 
of his ministers ; he had full confidence in him, and expected every- 
thing of him. Discussion about the meaning of the word geistreich, 
and in how far it was applicable to the King. Humboldt thinks 
also the King is anxious to travel to Greece, and that then he will 
be sufe to go on to Jerusalem. He says it is to be feared, that 
at last the parsons will get him in their power, and will break his 


naturally cheerful disposition. Humboldt will go with private com- 
missions to the King of the French at Eu, then to Paris ; in Decem- 
ber he will be back in Berlin." 

On the 18th of March, 1843, Varnhagen describes in his Diary a 
visit paid to him by Humboldt after the return of the latter from 
Paris. " Humboldt came to see me to-day; he has aged much since 
I saw him last ; but his mind and heart are both fresh and vigorous. 
He was cheerful and happy whilst in Paris, but here at once a 
melancholy mood has come over him. "What he found here was 
wretchedness ; the old well-known way of trifling with dangerous 
things in childish hilarity. Besides, he is overwhelmed with com- 
plaints and demands. Every one wishes him to speak to use his 
influence. 'Influence,' he exclaims, 'nobody possesses! not even 
Bunsen and Eadowitz, the King's favourites; they can do nothing 
but humour the fancies and foibles they detect, serve and sacrifice 
to them, and if they were to want anything which lay beyond that 
sphere, it would soon be all over with them. The King does just what 
he likes, and what results from his early fixed opinions ; and if per- 
chance he listens to advice, it has no weight with him.' He speaks 
with contempt of Eichhorn and Savigny, as hypocritical sycophants, 
who allow themselves to be led by Thiele, Gerlach,* and Hengstenberg. 
The King has given up none of his former plans, and he may any 
moment make new attempts with them in reference to the Jews, the 
keeping of Sunday, the consecration of Bishops in the Anglican fashion, 
the new arrangements regarding the nobility, &c. He forms plans 
as if he were to live to become a hundred years old ; he thinks of 
erecting immense buildings, of laying out parks and gardens, of 
carrying out great works of art, and also of travels. A visit to 
Athens has already been mooted, and in the background there no 
doubt looms a pilgrimage to Jerusalem ! Napoleonic expeditions of 
peace to London, St. Petersburg, and to the Orient, and conquests 
of scholars and artists instead of countries ! Art and fancy on the 
throne, fanatical jugglery round about, and hypocritical abuse in 

* The saintly General, head of the Kreuzzeitung party. Tu. 



sport ! and with all that, a man truly intellectual, truly amiable, 
and animated with the best will ! What will all this come to ! " 



Berlin, April 3rd, 1843. 

My dear Friend, That I am so late in bringing you 
my heartiest thanks for your delightful present, is 
owing to my having been obliged to take advantage 
of a visit to Potsdam, in order to travel with you 
through your early years, and to make myself at home 
in the " enlarged" relations of the Congress of the 
World in Yienna. It is a happy addition ; this his- 
tory of your own early development. It is a real 
pleasure to see such spirits moving in the active world, 
and influencing affairs before our eyes. How unjust 
we once were in judging the men who tried to settle 
Europe in the great Congress. I cannot help saying, 
how much higher were our pretensions then in our 
unjust temper, if now, in comparison with the wretched- 
ness which surrounds us, the personages assembled in 
Yienna present themselves as great Statesmen to our 
memory. Instead of them, we possess Court Philoso- 
phers, female Missionary Ministresses, Court Divines, 
and Startling-effect-preachers. 

Minister Bulow complains that you did not even 
visit him once in his family between eight and nine 
o'clock. He will have to-morrow (Tuesday) a public 
reception evening, and you would be an ornament to 
his circle. He never invites by letter any who know 
as certainly as you do how they are dear to him. 

Monday. A. V. HuMBOLDT. 



Tuesday, June 13th, 1843. 

Forgive me, my dear friend, that through Eeimer's * 
absence, my eternal distractions and oscillations, and 
arrangements for a small journey to Pomerania (13th 
22nd), I was prevented from sooner bringing you 
the two new volumes of Wilhelm's works. I know 
you are not immoderately in love with his commentary 
on Hermann and Dorothea. It might doubtless more 
conveniently have been transformed into a treatise on 
epic poetry in general ; but you may see even in the 
book on the Kawi language, how fondly that great 
intellect always united general principles with details. 
The sonnets are full of sublime earnestness and depth 
of feeling. I shall call to shake hands with you, 
and to ask you in what way I could safely send a copy 
te Mr. Thomas Carlyle. A inspires me with little 
confidence, and Billow's packets must not be too 
bulky. To M. Carrieret I shall send my best thanks. 
The " Fossil minister," J I kfrow, has proved his vitality 
by an amiable letter to you. There is a biography of 
me too, dans les biographies redigees par un horn me 
de rien, in which I am described as a socially malignant 
brute. Such a thing does not kill one, but it does not 
improve one much either. 

Your old and attached friend, 

A. v. HT. 

* The well-known publisher of Berlin. TR. 
t Now Professor of Philosophy at Munich. TR. 
J Prince Metternich.-- TR. 

H 2 




Berlin, June 26th, 1843. 

I am convinced, my dear friend, that I am giving 
you some pleasure in communicating to you (alone) a 
fragment of a new volume of Eckermann.* Wonder- 
ful adoration of the vigour of youth as divine source of 
productiveness (adoration in an old man !) ; admiration 
of Napoleon, unclogged by the considerations of any 
moral law. I must earnestly beg you not to show 
the fragment to our " child,"f nor to speak to Brock- 
hausj about the communication made to me by Ecker- 
mann. It might do him harm, and he is unhappy 
enough already. I hope that "Wilhelm's last two 
volumes have at length reached you through Busch- 
mann. The weather was very favourable for our 
journey to the north. Such journeys are well adapted 
for deceiving princes on the condition of their people. 

* The Boswell of Goethe. See Oxenford's excellent translation of " E.'s 
Conversations with Goethe." TR. 

f Bettina von Arnim. TR. 

Eckermann had made a contract with Brockhaus, by which the latter, 
in consideration of the price paid to Eckermann, was to produce three thousand 
copies of his " Conversations with Goethe." Brockhaus, however, had not 
sufficient confidence in the sale to do this ; therefore he divided the edition 
of three thousand into two impressions of fifteen hundred each. In the 
second impression there were some slight changes in the text ; upon this, 
Eckermann, who knew nothing about the publisher's arrangements, and, 
indeed, had nothing to do with them, brought an action against Brockhaus, 
which went, of course, in favour of the publisher. Eckermann, throughout 
the transaction, appears as a headstrong and self- conceited man, with 
extravagant ideas in reference to his book. TR. 

A very able linguist, and Sub-librarian at Berlin. He was the faithful 
amanuensis of Wilhelm v. Humboldt, whose work on the Kawi language he 
carried through the press. TR. 


I addressed a few words "from a window" to the 
young men, on the intellectual links which simulta- 
neously, and without suffering diminution by distance, 
are strengthened through the communication of liberal 
feelings and of lasting hope in all that honours 
the progress of mankind. You will find this little 
Address in the " State Gazette," such as I wrote it 
down immediately after having delivered it extem- 
pore. Without this precaution, my friends, whose 
number is daily increasing, would have distorted it. 
I read parts of Custine* to the King. He is a man of 
infinite talent, and the work is gloriously written. I 
know only two volumes as yet, and prefer the first, 
since it represents, in a masterly style, a new gran- 
deur of tragic events. With great esteem, your 



Please return Eckermann. 



Tuesday, 27th June, 1843. 

I am terrified, my dear friend, at the prospect of 
your going to Tegel on Thursday, and finding only an 
empty house. Billow takes leave of the King to-day, 
and intends to-morrow (Wednesday) to leave for 
Schlangenbad with his wife and two eldest daughters. 
I write this in case I should not be fortunate enough 
(to-day) to see you before you leave. The torchlight 
procession in Diisseldorf might throw a light on many 

* The Marquis de Custine, author of the well-known work on Kussia. TR. 


things. I enclose (as you preserve everything that 
concerns your friends) the little address. Yours, 

A. HT. 



Sans Souci, 27th August, 1843. Sunday, 
How, my dear friend, should I not hasten to thank 
you for your charming gift, your affectionate re- 
membrance of one who is intellectually dwindling 
away 1 I know of nothing more graceful in com- 
position (deep and heartfelt conception), in euphony 
of language, or in the blending of the landscape tints, 
than your Life Pictures, and your judgment of what 
has had literary value in our times. That you have 
thought even of me, and the unimportant words I 
have spoken, I call generous. Many a time have I 
followed you eagerly in these three volumes, along 
formerly-trodden but ever-inviting paths ; but in this 
" Sylva Sylvarum," nothing was more agreeable to me 
than what you so earnestly and truly said (ii. 256 
272) about the historical error in the "genuine 
Grermanic" separation of classes. My rage for politics, 
you see, does not leave me; and I still cling to the 
things of earth, as (according to Kant) I learn from 
you, we should not boast too much of the immor- 
tality of the soul after its so-called disembodiment. 
" The budding twig which has shot up within the 
limits of the northern realms" (I am getting wicked) 
has not become quite acclimatized yet; and as to 
waiting I have not much time for that, having waited 
for more than fifty-three years . . . The Germans will 
yet write many books about liberty. 


The Card-player,* ii. 157, will again cause some 
excitement in the neighbourhood of my " hill." I 
think, however, I discover symptoms of a milder 
tone, of which one certainly does not like to be 
reminded. The phrase, " this miserable wretch" has, I 
think, disappeared. You see that I read you with 
pleasure, and yet not exactly out of fear alone. 

A. v. HT. 

We have as yet had no conversation about Custine's 
book. The first volume, as an eloquent, spirited de- 
scription (dramatic, indeed!) was most successful. How 
thoroughly annoying such a book must be even to 
those who despise the idea of justifying their conduct. 
11 y a dcs longueurs de declamations, a certain rheto- 
rical shade, which wearies. I think the publication of 
that more than tragic letter (Princess Trubetzkoi's) was 
very wrong.f Independently of the irritation that pub- 
lishing it must necessarily create, there was still room 
to hope matters might be accommodated by a fresh 

What right has any one to play so desperate a 
game to take life itself? A further terror for me is 
the literary worship paid to the scribblings of Madame 
Girardin and Madame Gay. Such worship might 
perhaps be pardoned in a lovely Grand Duchess, j 

* Czechtitzky, celebrated at Berlin as an actor and billiard-player. When 
he could not any longer find persons to play with him he took to card-playing, 
in which he got equally skilled and won enormous sums of money. It is re- 
lated of him by Varnhagen that in order to revise the expression : " Sich im 
Golde walzen" (rolling in money), he covered his floor with gold pieces, and, 
in the presence of witnesses, absolutely rolled about upon them in a state of 
nudity. Fortune forsook him at length, and he used to beg persons to spit 
in his face ; for though he had rolled in money, he had lost it all. Tu. 

f The sad story of the Princess Trubetzkoi is too well known, through the 
Marquis de Custine's book, to need recapitulation. TK. 
The Grand Duchess Helene. TE. 


That "St. Simonism" was the invention of a 
Prussian man of business tickles me immensely. As 
it touches the honour of Kb'nigsberg, I pass it over 
here in silence. 



Berlin, December 2dth, 1843. 

Your Koyal Highness, I hasten humbly to inform 
you that the box containing the Universal Astrometer, 
the joint invention of Lieut. D. and H. v. A , to- 
gether with your gracious commands, have reached me 
safely. I shall of course do everything with reference 
to this matter that your Eoyal Highness may desire. 
Both gallant officers have already, in a letter dated 
Temesvar, 13th December of this year, reported the 
arrival of the instrument, with this very naive ad- 
dition, "that I might procure for both inventors a 
military decoration from His Majesty the King, the 
Universal Physician of all Arts and Sciences." 

But that the Universal Doctor should prescribe just 
this universal physic, will require a few lines to be 
written to His Majesty by these gentlemen themselves. 
The so-called Universal Astrometers were in great 
repute in the Middle Ages, but, in the present state of 
astronomy, they are not used in any observatory, 
the observer making his own calculations. Self- 
registering instruments of this sort are therefore only 
likely to be recommended for reward in case of their 
inventors being brought into immediate contact with 
the monarch. The King adheres to this rule even in 
the case of books, no written acknowledgment of 


which is ever given unless they are accompanied by a 

Under these circumstances your Eoyal Highness 
will, I trust, not take it amiss my thanking Lieut. H. 
v. A. in the most friendly manner, for the con- 
fidence he has reposed in me, and urging him, in 
order to aid the means at my disposal for serving him 
and his friend according to your Eoyal Highness's 
wish and command, to send me a few lines (mentioning 
my name) for His Majesty the King. For the sake 
of security, your Eoyal Highness will, perhaps, be 
graciously pleased to allow the letter for Temesvar to 
be sent under your sealed envelope to the Ambassador, 
General von Canitz. I shall open the box at the 
Observatory in the presence of Professor Encke, whom, 
in conformity with the usual custom in these cases, I 
will request to prepare a Eeport for the Privy Council. 
As the epithet " sinnreich " (ingenious) may always 
be applied to instruments, even when they are not 
novel, I will try and beg for them a draught of this 
" Universal Physic." 

With profoundest respect, I remain, 
Your Eoyal Highness's most humble, 




Monday, 1st January, 1844. 

I hasten, my dear friend, at the risk of losing the 
Potsdam train, to tell you (for all that you were 
anonymous in sending it) that the King, in the 
midst of his bubble-blowing, lead-melting, chorister- 
singing, and vigils, has been very, very much delighted 


with your sweet present. In its composition, full of 
grace and loveliness, Heaven is seen in the reflection 
of earthly love. The King at once guessed at the 
young fairies, Bettina 5 s " cygnet brood/' and wishes 
to be allowed to send his thanks. A. v. HT. 

Privatissime. I had some scruples about the hiero- 
glyphic which distinguishes the male swan from the 
female, but the King thought that I was quite arriere 
with regard to the changes which Art-life has caused in 
modern education. 

Note ly Varnhagen. Bettina v. Arnim had sent me an exqui- 
sitely drawn and wonderfully beautiful sketch representing two naked 
figures, a girl and a youth standing by a tree, on the top of which a 
nightingale was singing. This she commissioned me to send anony- 
mously to Baron Humboldt, in order that he might also anonymously 
send it to the King as a New Year's gift. The expressive nakedness 
of the youth might certainly create some surprise, but would easily 
be pardoned in Bettina. But that the King should think her 
daughters had drawn the sketch, is a bit too bad, unless his pre- 
tending to believe such a thing is to be construed as a sly hit at 
Bettina ! 

April 1, 1844, Yarnhagen wrote in his Diary: " After a long 
interval another visit from Humboldt. He told me all that occupied 
his mind. He does all he can ; but it is not much that he can do : a 
man of seventy-four is, after all, a man .of seventy-four ! He himself 
alluded pointedly to his advanced age. The accumulation of business 
pressed on him, he said, and yet he was not prepared to forego it. 
Court and company were to him as a club, in which he was in the 
habit of spending his evening and taking his glass. 

" The King, he says, is occupied with nothing but his fancies, and 
these are mostly spiritual and religious, rituals, churchbuildings, mis- 
sions, and the like. About earthly matters he takes little care, and 
whether Louis Philippe's death brings about a crisis, what may happen 


at that of Metternich, or what our relations are with Russia, are mat- 
ters of perfect indifference, nay, he hardly gives them a thought. 
Whoever is favourite for the time and manages to indulge his fancies, 
has the game in his own hands. Bunsen, Radowitz, and Canitz 
stand highest with him ; Stolberg, only in the second rank. With 
all that, there is the greatest absence of mind and thoughtlessness. 
E-iickert had, on the occasion of his recovery, sent the Queen some 
pretty poems. They were pronounced charming, but no one thought 
of the propriety of sending an acknowledgment after the receipt of 
such an offering. At last, long afterwards, it occurred to the Queen 
to do so, and Riickert was to be sent for, but he had left Berlin some 
three weeks before ! As for Schelling, the King scarcely sees him 
once in a twelvemonth ; since he has got him, he cares little about 
him ; Steffens, too, though he likes him, he rarely invites. Reu- 
mont* is a slight exception in the list, and has some share in the 
favouritism of Bunsen and Count v. Briihl. (They are joking here 
about * * *, his dancing, &c. Humboldt said he was green, if he 
does not happen to be exactly yellow ; the King replied, Everybody 
looks so at * * *) Bunsen has not grown wiser. He proposed to 
the King to buy California, to send missionaries there, &c. He 
energetically favours the enterprises of Baroness Helfert. He wished 
to send out his. own son with her, and offered to supply from his 
private means 12,000 sterling towards establishing colonies where 
the missions should form the principal element. However, he with- 
drew his offer, seeing that he could not rely on t&e sympathies of 
the King. Meanwhile Baroness Helfert has, for the present, received 
from the King a present of 10,000 thalers only; but Minister 
Rother,f who opposed her more extended plans, was still obliged to 
send two agents, who were to report on the condition of the estates 
of Baroness Helfert in the East Indies. They also wished to induce 
the King to take interest in the settlements in Texas, always with 
an interweaving of religious interests. Humboldt had written to 
Bunsen urging him strongly to warn Eichhorn, and consider the 
hatred which his way of acting must produce, and which the King 

* Alfred Reumont, a native of Aachen, Prussian Minister at Rome, a co- 
pious writer on Italian history, poetry, and archaeology. Tit. 
f Minister of Finance. Tn. 


certainly must share. When Bunsen was here, he spoke to him 
energetically to the same effect, representing the matter to him in 
the most serious light ; but Eunsen, who had talked to him for two 
hours with the greatest eagerness about Egypt, thereupon answered 
never a word, but rose and went away. Humboldt thinks him vain 
enough to accept a place in the Cabinet. It seems to me that Hum- 
boldt has by far too much intercourse with Bunsen, and shows him 
too much friendship. The Queen, Humboldt thinks, has no Eoman 
Catholic predilections ; on the contrary, is an arch-Protestant, and 
more zealous even than the King himself, whom she constantly urges 
on in this direction. Her influence would be more effective if she 
understood the matter better. 

" In the evening, Humboldt sent me a kind note accompanied by 
the book ' Kussie, Allemagne, et France,' par Marc Pournier, Paris, 
1844, and eighteen valuable autographs of Arago, Metternich, Peel, 
Stanley, Recamier, Balzac, Prescott, Brunei, Herschel, Bresson, 
Helene of Orleans, the Duchess of Dino, and four confidential cheer- 
ful notes of the King, addressed to him. A splendid gift !" 



JBerlin, April 1st, 1844. 

I will try, my noble-hearted friend, whether by the offer 
of some few unimportant presents besides the horrible 
Ruthenic (Little Russian) poison,* I can provide you 
with some enjoyment for to-night. That I am nattered 
in all the letters, except in the one from our friend of 
Solingen, has not been able to prevent my offering 
you what might interest you. 

1. Lord Stanley, the present Minister, f to whom I 
had recommended a cousin of our Dieffenbach, { the 

* "Kussie, Allemagne, et France." Par Marc Fournier. Paris. 1844. 
The Ruthenes (who were " invented " by Metternich) are a very inconsider- 
able branch of the Slavonic nation settled in Gallicia. TK. 

f Secretary of State for the Colonies. TR. 

J The eminent surgeon at Berlin. TR. 


author of an excellent Voyage to New Zealand.* The 
traveller was implicated in the riots at Frankfort, for 
which reason it is still difficult to get him an appoint- 
ment in Germany. If I could travel I would wish for 
no better companion. 

2. The conjecture from Solingen. 

3. A remarkable letter from Bresson, dated Feb- 
ruary 6th, 1839. 

4. A very hearty letter from Arago, to whom I 
had dedicated the "Examen de 1'Histoire de la Geo- 
graphie du 15me Siecle." I do not recollect if I have 
given you anything before from Arago's hand. 

5. A note from the King,f at the time when he 
aided me to a great extent in obtaining the liberation 
of young demagogues. The case here mentioned was 
that of young Honinghaus, in which I was certainly 
successful. The letter of the Crown Prince bears wit- 
ness to his noble indignation against Kamptz and his 

6. A letter from the Duchess of Orleans. 

7. A letter from the King of Denmark. Simul- 
taneously with Arago I had recommended to the King 
the great lunar astronomer Hansen,J in Gotha. Our 
request was complied with, and Arago also received a 
very kind autograph letter from Christianus Eex, once 
a constitutionalist in Norway. 

8. Another note from the Crown Prince, cheerful 
and piquant. It was of great consequence to him that 

* Dieffenbach's " Travels in New Zealand, with Contributions to the Geo- 
graphy, Geology, Botany, and Natural History of that Colony, with a Dic- 
tionary and Grammar of the New Zealand Language." 2 vols. 8vo. London: 
Murray. TR. 

f Then (183G) Prince Royal. TR. 

Hansen's Tables of the Moon, published by the Royal Society of London. 


Metternich should accept the Presidency,* pour mettre 
la societe en bonne odeur a Eome, ou elle passe pour 

9. A letter from the Duchess de Dino, now Duchess 
de Talleyrand. She has now been created Duchess of 

10, 11. Two more cheerful notes from the King. 
Le Seehund (seal) , a letter recommending a somewhat 
coarse Danish sea captain, who offered to carry Natural 
Philosophers round the world for 2,500 thalers apiece 
rather dear. Nothing came of it. Le seigneur Cados, 
Ministre Secretaire d'Etat of the watchmaking Due de 
Normandie, who wrote to the Crown Prince to com- 
plain of the unbecoming manner in which he had been 
treated in the " State Gazette." 

12. Brunei, the hero of the Tunnel. 

13. A letter from Sir John Herschel, full of flattery. 

14. M. de Balzac. 

15. Sir Eobert Peel. I had received a. letter from 
Oxford, telling me that the first botanist in Europe, 
Eobert Brown, was suddenly plunged into great pecu- 
niary embarrassment, and that Peel would, at my 
request, procure for him one of the only four small pen- 
sions which Parliament voted for scientific men. I 

16. Madame Eecamier. I am sure you have 
already got several of her letters. 

17. A nice letter from Prince Metternich, to be 
added to the mass you already possess of his. 

18. The great American historian, Prescott. What 
I in my careless conceit destroy, is saved in your hands. 
I conjure you, my dear friend, to let nobody know that 

* Of the Archaeological Society in Eome. TR. 


I have given you these notes from the King, although 
they are unimportant. It would be very prejudicial 
to me just now. 

With unchanged esteem, yours, 


Monday evening. 


Ho f gen, near Solingen, March 2,1st, 1844. 
Your Excellency will not take it amiss that I ven- 
ture to address you. Some time since I read in a 
newspaper, that some one from Konigsberg had written 
to you about some secrets of Nature, namely, of taking 
photographs in the dark. From that I gather that 
your Excellency is a Natural Philosopher, and has ac- 
quaintances and friends who are also Philosophers. I, 
too, have made important discoveries in secrets of 
Nature ; and my present employments not permitting 
me to make further progress in them, I should like, 
for once, to speak to you about them. Perhaps we 
may be useful to each other. I will gladly make a 
journey to Berlin to see you. Will your Excellency 
please, in case my visit would not be disagreeable, to 
write to me as soon as possible, saying at what time I 
could best see you in Berlin. In hopes of receiving a 
favourable reply, I salute your Excellency with highest 
respect, and remain your most obedient, 

J. W. T, 

Gottfried H., merchant, Berlin, could give you 
some account about my position and character. 


Note ly Humloldt. The conjecture you formed some time since 
through reading a political paper, to this effect, that I was a Natural 
Philosopher, is certainly well founded. I have committed the crime 
of publishing several works on Natural Science, some as early as the 
year 1789. 



Berlin, 6 fevrier, 1839. 

Chere Excellence, Je suis heureux de pouvoir vous 
envoy er aujourd'hui un article plus digne de vous que 
celui d'hier. Gardez ce numero des Debats. Je n'en 
fais pas collection. 

La remarque de Mr. M. Y. L. sur le nescio quis 
Plutarchus est puerile. Du reste, son article est 
inspire par une juste appreciation de votre gloire qui 
est notre aussi et que nous revendiquons. 

Veuillez, chere Excellence, agreer mes affectueux et 
respectueux hommages. 


P.S. Je finissais ce billet quand celui que vous 
m'avez ecrit ce matin m'a ete remis. Je le conser- 
verai toute ma vie, et parcequ'il est un vrai monument 
historique et pour ce titre precieux d'ami que vous 
daignez me donner. Helas ! oui, nous verrons bien 
des choses, si Dieu nous prete vie, mais qu'il fasse que 
nous ne revoyons plus celles qui ont deja passe sur 
notre siecle ! La coalition y travaille cependant de 
toutes ses forces en sapant le pouvoir royal. C'est un 
acces de demence qui rappelle 1791. Ce sont des 
Girondins en herbe que nous aurions aimes, et ils 


seraient les premieres victimes englouties sous 1'edifice 
qu'ils ebranlent. 

Est-il done necessaire de faire un grand effort de 
raison pour voir clairement que le Eoi est le ciment 
de toutes choses, qu'il nous tient suspendus sur le 
chaos, et que lui de moins ou lui de plus, la situation 
change de fond en comble ? En conscience, le danger 
vient-il de lui aujourd'hui? et un ordre de choses si 
peniblement acquis, si laborieusement etabli, sera-t-il 
sacrifie a la rancune de quelques homines, ou a quel- 
ques vaines theories inapplicables en France, bonnes 
tout an plus en Angleterre, ou elles sont consacrees 
par les ages, et, ce qui ne vaut mieux encore, adminis- 
trees par les seules classes eclairees et superieures? 
D., qui est un bon esprit, m'e'crit qu'il a foi dans Tissue 
de la crise mimsterielle. M. Mole a modifie sa re- 
solution de ne plus reprendre les affaires ; il les re- 
prendra si on lui assure 36 ou 40 voix de majorite. La 
reunion Jacqueminot, qui rend de grands services, y 

Yoici les adieux, les derniers, de M. de Talleyrand 
a Fontainebleau le 2 juin 1837 : Adieu, mon cher 
Bresson ; restez a Berlin aussi longtems que possible ; 
vous etes bien ; ne cherchez pas le mieux. II y aura 
bien du mouvement dans le monde ; vous etes jeune ; 
vous le verrez. 

Je vous cite ces paroles parcequ'elles rentrent dans 
1'esprit de votre billet, dont je vous remercie encore et 
qui devient pour moi titre de famille. 


Note by Humloldt. Lettre du Comte Bresson, Ministre de France 
a Berlin. Je Tai conserve e a cause de quelques mots de M. de 



Talleyrand. J' avals ecrit a M. Bresson que la position en France 
est des plus graves, que je crois encore a la paix, parceque a cote de 
la sagesse des gouvernans, il y a de la medecine expectante, de la 
mollesse, et de la prudence timoree. Que ces choses ne peuvent 
cependant agir que pour un terns limite, et que ceux quisontjeunes, 
comme lui, verront en action ce qui court aujourd'hui comme 
velleites nationales a racines profonds. 



Paris, 19 aout, 1834. 

Mon cher ami, Les termes me manquent pour te 
dire combien je suis peinede t'avoir donne un moment 
d'ennui. Persuade-toi done, une fois pour toutes, que 
quelque puissent etre envers toi mes torts, apparents 
ou reels, je n'aurai jamais celui d'oublier combien tuas 
toujours ete bon pour moi ; Tamitie que je t'ai vouee ne 
le cede pas a celle que tu me montres et dont je suis 
a la fois heureux et fier ! J'aurais bien voulu, a Foc- 
casion de ton aim able dedicace t'en donner un te- 
moignage public ; mais diverses circonstances de ma 
position actuellement si difficile et si compliquee, y ont 
mis obstacle. Ce n'est, au reste, je Tespere, que partie 

J'apprends avec chagrin que tu n'es pas content de 
ta sante. La mienne est detestable et je m'en inquiete 
peu. Tout ce que je vois journellement dans ce bas 
monde, de bassesse, de servilite, d'ignobles passions, me 
fait envisager avec sang froid les evenemens dont les 
homines se preoccupent le plus. La seule nouvelle 
qui pourrait aujourd'hui me tirer de mon spleen, serait 
celle ^de ton voyage a Paris. Pourquoi n'ai-je pas 


trouve dans tes lettres un seul mot d'espoir, meme 
pour un avenir eloigne ? 

Le monde scientifique est ici dans un calme plat ! 
c'est veritablement a s'en desoler. Je pars apres- 
demain pour 1'Angleterre avec Mr. Pentland. En rap- 
porterai-je des idees plus consolantes ? 

Notre observatoire est devenu a la fois elegant et 
tres-commode. Le Bureau a decide qu'il fallait nom- 
mer un directeur. J'ai ete choisi a Tunanimite. J'au- 
rai sous mes ordres quatre ou cinq jeunes gens avec 
le titre d'eleves et 2000 francs d'appointement. Sous 
ce rapport nous allons enfin sortir de 1'orniere. 

Adieu, mon cher, mon excellent ami. Mathieu, qui 
n'est pas encore entierement gueri d'un cruel mal 
d'yeux, me charge, ainsi que sa femme, de le rappeler 
a ton souvenir. Tout a toi pour la vie, 





23rd December, 1836. Evening. 

The quasi nameless number has to expect the 
mildest of all punishments ; for, without doubt, i. e. 
quite certainly, the sentence will be mitigated to six 
months, and three years' incapacity for public employ- 
ment. Some consolation, therefore, you may send as a 
Christmas present to the very faithful city of Crefeld. 
Perhaps ! ! ? ! ! I may succeed in effecting a full pardon 
of the [prisoners in] this category. It is indeed revolt- 
ing and horrible to let the poor boy languish for so 

i 2 


long in that disgusting hole. And such parents. If 
those parents were fools and rogues, even then it 
would HAIIDLY be excusable. Shall we meet to-night ? 

FR. W. 

Cherissime Humboldt, vous connaissez tons les pre- 
tendants a toutes les couronnes lisez, de grace, la 
lettre ci-jointe et faites-moi connaitre le seigneur Cados, 
ses pere et mere et aieux, ainsi que ses droits a la cou- 
ronne de France, que je tacherai alors a lui procurer. 


B. 21 fevr. 1839. Pr. royal. 


An Episode from the Marriage of Figaro. 

II y manque quelque chose- 

Quoi ? 

Le cachet. 

Do you perceive the delicate allusion, my dearest 
friend? Your seal must help me out of nearly as 
great an embarrassment as the one above alluded to 
did the Countess Almaviva. The Prince will other- 
wise perceive that I have read all the flattering things 
that you, alas ! have said about me. Pour vous 
divertir, I include my letter. Vale. 

B. 23 March, 1840. FR. W. 

Note by Humboldt. Autographe du Prince-Royal de Prusse. Le 
Prince-Royal offrait au Prince Metternich la place de President de 
1'Institut Archeologique de Rome. J'avais du donner au Prince- 
Royal une lettre qu'il voulait inclure, comme elle contenait quelques 
eloges il a desire qu'elle fut cachetee. HUMBOLDT. 


J'ai eu 1'honnetete etla maladresse de ne pas copier la lettre du Koi 
au Prince Metternich. 


Je vous communique la depeche ci-jointe de Co- 
penhague pour vous avertir de la nouvelle seccatura 
qui vous attend d'un phoque du Sund qui vient vous 
demander conseil et assistance pour tourner autour 
de notre globe. La presente n'etant a d'autres fins, 
je prie Dieu, monsieur le Baron de Humboldt, qu'il 
vous ait en sa sainte et digne garde. Donne en notre 
chateau de Potsdam 29 avril 1849 (1843 ?) vers minuit. 


Note ly Varnhagen. Everything exactly as above as a joke ! 



Copenhagm, ce 3 mai, 1843. 

Monsieur le Baron de Humboldt ! La lettre que 
vous m'avez adressee le jour avant votre depart de 
Paris a eveille mon attention au sujet des tables lu- 
naires qu'on doit aux travaux du Professeur Hansen, 
et je me suis adresse a notre celebre astronome Schu- 
macher pour apprendre ce qui restait encore a faire 
pour completer cet ouvrage important. Suivant ses 
indices il a ete facile de trouver moyen de continuer 
ces travaux, les comparaisons des observations, et 
moyennant les secours necessaires et alloues Schu- 
macher espere de voir publier ces tables de la lune 


avant le terme de deux annees. On trouvera sans 
doute la recompense des soins qu'on consacre aux 
sciences dans leur avancement meme, mais 1'appro- 
bation des savants distingues donne une veritable 
satisfaction, dont on jouit doublement lorsque ces 
suffrages nous viennent d'une voix qui vaut bien 
d'autres. Jaloux de meriter toujours votre appro- 
bation, Monsieur le Baron, je desire etre guide par 
vos lumieres, et je serai charme toutefois que vous 
voudrez m'adresser vos observations scientifiques. 

C'est avec la plus haute consideration que j'ai le 
plaisir de me dire, Monsieur le Baron de Humboldt, 
votre tout affectionne 




?, 21st Dec. 1843. 
Hawkhorst, Kent. 

My dear Baron, It is now a considerable time 
since I received your valued and most interesting work 
on Central Asia, which I should have long ago acknow- 
ledged, but that I was unwilling and indeed unable in 
proper terms to thank you for so flattering and pleasing 
a mark of your attention, till I had made myself at 
least in some degree acquainted with the contents. 
This, however, the continued pressure of occupations 
which leave me little time and liberty for reading has 
not yet allowed me to do otherwise than partially 
and, in fact, it is a work of such close research that I 
despair of ever being able fully to master all its details. 
In consequence, I have hitherto limited myself chiefly 


to the Climatological researches in the third volume, and 
especially to the memoir on the causes of the flexures 
of the Isothermal lines which I have read with the 
greatest interest, and which appears to me to contain 
by far the most complete and masterly coup d'oeil of 
that important subject which I have ever met with. 
In reading this and other parts of your works on this 
subject and of the " Physique du Griobe" in all its 
departments, that which strikes me with astonishment 
is, the perfect familiarity and freshness of recollection 
of every detail which seems to confer on you in some 
degree the attribute of ubiquity on the surface of this 
our planet so vividly present does the picture of its 
various regions seem to be in your imagination and so 
completely do you succeed in making it so to that of 
your readers. 

The account of the Auriferous and Platiniferous 
deposits in the Ural and the zone in 56 lat. has also 
very much interested me, as well as the curious facts 
respecting the distribution of the Grecian germs in 
those regions. I could not forbear translating and 
sending to the " Athenaeum" (the best of our literary 
and scientific periodicals) the singular account of the 
" monstre" of Taschkow Targanka (citing of course 
your work as the source of the history) in vol. iii., 
p. 597. 

The idea of availing ourselves of the information 
contained in the works of Chinese geographers for the 
purpose of improving our geographical knowledge of 
Central Asia, appears to me as happy as it is likely to 
prove fertile especially now that the literature of that 
singular country is becoming more accessible daily by 
the importation of Chinese books. What you have 


stated respecting the magnetic chariots and hodometers 
of the Emperor Tching-wang, if you can entirely rely 
on your authority, gives a far higher idea of the ancient 
civilization of China than any other fact which has yet 
been produced. 

In a word, I must congratulate you on the appear- 
ance of this work as on another great achievement ; 
and if, as fame reports, it is only the forerunner of 
another, on the early discovery of America it is 
only another proof that your funds are inexhaustible ! 
May you have many years of health and strength 
granted you to pour them forth, and may each suc- 
ceeding contribution to our knowledge afford yourself 
as much delight in its production as it is sure to do 
your readers in its perusal. 

Miss Gibson writes word that you have more than 
once inquired of her when my Cape observations will 
appear. No one can regret more than myself the 
delay which has taken place ; but it has been unavoid- 
able, as I have had every part of the reduction to 
execute myself, and the construction of the various 
catalogues, charts, and minute details of every kind 
consume a world of time quite disproportionate to 
their apparent extent. However I have great hopes of 
being able to get a considerable portion in the course 
of the next year into the printer's hands. Some of 
the Nebulae are already in process of engraving. Per- 
haps the subject which has given me most trouble is 
that of the photometric estimation of the magnitudes of 
Southern stars, and their comparison with the Northern 
ones. A curious fact respecting one of them, 7 Argus, 
has been communicated to me from a correspondent 
in India, Mr. Mackay ; viz., that it has again made 


a further great and sudden step forward in the scale 
of magnitude (you may perhaps remember that in 
1837-8 it suddenly increased from 2*1 m. to equal 
a Centauri). In March 1843, according to Mr. Mackay, 
it was equal to Canopus. " a Crucis," he says, " looked 
quite dim beside it." When I first observed it at the 
Cape it was very decidedly inferior to Crucis. 

Believe me, my dear Sir, ever yours most truly, 


I must not forget to wish you a " merry Christmas 
and many happy returns of the season," in English 



Berlin, Hotel deltussie, 1843. 

Monsieur le Baron, Serais -je assez heureux en allant 
lundi a Potsdam par le train d'onze heures, d'avoir 
1'honneur de vous y rencontrer, et de vous presenter 
mes respects ? Je ne fais que passer par Berlin, vous 
me pardonnerez done de prendre la liberte de vous 
indiquer ainsi le temps de ma visite ; mais, n'est-ce 
pas d'ailleurs vous prouver a quel point je tiens a 
aj outer quelques nouveaux souvenirs a ceux du salon de 

Si je n'ai pas le bonheur de vous trouver, ce petit 
mot vous dira du moins que je voulais me rappeler 
a vous, autrement que par une carte. Aussi, veuillez, 
Monsieur le Baron, agreer 1'expression de la respec- 
tueuse admiration d. v. t. h. et t. o. s. 





Whitehall, 4th Sept., 1843. 

Dear Baron de Humboldt, I was most flattered by 
your kind attention in transmitting for my acceptance 
your most interesting work on Central Asia. It will 
be much prized by me, as well on account of its 
intrinsic value as a token of your personal regard and 
There is no privilege of official power, the exercise 
of which gives me greater satisfaction, than that of 
occasionally bestowing a mark of Eoyal favour and 
public gratitude on men distinguished by scientific 
attainments and by services rendered to the cause of 

From the very limited means which Parliament has 
placed at the disposal of this Court, it has been my 
good fortune to be enabled to recognise the merit of 
Mr. Eobert Brown. I have just conveyed to him 
the intimation that Her Majesty has been pleased to 
confer upon him for his life a pension on the Civil 
List of two hundred pounds per annum, in recognition 
of his eminent acquirements as a botanist and of the 
value of his contributions to the store of botanical 

Believe me, dear Baron de Humboldt, with sincere 

Very faithfully yours, 





Vienne, Octolre, 1843. 

Mon clier Baron ! Vous avez bien voulu m'envoyer 
un exemplaire de votre " Asie Centrale ;" je 1'appelle 
la votre car les decouvertes appartiennent de droit a 
ceux qui les font, et qu'etre 1'auteur d'une decouverte 
vaut souvent mieux que d'etre le possesseur de Fobjet 
sur lequel elle parte ! J'ai commence la lecture de 1'ouv- 
rage que je compte au nombre de ceux que je traite, 
comme des esprits autrement faits que le mien traitent 
les productions futiles, a savoir comme une grande 
ressource. Tel est en toute verite le cas ; j'ai souvent 
besoin de me distraire des soins de mon travail de 
fabrique ; alors je cherche de nouveaux elements de vie 
et de force dans des productions serieuses. Un livre 
comme vous savez en faire, est pour moi une source 
feconde d' elements pareils ; aussi mon but est toujours 
atteint ; j'apprends et j'aime a apprendre, et je ne me 
depite pas par tout ce que vous savez ! Ce que dans 
vos ouvrages il y a d 5 admirable c'est la methode ; vous 
savez tracer une ligne pour ne plus jamais la perdre de 
vue. Aussi arrivez vous, ce qui n'est pas reserve a 
tous ceux qui se mettent en route. 

Vous m'enverrez les volumes complets, et je les 
attends avec un vif sentiment de reconnaissance. 

Veuillez agreer, mon cher Baron, Tassurance de mes 
sentiments de consideration distingues et % d'attachement 
deja fort ancien. 





Boston, Dec. 23rd, 1843. 

Sir, A book on which I have been engaged for 
some years, the " History of the Conquest of Mexico," 
is now published in this country, as it was some few 
weeks since in England ; and I have the pleasure to 
request your acceptance of a copy, which will be sent 
by way of Hamburg, through the house of Grossler, by 
the first packet, which sails for that port from ISTew 
York in January. Although the main subject of the 
work is the Conquest by the Spaniards, I have devoted 
half a volume to a view of the Aztec civilization ; and 
as in this shadowy field I have been very often guided 
by the light of your researches, I feel especially in- 
debted to you, and am most desirous that the manner 
in which my own investigation is conducted may 
receive your approbation. It will indeed be one of the 
best and most satisfactory results of my labours. 

As I have been supplied with a large body of unpub- 
lished and original documents for the Peruvian con- 
quest, I shall occupy myself with this immediately. 
But I feel a great want at the outset of your friendly 
hand to aid me. For although your great work, the 
" Atlas Pittoresque," sheds much light on scattered 
points, yet as your " Voyage aux Regions Equinox- 
iales" stops short of Peru, I shall have to grope my 
way along through the greater part without the 
master's hand which in the " Nouvelle Espagne r> led 
me on so securely. 

The Peruvian subject will, I think, occupy less time 
and space than the Mexican, and when it is finished I 


propose to devote myself to a history of the Eeign of 
Philip the Second. For this last I have been long 
amassing materials, and a learned Spaniard has explored 
for me the various collections, public and private, in 
England, Belgium, France, and is now at work for me 
in Spain. In Ranke's Excellent history, " Fiirsten 
und Volker von Siid-Europa," I find an enumeration 
of several important MSS., chiefly Venetian relations, 
of which I am very desirous to obtain copies. They 
are for the most part in the royal library of Berlin, 
and some few in that of Grotha. I have written to our 
minister, Mr. Wheaton, to request him to make some 
arrangements, if he can, for my effecting this. The 
liberal principles on which literary institutions are 
conducted in Prussia, and the facilities given to men 
of letters, together with the known courtesy of the 
German character, lead me to anticipate no obstacles 
to the execution of my desires. Should there be any, 
however, you will confer great favour on me by giving 
your countenance to my applications. 

I trust this will not appear too presumptuous a 
request on my part. Although I have not the honour 
of being personally known to you, yet the kind mes- 
sages I have received from you, and lately through 
Professor Tellkampf, convince me that my former pub- 
lication was not unwelcome to you, and that you may 
feel an interest in my future historical labours. 

I pray you, my dear sir, to accept the assurances of 
the very high respect, with which I have the honour 
to be 

Your obedient servant, 





Paris, 28juillet, 1843. 

Je n'ai pas d' expression, monsieur, pour vous dire 
combien je suis touchee de votre lettre, vous m'avez 
epargne le saisissement d'apprendre par les journaux 
une nouvelle aussi douleureuse qu'imprevue. Quoi- 
que bien souffrante et bien affligee, je ne veux pas 
perdre un moment pour vous en remercier. Vous 
savez, monsieur, qu'il y avait bien des annees que je 
n'avais vu le Prince Auguste, mais je recevais con- 
stamment la preuve de son souvenir. C'est a 1'epoque 
la plus triste de sa vie que je 1'avais connu chez 
Madame de Stael, ou il avait rencontre tant de nobles 
sympathies ; helas, de la reunion si brillante et si agi- 
tee du chateau de Coppet il ne restait que lui ; il ne 
me reste plus a present des souvenirs de ma jeunesse et 
de tout ce passe de ma vie, que le beau tableau de 
Corinne, dont le sentiment le plus noble et le plus 
touchant avait orne ma retraite. Je n'ai pas le cou- 
rage, monsieur, de prolonger cette lettre et de re- 
pondre aux details si interessants qui terminent la 
votre, permettez-moi de ne vous parler aujourd'hui 
que de ma douleur, de ma reconnaissance et de mon 
admiration. J. EECAMIER. 



81 st August, 1844. 

I send you some few things which I know will give 
you pleasure to have in your hands. 


a. Bettina in her persecution. 

b. Two copies of my very short Speech. 

c. Two letters from Spontini, with incomprehensible 

allusions to Prince Wittgenstein, Count Eedern, 
hatred of Meyerbeer, and a serious answer from 

d. A letter from Gray Lussac, at the time he was 

dangerously wounded by an explosion. 

e. A letter from the Grand Duke of Tuscany, doing 
credit to his heart. 

Always yours, with the highest respect. 

Saturday night. A. V. HuMBOLDT. 



Florence, ce 20 juillet, 1844. 

Tres cher Comte, Le Professeur de Botanique 
Philippe Parlatore se rend a Berlin. II m'est impossi- 
ble de le laisser partir sans le charger d'une lettre pour 
vous, cher comte, qui exprime mes remerciments pour 
les recommandations que vous m'avez faites pour que 
le Toscane put s'enrichir de plusieurs hommes illustres. 
Vous le pere et protecteur de toutes les sciences na- 
turelles connaissiez Monsieur Parlatore et un jugement 
porte par vous suffisait : il est a Florence, dirige le 
Jardin du Musee et preside a Therbier central qui doit 
a lui son existence. Un autre Physicien nous a ete 
recommande par vous, le Professeur Matteucci ; il est 
un investigateur de la nature, espion heureux, il mene 
la Science, fabrique les instruments pour Tinterroger, 
et est maintenant sur le chemin d'importantes decou- 


vertes, il fait aussi un petit voyage pour se remettre 
<Tun travail trop prolonge. Je ne sais s'il sera aussi 
heureux de rencontrer celui pour lequel il conserve 
tant de veneration et de reconnaissance. Notre uni- 
versite de Pise a rassemble tout ce que Ton pouvait 
trouver en fait de sciences naturelles et on en voit le 
fruit ; a Florence les etudes pratiques de perfection- 
nement dans le Grand Hopital, j'espere, contribuent 
aussi a maintenir la medecine et la chirurgie dans le 
vrai chemin de science naturelle, d'observation et 
d'experience. Les congres des amateurs des sciences 
en Ttalie porteront leur fruit aussi, ces reunions inno- 
centes mettent la science a la connaissance de beau- 
coup de personnes et etablissent des relations utiles 
entre beaucoup d'hommes de merite qui se connais- 
saient a peine. On avait dit une fois que vous aviez 
1'intention de descendre en Italie. Vous auriez mis le 
comble a notre bonheur, vous auriez ete acclame un- 
animement le vrai protecteur des sciences naturelles. 

Veuillez me croire toujours votre tres affectionne 




September 2nd, 1844. 
Even if Dr. Prutz,* in Halle, had written nothing 

* Robert Ernst Prutz, poet and literary historian, born 1816. Among his 
dramatic works the collection of which appeared in four volumes (1847- 
49) the "Moritz von Sachsen" is considered the best. Prutz belonged to 
the sensible democratic- constitutional party. He was more dangerous, 
therefore, than a mere demagogue. In consequence of these opinions, he 
was hunted from Prussia in 1840, and from Jena in 1843; after great 
trouble, he obtained permission to reside in, and deliver lectures upon lite- 


in his prohibited "Moritz "* but what the Fool says 
of the people, p. 40, " One should throw it a couple 
of scraps, and then it will creep back again wagging 
its tail to its cold kennel ;" and, p. 53, the poetically 
beautiful verses, "I conjure you, princes of the future/' 
one could understand the immense sensation created at 
the present time by that wonderful piece in which Moritz 
pushes all his friends into the water, in order to enjoy 
the pleasure of fishing them out, dead or alive, or at 
any rate so thoroughly ducked that they all catch cold. 
Read, my dear friend, the manuscript, but return it to 
me to-morrow (Tuesday) by two o'clock. The steps I 
am taking will, I am sure, be fruitless. By putting 
it on the stage some money might be obtained for those 
who suffered from the inundations ; there the police 
would act as a hydraulic, or even a drying machine. 

Monday. A. HT. 



Berlin, Sept. 6th, 1844. 

Like you, my dear friend, I can understand that the 
address f must have produced a very general commotion 
in " our North," as under the sluggish Pole. He is 
successful in the use of figurative language, in which 
some of the images he brings before you are no doubt 
not new, yet we cannot help remarking a certain deli- 
cacy of expression and a soul for harmony. There is, 

rary history at, Berlin, in 1846. He is now Professor Extraordinary of the 
History of Literature, at Halle, which post he obtained in 1849. TK. 

* " Moritz von Sachsen (Maurice of Saxony)," a tragedy in five acts. TR. 

t Delivered by the King. TR. 



after all, something noble in this constant yearning 
to address masses of the people extempore, in this 
impulse to speak with the public face to face. The 
magnanimity of protecting the " servants in high 
places," by wrapping them in the royal purple, will 
not meet with much recognition. Can one then 
assume a hostile attitude towards the small predatory 
"birds of night?" A feeling of melancholy comes over 
one that such a highly-gifted prince, guided as he is 
by the most benevolent intentions, and in possession 
of a vigorous mind, which is ever urging him to action, 
should, in spite of his excellent intentions, be deceived 
as to the direction in which his policy is leading. 
When Parry, on the ice, wanted to reach the Pole with 
his numerous Samojede dogs, sledges and dogs appa- 
rently went forward. When, however, the sun broke 
through the mist, and the latitude could be ascertained, 
it was found that, without being aware of it, they had 
actually gone several degrees backwards. The ground 
over which they moved forward was a detached field of 
ice carried south by the current. Ministers are this 
moving icy ground. Is the current the dogmatizing 
Missionary Philosophy ? 

A. HT. 

In the letter to Spontini there is a strange mistake : 
la magie diverse, instead of la magie divine des sons n'a 
pas d'action sur la prose de la vie. It is now certain 
that the Empress will not come. The King will be, 
on the 15th (?), in Sans Souci. 



Berlin, Sept. 13th, 1844. 

I must be off at once to the Stettin Railway, the 
King having arrived at nine o'clock ; then to Sans 
Souci for some few days, where I shall spend, alas ! my 
seventy-fifth birthday. My only reason for saying 
alas ! is that, in 1789, I thought the world would have 
solved several problems more. I have seen much, but, 
measured by my demands, little still. 

I cannot write to you to-day about your graceful 
description of your residence in Paris in 1810. My 
good genius led me at once to the passages in 
which the balm of your friendship breathed upon me. 
I have found out that I am not yet quite insensible to 
praise. How nobly anti-scythic was the behaviour of 
the Breslau University ! How inventive man becomes 
under political restraint. Not a notion but of rope- 
ladders, wall-piercing, and disguises to get into the 
open air ; and when they are in the open air, they, in 
right German fashion, begin to rack their brains to 
see if they feel better for it than before ! It will then be 
as in the case of the Prince, " Dites-moi, si je m'amuse." 

Friday. A. V. HUMBOLDT. 

"We here insert a page from Varnhagen's Diary of the 26th June, 
1844, which mentions two sharp answers of Humboldt thus : "At 
the royal table in Sans Souci, Humboldt lately let fly two good 
shafts from his bow. The conversation turned on a Russian ordi- 
nance, and Humboldt in speaking of it mentioned the name of the 
Minister of Public Instruction several times. ' You are mistaken,' 

K 2 


interrupted the King ; ' this was not the work of the Minister of 
Instruction, but of the Minister of Enlightenment. That's quite 
another person from the Minister of Instruction.' Humboldt, with- 
out being put out, accepted the correction by hastily adding, ' Not 
the Minister of Instruction then, but of the contrary ;' and then 
continued in his usual way." 

The following piece is still finer : " General Leopold von Gerlach, 
who cannot leave off teasing, lately ventured to make an attack on 
Humboldt by saying to him, ' I suppose your Excellency often goes 
to church now ;' he hoped thereby to put him in a dilemma. But 
Humboldt answered at once, ' That now of yours is very kindly put 
in : you mean to point out to me how to make my way in the world.' 
The canting jester was regularly dumbfounded !" 

A subsequent passage of the 26th December, 1 845, depicts still more 
vividly the attacks to which Humboldt was exposed. Yarnhagen 
writes : " Humboldt paid me a visit, and remained more than an hour. 
He made a remarkable communication to me. He assures me that but 
for his connection with the Court he should not be able to live here. 
So much was he hated by the Ultras and the Pietists that he would 
be exiled. The pains they took daily to prejudice the King against 
him were incredible ; and he would be as little tolerated in other 
German States were he once to be deprived of the protection 
afforded him by the prestige of his office." 



Berlin, Sept. 19th, 1844. 

Are you in spirits just now, my dear friend, for a 
few minutes' conversation on the present state of 
Trench literature ? I venture to recommend to your 
notice a young French novelist, M. Jousserandot, from 
the Franche-Comte, with a large amount of beard, and 
kindly and innocent vivacity, son of a rich physician, 


and recommended to me from Paris. Pardon my in- 
trusion, but we must share with each other now and 
then the inconvenience of letting the people stare at us. 

Thursday. A. V. HUMBOLDT. 



Berlin, Tuesday night. One o' Clock, 
June 3rd, 1845. 

This evening, my dear friend, the whole mystery 
has been cleared up ! They forwarded me, this after- 
noon, all jumbled together, fourteen packages, which ? 
by some oversight, had been addressed (December 
May) to me at Berlin ; and which were lying at the 
Foreign-office. We recognised your hand at once. 
The parcel was addressed to me, and contained, safely 
sealed, your important and talented political letter, 
and the parcel for the Comtesse d'Agoult, which I 
send you herewith. I am entirely innocent of the 
whole affair. 

In the "Bhein- und Mosel-Zeitung," No. 122, May 
29th, I am accused of Voltairianism ; of denying all 
Revelation; of conspiring with Marheineke, Bruno 
Bauer, and Feuerbach;* and even of having caused 
the expedition against Lucerne, ipsissimis verbis, and 
all on account of "Kosmos," p. 381. The King had 
been already informed that the book was antichristian 
and revolutionary. So far from that being the case, 
however, the King writes to me, that " he could only 

* Ludwig Feuerbach, a celebrated Rationalistic writer, the author of a 
book entitled, " The Essence of Christianity," translated by Miss Evans, pub- 
lished by Chapman. TK. 


say, like Alfonso to Tasso, " And so at length I hold it 
in my hands, and call it in a certain sense my own."* 
This is poetical, and very courteous. 

With heartiest gratitude, 

Yours, A. v. HUMBOLDT. 



Berlin, Wednesday, 4th June, 1845. 

I recognise at once, by the elegance of style, the 
guardian genius of my weak literary efforts. I had 
not seen the delicious sheet which contained Neander'sf 
explanation as well. In the last moments of my pre- 
paration for departure, I offer you my warmest thanks 
for one of the most important of the many life-like 
sketches that we owe to your all-enlivening pencil. 

You represent with earnestness and grandeur that 
which has often suffered from the detraction of an 
insolent popular enthusiasm, expressed in burlesque 
prose. This noble process of purification gives one 
great delight. 

If Sussmilch permit, I will finish the " Kosmos," 
although at the entrance to many sciences (such as 
Universal History, Geology, and the mechanism of 
the heavens) dark apparitions stand threatening, en- 
deavouring to prevent me from reaching the interior. 

What a remarkably pleasant person Madame de 
Hormayr is ! 

With unchangeable esteem and affection, 

Yours, A. HUMBOLDT. 

* Goethe's "Tasso," Act L, Sc. 3. TR. 
t The eminent theological historian. TR. 



Berlin, IQth June, 1845. 

I employ the last moments before going to the 
railway in thanking you heartily, my dear friend, 
for your very original portrait of Hans von Held.* 
I have only read half of it, and as I did so immediately 
after perusing your Life of Bliicher, I could not but 
feel the deepest admiration for your talent, which 
enables you so fortunately to give the varied hues of the 
life of the soldier, and of the civilian struggling for 
liberty. The fatalistic word " fortunately " ought not to 
be used here, since the cause of success lies only in the 
clearness of the reasoning power and depth of feeling. 
In " Held," we see the reflex of our present world. 
Zerboni's letter on the sanguinary scene at Breslau is 
as noble as it is affecting. But that does not deter 
our soberly fanatical and white-blooded Polignacs. A 
first deed of violence they will try to improve upon by 
another more methodically planned : and all this under 
the rule of such a King as ours ! I am very much 
irritated, and deeply vexed. 

With old attachment, 

Monday morning. A. V. HUMBOLDT. 

As I shall find no time for reading during my rapid 
journey, I allowed Baron Billow in Tegel to take the 
instructive work from me for a few days. 

* " Hans von Held," a biography, by K. A. Varnhagen von Ense. 1845. 



Berlin, Thursday, 4th September, 1845. 
I avail myself of the first moments I have after my 
return from Potsdam to express to you my delight at 
the result of your visit to the Baths. The contrast of 
misfortune in my own domestic circle, with the hollow, 
rain-bespattered Court festivals at Briihl and Stolzen- 
fels, was a hard trial to me. I shall acquaint Madame 
Billow to-morrow with your kind sympathy. He 
^Biilow) progresses towards improvement with giant 
strides. Except a little deficiency in his memory, 
which, however, does not betray itself for days toge- 
ther, no intellectual change is to be perceived. But 
care, seclusion, and rest are still very desirable for him. 
True to the dignity of his character, he retires from 
office. You know, my dear friend, that he demanded 
his dismissal immediately upon the outrage upon Itz- 
stein.* The state of public affairs has now become much 
worse. Billow's resignation is a melancholy occurrence ; 
but the current of events is too strong in the north 
of Germany for any solid reconciliation to be effected 
by the exertions of a single man. Tell Professor Fichte 
that I am already an unworthy Doctor Philosophise, 
but I accept with gratitude all that is offered from the 
intellectually free regions of Wurtemberg. 

Affectionately yours, 


* Johann Adam von Itzstein, a well-known liberal member of the Second 
Chamber at Baden, born 1775, at Mainz. He was in 1831 a leader of oppo- 
sition, and hated by the Court party. In 1845 he visited Berlin, and was 
expelled by the police, and grossly insulted. It is to this circumstance to 


I inclose, for preservation, a beautiful letter from 
Prince Metternich, to whom I paid a visit at Johan- 
nisberg ; a letter from Lord Stanley,* the Minister, and 
two letters from Jules Janin and Spontini. 

With a book for the Countess of Stolberg. 



Vienna, June 21st, 1845. 

My dear Baron, Inclosed you receive my voting- 
paper for our future colleague. I hope that you will not 
look for the cause of my ready acquiescence beyond the 
sphere of my conviction. As regards the latter, a 
recommendation from you ranks so high, that the wish 
is immediately followed by its fulfilment. 

Your " Kosmos" I have read, and I treated the book 
in the same way as I am accustomed to deal with rich 

I cannot better describe the impression which the 
work makes upon me, than by confessing that it aroused 
in me two sentiments antagonistic to, or rather, neutra- 
lizing, each other one of satisfaction at the things 
which I knew, the other of regret at the many things 
which I did not know. These sentiments sink into 
nothing, compared to the admiration at the range of 
your knowledge, which alone could make the success of 
so gigantic an undertaking possible. With knowledge 
alone, however, the end which you proposed to yourself 
would not have been attainable. And here I come to 

which Humboldt refers in the above letter. Since 1850, Itzstein has resided 
upon his property of Hallgarten, in the Rhine Province, without taking any 
active part in politics. TR. 

* The present Earl of Derby. TR. 


the true merit of the author his powers of description 
and method! You have again brought to honour 
the old word discipline, as applied to the Sciences. God 
grant that it may regain its eternal rights in civil 
society as well ! 

Although my impressions are only of small value, 
the case is otherwise with those of professional men. 
Their judgment is heightened to admiration, and I 
agree with them in the opinion, that you alone amongst 
the living possess the power of solving the problem, 
and that the term " Kosmos " was the only one that 
could fittingly have described your undertaking. T told 
you that I had read the first volume, I am now engaged 
in the study of it. I thank you for the truly happy 
hours which you have afforded me such I call those 
which allow me to exchange the ungrateful field of 
politics for that of the Natural Sciences. 

Accept, my dear Humboldt, the renewed assurance 
of my sincere, and, to you, long-known affection, 



Hotel de VEtoile a Bonn, dimanche soir, 10 aodt, 1845. 

Monsieur,- Je vous prie et je vous supplie de m'ac- 
corder une chose impossible. Vous etes le plus bien- 
veillant ami des gens de lettres de mon pays, vous avez 
toujours ete pour moi le plus indulgent des hommes. 
Voici ma priere, s'il vous plait. 

II y a huit jours que j'ai quitte Paris, tout expres 
pour parler au " Journal des Debats" du voyage de 
S. M. la Eeine d'Angleterre sur les bords du Ehin. 


Avant mon depart j'ai eu 1'honneur de saluer le Eoi a 
Neuilly, et il a approuve mon projet. M. Guizot m'a 
fort encourage, disant que cela etait hospitaller de 
mettre a la suite de la Eeine un honnete ecrivain tout 
dispose a celebrer ces merveilleux pelerinages qui tien- 
nent PEurope attentive et charmee. En meme temps 
M. Guizot me donnait des lettres et des instructions 
dont je suis fier, tant de lettres me sont des recomman- 
dations honorables, tant mes instructions sont dignes 
de rhomme qui me les donnait. 

Maintenant, Monsieur, aidez-moi ! Ce que je soli- 
cite, ce n'est pas d'etre presente a S. M. votre Hoi, c'est 
de pouvoir mettre un pied dans cette foule Eoyale. 
On ne me verra pas, je verrai tout, ma mission est a 
remplir, sauf a me montrer digne de cet honneur par 
le recit que j'en saurai faire. Yous le verrez, c'estune 
imperieuse passion, c'est la passion de 1' ecrivain qui me 

Je n'ai pas de titres, mais s'il en faut un, dites, que 
je suis Lieutenant-Colonel d'une Legion, que j'arriverai 
en bel uniforme, et qu'enfin a faire du Men que les 
dignes ecrivains que le Eoi report a la table et a qui il 
a accorde en toutes ces circonstances importantes tous 
les honneurs, font des recits du temps present qui servent 
a 1'histoire de Tavenir. 

Je vous ecris sous les plus dignes auspices, sous les 
auspices de M. Meyerbeer. Vous lerendrez bien lieu- 
reux, j'en suis sur, et avec lui le " Journal des Debats," 
ou vous etes si fort aime, et avec tant de monde, moi 
votre serviteur. 

J'attends bien impatiemment et cependant avec la 
plus parfaite soumission, votre bonne reponse. Je 
suis bien sur que dans tous les cas, vous avez fait pour 


m'obtenir cette faveur, tout ce que pouvait se faire 

Agreez, monsieur le Baron, I'hunible hommage de 
mon devouement et de mon profond respect. 




Potsdam, 2Qtk September, 1845. 
To his dear Friend, Privy Councillor von Yarnhagen. 

Kings and Eepublics, 

Por lo que desio la conservacion de ellos dentro de 
los limites permitidos. TJn grave consejero dixo al Key 
Don Phelipe II., viendo que iva en diversas ocasiones 
al poder absolute : Sefior, reconoced a Dios en la tierra 
como en el cielo, por que no se cause de las monarquias, 
suave govierno si los Reyes suavemente usan de el. 

Cartas de Antonio Perez, p. 545. 

Lors de Tinsurrection des Pays-Bas on se demandait 
deja " si les Eois s'en vont." Je vous traduis le pas- 
sage d' Antonio Perez : " C'est parceque je desire la 
conservation des Eois que je leur conseille de rester 
dans leurs limites permises. Un prudent conseiller 
disait au Eoi Philippe II. voyant qu'en difierentes 
occasions il tendait au pouvoir absolu : ' Sefior, recon- 
naissez la suprematie de Dieu sur la terre comme dans 
le ciel, afin que Dieu ne se fatigue pas des monarchies, 
genre de gouvernement tres-doux, si Ton en use avec 
moderation,' ' 

El Dios del cielo es delicado mucho en suffrir com- 
pafiero en ninguna cosa y se pica del abuso del poder 


humano. Si Dios se cansa de las monarquias, dara 
otra forma al mundo. 

Le Dieu du ciel est trop jaloux pour suffrir un com- 
pagnon dans une chose quelconque : il est outre de 
tout abus du pouvoir humain. Si Dieu se lasse des 
monarchies, il donnera au monde (politique) une autre 




Potsdam, October 2nd, 1845. 

I kept that strange little note, with the prophecy, 
"qiie Dios se cansera de los Keyes" on my table for 
several days, with the intention, my dear friend, of 
bringing it to you. Whenever I find anything of deep 
meaning during my late and solitary night studies in 
this palace, I always think of you. Having been 
prevented by the arrangement " of the modus of 
Billow's resignation" from visiting you, my dear 
friend, I determined to send you the paper in an 
envelope. You must attribute it to the great indig- 
nation excited in me by the general state of our public 
affairs. Each day brings something worse, and where 
the future threateningly lowers, the greatest careless- 
ness prevails. 

I have just come from Tegel, where they will be 
glad to see you. They beg you, particularly during 
next winter, very often to gladden their house with 
your presence. 

OneDoctor Cross says, in a long article in the " West- 
minster Review," that the style of " Kosmos" was prolix 


and exceedingly mediocre; that the frequent appeals 
to the feelings were considered perfectly superfluous 
by English scholars, so that the book contained nothing 
new at all. There follows a denunciation of Atheism, 
although everywhere in " Kosmos" the creation and the 
created things are spoken of; besides, I have expressed 
myself eight months ago, in the French translation, 
most distinctly as follows : 

"C'est cette necessite des choses, cet enchainement 
occulte, mais permanent, ce retour periodique dans le 
developpement progressif des formes, des phenomenes 
et des evenements, qui constituent la nature obeissante 
a une premiere impulsion donnee. La physique, 
comme I'iixdique son nom meme, se borne a expliquer 
les phenomenes du monde naturel par les proprietes 
de la matiere ; le dernier but des sciences experimen- 
tales est done de remonter a Texistence des lois et de 
les generaliser progressivement. Tout ce qui est au- 
dela n'est pas du domaine de la physique du monde et 
appartient a un autre genre des speculations plus 
elevees. Immanuel Kant, du tres petit nombre des 
philosophes qu'on n'a pas accuse d'impiete jusqu* 
ici, a marque les limites des explications physiques avec 
une rare sagacite dans son celebre ' Essai sur la Theorie 
et la Construction des Cieux/ publie a Konigsberg en 

The behaviour of the Town Deputies is very noble : 
it is a delight and, withal, a wonder to find so much 
public spirit amongst people in such different stations. 
Hatred of one particular course unites but only 

It is, indeed, very wrong of me not to have sent an 
answer yet, to so excellent a man as the author of the 


" Eeligious Poetry of the Jews in Spain ;"* I wanted, 
before I did so, to read it, and terror at finding I had, 
on the 14th September, reached the seventy-sixth year 
of my age, threw me so entirely into the "Kosmos" 
that I thereby neglected even duties which were dear 
to me. I shall personally thank Dr. Sachs, and beg 
you, before I do so, to excuse I dare not say justify 
me to him. 

Most gratefully yours, 
Wednesday night. A. V. HUMBOLDT. 

The notice about Hormayr, which, however, in the 
political part, strangely breaks off in 1808, is very 
interesting. What a mass of works 150 volumes! 



Berlin, October 27th, 1845. 

I should be sorry, my dear friend, for a friend of 
Thiers, warmly recommended to me by him, to leave 
Berlin without having enjoyed the pleasure of seeing 
you. M. Thomas, one of the editors of the " Eevue des 
deux Mondes," is the author of a very important work 
on the ancient Provincial Constitution of France, com- 
posed from authentic records. I commend him to 
your indulgence. Yours, 

(In great haste.) 

* Dr. Moritz Sachs, a very meritorious Jewish savant at Berlin. TR. 




Berlin, November 30A, 1845. 

Gifts, my dear friend, are doubly dear, when they 
reach me through a hand like yours. I wrote at once 
to the excellent Countess. You are quite right in 
saying that that sweet poem proves the writer to have 
been wondrously imbued with her subject. 

It seemed more delicate to write to Baron Hormayr 
and not to the Baroness. May I beg you to inclose 
my note, if you approve of it in point of form. That 
liberal-minded man has for a long time been an object 
of my admiration. His literary activity astounds me. 
I have had the pleasure to-day of seeing Dr. Sachs. 
I shall be happy to give the King his book myself; 
but it is an epoch in which nothing remains fixed 
everything turns to airy images, which recur again and 
again, ominous and misshapen, in connexion with 
former fancies. Oftentimes one dreads the ulterior 
results of these incitements, by which it was hoped a 
better state of things would be produced.* 

How is it that " Kosmos" has achieved such an un- 
expected success? Partly, I suppose, from the train 
of thought which it awakens in the reader's mind, and 
partly from the flexibility of our German tongue, which 
renders word-painting (representing things as they 
really are) so easy. 

I shall call upon you, my dear friend, to thank 
you for the manner in which you have extolled Vol- 

* Humboldt's anticipations have been indeed fulfilled. TR. 


taire's intellectual and moral merit.* Your Kevela- 
tions are charming; but Duncker-Freytag, the recruit- 
ing officer, the sentry, and the laughable suspicion 
arising out of the nightly attempt upon Madame 
Denis, will always remain very mysterious. 

With unaltered attachment, yours, 

A. v. HT. 

I cannot forget Breul, the merchant. Minister 
Biilow was very, very sorry that you did not find him 
at home. You will be extremely welcome to him and 
his wife, every evening from half-past seven till nine. 



Thursday, January 15th, 1846. 

Mr. Milnes and what he may have said about the 
King, " who showed him no personal civilities,"! have 
little interest for me ; but I shall be very glad if my 
bold interference on behalf of Prutz has at last been of 
service to him. This is the miserable All that I can 
effect in my present position ; but I shall die in the 
conscientious conviction of never having forsaken, to 
the last day of my life, any of those who entertain 
opinions like my own. Your approval I prize highly, 
my dear friend. 

The " Quarterly Eeview " says that my style is 

* " Voltaire, in Frankfort-on-the-Main, in 1753." By K. A. Varnhagen 
von Ense. 

f This quotation is given in English in the original. TR. 



prolix, and that I could never write a page of " vivid 
expression."* With constant attachment, your 


Pardon me, like a true philosopher, for the half- 
sheet : I made a mistake in the address. 



Berlin, January 25th, 1846. 

An official dinner given at the Palace to the Fried- 
ensritter (Knights of Peace), f of whom I am the un- 
worthy Chancellor some dreadful hours at Billow's, 
whose case grows more desperate every day and a 
ball at the 'Palace, from which I have but just returned 
yet I cannot lay me down without thanking you 
briefly for your intellectual food. I glory in the retro- 
spect of a poetical age which has called forth a 
nobler I should say a more vigorous one ; but I 
gladly turn anew from the long " Threnody," j "the 
blue eyes and the black," and Besser's facetious 
rococo,^ to your "Zinzendorf." That is a great, a 
most successful life-picture; a form towering above 
all that our own deeply excited times produce in 
other directions. Your " Zinzendorf " always was 
read with admiration by my brother. How is its in- 
terest increased by what we see, or rather are looking 
forward to ! But where are, in the intellectual glaciers 

* Sic. in original. TR. 

f Members of the order pour le Merite. TR. 

J Haller's Trauerode is supposed to be meant, as Gentz was in the habit 
of quoting Haller to Varnhagen. TR. 

Court Poet and Master of the Ceremonies to Friedrich the First, the 
first king of Prussia. He was in 1684 and 1685 Ambassador in England, 
and died in 1728. TR. 


of the present time, personalities who can compare 
with Zinzendorf, Lavater, and Stilling . . . 

Most gratefully yours, 
Saturday nigU. A. V. HuMBOLDT. 

I have to-day expressed to Banke my horror at his 
conduct at a sitting at which I was not present, with 
respect to Preuss* a much loftier and nobler nature 
than his own. You have probably not yet received 
the papers in which I am immoderately praised and 
blamed. (" North British Keview," and " Quarterly 
Beview.") In Germany my prose is often found fault 
with as too poetical. In the " Quarterly Eeview " it is 
called heavy, devoid of all life, not a vivid description.^ 
How different are national sentiments ! 



Berlin, February 1th, 1846. 

The release of poor Biilow took place yesterday at 
noon. Thursday night at 11, as he was retiring to 
rest, he fell, as if dead, into the arms of his valet. A 
fit of apoplexy ! He closed his eyes, and never opened 
them again. Towards morning his pulse was 140 : 
bleeding had no effect. For some time before his 
death he had lost all consciousness. His family is 
sadly shocked. But the event is fortunate; his 
excellent wife would otherwise have sunk under the 
duties imposed upon her. We shall carry him on 
Tuesday quite privately to the Column in Tegel, that 

* Johann David Erdmann Preuss, the biographer of Friedrich the Great 
and editor of his works. TR. 
t Sic in original. TR. 

L 2 


supports the statue of Hope. In the midst of sorrows 
caused by his death, and letters to be written to 
Guizot, Metternich, and Aberdeen, I can only answer 
by a few words the beautiful and genial letter of 
Baroness Arnim. I have little hope that the old 
regents in Weimar will appoint Prutz or Fallersleben.* 
I had thought at first of Guhrauer,f whom I am sure 
you, too, would prefer. You know well how glad I 
should be at Prutz's appointment (I do not know 
Fallersleben personally) ; but the whole passage refer- 
ring to the lady's sick-room, the King, and myself, 
must be altered ; it rests on a false report. I never 
showed the book to the King, nor did I manage the 
withdrawal of the lawsuit with the King himself who, 
on account of his old Kulmbacher \ cousin, was, ever 
since the publication of the play, angry with its author, 
Dr. Prutz 1 but through Minister Bodelschwingh. On 
him Prutz had left an agreeable impression, which 
it was not difficult for me to improve. Prutz had 
petitioned to have the suit dismissed. (He had not, 
by the way, lost all his chances in it.) It was consi- 
dered advisable, as he had offered to meet the Govern- 
ment half-way, not to oppose him. The passage, 
" Our King should first be asked," must by all means 
be omitted. It would offend the Grand Duchess, 
who, on all occasions, insists on her independence of 
Prussia. She had even lately to defend Chancellor 

* Hoffmann von Fallersleben, the poet. TR. 

f G. E. Guhrauer, the biographer of Leibnitz and of Lessing. TR. 

J The '^Kulmbacher" cousin alluded to in Dr. Prutz's play, is the Margrave 
of Anhalt-Baireuth ; of one of the collateral branches of the Royal House of 
Brandenburg. TR. 

Ernst von Bodelschwingh, Cabinet Minister from 1844 to 1848, a 
gentleman of doubtful politics. Tp / 


Miiller, because a complaint was made by Prussia to 
the Court of Weimar of his having permitted a 
Journal which was interdicted here, to be read in one 
of the Weimar Clubs ! ! The Court of Weimar sent a 
dignified reply ; but it seems to me hardly probable 
that it would appoint either Prutz or Fallersleben. 
Credat Judtsus Apella. Pardon, to-day, my dear 
friend, this confused writing. 

Saturday. A. HT. 



Berlin, 2Qtk February, 1846. 

Can you guess, my dear friend, who sent me this 
remarkable pamphlet ? Do you guess anything from 

the seal, and the name on the address, "M ?" Is 

that the author, and to what journal may the article 
belong ? Profound it certainly is not, nor does it show 
any great political penetration. The passage on p. 8 
the author has himself underlined, and this very pas- 
sage contains a contradiction ! Prussia ought to find 
unity in an American-like confederation. The passages 
(on p. 3) referring to Friedrich II. and his works, and 
" Kant a Guillotine," p. 5, are exactly in the style of 
Minister Thile. I was indignant at both of them. 
The author knows the name of everybody; all the 
scandal of the street-porters (Eckensteler) is affected at 
the liberalism of Bodelschwingh (p. 14), who still con- 
tinues duly to justify the expulsion of the Baden 
deputies. He does not venture to visit Eichhorn with 


a word of reproach. Only the last line is grand and 

With unchanging affection, yours, 

Friday. A. V. HuMBOLDT. 


Berlin, March 29th, 1846. 

I have only just leisure to tell you, that I shall for 
certain be in Sans Souci from June till September, and 
to thank you heartily, my excellent friend, for the 
affectionate way in which you make mention of my 
brother's " Agamemnon."* To pick out with malicious 
spite exactly 16 lines out of 1 700 !! Some complained 
that they did not wish my brother's translation to be 
represented in a royal palace. Now, as the " States' 
Gazette" comes every evening into the hands of the 
King, they thought it was useful to abuse Wilhelm. The 
very next morning I answered the article in " Spener's 
Journal ;" but gently, because the very well-informed 
and unpoetical Dr. Franz now asks for an increase of his 
pension. I was myself on the watch to prevent the 
King seeing my reply. Return me the paper. At least, 
up to yesterday, he had never said anything to me about 
it. I am working at " Kosmos," not .unsuccessfully, I 
think ; but with a heavy heart, on account of public 
affairs. Your news from England are very interesting. 

With heartiest friendship, your, 
Sunday. A. V. HuMBOLDT. 

* Wilhelm v. Humboldt's translation of the Agamemnon of ^Eschylus. TR. 



Berlin, 30th March, 1846. 

Again I forward you a few autographs, of little im- 
portance in number ten from 
Yillemain ; 
Bessel ; 
Victor Huo : 

O ' 

Eiickert (you have several of his) ; 

Manzoni (filled with praises of me, but not in good 


The widow of Lucien Bonaparte ; 

Three notes from the Duchess of Orleans. 

I add to these fugitive leaves a letter to the King, 
which I most earnestly beg of you not to let anybody 
see, and to return me to-morrow, because I might want 
it. I will give you the letter by-and-by. It sometimes 
happens that the King, instead of writing me a note 
in reply, writes his answer on the letter itself. He 
did so yesterday. The Ministers would be content to 
wink at the gymnastics of the suspicious Dr. Mass- 
mann, of whom the King is very fond, and whom he 
wishes to retain here. My letters will show you, at 
any rate, that I speak my mind ; and how the wrong 
forces its way in, and people deprive themselves of all 
means for free action. 

Your old and attached friend, 





This morning, as early as eight o'clock, I sent to the 
Kb* then Strasse, in order to arrange, in compliance 
with Your Majesty's confidential mission, an interview 
with Professor Massmann* upon the present crisis in his 
affairs. He has just quitted me, having again left a 
glorious impression of solidity, clearness of thought, 
and enthusiastic energy in influencing youth, that 
indestructible, ever youthful institution of humanity. 
To be mistrustful of all inspiriting agencies, is to 
deprive the State of its nourishing and sustaining 
power. It is now two years since Professor M. 
has seen Minister von Bodelschwingh, but the 
latter had then treated him very kindly ; and now it is 
the wish of Massmann, without obtruding himself, to 
be in a position to answer any question without em- 
barrassment. As I anticipate great things from this 
interview, considering the noble and open charac- 
ter of Minister von Bodelschwingh, I must very 
humbly beg Your Majesty to let me be informed, 
whether, according to the orders you have given, the 
Minister is to send for Professor M., or whether 

* Hans Ferdinand Massmann was born at Berlin, 1797, and is now Pro- 
fessor of Mediaeval German Language and Literature in the University of 
that city. One of Heinrich Heine's betes noires, a promoter and teacher of 
gymnastics according to Jahn's system, which, in 1820, were put down as 
demagogical. In addition to the works named in the above letter, he pub- 
lished a magnificent commentary on the " Germania " of Tacitus. He also 
collected and edited the literature of the " Dance of Death," and wrote the 
" History of Mediaeval Chess." He was summoned to Berlin in 1842, by the 
Prussian Government, and intrusted with the foundation of a National 
Institution for Gymnastics. TR. 


the latter is to take the initiative and call upon the 
Minister, as being induced to do so by expressions of 
Your Majesty. That Massmann's great merits in elu- 
cidating the poetry of the Hohenstaufen period, and 
the talent which he evinced in the lecture room, can 
have been forgotten, surprises me greatly. 

In Gervinus' " History of German Literature" I find 
the following works noticed with approbation : Mass- 
mann's "Monuments of the German Language/' 1828 ; 
his " Poems of the Twelfth Century/' his " Legends/' 
and " Songs of Chivalry." How should a man be 
dangerous to the young, whom the King of Bavaria 
had appointed tutor to his princes, and from whom 
the Prince Koyal boasts to have received the most 
beneficial incitements to intellectual freedom, and 
the fulfilment of his future duties as a ruler? The 
times we live in are not melancholy, but earnest. 
The sphere of influence and action becomes narrowed 
so soon as we allow suspicion to prevent us from adopt- 
ing the best powers at our command. Enthusiastically 
attached to your person, to the splendour of your reign, 
and glory of the fatherland, I feel deeply afflicted when 
your noblest intentions are in danger of being mis- 
understood. Certainly there are very estimable people 
who, from mere affection towards Your Majesty, would 
be glad to see me either under the Column in Tegel, or 
once more on the other side of the Bhine, With grate- 
ful devotion, Your Majesty's most faithful, 

Berlin, March 29th, 1846. 

(The King wrote on the back of this letter :) 
Heartiest thanks, dearest Humboldt. M. Bodel- 


schwingh will send for Massmann. In haste, as 
ever, your faithful, 

To Alexander v. Humboldt. F. W. 




Konigslerg, February I2t?t, 1846. 

I have learnt, with sorrow, that your Excellency 
has to mourn the loss of Baron Biilow. Although I 
had not the good fortune to know him personally, I 
knew the sincere love of the uncle for the nephew, and 
often heard how enthusiastically it was returned. I 
knew him, moreover, by repute, as high-minded, 
talented, and sagacious. Would that I could speak 
words of consolation, such as I heard when my severe 
loss befell me !* But it is not given to every one to 
utter them. That time stanches the bleeding wound, 
which at first appeared as though it would never close, 
I have found from my own experience; and that 
death after short suffering is preferable to death after 
long suffering, is a truth which has often forced itself 
upon me ! 

The Chancellor, Baron Wegnern, communicated to 
me, on the 27th ult., the letter which he received from 
your Excellency. It contains the first news which I 
have received since the 7th November last year, on 
the subject of the portrait with which His Most Gra- 
cious Majesty thought to confer happiness on the poor 
sufferer. That its tidings were gladsome and soothing 
to me you may naturally suppose. Ever since the first 

* The loss of his son. See Letter XLVI1L TR. 


ray of hope shone on me, it has incessantly occupied 
my mind. It has even awakened some superstition, 
since I connected with it the circumstance of my 
health having improved so much during the whole of 
December, as to excite in me the liveliest hope. This 
prospect of recovery, thought I, is granted me that I 
may still, for some while longer, enjoy the happiness 
which the dear picture of my honoured master is cal- 
culated to bestow ! a prospect which I cannot pretend 
formerly to have entertained, seeing that the expe- 
rience of myself and others differ as often as they 
agree ; and the result of my meditations on this mystery 
is this, that it belongs to the innumerable mysteries 
which lie yon side the curtain, dividing us from the 
great secrets of our own nature and those which Nature 
herself has placed between first causes and things per- 
ceptible around us. True, I made allowances for 
the rising superstition, by reflecting on the indis- 
putable axiom, that vivid and cheering influences on 
the mind and spirit manifest themselves through reac- 
tion on the body. But why, then, has not the latter 
shown itself in my case ? Be that, however, as it may, 
this fact remains the picture of the King has ever 
been before my eyes in sleepless nights, and every 
morning gave me hopes that day might bring me 
tidings of it. 

, I can well understand that the care for the welfare 
of millions of subjects, equally dear to the heart of 
the monarch, rules the ruler himself; that it compels 
him to surrender to the pressure of the moment 
the adjustment of the countless and conflicting in- 
terests around him. I, therefore, fully comprehend 
that the King, even if he does not forget benefits 


which he wishes to dispense, as he does those which 
he has dispensed, cannot pledge himself within any 
definite time to the accomplishment of that which he 
designs for me. I feel, moreover, well assured that I 
am standing on a mine, which may at any moment 
explode, and that to-day is, therefore, not master of the 
destinies of to-morrow. I thought it prudent, there- 
fore, to confine to my own breast the hope that was 
working within it, of possessing that dearest of all 
portraits, and not even to disclose it to my wife or 
daughters until I could receive such further news of 
its actual fulfilment as circumstances admitted. An 
extreme aversion to spreading news which the next 
moment might prove unfounded, based on a sad expe- 
rience that falsehood and distortion are ever in wait 
for such occasions ; moreover, a fear of imposing, by 
too early circulation of the report, a sort of constraint 
(sit venia verbo) on the King ; all these considera- 
tions seemed to me to make inviolable silence a 
necessity. But when your Excellency's letter to Baron 
Wegnern spread the news without my intervention, 
and when the near accomplishment of my hopes 
presented itself to me, the obligation of silence on 
my part ceased ; and from that moment I began to 
revel, by anticipation, in the enjoyment of possessing 
the portrait. 

The very next day (28th January) I committed to 
paper the testamentary directions which should dis- 
pose of the picture at my death. I consider it as the 
common property of our country, not only from the 
idea connected with it, that "it might give pleasure 
to the poor sufferer" but also for various other rea- 
sons. I, therefore, did not wish to leave it to my 


family ; but after long and careful reflection, down to 
the 27th of January, to bequeath it to my native town 
of Minden, in such form that the highest military and 
civil authorities of the province, together with the 
mayor of the town, should decide the place and mode 
of its future preservation. Moreover, on that very 
28th of January, I took active steps towards executing 
other plans connected with the hope thus graciously 
afforded me. These plans have occupied me much 
during the last few months. In order appropriately 
to receive the portrait of our highly-revered monarch, 
it is requisite that the place where I intend to have it 
hung should be put in the best possible order; I, 
therefore, passed sentence on the present fittings and 
furniture of the rooms, and ordered a new set, as lux- 
urious and tasteful (for a professor you must recollect !) 
as I could devise. The orders for the execution of 
these measures were immediately despatched, so that 
the opening of the navigation in spring will con- 
vey to me all that I can wish for. I shall find fault 
with no one who calls me foolish for pursuing plans of 
improvement in my dwelling-place whilst the proba- 
bility of my soon leaving it is overwhelmingly great ; 
but were I to defer it, the prospect of the King's por- 
trait arriving would trouble me, instead of, as it now 
does, raising me above my many woes. If I do but 
enjoy the sight of that picture for a single day, my 
passage from this world to another will be, if through 
a narrow, through a lovely border land ! 

One thing more I will add before I cease weary- 
ing your Excellency with the train of consequences 
which have flowed from the priceless, anxiously- 
expected gift of my liege lord. Chancellor von 


Wegnern has commissioned Professor Simson* to 
express to me a wish that I would cause a notice, 
with reference to the picture, to appear in the public 
prints. I declared myself opposed to that course, 
partly from the reasons I have before given you, 
and partly because such notice would come more 
appropriately after the picture had been received. 
Should this arrival happen when I no longer have the 
power to write, Simson knows what the notice should 
contain, to be in accordance with my wish. 

Oh ! how I long for once to gaze upon the beauteous 
sight which Biela's Comet now presents ! Wichmann, 
here, did not observe anything of it on the llth of 
January. The cloudy sky was perhaps the cause 
of it ; but on the 1 5th he clearly saw both heads 
of the comet. Next day he gave me an account 
of it by word of mouth, but I could gather no clear 
notion on the subject believed, indeed, that what he 
called a second comet's head was only an accumulation 
of nebulae, such as other comets, too, have already ex- 
hibited in greater or smaller distance from the real 
head. I charged him at his next observation to make 
as true a sketch of it as he could, and let me have it. 
The state of the sky, and the frequently low positions 
of the Comet, delayed the drawing and measurements 
till the 26th of January. Since that time, the second 
head of the Comet has been observed with the greatest 

* Martin Eduard Simson was at this time not so important a person as 
he subsequently became. He was a native of Konigsberg, born 1810 ; be- 
came Professor of Jurisprudence, and in 1848 was elected a Deputy for Konigs- 
berg in the Frankfort Parliament ; in this Assembly his influence was great, 
and he acted successively as Secretary, Vice-President, and President. He 
belongs in politics to the Gotha party that is, the Constitutionalists. At 
the present time (1860), he is President of the Second Prussian Chamber. 


attention. The observations of it made here, are the 
first among those which hitherto have become known. 
In all places, attention has been drawn to it, and 
measurements made ; so that, in spite of the season of 
the year, we may expect a beautiful series of observa- 
tions, which may produce great results. As far as the 
matter has been developed to the present moment, I 
think that I must recognise again a working of polar 
forces. The further pursuit, however, will justify, I 
hope, a more than superficial opinion. 

Owing to the use of the incomparable heliometer, 
the observations of the new planet have been conducted 
with an exactitude far exceeding that of the best obser- 
vations of the meridian. The full benefit of its use 
will not, however, be enjoyed unless the positions of 
the stars with which it is compared, are determined 
with equal accuracy. The whole force of the meri- 
dional observations is, therefore, brought to bear on 
the latter, and at my suggestion, Dr. Busch is not 
troubling himself about the planet itself. I have also 
requested Encke and Schumacher* to assist in deter- 
mining the position of the stars. The former has 
received from hence a series of excellent observations 
to serve as materials for determining the orbit, and will 
receive a continuation of them in a few days. It is 
most fortunate that I arranged and published in the 
first volume of my "Astronomical Researches" the 
result of the extensive investigations I had made into 
the exact reduction of observations by means of the 
heliometer ; but for that, in my present useless state, 
Wichmann would be unable to reduce exactly, and 

* Encke, Director of the Observatory at Berlin ; Schumacher, Director at 
Altona. TR. 


would thus lose the interest which attaches to the 
observations of the planet only during the first period 
of observation, and is consequent upon the immediate 
calculation of the observations. 

I hope that Encke's calculations will obtain, by 
means of this basis, such an accuracy as will, at the 
re- appearance of the planet, be proved perfect within a 
few seconds. 

At last, to conclude, with deepest respect, till death, 
Your Excellency's most obedient, 


Note ly Humloldt. The last letter but one that I received from 
that great and noble-minded man. 



20 mars, 1845. 

Yous avez bien voulu, Monsieur le baron, et illustre 
confrere, me promettre que vous accepteriez de ma 
main "Notre-Dame de Paris," et etre assez bon pour 
vous charger de Tonrir en mon nom a votre auguste 
Koi, pour lequel vous connaissez ma sympathie et mon 
admiration. Je joins a " Notre-Darne de Paris'' mon 
discours si serieux a 1' Academic. Je serais heureux 
que vous eussiez quelque plaisir a accueillir cette 
marque de ma haute et profonde consideration. 

Le votre 





Berlin, March, 1846. 

I had the misfortune to miss your Excellency twice, 
when calling to express my thanks for your kindness 
and affability : and as I am off to-morrow to my rural 
solitude, I bid you heartily farewell for the summer. 
God grant you many a long day wherein successfully 
to accomplish your great work a work which, at this 
moment, lies nearer to my heart than any of my own. 
A monument of honour, I look upon it, for Germany 
its representative before all Europe. As a German, 
I am proud you have not written it in French. 

I would also beg leave to introduce to you my eldest 
son, now occupied in private tuition at Jena. He must 
now try his fortune with your Excellency, by the 
delivery of this letter. 

In conclusion, I beg of you to intercede for me with 
their Majesties, whom I was not fortunate enough to 
see this winter. May it be vouchsafed me to produce 
something worthy of their approval and of yours. 
You, I trust, will be assured that my disposition un- 
suits me to appear before the public of a capital, and 
is rather suited to cultivate the Muses in the quiet soli- 
tude of the country ; and thither I am about to retire, 
grateful for the high favour of the King, and full of 
the sincerest veneration for your Excellency. 






Milan, 6 decembre, 1844, 

Monsieur le Baron, Je n'avais pas hesite a ex- 
primer ma confiance dans nne auguste et parfaite 
bonte ; mais, au lieu d'une juste confiance, c'eut ete de 
ma parte une presomption impardonnable, que d'oser 
prevoir sous quelle forme ingenieusement aimable cette 
bonte daignerait se manifester. J'ai done acquis une 
seconde fois le droit precieux (on me ferait presque 
oublier que c'est un devoir sacre) de prier Yotre Excel- 
lence de mettre aux pieds de votre noble Eoi 1'humble 
tribut d'une reconnaissance, devenue, s'il est possible, 
plus vive et plus profonde. Et, dusse-je paraitre indis- 
cret, je ne puis renoncer a saisir cette occasion de 
renouveler le respectueux hommage des voeux que, 
comme habitant de ce monde, et, a ce titre, nikil 
humani a me alienum putans, j'avais, depuis longtemps 
dans mon coeur. Get hommage cesserait d'etre pur, 
et perdrait ainsi son unique prix, s'il entrainait le plus 
leger sacrifice de ma conscience catliolique, c'est a dire, 
de ce qui est Tame de ma conscience. Mais, grace a 
Dieu, il n'en est pas ainsi ; car, parmi les caracteres 
et les signes de la haute destinee, que je salue de loin, 
avec une joie respectueuse, il m'est donne d' admirer et 
d'aimer le developpement de I'ceuvre la plus excellente 
de la justice, qui est la liberte du bien. 

Mon admiration pour vous, Monsieur le Baron, 
quand meme elle ne se contenterait pas d'etre le simple 
echo d'une si grande renommee, ne doit pas vous 
surprendre ; car, si, comme j'entends toujours dire, il 


n'y a .pas de savant qui n'ait quelque cliose a appren- 
dre de vous, il est peu d'ignorants a qui vous n'ayez 
appris quelque chose. A ce propos, et ail risque 
d'abuser de votre indulgence, je ne puis vous taire 
mon esperance d'avoir un souvenir de Humboldt, sou- 
venirs moms precieux sans doute que ceux que je dois 
a sa bienveillance, mais qui aura aussi son prix. Moii 
eoncitoyen, le Comte Alexandre Lito Modignani, dans 
un voyage, qu'il a fait, guide surtout par vous, dans 
I'Amerique meridionale, a ete chercher, sur la mon- 
tagne de Quindia, les magnifiques Ceroxylons a Tepoque 
de la maturite des fruits, en a fait abattre un, et a bien 
voulu, a son retour, me faire part des semences qu'il 
en avait recueillies. Mises en terre le printemps passe, 
aucune n'a encore leve ; mais les ayant visitees derniere- 
ment, je les ai trouvees toutes saines, et il y en avait 
deux oii Ton voyait un leger renflement a la base. Je 
serais heureux, et meme un peu fier de posseder quel- 
que individu, et assez rare, je crois, du peuple ancien 
et nouveau, que vous avez conquis a la science. 

C'est avec le plus profond respect, et, permettez-moi 
d'aj outer, avec cette affection qu'on eprouve toujours 
pour un grand homme, et qu'on souhaite tant de lui 
exprimer, que j'ai Thonneur d'etre de Votre Excellence 
le tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur, 


Note by Humboldt. Written to A. Humboldt on the occasion of 
his refusing the Civil decoration of the Order of Merit. I had to 
write to him to say that he might retain his liberty in its fullest 
extent, and need never wear the Cross ; but that a name so great 
and so illustrious as his, must not be wanting in the list of the 
Knights of the Order. 

M 2 




Paris, aout, 1845. 

Monsieur ! Je prends la liberte de vous adresser 
un jeune fran^ais, plein de talent, de connaissances et 
de curiosite. II veut connaitre 1'Allemagne, et Berlin 
en particulier. Je n'ai pas cru pouvoir 1'adresser 
mieux qu'au savant illustre qui fait les honneurs de 
Berlin aux etr angers. Perraettez-moi de vous le reeom- 
mander d'une maniere toute speciale. M. Thomas est 
mon ami particulier, et 1'ami de tous vos amis de Paris. 
Veuillez d'avance tous mes remerciments pour 
1'acceuil que vous voudrez bien lui faire, et recevoir 
Tassuranee de mon attacliement et de ma haute con- 




Paris, mai, 1845. 

Je vous adresse, Monsieur le Baron, un exemplaire 
de ma refutation a M. Thiers, au sujet des paragraphes 
attentatoires de cet historien a la memoire de mon 
inari. L'estime que vous lui portiez, ainsi que votre 
cher frere et votre estimable belle-sceur pour moi tous 
les deux de douce et noble memoire, me fait esperer 
que vous recevrez avec interet ce temoignage de tous 
les sentiments que je professe pour vous, Monsieur le 


Baron, et dans les quels je vous prie de me croire votre 

veuve Bonaparte Lucien, 


Tuileries, 12th February, 1845. 

I will no longer keep the treasure you have intrusted 
me with, and from which I have derived such real 
enjoyment. Once more, my heartiest thanks for send- 
ing it. Let me hope before long to have fresh matter 
for my gratitude. You see selfishness keeps the upper 
hand in me after a most unjustifiable fashion. 

Your Excellency's well-wisher, 



Neuilty, I2tk May, 1845. 

Your Excellency will have to submit to being often 
pressed into my service ; to-day, however, I appear 
before you with a grand request no less than that 
you will give me and my cousin of Weimar,* the 
pleasure and profit of your company in a visit to Ver- 
sailles. We think of making the trip on Thursday. 
The King invites you, for that evening, to dinner and 
theatricals at Trianon. If you are courageous enough 
to undertake this altered pilgrimage with us, I beg 
your Excellency to be here at Neuilly by half-past 11 

* Prince Edward. TR. 


on Thursday, to accompany us in our ramble. Should, 
however, other engagements detain you, pray send me 
a candid confession. 

Accept the expression of my sincere regard for your 




(Winter, 1845.) 

I missed at Trianon the satisfaction of bidding your 
Excellency farewell, and reiterating my thanks for 
your noble work. Allow me now, in sending a 
few lines to my beloved cousine* to take the oppor- 
tunity of doing so, and to express once more my heart- 
felt wish of being able, ere long, to welcome your 
Excellency again on French soil. 

With sincerest regard and esteem, 

Your Excellency's well-wisher, 




Potsdam, Kind April, 1846. 

The permission to read in your presence has grati- 
fied me extremely ; and although I must ascribe much 
of your warm and kindly praise to a goodness of heart 
which delights in giving pleasure to an aged friend, 
there yet remains enough to give me great satisfaction 

* The Princess of Prussia (mother of Prince Friedrich Wilhelm) of the 
House of Saxe- Weimar. TR. 


in my inmost heart. The wielding of our noble, 
pliant, harmonic, descriptive language, is but a secon- 
dary consideration. I shall certainly find an oppor- 
tunity of availing myself of your excellent advice 
touching Memming * and Madame de Sevigne. I 
have also taken with me the somewhat turgid Seneca 
(Qucest. natur.), with the view of rummaging his 

But now for the object of this note. The King 
said to me yesterday as he was retiring to rest, " Let 
Bettina know that she may make herself quite easy as 
to the principal - party. f There has never been any 
thought of giving him up to the Russians." Myself: 
" You ought to write and tell her so yourself." The 
King : " Yes, I hope I shall." He expressed on the 
occasion a very kind feeling towards Bettina. 

Your attached friend, 

Wednesday. A. V. HuMBOLDT. 

What a sad thing this the eighth attempt at 
assassination ! { Strange that Ministers and Cabinet 
Councillors are so rarely fired at. Such events make 
one the more uncomfortable, as the probability or im- 
probability of their recurrence is absolutely beyond 
all calculation. 

* Paul Flemming (born in 1609, died in 1640,) a poet, best known by his 
spiritual hymns. TR. 

f During the Polish democratic insurrection of 1846, Mieroslawski was a 
leading personage ; he was taken prisoner and condemned to death at the 
great trial in 1847, but the sentence was commuted to perpetual imprison- 
ment. In the March days of 1848 he regained his liberty. TR. 

J The attempt at assassination made upon Louis Philippe on the 17th 
April, 1846, at Fontainbleau. TR. 




Potsdam, ISthMay, 1846. 

I send you, my dear friend, for your collection, a 
very remarkable letter of Prince Metternich, winding 
up in a strain half theological. It is spirited and 
elevated in style, and towards its conclusion expresses 
some little dread of Pantheism. 

Your old and sincere friend, 

Monday. A. V. HUMBOLDT. 



Vienne, ce 10 mai, 1846. 

Mon cher Baron ! Vous trouvez ci-joint mon 
vote.* Je le donne en conscience et vous absous du 
crime de rintrigue electorate qui court le monde. Le 
Eoi et son Chancellier sont des appreciateurs integres 
du merite scientifique, et je sais marquer la place qui 
m'appartient dans les avenues de la science et qui a 
mon vif regret est loin du sanctuaire 1 

Ce que je viens de vous dire, mon cher Baron, n'est 
ni de la forfanterie ni un exces de modestie ; c'est tout 
bonnement Thistoire de ma vie. Vous ne la connaissez 
pas, cette histoire, et je vais vous la center en peu de 

J'ai dans 1'age oil la vie prend une direction, eprouve 
un penchant que je me permettrais de qualifier d'irre- 

* Note by Humboldt. Le prince a vote pour M. Hermann de Leipzig. 


sistible pour les sciences exactes et naturelles, et un de- 
gout que j'appellerais absolu pour la vie d'affaires 
proprement dites, si je n'avais vaiiicu mon degout 
irresiste a mon penchant. C'est le sort qui dispose des 
hommes, et leurs qualites comme leurs defauts decident 
de leurs carrieres. Le sort m'a eloigne de ce que 
j'aurais voulu, et il m'a engage dans la voie que je n'ai 
point choisie. Une fois lance, je me suis soumis sans 
perdre de vuece vers quoi porterent mes inclinations, 
et il m'est resulte, que ce que j'eusse desire pouvoir 
regarder comme le but de ma vie intellectuelle, n'en 
est devenu que le soulagement. Le Eoi m'a imprime 
la marque d'un savant. Je sais a quoi m'en tenir a 
cet egard. S'il s'agit du cceur, le Eoi ne s'est point 

Ce que vous me dites de la prochaine apparition du 
second volume du " Cosmos," m'en fait attendre 1' etude 
avec un vif desir ; on ne vous lit pas, on vous etudie, 
et la place d'un ecolier me va en plein. Personne n'est 
plus appelle que je le suis, a rendre justice a votre re- 
marque relative a 1'influence que le christianisme a 
exercee sur les sciences naturelles,* comme sur 1'hu- 
manite eiitiere et des lors sur toutes les sciences, car 
cette remarque s'est depuis longtemps fait jour en moi. 
Elle est d'une complete justesse et sa cause generatrice 
et simple comme le sont toutes les verites, celles ap- 
pergues comme celles inappercues, circonstances qui 
ne changent rien a 1'essence d'une verite. Le faux 
mene au faux, comme le vrai conduit au vrai. Aussi 
longtemps que 1'esprit s'est maintenu dans le faux, 

* Note by Humboldt. J'avais dit sur la vivacite du sentiment de la 
nature ; j'avais compare St. Basile a Bernardin de St. Pierre. 

A. HT. 


dans la sphere la plus elevee que 1'esprit die riiomme 
puisse atteindre, les consequences de ce triste etat, ont 
du reagir dans toutes les directions morales, intellec- 
tuelles et sociales et opposer a leur developpement dans 
la droite voie, un obstacle insurmontable. La bonne 
nouvelle une fois annoncee, la position a du changer. 
Ce n'est pas en divinisant les effets, que ceux-ci ont 
pu etre suivis dans les voies de la verite ; leur re- 
cherche est restee circonscrite dans la speculation 
abstraite des philosophes et dans la verve des poetes. 
La cause une fois mise a convert, les cceurs se sont 
mis en repos et les esprits se sont ouverts. Ceux-ci 
sont longtemps encore restes enveloppes dans les 
brouillards de la sceptique paienne quand enfin la phi- 
losophie scolastique a ete debordee par la science ex- 
perimentale. Trouvez-vous mon raisonnement juste ? 
Si vous le trouvez, je ne suis pas en doute que vous ne 
partagiez ma crainte, que les progres scientifiques ve- 
ritables courent le risque d'etre arretes par des esprits 
trop ambitieux, qui veulent remonter des effets a la 
cause, et qui trouvant la route coupee par les limites 
infranchissables que Dieu a posees a 1'intelligence 
humaine, ne pouvant avancer, se replient sur eux- 
memes et retournent a la stupidite du paganisme en 
cherchant la cause dans les effets ! 

Le monde, mon cher Baron, est fort dangereuse- 
ment place. Le corps social est en fermentation ; vous 
me rendriez un bien grand service, si vous pouviez 
m'apprendre de quelle espece est cette fermentation, si 
elle est spiritueuse, acide, ou putride ? J'ai bien peur 
que le verdict ne tourne vers la derniere de ces es- 
peces, et ce n'est pas moi qui pourrais vous apprendre 
que ces produits ne sont guere utiles. 


Veuillez recevoir les reinerciments des miens pour 
votre aimable souvenir et Tassurance de ma vieille 




Berlin, 30th May, 1846. 

You may, my dear friend, not be indifferent as to the 
possession of the poem of the Crown Prince of Bavaria.* 
The language is less unpalatable than the Walhalla 
style,f and some passages in it are tender, though of 
no very great poetical pretensions. 





Potsdam, 14th November, 1846. 

What a brilliant reception, my dear friend, the fifth 
volume of my brother has met with at your hands ! 
Forgive me, pray, if, owing to the sad pressure of 
business on the cold " historical hill,"J I omitted, in 
sending it, to add some few words of kind remem- 
brance. With you I deplore the omissions to which 
you so kindly draw my attention. I think what is 
wanting might be supplied in the next volume. It was 
thought that the letters ought to be printed just as 

* Maximilian, the present King. The poem is upon the death of the 
Princess Wilhelm, whose daughter he subsequently married. TE. 

f The style of King Louis, the founder of the Walhalla, near Eatisbon, 
who is famous for the " lapidary" terseness of his language. TK. 
Sans Souci. TK. 


my brother had prepared them for publication, and as 
they had been offered for sale. In no nation, I believe, 
can there be found another such as he, whose life was 
dedicated to the task of enriching the world of thought. 
How delighted am I with the prospect of once more 
seeing issue from your hands a masterpiece of sharply- 
defined, lively, yet delicate delineations of social and 
diplomatic incidents. 

With unalterable attachment, 

Yours gratefully, 


It may, perhaps, not have been quite prudent, in a 
monarch historically great, to yield (albeit in the illu- 
sory atmosphere of Versailles) to the temptation of con- 
trasting the memory of the barricades with a spectacle 
a la Louis XIV.,* and, for the sake of very uncertain 
gain, to have created great difficulties for his successor. 
The behaviour, however, of Palmers ton and Albert- 
Victoria is churlish and in bad taste. Meanwhile, the 
sober Anglo-Americans are founding a western World 
Empire, threatening the commerce of the Chinese. 

My MS. "On the Tissues of the Ancients," p. 106 
and p. 113, appears to have been lost among the 
papers left by Wolf.f The " Effect of Church Music," 
p. 323, contains many finely written passages. 

In the year 1846, we find the following remark in Yarnhagen's 
Diary : " In discussing the capacity of one of the younger Princes 

* A reference to the Spanish marriages. TR. 

t Friedrich August Wolf, the distinguished philologist, chiefly known by 
his Homeric theory. He was intimate with both the Humboldts, who some- 
times forwarded their papers to him for his opinion. TR. 


of * * *, an opinion was expressed that it was but small. Hum- 
boldt disputed it. ' I deny that,' said he, ' I have lately held a 
conversation with him. Meeting me in the apartments of his 
mother, he said, "Who are you?" I said, "My name is Hum- 
boldt. ' ' ' ' And what are you ?" "A Chamberlain of His Maj esty . ' ' 
" Is that all ?" said the Prince, and he turned upon his heel and 
walked away. Unquestionable proof that, I think, of genius !' " 



Berlin, 28A November, 1846. 

I will say nothing to-day, my dear friend, about 
the glorious volume of your memoirs. You seem to 
succeed in everything you undertake. My object is 
to introduce to you M. Graluski, a talented Frenchman, 
who is better acquainted with Germany than you or I, 
and the writer of an Essay on A. W. Schlegel. He 
will stay here only a few days. Keep the autograph 
of Barante.* 

Saturday. A. V. HUMBOLDT. 



Berlin, 6th December, 1846. 
It may, perhaps, be some time, my dear friend, be- 

* Letter of Introduction for M. Galuski from Barante to Humboldt. TR. 

f Baron Guillaume Prospere Brugiere Barante, a French statesman and 
savant, born 1782, in Auvergne. He was Prefect of La Vendee, and after- 
wards of the Lower Loire. During the Hundred Days, he resigned his post, 
and after the second Restoration he entered the service of the Government 
of Louis XVIII., in the Ministry of the Interior. In 1819 he was called to 
the Chamber of Peers, and formed one of the party of Broglie and Talley- 
rand. After the Revolution, in 1830, he was sent as Ambassador to Turin, 
where he remained till 1840. Among his works, the " History of the Dukes 
of Burgundy, of the House of Valois, 1364 1477," made the most sensa- 
tion. TR. 


fore you see the " Cinq Jours de Berlin," in which the 
Berliners (for they are introduced as the speakers) 
treat me as a tolerably agreeable gossip ; they use me 
morally, but not altogether kindly. If my sayings 
are utterly devoid of consistance, I fear for the per- 
manence of the world-fabric, the Kosmos. M. Bar- 
riere must certainly have paid you a visit on the sixth 
day, and it is you who have instilled all this into him. 
On Prussia's role, and M. de Canitz, that paper con- 
tains some precious morceaux (Cracomand). 

For your collection of autographs I send you a com- 
plimentary letter of Mignet's to me, and one written 
by myself in 1801, from Indian Carthagena, a turning 
point in my life. The letter was addressed to Citoyen 
Baudin, then circumnavigating the globe with Perron; 
it was written at a time when probably no one in 
Europe retained the title of Citoyen. Baudin, instead 
of doubling Cape Horn and fetching me at Lima, had 
gone round the Cape of Good Hope to Australia. 
Your old and attached friend, 



I inclose a charming letter of my brother's to 
Korner. It will be published in the sixth volume. I 
must ask you to return me this copy of it. 



Paris, Ijuillet, 1846. 

Monsieur le Baron et tres illustre confrere. Yous 
n'aurez pas la peine a croire combien j'ai ete heureux 
et flatte d'apprendre que le volume sur " A.ntonio 


Perez et Philippe II." vous avait inte'resse' et avait 
obtenu une approbation aussi eieve'e que celle de votre 
Eoi. Le suffrage d'un Prince qui joint tant d'esprit a 
tant de savoir et qui est un des juges litte'raires les 
plus inge'nieux et les plus surs, ne pouvait qu'etre du 
plus haut prix pour moi. Aim que le livre qui a ete 
honor<5 de cet auguste suffrage en soit plus digne, me 
serait-il permis de vous prier, Monsieur et tres illustre 
confrere, de I'offrir a votre souverain, sous la forme 
nouvelle, a la fois plus complete et plus acheve'e, que 
je viens de lui donner ! C'est un respectueux hom- 
mage que le Eoi de Prusse a encourage* par Texpression 
de son indulgent e satisfaction et auquel vos bonte's 
pour moi, m^nageront, j'en suis sur, un accueil 

Je prends la liberte* de vous adresser aussi, pour 
votre bibliotheque, un exemplaire de cette nouvelle 
Edition. Des documents inattendus et fort curieux 
dont j'ai pu faire usage pour exposer, dans toute leur 
v^rite, les projets de Don Juan d'Autriche, le meurtre 
d'Escovedo et la disgrace de Perez, rendent 1' Edition 
pre'ce'dente imparfaite. 

Mais j'ai hate de vous parler du premier volume 
du " Cosmos," qui m'a e^e* remis de votre part, et ou 
vous avez si admirablement montr^, pour me servir 
d'une de vos belles expressions, " Tordre dans Tunivers 
et la magnificence dans Tordre." Je Fai lu avec le 
plaisir le plus vif et le plus profitable. C'est une ex- 
position, pleine d'enchainement et de grandeur, des 
ph^nomenes et des loix de 1'univers, depuis ces loin- 
taines n^buleuses d'ou la lumiere n'arrive a nous qu'a- 
pres deux millions d'annees jusqu'aux revolutions qui 
ont preside a Torganisation actuelle de notre planete 


et ont per mis a Thorn me de paraitre, de vivre et de 
dominer a sa surface. Pour tracer cet immense tableau 
dans la fe'coride varie'te' et sa majestueuse harmonie, il 
fallait, comme vous, posseder fortement toutes les 
sciences, avoir vu la nature sous ses aspects les plus 
divers et 1'aimer profonde'ment, unir enfin une imagi- 
nation poetique a une intelligence sure et vaste. 
Achevez vite ce bel ouvrage pour votre gloire et notre 
instruction, et agre'ez, tres cher et tres illustre con- 
frere, 1'expression de mes remerciments, de mon ad- 
miration, et de mon affectueux devouement. 




Carthagene des Indes, le 12 wril, 1801. 
Citoyen, Lorsque je vous embrassais la derniere 
fois rue Helvetius a Paris, et que je comptais partir 
pour 1'Afrique et les grandes Indes, il ne me restait 
qu'un faible espoir de vous revoir et de naviguer sous 
vos ordres. Vous etes instruit sans doute par nos 
communs amis les C. C. Jussieu, Desfontaines . . . com- 
bien mon voyage s'est change, comment les Barba- 
resques m'ont empeche de partir pour TEgypte, com- 
ment le Eoi d'Espagne ni'a accorde la permission de 
parcourir ces vastes domaines en Amerique et en Asie, 
d'y ramasser tous les objets qui peuvent etre utiles 
aux sciences . . . Independant et toujours a mes pro- 
pres frais, mon ami Bonpland et moi avons parcouru 
depuis deux ans les pays situes entre la cote, 1'Ori- 
noko, le Casiquian, le Eio Negro et 1'Amazone. Notre 
sante a resiste aux dangers enormes que presentent 


les rivieres. An milieu de ces bois nous avons parle 
de vons, de nos visites inntiles chez le C. Francois 
de Neufchatel, de nos espoirs trompes. Sur le point 
de partir depuis la Ha vane pour le Mexique et les 
Isles Philippines, il nous est parvenu la nouvelle com- 
ment votre Constance a su enfin vaincre toutes les 
difficultes. Nous avons fait des combinaisons, nous 
sommes surs que vous relachez a Valparaiso, a Lima, 
Guayaquil. Nous avons change a 1'instant nos plans, 
et malgre la force des brises impetueuses de cette 
cote, nous sommes partis sur un petit Pilotboot pour 
vous chercher dans la Mer du Sud, pour voir si reve- 
nant sur nos anciens projets, nous puissions reunir 
nos travaux aux votres, si nous pouvions parcourir 
avec vous la Mer du Sud . . . Un malheureux passage 
de 21 jours depuis la Havane a Carthagene nous a 
empeches de prendre la route de Panama et Guayaquil. 
Nous craignons que la brise ne souffle plus dans la 
Mer du Sud et nous entreprenons de poursuivre la 
route de terre par le Eio de la Magdalena, S. Fe, 
Popajan, Quito . . . 

J'espere que nous serons au mois de juin ou com- 
mencement de juillet a la ville de Quito, ou j 'attendrai 
la nouvelle de votre arrivee a Lima. Ayez la grace 
de m'y ecrire deux mots sous Tadresse espagnole al 
Sr. Baron de Humboldt, Quito, casa del Sr. Gover- 
nador Bn. de Caroudelet. Mon plan est au cas que 
je n'entende rien de vous, mon respectable ami, de 
visiter le Chimboraco, Losca . . . jusqu'au novembre 
1801, et descendre en decembre ou Janvier 1802 avec 
mes instrumens a Lima. 

Vous verrez par cette narration, mon respectable 
ami, que le climat des Tropiques ne m'a pas rendu 



phlegmatique, que je ne connais pas de sacrifices 
lorsqu'il s'agit de suivre des plans utiles et hardis. Je 
vous ai paiie avec franchise ; je sais que je vous 
demande plus que je vous offre, je ne puis croire meme 
que des circonstances particulieres pourraient vous 
empecher de nous recevoir a votre bord . . . En ce 
cas cette lettre pourrait vous embarrasser, elle vous 
embarrasserait d'autant plus que vous nous hoiiorez de 
votre amitie. J'ose vous prier de me parler Tranche - 
ment, je me rejouirai toujours d'avoir eu le plaisir de 
vous voir, et je ne me plaindrai jamais des evenements 
qui nous gouvernent malgre nous. C'est par cette 
franchise que vous me donnerez le signe le plus pre- 
cieux de vos bontes pour moi. Je continuerais alors 
ma propre expedition depuis Lima a Acapulco, Mexico, 
aux Philippines, Surate, Bassora, la Palestine Mar- 
seille. Mais j'aime mieux croire que je puisse etre des 
votres. Le C. Bonpland vous presente ses respects. 
Salut et amitie inviolable. 


Note ly Humloldt. Cette lettre ecrite au Capitaine Baudin a 
mon arrivee a Carthagene des Indes (en venant de la Havane) m'a 
eterendue, le Cap. Baudin n'ayant pas relache a Lima. 


Berlin, en Nov. 1846. 



Sunday, 21st February, 1847. 

I do not know if I have shown you a very charming 
letter of my brother's, written at Eome in 1805, on 
the occasion of Schiller's death. It was brought to 


light only a few days ago, and will be published in the 
next volume of his works. I likewise inclose from 
among those received this week a very kind letter 
from Prince Metternich, and a very wooden and feeble 
one from Prince Albert. Metternich has published, 
at his own expense, a magnificent work, a description 
of his collection of fossils at Konigswarth. He may, 
perhaps, in this, have had some slight ulterior design 
viz., the appointment of himself, instead of Kolowrat, 
as President of the new Academy of Sciences. As to 
Prince Albert I had, at his request, when he was at 
Stolzenfels, ordered a copy of my " Kosmos " to be 
laid in his apartment, and he had the politeness not to 
thank me for it. Now the Black Bird* has made him 

polite, at least partly that, and partly He makes 

me speak of " revolving Seas of Light and Terraces 
of Stars ;" a Coburg reading of my text, quite English,^ 
from Windsor, where all is full of terraces. In 
"Kosmos" there occurs once (p. 159) the expression 
Star-carpet, to explain the starless spots by openings 
in the firmament. The book on Mexican Monuments, 
which he makes me a present of, I bought two years 
ago. A fine illustrated edition of Lord Byron's works 
would have been a more delicate compliment. It is 
strange, too, that he never mentions Queen Victoria ; 
who, perhaps, does not find my book on Nature suffi- 
ciently Christian. You see, I judge severely when 
Princes write. 

Please to return Metternich and Albert soon, as I 
have not yet answered them. Wilhelm's letter, too, I 
must beg you to let me have again by-and-by; it 

* The Prussian Order of the Black Eagle. TR. 
f Sic. in original. TR. 

N 2 


is the only copy there is, and I have given the original 
away to Schlesier,* who was most anxious to have 
something in my brother's handwriting. 

Your old and attached friend, 




Wien, Felruar, 1847. 

Mon cher Baron ! Je commencerai cette lettre par 
vous feliciter de la nouvelle marque d'honneur que le 
Hoi vient de vous donner. L'Aigle, sous I'ombre des 
ailes duquel sub umbra alarum vous avez su tant 
produire, se presentera bien sur votre poitrine ! Suum 
cuique ! 

Voici ce qui me reste a vous dire ! 

Vous savez que je ne suis pas un savant et que je 
n'ai point la prevention d'en etre un; vous savez 
parcontre que je suis ami des sciences, et c'est dans 
cette qualite que j'ai fourni a des savans les moyens 
de mettre au jour F opuscule dont je vous envoie le 
premier exemplaire. J'espere que vous en trouverez 
Texecution convenable. Je crois etre aujourd'hui en 
possession de la collection la plus complete qui existe 
des monumens d'une epoque, dont je n'ai pas la pre- 
tention de fixer la date, dont la Gossan renferme des 
restes sans nombre. L'histoire qu'ecrivent les hommes 
embrasse un point imperceptible dans celle dont la 
nature possede les materiaux. Ce n'est pas moi qui ai 
donne mon nom a une Ammonite ; ce sont les editeurs 

* Dr. Gustavus Schlesier, a friend of Varnhagen, editor of the works of 
F. Gentz. TR. 


de 1'opuscule. Ce que je sais, c'est que mon nom et 
meme celui d'Ammon, etait ignore quand mon iilleul 
etait en vie ! 

Mi lie sinceres hommages, mon cher Baron. 




Windsor Castle, *lth February, 1847. 

Honoured M. le Baron, Whilst reading the first 
volume of your "Kosmos," I have constantly felt 
called upon to reiterate my thanks for the great intel- 
lectual pleasure which the study of it has afforded me. 
True, I am unable to make you the return of expressing 
an opinion, entitled to any weight, as to the merits of 
this admirable work, which I have received from your 
own hands. In order, however, that, in the absence 
of such an opinion, I may still impart to the expression 
of my gratitude at least some apparent weight, I offer 
you the inclosed work (Catherwood's "Views in Central 
America"), which, as a sequel to your own large work 
on Spanish America, may perhaps commend itself to 
your attention. I need not say with what lively ex- 
pectation I am looking forward to the publication of 
the second volume of " Kosmos." 

May Heaven,* of whose "revolving Seas of Light and 
Terraces of Stars" you have given us so noble a descrip- 
tion, preserve you for many years to the Fatherland, 

* The German " Himmel," means both Heaven and the heavens. T. 


the world, and to "Kosmos" itself, in unimpaired fresh- 
ness of body and mind. This is the sincere wish of 

Yours, very sincerely, 




Berlin, 27th February, 1847. 

Here, my dear friend, you have at length my letter 
of thanks for Carriere, with three very warm introduc- 

You were right in scolding me for my too great 
severity against the Man of the Star-Terraces. I am 
severe only with the mighty ones, and this man 
made an uncomfortable impression on me at Stolzen- 
fels. " I know that you sympathize greatly with the 
misfortunes of the Russian Poles. Unfortunately, the 
Poles are as little deserving of our sympathy as the 
Irish" mihi dixit! And we are the handsome husband 
of the Queen of Great Britain ! 

I hasten to-day to Potsdam, to fetch all the manu- 
scripts which have fortunately arrived from Erfurt. 
Madame von Biilow writes, that there is in them a 
long and beautiful passage concerning our dear Rahel, 
and much that is complimentary to you. 

Your attached friend, 

Saturday. A. V. H. 




Berlin, 11th March, 1847. 

I have been more virtuous than you give me credit 
for, my dear friend. I have quite done with the 
first volume of the " Letters"* (Theresa's property). I 
have scarcely found anything to alter, and on the 
whole, have, suppressed at the outside as much as 
would fill three to four pages bread and butter affairs, 
domestic details, a few attacks of Madame Diede on 
Duke Charles of Brunswick, who would be sure to take 
his revenge by slandering her virtue. There is in 
them much that is beautiful, both as regards language 
and thought : a life-picture of the very rarest kind 
an utter disregard of all human happiness and unhap- 
piness, in so far as it does not tend to narrow the 
range of ideas much that is biblical and doctrinal in 
Christianity a medley of stoicism, and contempt of 
the events of the day and yet, with all that, much 
of delicacy and tenderness in a correspondence which 
was continued to within four days of his death, written 
011 lines, to enable the trembling hand to write at all. 

Occasionally, lovers' squabbles, qui mimpatientent, 

* Charlotte Diede, the daughter of a country parson, had become acquainted 
with Wilhelm Humboldt, when a young man, at Pyrmont. Referring to this 
fugitive acquaintance, and to a passage he there had written in her album, 
she, many years after, addressed herself to Humboldt, when he was a 
minister, on the subject of her own unfortunate circumstances. Hence arose 
the famous correspondence known as " Wilhelm von Humboldt' s Letters to a 
Friend ;" also translated into English, and alluded to in the above letter of 
A. v. Humboldt to Varnhagen. The manuscript of these letters of W. 
v. Humboldt was left as a legacy by Charlotte Diede to Therese vim 
Bacheracht, a well-known German novelist. TK. 


which, however, I have left untouched, in order to abate 
nothing from the impression of Wilhelm's powerful 
individuality. Let me repeat, that I have never struck 
out more than five to six lines at a time ; all that I have 
suppressed as tedious and irrelevant, amounts to three 
to four written, and scarcely two printed pages. Where, 
however, you meet with a very great deal, often as 

much as half a page, struck out thus 

this is the doing of the old lady herself. Maybe, the 
" Daughter of the Taubenheim Pastor"* has had some 
morbid attacks of prudery. The ink will prove to 
you, that I have had no hand in these obliterations. 
The first volume contains a fine passage, referring to 
Theresa, and much in praise of the King of Bavaria. 
In the second volume, there is a description of Eahel, 
which will give you pleasure. Bettina, as Madame von 
Biilow tells me, is less kindly spoken of. This I shall 
certainly modify. 

I hope to be able to put the whole of the first 
volume in your hands by Tuesday ; the second shall 
soon follow. I will bring it to you in due time, with 
notes and fac-similes (which must be abridged), inclosed 
in a tin box, with a padlock. You will then have the 
entire treasure in your hands. Salvavi animam meam. 
The whole will raise a fearful and fruitful outcry, and 
call forth the most conflicting opinions. 

In sincerest friendship, yours, 

A. v. HT. 

Have the kindness to try and manage to have the 

* The title of a well-known ballad of Burger's which has passed into a 
designation of-girlish timidity and prudery. TB. 


book printed away from Berlin, and, if possible, not to 
have it advertised until it is ready for publication. 

I hope my letters for Carriere have duly come to 

Varnhagen wrote in his Diary, 30th March, 1847: "Just as I 
got home, comes Humboldt, and brings me a heap of manuscript 
the letters of his brother to Madame Diede. Humboldt takes as 
desponding a view of matters here as myself; but he consoles him- 
self with the reflection that the (octroyee] Constitutions that have 
been granted are radically good-for-nothing, and that in the long 
run some good will come out of it all. He is prepared for violence 
of every kind police savagery, popular fury, armed interference. 
The King, he thinks, has not the least inkling of it ; he is intensely 
happy, has got up his Opening Speech, and bestows no further 
thought on the llth of April and its consequences. To Humboldt 
he never said one word about the Parliament. In Michelet' s* 

* Professor Extraordinary of Philosophy at the University of Berlin, and 
one of the editors of Hegel's works. From the death of Altenstein in 1840, 
Eichhorn, in the interests of the Pietist party, had been constantly intriguing, 
but without success, to obtain the removal of Michelet from this post. At 
length, in 1846, the latter, in an Address to the Students of Berlin, upon the 
occasion of their presenting him with a silver cup, made use of an expression 
which Eichhorn endeavoured to represent as amounting to the advocacy of 
Revolutionary principles. This also failed of its effect. In 1847 the attempt 
was renewed. In June of that year Michelet published an Essay, which was 
construed into an instrument of disaffection, and legal steps were taken by 
the " Pietists " to obtain his removal. The University, feeling this to be an 
infringement of their privileges, made a move against these attempts of the 
Pietists, which party the King had so greatly favoured. The Kector of 
the University, Bockh, under the circumstances, addressed himself to Hum- 
boldt, who spoke to the King upon the subject ; the result was, that, although 
Eichhorn obtained the dismissal of Michelet on the 15th April, 1847, the 
King made the proposition at the same time to suspend the matter upon 
condition that Michelet abstained from making any further speeches of thia 
tenor, if not, the Decree was immediately to take effect. The Minister had, 
however, in this way, been enabled to cut off any appeal. The Senate of the 
University, impressed with the illegality of this proceeding, petitioned the 
King to cancel the Minister's Decree, as contrary to law. The King replied, 


affair, Eichhorn has egged on the King into a state of extraordinary 
exasperation ; it will, however, scarcely be feasible to dismiss 
Michelet, notwithstanding that the King wishes it, and the Minister 
urges it." 

On 31st March, 1847, Varnhagen adds the following remarks : 
" Humboldt, besides, told me yesterday, that the King had implicit 
faith in Don Miguel, Don Carlos, and the downfall of the dynasty 
of July, and hoped to be able to go to Paris, in order to compliment 
the legitimate sovereign. Moreover, he, Humboldt, was himself 
looked upon as a Jacobin, who had his tricolor in his pocket. I, on 
the other hand, was considered a royalist; but the King was preju- 
diced against me : it was inconceivable that my old friend Canitz 
did nothing to dispel these prejudices of the King's, and that I was 
not consulted nor intended to be employed in anything that was 
going on now. "Wittgenstein,* also, had often spoken to Humboldt 
in the same strain. They forget one thing, that I cannot and will 
not, both equally positive. 

" The nobles are terribly excited ; a sudden and complete change 
has come over them ; their pride is rising in mighty wrath. 
The foul fiend himself could have devised no more effectual means 
by which to exasperate the whole class, than this abortion of an 
Upper House. 

" A dream ! I saw the King in an agony of tears, exclaiming, 
' Have matters come to this ? Well, I will give way ! Let every- 
thing be made over to my brother, and may he succeed better than 
I have done !'" 

that out of regard for the Senate, he would pardon Michelet, if he would un- 
conditionally express his regret for what had taken place. This, however, 
Michelet refused to do, and proposed to the Rector of the University to urge 
upon the King that he should be allowed to retire upon a pension. As the 
Rector declined this course, Michelet appealed to the King himself, to whom 
he declared his inability to seek for pardon, because such a course implied 
the acknowledgment of guilt. Hereupon the King replied that the suspension of 
Michelet should not be removed, as the latter, instead of expressing his regret, 
had attempted to justify himself. He was, however, permitted to continue 
his Professorial functions. The year 1848 produced, amongst other results, 
the abrogation of this Decree of suspension. TR. 

* Prince Wittgenstein, Minister of the Royal Household. TK. 


On 3rd May, 1847, Varnhagen noted down the following plea- 
santry of Humboldt's : " Humboldt said, in jest, that a certain 
Baron von Hassow* had said in the Parliament, that the holding of 
liberal opinions was in itself disreputable ; if that were so, he, 
Humboldt, must be doubly disreputable, because Minister von 
Bodelschwingh looks upon an author in much the same light." 

On llth July, 1847, Yarnhagen remarks: " This morning 
Humboldt called quite unexpectedly, hale and active. He insists 
that he has not been really ill. He says, the King is, just now, 
living in a whirl of pleasure, often merry beyond all bounds, giving 
no thought to the Parliament unless reminded of it. Then, indeed, 
he turns grave and gloomy. The Ministers are highly incensed, 
especially Savigny and Eichhorn ; Bodelschwingh, perhaps, most of 
all, as he even now incites the King to take sharp measures. Canitz, 
on the contrary, is now soothing and conciliatory. Bodelschwingh 
can never forgive the Parliament for having snatched from him 
the victory, the Premiership, which he had so long dreamed of. 
Humboldt is now arrived at the last sheets of his second volume ;f 
he will go to Paris in September." 



Berlin, 1 8th January, 1849. 

That I have not thanked you sooner, my dear Yarn- 
hagen (for your kind presents, letter, and congratula- 
tions), and that I do so to-day so laconically, you will not 
attribute to any decrease in my true esteem and friend- 
ship. I enjoy, indeed, now, for the first time, what 

* Baron von Massow, Intendant of the Royal Gardens, and High Chamber- 
lain, died 1859. Tn. 
t Of " Kosmos." TR. 


none but yourself can be permitted to call a " Plain 
Address." Since then everything has assumed a more 
terrible, but at the same time a more hopeful form. 
But to this danger people can oppose only brute ma- 
terial force, and they do not know how to pluck the 
fruit which is offered :* they rather wish to let it 
go to others. "Bomuald's Vocation"! certainly 
deserves to be chastised ; what an abuse of distin- 
guished talent ! Nous en causerons as soon as I have 
got over the Chapter of the Eoyal Order, and the bustle 
of the academical elections for my Order ; la petite piece 
by the side of the great World-Drama. Your old and 
attached friend, 

A. v. HT. 

The King has never been praised in a more noble 
way than in the " Plain Address." 

The Pamphlet, "Plain Address to the Germans on the Question of 
the Day, Berlin, 1848,"]; was written by Yarnhagen. But he him- 
self, only a few months after, made the following entry, with reference 
to it, in his Diary, on the 10th May, 1849 : "I am reading over 
again what I printed, as late as August last year, about Friedrich 
"Wilhelm the Fourth, and what I had written after the day of 
homage in the autumn of 1840 ; and how do I feel now ? Whatever 
my occupation, waking or sleeping, I am constantly haunted, like a 
nightmare, by these questions of the day ; although I know well 
that they are only of the day, that retaliation is sure to come, and 
that the future will bear rich fruit. Arise then, my country, 
arise ! Thou must pass through the throes of civil war. Go valiantly 

* The Imperial Crown of Germany, offered to the King of Prussia by the 
Frankfort Parliament. TR. 

t Eomuald, ou la Vocation. Par M. de Custine. Paris. 1848. 4 Vols. 
Schlichter Vortrag an die Deutschen iiber die Aufgabe des Tages." 


on thy way, and may the guilt of all the blood that is shed rest only 
on the heads of those who force thee to enter upon this path ! It is 
not the momentary successes, but the failures that advance the popu- 
lar cause here." 

"We must here mention a further visit of Humboldt to Yarnhagen. 
The latter writes in his Diary, 12th February, 1849 : " A visit from 
Humboldt. He looks upon it as absurd on the part of Ministers to think 
of going before the Chambers, as they could not even find men to fill up 
their body; even a fellow like Kiihl wetter* 4 would refuse to join them. 
My expression, that the Constitution graciously granted by the King 
was merely the thick husk inclosing the germ of a new Revolution, 
which would come to maturity, frightened him a little ; but he was 
much amused with the King's 'having been at issue with logic for 
the last eight years.' He tells me that the King had greatly wished 
to re-appoint Canitz Minister of Foreign Affairs ; that Eichhorn was 
likewise allowed again to tender advice, and that, like the wife of 
Privy Councillor * * *, he spoke of the ' Pietist party,' as if he had 
never belonged to it himself. 

" The ' Staatsanzeiger 'f gives the Austrian note touching German 
affairs. Austria refuses to leave the Confederation, and states at 
once the points which she will never consent to, viz., no sovereignty 
of the people no other head but Austria. A slap in the face for 
Prussia, for Frankfort, and especially for Gagern.J There it is ! 
How everything plays into the hands of the Republic !" 

* Kiihlwetter, Minister of the Interior in 1848, founder of the Berlin Con- 
stabulary. TR. 

f The Prussian Official Gazette. TR. 

J Henry von Gagern, the President of the National Assembly at Frankfort, 
who proposed a plan, according to which Austria was to have left the German 
Confederation, but would have remained connected with it by a strictly 
defensive alliance. Til. 




Potsdam, \th August, 1849. 

Whenever I have cheated myself into the belief that 
I have written some few lines that please my ear, I 
invariably ask myself whether they would please you, 
too, my excellent friend. You know, or rather you do 
not know, that the Princess of Prussia has deposited a 
magnificent album, with many autographs and illumi- 
nated initials, in the Palace at Weimar, in the rooms 
devoted to the memory of Goethe and Schiller, and to 
that of those men whom Schiller has reviled in his let- 
ters to Korner, Herder, and Wieland. I have been 
obliged to write a Preface to it, which Galuski has very 
felicitously translated. The Grand Duchess wished a 
French version to be inserted in the Album for the 
benefit of non-German visitors. Eeceive with indul- 
gence this trifling sign of life from your friend. The 
bloodstained horizon vastly displeases me. 

Your old and sincere friend, 




Potsdam, \5th October, 1849. 

I hope, my excellent friend, that my "Aspects of 
Nature," augmented, and, as to two-thirds of it, com- 
pletely altered, is at last in your hands ! Owing to 
an unfortunate confusion caused by my long absence 
from Berlin, it so happened that precisely you, in 


whose hands I should like best to see my favourite 
work, have received it so late. Perhaps you will 
kindly cast a glance at the contrast between the noc- 
turnal stir in the woods, and the stillness when 
the sun is at its meridian, Vol. I., 333 and 337 ; on 
the golden visions of young Astorpilco, II., 35. 
With every feeling of affection and friendship, 


In haste. 

Add to your autographs a very graceful letter of the 
man who is now said to be in Brussels. The phrase 
li votre fortune morale" is applied with great freedom. 
But, the newspapers all of them begrimed with 
blood-stains ! What a year, when all the feelings of 
man are brutalized ! 



Richmond, cell sept. 1849. 

Mon cher Baron ! Je viens d'apprendre par des 
feuilles de ce jour, que le 9 septembre 1769 vous a vu 
naitre, et que vous venez de celebrer ainsi votre 80 e 
anniversaire. Pres de vous je me serais joint a vos 
amis pour vous offrir mes vceux; a la distance qui 
nous separe, je m'avance seul vers vous et vous dirai 
en peu de mots, que je rends grace a la puissance qui 
vous a donne des facultes qui ont rendu votre nom 
imperissable ; naitre est peu de chose ; utiliser la vie 
est beaucoup. Vous comptez parmi les plus riches, et 


vous avez fait un bien noble usage de votre fortune 
morale. Que Dieu vous conserve en sante et en vie ! 

Becevez, mon cher baron, avec 1' expression d'un 
voau dont vous ne mettez pas en doute la sincerite, 
celle de mes sentiments de devouement et d'amitie, 
dont la date est ancienne, comme tout ce qui est place 
entre nous ! 




Potsdam, 29th October, 1849. 

My dear Friend, A German letter of the Duchess 
of Orleans, to whom these many years I have been in 
the habit of sending my books, for which she has a 
particular liking. She writes now a hand which to 
me is such a sealed book, that I most earnestly beg 
you, with your old diplomatic skill of deciphering, to 
transcribe her lines for me. They appear to contain 
some passages about politics. The contents will be 
interesting to you. I, therefore, may the more readily 
reckon on your indulgence. 

Your faithful friend, 




Your Excellency, I beg to offer to you my most 
heartfelt thanks for the proof of your kind remem- 
brance of the hours spent by us together in quite 


recent times, which, owing to the rapid course of 
events, seem already to belong to an antediluvian age. 

I perceive with joy and gratitude that our con- 
versations in my red drawing-room in the Tuileries, 
and at St. Cloud, ever present to me, have not become 
estranged from your memory ; and I thank your Ex- 
cellency for this fidelity of feeling, which, in these 
times, acquires a double value. 

Thanks to the kindness of my beloved cousine* I 
had already enjoyed the newly published work ; which 
hearts tried by the vicissitudes of life, and minds 
troubled by the disturbed state of the world, must hail 
as a refreshing spring. My son, too, has found in it 
much wherewith to quench his thirst for information. 
How many thanks do I not owe you, nevertheless, for 
having sent me this jewel, the value of which is 
enhanced by your letter which accompanies it. 

How gentle and truly apposite are your words : 
" Men are working in this moment at a fable convenue ; 
aiming in part at the Impracticable, which they do 
not themselves believe ! " But where will the light 
appear which is to lead them to clearer insight ; and 
what events will not be requisite to convince them of 
the futility of the most contradictory demands? I 
share your Excellency's belief as to the short duration 
of the present calm. I see in it no sign of satisfaction ; 
but simply apathy and indifference, the influence of 
which enervates, but cannot convince. Who is able 
to fathom the future? The riddle of to-morrow 
remains hidden from us ! So much the more stringent 
reason for us to await in silent patience the problems 
which coming years must be left to solve. The delay 

* The Princess of Prussia. TR. 


shall not, however, rob us of our courage or our resigna- 
tion ; on the contrary, our energies shall only be steeled 
by it. 

The King,* during my visit to England, made 
many inquiries after your Excellency's health ; the 
Queen also received with great interest the news 
which I was able to give her. They retain in the 
most kindly memory your frequent visits in Paris. 
My children wish to be recalled to your recollection, 
to which I likewise hope from time to time to be 

With sincere esteem and gratitude, 
Your Excellency's well wishing 

Jttsenach, 23rd- Oct., 1849. HELENE. 



Potsdam, 31st October, 1849. 

A thousand thanks, my excellent friend, for the inter- 
pretation. How have political storms destroyed that 
writing, once so fine, or, at any rate, so distinct ! 
The " beloved courier," was my reading of the " be- 
loved cousine," the Princess of Prussia, who first com- 
municated to the Duchess the new " Yiews."f 

A short speech which I delivered to the Town 
Delegates of this place, and in which I alluded to 
the views of my brother, a native of Potsdam, on the 
free development of political life, has been published 
with a great many misprints in Spiker's newspaper. 
Here you have it from my own hand, as I wrote it 

* Louis Philippe and the Countess of Neuilly. TR. 
t In " Kosmos." 


down immediately after I had delivered it. I should 
have been glad if a correct version of the answer had 
been given in the " Constitutional Gazette," or some 
other truly liberal paper. 

Your old and attached friend, 
Wednesday Night. A. V. HT. 


I think, my most respected fellow townsmen, that 
I cannot express to you my heartfelt thanks in a more 
forcible manner than by assuring you that you have 
just now afforded me a pleasure as great as the honour 
conferred upon me is unexpected. I will not mar the 
pleasure that I feel, by asking how I can have deserved 
of you and your beautiful town such a rare distinc- 
tion ? Guided by the highest principle, you have, in a 
manner worthy of yourselves, not only evinced your 
care for the material welfare of your fellow citizens, 
but have proved your sympathy and respect for those 
exertions connected with the progress of knowledge, 
education, and the general culture of man. I accept 
with pride the honour of your gift as a reward for part 
of those exertions to which the whole of my long and 
active life has been devoted. Owing to the favour 
of two noble-hearted monarchs I have, for two-and- 
twenty years, had the happiness of being, almost 
uninterruptedly, your fellow townsman, and of finding, 
amid scenery in which the beauties of nature are so 
lavishly displayed, those incitements, without the im- 
pulse of which no animated description of Nature, pro- 
fessing to rise to the contemplation of the powers that 
regulate the Universe, is possible. It is with feelings 
of gratitude that I have adorned almost all my later 

o 2 


writings with the historical name of your town, which 
is so dear to me, and within whose walls besides, 
in 1767, my brother was born that brother whose 
name is cherished in the memory of those who have 
preserved freedom of mind for those extended views of 
political life, progressing in steady course of develop- 
ment. A. v. HUMBOLDT, 

On the occasion of his being presented 

with the Freedom of the City of 




Potsdam, 4th November, 1849. 

How happy you have made me, my dear friend, by 
your agreeable communication from England. But, 
for the sake of my brother's memory, and in order to 
answer those who slanderously misrepresent my stay 
at this Court, I am very anxious to have my answer 
to the Potsdam Town Delegates correctly reported in 
a liberal newspaper. I should like to send it to the 
" Constitutional Grazette," which has not yet made any 
mention of the affair. I have, however, no copy, 
except the slip of paper which I sent to you. Have 
the kindness to return it to me soon. 

How important is the news from Paris ! That reck- 
less personage* will, perhaps, obtain the Consulat a 
vie (to which the words duree et stabilite allude;) but 
he will fall notwithstanding, and wake the slumbering 
Hon. Liberty will not be a loser by it, and the German 

* His Majesty Charles Louis Napoleon, Emperor of the French. Tn. 


statesmen (are there any beside H. v. Gagern?) will 
then find out, that there is in Central Europe the 
France of 1789, which people, ever since last year, have 
railed at as a nonentity. The centres of gravitation 
are shifting. 

With sincerest friendship, 

Sunday. A. HT. 



Berlin, 19 th March, 1850. 

My best thanks, dear friend, for the kind letter you 
have given to M. Kio,* who had been praised to me 
before by Cornelius, Olfers, Eadowitz,t and the King 
himself, for his book, " De TArt Chretien/' The new 
incarnation of an envoy to the Erfurt Parliament, 
and the surveillance of the latter in the interest of 
the Prince-President, has rather surprised me but 
Eaffaelle himself had several styles. 

With sincerest friendship, and in anxious expectation, 


Tuesday. A. V. HUMBOLDT. 

* M. Rio, to whom allusion is here made, and. who was sent as correspon- 
dent for the Prince-President's Government to Erfurt, is by profession an 
artist, and not a diplomatist. TR. 

f Cornelius, the celebrated painter ; Dr. von Olfers, Director- General of 
the Royal Museums ; General von Radowitz, the well-known friend and 
adviser of Friedrich Willhelm IV. Tu. 



Potsdam, 2nd July, 1850. 

I am delighted, my dear friend, at receiving from 
your hand, in this gloomy reactionary time, so pleasant 
a token of remembrance. I am delighted, too, with 
your trip to Kiel' to that small district where German 
spirit speaks out, consistently and freely. The present 
state of the world may he compared to the water-bottle 
which D'Alembert shook, so as to give rise to an irre- 
gular configuration of bubbles. He then, in derision 
of hydrostatic knowledge, in which he was himself 
nevertheless so great, called out, " Calculez moi cela /" 
Many of the bubbles will burst before diplomacy has 
been able to calculate their transitory form. 

I shall express to M. de Froloff my warmest thanks. 
I tried in vain to dissuade him from having the work 
interspersed with a mass of explanatory notes and illus- 
trations, which were meant to make it more easy of 
comprehension. He aimed at what was simply impos- 
sible, and seemed to understand little about the form 
of composition. I shall not tell him anything of all 
this. Hybridizing never succeeds in literature. 

I have been very unwell, indeed confined to my 
bed ; now, however, in spite of the distractions of life, 
I am well, diligent, and dull. 

Your old friend, 





(Copied by Varnhagen.) 

Berlin, 7th June, 1851. 

You could not well doubt, my dearest Baroness, 
that I should, with the greatest readiness, meet 
your wishes in respect of so sterling a composer as 
* * # Labouring under the malevolent prejudice of 
being a hater of music, which, having been incurred 
by my brother, has been transferred to me by the 
King, my own voice on a matter on which I am never 
consulted, is necessarily somewhat toneless, especially 
when church singing is in question. What between 
Warsaw,* Olmiitz,t Eussian Grand Dukes, \ and, to 
mention something of a higher order, Eauch's inspi- 
riting, mighty work, it was impossible to obtain a 
hearing. Warsaw has now been succeeded by consti- 
tutional Hanover the visit to your and my Eoyal 
friend. I have not yet seen our monarch since his 
return to Potsdam. I am involved in all the horrors 
of cosmic settlement intend to abide the tide returning 
from Warsaw (the alluvial deposits of Batavian and 
Mecklenburg Highnesses), and when this rocky sea is 
calm again, I will act systematically, as your cheerful 
and spirited letter suggests. In these sad times, all 
that is spoken dies away, whilst even that which is 

* The King of Prussia's meeting with the Emperor Nicholas. T#. 

f The famous military show at Olmiitz of about 70,000 Austrian troops, 
with the Emperor Nicholas, and the King of Prussia, as guests of Francis 
Joseph. TR. 

The two youngest sons of Nicholas, then on their grand tour. TR. 

Statue of Friedrich the Great. TR. 


written scarcely obtains notice. The latter, however, 
is an unavoidable necessity. In order to attain an 
object which is within such easy reach, a very short 
written petition, directed to the King himself, is needed; 
which I will hand to him, with warm recommenda- 
tions. The excellent man begs the King for a small 
pecuniary assistance to enable him to go to Munich. 
To name a sum is not exactly indispensable, but would 
simplify matters. The delicate sensibility of the artist 
will not feel offended at my proposal, as his application 
is not made for his own personal benefit, but in the 
noble interest of Art. 

With strong attachment and very grateful devotion, 
Your most obedient, faithful friend, 




Potsdam, \stNovemler, 1851. 

My dear and generous friend, you have given me 
infinite gratification by your kind letter. I am deeply 
in your debt, and may, no doubt, by my long silence 
and apparent neglect, have given occasion more than 
once for strong suspicions of coolness and alienation on 
the score of difference of opinion. I ought never to 
have been under any apprehension of one possessed of 
such acquirements, and at the same time so well dis- 
posed. Before I received your welcome letter, with 
Baader's* portrait, it was my intention to bring to 
you in person, as soon as it should be published, the 
third I am sorry to say, exclusively astronomical 

* Franz von Baader, the mystic philosopher. TR. 


volume of " Kosmos" (both parts bound in one), 
which it has cost me great efforts to complete. I was 
sure of a kind reception at your hands, and your letter 
of the 24th October, which had been lying at my house 
in Berlin, confirms my resolution. Ottilia von Goethe* 
has brought me cheering news about your health : 
you will, as usual, question the decision. I am quite 
astonished that the Minister-President, f ordinarily as 
cold as ice, has been greatly delighted with Ottilia, and 
quite inclined to meet her wishes concerning Wolf- 
gang's appointment to one of the situations at the 
Prussian embassy, in Eome. But I question whether 
it was imperative on his part, after having published 
a very clever little book on " Nature and Legislation/' 
to issue a collection of poems, in which there is but 
here and there a flash of imaginative power ! 

With attachment, in gloomy, worn-out times, by 


On 24th November, 1851, Varnhagen wrote in his Diary : " In- 
sinuations attempted against Humboldt. The small and mediocre, 
who know well that, compared with a great man, they are nothing, 
combine in envy and malice against him, and think thus to become 
somebodies. One meets the other with a smile, confides to him the 
dislike he feels, the foibles and shortcomings he has discovered ; the 
other takes it very kindly, answers in a similar strain, they shake 
hands delighted, and henceforth are staunch allies against the hero. 
Those professing to be among his truest friends will lend themselves 
to such intrigues. Taken individually, they matter very little; 
but in the aggregate they act by their weight ; they make the day 
feel heavy ; they clog and spoil the Good, undermine the spirits and 
the temper. From such rabble Goethe suffered, and Humboldt 
is suffering. I know all this from my own experience, having seen 

* Goethe's daughter-in-law ; Wolfgang, her son. TR. 
t Baron von Manteuffel, since 19th December, 1850. TK. 


plenty of it in the case of E-ahel ! Brothers, nieces, how ready were 
they to ally themselves with the meanest people, in order to raise 
their united mediocrity ahove the genial radiance of her heart and 
mind, hy which, nevertheless, they were always glad to be enlight- 
ened and warmed ! Humboldt's foibles are well known, he does 
not conceal himself, he shows himself as he is : but let no one lay 
hand on his greatness, the greatness of his mind, and the no less 
greatness of his heart! And eighty years what a bulwark of 
strength ! Who dare assail it ? " 



Berlin, 28th January, 1852. 

Here is my little cosmic present for you, my dear 
friend. I would not bring it myself, for fear of its 
appearing as if I wanted such an excuse for coming. 
Bestow a glance on pp. 1 =-25, Mars, p. 511, and the 
concluding remarks, pp. 625 630. 

I hope I may drop in to-morrow, Thursday, at one 
o'clock ? I am sure to call. 

With old attachment, which will never cool, 


With two yellow brochures. To Yarnhagen von 
Ense, with the sincerest respect and attachment of his 
old friend, the Author. 

On 29th January, 1852, we read in Yamhagen's Diary : " About 
1 o'clock, Humboldt called. He is wonderfully active for his years ! 
He is indignant at the coup d'etat in France, the exercise of brute 
force, the arbitrary banishments, but especially at the confiscation of 
the Orleans property. The King at first was in high glee. He, as well 
us the Court, thought little of the crime committed against the people 
and their representatives; against Justice, and in violation of a 


solemn oath. But that the Adventurer allows Universal Suffrage to 
remain ; that he leans upon the people and practises Socialism, and, 
above all, that he aspires to an Imperial crown ; this it is which makes 
them hate him ! Humboldt is of opinion that the establishment of 
the Provisional Government in the Revolution of February, which 
immediately met with recognition from all parts of France, was a 
much greater feat than that now performed by the individual who 
has virtually been President for the last three years, and who bears 
the Great Name. I reminded him of the Preparatory Parliament 
( Vorparlament), and the Committee of Fifty in Frankfurt-on-the 
Main. He sees in that readiness to obey, the national desire for 
Unity and Indivisibility which, with the French, overrules every 
difference of party. Humboldt states it as an undoubted fact, that 
Louis Bonaparte is a son of Admiral Yerhuel, and his brother Moray 
a son of General Flahault, who had lived with both sisters in law, the 
Queen of Holland, and the Queen of Naples. Of Persigny Fialin de 
Persigny he speaks with thorough contempt, calling him a coarse, 
loutish Corporal, who has the presumption to pretend that he has 
found out something new about the Pyramids. Turning to our own 
affairs, he deplored the incapacity and wretched inanity of our Mi- 
nisters ; * he said, the most stupid of all was Raumer, who was a 
bully to boot ; the King, irritated, angry, and capricious, would fre- 
quently indulge himself with the excuse, that he could do nothing ; 
he had to follow the lead of the Ministers ! " 

On 30th January, 1852, Yarnhagen adds: " Humboldt interests 
himself very warmly for the widow of the philologist, F.,f who had 
done a great deal of work for him. At Humboldt' s urgent sugges- 
tion she petitioned the King for a pension, and Humboldt and BockhJ 
were to sign the application. But F. was a democrat ; not, indeed, 

* The following were the principal Members of the Ministry in 1851 : 
Baron Manteuffel, Minister-President, and of Foreign Affairs ; Von West- 
phalen, Interior ; Von Raumer, Public Worship and Education ; Von 
Bodelschwingh, Finance ; Simons, Justice ; Von der Heydt, Commerce. TK. 

t Franz (?) TR. 

% The distinguished author of " Political Economy of the Athenians," 
and of the treatise on " Athenian Navigation." TR. 


an active one, yet no disguised one, and the King might have heard 
of it. To counteract this, Humboldt proposed, they should ask 
Stahl for his signature as well. On the sole credit of his own name 
he can no longer get anything from the King. What a state of 
things ! Humboldt forced to make a stalking-horse of Stahl !" 



Berlin, 5th February, 1852. 

I believe, my dear friend, that the letter which I 
have just received will go far to confirm your ideas of 
Paris. Graluski, the translator of the second volume 
of " Kosmos," is a noble-hearted, talented man, and 
well versed in philology ; but of very moderate love of 
liberty. His account of his first impressions is rather an 
unblushing confession of the fact. He was, moreover, 
haunted by a dreadful fear of that which was to come. 
It has ever been my opinion, that even the wildest 
Republic can never do as great and lasting injury to 
the intellectual progress of mankind, and to its con- 
sciousness of its inherent titles of honour, as le regime 
de mon oncle, le despotisms eclair e, dogmatique, mielleuoc, 
which avails itself of all the contrivances of civilization 
to make the will and caprice of one man paramount. 
To heighten your disgust at such humiliation, which 
threatens to spread like a pestilence, read in to-day's 
(3rd February) " Journal des Debats " the reasons 
which, according to the " Constitutional," render 
necessary a list of candidates recommended for election. 
In yesterday's " Spener's Grazette " there was an article 
containing similar proposals with regard to our Second 

I hope soon to procure for you the " Histoire de 


1' Academic" (by Bartholmess).* I have made many 
unsuccessful attempts to be of service to the widow of 
Professor F. 

Yours, sincerely attached, 


"Speller's Gazette," No. 29, Feb. 4, 1852. 

. . . The discussions on the Constitution of the First Chamber 
have frequently appeared in our columns. It may not, perhaps, be 
quite so generally known that the attention of the higher circles has 
latterly been turned to the formation of the Second one. The elec- 
toral law, as it now stands, establishes the right of voting as a volun- 
tary function, without a corresponding duty. A compulsory exercise 
of the franchise appears as impolitic as it is impracticable. But 
whilst as many electors as please abstain from voting, they put the 
election in the hands of an unknown minority, who frequently, as 
the result of their votes, bring about an election, in which, instead 
of the actual political opinion of the constituency, its very opposite 
is represented. The principles which would serve as a rule in the 
reconstruction of the First Chamber have called forth as their con- 
sequence the proposal to modify the electoral law with regard to 
the Second Chamber, in such a way that H. M. the King should 
appoint in every electoral district, at a convenient length of time pre- 
vious to the election, a candidate who will be the member, unless the 
majority of the electors have polled in favour of another represent- 
ative. The leading motives of this plan we intend to communicate 
to-morrow, together with the details of the proposal. 

* The title of this book is " Histoire Philosophique de I'Acadenrie de 
Prusse, depuis Leibnitz jus' qua Schelling particulierement sous Frederic 
le Grand." Two vols. Paris, 1851. TR. 



Berlin, 12th February, 1852. 

It may interest you, my dear friend, to find in the 
compass of a single sheet all that which the Orleans 
family intend to do in trying to resist the spoliation. 
The Duchess of Orleans has sent it me through the 
Princess of Prussia. 

Do you know our Candidate, William S., a native of 
Dresden, screening himself behind the pseudonym of 
Wilfried von der Neun, who plagues me by sending 
to me aphoristic thoughts in manuscript ? 

A. v. H. 

Be kind enough soon to return the enclosed. 



Berlin, 23rd March, 1852. 

It is one of the many inconveniences of old age, that 
we are exposed to attempts at conversion. Please, my 
dear friend, to preserve this odd, good-natured letter 
among your psychological curiosities. (The man who 
is so thoroughly convinced of the salvation of Berna- 
dotte, tells me, in an indirect way, that Satan wields 
his sceptre in my heart, as he did in that of Goethe, of 
pious Kant, and of Wieland.) And our Parliament ! ! 


If it were needed, " the towns should be swept from 
the face of the earth/' is the wish of our diplomatist at 
the Diet.* 

With warmest attachment, yours faithfully, 
Tuesday, late at night. A. HT. 

In the enclosed letter of Augustus Gran, dated Montgomery 
County, Ohio, 6th February, 1852, we read: "A gentleman, who 
has travelled through a great portion of the globe, who, by the pub- 
lication of so many distinguished writings, has raised for himself, 
on the field of literature and science, such a lasting and brilliant 
monument, can never have his name mentioned by any German 
otherwise than with the greatest respect. When the names of great 
warriors, who have spilt the blood of their fellow creatures on the 
battlefield, will be long forgotten, "yours will shine in the annals of 
history for hundreds and thousands of years. But it is strange that 
the greatest naturalists, philosophers, and astronomers, who have 
spent the greater portion of their lives in trying to make new dis- 
coveries, and in inquiring into the powers of nature, are often quite 
careless with regard to their own happiness or unhappiness in the 
world to come. Goethe, Schiller, Wieland, and Kant, besides many 
others, were all of them distinguished characters and brilliant ideals, 
and they led, more or less, what is called a moral life, so as pro- 
bably to keep aloof from card-playing, the bowling-alley, the play- 
house, and the dancing room ; but their sphere of action was not 
in the direction of eternity, and they cared nothing about the sal- 
vation of their fellow man in the next world." Expatiating further, 
in unctuous lamentation, that true fear of God was so rarely to be 
found, and was often missing even among princes and court preachers 
(almoners), the writer continued : " The late King of Prussia, and 
that truly Royal lady, Queen Louisa, knew something of the new birth; 
as did also the late King of Sweden, the former French Marshal Berna- 
dotte, Prince of Ponte Corvo. A poor peasant was able to give him 
more light on the means of salvation than one of the first bishops of 
the Lutheran Church. Alas ! Mr. Privy Councillor, ready as I am 

* Count Otto von Bismark-Schonhausen. TE. 


to do full justice to your good moral life, to your high character as 
a statesman, and to your information as a scholar ; highly gratified 
as I must feel that Berlin, nay that Prussia, has to boast of such a 
man as your Excellency is, my joy would burst out into a shout 
of holy triumph if I should have the honour of seeing you as a 
zealous follower of Him who died on Golgotha. Alas ! without 
Him, my Lord Chamberlain,* we are most miserable notwithstand- 
ing all our knowledge notwithstanding all our much vaunted 
learning." Further on, the letter states : " Goethe said, on 
a certain occasion, that during the whole of his life he had 
not had four happy weeks. This was the speech of a great and 
learned man. If Christ has not taken up his residence and dwelling 
in our hearts, who else can be there but Satan ? One certainly 
must be there ; one must wield the sceptre of command ! It is im- 
possible to serve two masters at the same time. Noble sir, gracious 
my Lord Chamberlain, I am penetrated with great respect for you 
and your exalted merits ; I love and venerate you ; I am not worthy 
to unloose the latchet of your shoes, which is the true language of 
my heart although I have been engaged in learning the rudiments of 
seventeen different languages, and am still able to read the writings 
of the New Testament in seven. Yet of the truth of the Christian 
religion I have not only been firmly convinced for the last thirty-one 
years, but I also feel daily, and almost hourly, the influence of the 
Holy Spirit." The letter is signed : " Your Lordship's most de- 
voted servant and brother in Christ, AUGUSTUS GEAU." Humboldt 
appended to it this remark : " An attempt at conversion from the 
State of Ohio." 



Berlin, 13th March, 1853. 

In the confusion caused by the perplexities of my 
desolate life, and the morally disgraceful condition 

* M. Gran, in his enthusiasm, addresses Humboldt, successively, by all 
his various titles. TR. 


of the times, I am in a state of uncertainty, my dear 
old friend, as to whether I have already sent you the 
seventh volume of my brother's collected works ! I am 
thoroughly ashamed of myself ; but I know you have 
not yet learned to be angry with me. The article 
against Capo d'Istria,* the demand of having Stras- 
bourg given up, sound like an irony of fate when con- 
trasted with our present humility. 

Your respectful and attached old friend, 


I have been deeply pained by the death of Leopold 
von Buchf a compound of a noble, generous mind, 
quick temper, small despotism of opinions one of the 
few men of original mind. He has given to his science 
a new form : he was one of the most illustrious orna- 
ments of the age. Our friendship has lasted for sixty- 
three years, without being once disturbed, although we 
frequently laboured in the same field ; as I found him 
in 1791, at Freiberg, where, although five years 
younger than myself, he had entered before me the 
Academy of Mining. This burial was to me a pre- 
lude c'est comme cela que je serai dimanche. And in 
what condition do I leave the world ? I, who remem- 
ber 1789, and have shared in its emotions ! However, 
centuries are but seconds in the great process of the 
development of advancing humanity. Yet the rising 
curve has small ben dings in it, and it is very incon- 
venient to find one's self on such a segment of its 
descending portion. 

* John Anthony Capo d'Istria, President of .Greece from 1827 to 1831. 
Eecognised finally as an agent of Russia, he was assassinated by the brothers 
Mauromichalis, at Nauplia. TR. 

t Died 4th March, 1853. Humboldt, in " KOSIHOS," calls him the greatest 
geologist of the day. TR. 




Berlin, 14th March, 1853. 

Heartiest thanks for having offered me the consola- 
tion of the characteristic, and to me unknown expression 
of Fontenelle's ; but twenty years are by far too short 
to see better things. Your " Billow von Dennewitz," 
is to me* great and joyful news. The treasure of fiery 
Leopold von Buch I return to you (inclosed). I wonder 
whether Friedrich Schlegel's astronomical vision is not 
connected with conversations which I have had with 
him at Vienna, on the certainty that one day we shall 
see in Germany the Southern Cross rise again, as it 
has shone over us already in historic times. I remind 
you of a passage in my " Kosmos" (II. p. 383), which 
may have some attraction for you by fixed chronolo- 
gical dates : 

" The Cross began to disappear in Northern Ger- 
many at a period so little remote as 2900 before our era. 
The constellation may have had an altitude of more 
than ten degrees above the horizon . When it disappeared 
in the Baltic countries from the firmament, the great 
Pyramid of Cheops had been standing in Egypt some 
five hundred years. The Shepherd tribe of the Hyksos 
made their invasion 700 years later. The earlier ages 
seemingly come nearer to us, when measured by the 
landmarks of memorable events." 

Do not fail to work hard at your " Billow von Denne- 
witz." He and I were great friends in Paris. A lover 
of music, he made himself very agreeable in Lafayette's 


family, at the little chateau of Lagrange, near Paris; 
Lafayette's country seat, where Billow was quartered. 


I shall bring vol. vi. in person. 

Note by Varnhagen. To console him on the score of his age, 
I had written to Humboldt that even eighty years may become 
comparative youth ; witness Fontenelle, who, at a hundred, wish- 
ing to pick up a lady's fan, and not being able to do it quickly 
enough, exclaimed regretfully : " due n'ai je plus mes quatre- 
vingt ans!" About Friedrich Schlegel, I had told him how, at 
Dresden, shortly before his death, he had prophesied to Tieck, he 
did not know when, but certainly at no very distant period, a 
mighty change would take place in the heavens ; all the great stars 
would shift their places, and gather into an immense cross. 



Berlin, 1 5th August, 1853. 

After my long and tedious visit at Potsdam, my first 
appearance before you, my dear and gifted friend, is 
to trouble you with a request. To you, and you alone, 
I look for literary advice ; since in you I find united 
depth of feeling and the faculty of expressing yourself 
with wondrous harmony. Now, in my old age, mistrust 
in my own powers is morbidly on the increase every 
day. A separate volume is to contain a selection of 
my brother's sonnets, in which, however, matter and 
form are not always in harmonious union. 

I entreat you to allow me to call on you to-morrow 
(Tuesday), at one o'clock, to read you a preface which 

p 2 


has been wrung from me ! Pray do not trouble yourself 
to do more than say " yes," by my servant. 
Yours, in old unalterable friendship, 





Berlin, 3lst August, 1853. 

There is then, after all, in this sad time, when an 
ominous simoom is blowing from the Pruth to the 
Tagus,* something to give me a great delight your 
return, your kindly words, your aid ! Your glorious 
letter reaches me at the ban d tirer of a small, and, 
I hope, an unpretentious Preface to the Sonnets. 
As unfortunately it is impossible for me to thank you 
to-morrow in person I am obliged to deliver at 
Potsdam to the King on his arrival many things I 
have promised I presume to send to you, this very 
evening, my proof-sheet. 

I most earnestly beg your severe scrutiny of the 
pages in which I have inserted a marvellous fragment 
(as if for illustration of the ideas and feelings which 
manifest themselves in the " Letters to a Lady"), and 
to note on a separate sheet what I am to alter, and 
especially what I am to substitute. I follow YOU 

P. iv. I do not like : " ScJwn errungene Himmels- 

The pious fragment was written by my own hand 

* This refers to the impending war, which Humboldt had foreseen in 
1839. See page 42, and note there. TR. 


rather illegibly, and here and there something had to 
be improved in the construction of the periods ; thus in 
p. xi perhaps you would like better, " bei Anerken- 
nung." The phrase is clumsy, even in its present 
amended state. 

P. xiv. You will not blame the substitution of " eben 
nicht " for " haben nie gerade," which is even more fa- 
miliar. The four lines present themselves like an 
aerolite fallen from the heavens. They are to be pre- 
served though, even as a great license. 

Could not you improve a little p. xiii at the bottom? 
Does the end of the phrase, " Stimme des Grewissens 
gelegt hat," seem to you clear ? It does not to me. 
Perhaps a few words might be added to elucidate the 

" Boma," the verses addressed to me from Albano, 
all the choruses and " Pindarica" will form another little 

Your long attached and profoundly respectful friend, 


The saddest news from Arago's family. Swelling 
in hands and feet, diabetes, and all but complete blind- 
ness. Forty years of life with him ! ! 



erlm, 2nd September, 1853. 

A thousand pardons for having troubled you while 
ill. I have adopted everything and acted on all your 
hints. But I should also like to give a place to 
the view you take of p. vi. Would you approve of 

the insertion of the following ? " A long stay at 
Eome, and, perhaps, a warm interest for certain 
epochs of Italian poetry, seem to have inspired my 
brother with a particular predilection for a contracted 
lyrical form which, if the harmony of language is not 
to be sacrificed, imposes close fetters on the thought, 
but which he managed freely with consciousness and 
design," (or would you rather have " which he managed 
in freedom, with consciousness and design," or " which 
he managed in conscious freedom? ") " Now, if the poet, 
according to his innermost nature and individuality, felt 
most keenly a desire, to interweave with ideas all that 

springs from the feelings ." 

That treasure of criticism, your little note, I beg to 
have returned to me. 

Most gratefully yours, 



(Remark ly Varnhagen. I chose, "but which he managed with 
conscious freedom," because this version tallied best with the meta- 
phor of fetters, and also, in other respects, defines the subject most 

Yarnhagen states, 9th September, 1853, in his Diary: "Hum- 
boldt having sent to announce himself, arrived about half-past 
one, and stayed somewhat above an hour. A simple call, with- 
out any reference to business ; he felt a want to speak out about 
several things. In the first place he descanted, with bitter scorn, on 
the King's speeches at Elbing and Hirschberg,* on the utter weakness 

* On the occasion of a journey of the King, when deputations of the magis- 
trates of those democratically-disposed cities were severely reprimanded by 
him. Among other things, he said to the Hirschberg deputation, " It was 
my firm resolve not to allow you to enter my presence. As far back as 
1846, I had only yielded to the most urgent prayers to pardon the town 
indeed, I may say that I have had the weakness to do it. Then and there, 


betrayed in these inordinate ebullitions. He then spoke with pro- 
found contempt of Eaumer, the Minister of Public Worship ; his coarse- 
ness and effrontery, his hatred of all science, his disastrous activity. 
'The King,' said Humboldt, 'hates and despises all his Ministers, 
but this one in particular ; and speaks of him as a downright ass 
(RindvieJi}, being most incensed at Eaumer' s always thwarting his 
Eoyal wishes.' ' And yet he retains him !' As he does all of them, 
because he has once got them, and because every change is a trouble.' 
Instance the brothers Schlagintweit, to whom the King wanted to 
grant money for a journey to the Himalaya. The Minister of Pub- 
lic Worship refused ; the King ordered him to consult Humboldt, 
who reported most favourably ; notwithstanding which, Eaumer 
stuck to his own opinion, which, he said, was not changed by that 
of Humboldt. The King, feeling powerless against his Minister, 
then wrote to Bunsen, who took the affair in hand, and the brothers 
Schlagintweit are now receiving English aid.'* ' And this same King, 
who is so jealous of his power, allows it to be limited in this 
way ?' ' Aye, he even is sometimes pleased with acting the part of 
a Constitutional King, repudiating with a sort of mischievous satis- 
faction, in embarrassing circumstances every responsibility of his 
own ; pleading, in opposition to demands made upon him, the 
difficulty of obtaining the signature of his Ministers ; nay, he will 
comport himself as if that " rascal of a State" were no affair of his 
whatever, even accuses his Minister of neglecting him for the sake of 
that " rascal of a State," &c. &c. In the matter of small sums, the 
King often meets with the strongest resistance ; in the case of large 
ones, he carries his point ; 300 thalers for a poor literary man or 

the most sacred promises were made to me, and all of yon know how, in 
1848, they were fulfilled. Yon who are here assembled have not faltered in 
your fidelity, but as to the town in general, I can but say that I have been 
unquestionably deceived." The same dreary strain prevailed throughout the 
whole of the King's speech, ending, as usual, by a free pardon on his part, 
couched in the memorable words, much criticised at the time " I will again 
count Hirschberg among the cities nearest to my heart." The King's reply 
to the address of the townsfolk of Elbing was almost the same, verbatim et 
literatim. TR. 

* The researches of the brothers Schlagintweit are now completed, and 
are announced for publication. TR. 


artist are refused at his demand; 40,000 thalers, for some purchase, 
must not be refused him.' ' What confused, ruinous management !' 
* The King is quite satisfied as long as he can puddle to his heart's con- 
tent in 'clerical affairs; they are considered as distinct from the State 
altogether, and no Minister is allowed to put in a word.' ' I cannot 
understand this, nor is it exactly the case, as the Ministers meddle 
also with them.' ' The vilest fellow of the whole concern is Privy 

Councillor ~N ,* a mean sneak and hypocrite, full of hatred 

and venom. "The Garcia cannot sing here," he said some time 
ago, " she is too ' red' for that ;" every representation that her 
singing would not be red, being in vain. I, at last, said to him, 
"Well, then, send to Bethania,f and let the deaconesses sing." He 
will be happy to see me underground.' " 

On 25th September, 1853, Varnhagen states in his Diary: " It 
was said, on the presence of Humboldt, the day before yesterday, at 
the sitting of the Ecclesiastical Board, that the parsons had had among 
them their worst enemy, the Naturalist, who had put them all to 
shame, and before whom all their humbug and deceit vanished. 
' AbellinoJ among you,' one might have called out to them." 



Berlin, 12th December, 1853. 

You have once more succeeded, my generous friend, 
in affording me great enjoyment. Our departure from 
Potsdam, which settled down into a complete Buddhist 
" cold hell," having been delayed some time by the 

* Niebuhr. Tu. 

t House of Protestant Sisters of Mercy in Berlin. TR. 

J " Abellino, the Great Bandit," a famous melodrama, much in vogue on the 
German stage some forty or fifty years ago. Abellino, a young nobile, and 
amateur bandit in disguise, who suddenly turns up where least expected. TR. 


Queen's indisposition, I have at last, since Saturday, 
taken up my quarters here. You have immortalized 
the glory of the Prussian arms, and, what touches me 
far nearer, the warrior who has displayed such varied 
accomplishments.* The gallery of your life-pictures 
stands unmatched in our Grerman literature. I feel 
highly indignant at the infamous manner in which my 
friend Arago is used by the last number of the " Quar- 
terly Keview" (September) from political party-spirit, 
just as I was myself by the same Journal during many 
years, 1810-18. A note at the end of the September 
number states, with singular delicacy, that the article 
had been written before they knew of his death ; but 
it was generally known in London, that he was blind 
and in agonizing pain from dropsy which oppressed 

With gratitude and attachment, and in admiration 
of your talent, Yours faithfully, 





Berlin, Thursday night, 13th to 14th April, 1854. 

Accept, my generous friend, my best thanks for 

yourself and the agreeable confidantf of " the daemons." J 

The King, owing to his clerical preparations, is at 

present inaccessible to me, and he is to go, on Monday 

* " Life of General Count Biilow von Dennewitz." By K. A. Varnhagen 
vonEnse. Berlin. 1853. TR. 

f Bettina von Arnim. 

J Daemon, in the sense in which Goethe uses it, men who are the irre- 
sistible agents of Destiny. TR. 


next, on military business to Potsdam, for five or six 
days ; but a very warm letter of mine will be in his 
hands to-morrow morning, at eight o'clock, at Charlot- 
tenburg.* Thus, we have at least faithfully performed 
our duty. I am becoming quite the responsible 
Minister of the Conservatives, as three days ago I asked 
the Fourth Minimum of the Eed Birdf for a man who 
has conserved his estate for 150 years, viz., for the 
gardener Bouche, an adopted son J from the Champagne. 
It gives me great pleasure that my introduction, which 
has no other merit but that of an independent spirit 
and truth, has pleased you, even in respect of form. 
As a token of my gratitude, I send to you for your 
collection of autographs, a document, which, considering 
its date (June, 1848), is not without interest. The 
other papers describing only the mundane miseries of 
the quarrel|| which unfortunately has become public, I 
beg you to return to me by-and-by. Everything that 
is noble, is dragged down into the dust. I was obliged 
to write some lines in reply. I am living monoto- 
nously and gloomily et mourant, avant le principe. 
Your old and attached friend, 


I am sure to make my appearance on Monday, 
having on a wedding garment. 

* To inform him that Savigny's Golden Wedding would be celebrated on 
the 17th. The Golden Wedding is the fiftieth anniversary of a marriage, both 
man and wife being alive. TR. 

f The Fourth Class of the Prussian Order of the Ked Eagle. TK. 

J Louis von Gerlach had called in the Prussian Second Chamber, Beth- 
man-Hollweg, an adopted son of Prussia. 

To Arago's works. 

|| M. Mathieu had taken exception at its being stated on the title-page, 
that M. Barral was appointed by the deceased as editor of his works. 




Paris, ce 3 Juin, 1848. 
Mon cher et illustre ami, 

Mon fils est parti ce jour dernier pour Berlin, en 
qualite de Ministre Plenipotentiary. II est parti 
anime des meilleurs sentiments, d'idees de paix et de 
conciliation les plus decidees ! Et voila qu'aujourd'hui 
votre Charge d'affaires s'est rendu chez notre Ministre 
des Affaires Etrangeres, pour lui rendre compte des 
inquietudes que la mission de mon fils a excitees dans 
votre Cabinet et parmi la population berlinoise. Me 
voila bien recompense, en verite, des efforts que j'ai 
faits, depuis mon arrivee au pouvoir, pour maintenir 
la concorde entre les deux gouvernements, pour 
eloigner tout pretexte de guerre ! A qui persuadera- 
t-on, qu' anime des sentiments, dont je fais publique- 
ment profession, j'aurais consenti a laisser investir 
Emmanuel d'une mission diplomatique importante, 
s'il avait ete en disaccord avec moi, s'il appartenait 
a une secte socialiste hideuse, au communisme, car, j'ai 
honte de le dire, les accusations ont ete j usque la ? 
Au reste, j'en appelle a 1'avenir : toutes les preven- 
tions disparaitront lorsque Emmanuel aura fonctionne. 
Yotre Charge d'affaires regrettera alors la reclamation 
intempestive qu'il a adressee a M. Bastide. 

J'ai recu, mon cher ami, avec bonheur ton aimable 
lettre. Rien au monde ne peut m'etre plus agreable 
que d'apprendre que tu me conserves ton amitie. 
J'en suis digne par le prix que j'y mets. J'ai la con- 
fiance que ma conduite dans les trois derniers mois 


(j'ai presque dit dans les trois derniers siecles) ne doit 
me rien faire perdre dans ton esprit. 
Tout a toi de cceur et d'ame, 




Berlin, Friday, 14th April, 1854. 

The King having already paid his visit to church* on 
Thursday, I dined to-day once more at Charlottenburg, 
and am enabled to give you. the gratifying news that, 
as the King told me, " he had known of the festive 
day (not from Uhde 1 !),f and had long ago made every 
preparation for it." The ingredients of the intellectual 
or material entertainment are, I must allow, buried for 
me in Cimmerian darkness. 

Your faithful, 


The Prince of Prussia knows nothing about the 
invitation to noce et festin. 



Potsdam, ^.tJiJuly, 1854. 

As, thanks to my American connections, I have 
drawn upon me the favour of the Peace Association, I 

* The King was in the habit of receiving the sacrament regularly at Easter 
every year, and then dined altogether in private. Tn. 

t First a Privy Councillor, subsequently Minister of Justice ; displaced by 
the Eevolution of 1848 ; afterwards again popular at court on account of his 
sanctity. TE. 


am pestered by this body with its pamphlets and tracts. 
The last number of the " Herald of Peace," however, is 
so remarkable on account of the political agitation of 
the sanctimonious peace-Quakers, that it may perhaps 
afford to you, my dear friend, some moments' amuse- 
ment to read the testimonies yourself. Destroy the 
paper ! 

.This missive is also to be a sign of life that is to 
say, of the fondest, truest friendship for you in these 
dark times of weakness and folly. From the new 
" Stahl-Banke " Council of State, I have freed my- 
self, for reasons with which old age has nothing to do. 
I have gone out. 

I inclose a very crabbed letter of poor Bunsen, which 
you will keep very secret, and kindly send back to me 
by-and-by to my Berlin residence. First Heidelberg 
and Bonn always between the exciting reminiscences 
of two Archbishops. With the dangerous propensity of 
the excellent man for theological controversy, and his 
newly invented Apostolical Church under the firm of 
Hippolytus,* a stay in England, somewhere in the 
country, between London and Oxford (on account of 
the libraries), would do him more good than Bonn. 
The Established Church, with all its intolerance, is 
less inconvenient in a free country, than a Ministerial 
Synod is in Prussia. I am, besides, very much afraid 
for the credit of Bunsen's scientific fame of the 
threatening shoal of books, teeming with hypotheses 
on aboriginal nations, Egyptian, Indian, and disin- 
terred Assyrian Semites ; as also on the locality of 

* Bunsen's work, " Hippolytus and his Age." TR. 


Paradise, for which a map is already ordered of Kie- 
pert.* Maps on the opinions of people may range 
from the ship-bindingf myth on the seashore and 
Himalaya to Ararat, and to Aramea Kibotos,J even to 
the Mexican Ooxeox; fanciful productions of fiction, 
which are known also to the Bible of the Mormons. 
(See inclosure.) 

The Weimar fancies are of a more merry de- 
scription ; command of climate, by means of Crystal 
Palaces, which at the same time are taverns, super- 
seding Nice and Madeira, and costing only one and 
a-half million thalers a pleasure-ground in the deso- 
late barrack-city of Potsdam ! And such a scheme 

* Kiepert, Cartographer and Professor of Geography at the University of 

f Compare the Sanskrit " naubandhanam," "shipbinding" from "nan," 
nwuis, "bandh," to bind; the name of the peak of the Himalaya mountain, 
to which the Indian Manu at the deluge fastened his ship. See " Die Siind- 
flut nebst drei anderen der wichtigsten Episoden des Maha-Bharata. Aus 
der Ursprache iibersetzt von Franz Bopp." (Berlin, 1829), p. 9, verse 49. 

J A city in Phrygia. A number of coins of the times of Septimus Severus 
and of his successors, show a chest (KI^CCT^S) swimming on the waves, and 
in it are a man and a woman ; a dove is sitting on the chest, a second, with 
a twig in its claws, flying near at hand. On the land, close by, the same 
pair of human beings are seen in a posture of prayer. On the chest are 
inscribed the two Greek letters, Nil evidently NOAH. In the Sybilline books 
the circumstance is alluded to as follows : 

Assurgit Phrygia3 mons quidam in finibus atrae, 

Arduus, alta petens, Ararat quern nomine dicunt, 

Quod fatale fuit illic evadere cunctis, 

Optataque frui tandem charaque salute : 

Fluminis unde alti Marsyae manat origo. 

Hujus in excelso postquam cessantibus undis 

Constitit area jugo, tune illi rursus ab alto 

Ingens Immensi vox et audita Tonantis. 

2tj8uAAto/cot XpyafjLot, " Sibyllina Oracula," edit. Gallasi. Amsterdam, 1689. 
Pp. 159-60. TR. 

Coxcox, the Mexican Noah, or Deucalion. TR. 


hatched in the brain of a well-informed man 
Froriep.* With true friendship, yours, 


Potsdam, 4th July, 1854. 
In the era of Crystal Palaces. 

I have found . only lately in a letter of Gneisenau'sf 
(in Stein's very injudiciously edited " Life," vol. v. 
p. 262), the following passage, which I dare say has 
long been noticed by you : " H. again aims at the 
centre ; but he is neither trusted nor respected, and is 
wanting in character and courage." Nothing, certainly, 
but pointed personal spite could have induced that 
very vain man, Grneisenau, to speak thus vilely of my 
brother. I remember, it is true, having heard him say 
that Gneisenau had been his enemy on the occasion of 
his dismissal. However that may be, all that has then 
been said about political institutions makes me now 
feel, and did so even as early as 1815-18, as if I 
were reading a book of the thirteenth century on phy- 
sical science ; dread of the provincial parliaments was 
the only subject to be praised, cest de la bouillie pour 
les chats. 

On this letter Varnhagen remarks, in his Diary, 5th July, 1854 : 
" I found a long letter from Humboldt, who sent me the latest num- 
ber of the 'Herald of Peace,' a letter of Bunsen's four quarto 
pages, closely written and another from Robert Froriep, in Weimar, 
accompanied by his excellent remarks. * This missive,' he says, is 
also to be 'a sign of life, that is, of the fondest, truest friendship 

* Robert Froriep, the Professor of Anatomy at Berlin, son of the cele- 
brated obstetrician, at present resides at Weimar, as the proprietor of the 
" Industrie Anstalt," founded by Bertuch. TR. 

f Count of Gneisenau, Prussian General Field-Marshal ; the Chief of the 
staff of Prince Bliicher at the battle of Waterloo. TR. 


in these dark times of weakness and unreason.' Moreover : 
( From the new Stahl-Ranke Council of State I have freed myself, 
for reasons with which old age has nothing to do. I have gone 
out.' Then he speaks of Froriep's phantasmagoria, who would 
wish to establish in the ' desolate barrack-city ' of Potsdam a 
Crystal Palace commanding the climate, and to raise for this purpose 
a loan of 1^ million thalers ! Finally, he lashes Gneisenau's perverse 
judgment on Wilhelm von Humboldt, expressed in a letter of the 
year 1818, which Pertz communicates in his 'injudiciously' edited 
'Life of Stein:' Humboldt justly protests against this vile asper- 
sion of his brother's character. 

"Bunsen's letter is written in a very rambling fashion. Humboldt 
calls it 'a crabbed one,' which describes it very accurately. Bunsen 
intends to live in future at Bonn, but complains of the University 
having sunk very low, especially as regards the theological faculty. 
Dorner and Rothe * had been constantly snapped at until they left, 
and were replaced by the most narrow-minded and insignificant men 
that could have been got in the whole of Germany, such as Lange 
and Steinmeyer. FromHengstenberg's library, through Gerlach, all 
was managed for the spread of ignorance and obscurity ; these dark 
times of the most intelligent King of the century would be deplored 
and condemned, much worse than even those of Wollner ;f all bore, 
besides, the reactionary stamp of the politics of the squirearchy. 
Hypocrisy only, and real infidelity were fostered by this ruinous 
system, and the way paved for the fiercest reaction ; with guards 
and the police one could do anything one liked in politics as long 
as it lasted ; but the Germans had never borne with enslavement of 
thought, and their curse followed through centuries all those who 
had attempted it. Thus writes Bunsen ! But now only as a fallen 
favourite ! What was he, and how did he act previously to his dis- 
grace ? He, too, worked for the spread of ignorance, and for the enslave- 
ment of thought ! In the same way as Radowitz, who likewise in 
the latter times affected liberal opinions !" 

* Both Professors of Divinity : Dr. Dorner, now at Gottingen ; Dr. Kothe, 
now at Heidelberg. TR. 

f The times of Friedrich Wilhelm II., the grandfather of the present King. 
Wollner was a leading member of the Eosicrncians, who were then rampant 
in Prussia. --Tit. 




Berlin, Sth July, 1854. 

With a deeply-affected and grateful heart, I have 
received your Excellency's most valued letter. Yes, in- 
deed, a sign of life of life, the most vigorous, most 
noble ! If ever the question could arise, how you have 
thought and felt in these dark times? such a page would 
be the most irresistible answer the most brilliant evi- 
dence of an opinion and mode of action which have al- 
ways kept the same line, and have never belied their prin- 
ciple. The letter from London (the epithet " crabbed " 
describes it most accurately in every respect) I duly 
send back, in compliance with your Excellency's com- 
mand; how glad should I have been to embody it 
with my collection ! It is a remarkable sign of the 
present state of things : many of its expressions strike 
directly home. I only wish that its writer had thus 
spoken in former times, previously to his late personal 
experiences. The scientific fame which you consider 
imperilled by the threatened shoal of writings, seems 
to me to have been kept, from the very outset, up by 
extraneous props, which being taken away, must irre- 
trievably come down. Perhaps the political career 
may open again; but certainly not by the aid of litera- 
ture, which seems not unlikely to be one of the objects 
aimed at in this sudden spring-tide of productivity. 
Silent repose would be much more to the purpose. 
This, however, can scarcely be expected at the residence 
decided upon, where Papist hatred is already astir, fos- 
tering and increasing political spite, which, proceeding 
from the fountain-head here, will continue unabated. 



The late Prince Wittgenstein one day congratulated 
me for not being under the necessity of sitting in the 
Council of State, and that was the old one, in which 
your Excellency had a place. How much more may I 
congratulate you for having got clear of the new one, 
which has Stahl and Banke for members ! No one 
will feel inclined to dispute with the latter the part of 
"ridiculous person;" to the former, every one will 
readily yield the first rank as a sophist. 

The words of Gneisenau, which Pertz communicates 
in Stem's " Life" (Y. 262), are so completely misapplied 
in the case of Wilhelm von Humboldt, that one might 
feel tempted to interpret the H. there differently, if 
any plausible conjecture could be found. I have cer- 
tainly heard from Gneisenau's own mouth expressions 
of disapproval ; but never such extravagant ones such 
as might have been so easily and completely refuted. 
The principal reproach urged by Gneisefnau against 
your brother was, that he had never tried by his 
authority and overwhelming intellectual power to 
unite all those who were of one mind in a brother- 
hood, by means of which much might be undertaken 
and carried out. This reproach, if reproach it be, 
Gneisenau himself has deserved just as much; and 
he has had plenty of it from his own people. The 
book of Pertz is full of unjust and trimming state- 
ments, most of which originate with Stein himself, but 
are with blind partiality confirmed by Pertz. He, who 
communicates everything, and frequently inserts even 
quite irrelevant matter, unhesitatingly leaves out im- 
portant evidence, as soon as it is not completely in 
favour of his hero. The same will happen again, when 
he writes Gneisenau's biography, which certainly 


should, above all, be written by one experienced in 
military matters ! 

The saintly Quaker-paper was already known to me ; 
who would have thought such monstrous absurdities 
possible in the English language ! But our age is 
rich in them. Table-turning has been superseded by 
the psychograph ; they want to press me into the 
belief of this folly, but I plead in excuse, that at my 
age people will no longer go fast ahead that I have 
only arrived as yet at table-turning, of which people 
are tired. 

This leads me to another matter, which I would not 
willingly leave untold. It happens, of course, very 
often, that sayings of your Excellency, especially words 
uttered at the royal table, get into general circulation 
are hawked about here with great avidity, and with 
the most abnormal variations. Thus, only very lately, 
a reply to Baron Senfft von Pilsach,* in which the 
original version seems to me quite lost. It would 
certainly be desirable that, in some way or other, the 
true saying were recorded in an authentic form. 

Repeating my warmest thanks, I remain, with truest 
esteem and devotedness, unalterably 

Your Excellency's most obedient 


Some strong expressions as welcome to me as they 
are unexpected in the letter from London, call to my 
mind that General von Eadowitz has also indulged in 
similar ones, and had even had them printed (" Collected 
Writings," IV., 210, 256, 281) ; in the second of these 
passages, he goes so far as to turn the adage, " Against 

* One of the political friends of Professor Stahl, at present (1860) the 
Governor (President) of the province of Pomerania. Tn. 

Q 2 


Democrats, there is no help but soldiers," into its very 



Berlin, VthJuly, 1854. 

On my return from the Eussian fete-day* at Sans- 
Souci, I found your agreeable letter. As I cannot 
refuse you anything, I enclose " Hippolytus." In 
return, pray satisfy my curiosity. I believe I have 
never in my life spoken to Baron Senfft von Pilsach ; 
I might meet him in the streets, or at a party, 
and I should not recognize him. Notwithstanding 
all this, it is possible that I have dined with him 
at the King's table. From what I have heard of him, 
I do not feel attracted towards him; As I always 
sit opposite the King, I converse aloud only with him, 
but very freely, because I know that people will repeat 
my sayings, fashioning them each according to his own 
style of colouring, in a country where, besides, many a 
hint of delicate censure is lost, owing to the utter want 
of settled conversational language. 

The judgment of Gneisenau is certainly meant for 
my brother. These are often but sudden ebullitions. 
On my arrival at Jena, Schiller wrote to Korner, "that 
I was far more intelligent and gifted than my brother ;" 
afterwards, when he saw me every day and overwhelmed 
me with affectionate kindness, he wrote to Korner, 
that "I was a narrow-minded matter-of-fact person who, 
notwithstanding all my restless activity in my branch 

* On the 7th July a grand banquet took place at Sans-Souci, in celebra- 
tion of the birthday of the Emperor of Eussia. TR. 


of science, would never do anything great. Herder's 
works were morbid matter, thrown off from his system." 
(It reads exactly like a passage from Zelter's* letters.) 
In an autograph, from a collection in Augsburg, which 
was offered to me as a present, and which I returned, 
my friend, Prince S., writes to Koreff : " Alexander H. 
again accompanies the King to the Congress of Aix-la- 
Chapelle in the sole capacity of bloodhound (Spiirhund)." 
Such are the representations on the stage of life for 
the benefit of a gullible posterity. The Emperor 
Alexander told the late King that my brother had, at 
the Congress of Vienna, undoubtedly been bribed by 
the Jews to make himself useful to them, just as, ac- 
cording to the King of Hanover, Baron Billow was, in 
the Belgian affair, by the French. In Schoning's very 
interesting " War of the Bavarian Succession " inte- 
resting by the correspondence with Prince Henry, and 
the reflex on the present shameful state of affairs 
there occurs (p. 294) a statement concerning a political 
scheme, which I had not known before : the Austrian 
proposal to give to the Bavarian house, for the cession of 
Bavaria, the Netherlands as " Kingdom of Burgundy." 
Such a title of King of Burgundy was tried for by the 
Duke of M. in 1815; but he would have contented 
himself with Lorrain and Alsace. Napoleon had also 
entertained a thought of making the Principe de la 
Paz ~j~ for the nonce King of Baetica (Andalusia and 
Granada) a reminiscence of "T&emaque" and the 
King of Sardinia Eoi de Numidie, although the dis- 
penser had not an inch of ground in Africa of which 
to dispose. 

* A musical composer, the friend and correspondent of Goethe. Tu. 
f Godoy, the Prince of Peace. TR. 


With sincerest friendship, always equally incorrect 
and illegible, Your most faithfully, 

Sunday Night. 

(As early as 1743, Austria offered to the Emperor 
Charles VII., in exchange for Bavaria, a kingdom made 
up from Alsace, Lorrain, and Tranche- Comte, which 
were first to be conquered. See " Memoire de 
Noailles," vol. VI.) 


(Copy in Varnhageii's handwriting.) 

Berlin, Sth July, 1854. 

For what purpose, most gracious Baroness, has the 
Eternal, out of that horn of plenty which he so sparingly 
empties on our miserable sinful globe, poured out on you 
an abundance of the richest intellectual endowments, 
and of the still finer gifts of delicate feeling, if you credit 
silly talk " about those from whom I withdraw myself ! " 
What you call your prophetic visions, were not able to 
frighten me, as such a gift of clairvoyance was bestowed 
upon me likewise ! The King, as I hear (for I seldom 
make my appearance there in the evening, and have 
ceased for years to read to him myself), has not read 
one syllable of your book, nor expressed a wish to 
have it read to him. But, my most esteemed friend, 
when I tell you that I never pronounce to the King 
the words, " Cathedral- choir, opera-house, concert- 
room ;" that I have never known even the existence of 
such a thing as an Academical Central Cathedral* - 

* Cologne Cathedral. TR. 


building Union at Bonn, or of the Committee of the 
Union of this place ; how can you expect me to be 
able to obtain a hearing in this affair ? Anything that 
might be proposed by word of mouth concerning these 
really very desirable matters, even by those reputed to 
have influence, remains now unnoticed and ineffectual. 

To produce any effect, it will be necessary to address 
directly to the King a simple official expose of the pro- 
posed plan, signed by the committee, and exact esti- 
mates for the work. No decision is formed, except in 
Cabinet meetings, on the report of Ministers ; for this 
reason, the application is to be made, concisely and 
accurately, in a letter to the King. In these stirring 
times, in which the King resides at Potsdam only for 
a week or so at a time, such a mode of proceeding is 
more requisite than ever. Of painter Eatti's Titian, 
political aspersions, and of " exalted incogniti " I hear 
of them all now for the first time, and I shall be glad, 
on my part, to do my best in neutralizing the effect of 
those aspersions ; although, owing to my well-known 
political bias, such " essais de blanchir" are but a very 
feeble support. Amidst so many painful feelings, 
which, with your ardent noble love for everything that 
is true, free, generous, and good, you so unswervingly 
foster, you have just now, to my great joy, besides 
the victories of the Turks, two other causes of cheerful 
satisfaction. Your Goethe monument is ensured, and 
the grandson of the great man has obtained a congenial 
position at the Prussian embassy, in Eome. 

With unalterable esteem and friendship, 

The Old Man of the Mountains, 

A. v. HT. 



Berlin, Wth July, 1854. 

You, my dear friend, certainly would never have 
thought me guilty of such a rude knock-down answer 
in the far east Pomeranian* style. I have not the 
least notion of the question on the spiritualization of 
pine- wood of the King's table, where every one believes 
in it as implicitly as in the Persian hosts which have 
been seen high in the air in the Eichsfeld.f The 
"drama^J of the Kreuzzeitung, like everything that 
proceeds from this vile party, pining with poverty of 
mind and intellect, bears the impress of cowardly 
malice ! There is no reason for condoling with you, 
as you are in possession of a treasure the powerful 
support derived from the invigorating reminiscences of 
the great times of 1813. I, too, have always kept 
aloof from the " Revue des deux Mondes," written as it 
is with ingenious subtlety and craftiness. People may 
hate the same thing, but it does not follow that they 
hate it from the same motives. The Paris Liberals of 
these days think it quite right, in Berlin fashion, like 
muzzled dogs, to bark but not to bite, " as, without 

* The Pomeranians are noted for the sturdy bluntness of their manners. 
It is a standing joke to speak of East Pomerania (Hinter Pommem, Pome- 
rania Posterior) with a " save your presence," TR. 

f A plateau in Germany, part of which belongs to Prussia, and part to 
Hanover. TR. 

J The editor 1 of the "Kreuzzeitung" was arrested, under criminal law, be- 
cause he refused to name the authors of several articles containing indictable 
statements, and the " Kreuzzeitung," from these circumstances, could not 
appear for several days. TR. 


the saviour of the country, they would all of them 
have been drowned in blood." Credat Jud&us apella. 

Yours faithfully, 


Monday, having been to another funeral.* 

A working man, a stranger, addressed me at Ben- 
jamin Constant's funeral "N'est ce pas, mon bon 
Monsieur, vous n'avez rien de si beau en Prusse, mais 
ce sera bien plus beau, quand nous enterrerons M. de 
La Fayette." 



Berlin, 29th July, 1854. 

Just as the virtuous Order of St. John, near the 
Wilhelmsplatz, calls "Hurrah for chastity !"j" thus in 
Spain the virtuous " insurrection" shouts " Viva el 
pudorf" (Isabella) "Viva lamoralidad!" (the disinterested 
Christina) ; but would you have thought it possible 
(July, 1854!) that the Minister of Public Worship { 
should likewise, although until now in vain, have 
shouted " Viva el pudor /" He has, quite officiellement, 
proposed to the King that the breechless groups on 
the bridge should be removed by royal order, and shut 
up in the arsenal, without any fear of the press ; as the 
new Frankfurt Federal Slavery-of-the- Press Law is 

* Of Borsig, the manufacturer of locomotives ; a few days before, Mrs. 
Amalia Beer was buried. Humboldt, in his eighty- sixth year, attended both 

f The palace of Prince Charles of Prussia, Grand Master of the Order of 
St. John, is situated on the Wilhelmsplatz. Thence the agitation against 
the breechless group of statues on the palace bridge, is said to have pro- 
ceeded. The Prince, it should be added, does not apparently enjoy among 
his countrymen a ,<Trcat reputation for the exalted character of his virtue. Tu. 


merely a counterpart of those ingenious Berlin dog- 
muzzles, ^hich are to prevent us literary men from 
biting, although not from barking, and which ought 
to have a place assigned to them in the Munich Crystal 
Palace. How these muzzles have been botched again 
and again! The third cry, " Viva la libertad /" has 
forced its way through the Peninsula, notwithstanding 
all the supercilious denials. 

Yours faithfully, 

At night. A. V. HUMBOLDT. 



Berlin, 31 st July, 1854. 

Alas, no ! I was mistaken in the belief that the pur- 
chase of the monument for Weimar* had been accom- 
plished, and that the enlargement of the monument, 
such as our fair excellent friend had wished, was the 
only thing given up. In the spheres where I am 
familiar no active support is to be thought of for the 
present. The expression, " Art in itself is a garment," 
is of great ingenuity and beauty. Most gratefully, 


Monday. In haste for the railway. 

In the United States a great deal of good feeling 
has certainly sprung up for me, but the general aspect 
of affairs there leaves me under the sad impression that 

* This passage appears to refer to the design, by Ranch, of a Goethe- Schil- 
ler monument for Weimar, rejected on account of the poets being represented 
in classical costume. The design ultimately adopted was that of Eietschel. 
Bettina von Arnim seems to have interested herself very warmly in favour of 
Rauch. TR, 


liberty, in that country, is but a dead machinery in the 
hands of utilitarianism, very little calculated to ennoble 
and rouse the powers of mind and heart, which, after 
all, ought to be the main object of political freedom, 
This explains their indifference to slavery. But the 
IT. S. are a Cartesian vortex, carrying away and level- 
ling everything to dull monotony. 



Berlin, 8th January, 1855. 

Your Excellency will please to accept my most 
heartfelt thanks for always graciously remembering 
me, in kindly dispensing your valuable gifts. In readi- 
ness of receiving, in appreciation of the gift, in grati- 
tude for the generous donor, I hope I shall not be sur- 
passed by any one. This Preface, couched in beautifully 
measured, thoroughly accomplished, but tenderly ele- 
giac language, is the most worthy and lasting monu- 
ment for the prematurely departed Prince,* concerning 
whom I have heard also from other quarters enough 
to make me deeply deplore the early death which has 
carried him off in the very prime of manhood. I shall 
try to procure his work, which is so highly recom- 
mended by your Excellency. 

The dark curtain of clouds which just now veils the 
light of day, is quite in keeping with the shadows 
which have overcast at least my heart and soul. I 

* Prince Waldemar of Prussia, known to the British public as having been 
present at the battle of Sobraon. The work alluded to is the description of 
his travels in India, printed for private circulation. A copy of it is in the 
library of the Army and Navy Club. Prince Waldemar died 17th February, 
1849. TR. 


have never been able during the last few days to rouse 
my spirits. 

With my warmest wishes for you, and with unal- 
terably faithful esteem and grateful devotedness, 
Your Excellency's most obedient, 




Berlin, 26th April, 1855. 

My esteemed friend, A strange missionary at- 
tempt, clothed in a sort of idyllic ghost story, 
political and religious, of monstrously bombastic 
" neat " style, has come to hand, which I must 
communicate to you. It is very likely the work 
of a man, rather than of a woman. The "warm" 
eighteenth birthday, on which the bond of love 
is stated to have been completed, is more than I 
understand ; nor have I any desire for manual mag- 
netism. I think it much more convenient not to give 
any answer whatever. The Saturnalia of despotism 
and flattery, the unblushing festival of oblivion, as 
if there were no history of 1813 and '14, is now 
over among the free islanders: a sort of monkey's 
comedy. There is only one consolation which up- 
holds me, that out of all this something will grow, 
which will be quite contrary to what either of the 
parties have intended. That is le principe, which 
will survive all of us. I am cruel enough to include 
you among " all of us." The Cassel book seems to 


have been of good use to my brother Wilhelm in the 
spheres above. 

With much attachment and esteem, 

Yours faithfully, 

Wednesday. A. HuMBOLDT. 

I beg you will return me the ghost-story. 

Note by Varnhagen, 

An " Unknown " (lady) dares to send " Words of the Power of 
the Spirit." " They are given her with the injunction to transmit, 
them." Humboldt is requested, in case he should return an answer, 
to have the letter delivered with the address, A. "W., at 120, Lin- 
denstrasse, in the ground-floor shop on the left hand of the entrance 
of the house; he would then hear more. A wayfarer, resting him- 
self, is portrayed. Wilhelm appears before his brother Alexander, 
and exhorts him to think of Heaven, how beautiful and bright it is 
there, and how cloudy on Earth. As a token of the truth, he 
reminds him of the eighteenth warm birthday, " when they vowed 
love to each other, a pledge which outlasts death, and which he 
hereby redeems." A piece of bombastic balderdash, in which the 
word "neat" (sauber) is of frequent occurrence, and becomes con- 
spicuous just because it is so very inappropriate. 

As to the above address, Humboldt remarks: "There is at that 
place a Mrs. von Wenkstern's boarding school, and a widow, Mrs. 



Berlin, 9th August, 1855.' 

I had with great regret heard already from the 
highly-gifted Princess Wittgenstein, that you, my 
generous friend, were more than usually ailing. 


Please to receive me with forbearance, on Sunday at 
1 o'clock, notwithstanding my having so long staid 
away, thanks to my inconvenient trilogy of Berlin, 
Tegel, and Potsdam. I will then also bring to you 
a small letter of thanks to your cousin, the Imperial 
Brazilian Charge* d'Affaires at Madrid. This 
" History," based on monumentary records, seems to 
grow very important ; but how strange to send the 
book without the first pages, and the notes without 
a beginning !* I doubt whether, in my cosmic unti- 
diness, I shall ever recover those beginnings. Having 
yesterday seen the Prince of Prussia for nearly one 
hour by himself, I shall be able to report to you 
some not uninteresting, although not precisely deci- 
sive matter. The Prince, whom I take to be a lover 
of truth, assured me that, faithful to his principles, 
he had spoken out everywhere to the purport, that 
war would probably have been avoided if Prussia 
and Austria from the very beginning had earnestly 
and actively co-operated with the Western powers 
against Russia. At Petersburg they had objected 
that the Emperor Nicholas would not have yielded, 
even in this case, which he, the Prince, doubted .... 
With faithful attachment, 


You will kindly interpret to me, when we meet, 
the mythological name of Sorocaba.f 

* " Historia geral do Brazil, tomo primeiro." The pieces here wanting he 
had sent on a previous occasion as samples. 

f Francisco Alfonso de Varnhagen places his name at the bottom of the 
dedication to the Emperor. On the title-page is written : " For um socio do 
Institute Historico do Brazil, Natural de Sorocaba (the birthplace of the 
author west of Rio)." 


Varnhagen states in his Diary, llth August, 1855 : " About one 
o'clock Humboldt called, looking very well, quite hale, fresh, and 
in high spirits. If, a short time ago, as Dirichlet* thought, his looks 
made a less gratifying impression, it was owing to indisposition, 
which has vanished. First, the book of my cousin was introduced, 
which he praises, and for which he thanks him in a letter. I was 
not able to explain to him the expression Sorocaba. Humboldt has 
only lately been decorated with the Great Brazilian Order, on 
account of a sentence of arbitration which he had been requested to 
pronounce between Brazil and Venezuela, concerning a considerable 
tract of territory. ' In former times they wanted, in Rio de Janeiro, 
to arrest me and to send me back to Europe as a dangerous spy. 
The order for it is still shown there as a curiosity, and now I am 
made arbitrator. I have of course decided in favour of Brazil, as I 
was craving for the great Order, and the Republic of Venezuela has 
none to give ! ' These words, uttered with the most humorous 
irony, made me exclaim : ' How times are changed !' ' Yes/ he 
at once rejoined ; ' the Warrant for my arrest, and now the great 
Order!' ' Oh no,' I replied; 'I did not think of this personal 
incident, but of the historical change ; in times of yore such arbitra- 
tions were left to the Pope.' 

Humboldt saw the last two volumes of Stein's "Life" lying 
in my room, and expressed his dissatisfaction at their arrange- 
ment, the poor text, and the unsifted contents of the book; he 
said, the golden snuff-box, with diamonds, which the King had 
already sent to Pertz, far exceeded his deserts. Flagrant and 
paltry injustice to old Prince Wittgenstein, on the part of 
Stein. Pertz likewise was unjust to Wittgenstein. Stein's had 
been anything but a firm character, no one had more readily 
changed his opinions and views (which Beymef in his times 

* Professor of Mathematics at Berlin. TR. 

f Beyme was an enemy of Stein's. When Stein, in 1807, returned to 
office, one of the conditions under which he accepted the situation of Chancellor 
of State, was the removal of Beyme from about the person of the Monarch. 
Beyme was therefore appointed President ol the Court of Exchequer (Kam- 
mergericht) in Berlin, being succeeded as Cabinet Councillor by Albrecht 
(mentioned before). It is therefore hardly fair to refer to Beyme's authority 
in anything affecting Stem's character, TR. 


had already asserted and proved by facts) : his earlier liberal 
opinions on finance, municipal institutions, trade and commerce, he 
had borrowed from the age in which he lived ; but had afterwards 
completely abandoned, and even combated them, when such was the 
fashion of the day. He had so ignominiously deserted his former 
principles, that Kunth a friend of his earlier years who had 
remained faithful to those principles, and yet had not wished to 
compromise Stein had burned upwards of three hundred of his 
letters, since, as he said, they would bring shame on the man for 
whom he had such reverence, exposing his contradiction with himself. 
Speaking of the Prince of Prussia, Humboldt said the Prince had 
said at St. Petersburg, just as he had previously done here, that the 
war would have been avoided if Prussia, at the very outset, had 
assumed a resolute attitude; the Emperor Nicholas would then have 
yielded. The imperial family were quite united, not excepting the 
Grand Duke Constantine, who did not appear to him as dangerous 
as he generally was represented to be. The Empress Mother 
(dowager) said they were all of them children ; she was obliged to 
remain with them to keep them in order. The war was severely felt ; 
all was at a dead lock, the country was drained of men, the armies 
not numerous enough. Poland, the Baltic provinces, Finland occu- 
pied only by scanty forces. The main part of the army was in the 
Crimea, the losses enormous, and no possibility to make up for 
them. Gortschakoff reported the daily losses in fighting to amount to 
1 80 or 200 men, an appalling sum total for the month. Kesselrode 
was planning new negotiations, but in the meanwhile great blows 
would very likely be struck on one side or the other : they were not 
without serious apprehensions about Sebastopol. The Prince is 
gone from here to Erdmannsdorf to the King, from thence he will 
hasten to Baden. The King has with him at Erdmannsdorf, 
Lieutenant- General von Gerlach; amongst others, also, R.,* un- 
less he has already become tired of him, as will happen so often. 
Humboldt speaks of R. as being decidedly a Jesuit ; he calls him 
Ignatius, and sneers at and ridicules him over and over again. 
' The great destinies of Italy leave the King altogether unmoved, 

* Thus in the original, but evidently referring to Eaumer, Minister of 
Public Works. TR. 


but a painted window-pane, a flourish on an old monument, a family 
name, that was what deeply interested, engaged, and delighted 
him ; and for such frippery R. was the very man he wanted. 
The same was the case with Bunsen, with whom the King cor- 
responded on theological and patristic curiosities. He has encou- 
raged him to write against the Bishop of Mayence.* Bunsen, on 
the other hand, made it a condition that he should he allowed to 
refer in his articles to the King's orders, as otherwise all that he 
could say would be wanting in authority and eifect. Humboldt is 
of opinion that Bunsen, after all, would not be able to resist the 
allurement of being summoned here, even if it were not to an official 
position, but only to a personal one about the King. 

" The Duke of Coburg-Gotha aims at aggrandisement of territory, 
and accession to a higher title ; that of ' King of Eastphalia' has been 
proposed, and the King, in joke, speaks of him as if he already were 
crowned such !f France and England are counted upon in this plan ; 
flattery and compliance are readily offered to Bonaparte, who would 
then be gladly acknowledged a protector of a new Confederation of the 
Rhine. Thus fares German unity ! It is most eagerly betrayed by 

* Baron Wilhelm von Ketteler. Mayence belonging to the Arch-diocese 
of the Upper Khine, the head of which is the Archbishop of Freiburg, the 
Bishop took an active part in the quarrel of that prelate with the Govern- 
ment of the Grand Duke of Baden. TE. 

f Humboldt himself repeatedly mentions in his letters that there were things 
at Court about which he was never spoken to. Owing to this imperfect know- 
ledge of the facts, he mistakes in this instance a mere joke between the King 
and the Duke for a serious affair of state. We are the more happy to be en- 
abled to give from authentic sources the true version of the case, as Humboldt's 
severe remarks were directed against a prince who, instead of entertaining any 
selfish dynastic ambition, has on the contrary gone so far in his generous rea- 
diness to make any sacrifice for the cause of German Union, as to offer to serve 
as a Prussian- German Minister under the Prince Regent of Prussia, " As to 
the Kingdom of Eastphalia, this is a joke which often passed between the King 
of Prussia and the Duke. It refers to a memoir of Chevalier Bunsen's, at that 
time (the commenceir.enf: of the Crimean war), Ambassador at the English Court, 
who laid down in his despatch, that the Kingdom of Poland ought to be re- 
stored under the Eoyal house of Saxony, and that the Thuringian countries 
ought then to be united into a Kingdom of " Eastphalia " under the rule of 
the Duke of Coburg. The King and the Duke had at the time many a good 
laugh at this memoir and its eccentric schemes." Extract from, a Letter from 
Germany. TR. 



its own sworn defenders.' At last Humboldt added : * If one has 
the misfortune of being compelled to live with such wretches as 
Gerlach, Baumer, and the rest who have gained a footing at this 
Court !' He drove from me to the Kothen Strasse, to look at a pic- 
ture, I remaining behind in great excitement. I was not able to 
remember or write down the tenth part of what he had said !" 

On the 12th August, Varnhagen makes the following post- 
script : " Speaking of the position of Prussia, Humboldt said it 
reminded him of a pleading which he had once heard in Paris ; the 
counsel for the prosecution, in the matter of a box on the ear, had 
wound up, triumphantly exclaiming: ' Au fond nous n'avons pas 
regu le soufflet, nous n'avons eu que le geste ! ' ' 



Berlin, 13th January, 1856. 

Smile, my dear friend (you are perfectly right in 
doing so !) at the strange lines from Princess Lieven, 
and also at my importunate inquiry. Madame de 
Quitzow, who has never written to me for the last 
twenty-five years, wants to know from me, whether 
the Emperor Paul, during the epoch of his political 
insanity, had caused the proposal to be made by 
Kotzebue, that instead of the armies, the Ministers 
of Foreign Affairs should engage in single combat. 
I was at that time (1799 and 1800), traversing the 
Delta of South America, and had no knowledge 
whatever of the anecdote which the Russian Princess 
(who, as it now appears to me, has a very strong 
leaning towards Western ideas and predilections), 
wishes to have authenticated. According to rather 
unreliable accounts which I have gathered, the pro- 
posal was, that the Monarchs themselves, not the 


Ministers, should enter the lists for the duel. I 
entreat you, my generous friend, to write me a few 
lines as to what your excellent memory supplies on 
the subject ; and even more earnestly do I entreat 
you to give me some reassurance as to your health 
at the return of this abominable frost. Bunsen 
writes, that he is expecting a fourth edition of his 
" Letters." The excellent, or rather the useful book 
being so extensively bought and read, does it prove 
that the German public has been less chloroformed 
for action than we thought ? Dubito. The German 
host of (dicunf) a very dirty hotel, which, bearing 
my name, has for many years flourished by the side 
of a more cleanly one named after Jenny Lind, in 
San Francisco in California sends me from time to 
time German Californian newspapers. Descanting 
in a late number on the moral and intellectual con- 
dition of the English, French, and Germans, the 
editor says : " We Germans are a tribe of thinkers, 
deeply engaged in our innermost mind with the 
world of thought ; we also have, over all the other 
nations settled here, the great advantage of troubling 
ourselves very little, or not at all, about municipal 
and political affairs." Thus we boast on the shores 
of the Pacific ; we buy the " Signs of the Times,' 7 * 
but scarcely five in a hundred of us will go to the 
poll. It is too inconvenient. We are thinking. 
Your old, affectionate friend, 


Has not the very pleasant young Tyrolese poet, 
Adolphus Pichler his actual profession is that of 

* Bunsen's " Signs of the Times," also translated into English. TR. 

R 2 


geologist called on you ? I do not expect during 

this quite* at least obnoxious and humiliating 

year any peace, but merely the farce of 

useless diplomatical negotiations. 

(Note by Varnhagen. Infthe fourth line, " Madame de Quitzow" 
is an evident mistake instead of " Madame de Lieven." What may 
have been the cause of this name, which is here utterly without 
meaning, having been brought forward, cannot be guessed.) 

(A later note ly Varnhagen. The Princess Lieven is very inti- 
mately allied with, some even say secretly married to, M. Guizot, 
the ex-minister. Guizot, pronounced in German fashion, easily 
turns into the name Quitzow, a very well-known one in the 
" March of Brandenburgh." Humboldt, always inclined to be sati- 
rical, especially in such a case, may have here applied to her, with 
full intent, that- nickname, which, perhaps, was already current at 
Court. [This version is quite correct.] ) 



Paris, le % Janvier, 1856. 

Vous ne m'avez pas oublie'e, mon cher baron. Je 
le sais par deux messages bienveillants que le baron 
Brockhausen m'a ported de votre part. Je Pai bien 
charge* de vous en temoigner ma vive reconnaissance, 
mais je trouve mieux encore de vous la dire moi- 
meme. Aujourd'hui je la fais servir de passeport a 
une question que je me permets de vous adresser. 

Vous, qui savez tout, pouvez-vous vous souvenir 
du fait suivant ? L'anne'e 1799 ou 1800 Pempereur 
Paul imagina de proposer un combat en champ clos, 
ou PAngleterre, la Russie, PAutriche, je ne sais pas 
quelle puissance encore, videraient leurs different 

* These two passages are illegible in the original letter. 


par la personne de leurs premiers ministres, Pitt, 
Tlmgut, etc. La redaction de cette invitation fat 
confine a Kotzebue, et Particle insure dans la gazette 
de Hambourg. Voila le souvenir bien distinct qui 
me reste. Je n'ai pas reve cela. Pouvez-vous com- 
pleter cette tradition ? je ne rencontre personne qui 
puisse s'en rappeller. J'ai pense que vous pourriez 
venir en aide a ma memoire, et j'y tiens, parcequ'on 
croit que je radotte. 

Vraiment Paul I r n'etait pas si fou. Ne trouvez- 
vous pas notre temps plus fou que celui-la? quel 
chaos ! et pourquoi ? . . . 

Mon cher baron, je vis ici dans un petit cercle 
intime de vieux amis qui sont aussi les votres et qui 
vous conservent un bien bon souvenir. Quel plaisir 
nous aurions a vous y voir, et oublier ensemble les 
tristesses du jour. Ah que les hommes et les choses 
valaient mieux jadis ! Est-ce un propos de vieille 
femme que je vous tiens? 

Adieu, mon cher baron. Je vous demande souve- 
nir et amitie, et je vous promets bien la reciprocite. 
Toute a vous. 




Berlin, 27th January, 1856. 

It is with grateful pleasure that I have received 
the copy your Excellency was good enough to send 
me of your Address to the Delegates of the City of 
Berlin. Were it not that it might be thought pre- 
sumptuous in me to praise, where praise has become 


habitual and supererogatory, I would say the Address 
evinces as much sterling value in its subject-matter, 
as it does intellectual greatness in its treatment. To 
my mind, however, its finest aspect is the shall I say 
happy or masterly ? way in which you make mention 
of the King, as dignified as it is delicate, as hearty 
as it is graceful ; in fine, it must be the unanimous judg- 
ment of every fine-feeling person that this mention of 
him is at once appropriate and delightful. In your 
Excellency's last letter the expression, " Madame de 
Quitzow," puzzled me a good deal at first, but I 
think I can boast of having solved the riddle by the 
strength of my head, as the Jews say when we speak 
of racking our brains, and I cannot help recognising, 
in this little piece of malice, not only a merry conceit, 
but also, all the circumstances of the case considered, 
a mild form of punishment. The Grand Duke of Saxe 
Weimar desired to speak to me here, but I was forced 
to stay at home with my rheumatic sufferings ! 

In truest admiration and grateful devotion, un- 
changeably your Excellency's most obedient, 




Berlin, the 28th January, 1856. 

My ever wakeful ambition has met with an ample 
reward in that the Master of Diction (I avoid the 
term " word-builder") accords me such pleasing praise 
in respect of my mode of mentioning the King, and 
my relation to him. To praise in another qualities 
in which that other does not abound, is to lead him 


to the more honourable way, and to justify one's self 
before one's own nation. A wild man of the woods, 
whom they fancy they have tamed at Court, stands 
in need of such justification. 

I hand over to you, my dear friend, as your 
own, " Madame de Quitzow," whom I was only able 
to ask back to-day from the Queen. General Thile, 
the old Minister, was firmly of opinion that the Guizots 
from the neighbourhood of Montpellier were, in fact, 
disguised, expatriated, Frenchified relics of the Lang- 
Kloder Quitzows, turned Protestant with their patro- 
nymic softened down accordingly. And your poor 
excellent Dora, who is so much pitied by all your 
friends for her sufferings which you so delicately 
alleviate : remember me to her very kindly. 

Yours faithfully, 



The Grand Duke, whom you have escaped, has 
charged me to greet you on his part. He has 
wonderful theories, too, which he has most likely 
picked up somewhere or other, (Boeotia, you will 
remember, was near the Athens of olden times,) and 
misunderstood them. According to him there are two 
classes of sculptors ; the inferior, to which Rauch 
inclines, who works from without to within, while the 
superior (Rietschel) works from within to without. 
But what a scandal, Philarete Chasles* in the 
" Journal des D^bats!" I wrote to Paris: " vul- 
gaire dans les id^es comme dans les formes du Ian- 
gage, indigne d'un litterateur du college de France." 

* The pun contained in the original is untranslatable. Der Schall 
Philarete, Philarete of the empty sound. TR. 




Berlin, Thursday, 1th February, 1856. 
As it is just possible, my dear friend, that you 
may not have seen the work of Montalembert (the 
quondam friend of Lamennais whom he accompanied 
to Rome), I shall, I hope, be affording you some 
little pleasure in offering you for a few (say five or 
six) days, the loan of the King's copy of it. The 
only hit in it at the France of the present day is at 
the end, p. 284 298. I wish only the whole of 
it could be translated and published in Germany 
entire. Most gratefully yours, 


How fares good old Dora ? I played the Patri- 
arch yesterday till seven o'clock at Potsdam, at a 
christening at the house of a very well educated and 
handsome daughter of my Siberian valet, Seiffert. 
She is the wife of the traveller Mollhausen, who, at 
the recommendation of Ambassador Gerolt and my- 
self, accompanied, in the capacity of topographer 
and draftsman for the American Government, the 
exploring expedition of St. Louis, San Francisco, 
and Panama (the expedition of Captain Whipple). 
A year ago the King made young Mollhausen 
Keeper of the Eoyal Libraries at Potsdam. There 
was yesterday, in the " Journal des Debats " (I think 
Feb. 5), an excellent article by Laboulaye, on the 
" Domestic Institution," and Pierce's infamous exten- 
sion of slavery into parts where it had never been 
before ! ! 

Keep the very mediocre verses, " On gentle Ilm." 




Berlin, \Mh March, 1856. 

Your Excellency's kind and valued presents came 
into the retreat which this bleak second winter has 
imposed on me, more gladdening and more lovely 
than the sunshine that accompanies it. Allow me, 
in returning you my repeated thanks, most earnestly 
to assure you that I know how to estimate as they 
deserve all the favours I receive, and most of all 
the friendly feeling which induces you to remember 
me so graciously, and study so kindly my gratifica- 
tion ! The pencil lines of dying Heine are a dear 
memorial to me, and shall remain religiously pre- 
served in the envelope inscribed by your Excellency's 
hand. To-day's gift, too, the thoughtful combina- 
tion of Archimedes and Franklin, respecting their 
monuments, I have read with the warmest interest. 

I observe that you fear neither wind nor weather, 
and fortunately have no need to fear them, if an 
honourable duty has to be performed. Our times 
furnish us with some singular tasks. The fact of 
the Chief of the Police being killed in a duel is, per- 
haps, the first occurrence of the sort in the States of 
modern Europe.* The calling to Paris a Minister 
of Foreign Affairs to bring the Brandenburg writing- 
sand for the ready-made facts there, appears also 
fabulous. But' Allah is great ! 

In truest admiration and grateful devotion, your 
Excellency's most constant and obedient 


* Allusion to the death of Hinckeldey, killed in duel by Baron Eochow, 
a Member of the " Junker Partei (Squirearchy)." TK. 




Berlin, 14th April, 1856. 

As the oldest Prussian official connected with 
mines, and being proud of the position, I felt 
called upon to speak. My confidence in your in- 
dulgence is so great, my dear and generous friend, 
that I even dare to offer to you these unimportant 
lines in print. Count B. deserved this praise, for 
that being of liberal tendencies, mining was thriving 
under his auspices ; and although he has some time 
since resigned the direction, he is still scientifically 
occupied with it. With unalterable fidelity, yours, 

Monday. A. V. HUMBOLDT. 

Rote by Varrihagen. "With the speech delivered on the occasion of 
the Jubilee (9th April, 1856) of his Excellency Count Beust, Privy 
Councillor and Chief Inspector of Mines. 



Berlin, llth September, 1856. 

As you take a lively interest, dear friend, in the 
Slavery Question, and in all that concerns myself, I 
send you Gerolt's last letter. It has arrived very 
late, but is sure to interest you. Buchanan, unfor- 
tunately, is to be President, not Fremont, the learned 
traveller, who has four times performed the overland 
journey to California with a view to surveying it, 
and to whose exertions it is owing that California 
has not become a Slave State. 

I beg you not to return the letter and its enclosures. 

And now, after this African folly, for another piece 


of madness, more serious and more compromising; not 
so royalistic in its tendency, but Bernese-aristocratic, 
flavoured with some little railway interest (whether 
the line by way of Neufchatel or Chaux de Fond is 
to be patronized), that is to say, with share dab- 
blings. And the heroic Count, who accomplishes the 
coup d'etat a la Napoleon, comes inspired (?) from Ber- 
lin, while we have a Minister at the Diet whom to- 
day we deny ever to have acknowledged. How is 
one to get out of this ? Such will be the case with 
our three Transpontine possessions the Jade,* the 
Zollern (the discovery of Columbus-Stillfried),t and 
Neufchatel. I pity the Constantinopolitan Pourtales 
who steps in between his dynasty (the Prussian 
Grafenthum) and his official liberalism, engaged in 
bitter feud. Fortunately the English Parliament is 
silent just now. Yours faithfully, 




New York, 25th August, 1856. 

My dearest, kindest sir, Since my last letter 
to your Excellency of the 8th instant, I have 
been rendered happy by your letter of the 27th 
of July, from which I learn with the warmest sym- 
pathy of your late indisposition. I return my most 
heartfelt thanks for the news your Excellency has 
kindly communicated, and hasten to send, according 

* The Bay of Jade, the projected Prussian war-port in the German Ocean. TR. 

t The principalities of Hohenzollern in S wabia, the cradle of the Royal house. 
They were, with the consent of the princes, their owners, incorporated with 
the Prussian monarchy by Friedrich Wilhelm IV. TR. 


to your wishes, two extracts from New York papers 
("New York Herald" and " Courrier des Etats 
Unis"), which contain your publication on Slavery 
in Cuba, as well as Mr. Thrasher's apology for it, 
published in the journals here, and which certainly 
is very lame. 

The affair has caused great excitement every- 
where here, and could only be welcome to the oppo- 
nents of Slavery, who have elected Fremont for their 
candidate. A few days ago a mass meeting of the 
German electors in Fremont's interest, many thou- 
sands in number, was held here, and in the evening 
a brilliant torch-light procession was arranged in his 

The Slave Question becomes every day more 
serious. While the House of Representatives reduces 
the Government estimates for the army, news arrives 
daily from Kansas of sanguinary conflicts between 
the freesoilers and the slaveholders. It is hoped, 
however, that when the presidential election is over 
(in November), internal quiet will once more be re- 
stored. The unhealthy climate of Washington has 
driven me away for some days, the heat during the last 
month having been insufferable, and now intermit- 
tent fevers are setting in. I leave to-day for Albany, 
where the Society of Naturalists holds a sitting, to 
which I am invited. I shall meet there many noted 
savants, and at some future time will give your Ex- 
cellency an account of them. M. Heine* is very 
pleased at the favourable opinion your Excellency 
has expressed of him. Mr. C and the whole 

* Not the poet, but a German painter of that name who accompanied the 
United States Expedition to Japan. TR. 


fashionable world have long since betaken them- 
selves to the hills or seaside ; and I shall not see him 
again for three or four weeks. 

Mr. Fillmore would be the best President, but he 
seems to have little chance against Fremont and 
Buchanan. The Knownothings have lost all their 

My poor wife and children count the days till they 
shall see me again, and my own longing is not less 
next year, or as soon as Congress has finished its 
sitting, to get back to all that is dear to me at home. 

The immediate departure of the mail for England 
obliges me to break off to-day, and I close with the 
most fervent wish that these lines may find your 
Excellency in the best health. 

With unchangeable admiration and friendship, I 
remain, your Excellency's most obedient, 




Berlin, 13th September, 1856. 

The great influence of your Excellency's name in 
the United States furnishes *a pleasing proof of the 
progress of cultivation in that quarter, and offers a 
sure promise of the eventual triumph of those prin- 
ciples of benevolence which you have professed 
throughout a long and active life. 

I thank you heartily for the letter and its printed 
inclosures, which it gives me extreme satisfaction to 
be able to place in my collection. 

Fremont's prospects are for the moment clouded ; 


but the latest news describes his party as exceedingly 
active, and his cause as not quite hopeless. 

Home affairs, for even though enacted in foreign 
lands, they are still, by virtue of their origin, home 
affairs one would rather not touch upon at all. It is 
difficult to find the right terms in speaking of them, 
and, if one does find them, one cannot use them. 
Yet all who judge of them with unprejudiced minds, 
are singularly unanimous in condemning them. 

To the genuine good old Prussians, Jade Bay, Neuf- 
chatel, and even Zollern, are but very secondary con- 
siderations, and out of all connection with the nucleus 
of the Prussian State. 

I am afraid that, as regards Neufchatel, too much 
importance is attached to a momentary approval on 
the part of France, and that frightful complications 
will arise in consequence. Reynard takes a malicious 
pleasure in inciting his friends to dangerous enter- 
prises. How they will come out of them is their 
affair ! 

Madame Bettina von Arnim has, within the last few 
days, made me a present of about a thousand manu- 
script papers for my collections ; one of the most 
valuable among them is a letter of your Excellency's 
to Ludwig Achim von Arnim, on the subject of 
Fossils. It bears no date, but I should think it must 
have been written some time between 1820 and 1830. 

I know right well the day on which I write these 
lines the eve of that day* which ; above all the days 
memorable and dear of our times, certainly will be 
celebrated far and near with the greatest enthu- 

* Huraboldt's birthday. TB. 


May your Excellency receive with kind approval 
the modest expression of my most fervent wishes ! 
In truest admiration and grateful devotion, 

Your Excellency's most obedient 




Berlin, 22nd September, 1 856. 

The Grand Duke of Weimar, who has just left 
me, charges me to beg you earnestly, my honoured 
friend, to receive him to-morrow (Tuesday) between 
nine and eleven o'clock. He is absolutely bent on 
calling upon you. 

Yours faithfully, 



Berlin, 23rd September, 1856. 

Cher et introuvable ami ! How the Improbable can 
become the True ! How is it that Royal footmen and 
royal coachmen were unable to find you out, and 
looked in vain in the prosaic " Directory " for your 
address ? This address I send at once to the Grand 
Duke, who has the vexation of feeling he has 
made you, dear friend, await him in vain. May 
he be more fortunate in his next attempt ! The 
inclosed is a Berlin curiosum for your archives. 

Faithfully yours, 

Tuesday, two o'clock. A. V. HUMBOLDT. 





A.U Chateau de Berlin, Mardi matin. 

Si j'eusse eu Part du Marquis de Saint- Germain,* 
si je ne me trompe, dont on raconte qu'il sortit un 
beau matin par quatre portes a la fois, je n'aurais 
pas eu meilleure volonte, pour trouver M. de Varn- 
hagen que je n'ai eu. Tout a ete neanmoins inutile. 
On n'a pas pu me dire ou il demeure, et c'est en 
vain que j'ai arpente la Maurenstrasse. Comme la 
nature m'a cree de tous les grand-dues le plus entete, 
je ne persiste pas moins dans mon intention de voir 
Tinvisible, et je m'empresse d'y parvenir en priant 
Votre Excellence de me dire ou demeure effective- 
ment M. de Varnhagen. Pardonnez-moi de vous 
importuner de nouveau, mais en conscience je ne 
connais pas d'autre chemin plus court et plus droit. 
Je me signe avec Pattachement inepuisable de 1' admi- 
ration, et de la veneration de Votre Excellence le 
plus devoue, 




Berlin, 24th September, 1856. 
Your Excellency has had no small amount of 

* The Marquis of Saint- Germain, a personage of the eighteenth century, 
greatly renowned for magical art. TR. 


trouble on niy account these last few days, for which 
I really feel ashamed. But most of all I regret to 
have missed your kind call, which always is an honour 
as well as a profit and a pleasure. That the Grand 
Duke should not have been able to find me yesterday, 
although he drove up and down the Mauerstrasse, 
and had inquiries made several times, would be 
indeed inconceivable, if Court servants were not 
quite a peculiar species. I have lived nearly thirty 
years, in the best house in the street, in which the 
Grand Duke, too, has been before, when calling on 
the Prince Wilhelin of Baden. To-day, then, he 
found me correctly, and at eight o'clock in the 
morning too. He was very gracious and obliging, 
spoke pretty freely, and with much kindliness ; 
more particularly he mentioned your Excellency's 
name with the greatest admiration and gratitude. 
His real motive only appeared quite at the end of 
his visit. Your Excellency, in referring him to me 
with it has done me a great honour, but at the 
same time put me in no small embarrassment. The 
matter is of importance, and may establish the hap- 
piness of a worthy man. The request itself does 
credit to the Grand Duke also, and I shall be very 
glad if I can be of any service in aiding his noble 
purpose. I will think about it, and dutifully com- 
municate to your Excellency the result. On the 
first impulse I named the young, much gifted H., 
but to no purpose, as the Grand Duke doubted his 
proficiency in French. The visit lasted nearly an 
hour, and the conversation turned upon all sorts of 
curious themes. My share in it, at least the 
physical part thereof, can have afforded him but 


little pleasure, as cold, cough, and asthma, have made 
sad havoc with my voice, and rendered it all but 

With best wishes for your Excellency's health, in 
truest admiration, 

Your most grateful and obedient, 




Berlin, 24th September, 1856. 

To-morrow, as a victim to the Queen and her loneli- 
ness, I shall bury myself again at Potsdam ; but before 
doing so, dear friend, I wish to put matters straight 
as regards the Grand Duke and myself. The Grand 
Duke has visited you (and it does him honour), not 
for the purpose of consulting you, but out of respect 
for your fine talents and personal character, because, 
as he said, the idea was hereditary in his house, that 
one must see two men in Berlin you and me. 

We ought to receive that kindly as an inheritance of 
the old gentleman and her Imperial Highness,* who 
is a dignified lady. He had no idea of speaking to 
you of what he seeks and will not find equal capa- 
city for science and poetry, the history of geogra- 
phical discoveries and arts, painting, cameos, sculp- 
tures, refined manners, proficiency in speaking and 

* The old gentleman is Karl August, Duke of Weimar, the friend of Goethe 
and Schiller, and grandfather to the present Grand Duke. Her Imperial 
Highness is the late Grand-Duchess Maria Paulowna, sister to the Emperor 
Nicholas of Russia, daughter-in-law of Karl August, and mother of the pre- 
sent Grand Duke of Weimar. Tn. 


writing French, and at the same time a good reader. 
Such a man must be born specially for the purpose. 
I said " f aviserai" and quite accidentally added, " I 
would ask you" It was not till he was taking leave, 
which he did in official form, with some rather over- 
strained compliments to " youthful age," that he 
asked me whether he should be running counter to 
my feelings if he were to propound the riddle to you. 
The motive of his visit was, therefore, to give proof 
of his " hereditary admiration," and to create sen- 
sation ; and this at eight in the morning on the day 
of his departure, must have cost him a little self- 
sacrifice. To " engraft" upon him the excellent 
H., one might send H. for four months to Paris 
and London ; but would a talent like H.'s bear such 
a slavery ? J'en doute. Warmly yours, 


Grerlach will separate himself from the King, and 
supplant Reyher* in his office. He would thus remain 
near the King, nay nearer, for the motive of many a 
little excitation (contact-electricity) would thus be 



Potsdam, 9th November, 1856. 

I have neglected to inform you, my honoured 
friend, that I had punctually, indeed within a few 
days of learning it, fulfilled your wish by sending 

* General of Artillery and Chief of the Staff. TR. 

s 2 


the letter you directed to me to Weimar, and at the 
same time warmly recommended the proposed " pri- 
vate secretary." A German letter of Prince Metter- 
nich, expressing his sentiments in graceful language, 
will interest you. I make you a present of it for 
your collection. The occasion was a plaster mould 
and cast (at which the Prince himself has worked) 
of an old Egyptian Stele, of granite, which he had 
received from Mehemet Ali, twenty-five years ago. 
The aged Prince presented me with this cast (from 
three to four feet high) because he wanted me to 
decipher the long inscription it contained in De- 
motic characters. This has been performed by the 
talented young Egyptologist Dr. Brugsch, author of 
a Demotic grammar, which has been generally ad- 
mired abroad. Dr. Brugsch, who had the first edi- 
tion of his grammar (written in Latin) printed while 
he was still a pupil in the first class of Dr. August's 
Gymnasium* (the second edition in French), has 
found a deal of very curious astronomy in the in- 
scription ; and to give pleasure to the old Prince, 
Brugsch has published the whole as " Stele-Metter- 
nich," in the Oriental Magazine (" Zeitschrift fur 
das Morgenland"), and in the " Athenee." Brugsch 
is the son of a poor cavalry sergeant, has spent two 
years in Egypt at the King's expense, and is well 
acquainted with Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Koptic, and 
Persian. Excuse my horrid scrawl, which is hardly 
readable, and my savagely-incorrect style. 

Surely the letter of the Maccaroni King to Louis 
Philippe, in the " Spener'sche Zeitung," has not 

* Dr. August's Gymnasium the " K6lner Gymnasium" at Berlin. TR. 


escaped you ? Non v>a bisogno quite like Rochow- 
Seiffart, in his best style to the Elbingers " It is 
not at all necessary for my people to think, I think 
for them. The people that has so often betrayed 
me, bends under my power." Your faithful 




Konigswart, 14th October, 1856. 

Many thanks, my old friend, for the explanations 
of the " Stele " with which M. Brugsch has connected 
my name. I beg you will hand the excellent savant 
the few lines inclosed which I have addressed to him. 
On my return to Vienna I shall make use of the co- 
pious results of the deciphering of this monument, 
in order to indicate to Archaeologists, in a circular, 
the mode of taking casts. Being utterly ignorant 
on the subject, I never doubted that I could do better 
than address myself to you, in order to become en- 
lightened as to the scientific value of this gift of 
Mehemed Aly, which has been slumbering for years 
in my extensive collections. My best thanks to 
you, as well as to M. Brugsch. 

I have had the happiness of finding the King in 
good health, and kindly disposed as ever towards me. 

Recollections of great events in the course of a long 
life form a strong bond of union between men, and 
its strength is tested by its defying the storms of time. 
More than half a century had elapsed since I first 
came in contact with the young Heir- Apparent. The 
changes that have occurred in this long period belong 


to the domain of history. That they have never de- 
prived me of the Royal confidence, either in the case 
of the father or the son, fills me with pride ; that is 
to say, with a feeling which is better designated by 
the term of soul's and heart's content than by the 
word of doubtful virtue which has escaped my pen. 

You, my senior by three years, have just celebrated 
your eighty-seventh birthday. We may both confess 
that we have understood the " art of living." That 
we shall do well to cultivate this art still longer, I 
hope no one will dispute. 

With true friendship and esteem, 




Berlin, 20A November, 1856. 

I want your literary assistance, my dear friend. 
Our great landscape painter, Hildebrandt, who has 
travelled in Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Palestine, Greece, 
and lately made a voyage to the North Cape, has 
finished a beautiful sketch in water colours of my 
" Interior household," to replace a smaller one, many 
hundred copies of which have been exported for 
sale in America. La renommee, fruit d'une longue 
patience de vivre, augmente avec 1'imbecillite. I am 
obliged to make an inscription with my own hand to 
this portrait of mine. 

This is not easy. I entreat you to come and see 
me on Saturday, at one o'clock if you can. You shall 
guide me. Yours most gratefully, 

Thursday. A. V. HUMBOLDT. 



Berlin, 21 st November, 1856. 

I begged you yesterday, my dear friend, to glad- 
den me with a visit on Saturday. To-day I beg 
you not to come. I hear with regret that you are 
suffering. The great picture of Hildebrandt will 
remain some time longer at my house. Any later 
day will do for me as well. I only beg that you 
will kindly send me word, the day before, when 
I may expect you. Pray make the hour twelve, 
because then I am sure to be at leisure. As to my- 
self, I feel always as if I should like to jump out of my 
skin. I am pestered in my old age as if by mosquito 
stings ; and, to crown all, I have the honour of being 
consulted from time to time by an extra-super- 
Christian Mr. Foster (resident at Brussels), as to 
whether I believe the souls of the lower order of 
animals come within the scope of redemption whether, 
in fact, bugs and gnats are to be partakers of hea- 
venly bliss. If they are, I am threatened with 
them hereafter, and therefore shall find those well- 
known u animal spirits' 7 with which I have made 
such close acquaintance on the Orinoco, hymning 
their songs of praise. 

Your old and attached friend, 



Thus the infamous party, which sells negro chil- 
dren of fifty pounds weight, and gives away canes of 
honour,* (as the Kussian Emperor does swords of 

* Allusion to the Sumner- Brooks difficulty in the House of Eepresen- 
tatives at Washington. TR. 


honour, and as Grafe* makes noses of honour) 
proving that all white labourers had also better be 
slaves than freemen, has triumphed. What a mon- 
strosity ! 

On the 22nd November, 1856, Yarnhagen writes in" his Diary : 
" Started at half-past twelve and drove, in a tremendous rain, to Hum- 
boldt's. He was delighted at my coming, and led me at once into the 
room, where Hildebrandt's great water-colour drawing (framed) was 
hung. Keally an excellent painting, in the rich variety of which the 
figure of Humboldt (sitting) is prominent. Now arose the question 
of the inscription to be chosen for it, I had rightly opined that he 
did not so much desire me to propose an inscription as to approve of 
one he had already fixed on. Contrary to my expectation it was 
not a short sentence, but a tolerably long address a rhetorical com- 
position contrasting felicitously the exploring traveller with the phi- 
losopher on his return home. Several alterations were at first 
approved of, but at last rejected. The picture has been presented by 
Hildebrandt, not to Baron Humboldt, but to his valet, Seiffert. It is 
to be engraved. "We looked at the rooms. In three of them his 
materials for study lying about. All three heated to 19 Keaumur, 
to me an insufferably high temperature. A large library not warmed. 
Pictures by Madame Gaggiotti,f whose talent he praised highly. He 
was surprised and pleased at finding that I also knew her. He 
complained of irritation of the skin. I told him it was a known 
complaint, pruritus ' semlis,' he added directly. He had, in a box, 
a live chameleon, which he showed me, and of which he said ' that 
it was the only animal which could direct one of its eyes upwards, 
while looking downwards with the other ; only our parsons were as 
clever, directing one eye to heaven, and the other to the good things 
and advantages of the world.' "We talked also of Neufchatel ; the 
King, he said, was hoping for the best, counting on Louis Bona- 
parte. Manteuffel did not see things in so favourable a light, but was 
merry about them notwithstanding. The Russian Chancellor, 
Count von Nesselrode, said to Humboldt on his last visit, that the 

* A celebrated surgeon at Berlin. Tit. f An artist, native of Rome. TR. 


present constitution and bearing of Switzerland had made a very 
favourable impression upon him, and was well adapted to win esteem 
and favour for the Republic." 



Berlin, 30^ November, 1856. 

My dear Friend, I have just received a letter 
from my "pupil," which, for language and clearness 
of ideas, deserves moderate commendation. I do 
not mean to answer it until I have seen you, my 
dear friend. The last fifteen lines of the letter I 
can neither read nor understand. I had written to 
him about the laying down of the telegraphic wire 
between Newfoundland and Ireland, but had not 
offered him anything.* I cannot read what is under- 
lined. Pray take care of my pupil's letter, as well 
as of the Notice in which I am mentioned as being 
discussed in the Belgian Chambers as a Materialist 
and Republican, who must be put down ! I cannot 
guess where the " Din " of Baron d'Arhim (Arnim) 
may have been. Perhaps I have said, " I was as 
liberal as Arago," but surely never " I was a 
Republican." Pray put M. Jobardf among your 
archives, dear friend. 

Yours faithfully, 

Sunday. A. V. HlJMBOLDT. 

What men believe or disbelieve, is usually made 
a matter of discussion only after their death, after 
one has been officially buried, and a funeral sermon 

* See next letter. 

f Jobard the well-known Belgian savant and political economist. TR. 


read over one, by Sydow.* The " Spener'sche 
Zeitung " contains every day, side by side with the 
news from Neufchatel, and the evacuation of the 
Danubian Principalities, a bulletin de la saute of two 
little silkworms at the Court Gardener, Fintelmann's. 
How everything decreases in importance ! I often 
dated my letters from the once historical hill of Sans- 
Souci. Now the Pfaueninsel (Peacock's Island) f 
becomes historical by recording the domestic life of 
two small silkworms. Thus the world changes ! It 
is true when the Angora goats in France rendered 
the Richelieu Ministry famous, the " Moniteur" said, 
in the same way, " Le moral des chevres s'ameliore 
de jour en jour." 



Weimw, 29th November, 1856. 

As I fortunately have the honour of being known, 
really known to your Excellency, I may hope that 
you will not judge my readiness to acknowledge 
your and Baron Varnhagen's painstakings, by the 
length of time which has elapsed since the 3 1st ultimo, 
when I received your letter. Let my sincere thanks 
find here their place; the very nature of the affair itself 
was cause of the delay : it is one that does not allow 
of a hasty resolution, and, therefore, I write to-day, 
partly because I do not like to appear ungrateful, and 

* Von Sydow one of the chaplains of the Prussian Court who usually 
preaches the funeral sermons of people of rank or note buried at Berlin. The 
well-known author of the " Report on the English System of Education. TK. 

f An islet in the Havel at Potsdam. Tr. 


partly because I wish to secure to myself the possi- 
bility of coming to a firm resolution. For this I 
require time and choice. Both are secured to me 
by your and Baron Varnhagen's courtesy ; for you 
both propose that the young man should come to 
Weimar, that I may first become acquainted with 
him. The question now is, when this can be done ; 
for I do not wish to call * * * here, by at once herald- 
ing forth his appointment. Nothing then remains 
for me but to request your Excellency to inquire 
when the gentleman in question will be able and 
willing to make a journey to the banks of the Ilm ? 
At this question I ought, no doubt, to pause, and 
pass to the expression of my special thanks for the 
curious news which you have had the kindness to 
communicate to me. If I add the question, whether 
your Excellency could send me the map for my ad- 
miring inspection, and if you should chance to find 
this question importunate even to admiration, then I 
shall take refuge in your kindly feeling for me, which 
has often made me proud, and to-day, perhaps, in- 
discreet. Yet am I proud of your kindness ; but as 
kindness is always coupled with truth, I rely on the 
latter for your decidedly refusing my request if it 
should be inconvenient to you, whose most respectful 
and grateful pupil is your 




Bruxelles, U 26 novemlre, 1856. 

Monsieur le Baron, Vous ne serez peut-etre pas 


fache d'apprendre les roles qu'on vous fait jouer dans 
les tristes debats de notre politique religieuse. 

L'ancien ministre Dechamps qui etait a votre 
droite au diner du baron d'Arhim et qui s'etonnait si 
fort de vous avoir entendu dire que vous etiez repub- 
licain comme votre ami Arago, ayant mele votre nom 
a ceux des croyants illustres qui professent les idees 
catlioliques ; voici ce que lui repond un journal 
liberal ce matin : 

" M. Dechamps, dans la derniere homelie qu'il a 
prononcee a la Chambre, a cite le nom de M. de 
Humboldt pour prouver que la science pouvait par- 
faitement etre subordonnee au dogme. Or, il faut 
convenir, comme M. Devaux Pa fait remarquer, que 
Pexemple ne pouvait etre plus mal choisi. M. de 
Humboldt est un de ces rationalistes purs, contre 
lesquels M. Dechamps a deja ecrit tant de lettres. 
Si M. de Humboldt avait enseigne en Belgique, il 
cut ete bien certainement poursuivi dans les lettres 
pastorales et destitue par M. Dechamps lui-meme, si 
M. Dechamps avait ete Ministre. Et voila cependant 
comment Ton ecrit Phistoire, et comment Pon appre- 
cie les plus hautes questions de notre avenir intellec- 
tuel et moral !" 

Voici une autre opinion philosophique pure et 
claire : 

61 Toute et quand fois vous fonderez votre eglise 
sur la betise humaine, les portes de P esprit ne pre- 
vaudront pas contre elle, parcequ'il y aura toujours 
de grosses betes, de vieilles betes et de petites betes 
pour la soutenir et la reparer. La raison pure n'a 
pas les memes chances." Votre tout devoue. 






Spates Daheiin des einst in riistig kampfender Jugend 
Weitgewanderten Forschers, der, gleichwie Hohen 

der Erde, 
Hohen des Ruhmes erstieg, hat dargestellt uns der 

Schon, reichausgestattet mit herrlichen Schatzen 

des Wissens : 
Werke der Kunst, der Natur, und Schrift und 

Grerath des G-elehrten. 
Aber ihn selbst inmitten des neidenswerthen Besitz- 

Sehen wir froh sein Reich mit sinnigem Blicke 

Deutende Sprache verleihen dem wundervollen 

Durch lichtvoller Gedanken beredsam gliickliche 

Schaffend ein neues Bild, ein geistiges, staunendem 

Anschaun ! 


Berlin, den I December 1856. 

See here by the hand of the Painter, in faithful pic- 
ture presented 

The Home of the Sage in the evening of Life. (In 
Youth he had wandered 


Through many a far-lying Land and lustily battled 

with Fortune, 
Scaling Earth's loftiest Kegions, he scaled too the 

Summits of Glory.) 
Beauteous and richly endowed with many a treasure 

of Learning : 

Gems, too, of Nature, and Art, and Books, and skil- 
ful contrivance. 
Meanwhile o'er his glorious Realm thus teeming 

with wonders of Science, 
Hovers with gladsome approval the bright beaming 

eye of the Master 
Crowning each part of the Picture with wreaths of 

appropriate diction, 
Words that flow fast from the heart, betokening 

deepfelt emotion 
A thought-builded picture of Home, unveiled to the 

wond'ring observer. 


Berlin, 1st December, 1856. 



Berlin, 3rd December, 1856. 

And so, my dear friend, my pedestrian prose has 
led you back (I should be proud of it, only that your 
favour is bestowed on the whole world), to the highest, 
noblest rhythm. Even more timidly than the poor, 
for whose sake the superannuated, silvery-pated old 
man shows himself for five groschen, I offer to you 
my fervent thanks. How gloriously, and with what 
good taste you render the English " Home," by our 


" Daheim !" Your poetry is incomparably grand 
and beautiful, an exaltation of the subject, full of 
graceful and grave suggestions as to what is to be 
gathered from Nature, Art, and the implements of a 
scholar's household. Would that my brother Wilhelm, 
who, in his correspondence with Wolf, discussed at 
such length these more or less exact hexameters, had 
lived to enjoy the honours thus poured upon our 

Your advice, even when unrhythmically expressed, 
is to me as a command. I shall follow it at once, as 
you have made the matter very much easier for me. 
Alea jacta sit. Could you, dear friend, transcribe 
the last ten lines of the Grand Duke's letter into 
your own artistic characters, in order that I may guess 
what it is I have promised him ? Of Fremont, whose 
portrait reminds one very much of Chateaubriand's, 
a biography dedicated to me has just appeared at New 
York. " Memoir of the Life and Public Services of 
John Charles Fremont, by John Bigdon (?)." The 
dedication says : " To Alexander von Humboldt, 
this memoir of one whose genius he was amongst the 
first to discover and acknowledge, is respectfully 
inscribed by the author." Delicate words, rather ar- 
tificially strung together. Then follows a reprint of 
the letter which I wrote to him from Sans Souci in the 
name of the King, on forwarding him the large gold 
medal of the Society of Science and Art, 1850, for the 
greatest barometrical survey that had ever been 
made 500 geographical miles, from Missouri to the 
Pacific. It closes with the words, of which Sans 
Souci need not be ashamed: "La Californie, qui a 
noblement resiste a 1' introduction de 1'esclavage, sera 


dignement representee par un ami de la liberte et 
des progres de Pintelligence." The biography has 
some wonderfully romantic scenes in it one, where, 
cold and hunger having driven them frenzied and half 
mad, they sing and pray, and Fremont exacts an 
oath from them, not to murder and devour one 
another. When I shall have satisfied my curiosity, 
I will send you the book. For the present, here is 
a miracle which a Military Chaplain in Magdeburg 
has wrought upon Assemann in Quedlinburg. I 
have cleared the matter up on natural principles. 
You will find it on page 34. Gratefully yours, 


Note ly Varnhagen. The water-colour drawings of Hildebrandt, 
among them the Humboldt one, were exhibited in the Art Union at 
five groschen a-head, for the benefit of the poor. 

"Self-murder; a Folly and a Crime." Two Sermons. By Dr. 
Friedrich Crusius, Military Chaplain, Magdeburg. 1855. 8vo. 
Besides this miracle (long-harboured thoughts of suicide, suddenly 
deserting a conscience-stricken mind at the invocation of the name of 
Jesus), the work is curious for an allusion it contains to Schleiermacher. 
At page 34 we read, "Is it not related of a learned Divine that upon 
one occasion he had a very great temptation to commit suicide? 
Such is the influence that mental and bodily sufferings can exercise 
even upon right-minded and God-fearing men." 



Berlin, 17 th December, 1856. 

Another grateful, very simple, and amiable letter 
from the Grand Duke. He desires the visit to take 
place in February, and wishes that the drama may 
begin with a request to search in the Records. 


The permission, as he symbolically says, shall be 
followed by the material part. You will, dear friend, 
easily be able to bring that about. 

To-morrow I shall have another burial beneath 
the Column at Tegel, which bears Thorwaldsen's 
promise of Hope.* My eldest niece (daughter of 
my brother, wife of General Hedemann) born at 
Paris, in 1800, a few days after Baroness Humboldt 
had returned from Spain has died, after suffering 
for three months from disease of the liver, combined 
with dropsy. She was an amiable, cheerful matron, 
and lived in the enjoyment of excellent health during 
forty years of matrimonial happiness. I am burying 
my whole race. Yours, 


Wednesday Evening. 



Weimar, 16th December, 1856. 

Like Nature, ever called on and ever bestowing, 
because ever benign, you respond by constantly new 
kindness to constantly recurring requests. Your 
Excellency's proposal, regarding the young savant, 
which agrees also with Baron Varnhagen's plans, is 
such an excellent one, that I can only beg that you 
will have it carried out. For this purpose it 
appears to me desirable that Baron Varnhagen 

* The Column at Tegel was erected above the family burial-place of the 
Humboldts, and is surmounted by a statue of Hope, the work of Thor- 
waldsen. TE. 



should inspire the young man with the idea of seek- 
ing in our rich Archives further matter for his work, 
and applying to me for permission so to do, I should 
grant it immediately, following it up by the sub- 
stantial part. The time from February next year 
seems to me the best for the literary researches. 
The real purpose of this journey would remain a 
secret, and thus I should feel quite at liberty to see 
him and take him or not. I thank you with all my 
heart for the printed enclosure. You have also 
performed this by no means easy task, with a 
master-hand ; you were better fitted for it than 
any other, because you, more than most men, have 
spoken to the world by deeds. I mean to obtain 
' ' Petermann's Journal." My admiration for you is an 
earnest of the real sincerity of my aspiration. 
Your interest for it I beg you to continue, as also 
your kindness for your grateful admirer and servant, 




Berlin, 7th February, 1857. 

Whenever I read anything at Berlin that excites 
my literary or political interest, my thoughts revert 
at once to you. Lasaulx,* at Munich, of the worship- 
ful Company of Baader, was known to me hitherto only 
as a man of the " Kreuzzeitung," and of Schubert's 
" Shadow World." In the new historical work which 

* Lasaulx Franz von Baader Gotthilf Heinrich von Schubert, German 
philosophers, of rather cloudy and illiberal tendencies. TR. 


he sends me, I find, not exactly original views, but, 
by implication, a variety of positive information 
which I had not expected to meet with in Lasaulx. 
Numerous quotations show a strong predilection 
for my brother's views. The passage respecting the 
Slavic Messiah is also very remarkable ; indeed, alto- 
gether, the notes offer a very graceful classical antho- 
logy. President Grerlach and his brother, to whom 
Prof. Gelzer from Basel, and others of opposite 
opinions have been officially directed for the Neuf- 
chatel negotiation, I do not think would be capable 
of similar things. If the work of Lasaulx, with its 
wishes for the regenerated old German Imperial 
Constitution, has not been sent to you, dear friend, 
look through it, if you please, if only for the sake of 
the notes. 

My cutaneous complaint is much better, therefore 
my nocturnal diligence is also progressing favourably. 
The last (fourth) volume of " Kosmos" will consist of 
two parts, that is to say, of two volumes, each con- 
taining thirty-five sheets, of which the first is al- 
ready printed ; they are now at press with the second. 
Both parts, however*, are to appear together, that 
the effect may not be diminished. The arrogant 
and incautious manner in which this miserable 
Neufchatel business has been managed here, exposes 
Prussia to great humiliations at Paris. Vengeance 
will be taken on Prussia, for Waterloo, as it has 
been on Russia. With sincere friendship, 


A. v. HT. 

* From the Temperature of the Earth's Interior, to the Races of Man. 

T 2 




Berlin, 9th February, 1857. 

Your Excellency receives herewith, with warmest 
thanks, the book which you have kindly intrusted 
to me. I have read it with very varied feelings : 
I might almost say with painful interest. The 
author, it is true, makes concessions, and gives 
opinions of which I should not have thought him 
capable, as little as of the luxuriant erudition of his 
plentiful quotations. But the handsome anthology 
of notes cannot cover the kernel of the text, which is 
a very bitter one : the justification of negro slavery, 
a brutal eulogy of war and standing armies, and the 
usefulness of aristocratic revolutions. In spite of his 
all-embracing civilities, that look like invitations to 
those of different opinions, the author, after all, offers 
them only the diet of the " Kreuzzeitung," but a 
little more delicately prepared than Professor Leo uses 
to do it, whose " dirt of civilization" (Bildttngsdreck) 
and " scrofulous rabble" are only seasoned a little more 
highly. Latet anguis in herba ! Altogether, I always 
feel rather queer when philosophers measure and 
foretel the march and steps of the life of humanity, 
and mean to find laws for the possibilities of millions 
of years from the sparse dates of our still very 
slender history of a few thousand years. Neither 
Fichte, Schelling, Steffens, nor Hegel have been 
particularly felicitous in this attempt ; the determi- 
nation of the ages is best left to poets. Besides this, 
our author is still remarkable for confessing that he 


does not quite believe in his own doctrine; he would 
not " resign our national ideal in practical life, the 
restoration of Emperor and Empire, although his 
theoretical faith in its realisation is not great." 
(Page 157.) Whoever can write such a thing has, 
properly speaking, condemned himself. A kind 
answer from the part of your Excellency the author 
may still be entitled to expect a sympathizing one 
you will not be able to give him. 

To hear that your health, your activity, and your 
labours maintain themselves, and progress in the 
usual way, is refreshing news, and an encouragement 
for us others, who require great examples not to get 
weary in our daily work 6\fyov re fyCkov re. I rejoice 
greatly in the intelligence of the new volumes of 
" Kosmos," and I say with Schiller, on the occasion 
of a completed masterpiece of Goethe's, " I thank 
the Gods that they have spared me to see this." 

The Neufchatel affair even, in its present stage, 
presents a greatly foreboding aspect, and from the 
very beginning I disliked the relations to Paris- 
looking much like snares in which many a thing will 
remain caught. The zeal of certain people is not at 
all meant seriously for the affair itself ; but it serves 
as an excellent means for other purposes which no 
doubt they will attain. Yet I do not fear for the 
future ; the light cannot be extinguished and must be 
victorious, only the moment of the eclipse is ugly and 

With cordial wishes, great admiration and devo- 
tion, unchangeably your Excellency's most obedient, 





Berlin, 20th February, 1857. 

Will your Excellency pardon me, if I claim for a 
moment your precious time? Not for myself, but 
in a literary matter from which I cannot withdraw 
my personal interest, if only for old acquaintance- 
sake. Professor Franz Hoffmann, in Wiirzburg, who, 
with self-denying perseverance one might almost 
say, in spite of wind and weather is occupied in 
editing Franz von Baader's works, has now, as a 
conclusion to his task, commenced a biographical 
sketch of his author, and is anxious that the fact 
should not remain unmentioned of Baader's having 
been a contemporary of your Excellency at the Min- 
ing Academy at Freiberg. It would be invaluable to 
him to obtain a word of explanation from you on this 
point a hint only as to whether some nearer rela- 
tions existed between you and Baader at that time, 
whether he made any particular impression on you ? 
I should not dare to trouble your Excellency with 
this, without premising that a simple "No" would dis- 
pose of the matter in the event of his not having 
been so fortunate, and a single line in case he was. 
The throng of visitors, and your Excellency's abrupt 
departure, cost me the pleasure I should have had in 
offering respectful homage to you at the Artists' Fes- 
tival. It is twenty years and more since I ventured 
on such a troubled sea. 

We hear singular reports. I hope that it is only 
a hoax which names M. Niebuhr, Minister of Finance, 
and M. Wagener, Privy-Councillor. 


With repeated entreaty kindly to pardon me, in 
deepest admiration and truest devotion unchangeably 
your Excellency's most obedient, 


On Humboldt's attack of illness, Yarnhagen writes in his Diary, 
on the 27th February, 1857 : " A call from M. Hermann Grimm :* 
he comes from Humboldt's house, and has spoken to the valet 
Seiffert :. it is not a cold, in fact not a light indisposition, that has 
befallen Humboldt ; but a fit of apoplexy. He did not feel quite 
well after the Court ball on Tuesday evening ; he rose in the night 
to drink a glass of water ; he did not wish to disturb the servant ; 
he fell. SeifFert heard the noise, and found his master lying on the 
floor, consciousness and speech returning only after a while. Dr. 
Schonlein gives no great hopes ; the patient did not pass the night 
favourably. If we lose Humboldt it would be a dreadful loss. He 
is a counterpoise to so much that is bad and mean, which after his 
death would venture boldly forth and make itself conspicuous. 
Honour and reputation of science are incorporated in him ; both will 
sink if he is no more. There is no name in Germany, in Europe, 
which is equal to his; no character in Berlin greater and more 
acknowledged than his. Aiid how painful would his loss be to me ! 
More than fifty years of my life are connected with his name and 
acquaintance ; he has besides known all those who were my most 
intimate and dearest Mends. 

On the 14th March, 1857, Varnhagen relates in his Diary : 
" When the King was with Humboldt, Schonlein said to the latter, 
that for some time he would not be able to stand firm on the left 
side, upon which Humboldt replied : ' For all that, I do not mean 
to sit on the Eight with Gerlach.' "f 

* Son of Wilhelm Grimm. TR. 

f In the Prussian House of Eepresentatives, the Ministerial party (at that 
time ultra- conservative, now liberal) always sit on the right hand of the 
President's chair. TR. 




Berlin, 11 th March, 1857. 

I cannot deprive myself of the pleasure of offering 
your Excellency my heartiest congratulations on 
your fortunate and complete recovery. The finest 
and strongest evidence of this is your epistle to Privy 
Councillor Bockh, which we have read in to-day's 
papers, and for which I can find no epithet sufficient 
to express my appreciation. Nobody else can boast 
of such a dedication. The receiver well knows how to 
appreciate it as the highest and most beautiful of all 
the gifts that have been offered to him : from 
what a vigorous mind and warm heart has it pro- 
ceeded, and how finished and graceful alike is its 
expression ! That it contains narrative, too narra- 
tive, I might almost say, worthy of Herodotus is of 
incalculable value, as evincing the freshness of youth 
combined with the experience of age. Your Excel- 
lency must pardon this outpouring of my heart. 
You do not require my words, but I find it impossible 
to suppress them ; and I will not, therefore, pass over 
my most fervent wishes in silence that the bril- 
liant star which a cloud had veiled may still for a 
long time shine on us in its wonted splendour, and 
may augur in home and foreign circles, as hereto- 
fore, bliss and prosperity. 

In deepest admiration, thankfully and truly your 


These lines are not so presuming as to expect an 



Berlin, 19th March, 1857. 
At night. 

How could I deprive myself of the pleasure of 
thanking you, dearest, most thoughtful, most at- 
tached of all my friends ! Not alone indulgence, 
no : expressions of praise have fallen to my lot in 
respect of my address to Bockh praise for the form 
and language it is clothed in, and that from the lips 
of a master of language, and of delicately turned ex- 
pressions of goodwill. You have given me much 
pleasure ; more than you suspect. The nature 
of my nervous complaint which caused a tem- 
porary paralysis, leaving the functions of the brain 
entirely unimpaired, pulse unchanged, sight pre- 
served, and uninterrupted use of the limbs at will, 
in perfect order has remained incomprehensible 
to me. There are magnetic thunderstorms (the 
Polar light), electrical storms in the clouds, nervous 
storms in man, strong and weak ones, perhaps only 
a mere sheet-lightning a forerunner of the other. 
I have had grave thoughts of death : comme un homme 
qui party ay ant encore beaucoup de lettres a ecrire. Other 
interests that will ever remain alive in me fix my 
thoughts on the recollections of yesterday ! ! I believe 
myself in course of full recovery, but having had to 
rest much unoccupied in my bed, sadness and discon- 
tent with the world have increased in me. This I 
say only to you. Soon I shall come to you and thank 


you in person from my inmost heart. Everything 
around us excites a feeling of shame. 

With warmest friendship, your most faithful 


Yarnhagen writes, on the 19th March, 1857, in his Diary; 
" Unexpectedly a letter from Humboldt ; I had made a postscript to 
my congratulation that these lines were not so presumptuous as to 
expect any answer. Yet he answers, and in the most obliging, 
most kindly manner. He gives a singular report of his illness. 
The bad rumours were all false, at least exaggerated ; he has never 
lost consciousness nor speech, his pulse has remained as usual, yet 
he has not concealed to himself that it might draw to a close. ' I 
have had grave thoughts of death : comme un homme qui part, ay ant 
encore leaucoup de lettres a ecrire? Grandly and beautifully he adds, 
' Other interests that will ever remain alive in me fix my thoughts 
on the recollections of yesterday!! (The 18th March). I believe 
myself in fall recovery, but having had to rest much on my bed 
unoccupied, sadness and discontent with the world have increased 
in me. This I say only to you." 



Berlin, 6th April, 1857. 

If you, dear friend, understand the Grand Duke's 
letter as I do, * * * must start on his journey. 
I had proposed, you must know, that he should come 
to Weimar under pretext of studying the records ; 
that he should bring a letter from you or me ; that 
he should be invited, and in case he was not approved 
of, merely be asked if he was returning to f f . 
This was the Shibboleth of the inopportune conclusion 
of the drama, quod Dens avertat. I had proposed also to 
pay in advance the sum agreed on. On this point the 


tyrant's reply is not quite clear. I suppose * * * 
will go via Berlin. Shall we then give him the letter 
of recommendation with the galvanic stimulants ? 
I shall be guided by your wishes. 

Your faithful 

Tuesday. A. V. HuMBOLDT. 

Keep the Grand Duke's letter, which closes very 
prettily and tastefully. 



Weimar, '3rd April, 1857. 

My behaviour with respect to * * * originated 
in a mistake. The fact is, I thought and expected 
that after he had (it was in January, I think) applied 
for, and at once upon applying obtained, my permis- 
sion to institute researches in the archives here, 
he would have come at once. It was only in 
that event, of course, that I should have reimbursed 
him his travelling expenses, and so just these last 
few days I have been wondering that I have neither 
seen nor heard anything of * * * . 

Then came your Excellency's second letter, which, 
by requiring information from me, gave me all the 
information I require. I hasten to answer your 
question by informing you that * * * might come 
here in about ten days, and that I should in any 
case be prepared to furnish him with the sum your 
Excellency yourself has named. 

According to agreement, we should both the 
traveller and myself consider ourselves still as 


entirely free, and in consequence observe the neces 
sary discretion as to the real object of this journey. 
Dante would have spoken still more truly if he had 
said, "Viver, ch'e un correr' a 1'eterna gioventu." 
You prove it, for your immortal genius rises ever and 
anon in eternal youth. Its goodness is also an evi- 
dence of this. 

In thankful admiration and affection, 

Your faithfully devoted, 




Berlin, 1th April, 1857. 

Your Excellency's kind and most welcome com- 
munications, or at least the substance of them, I for- 
warded yesterday in all haste to f f. I hope that 
M. * * * will start at once on his journey, but I 
expect an answer from him before he does so, and as 
I do not believe that he can make the detour via 
Berlin, considering the short time on which the 
Grand Duke has fixed, it will be best for him to 
receive at Weimar the letter of recommendation 
which is to introduce him. 

The Grand Duke insists on discretion, in which he 
is quite right ! It is convenient for him, and deli- 
cate and considerate for the other party. * * * has 
in this respect behaved quite correctly till now. I am 
very anxious to know the result of the whole affair ; 
provided that, on the whole, affairs are about to assume 
a satisfactory form. Its success would give me extreme 


satisfaction. To your Excellency's mediating and 
protecting hand the warmest thanks and blessings, 
at all events, will be due ! 

I am much rejoiced at the new present which you 
make me of the Grand Ducal epistle. Not only 
is the conclusion in good taste and delicate, but 
the style on the whole has pleasant turns ; the 
admiration for your Excellency, especially, is ex- 
pressed in a way the heartfelt sincerity of which 
is unmistakeable. 

For some days past I have lived wholly on recol- 
lections of bygone times and relations. I have been 
spell-bound in a magic circle by the Correspondence 
between Grentz and Adam Miiller, which has just 
been published by Gotta, and I must once more, in 
inward contemplation, live through the entire con- 
tents of those life-pictures. I was intimate from early 
life with both these men, and have had much to do 
with them personally upon friendly terms, but in 
matters of opinion much opposed to them. The supe- 
riority of Gentz over the younger friend, who was 
much over- valued by him, was never doubtful to me, 
and is here confirmed anew. Only at the last, when 
the murder of Kotzebue distracts and confuses his 
mind, the force of terror drives the Statesman, once 
such a lover of the Light, into those gloomy and misty 
regions, into which his alarmed friend had long 
since withdrawn. This correspondence is unique in 
its way. The discussions, explanations, mutual 
incitements, friendly approaches, and feuds, have the 
charm of a drama. In Adam Miiller is concealed, more- 
over, the complete germ of the Kreuzzeitung's party, 
but only in ideal height as yet, without any contact 


with reality, and therefore without odious vul- 

Your Excellency has kindly promised me a couple 
of lines on Franz Baader ; may I modestly remind 
you of this, by the remark that literally a couple 
of lines will answer the purpose ? 

With truest admiration and grateful devotion, 
unchangeably, your Excellency's most obedient, 




Berlin, Wth April, 1857. 

I have the gratification of being able to apprise 
your Excellency that * * * will leave j" f for 
Weimar on the 14th instant. Strong as his wish was 
to make the detour via Berlin, if only for the purpose 
of laying at your Excellency's feet the sincere expres- 
sion of his unbounded gratitude for your many gra- 
cious and kindly exertions on his behalf, the short period 
allowed him by the Grand Duke has obliged him to 
renounce the fulfilment of it. I venture, therefore, to 
ask you for the letter of recommendation to the Grand 
Duke which you so kindly promised. In fact, it need 
only be a couple of lines to introduce him. I will send 
it without delay to Weimar, so that M. * * * 
may find it there on his arrival. The young man 
knows very well that the journey thither does not 
imply any decision, and that he must be prepared 
for a refusal ; but he is happy that, after such a long 
and doubtful pause, this progress in the plan has 
taken place, and that the road is open. Your Excel- 


lency's fortunate inquiry has been the cause of this, 
dispersing immediately the clouds of misunderstand- 
ing. His truly grateful heart is deeply touched by 
your kindness. To these feelings of his my own are 
most cordially united, in this instance again, as in so 
many former ones. 

With most fervent wishes, in truest admiration 
and attachment, unalterably your Excellency's most 




Berlin, 13th April, 1857. 

Here, my dear friend, is * * *'s letter of re- 
commendation for the records, just according to your 
instructions. May the affair succeed ! 

Affectionately yours, 




Berlin, 21 st April, 1857. 

I lament, dear friend, not being able to accept your 
and your kind niece's invitation to take coffee with you 
on Thursday, as I shall be back late and tired from 
Charlottenburg on that day. Many unimportant mat- 
ters have accumulated during my indisposition which 
must be dispatched after dinner, because they are 
miserable decoration and dedication affairs an offer- 
ing of betel where one is not disposed to give money. 


The Fourth Class* acts like betel-eating it gives the 
jaws occupation, but there is no nourishment in it. 
The King hopes to have a grand winding-up with me 
on Thursday. I beg that you will write to Professor 
Hoffmann in Wurzburg to say how much obliged I 
am to him for his " Torso;' 7 but no help must be 
expected from the King, not only (which you will 
not say) because a little spectre-fear (alias horror) of 
Baader' s Catholic zealotry has taken root in the King, 
but also because all literary assistance in the Cabinet 
dwindles down to presents of 40 45 thalers. In- 
stead of making use in the Preface of a miserable 
letter of recommendation for Baader to Dresden, 
which may have been written in an attack of spleen, 
I enclose a few lines as desired by you. 

In old friendship your 



You ask, dearest friend, what earliest impressions 
I received from Franz Baader. I saw him first in 
June, 1791, when, after the journey with Greorge 
Forster to England, and after the stay at Hamburg, 
at the Commercial Academy of Biisch and Ebeling, 
I completed my studies of Practical Mining at Frei- 
berg. For eight months I enjoyed almost daily the 
society of this amiable and thoughtful man. Franz 
Baader had published at that time his work on Caloric, 
and he had a passionate turn for Chemical Physics, 
with a slight dash of ideas on Natural Philosophy. 
He was diligent in visiting the pits, occupied more 

* Of the Red Eagle. Tu. 


with the practical mining and smelting business than 
with Geology; profound in his observation of facts; 
cheerful and satirical, but always gracefully so ; never 
intolerant towards those of different opinions. His 
powers of imagination at that time did not seem to 
be directed to religious subjects. He was generally 
beloved, but at the same time feared; as is usually the 
case with the feeling of intellectual superiority. His 
political tendency was liberal. It was the time of 
the Pillnitz meeting in our neighbourhood a time 
and neighbourhood which favoured political expres- 



Berlin, 25th April, 1857. 

" Oracle's gate, abyss of the State archives, analo- 
gies that lead to the bottom of the sea" this is less 
beautiful than the last letter.* Eaffaele had several 
styles. What surprises me is, that before the Ha- 
noverian journey, he appears not to have seen * * * 
out of mere curiosity. Keep the empty letter, my 
dear Mend ! The bottom of the sea refers to a map 
of the ocean, from Newfoundland to Ireland, which 
I have recommended to the Grand-Duke, and which 
he cannot procure, because it is published by Perthes 
in the neighbouring Carthage ! ! The " Times " flat- 
ters itself, quite seriously, that the French race will 
die out it is true, that the pug-dogs have died out 



* See the next letter. TR. 



I have disagreeable remnants of correspondence 
with a certain Dr. Gross Hoffinger,* at Vienna, who 
accuses himself of having written against Prussia in 
1848, and now requires recommendations from 
Prussia to the Austrian Government ; have you any 
recollections of him ? 

Note by Varnhagen. " In the neighbouring Carthage," Gotha, on 
account of the bitter jealousy of this place against "Weimar, which 
stands for Rome ! 



I have safely received your Excellency's letter 
from the hand of * * *. Accept my sincerest thanks 
for those lines for that new mark of your kind feel- 
ing for me, which I find always the same. The 
bearer of them is for the present buried in the abysses 
of my archives. As soon as I return from Hanover, 
whither invitations call me for a few days, I shall 
summon the explorer up to daylight, in order to ex- 
plore him ; waiting for further development from 
the future, as the expecting people did before the 
gate of the oracle. The analogy leads me from 
abyss to abyss, and so I arrive from the archives to 
the bottom of the sea. That map of it which you 
wrote to me about, where can I obtain it ? When I 
inquired for it, some time ago, at Gotha, my inquiry 

* The less said of him the sooner mended, having long ago been justly 
consigned by Gutzkow to the " servants' hall" of literature. He tried by the 
most nauseous flattery to make his way at Vienna, and, wonderful to say, did 
not even succeed in that paradise of all the literary scum of Germany. TR. 


was fruitless. Therefore I return to the source, the 
ever-plentiful and kind one, and sign myself 
Your most grateful and devoted 


Weimar, 22nd of April, 1857. 



Berlin, 28tk May, Thursday. 

I am getting alarmed, dear friend, on account of 
Weimar. The Grand Duke is everywhere, save at 
Weimar-Athens. What becomes of our warmly 
recommended friend ? Has he had an interview 
with our eloquent Prince ? You have omitted to 
congratulate me on the order of Grand Officer,* which 
the " Hamburg Moniteur" bestows upon me, but 
which I received fifteen years ago from Guizot. It 
is very interesting to hear Eaumer ; he was in Pesth, 
Milan, dining with the Archduke, and with Cavour. 
He has returned not quite without a bias in favour of 
the Austrian Government in Lombardy ; somewhat 
in the same way as republicans who visit the United 
States, where arsenic, torture, and Fremont's negroes 
cause to Cuba-greedy Buchanan an indictable colic. 
Multa sunt eadem sed aliter. The Russian Minister 
Noroff, Department of Culture and Education, whose 
leg was shot off at the hip at Borodino, and who 
was in Egypt and Palestine with his wooden leg, 
even climbing the Pyramids, is here, and sitting 
among the students, as an occasional auditor of 
Johannes Mullerf and Dieterici;J his companion, the 

* Of the Legion of Honour. TR. f The celebrated physiologist. TR. 
| The statist. TR. 

u 2 


young Count Ouwaroff (author of a great work on 
the Hellenic antiquities of the Chersonese) attends 
Michelet and Bockh. Both these Russians are very 
agreeable people ; the first (it is said) rather too 
ecclesiastical, but without the spirit of persecution, 
both much attached to our more liberal student's life, 
and to the absence of all police officers in the Uni- 
versity building. I did not like to undeceive the 
one-legged Raumer, as they are soon leaving. De- 
cipitur mundus. 

Your old loving and tedious friend, 


Note of Varnliagen. " The United States, where arsenic, torture, 
and Fremont's negroes cause to Cuba-greedy Buchanan an indictable 
colic." This passage refers to the occurrence that President 
Buchanan, in an hotel, with many of his adherents, was attacked 
after dinner by a violent colic, so that poison was suspected, and it 
was discovered on a judicial investigation only that tainted water 
had caused all the mischief. 



Potsdam, Thursday, in haste. 4th June, 1857. 

A regular Grand Ducal letter, indelicate without 
justification, cutting all short by saying, as he leaves 
(according to the agreed upon Shibboleth), " Auf 
Wiedersehen." Moreover, silent about wantonly 
caused expenses. Neither you nor I will " steer 
farther into this ocean of inquiry," as acquaintance 
with the candidate does not secure his election. I 
am thinking of answering it somewhat ironically. 
Perhaps it may be agreeable to you, my dear friend, 


to have one autograph more of the now Orleanist 
Thiers in your archives. Duvergier de Hauranne, 
too, came from his pilgrimage to Eisenach. The 
Duchess goes to England. Keep both the letters, 
the wicked and the simple and good one. 


A. v. H. 

I expect to come to Berlin on Saturday with the 
King ; the Queen will go on Monday. 



Etterslurg, 1st June, 1857. 

Your Excellency will perhaps have learnt already 
that I have seen and repeatedly spoken with * * *, 
but have after all not given him the appointment. 
He has interested me I may even say that he has 
pleased me ; but the secretary, who not only has to 
inform me of all that appears worthy of notice in 
science, art, and literature, but who has to manage 
the correspondence, the verbal and social intercourse 
in different languages such a secretary I did not be- 
lieve to have found in him, and I durst not appoint 
him on trial. Nothing else was left to me than to 
withdraw. I did it in order to steer farther into 
the ocean of inquiry, whether you still can and will 
allow the goodness which you have hitherto always 
evinced towards me to further lighten my path as 
a star auguring happiness and good fortune. I may 
indeed desire, but I dare not ask it, although we 


had agreed that the acquaintance with the candidate 
was not necessarily to be followed by his election. 
I now retire to my various wood solitudes of Thii- 
ringen with books of every kind, among which I 
look forward with special pleasure to Earth's book 
of travels. I bow in respect before such a perse- 
verance in the love of science, before such a noble 
strength of will; and how much more before his 
model, before you I acknowledging myself your most 
devoted, most thankful servant, 




Paris, 14 mai, 1857. 

Mon cher Monsieur de Humboldt, Je prends la 
liberte de recommander a vos bontes, pour moi et pour 
les francais en general, M. Duvergier de Hauranne, 
qui va en Allemagne pour la montrer a son jeune fils. 
Vous connaissez trop bien notre pays pour que j'aie 
besoin de vous dire quel role considerable et toujours 
honorable M. Duvergier de Hauranne a joue dans 
nos assemblies, oii il a ete toujours fidele a la cause 
de la liberte raisonnable, et non seulement fidele, mais 
singulierement utile. Aujourd'hui, rentre dans la re- 
traite et livre a 1' etude, il va voir votre excellent 
pays, et j'ai pense que je ne pouvais mieux faire que 
le recommander a votre bienveillance. Ce sera pour 
son jeune fils un souvenir imperissable que d' avoir vu 
le savant illustre qui honore le plus notre siecle, et que 
nous francais nous avons la vanite de considerer 
comme franais et propre autant qu'il est allemand. 


Je ne vous ecris rien des affaires courantes de notre 
monde, car M. Duvergier de Hauranne les connait, 
et vous les fera connaitre mieux que personne. 

Agreez le nouvel hommage de mon respectueux 




Berlin, 19th June, 1857. 

To my great delight, I have received, during an 
excursion to Tegel, a splendid portrait of you, my 
valued friend, through M. Richard Zeune. I do not 
know which to admire most the graceful, charac- 
teristic, vigorous resemblance of the features, so dear 
and so attractive to me (a proof of the artistic talent 
of your niece, Ludmilla Assing), or the inscription of 
your hand, pregnant alike with thought and expres- 
sion. I have copied the last myself, and handed it 
about, because it belongs to the best that our language 
can produce in the shape of ingenious aphorisms. The 
thanks I owe you have been inconscionably delayed 
by the arrival of the brothers Schlagintweit from Cash- 
mere, Thibet, and the Kuenlun-mountains, which 
they crossed. The latter form the northern boundary 
of Thibet, as the Himalaya does the southern. (All 
the mountain passes, the most convenient to the tra- 
vellers, are 18,000 feet high !) They are going to the 
KingtoMarienbad not, however, with the 340 boxes, 
which they have brought with them. Of the liberal 
Grand Ducal Mightiness (not liberal as to the prosaic 
charm of coin), not a syllable, probably because he 
expects new proposals, new sacrifices from us. The 


Hungarian honorary friar* and the Princess alone 
remain a problem to me. Your truest, 


The Emperor Napoleon has skilfully repaired all 
that formerly may have been mysterious by sending 
me some amiable letters, rich in delicacy of expres- 
sion, from Prince Napoleon (Plon Plon), and from 
Walewski. As Niebuhr, in his capacity of Privy Coun- 
cillor of Prussia, is publishing a work on the Noric 
language, you ought not to be surprised at anything, 
not even at the movement for free election in free 
France. I think a couple of weeks at Branitz would 
do you good. 



Berlin, 30th June, 1857. 

I have no words, my dear friend, to express to 
you and the amiable and highly-gifted artist and 
author Miss Ludmilla Assing, what a treat you 
have given me in my solitude, by " Elisa von Ahle- 
feldt !" What a treat is in store for all those who will 
snatch it away from me for days to come ! Who 
can read of such a fate, so tenderly, so simply, and so 
nobly told as this is, by Miss Ludmilla, and not be 
moved, not led to reflect upon those feelings of agony 
which the most noble and cultivated minds know to 
take upon themselves on account of partly imaginary 
passions, to gratify which, the perilous Institution 
of lawful Matrimony furnishes no adequate means ? 

* Liszt. Humboldt calls him so on account of his having been received 
into the order of the Franciscan friars. TR. 


Elisavon Ahlefeldt loved, inAdolphusvonLiitzow,* 
merely the energetic representative of a noble political 
opinion. The motive for dissolving the matrimonial 
tie, indelicate on his part, has something depressing 
in it. Immermann is willing to be loved, but, like 
Elisa, shudders at the marriage bond and marries * 
after all ! ! 

The character that interests me most is Friesen, J" 
who in 1807 was of such assistance to me in the 
matter of the " Mexican Atlas," and whom I valued so 
highly, and by whom I was beloved. I have men- 
tioned him with tenderness in the " Essai Politique 
sur la Nouvelle Espagne." Had I known on what 
a beautiful work Miss Ludmilla was engaged, I 
should have wished to have presented her with 
some few lines. However, the book will see many 
editions. As unhappily I have to go to Tegel for a 
night, I beg to know, dear friend, whether I may 
call on you on Friday at 3 o'clock, and if I may 
nourish the hope of finding Miss Ludmilla with 
you ? So much talent for Art, joined with literary 
ability, in one person, is a rare luxury. The like of 
this may lead to harm. The course of affairs in this 
world with its avenging balance will never allow 
any excess of joy and woe. Yours, 



In haste and incorrect. 

Enclosure. A letter from Eriesen, dated 1807, with the follow- 
ing remark in Humboldt's handwriting : 

* The well-known leader of that free corps, serving with which Theodor 
Korner was killed. TR. 

t A volunteer in that corps, killed in the Ardennes by a French shot from 
an ambuscade. TR. 


A little present for Fraulein Ludmilla Assing, the 
noble and gifted author of " Elisa von Ahlefeldt," 
an autograph of my dear young friend Friesen. With 
feelings of heartfelt gratitude, 


SQtkJune, 1857. 

Yarnhagen wrote on the 4th July, 1854, in his Diary : " Hum- 
boldt was telling us yesterday of the times when he lived in a side- 
wing of George's country house, where he was so engaged in his 
Magnetic Observations, that, on one occasion, for seven consecutive 
days and nights, neglecting his proper rest, he visited the magnet- 
house every half hour to see for himself how matters stood. He 
subsequently took turns with others, who relieved him. This was 
in 1807, just fifty years ago. I have often seen the little magnet- 
house at that time when I used to visit Johannes von Miiller, who 
also lived in a part of the house, and Pichte, who inhabited a summer- 
house in the middle of the garden. When old George a rich dis- 
tiller showed his garden to strangers, Humboldt went on to tell 
us, he did not neglect to boast of 'his savants:' 'Here I have 
the celebrated Miiller, here Humboldt, and Fichte also, who, by 
the by, they say, is only a philosopher.' " 



Berlin, 6th July, 1857. 

Ignorant on the subject of modern German poetry, 
to the extent of not having even heard of the fame 
of M. * * (*) of the terribly dull (he calls it so him- 
self) state of Mecklenburg, I wish, my dear friend, 

* The Mecklenburg poet mentioned in this letter, is Herr Friedrich Wil- 
helm Rogge, whose collected lyrical and dramatic works appeared in 1857, at 
Decker's, Berlin. TR. 


you would fix the amount of courtesy with which I 
am to reply to the man. 

Before me lie eight volumes at a honorarium of 
forty louis-d'ors each, four for me, four (as usual) for 
the King, and a nonsensical letter. The man seems 
to have celebrated in song the great Napoleon and 
Ney ; but to have knocked in vain at the door of 
Napoleon III., Stephanie, Walewski, and Edgar 
Ney. He wants to impose on me the task of reading 
at once a Trajan, a Bianca, and a Henri IV. Nor 
does he seem to have a settled notion as to what he 
may expect from the King, which is rather discou- 
raging to me in delivering his poems. 

" Elisa von Ahlefeldt," that delicate and tasteful 
work, has given much satisfaction at Tegel, where 
Kaulbach and I were yesterday. Not in Tegel, but 
at Berlin in the circles of Court chaplains and officers, 
who perchance might not be averse to the honorary 
title of Councillor of the Consistory, the ecclesias- 
tical question has been started whether it be permis- 
sible to have a friend besides the husband ? What 
at Berlin could escape being gossipped about and 
dragged through the mud ! 

Gratefully yours, 


Monday Night. 

I shall send for the two little volumes in a few 
days. My kindest and most grateful respects to 
Fraulein Ludmilla, the poet-artist, who harmoniously 
unites poetry and a noble talent for reproducing 




SthMy, 1857. 

The two little volumes of poetry kindly sent me 
by your Excellency evince, no doubt, literary cul- 
ture of no mean order, and a clever treatment of 
language and metre ; but there praise ends. Talent 
of this sort is very plentiful, and if accompanied by no 
particular preeminence, ought to be treated as common- 
place. The claims founded on such performances are 
out of all proportion, and especially in the present 
case, where not only acknowledgment but direct 
reward is demanded. I know little of the author. 
His reputation certainly is but small. That his 
youth has been one of hardship, and that his means 
are still circumscribed, is sad ; but yet the mode 
by which he seeks to relieve himself, by appeals 
to the great and powerful, by unprincipledly pay- 
ing court to men of every shade, displeases me 
greatly, as does also his letter to your Excellency, 
to which you have awarded its fitting epithet. In 
the answer you are about to give him, your in- 
exhaustible and always even benevolence and kind- 
ness furnish an ample guarantee that the harsh 
words I have uttered on the subject will be appro- 
priately tempered down. My niece Ludmilla thanks 
your Excellency from the fulness of her heart for the 
kindly interest you have expressed on her behalf, 
and which, during all her life, she will count among 
the greatest treasures that can fall to her lot. We 
paid a visit yesterday to Madame Gaggiotti Richards, 


and found her, lovelier than ever, in the midst of her 
artistic occupations. The whole family entertain 
feelings of the warmest devotedness towards you, and 
this alone would endear them to us. The personal 
amiability of the beautiful artist is enchanting. 

Now-a-days nothing literary, let it be ever so 
harmless and peaceful, can make its appearance here 
without the parsonic and fanatical spirit stirring. 
This ordeal even the little book could not escape, and 
the fair author must still expect to meet with many a 
disagreeable remark from this quarter. But she has 
had the good fortune de manger son pain Uanc le pre- 
mier. The best and most beautiful has fallen to her 
lot by your Excellency's approval, and she can well 
afford quietly to leave the after-ration of coarse black 
bread alone. 

We think of starting on Monday for Dresden, and 
hope some weeks hence, on our return, to find your 
Excellency happy and in good health ! 

With profoundest respect and grateful devotion, 
Yours most obediently, 




Berlin, IQth September, 1857. 

An inquiry as to letters and parcels from the 8th 
to the 22nd of August, gives me, my dear friend, 
the pleasing assurance of your return to monkish 
Berlin, where (Supplement to No. 215 of " Aunty 
Voss,"* 15th September) the (author of) " God in 

* The "Vossische Zeitung" is always called "Aunty Voss," "Tante Voss,* 
and the " Spener'sohe Zeitung" Uncle Spener," Onkel Spener." TR. 


History"* is, on the strength of a received and unex- 
plained kiss,t which M. Merle d'Aubigne was 
compelled to bestow, accused of Rationalism and 
sinful Romanism, and where a much more agree- 
able process Pastor Kind boasts of having been 
kissed on the shoulder by a pretty Neapolitan 
chambermaid, with all the fervour of Evangelical 

As owing to the approach of my tiresome birthday, I 
have received since the eighth August upwards of three 
hundred letters and parcels, I know nothing about 
the date at which yours came to hand, but remember 
perfectly well receiving a letter on black-edged paper, 
dated " Madrid, 15th July," from your distinguished 
kinsman, Adolfo de Varnhagen, and subsequently a 
fragment of his history. I shall send him my best 
thanks. His history is not devoid of interest. You 
are aware that by the appointment of a Finance 
Commission in the Cabinet Council, it was hoped 
that Minister von der Heydt, whose activity has 

* Bunsen. 

f The reader should be reminded that in September, 1857, a meeting of the 
Evangelical Alliance took place at Berlin. On the occasion of the presentation 
at Potsdam, Merle d'Aubigne of Geneva, and Bunsen old friends met for the 
first time after a long interval, and, in keeping with an abominable continental 
custom, greeted each other with a kiss. A fraction of the " Faithful" was 
much disgusted at that, and among them more particularly one Pastor Krum- 
macher, from Duisburg, a brother of, and no less a zealot than, the well-known 
Court preacher Friedrich Adolf Krummacher, who interrogated the Genevese 
as to the reason of meeting so cordially a person like the author of the "Signs 
of the Times." Upon this, the historian of the Eeformation explained, with 
strict injunctions to spread it among the " Brethren," that Bunsen was a dear 
friend of his of long standing ; that he never swerved from his friends ; that, 
however, it had not been he who had embraced Bunsen, but that the latter 
had taken the initiative ; and that, as regarded Bunsen' s doctrine, he was far 
from approving its errors : this explanation seems to have removed the scru- 
ples of the pious interpellant and of the other " Brethren." TR. 


lately been too independent to be agreeable, would 
be got rid of. The man has, however, displayed a 
noble energy, and the King has postponed the 
whole Commission (a piece of Niebuhr's handiwork). 
With warmest friendship, your 

A. v. HT. 

My respects to your gifted niece. 

It was hardly politic, I think, in " God in His- 
tory" to accept the Eoyal offer, in spite of its repe- 
tition (I am sorry for it), for he is a man I respect, 
and much will be attributed to him, of which he is 
altogether innocent. 



Berlin, 14th October, 1857. 
Written on returning the letters of Gentz to Grarve.* 

My best thanks ! I was already in possession of 
the letters, and had revelled in them. Nothing can 
add to my brother's reputation. Strange that An- 
cillon should have been able, for such a length of 
time, to impose on the astute Gentz. 

A. HT. 

On the 3rd of December, 1 857, Varnhagen remarks in his Diary : 
" Called on Humboldt ; Director von Olfers just leaving; told us that 

* Christian Garve, philosopher, translator into German of Ferguson's 
" Moral Philosophy," Burke " On the Sublime and Beautiful," Paley's " Moral 
Philosophy," Adam Smith's " Wealth of Nations," and of several works of 
Aristotle and Cicero. TR. 


Bauch had died at Dresden. The next to leave was General Count 
von der Groeben,* who was very friendly, and glad to hear I 
could find him somebody to re-edit Schenkendorf's poems. Hum- 
boldt full of kindness for Ludmilla and myself. Talks about the 
King; about Schonlein, the Princess of Prussia, Doctor Lassalle, 
whose work " The Philosophy of Heraclitus the Obscure of 
Ephesus " he has attentively perused in three nights ; about 
Friesen; he spoke with contempt of the " Kreuzzeitung ;" praises 
Count von der Groeben on account of his honourable sentiments, and 
Minister von der Heydt on account of the pertinacity with which he 
insists on resigning his office. He has received a letter from the 
Queen ; the King wishes to see him, therefore he is going over to 
Charlottenburg. He is hale and in good spirits. I have read much 
in Lassalle. The external appearance of such a great and important 
work excites respect. It makes a singular impression upon me, 
one after the other the props and authorities by which I have made 
my way falling and disappearing. Every one who has grown old 
has experienced and must bear this ; but in our times the changes 
take place more quickly and energetically than in former periods, 
and, in respect of these, I am more than usually sensitive. Even 
where the contents are of no import to me where, in fact, I lose 
nothing by them, because the objects are not immediately within 
my sphere that experience is still somewhat painful to me. I 
find it so now again with regard to Schleiermacher ; his book on 
Heraclitus was hitherto the last word, the final opinion on this 
philosopher. Even Hegel's opposing hints were not capable of 
making away with this once-adopted view. We used to rest upon it 
as upon a soft pillow. Now comes the new criticism, and draws it 
unceremoniously away ! It is true Lassalle pushes another large 
and well-filled one in its place, but the change is unpleasant. And 
yet I am rejoiced by the never-resting labour of the mind by the 
penetration, the erudition, the free and bold progress. 


* General von der Groeben, one of the saintly ; Prussian commander in 
Baden during the Revolution in 1848. TR. 



Berlin, 11 th January, 1858. 

I, too, my valued friend, am suffering again from 
my cutaneous complaint, a troublesome consequence 
of old age. You at least have your full liberty, and 
can nurse yourself. I have no liberty, am worried 
by every one, most pitilessly and most inevitably of 
all by the Post- Office. The friendly reminiscence of 
Mrs. Sarah Austin is very flattering to me. I have 
to thank you for it, as for many other things. Be 
kind enough also to become the interpreter of my 
gratitude and sincere esteem for that gifted lady and 
her brother John Taylor, to whom I am so much 
attached. Livingstone's accounts are especially in- 
teresting to me, in consequence of the view he takes 
of the capacity for improvement in the negro race, 
at a time when, under the pretext of free labour, 
France on the one hand, and North America on the 
other, are countenancing, in a most disgraceful man- 
ner, the kidnapping of slaves in Africa. The 
political accounts on India by Captain Meadows 
Taylor were unimportant. Perhaps you would like 
to have for your archives original letters of Count 
Walewski, Prince Napoleon (the son of King 
Jerome, who is going to Egypt), Lord Stratford de 
Redcliffe, and the copy of a letter in very good style 
by the Pasha of Egypt, the original of which I was 
obliged to give to Dr. Brugsch. 

Doctor Michael Sachs will not desist from my 
glorification in Hebrew. Say many kind things to 


the noble General Von Pfuel,* on whom I will call 
as soon as I can. 

Your faithful, but always equally unreadable, 




Paris, ce 13 Octobre, 1857. 

Monsieur le Baron Monsieur Mariette f ne m'a 
remis qu'il y a quelques jours votre lettre du mois do 
juillet, dans laquelle vous me parlez de Monsieur le 
docteur BrugschJ et de P envoi de sa grammaire demo- 
tique que je 1 n'ai pas encore regue. Je tiens a ce que 
vous ne m'accusiez pas de negligence a vous repondre; 
aujourd'hui je ne me sens guere le courage de vous 
parler meme de science, votre coeur et votre esprit, 
doivent etre bien affliges par la maladie de votre 
souverain et ami qui nous donne de vives inquietudes, 
je dis nous, parceque les quelques jours que j'ai 
passes a Berlin m'ont fait apprecier les qualites emi- 
nentes du Roi et m'ont vivement attache a lui. Que 
Dieu le conserve, c'est un vceu sincere ! 

Recevez, Monsieur le Baron, 1' assurance de mes 
sentiments de haute estime et consideration. 


* Ernst von Pfuel, Prussian General and Minister of War, served with dis- 
tinction in the wars against Napoleon ; quitted active service in October, 
1848 ; acquired great fame by the erection of great military swimming 
schools, in which swimming is taught upon a very practical method invented 
by himself. TR. 

t The Egyptologist. TR. 

J Heinrich Brugsch, favourably known by various works of great merit on 
Egyptology ; Professor at Berlin. TR. 


On the 18th February, 1858, Varnhagen reports in his Diary: 
" Went to Humboldt. With admirable presence of mind he thinks 
immediately of everything of which our presence can remind him ; 
he says the most nattering things to Ludmilla on her book, for the 
second edition of which we shall not have long to wait ; he will 
give her some notes on Friesen,* which he would have liked also to 
communicate to the Leipzig Gymnastic Society for the Commemora- 
tion which the latter had intended for him; but after their 
first inquiry, they have not applied again. With the Grand 
Duke of Weimar he is very much out of humour, having had several 
hours lost to him and the brothers Schlagintweit by that personage at 
his successive calls ; they soon observed that he did not care to in- 
struct himself in the things which had been prepared for him, but 
had only desired to converse with them, investing each of them 
with the Order of the Falcon. As to * * *, he made the same 
excuse to Humboldt as he has to me, viz., he required noble birth in 
his private secretary, which Humboldt finds quite abominable, but 
quite in accordance with the personal prejudices of the Grand Duke ; 
the father, who had also been no very remarkable person, had at 
least masked this manner of thinking, but the son professed it with- 
out any disguise. Once, after a gentleman not belonging to the 
nobility had left the company, he expressed with great satisfaction 
the comfortable feeling, " Now we are among ourselves ! " Another 
time, when it was noticed that there were thirteen at the dinner 
table, he replied consolingly, there were two commoners among them, 
who did not count for anything ! And this he told Humboldt in. 
French, because, as he said, those two would certainly not under- 
stand that ! !f Humboldt complained bitterly of the burden of the 
shoals of letters with which he was pursued at least four hun- 
dred in the month he had to read many beginning with 'My 

* Friesen was one of the favourite pupils of " Old Father Jahn," the 
founder of that system of Gymnastics, which was put down as traitorous in 
1820, and which has since spread all over the world. The " Turner," as the 
German Gymnasts are called, are among the most active members of the 
" National Union" party. TR. 

f The Grand Duke of "Weimar wrote upon the margin of a copy of the 
German edition of this book, the words : " This is a lie ! KARL ALEXANDER," 
and then sent the book to the library at Weimar. TR. 

x 2 


a^sd friend,' or, ' My noble youth in age,' or also in this style, ' Caro- 
line and I are happy, our fate rests in your hands.' He praised 
Princess Victoria, as being not exactly pretty, but as having pleasing 
and simple manners, and eyes full of soul." 



Berlin, 19th February, 1858. 

You see, dear friend, that in spite of many a little 
fault-finding of M. d'Avezac's, who has learnt to 
quote from Malte-Brun, your name's-sake does you 
much credit. 

But it is' incomprehensible that M. D'Avezac is 
completely ignorant of a map of Juan de la Cose, of 
1500, six years before Colon's death, which I privately 
published in 1830, and of a work in largo quarto, 
under the title, " History of the Navigator, Chevalier 
Martin Behaim," by W. Ghillany and Alex. Hum- 
boldt, 1853, which treats on the origin of the name 
of " America." 

A. HT. 

Rummaged all through in one night. The noble 
youth in age, Vecchio della Montagna. 

(Herewith the book, " Considerations Greogra- 
phiques sur FHistoire du Brezil. Examen critique 
d'une nouvelle histoire generale du Brezil, par M. 
Francois Adolphe de Varnhagen. Rapport fait par 
M. "D'Avezac. Paris, 1857." In octavo.) 



Berlin, 7th March, 1858. 

I suppose, dear friend, that the indiscreet and 
almost silly book of Normanby has not yet reached 
you. I shall not return it to Lady Bloomfield 
without offering it to you. Run through it by the 
table of contents, and be kind enough to return 
it me in four or five days. It describes a badly 
acted comedy. 

Your most attached 


Sunday night. 

My respects to your amiable niece. 

(A Year of Revolution. From a Journal kept in 
Paris, in 1848. ^ By the Marquis of Normanby, K.Gr. 
London, 1857. Two vols. 8vo.) 

On the 8th of March, 1858, Varnhagen observes in his Diary: 
"Humboldt sends me, with some friendly lines, the book, of the 
Marquis of Normanby on the Revolution of 1848. He calls it an 
indiscreet and almost silly book. I call it a stupid, and, as far as its 
contents are concerned, a treacherous one ; it shows how injurious it 
is to have anything to do with diplomatists, especially with an un- 
official one, as the Marquis then was, to whom both Lamartine, as 
well as Cavaignac, have lent too ready an ear. He is one of the 
dullest and most tedious Englishmen that ever existed." 

On the 9th of March, 1858, Varnhagen adds to his judgment on 
Normanby the following : " Head farther in Normanby. He is a 
poor simpleton, but, by means of his ill-written book, one learns 
how to understand sufficiently the contemptibility of Louis Philippe, 
the baseness of Guizot the destructive influences of sneaks and 


rogues. Moreover, he is a master in the art of toning down all that 
is most animated and buoyant in these mighty events to mortal 



Berlin, \3thApril, 1858. 

I am touched by the kindness of your lines, and 
by the remembrance of the gifted Miss Ludmilla. 
As Illaire* was with me yesterday, I prepared 
everything to become useful to M. * *, the much 
respected clergyman of j~ *|", in the little matter of 
one of those toys, which do not, indeed, feed their 
possessor, but afford a pleasant pastime ; even of a 
steeple-chase, late in life, with the difficulties, and 
the prospect of deliverance from the Acheron of the 
Fourth Class. 

I shall write to Illaire for the Third Class, but 
entreat you to freshen up my memory a little. * *'s 
title ? I think he does not preach, does not even 
distribute any longer the little wafers so hostile to 
the chemically analogous bread of the Protestant 
Union. But I fancy he is a Protestant power 
in t t- 

I here subjoin for your and Miss Ludmilla's con- 
version, some fancies on the Cosmic drought of Berlin 
before the deluge and the fiery destruction of the 
world, which a little degenerated potash in the inno- 
cent feldspath of granite will produce in the latter 

* Cabinet Councillor to Friedrich Wilhelm IV. Ti:. 


days : de la geologic hebrdizante, as I have imprudently 
called the like of this in my " Kosmos." 


A. v. HT. 

" Thoughts on the First Eainbow in connection with certain Geolo- 
gical Facts. London, 1852." The book is by W. Bateman Byng, 
but has been only now sent to Humboldt by the retired Captain- 
Pilot, Mr. F. A. Fokkes, in Hamburg. 

On the 24th of April, 1858, Yarnhagen remarks in his Diary: 
" Yesterday Humboldt talked very humorously of the letters which 
he had received ; a number of ladies in Elberfeld have formed a 
league to work at his conversion by anonymous letters, and have 
announced the fact to him. From time to time these letters arrive. 
From Nebraska he has been requested to pronounce his opinion on 
the whereabouts of the swallows in winter. I asked him if that 
was not an open question? ' Yes, indeed/ he replied; 'I know as 
little about it as anybody ; but,' he added, with playful importance, 
' I have not written that to the people in Nebraska, because we 
ought never to confess such a thing.' " 



Potsdam, 19th June, 1858. 

On the whole tedious and full of internal contra- 
dictions, but yet historical and alas ! true on account 
of the mythical German- Americanism, pages 76 80, 
and pages 33, 35, 75. Charm of a language without 
gender : " Fermez les levres et serrez les dents." 
From der and die, laziness has made de, and at last a 
neutral life-killing the. 


On page 88 the reason is given why my friend 
Frobel has not been shot (erUumet, Anglice*, Blumed). 

A. HT. 

It is a very long time since I have seen you, on 
account of that dreary Potsdam. 

(Notes ly Varnhagen. With this was sent " The German Emi- 
gration and its Significance in the History of Civilization. By 
Julius Frobel. Leipzig, 1858." A copy sent by Frobel to 

In the "Anglaises pour Eire," it is said: "Ouvrez la 
bouche et serrez les dents, et vous parlerez anglais !" This 
may have been in Humboldt' s mind, but in a mistake he wrote 
fermez for ouvrez. 

Page 35, Frobel says : " Moreover the English and the Ger- 
man languages are but two different dialects, or rather different 
stages of development. The English is the superior of the 
two, viewing it in the point of the history of civilization ; for the 
abolition of grammatical forms evinces a higher mental development, 
as is generally acknowledged." Humboldt has written in the 
margin " Oho !" ' 

Page 88, Frobel alludes to Austria's great mission in the future. 
Such passages occurring in a work that appeared in 1848, and 
communicated opportunely to Prince "Windischgratz by his aide- 
de-camp, effected the pardon of Frobel, while his colleague, 
Eobert Blum, was cruelly shot. 



Berlin, 9th Sept. At night, 1858. 

My warmest thanks, dearest friend, for your 
friendly lines. I am not indifferent to the gratitude of 


the excellent * * : they were uncivil enough here not 
to give me a syllable, to say that my request had been 
complied with. As you and your gifted niece, 
Miss Ludmilla, love " Curiosa," and in my patri- 
archal age all shame of self-praise has long since 
disappeared, I communicate to you a letter from 
Queen Victoria, who through the Princess of Prussia 
had asked me for a few passages, in my own hand- 
writing, from the " Aspects of Nature" and from 
"Kosmos," (a poetical description of nature): an- 
other letter from the American Minister of War, who 
has been obliging to me in behalf of the traveller 
Mollhausen, the son-in-law of my Seiffert, for whom 
he procured the appointment as draughtsman in the 
two expeditions to the coast of the Pacific, and who, 
mirdbile dictu, has put aside all political grudge 
against me on account of my friendship with Fre- 
mont. The last letter, morally speaking, gives me 
more enjoyment, although immeasurably exag- 
gerated with its big epithets. 

It is also, alas ! true that nothing has as yet been 
finally decided regarding the Regency, necessary 
as such a settlement has become for the completely 
wasted honour of the country. May the Prince of 
Prussia keep what he has till now promised : that 
under no other condition than with the express 
title of Regent, would he continue to act ; but how 
to take the initiative, considering the seclusion of the 
King, whom I myself have not been allowed to see 
since his return ? To leave the initiative with the 
Chambers would be acting hastily, and in a spirit of 
ignoble fear. Aleajacta^ and the sum of intelligence 


which is called into play, seems poorly and econo- 
mically doled out. 

What do you know, my dear friend, of M. Iwan 
Grolowin, who with impudent and unheard-of in- 
discretion, represents me to the public photogra- 
phically in the most terrible " neglige de costume, 
meme," as I have written to him yery much offended, 
"en me dotant de deux fautes de fran^ais venaient," 
instead of " viennent," "pourrait," instead of "pou- 
vait." What liberties men take to make others serve 
their turn ! I entreat you to send me back by 
Sunday morning, when I must go to Tegel with 
Baron Stockmar pere,* the three Curiosa, the copy 
of Victoria, the letter of the Minister of War, and 
" Bovira," by Golowin. 

The unsteadiness of my gait ("ma demarche") 
increases sadly in persistence. Beware of such long 
patience in living. Keputation increases with im- 
becility, and the part of the "dear youthful patri- 
arch," the worthy senior of all living savants, 
"Vecchio della montagna," becomes a very incon- 
venient one, even if there exists a maiden within the 
bills of mortality, whom the senior is to establish in 
Tegel, because the place is near Berlin; and she 
might come to town, if informed in right time, to 
close my eyes. In truest admiration and friendship, 



My naughty friend Lassalle Heraclitus the 
Obscure has been banished from Berlin, in spite of 

* Baron Stockmar, attached for many years to King Leopold of Belgium. 


all the promises given to me by the Prince of Prussia 
and Illaire.* A hope was held out that the Obscure 
should return in a few months (after the elections) to 
the still more obscure Pythagoras. What a dispensa- 
tion of justice ! 

(Note ly Varnhagen. Iwan Grolowin had begged Humboldt's 
permission to dedicate to him a Russian drama, "Roviraj" the 
French letter in which Humboldt accepted the dedication, has been 
added to the little book in fac simile.'] 



Berlin, 12th October, 1858. 

What a day of grief, agony, and misfortune 
was yesterday for me ! I had been summoned to 
Potsdam by the Queen, to take leave of the King. 
He was weeping, in deep emotion. I returned home 
about six o'clock this afternoon, and opened your sad 
letter, my dear, beloved, highly gifted friend ! To 
think that he should be removed from this mortal 
scene before the Nonagenarian the Old Man of the 
Mountains ! 

It is not enough to say that Germany has lost a 
great author the one who knew how to mould lan- 
guage most nobly in the expression of the most delicate 
sentiments ; yet how trifling is the form when com- 
pared with such penetration, such pregnant intellect, 

* Not quite accurate, in so far as, during the absence of the above-named, 
and as it appeared later, without their knowledge, Minister Westphalen had 
insisted upon Lassalle's expulsion. 


such nobility of soul, such knowledge of the world. 
What he was to me, now quite isolated, you alone, 
with your beautiful, accomplished mind, can fully 
comprehend. I shall soon come 'to tell you. 

In deepest affliction of soul, yours, 




Abellino the Bandit, 216 

Aberdeen, Earl of, 82, 148 

Address to the Germans, Plain, a pamphlet by Varnhagen, 158 

Agamemnon, translated by "W". v. Humboldt, 150 

d'Agoult, Comtesse, 133 

Ahlefeldt, Elisa von, 296, 299 

Albany, United States, 252 

Albert, Prince, mentioned, 179; letter, 181 

Albert- Victoria, 172 

Albertus Magnus, 18 

Albrecht, a diplomatist, 4 

Albrecht, of Elbing, Professor, 60 

d'Alembert, anecdote of, 198 

Alexander, Emperor, 229 

Allen, William, the Quaker, 57 

Alsace, 229 

Alvensleben, Count, 56, 82 

Ancillon, Er., 25, 303 

Andalusia, 229 ^ 

Anhalt Baireuth, Margrave of, 148 

Apamea Kibotos, 222 

Ararat, Mount, 222 

Arago, Emmanuel, 219 

Arago, E., mentioned, 42, 95, 109, 213, 217, 265; letters from, 

62, 114, 219 
Archimedes, 249 

318 INDEX. 

Arhim (Arnim) Baron, 265, 268 

Arndt, Erinnerungen von M., 58 

Arnim-Achim, Count, 89, 254 

Arnim-Boitzenburg, Counts of, 89, 254 

Arnim, Bettina von, 61, 64, 84, 100, 106, 148, 167, 184, 199, 

217, 230, 254 
Assemann, 271 

Assing, L., 295, 296, 298, 299, 307, 310, 313, 315 
Astrometer, Universal, 104, 105 
Athenaeum, the Critical Journal, 119 
d'Aubigne, Merle, 302 
Auguste, Princess, 25 
Augustus, Prince, 3, 126 
Austin, Mrs. Sarah, 305 
d'Avezac, M. 308 
Azais, work of, 1 1 n. 


Baader, Franz von, 200, 274, 278, 288 

Bacheracht, Therese von, 183 

Baden, 240 

Baden, Prince Wilhelm von, 257 

Baetica, Kingdom of, 229 

Balzac, M. de, 110, 121 

Barante, G. P. B., 173 

Barcelona, 45 

Barriere, M. 174 

Bartholmess, book by, 205 

Bastide, M., 219 

Baudin, Capitaine, 174; letter to, 176 

Bauer, Bruno, 78, 91, 133 

Baumgarten, 51 

Bavaria, King of, 94, 144, 153 

Beckedorff, Ludolf von, 90 

Behaim, History of Chevalier, 308 

Belgiojoso, Princess, 27 

Bernadotte, salvation of, 206, 207 

Bessel, death of his son, 61 ; letters of, 151, 154 

Besser, 146 

INDEX. 319 

Bethania, a Iteligious Institution at Berlin, 216 

Beust, Count, 250 

Beuth, P. C. W. von, 10, 13 

Beyme, Minister, 239 

Biela's Comet, 158 

Bigdon, J\, 271 

Bloomfield, Lady, 309 

Bliicher, Prince a Memoir by Yarnhagen, 135 

Blum, Robert, shot, 312 

Bockh, Professor, 185^., 203, 280, 291 

Bodelschwingh, E. v., 148, 149, 152, 187 

Bonpland, the traveller, 176, 178 

Bonaparte, Louis, 196, 203, 241, 265, 290 

Bollmann, J. E., 21, 23 

Bopp's Review, 61 

Bornemann, Theologian, 74 

Bouche, Gardener, 218 

Bresson, Count Charles, 25, 109, 112 

Breul, the Merchant, 146 

Brockhaus, the Publisher, 100 

Brown, Eobert, the Botanist, 110, 122 

Brugsch, Dr., 260, 262, 305, 306 

Briihl, Count von, 107 

Brunei, J. K., the Engineer, 110 

Brunswick, Duke Charles of, 183 

Buch, Leopold v., the Geologist, 46, 50, 209 

Buchanan, Mr., President of the United States of America, 250, 

253, 291 

Bugeaud, Marshal, 30 
Billow, Baron, 7 n., 58, 59, 62, 82, 90, 98, 99, 101, 135, 136, 

141, 145, 147, 154, 229 
Bulow, Madame de, 136, 182 

Billow von Dennewitz, a Memoir by Yarnhagen, 210, 217 
Bunsen, Baron, 12, 79, 81, 82, 97, 107, 215, 221, 223, 224, 

241, 302, 303 

Burgundy, Kingdom of, 229 
Busch, Dr., 159 
Buschmann, the Linguist, 100 
Byng, W. Bateman, 311 
Byron, Lord, 179 

320 IXDEX. 

Cados, Seigneur, 110, 116 

Campe, the Pedagogue, 89 

Canino, Princess of, 151, 164 

Canitz, Minister, 81, 82, 105, 107, 174, 189 

Cardan, Jerome, 4, 6 

Calamatta, the Engraver, 84 

Carlos,. Don, 186 

Carlyle, Thomas, the Historian, 99 

Carolath, Prince, 13 

Caroline de Mecklenburg- Strelitz, 75 

Carriere, M., 99, 182, 185 

Cams quoted, 68 

Catherwood's Views in Central America, 181 

Catherine II., Empress, 96 

Cavaignac, General, 309 

Charles of Mecklenburg- Strelitz, Duke, 29 

Charles of Prussia, Prince, 233 

Chasles, Philarete, the writer, 83, 247 

Chateaubriand, M. de, 19, 44, 271 

Cherubini, 84 

Chili, 32 

China, wall of, 45 

Christian VIII., King of Denmark, letters 53, 74, 94, 109, 117 

Church Gazette, 6 

Clanricarde, Marquis of, 50 

Coburg-Gotha, Duke of, 241 

Columbus, 32, 44, 45, 80, 308 

Congress of Vienna, 55 

Constant, Benjamin, 44, 233 

Constantine, Grand Duke, 240 

Cornelius, the Painter, 197 

Cose, Juan de la, 308 

Cotta, the Publisher, 71 

Cotta, Madame, 11 

Coxe's House of Austria quoted, 80 n. 

Coxcox, Mexican, 222 

Crefeld, 115 

INDEX. 32 I 

Cri cle Petersbourg, a parody by Humboldt, 5 

Cross, Dr., 141 

Cross, Southern, disappearance of, 210 

Crusius, P., a Preacher, 272 

Custine, Marquis de, 101, 103, 188 

Czechtitzky, the Card-playing man, 103 


Dahlmann, Professor, 60 

Dechamps, M., 268 

Delisle, Abbe, 20 

Denis, Madame, 145 

Denmark, King of. See Christian VIII. 

Derby, Earl of, 108, 137 

Desfontaines, C., 174 

Dessau, Frederika, Duchess of, letter from, 1 5 

Devaux, M., 268 

Diede, Charlotte, 183 

Dieffenbach, Dr., the Surgeon, 74, 108 

Dieffenbach, the Traveller, 109 

Dieterici, M., the Statist, 291 

Dino, Duchessc de, 110 

Dirichlet, M., 239 

Dohm, 88 

Dora, servant of Varnhagen, 247, 248 

Dorner, Professor, 224 

Dorow's Memoirs quoted, 42 n. 

Duncker-Ereytag, 145 

Duvergicr de Haurannc, 293, 294 


Eastphalia, Kingdom of, 241 

Eckermann, Goethe's Boswell, 100 

Eichhorn, Minister, 60, 64, 79, 95, 96, 97, 107, 185, 186, 187 

Eichsfeld, the, 232 

Elbing, 214 


322 INDEX. 

Elizabeth, Princess of Prussia. See Prussia, Princess of 

Eisner's Liederschatz, 12 

Encke, Professor, 105, 159 

Endlicher, Professor, 51 

Engel, 88 

Erdmannsdorf, 240 

Erhard, J. B., a Memoir by Yarnhagen, 6 

Ernst- August, King of Hanover, 35, 47, 92, 94, 229 

Escovedo, 175 

Ettingshausen, 51 

Eylert, E. E., a Bishop, 8 

Eallersleben, H. v., 148 
Eaust, 11 

Eeucrbach, L., the Author, 133 
Eichte, Professor, 136, 298 
Eillmore, Mr., the American ex-President, 253 
Finland, 240 

Eintelmann, Gardener, 266 
Eischer, Professor, 88 
Elahault, General, 203 
Elemming, P., a Poet, 167 
Fokkes, E. A., Captain-Pilot, 311 
Eontenelle, anecdote of, 211 
Eorster, George, 19 
Foster, Mr., 263 
Eournier, M., 108 
Francois, C., 177 
Francis, Sir Philip, 43 n. 
Franklin, B., the Philosopher, 249 
Franz, Dr., 150 
Frederika, Goethe's, 47 
Frege, the Banker, 40 

Fremont, Colonel, 250,252, 253, 254, 271, 291, 313 
Freiligrath, the Poet, 83 
Friedrich the Great, 87, statue of, 199 

Eriedrich Whelm IY., letters of, 115, 153; letters to, 152; 
anecdotes, 167, 185, 201, 202 

INDEX. 333 

Friesen, 297, 307 

Frobel, J., 312 

Froloff, Madame de, 198 

Froriep, E., 223 

Fry, Mrs., the Quakeress, 56 


Gagern, H. von, 189, 197 

Gaggiotti, Madame, 264, 300 

Galileo, 49 

Galli, the Astronomer, 52 

Galuski, M., 173, 204 

Gama, Vasco di, 32 

Gans; E., 7, 28, 33, 42 

Gauss, the Astronomer, 54 

Gay, Madame, 103 

Gay-Lussac, the Chemist, 127 

Gentz, Fr., 43, 285, 303 

George, a Distiller, 298 

Gerard, the Painter, 39 

Gerlach, General von, 97, 132, 224, 240, 259, 279 

Gerolt, Minister, 250 ; letter of, 251 

Gervinus mentioned, 153 

Ghillany, "W., Author of a book, 308 

Gibson, Miss, 120 

Girardin, Madame, 103 

Gneisenau, Count, 223, 226, 228 

Godoy, Prince of Peace, 229 

Goethe, saying of, 66; quoted, 134 

Goethe, Ottilia von, 201 

Goethe, Wolfgang von, 201 

Goetze, von, Review by, 33 

Golowin, Iwan., 314 

Gb'rres, J., 49 

Gortschakoff, Prince, 240 

Gossler, firm of, 124 

Grafe, the Surgeon, 264 

Granada, 229 

Grau, Augustus, letter of, 207 


324 INDEX. 

Gretsch, Privy Councillor, 48 

Grimm, Hermann, 279 

Grimm, Jacob, 60, 64 

Grimm, Wilhelm, 59, 64 

Groeben, General von der, 304 

Gross-Hoffinger, Dr., 290 

Guhrauer, G. E., 148 

Guizot, M., the Minister, 59, 61, 79, 83, 139, 148, 291, 309 

H. Gottfried, a Merchant, 113 

Haller's Trauerode, 146 n. 

Hanover, King of, 35, 47, 92, 94, 229 

Hansen, the Astronomer, 109, 117 

Hans von Held, a Memoir by Yarnhagen, 135 

Hardenberg, Count von, 6 

Hedemann, General von, 58, 273 

Hegel, the Philosopher, 2, 6, 33, 34, 49, 68, 73, 304 

Heine, the Painter, 252 

Helene, Duchess of Orleans, 30, 32, 103, 109, 151, 165, 166, 

192, 206 

Helfert, Baroness, 107 
Hengstenberg, Dr., 6 n., 224 
Henry, Prince of Bavaria, 229 
Heraclitus, 304 
Herder's works, 190, 229 
Hermann, M., of Leipzig, 168 
Herodotus, 280 

Herschel, Sir John, 110; letter of, 118 
Heyne, 46, 88 

Heydt, von der, Minister, 302, 304 
Hildebrandt, the Painter, 262, 264 
Hinckeldey, Chief of the Police, 249 
Hirschberg, the King's address at, 214 and n. 
Hoffmann, Prof., of Wiirzburg, 278, 288 
Hohenzollern, the, 251, 254 
Holwede, Baron, 88 
Honinghaus, 109 
Hormayr, Joseph von, 77, 143, 144 

INDEX. 325 

Hormayr, Madame de, 134 
Hortense, Queen, 203 
Hiigel, Baron Charles von, 52 
Hugo, Yictor, 151 ; letter of, 160 
Humboldt, A. v., an hotel in San Francisco, 243 
Huniboldt, Alexander von, passim 

Humboldt, Wilhelm von, 11, 21, 23, 27, 31, 87, 99, 101, 150, 
178, 183, 184, 224, 226, 237 

Illaire, Privy Councillor, 310, 315 

Ingres, 84 

Ireland, 265 

Isabella, Queen, 233 

d'Istria, Capo, 209 

Itzstein, J. A. v., 136 

Jacqueminot, la Eeunion, 113 

Jade, Bay, 251, 254 

Janin, Jules, 137; letter from, 138 

Jobard, M., 265 ; letter of, 268 

Jousserandot, M., 132 

Jussieu, Citoyen, 176 


Kamptz, Minister, 28, 29, 109 

Kant, Immanuel, 142 

Kansas, 252 

Kaulbach, W. von, the Painter, 299 

Ketteler, Baron W. v., Bishop of Mayence, 241 

Khiva, Expedition against, 53 

Kiepert, Professor, 222 

Kind, Pastor, 302 

Klein, 88 

Kolowrat, Count, 179 

326 INDEX.- 

Konig, H., a Novelist, 48 

Koreff, the Physician, 2, 229 

Korner, Schiller writes to, 228 

Kosmos, Humboldt's, original plan of, 15 ; original title-page 

of, 67 

Kotzebue, the Writer, 242, 244, 285 
Kries, Fr., 46 
Kiihlwetter, Minister, 189 
Kunth, Privy Councillor, 88, 240 

Laboulaye, 248 

Ladenberg Administration, 60 

Lafayette, General, 211, 233 

Lamartine, A., 309 

Lamennais, 247- 

Landes Les, a tract of country, 92 

Lange, 224 

Laplace, 17 

Lao Tseu, 90 

Lasaulx, Philosopher, 274 

Lassalle, Dr., 304, 314 

Lavater, 4, 147 

Leine, the River, 35 

Leist, of Stade, 55 

Leo, Professor, 276 

Leopold, King of the Belgians, 59 

Liegnitz, Princess of, 42 

Lieven, Princess, 242, 244 

Lind, Jenny, Hotel in San Francisco, 243 

Link, the Botanist, 95 

Liszt, the Composer, 95, 296 

Livingstone, Dr., 305 

Loffler, an Author, 88 

Lorrain, 229 

Louis, ex-King of Bavaria, 171 

Louisa, Princess, saying of, 38 

Louisa, Queen, 207 

Louis Philippe, 41, 97, 106, 194, 309 

Llitzow, Adolphus von, 297 

INDEX. 327 

M., Duke of, 229 

Mackay, Mr., an Astronomer, 120 

Madonna, a work by Theodor Mundt, 22 

Maltzan, Count, 81 

Maltzan, Mortimer von, 95 

Manteuffel, Baron, 265 

Manzoni, Alexandre, 151, 162 

Marheineke, P. C., 49, 133 

Marie, Princess, 25 

Mariette, A., the Egyptologist, 306 

Massmann, Dr. E. F., 151, 153 

Massow, Baron von, 187 

Mathieu, M., 115 

Matteucci, Professor, 127 

Maximilian, Crown Prince of Bavaria, 171 

Mayence, Bishop of, 241 

Meadows, Captain, 305 

Mehemet, Ali, 260, 261 

Melgunoif, 48 n. 

Mendelssohn, Moses, the Philosopher, 96 

Melloni, 95 

Merit, Order of, 94, 145 

Metternich, Prince, 25, 41, 50, 55, 95, 99, 107, 110, 116, 123, 

137, 148, 168, 179, 180, 191 
Meyerbeer, M., 127, 139 
Michelet, Professor, 185, 291 
Mignet, letter of, 171 
Miguel, Don, 186 
Milnes, Monckton, Mr., 145 
Minden, 157 

Mitterpacher, L., an Author, 18 
Modignani, AL, 163 
Mollhausen, the Traveller, 248, 313 
Montalembert, M. de, 247 
Montgomeries of the Ukermark, 44 
Moore, Thomas, the Poet, 95 
Morgenblatt, a literary Paper, 23 

328 INDEX. 

Horny, Count de, 203 

Muffling, General von, 52 

Miiller, Adam, 43, 44, 285 

Miiller, Privy Councillor, 33, 83 n., 95, 148 

Miiller, J., 291, 298 

Miiller, Ottfried, 17 

Mundt, Theodor, an Author, 22 

Munster, Count E. T. H. von, 17 


Naples, Queen of, 203 

Napoleon Bonaparte, 55, 229 

Napoleon III. See Bonaparte, Louis 

Napoleon, Prince, 296, 305, 306 

Neander, the Theological Historian, 134 

Nesselrode, Count, the Diplomatist, 265 

Netherlands, Queen of the, 25 

Neufchatel, 251, 254, 275, 277 

Newfoundland, 265 

New York/ 251 

Nicholas, Emperor, 5, 238, 240 

Niebuhr, Essay on, by Yarnhagen, 48 

Niebuhr, the Diplomatist, 48, 216, 278, 296, 303 

Normanby, Marquis of, 309 

Noroff, Minister, 291 

Numidie, Roi de, 229 


0' Council, Daniel, the Repealer, 95 

Oersted, the Author, 54 

Oertzen, von, the Scalded Minister, 28 

Olfers, Director von, 197, 304 

Olmiitz, review at, 199 

Oltmann, Tabbo, the Astronomer, 14 

Ordensfest, 8 

Orloff, Count, 55 

Ouwaroff, Count, 291 

INDEX. 329 

Palmerston, Lord, 59, 172 

Parlatore, P., Prof., 127 

Parry, the Arctic discoverer, 130 

Paskiewitsch, Prince, 34 

Paul, Emperor, 242, 244 

Peel, Sir Robert, Humboldt's opinion of, 82, 110 ; letter of, 122 

Pentland, Mrs., 115 

Perez, Antonio, quoted, 140; mentioned, 175 

Perron, 174 

Persigny, Fialin de, 203 

Pertz, Dr., the Author, 223, 224, 226, 239 

Pfaueninsel at Potsdam, 266 

Pfuel, General von der, 306 

Philip the Second, 140 

Piaget, M., 45 

Pichler, A., a Poet, 243 

Pierce, General, the ex-President, 248 

Pitt, the Minister, 244 

Pliny the Elder quoted, 67 

Poland, 240 

Polo, Marco, 45 

Poppe, widow, 237 

Pourtales, Count, of Neufchatel, 251 

Prescott, "W., the Historian, 110; letter of, 124 

Preuss, Dr. J. D. E., the Historian, 147 

Prussia, Prince of, 240, 313, 315 

Prussia, Princess of, 65, 87, 166, 190, 193, 194, 206, 304, 313 

Prutz, Dr. E. E., the Author, 128, 145, 148 

Piickler, Princess von, 28, 85 

Puschkin, the Poet, 39 

Quinet, E., the Author, 53 
Quitzow, Madame de, 241, 246 

330 INDEX. 

Badowitz, General. von, 26, 82, 97, 107, 197, 224, 227 

Bafaelle, 65, 197, 289 

Bahel, wife of Yarnhagen, 9, 13, 15, 20, 27, 38, 66, 93, 184 

Banke, the Historian, 95, 147, 226 

Batti, the Painter, 231 

Bauch, the Sculptor, 28, 199 

Baumer, Karl, Author, 49 

Baumer, Minister von, 26, 87, 95, 203, 215, 240 

Becamier, Madame de, 44, 110 ; letter of, 126 

Bedemeier, 88 

Bedern, Count, 127 

Beede, Count, 89 

Beimer, the Publisher, 99 

Beumont, A., the Author, 107 

Beventlau, Count, the Diplomatist, 74 

Beyher, General, 259 

Beiss, the Jewish Philosopher, 93, 96 

Bio, M., the Author, 197 

Bio de Janeiro, 239 

Bobert Moritz, brother of Bahel, 66 

Bochow, Baron von, Minister, 56, 249 

Bogge, F. W., 298 n. 

Bomuald's Vocation, 188 

Bossl, 57 

Bothe, Dr., 224 

Bovira, by Golowin, 314 

Buckert, F., the Poet, 74, 107, 151 ; letter of, 126 

Biihle, General von, 28, 29 

Biihle, Madame von, 28, 29 

Bumohr, C. F. L. F., 95 


S. Prince, 229 

S., "William, a Candidate, 207 
Sachs, M., Dr., 143, 144, 305 
Saint Germain, Marquis de, 256 
Saturnalia of Science, 68, 72 

INDEX. 331 

Sardinia, King of, 229 

Savary, the Philosopher, 63 

Savigny, E. C. von, 49, 95, 97, 187 

Scheffler, Johann, 14 

Schelling, the Philosopher, 49, 65, 68, 86, 107 

Schenkendorf, 304 

Schiller's, E., death, 178 

Schimmelmann, 6 

Schinkel, 89 

Schlagintweit, the brothers, 215, 295, 307 

Schlegel, A. v., 71, 173 

Schlegel, Er. v., 13, 15, 211 

Schleiermacher's confession, 91 ; book on Heraclitus, 304 

Schoning, 229 

Schonlein, Dr., 279, 304 

Schlosser, 95 

Schubert, G. H. von, 274 

Schumacher, the Astronomer, 54, 117, 159 

Schwerin, Graf, a Memoir by Varnhagen, 79 

Sebastopol, 240 

Seckendorf, Baron, 78, 79 

Seiffert, Humboldt's servant, 63, 248, 264, 279, 313 

Senift von Pilsach, Baron, 227, 228 

Seneca referred to, 167 

Sesenheim, "Wallfahrt nach, 46 

Sevigne, Madame de, 167 

Seydlitz, a Memoir, by Yarnhagen, 47 

Shakspeare quoted, 70 

Simons, Minister, 203 n. 

Simson, M. E., Prof., 158 

Sintenis, W. E., 50 

Sontag, 27 

Sophie Charlotte, a Memoir by Varnhagen, 34, 47 

Sophie Wllhhelmine von Baizeuth, Princess, 43 

Sorocaba, 238 

Spiker, 14; letter to, 70, 72; mentioned, 194 

South Sea Islands, 32 

Spinoza, the Philosopher, 85 

Spontini, 127, 130, 137 

Stael, Madame dc, 126 

Stagemann, E. A. von, 57 

332 INDEX. 

Stahl, F. J., 49, 204, 226 

Stanley. See Derby, Earl of 

Steffens, H., the Philosopher, 72, 73, 95 

Stercoranism, 89 

Stein, Life of, 223, 224, 226, 239 

Steinmeyer, 227 

Stieglitz, 35, 38 

Stillfried, 251 

Stilling, Jung, 147 

Stockmar pere, Baron, 314 

Stolberg, Baron, 76, 96, 109 

Stratford de Eedcliffe, Lord, 305 

Strauss, his Christian Doctrine, 85, 91 

Sussmilch, 134 

Sydow, Yon, a Court Chaplain, 266 

T., J. W., a letter from, 111 

Tacitus quoted, 57, 58 

Talleyrand, Duchesse de, 110 

Talleyrand, Prince, 37, 113 

Taylor, John, 305 

Tellkampf, Professor, 125 

Tieck, 71, 211 

Thiele, 95, 96, 97 

Thiers, M., 59, 151, 164, 291 

Thile, Minister, 149, 246 

Tholuck, the Theologian, 90 

Thomas, M., 143, 164 

Thrasher's, Mr., apology for Slavery, 252 

Thugut, 244 

Trubetzkoi, Princess, 103 

Tuscany, Grand Duke of, 127 


Uhde, M., 220 
Uwaroff, 95 

INDEX. 333 

Varnhagen, Adolfo de, 238, 302, 308 

Yarnhagen's Diary quoted, 6, 25, 29, 41, 42, 44, 56, 66, 76, 78, 
79, 80, 81, 82, 94, 95, 96, 97, 106, 131, 185, 188, 201, 
202, 207, 214, 216, 223, 239, 264, 279, 282, 298, 303, 
307, 309, 311 ; death of Yarnhagen, 315 

Yarnhagen von Ense, passim 

Venezuela, Republic of, 239 

Yerhuel, Admiral, 203 

Yespucci, Amerigo, 45 

Yictoria, Princess, 308 

Yictoria, Queen, 179, 313 

Yillemain, 151 

Yinci, Leonardo da, 65 

Yoigtlander, the Optician, 52 

Yoltaire, M. de, a Memoir by Yarnhagen, 145 


"Wagener, Privy Councillor, 278 

Waldemar of Prussia, Prince, 235 

Wales, Prince of, his christening, 81 

Walewski, Count, 305 

Warsaw, 199 

Washington, 251 

Wedel, his discomfiture, 87 

Wegnern, Baron, 154 

Weimar, Prince Edward of, 165 

Weimar, Grand Duke of Saxe, 246, 247, 255, 257; letters of, 

256, 266, 273, 283, 290, 293, 307 
Weimar, Grand Duchess of, 65, 148 
Weimar Monument, 231, 234 
Wenkstern, von, Mrs., 237 
Werther, von, Minister, 45, 66 
Westphalen, von, Minister, 203 n., 315 n. 
Wheaton, the American Minister, 125 
Whipple, Captain, expedition of, 248 

334 INDEX. 

Wichmann, the Astronomer, 158 

Wieland, the Poet, 190 

Windischgratz, Prince, 312 

Wittgenstein, Prince, 4, 55, 127, 186, 226, 238, 239 

Wittgenstein, Princess, 237 

Wolf, P. A., the Philologist, 172 

Wollner, the Eosicrucian, 224 

Wraxall's Memoirs quoted, 80 n. 

Wiirtemberg, Crown Prince of, 94 

Zelter, the Composer, 229 

Zerboni, 135 

Zeune, E., 295 

Zinzendorf, a Memoir by Varnhagen, 4, 146, 147 


In Tivo Volumes, 8vo, with Two Portraits, Bound in Cloth, Price 1 10s. 



IKtijj gktdjyes 0f jjfo gugpe anb Centenaries, 



Author of " Biographical History of Philosophy," " Seaside Studies," etc. 


" THE successful biographer of Goethe must possess no ordinary combination of 

qualities and accomplishments And all this our biographer must do without losing 

his hold upon the interest of English readers, to most of whom the names of the 
second-rate German literati are names, and nothing more. In the case of Mr. Lewes, 
the tastes and the acquirements thus requisite, are assembled, together with a felicity 
somewhat rare in the annals of biography. He is himself a man of letters. An acute 
critic, he possesses at the same time no mean power of original production. His 
literary knowledge is extensive ; his taste catholic. The master-pieces of the modern 
literature of Europe are familiar to him in their original languages. His mind is 
clear-sighted and singularly agile. Such characteristics fit him readily to enter into 

the cosmopolitan many-sidedness of Goethe One excellent feature in this book will 

render it no small service the care which has been taken not to demand too much 
from the English reader. No pains have been spared to render into English, in a 
manner not German words merely but German life. The story is told in such a 

way, that we are insensibly placed in the position necessary to its full enjoyment 

This Life and Works of Goethe will live among the best biographies of our language." 


"MR. LEWES has produced an acceptable book. He has brought together a 
number of facts, which have hitherto been so widely scattered as scarcely to be 
available to any one beyond the sphere of those who make German literature an 
especial pursuit ; and he has reproduced them in such a readable form as will be 
appreciated by all who have waded through the records of Vichoff, and the minute 
dissertations which are so insufferable in the commentators. ATHENJSUM. 

" MR. LEWES is a great admirer of Goethe as it is necessary that a biographer 
should be but his admiration has not made him shirk facts, apparently to the dis- 
credit to his hero. He has not written a polemical book ; on the contrary, an 
animated narrative, that never flags in interest, and leaves the reader at the end of 
the second volume longing for more ; the work of a man writing on a subject of 
which he knows much more than he tells, and whose chief difficulty has been to 
compress his ample materials into the prescribed space." SPECTATOR. 

" A MORE faithful and life-like biography than this we have rarely read. The 
image of the living man is presented with much skill and much candour. Mr. Lewes 
speaks often of the 'many-sidedness' of Goethe, and he shows his weak sides and dark 
sides, as well as his great and brilliant ones, which we all knew. If the reader does 
not form the same high estimate of Goethe the man as of Goethe the author, it will 
not be from want of ample materials for forming a judgment. His whole history is 
here laid open ; and the facts are derived not from books only, but from the testimony 

of those who knew the man, and from other authentic sources of information In 

almost every case, translations, literal or approximative, are given with quotations, so 
'that no reader need be repelled by ignorance of the German language. With this 
accommodating spirit, and with his many special qualifications, Mr. Lewes has produced 
a life of Goethe which must take a standard place in English biographical literature." 


" LEWES' Life and Works of Goethe will always remain the standard book on the 
subject ; and that not only when compared with English, but also with German 
biographers of the poet. Its style is lively and fascinating ; it contains accurate, full, 
well selected information, philosophical criticism, and it is written with manifest 

ii The Life and Works of Goethe. 

enthusiasm, and less of hero-worship than could have been expected, when the subject 
was Goethe, and the fundamental views are so much in accordance with those of the bio- 
grapher, as in this case. The book indeed possesses sterling merits." ECLECTIC REVIEW. 

(( IT would afford but a slight idea of the value of this work, to say that it is the 
best biography of Goethe extant, inasmuch as there is really no other biography 
which approximates in the slightest degree to the dignity of the subject. It would 
be more correct to say that this is the only life of Goethe which can be consulted 

with pleasure or profit Mr. Lewes has not only qualified himself for writing of 

Goethe, by a diligent study of his works, and by a perusal of a vast mass of the printed 
documentary evidence which bears upon the subject, but by communications with 
those who lived under the same roof with the poet, and by 'controlling and completing 
the testimonies of print by means of papers which have never seen the light, and in all 
probability never will see the light.' The result of his labours of ten years is a book 
with which no student of Goethe can safely dispense. HE HAS, IN SHORT, WRITTEN 
A LIFE OF GOETHE WORTHY OF THE MAN, with intense love and profound knowledge 
of the subject. It throws more light on the character and genius of Goethe than any 
other work, and is a perfect mine of admirable impartial criticism." DAILY NEWS. 

" MR. LEWES has written this life of Goethe very much as we might have antici- 
pated from our previous knowledge of his fitness for the undertaking. He is lively, 
clear, acute ; his narrative is flowing and well arranged ; his criticisms are never tedious 
or overlaboured ; they are always introduced at the proper place, and they are always 
intelligible. His work is replete with information upon a great subject ; and we can 
hardly conceive it possible, that its appearance will not gratify all who feel interested in 
the history of modern art, science, philosophy, and poetry." MORNING HERALD. 

" TEN years has this life of Goethe been in preparation ten years ! the full third 
of a literary life ! The result, however, is, that, without any exception whatever, it is 
the best biography of the poet extant, as well as the best succinct criticism upon the 
tendency of his mind, and upon his various productions. Mr. Lewes claims for his 
work the authority of original matter ; and he is justified in doing so. Every page, 
in fact, teems with facts, new for the most part, interesting as regards the greater 
number, and many perfectly independent of what is termed the ' Goethe Literature.' 

" Germany possesses no life of the poet which can for a moment be ranked with 
the present biography for skill in construction, for completeness, and for particular as 
well as for general originality in respect of facts and criticisms." OBSERVER. 

" MR. LEWES has exhausted the subject ; and for our own part, long as the world 
at large may be in coming to a precise judgment upon the great German's character, 
we believe it will have to be formed from the materials so abundantly and conclusively 
put together in these elaborate and well-considered volumes." BELL'S MESSENGER. 

" NOT only has the whole of the Goethe literature been ransacked, and the grains 
of gold been extracted from its sand, but Mr. Lewes has made a pilgrimage to Weimar, 
and studied thoroughly the outward aspects of the region which the great poet 
honoured and illustrated by his residence. He has put himself into communication 
with the still surviving friends and acquaintsnces of Goethe, and from them has 
obtained many an interesting and hitherto unpublished fact. Nothing has escaped 
his researches." MANCHESTER ADVERTISER. 

" A work which beyond question surpasses everything which even Germany has pro- 
duced during the last Jive and twenty years For the first time the Life of our 

poet is represented in its fulness, with genial conception and loving enthusiasm ; his 
noble personality, from every side, depicted with clearness and truth. Goethe's Life 
has almost always in Germany been handled either by learned professors, or con- 
structive philosophers. In Lewes, on the contrary, we see a man who, to profound * 
and comprehensive culture, adds that other culture which a rich and varied inward 
and outward life alone can bestow, and which brings him into congenial relationship 
with a poet like Goethe, so as to enable him to place before us a true and life-like 

picture of Goethe's personality It is a work which will secure Lewes an 

enduring name, not only in the literature of his nation, but also in that which Goethe 
called the world's literature." COLOGNE GAZETTE 





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