Franz Gerhard Wegeler (1765-1848) 



In this second installment of our feature Beethoven and His Friends, we are about to discuss the first friend of the composer's Bonn youth who was approximately of the same age and who, in several ways, would gain importance in his life.  However, the importance that he would gain would be one that was less to be found in the limelight but rather modestly in the background of Beethoven's life.  From our Biographical Pages, we already know that Wegeler would widen Beethoven's circle of friends by introducing him to the von Breuning family and also by, together with Ferdinand Ries, belonging to the first biographers of the composer who would take their task seriously.  However, these rather familiar facts tell us little about the course of Beethoven's and Wegeler's friendship during Beethoven's lifetime and also very little about Wegeler's character.   Why don't we explore both of these issues and let Wegeler introduce us to this topic with his own words, as translated by Frederick Noonan:

"When an affectionate friendship forms between young people during seven or eight years in their own hometown and develops and deepens as they mature, when as grown men these friends share their lives in a foreign capital for nearly two years and since then, though separated, have remained in close contact for thirty years, then after the death of one -- especially one whose outstanding achievement in the field of science or art has secured him lasting European fame -- the surviving friend may consider him justified, even obliged, not to withhold from the world any information which might contribute to a just appreciation of that man and artist.

    These few words above characterize my relationship to Ludwig van Beethoven.  I was born in Bonn in 1765.  In 1782 I became acquainted with the twelve-year-old youth, already a composer, and I remained in constant and closest communication with him until September 1787 when I entered school in Vienna to complete my medical studies.  When I returned in October 1789 our same cordial relationship continued until Beethoven later departed for Vienna towards the end of 1792.  I followed in October 1794.  Here we were reunited once more with the same undiminished warmth of feeling and hardly a day passed when we did not meet.

    In the middle of the year 1796 I returned to Bonn and we began to exchange letters.  During that period of great stress this exchange could hardly be called very active.  However, there was little necessity for a lively correspondence on either side since we were kept otherwise informed of each other's changing destinies -- he through Simrock's business letters and through my letters to my brother-in-law Stephen von Breuning as well as to friends and colleagues of mine to whom I had introduced Beethoven; and I through the same sources and through letters from Ferdinand Ries" [Beethoven Remembered  The Biographical Notes of Franz Wegeler and Ferdinand Ries.  Translated from the German Biographische Notizen über Ludwig van Beethoven (1838, 1845) by Frederick Noonan; Arlington, VA: 1987, Great Ocean Publishers, p. 4-5].

After Wegeler's introductory words, in the first section of our presentation, let us discuss early traces of this friendship.  



A quote by Thayer-Forbes from Gerhard von Breuning's book Memories of Beethoven From the House of the Black-Robed Spaniards offers us a brief description of Wegeler's background and of the beginning of Wegeler's friendship with the von Breuning family: 

"Stephan's son, Gerhard von Breuning, has given us a description of how the Breuning family circle enlarged.[12: Aus dem Schwarzspanierhause (Vienna, 1874), p. 6]

"Children attract playmates, school children bring home friends after school.  So must have grown the little family circle in the house of my grandmother through the years from the outside; the cultivated influence of this virtuous woman extended not only to her children but also to other young people. . . . A poor student of amiable and industrious character soon became daily a member of this household.  This was Franz Gerhard Wegeler, the son of an Alsatian burgher, who sensed early a craving for knowledge, for expanding the limitations of his poor origin in order to develop himself for the career by which he was to be known by those around him.  [Rector of the University at Bonn; later privy councillor and a distinguished doctor.]" [TF: 84]

As we can read in Thayer-Forbes, the question as to when this "poor student of amiable and industrious character" would first meet the von Breuning family and when he would introduce his new friend Beethoven to the von Breuning family became a topic of discussion in Beethoven research,:  

"After he had already become attached to this house, he made the acquaintance in 1782 of the son of a musician of the Electoral Court Chapel who, although still more a boy than a young man, already was burning with enthusiasm for the muse of music, just as the other was for science and art, and already he was playing the piano admirably.

"Eleonore and Lenz needed a piano teacher and Wegeler's young friend needed to give lessons for the support of himself and his parents.  Thus it was that the young Ludwig van Beethoven became introduced into the hospitable home of my grandmother."

Riemann [3: TDR, I, 222, n. 1] has suggested that the year of the meeting between Beethoven and both Wegeler and Stephan von Breuning may well have been not 1782 but 1784, since at that time he would have been "already a composer," since Wegeler refers to the fact (Notizen, p. 14) that Stephan "lived in the closest relation with him from his tenth year to his death."  Stephan was born in 1774.  Then, too, there was the confusion concerning the year of Ludwig's birth which may well have caused Wegeler to retain the impression of a boy that he thought was twelve who was in reality close to fourteen years of age.  Although Wegeler later saw the baptismal register in the Bonn parochial record before writing the Notizen, he wouldn't necessarily have remembered to apply this discrepancy to the long-held memory of their first meeting.  In turn Gerhard von Breuning arrived at the date 1782 by taking Wegeler's "12 year old youth" literally without perhaps taking into account that only in the last month of 1782 did Beethoven reach the age of twelve.

Thayer rejected this early a date for the meeting between Beethoven and the von Breuning family and adopted the date of late 1787.  This was based on the later recollections of the widow Karth (who was not born until about 1780) and on the fact that there is no mention that the von Breuning family gave assistance to the composer in the tragic summer of 1787 after his mother's death.  Thayer further implies that Wegeler's own intimacy with the von Breunings was not until after his return from Vienna in 1789.  Every editor of the Thayer biography from Deiters on has questioned this stand in view of the general trustworthiness of Wegeler's Notizen and particularly in view of Wegeler's family tie with the von Breunings.  Surely a man of sound mind, as Wegeler was when he wrote the Notizen in 1838, would not be mistaken as to the time that he first met his wife's family.

Beethoven's own words on this matter are to be found in a letter to Wegeler written in the early Vienna years:  "Ah Wegeler, my only comfort lies in this, that you have known me almost from my childhood."  We may conclude that the association between Beethoven and the Wegeler-von Breuning circle started in all likelihood around 1784" [TF: 85].

In our Biographical Pages we already learned a great deal about Beethoven's contact with the von Breuning family.  However, in order to arrive at an overall impression of the nature of Beethoven's early friendship with Wegeler, we only have to quote Wegeler's own words from one of his last letters to Beethoven:  

"Mir wenigstens ist die Bekanntschaft und die enge, durch deine gute Mutter gesegnete, Jugendfreundschaft mit dir ein sehr heller Punkt meines Lebens, auf den ich mit Vergnügen hinblicke . . . " [Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 6, Letter No. 2100, p. 196-199; Original:  Bonn, Beethoven-Haus; "At least to me, my acquaintance with you and my early friendship with you that was blessed by your good mother, is a highlight of my life that I always look back on with pleasure"].

When would Wegeler's enjoyment of this friendship have been interrupted in the year 1787, on the one hand by Beethoven's [first] spring journey to Vienna and, on the other hand, by Wegeler's departure for Vienna?  From the relevant section of our Biographical Pages we know that Beethoven was absent from Bonn from about April 20, 1787 to some time before the death of his mother on July 17, 1787, when he travelled to Vienna to become a pupil of Mozart, and we also know the reason for his sudden return to Bonn.  In Wegeler's own words, " . . . I remained in constant and closest communication with him until September 1787 when I entered school in Vienna to complete my medical studies", he might have seen Beethoven before his departure for Vienna in September 1787, thus at a time during which Beethoven was still mourning the loss of his mother [as we know from his letter to Councillor von Schaden in Augsburg, from the fall of that year].  



The St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna





With respect to Wegeler's Vienna study years, Gerhard von Breuning reports:

" . . . Wegeler too had come there in 1787, armed with a very warm recommendation and support by the Elector and, like Beethoven, had doors opened for him among the circle of the famous professors and physicians of the era of Joseph II: Brambilla, Gerhard von Vering, Gottfried van Swieten, Hunczovsky, Adam Schmidt and many others;[25] . . . " [Gerhard von Breuning, Memories of Beethoven from the House of the Black-Robed Spaniards: 33].

"F. G. Wegeler received his doctor's degree in Vienna on September 1, 1789 and returned to Bonn to begin his medical career as practising physician . . . " [Gerhard von Breuning, Memories of Beethoven from the House of the Black-Robed Spaniards: 33].



Traditional Beethoven literature does not tell us a great deal about Beethoven's personal interaction with Wegeler during his last Bonn years.  However, Beethoven's own words tell us a great deal about Wegeler's attitude towards his friend in the sense that actions speak louder than words.  We can find Beethoven's comment in one of his last letter to his old friend Wegeler:  

"Ich erinnere mich aller Liebe, die du mir stets bewiesen hast; z.B. wie du mein Zimmer weißen ließest u. mich so angenehm überraschtest,[3] . . . "

"I remember all the love that you have always shown me as, for example, when you had my room whitewashed and with it pleasantly surprised me[3] . . . " [Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgab, Vol. 6, Letter No. 2236, p. 319 - 321; Original:  Koblenz, Wegeler Collection; to [3]: refers to the fact that, according to the GA, Wegeler had published this letter in the Biographical Notes and had remarked at at that time, Beethoven lived in the Wenzelgasse in Bonn; detail taken from p. 321].

With respect to this period of Beethoven's and Wegeler's friendship, the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn offers a curious object.  Let us take a look at this via this link: 

Franz Gerhard Wegeler (1765-1848), Ludwig van Beethoven
- Reproduction of a Beethoven portrait that was allegedly rendered by 
Franz Gerhard Wegeler

With respect to Wegeler's own career during these years, we can refer to Thayer-Forbes.  In a report about the University of Bonn which will be quoted in more detail below, TF [p. 76] notes that in the Court Calendar of 1790, Wegeler's name appears for the first time; he is described as holding the position of a Professor of Midwifery at the University.  

As we know from our Biographical Pages, Beethoven set out for Vienna at the beginning of November, 1792.  In contrast to Eleonore von Breuning's entry in Beethoven's farewell album, we know nothing of an entry by Wegeler.  



While, from November 1792 on, Beethoven pursued the completion of his musical training in Vienna, Wegeler stayed behind in Bonn until October 1794.  From this time, some details are know with respect to his university career: 

"Upon the suppression of the Jesuits in 1774, Max Friedrich devoted their possessions and revenues to the cause of education.  New professorships were established in the gymnasium and in 1777, an "Academy" was formed.  This was the first step; the second was to found an independent institution called the Lyceum; and at his death an application was before the Emperor for a university charter.  This was granted in April, and Monday, the 20th of November, 1786 was the day appointed for the solemn inauguration of the new institution.  The Court Calendar for the next year names six professors of theology, six of jurisprudence, civil and ecclesiastical, four of medicine, four of philosophy and seven of philology. In later editions new names are added; in that of 1790, Wegeler is professor of midwifery" [TF: 76].


View of today's Bonn University
[it is housed in the former Electoral Palace]



In his Biogrphical Notes, Wegeler reports that for some time before his departure from Bonn, he served as Rector of the University:  

"As Rector of the University of Bonn I had signed the decree of the Academic Senate . . . " [Wegeler/Ries, Biographical Notes: 5].




In Wegeler's own words, he "followed" Beethoven "in October 1794."  In the footnote to this statement, he mentions the reason for his flight: 

"As Rector of the University of Bonn I had signed the decree of the Academic Senate intending to stop the spread of hospital fever by forbidding the students to visit those Frenchmen captured at Quesnoi, Landrecies, Conde, etc., then being transported to Austria.  Alms intended for the prisoners were to be brought to them by certain clergymen.  The Moniteur received this decree some ten or twelve days later and without a hearing branded me a rabid enemy of the Republic.  Those were evil times!  The people's representative in Bonn gave orders that he was to be addressed with the familiar du form.  At that time la queue de Robespierre was hardly less dangerous than his head had been and it was advisable to save my own. [Wegeler/Ries, Biographical Notes: 5].

Thayer-Forbes also reports about Wegeler's move to Vienna:

"The reminiscences of Wegeler for the period of his stay in Vienna, excepting those which may be better introduced chronologically in other connections, may well find place here.  They are interesting and characteristic in themselves, and indicate, also, the great change for the better in Beethoven's pecuniary condition; for a man who keeps a servant and a horse cannot, if honest, be a sufferer from poverty.  Wegeler was another fugitive from the French occupation of Bonn.  Though only twenty-nine years of age, he had become Rector of the University.  Then he fled to Vienna, where he remained nearly two years, and where he naturally renewed his friendship with Beethoven.--He reached the capital in October and found Beethoven not in the "room on the ground floor" where "it was not necessary to pay the housekeeper more than 7 florins," but living as a guest in the family of Prince Karl Lichnowsky . . . " [TF: 170].

TF then relates Wegelers further report who, remaining in the background, himself, describes the lively musical scene at Prince Lichnowsky's Vienna residence, with the Prince himself being an active pianist who practiced Beethoven's works and who tried to convince the young composer that he would not have to change anything in them and who, not seldom, also pointed out the difficulties that were hidden in them.    Wegeler then recalls the musical Friday mornings at Prince Lichnowsky's residence and the four musicians that the Prince had in his  In this circle, as Wegeler continues, Beethoven's new works were, as far as was possible, performed for the first time in the presence of several great musicians and connoisseurs. Wegeler, himself, tried to attend these gatherings as often as he could. . . . After the concerts, as Wegeler relates, the musicians were treated to a meal.  The company consisted--without consideration of social rank--of musicians and connoisseurs.  . . .  However, as Wegeler reports, Beethoven would not always appear on time at Lichnowsky's dinner table.  Wegeler describes Beethoven as a young man who had been raised under extremely limited conditions, under some form of guardianship, so that he never learned the true value of money.  For example, the duty to appear each day at four o'clock in the afternoon at the Prince's dinner table, irritated Beethoven very much as he did not want to have to return home at 3.30 to change, shave, etc., but rather, many times, went to the inn, instead.    Wegeler mentions yet another example of Beethoven's lack of a sense of financial realities.  On one occasion, he is reported as having overheard Prince Lichnowsky who instructed his servant that, should he and Beethoven ring for him at the same time, he should answer Beethoven's call first.  Beethoven reacted to this by hiring his own servant.  He is also reported as having bought a horse when, on a whim, he wanted to learn how to ride one and when Lichnowsky had offered him the free use of his stables.   

In our Biographical Pages we already discussed Wegeler's report that Beethoven [very likely during Wegeler's stay in Vienna from 1794 to 1796] was "never out of love" and that he made conquests that might even have been difficult for "many an Adonis".  In his report related by Thayer-Forbes, Wegeler next mentions Beethoven's unwillingness to play piano "on command" and that the young composer often complained to him about this so that the latter frequently tried to calm him down and to distract him.  After Beethoven would finally have done so, Wegeler would often sit down at the desk while Beethoven was left to sit down on the piano chair where he, very naturally, would soon begin to play the piano.  Wegeler then expresses his regret that he was not more musically trained and that sometimes, he put a sheet of paper on the desk in the hope that Beethoven would jot down small compositions on it and leave the paper there.   What did Beethoven do?  Well, he did write some small compositions this way, but once he was finished, he would, according to Wegeler, put the paper into his pocket!    

Before we continue with Thayer-Forbes relating of Wegeler's report, it might also be interesting for us to take a look at what Gerhard von Breuning had to report:  

" . . . Stephan was introduced to Chief Field Physician Gerhard von Vering[37] in Vienna by a letter of recommendation from Wegeler and (about 1800), through Wegeler's recommendation, found Beethoven already at home there. . . . " [Gerhard von Breuning, Memories of Beethoven from the House of the Black-Robes Spaniards: 37].

This report indicates that Wegeler might also have introduced Beethoven to the household of the Rhinelander Dr. Vering in Vienna.    That during this time, their friendship was not always untroubled is reflected in Wegeler's following report:  

"The following undated letter also belongs to the years of Beethoven's intimate association with Wegeler in Vienna (1794-96).  It is significant of Beethoven's character.  Though easily offended and prone to anger, no sooner was the first ebullition of temper past than he was so reconciliatory and so open to explanation that usually his contrition was out of all proportion to his fault.  For this reason, and because it presents the friend in a light which provoked a protest from his modesty, Wegeler was unwilling to publish the entire letter, which follows" [TF: 172].

Let us take a look at the original text of the letter and at our own translation of it: 

"Beethoven an Franz Gerhard Wegeler:

                                                                                                                                                       [Wien, um 1795](2)

Lieber, Bester!

  in was für einem Abscheulichen Bilde hast du mich mir selbst dargestellt! o ich erkenne es, ich verdiene deine Freundschaft nicht, du bist so edel, so gutdenkend, und das ist das erstemal, daß ich mich nicht neben dir stellen darf, weit unter dir bin ich gefallen, ach ich habe meinem Besten, edelsten Freund 8 wochen Lang verdruß gemacht, du glaubst, ich habe an der Güte meines Herzens verlohren, dem Himmel sey dank; nein; -- es war keine absichtliche, ausgedachte Boßheit von mir, die mich so gegen dich handeln ließ, es war mein unverzeihlicher Leichtsinn, der mich nicht die Sache in dem Lichte sehen ließ, wie sie wirklich war.--o wie schäm ich mich für dir, wie für mir selbst -- fast traue ich mich nicht mehr, dich um deine Freundschaft wieder zu bitten -- Ach Wegeler nur mein einziger Trost ist, daß du mich fast seit meiner Kindheit kanntest, und doch o laß mich's selbst sagen, ich war doch immer gut, und bestrebte mich immer der Rech[t]schaffenheit und Biederkeit in meinen Handlungen; wie hättest du mich sonst lieben können? -- sollte ich den[n] jezt seit der kurzen Zeit aufei[n]mal mich so schrecklich, so sehr zu meinem Nachtheil verändert haben -- unmöglich, diese Gefühle des Großen des Guten sollten alle aufeinmal in mir erloschen seyn? nein Wegeler lieber, Bester, o wag es noch einmal, dich wieder ganz in <deinem> die Arme deines B. zu werfen baue auf <das>die guten <Freunde> Eigenschaften, die du sonst in ihm gefunden hast, ich stehe dir dafür, den neuen Tempel der heiligen Freundschaft, den du darauf aufrichten wirst, er wird fest, ewig stehen, kein Zufall, kein Sturm wird ihn <aus>in seinen Grundfesten erschüttern können--fest,--Ewig--unsere Freundschaft--verzeihung--vergessenheit wieder aufleben der sterbenden sinkenden Freundschaft--o wegeler verstoße sie nicht diese Hand zur aussöhnung, gib die deinige in die meine -- Ach Gott. -- ach nichts mehr -- ich selbst komm zu dir, und werfe mich in deine Arme, und bitte um den verlohrnen Freund, und du giebst dich mir, dem reuevollen, dich liebenden, dich nie vergessenden 



"Beethoven to Franz Gerhard Wegeler:

                                                                                                                                                       [Vienna, around 1795](2)

Dear, best One!

  in what a terrible light have you portrayed myself to me!   Oh, I realize it, I do not deserve your friendship, you are so noble, so honorably-minded, and this is the first time that I am not allowed to stand beside you, I have fallen far beneath you, oh, for 8 weeks I have caused trouble for my best, most noble friend; you believe that I have lost the goodness of my heart, heaven be thanked, no; it was not a deliberate, willful malice that had me act towards you in this way, it was my unforgivable carelessness that did not allow me to see the matter in its actual, correct light.--Oh, how ashamed I am before you as before myself--I almost do not dare to ask you for your friendship, again--Oh, Wegeler, my only consolation is that you have almost known me from my childhood, and yet, oh, let me say it, myself, was I not always good and did I not always strive for integrity and honesty in my actions: how else should you have been able to love me?--should I now, lately, have changed so terribly, so much to my disadvantage--impossible, these feelings of the great and good are supposed to suddenly have died in me?  No, Wegeler, dear, best one, oh, dare once more to throw yourself into the arms of your B., trust in the good traits that you have, otherwise, found in him, I  guarantee you that the new temple of sacred friendship that you will build upon it, it will stand solidly, eternally, no happenstance, no storm will be able to shake its grounds--steadfast--eternal--our friendship--forgiveness--forgetting--revival of our dying, sinking friendship--Oh, Wegeler, do not push away this hand that is reaching out in reconciliation, put yours into it, put yours into mine--Oh, God, oh, nothing further--I, myself, will come to you and will throw myself into your arms and will ask my lost friend, and you will give yourself back to me, your remorseful friend who will always love you and never forget you. 


[Source Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 1, Leter No. 19, p. 27-28; Original: Koblenz, Slg. Wegeler; to (2): refers to the fact that the GA places this letter into the years 1794 to 1796 when Wegeler was in Vienna; however, since, during the year 1796, Beethoven was traveling extensively, the most likely time when it was written would have been the year 1795; detail taken from p. 28].  

Reference to the year 1795 also leads us to  Wegeler's report about Beethoven's first public performances on March 29 and March 30, 1795.  As TF [p. 173] reports, the instrumental work that was performed at the benefit concert for the Tonkünstlergesellschaft [Society of Tone Artists] was a "Concerto for Pianoforte and Orchestra, composed and played by Beethoven". However, let TF, quoting Wegeler, continue:                         

»Not until the afternoon of the second day before the concert did he write the rondo, and then while suffering from a pretty severe colic, which frequently afflicted him.  I [Wegeler] relieved him with simple remedies so far as I could.  In the anteroom sat four copyists to whom he handed sheet after sheet as soon as it was finished. . . . « [TF:173-174].

In this context, it is less important what Beethoven Piano Concerto Wegeler was referring to than the fact that he, as a physician, was able to help his friend "as far as I would" with "simple remedies", without which Beethoven might, perhaps, not have been able to perform, at all.   

As we know from our Biographical Pages, in 1796, Beethoven traveled extensively.  Due to this fact, the question arises when Wegeler and Beethoven might have seen each other for the last time in this year.  If we consider that Wegeler returned to Bonn in June of this year and that Beethoven was setting out on his first journey that led him via Prague to Dresden and Berlin, towards the end of January or the beginning of February, we will ask ourselves whether he might or might not have returned to Vienna on time to say farewell to Wegeler.  With respect to Beethoven's possible departure from Berlin, TF comments:   

"Early in July, the king left Berlin for the baths of Pyrmont, the nobility dispersed to their estates or to watering places, and the city "was empty and slient."  Beethoven, therefore, could have had no inducement to prolong his stay; but the precise time of his departure is unknown.

Nothwishstanding Wegeler's statement (Notizen, p. 28) that he left Beethoven a member of the family of Prince Lichnowsky "in the middle of 1796," it is as certain as circumstantial evidence can well make it that the Doctor and Christoph von Breuning had returned to Bonn before Beethoven reached Vienna again; . . . " [Thayer-Forbes: 187].

According to TF [p. 187], Fasch, the then-director of the Berlin Singakademie, noted:  

"June 21, 1796.  Hr. van Beethoven extemporized on the "Davidiana," taking the fugue theme from Ps. 119, No. 16. . . . Hr. Beethoven, pianist from Vienna, was so accommodating as to permit us to hear an improvisation. . . . June 28, Hr. van Beethoven was again so obliging as to play an improvisation for us" [TF: 187].

This suggests that, at least still on June 28, 1796, Beethoven was still in Berlin.  On the other hand, Gerhard von Breuning describes the time frame of his uncle and namesake Franz Gerhard Wegeler's second stay in Vienna, as follows:  " . . . from October 1794 to June 1796, he had another period of happy association with his Ludwig in Vienna" [Gerhard von Breuning, "Memories of Beethoven from the House of the Black-Robed Spaniards", p. 33].   This strengthens TF's guess that both friends did not see each other, anymore, in June, 1796.  



View of Bonn in Beethoven's Life Time


" . . . Nach meiner Zurückkunft von Wien 1796 gieng's mir ziemlich übel; ich mußte mehrere Jahre von der Praxis allein leben, und das daurte in der höchst verarmten Gegend einige Jahre, ehe ich mein Auskommen hatte. Nun ward ich aber wieder ein bezahlter Professor . . . " [" . . . After my return from Vienna, I had a fairly rough time; for several years, I had to live off my [medical] practice, alone, and in this highly impoverished area, this took several years.  Then, however, I was again a paid professor . . . "]

is what Wegeler wrote to Beethoven in his letter of December 28, 1825 [Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 6, Letter No. 2100, p. 196-199; Original:  Bonn, Beethoven-Haus].  This would suggest that, in the year 1796, Wegeler was not immediately re-hired as a Professor at the University of Bonn, but perhaps before its closing in the year 1798 [Source of Information: Die Sammlung Wegeler im Beethoven-Haus, cited on February 26, 2008].   According to this source, after that, Wegeler took up a teaching post at the newly-founded Central School in Bonn and that he also practiced medicine.  

Thus, perhaps, in the year 1797, we might imagine Wegeler having been re-hired as Professor at the University in Bon, when he received the following lines from Beethoven: 

"Beethoven an Franz Gerhard Wegeler

                                                                                                                           [Wien, 29. Mai 1797](1)

Grüß dich Gott, lieber!

  ich bin dir einen Brief schuldig, den sollst du nächstens haben, wie auch meine neusten Musikalien, -- mir geht's gut, und ich kann sagen immer besser, glaubst du, daß es jemand freuen wird, so grüß von meiner seite. --

leb wohl und vergiß nicht deinen 

                                                                        L. v. Beethoven."

"Beethoven to Franz Gerhard Wegeler

                                                                                                                           [Vienna, May 29, 1797](1)

Hello, my dear,

  I owe you a letter, and you shall have it, soon, as also my newest musical works.--I am well and I can say that I am better and better, if you think that someone will be delighted, send them my greetings.-- 

farewell and do not forget your 

                                                                        L. v. Beethoven."

[Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 1, Letter No. 30, p. 39-40; Original:  Koblenz, Slg. Wegeler; to (1): dating according to Wegeler's note; as the GA mentions, Beethoven added these lines to a letter that Lenz von Breuning had written to Wegeler; details taken from p. 39-40].

Unfortunately, we do not know what musical works Beethoven wanted to send to Wegeler, at this time.  

As we know, the next years, in spite of his growing hearing loss, would bring an active life as a composer until, in the year 1791, his worsening condition would catch up with him and lead him to confide in two of his closest friends, in form of his famous letters of the year 1801.  In addition to Carl Friedrich Amenda, it was Franz Gerhard Wegeler in whom Beethoven confided.  The following letters to Wegeler are well-known and speak for themselves.   

Beethoven around 1801


"Beethoven an Franz Gerhard Wegeler in Bonn

                                                                                                                                                             Vien, am 29ten Juni [1801](1)

Mein guter lieber Wegeler, wie sehr danke ich dir für dein Andenken an mich, ich habe es so wenig verdient um dich zu verdienen gesucht, und doch bist so sehr gut, und läßt dich durch nichts, selbst durch meine unverzeihlichen Nachläßigkeit nicht abhalten, bleibst immer der treue gute biedere Freund; -- daß ich dich und überhaupt euch, die ihr mir einst alle so lieb und theuer waret, vegessen könnte, nein das glaub nicht, es giebt Augenblicke, wo ich mich selbst nach euch sehne, ja bey euch einige Zeit zu Verweilen; -- mein Vaterland die schöne gegend, in der ich das Licht der Welt erblickte, ist mir noch immer so schön und deutlich vor meinen Augen, als da ich euch verließ, kurz ich werde diese Zeit <mir> als eine der glücklichsten Begebenheiten meines Lebens betrachten, wo ich euch wieder sehen und unsern Vater Rhein begrüßen kann. -- wann dies seyn wird, das kann ich noch nicht bestimmen, so viel will ich euch sagen, daß ihr mich nur recht groß wiedersehen werdet, nicht als Künstler sollt ihr mich größer, sondern als Mensch sollt ihr mich besser, Vollkommener finden, und ist dann der Wohlstand etwas besser in unserm vaterlande, dann soll meine Kunst sich nur zum Besten der Armen zeigen, o glückseliger Augenblick, wie glücklich halte ich mich, daß ich dich herbey schaffen, dich selbst schaffen kann -- von meiner Lage willst du was wissen, nun sie wäre eben so schlecht nicht, seit vorigem Jahr hat mir Lichnowski(2), der, so unglaublich es dir auch ist, wenn ich dir sage, immer mein wärmster Freund war und geblieben (kleine Mißhelligkeiten gibt's ja auch unter unß), (und haben nicht eben diese unsere Freundschaft mehr befestigt!) eine sichere Summe von 600 fl. ausgeworfen, die ich, so lange ich keine für mich passende Anstellung finde, ziehen kann, meine Komposizionen tragen mir viel ein, und ich kann sagen, daß ich mehr Bestellungen habe, als es fast möglich ist, daß ich machen kann, auch habe ich auf jede Sache 6, 7 Veleger und noch mehr, wenn ich mir's angelegen sein lassen will, man accordirt nicht mehr mit mir, ich fordere und man zahlt, du siehst, daß es eine hübsche Lage ist, z.B. ich sehe einen Freund in Noth und mein Beutel leidet eben nicht, ihm gleich zu helfen, so darf ich mich nur hinsezen und in kurzer Zeit ist ihm geholfen -- auch bin ich ökonomischer als sonst, sollte ich immer hier bleiben, so bringe ichs auch sicher dahin daß ich jährlich immer eine[n] Tag zur Akademie erhalten, deren ich einige gegeben, <erhalten> nur hat der neidische Dämon, meine schlimme Gesundheit, mir einen schlechten Stein ins Brett geworfen nemlich: mein Gehör ist seit 3 Jahren immer schwächer geworden, und das soll sich durch meinen Unterleib, der schon damals wie Du weist elend war, hier aber sich verschlimmert hat in dem ich beständig mit einem Durchfall behaftet war, und mit einer dadurch außerordentlichen schwäche, ereignet haben, Frank(3) wollte meinem leib den Ton(4) wieder geben durch stärkende Medizine und mein Gehör durch Mandelöhl, aber prosit, daraus ward nichts, mein gehör ward immer schlechter, und mein Unterleib blieb immer in seiner vorigen Verfassung, das dauerte bis voriges Jahr Herbst, wo ich manchmal in Verzweiflung war, da rieth mir ein Medizinischer asinus das kalte Bad für meinen Zustand, ein gescheiderer das gewöhnliche Lauwarme DonauBad, das that wunder, mein Bauch war besser mein Gehör blieb oder ward noch schlechter, diesen Winter gieng's mir wirklich elend, da hatte ich wirckliche schreckliche Koliken, und ich sank wieder ganz in meinen Vorigen Zustand zurück; und so bliebs bis ohngefähr 4 Wochen, wo ich zu Wering(5) ging indem ich dachte, daß dieser Zustand zugleich auch einen Wundarzt erfordere, und ohnedem hatte ich immer vertrauen zu ihm, ihm gelang es nun fast gänzlich diesen heftigen Durchfall zu hemmen, er verordnete mir das laue Donaubad, wo ich jedesmal noch ein fläschchen stärkende sachen hineingießen muste, gab mir gar keine Medizin, vor ohngefähr 4 Tagen Pillen für den magen und einen Thee für's Ohr, und darauf kann ich sagen befind ich mich stärker und besser <ich> nur meine ohren, die sausen und Brausen tag und Nacht fort; ich kann sagen, ich bringe meine Leben elend zu, seit 2 Jahren fast meide ich alle gesellschaften, weils mir nun nicht möglich ist, den Leuten zu sagen, ich bin Taub, hätte ich irgend ein anderes Fach, so giengs noch eher, aber in meinem Fach ist das ein schrecklicher Zustand, dabey meine Feinde, deren Anzahl nicht geringe ist, was würden diese hiezu sagen -- um dir einen Begriff von dieser wunderbaren Taubheit zu geben, so sage ich dir, daß ich mich im Theater  ganz dicht am Orchester <oder>gar anlehnen muß, um den schauspieler zu verstehen, die hohen Töne von Instrumenten singstimmen, wenn ich etwas weit weg bin höre ich nicht, im sprechen ist es zu verwundern daß es Leute giebt die es niemals merken, da ich meistens Zerstreuungen hatte, so hält man es dafür, manchmal auch hör ich den Redenden der leise spricht kaum, ja die Töne wohl, aber die worte nicht, und doch sobald jemand schreit, ist es mir unausstehlich, was es nun werden wird, das weiß der liebe Himmel, wering sagt, daß es gewiß besser werden wird, <obwohl ich es> wenn auch nicht ganz--ich habe schon oft den schöpfer und mein daseyn verflucht, Plutarch hat mich zu der Resignatio geführt, ich will wenn's anders möglich ist, meinem schicksaal trozen, obschon es Augenblicke meines Lebens geben wird, wo ich das unglücklichste Geschöpf gottes seyn werde.  Ich bitte dich von diesem meinem Zustand niemandem auch nicht einmal der Lorchen(7) etwas zu sagen, nur als geheymniß vertraue ich dir's an, lieb wäre mir's, wenn du einmal mit Wering darüber Brief wechseltest, sollte mein Zustand fortdauren, so komme ich künftiges frühjahr zu dir, du miethe(s)t mir irgendwo in einer schönen Gegend ein Hauß auf dem Lande, und dann will ich ein halbes Jahr ein Bauer werden, vieleicht wird's dadurch geändert, resignation: welches elende Zufluchtsmittel, und mir bleibt es doch das einzige übrige.--

 du verzeihst mir doch, daß ich dir in deiner ohnedem trüben Lage noch auch diese Freundschaftliche Sorge aufbinde -- Steffen Breuning ist nun hier(8) und wir sind fast täglich zusammen, es thur mir so wohl die alten Gefühle wieder hervorzurufen, er ist wirklich ein guter Herrlicher Junge geworden der was weiß, und das Herz wie wir alle mehr oder weniger auf dem Rechten Flecke hat, ich habe eine sehr schöne Wohnung jezt, welche auf die Bastey geht(9) und für meine gesundheit doppelten werth hat, ich glaube wohl, daß ich es werde möglich machen können, daß B. zu mir komme.--

 deinen Antiochum(10) sollst du haben, und auch noch recht viele Musikalien von mir, wenn du anders nicht glaubst, daß es dich zu viel kostet, aufrichtig deine Kunstliebe freut mich doch noch sehr, schreibe mir nur, wie es zu machen ist, so will ich Dir alle meine Werke schicken, das nun freylich eine hübsche Anzahl ist, und die sich täglich vermehrt.--

 statt dem Portrait meines Großvaters, welches ich dich bitte mir sobald als möglich mit dem Postwagen zu schicken,(11) schicke ich Dir das seines Enkels deines dir guten und herzlichen Beethoven, welches hier bey Artaria, die mich hier darum oft ersuchten so wie viele andere, auch auswärtige Kunsthandlungen, herauskommt,(12) -- Stoffel(13) will ich nächstens schreiben, und ihm ein wenig den Text lesen über seine störrische laune, ich will ihm die alte Freundschaft recht ins Ohr schreien, er soll mir heilig versprechen, euch in euren ohnedem trüben Umständen nicht <zu stören> noch mehr zu kränken -- auch der guten Lorchen will ich schreiben, nie habe ich auch einen unter euch lieben guten Vergessen, wenn ich euch auch gar nichts von mir hören ließ, aber schreiben, das weist du, war nie meine sache, auch die besten Freunde haben Jahre lang keine Briefe von mir erhalten, ich lebe nur in meinen Noten, und ist das eine kaum da ist das andere schon angefangen, so wie ich jetzt schreibe, mache ich oft 3 4 sachen zugleich--schreibe mir jetzt öfter, ich will schon sorge tragen, daß ich Zeit finde, dir zuweilen zu schreiben, grüße mir alle, auch die gute Frau Hofräthin(14), und sag ihr, daß ich noch zuweilen einen raptus han, was Koch's angeht, so wundere ich mich gar nicht über deren Veränderung,(15) das glück ist kugelrund und fällt daher natürlich  nicht immer auf das edelste, das beste --- wegen Rieß(16), den mir herzlich grüße, was seinen sohn anbelangt, will ich dir näher schreiben, obschon ich glaube, daß um sein Glück zu machen Paris besser als wien sey,(17) Vien ist überschüttet mit Leuten, und selbst dem Bessern Verdienst fällt es dadurch hart, sich zu halten -- bis den Herbst oder bis zum Winter werde ich sehen, was ich für ihn thun kann, weil dann alles wieder in die Stadt eilt --

leb wohl guter treuer Wegeler sey versichert von der liebe und Freundschaft

                                                                                                                                               deines Beethowen"

"Beethoven to Franz Gerhard Wegeler in Bonn

                                                                                                                              Vienna, on the 29th of June [1801](1)

My good dear Wegeler, how very much do I thank you for your remembering me, I have deserved it as little for your sake as I have sought to deserve it, and yet, you as so very good and will not be deterred by anything, not even by my unforgivable neglect, you always remain the faithful, good and true friend;--that I could forget you, at all, who once have been so dear to me, no, I do not believe it, there are moments in which I, myself, am longing for you, to spend some time with you;--my fatherland, the beautiful country in which I was born, it is still as beautiful and clear before my eyes as when I left it, in short, I will [always] consider that time as one of the happiest moments in my life when I will see you again and when I can see our Father Rhine, again.--When that will be, I can not determine, yet, I will tell you this much that you will only see me as a great man, not as an artist you will see me as greater, but you will find me to be a better, more perfect man, and then, when matters in our fatherland will be better, my art shall only be shown for the best of the poor, o blissful moment, how fortunate do I call myself that I can bring it about, myself, that I can create it, myself-- you want to know something about my situation, well, it is not that bad, since last year, Lichnowski(2), who, as hard as it might for you to believe it when I tell you that he has always remained my warmest friend [small disagreements also exist between us] [and have they not strengthened our friendship more!], has set out a secure sum of 600 fl. that I can draw on until I will find a suitable position; my compositions earn me a great deal, and I can say that I have more orders than is possible for me to fulfill, and for every piece, I have 6, 7 publishers and more if I wanted to, and one does not negotiate with me, anymore, I demand and one pays, you see, that this is a beautiful situation, i.e., if I see that a friend is in need and if I do not have money in my purse, I only have to sit down, and he will be helped, quickly--I am also more economical than before; should I remain here, I will also bring it as far as having one day a year for an Academy [concert], of which I have already given a few; only, the envious demon, my bad health, has put a bad spoke in my wheel, namely:  for 3 years, my hearing has become weaker and weaker, and that is supposed to have come about on account of my abdomen that, as you know, has already been bad back then, but has become worse here in that I have always been inflicted with diarrhea and with an extraordinary weakness arising from it; Frank(3) wanted to strengthen it with medicines and my hearing with almond oil, but prosit, nothing came of it, my hearing grew worse and worse, and my abdomen remained in the same condition as before; this lasted until the fall of last year, when I was sometimes in despair; then, a medical asinus advised me to take cold baths in my condition; a smarter one recommended the usual lukewarm bath in Danube water, which worked wonders, but my hearing remained bad or grew even worse; this winter, I was really in bad condition, I had truly bad colics and my state returned to its former condition and remained so until about four weeks ago, when I went to Wering(5) since I thought that this condition would also require a surgeon, and I trusted him, in any case; he was able to almost stop my severe diarrhea, he ordered me to take the baths in lukewarm Danube water to which, each time, I was to add a little bottle of strengthening ingredients, he gave me no medicine except, 4 days ago, pills for the stomach and a tea for my ears, and on account of this I can say that I feel stronger and better, only my ears, they still keep buzzing and humming day and night; I can say that I am leading a wretched life, for 2 years, I have avoided all company, since it is not possible for me to say to the people, I am deaf, if I had [been working in] another field, it would still be better, but in my field, this is a terrible situation, moreover, my enemies, whose number is not small, what would they say to this--in order to give you an idea of this peculiar deafness, I tell you that in the theater, I have to lean quite close to the orchestra in order to understand the actors, I do not hear the high notes of the instruments and voices, and if I am a bit further away, I can not hear anything; in conversation, I wonder why people to not notice it; however, since I have always been considered to be somewhat distracted, they take it for that; sometimes, I can not hear people who speak quietly, I can hear the sounds, but not the words, and yet, if someone yells, it is unbearable to me; what shall become of this, only heaven knows, Vering says that it will certainly get better, but probably not entirely--often, I have cursed the creator and my existence; Plutarch has taught me resignation; if possible, otherwise, I will defy my fate, although there will be moments in my life in which I will consider myself to be the most unhappy of God's creatures.  I ask you not to tell anyone of my condition, not even Lorchen(7), I am only confiding it to you as a secret, I would like it if, at some time, you could correspond with Vering about it; should my condition continue, I will come to see you, next year, you will rent for me, in a beautiful area, a house in the countryside, and then, for half a year, I want to live as a peasant, perhaps, it will be changed by that, Resignation: what a wretched refuge, and yet, it is the only one that is left to me.-- 

 you will forgive me that, in your already dreary situation, I am still burdening you with this burden of friendship--Steffen Breuning is her now(8) and we are almost together, every day, and it is so good to renew the old feelings, he has truly become a wonderful young man who knows a thing or two and who, as we all do more or less, has his heart in the right place; I have a very nice apartment now what looks out onto the Bastey(9) and which is all the more valuable for my health, I believe that I will be able to arrange it for B. to come to me.--

 You shall have your Antiochum(10), and also many musical items from me, if you believe that it will not cost you too much, honestly, your love of art delights me very much, only write to me how we can arrange it, and I will send you all of my works, which, by now, is a considerable number that is growing almost daily.-- 

 Instead of the portrait of my grandfather, which I ask you to send as possible to me by post coach,(11) I will send you that of his grandson, of your Beethoven who is disposed sincerely and well towards you, and which will be published by Artaria here who have asked me often for it as many other, also out-of-town publishers,(12)--to Stoffel(13) I will write, soon, in order to give him my piece of mind with respect to his obstinacy, I will shout our old friendship mightily into his ears, he will have to promise me sincerely that he will not insult you even more in your already dreary circumstances,--I will also write to the good Lorchen, I have never forgotten anyone of you good, dear ones, even if I did not let you have a life sign from me, at all, but writing, as you know, has never been my strength, even the best of friends will not receive letters from me, for years, I only live in my notes, and hardly as one piece been completed, a new one has been started, the way I am working now, I am often working on 3 4 things at the same time--write to me more often now, I will take care that I will find time to write to you once in a while, send greetings to all, also to the good Frau Hofräthin(14), and tell her that once in a while I still have a raptus, as far as the Kochs are concerned and their changes,(15) luck is round and does not always fall on the most noble and best--with respect to Ries(16), whom I ask you to greet heartily from me, as far has his son is concerned, I will write to you in more detail, although I believe that, in order to make his fortune, Paris would be better than Vienna,(17) Vienna is filled with people, and even the better ones will find it hard to make a go, here--in fall or in winter, I will see what I can do for him, here, when everyone will hurry back to the city-- 

farewell, good, faithful Wegeler, rest assured of the love and friendship 

                                                                                                                                               of your Beethowen"

[Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 1, Letter No.  65, p. 78 - 83; Original: Koblenz, Slg. Wegeler; to (1): according to the GA, the letter had been assigned to the year 1800 by Wegeler and other editors, but from its content, 1801 is more likely; to (2): refers to Prince Karl Lichnowsky; to (3): probably refers to Johann Peter Frank or to his son Joseph; the father was a respected physician and medical teacher in Vienna, where he had worked since 1795 and who, in 1804, went to Vilna and after that to St. Petersburg, from where he returned to Vienna in 1808; the son came to Vienna in 1796 and worked as a primary physician at the General Hospital; in 1798, he married the Singer Christine Gerhardi, who was also a friend of Beethoven; to (4):  refers to the muscle stress that is responsible for the blood flow; to (5): refers to Gerhard von Vering, a physician from the Rhineland who lived in Vienna; in 1809, Stephan v. Breuning married his daughter Julie; to (6): probably refers to Beethoven's retreat from public life as he had come to know it from Plutarch's biographies of statesmen of ancient times, in Beethoven's case probably a retreat into the countryside; to (7): refers to Wegeler's bride, Eleonore von Breuning; to (8): refers to Stephan von Breuning, who, from the end of May 1801 on, lived in Vienna; to (9): probably refers to the so-called "Hambergische Haus" (according to Smolle, but disputed by Klein and Goldschmidt); to (10): according to Wegeler, the picture in question was "ein bekanntes Bild von [Heinrich] Füger . . . Direktor der Maler-Akademie in Wien" "a well-known picture of [Heinrich] Fuger, Director of the Academy for Fine Arts in Vienna'; to (11): refers to the portrait of Beethoven's grandfather, by  Radoux; to (12):  probably refers to the etching by Johann Joseph Neidl after a drawing by Gandolf Ernst Stainhauser von Treuberg, from 1801; to (13); refers to Stephan von Breuning's brother Christoph von Breuning; zto(14): refers to their mother, Mme. Maria Helene von Breuning; to (15): refers to Babette Koch's relationship with Count Anton Belderbusch, whose children she looked after, after his wife had left him; his marriage was annulled by the Pope, and he was also divorced in civil law, after which he married Babette Koch in 1802; to (16):  refers to Franz Anton Ries; to (17): refers to Ries's son Ferdinand, who, as the GA states, came to Vienna at the end of 1801; details taken from p. 81-83).

"Beethoven an Franz Gerhard Wegeler in Bonn

                                                                                                                  Vien am 16ten November 1801 [1].

    Mein guter Wegeler!  ich danke dir für den Neuen Beweiß deiner sorfgalt um mich, um so mehr, da ich es so wenig um dich verdiene -- du willst wissen, wie es mir geht, was ich brauche, so ungerne ich mich von dem Gegenstande überhaupt unterhalte, so thue ich es doch noch am liebsten mit dir -- Wering[2] läßt mich nun schon seit einigen Monathen immer Fiskkaturen[3] auf beyde Armen legen, welche aus einer gewissen Rinde, wie du wissen wirst, bestehen, das ist nun eine höchst unangenehme Kur, indem ich immer ein paar Täge des freyen Gebrauches (ehe die Rinde genug gezogen hat) meiner Armen beraubt bin, ohne der schmerzen zu gedenken, es ist nun wahr, ich kann es nicht laügnen, das sausen und brausen ist etwas schwächer als sonst, besonders am Linken Ohre, mit welchem eigentlich meine Gehörkrankheit angefangen hat, aber mein Gehör ist gewiß um nichts noch gebessert, ich wage es nicht zu bestimmen, ob es nicht eher schwächer geworden? -- mit meinem unterleib gehts besser, besonders wenn ich einige Täge das lauwarme Bad brauche, befinde ich mich 8 auch 10 Täge ziemlich wohl; sehr selten einmal etwas stärkendes für den Magen, mit den Kraütern auf den Bauch fange ich jezt auch na(c)h deinem Rath an; von sturzbäder will W.[ering] nichts wissen überhaupt aber bin ich mit ihm sehr unzufrieden, er hat zu wenig sorge und Nachsicht für so eine Krankheit, komme ich nicht einmal zu ihm und das geschiet auch mit viel mühe, so würde ich ihn nie sehen -- was hältst du von schmidt[4], ich wechsle zwar nicht gern, doch scheint mir W. ist zu sehr Praktiker als daß er sich viele neue Ideen durchs Lesen verschafte -- S.[chmidt] scheint mir hierin ein ganz anderer Mensch zu seyn und würde vieleicht auch nicht gar so nachläßig seyn?--

man spricht Wunder vom Galwanism[5] was sagst du dazu? -- ein Medeziner sagte mir er habe ein Taubstummes Kind sehen sein Gehör wieder erlangen in Berlin, und einen Mann der ebenfalls sieben Jahr taub gewesen, und sein Gehör wieder erlangt habe -- ich höre eben dein Schmidt[6] macht hiermit versuche -- etwas angenehmer lebe ich jezt wieder, indem ich mich mehr unter Menschen gemacht, du kannst es kaum glauben, wie öde, wie traurig ich mein Leben seit 2 Jahren zugebracht, wie ein Gespenst ist mir mein schwaches Gehör überall erschienen, und ich flohe -- die Menschen, mußte Misantrop scheinen, und bins doch so wenig, diese Veränderung hat ein liebes zauberisches Mädchen[7] hervorgebracht, die mich liebt, und die ich liebe, es sind seit 2 Jahren wieder einige seelige Augenblicke, und es ist das erstemal, daß ich fühle, daß -- heirathen glücklich machen könnte, leider ist sie nicht von meinem stande -- und jetzt -- könnte ich nun freylich nicht heirathen -- ich muß mich nun noch wacker herumtummeln, wäre mein Gehör nicht, ich wäre nun schon lange die halbe Welt durchgereißt, and das muß ich -- für mich gibts kein großeres Vergnügen als meine Kunst zu treiben und zu zeigen -- glaub nicht daß ich bey euch glücklich seyn würde, was sollte mich auch glücklicher machen, selbst eure sorgfalt würde mir wehe thun, ich würde jeden Augenblick das Mitleiden auf euren Gesichtern lesen, und würde mich doch nur noch unglücklicher finden --

jene schöne vaterländische Gegenden, was war mir in ihnen beschieden, nichts als die hoffnung in einen beßren Zustand, er wäre mir nun geworden -- ohne dieses übel, o die Welt wollte ich umspannen von diesem Frey, meine Jugend -- ja ich fühle es, sie fängt erst jezt an, war ich nicht immer ein siecher Mensch, meine körperliche Kraft -- nimmt seit einiger Zeit mehr als jemals zu, und so meine Geisteskräfte jeden tag gelange ich mehr zu dem Ziel, was ich fühle, aber nicht beschreiben kann, nur hierin kann dein B. leben, nichts von ruhe -- ich weiß von keiner andern als dem schlaf, und wehe genug thut mirs, daß ich ihm jezt mehr schenken muß als sonst, nur halbe befreyung von meinem übel, und dann -- als vollendeter, reifer Mann komme ich zu euch erneure die alten FreundschaftGefühle, so glücklich als es mir hinieden beschieden ist, sollt ihr mich sehen, nicht unglücklich -- nein das könnte ich nicht ertragen -- ich will dem schicksaal in den rachen greifen, ganz niederbeugen soll es mich gewiß nicht -- o es ist so schön das Leben tausendmal leben -- für ein stilles -- Leben, nein ich fühl's, ich bin nicht mehr dafür gemacht -- du schreibst mir doch so bald als möglich -- sorgst, daß der Steffen sich bestimmt, sich irgendwo im Deutschen Orden anstellen zu laßen,[8] das Leben hier ist für seine Gesundheit mit zu viel strapazzen verbunden, noch obendrein fürht er so ein isolirtes Leben, daß ich gar nicht sehe, wie er so weiter kommen will, du weißt wie das hier ist, ich will nicht einmal sagen, daß gesellschaft seine Abspannung vermindern würde, man kann ihn auch nirgends hinzugehen überreden, ich habe einmal bey mir vor einiger Zeit Musick gehabt, wo ausgesuchte Gesellschaft War,[9] unser Freund -- St. -- blieb doch aus -- emphele ihm doch mehr Ruhe und gelassenheit, ich habe schon auch alles angewendet, ohne das kann er nie weder glücklich noch gesund seyn -- schreib mir nun im nächsten Briefe, ob's nichts macht, wenns recht viel ist, was ich dir von meiner Musik schicke, du kannst zwar das was du nicht brauchst wieder verkaufen, und so hast du dein Postgeld -- mein Portrait[10] -- auch -- alles mögliche schöne und verbindliche an die L.[orchen] -- auch die Mama -- auch Kristoph[11] -- Du liebst mich doch ein wenig, sey so wohl von dieser als auch von der Freundschaft überzeugt



"Beethoven to Franz Gerhard Wegeler in Bonn

                                                                                                                  Vienna on the 16th of November 1801 [1].

    My good Wegeler!  I thank you for your new proof of your great care for me, all the more since I do not deserve it for your sake--you want to know how I am, what I need, as little as I like to discuss this topic, I still prefer to do it with you--for several months, Wering[2] has me apply bandages Fiskkaturen[3] on both of my arms, which, as you will know, consist of a certain tree bark; this is a highly uncomfortable treatment since, for a few days, I am being deprived of the free use of my arms, not to mention the pain, it is true, I can not deny it, the buzzing and humming is somewhat weaker than before, particularly in my left ear, with which this illness of my ears had started; however, my hearing has certainly not improved, I do not dare to ascertain if it has not even become weaker?--my abdomen has become better, particularly if I, for several days, take the lukewarm baths, I feel rather well for 8 to 10 days; very seldom, a strengthening tonic for the stomach, with herbs on my abdomen, I am also starting on your advice; W.[ering] does not want to hear anything of showers; in general, I am very unsatisfied with him, he takes too little care of such an illness; if I would not visit him, which only happens with some trouble, I would never see him--what do you think of Schmidt[4], while I do not like to switch [doctors], it appears to me that W. is too much of a practical physician who does not read up on new developments to gain new insights thereby--in this, S.[chmidt] appears to be quite a different man, to me, and perhaps he would also not be as careless?-- 

they tell miracles about galvanism[5] what do you think of it?--a physician told me that in Berlin, he saw that a child that had been deaf and mute for seven years, had regained its hearing--I just hear that your Schmidt[6] is making attempts at it here--I live somewhat more pleasant, again, since I have gone among people, again, you can not believe how lonely, how sad I have spent my life for the last 2 years, like a ghost, my weak hearing followed me everywhere, and I fled--people, I had to appear as a misanthrope to them, and I am that, so little, this change has been brought about by a dear, enchanting girl[7] who loves me and whom I love, after 2 years, there are some blissful moments, here and there, so that I feel that--marriage could make a person happy, unfortunately, she is not of my class--and now, I could, of course, not get married--I still have to strive and move about a great deal, if it was not for my hearing, I would have traveled half of the world, by now, and I have to do so--more me, there is no greater pleasure than to practice and perform my art--do not believe that I would be happy when I would come to visit you, what would make me happier, even your care would hurt me, every moment, I would read compassion in your faces, and that would find me even unhappier-- 

those beautiful areas of my fatherland, what was my lot in them, nothing but the hope for better days, they would have arrived now--without this evil, oh, I would want to embrace the world, freed from it, my youth--yes, I feel it, it is only beginning, was I not always a sickly person, my strength--for some time, it has been increasing, and so do my intellectual faculties, each day, I am nearer to my goal which I can feel but not describe, only in this, your B. can live, nothing of calm--I known of no other calm than sleep, and it hurts me enough that I have to devote more time to it than before, only half-freed from my evil, and then--as a perfect, mature man, I will come to you and renew the old feelings of friendship, as happy as I am destined to be you shall see me, not unhappy--no, I could not bear it--I want to take fate by the throat, it shall certainly not crush me, entirely--oh, it is so beautiful to live life a thousand times--for a quiet--life, no, I feel it, I am not made for it, any more--you will write to me as soon as possible--take care that Steffen will decide to be employed somewhere in the German Order,[8] life here is too strenuous for his health, moreover, he leads such an isolated life that I can not see how he will advance, you know how that is here, I do not want to say that company will lessen his stress; one can also not persuade him to go anywhere, already twice, I had music at my place where select company was present,[9] our friend--St.--stayed away--recommend to him more calmness, I have already tried everything, without it, he can never be happy or healthy-- in your next letter, write to me if it would cost a lot, if it is much, if I send you some of my music, what you do not need, you can sell, again, and then you will be reimbursed for your postage--my portrait[10]--also--everything beautiful and good to L.[orchen]--also to Mama--also to Kristoph[11]--you love me a little, be convinced of it as well as of the friendship of 



[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 1, Letter No. 70, p. 88 - 92; Original:  Koblenz, Slg. Wegeler; to [1]:  refers to the fact that to the right, Beethoven had added the date, later; to [2]: refers to the Military physician   Gerhard von Vering; to [3]: refers to Vesicantia which are bladder-draining; to [4]: refers to Johann Adam Schmidt [1759-1809], military physician Professor  for General Medicine at the Josephsakademie; to [5]: here, the GA points out that the main research area of Luigi Galvani was the physiology of birds, particularly of their hearing organs and that, in November 1780, a coincidence led to his discovery of galvanism that was named after him; [6]: refer to Dr. Schmidt that was already mentioned in [4] with whom Wegeler was obviously friends;  to [7]: probably refers to Giulietta Guicciardi; to [8]: refers to the fact that, since September 21, 1796, Stephan von Breuning had been employed with the German Order, first at Mergentheim, later in Vienna; the GA further mentions that he left the service of the Order in 1803 and found a position in the k.k. Hofkriegsrat [War Ministry] as Hofkonzipist [Secretary]; to [9]: probably refers to the musical event of August 15, 1801, of  which, according to the GA, Franz Anton Hoffmeister wrote to his partner Ambrosius Kühnel on August 19, 1801: "on Saturday, there was music at Beethoven's, where also I, Bernard Forkel, Salieri, Preindl, Par, etc etc including a few ladies and Cavaliers were present"; to [10]: probably refers to the etching by Johann Joseph Neidl after a lost drawing by Gandolf Stainhauser von Treuberg, which was published by Giovanni Cappi in the fall of 1801; to [11]: refers to greetings to Wegeler's later wife, Eleonore von Breuning and her mother, Helene and her brother, Christoph von Breuning; details taken from p. 91 - 92].

These letters reached Wegeler when he was still a bachelor.  


As Thayer-Forbes [p. 83] reports, on March 28, 1802, Wegeler married Freundin Eleonore von Breuning.  This would allow us to conclude that his financial situation might have improved, to some degree.  

They way in which Wegeler was kept abreast of Beethoven's situation in Vienna was through his brother-in-law  Stephan von Breuning, as in his letter of November 13, 1804:

"He who has been my friend from youth is often largely to blame that I am compelled to neglect the absent ones.  You cannot conceive, my dear Wegeler, what an indescribable, I might say, fearful effect the gradual loss of his hearing has had upon him.  Think of the feeling of being unhappy in one of such violent temperament; in addition reservedness, mistrust, often towards his best friends, in many things want of decision!  For the greater part, with only an occasional exception when he gives free vent to his feelings on the spur of the moment, intercourse with him is a real exertion, at which one can scarcely trust to oneself.  From May until the beginning of this month we lived in the same house, and at the outset I took him into my rooms.  He had scarcely come before he became severely, almost dangerously ill, and this was followed by an intermittent fever.  Worry and the care of him, used me rather severely.  Now he is completely well again.  He lives on the Ramparts, I in one of the newly built houses of Prince Esterhazy in front of the Alstercaserne, and as I am keeping house he eats with me every day." [TF: 358].

Also with respect to Beethoven's further creative activities, Wegeler was informed by Stephan von Breuning, as in this letter from the year 1806r:

 " . . . My father wrote to his sister Eleonore and her husband (Wegeler-Ries, pp. 62-66, Eng. edn, p. 58-60):

                                                                                                                  Vienna, June 2, 1806

Dear Sister, dear Wegeler.

     If I remember rightly, I promised in my last letter to write to you about Beethoven's opera.  Since it certainly must be of interest to you, I'll keep this promise.  The music couldn't be more perfect and beautiful, and the subject is interesting; it tells of the liberation of a prisoner through the loyalty and courage of his wife, but yet, for all that, nothing has caused Beethoven so much annoyance as this work, whose value will only be fully appreciated in the future.  In the first place, it was given seven days after the French troops marched in, the moment couldn't have been more unfavorable.  The theaters were empty, of course, and Beethoven, who also notices that there were some things wrong with the way the text was treated, withdrew the opera after three performances.  After life returned to normal, he and I took it up again.*  I reworked the entire libretto for him,+ making the action more lively and rapid; he made cuts in many numbers, and thereafter it was given three times to tremendous applause.[49]  However, there were enemies in the theater and he clashed with some of them, especially at the second performance, and they brought things to a point where the work was no longer given after that.  Even earlier, many difficulties had been put in his way.  A single example as evidence of these is the fact that at the second performance he could not get the announcement of the opera to be made with the revised title Fidelio, as it is given in the French original and as it appeared on the printed version after the changes had been made.  In violation of all the promises made, the first title, Leonore, was found on the posters for the performances.[51]  What made the intrigue all the more disagreeable for Beethoven was that he has been set back financially, by non-performance of the opera, for which he was to be paid on the basis of a percentage of the receipts.  It will take him all the longer to pull himself out of it because the treatment he has received has made him lose much of his desire to work and pleasure in working. . . . " [Gerhard von Breuning, Memories of Beethoven from the House of the Black-Robed Spaniards: 41].

Stephan von Breuning sent these lines still to Bonn. 





View of Koblenz and Ehrenbreitstein Castle


As Wegeler's nephew Gerhard von Breuning reports, in 1807, the Wegelers moved to Koblenz:  

"In 1807 he moved to Coblenz, where he lived an active life as Privy Governmental and Medical Councillor until his death (May 7, 1848 . . . " [Gerhard von Breuning, Memories of Beethoven from the House of the Black-Robes Spaniards: 33].


Franz Gerhard Wegeler


There, in the spring of 1801, Wegeler received an urgent request from his old friend Beethoven for his baptismal certificate.  As we already know, at that time, Beethoven was interested in marrying Therese von Malfatti and still hoped that his proposal might be successful:    

"Beethoven an Franz Gerhard Wegeler in Koblenz

                                                                                                            Vien am 2ten May 1810

    Guter alter Freund -- beynahe kann ich es denken erwecken meine Zeilen Staunen bey dir -- und doch, obschon du keine schriftliche Beweise hat, bis du doch noch immer bey mir im lebhaftesten Andenken -- Unter meinen Manusc<hriften>ripten ist selbst schon lange Eins, was dir zugedacht ist, und was du gewiß noch diesen Sommer erhältst[1] -- seit ein 2 Jahren hörte ein stilleres ruhigeres Leben bey mir auf, und ich ward mit gewalt in das Weltleben gezogen, noch habe ich kein Resultat dafür gefaßt, und vieleicht eher dawider -- doch auf wen mußten nicht auch die Stürme von außen Wirken? Doch ich wäre glücklich, vieleicht einer der Glüklichsten Menschen, wenn nicht der Dämon in meinen Ohren seinen Aufenthalt aufgeschlagen -- hätte ich nicht irgendwo gelesen, der Mensch dörfe nicht freywillig scheiden von seinem Leben, so lange er noch eine gute That verrichten kann, längst wär ich nicht mehr -- und zwar durch mich selbst -- o so schön ist das Leben, aber bey mir ist es für immer vergiftet --

du wirst mir eine Freundschaftliche Bitte nicht abschlagen, wenn ich dich ersuche mir meinen Taufschein zu besorgen[2] -- was nur immer für Unkosten dabey sind, da  Steffen Breuning mit dir in Verrechnung steht, so kannst du dich da gleich bezahlt machen, so wie ich hier an Steffen gleich alles ersezen werde -- solltest du auch selbst es der Mühe werth halten, der sache nachzuforschen, und es dir gefallen, die reise von Koblenz nach Bonn zu machen, so rechne mir nur alles an--Etwas ist Unterdessen in Acht zu nehmen, nemlich: daß noch ein Bruder früherer Geburt vor mir war, der ebenfalls Ludwig hieß nur mit dem Zusaze "Maria"[4], aber gestorben, um mein gewisses Alter zu bestimmen, muß man also diesen erst finden, da ich ohnedem schon weiß, daß durch andere hierin ein Irrthum entstanden, da man mich als älter angegeben als ich war -- leider habe ich eine Zeitlang gelebt, ohne selbst zu wissen wie alt ich bin -- Ein FamilienBuch hatte ich, aber es hat sich verlohren, der Himmel weiß, wie -- also laß dich's nicht verdrießen, wenn ich dir diese sache sehr warm emphele, den Ludwig Maria, und den jezigen nach ihm gekommenen Ludwig ausfindig zu machen -- Je bälder du mir den Taufschein schikst,[5] desto größer meine Verbindlichkeit -- man sagt mir, daß du in euren Freymaurerlogen ein lied von mir singst, vermuthlich in E dur, und was ich selbst nicht habe, schick mir's, ich verspreche dir's drey und vierfaltig auf eine andere Art zu ersezen[6]--

denke mit einigem Wohlwollen an mich, so wenig ich's dem äußern scheine nach um dich verdiene -- Umarme küße deine verehrte Frau[7], deine Kinder[8], alles was dir lieb ist -- im Namen deines Freundes


"Beethoven to Franz Gerhard Wegeler in Koblenz

                                                                                                            Vienna on the 2nd of May 1810

    Good old friend--I can think that, almost, my lines will astonish you--and yet, although you do not have written evidence, you are always in my liveliest memory--For a long time, among my manuscript, there is one that is meant for you and which you will certainly receive this summer[1]--for 2 years, a more calm, quiet life has ended for me and I was drawn into the world by force, I have not yet decided in favor of it, and perhaps, even against it.--However, who will not be affected by outside storms? However, I might be happy, perhaps one of the happiest men, if the demon would not have taken up residence in my ears--had I not read somewhere that man is not allowed to leave this life as long as he can still do a good deed, I would not be here, anymore--and that by my own hand--oh, how beautiful life is, but for me is has been poisoned forever-- 

You will not refuse the request of a friend if I ask you to obtain my baptismal certificate for me[2]--whatever costs will arise out of it, since Steffen Breuning is in account with you, you can obtain payment from him, right away, as I will reimburse everything to Steffen here, right away--should you find it worth the trouble to research the matter yourself and should you like to make the journey from Koblenz to Bonn, just bill everything to me--However, there is something to watch out for, namely:  that there was another brother born before me whose name was also Ludwig, but with the addition "Maria"[4] who died, however; in order to determine my correct age, one has to first find him, since I, in any event, know that confusion has arisen out of this through others, since one has described me as older than I was--unfortunately, I lived for some time without knowing, myself, how old I am--I had a family book, but it was lost, heaven knows, how--therefore, do not be upset if I recommend this matter very warmly to you, the Ludwig Maria and to find out about the Ludwig who came after him--the sooner you will send me the baptismal certificate,[5] the more I will be obliged to you--they tell me that in your Masonic lodges, you sing a song of mine, probably in E major, which I do not have, myself, send it to me, I promise to replace it three- and fourfold in another way[6]--

think with some benevolence of me, as little as I seem to deserve it from appearances--embrace [and] kiss your adored wife[7], your children[8], everything that is dear to you--in the name of your friend


[Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 2, Letter No. 439, p. 118-120; Original: Koblenz, Slg. Wegeler; to [1]: refers to Wegeler's note: "Mein Loos hierin war auch jenes seines Schülers Ries; die Dedication blieb in den Briefen. Sind diese aber nicht höheren Werthes?" ["In this, my fate was also that of his pupil Ries; the dedication remained in the letters.  However, are they not of a higher value?"]; with respect to this, the GA refers to Wegeler/Ries, p. 47; to [2]: according to the GA, this refers to Wegeler's later explanation from the year 1845, with a quote from Stephan von Breuning's letter that the latter had written to him "three months" after Beethoven's letter:  "Beethoven sagt mir alle Woche wenigstens einmal, daß er Dir schreiben will; allein, ich glaube, s e i n e H e i r a t h s - P a r t h i e h a t s i c h z e r s c h l a g e n , und so fühlt er keinen so regen Trieb mehr, Dir für die Besorgung des Taufscheins zu danken"; ["'Beethoven tells me at least once a week that he intends to write to you; but I believe his marriage prospect has fallen through, and for this reason he no longer feels the lively desire to thank you for your trouble in getting him the baptismal certificate.' . . . "], with respect to this, the GA refers to Franz Gerhard Wegeler, Nachtrag zu den biographischen Notizen über Ludwig van Beethoven, Koblenz 1845, p. 14 and to the fact that Beethoven's marriage plans obviously centered around Therese Malfatti; to [3]: refers to the fact that "früherer Geburt" and "mir" were underlined twice; to [4]: refers to Ludwig Maria van Beethoven, baptized on April 2, 1769, died on April 4, 1769; to [5]: refers to the fact that Wegeler obtained the following baptismal certificate for Beethoven, which today is at the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn:  

"Departement de Rhin et Moselle

Mairie de Bonn

Extrait de Registre de Naissances de la Paroisse de St. Remy a Bonn

Anno millesimo septingentesimo Septuagesimo die decima septima Decembris baptizatus est Ludowicus.  Parentes D. Joannes van Beethoven, et Helena Keverichs, conjuges <Parentes>Patrimi D. Ludovicus van Beethoven et Gertrudis Mullers dicta Baums.

Pour Extrait Conforme Delivre a la Mairie de Bonn

Bonn le 2 Juin 1810

                                                                                                                  L'adjoint delegue Muller

[by another hand:]

Vu par nous

President de Tribunal Civil de l'arrondissement de Bonn pour legalisation de la Signature d'autre part de Sieur Muller adjoint de la mairie de Bonn.

Donne en notre hotel a Bonn le 2 Juin 1810.

                                                                                                                       [illegible signature]

Par ordonnance


                                                                                                                        [C. Coffier]

[Note left beneath a stamp:]

droits de 9 fr. 25 c.

[note left beneath the main text:]

approuve le mot surcharge ci contre".

The GA points out that Beethoven was not convinced of the correctness of this extract from the baptismal register and that, on its backside, he noted:  "Es scheint der Taufschein nicht richtig, da noch ein Ludwig vor mir, eine Baumgarten war glaube ich meine Pathe.

ludwig van Beethowen

1772" [to the right] "The baptismal certificate is not correct, since there was another Ludwig before me, I believe a Baumgarten was my godparent.

to [6]: with respect to this, the GA refers to Wegeler's comment in Wegeler/Ries, S. 47: "Beethoven ist hier im Irrthum; es war nicht ein eigenes von ihm componirtes Lied, was er nicht mehr hatte, sondern nur ein anderer dem O p f e r l i e d von Mathisson [WoO 126] unterlegter Text. Gleiches unternahm ich bei dem von ihm sehr früh componirten Lied: W e r i s t e i n f r e i e r M a n n ? [WoO 117]"["Beethoven is wrong here; it was not a song that he had composed and that he did not have, anymore, but another text that has been used to replace Matthisons text of the O p f e r l i e d [WoO 126]"; to [7]: refers to Eleonore, nee von Breuning; to [8]: refers to Helene and Julius Wegeler; details taken from p. 119-120].

What became of Beethoven's marriage plans?  With respect to this, TF features Wegeler's comment in the  Biographische Notizen:

" . . . I found the solution of the riddle in a letter written to me three months later by my brother-in-law St. v. Breuning.  In this he says:  'Beethoven tells me at least once a week that he intends to write to you; but I believe his marriage prospect has fallen through, and for this reason he no longer feels the lively desire to thank you for your trouble in getting him the baptismal certificate.' . . . " [Thayer-Forbes: 490].

After this baptismal interlude it would take almost six years before Beethoven, as far as we know, sent Wegeler another life sign.  As we know, in the interim, Beethoven had dealt with the loss of his Immortal Beloved, had enjoyed his success during the years of the Congress of Vienna, had to mourn the death of his brother Caspar Carl and had begun to struggle with the problems of his guardianship over his nephew Carl.  In his next letter, Beethoven would also refer to this circumstance:  

"Beethoven an Franz Gerhard Wegeler in Koblenz

                                                                                                          vien am 29ten Sept. 1816

    Ich ergreife die Gelegenheit durch Hr. Simrock[1] dich an mich zu erinnern -- ich hoffe du hast meinen Kupferstich[2] u. auch das Böhmische glaß[3] erhalten, sobald ich einmal wieder Böhmen durchwandre, erhältst du wieder etwas d.g.

    leb wohl du bist Mann vater ich auch doch ohne Frau[4] -- grüße mir alle die deinigen u. die unsrigen --

dein Freund

                                                                                                          L. v. Beethoven

An Freund wegeler.

Im Graf Lambachschen[5] hause No. 1055-56 auf der Seilerstätte."

"Beethoven to Franz Gerhard Wegeler in Koblenz

                                                                                                          Vienna on the 29th of Sept., 1816

    I am taking the opportunity of reminding you of myself through Hr. Simrock[1]--I hope that you have received my etching[2] and also the Bohemian glass[3], as soon as I will wander through Bohemia, again, you will again receive something of this kind. 

    farewell you are a husband father so am I but without a wife[4]--send greetings to all of yours and ours--

your friend

                                                                                                          L. v. Beethoven

To friend wegeler.

In the Graf Lambach[5] house No. 1055-56 on the Seilerstätte."

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 3, Letter No. 979, p. 301-302; Original:  Koblenz, Slg. Wegeler; to [1]: refers to Peter Joseph Simrock who had visited Beethoven in Vienna in 1816, as the GA reports; to [2]: refers to the portrait by Blasius Höfel after a drawing by Louis Letronne, published in 1814 byi Artaria & Comp. in Vienna.  According to the GA, Wegeler's copy bears the dedication: "Für meinen Freund Wegeler Vien am 27ten März 1815 l v Beethowen" ["For my friend Wegeler on the 27th of March 1815 l v Beethowen"]; to [3]: refes to the fact that, according to the GA, it is still in the possession of the family; to [4]: refers to a note by Wegeler's hand on the margin:  "Er erzieht die Kinder seines Verstorbenen Bruders Kaspar--" ["He is raising the children of his deceased brother Caspar"]; to [5]: GA-correction, recte: Lambertischen; details taken from p. 301-302].

Since, during these years, Beethoven and Stephan von Breuning were at odds over Beethoven's guardianship of his nephew and not on the best terms and almost lost sight of each other, we can not be sure how much Beethoven was able to report to his brother-in-law in Koblenz about Beethoven and how much Wegeler knew of Beethoven's circumstances during the following years.  

It is also not entirely clear when Wegeler's mother-in-law Helene von Breuning moved for the last time and when she, thereby, became a member of his household in Koblenz.   [With respect to this, Gerhard von Breuning, in his book, reports: "Helene von Breuning, the widow of the Court Councillor, moved to Cologne about 1823 or 1824, to her son Christoph, and later to Koblenz to her son-in-law Wegeler, where I saw her in the fall of 1838" [Gerhard von Breuning, Memories of Beethoven from the House of the Black-Robed Spaniards: 34].

Therefore, we can only take up the thread of this friendship in the year 1825 when Wegeler would be the first to renew it by writing to Beethoven.  


TWO OLD FRIENDS . . . [1825 - 1827]

Franz Gerhard Wegeler

Beethoven 1823

Those who can read between the lines will also find Wegeler's humorous reference to the rough-and-tumble lot of musicians in his first letter to his old friend: 

"Franz Gerhard Wegeler an Beethoven

                                                                                                              Koblenz 28/12/[18]25.

Mein lieber alter Louis!

    Einen der 19 Riesischen Kindern kann ich nicht nach Wien reisen lassen, ohne mich in dein Andenken zurückzurufen.[1] Wenn du binnen den 28 Jahren, daß ich Wien verließ, nicht alle 2 Monate einen langen Brief erhalten hast, so magst du dein Stillschweigen auf meine ersten als Ursache betrachten. Recht ist es keineswegs und jetzt um so weniger, da wir Alten doch so gern in der Vergangenheit leben, und uns an Bildern aus unsrer Jugend am meisten ergötzen. Mir wenigstens ist die Bekanntschaft und die enge, durch deine gute Mutter gesegnete, Jugendfreundschaft mit dir ein sehr heller Punkt meines Lebens, auf den ich mit Vergnügen hinblicke und der mir vorzüglich auf Reisen beschäftigt. Nun sehe ich an dir wie an einen Heros hinauf, und bin stolz darauf sagen zu können: ich war nicht ohne Einwirkung auf seine Entwicklung, mir vertraute er seine Wünsche und Träume, und wenn er später so häufig misskannt ward, ich wußte wohl, was er wollte. Gottlob, daß ich mit meiner Frau[2], und nun später mit meinen Kindern von dir sprechen darf; war doch das Haus meiner Schwiegermutter[3] mehr dein Wohnhaus als das deinige, besonders nachdem du die edle Mutter verloren hattest.[4] Sage uns nur noch einmal: ja, ich denke Eurer in heiterer, in trüber Stimmung!--Ist der Mensch, und wenn er so hoch steht, wie du, doch nur einmal in seinem Leben glücklich, nämlich in seiner Jugend; die Steine von Bonn, Creuzberg, Godesburg, die Baumschl etc etc haben für dich Haken, an welche du manche Idee froh anknüpfen kannst. Doch will ich dir jetzt von mir, von uns etwas sagen, um dir ein Beispiel zu geben, wie du mir antworten muß[t].

Nach meiner Zurückkunft von Wien 1796 gieng's mir ziemlich übel; ich mußte mehrere Jahre von der Praxis allein leben, und das daurte in der höchst verarmten Gegend einige Jahre, ehe ich mein Auskommen hatte. Nun ward ich aber wieder ein bezahlter Professor, und heirathete denn 1802. Das Jahr darauf bekam ich ein Mädchen[5], was noch lebt, und ganz gut gerathen ist. Es hat mit vielem richtigen Verstand die Heiterkeit seines Vaters, und spielt Beethovensche Sonaten am liebsten. Das ist wohl kein Verdienst, sondern angeboren. Im Jahr 1807 ward mir ein Knabe geboren, der jetzt in Berlin Medizin studiert.[6] Nach 4 Jahren schicke ich ihn nach Wien, wirst du dich seiner annehmen? Von der Familie deines Freundes starb der Vater[7] 70 Jahre alt, den 1 Jan 1800.--Von jener meiner Frau der Scholaster[8] vor 4 Jahren, alt 72 Jahr, die Tante Stockhausen[9] von der Ahr in diesem Jahr 73 Jahr alt. Die Mama Breuning ist 76, der Onkel in Kerpen[10] 85 Jahr alt. Letzterer freut sich noch des Lebens, und spricht oft von dir,--die Mama war mit der Tante wieder nach Köln gezogen, sie wohnten im Hause ihrer Eltern, das sie nach 66 Jahren wieder betraten, dann neu bauen ließen etc. Ich selbst habe im August meinen 60t Geburtstag in einer Gesellschaft von einigen 60 Freunden und Bekannten gefeiert, in welcher sich die Vornehmsten der Stadt befanden.--Seit 1807 wohne ich hier, habe nun ein schönes Haus, und eine schöne Stelle. Meine Vorgesetzten sind mit mir zufrieden und der König gab mir Orden und Medaillen. Lore und ich sind auch ziemlich gesund.

Jetzt habe ich dich auf einmal mit unserer Lage ganz bekannt gemacht, willst du es bleiben, so antworte nur.--Von unsern Bekannten ist Hofr. Stupp[11] vor 3 Wochen gestorben. Fischenich[12] ist Staatsrath in Berlin, Ries [13] und Simrock[14] zwei alte gute Menschen, der 2te jedoch weit kränklicher, denn der erst.

Vor 2 Jahren war ich einen Monat in Berlin, ich machte dort die Bekanntschaft des Direktors der Sing-Akademie Hr. Zelter[15], ein höchst genialer Mann und äusserst offen, daher ihn die Leute für grob halten. In Cassel führte mich Hub. Ries[16] zu Spohr. Du siehst, daß ich es immer noch mit den Künstlern halte.

Warum hast du deiner Mutter Ehre nicht gerächt, als man dich im Conversations-Lexikon, und in Frankreich zu einem Kind der Liebe machte?[17] Der Engländer, der dich vertheidigen wollte, gab, wie man in Bonn sagt, dem Dreck eine Ohrfeige und ließ deine Mutter 30 Jahre mit dir schwanger gehn, da der König von Preußen, dein angeblicher Vater, schon 1740 gestorben sey, eine Behauptung, die durchaus falsch ist, da Friedrich II 1740 zum Throne kam, und 1786 erst starb.[18] Nur deine angebohrne Scheu etwas andres als Musick von dir drucken zu lassen, ist wohl Schuld an dieser sträflichen Indolenz. Willst du, so will ich die Welt hierüber des Richtigen belehren.[19] Das ist doch wenigstens ein Punkt, auf den du antworten wirst.--Wirst du nie den Stephansturm aus den Augen lassen wollen? Hat Reisen keinen Reiz für dich? Wirst du den Rhein nie mehr sehen wollen?--Von Frau Lore alles Herzliche, so wie von mir.

                                                                                                                                   Dein uralter Freund Wglr."

"Franz Gerhard Wegeler to Beethoven

                                                                                                              Koblenz 28/12/[18]25.

My dear old Louis!

    I can not let one of the 10 children of Ries travel to Vienna without bringing myself back into your memory.[1]  When you, during the 28 years that I have left Vienna, did not receive a long letter every 2 months, you may attribute the reason to your silence after my first few [letters to you].  This is, by no means, right, and all the less since we old ones love to live in the past and enjoy most to revel in images of our youth. At least to me, my acquaintance with you and my early friendship with you that was blessed by your good mother, is a highlight of my life that I always look back on with pleasure and that predominantly engages me during my travels.  Now, I look up to you as to a hero and I am proud that I can say: I was not without influence on his development, he confided his wishes and dreams to me, and if later, we was often misunderstood, I knew very well what he wanted.  Thank God that I can talk to my wife[2] and later also to my children about you; was not the house of my mother-in-law[3] more your house than your own, particularly after you had lost your noble mother.[4]  Tell us once more: yes, I think of you in cheerful and in sorrowful times!--I not man, even if his standing is as high as yours, happy only once in his lifetime, namely in his youth; the stones of  Bonn, Creuzberg, Godesburg, the tree nursery etc etc will have hooks for you on which you can cheerfully hang many an idea.  However, now, I want to tell you something about us in order to give you an example as to how you have to reply to me.  

After my return from Vienna, I had a fairly rough time; for several years, I had to live off my [medical] practice, alone, and in this highly impoverished area, this took several years.  Then, however, I was again a paid professor and got married in 1802.  The year after, I had a girl[5] who is still alive and who has turned out quite well.  With a great deal of good sense, she has the cheerfulness of her father and prefers to play Beethoven Sonatas.  This is certainly nothing special, but rather comes natural.   In the year 1807 a boy was born to me who now is studying medicine in Berlin.[6]  In 4 years, I will send him to Vienna, will you look after him?  Of your friend's family, the father[7] died, 70 years old, on Jan. 1, 1800--Of that of my wife, the Scholaster[8] four years ago, 72 years old, the Stockhausen[9] aunt from the Ahr this year, 73 years old.  Mama Breuning is 76, the uncle in Kerpen[10] 85 years old.  The latter still enjoys life and often talks about you,--Mama had moved to Cologne with Auntie, we lived in the house of her parents which they entered after 66 years and then had re-built etc.  I, myself, celebrated my 60th birthday in August, in the company of some 60 fiends and acquaintances, among them the dignitaries of the town.--I have lived here since 1807, and now, I have a beautiful house and a good position.  My superiors are satisfied with me and the King gave me awards and medals.  Lore and I are also fairly healthy.  

Now, I have acquainted you with our situation, and if you want to remain acquainted with it, you only have to reply.--Of our acquaintances, Hofr. Stupp[11] died 3 weeks ago. Fischenich[12] is State Councilor in Berlin, Ries [13] and Simrock[14] two good old men, the 2nd, however, far more ill than the first.  

Two years ago, I have been in Berlin for two months, and there, I made the acquaintance of the Director of the Sing-Akademie Hr. Zelter[15], a highly genial man and utterly honest, for which people consider him rough.  In Kassel,  Hub. Ries[16] led me to Spohr. You see that I cam still in league with the artists.  

Why have you not defended your mother's honor when, in the Conversations-Lexikon and in France, they made a love child our of you?[17] The Englishman who wanted to defend you gave, as one says in Bonn, a slap in the face of dirt and had your mother be pregnant with you for 30 years, since the King of Prussia, your alleged father, already died in 1740, a statement that is totally wrong since Friedrich II took the throne in 1740 and only died in 1786.[18] Only your innate shyness to have anything else but music printed by you is probable to blame for this unforgivable indolence.  If you want, then I will set matters right with respect to this.[19] That is, at least, a point to which you will reply--Will you never want to lose sight of St. Stephen's Cathedral?  Does traveling not hold any interest for you? Will you never want to see the Rhine again?--From wife Lore everything sincere, as well as from me, 

                                                                                                                                   Your very old friend Wglr."

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 6, Letter No. 2100, p. 196-199; Original:  Bonn, Beethoven-Haus; to [1]: refers to Franz Joseph Ries [1792 - ca. 1860], who lived in Vienna as piano maker and who had visited his father in 1825 on the occasion of his 70th birthday; to [2]: refers to Eleonore Brigitte von Breuning [1771-1841], who, since 1802, was married to Wegeler; to [3]: refers to her mother, Maria Helene von Breuning nee Kerich [1750 - 1838]; to [4]: refers to the fact that Beethoven's mother had died on July 17, 1887; to [5]: refers to Helene Wegeler, called Lenchen [1803 - 1832[;  to [6]: refers to Julius Stephan Wegeler [1807 - 1883]; to [7]: refers to Franz Ignaz Wegeler [1730 - 1800]; to [8]: refers to Abraham von Kerich [1751 - 1821], Scholar at the Cassius-Stift in Bonn; to [9]: refers to Margarete von Stockhausen, sister of Helene von Breuning; to [10]; refers to Johann Philipp von Breuning [1742 - 1832], Canonicus, brother of Emanuel Joseph von Breuning; to [11]; refers to Johann Reiner Stupp [1767 - 1825], lawyer; to [12]: refers to Bartholomäus Ludwig Fischenich [1768 - 1831], Jurist, friend of Friedrich and Charlotte von Schiller; to [13]: refers to Franz Anton Ries [1755 - 1846]; to [14]: refers to Nikolaus Simrock [1751 - 1832]; to [15]: refers to Karl Friedrich Zelter [1758 - 1832]; to [16]: refers to Peter Joseph Hubert Ries [1802 - 1886], violinist and composer, pupil of Louis Spohr in Kassel, the youngest son of Franz Anton Ries; to [17]: here, according to the GA, Wegeler refers to the Beethoven article in the Conversations-Lexikon by Friedrich Arnold Brockhaus; to [18]: according to the GA, this refers to an anonymously published article, Memoir of Ludwig van Beethoven in: The Harmonicon I (No. 11 of November 1823); to [19]: refers to Wegeler/Ries Anhang 1845; details taken from p. 198- 199].

"Eleonore Wegeler an Beethoven

                                                                                                                        Kobl. den 29/12/[18]25

   Schon lange lieber Beethoven! war es mein Wunsch daß Wegeler ihnen einmal wieder schreiben möge -- nun da dieser Wunsch erfüllt glaube ich noch ein paar Worte zusezen zu müßen -- nicht nur um mich etwas näher in ihr Gedächtniß zu bringen sondern um die wichtige Frage zu wiederholen ob sie gar kein Verlangen haben den Rhein u. ihren Geburtsort wiederzusehn -- Sie werden uns zu jeder Zeit u. Stunde der willkommenste Gast sein -- u. Wg.[eler] u. mir die größte Freude machen -- unsers Lenchen[1] dankt ihnen so manche frohe Stunde -- hört so gern von ihnen erzählen -- weiß alle kleine Begebenheiten unserer frohen Jugend in Bonn -- von Zwist u. Versöhnung -- -- Wie glücklich würde diese sein, sie zu sehn! -- Daß Mädchen hat leider kein Musick Talent, aber durch großen Fleiß u. ausdauer hatt sie es doch so weit gebracht daß sie ihre Sonaten Variationen u. d.g. spielen kann u. da Musick immer die größte Erholung für Weg. bleibt macht sie ihm manche frohe Stunde dadurch Julius hatt Musick Talent, war aber bis jezt nachläßig -- u. erst seit einem 1/2 Jahr lernt er mit Lust u. Freude Violoncelle da er in Berlin einen guten Lehrer hatt, glaube ich bestimmt daß er noch etwas lernen wird -- beide Kinder sind groß u. gleichen dem Vater -- auch in der heitren fröhlichen Laune welche Gottlob weg. noch nicht ganz verlaßen hatt -- --

Er hatt ein großes Vergnügen die Thema's ihrer Variationen zu Spielen, die Alten stehn oben an doch übt er manchmal mit unglaublicher Gedult ein neues ein -- Ihr Opferlied[2] steht an der Spize -- nie kömpt er in's Wohnzimmer ohne an's Clavier zu gehn -- schon daraus lieber Beethoven! können sie sehn, in welch immerdaurendem Andenken sie bei uns leben -- sagen sie uns doch einmal daß dies einigen Werth für sie hatt, u. daß auch wir nicht ganz von ihnen vergeßen sind -- Wäre es nicht so schwer oft unsere liebsten Wünsche zu befriedigen, hätten wir wohl schon den Bruder[3] in Wien besucht, wobei gewiß daß Vergnügen Sie zu sehn berücksichtet wurde -- aber an eine solche Reise ist nicht zu denken jezt durchaus nicht da der Sohn in Berlin ist -- Weg. hatt ihnen gesagt wie es uns geht -- wir hatten unrecht zu klagen -- selbst die schwerste Zeit ging uns glücklicher vorbei wie 100 andren -- daß größte Glük ist daß wir gesund sind, u. die Kinder gut u. Braf sind -- ja beide machten uns durchaus noch keinen Verdrus -- u. sind selbst froh u. guter Dinge -- Lenchen hatt nur einen großen Kummer erlebt -- daß war als unser armer Burscheid[4] starb -- ein Verlust den wir alle nie vergeßen werden

leben Sie wohl lieber Beethov u. denken sie unser in redlicher Güte -- --

                                                                                                                                             Ele. Wegeler"

"Eleonore Wegeler to Beethoven

                                                                                                                        Kobl. the 29/12/[18]25

   For a long time, dear Beethoven! it has been my wish that Wegeler should write to you again--now that this wish has been fulfilled, I believe that I had to add a few words--not in order to call myself back into your memory, but rather in order to repeat the important question if you do not have any desire to see the Rhine and your birth place again--You will be the most welcome guest to us at any time and any hour--and you would bring the greatest joy to Wg.[eler] and me--our Lenchen[1] owes you many a cheerful hour--she likes to hear us talk of you--she knows all the little events of our cheerful youth in Bonn--of our argument and our reconciliation--How happy she would be to see you!--Unfortunately, the girl has no musical talent, but with great diligence and perseverance she brought it far enough so that she can play your sonatas, variation etc., and since music is still the greatest relaxation for Weg., she brings him many a cheerful hour with it; Julius has musical talent, but so far, he has been neglecting it--only for the last half year had he, with great joy, been studying the violoncello since in Berlin, he had a good teach, I believe that he will still learn something--both children are tall and like their father--also in their cheerful mood which, thank God, has not left Weg., entirely-- --

He greatly enjoys to play the themes of your variations, the old ones are on top, but with sometimes incredible patience he practices a new one--Your Opferlied[2] is at the top--he never enters the living room without going to the piano--already from this dear Beethoven! you can see in what continuous memory your are living with us, here--tell us that this is of some value to you and that you have not forgotten us, entirely--If it would not often be so difficult to fulfill our most dearest wishes, we would already have visited my brother[3] in Vienna, at which opportunity there would, certainly, not have been missed the pleasure of seeing you--but a journey is not to be thought of, particularly not since our son is in Berlin--Weg. told you how we are--we were not right to complain--even the most difficult times found us more fortunate than hundreds of others--the greatest fortune is that we are health and that the children are such good young people--yes, both of them have never caused us any problems--and they are, themselves, of good cheer--Lenchen has only had one great loss--that was when our poor Burscheid[4] died--a loss that we all will never forget

farewell dear Beethoven and think of us in benevolence-- --

                                                                                                                                             Ele. Wegeler"

[Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 6, Letter No. 2101, p. 199 - 201; Original: Bonn, Beethoven-Haus; to [1]: refers to Helene Wegeler; to [2]: refers to WoO 126, to which Wegeler had put a Freemason text; with respect to this, the GA refers to Wegeler/Ries, p. 67; to [3]: refes to Stephan von Breuning; to [4]: probably refers to Ferdinand Freiherr von Bourscheid [1766 - 1816], Jurist; details taken from p. 201].

Eleonore Wegeler's friendly invitation to Beethoven to visit Koblenz certainly made up for any references of her husband to the 'rough lot' of musicians in his reference to Zelter.

As we know from our Biographical Pages, in the year 1826, Beethoven would only enjoy a few month of somewhat 'good health' and 'calm'.  His innate reluctance to write letters, combined with the well-known events of this year had him only reply to Wegeler during the first days of his final illness in Vienna, in December, 1826, almost a year later: 

 "Beethoven an Franz Gerhard Wegeler in Koblenz

                                                                                          Wien am 7t 10br [= Dezember] 1826.[1]

Mein alter geliebter Freund!

    Welches Vergnügen mir dein, u. deiner Lorchen Brief [2] verursachte, vermag ich nicht auszudrücken. Freylich hätte pfeilschnell eine Antwort darauf erfolgen sollen; ich bin aber im Schreiben überhaupt etwas nachlässig, weil ich denke, daß die bessern Menschen mich ohnehin kennen. Im Kopf mache ich öfter die Antwort, doch wenn ich sie niederschreiben will, werfe ich meistens die Feder weg, weil ich nicht so zu schreiben im Stande bin, wie ich fühle. Ich erinnere mich aller Liebe, die du mir stets bewiesen hast; z.B. wie du mein Zimmer weissen ließest u. mich so angenehm überraschtest,[3] -- eben so von der Familie Breuning[.] Kam man voneinander, so lag dieß im Kreislauf der Dinge; jeder mußte den Zweck seiner Bestimmung verfolgen, u. zu erreichen suchen. Allein die ewig unerschütterlichen, festen Grundsätze des Guten hielten uns dennoch immer fest zusammen verbunden. -- Leider kann ich heute dir nicht so viel schreiben, als ich wünschte, da ich bettlagerig bin, u. beschränke mich darauf, einige Punkte deines Briefes zu beantworten. Du schreibst, daß ich irgendwo als natürlicher Sohn des verstorbenen Königs von Preussen angeführt bin;[4] man hat mir davon schon vor langer Zeit ebenfalls gesprochen.[5] Ich habe mir aber zum Grundsatze gemacht, nie weder etwas über mich selbst zu schreiben, noch irgend etwas zu beantworten, was über mich geschrieben worden. Ich überlasse dir daher gerne, die Rechtschaffenheit meiner Aeltern, u. meiner Mutter insbesondre, der Welt bekannt zu machen. -- Du schreibst von deinem Sohne[6]. Es versteht sich wohl von selbst, daß, wenn er hieher kommt, er seinen Freund u. Vater in mir finden wird; u. wo ich im Stande bin, ihm in irgend etwas zu dienen oder zu helfen, werde ich es mit Freuden thun. --

Von deiner Lorchen habe ich noch die Silhouette[7], woraus zu ersehn, wie mir alles liebe u. Gute aus meiner Jugend noch theuer ist.

Von meinen Diplomen schreibe ich nur kürzlich, daß ich Ehrenmitglied der k. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften in Schweden[8], ebenso in Amsterdam[9], u. auch Ehrenbürger von Wien[10] bin. -- Vor Kurzem hat ein gewisser Dr. Spicker meine letzte große Symphonie mit Chören[11] nach Berlin mitgenommen; sie ist dem Könige gewidmet, u. ich mußte die Dedication eigenhändig schreiben. Ich hatte schon früher bey der Gesandtschaft um die Erlaubniß, das Werk dem Könige zueignen zu dürfen, angesucht,[12] welche mir auch von ihm gegeben wurde. Auf Dr. Spickers Veranlassung musste ich selbst das corrigirte Manuskript mit meinen eigenhändigen Verbesserungen demselben für den König übergeben, da es in die k. Bibliothek kommen soll. Man hat mir da etwas von dem rothen Adler-Orden 2ter Klasse hören lassen; wie es ausgehn wird, weiß ich nicht, denn nie habe ich derley Ehrenbezeugungen gesucht. Doch wäre sie mir in diesem Zeitalter wegen Manches Anderen nicht unlieb.[13]

-- Es heißt übrigens bei mir immer: Nulla dies sine linea[14], u. lase ich die Muse schlafen, so geschieht es nur, damit sie desto kräftiger erwache. Ich hoffe noch einige große Werke zur Welt zu bringen, u. dann wie ein altes Kind irgendwo unter guten Menschen meine irdische Laufbahn zu beschließen. -- Du wirst bald durch die Gebrüder Schott in Mainz einige Musikalien erhalten.[15] -- Das Portrait, welches du beyliegend bekommst, ist zwar ein künstlerisches Meisterstück, doch ist es nicht das letzte, welches von mir verfertigt wurde.[16] -- Von den Ehrenbezeigungen, die dir, ich weiß es, Freude machen, melde ich dir noch, daß mir von dem verstorbenen König von Frankreich eine Medaille zugesandt wurde, mit der Inschrift: Donne par le Roi a Monsieur Beethoven; welche von einem sehr verbindlichen Schreiben des premier Gentilhomme du Roi, Duc de Chatres, begleitet wurde.[17}

Mein geliebter Freund! Nimm für heute vorlieb, ohnehin ergreift mich die Erinnerung an die Vergangenheit; u. nicht ohne vile Thränen erhältst du diesen Brief. Der Anfang ist nun gemacht, u. bald erhältst du wieder ein Schreiben; und je öfter du mir schreiben wirst, desto mehr Vergnügen wirst du mir machen. Wegen unsrer Freundschaft bedarf es von keiner Seite einer Anfrage, u. so lebe wohl; ich bitte dich, dein liebes Lorchen u. deine Kinder in meinem Nahmen zu umarmen u. zu küssen, u. dabey meiner zu gedenken. Gott mit euch allen!

Wie immer dein treuer, dich ehrender wahrer Freund


"Beethoven to Franz Gerhard Wegeler in Koblenz

                                                                                         Vienna on the 7th of 10br [= December] 1826.[1]

My old, beloved friend!

    I cannot express what pleasure your and your Lorchen's[3] letters brought me.  Of course, an answer should have followed posthaste; however, with respect to writing, I am always a bit tardy, since I thing that the better people know me, anyway.  Often, I am drafting an answer in my head, but when I want to write it down, I often throw the pen away, since I am not able to write as I feel.  I remember all the love that you have always shown me, for example, when you had my room whitewashed and when you surprised me with it so pleasantly,[3]--also with respect to the Breuning family.  If one drifted apart, it was due to the course of life; each one had to follow his destiny and to fulfill his purpose in life.  Alone, the eternally unshakeable, solid principles of the good held us closely together.--Unfortunately, today, I can not write to you as much as I want, since I am lying in bed; therefore, I will concentrate on answering a few points of your letter.  You write that somewhere, I have been described as the natural son of the deceased King of Prussia;[4] long ago, I was told of that, as well.[5]  However, I have made it my principle never to write anything about myself, nor to reply to anything that has been written about me.  Therefore, I gladly leave it to you to inform the world of the honorable character of my parents and of my mother in particular.--You write of your son[6].  Noting needs to be said; of course, when he arrives here, he will find a friend and father in me; and where I will be able to assist him in something or to help him, I will do so with pleasure.--  

Of your Lorchen I still have the silhouette[7], from which one can see that everything dear and good from my youth is still dear to me.  

Of my diplomas I will only write briefly that I have become an honorary member of the Royal Society of Sciences in Sweden[8], also in Amsterdam[9], and also honorary citizen of Vienna[10].--Not long ago, a certain Dr. Spicker has taken my last great Symphony with Chorus[11] with him to Berlin; it is dedicated to the King and I had to write the dedication with my own hand.  Earlier, I had already applied with the Embassy for permission to dedicate the work to the King;[12] which has been granted to me.  At the request of Dr. Spicker I had to hand over the corrected manuscript with my own corrections for the King, since it will be stored in the Royal Library.  They have told me something about the Order of the Read Eagle, 2nd class; how this will turn out, I do not know, since I have never sought such honors.  However, in this day and age, for one reason or another, i would not mind it.[13] 

--In any even, my motto is always: Nulla dies sine linea[14], and if I let the muse sleep, it happens only so that it will reawaken all the stronger.  I hope that I can still bring forth a few great works and then to end my earthly years like an old child somewhere among good people.--From the Brothers Schott in Mainz, you will receive some musical items.[15]--The portrait that you will receive, as well, is an artistic masterpiece, but it is not the last that has been made of me.[16]--Of the honors bestowed upon me, which, I know, will delight you, I can still report that from the recently deceased King of France, I have received a Medal, with the inscription:  Donne par le Roi a Monsieur Beethoven; which was accompanied by a very kind letter of the  premier Gentilhomme du Roi, Duc de Chatres.[17}

My beloved friend!  Be satisfied with this, for today, as I, in any event, am moved by memories of the past, and not without many tears will you receive this letter. A start has been made, and soon, you will receive another letter, and the more often that you will write to me, the more pleasure you will bring me.  With respect to our friendship, no questions have to be raised, from any sides, and thus, farewell; I ask you to embrace and kiss your dear Lorchen and your children in my name and to think of me when you do so.  God be with all of you! 

As always your faithful and true friend who honors you, 


[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 6, Letter No. 2236, p. 319 - 321; Original:  Koblenz, Slg. Wegeler; to [1]: the GA points out that the letter was not mailed, immediately, but inadvertently held back until February 17, 1827; to [2]: refers to Letters No. 2100 and 2101, see above; to [3]: refers to the fact that, according to the GA, Wegeler had published the letter in the Biographische Notizen and that he had remarked that at that time, Beethoven lived in the  Wenzelgasse in Bonn; to [4]: refers to Letter No. 2100, see note 17; to [5]: refers to Julius Wegeler; to [6]: refers to Wegeler's comment, "Die Silhouetten sämmtlicher Glieder der Familie von Breuning und der nähern Freunde des Hauses wurden in zwei Abenden von dem Maler Neesen in Bonn verfertigt; [...] Beethoven mag damals im 16ten Jahr gewesen sein" ["The silhouettes of all members of the von Breuning family and of their closer friends were prepared by the painter Neesen in Bonn, in two evenings"; to [8]: refers to the diploma dated December 28, 1822, in Letter No. 1543, with which Beethoven had been made a foreign member of the Swedish Academy; to [9]: refers to the fact that Beethoven was made a 4th-class correspondent of the Royal Dutch Institute of Sciences; with respect to this, the GA refers to Letter No. 396 of August 9, 1809; to [10]: refers to the fact that Beethoven had received his Vienna citizenship "tax free"; with respect to this, the GA refers to Letter No. 853 of November 16, 1815; to [11]: refers to Op. 125; to [12]: refers to Letter No. 2129 from the beginning of March, 1826; to [13]: refers to the fact that Beethoven only received a diamond ring; to [14]: refers to the quote from Plinius the younger, Naturalis historia; to [15]: refers to the songs [lieder] op. 121b, op. 122, op. 128 and the Bagatelles op. 126, see Letter No. 2244. According to the GA, Wegeler thanked Beethoven with Letter No. 2255 of February 1, 1827; to [16]: refers to the lithography by Friedrich Dürk after the painting by Joseph Karl Stieler from the year 1820; according to the GA, the lithography Beethoven had sent to Wegeler bears a dedication in his own handwriting, "Seinem vieljährigen, geehrten, geliebten Freunde F. v. Wegeler von" ["To his long-standing, honored and beloved friend, F. v. Wegeler"], followed by his printed name: "LOUIS VAN BEETHOVEN"; to [17]: refers to Letter No. 1781 of February 20, 1824; details taken from p. 321].

At least, Beethoven tried to avoid any delay in sending Wegeler the promised gifts: 

"Beethoven an B. Schott's Söhne in Mainz

                                                                                                                        [Wien, zweite Hälfte Dezember 1826][1]

. . .

Eine große Gefälligkeit würden Sie mir erzeigen, wenn Sie die Güte hätten, an einen meiner werthesten Freunde, den +königl. Preussischen+ Regierungsrath Franz von Wegeler in Koblenz folgendes zu senden: das Opferlied, das Bundeslied, das Lied: Bey Chloen war ich ganz allein, u. die Bagatellen für Clavier.[6] Die drey Erstern wollen Sie ihm gefälligst in Partitur senden. Den Betrag werde ich mit Freuden vergüten. . . . "

"Beethoven to B. Schott's Sons in Mainz

                                                                                                                        [Vienna, second half of December 1826][1]

. . .

You would do me a great favor if you would be so kind as to send to one of my most dear friends, the Royal Prussian "Regierungsrat" [government official] Franz von Wegeler in Koblenz the following:  the "Opferlied", the "Bundeslied", the lied:   Bey Chloen war ich ganz allein, and the Batagelles for Piano.[6]  Kindly send him the three first works as scores.  I will gladly reimburse your for your costs. . . . "

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 6, Letter No. 2244, p. 330; Original:  Mainz, Stadtbibliothek [City Library]; to [1]: refers to the fact that, according to the GA, the dating of the letter can be derived from the registration note; to [6]: refers to Op. 121b, op. 122, op. 128 and op. 126; details taken from p. 330].

The following letter by the publisher can serve as confirmation that, although Beethoven's own letter to his friends was inadvertently held back in Vienna until February 17, 1827, they still received a pleasant "life sign" from their famous friend, though Schott & Sons:  

"B. Schott's Söhne in Mainz an Beethoven

                                                                                                          [Mainz, 31. Januar 1827]

[Laut GA teilt der Verlag Beethoven mit, dass die erbetenen Musikalien, op. 121b, op. 122, op. 128 und op. 126, an Wegeler geschickt wurden.]"

"B. Schott's Sons in Mainz to Beethoven

                                                                                                          [Mainz, 31st of January, 1827]

[According to the GA, the publisher advised Beethoven that the requested works, op. 121b, op. 122, op. 128 and op. 126, had been sent to Wegeler.]"

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 6, Letter No. 2254, p. 345].

The Wegelers did not take long to thank Beethoven:  

"Franz Gerhard Wegeler an Beethoven [mit Nachschrift Eleonore Wegelers]

                                                                                                       Kblz [Koblenz] 1/2 1827.

Lieber alter Freund!

    Aus einer Zusendung einiger Musikalien von Schott[1] in Mainz ist uns die freudige Ueberzeugung geworden, daß du dich unserer in freundschaftlicher Güte erinnerst.[2] Dein hartnäckiges Stillschweigen auf mene lezte[n] Briefe ließ mich beinahe das Gegentheil fürchten. Nun sage ich mir: du hast keinen fleißigen Correspondenten haben wollen. Und doch würde dich keiner so in deine Jungendjahre zurückgeführt, dich an hundert Begebenheiten lustiger und trauriger Gestalt haben erinnern können, als ich, besonders da meine Frau meinem Gedächtniß durch Erzählungen von Fräl. Westerholt[3], Jeannette Hohnrath[4], und wie die et ceteras alle geheißen haben, treu nachhilft. Ueberhaupt kennen dich meine beiden Kinder[5] (von 20 und 23 Jahren!) so genau, daß sie suchen würden, falls du uns besuchtest, das alles anzuordnen, von dem sie wissen, daß es dir angenehm war.

Das Wort: Besuch, erinnert mich aber schmerzlich an deine Krankheit, obschon ich in derselben ein Mitel sehe, einen meiner sehnlichsten Wünsche zu realisieren. Du wirst von der Krankheit, an welcher du gegenwärtig leidest, in den ersten Monaten genesen; dafür bürgt mir nicht so sehr dein kräftiges Mannesalter; deine ganze Constitution, die Vorübergehenden Ursachen derselben, als die Natur der Krankheit selbst, die zwar hartnäckig ist und langwierig aber der ungeschwächten Natur und den Bemühungen der Kunst dennoch weicht. Nun aber wird eine Nachcur nothwendig und diese wirst du, wenn ich dein Uebel nicht ganz verkenne, in Carlsbad finden. Nun gehen hier zu lande so viele Schnellwagen, daß ich von hier aus in 4, höchstens 5 Tagen in Carlsbad seyn kann, oder ich schicke einen meiner Patienten hin NB. +wenn einer sich für Carlsbad vorzüglich paßte+ und begleite den. Dort bringen wir denn 3 Wochen zu; und dann soll eine kleine Reise durch einen Theil des südlichen Deutschlands, und zuletzt Vaterländische Luft und Jugendbilder und die Besorgung meiner Familie, in welcher du ja jetzt schon einheimisch bist, das Fehlende ergänzen und das gewonnene stärken. Es ist mir dieses ein liebliches bild, mit dem meine Fantasie sich gar gern beschäftigt. Wenn der Mensch nur einmal und zwar in der unbefangensten Jugend glücklich ist, so müßen ihm ja die Steine sr Vaterstadt und jeder Baum der Umgegend und jeder Thurm der benachbarten Dörfer Hacken seyn, an welche er aufgehängte Bilder der Jugend wahrnimmt und ihrer sich freut.

Uns geht es wohl: meinen Sohn habe ich, falls er recht fleißig sey, die Erlaubniß einen Besuch in Wien zu machen, versprochen, du wirst dich dann über seine athletische Sackträgersnatur freuen. Ueber meine Tochter, die sich fortdauernd an deinen Werken versündigt, mag dir dein alter Nebenbuhler Steffen[6] erzählen; ich kann als Vater genug zufrieden mit ihr seyn: sie ist geschickt, gescheidt, und, was die Hauptsache, immer heiter.

Adieu! Sind dir meine Briefe lieb, so sollen mehrere folgen.

[7] Allem waß Weg.[eler] Ihnen mein lieber Beetho.[ven] geschrieben kann ich nur zustimmen -- ja ich kann es mir nicht versagen Sie durch wenige Worte recht herzlich zu bitten alles waß über eine Reise hieher, versteht sich zu uns betrifft[?] bald möglichst in erfüllung zu bringen -- ich habe die größte Hoffnung daß Sie sich hier bald ganz erholen würden, u. Ihr Besuch gewährte mir die Erfüllung eines meiner größten Wünsche -- Warum soll denn die Badreise vorangehn kommen Sie, u. sehn Sie erst waß die vaterländische Luft vermacht--


"Franz Gerhard Wegeler to Beethoven [with an additon by Eleonore Wegeler]

                                                                                                       Kblz [Koblenz] 1/2 1827.

Dear old friend!

    From a delivery of some musical items by Schott[1] in Mainz we have become convinced that you hold us in friendly memory.[2]]  Your stubborn silence to my last letters almost had me fear the contrary.  Now I tell myself: you did not want to have a diligent correspondent.  And yet, no-one would have led you back into the time of your youth than I, would have been able to remind you of a hundred cheerful and sad events, particularly since my wife faithfully helps to refresh my memory with tales of Mlles. Westerholt[3], Jeannette Hohnrath[4], and whatever the names of these et ceteras were.  In any event, both of my children[5] [20 and 23 years old!] know you so well that they would, if you were to visit us, try to arrange everything in such a way that they know would please you.  

The word visit, however, painfully reminds me of your illness, although in it, I see a means for one of my dearest wishes to be realized.  During the first few months, you would recover from the illness you are suffering from at present; this is guaranteed to me by your still strong, manly age, your entire constitution, the passing reasons for it, and the nature of the illness itself,, which, while stubborn and long, still bound to give way to a strong constitution and remedies applied.  Then, however, a time of convalescence will be require, and you will spend it in Carlsbad, if I do not misunderstand your illness.  Now, from here, so many fast coaches are going there that I can be in Carlsbad in 4, 5 days at the most, or I will send one of my patients there to whom Carlsbad would be beneficial, and I will accompany him.   There, we will spend 3 weeks, and after that, a small journey through part of southern Germany, and, at last, the air of our fatherland and the images of our youth, and the care of my family, in which you are already at home, will supplement what is missing and will strengthen that which has been gained.  This is a lovely image to me which my fantasy loves to engage with.  If man is only happy once, and that in the years of his youth, then the buildings of his hometown and every tree in its environs and every steeple of nearby villages must be hooks upon which he can hang images of his youth and delight in them.   

We are well; I have promised my son that, if he is very diligent, he can visit Vienna, you will then be delighted by his athletic nature.  Of my daughter, who continually commits crimes by playing your works, your old rival Steffen[6] may tell y ou more; as father, I can be satisfied with her: she is skilled, smart and, what is the most important, always cheerful.   

Adieu! If you like my letters, more will follow.  

[7] To everything that Weg.[eler] has written to you, my dear Beetho.[ven], I can only agree--yes, I can not refrain from sincerely asking you to realize everything that has been written about a journey here, of course, to us, very soon--I have the greatest hope that you will get well here completely, soon, and your visit would fulfill one of my greatest wishes--why should a journey to the spa precede it, come, and you will see what the air of our fatherland can do-- 


[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 6, Letter No. 2255, p. 346-347; Original:  Vienna, Stadt- und Landesbibliothek [State and City Library]; to [1]: refers to op. 121b, op. 122, op. 128 and op. 126, see Letter No. 2244 to Schott of December, 1826; to [2]: refers to the fact that Beethoven had replied to Wegeler's letter of December 28, 1825 [Letter No. 2100] only on December 7, 1826 [Letter No. 2236] and that his letter was inadvertently set aside until February 17, 1827, when it was sent to Wegeler with Letter No. 2257; to [3]: refers to Maria Anna Wilhelmine von Westerhollt-Geisenberg, one of Beethoven's early loves; zu [4]: refers to Jeannette d'Honrath, another love of Beethoven's youth; to [5]: refers to Helene and Julius Stephan Wegeler; to [6]: refers to Stephan von Breuning; to [7]: refers to the fact that, from this point in the letter on, Eleonore Wegeler wrote to Beethoven; details taken from p. 347]. 

With Beethoven's following reply, the Wegelers will also have received his first letter: 

"Beethoven an Franz Gerhard Wegeler in Koblenz

                                                                                                                                         Wien den 17. Febr. 1827.

Mein alter würdiger Freund!

    Ich erhielt wenigstens glücklicher Weise deinen 2ten Brief[1] von Breuning; noch bin ich zu schwach, ihn zu beantworten, du kannst aber denken, daß mir alles darin willkommen und erwünscht ist. Mit der Genesung, wenn ich es so nennen darf, geht es noch sehr langsam. Es läßt sich vermuthen, daß noch eine 4te Operation zu erwarten sey,[2] obwohl die Ärzte noch nichts davon sagen. Ich gedulde mich, und denke: alles Uible führt manchmal etwas Gutes herbey. -- Nun aber bin erstaunt, als ich in deinem letzten Brief gelesen, daß du noch nichts erhalten. -- Aus dem Briefe, den du hier empfängst, siehst du, daß ich dir schon am 10. Dezemb. v. J. beschrieben.[3] Mit dem Portrait ist es der ähnliche Fall, wie du, wenn du es erhältst, aus dem Datum darauf wahrnehmen wirst. -- Frau Stephen sprach[4] -- kurzum Stephen verlangte dir diese Sachen mit einer Gelegenheit zu schicken; allein sie blieben liegen, bis am heutigen Datum, und wirklich h[i]elt[?] es noch schwer, es bis heute zurückzuverlangen. Du erhältst nun das Portrait mit der post durch die Hr Schott, welche dir auch die Musikalien übermachten. -- Wie viel möchte ich dir heute noch sagen; allein ich bin zu schwach, ich kann daher nichts mehr, als dich mit deinem Lttchen[5] im Geiste umarmen. Mit wahrer Freundschaft und Anhänglichkeit an dich und an die Deinen

Dein alter treuer Freund


"Beethoven to Franz Gerhard Wegeler in Koblenz

                                                                                                                                         Vienna the 17th of Febr. 1827.

My old, worthy friend!

    Fortunately, at least, I received your 2nd letter[1] from Breuning; I am still too weak to answer it, but you can imagine that everything in it is welcome and pleasant to me.  With respect to my convalescence, if I can call it that, things are moving along very slowly.  I suspect that a 4th surgery is to be expected,[2] although the doctors to not mention it, yet.  I remain patient and think:  everything evil will sometimes lead to something good.--Now, however, I am astonished, as I read in your last letter, that you have not received anything, yet.--From the letter which you receive with this, you see that I had written to you already on December 10th of last year.[3] With respect to the portrait, it is the same case as you, when you will receive it, will be able to see from the date on it.--Mrs. Stephen said[4]--in short, Stephen demanded that these things will be sent to you, together; alone, they were left behind, to this date, and it was difficult to ask for it to be returned, today.  Now, you will receive the portrait by mail through the Herren Schott, who also sent you the musical items.--I would still like to say so many things to you today, alone, I am too weak, therefore I can not do more than to embrace you and your Lttchen[5] in spirit.  With true friendship and loyalty to you and yours, 

your old, faithful friend


[Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 6, Letter No. 2257, p. 350; Original: Koblenz, Slg. Wegeler; to [1]: refers to Letter No. 2255 of February 1, 1827; to [2]: to this, the GA points out that the fourth surgery took place on February 27, 1827; to [3]: refers to Letter No. 2236 of December 7, 1826; to [4]: refers to the fact that in the Biographische Notizen Wegeler had noted: "Anfang der zweiten Strophe des Bekannen Liedes "Zu Steffen sprach im Traume" usw." ["Beginning of the second strophe of the well-known song "Zu Steffen sprach im Traume" etc."; to [5]: GA-Recte: "Lorchen"; details taken from p. 350].

In our chronological presentation, we have held back our own comments as much as possible in order to let these two friends speak for themselves in their letters and quotes.  Particularly, the late correspondence of these friends speaks for itself.  Therefore, in conclusion, we can only express our own regret that these letters crossed each other and did not reflect a harmonious give and take.  

In Franz Gerhard Wegeler, we certainly met a modest, helpful and faithful friend of Beethoven, whose cheerfulness that was pointed out by his wife Eleonore, was also noted by Goethe's friend Zelter:  

"* Zelter tells, in his Goethe letters (Briefwechsel zwischen Goethe und Zelter, vol. III, p. 335) what a pleasant ride he had in 1823 in the diligence next to the "merry doctor from Coblenz," who starting at the Elbe (near Magdeburg) "tapped a barrel of anecdotes that kept running until he arrived at Hildesheim." This is told by Wegeler's son, Dr. Julius Wegeler, in the biography of his father on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of his doctorate (Coblenz, 1839)" [Gerhard von Breuning, Memories of Beethoven from the House of the Black-Robed Spaniards: 34].

Due to the fact that Beethoven's friend Stephan von Breuning, who, as his son Gerhard [p. 113] writes, " . . . had been ill several times during Beethoven's illness," and who died only a few months after him, on June 4, 1827  [TF: 83], Wegeler might have learned less about Beethoven's last days and subsequent events in Vienna than he would have if his brother-in-law would still have been healthy.  




What of Beethoven remained for Wegeler?  At first, as can be assumed, the Wegelers in Koblenz must have mourned the loss of their Viennese relative, Stephan von Breuning, and expressed their condolences to the Viennese von Breuning family.  

Perhaps, Wegeler might also have felt inclined to consider the discrepancy between his long-cherished wish to welcome his old friend back to his homeland and to revel in memories of their youth with him, and the fact that his famous friend had, on the one hand, grown apart from him year by year doe to his human and artistic challenges while he, on the other hand, always would remain his old Louis.  

In quieter moments, Wegeler might also have read Beethoven's letters, again and looked at various presents he had received from him, as, for example:  

Louis Letronne (1790-1842), Ludwig van Beethoven, 1814
- Etching by Blasius Höfel
after a drawing by Louis Letronne,
with a dedication by Beethoven to Franz Gerhard Wegeler
Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Sammlung Wegeler, W 25
[to Koblenz through Peter Joseph Simrock in 1816]

Bohemian Drinking Glass
Present by Beethoven to Franz Gerhard Wegeler
Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Sammlung Wegeler, W 289
[to Koblenz through PeterJoseph Simrock in 1816]

Josef Karl Stieler, Beethoven with the manuscript of the "Missa Solemnis", 1820
Lithography by Friedrich Dürck after Stieler's Painting
with a dedication by Beethoven to Franz Gerhard Wegeler
Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Sammlung Wegeler, W 26
[Beethoven referred to it in his Letter of December 7, 1826]

Whether also Beethoven's etching that had been published by Artaria in 1801, based on a lost drawing by Gandolf Stainhauser von Treuberg, was among these items, can not be ascertained.   [Beethoven mentioned it in both of his letters to Wegeler from the year 1801].  Thus, in addition to these items, Wegeler could still pore over Beethoven's works that he liked and, of course, also cherish his memories of him.  These finally found room in the Biographische Notizen that he pubslished, together with Ferdinand Ries [by Bädeker in Koblenz, in 1838 und 1845].

As Gerhard von Breuning reports, his Viennese family visited the Wegeler family in Koblenz in the fall of 1838 and still met Wegeler's mother-in-law, Helene von Breuning, who, however, passed away on December 9, 1838, a few weeks after their visit.  According to a link to the Wegeler Collection in the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn,  Gerhard von Breuning, Tischordnung für Franz Gerhard Wegelers Feier zum Doktorjubiläum,  am 27. September 1839 in Koblenz  Gerhard von Breuning celebrated Wegeler's 50th anniversary of his doctorate in Koblenz with him.  Not even two years later, Wegeler lost his wife: 

 "Eleonore died before him on June 13, 1841 . . . " [Gerhard von Breuning, Memories of Beethoven from the House of the Black-Robed Spaniards: 33].

He, himself, still saw the publication of the second edition of the Biographische Notizen, lived for a few more years and died in Koblenz in 1848.  However, for us, he lives on in his and Franz Ries's Biographische Notizen and, of course, also in Thayer-Forbes' standard biography and in all biographical works that quote him.



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Beethoven Remembered  The Biographical Notes of Franz Wegeler and Ferdinand Ries.  Translated from the German by Frederick Noonan.  Arlington, VA: 1987.  Great Ocean Publishers, Inc.

Breuning, Gerhard von.  Memories of Beethoven From the House of the Black-Robed Spaniards.  Translated from the German by Henry Mins and Maynard Solomon.  Cambridge: 1992, Cambridge University Press.

Ludwig van Beethoven.  Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe. [6 Bände]  Im Auftrag des Beethoven-Hauses Bonn herausgegeben von Sieghard Brandenburg.  München: 1996.  G. Henle Verlag.

Thayer's Life of Beethoven, edited by Elliott Forbes. Princeton: 1964.  New Jersey Princeton University Press.