Carl Friedrich von Beyme

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Carl Friedrich von Beyme as cabinet advisor (1800); Drawing by Johann Gottfried Schadow

Carl (Karl) Friedrich von Beyme (born July 10, 1765 in Koenigsberg / Neumark ; † December 10, 1838 in Steglitz near Berlin ) was a Prussian cabinet councilor, real secret minister of state and member of the council of state .


Youth and education

Carl Friedrich Beyme was born into a middle-class family as one of eight children of regimental surgeon Johann Gottfried Beyme and Charlotte Eleonore Bauer. He lost his father at the age of five. After attending the schools in Soldin and Königsberg, he went to a renowned school of the Francke Foundation in Halle , which also functions as an orphanage, and was brought up there in the humanistic spirit. He then began to study law at the University of Halle and attended colleges of Daniel Nettelbladt and the theologian Johann Semler .


In 1788 Beyme got his first job as an assessor at the Court of Appeal and worked there on the constitution of the General Prussian Land Law under Heinrich Dietrich von Grolman . The selection of the chancellor of the University of Halle, Carl Christoph von Hoffmann , a law professor to take over with the prospect of the post of director of the law school as a successor Nettelbladts, he hit just like that of his godfather - Major General Paul von Natalis  - be transmitted instead of a Regimental Quartermaster. In 1791 he was appointed to the chamber judge. He stood out for his (published) statements against torture in order to obtain confessions. Although the youngest member of the college, he became both censor and member of the examination committee. In addition to his work as a judge at the Supreme Court, he also worked as a chief lottery judge.

After the young King Friedrich Wilhelm III. initiated legally dubious measures against his father's maitresse, the Countess von Lichtenau , through a settlement, he won his trust and was appointed to the government in early 1798 as cabinet advisor for the judiciary. On the one hand, he pushed through the abolition of torture to enforce confessions and the death penalty for child murderers, on the other hand he was involved in the planning to banish "incorrigible villains" to Siberia or East India. After the previous head of the cabinet, Anastasius Mencken, died in 1801, Beyme was also transferred to the interior department. Here, several years before the Stein-Hardenberg reforms , he carried out a fundamental reform with the dismissal of 50,000 peasants from inheritance. The nobility viewed the increasing importance of the cabinet with suspicion, from which Beyme also suffered in the course of these measures. Since the cabinet, with its mostly bourgeois members and as an organ between the king and ministers of state, was in any case bound to the interests of the state rather than the interests of the nobles, this development was intensified.

With the beginning of the war in 1806, Beyme became, if not de iure , de facto head of cabinet affairs, which is why some made him jointly responsible for the defeats in Jena and Auerstedt . The hostilities of Stein and Hardenberg had their cause here too. In 1807 he became President of the Chamber Court for a short time. After Stein's dismissal, in 1808, at the height of his career, he was appointed Prussian Grand Chancellor ("Chef de Justice", leading Minister of Justice ). After two years - on June 4, 1810 - he was dismissed at the instigation of Karl August von Hardenberg and temporarily retired. During the wars of freedom he was the civil governor of Pomerania. In June 1816 he was appointed by Hardenberg to the Immediatkommission for the justice of the Rhine provinces , in March 1817 to the State Council and in November to the head of the new Ministry for law revision. In 1816 he received the hereditary nobility (from Beyme). In 1819 the king awarded him the Order of the Red Eagle First Class with Oak Leaves (differently Sarig: "Second Class"), after he had previously received the Iron Cross on a white ribbon . In December 1819 he resigned in protest against the Karlsbad resolutions and the dismissal of Wilhelm von Humboldt at the same time as Hermann von Boyen .

Until his death he lived in seclusion on his estate in Steglitz . In 1830 he was honored with a doctorate from the Humboldt University . He was buried in a grave that still exists today in the St. Anne's churchyard in Dahlem. His first marriage was to Charlotte Ernestine Meyer († April 17, 1821), widowed Schlechtendal, and his second marriage to Anna Christine Frentzell († September 18, 1835), widowed von Schultze, both of whom he survived. From his first marriage he had a son, who died as a child, and a daughter, Charlotte Wilhelmine, who was married to Carl Heinrich von Gerlach . Beyme was controversial among his contemporaries. While some saw a vain, intolerant parvenu and “ Jacobin ”, others saw him as a progressive, liberal civil servant and a Prussian.


Steglitz, a village on the outskirts of Berlin during Beyme's lifetime, Beyme was allowed to acquire in 1801, free from all restrictions that otherwise applied to bourgeois landowners. In 1804 he bought the Dahlem , Schmargendorf and Ruhleben estates . In 1841 his daughter sold the goods. His country estate, the Steglitz manor , which he had built by the architects David Gilly and Heinrich Gentz , has been preserved as a monument under the name of its future resident, Friedrich von Wrangel , as "Wrangelschlösschen". A street here has also had his name since the 1870s. In the later Berlin-Friedrichshain and in the Grunewald colony , streets were named after him in 1898, but their names were changed to Lehmbruckstraße and Furtwänglerstraße in the 1950s. Steglitz, Schmargendorf, Dahlem and Ruhleben were incorporated into Greater Berlin in 1920 .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Werner von Beyme: Carl Friedrich von Beyme. 1987.
  2. ^ A b New necrology of the Germans. Vol. 16, Part 2, 1838 (1840), ZDB -ID 516094-7 , pp. 942-948, here p. 942 .
  3. a b c d e f Rolf Straubel : Biographical handbook of the Prussian administrative and judicial officials 1740–1806 / 15 . In: Historical Commission to Berlin (Ed.): Individual publications . 85. KG Saur Verlag, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-598-23229-9 , pp. 80 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  4. a b c d Hans Haussherr:  Beyme, Karl Friedrich v. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 2, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1955, ISBN 3-428-00183-4 , p. 208 ( digitized version ).
  5. ^ A b c Jacob CaroBeyme, Karl Friedrich von . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 2, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1875, pp. 601-605.
  6. ^ A b New necrology of the Germans. Vol. 16, Part 2, 1838 (1840), pp. 942-948, here p. 943 .
  7. Handbook on the Royal Prussian Court and State for the year 1798. ZDB -ID 214025-1 , p. 159 ( Google books ).
  8. Hans Sarig: Karl Friedrich Beyme. In: Yearbook for Brandenburg State History. Vol. 7, 1956, pp. 35–46, here p. 38, (PDF; 15.2 MB).
  9. ^ A b Lothar Kittstein : Politics in the Age of Revolution. Studies on Prussian statehood 1792–1807 Franz Steiner, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-515-08275-1 , p. 368 ( Google books ).
  10. ^ New necrology of the Germans. Vol. 16, Tl. 2, 1838 (1840), pp. 942-948, here p. 946 .
  11. ^ New necrology of the Germans. Vol. 16, Part 2, 1838 (1840), pp. 942-948, here p. 947 .
  12. a b Hans Sarig: Karl Friedrich Beyme . In: Yearbook for Brandenburg State History. Vol. 7, 1956, pp. 35–46, here p. 45, (PDF; 15.2 MB).
  13. Hans E. Pappenheim: The riddle of the Dahlem village meadow. In: Yearbook for Brandenburg State History. Vol. 3, 1952, pp. 17–22, here p. 18, (PDF; 11.5 MB)
  14. Beymestrasse (Steglitz). In: Street name lexicon of the Luisenstädtischer Bildungsverein (near  Kaupert )
  15. ^ Beymestrasse (Friedrichshain) . In: Street name lexicon of the Luisenstädtischer Bildungsverein
  16. Beymestrasse (Grunewald) . In: Street name lexicon of the Luisenstädtischer Bildungsverein