Karl Friedrich Nebenius

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Karl Friedrich Nebenius

Karl Friedrich Nebenius (born September 29, 1784 in Rhodt , † June 8, 1857 in Karlsruhe ) was a Baden civil servant, liberal minister of state and freemason .


Born as the son of Johann Wilhelm Nebenius (Hofrat, Baden bailiff in Rhodt and Mahlberg), Nebenius worked in various positions in the Baden civil service between 1807 and 1849 after studying law in Tübingen .

He was the author of the Baden constitution of 1818, drafted the Baden scale of 1828 and reformed the education system of the Grand Duchy. Among other things, he carried out a comprehensive reorganization of the Polytechnic School in Karlsruhe in 1832 . The improvement of the infrastructure was another field of activity of Nebenius. He managed Baden's entry into the German Customs Union in 1836, the state-financed construction of the Baden railway from Mannheim to Basel and the construction of the Mannheim harbor .

In 1807, Nebenius joined the Baden civil service as a secret secretary in the finance department and in 1809 took a longer vacation to stay in Paris and Besançon to study the business of the French authorities. Nebenius learned in practice from the administrator of the Doubs and Bas-Rhin departments, former member of the French National Assembly Jean Antoine Joseph Debry . Debry, who was also the Provincial Grand Master for Burgundy of the Franco-Swiss Order of Freemasons "Chevaliers bienfaisants de la Cité Sainte" and Master of the Chair of the Masonic Lodge "Sincérité et la Parfaite Union" in Besançon, led Nebenius into Freemasonry during this time. Appointed district councilor in Durlach in 1810 , he was appointed to the finance ministry in 1811, where he worked with Christian Friedrich Böckh, who later became finance minister , to solve difficult and complicated tasks in the areas of organization and legislation.

This included the comprehensive revision of the tax register, the introduction to the implementation of the legislation on indirect taxes and the reorganization of the entire state accounting system. These were daunting tasks when you consider that uniform guidelines had to be introduced for a large number of territories that previously did not belong to Baden. This happened at a time when the burdens imposed by the Napoleonic wars and their consequences on the state treasury and on the inhabitants of the country were becoming unbearable.

The state of emergency that prevailed in the inflationary years of 1816 ( year without summer ) and 1817 after the final restoration of peace also took up a lot of work from Nebenius, both through the increased business in the Ministry of Finance and through the strenuous activity in a relief "Immediatcommission", which was specially set down in the emergency.

After long negotiations under the leadership of Ernst Philipp von Sensburg , which had lasted since 1815 , Nebenius was commissioned by Grand Duke Karl to draw up a new draft constitution, and on the basis of this draft, the constitution of the Grand Duchy of Baden, the most liberal, took place on August 22, 1818 Constitution in Germany at that time.

The thorough knowledge of economic life not only in his own country and neighboring countries, but also - in the terms of the time - distant countries such as Great Britain, is evidence of his publications in this regard. In 1820 his classic work on the "public credit" was published, which Heinrich von Treitschke puts on a par with the work of David Ricardo and praises Wilhelm Roscher as " an invaluable school of strictly methodical thinking", Wilhelm Roscher as "the best monograph in German economics literature" designated.

In addition, Nebenius "Comments on the state of Great Britain in terms of state economics" (1818), a text that also touched Germany's trade relations and demanded freedom of movement within the interior, border tariffs with the introduction of a common toll system at the borders, and which (first Published in bookshops in 1833) memorandum on German customs.

In addition, a German customs union appeared to be the most effective means of rescuing from the prevailing state of emergency, under which Germany's trade and industry threatened to succumb. Beside the idea of ​​a small German customs union excluding Austria-Hungary, this empire should be associated with the customs union by means of a trade agreement. By emphasizing the necessity of the customs community in his memorandum, Nebenius also demonstrated the possibility and conditions of execution as the first German statesman.

Even if the design of the later large German Customs Union differed in many ways from the ideas that Nebenius expressed in that memorandum, after the conclusion of the Prussian-Hessian Customs Union , its creator could enjoy the recognition of his work by none other than Friedrich Eichhorn , who wrote on November 28, 1833: “The author will be very pleased when he can see from the treaties of the states now united in a common customs and trading system how fully the ideas which have now come into being have come into being were cherished and made known about the conditions of a German customs union as early as 1819. "

Nebenius played no less part in the Baden elementary school law of 1835. When, in 1836, a license application for a railroad through the Rhine plain in the shortest and straightest line from Mannheim to Basel was submitted to the government, there were only a few short rail routes in Germany Private funds were built. To the government committee set up to examine the proposal, Nebenius suggested building the railway at state expense. His report, which was later reproduced in print and which combines a broad view with thoroughness and an all-round examination of the relevant points, prompted the state parliament to approve the project in 1838. Thanks to his initiative and energy, the construction of the port in Mannheim, which was very important for the conditions at the time, was also due to him. With these projects, Nebenius has decisively promoted the economic and political cohesion and further development of the new state of Baden.

In 1830 Friedrich Nebenius was awarded the commentary cross of the Zähringer Lion Order .

1838–39 and 1845–46 he headed the affairs of state of Baden as Minister of State (today one would say: Prime Minister). In October 1839 he had to resign due to differences of opinion with his conservative opponent, Foreign Minister Friedrich Landolin Karl von Blittersdorf .

As part of the revolution of 1848/1849 , Nebenius was dismissed from civil service. He was a member of the Masonic lodge Carl zur Eintracht in Mannheim and Leopold zur Treue in Karlsruhe. Nebenius played a decisive role in the fact that Masonic lodges in the Grand Duchy of Baden were reopened to the public.

Grave slab in the crypt hall in the old cemetery in Karlsruhe

Nebenius was a close political and Masonic companion of Karl Heinrich Rau , with whom he also connected in a family way. His daughter Albertine married Rau's son and Freemason brother Ludwig. He was also a brother-in-law of the liberal Baden Interior Minister Ludwig Georg von Winter , with whom he also worked very closely politically.

The Reich judge Ernst Heydweiller was one of his grandchildren . About him, Nebenius was related to the Baden national liberal and education minister Wilhelm Nokk .

Through his aunt Albertine Franziska Nebenius, Karl Friedrich Nebenius was also related to the French lawyer, historian, topographer and diplomat Johann Benedikt Scherer .


  • The public credit. Represented in the history and in the consequences of the financial operations of the great European states since the establishment of general land and sea peace, their measures for the establishment or fortification of public credit institutions, and the events in the commercial world, their effects combined with this. DR Marx'schen Buchhandlung, Carlsruhe 1820 (the 2nd edition as: On the nature and causes of public credits, government bonds, the repayment of public debts, the trade in government securities and the interaction between the credit operations of the states and the economic and political State of the countries, ibid. 1829).
  • Memorandum for Baden's accession to the Zollverein concluded between Prussia, Bavaria, Würtemberg, the two Hessians and several other German states. Verlag der Chr. Fr. Müller'schen Hofbuchhandlung, Karlsruhe 1833, digitized .
  • The German Zollverein, its system and its future. Verlag der Chr. Fr. Müller'schen Hofbuchhandlung, Carlsruhe 1835 (unchanged reprint. Auvermann, Glashütten i. Ts. 1970), digitized .


Web links

Wikisource: Karl Friedrich Nebenius  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. René le Forestier: Templar and occult freemasonry in the 18th and 19th centuries, 4th book, p. 274
  2. http://www1.karlsruhe.de/Aktuell/Stadtzeitung07/sz2206.htm
  3. ^ Court and State Handbook of the Grand Duchy of Baden. 1834, ZDB -ID 214391-4 , p. 57.
  4. ^ Freemason Lodge Leopold zur Treue - Stadtwiki Karlsruhe . Ka.stadtwiki.net. Retrieved May 18, 2010.
  5. ^ Klaus-Jürgen Matz:  Nebenius, Carl Friedrich. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 19, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-428-00200-8 , pp. 16-18 ( digitized version ).
  6. http://dokumente.ios-regensburg.de/amburger/index.php?id=41524&mode=1