Karl Theodor von Dalberg

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Karl Theodor von Dalberg, around 1791, Gleimhaus Halberstadt
Signature Karl Theodor von Dalberg.PNG

Karl Theodor Anton Maria Reichsfreiherr von und zu Dalberg , treasurer of Worms, (born February 8, 1744 in Mannheim , †  February 10,  1817 in Regensburg ) was a German elector , archbishop and bishop of several dioceses. As a statesman , after a short time as Elector of Mainz , Dalberg was the ruling prince in the Principality of Aschaffenburg and in the Principality of Regensburg from 1803 , where he found a new center of life until his death, carried out reforms and left many traces. At the time of the Rhine Confederation from 1806 to 1813, Dalberg was the prince of the Rhine Confederation. In his private life, Dalberg was a writer , popular philosopher, friend of the Weimar poets and member as well as a sponsor of numerous scientific academies.

Offices and titles

As a bishop, Dalberg presided over the dioceses of Constance , Worms , Mainz and Regensburg . As Archbishop of Mainz, he was elector from 1802 to 1803 and in the related office of Imperial Arch Chancellor was protocol-wise right behind the Emperor. When the Electorate of Mainz fell to France in 1803 as a result of the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss , Dalberg was the only ecclesiastical electors to receive compensation with the new principalities of Aschaffenburg and Regensburg (until 1810) and the county of Wetzlar. With the signing of the Rhine Confederation Act (1806) he became Prince Primate of the states of the Rhine Confederation with the national territory that was designated as the Prince Primate State and expanded with Frankfurt am Main and possessions in the Spessart . In 1808, Dalberg founded the Charles University in Aschaffenburg , of which he was rector. In 1810 he had to give up the Principality of Regensburg, which fell to the new Kingdom of Bavaria . As compensation, the principalities of Fulda and Hanau were transferred to him. He received the title of Grand Duke of Frankfurt , which he remained until 1813. After that, he only retained the post of rector of Charles University and his clerical dignity until 1815, until he died in Regensburg in 1817.


Origin and beginning of a not only spiritual career

The young Karl Theodor von Dalberg

The son of the imperial chamberlain, Franz Heinrich, from the baronial von Dalberg family , older brother of Wolfgang Heribert von Dalberg and Johann Friedrich Hugo von Dalberg , chose a spiritual career without parental coercion. The gifted child enjoyed a Catholic upbringing that gave him a wide range of knowledge. As a young man, he devoted himself to studying law in Heidelberg , which he completed there in 1761 and then continued in Mainz. At the end of 1762 he went on an educational trip to Italy and France, from which he returned after two years. In Rome he met the archaeologist Johann Joachim Winckelmann and in Pavia he continued his legal studies.

Domicellar in Mainz since 1754 , in 1772 at the age of 28 he became governor of the Electoral Mainz exclave in the Erfurt state (1772–1802) and was able to show his skills in all areas of administration in the Thuringian part of the country. The 1770s and 1780s in Erfurt were the happiest times in Dalberg's life. They were characterized by neighborly connections to the Musenhof in Weimar , the reorganization of the University of Erfurt and the promotion of popular education and general welfare in the spirit of the Enlightenment .

In 1779 Dalberg became canon in Würzburg and in 1786 canon in Mainz. He owned further cathedral canonicals in Worms and Constance .

On June 5, 1787, Dalberg was elected coadjutor with Prussian support at the age of 44 and thus the designated successor of the then Elector Archbishop of Mainz Friedrich Karl Joseph von Erthal .

In 1789, Dalberg was elected a member of the Leopoldina Scholars' Academy . He was also a member of both the Bavarian and Göttingen Academy of Sciences and the Prussian Academy of Sciences .

For all his open-mindedness, Dalberg was also concerned with religious upbringing, priestly education, preaching and catechesis . He was also a member of the Illuminati Order under the name 'Baco di Verulam' and 'Prefect' of the Illuminati in Erfurt. According to the research literature, Dalberg was a member of the Freemasons' Association. From him the word has been passed down, who as a Christian wants to become a Freemason , is like a rider looking for his horse, although he is already sitting on it. He emphasized the ethical compatibility of Christianity and Freemasonry.

Assumption of further episcopal dignities

Fürstenberg vase on the occasion of Dalberg's election as coadjutor in 1787 (collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art )

The election as coadjutor of the Archbishop of Mainz was followed on June 18, 1787 by the election of Dalberg as coadjutor of the Bishop of Worms and on June 18, 1788, by the election of coadjutor of the Bishop of Constance. In the meantime Dalberg had been ordained a priest on November 11, 1787 in Bamberg. On March 10, 1788, the Pope appointed him titular Archbishop of Tarsus in Cilicia and on August 31, 1788, he was ordained bishop in Aschaffenburg .

When Dalberg became the ruling prince-bishop of Konstanz on January 17, 1800 , the old order was already in a state of collapse. On July 25, 1802, after the death of Archbishop Erthal, Dalberg became the last reigning elector-archbishop of Mainz. However, he could only rule the areas to the right of the Rhine , because the areas to the left of the Rhine had already become French national territory after the Treaty of Luneville (Feb. 9, 1801). All that remained was the small vice cathedral office in Aschaffenburg with the summer palace of the Mainz electors. Although the fate of the imperial church had already been decided, Dalberg tried to preserve the bishopric. Even if he could not preserve the bishops' secular power, he still wanted to see the bishops in the jus dioecesanum . He was actually able to enforce this, but this was considered unimportant by the princes.

Transfer of ownership from Regensburg

As the only ecclesiastical prince, Dalberg was spared secularization as the elector-archbishop of Mainz and retained the rights of a secular ruler. As Imperial Arch Chancellor , however, he should move his seat to the place of the Reichstag in Regensburg. The negotiations about the compensation for Dalberg and about the shape of his future state structure in Regensburg led the Electoral Mainz State Minister Franz Joseph von Albini with the French ambassador Antoine de Laforêt . He received his instructions directly from Napoleon and was later sent to the Reichstag in Regensburg as a representative of France , where he played an important role in negotiating and enforcing the main decision of the Reichsdeputation .

In the negotiations, Albini was able to secure a state territory for Arch Chancellor Dalberg, which not only included the area of ​​the former Hochstift Regensburg and the imperial abbeys St. Emmeram , Obermünster and Niedermünster , but also the areas of the former imperial city of Regensburg. On November 24, 1802, a military contingent of the new Prince Dalberg entered Regensburg. Albini took over the city, an extent of comfortable state territory, but with a fragmented, ineffective administration. The new city of Regensburg was hopelessly in debt and had about 22,000 inhabitants, of which only 8,000 were taxable and the rest were completely impoverished. Dalberg did not arrive in Regensburg until a month later and moved into a palace on Domplatz that had been converted for him .

Primate of the German Church 1803–1817

To protect spiritual life, Dalberg fought for the creation of the office of prince primate under whose supervision church life could be preserved. Dalberg was not concerned with creating a national church free of the pope, but only with maintaining the church in Germany. The Reichsdeputationshauptschluss transferred the offices of Mainz Elector , Archbishop of Mainz and Primate for Germany from Mainz to the Diocese of Regensburg in 1803, since Mainz had now finally fallen to France . The metropolitan rights of the new archdiocese were to extend in future to the entire Holy Roman Empire on the right bank of the Rhine , with the exception of the sovereign territories of Prussia and Austria . The choice for the seat of the Reich Chancellor fell on Regensburg because the Reichstag was gathered there.

Section 25 of the Reichsrezess states that the "dignities of an elector, imperial arch-chancellor, metropolitan archbishop and primate of Germany" should forever be associated with the Regensburg bishopric. The metropolitan jurisdiction extended to all German dioceses, with the exception of the Austrian under Salzburg and the Prussian. For this purpose, the electorate was established from the areas of the principality of Aschaffenburg , the imperial city (now the county) of Wetzlar and the principality of Regensburg . At that time, the Principality of Regensburg consisted of the Hochstift Regensburg with the dominions Donaustauf , Wörth and Hohenburg , the imperial city of Regensburg, the Prince Abbey of St. Emmeram, the imperial monasteries of Obermünster and Niedermünster and all the possessions of the indirect monasteries and monasteries of Regensburg .

Karl Theodor von Dalberg 1812 (oil painting by Franz Seraph Stirnbrand )

Since the previous bishop of Regensburg was still alive, Dalberg limited himself to his state business. Only with the death of the bishop on April 4, 1803 did he let the cathedral chapter enter into its canonical rights, which now elected a capitular vicar and Dalberg proposed the "administratio in spiritualibus". However, he only accepted it subject to papal confirmation and turned to Pope Pius VII with the request to give canonical power to the transfer of the Mainz seat to Regensburg on the right bank of the Rhine. Since Bavaria wanted to avoid a prince in Regensburg, Bavaria opposed Dalberg by all means, including slander regarding schismatic national church plans. On July 15, 1803, Dalberg obtained only the provisional administration of the diocese of Regensburg as Prince-Bishop and was only appointed Archbishop of Regensburg on February 1, 1805. On the occasion of Napoleon I's coronation , Dalberg wanted to work with Pope Pius VII regarding the church reorganization Germany enter into negotiations. He received the pallium from the Pope, but not the inclusion of the title of "Primate Germaniae" in the bull , which is probably due to the resistance of the Curia Cardinals. However, Dalberg received the oral promise from the Pope that he was entitled to use the title. Dalberg carried the title of Primate of Germany until his death.

Since Dalberg's state had a weak foundation and Napoleon alone determined church policy, Dalberg chose Napoleon's uncle, Cardinal Joseph Fesch , as his coadjutor in 1806. This illegal appointment, which was denied a church promise, was a fatal step in sheer desperation to save the German Church and was deeply resented by Dalberg himself even by friends. When the Confederation of the Rhine was created, Dalberg was induced by Napoleon to take the lead in the new state as princes. This step, which other princes viewed as a political necessity or opportunism, was portrayed as treason by Dalberg. Dalberg's connection with Napoleon put him in a more and more crooked light, the more harshly Napoleon treated the Pope and the more indignation in Germany against the French grew.

10 ducats (1810) on Dalberg's appointment as Grand Duke of Frankfurt

In 1810 Napoleon handed over the Dalberg principality of Regensburg to the Kingdom of Bavaria and Dalberg had to say goodbye to Regensburg as sovereign. He did so with the following farewell declaration that was printed and distributed around town.

“To all of the honest residents of the Principality of Regensburg.
Divine Providence brought me to Regensburg which I never thought of.
I found honest, noble people, and my duties told me to do as much for their good as I could.
Another fate now takes me away from Regensburg.
I will never forget that I found grateful hearts and honest, honest hearts.
The separation is painful for me: after so few days that I still have to live, I am comforted by the fact
that your good king has a fatherly heart for his loyal subjects;
that the Regensburg originally belonged to the German-Bavarian people;
that the splendid Danube river now unrestrictedly promotes their navigation;
that Regensburg and Stadtamhof now have a decent end to common welfare;
that the Landesfracht and Mauthen receive reasonable joint transport;
that Regensburg was one of the former Bavarian capitals, is now receiving a substantial joint promotion.
May the blessings of heaven promote the well-being of this good city and country from so many sad fates of the war,
and in prosperous years of peace grant it and its fertile, beautiful regions happier times.
This will always be the sincere wish of our loyal friend Carl von Dalberg. "

- Regensburg becomes Bavarian

Dalberg received the newly formed Grand Duchy of Frankfurt as compensation , which was unrelated to his spiritual dignity.

In 1811 Dalberg traveled to France and participated in the Paris National Council, where he advocated the release of the Pope. As Grand Duke (1810-1813) he was entitled to the title of "Royal Highness". This episode was over three years later and shortly before the Battle of the Nations near Leipzig, which sealed the military end of Napoleon in October 1813, Dalberg first fled to Switzerland via Constance and returned to Regensburg in March 1814, renouncing all secular dignities and titles and limited himself to his function as administrator of the diocese of Regensburg with the permission of the Bavarian King Maximilian I.

Stations and work in Regensburg

initial situation

  • After the preparatory work of the former Electorate Mainz State Minister Albini in the course of the transfer of ownership of Regensburg to Dalberg, Dalberg arrived in Regensburg in December 1802, a few weeks before the official date of February 25, 1803, the day on which the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss was adopted. The Dompropstei on Domplatz, which had been converted into a representative neo-classical residential building in 1800, was offered to him as his residence .
  • With Regensburg, Dalberg found a city that, in view of the foreseeable end of the Reichstag, was in a desperate state and did not have the character and appearance of a royal seat. A report to Talleyrand states: "The complete lack of any public welfare, the poor condition of the streets and paths, the increasing lack of financial resources make this city fall into a truly deplorable state" . The city had not redeemed its bonds since 1793 and the interest due devoured half of the small tax revenue. The wealthy households of the Reichstag envoys lived tax-free as “foreigners” and the many employees and subjects of the empire-free monasteries and monasteries only paid a small amount of protection money. The city was a city of beggars who squatted in droves in front of the churches. In the report of a court master it says: “In Regensburg nothing is manufactured that would come into consideration. No sign of life, trade, activities and prosperity. ” The descriptions of the conditions in the city are confirmed by reports from the French ambassador Antoine de Laforêt, in which, in addition to the high level of debt, the lack of social welfare, non-existent hospitals and orphanages and schools and educational institutions are described. As the cause of the grievances, reference is made to the area of ​​the new national territory, which has been split up into many independent domains with different religious affiliations for centuries. The new state of Regensburg comprised imperial monasteries such as the (Catholic Hochstift Regensburg ), Catholic monasteries and collegiate monasteries , Protestant imperial rulers (e.g. Freihaus der Herrschaft Ehrenfels ) and, last but not least, the area of ​​the Protestant imperial city of Regensburg. The result of the fragmentation were developments in different structures, administrations, legal and financial systems, which now made the inevitable joint development of the new city of Regensburg difficult.
  • The city's situation became even more threatening when all foreign embassies began to leave Regensburg after the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss. The city lost an important economic factor. At the same time there were rumors that Thurn und Taxis wanted to leave the city too . That would have resulted in the loss of jobs for 200 families and meant a loss of 200,000 guilders in turnover for the city. Dalberg began negotiations with the Princely House and, in the event that he remained in Regensburg, offered extensive discounts to which the House of Thurn and Taxis would not have had a legal claim. The house of Thurn and Taxis was z. B. exempted from state dues, taxes and billeting and was granted civil jurisdiction over employees and members of the General Postal Directorate. As a continuation of these benefits, a declaration was agreed in 1806 with which Dalberg complied with all the wishes of the Thurn und Taxis company without any changes. This ensured that Regensburg would remain the residence of the princely family. The final decision about a permanent settlement of the Princely House in Regensburg was not made until 1812 with the postage compensation contract, in which the Kingdom of Bavaria assigned the monastery buildings of St. Emmeram Monastery to the House of Thurn und Taxis as compensation objects.

Formation of a government

  • The appointment of the so-called provincial directorate as a kind of collegial government with the seat of government in the bishop's court was very innovative . Leaders from the monasteries and the city's former magistrate were appointed to the government. Dalberg appointed Kaspar Maria von Sternberg , a man of enlightened disposition who, like himself canon but also a scientist, to head the committee . In view of the high child mortality and poor training conditions, Dalberg decided to improve the education system and health system as the focus of government work. Together with Bavaria, compulsory schooling was introduced in Regensburg, teacher training was improved and their salaries increased.

Development of the city administration

  • As early as July 1803, the establishment of a city administration began under the direction of State Minister Albini and State Secretary Count Karl Christian Ernst von Bentzel-Sternau . The latter had already run the business in Kurmainz and was now drafting a "Constitution for Regensburg". Religious freedom was granted in the new constitution. Citizenship, which only Protestants could acquire during the time of the imperial city of Regensburg, became independent of religious affiliation.
  • The reform of the legal system, which was connected with a separation of administration and judicial system, which was also operated in the Kingdom of Bavaria at the same time, proved to be very difficult . A higher regional court was appointed, but the overall project remained unfinished and was only partially solved, also because there were too few trained lawyers.
  • Heinrich Johann Bösner was appointed police director. He should carry out a reorganization of the city ​​districts (Wachten), the naming of the streets with street names still valid today and the registration of the houses.
  • Associated with this was the issuing of a fire ordinance with building regulations and instructions for rescue work.
  • It was also necessary to record the city ​​fortifications and new names and numbering of the towers of the city wall. The background to these measures was the registration of land and houses for the purpose of taxation. It was also planned to use or sell land in the urban outer areas of the city ​​fortifications that were no longer required in the area of ​​the already partially removed outer works . A few years earlier, on the initiative of Prince Karl Anselm von Thurn und Taxis, the construction of today's Fürst-Anselm-Allee had already begun. The moat and the Zwinger grounds were not allowed to be destroyed, but they should be leased and then used for gardening.
  • The unsustainable hygienic conditions in the cathedral cemetery prompted Dalberg to order the closure of this cemetery as early as 1803. The Protestant St. Peter's Cemetery, which already existed in front of the Peter Gate, was expanded with a Catholic St. Peter's Cemetery. In addition, Dalberg had all former execution sites and places of execution at the gates of the city removed.

Financial restructuring

  • After the Reichshofrat had already ruled in 1793 for a thorough reform of the ruinous Regensburg financial budget, Dalberg, as the new sovereign, had to set up a repayment plan for a debt burden of the city of 1.53 million guilders with annual debt interest of 72,000 guilders. A 40-year repayment plan was presented, with which it was possible, despite difficult economic times, to lower the debt burden to 1.27 million guilders with annual debt interest of 59,000 guilders by the transition from Regensburg to the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1810. Thereafter, the repayment plan was continued under the Bavarian government.
  • The Katharinenspital , which was run by a foundation with equal religious affiliation and was under the supervision of the imperial city of Regensburg, was heavily indebted with 16,000 guilders when Dalberg took office. The administrator appointed by Dalberg succeeded in a few years in significantly reducing the debt.

Promotion of science

  • Even before the Dalberg period, the sciences in Regensburg had experienced a considerable boom. In the monastic academies of St. Emmeram and in the scholarly Schottenabbey of St. Jacob, which were known beyond Regensburg, monks and civil, Catholic and Protestant scholars worked together and there was great tolerance, which corresponded to the nature of Dalberg. He supported the Benedictine monk Placidus Heinrich with annual donations so that this scholar was able to establish a new method for determining the weights and measures of the Principality of Regensburg, with which the system of measurements was standardized based on the French model of the "mѐtre".
  • For his part, Dalberg donated a chair for botany at the Episcopal Lyceum, the forerunner of the Philosophical-Theological University of Regensburg . The chair was occupied by David Heinrich Hoppe and remained so even after Regensburg became Bavarian in 1810. Hoppe was the founder of the Botanical Society , which had been founded in 1790, and Dalberg had already proven himself to be a friend and patron of the society shortly after his arrival in 1803. He left a garden area of ​​the Emmeran Monastery to the society in order to create a botanical garden there. When the property was later sold by Bavaria to Thurn und Taxis in 1813, Dalberg donated 2000 guilders to the botanical society to purchase a replacement property in the eastern section of Fürst-Anselm-Allee for a garden that existed until 1854.


  • After the surprising death of the Regensburg prince-bishop Schroffenberg , Dalberg was appointed by the Pope as his successor. He was sovereign and spiritual administrator of the diocese and also head of the Archdiocese of Regensburg including the Protestant community. In this double function, Dalberg was also concerned with the secularization of the monasteries. From a purely legal point of view, he could have nationalized church property in the course of secularization, but he did not. That is why the Regensburg monasteries and monasteries were the only ones in Germany to survive the first drastic measures in the course of secularization that took place in other cities.
  • When Regensburg became Bavarian in 1810, the zeal for nationalization subsided and the Bavarian government finally renounced z. B. on the secularization of the Dominican convent Heilig Kreuz and the Poor Clare convent , to which Dalberg had entrusted the primary education of the girls. The controversial, exclusive Obermünster women 's monastery and the Sankt Emmeram monastery , which was in a phase of highest scientific heyday due to the work of the monk Placidus Heinrich , were then no longer brutally secularized. Dalberg had previously pursued secularization carefully, considerately and with foresight. He had shown himself to be a kind, art-loving regent who not only had a keen sense for scientific needs, facilities and equipment, but was also socially committed. So the library and the valuable equipment collection of the Emmeram monks remained untouched. They were not sold and Dalberg even expanded them with his own money, because he had recognized that the monastery was also a client for municipal craftsmen.
  • The Dominicans were able to continue to operate their monastery on a permanent basis and, according to Dalberg's request, continued to provide primary school lessons for girls. The nuns continued to do this when Regensburg fell to Bavaria in 1810. In this way, the Dominican women also managed to keep their monastery permanently.

Social measures

  • In 1805 Dalberg decreed the equality and equal treatment of legitimate and illegitimate orphans. In 1809 he ordered the relocation of the Protestant orphans, who had been housed on the Brunnleite near the Danube since 1725 in a city-owned building that also housed a penitentiary. A new orphanage was built for the children at the old location west of the evangelical brother house on Emmeramsplatz in order to remove the children from the poor influence of the prisoners.
  • Dalberg began in 1806 with the establishment of a public art school for learning manual drawing, which was to be expanded in 1810 to an academy for artistic drawing. While the craft drawing lessons actually took place, the realization of the artistic academy under the direction of the freelance artist Joseph Franz von Goez was a dream that was no longer pursued after the transition from Regensburg to Bavaria in 1810.
  • In 1806 Dalberg had the municipal execution site, the so-called Köpfstatt in front of the Jakobstor at the confluence with Dech Bettener Strasse, which had existed since 1503, to be removed. The Köpfstatt was a circular facility, diameter approx. 5 m, wall height 3 m, with a flat platform that could be reached from inside via steps. The Köpfstatt was the place for honorable executions with the sword, which in earlier centuries also took place in squares in the city.

Health system

  • When Dalberg took office, the health system was in a more than critical condition. Only every third inhabitant was older than 50 years and a third of the population died before the age of 13. Child and infant mortality was particularly high. Dalberg dissolved the Collegium medicum, which was no longer active when he took office, and founded a medical council with doctors and pharmacists trained at universities. The city physician Johann Jakob Kohlhaas and Johann Gottlieb Schaeffer as well as the botanist David Heinrich Hoppe became members of the medical council . They persecuted and driven relentlessly charlatans and quacks who acted still prevalent in monasteries and in the extraterritorial embassies.
  • The smallpox vaccination, which was introduced in Regensburg as early as 1801 but met resistance from the population, was carried out with the relatively harmless cowpox virus and was massively promoted by Dalberg. The vaccinations were carried out free of charge by his court doctor in the evangelical brother house and financed by Dalberg with annual subsidies.
  • The Catholic Infirmary and Hospital St. Josef for poor servants in Ostengasse had Dalberg expanded in 1807 by the court architect Herigoyen to include a wing for poor patients of Protestant denomination and financed the measure with his own money.

Promotion of construction work

Herigoyen building
Former porcelain factory
one floor added in 1908 ( Heinrich Hauberrisser )
Herigoyen Building
Former French Legation ( Presidential Palace )
Former Müller-Palais
today: Württembergisches Palais
  • Early on, Dalberg promoted the plans to set up a porcelain factory on the Zwinger grounds on the Singrün with the intention of promoting industry and prosperity in the city. The factory was operated by the entrepreneur Johann Heinrich Koch, who acquired citizenship in 1765 and was a brother-in-law of the Regensburg merchant Dittmer . Dalberg instructed the administration to negotiate a favorable purchase price for the site and to allow the sewage to be discharged via the city moat. He granted the manufacturer the privilege for the sole production of porcelain and bonuses for the export of the products via a shipment on the Danube for 5 years. In 1804/05, the palace-like production building, which still exists today, and a factory building with a distillery were built, in which so-called Turkish cups and tableware were initially produced. Production continued under different owners until 1869.
  • In 1803, Dalberg commissioned Emanuel Herigoyen , who had already built a building in Kurmainz, to build a theater and society building on what was then Jakobsplatz. The building site was made available by Dalberg, who also financed the construction project with 27,000 guilders. The theater was completed in the course of a year and divided the former Jakobsplatz into the two new squares Arnulfsplatz and Bismarckplatz .
  • To the south of the new theater, Dalberg had another representative, classical palace built by Herigoyen - today's Presidential Palace - as the architectural completion of the square . The building served as the seat of the French embassy at the Reichstag.
  • In 1804 Dalberg sold several properties in the area of ​​the north-western city ​​fortifications , including the area of ​​the Prebrunnbastei, which was expanded in 1665, to the Thurn und Taxischen Hofrat Georg Friedrich Müller . He had the building, later known as the Württemberg Palace , built there and the site of the Prebrunnbastei redesigned into a garden, which later became the Herzogspark .
  • Dalberg's handling of land and buildings belonging to the Teutonic Order , which fell to him as sovereign ruler in 1809 after the order was dissolved, was also long-term successful . He sold the area and the building to an entrepreneur and after his death the largest industrial company in Regensburg at the time, the Rehbach pencil factory, was established there .
  • In 1806, one year after the death of Prince Carl Anselm von Thurn und Taxis , Dalberg honored the memory of the deceased by expanding the avenue of trees he created with plantings in front of the Peterstor and Jakobstor and with an annual grant of 2000 guilders for the maintenance of the facilities. Dalberg also initiated and promoted the construction of an obelisk for the deceased prince, which was built from stones from the city wall according to the design of the court architect Emanuel Herigoyen . He also supported the planned construction of the Keppler monument .
  • In 1807, Dalberg had the court architect Herigoyen add a wing for poor patients of Protestant denomination to the St. Josef Catholic Infirmary and Hospital for poor servants in Ostengasse.
  • On behalf of Dalberg, but also on his own initiative, his court builder Herigoyen built many buildings and private villas in the inner city of Regensburg. As the Herigoyen list of works shows, the buildings still shape the cityscape today. After the south-eastern part of Regensburg was completely destroyed in the course of the Battle of Regensburg in 1809 , Dalberg and Herigoyen supported the affected population with plans for reconstruction, but the destruction was so extensive that the reconstruction and redesign of streets - e.g. B. Maximilianstrasse - lasted for many years.
  • Von Dalberg also promoted industry and construction outside the metropolitan areas. In the salt town of Orb, he had new graduation towers, administration buildings, brewhouses and apartments built for the saline employees.

End of life

With the fall of Napoleon in 1814, Dalberg lost his secular rule. After his return from Switzerland, he did not leave Regensburg for a long time from March 1814 and devoted himself to his spiritual office as bishop. He lived withdrawn and modest in a canonical courtyard of the cathedral chapter at the western end of Drei-Kronen-Gasse and, on the intercession of his old friend Wilhelm von Humboldt, had been granted a pension by the Congress of Vienna , but the payment was slow. In the summer of 1816 Dalberg was visited by the writer Jean Paul , whom he had helped in financial difficulties. Other visitors and friends were the former Prussian ambassador Johann Eustach von Görtz , who lives in Regensburg, and Kaspar Maria von Sternberg , who now lives in Prague , when he attended the meetings of the Botanical Society in Regensburg. His last pastoral letter was a brief rejection of a world of vanity.

“I look back and the time of my life seems like a moment that is behind me
and when I think about what I have seen and heard
and what I have strived for with effort and work and saw others strive,
I have to exclaim:
Everything is vanity. "

Dalberg Epitaph in Regensburg Cathedral

Dalberg died on February 10, 1817 of the consequences of a stroke on the day of his birthday. The house where he died - the Kanonikalhof at the western end of Drei-Kronen-Gasse - was demolished in 1936. The new building of a large bank existing there today bears a plaque commemorating the prince with the words:

"In this house,
the great benefactor of Regensburg,
Karl Theodor Anton Maria Freiherr von Dalberg , ended his eventful life on February 10th, 1817. Imperial Arch
Chancellor and Elector, Prince-Primate,
Archbishop and sovereign Prince of Regensburg
73 years old."

Heart urn of Karl Theodor von Dalberg in the collegiate church of Aschaffenburg

Dalberg was buried in the central nave of Regensburg Cathedral . That for him in 1824 by the Italian sculptor Luigi Zandomeneghi (1778-1850) created Epitaph of Carrara marble is often overlooked because it is a little off hidden in the northern passage to Domschatzmuseum. The epitaph is one of the main works of classical sculpture in the Regensburg area.

The heart of Dalberg was buried in a silver capsule / heart urn in the collegiate church of Aschaffenburg , where the capsule is still to this day.

Dalberg and Napoleon

The mysterious relationship between the mighty Emperor Napoleon and the powerless Dalberg often gave rise to rumors, culminating in the accusation of love-serving, but has many facets. Napoleon had a soft spot for Dalberg from an early age, who was known to Fanny Beauharnais, a relative of Josephine Beauharnais , and from 1796 Napoleon's wife. She was an influential advocate for Dalberg, the future Archbishop of Mainz who was already foreseeable from 1787. For the time after 1799, when Napoleon came to power, expressions of appreciation from Napoleon about Dalberg are known. Napoleon praised his reputation as a virtuous regent and a shrewd scholar. Later as Arch Chancellor in Regensburg, Dalberg was only able to ward off the hostility and lust for power of the German hereditary princes with the support of Napoleon. For example, in 1803, after the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss, the sovereigns tried to seize the lands of the Imperial Knighthood - to which the Dalberg family also belonged. What was particularly fascinating for Napoleon was that it was customary at imperial coronations to call for a member of the Dalberg family with the cry Is no Dalberg there? Napoleon is said to have seriously intended to incorporate this ceremony into his imperial coronation. The call was not made, but Dalberg was present at the coronation and Napoleon forced the pallium and the transfer of the Archdiocese of Mainz to Regensburg from Pope Pius VII , who was also present, and the Archdiocese of Mainz was transferred to Regensburg, where it lasted until Dalberg's death.

That Dalberg was not a mere favorite of Napoleon became clear after the beginning of the Third Coalition War when Napoleon soon after his coronation as emperor concluded an alliance with Bavaria, Württemberg and Baden. Dalberg tried to stop the advancing disintegration of the Reich with a proclamation of neutrality at the Reichstag . Napoleon resented this action, summoned him to Munich, insulted him violently and foretold the end of the empire. Dalberg's desperate attempt to offer Napoleon the imperial crown in order to preserve the empire and therefore to appoint Napoleon's uncle - Cardinal Joseph Fesch - as his own successor could no longer stop the German sovereigns. 16 sovereigns declared their withdrawal from the empire and joined the Confederation of the Rhine founded by Napoleon . Napoleon wanted to win Dalberg for his goals and decreed the draft of a constitution and the formation of a Bundestag, which, under the leadership of Dalberg, was to meet in Frankfurt as prince primate. However, these measures were not implemented and the Rhine Confederation remained a mere military alliance. The Principality of Regensburg was a member of the alliance and therefore lost its neutrality as a city of the Reichstag and had to provide a contingent of soldiers. Napoleon dealt the final death blow to the empire when he elevated the electors of Bavaria and Württemberg to sovereign kings in 1806 .

Summary and aftermath

As sovereign and bishop, Dalberg was extremely conscientious. He was pedantically conscientious in his administration, but also of winning human kindness, great willingness to help and a modest lifestyle. Whenever he stayed in Regensburg or Konstanz, he held the pontifical acts himself and usually also took part in the consistorial meetings in Regensburg. Throughout his life he had a strong belief in the good possibilities in people and was quite a regent in the sense of the Enlightenment. Well educated theologically, if not a theologian in the strict sense, he was influenced by the Febronian ecclesiastical thinking . His successor as Grand Duke of Frankfurt was to be Prince Eugène de Beauharnais . Because of Napoleon's decline in power after the Battle of Leipzig in October 1803, this did not happen and the Grand Duchy was dissolved. For the Free Imperial City of Regensburg, the end of independence was a deep turning point in 1803. The transition to the Kingdom of Bavaria, which then took place almost 10 years later, was made comparatively mild by the caring regiment of the sovereign Dalberg. Dalberg made the development of a citizenship possible in the religiously divided city of Regensburg, through a civil right independent of religious affiliation. He had immediately started to build a new administration and to improve the catastrophic financial situation of the city, as well as the school and social services and health care. He promoted the sciences, the settlement of businesses and the formation of an association of wholesale merchants as the forerunner of a chamber of commerce. He ran the planting of gardens on the area of ​​the abandoned city moat and the outer works of the city ​​fortifications and continued - with grants of his own money - the planting of trees in Fürst-Anselm-Allee , which he had begun before his time . Emanuel Herigoyen , appointed by him as city architect, transformed medieval Regensburg with several buildings into a passable residential city in the style of the French Empire.

In 1816, Dalberg issued a memorial that his collections in Johannisburg Castle in Aschaffenburg should be the inviolable property of the city and its citizens. After his death, his heirs, the princes von der Leyen , litigated for years over the legacy. Some of the paintings that were probably handed over at the time are now (2011) lost.

The Dalberg Prize for transdisciplinary young researchers is named after Dalberg and is awarded annually by the Academy of Charitable Sciences in Erfurt .


  1. Dalberg signed with Carl
  2. Jump up clearly from the baptismal register entry of the Mannheim parish of St. Sebastian; Fig. S. Lit. Konrad M. Färber et al. a. (Ed.): Regensburg 1994. p. 23
  3. The inconspicuous memorial plaque is mounted at a considerable height so that the inscription is hardly legible

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Fritz Reuter: The Dalberg in Worms and Hernsheim , in: Hans-Bernd Spies (Ed.): Carl von Dalberg 1744-1817 , Aschaffenburg 1994. pp. 273-274
  2. a b c d e f g h i j k l m Konrad Maria Färber: An Intermezzo, Das Fürstentum Regensburg between 1802 and 1810 . In: Hans Jürgen Becker, Konrad Maria Färber (Hrsg.): Regensburg becomes Bavarian. A reader . Friedrich Pustet, Regensburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-7917-2218-4 , pp. 33, 34.35, 36-55 .
  3. ^ Member entry by Carl Theodor Freiherr von Dalberg at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences , accessed on January 22, 2017.
  4. Holger Krahnke: The members of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen 1751-2001 (= Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Philological-Historical Class. Volume 3, Vol. 246 = Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Mathematical-Physical Class. Episode 3, vol. 50). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2001, ISBN 3-525-82516-1 , p. 64.
  5. ^ Hermann Schüttler: The members of the Illuminati order
  6. Eugen Lennhoff; Oskar Posner; Dieter A. Binder: International Freemason Lexicon . Ed .: Herbig. 7th edition. Herbig, 2011, ISBN 978-3-7766-5036-5 .
  7. ^ Editing of the Freemasons Wiki: Karl Theodor Anton Maria von Dalberg. Retrieved April 16, 2019 .
  8. compare Hans-Bernd Spies: Priest and bishop consecration of Carl von Dalberg , elected coadjutor in 1787 , in: Mitteilungen aus dem Stadt- und Stiftsarchiv Aschaffenburg 10 (2011-2013), No. 2, pp. 114-134.
  9. From: Färber p. 53.
  10. ^ Konrad Maria Färber: The Principality of Regensburg between 1802 and 1810 An interlude . In: Hans Jürgen Becker, Konrad Maria Färber (Hrsg.): Regensburg becomes Bavarian. A reader . Friedrich Pustet, Regensburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-7917-2218-4 , pp. 33-53 f .
  11. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Karl Bauer: Regensburg art, culture and everyday history . MZ-Buchverlag in H. Gietl Verlag & Publication Service GmbH, Regenstauf 2014, ISBN 978-3-86646-300-4 , p. 69 f., 21 f., 721, 30, 177, 162/442 ff., 183/425, 429 f., 332 ff., 550 f., 800/922 f., 397, 885, 248/320, 100 f .
  12. a b Siegfried Grillmmeyer: The Princely House of Thurn and Taxis and the residence question after 1800 In: Thurn and Taxis Studies Vol 20 imperial city and Perpetual Imperial Diet (1663-1806), published by Michael Lassleben Kallmünz, 2001. ISBN 37847 15222 , p 77 -87
  13. Peter Styra: "Fürst Taxis is staying in Bavaria, that's a lot to me". In: Hans Christoph Dittscheid, Peter Styra, Bernhard Lübbers (eds.): Catalogs and writings of the State Library in Regensburg. Ludwig I. and Regensburg. Volume 2. Universitätsverlag Regensburg, Regensburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-86845-050-7 , pp. 25-44.
  14. Maximilian Frisch: Köpfstatt, summer house and villa . In: City of Regensburg, Office for Archives and Preservation of Monuments, Lower Monument Protection Authority (ed.): Preservation of monuments in Regensburg . tape 16 . Friedrich Pustet, Regensburg 2020, ISBN 978-3-7917-3155-1 , p. 81-91 .
  15. Werner Schulze-Seeger, ORB 1300 years of brine and salt, Orbensien-Verlag, 1994, pp. 88–93
  16. ^ Konrad Maria Färber: The Principality of Regensburg between 1802 and 1810 An interlude . In: Hans Jürgen Becker, Konrad Maria Färber (Hrsg.): Regensburg becomes Bavarian. A reader . Friedrich Pustet, Regensburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-7917-2218-4 , pp. 54 f .
  17. From: Färber p. 54
  18. ^ Karl Bauer: Regensburg Art, Culture and Everyday History . 6th edition. MZ-Buchverlag in H. Gietl Verlag & Publication Service GmbH, Regenstauf 2014, ISBN 978-3-86646-300-4 , p. 35 .
  19. ^ Peter Morsbach: Regensburg churches: A leader . Friedrich Pustet, Regensburg 1990, ISBN 3-7917-1253-5 , pp. 25 .
  20. a b c Konrad Maria Färber: An Intermezzo, The Principality of Regensburg between 1802 and 1810 . In: Hans Jürgen Becker, Konrad Maria Färber (Hrsg.): Regensburg becomes Bavarian. A reader . Friedrich Pustet, Regensburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-7917-2218-4 , pp. 48.49.50 .
  21. ^ Gernot Frankhäuser / Anja Lippert: Art and statecraft. Carl Theodor von Dalberg. Ed .: Museums of the City of Aschaffenburg. Aschaffenburg 2010, p. 26-27 .
  22. ^ FAZ of October 12, 2010, page 46: The small but expensive city. Aschaffenburg commemorates the last Elector of Mainz with a special exhibition on art and statecraft
  23. Press release 31/10 of the Academy of Charitable Sciences in Erfurt: Dalberg Prize 2011 ( Memento from February 7, 2012 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on September 26, 2011.


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  • Carl von Dalberg: Selected writings. Edited by Hans-Bernd Spies; Publications of the History and Art Association of Aschaffenburg, series reprints, Vol. 3, Aschaffenburg 1997.
  • Konrad M. Färber u. a. (Ed.): Carl von Dalberg. Archbishop and statesman (1744–1817). Regensburg 1994, ISBN 3-927529-03-6 .
  • Konrad M. Färber: Dalberg, Bavaria and the Principality of Regensburg. New sources from the archives of Vienna and Paris. In: Journal for Bavarian State History. 49.3 (1986) 695-717.
  • Konrad M. Färber: Emperor and Arch Chancellor. Carl von Dalberg and Napoleon at the end of the Old Kingdom. Regensburg 1994.
  • Gernot Frankhäuser / Anja Lippert: Art and statecraft. Carl Theodor von Dalberg. Museums of the city of Aschaffenburg. Aschaffenburg 2010.
  • Reinhard Grütz: Erfurt in the shadow of the French Revolution. Government practice and state theory by Carl Theodor von Dalberg. Erfurt Theological Writings, Volume 28, Leipzig 2000.
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  • Karl Hausberger: History of the diocese of Regensburg. Volume 2: From the Baroque to the Present. Regensburg 1989, pp. 94-104.
  • Herbert Hömig : Carl Theodor von Dalberg. Statesman and prince of the church in the shadow of Napoleon. Schöningh, Paderborn 2011, ISBN 978-3-506-77240-4 .
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  • Michael Ludscheidt: Enlightenment in the Dalberg period. Literature, media and discourses in Erfurt in the late 18th century (writings from the library of the Evangelical Ministry of Erfurt, vol. 1), Erfurt 2006.
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  • Georg Schwaiger: Sailer and Dalberg , in: Festschrift for Andreas Kraus on his 60th birthday , Kallmünz 1982, 369–380.
  • Hans-Bernd Spies (ed.): Carl von Dalberg 1744-1817 (publications by the History and Art Association of Aschaffenburg, vol. 40), Aschaffenburg 1994, ISBN 978-3-87965-064-4
  • Hans-Bernd Spies: Carl von Dalberg (1744–1817) - News on the early biography (until 1772) of the prince , in: Mitteilungen aus dem Stadt- und Stiftsarchiv Aschaffenburg 9 (2008–2010), pp. 69–98.
  • Josef Staber: Church history of the diocese of Regensburg . Regensburg 1966, pp. 169-177.
  • Martin A. Völker : Space fantasies, narrative wholeness and identity. A reconstruction of the aesthetic from the work and work of the barons von Dalberg , Enlightenment and Modernism, Vol. 5. Hannover-Laatzen: Wehrhahn Verlag, 2006. ISBN 978-3-86525-205-0
  • Karl Georg BockenheimerDalberg, Carl Theodor Freiherr von . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 4, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1876, pp. 703-708.
  • Ludwig Lenhart:  Dalberg, Carl Theodor. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 3, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1957, ISBN 3-428-00184-2 , p. 489 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Friedrich Wilhelm BautzDalberg, Carl Theodor. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 1, Bautz, Hamm 1975. 2nd, unchanged edition Hamm 1990, ISBN 3-88309-013-1 , Sp. 1195-1197.

Web links

Commons : Karl Theodor von Dalberg  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files
predecessor Office successor
Maximilian Christof von Rodt Bishop of Constance
Friedrich Karl Joseph von Erthal Archbishop of Mainz
Joseph Ludwig Colmar
Friedrich Karl Joseph von Erthal Bishop of Worms
Joseph Konrad von Schroffenberg Archbishop of Regensburg
Johann Nepomuk von Wolf
–– Grand Duke of Frankfurt
Eugène de Beauharnais
(Titular Grand Duke)