Philipp Joseph Rehfues

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Lithograph portrait: After a drawing by JH Beckers, lithographed by A. Wünsch, Cologne around 1834.
Hochrelieftondo, portrait of Philipp Joseph von Rehfues by Hermann Heidel

Philipp Joseph von Rehfues (originally Philipp Joseph Rehfuss ; since 1826 from ; * October 2, 1779 in Tübingen ; † October 21, 1843 in Römlinghoven (today part of Königswinter )) was a German writer and long-time curator of the University of Bonn .


Grave stele for Rehfues in the old cemetery in Bonn

Rehfues was the son of Tübingen councilor and later mayor Johann Jacob Rehfuß and his wife, Maria Katharina geb. Can stone. He attended the Protestant monastery in Tübingen , but was already intensively involved with classical antiquity and modern literature during his theology studies. He broke off his studies when he received an offer in 1801 to go to Livorno as a tutor . There he met the Swiss Johann Friedrich von Tscharner , with whom he remained lifelong friends. Together they translated Alfieri's tragedies into German and published the short-lived monthly magazine Italy . After giving up his position in Livorno 1803 Rehfues initially held with Tscharner in Rome and Florence , and then settled for Tscharner return to Switzerland in Rome, where he many artists and writers, including Bertel Thorvaldsen and Wilhelm von Humboldt , met and edited the magazine Italienische Miscellen for the publisher Cotta . During a stay in Naples from April 1804 to May 1805, he undertook a two-month trip through Sicily in the company of the architects Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Johann Gottfried Steinmeyer and the Livonian landscape painter Carl Gotthard Graß (1767-1814) and was appointed by Queen Maria Karolina of Naples Sicily sent to Munich on a - unsuccessful - diplomatic mission in order to promote the marriage of the Bavarian electoral prince, later King Ludwig I , to a daughter of Carolinas.

In Naples, Rehfues made the acquaintance of Crown Prince Wilhelm, later King Wilhelm I of Württemberg, to whom he showed the city. In the autumn of 1805 he returned to Tübingen and entered the prince's service as a librarian and reader. This position gave him enough time for his literary interests and further trips to France and Spain, about which, as well as his time in Italy, he published books. He edited the Süddeutsche Miscellen for the Cotta'sche Verlagbuchhandlung and was an employee of the Morgenblatt for educated stands .

He owed the post of governor general of Trier and then the city of Koblenz and later that of district director in Bonn to his literary engagement against foreign rule by France (“speeches to the German people”) . With his pamphlet The Claims and Hopes of the City of Bonn, laid down before the throne of their future ruler, he campaigned for the establishment of a university in Bonn, which was founded in 1818 as the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität zu Bonn . Rehfues is therefore one of the initiators of this university foundation.

After the war broke out again in 1815 , Rehfues was assigned to the Minister von Altenstein as Commissioner of the 3rd Army Corps. His job was to provide the troops with food. In Paris he met his future superior, Minister Karl vom Stein zum Altenstein, personally.

On November 20, 1818, he succeeded Friedrich zu Solms-Laubach , who was in office for only half a year, curator of the newly founded Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn and the unenviable position of extraordinary government plenipotentiary with rank and title as a secret councilor . He was ennobled for his services in 1826. On August 22, 1836, he signed the concept of Karl Marx's certificate of departure . On July 1, 1842, he was retired and retired to his estate near Königswinter. His successor as curator and extraordinary agent of the Prussian government at the University of Bonn was Moritz August von Bethmann-Hollweg .

Rehfues was buried in the old cemetery in Bonn . The sculptor Hermann Heidel designed his tomb .

Rehfues was married to Carolina Eleonora von Meusebach , a daughter of Wiedrunkelschen Hofmarschall Freiherr von Meusebach, and had two sons Guido Ludwig Rehfues (born March 29, 1818) and Julius Karl Heinrich Rehfues (born June 11, 1819), since April 17, 1817 , and a daughter Georgine Marie von Rehfues (born June 8, 1831).



  • Self-thinkers who are free from systems such as the school pigeon have a peculiarity in their presentation, the achievement of which is not easy, but is all the more meritorious. (Preface by Rehfues as the editor of a traveler's letters )
  • A lack of legislative understanding gives rise to laws whose internal contradictions and formal indeterminacies are only recognized when they have caused even the most painful disturbances and alarming disorders in life. Other and again other laws, which always increase the confusion, cannot then be bypassed. (The Catholic Church in the Prussian Rhine Province)


Grave relief for Philipp Joseph von Rehfues in the old cemetery in Bonn
  • About the younger Philostratus and his description of the painting . Jakob Friedrich Herbrandt, Tübingen 1800 digitized
  • Italy. A magazine ed. by two traveling Germans (PJ Rehfues and JF Tscharner). Unger, Berlin 1803-1804
  • Vittorio Alfieri: All the tragedies. Translated metrically from Italian (1804), together with Johann Friedrich von Tscharner
  • Italian miscelles . 5 vols., Cotta, Tübingen 1804–1806
  • Latest state of the island of Sicily , Cotta, Tübingen 1807
  • Ed .: Plato in Italy, translated into Italian from a Greek manuscript by ****. JG Cottaschen bookstore, Tübingen 1808-1811
  • Painting of Naples and its surroundings , 3 vol., R. Gaessner, Zurich 1808
  • Letters from Italy during the years 1801, 1802, 1803, 1804, 1805 with various enclosures , H. Gessner, Zurich 1809-1810
  • Views of Paris . 2 vols. Heinrich Gessner, Zurich 1809
  • Ed .: South German Miscelles for Life, Literature and Art , first year. January February March, Karlsruhe 1811 digitized
  • The bridal trip in Spain. A comic novel in two parts. Freely worked after Lantier , Julius Eduard Hitzig, Berlin 1811
  • Ed .: European magazine for history, politics and the art of war in the past and present , Nuremberg 1813 (1) to June 1814
  • Spain in their own opinion in 1808 and according to unknown sources up to the most recent time , Varrentrapp and Son, Frankfurt am Main 1813
  • Speeches to the German people. First speech , Riegel & Wießner, Nuremberg 1814 digitized
  • Ed .: Letters from a traveler from England and France, part of Africa and from North America. From Freyherrn von Wimpffen . Heyer and Leske, Darmstadt 1814-1815 3 volumes digitized
  • The claims and hopes of the city of Bonn, laid down before the throne of their future ruler , P. Neusser, Bonn 1814 digitized
  • Ed .: Diary of a German officer about his campaign in Spain in 1808 . Riegel and Wießner, Nuremberg 1814 digitized
  • Answer of a Rhine-Prussian to Mr. Julius v. Voss letter from a Brandenburg resident to the residents of Rhine-Prussia on the occasion of the SD address given to the Prince State Chancellor , Adolph Marcus, Bonn 1818
  • About the guild essence. Emphasis on the restoration of the guilds, with an appendix containing the basic lines for the establishment of craft schools , Adolph Marcus, Bonn 1818 digitized
  • Scipio Cicala . 4 vols., Brockhaus, Leipzig 1832
  • The siege of the Castle of Gozzo, or the last assassin. 2 vols. Brockhaus, Leipzig 1834
  • anonymous: Goethe and his century . Bran, Jena 1835 2nd ed. 1870 digitized
  • The new Medea. A novel in three volumes by the author of Scipio Cicala , Fr. Brodhag'sche Buchhandlung, Stuttgart 1836
  • The truth in the Hermes case between the Catholic-Theological Faculty of Bonn and the Archbishop of Cöln , Leske, Darmstadt 1837 Digitized
  • Memories of Captain Bernal Diaz del Castillo , or a true story of the discovery and conquest of New Spain. Written by one of the discoverers and conquerors himself, translated from Spanish into German, and provided with the life of the author, with notes and other additions . Adolph Marcus, Bonn 1838 digitized first volume ; Digitized third volume ; Digitized fourth volume
  • The Catholic Church in the Prussian Rhine Province and the Archbishop Clemens August of Cologne. A contribution to the cultural and moral history of the 19th century. Digitized by a collector of historical documents , Heinrich Ludwig Brönner, Frankfurt am Main 1838 , digitized
  • La frontière du Rhin . Collardin, Liège 1840 digitized
  • About wealth and security of property, conversations between the official, the baron and the merchant . JG Cotta, Stuttgart and Tübingen 1843 (anonymous)
  • Draft of a general instruction for the Prussian ambassadors , JFCast'schen Buchhandlung, Stuttgart 1845 Digitized
  • Proconsulate of modern times , JFCast'schen Buchhandlung, Stuttgart 1845 Digitized
  • The Teutonic Order in the 15th century. Dramatic representations by the author of "Scipio Cicala" , Carl Georgi, Bonn 1871 digitized

Letters and archival materials

Notes and individual references

  1. There he met Friedrich Hölderlin , who played the first violin, as a "singing boy" at the music performances .
  2. Johann Friedrich von Tscharner (born September 10, 1780 in Chur , † December 4, 1844 in Chur) studied political science, philosophy and technology at the University of Erlangen , completed a. a. trained in business administration in Livorno, then worked as a businessman, judge and teacher in Graubünden .
  3. “Librarian Sr. Königl. Highness of the Crown Prince of Württemberg, and corresponding [sic] member of the Italian Academy in Florence ”, this is how he describes himself as the editor of the letters of a traveler of Baron Alexandre-Stanislas de Wimpffen .
  4. There are 173 letters from Rehfues to the Cotta'sche Buchhandlung from June 24, 1806 to April 12, 1843.
  5. not to be confused with the office of governor general of the Rhineland, who resided in Koblenz
  6. Ruth Schirmer : August Wilhelm Schlegel and his time . Bouvier, Bonn 1986, p. 95.
  7. ADB, p. 594.
  8. ^ The doctorate of Karl Marx - Jena 1841 . Introduced and edited by Erhard Lange, Ernst-Günther Schmidt, Günter Steiger, Inge Taubert with the assistance of Bolko Schweinitz. Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1983
  9. Heinrich Joseph Floss: Memorandum on parity at the University of Bonn with a view to Breslau and the other Prussian universities. A contribution to the history of German universities in the nineteenth century . Herder'sche Verlagshandlung, Freiburg im Breisgau 1862, p. 94 digitized
  10. FamilySearch
  11. ^ List of members Leopoldina, Philipp Joseph von Rehfues
  12. ^ Title page: Letters from a traveler from England and France . Vol. 1.
  13. ^ August Goetz: The first curator of the Bonn University .
  14. ^ Directory of staff and students for the winter half-year 1835/36 , Bonn 1835.
  15. ^ Rehfuesstraße in the Bonn street cadastre
  16. Rehfues sent Goethe, as one of the most competent judges of the age , his first speech to the German people on January 15, 1814, Goethe replied on February 7, 1814 that Rehfues had "very much connected him by the early communication of your patriotic writing". Freiherr vom Stein writes Rehfues on January 25, 1814: “The speeches to the German people are written in an excellent spirit and in a dignified, noble language. I wish your well-born caused the possible distribution through a numerous edition, very cheap prices and sales in Germany and the German departments. "
  17. According to the Berlin State Library, August Wilhelm Rehberg has been identified as the author. The work was first published anonymously in Minerva magazine in 1835.
  18. "Rehfues gave his new Medea a novel, the invention of which lags behind the Sciopio, but again revealed poetic abilities that had hardly been available to an editor of the historical novel in Germany". Karl Ferdinand Gutzkow: Writings. Vol. II . Edited by Adrian Hummel. Zweiausendeins, Frankfurt am Main 1998 ISBN 3-86150-279-8 , p. 1225.


  • Philipp Joseph von Rehfues . In: New Nekrolog der Deutschen , Voigt-Verlag, Weimar, 1843, pp. 915–920 digitized
  • Karl Gutzkow: From time and life . Brockhaus, Leipzig 1844, pp. 397-416
  • Meyer's Groschen library of the German Classics for all levels. 329. Ribbon. Rehfues. With biography , Bibliographical Institute, Hildburghausen [approx. 1871] digitized
  • Meyers Konversations-Lexikon from 1888, p. 670 f.
  • Alexander Kaufmann: In memory of Philipp Joseph von Rehfues as a mediator between the intellectual life of Germany and Italy . In: Italia , edited by J. Hillebrand, Vol. 3. Leipzig 1878
  • Alexander Kaufmann: Philipp Joseph von Rehfues, a picture of life . In: “Journal for Prussian History and Regional Studies”, vol. 18, March-April 1881, pp. 89–224
  • Alexander KaufmannRehfues, Philipp Joseph von . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 27, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1888, pp. 590-595.
  • Meyers Konversations-Lexikon. An encyclopedia of general knowledge . 4. Completely redesigned. Ed. 13th Vol. Phlegon - Rubinstein . Leipzig 1889, pp. 670-671
  • Ewald Hofer: Sir Walter Scott's influence on Ph. J. v. Rehfues' novel "Scipio Cicala" . Mährisch Weißkirchen 1909 (school program document)
  • Ludwig Bartel: Philipp Joseph von Rehfues as a travel writer and epic poet . In: "Yearbook of the Philosophical Faculty of Würzburg", 1920/21, Vol. I, pp. 141–145 (excerpt from the philosophical dissertation at the University of Würzburg from 1921)
  • Franz Krudewig: Philipp Joseph von Rehfues as a publicist , Weimar, Siegburg 1921 (University of Bonn, dissertation, 1921 (excerpt))
  • Hans Gerhardt: One hundred years of the Bonn Corps. The corps-historical development of the Bonner SC from 1819 to 1918 , Frankfurt am Main 1926
  • Ilse-Eva Heilig: Philipp Joseph von Rehfues. A contribution to the history of German novels and to the development of Germany's intellectual relations with Italy at the end of the 18th and early 19th centuries . Plischke, Breslau 1941 (dissertation from the University of Breslau, 1941)
  • August Goetz: Philipp Joseph von Rehfues. The first curator of the University of Bonn . In: "Kölnische Zeitung", October 17, 1943
  • Wilhelm Ferdinand Rehfus: 400 years of tribal history of the Philipp Joseph von Rehfues family, Bonn and additions to the Rehfus families, Kehl a. Rh. And Ebingen, also Rehfuß family table , Höfen ad Enz. (1950)
  • Karla Johns: A Tübingen man in Prussian service. Philipp Johann von Rehfues 1779-1843 . In: "Tübinger Blätter" , Tübingen 1956, pp. 13–19 digitized
  • Fritz Blaser: Who printed the “European Magazine” of the politician Philipp Joseph Rehfues? . In: "Gutenberg-Jahrbuch", Vol. 33 (1958), pp. 211–215
  • Gottfried Stein von Kamienski: Bonn curators 1818 to 1933 . In: Karl Th. Schäfer: Constitutional history of the University of Bonn. 1818 to 1960 , Bouvier, Bonn 1968
  • Rehfues, Philipp Joseph von . In: Literature Lexicon. Authors and works in the German language , ed. by Walther Killy . Vol. 9. Bertelsmann-Lexikon-Verlag, Gütersloh 1991, ISBN 3-570-04679-6 , pp. 340–341
  • Rolf Vollmann: Philipp Joseph Rehfues in Tübingen. "The hours flew by quickly ..." , Deutsche Schillergesellschaft, Marbach am Neckar 1998, ISBN 3-929146-80-0
  • Rehfues, Philipp Joseph von . In: Deutsche Biographische Enzyklopädie , edited by Walther Killy and Rudolf Vierhaus , Saur, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-423-59053-X , p. 191

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