Letter:GAUSS, Oscar W. to Eugene Gauss - 1865-09-06

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From GAUSS, Oscar William (1842 - 1918)
To GAUSS, Eugene (1811 - 1896)
Date: 06 Sep 1865
Family(s) Gauss
Collection Minna Gauss Reeves collection
Needs annotation: Yes

Berlin Sept. 6th 1865

Dear uncle

You doubtless know that I have made a tour of three weeks through the country and that I have returned from letters written home. The weather here just now is delightful; very much like our indian summer. The fall generally however is not so pleasant as with us. The days are very perceptibly shorter and winter is fast drawing near. How the times passes away! already five months from home! It seems almost incredible. Henry has been home I suppose since the beginning of August. Why don't he write? He certainly received my letter written in the first week of June. From all others I have heard very often; from he and Frank however not a word has reached me. Frank I know got my letter, which was written also in the first week of June. What is he going to do this winter? -- I was very sorry to learn from Uncas and also from John that Theodore was so unwell. I trust he is by this time perfectly well again. Here in Berlin it has been very healthy all summer; in Italy however and in the southern part of France the cholera has been very severe. There were a few cases here while I was away I believe, but I hear nothing of it now at all. I am unable to attend the hospital during vacation; the attending physisian is not obliging enough to let the students who remain in the city go through the wards with him. But I have commenced a course of microscopical anatomy which will occupy me for this month id not longer. Next month I'll also take a course in the diagnosis of chest diseases, which will continue four weeks. In November the regular semester begins. Thus I have my time very comfortably filled up until the usual course comes on. I do not yet certainly know what clinics I'll take; there are so many that I cannot take all. In reference to one clinic I am determined, but not with regard to the others. I shall take an obstetrical clinic, because I have never had an opportunity in St. Louis of seeing any thing of the kind. The public mind there will not yet tolerate this. Here the students can act as accouchuers themselves under the guidance of the Professor. Besides this I would like to take Grafe's clinic for eyes, Laugenbeck's for surgery, Traube's and Frerichs' for general diseases. Then there is Virchon who holds a very valuable course of lectures on pathology. Which to reject and which to take I yet have not decided. Those that I do not take here I can take elsewhere. Dr. Pope advised me to take a private course in practical surgery in Paris. The latter is now I suppose on his way home; he told me when here that he would leave Liverpool in the latter part of August. do you still have in view to sell your place and leave Missouri? The new constitution has indeed made things very bad there. One of the saddest evils is in regard to the church. I may be answered it is very easy to talk when I am not personally concerned, yet I do not think that the ministers ought to take that oath neither ought they to stop preaching. Dr Anderson wrote me that he was not decided what to do in the matter. He had not convicted himself to any course of action. I am anxious to hear what will result from this confusion. Zion's future does indeed look black and we are tempted to say in despair - 'Who will show us any good? Lord lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us; and it is enough. His countenance can drive away all these clouds in a moment.

Sept. 7th 1865

I have just returned from a long walk and will finish this letter before going to bed. As I was going to dinner to day I met a friend and we made an engagement to go to a garden in the suburbs of Berlin. We went out about 5, and it is now 9. The Germans think a great deal more of their pleasure than Americans. How could businessmen on Main street think of going out to such a garden so early as 5 P.M.! Yet I found many here this afternoon.--

I have taken a seat in the church that I attend. There is a great difference in the prices for such things between here and America. The expenses of the church, minister's salary, &c. are partly paid out of this income with us. Here however it seems not to be the case. Ministers are officers so to speak of the government. One seat costs 1 Thl. per year. It is pleasantr if one can always have a place to go to and need not feel that he is incommoding others. I called upon the pastor of the church last Monday. He received me very kindly and promised to call on me. I hope he will do so. Next Sunday I shall take part in the Communion there for the first time since I am here. The Lord's supper is celebrated every two weeks. The preachers generally are I believe awakened christians. Yet they have views in relation to their political standing with which I do not coincide. They seem to consider it their duty to take a decided stand against the democrats and for the conservatives. The two great parties here are conservatives and democrats; the former for the king and the old institutions, and the latter for freedom and against all such distinctions as royalty and nobility make. Uncle Nilmack says he does not think politics ought to be brought into the pulpit; yet he does not seem to regard this as a political question. The church is maintained by the government and therefore must maintain the government against all opposers. In my view the church ought not to take either side of this question, but simply hold forth the Gospel. Uncle Nilmck is just now in a great trouble with his congregation in reference to baptism. The old form of baptism here is so that the godparents in the name of the child renounce the devil and his works. The people have learned to imitate learned sceptics and say that there is no such thing as a devil, and do not wish to have their children baptized in the old way. The synod came together and discussed this matter. They determined to bring forth another from which proceeded as though the godparents had promised to renounce the devil and his works, though they did not do so. Formerly they said in so many words - 'we renounce the devil and his works.' In the new form they are simply asked if they are willing to have the child baptized, and then the minister goes on to say - 'having renounced the devil and his works we baptize &c.' Pastor N very truly says that this is hypocrisy before God and refuses to baptize in this way. His people are very much opposed to him on this account and the synod regards him as resisting higher authority. He says it is against his conviction to act in this way, and he will not do it. Most all others comply with their congregations and this law of the synod, though they believe in the existence of the devil as a personal agent in the world. This trouble affects of course, only the churches in Hannover. Formerly the peasants felt very near to the whole family I believe; the few days that I was there however they manifested a spirit of hostility. They would scarcely speak to any member of the family. Though there was no one at home but my aunt and one of her daughters, no body came near the house. It is difficult to say what will become of the matter. He is determined to act as his conscience dictates.--

I do not believe I have mentioned in any of my letters that there is being published a new edition of grandfather's works. Uncle Joseph receives them for you and pa and waid that he would send them, as many volumes as were ready, when I return. He (uncle J.) says he cannot read them, neither does he expect that you and pa can do so; they are written in Latin. yet it is interesting to have them. Give my best love to aunt, aunt Gee and the rest.

Your loving nephew, O.W.Gauss.


Handwritten original in the private collection of the Chambless family. Transcribed to softcopy by Susan D. Chambless, January 8, 2000.

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