1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Schlözer, August Ludwig von
|←Schlotheim, Ernst Friedrich, Baron von||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 24
Schlözer, August Ludwig von
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SCHLÖZER, AUGUST LUDWIG VON (1735-1809), German historian, was born at Gaggstedt, in the county of Hohenlohe-Kirchberg, on the 5th of July 1735. Having studied theology and oriental languages at the universities of Wittenberg and Göttingen, he went in 1755 as a tutor to Stockholm, and afterwards to Upsala; and while in Sweden he wrote in Swedish an Essay on the General History of Trade and of Seafaring in the most Ancient Times (1758). In 1759 he returned to Göttingen, where he began the study of medicine. In 1761 he went to St Petersburg with Gerhardt Friedrich Müller, the Russian historiographer, as Müller's literary assistant and as tutor in his family. Here Schlözer learned Russian and devoted himself to the study of Russian history. In 1762 a quarrel with Müller placed him in a position of some difficulty from which he was delivered by an introduction to Count Rasumovski, who procured his appointment as adjunct to the Academy. In 1765 he was appointed by the empress Catherine an ordinary member of the Academy and professor of Russian history. In 1767 he left Russia on leave and did not return. He settled at Göttingen, where in 1764 he had been made professor extraordinarius, and doctor honoris causa in 1766, and in 1769 he was promoted to an ordinary professorship. In 1804 he was ennobled by the emperor Alexander I. of Russia and made a privy councillor. He retired from active work in 1805 and died on the 9th of September 1809.
Schlözer's activity was enormous, and he exercised great influence by his lectures as well as by his books, bringing historical study into touch with political science generally, and using his vast erudition in an attempt to solve practical questions in the state and in society. He was “a journalist before the days of journalism, a traveller before that of travelling, a critic of authorities before that of political oppositions.” His most important works were his Allgemeine nordische Geschichte, 2 vols. (Halle, 1772) and his translation of the Russian chronicler Nestor to the year 980, 5 vols. (Göttingen, 1802-1809). He awoke much intelligent interest in universal history by his Weltgeschichte im Auszuge und Zusammenhange, 2 vols. (2nd ed., Göttingen, 1792-1801); and in several works he helped to lay the foundations of statistical science. He also produced a strong impression by his political writings, the Briefwechsel, 10 vols. (1776-1782) and the Staatsanzeigen, 18 vols. (1782-1793).
Schlözer, who in 1769 married Caroline Roederer, daughter of Johann Georg Roederer (1726-1763), professor of medicine at Göttingen and body physician to the king of England, left five children. His daughter Dorothea, born on the 10th of August 1770, was one of the most beautiful and learned women of her time, and received in 1787 the degree of doctor. She was recognized as an authority on several subjects, especially on Russian coinage. After her marriage with Rodde, the burgomaster of Lübeck, she devoted herself to domestic duties. She died on the 12th of July 1825 (see Reuter, Dorothea Schlözer, Göttingen, 1887). Schlözer's son Christian (1774-1831) was a professor at Bonn, and published Anfangsgründe der Staatswirthschaft (1804-1806) and his father's Öffentliches und Privat-Leben aus Originalurkunden (1828). The youngest son, Karl von Schlözer, a merchant and Russian consul-general at Lübeck, was the father of Kurd von Schlözer (1822-1894), the historian and diplomatist, who in 1871 was appointed German ambassador to the United States and in 1882 to the Vatican, when he was instrumental in healing the breach between Germany and the papacy caused by the “May Laws.”
See Zermelo, August Ludwig Schlözer (Berlin, 1875); Wesendonck, Die Begründung der neuern deutschen Geschichtsschreibung durch Gatterer und Schlözer (Leipzig, 1876) and F. Frensdorff in Allgemeine deutsche Biog. vol. xxxi.