Karl-Ludwig Sand HTML version

Karl-Ludwig Sand
On the 22nd of March, 1819, about nine o'clock in the morning, a young man, some
twenty-three or twenty-four years old, wearing the dress of a German student, which
consists of a short frock-coat with silk braiding, tight trousers, and high boots, paused
upon a little eminence that stands upon the road between Kaiserthal and Mannheim, at
about three-quarters of the distance from the former town, and commands a view of the
latter. Mannheim is seen rising calm and smiling amid gardens which once were
ramparts, and which now surround and embrace it like a girdle of foliage and flowers.
Having reached this spot, he lifted his cap, above the peak of which were embroidered
three interlaced oak leaves in silver, and uncovering his brow, stood bareheaded for a
moment to feel the fresh air that rose from the valley of the Neckar. At first sight his
irregular features produced a strange impression; but before long the pallor of his face,
deeply marked by smallpox, the infinite gentleness of his eyes, and the elegant
framework of his long and flowing black hair, which grew in an admirable curve around
a broad, high forehead, attracted towards him that emotion of sad sympathy to which
we yield without inquiring its reason or dreaming of resistance. Though it was still early,
he seemed already to have come some distance, for his boots were covered with dust;
but no doubt he was nearing his destination, for, letting his cap drop, and hooking into
his belt his long pipe, that inseparable companion of the German Borsch, he drew from
his pocket a little note-book, and wrote in it with a pencil: "Left Wanheim at five in the
morning, came in sight of Mannheim at a quarter-past nine." Then putting his note-book
back into his pocket, he stood motionless for a moment, his lips moving as though in
mental prayer, picked up his hat, and walked on again with a firm step towards
This young Student was Karl-Ludwig Sand, who was coming from Jena, by way of
Frankfort aid Darmstadt, in order to assassinate Kotzebue.
Now, as we are about to set before our readers one of those terrible actions for the true
appreciation of which the conscience is the sole judge, they must allow us to make them
fully acquainted with him whom kings regarded as an assassin, judges as a fanatic, and
the youth of Germany as a hero. Charles Louis Sand was born on the 5th of October,
1795, at Wonsiedel, in the Fichtel Wald; he was the youngest son of Godfrey
Christopher Sand, first president and councillor of justice to the King of Prussia, and of
Dorothea Jane Wilheltmina Schapf, his wife. Besides two elder brothers, George, who
entered upon a commercial career at St, Gall, and Fritz, who was an advocate in the
Berlin court of appeal, he had an elder sister named Caroline, and a younger sister
called Julia.
While still in the cradle he had been attacked by smallpox of the most malignant type.
The virus having spread through all his body, laid bare his ribs, and almost ate away his
skull. For several months he lay between life and death; but life at last gained the upper