On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of attending a research forum at the Hessian State Archives in honor of Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Klaus Malettke’s 80th birthday. The theme was security and security policy in the Age of Louis XIV, including presentations on borders, mail security, confessionalization, and “German liberties.” The presenters were professors and graduate students from various universities in Germany and France.
The presentations were held in the beautiful “Landgrafensaal” in the state archives, a room dominated by portraits of the landgraves (and some of their wives) of Hessen through its history. Beneath each portrait, glass cases contain facsimile reproductions of interesting papers about their reigns which are held by the archives. For “my” Landgrave, Friedrich II, the selection is comprised of draft pages of his anonymously-distributed tract on “princes, ministers, and states,” a piece heavily influenced by the Enlightenment. Under the portrait of his son, Landgrave Wilhelm IX and later Kurfürst Wilhelm I, is a copy of a proclamation distributed after the restitution of the Hessian landgraviate in 1813/4, when the Wars of Liberation forced Jerome Bonaparte from his newly-minted Westphalian throne.