In 1859 he enrolled at Leipzig University, and in 1861, at Baden-Baden, endeavored to kill king William I of Prussia by firing two shots from a pistol, at a distance of three paces. However, the monarch suffered only a slight injury of the neck. The assailant, in a letter found upon him, stated as his motive the conviction that William was unapt of the task of uniting Germany. The assailant was sentenced to twenty years' imprisonment, but was pardoned by William, and released in 1866, with the stipulation that he should leave the German Confederation forever. He lived in Chicago for some time, and subsequently went to Alexandria, Egypt, where he died.