Friedrich Wilhelm von Thulemeyer

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Friedrich Wilhelm von Thulemeyer
Thulemeyer German Ambassador (new).jpg
Born (1735-11-09)November 9, 1735
Berlin, Prussia
Died June 6, 1811(1811-06-06) (aged 75)
Berlin, Prussia
Education Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris
Occupation Diplomat in the Hague, Minister in Berlin
Children Frederike Louise

Friedrich Wilhelm von Thulemeyer or Frederick William von Thulemeier was born or baptized on November 9, 1735. He died July 6, 1811, also in Berlin. In 1763 he was sent by Frederick the Great as a diplomat in the Republic of the Seven United Provinces. In 1784/85 he was one of the architects of a trade relations between the US and Prussia.[1] In 1788 he became justice minister under Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia. Of particular importance is - even today - his collection of music prints.[2]


Thulemeyer was the son of Wilhelm Heinrich von Thulemeyer, a royal Prussian Minister of State and War and a member of the Tabakskollegium. His family can be traced back to around 1560, located in the Principality of Lippe.[3] His mother, Ernestine von Schilden, came from Hanover. When his father suddenly died his mother was only 34. The young Thulemeyer was educated at public expense, most probably on the royal Joachimsthalsches Gymnasium, while he was the godson of Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia. Thulemeyer studied law in Frankfurt and was trained by a Mr. Passavant. According to Von Putkamer he moved to Paris after finishing his studies. In 1763 he obtained a post in The Hague. On behalf of Frederick the Great, he was involved to arrange a marriage between the prince William V of Orange and the sixteen-year-old Wilhelmine of Prussia.

Binnenhof, even then the political center of the Netherlands

Thulemeyer was poorly rewarded and had difficulties to pay his expenses.[4] Around 1782 or before he made acquaintance with a rich widow Agatha Theodora Geelvinck (Amsterdam, 1739 - Hanau, 1805) who paid for his expensives.[5] She came from a powerful and very rich family of burgemeesters from Amsterdam and lived almost next to the French Embassy. Both her brothers Nicolaas Geelvinck, Joan Geelvinck and her daughter Constancia van Lynden van Hoevelaken had either close relations with the Patriots or with the stadholder. Frederick the Great did not allow to marry her, may be while his independence was in danger. Thulemeyer did improve his financial situation and moved to an elegant house near the Binnenhof. The rumours about his venality did not diminish.

Thulemeyer had good diplomatic relations. In 1784/1785 Thulemeyer cared for the important trading relationship between Prussia and the United States through his contacts in the Hague John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin in Paris.[6] Thulemeyer dealt with the free ports of Emden and Stettin to set up trade.

Portrait of princess Wilhelmine by
J.F.A. Tischbein

Troubles in the Netherlands[edit]

In the mean time the decisions of the stadholder were amazingly controversial and the prince threatened, in the presence of his wife and Thulemeyer, to leave the country.[7] The stadholdarian family left the Hague and after a year settled down in Nijmegen, not far from the border.[8] The French ambassador Marquis de Vérac, and Thulemeyer conocted a compromise whereby the Stadholder's military functions were replaced by a Council including the Princess, the Pensionaries and leading councillors of both the Patriot and Orangist factions.[9] In October 1786 Johann Eustach of Görtz was sent to The Hague, but temptations in democratic sense, even demanded by both diplomats failed. Thulemeyer requested the patriots should "... moderate the revolution, disband the Free corps and accept a Franco-Prussian mediation even if it meant the return of the Stadholder to The Hague."[10]

Thulemeyer dealt with the British Ambassador James Harris, 1st Earl of Malmesbury, but was not taken into confidence when the princess, at the end of June 1787, tried to travel with two coaches and four chaises to The Hague. Her path was blocked outside Schoonhoven by members of the Free Corps from Gouda. The princess was helt at a farm in Goejanverwellesluis until further advice was received. She and her accompany were treated well and offered wine, beer and tobacco. The princess was told that she could not proceed without permission from Estates of Holland.[11] The princess waited in vain and returned after a day or two, back to her husband.

Within a few days her brother, Frederick William II of Prussia the new king of Prussia, called for satisfaction. It came to an ultimatum and Thulemeyer had to tell the "Staten van Holland" the decision made.[12] On September 13, 1787 when Holland refused to apologize the Dutch Republic was occupied by Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick.

Simon Schama stated: "Thulemeyer was not above a falsification or two. Paid by Finckenstein, the head of the "Francophile" party in Berlin, he had good reason to try to avert war. So, playing the French game of rumour as deterrent, he relayed false information to the King supporting the most pessimistic reports on the Givet Camp."[9] In 1788 Thulemeyer traveled back to Berlin. He was replaced as ambassador by the energetic Graf von Alvensleben.[13][14]

Finally he was paid for his work as an envoy and Thulemeyer bought an estate in Küssow, Kr. Pyritz, Pomerania, currently in the Pyrzyce County in the Polish West Pomeranian Voivodeship. After his death in 1811 his daughter Louise, born from a connection with Eleanor Louise Busse - it is not sure he married her - received legitimacy because of the inheritance.[15]



  1. ^ The Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States of America
  2. ^ Robert Eitner: Thematischer Katalog der von Thulemeier'schen Musikalien-Sammlung. Beilage zu den Monatscheften für Musikgeschichte 1898/99, Leipzig 1898;
    Tobias Schwinger: Die Musikaliensammlung Thulemeier und die Berliner Musiküberlieferung in der zweiten Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts, Ortus-Musikverlag, Beeskow 2006 ISBN 3-937788-08-5 bzw. ISBN 978-3-937788-08-1.
  3. ^ Robert von Blumenthal: Das Geschlecht Thulemeier aus Horn in Lippe. In: Genealogie , Band 36, 1987, pp. 737-757.
  4. ^ Wanda von Puttkamer: Friedrich Wilhelm von Thulemeyer, gezant van Frederik den Grooten in Den Haag (1763-1781). In: Haagsch Maandblad, 1735, Seiten 429-438.
  5. ^ Dépêches van Thulemeyer 1763 - 1788 (1912) In de bewerking van Robert Fruin, ingeleid en aangevuld door H.T. Colenbrander, S. XXV.
  6. ^ Frederick the Great and the United States; Relations That Existed Between the Greatest of the Hohenzollerns and the Statesmen of the Young Republic. By HUGH HASTINGS, STATE HISTORIAN. NY Times, June 15, 1902
  7. ^ H.T. Colenbrander (1898) De patriottentijd. Hoofdzakelijk naar buitenlandsche bescheiden. Deel I 1784-1796, p. 316
  8. ^ Inventaris van het Archief stadhouder Willem V
  9. ^ a b Simon Schama (2005) Patriots and Liberators: Revolution in the Netherlands, 1780-1813, p. 122.
  10. ^ Simon Schama (2005) Patriots and Liberators: Revolution in the Netherlands, 1780-1813, p. 132.
  11. ^ History of Holland, George Edmundson, Chapter XXV: Stadholderate of William V, continued, 1780-1788,
  12. ^ De patriottentijd. Deel 3: 1786–1787
  13. ^ A History of the People of the Netherlands, Petrus Johannes Blok
  14. ^ P.C. von Alvensleben
  15. ^ Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Adelslexikon Band XIV, Seite 427, Band 131 der Gesamtreihe, C. A. Starke Verlag, Limburg (Lahn) 2003, ISBN 3-7980-0831-2.
  16. ^ Berlin State Library - Prussian Cultural Heritage
  17. ^ C.P.E. Bach Concerto in E-Minor, W. 24, Critical Commentary[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ The Online Library of Liberty