(No exact date) [Chronik, p 409, dates this as "after 7th May".]

"About the War"


..with particular reference as to how it affects us here, or rather, as it seems to himself. For the French Revolution and the present war has here, as in all places in the whole of Switzerland, if not in all parts of the world, made such a stir, and caused so much talk, that no pen is capable of describing it. [...] In my fatherland people are now forming two parties, and perhaps now a third, as in all places where I have been. It can also hardly be otherwise in a country where two religious parties live promiscuously with each other, where there are monasteries and clergy of two or maybe three kinds. Yet so have I perceived it in the whole of Switzerland. Even where only one religion is the custom, there are still differing opinions in respect of the French. And I believe that in Germany and in all other kingdoms and republics it is the same. But what great, invaluable good fortune it is for our dear Confederation, that our rulers are so far agreed with each other to keep the most exact neutrality. [...]

But it has certainly set off factions and disturbances of the peace. No, a Hand that guides all has secured peace for us. A good Genius, a lucky star still hovers over our horizon, in spite of the mobs of ignorant people eager for plunder. For of that kind there are plenty everywhere, whose dearest wish is that rebellions might break out here and there, so, as they say, to make a fine opportunity for them to rob the hives, the rich people, the priests and the monasteries, of their honey. Let them go on waiting. So long as clever and just authorities rule, there is no danger. O would that our people would recognise the luck that we have enjoyed so far, they would stop complaining!

Yet I wanted also to set down a little sample of what is being talked about in our clubs concerning the affairs of France. But I am so sick and tired of discussions of the subject, that I am beginning to avoid all company in which French affairs are spoken of and discussed. For in the end all that comes out of it is stupid, silly stuff. The highly educated and great ones of our part of the world may perhaps have misjudged the true situation. So what should we Toggenburg folk judge correctly about it. Of course we have the news from newspapers from there in common with all of Helvetia and Germany, so our judgement must be as good according to this information as any of our neighbours'..." [Voellmy, v 2, pp 274-276]

11th Feb. Susanna Barbara's wedding-day. Bräker laments that it involved the same sort of bickering as Anna Katharina's had done, and that he cannot really afford to give a dowry for the bride. [Chronik, p 407]

The Chronik [pp 407-408] adds that around this time Bräker writes that he has for some time been looking round for possible sources of income. He thinks that printed "Indian" cottons and handkerchiefs might be profitable, because there are only two such manufactures in the region. Now he hopes also to profit from his new son-in-law's knowledge and experience in textiles. But the two existing firms manage to prevent Johannes Zwicky from founding another, because he is a "foreigner", that is, not born in the Toggenburg. This situation is all the more galling in that one of the manufacturers, Zuber, is his friend. So Bräker rents half a house near Lichtensteig for four years and together with his son-in-law begins to set up in business. By mid-March Bräker is doing so much work in the new factory that he has no time for reading or writing, and is relying on drink to keep himself going.

20th Mar. Bräker writes to Füssli about his new business. Füssli has helped him pay off the loan from Abraham Steger, but he has been obliged to borrow from him again, Bräker asks Füssli to use his influence with Steger not to press for payment until the present crisis is over. [Chronik,


The First Coalition War. The reign of terror in France was further polarising opinion in other countries, and the French army, now described as "the French nation in arms" was feared throughout Europe.