William German Maurer

As I research, some snippets of information remain tantalisingly elusive. That’s the lure of history, as far as I am concerned. One such example is that of the poet, William Maurer, or G. Maurer, who lived with Colonel Thorn at Rue de Varenne for six and a half years as tutor to his children.

Maurer was an intellectual from an early age who had the good fortune to attend university in Berlin. He studied philosophy under Hegel, law under Eduard Gans, geology under von Raumer, and philology under Franz Bopp, Karl Lachman, von der Hagen and others. Graduating as a Professor of Literature and Languages, he was attracted to the cultural epicentre of the world, and the July Monarchy, and moved to Paris in the 1830’s.

Jane Mary (Thorn) de Pierres

There, he leveraged his intellect working as a teacher, and ended up at the Thorn’s in 1836 after a three year stint studying at the College of France. He described Thorn’s home as “the rendezvous of the most celebrated statesmen, diplomatists, journalists, authors, and artists, located in Paris…” His appointment was as preceptor to two of Colonel Thorn’s sons (James and Alfred? Or Alfred and Eugene?), but it must have extended to the girls as well, as Jane Mary (Thorn) de Pierres is specifically mentioned as one of his pupils.

When he finally left Thorn’s service – after some time spent with his own literary engagments, rubbing shoulders with Madame Nesbet, Count Berthier, Lord Clifford et al. – he returned to Germany and was imprisoned and then exiled as a political activist, despite lack of evidence. Below is a list of his works, which were restored to Germany after his exile.

I cannot find an image of Maurer anywhere, or indeed any information on him on Google Books. His works doesn’t seem to have been translated of recent times either. If anyone else happens on information about him, I would be grateful for the lead.

This is the man charged with educating my great, great grandmother. He also lived with the Thorns as one of the family. I would love to know more.

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