Dean of the Philosophy Faculty, Most Considerable and Respect-Worthy Senior, and You, My Most Eminent and Outstanding Professors and Esteemed Supporters!
Both in the aim of serving the state, and also, in particular, because there is a pressing need (I am, namely, indigent), I have, as it behooves a man and to the extent that it is my duty, zealously worked at both the University of Wittenberg and that of Halle, in teaching and often debating philosophy both in my home and publicly.
Thus, my Sirs, who are at the forefront of knowledge, in the trust, indeed, that the same will be permitted to me, I beseech you with indebted esteem to allow me to pursue knowledge myself in this famous place of the muses.
In thanks for this permission, if it should kindly be extended to me, instead of a mere personal acknowledgment I will never cease to pray to the Divine Majesty that you, my honored supporters, should always remain in the most desirable good fortune.
Delivered in Jena, in the Year of our Lord 1739, on June 27.
Anton Wilhelm Amo, the African, Master and Docent of Philosophy and of the Liberal Arts and Candidate of Law.
2. Friedrich Andreas Hallbauer, Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, to his colleagues:
Magnificent Protector of the Academy, Venerated Senior of the Philosophical Order, and other Most Excellent Professors, Patrons, and Much-Honored Colleagues.
Mr. Anton Wilhelm Amo the African, Master of Philosophy and Arts and Candidate of Law, has asked that he be permitted, as has happened in Halle and in Wittenberg, to teach and dispute in philosophy. He is not nostrified, and thus must first obtain his nostrification. On his own he does not have the funds for this.
Should his request be granted, he would either have to be nostrified at no cost, or the cost should be suspended until such time as he gains earnings here; or he should be permitted provisionally to teach, until we can see whether he receives steady applause, in which case he should be allowed to be officially nostrified. I will be pleased if you are of the same view, and I remain with continual
For My Most-Esteemed Patrons
Friedrich Andreas Hallbauer, Dean
Jena, June 29, 1739
3. Reports from members of the Faculty of Philosophy in response to Hallbauer's proposal:
Mister Amo has earned our commiseration for various reasons, so that he should be extended our favor before others: (1) in his early childhood he was taken from another part of the world; (2) he has turned from paganism to the Christian religion; (3) he has been entirely cut off and abandoned by his family and their associates, and thus (4) possesses nothing other than what he earns through his own industriousness. Since he does not wish to beg, but rather seeks to feed himself in an honest way, we should plainly help him to the extent possible. And thus I will be very happy if he were to be helped out with the cost of his nostrification, until he is able to see whether he gains applause here, which will soon become clear. Thus two terms could be allotted to him, the first at Easter and the second at Michaelmas, 1740, and if he stays this long and wishes to continue teaching he should pay half the amount each term. To this end he must (1) show his diploma indicating that he has been duly promoted to the rank of Master; (2) not make any public appearances until he has held a disputation, however brief it may be, and thus gains his habilitation, as membership in our Orders reqires. He would also have done well to have included the disputations that he, according to his statements, has already held.
If a person wants the slightest thing to be granted to him, he must go around to all of the members of our faculty, so that people can get to know him and see whether he is worthy of this benefit. But this Amo pretends to very much in vain, so that I am unable to learn about his circumstances. I am thus also unable to vote.
Like Mr. Kirchen Rath Wiedburg...
I would very much like to allow him into my profession and discipline, if the Much-Honored Faculty has no misgivings. That he has neglected to go to certain members of the Faculty in person, I believe, is a result of lack of knowledge [that this is what one should do]. This license to teach is a permitted anomaly, for the Much-Honored Faculty will deal with similar cases [in the future].
J. P. Reusch
4. Hallbauer's response:
On July 8 Mister Anton Wilhem Amo, the African, a Moor brought up by the eminent Duke of Brunswick, was given a response to the letter he sent on the 29th of the previous month, namely, that his nostrification will be granted, but that he must pay the requisite money, namely, 10 taler for Easter and the same amount for Michaelmas, in the coming year, 1740, if he is able otherwise to earn it by teaching and is able to gain applause. He is very happy with this.
Friedrich Andreas Hallbauer
5. Amo's announcement for his first lecture course:
With Utmost Confidentiality
To Brothers in Arms of all Orders
To the Most Decorated, Most Noble and Learned
Tomorrow, 17 July
2 PM and 3 PM
Physiognomy, parts of the more elegant and curious philosophy; chiromancy; geomancy, commonly known as the art of divination; purely natural astrology, which is opposed to cryptography; dechifratory, or the art of deciphering, which is opposed to the superstitions of the common people and of the ancients, cut down and rejected by all people, and to those things that are the less commended by their ambiguity: I will be covering these topics clearly, solidly, and exhaustively over the course of the whole term, with diligent application, in the aim of more prudently fostering life in the political state.
Anton Wilhelm Amo, the African,
Master of Philosophy, Docent