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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 December 2020

Vanderbilt University
Department of History, Vanderbilt University, 2301 Vanderbilt Place, PMB 351802, Nashville,


Historians have recently shown how the concept of ‘sustainability’ (Nachhaltigkeit) first emerged through statist ambitions to enfold nature into political economy in eighteenth-century Germany. Shifting the focus from forestry to mining, this article draws upon the case of Prussian mining official Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) and the ‘Mining School’ he founded in Bad Steben to argue that sustainable resource management also entailed the strict discipline of labour relations and a programme of ‘psychological policy’. Humboldt's Mining School sought to address administrative concerns about ‘Raubbau’ – the rash exploitation of mineral resources ‘without consideration for the future’ – by cultivating a new generation of mine foremen loyal to the state and schooled in its protocol. Ostensibly, Humboldt wished to purge the industry of ‘superstitious’ folk knowledge that undermined the state's commitment to long-term exploitation. Yet analysis of mining songs and sagas suggests a striking analogy between official and vernacular understandings of resource extraction as an ethical matter. Thus, the environmental alarms sounded by German miners around 1800 were triggered by transgressions of a social nature; and political concerns about social order in the ‘mining state’ were constitutive of material concerns about natural resources.

Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press.

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This article owes a tremendous debt to the careful readings of three anonymous reviewers, as to the editors at the Historical Journal. I am deeply grateful for the insight and encouragement I received from David Blackbourn, Jean-Michel Johnston, Johnathon Speed, Richard Hölzl, and Dana Beltaji while writing this article, and for the assistance of kind and knowledgeable archivists at the Bayerisches Staatsarchiv Bamberg and Bergarchiv Freiberg.


1 Humboldt, Alexander von, ‘Ganz gehorsamstes Promemoria, die Errichtung einer königlichen freien Bergschule zu Steben betreffend’, in Bruhns, Karl, ed., Alexander von Humboldt: Eine wissenschaftliche Biographie, i (Leipzig, 1872), pp. 293–4Google Scholar. All translations are my own unless otherwise indicated.

2 Bayerisches Staatsarchiv Bamberg, preußisches Fürstentum Bayreuth, Kriegs- und Domänenkammer (StABa, KDK), no. 7114, vol. 1, p. 88; no. 7124, p. 465.

3 Hartmann, Carl, Handwörterbuch der Mineralogie, Berg-, und Hütten- und Salzwerkskunde, ii (Ilmenau, 1825), p. 555Google Scholar.

4 On Raubbau, see Klein, Ursula, Humboldts Preußen: Wissenschaft und Technik im Aufbruch (Darmstadt, 2015), p. 77Google Scholar; Baumgärtel, Hans, Bergbau und Absolutismus: Der sächsische Bergbau in der zweiten Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts und Maßnahmen zu seiner Verbesserung nach dem Siebenjährigen Kriege (Leipzig, 1963), pp. 63–4Google Scholar. Raubbau was later evoked to disparage certain agricultural practices, as documented in Jones, Elizabeth B., ‘No smoke without fire: moor burning, the environment, and social reform in the German empire, 1866–1914’, Agricultural History, 88 (2014), pp. 207–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

5 E.g. Bergius, Johann, Neues Policey- und Cameral-Magazin, i (Leipzig, 1775), p. 291Google Scholar; Tausch, Joseph, Das Bergrecht des österreichischen Kaisserreiches (Vienna, 1834), p. 290Google Scholar.

6 Tausch, Das Bergrecht, p. 289: ‘Man nennt einen Bau Raubbau, wenn der Bau eilfertig ohne eine gewisse Ordnung und ohne Rücksicht auf dem Bestand der Grube in die Zukunft (Nachhältigkeit) getrieben.’ Sustainability has typically been studied within the context of forestry, yet miners of the period also evoked the term. See Sebastian Felten, ‘Sustainable gains: Dutch investment and bureaucratic rationality in eighteenth-century Saxon mines’, Journal for the History of Knowledge, forthcoming as part of a special issue on Histories of Bureaucratic Knowledge: Global Comparisons, 1200–1900, ed. Sebastian Felten and Christine von Oertzen. Yet it is also important to recognize, with Joachim Radkau, that ‘sustainability’ was ‘only one aspect among others’ in the contemporary language of resource management (Joachim Radkau, Wood: a history, trans. Patrick Camiller (Cambridge, 2012), p. 173).

7 Werner, Dietmar, ed., Bergmannssagen aus dem Erzgebirge (Leipzig, 1985), pp. 94–6Google Scholar; Werner, Dietmar, ed., Bergmannssagen aus dem Harz (Leipzig, 1990), p. 50Google Scholar.

8 Felten, Sebastian, ‘Mining culture, labour, and the state in early modern Saxony’, Renaissance Studies, 34 (2019), pp. 125–38, at pp. 124, 136–8Google Scholar.

9 Humboldt to Carl Freiesleben, 20 Jan. 1794, in Jahn, Ilse and Lange, Fritz, eds., Die Jugendbriefe Alexander von Humboldts, 1787–1799 (Berlin, 1973), p. 311Google Scholar.

10 Warde, Paul, The invention of sustainability: nature and destiny, c. 1500–1870 (Cambridge, 2018), p. 145CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Warde's account also emphasizes how knowledge about the circulation of nutrients in nineteenth-century Germany prompted concern for the permanent degradation of natural systems (ibid., pp. 228–64).

11 Note also the influential, and complementary, argument of Grove, Richard, Green imperialism: colonial expansion, tropical island Edens, and the origins of environmentalism (Cambridge, 1995)Google Scholar.

12 Translation from Hölzl, Richard, ‘Historicizing sustainability: German scientific forestry in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries’, Science as Culture, 19 (2010), pp. 431–60, at p. 438CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See also von Carlowitz, Hans Carl, Sylvicultura Oeconomica oder Haußwirthliche Nachricht und Naturmäßige Anweisung zur Wilden Baum-Zucht (Leipzig, 1713), p. 105Google Scholar.

13 Radkau, Joachim, Nature and power: a global environmental history, trans. Dunlap, Thomas (Cambridge, 2008), p. 139Google Scholar. See also Radkau, Wood, pp. 172–7.

14 Richard Hölzl, ‘Forests in conflict: rural populations and the advent of modern forestry in pre-industrial Germany, 1760–1860’, in K. Jan Oosthoek and Richard Hölzl, eds., Managing northern Europe's forests: histories from the age of improvement to the age of ecology (New York, NY, 2018), pp. 198–223; Hölzl, Richard, Umkämpfte Wälder: Die Geschichte einer ökologischen Reform in Deutschland, 1760–1860 (Frankfurt, 2010)Google Scholar.

15 A pioneering effort to unite labour history and environmental history, which also centres on mining, is Andrews, Thomas G., Killing for coal: America's deadliest labor war (Cambridge, MA, 2008)Google Scholar.

16 The title given to the Mining School's records, ten years after Humboldt left his post, reads: ‘psychologische Polizey, Industrie u. Kunstschulen. Bergschulen’, in StABa, KDK, no. 7114, vol. 2. While this reflects the state's development of ‘industry schools’, psychologische Polizey also referred more broadly to the state's oversight of pedagogy, literature, and religious education. (Consider e.g. Intelligenzblatt der allgemeinen Literatur-Zeitung vom Jahre 1790 (Jena, 1790), p. 501.) Polizei itself – a compound of policy, politics, and police – was a watchword of cameralist administration, as in the common phrase ‘good police’. (See Wakefield, Andre, The disordered police state: German cameralism as science and practice (Chicago, IL, 2009), pp. 910CrossRefGoogle Scholar.) Cameralism was a form of administration in central and northern Europe, which effectively viewed the state and the economy as a single entity and aimed to raise revenue with a heavy hand in domestic manufacturing, protectionist tariffs, and state-sponsored science.

17 Humboldt, ‘Promemoria’, p. 294.

18 ‘The opposite [of Raubbau] is: to build bergmännisch’ (Mineralophilo Freibergensi, Neues und Curieuses Bergwerks-Lexicon (Chemnitz, 1730), p. 504).

19 On vernacular knowledge in the history of science, see Tilley, Helen, ‘Global histories, vernacular science, and African genealogies; or, is the history of science ready for the world?’, Isis, 101 (2010), pp. 110–19CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed.

20 Martínez-Alier, Joan, The environmentalism of the poor: a study of ecological conflicts and valuation (Cheltenham, 2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

21 In Rob Nixon's formulation, ‘the environmentalism of the poor is frequently triggered when an official landscape is forcibly imposed on a vernacular one’ (Nixon, Rob, Slow violence and the environmentalism of the poor (Cambridge, MA, 2013), p. 17Google Scholar).

22 Asmussen, Tina, ‘Wild men in Braunschweig – economies of hope and fear in early modern mining’, Renaissance Studies, 34 (2020), pp. 3156, at p. 3CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Asmussen notes that Gerhard Heilfurth's compendium of mining myths – Bergbau und Bergmann in der deutschsprachigen Sagenüberlieferung Mitteleuropas (Marburg, 1967) – remains an ‘essential reference’ for historians of early modern mining.

23 Krause, Ortrud, ‘Sagenhafter Rammelsberg: Historie, Berggeister und zauberhafte Kräfte in der bergmännischen Erlebniswelt und Volksdichtung’, in Roseneck, Reinhard, ed., Der Rammelsberg: Tausend Jahre Mensch-Natur-Technik, ii (Goslar, 2001), pp. 1433Google Scholar; Fors, Hjalmar, The limits of matter: chemistry, mining, and Enlightenment (Chicago, IL, 2015), p. 38Google Scholar.

24 Fors, Limits of matter, p. 39.

25 Dym, Warren Alexander, Divining science: treasure hunting and earth science in early modern Germany (Boston, MA, 2011)Google Scholar.

26 Humboldt, ‘Promemoria’, p. 293.

27 Bergius, Neues Policey- und Cameral-Magazin, p. 264.

28 Nicolson, Malcolm, ‘Humboldtian plant geography after Humboldt: the link to ecology’, British Journal for the History of Science, 29 (1996), pp. 289310CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Sachs, Aaron, ‘The ultimate “other”: post-colonialism and Alexander von Humboldt's ecological relationship with nature’, History and Theory, 42 (2003), pp. 111–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Walls, Laura Dassow, ‘Rediscovering Humboldt's environmental revolution’, Environmental History, 10 (2005), pp. 758–60Google Scholar.

29 Sachs, Aaron, The Humboldt Current: nineteenth-century exploration and the roots of American environmentalism (New York, NY, 2006), pp. 351–2Google Scholar.

30 Relatedly, Laura Dassow Walls locates the origins of Humboldt's ‘proto-ecological view’ of New Spain in contemporary notions of political economy, in the broad sense of economy derived from the Greek oikonomia, that is, ‘household management’ (Walls, Laura Dassow, The passage of the cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the shaping of America (Chicago, IL, 2009), pp. 122–3CrossRefGoogle Scholar).

31 Klein, Ursula, ‘The Prussian mining official Alexander von Humboldt’, Annals of Science, 69 (2012), pp. 2768CrossRefGoogle Scholar. On the emergence of a technical-administrative elite, see Ursula Klein, Nützliches Wissen: Die Erfindung der Technikwissenschaften (Göttingen, 2016); Hartmut Schleiff and Peter Konečny, eds., Staat, Bergbau und Bergakademie: Montanexperten im 18. und frühen 19. Jahrhundert (Stuttgart, 2013).

32 Frank Holl and Eberhard Schulz-Lüpertz, eds., ‘Ich habe so große Pläne dort geschmiedet…’: Alexander von Humboldt in Franken (Gunzenhausen, 2012); Klein, Humboldts Preußen.

33 Ursula Klein, ‘Alexander von Humboldt – Vater der Umweltbewegung?’, in Achtsamer Umgang mit Ressourcen und miteinander – gestern und heute. Abhandlungen der Humboldt-Gesellschaft für Wissenschaft, Kunst und Bildung e. V., vol. 37, Manuskript des Vortrags, gehalten am 6. Mai 2016 anlässlich der 103. Tagung der Humboldt-Gesellschaft in Freiberg/Sachsen (September 2016), pp. 115–27.

34 On Humboldt's environmental concerns, particularly about wood shortages, see Weigl, Engelhard, ‘Wald und Klima: Ein Mythos aus dem 19. Jahrhundert’, HiN, 5 (2004), pp. 8199Google Scholar; Stottmeister, Ulrich, ‘Umweltgedanken zu Alexander von Humboldt’, HiN, 18 (2017), pp. 7594Google Scholar.

35 Anton von Heynitz as quoted in Baumgärtel, Bergbau und Absolutismus, p. 163. Humboldt himself spoke of a lack of oversight in the mines as a ‘failure of Haushalt’ (Humboldt to Untergebirgische Kammer zu Ansbach, 31 Mar. 1794, in Jahn and Lange, eds., Jugendbriefe, p. 333). This conception of the body politic as a household unit is thoroughly analysed in Roberts, Lissa, ‘Practicing oeconomy during the second half of the long eighteenth century: an introduction’, History and Technology, 30 (2014), pp. 133–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

36 Foremen were divided into Unter- and Obersteiger, who ranked amongst ‘common’ miners and minor administrators respectively. Foremen might also rise to the rank of Geschworner, tasked with supervising multiple mines. But even these figures were hybrid in nature: they performed administrative functions, adjudicating legal disputes for instance, but also carried out on-site mine inspections. Though Humboldt wrote specifically of training foremen, the School's records also include young ‘shift bosses’ (Schichtmeister), the rank of its first instructor, Georg Heinrich Spörl. Shift bosses ranked above, and supervised, foremen. Yet they were also administrators ‘of the Leder’.

37 Reinhold Köhler, ed., Alte Bergmannslieder (Weimar, 1858), pp. 49–50: ‘Glück auf, Glück auf! / der Steiger kommt / und er hat sein Grubenlicht – bei der Nacht – / schon angezündt’.

38 Gerhard Heilfurth, Neuvermehrtes vollständiges Bergliederbüchlein: Eine buntgemischte Singgut-Sammlung aus Mitteldeutschland um 1700 (Hildesheim, 1988), p. 102: ‘Unser Steiger muß vor allen / brechen in die Grube Bahn’.

39 Felten, ‘Mining culture’, pp. 131–3; Wolfgang Lampe, ‘Stuffen-zeichen im Harzer Bergbau’, Ausbeute: Mitteilungsblatt der Arbeitsgemeinschaft Harzer Montangeschichte, 3 (2008), pp. 26–30.

40 Johann Gottlieb Voigt, Bergwerksstaat des Ober- und Unterhaarzes (Braunschweig, 1771), p. 102.

41 Helmuth Trischler, Steiger im deutschen Bergbau: Zur Sozialgeschichte der technischen Angestellten, 1815–1945 (Munich, 1988), pp. 18–19; Felten, Sebastian, ‘The history of science and the history of bureaucratic knowledge: Saxon mining, circa 1770’, History of Science, 56 (2018), pp. 403–31, esp. pp. 421, 424CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

42 Michael Fessner and Christoph Bartels, ‘Von der Krise am Ende des 16. Jahrhunderts zum deutschen Bergbau im Zeitalter des Merkantilismus’, in Christoph Bartels and Rainer Slotta, eds., Geschichte des deutschen Bergbaus, i (Münster, 2012), pp. 453–590; Tina Asmussen, ‘The Kux as a site of mediation: economic practices and material desires in the early modern German mining industry’, in Susanna Burghartz et al., eds., Sites of mediation: connected histories of places, processes, and objects in Europe and beyond, 1450–1650 (Leiden, 2016), pp. 159–82.

43 Jakob Vogel, ‘Auf dem Weg zum “Bergarbeiter”: Zur Sozialgeschichte der bergmännischen Arbeit im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert’, in Wolfhard Weber, ed., Geschichte des deutschen Bergbaus, ii (Münster, 2015), p. 100.

44 Hans-Joachim Kraschewski, ‘Arbeitsorganisation und Sozialstruktur im Rammelsberger Bergbau des 16. bis 18. Jahrhunderts’, in Reinhard Roseneck, ed., Der Rammelsberg: Tausend Jahre Mensch-Natur-Technik, i (Goslar, 2001), pp. 280–91, at p. 290.

45 Trischler, Steiger im deutschen Bergbau, p. 19.

46 Baumgärtel, Bergbau und Absolutismus, p. 64.

47 Hartmann, Handwörterbuch, p. 555.

48 Bergius, Neues Policey- und Cameral-Magazin, p. 264.

49 Pamela H. Smith, ‘Making as knowing: craft as natural philosophy’, in Pamela H. Smith et al., eds., Ways of making and knowing: the material culture of empirical knowledge (New York, NY, 2014), pp. 23–30.

50 Trebra, F. W. H., Erfahrungen vom Innern der Gebirge (Dessau, 1785), pp. 45, 55Google Scholar, Plate IV.

51 E.g. Giobert, M., ‘De la Magnésie de Baudissero en Canavais, Départment de la Doire’, Journal des Mines, 20 (1806), pp. 293–4Google Scholar.

52 Citoyen Baillet et Rambourg, ‘D'un mémoire sur la fabrication des aciers de fonte du department de l'Isère’, Journal des Mines, 1 (1794), p. 6.

53 ‘Freyberg, den 6ten Januar 1830. Königlich Sächsisches Ober-Bergamt’, Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv, Klassik Stiftung Weimar, Bestand Goethe 26 lxvi, 2, 85, p. 178.

54 Warde, Invention of sustainability, p. 205.

55 Hartmann, Handwörterbuch, p. 555.

56 Bergarchiv Freiberg, Sächsisches Staatsarchiv (SächsBergAFG) 40169, no. 1748, pp. 3–4.

57 As quoted in Holl and Schulz-Lüpertz, eds., Humboldt in Franken, p. 58.

58 StABa, KDK, no. 7124, p. 465.

59 This reconstruction draws upon examples of Raubbau and ‘un-minerly’ activity catalogued in SächsBergAFG 40169, no. 119, pp. 8–13; no. 1680, pp. 3–4; no. 1211, pp. 5–6; SächsBergAFG 40010, no. 3349, pp. 205–6; SächsBergAFG 40010–11, no. 3349, p. 207.

60 StABa, KDK, no. 7124, ‘Generalbefahrungsprotokolle für das Revier Lichtenberg-Lauenstein’ (unnumbered).

61 Ursula Klein notes that Humboldt believed foremen lacked authority and worked too closely with the hewers, and that these concerns bespoke greater concerns about fraud amongst foremen. Klein, ‘The Prussian mining official’, pp. 41–2.

62 Liessmann, Wilfred, Historischer Bergbau im Harz (Berlin, 2010), p. 36CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

63 StABa, KDK, no. 7114, vol. 1, pp. 35, 286, 288, 394.

64 Ibid., p. 80.

65 StABa, KDK, no. 7114, vol. 1. The book spans pp. 82–103; quotations are from pp. 82–3, 88.

66 Ibid., pp. 323, 324, 45.

67 Humboldt to Carl Freiesleben, 21 Jan. 1794, in Jahn and Lange, eds., Jugendbriefe, p. 312.

68 See further analysis in Holl and Schulz-Lüpertz, eds., Humboldt in Franken, pp. 62–4.

69 This was the argument of an earlier generation of cameralist literature, as in Christoph Traugott Delius, Anleitung zu der Bergbaukunst nach ihrer Theorie und Ausübung… (Vienna, 1773), p. 2.

70 Humboldt, ‘Promemoria’, p. 293.

71 Heinz Kelbert noted that Humboldt's School took after a Bergschule founded by Anton von Heynitz in Freiberg in 1776 as a subsidiary of the Mining Academy, which was founded by the same Heynitz in 1765. In Freiberg, the top eight students would be admitted into an abbreviated course of study at the Bergakademie. See Kelbert, Heinz, Das Bildungswesen auf den fiskalischen Berg- und Hüttenwerken in Preussen am Ausgang des XVIII. Jahrhunderts (Berlin, 1955), esp. pp. 50–1, 119–30, 144–8Google Scholar.

72 Dingelstedt, Friedrich, Versuch einer Anleitung zur Grubenzimmerung und Mauerung für angehende Bergleute (Schneeberg, 1793), pp. 13, 12, 8Google Scholar.

73 Humboldt, ‘Promemoria’, p. 297.

74 StABa, KDK, no. 7114, vol. 1, p. 42.

75 Brophy, James, Popular culture and the public sphere in the Rhineland, 1800–1850 (Cambridge, 2007), p. 22Google Scholar.

76 Humboldt, Wilhelm von, ‘Wie weit darf sich die Sorgfalt des Staats um das Wohl seiner Bürger erstrecken?’, Neue Thalia, 2 (1792), p. 157Google Scholar.

77 Humboldt, ‘Promemoria’, p. 293; StABa, KDK, no. 7124, p. 465.

78 Voigt, Bergwerksstaat, p. 102.

79 StABa, KDK, no. 7114, vol. 1, p. 88.

80 Humboldt to Carl Freiesleben, 21 Jan. 1794, in Jahn and Lange, eds., Jugendbriefe, p. 311.

81 Laudan, Rachel, From mineralogy to geology: the foundations of a science, 1650–1830 (Chicago, IL, 1987), pp. 8796, 106–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar. On Gebirge and Werner's geognosy, see Rudwick, Martin J. S., Bursting the limits of time: the reconstruction of geohistory in the age of revolution (Chicago, IL, 2005), pp. 8499CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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83 StABa, KDK, no. 7114, vol. 1, pp. 314, 40.

84 Ibid., vol. 2, p. 2.

85 Wakefield, The disordered police state, pp. 141–3.

86 Fors, Limits of matter; Dym, Divining science; Haug, Henrike, ‘In the Garden of Eden? Mineral lore and preaching in the Erzgebirge’, Renaissance Studies, 34 (2020), pp. 5777CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Dym, Warren, ‘Mineral fumes and mining spirits: popular beliefs in the Sarepta of Johann Mathesius (1504–1565)’, Reformation & Renaissance Review, 8 (2006), pp. 161–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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88 22 June 1784, in Gerhard Steiner et al., eds., Georg Forsters Werke, xii (Berlin, 1973), p. 61.

89 12 July 1784, in ibid., p. 77 (emphasis in the original).

90 See Fors, Limits of matter, pp. 99–100.

91 Humboldt, ‘Promemoria’, p. 296; StABa, KDK, no. 7114, vol. 1, p. 80.

92 Heilfurth, Bergbau und Bergmann, p. 176.

93 Werner, ed., Bergmannssagen aus dem Erzgebirge, pp. 92–3.

94 E.g. ibid., pp. 116, 129; Werner, ed., Bergmannssagen aus dem Harz, pp. 99, 121.

95 As quoted in Klein, ‘The Prussian mining official’, p. 42. See also Kelbert, Das Bildungswesen, p. 52.

96 Werner, ed., Bergmannssagen aus dem Harz, pp. 155–8.

97 Krause, ‘Sagenhafter Rammelsberg’, p. 15.

98 Köhler, ed., Bergmannslieder, pp. 84–5.

99 Musäus, Johann, Volksmärchen der Deutschen (Paris, 1837), p. 100Google Scholar.

100 Krause, ‘Sagenhafter Rammelsberg’, pp. 29–32.

101 Werner, ed., Bergmannssagen aus dem Harz, pp. 138–9.

102 Werner, ed., Bergmannssagen aus dem Erzgebirge, p. 154.

103 Werner, ed., Bergmannssagen aus dem Harz, pp. 179, 206.

104 Dietmar Werner, ed., Bergmannssagen aus Thüringen (Leipzig, 1991), pp. 28–9, also pp. 37–8.

105 Rainer Slotta, ‘Der (Silber-) Bergbau als Kunst-Katalysator’, in Bartels and Slotta, eds., Geschichte des deutschen Bergbaus, pp. 591–618.

106 Musäus, Volksmärchen, p. 100.

107 Korb, Wolfgang, ‘Bergschöre und Bergkapellen an der Saar’, in Steegmann, Monica, ed., Musik und Industrie: Beiträge zur Entwicklung der Werkschöre und Werksorchester (Regensburg, 1978), p. 130Google Scholar.

108 Karant-Nunn, Susan C., ‘From adventurers to drones: the Saxon silver miners as an early proletariat’, in Safley, Thomas Max and Rosenband, Leonard N., eds., The workplace before the factory: artisans and proletarians, 1500–1800 (Ithaca, NY, 1993), pp. 96–8Google Scholar.

109 Engelschalln, Johann, Beschreibung der Exulantend- und Bergstadt Johann Georgen Stadt (Leipzig, 1723), p. 190Google Scholar: ‘Nun seyd fröhlich ihr Gewercken’.

110 Köhler, ed., Bergmannslieder, pp. 21, 25–6, 135–6: ‘erfreu den bauenden Gewerken doch’; ‘Seid frölich, ihr Gewerken’; ‘G'werkschaft mag sich wol freuen’.

111 Köhler, ed., Bergmannslieder, p. 160.

112 Werner, ed., Bergmannssagen aus dem Erzgebirge, pp. 144–5.

113 Walker, Mack, German home towns: community, state, and general estate 1648 (2nd edn, Ithaca, NY, 1998), pp. 102, 105, 179–80Google Scholar. See also Grießinger, Andreas, Das symbolische Kapital der Ehre: Streikbewegungen und kollektives Bewußtsein deutscher Handwerksgesellen im 18. Jahrhundert (Berlin, 1985)Google Scholar.

114 Carl Friedrich Ludwig Plümicke, ‘Ehre dem Bergstand’, in Moritz Doering, Sächsische Bergreyhen (Freiberg, 1845), p. 75: ‘Ehre Dir, Bruder Hüttenmann!…Ehre für immer dem Bergmannsstand!’

115 Voigt, Bergwerksstaat, pp. 103–4.

116 Michel Foucault famously described the bestowal of honour as a typical instrument of social discipline in schools and militaries. See Michel Foucault, Discipline and punish: the birth of the prison, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York, NY, 1995), p. 181.

117 Humboldt, ‘Promemoria’, p. 294.

118 Köhler, ed., Bergmannslieder, pp. 39, 84–5: ‘Die bergmännsche Weise gefallt mir sehr wol, / wenn jeder so lebt wie er billich soll, / aufrichtig, gottfürchtig und fleißig dabei, / dieß sind die bergmännischen Tugenden drei’. ‘Gott kann veredlen und aufthun / Einen Spat- und Morgen-Trum, / wie es sich wünschet ein bergmännisch Herz, / mit Glanz, weiß- und rotgülden Erz’.

119 Compare Gosmu, Joseph, ‘Humboldts Umgang mit lokalem Wissen’, HiN, 5 (2004), pp. 517Google Scholar.

120 Deutsches Wörterbuch von Jacob und Wilhelm Grimm (16 vols., Leipzig, 1854–1961), online version, accessed 7 Sept. 2020,

121 Schaffer, Simon, ‘The earth's fertility as a social fact in early modern Britain’, in Teich, Mikuláš, Porter, Roy, and Gustafsson, Bo, eds., Nature and society in historical context (Cambridge, 1997), pp. 124–47, at p. 124Google Scholar.

122 Felten, ‘Mining culture’, p. 124.

123 Humboldt, ‘Promemoria’, p. 293.

124 Ibid., p. 294; as quoted in Oscar Köhl, Zur Geschichte des Bergbaues im vormaligen Fürstentume Kulmbach-Bayreuth (Hof, 1913), p. 126.

125 Humboldt to Carl Freiesleben, 14 Dec. 1795, in Jahn and Lange, eds., Jugendbriefe, p. 474.

126 The ambitions of early modern ‘state space’, and modes of resistance to it, are discussed in Scott, James C., The art of not being governed: an anarchist history of upland Southeast Asia (New Haven, CT, 2009), esp. pp. 4063Google ScholarPubMed.

127 Krause, ‘Sagenhafter Rammelsberg’, p. 32; Werner, ed., Bergmannssagen aus dem Harz, pp. 146–8.