Karl van Beethoven, Ludwig's younger brother, in Article V of his last will of November 14, 1815, had written thusly: "I make my brother Ludwig van Beethoven the guardian of my son Karl since my greatly beloved brother has helped me so often with truly brotherly love in the most magnanimous and generous fashion that he will in the future transfer the love so often shown me as well as the friendship to my son Karl and that I expect with full confidence and in full reliance on his noble heart; I trust that he will do everything in his power for the mental education of my son and for his further career and I know that my brother will not refuse this my request."
KARL VAN BEETHOVEN AS CADET (1806-1858) Portrait, unsigned When his brother died, Ludwig assumed the guardianship of his nephew Karl. He took these duties most seriously and decided to remove Karl from the bad influences of his mother. He soon regarded him as his own son. In 1817 and 1818 he placed him in the Vienna boarding house Giannatasio del Rio, in 1819 in the Pensionat Blöchlinger. Infuriated over these measures, Karl's mother was so provoked that she started endless suits against her brother-in-law, a cause of greatest sorrow to Beethoven. It is only fair to add that the conduct of the boy was never satisfactory and that the concern of his guardian was fully justified. Beethoven, despite the many inconveniences his nephew caused him, nevertheless retained a passionate affection for him, even though the great sacrifices which he imposed upon himself as the quasi-father were not justified by the boy's behavior. ( National Library, Vienna)
A LETTER OF BEETHOVEN TO HIS NEPHEW KARL (May 17, 1825) This short letter from Baden begins: "Dear son . . ." and ends with the words: "Your good and faithful father." In the letter Beethoven asks his nephew to send him some chocolate. ( National Library, Vienna)
LETTER OF BEETHOVEN TO DR. SMETTANA (August, 1826) When his nephew Karl tried to commit suicide Beethoven sent a special delivery letter to the physician: "A great disaster has taken place . . . Karl has a bullet in his head . . . come fast, for heaven's sake, make it fast . . ." (Beethovenhaus, Bonn)
JOHANN VAN BEETHOVEN, A YOUNG BROTHER OF LUDWIG (1776-1848) Portrait by Leopold Gross In contrast to his older brothers, Johann had succeeded in acquiring a certain fortune. He lived as apothecary for a period in Linz and later bought a farm in Gneixendorf near Vienna. ( National Library, Vienna)
A LETTER OF JOHANN VAN BEETHOVEN TO HIS NEPHEW KARL (June 10, 1825) In this letter he gives his nephew some advice and refers him to all the good things his uncle and guardian Ludwig had done for him. At the beginning of the second page he writes: "If you, however, think of all the things your uncle has already done for you you must realize that he has spent probably in excess of 10,000 florins in your behalf, and what trouble and sorrows have you caused him! When one is young one does not see such things, but you will understand it much better as you get older . . ." ( City Library, Vienna)