Danzig Notables -- Christian Gabriel Fischer

Christian Gabriel Fischer was born into a Königsberg merchant family in 1686. At the university in Königsberg he studied theology and oriental languages. After he began teaching there, his area of expertise grew to include the natural sciences. In 1715 he became ausserordentlicher Professor of physics. Around this time or not much later he became interested in the rationalism of Christian Wolff and in 1721 lectured on Wolff's "Vernünftige Gedanken". Soon he introduced rationalism and the experimental method into his lectures on science. He would have met the student Johann Christoph Gottsched there. Fischer identified himself with Wolff's method in 1723 in his text Quaestio philosophica. This brought him into conflict with local pietists, and in 1725 when Wolff was forced, through the influence of pietists, to leave his teaching post and the city of Halle within a matter of hours, Fischer suffered the same fate in Königsberg.

Fischer fled to Danzig, where, with the permission of municipal authorities (Lutherans), he held public lectures. He was also employed by Jacob Theodor Klein in the ordering of his extensive collection of natural objects. He was then employed to accompany two young residents of Danzig (Nathanael Jakob Gerlach and Samuel Huwert) on their tour of Europe. During this tour the three visited Leipzig, meeting with Johann Christoph Gottsched and obviously reporting on the intellectual climate in Danzig. In the wake of this visit Gottsched wrote Luise Kulmus requesting samples of her poetry for publication in an anthology of Prussian verse. This was their initial contact. In 1736 Fischer's wife secured permission for him to return to Königsberg, where he lived as a private citizen until his death in 1751.