Entering the university of Erlangen in 1843, he soon began to devote his attention to the history of the German language and literature, and in 1848 went to Munich, where he remained five years, and diligently availed himself of the use of the government library for the purpose of prosecuting his historical studies.
The Praefatio begins by stating that the emperor Ludwig the Pious, desirous that his subjects should possess the word of God in their own tongue, commanded a certain Saxon, who was esteemed among his countrymen as an eminent poet, to translate poetically into the German language the Old and New Testaments.
He was neither to introduce foreign troops into the country, nor to allow a foreigner to command German soldiers; he must use the German language and every diet must meet on German soil.
Existing classifications, however, do not take account of any difference in kind between mountain and hills, although it is common in the German language to speak of Hiigelland, Mittelgebirge and Hochgebirge with a definite significance.
The German language was again exclusively used in all schools and government offices, all Bohemian newspapers were suppressed, and even the society of the Bohemian museum - a society composed of Bohemian noblemen and scholars - was for a time only allowed to hold its meetings under the supervision of the police.
The geographical limits of the German language thus do not quite coincide with the German frontiers.
He was also made extraordinary professor of the German language and literature at that university in 1830, and ordinary professor in 1835; but he was deprived of his chair in 1842 in consequence of his Unpolitische Lieder (1840-1841), which gave much offence to the authorities in Prussia.
Here he became an instructor in German at Harvard in 1825, and in 1830 obtained an appointment as professor of German language and literature there; but his anti-slavery agitation having given umbrage to the authorities, he forfeited his post in 1835, and was ordained Unitarian minister of a chapel at Lexington in Massachusetts in 1836.