An interesting observation about Gauss, the Duke and his neighbors:
When the Duke of Brunswick (Braunschweig) , Carl Wilkelm Ferdinand, has increased the Gauss stipend from 158 Thalers per year to 400 Thalers per year, the reaction of some residents of Brunswik (Braunschweig) was very critical.
"The residents of Brunswick (Braunschweig) were not the only one critical of a pure mathematician. A crank wrote to the editor of the Monthly Correspondence, complaining that if certainly would be nicer if our scientists did something useful instead of all this theoretical nonsense"
Ref. M.B.W. Tent, The Prince of Mathematics, Carl Friedrich Gauss, A.K. Peters, Ltd., 2006, pp. 129.
Obs.: 400 Thalers over 60 pounds (from: W.H. Bruford, Germany in the Eighteenth Century: The Social Background of the Literary Revival, pp. 278)
Gauss to his father:
"... Mathematics is the foundation of science, and my challenge is to explore it in important ways.
... I have not asked the Duke for his support. He has offered it to me because he believes in my work. He believes that it is important." M.B.W. Tent, pp. 119.