Billeder på siden

But the animal man is restless under the control of the social man, and so everybody tries to preserve for himself the liberty he denies to others, and pleasures that cannot be shared by all. And thus society, that aimed at putting an end to strife, has only changed its form and made it more general. The employment of force being forbidden, a hundred other ways of attack have been found, and antagonism has become so general that in civilized States every man is on his guard against every other. The kindliness and straightforwardness of the animal man have disappeared, and have been replaced in the social man by illwill and cunning.

Society has need of laws and government, and must therefore allow its rulers that right of force which is denied to the individual. Thus the social state, bringing with it on the one hand a spirit of dominion, and on the other a state of subjection, indefinitely increases men's natural inequalities as well as their pride and ambition, and the smothered strife that goes on throughout society has no longer for cause the simple desire to satisfy legitimate needs, but rather the pursuit of a number of refined artificial pleasures, limitless as the dreams of a diseased imagination.

The social state, then, in spite of its immense advantages for the progress of order, security, industry, science, and art, is powerless to improve the heart of man; nay, even religion itself, in so far as it is only a part of a social system, is like a mould which does but shape the surface. The moral man is not, therefore, the work of society.

The animal man is the work of Nature, the social man the work of society, but the moral man must be the work of /himself the result, that is, of the development and exercise of the sentiments of pity and justice, love and gratitude, faith and charity, which the Creator has set in the human soul. Each individual must have the desire to be higher, nobler, and better, and must endeavour to make himself so by working upon his own character. The result of such work is the moral man, and society is only really and entirely beneficial when it is composed of men of this sort.

True religion exists for the moral man alone; for man can only find God by the searchings of his own heart, and in so far as he still preserves God's image in himself. When this image is no longer there, he makes a god in his own

image. The religion of the animal man is idolatry, and of the social man deceit; but the religion of the moral man is truth, the principle and stay of all morality, and gives him not only the desire for unceasing self-improvement, but the means of carrying it out.

A man's progress is real, and his activity of value to himself, his family, and society, only when he is self-formed; for then only is all that he possesses really his own, then only has he a distinct individuality, with heart and mind. no longer the slaves either of animal instincts or of the prejudices of society.

The foregoing sketch will give but a very imperfect idea of the Inquiry, for we have done little more than point out the general plan of the work, whereas it is in the digressions and developments that we often find the author's most striking ideas. Often, too, when he is led by his feelings and imagination either to satirize the institutions of his time, or paint in glowing colours the moral and intellectual progress to which he aspires, the philosopher is lost in the poet, and we come upon page after page of the most lofty eloquence. The book closes with the following touching reference to himself:

"Thousands of men (the work of Nature alone) yield to the corruption of sensual pleasures and desire nothing further; myriads accept the hard bondage of their needle, their hammer, or their crown, and also desire nothing further.

"I, however, know a man who was not thus contented. The innocence of childhood was his delight, his faith in men was such as is shared by few mortals, his heart was fashioned for friendship, his nature was love itself, constancy his chief joy.

"But as he was not made by the world, the world had no place for him, and finding him thus, without even asking whether the fault was his or another's, crushed him with its iron hammer as the mason crushes a useless stone.

[ocr errors]

But though crushed, he still cared more for humanity than for himself, and set to work on a task from which, amid cruel sorrows, he learned things that few mortals know. Then he looked for justice from those whom in his retirement he still loved, but he was disappointed, for he

was judged by men who had not even listened to him, and persistently declared him to be fit for nothing.

"This was the grain of sand that turned the balance of his fate and was his ruin.

"He is now no more, and a few confused traces are all that remain of his broken existence. He has fallen, as the green fruit falls from the tree when the cold north wind has smitten its blossom, or the cankerworm gnawed its heart. And as he fell, he leaned his head against the trunk, and murmured: 'Yet would I still nourish thy roots with my dust.' Passer-by, give a tear to his memory, and leave this fallen, rotting fruit to strengthen the tree in whose branches it passed its short-lived summer."

With this book closes the series of works published by Pestalozzi during the period when he was merely a writer, and before he entered upon the educational undertakings in which he applied and developed his method of teaching, and which not only brought him many eminent collaborators, but helped to spread far and wide the fame of the Pestalozzian method.

Pestalozzi's publications during this period have a peculiar importance, partly because they give their author's ideas free from all foreign alloy, partly because his manuscripts were printed just as they left his pen.

Afterwards, at Burgdorf and Ÿverdun, it was no longer the same, for Pestalozzi, unable to write everything himself, entrusted much of the work connected with his elementary books to some of his collaborators, particularly Krusi and Schmidt. Niederer also helped him in this way, revising all his more important work before publication, with a view to giving it a more philosophical form.

But none who have studied Pestalozzi can be deceived, the master's style bearing an unmistakable stamp of originality. Pestalozzi sees far and deep, but seldom indulges in general views; his impulsive genius is entirely unsystematic; he sheds no steady light, but breaks out rather in brilliant flashes, following every impulse of his heart and every discovery of his genius with little care for logical sequence, This is at once his great merit and his great defect.



THE Swiss Revolution of 1798 divides Pestalozzi's life into two widely different parts.

In the first, left to himself, he worked alone; he was little understood; his undertakings failed, and he lived on in his obscure retreat, poor and despised by everybody. But at the same time there was nothing to check the activity of his thought, or in any way affect the originality of his genius and his ideas.

In the second part of his life, Pestalozzi, thanks to the Revolution, obtained support from the Swiss Government, and was at last able to carry out his views for the education of the people. His rare devotion and success excited general admiration; offers of helpers and pupils came to him from all sides, and he founded his educational institutions. But after the first outburst of enthusiasm, criticism and envy also made their appearance. The general body of teachers, indeed, manifested considerable opposition to the new method, and numerous attacks were directed against it, which had all to be answered. The consequence of this was that from that time Pestalozzi, having to consider his protectors the magistrates, his collaborators, and the parents of his pupils, was no longer able to preserve the complete independence he had formerly enjoyed. And hence it is important that we should clearly understand what Pestalozzi's doctrine was at the end of this first period of his life, before those undertakings were embarked upon which brought him glory, it is true, though often, if we may judge from its outward manifestations, at the expense of the independence and originality of his genius.

In 1797 Pestalozzi was fifty-one years old, and, as we have seen, looked upon himself as a worn-out old man incapable of further effort. And yet his most important work, that

work which, in spite of not being entirely free from foreign influences, was in the truest sense the result and development of his past thought and activity, was not even begun. If we examine Pestalozzi's views at the point we have now reached, it will be easier, when we are describing the second part of his life, to distinguish the natural and logical development of these views from the modifications introduced into them by circumstances.

We have seen that the starting-point of Pestalozzi's work was his search for the means of rescuing the people from their state of poverty and degradation. He soon saw that it is impossible to help the poor, unless the poor are able and willing to help themselves; that is to say, their material destitution cannot disappear so long as their moral and intellectual poverty exists. In other words, the true remedy is education.

Then, in studying human nature in very young children, he found, even in the families most degraded by poverty, the seed as it were of a wealth of faculties, sentiments, tastes, and capabilities, whose natural development would provide for the satisfaction of all the material, intellectual, and moral needs of society.

He saw, further, that the ordinary education of his day, instead of looking for these elements of power in the child, in order to develop them by use and encourage a full natural growth of all the child's best faculties, did nothing but put before him the knowledge, ideas, and feelings of others, and try to make him regulate his habits by them, and fix them in his memory.

Thus the most precious powers of the child wasted in inaction, and education did little more than stifle his individuality beneath a mass of borrowed ideas.

The direction of the education of the day was from without to within; Pestalozzi wished to make it from within to without. All these ideas are expressed so often and so clearly in the quotations we have given from Pestalozzi's writings, that it seems superfluous to refer to the numerous passages in which they are to be found. It was still necessary, however, to find a way of developing these powers, which exist in the child but in germ, and of strengthening and increasing the budding faculties whose united and harmonious action is to form the perfect man.

« ForrigeFortsæt »