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delight of the children, who were not a little surprised to hear in school about the very things in which they were most interested.
It was impossible that such a change in school methods should be understood and approved by everybody. It excited, indeed, considerable opposition in the district, an opposition which became stronger after the Revolution of 1798. Krusi was in favour of the new order of things, because he thought it more likely than the old to encourage work amongst the people, and the development of public instruction. He thus lost the goodwill of many who remained faithful to the old system.
It was then that, thanks to a combination of circumstances which we must briefly explain, a new career was thrown open to him.
Towards the end of last century, the famous pedagogical establishment conducted by Salzmann at Schnepfenthal had excited in the minds of several of its best students an ardent desire for the reform and progress of public instruction. Amongst them was a young Swiss, called Fischer, who, after completing his theological studies, had obtained a post of deputy-minister. But in the Revolution of 1798 he gave up this post for the secretaryship of the Science and Art Department under the new Swiss Government.
Fischer's views, like those of Pestalozzi, were lofty, generous, and patriotic; like him, he felt the need of raising the schools of Switzerland; but it was by the foundation of a normal school that he sought to reach his end, whereas Pestalozzi was anxious, first of all, to apply his method to the education of poor children.
Fischer's views were shared by the minister Stapfer, who induced the Government to adopt them. The state of the finances, however, did not admit of any practical steps being taken, and the Government merely promised to support Fischer should he succeed in founding a normal school, and held out the hope that it might perhaps later on become a State institution.
For the carrying out of his plans, Fischer had chosen the Castle of Burgdorf, and the Government had granted him the use of a certain part of it. The future director accordingly went and settled there. He was well received by the inhabitants of the town, who entrusted him with the reorganization
and direction of their schools, a work into which he threw himself with zeal, whilst waiting for an opportunity of founding his own school.
This was in the autumn of 1799. Disasters like that of the year before at Stanz had just overtaken eastern Switzerland, where the war that the French were carrying on against the Austrians and Prussians had entirely destroyed the resources of the country, which was in consequence a prey to the most horrible famine. In the districts of the Linth and Sentis especially there were hundreds of mothers with absolutely nothing to give their children. The inhabitants of those parts of Switzerland which had escaped this terrible scourge were moved with compassion, and took the children of their ruined countrymen into their homes to care for them, and bring them up as their own.
The chief mover in this generous action at Burgdorf was Fischer. He heard so much sympathy expressed on every side that in the month of December he wrote to his friend Steinmüller, of Glarus, then pastor of Gais, asking him to send to Burgdorf thirty poor children, for whom he undertook to find comfortable homes. He asked further that they should be accompanied by a young man capable of looking after them and fond of teaching, whom he promised to train himself and turn into a good schoolmaster.
Steinmüller accordingly set off as soon as possible for Glarus, his native place, which was the district that had suffered most. But eighty poor children of this canton had already been sent away, and, by the kindness of the Literary Society of Berne, placed in homes in the province of Vaud, then the canton of Leman, not, it must be confessed, with the entire approval of many of the inhabitants of Glarus, who traced all their misfortunes to the action of the people of Vaud in calling in the French.
On his return to Gais, Steinmüller announced to his parishioners that he could place a certain number of children in comfortable homes in the canton of Berne, and such was the state of distress in the country that the very first day he had no less than forty applications.
He proposed to Krusi that he should accompany the emigrant children, pointing out to him the advantage it would be to be instructed by Fischer, perhaps even by Pestalozzi. Although the latter was already very famous, the young
schoolmaster had never heard of him, but he unhesitatingly accepted the offer, being eager to proceed with his own education, and cultivate his talent for teaching.
In the letter he wrote to Fischer, on the 16th of January, 1800, Steinmüller speaks of Krusi in the following terms:
"I have found the man I wanted, and hope he will satisfy you. He is twenty-four years old, has nothing but what he earns, is willing, docile, and energetic; he already possesses a fair amount of that sort of knowledge which is most useful for a schoolmaster, and has an ardent love for his profession. He is certain to meet with considerable success. His character is blameless. His name is Hermann Krusi, and he is one of my parishioners and schoolmasters. He is very anxious to come to you, knowing how much he has to gain from you and Pestalozzi. If he should not suit you, he can come back here."
On the 21st of January, 1800, Krusi left Gais with twentyeight children of both sexes. He has left us a few details of the journey, which show with what sympathy the little band was everywhere received:
"At Winterthur, whilst we were taking some food that had been provided for us, the excellent pastor Hanhart came in. On hearing the reason of our journey, he hurried out and soon came back with a little money, which, in his zeal, he had collected, and which he gave us with his blessing and best wishes for our welfare.
"At Bassersdorf, where we arrived somewhat late, we had to go to the inns. All the beds were taken, however, on account of the fair at Zurich, so we were put into some big rooms covered with straw. The tribunal of the district happened to be sitting in the town, and its president made a collection for us, and himself brought us the proceeds, with his best wishes for a prosperous journey."
On the 27th of January the little band arrived at Burgdorf, and the children were placed with different families in the neighbourhood. A room was found for Krusi in the Castle, where Fischer and Pestalozzi were already living, and meals were provided for him in the house of one of the townspeople.
This emigration of the poor children of the small cantons into other parts of Switzerland is a striking fact in connection with those troublous times. The distress which induced so many parents to part with their children must have been great indeed; we cannot but admire the generous sympathy of those who received them into their homes.
The number of children thus provided for was very great In the beginning of February, 1800, a second party of fortyfour, from ten to fourteen years old, was despatched from Appenzell. One of the youngest of these was John Ramsauer, to whom we have already referred. In his memoirs he has left us a curious account of this journey, from which we quote the following passage:
"We journeyed in two open waggons. The treatment we received at the different places we stopped at depended, more or less, upon the political opinions of the people of the place. I noticed that it was always the poorest, the most neglected, and the most ignorant children who were the loudest in their complaints; whilst those who had been accustomed to a certain degree of comfort, or had had a little education, cheerfully accepted the hardships of their position.1 Our first stopping-place was at Wyl, in the canton of Thurgau; it was late, and snowing fast, and we were obliged to wander about for a long time with lanterns looking for our night quarters; I slept with two other children in a very humble house; we went to bed without supper, and our room kept out neither wind nor snow. At Zurich, which was full of foreign soldiers, we found no other shelter but a hospital, with straw for beds. Most of the children did nothing but complain the whole night long, and the next morning many of them were quite ill. At Morgenthal, in the canton of Berne, nobody would take us in, and we had to go on through the night for some miles till we found refuge in a lonely cottage already full of soldiers and camp followers. Generally, however, we were treated with kindness and consider
The spoiled children of rich parents, had there been any, would probably have complained louder even than the poor. Ramsauer's remark shows the advantage, from an educational point of view, of those modest but happy homes where comfort is the outcome of labour. Aurea mediocritas!
ation. We were never tired of talking of the warm welcome we received at Lenzburg, where we were so well lodged, and at Suhr, where we had such a good dinner.
"Our destination was Oberburg, about three miles to the south of Burgdorf. It took us a week to reach it. On our arrival we were drawn up in a public square, and exhibited to the generous people who had agreed to adopt us. The richer people chose the prettiest children; the peasants took the healthiest and strongest. Fifteen, myself among the number, were not chosen by anybody. We were therefore sent off to Schleumen, a little to the west of Burgdorf. There, once more ranged in order, we were awaiting our fate, when a lady, who had promised to take two children, came out of a pretty house to examine us. All the rest were gloomy and silent, but I turned and cried merrily, 'I know how old that house is!' The date was over the door. My quickness pleased the lady, and she took me and one of my companions home with her. The others were taken to the village of Hindelbank."
Not long afterwards the same small district of Appenzell sent away a third, and even a fourth party of children. Nor were they sent merely from Glarus, but from Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, Zug, and Saint Gallen, and they were received in every part of Western Switzerland, from Basle to Geneva.
Krusi now settled at Burgdorf, and continued to teach the children he had brought with him, for all of whom homes had been found somewhere in the town or neighbourhood. When the School Commission was asked what he was to be paid, they replied:
"The schoolmaster Krusi, besides continuing to instruct the children of his native parish, as he was in the habit of doing at home, is ready to take other pupils. He is entitled to charge four shillings a month for any lessons given outside the school; but as we do not wish to impose an additional burden upon the generous people who have adopted these poor children, we must leave those who wish to make him some return to fix the amount for themselves."
Pestalozzi, Fischer, and Krusi lived together, not only in perfect sympathy, but in perfect harmony. Pestalozzi and