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missioners for the purpose of making their information still more complete, and a very lengthy correspondence now ensued between Niederer and Abel Mérian, the president of the Commission, and Father Girard, who was to draw up the report. Niederer said that the commissioners had not grasped the spirit of the institution; that they had only seen the changing outward form, and not the unchanging essence; to which the commissioners made answer that their instructions had charged them to examine facts and not ideas.
In a letter of the 31st of January, 1810, Father Girard writes to Abel Mérian that he is surprised at not having yet received the documents which were to have been sent from Yverdun, and adds:
"My opinion is that the institute was not worth all the attention that has been bestowed upon it. Now that I have considered it from every point of view, I am inclined to think it far inferior to the cantonal school of Aarau, and the Institute of St. Gallen, to say nothing of older institutions. It is inconceivable that it should have obtained such celebrity and favour."
Some time afterwards Pestalozzi himself expressed his opinion of the work of the Commission as follows:
"The commissioners were alarmed at the very outset by seeing how entirely we neglected the teaching of certain common subjects which are treated with the utmost care in the smallest schools, and that being so, they had neither faith nor courage to go deeper into the matter, and much of the good escaped them altogether.
"Their report did our work much harm, and placed it much lower than it deserved."
But if Pestalozzi thought the commission had not seen all the good, Father Girard thought it had not seen all the bad; for even as early as the 9th of December, 1809, he had written: "Besides, many things were concealed from
The report of Father Girard appeared in French in September, 1810, and the German translation by Bernard Hüber in October. It was drawn up with great moderation and with great consideration for Pestalozzi, who could certainly
not have wished for a more worthy judge. Girard, however, pointed out serious gaps in the instruction given at the institute. He praised the discipline, but declared that the religious teaching was insufficient, and blamed Niederer, in whose hands it had been left, for the methods he had adopted. He found fault with him, for instance, for beginning his lessons with a sort of natural religion, for then passing on to the Old Testament, and for only touching upon the New in his preparation of pupils for the Holy Communion, at the special request of parents.
We are, however, in a position to affirm from our own experience that such was not Niederer's habitual plan. Indeed, at the very time of the inspection, we were following his lessons on religion in a class of children of from eight to nine years of age, where we began by reading the Gospel according to St. Matthew, learning by heart a portion of the Sermon on the Mount. But, as we have already said, none of the teaching at the institute of Yverdun was very regular or connected, except perhaps in mathematics, in which there was not much alteration.
The report of Father Girard terminated thus:
"The teaching given at Pestalozzi's institute is not in harmony with that of the various establishments of public instruction, nor has the institute sought to establish that harmony. Resolved, at any price, to seek the development of the faculties of the child according to the principles of Pestalozzi, it has thought only of its own views, and betrays a burning zeal to open up new paths, even should they be in opposition to those established by usage. Perhaps it was the only way of arriving at useful discoveries, but it has made all harmony with public establishments impossible. The institute goes its own way, and public establishments go theirs, and it is not probable that their views will soon coincide. It is a sad pity that the force of events should always drive Pestalozzi from the path laid down for him by his zeal and goodness. But justice will always be done to his good intentions, his noble efforts, and his unconquerable perseverance. Let us take advantage of the excellent ideas which form the basis of his work, and follow the instructive examples it offers us, but let us, at the same time, pity the lot of a man whom the force of circumstances has always
prevented from carrying out what it was his purpose to do."
This report was presented to the Diet, which, on assembling at Soleure in 1811, merely voted thanks to Pestalozzi, and then let the matter drop.
For some years previously, however, the work of Pestalozzi had been exposed to rather severe attacks in several publications in Switzerland and Germany. Every reform which calls for strenuous efforts and, as it were, mental renovation, always finds adversaries amongst men whose reputation is already made, and who believe that there is nothing to change in their theories or their practice. This is especially the case in matters of education. It was alleged against Pestalozzi, sometimes that his ideas were not new, sometimes that they were inapplicable; even the real defects of his institute were not pointed out without a certain amount of spiteful exaggeration.
The report of Father Girard spread joy in the camp of the adversaries by supplying them with new arms; their attacks became sharper, more animated, more unjust than ever, especially in a Göttingen paper, in which Professor Heller described the institute of Yverdun as a nest of revolutionaries, and in the Zurich Popular Gazette, in which an ecclesiastic, named Brémi, attacked Pestalozzi's work in an article entitled: Three Dozen Questions.
The old man, deeply hurt by this last blow, said in an answer to Brémi :
"It distresses me, I confess, to see my establishment and my friends calumniated in my native town more than in any other place. I am pained that it should be within its walls that the very things that are most captious and most dangerous to me and my work should be written, and that people should print the most bitter attack of all, and the one most calculated to ruin my establishment and my undertaking."
From this time an angry, bitter, and interminable polemic was carried on between the institute and its traducers. It was generally Niederer who answered the attacks, though often in Pestalozzi's name. This paper war was thenceforth the great preoccupation of the inhabitants of the Castle,
who worked harder to restore the reputation of the institute without than to deserve it within.
There was certainly room for many improvements, but none were attempted. However, as we have seen, the first cause of the evil was in the very nature of things. Pestalozzi's method had nothing whatever in common with the teaching of the ordinary public establishments. This absence of any harmony between the instruction given at the institute and that of the public schools had already struck the examiners; such harmony could only have been restored by modifying the method itself, but this neither Pestalozzi nor his fellowworkers were at all inclined to do.
Schmidt alone would have been disposed to do so, because he set more price on the success of the institute than on maintaining the spirit in which it had been founded. This divergence of views added intestine war to that which the institute was carrying on against its outside foes, and the old antagonism between Niederer and Schmidt broke out again more violently than ever.
Before the publication of Father Girard's report, and in anticipation of what it would be, Schmidt, at a general meeting of the masters, had already asked for certain reforms, which, however, had been refused. Now, as it seemed impossible to come to an understanding, and as Niederer's opinion again prevailed, Schmidt was obliged to leave the institute. He did so in July, 1810, with some of his adherents. It was on this occasion that Pestalozzi exclaimed:
"If I were but twenty years younger, I would leave too, and go and find something that I could do, and set to work to do it; but I have made too many fresh beginnings already to have any strength left for more!"
The Chancellor von Beyme, who about this time was sent to visit the establishment at Yverdun by the King of Prussia, said on taking his leave:
"If I were to hear to-morrow that the institute was closed, I should really be less astonished than if it were to last another year."
Such was the state of Pestalozzi's establishment in 1810, and yet pupils and visitors continued to arrive, and new
masters, amongst whom were a few remarkably able men, came and gave lessons. At the same time the teaching was extended to several subjects which were either quite new or had been comparatively neglected, such as chemistry, Latin, and Greek.
We must now return to Pestalozzi's discourses, which tell us from year to year of the state of his feelings and the progress of his thought. On the 1st of January, 1809, his mind is at peace again. He thanks God who has come to his rescue and saved his work from the dangers which had beset it, and humbly acknowledges that the favour was more than he deserved. Then, after thanking God, he thanks his fellow-workers for their share in this good result, and continues thus:
Almighty Father, who leadest us, complete the miracles of Thy grace towards me! Keep my friends true to me till my dying day. Preserve the bond which joins us until the work with which Thou hast filled my heart, and which, till now, Thy grace has preserved, be accomplished. O God, my Creator, let me preserve the only strength Thou hast given. me- -the power of love! Let me not forget for a single moment all that I owe Thee, and all that I owe to the friends around me. Renew my love for Thee. Renew my love for these children in whom I place my hopes, and in whom I shall find the consolation of my life, which can have no other value than that which is given by them.
"I now turn to you, boys and girls, my own dear children. What shall I say to you out of the fulness of my heart at this solemn hour, this beginning of a new year? I would fain press you all to my heart with tears of joy, whilst giving praises to our Father in heaven for permitting me to be a father to you. I would fain fall upon my knees and say to my Father in heaven: Lord, behold me, with the children Thou hast given me. Forgive me, for I am far from being what I ought to have been for these dear chilren; forgive me, for I have not been their father as I ought to have been. I would fain fall upon my knees and say to Him: Lord, the burden Thou hast cast upon my shoulders is too heavy for me; Thou who hast given it to me, help me to bear it, and give us, whom Thou hast called to watch over these children, Thy Holy Spirit, Thy Spirit of love and wisdom, the Spirit