Billeder på siden

trude very well, having lived under the same roof with her at Yverdun for eleven years. Pestalozzi said to me one day, 'I know that after my death she will be more honoured than I; indeed, if it were not so, I should turn in my grave and be unhappy in heaven; for, had it not been for her, I should have been dead long ago, and you, Ramsauer, would not have been what you are!' She was certainly a remarkable woman, though entirely without education."

In 1801, Elizabeth, after nursing poor Jacobli like her own son throughout his long illness, married Krusi, the brother of Pestalozzi's indefatigable colleague, and from 1805 filled the post of housekeeper at Yverdun, where she was a general favourite with the pupils.

The material distress from which Elizabeth had rescued Pestalozzi was not, however, the most painful result of his disaster. All hope of carrying out his generous intention seemed gone for ever. He had lost the confidence of his fellow citizens, and people, seeing him pass, exclaimed, as they shrugged their shoulders, "Poor wretch! He is less capable than the most ignorant labourer, and yet he talks of helping the people!" Even his own friends no longer believed in him; they felt, indeed, deep sorrow for him, but avoided meeting him as much as possible, finding it too painful to talk to a man whom they still loved, but whom they could neither help nor console, and who seemed doomed to end his days either in the workhouse or the madhouse.

The unfortunate man suffered still more from the thought of the misery he had brought on his wife, especially when he saw how uncomplaining she was, and how she sought to lighten his troubles by redoubling her attentions and tender


On one occasion, when Anna and Jacobli had prepared a surprise for him on his birthday, he cried :

"Ah, you do too much; but I am grateful to you for thinking of me. I am deeply grieved that the mistakes of my youth should have brought you to this painful position, and yet I would say, Let us not abandon the struggle we have been engaged in so long, but calmly and firmly carry it on to the end. There is a God above who smooths the difficulties of life for some, but chains others to their misery. How can we fight against the stern decrees of fate better than by

remaining upright and calm amid the storms that surround us?"

Another passage that belongs to this time of misery and humiliation runs thus:

"Christ teaches us by His example and doctrine to sacrifice not only our possessions, but ourselves for the good of others, and shows us that nothing we have received is absolutely ours, but is merely entrusted to us by God to be piously employed in the service of charity."

It was thus that he acted, the noble-hearted man, and one cannot help wondering whether the Puritan theologians who attacked him for heterodoxy were better Christians than he?

It was Elizabeth who had rescued Pestalozzi and his family from destitution, but it was Iselin who now inspired him with fresh courage to pursue his work, that work which the world thought finished, but which in reality had hardly begun.




Iselin inspires him with new courage, and urges him to write. The Evening Hour of a Hermit." First volume of "Leonard and Gertrude." "The Education of Children in the Home." The continuation of "Leonard and Gertrude." Relations with Leopold of Tuscany and Joseph II. of Austria. "The Sumptuary Laws." "Christopher and Eliza." "On Legislation and Infanticide." "The Swiss News." Obliged to work on his land for a living. His unpublished manuscript on The Causes of the French Revolution." Correspondence with Nicolovius and Fellenberg; relations with Fichte. "An Inquiry into the Course of Nature in the Development of the Human Race." Merit as

a writer.

[ocr errors]

THE failure of the undertaking at Neuhof had not changed Pestalozzi's belief in the possibility of raising the people by education, but it had for the time deprived him of all means of putting his ideas into execution. His dejection was so great as to affect his health, and almost to endanger his life.

But although the experiment had not succeeded, Iselin still believed in the excellence of the idea which had prompted it. He accordingly came to Pestalozzi, and sought to rouse him from his despair by offering to help him bring before the public the views he had been unable to carry out.

After Iselin's death, Pestalozzi thus expressed his admiration and gratitude for his lost benefactor:

"He was a man to the end; whatever was human attracted him, and he had moreover a wonderful faculty for finding it out, wherever and under whatever mask it lay concealed. It was in this way that, at the end of his life, he discovered me, bringing me warm-hearted encouragement at a time when others shrugged their shoulders as I passed, and those who


loved me could but groan at the mention of my name. was then that this man came to me with smiles and comfort, this man who was at once my father, master, helper and


Pestalozzi's experiments, which had now lasted five years, had taught him much; always in contact with the children of the people he wanted to save, he had seen them just as they were; by his steady work, varied experiences, and persistent efforts, he had got to the heart of the question he wanted to solve; his very errors, by bringing new light, had only strengthened him in his convictions. As he himself


"Even while I was the sport of men who condemned me, I never lost sight for a moment of the object I had in view which was the removal of the causes of the misery that Í saw on all sides of me. My strength, too, kept on increasing, and my own misfortunes taught me valuable truths. I knew the people as no one else did. What deceived no one else always deceived me, but what deceived everybody else deceived me no longer.

"I say to-day, with deep gratitude to God, that it is my own sufferings that have enabled me to understand the sufferings of the people and their causes, as no man without suffering can understand them. I suffered what the people suffered, and saw them as no one else saw them, and, strange as it may seem, I was never more profoundly convinced of the fundamental truths on which I had based my undertaking than when I saw that I had failed!" 1/

The speedy and complete ruin of his work at Neuhof, though sad in many ways, was on the whole a good thing both for Pestalozzi and the world. For if it had been at all successful, this man, in his efforts to be a father to the fatherless, would have worn himself out in a sphere of activity which was not his true vocation, and for which he had little capacity, and education perhaps would still be awaiting its reformer.

Not being in a position to make any more practical experiments, but being very anxious to put his ideas before the

1 Letter to Gessner, dated Burgdorf, 1801.

public, Pestalozzi, in 1780, wrote the Evening Hour of a Hermit. This was his first educational work, and is by no means one of the least important, but it is very little known, and, like many others, is wanting in Cotta's edition of his writings. Published first by Iselin, in his Ephemerides, it was afterwards reprinted by Pestalozzi in a weekly edu cational paper he published, in 1807, and is to be found in Seyffarth's complete edition of his works.

The Evening Hour of a Hermit is a collection of short, pithy aphorisms, all bearing on the same subject, and forming, as a whole, a complete statement of the author's views t as to the raising of the people by education. There are a hundred and eight of them, but we shall only quote those which seem to us the most important, taking advantage of the numbers prefixed by Seyffarth, to show their relative position in the work.


1. "Man, whether on a throne or in a cottage, is by nature always the same; but what is he? Why do not wise men tell us? Why do not the best minds find out what their own race really is? Does the peasant use oxen without learning to understand them? Does not the shepherd concern himself with the nature of his sheep?

2. "And you who employ men, who say that you govern them, and lead them, will you not take as much pains as the peasant for his oxen, the shepherd for his sheep? Is your wisdom the knowledge of your race? Is your goodness the enlightened goodness of shepherds of the people?

3. "What man is, what he needs, what raises or degrades him, what strengthens or weakens him, that should be known alike by the leaders of the people, and by the inmates of the humblest cottage.

8. "All the pure and beneficent powers of humanity are neither the products of art nor the results of chance. They are really a natural possession of every man. Their development is a universal human need.

10. "The infant whose hunger has been satisfied learns in this way the relations between its mother and itself; love and gratitude are awakened in its heart before their names strike its ear; the son who eats his father's bread, and warms

« ForrigeFortsæt »