« ForrigeFortsæt »
HIS LIFE AND WORK
ROGER DE GUIMPS
AUTHORIZED TRANSLATION FROM THE SECOND FRENCH EDITION
ASSISTANT MASTER IN UNIVERSITY COLLEGE SCHOOL, LONDON
WITH AN INTRODUCTION
BY REV. R. H. QUICK, M. A.
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY
THE name of Pestalozzi is forever dear to the hearts of all men. For he is the first teacher to announce convincingly the doctrine that all people should be educated -that, in fact, education is the one good gift to give to all, whether rich or poor. The fact that all human beings, whether the favorites of fortune or otherwise, rejoice in whatever good comes to man because of his nature and independent of all accidents of birth or circumstance, makes secure this affectionate regard of all men for the hero of modern pedagogy. Education shall be a real panacea for human ills. It alone goes at the root of human misery. All other giving does not help, because it more or less hinders self-help. Education, intellectual and moral, alone develops self-help. The weaklings of society-the moral weaklings who yield to temptation and become criminal, the intellectual weaklings who break down before the problems of life and become imbecile or insane, the weaklings in will-power who can not deny themselves and save a surplus of their earnings, but allow themselves to drift along on the brink of pauperism -for these weaklings education will furnish a preventive. Their children may be educated in intellect and morals and thrift. It is the paramount duty of society to
see to this education, for the sake of the rich as well as of the poor; just as society cares for good sewerage, and prevents the pestilence which will begin with the slums but end with the palace. Education is a sanitary precaution -a spiritual sanitation.
These doctrines, adopted widely by enlightened people a century ago on the appearance of Pestalozzi's Evening Hour of a Hermit (1780) and his Leonard and Gertrude (1781-'89), have received a new emphasis in more recent times from the inevitable trend of all civilization toward democracy and local self-government. If the weakling is to have a vote, he will prove a negative power in society. He will furnish a constituency for the demagogue, and corruption in politics will ever prevail in proportion to the number of illiterate, immoral, and unthrifty people that exist in the state.
Pestalozzi, like St. Francis, wedded poverty,* and with sublime self-sacrifice studied all its peculiarities in order to discover the true and only method of alleviating its miseries.
In the Philanthropina of Basedow experiments were made in the new education as propounded by Rousseau, but they were limited almost entirely to the children of rank and wealth. "Pestalozzi directed education also to the lower classes-to the hitherto neglected multitude without property. There should be in future no dirty, hungry, ignorant, awkward, thankless, and will-less mass of people consigned to live a merely animal existence. We can never rid ourselves of the lower classes by contributions from the wealthy-not even were they to give
* Dante, Paradiso, xi-62.
their all to the poor; the only way to cure poverty is to open the possibility of intellectual culture and independent self-support to each and every human being, just because he is a human being and a citizen of the commonwealth."*
This movement of Pestalozzi is a part of the greater movement known as the French Revolution. As Pestalozzi is the prophet of the new education, so Rousseau is the prophet of the entire revolutionary movement. Pestalozzi in 1764, at the age of eighteen, read the Emile, and received the gift of the spirit. Both these prophets were of Swiss birth.
Rousseau attacked all human institutions the family, civil society, the state, the Church-in the name of "Nature." All institutions are factitious-artificial combinations formed by man, and invested with sacredness by a sort of superstition or by something worse, a selfish design. "Return to a state of Nature" is therefore the creed of the new evangel. Basedow founded his educational methods on Rousseau direct. France made experiments in throwing off the artificial incumbrances of state and Church, but ended her experiments finally by the discovery that the state of nature is a state of violence and estrangement from all that is human and humane. She slowly returned to Bourbonism through an intermediate process of Bonapartism, astonishing the world by her new departures before and since.
Rousseauism is not outgrown, however, but has frequent survivals in the minds of all young persons who are just beginning to throw off external authority and think