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Now dear papa is coming;
We shall love and kiss each other,
And mamma too.
I want to put my arms round their two necks at once.
This child, whose emotional side, in spite of Rousseau, was so highly developed, but who had received so little preparation for practical life, was, at the age of fourteen, placed in a school at Colmar. His father's first letter to him, dated January 16th, 1784, runs as follows:
"We now send you, my dear Jacobli, what we had ready; you shall have more in a few days. We are not troubled by your going away, for both mamma and I pray God that you may become worthy of all the goodness and affection that have been shown to you.
"In God's name, Jacobli, pray and work. Be diligent, thoughtful, quiet, clean, and obedient. Forget the coarse manners of the peasants, and learn to do everything properly. You have the opportunity now, and you must take advantage of it, for it will never return. But I hope God will not let you sadden by your disobedience those to whom you owe so much.
"My child, you are all I have in the world; it is for you alone that I care to live; it is for you that I have suffered more, so to speak, than I could bear. It is in your hands now either to reward me with the deepest joy, or to render my life for ever unhappy. For that is what will certainly happen if you do not diligently and zealously prepare for some suitable career, if you do not show the good effects of the kindness and consideration with which I have always treated you, if you are not better than boys brought up with restraint and severity."
Jacobli was afterwards apprenticed to a commercial firm in Basle, the head of the firm being Felix Battier, who was a friend of Pestalozzi's, and to whom, in 1787, he dedicated the fourth part of Leonard and Gertrude. But the boy did not succeed either in his studies or his apprenticeship. At Basle, moreover, symptoms of ill-health began to show themselves, and in 1790 he returned to Neuhof, where, in 1791, he married Anna Madeline Froehlich, of Brugg, the daughter of the owner of Muligen. Their three first child
ren died in infancy, but Gottlieb, born in 1797, lived till 1863, and was the father of Colonel Pestalozzi, who is now a professor in the Polytechnic School at Zurich.
After his return to Neuhof, Jacobli suffered severely from rheumatism, his condition in 1797 becoming so grave that it was thought he was dying. He lingered on till 1800 however, in great pain, and with one side entirely paralysed, his wife and parents and the faithful Elizabeth I doing their utmost to alleviate his sufferings. His mother, who happened not to be with him when he died, made the following entry in her diary:
"It pleased God to take him to Himself by a painless death. May God's peace be on him in the grave, and may the Divine pity welcome his soul. May God grant you, good and dear child, a rich compensation for all the pain you have endured, and may we, who have loved you so well, not be long before we join you. Yet God granted me the joy of seeing him once more at rest. As he lay in death the beautiful expression of his mouth showed that he had been received like an angel into heaven. Are not our prayers and eternal gratitude owing to God for His goodness?
In the happy days of his childhood, Jacobli had planted a lime-tree near the south-west corner of the house, and for many years after his death his parents tended it with loving care. It has now been long neglected, but it is a big, thriving tree, that the visitor to Neuhof loves to contemplate in memory of the poor child at whose expense the experiment was made which has conferred such benefits upon humanity.
1 An account of this heroic woman will be found at the end of the next chapter.
PESTALOZZI THE PHILANTHROPIST.
He receives into his house twenty-five poor children; great success of his first attempt. Iselin makes his enterprise known, and recommends it to the public. Donations enable him to increase the number of children to eighty. Troubles caused by the unreasonableness of the parents; great losses, followed by complete ruin. In ill-health, and entirely without resources, he is saved by the devotion of a poor servant.
WE have seen how Pestalozzi, on becoming a father, was filled with remorse for having forgotten the cause of the people in his care for the material interests of his own family, and how he made up his mind afresh to devote himself to that work of patriotic philanthropy which had so forcibly appealed to him when he was still but a youth. We have seen, too, how his thoughtful experiments with his son had suggested new ideas and new principles of education which seemed to him to be particularly fitted for the regeneration of poor children.
Struck by the child's natural need of continual activity, and by the abundance and versatility of its physical, intellectual and moral faculties, it occurred to him that by guiding all these powers aright, and by varying work in such a way as to prevent fatigue, it would be possible not only to teach children to earn their bread, but to cultivate their intellectual and moral nature at the same time. He thought, too, that a country life, in which the cultivation of the land was combined with some sort of handicraft, would provide the best means for teaching the poorest children that by their own strength, and with God's help, they are capable not only of satisfying their own wants, but of contributing to the happiness of their family and country.
"It is not enough," he would say, "for them to repeat by heart that man was created in God's image, and that he must live and die as a child of God, but they must feel this truth in their hearts with such divine force as to rise not merely above the ox that ploughs, but above the man clothed in silk and purple who lives unworthily of his high destiny."
In his eyes, this was the only way of relieving the distress of the people; in all charitable institutions, which accustom the poor to eat bread they have not earned, he saw nothing but temporary remedies, which, in the end, do but aggravate the evil.
He held these convictions so strongly, and his desire to improve the condition of the people was so real, that he decided to carry out an experiment in his own house and on his own land, hoping in this way to make Neuhof the model and centre of this great work of regeneration.
Having failed in his attempts to grow madder, and also in his attempts to establish a cheese-dairy, for which purpose he had laid down a considerable quantity of pasture-land, he had found it necessary to conduct his operations on a scale more consistent with his reduced means. But he still owed some four hundred pounds of the purchase money, and had not only to complete his buildings, but to carry out the various improvements he had begun on the land.
He had tried the system of paid workmen, but with very unsatisfactory results; he found that they seldom worked with a will, that they nearly always had inveterate vices, and hopelessly bad methods; he hoped more, however, from the children, who, brought up under his own roof, would owe him everything.
He was determined then, at all costs, to undertake this new work. Many years afterwards, in the Song of the Swan, he spoke of his determination in these words:
"Our position entailed much suffering on my wife, but nothing could shake us in our resolve to devote our time, strength, and remaining fortune to the simplification of the instruction and domestic education of the people."
In the winter of 1774 the experiment began, and several
children, some from the neighbouring villages, some mere vagrants from the roadside, went to live at Neuhof with Pestalozzi, who clothed them, fed them, and treated them in every way as his own. They were always with him, sharing in the work of the garden, the fields, and the house, and in bad weather spinning cotton in a large out-house. Very little time was given to actual lessons; indeed the children were often taught while working with their hands, Pestalozzi being in no hurry to teach them to read and write, convinced as he was that this is only useful for those who have learned to talk. He gave them constant practice in conversation, however, on subjects taken from their everyday life, and made them repeat passages from the Bible till they knew them by heart.
This first experiment, which was made with not more than twenty children, was apparently a complete success. few months the appearance of the poor little creatures had entirely changed; notwithstanding the extreme simplicity of their fare, they looked strong and robust, and their faces wore an expression of cheerfulness, frankness, and intelligence, which, when they first arrived, had been entirely wanting. They made considerable progress with their manual work, as well as with the lessons that were joined to it, taking great pleasure in both. All they did and said, moreover, seemed to express their appreciation of their benefactor's kind care for them.
In this way the year 1775 passed. But the experiment, modest as it was, was far beyond Pestalozzi's means, nor did the work of the children in any way suffice for the proper cultivation of his land. Many more were anxious to come, it is true, and Pestalozzi longed to receive them, but he could not do so without new domestic arrangements and increased expense.
This experiment at Neuhof had been talked of far and wide, and had excited the interest and admiration of all such men as were capable of appreciating the beautiful and noble thought that had suggested it. Money was offered to Pestalozzi to carry it on with, and he was advised to appeal to the friends of humanity for help to extend his undertaking, and so make it a complete success.
This advice he was not slow to follow, and in the begin ning of 1776 his appeal appeared in the weekly paper, pub