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lished by Iselin of Basle, entitled, Ephemerides of Ilumanity (p. 293). It ran thus: Appeal to the friends and benefactors of humanity to
support an institution intended to provide education
and work for poor country children. “I appeal to the friends and benefactors of humanity to help me to maintain an institution which I can no longer maintain alone.
“I have for a long time thought it probable that, under favourable circumstances, young children might be able to earn their own living without undue labour, provided that enough capital were advanced to organize an establishment, in which they would not only live, but at the same time receive a certain elementary education. I consider that any careful experiment in this direction would be of the highest importance for humanity.
“In the poor district in which I live, I have been struck by the misery of children placed with peasants by the parish. I have seen them crushed by hard selfishness, and left for the most part without spirit or energy, I might almost say with
Ι out life in body or soul, and I have seen them grow up entirely devoid of those feelings and powers that inake useful and upright men. As the situation of my property near Koenigsfelden seemed favourable for the purpose, I felt irre
I sistibly impelled to put my idea into execution. I thought at first that my means would be sufficient, but I find now that they are not. Still, more than a year's experiment has convinced me that now that the first difficulties have been surmounted, there is nothing to prevent my plan being carried to a successful issue.
“I have proved that children will thrive and grow on the very simplest diet, if properly varied ; such, for instance, as potatoes or other vegetables, and a little bread.
“I have proved that it is not regular work that stops the development of so many poor children, but the turmoil and irregularity of their lives, the privations they endure, the excesses they indulge in when the opportunity offers, the wild rebellious passions so seldom restrained, and the hopelessness to which they are so often a prey:
“I have proved that children, after having lost health, strength, and courage in a life of idleness and mendicity,
have, when once set to regular work, quickly recovered their health and spirits, and grown rapidly. Such is the effect of altered circumstances, and the absence of disquieting influences.
"I have found that when taken out of their abject condition, they soon become kindly, trustful, and sympathetic; that even the most degraded of them are touched by kindness, and that the eyes of the child who has been steeped in misery, grow bright with pleasure and surprise, when, after years of hardship, he sees a gentle friendly hand stretched out to help him; and I am convinced that when a child's heart is thus touched, his whole moral nature is the better for it.
“I have found, too, that living together in a well-managed house not only lessens the expense of supporting these children, but increases their zeal for work, and encourages their proper development.
“Had I but had the necessary means, I do not doubt but that I should have succeeded in my object and attained these two great and useful results: instruction adapted to the limited needs of ordinary workmen, and the rescue of children from the very lowest conditions of humanity. The boy who only grows up into a vagabond, perhaps a criminal; the girl, who, without guide or support, prepares for herself a life of misery and dishonour; all, in short, who would almost inevitably be lost both for themselves and their country, these are they whom I was anxious to save, and whom I wished to prepare by education for a useful and active life.
“From an economical point of view, and in many other respects, the position of my house and land seems admirably adapted for the purpose; but to this simple and feasible scheme of agricultural education I unfortunately joined a great industrial and commercial experiment, and with culpable thoughtlessness, entered on paths entirely unknown to me, and engaged in undertakings of too varied and complicated a character. These experiments did not answer my expectations, and I found myself suddenly deprived of resources on which I had thought I could depend, and in imminent danger of ruin. I had therefore to abandon commerce and industry, and return, not too late I hope, to my original idea of simply educating children.
But to-day I can no longer do even that without help, and I accordingly submit my plan to the friends and benofactors of humanity.
“My prayer is that they will advance me a small sum yearly, for six years. After the tenth year, the money will
, be paid back in yearly instalments from the earnings of the workmen I have trained.
“I promise that if I succeed in getting this help, I will abandon every other occupation, and devote my whole time and strength to the education of poor friendless children. I promise that the number of the children shall be regulated by the financial support I receive. I promise to teach them all to read, write, and cipher; I promise to give all the boys, so far as my position and knowledge will allow me, practical instruction in the most profitable methods of cultivating small plots of land, to teach them to lay down pasture-land, to understand the use and value of manures, to know the different sorts of grasses, and the importance of mixing them; the nature and use of marl; the effect, still disputed, of the repeated application of lime; the management of fruit-trees, and perhaps of a few forest trees. All this will come naturally out of the work connected with the actual needs of the house, and will not be a special study calling for increased expense. It will be the household needs, too, that will give the girls an opportunity of learning gardening, domestic duties, and needlework.
"The chief occupation in bad weather will be cottonspinning.
"I undertake to furnish all these children with suitable food, clothing, and lodging, and have already made many of the
necessary alterations and arrangements in my house. "I promise to give the most conscientious attention to their religious instruction, and to do all I can to put gentleness and purity into their hearts.
"I have still to add that in support of my views I can point to the twenty children who are now living and working with me. They are in perfect health, and their happiness, in spite of hard work, has surpassed my expectations. Their general cheerfulness and courage, and the delicate feeling and affection of which several of them have given proof, fill me with great hopes for the future. The care and expense of these children will continue to be mine alone.”
Pestalozzi then promises to give a yearly account of the progress of his work, and asks to have it inspected, so that no money may be given unless his promises are found to have been faithfully performed. He then mentions a few names of prominent men who have already expressed approval of his plan, and are prepared to give the necessary information to any who desire it.
The appeal closes with these words:
“Friends of humanity, notwithstanding all my mistakes and the injury I have done myself by my precipitation, will you still give me your confidence, and support an undertaking which, though it is beset with dangers, is likely to have the happiest results, my past errors having taught me many lessons. “ Neuhof, Koenigsfelden, December 9th, 1775,
"J. H. PESTALOZ.” 1
Amongst the men of talent and influence who approved of the enterprise, none supported it with more zeal than Iselin, of Basle, the editor of the Ephemerides, a high-souled and noble-minded man of whom his country should be proud. Soon after Pestalozzi's appeal had been made public, Iselin made the following announcement in his paper:
“We are happy to state that Mr. Pestaloz has not appealed for help in vain. The Council of Commerce of the Berne Republic, together with many private individuals, have promised to support him, so that there is a reasonable hope of his work being continued. In further explanation of his views, we hope shortly to publish some letters from Mr. Pestaloz, in which will be found many excellent ideas on the rural education of
children.” The letters thus announced by Iselin, together with notices of the establishment at Neuhof and evidence as to its working, were collected from the Ephemerides, and published by Seyffarth in his complete edition of Pestalozzi's works (voi. viii.). These various documents throw a new light on this attempt to regenerate the working classes, regeneration no less needed in many countries to-day. As their length unfortunately does not allow us to give them in full, a short summary must suffice.
1 Pestalozzi's family often signed Pestaloz or Pestaluz, probably to give their Italian name a termination more in keeping with ihe language of Zurich.
First letter to N. E.T. (Undated.) Pestalozzi points out that the defect of ordinary institutions for the education of poor children is that the children are not brought up consistently with the position that they will probably occupy in after life; they contract habits which they will afterwards have to give up; they do not learn to be satisfied with merely having their most pressing wants supplied; they form no habits of steady application or frugality, because they know that whatever they may do, they cannot want for anything.
Second letter, to the same, January 10th, 1777. Poor children must be brought up in private establishments where agriculture and industry are combined, and where the living is of the very simplest; they must learn to work steadily and carefully with their hands, the chief part of their time being devoted to this manual work, and their instruction and education being associated with it.
The work of the children must pay for their keep; in this way they will be working for themselves, and their style of living will depend on the success of their work.
But is it possible for children's work to pay for their keep, and if so, under what conditions ? Pestalozzi examines this question with the greatest care.
He supposes an establishment receiving children at the age of eight or nine years and keeping them for six years. The first year he would admit twenty-five, the second fifteen, the third fifteen, and so on each year till the total number of a hundred pupils was reached. Then he calculates for each year, on the one hand, the earnings of each child at cottonspinning according to his age, on the other, the expenses of the establishment, and from this calculation it results that after the sixth year the establishment would have paid all its expenses and would be making a clear profit.
Pestalozzi then goes on to say that in his district, agriculture alone will not support all the inhabitants, and has to be supplemented by some form of industry, adapted to the particular conditions of the place. As to agriculture, very