Billeder på siden

to destroy the love and truth that heaven has bestowed upon feeble men."

The whole of hell applauded this speech of the prince, and all the devils obeyed.


King Lion one day asked his subjects what they meant when they talked of liberty.

Said the ox: "I should think it the most desirable liberty to be never fastened to the yoke, but always to the manger.'

Said the monkey: "I shall never think myself free so long as I have a tail and a hairy skin. Without these disadvantages I should be quite free, for I should be a man.

Said the draught horse: "I feel free when my harness is taken off, and I have nothing at all to carry.'

Said the carrriage horse: "When I am magnificently harnessed, and drag a fine carriage for a short distance, I sometimes feel freer than the noble lord behind me."

Said the ass: "To be free is never to have either sack or basket upon your back."

Said the sloth: "If, when I have devoured all the leaves on my branch, somebody would be good enough to carry me to another and put me within reach of the leaves I so much enjoy, I should be free indeed."

Said the fox: "And I should be free if my prey did no cost me so much fear, cunning, and patience."

A man overheard all this and cried: "Surely none but animals can wish for this sort of liberty." He was right: every wish for such liberty as is only fit for animals stifles in a man's soul all true sense of real liberty.

In this same year, 1797, in which the first edition of the Fables appeared, Pestalozzi published his Inquiry into the Course of Nature in the Development of the Human Race. His aim was to study the law of man's natural development, and by so doing to throw light on certain points of moral and political science, and furnish education with a few fundamental principles. In other words, Pestalozzi sought to give some philosophical colour to the views he was endeavouring to spread, and which he had hitherto rather felt than proved to be true.

In his previous writings he had either described concrete

facts or proclaimed isolated truths; but in the book we are now considering he undertakes a serious philosophical inquiry, with a view to building up such a sound and complete system as will explain and justify his views, and at the same time give them a centre and unity.

This new method was not much to Pestalozzi's taste, nor was it in accordance with the general bent of his mind; it is probable indeed that he would never have adopted it, had he not been persuaded by his friend Fichte, the philosopher, who, accustomed to generalizations, urged the Swiss philanthropist to formulate the philosophical principle which was at the root of his teaching and plans. Fichte even gave him certain directions for the work, to which Pestalozzi devoted himself for three years with incredible zeal and assiduity.

The Inquiry is the most important book published by Pestalozzi, but it is also the most unsatisfactory. The very qualities which are so essential in a work of this kindmethod and order-are sadly lacking; there are far too many unnecessary and tedious developments, and the whole book is prolix and obscure. The result was that it met with no success, as the author himself tells us in How Gertrude Teaches her Children, published in 1801. The passage is as follows:

"For three years I took immense pains with my Inquiry, my chief object being to co-ordinate my favourite ideas, and bring my natural sentiments into harmony with my views on civil law and morality. But my work was but another proof of my incapacity..

"And so I reaped no more than I had sown. My book had no more effect than my previous labours, nobody understood me, and there was not a man who did not give me to understand that he considered the whole work a jumble of nonsense. Only to-day even, a man of some distinction, and a friend, said to me: 'Surely, Pestalozzi, you see now that in writing that book you did not really know what you

[merged small][ocr errors]

Niederer, however, who was afterwards so intimately asscciated with Pestalozzi, judged differently. Early in 1801 he wrote to the author as follows:

"Your Inquiry strikes me as a rough but solid product of that psychological intuition which is peculiar to you; and so little does it seem to me to be nonsense, that I look upon it as containing a most valuable discovery, what indeed I may call the germ of your whole educational method. Your ideas are so profound and suggestive that I wish you could find enough quiet leisure to arrange them somewhat more clearly; but you must not attempt this till you have put your educational work on a satisfactory basis. The expression of your views will then probably be more general and complete, and more intelligible to men who are still unfamilar with the new point of view you have thrown open to us."

After having carefully studied this book, we have come to very much the same conclusion as Niederer. It certainly contains many suggestive truths, not yet generally recognized, which go far to explain some of the apparent contradictions in the life of the individual and of humanity, which might help to solve the political and social problems that torment our age, and which afford a broad and solid basis for Pestalozzi's method of education. But with all this, the book, if it is to be really useful, must be rewritten; and since the author did not follow Niederer's advice, some capable man is wanted, first to saturate himself with Pestalozzi's ideas, and then to restate them, and make of this nonsense, as it has been called, a new work, clearer and more systematic than the original, and leading to more definite conclusions.

After what we have said, it is evident that we cannot here attempt an analysis of the book. It will be enough to give a general notion of the subjects it treats, and cite a few of the most striking ideas. Pestalozzi's aim may be best stated in his own words:

"The contradictions which apparently exist in human nature affect very few people so keenly as they affect me. Even when I was beginning to grow old, I felt the same need that I had always felt of some sort of free and useful

This letter was written just after Pestalozzi had started his institution at Burgdorf.

[ocr errors]

activity, and this in spite of the fact that my activity has always been vain and sterile and productive of little con


"But now at last I feel tired and sit down to rest, and yet I am thankful to say that though my heart is suffering and downcast, I am still able to ask myself with all the simpleness of a child: What am I, and what is humanity? What have I done, and what does humanity do?

"I am anxious to know what my life, such as it has been, has made of me; and what life, such as it is, makes of humanity?

"I am anxious to find out the real sources of my activity and of the opinions which have resulted naturally from the circumstances in which I have been placed.

"I am anxious also to find out the real sources of the activity of my race, and of the opinions which result naturally from the circumstances in which men are placed."

After having thus stated the philosophical problem, the author recognizes three different tendencies in himself, three natures, three distinct men as it were: the animal man, the social man, and the moral man.

The animal man is the work of Nature, a slave to the pleasures of sense, careless of the morrow, thinking only of to-day; but kindly, simple, and straightforward in his ways. He predominates in the infancy of the individual as in that of humanity.

The weakness of the animal man, however, leads him to engage in industry, and industry produces property, and property strife. Gradually, too, differences in power and capability produce differences in position, and the less fortunate are compelled to appeal to the powerful for rotection, to the thoughtful for guidance, and to the rich for food, and so the social state begins.

The social man is not merely the work of Nature; he is also, and in a much greater degree, the work of society, for it is society that makes him what he is by limiting his liberty and by subjecting him to rule, custom, and opinion. If childhood may be taken as a fairly correct image of the animal man, adolescence may be taken as that of the social man, for it is upon the youth that teachers and professors, schools and universities, lay hands to fashion him to their liking.

But the animal man is restless under the control of the social man, and so everybody tries to preserve for himself the liberty he denies to others, and pleasures that cannot be shared by all. And thus society, that aimed at putting an end to strife, has only changed its form and made it more general. The employment of force being forbidden, a hundred other ways of attack have been found, and antagonism has become so general that in civilized States every man is on his guard against every other. The kindliness and straightforwardness of the animal man have disappeared, and have been replaced in the social man by illwill and cunning.

Society has need of laws and government, and must therefore allow its rulers that right of force which is denied to the individual. Thus the social state, bringing with it on the one hand a spirit of dominion, and on the other a state of subjection, indefinitely increases men's natural inequalities as well as their pride and ambition, and the smothered strife that goes on throughout society has no longer for cause the simple desire to satisfy legitimate needs, but rather the pursuit of a number of refined artificial pleasures, limitless as the dreams of a diseased imagination.

The social state, then, in spite of its immense advantages for the progress of order, security, industry, science, and art, is powerless to improve the heart of man; nay, even religion itself, in so far as it is only a part of a social system, is like a mould which does but shape the surface. The moral man is not, therefore, the work of society.

The animal man is the work of Nature, the social man the work of society, but the moral man must be the work of himself the result, that is, of the development and exercise of the sentiments of pity and justice, love and gratitude, faith and charity, which the Creator has set in the human soul. Each individual must have the desire to be higher, nobler, and better, and must endeavour to make himself so by working upon his own character. The result of such work is the moral man, and society is only really and entirely beneficial when it is composed of men of this sort.

True religion exists for the moral man alone; for man can only find God by the searchings of his own heart, and in so far as he still preserves God's image in himself. When this image is no longer there, he makes a god in his own

« ForrigeFortsæt »