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efforts. In vain did he divide the pupils amongst his assistants, and ask them, as far as possible, to take his place, and keep him informed of their needs and progress; in vain did he send for them in turn to his study for friendly talks, and employ caresses and exhortations when he met them. They still called him "Father Pestalozzi," it is true, but he no longer knew them as a father should know his children. And thus the discipline of affection slowly disappeared, without being replaced by the more or less military discipline of the school, and the home-life at Yverdun soon developed into a sort of ill-regulated public life.
We have seen that Pestalozzi especially complains that love and concord no longer exist in the institute; that was, indeed, the chief evil and the real cause of its ruin. But he blames himself for it, attributing it to his impatience and exacting demands. In this, however, he is doing himself a flagrant injustice and with a magnanimity which should have touched those who were really in fault. Niederer and Schmidt were two powerful aids, both very valuable to him, and in a measure necessary for the execution of his projects. But neither of these two men could identify himself with him as his earlier helpers had done, with perfect simplicity and self-forgetfulness.
Niederer had grasped the master's thought by its philosophical and speculative side, and had formulated it in a way which, without entirely satisfying Pestalozzi, yet seemed useful for spreading it abroad, and making it attractive to scholars. It was in the direction of this philosophical idea, as he himself had conceived it, that Niederer was always encouraging Pestalozzi, opposing everything that seemed to him a deviation from the principle. But Niederer had no talent for practical questions of administration and discipline, and in this respect was of little help to Pestalozzi.
Schmidt, on the contrary, saw nothing more in the master's system than an excellent method for teaching mathematics, to which he had applied it with a success which aroused the admiration of the visitors, and contributed more than anything else to the reputation of the institute. In addition to this, in matters of discipline and administration, his strong common-sense and iron will made up for what Pestalozzi lacked. He was pre-eminently practical, and this was what attracted Pestalozzi to him. He cared little for prin
ciples when it was a question of maintaining or extending the reputation and material prosperity of the institute.
It is clear that these two men exercised a contradictory influence on Pestalozzi; each wished to lead him his own way. They could neither understand nor respect each other. Their antagonism had broken up the harmony of this great family, and hence Pestalozzi had been able to exclaim so sorrowfully, 'Love has disappeared from our midst."
Such were the defects that Pestalozzi had discovered in his institute at the beginning of 1808. For more than fifteen years he struggled to remedy them, and not indeed without occasional and momentary successes; but at last, after many changes of fortune, he was obliged to succumb, and thus suffered the very misfortune he had so much dreaded, the misfortune of outliving all his enterprises.
We have still to relate the different phases of this sad period of decadence. In view of the inevitable end, the story would have but little interest if we had not always with us Pestalozzi's unfailing courage and genius; for, although the old man became more and more incapable in the ordinary matters of life, although he ended by submitting blindly to the will of others and making mistake after mistake, he yet preserved to the very last both his ardent love for the poor and weak ones of this world, and the powerful originality of a mind always occupied with the educational reform which had been the one aim of his life. In following Pestalozzi's thought from this point, we shall find valuable help in the discourses he was in the habit of pronouncing before the whole school at such times as Christmas and the New Year, or on his birthday. These discourses were the outpourings of his heart, in which all his fears and hopes, sorrows and joys, thoughts and feelings, were laid absolutely bare. They are full, too, of his religious faith, his love for men, his ardent desire to raise the people, and the educational views by which he sought to reach his end. Most of the discourses have been published at different times. They are all to be found in Seyffarth, volume xiii.
Pestalozzi's discourse of the 1st of January, 1808, had painfully surprised all the masters, but they were not at all convinced that the evil which he so bemoaned really existed. They all endeavoured to reassure the old man by pointing to the prosperity and increasing renown of the institute; and,
this year particularly, the admiration of visitors and the number of enthusiastic reports that were published on all sides, seemed to lend colour to their arguments. And so Pestalozzi took heart again, and, for a moment, his old illusions revived. But his confidence was of short duration, and in spite of all his assistants could urge to the contrary, the feeling that the institute was in danger was soon stronger in him than ever. At last, to finally dispel his fears, the masters proposed that he should ask the Helvetian Diet to make an official inspection of the institute, and to this the old man consented.I
Pestalozzi's request reached the Diet at Freiburg, in June, 1809, and shortly afterwards a Commission was duly appointed to inspect the institute, composed of Abel Mérian, member of the Petty Council at Basle; Trechsel, professor of mathematics at Berne; and Father Girard, of Freiburg.
The commissioners arrived at the Castle in November, 1809, and spent five days there, interrogating masters and pupils, and examining everything with the greatest care.
It is curious to see how Father Girard speaks of this inspection in the book he published thirty-seven years afterwards, entitled: On the Systematic Teaching of the Mothertongue.2
"To cultivate the minds of the young was my intention as it was my duty, but I did not, as yet, understand how useful the mother-tongue might be made in this respect. It was only on the occasion of an official visit paid to Pestalozzi's institute at Yverdun that, by talking with my two worthy colleagues, and by very carefully considering the official report which I had been charged to draw up, the darkness in which I had been groping was suddenly dispelled. On a previous visit, I had remarked to my old friend Pestalozzi that mathematics seemed to me to play far too important a part in his school, and that I was afraid the general education of his children would suffer from it. Whereupon he answered with characteristic heat: 'The fact is, I do not
1 Schmidt alone was opposed to this inspection, feeling that the system of studies in the institute was not yet, as a whole, in a satisfactory con dition.
Published at Paris in 1846, and crowned by the French Academy.
wish my children to know anything which cannot be proved to them as clearly as that two and two make four.' 'In that case,' I said, if I had thirty sons, I would not entrust you with one of them; for it would be impossible for you to show him as clearly as that two and two are four that I am his father, and that it is his duty to obey me.' This brought about a retraction of the exaggeration into which he had been betrayed, not an unusual thing with this impulsive genius, and we soon arrived at an understanding.
"However, so great was the attention given to mathematics in his institute, that the mother-tongue was comparatively neglected, and suffered considerably in consequence. My colleagues and myself were also struck by another anomaly. We found that the children had indeed reached a high pitch of excellence in abstract mathematics, but that in all ordinary practical calculations they were inconceivably feeble."
This last criticism contains a manifest error on Father Girard's part, which, considering his high position, would certainly be most astonishing, if we did not know how hard it is to place ourselves suddenly at a point of view totally different from that to which we have been long accustomed. Abstract calculations were precisely what Pestalozzi would have nothing to do with; he accustomed his children to concrete numbers from the very first, and all the ordinary problems of practical life they solved with ease. They worked them, however, in their heads, and did not learn till later the use of written figures, in which they therefore remained weak and unpractised for a long time. But it is just the conventional methods necessitated by our arbitrary written system that constitute an abstract calculation, and yet it is these very methods that Father Girard calls the ordinary practical calculations" in which he found the children so "inconceivably feeble."
The examination being over, the masters of the institute and the commissioners separated, not very satified with each other. At Yverdun it was felt that the report would be unfavourable. Pestalozzi had expected it, but Niederer and those who shared his illusion were surprised and irritated by it; they thought themselves misjudged. It had been settled that written documents should be sent to the com
missioners for the purpose of making their information still more complete, and a very lengthy correspondence now ensued between Niederer and Abel Mérian, the president of the Commission, and Father Girard, who was to draw up the report. Niederer said that the commissioners had not grasped the spirit of the institution; that they had only seen the changing outward form, and not the unchanging essence; to which the commissioners made answer that their instructions had charged them to examine facts and not ideas.
In a letter of the 31st of January, 1810, Father Girard writes to Abel Mérian that he is surprised at not having yet received the documents which were to have been sent from Yverdun, and adds:
"My opinion is that the institute was not worth all the attention that has been bestowed upon it. Now that I have considered it from every point of view, I am inclined to think it far inferior to the cantonal school of Aarau, and the Institute of St. Gallen, to say nothing of older institutions. It is inconceivable that it should have obtained such celebrity and favour."
Some time afterwards Pestalozzi himself expressed his opinion of the work of the Commission as follows:
"The commissioners were alarmed at the very outset by seeing how entirely we neglected the teaching of certain common subjects which are treated with the utmost care in the smallest schools, and that being so, they had neither faith nor courage to go deeper into the matter, and much of the good escaped them altogether.
"Their report did our work much harm, and placed it much lower than it deserved."
But if Pestalozzi thought the commission had not seen all the good, Father Girard thought it had not seen all the bad; for even as early as the 9th of December, 1809, he had written: "Besides, many things were concealed from
The report of Father Girard appeared in French in September, 1810, and the German translation by Bernard Hüber in October. It was drawn up with great moderation and with great consideration for Pestalozzi, who could certainly