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strength of the institute was always devoted to experiment. The fact remains, however, that whatever we learned in that way, with so much trouble and toil, we learned well, and the trouble was soon forgotten in the pleasure and confidence that resulted from such well-grounded knowledge.
"Often when the masters had done something to displease him, Pestalozzi would fly into a passion, and angrily leave the room, slamming the door as if he would break it. But if at that moment he happened to meet a young pupil, he would instantly grow calm, and, after kissing the boy, return to the room, exclaiming, 'I beg your pardon! Forgive my violence! I was mad." "1
We must here say a word about the letter to Mr. Delbruck, which Pestalozzi published towards the end of April, 1813. Mr. Delbruck, who was tutor to the Prince Royal of Prussia, had been sent by the king to Yverdun, and had spent some considerable time in the institute, studying the work and doctrine of the master, whom he soon learned to love and admire. After his return to Berlin, he had written to Pestalozzi advising him to abandon polemics, and leave all the attacks on the institute unanswered.
Pestalozzi, in a long letter, endeavours to show that an educational institute cannot be silent when it is accused of corrupting youth both in religion and politics; he also tries to excuse Niederer, who had been blamed for the violence of his language. He then continues, with characteristic outspokenness :
"The remembrance of the past weighs heavy on my heart; my explanations do not satisfy me. I almost hate my own words as I write them. When a man is struggling with people with no nobleness of heart, he is almost sure to lose some of the nobleness of his own heart. This is a very sad thought to me. I would give up some of the days I have still to live to blot out this portion of my life."
The end of this letter shows that the old man has again relapsed into the illusions which he himself had once recognized as such. He thinks that by the unceasing labour of himself and his coadjutors, the institute will soon be in such
1 A Short Sketch of my Pedagogical Life, by J. Ramsauer. Olden. burg, 1838.
a state that the application of his method to all branches of instruction will at last be possible.
It was this same year, 1813, that witnessed all the consequences of Napoleon the First's disastrous Russian campaign.
The Germans, seeing a favourable opportunity for delivering their country from the foreign power that had heaped so many misfortunes and humiliations upon them, eagerly prepared to fight. It was impossible that the young men of German origin who were with Pestalozzi at this time should remain untouched by this enthusiasm, and numbers of them went and took up arms "for the deliverance of Germany." The Prussian pupils, who had indeed just completed their studies, all went away too, some of the masters, amongst whom were Schacht and Ackermann, following their example.
Pestalozzi entirely commended them, and made no effort to restrain them; they had indeed his best wishes for the success of their patriotic enterprise. He considered that the enormous power Napoleon exercised in Europe was an obstacle to that part of his work which consisted in raising the people by education. We have seen that in 1803 Bonaparte had refused to listen to Pestalozzi, and rejected his proposals, saying that he could not mix himself up with questions of A B C; afterwards, however, he saw that the work of the Swiss philanthropist went far beyond the A B C, and that its aim was to put the freedom and development of the individual in the place of the mechanical routine of the old schools, which did little more than produce a mass of dull uniformity. With this aim Napoleon was entirely out of sympathy, and whenever the subject was mentioned, would say, "The Pestalozzians are Jesuits."
For this reason, if for no other, Pestalozzi rejoiced at the success of the allied sovereigns, whose coalition was to liberate Europe.
Opinions were divided, however, in Switzerland on this point; but as the Swiss were not in a position to maintain their neutrality, the Austrian troops passed through the country to enter France by the frontier of the Jura.
On Christmas day, 1813, a regiment of Esterhazy's Hungarian hussars arrived at Yverdun, and were soon followed by a large number of Croatian infantry.
On the 9th of January, 1814, the municipality received orders from the Austrian Commissary at Pontarlier, to prepare a military hospital at Yverdun, and, a few days after, two delegates arrived to choose the locality, and make, at the town's expense, all the necessary preparations. They appropriated four blocks of buildings: the castle of Yverdun with two hundred and seventy beds, the old barn opposite (now a casino) with two hundred beds, the bath-house of Yverdun with ninety-four beds, and the castle of Grandson with one hundred and sixteen beds. The municipality immediately informed the cantonal Government, and urged it to help them deliver the commune from the danger which threatened it. The Petty Council only returned answer that they should consider all expenses necessitated by a military hospital as a cantonal charge, and that they would enforce the payment by the State. Nevertheless the population of Yverdun were much frightened, for the Austrian troops, encumbered with sick and wounded, were seriously ravaged by typhus. The municipality accordingly appointed two delegates to go to the head-quarters of the allied armies and ask for a revocation of these orders. Pestalozzi, the very existence of whose establishment was seriously threatened, accompanied the municipal delegates, and it was this which saved the town.
It is quite certain that the representatives of the town of Yverdun had but little idea of Pestalozzi's real merit. They must have felt very little honoured by this fellow-traveller, who in the eyes of the vulgar was but an eccentric old man, shabbily dressed, and careless of his person. But their surprise was great when, on arriving at Basle, they witnessed his reception by the allied sovereigns. On the 21st of January they returned to Yverdun, and the day after, announced to the municipality that "their mission had had perfect success, that no military hospital would be estabfished at Yverdun, and that Mr. Pestalozzi had been received with most extraordinary favour."
And yet the old man had not been less eccentric at the head-quarters at Basle than anywhere else. He no sooner found himself in the presence of the Emperor of Russia and his officers, than, thinking it a good opportunity to preach educational reform and the liberation of the serfs, he became so enthusiastic and so ardent that he completely for
got his position, and approached so near the emperor, that the latter was obliged to retreat. It was not till he had forced him nearly to the wall, and was in the act of taking him by the button of his coat, that Pestalozzi suddenly became aware of his indiscretion. Muttering an apology, he then songht to kiss the Czar's hand, but Alexander cordially embraced him.
Notwithstanding his eccentricity, Pestalozzi's words produced a great effect, and those about the emperor thought at one time that he contemplated putting the Swiss philanthropist's views into execution.
But, alas! the Muscovite serfs had to wait another fifty years for their emancipation, and the Russian people, though proud of their civilization, are still waiting for good schools. But in this respect they do not stand alone.
The Czar decorated Pestalozzi with the cross of Saint Vladimir of the third class, and sent him a collection of minerals from the Oural for his school. The Emperor of Austria also sent him a case of Tokay wine.
Thus this poor old man, the weakest and awkwardest of mankind, and the most unattractive in appearance, was able to excite the attention and sympathy of princes at a moment even when they were intoxicated with success and glory. For the honour of humanity, this triumph was won by his moral beauty,—a consoling thought, which enables us to forget many a wrong.
Of the four blocks of buildings chosen for military hospitals, the castle of Grandson alone was used. The typhus, however, broke out in the village of that name, which is not far from Yverdun, and was not stamped out of the neighbourhood for several years. Nor did the town of Yverdun escape; indeed one of Pestalozzi's own pupils took the disease, though not very seriously. It may not be amiss to mention here that since the foundation of his establishment Pestalozzi had never lost a single pupil by death.
During that same year the King of Prussia paid a visit to his principality of Neuchâtel, which had just been restored to him, and where he was received with almost unanimous joy. While he was there, Pestalozzi, although very ill, insisted on going to thank him for having sent him so many student-teachers to train, and did not forget to remind him of the importance of the work these young men were about
to undertake in Prussia. Ramsauer, who accompanied him, makes the following reference to the occasion:
"During the journey Pestalozzi had several fainting fits, so that I was obliged to take him from the carriage and carry him into a neighbouring house. I constantly urged him to return home. 'Hold your tongue!' he said; 'I must see the king, even though it should cost me my life. If I can bring about a better education for a single Prussian child, I shall be fully rewarded.""
Peace brought a new period of external prosperity to the establishment at Yverdun; pupils, young assistants, and visitors flocked there in numbers and from all countries, France and England at length following the example already set by Germany. But this great concourse of people of all languages was equally fatal to the internal arrangements of the establishment and to its financial position. Ramsauer gives the following account of one of those frequent visits about which Pestalozzi became so excited, but which threw the lessons into such confusion:
"In 1814, old Prince Esterhazy arrived. Pestalozzi at once ran all over the Castle, crying, 'Ramsauer, Ramsauer! where are you? Take your best pupils (for gymnastics, drawing, arithmetic, and geometry) and come quickly to the Red House (the hotel where the prince was staying). He is a very important personage, and immensely rich; he owns thousands of serfs in Hungary and Austria, and it is quite certain that he will establish schools and liberate his peasantry as soon as he understands our system, etc.'
"I accordingly took some fifteen of the pupils to the hotel, where Pestalozzi presented me to the prince, saying:
"This is the master of these pupils; he came to my house about fifteen years ago with other poor children from the canton of Appenzell, and has been brought up without restraint, and by the free development of his own powers; now he is himself a teacher, and you will see in him a proof that the poor are just as capable as the rich, if not more so, provided only that their intellect be methodically developed, which however is rarely the case. Hence it is of the greatest importance to improve our popular schools; but he will explain everything to you better than I could myself.'