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the new constitution. An open insurrection ensued, which ended in the complete devastation of the canton of Unterwalden by the French armies. Terrible misery was the consequence. The towns of Stanz and Stanzstadt had been burned to the ground, and a multitude of poor children, who had lost their parents, were wandering about in utter destitution, without a roof to shelter them. Their distress touched many generous Swiss hearts; from all parts of the country food, clothes, and money were sent to the afflicted district, and every effort made to alleviate the suffering there.
When Pestalozzi heard of these events, a voice within him seemed to say, "Be a father, a teacher, a helper to these orphans." He forgot his own troubles; he thought no more of his grand project, for the execution of which the Government had liberally offered him means; all he now desired was to be able to gather these abandoned children around him, and to save them from bodily and spiritual ruin. His wish was readily granted, and an old uninhabited convent near Stanz was assigned to him for his orphans. Thither Pestalozzi, now fifty-two years of age, betook himself at the close of 1798, accompanied only by an old housekeeper, to exercise his work of mercy. The building was partially in ruins, the rooms were not fit for habitation. In spite of that, poor children streamed thither as soon as they heard that a helper had appeared for them. Though nothing was ready, Pestalozzi could under no circum
stances turn away a poor child. culties met him at every point. through whose broken windows the cold autumn blasts penetrated, in the most unwholesome atmosphere, in a thick layer of dust and plaster which filled all the passages, Pestalozzi began his work. The children, whose number daily increased, were covered with vermin, afflicted with fearful sores and ulcers, mostly emaciated skeletons, their teeth chattering, deep anguish in their eyes, deep wrinkles on their brows; some were bold and impudent, accustomed to beggary, hypocrisy, and all kinds of falsehood; others, bent down by their misery, patiently suffered, but were timid, mistrustful, incapable of love; while a few, who had lived in better circumstances, looked down with contempt on the other beggar children. All were so ignorant that scarcely one could repeat the alphabet.
Soon a new life of light and love dawned upon these poor outcasts, of whom in a very short time more than eighty were gathered into the institution. To them Pestalozzi was everything: from morning till night he was in their midst; all they received came from his hand-all the aid, all the instruction given them, came directly from him. His hand lay in their hand, his eye rested on their eye. His tears flowed with theirs, his smile accompanied theirs. He shared their meals; every service, even the lowest and most degrading, he performed for them. He taught them, and prayed with them, when they were in bed,
till they fell asleep. Full of gentleness, and of the noblest self-denial, he was determined to heal the moral wounds they had suffered, and to overcome their faults and failings, by unwearied kindness. He was their master, their servant, their father, their mother, their overseer, their nurse, their teacher.
The utter want of culture in these children did not dishearten him. Former experience had taught him what noble qualities and capabilities are often developed from the wildest and rudest natures. In this case too he was not deceived. Before the spring sun had melted the snow on the Alps, these children had so changed, that one could scarcely recognise them as the same. The school inspectors, sent by the Government, were amazed at his success. The simple method which he employed to effect this reformation, consisted in the adoption in his institution of a common affectionate family life-he was the father, the orphans were all his children.
When Altdorf was burned down, this great philanthropist assembled his children around him and said, "Altdorf has been burned down, and perhaps at this moment hundreds of children are without shelter, food, and clothing. Shall we not ask to be allowed to receive some twenty of these children in our house?" When they exclaimed, full of emotion, "Yes! oh, yes!" he added, "But our house has not money enough. You will have to work more for these children; you will get less to eat; you will be obliged to share your clothes with them. Will you
like to do that?" They exclaimed, "Oh! let them come, father, we will gladly work more, and eat less!"
There was a system of mutual instruction in his institution; children taught children, children learned from children. If one were even so small that it only knew a few letters, it would be placed between two others, and, embracing them with both hands, would show them, with brotherly or sisterly love, that which it knew, but they were still ignorant of. Thus Pestalozzi soon had helpers and fellow-workers among his children. He introduced the monitorial system among them. One special aim he had in view was to simplify, as far as practicable, his method of teaching, so that a man who possessed very little education-but mothers above all-might easily succeed in teaching their own children, while, at the same time, they were also themselves progressing in knowledge.
Malice, cruelty, impurity, among his pupils, he would severely punish, but he was ever ready to forgive the offender, and to encourage him to amend.
For all the sacrifices he had made, he reaped much ingratitude from parents. Many reproached him for taking away their children from them, whom they had previously employed to beg. Others enticed his pupils away. But he was compensated by the joy which he experienced when grateful parents came to press his hand, to thank him, with bright and cheerful countenance, for his care over their children.
But the most formidable opposition he met with
at this time, arose from the bigotry of the Roman Catholics. Unterwalden is a Catholic canton. Pestalozzi was a Protestant. The people of Stanz had not a good word to say of him, while the priests accused him of teaching the children, heresy. Those who were indifferent to religion, regarded him merely as a good-natured simpleton.
A terrible day for Pestalozzi was 8th June 1799. In consequence of the tidings, "The Austrians and the French are invading us from opposite sides," universal consternation arose. Men and women carried off all they could of their property into the woods, and Pestalozzi's children wandered about weeping, each carrying his little bundle under his arm. The French, who the year before had slain their fathers, now robbed the children of their new home. They took possession of the orphanage, and turned it into a military hospital. Pestalozzi, with tears, had to dismiss his innocent flock. His health, seriously shattered already by his extraordinary exertions, now quite broke down, and he fell dangerously ill. "Why can I not die?" he often exclaimed, with tears of anguish. This was part of that cross which all have to bear who exert themselves in the service of their fellow-men.
He had to go to a mountain bath, where, in a few weeks, he regained so much strength that he was eager to carry out new plans which he had formed. "From the heights of Gurnigel," he afterwards said, "I gazed down on the beautiful boundless valley at