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De Guimps tells us that "the youngest masters, who were generally Burgdorf pupils, were in charge out of school. They slept in the dormitories, and, in recreation time, played with the pupils with as much enjoyment as the children themselves. They worked in the garden with them, bathed with them, walked with them, and were in every respect on the friendliest terms with them. They were divided into sets, each set taking its turn every third day, for this superintendence kept them busy from morning till night. . . . The week's work was reviewed at a general meeting of the teachers every Saturday.

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"When we consider the material conditions of the life of the masters in the Yverdon institute we can have no doubt either of their devotion to Pestalozzi and his work or of the lofty and disinterested motives which first attracted them to him, and then kept them with him. Their lodging was even more primitive than their living. Some of the oldest of them lived outside the castle, but the rest had not even a private room, and when they wanted to work alone, they had to construct little wooden cabins in the upper, uninhabited storeys of the round towers which crowned the four corners of the old building."

To endure such labour and conditions of labour was indeed a tribute to their own worth; and not less to the fine influence of Pestalozzi. As Dr. Biber remarks: "To render them fit and willing to fill their stations in this manner, required . . . a deep sense to be awakened within them of the exalted and responsible character of their office, and their zeal needed persevering encouragement from the highest motives. For this purpose, Pestalozzi endeavoured to make the teaching of

others a source of instruction: the government of others a means of moral improvement to themselves. On two evenings in the week he met all the teachers, except such as were at the time necessarily engaged with the pupils, in a general assembly, alternately devoted to the general means of instruction and discipline, and of the individual state of each pupil."

Another serious practical difficulty was the fact that two different languages had to be spoken. In 1809, of the pupils about sixty per cent. were Swiss, the remainder being made up of Germans, French, Russians, Italians, Spaniards, Americans and English. There were fifteen teachers, nine of whom were Swiss; and thirty-two persons who were studying Pestalozzi's method, seven of whom were natives of Switzerland. Raumer writes: "With such a medley of children, the institution was devoid of a predominant mother-tongue, and assumed the mongrel character of a border-province. Pestalozzi read the prayers every morning and evening, first in German, then in French! At the lessons in the German language, intended for German children, I found French children who did not understand the most common German word." Dr. Mayo, speaking of several Englishmen who were staying at the institute, writes: "We rise between six and seven, prayers at seven, soon after breakfast in a large room, just when we please to go there. Some of the masters drop in, in the same way, and English, French, German and Latin are perhaps all talked in succession."

Still more difficult was it to carry out a system of education based upon the principle that the pupil must be taught in such a way that at every step of his development the instruction is exactly suited to his

needs, when pupils were admitted at all ages; in all conditions of advancement; and with every variety of previous training. What the principle required was that the pupil should begin, continue and end his education under the influence of the system. It was impossible to uproot the bad habits of many years of wrong training, and begin everything afresh. The attempt to pour new wine into old bottles had its inevitable result.

Added to these obstacles to thorough and successful work were the interruptions and distractions of many visitors. Ramsauer says: "It was nothing unusual in summer for strangers to come to the castle four or five times in the same day, and for us to have to interrupt the instruction to expound the method to them". Writing from Yverdon, on 25th September, 1819, Dr. Mayo says: "We have had a great many English here lately. I spent the whole day with them, showing them the institution in the morning.' These visitors included Lord and Lady Elgin and family (“a troop of Elgins "), Lady Ellenborough ("with a large party "), "an old Oxford friend," "several young men," and others. Pupils were sometimes taken to the hotel at which an important personage was staying, so that a demonstration might be given to him.

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Again, it is neither unkind nor unfair to say that both Pestalozzi and his staff were somewhat overcome by the royal and exalted approval and patronage which their work received, and by the almost universal applause showered upon it. They seem almost to have thought themselves as wise and wonderful as their ignorant (educationally) and impulsive admirers deemed them; and they developed the pride which goes before a fall.

Pestalozzi himself speaks of "the great delusion under which we lay at that period, namely, that all those things in regard to which we had strong intentions and some clear ideas, were really as they ought to have been, and as we should have liked to make them. . . . We announced publicly things which we had neither the strength nor the means to accomplish. There are hundreds and hundreds of these vain boastings of which I do not like to speak."

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The enemies and opponents of the work were emboldened by such confirmations of their criticisms; and the public journals in Switzerland attacked the institution, Referring to this, Pestalozzi says that the papers began to speak decidedly against our pretensions, asserting that what we did was by no means what we considered and represented ourselves to be doing. But instead of penitently returning to modesty, we sturdily resisted this opposition. While participating in this temerity, which is now incomprehensible to me, I began to be sensible that we were treading in paths which might lead us astray, and that, in truth, many things in the midst of us were not as they should have been, and as we endeavoured to make them appear in the eyes of the world."

Pestalozzi and his staff appealed to the Swiss Diet to appoint a commission to formally examine the institution. Their request was granted and three commissioners appointed, viz., M. Mérian, a member of the executive council of Basle; M. Trechsel, professor of mathematics at Bern; and Père Girard, the famous educational reformer of Fribourg. These visited the institute in November, 1809, and spent five days in examining it. They steadfastly refused to inquire into

the aims and principles of the work, and confined themselves wholly to the results produced. After their inspection they wrote a report which was presented to the Diet in 1810: a vote of thanks, on behalf of the nation, was accorded to Pestalozzi; and the report ordered to be printed. Whilst recognising many merits in the work of the institution, the commissioners pointed out many things which they thought might be improved; and, on the whole, it may be said that the work was damned with faint praise. A long and heated controversy between the opponents and friends (including the staff) of the school took place in the public journals, and by pamphlets and books, the result of which was anything but favourable to the success of the work or harmony amongst the workers.


Much light is thrown upon what we may call the domestic affairs of the institution by Ramsauer, himself a member of it. He writes: "In Burgdorf [where Ramsauer was one of the pupils] an active and entirely new life opened to me; there reigned so much love and simplicity in the institution, the life was so genial-I could almost say patriarchal; not much was learned, it is true, but Pestalozzi was the father, and the teachers were the friends of the pupils. . . . At Yverdon all felt that more must be learned than at Burgdorf; but we all fell, in consequence, into a restless pushing and driving, and the individual teachers into a scramble after distinction. Pestalozzi, indeed, remained the same noble-hearted old man, wholly forgetting himself, and living only for the welfare of others, and infusing his own spirit into the entire household. . . . So long as the institution was small, Pestalozzi could, by his thoroughly amiable personal character, adjust at once.

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