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Resolutions. Buys land and marries.
my most secret counsels. A great and honest simplicity shall reign in my house. And one thing more. My life will not pass without important and very critical undertakings. I shall not forget my first resolutions to devote myself wholly to my country. I shall never, from fear of man, refrain from speaking when I see that the good of my country calls upon me to speak. My whole heart is my country's: I will risk all to alleviate the need and misery of my fellow-countrymen. What consequences may the undertakings to which I feel myself urged on draw after them! how unequal to them am I! and how imperative is my duty to show you the possibility of the great dangers which they may bring upon me! My dear, my beloved friend, I have now spoken candidly of my character and my aspirations. Reflect upon everything. If the traits which it was my duty to mention diminish your respect for me, you will still esteem my sincerity, and you will not think less highly of me, that I did not take advantage of your want of acquaintance with my character for the attainment of my inmost wishes."
§ 9. The young lady addressed was worthy of her lover. "Such nobleness, such elevation of character, reach my very soul," said she. With equal nobleness she encouraged Pestalozzi in his schemes and took the consequences without a murmur during their long married life of 46
§ 10. Full of new ideas about farming Pestalozzi now thought he saw his way to making a fortune. He took some poor land near Birr not far from Zurich, and persuaded a banking firm to advance money with which he proposed to cultivate vegetables and madder. In September, 1769, he was married, and six months later the
P. turns to education.
pair settled in a new house, "Neuhof," which Pestalozzi had built on his land.
§ 11. But in spite of his excellent ideas and great industry, his speculation failed. The bankers soon withdrew their money. Pestalozzi was not cautious enough for them. However, his wife's friends prevented an immediate collapse.
§ 12. But before he had any reason to doubt the success of his speculation Pestalozzi had begun to reproach himself with being engrossed by it. What had become of all his thoughts for the people? Was he not spending his strength entirely to gain the prosperity of himself and his household? These thoughts came to him with all the more force when a son was born to him; and at this time they naturally connected themselves with education. He had now seen a good deal of the degraded state of the peasantry. How were they to be raised out of it?
§ 13. To Pestalozzi there seemed one answer and one only. This was by education. To many people in the present day it might seem that "education," when quite successful, would qualify labourers to become clerks. This was not the notion of Pestalozzi. Rousseau had completely freed him from bondage to the Renascence, and education did not mean to him a training in the use of books. He looked at the children of the lowest class of the peasants and asked himself what they needed to raise them. Knowledge would not do it. "The thing was not that they should know what they did not know, but that they should behave as they did not behave" (supra, p. 169); and the road to right action lay through right feeling. If they could be made conscious that they were loved and cared for, their hearts would open and give back love and respect in return. More than this, they must be taught not only to respect their elders but also
Neuhof filled with children.
themselves. They must be taught to help themselves and contribute to their own maintenance. So Pestalozzi resolved to take into his own house some of the very poorest children, to bring them up in an atmosphere of love, and to instruct them in field-work and spinning which would soon partly (as Pestalozzi hoped, wholly) pay for their keep. Thus, just at the time when the experiment for himself failed he began for others an experiment that seemed likely to add indefi nitely to his difficulties.
§ 14. In the winter of 1774 the first children were taken into Neuhof. The consequences to his wife and to his little son only four years old might have vanquished the courage of a less ardent philanthropist. "Our position entailed much suffering on my wife;" he writes, "but nothing could shake us in our resolve to devote our time, strength and remaining fortune to the simplification of the instruction and domestic education of the people."
§ 15. These children, at first not more than 20 in number, Pestalozzi treated as his own. They worked with him in the summer in the garden and fields, in winter in the house. Very little time was given to separate lessons, the children often learning while they worked with their hands. Pestalozzi held that talking should come before reading and writing; and he practised them in conversation on subjects taken from their every day life. They also repeated passages from the Bible till they knew them by heart.
§ 16. In a few months, as we are told, the appearance of these poor little creatures had entirely changed; though fed only on bread and vegetables they looked strong and hearty, and their faces gained an expression of cheerfulness, frankness and intelligence which till then had been totally wanting. They made good progress with their manual work
Appeal for the new Institution.
as well as with the associated lessons, and took pleasure in both. In all they said and did, they seemed to show their consciousness of their benefactor's kind care of them.
§ 17. This experiment naturally drew much attention to it, and when it had gone on over a year Pestalozzi was induced by his friend Iselin of Basel to insert in the Ephemerides (a paper of which Iselin was editor), an “appeal. . . for an institution intended to provide education and work for poor country children." In this appeal Pestalozzi narrates his experience. "I have proved," says he, "that it is not regular work that stops the development of so many poor children, but the turmoil and irregularity of their lives, the privations they endure, the excesses they indulge in when opportunity offers, the wild rebellious passions so seldom restrained, and the hopelessness to which they are so often a prey. I have proved that children after having lost health, strength and courage in a life of idleness and mendicity have, when once set to regular work quickly recovered their health and spirits and grown rapidly. I have found that when taken out of their abject condition they soon become kindly, trustful and sympathetic; that even the most degraded of them are touched by kindness, and that the eyes of the child who has been steeped in misery, grow bright with pleasure and surprise, when, after years of hardship, he sees a gentle friendly hand stretched out to help him ; and I am convinced that when a child's heart has been touched the consequences will be great for his development and entire moral character."
Pestalozzi therefore would have the very poorest children brought up in private establishments where agriculture and industry were combined, and where they would learn to work steadily and carefully with their hands, the chief part of their time being devoted to this manual work, and their in
Bankruptcy. The children sent away.
struction and education being associated with it. And he asks for support in greatly increasing the establishment he has already begun.
§ 18. Encouraged by the support he received and still more by his love for the children and his own too sanguine disposition Pestalozzi enlarged his undertaking. The consequence was bankruptcy. Several causes conspired to bring about this result. Whatever he might do for the children, he could not educate the parents, and these were many of them beggars with the ordinary vices of their class. With the usual discernment of such people they soon came to the conclusion that Pestalozzi was making a fortune out of their children's labour; so they haunted Neuhof, treated Pestalozzi with the greatest insolence, and often induced their children to run away in their new clothes. This would account for much, but there was another cause of failure that accounted for a great deal more. This was Pestalozzi's extreme incapacity as an administrator. Even his industrial experiment he carried on in such a way that it proved a source of expense rather than of profit. He says himself, that, contrary to his own principles, which should. have led him to begin at the beginning and lay a good foundation in teaching, he put the children to work that was too difficult for them, wanted them to spin fine thread before their hands got steadiness and skill by exercise on the coarser kind, and to manufacture muslin before they could turn out well-made cotton goods. "Before I was aware of it," he adds," I was deeply involved in debt, and the greater part of my dear wife's property and expectations had, as it were, in an instant gone up in smoke.”
§ 19. The precise arrangement made with the creditors we do not know. The bare facts remain that the children were sent away, and that the land was let for the creditors'