« ForrigeFortsæt »
Success of "Leonard and Gertrude."
degradation and the cure. With extraordinary rapidity he wrote between the lines of an old account book the first part of his "Leonard and Gertrude." The book, which was complete in itself, and through the good offices of Iselin (of the Ephemerides), soon found a publisher, suddenly sprang into immense popularity, a popularity of which nothing but the "continuations" could ever have deprived it. In the works of a great artist we see natural objects represented with perfect fidelity and yet with a life breathed into them by genius, which is wanting or at least is not visible to common eyes in the originals. Just so do we find Swiss peasant life depicted by Pestalozzi. The delineation is evidently true to nature; and, at the same time, shows Nature as she reveals herself to genius. But for this work something more than genius was necessary, viz., sympathy and love. In the preface to the first edition, he says, "In that which I here relate, and which I have, for the most part, seen and heard myself in the course of an active life, I have taken care not once to add my own opinion to what I saw and heard the people themselves saying, feeling, believing, judging, and attempting." In a later edition (1800) he says, "I desired nothing then, and I desire nothing else now, as the object of my life, but the welfare of the people, whom I love, and whom I feel to be miserable as few feel them to be miserable, because I have with them borne their sufferings as few have borne them."
§ 27. Wherever German was read this book excited vast interest, and though it seemed to most people only a good-tale, it met with some more discerning readers. The Bern Agricultural Society sent the author their thanks and a gold medal, and Pestalozzi was at once recognised as a man who understood the peasantry and had good ideas for raising
Gertrude's patience tried.
them. The book is and must remain a classic, but Pestalozzi in his zeal to spread the truth added again and again "continuations," and these became less and less popular in the method of exposition.*
§ 28. Here and there we get glimpses of the trials Pestalozzi had gone through in his industrial experiment. "The love and patience," he writes, "with which Gertrude bore with the disorderly and untrained little ones was almost past belief. Their eyes were often anywhere but on their yarn, so that this would now be too thick, and now too thin. When they had spoiled it, they would watch for a moment when Gertrude was not looking, and throw it out of the window by the handful, until they found that she discovered the trick when she weighed their work at night." (E. C's. trans., p. 122.) And in this connexion Pestalozzi preached his doctrine of perfect attainment. "What you can't do blindfold,"" said Harry, "you can't do at all.”” (ib.) § 29. "Gertrude," we are told, "seemed quite unable to explain her method in words ;" and here no doubt Pestalozzi was speaking of himself; but like Gertrude he "would let fall some significant remark which went to the root of the whole matter of education." As an instance we may take
* There are now four parts, first published respectively in 1781, 1783. 1785, and 1787 (O. Fischer). The English translation in two small vols. (1825) ends with the First Part, but Miss Eva Channing has recently sought to weld the four parts into one (Boston, U.S.-D. C. Heath & Co.), and in this form the book seems to me not only very instructive but very entertaining also. Not many readers who look into it will fail to reach the end, and few are the books connected with education of which this could prudently be asserted. "All good teachers should read it with care," says Stanley Hall in his Introduc tion, and if they thus read it and catch anything of the spirit of Pesta lozzi both they and their pupils will have reason to rejoice.
Being and doing before knowing.
what Gertrude said to the schoolmaster: "You should do for the children what their parents fail to do for them. The reading, writing, and arithmetic are not after all what they most need. It is all well and good for them to learn something, but the really important thing for them is to be something." When this truth is fully realized by teachers and school managers there will be some hope for national education.
§ 30. "Although Gertrude exerted herself to develop very early the manual dexterity of her children, she was in no haste for them to learn to read and write; but she took pains to teach them early how to speak: for, as she said, 'Of what use is it for a person to be able to read and write if he cannot speak, since reading and writing are only an artificial sort of speech.'. . . . She did not adopt the tone of an instructor towards the children . . . . and her verbal instruction seemed to vanish in the spirit of her real activity, in which it always had its source. The result of her system was that each child was skilful, intelligent, and active to the full extent that its age and development allowed." (Ib. p. 130.)
§ 31. In this book we see that knowledge is treated as valueless unless it has a basis in action. "The pastor was soon convinced that all verbal instruction in so far as it aims at true human wisdom and at the highest goal of this wisdom, true religion, ought to be subordinated to a constant training in practical domestic labour.. So he strove to lead the children without many words to a quiet industrious life, and thus to lay the foundations of a silent worship of God and love of humanity. To this end he connected every word of his brief religious teachings with their actual every-day experience, so that when he spoke of
P.'s severity. Women Commissioners.
God and eternity,
seemed to them as if he were speaking of father and mother, house and home; in short of the things with which they were most familiar” (p. 156). Thus he built on the foundation laid by the schoolmaster, who "cared for the children's heads as he did for their hearts, and demanded that whatever entered them should be plain and clear as the silent moon in the sky. To insure this he taught them to see and hear with accuracy, and cultivated their powers of attention" (p. 157).
§ 32. With all his love for the children, an element of severity was not wanting. Pestalozzi maintained that "love was only useful in the education of men when in conjunction with fear: for they must learn to root out thorns and thistles, which they never do of their own accord, but only under compulsion and in consequence of training" (p. 157).
§ 33. Just at the end of the book "the Duke" appoints a commission to report on the success of the Bonal experiment, and Pestalozzi makes him give the following order: "To insure thoroughness there must be among the examiners men skilled in law and finance, merchants, clergymen, government officials, schoolmasters, and physicians, besides women of different ranks and conditions of life who shall view the matter with their woman's eyes and be sure there is nothing visionary in the background" (p. 180). In this respect Pestalozzi is in advance of us still. No woman has yet sat on an educational commission.
34. Thus we find Pestalozzi at the age of thirty-five turning author, and for the next six or seven years he worked indefatigably with his pen. Most men of genius have some leading purpose which unites their varied activities, and this was specially true of Pestalozzi. He never lost sight
P.'s seven years of authorship.
of his one object, which was the elevation of the people; and this he held to be attainable only by means of education properly so called. The success of the first part of Leonard and Gertrude he now endeavoured to turn to account in spreading true ideas of education. With this intent he published Christopher and Eliza: My Second Book for the People (1782), which was a kind of commentary on Leonard and Gertrude. But the public wished to be amused, not taught; and the book was a failure. He was thus driven into the attempt already mentioned to catch the public ear by continuing Leonard and Gertrude, thus endangering his first and, as it proved, his only great success in literature.
§ 35. To gain circulation for his ideas he also started a weekly paper called the Swiss Journal, and issued it regularly throughout the year 1782; but the subscribers were so few that he was then obliged to give it up. I have not the smallest doubt that it was, as Guimps says, full of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that readers of periodicals are likely to care for.*
* In the pages of this Journal Pestalozzi taught that it was