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was the chief favourite with the children, for the simple reason that, as he was never so happy as in their society, he was always with them. He used to play, drill, walk, bathe, climb, throw stones with them, just like a big child, and in this way gained almost unlimited authority over them. And yet he had nothing of the pedagogue about him but the heart.
"I must further say that in the first years of the Burgdorf institute, nothing like a systematic plan of lessons was followed, and that the whole life of the place was so simple and home-like, that in the half-hour's recreation which followed breakfast, Pestalozzi would often become so interested in the spirited games of the children in the playground as to allow them to go on undisturbed till ten o'clock. And on summer evenings, after bathing in the Emme, instead of beginning work again, we often stayed out till eight or nine o'clock looking for plants and minerals.”
This testimony of Ramsauer as to the family life at Burgdorf is confirmed by an anecdote which deserves mention. A peasant, the father of a pupil, had come one day to visit the establishment. Very surprised at what he saw, he cried: "Why, this is not a school, but a family." "That is the greatest praise you can give me," answered Pestalozzi; "I have succeeded, thank God, in showing the world that there must be no gulf between the home and the school, and that the latter is only useful to education in so far as it develops the sentiments and the virtues which lend the charm and value to family life."
If the Burgdorf school thus presented the picture of a great family, it was only because Pestalozzi was a father for everybody, and lived but for others. His activity and love inspired the whole household. His assistants, who had a profound affection and veneration for him, were Krusi for language and arithmetic, Tobler for geography and history, Buss for geometry, drawing, and singing, and Naef for gymnastics and one or two elementary subjects.
Even the financial difficulty which weighed upon the establishment exercised a wholesome moral influence. The masters had refused good offers to remain with Pestalozzi, and went so far as to give up a portion of their salary, small as it was, to make up for his want of means. The
pupils, on their side, contented themselves with little, and did all they could to keep down the expenses. It was indeed a practical school of sacrifice and renunciation.
The children's trust in their masters, their love and gratitude for them, took the place of rules and discipline; there were no rewards, and, except in very exceptional cases, no punishments; obedience was perfect because it was spontaneous. The children were lively and happy, they liked their lessons almost as well as their games, and it was not rare to see some of them stop in the middle of their play to go and work together before a blackboard or a map.
It was at Burgdorf that those sense-impressing lessons in natural history began which played so large and useful a part in all Pestalozzi's establishments. Such lessons are liked by the children, render their walks interesting, and help to develop tastes which may afterwards prove of extreme value. Krusi afterwards became a first-rate mineralogist, and gave most enjoyable and useful lessons; but in the early days at Burgdorf the masters were almost as ignorant of natural history as the children. Minerals and plants were indeed collected, examined, and described, but their classification was entirely a matter of individual taste. It was John Conrad Escher, of Zurich, who first showed Krusi the differences between quartz, granite, etc., when on a visit to Burgdorf.
In spite of the success of the institute, the supply of money was small, and Pestalozzi's own resources were soon exhausted. As early as the 18th of February, 1801, the Executive Council had, at the request of the minister Mohr, agreed to continue yearly the grant of twenty pounds that had been voted to the Burgdorf institute on the 8th of October, 1800, and had further ordered that Pestalozzi should be supplied with twenty measures of firewood from the State forests in the canton of Berne. But on the 19th of April, Mohr, after spending a day at the Castle, made such a favourable report to the Council, that it was decided to raise the State grant to seventy pounds a year, payable quarterly. Many donations also came in from private people,
This was the engineer who, on account of his successful draining operations, was known as Escher of the Linth.
amongst others one of twenty pounds from the wife of the French minister.
At the same time the reputation of the institute was spreading; the leading newspapers of the district spoke of it in the highest terms, the number of pupils steadily continued to increase, and before very long applications had to be refused for want of room.
On the 22nd of September, 1801, Mohr, in his report to the Executive Council, says:
"Pestalozzi's institute in Burgdorf Castle, the first and only one of its kind, is attracting, by its now generally recognized usefulness, numerous pupils, whom the director, for want of habitable space, is obliged to refuse, to his own great regret, and to the prejudice of public education. It is urgent that the buildings already occupied by Pestalozzi should be enlarged by the addition of two large dormitories for pupils, and six small rooms for masters."
Although the Council had decided on the 5th of the preceding August that, considering the low state of the treasury, no repairs should be executed that year on any public building, it agreed to carry out the necessary improvements in Burgdorf Castle, which, it was estimated, would cost about a hundred and twenty pounds.
In October of the same year, Pestalozzi published How Gertrude Teaches her Children, a book which was intended to give the public a full and complete account of his doctrine and of his work. As this book is of such high importance, we must reserve a detailed examination of it for another chapter; we can only say here that it gained considerable notoriety in German-speaking countries, and attracted to Burgdorf numerous visitors, amongst whom were several very distinguished men.
The very next month, for instance, there arrived together Wessenberg and Charles Victor von Bonstetten. The latter speaks of his visit in a letter to Frederic Brun, written the evening of his arrival. The letter confirms all we have said above, and contains besides some very interesting comments. As it is, unfortunately, too long to quote in full, the following extracts must suffice:
"I cannot understand why Pestalozzi should say that all
instruction is based on three chief elements-number, form, and language; but what I do see, and see clearly, is that his forty-eight children, of ages varying from five to twelve, have learned, in from six to ten months, writing, reading, drawing, and a little geography and French, and have besides made marvellous progress in arithmetic. They do everything cheerfully, and their health seems perfect. I know not whether Pestalozzi's method is good, nor whether, indeed, he has any reasoned-out method, but I see plainly that he is walking in unknown ways, and arriving at hitherto unknown results, and that, after all, is the most important consideration.
"I look upon Pestalozzi's method as a precious seed, still young and undeveloped, but full of promise. The success the method has already obtained should suffice to convince any impartial thinker of its excellence.
'As it will be long before there is another Pestalozzi, I fear that the rich harvest his discovery seems to promise will be reserved for future ages. It is a pity that he should have expressed his political opinions with so much warmth; in these revolutionary times it will but add another difficulty to those which have always to be overcome before complete justice can be done to an exceptional man. For forty years Pestalozzi has devoted his life to the education of poor children; let him who has done more for humanity cast the first stone!
"The children know little, but what they know they know well. In my opinion, there could be nothing better than the Burgdorf school for children of eight or nine. But it will not bear fruit till upon this basis and in the light of this experience a new storey has been added to the edifice.
"The children are very happy, and evidently take great pleasure in their lessons, which says a great deal for the method."
In December, 1801, a distinguished Swiss, who had lately visited the institute, published a very favourable account of it in a series of unsigned articles in an Augsburg paper. For the sake of avoiding repetition, we shall only quote the following few lines:
"I must confess that I arrived at Burgdorf with grave
doubts as to the fitness, usefulness or success of the experi ment which was being carried on there. But my fears gava place to confidence and joy when I saw how Pestalozzi and his helpers treated the children. On reaching home, I said to my friends: 'There is that going on at Burgdorf which deserves the respectful attention and support of all those who are interested in the happiness of humanity, and in the progress of public education."
The numerous visitors to the institute were particularly astonished by the children's progress in drawing and in the elements of geometry. A distinguished Nuremberg merchant, who had at first been much prejudiced against Pestalozzi's work, speaks thus:
"I was amazed when I saw these children treating the most complicated calculations of fractions as the simplest thing in the world. Problems which I myself could not solve without careful work on paper, they did easily in their heads, giving the correct answer in a few moments, and explaining the process with ease and readiness. They seemed to have no idea that they were doing anything extraordinary."
"At the Burgdorf institute," says another visitor, "children of from six to eight years draw difficult geometrical figures without rule or compass so correctly that no one would believe it who had not seen it."
"I have seen," says another, a child of ten, who had only been a pupil of Pestalozzi's for ten months, reduce a map of Scandinavia to a smaller scale in an hour with such exactness as to defy the most searching examination."
These accounts may, indeed, be somewhat overdrawn, but they prove, at any rate, that Pestalozzi's method of teaching arithmetic had succeeded under Krusi's direction long before Joseph Schmidt took charge of this branch of instruction. This general consensus of opinion in favour of the new school still further increased its reputation, and made it more and more an object of public attention.
"An institute," it was said, "which produces these important results with such slender means is surely deserving of