« ForrigeFortsæt »
These forces of the heart, faith and love, do for immortal man what the root does for the tree.
"But do not only look at the tree that flourishes, look also at that whose root lights upon a hard rock, a burning dry sand, or a stagnant pool! Then watch the root dry up and wither, and mark how the whole tree perishes with it! Ther examine yourselves, and see whether the organic powers which were intended to give you life are not decaying and leaving you in danger of perishing."
After having developed the foregoing ideas, and admitted that the human organism differs from the vegetable and animal organism in the possession of liberty and conscience, Pestalozzi explains that it is the part of education to encourage and direct the development of the best powers of the child, as a gardener encourages and directs the growth of a tree. He then adds:
"Each of our moral, intellectual, and physical powers must depend for its development upon itself alone, and not on any artificial external influences. Faith, that is, must proceed from faith, and not from the knowledge and understanding of what is to be believed; thought must proceed from thought, and not from the knowledge and understanding of what is to be thought or of the laws of thought; love must proceed from love, and not from the knowledge and understanding of what love is and of what deserves to be loved; art, too, must proceed from actual art and skill, and not from endless discussions about them. And this return to the true method of Nature for the development of our powers, absolutely requires the work of education to be subordinated to the knowledge of the various laws which control those powers.
Pestalozzi then passes in review his whole life, so far at least as it has been devoted to searching for the means of raising the people by education. He acknowledges that he has always been too incapable to succeed in any of his enterprises; but experience, which has taught him many things, still instructs him every da and now he thanks God for not having permitted him to put his hand to the work before he was ready, and for having forced him in this way to labour continually. He brought ruin and suffering upon himself by trying to establish a home for the poor at Neuhof, and
yet the memory of that attempt is dear to him, and although the property costs him much more than it brings in, he has never been willing to sell it, for he still hopes to found a school for the poor there, and is looking forward to beginning the necessary repairs next spring. Farther on he acknow ledges that an institution of this kind can in no way replace home warmed by the love of father and mother, and adds:
"The religious spirit which sheds a blessing on the domestic hearth, still exists in our midst, but is without inner life, and is reduced to a mere reasoning spirit which does nothing but discourse on what is holy and what is Divine. However, the blessed spirit of the true doctrine of Christ seems to throw out new and deep roots in the midst of the corruption of our race, and to maintain in thousands of souls a pure inner life. It is, in truth, to that alone that we can look for the principles and power necessary for battling with the ideas, sentiments, desires and habits of our century, chief cause, as it seems to me, of the debasement of the people. It is by this means alone that we can resume and employ beneficently the only true methods of popular and national education, methods which God has placed in the home and maintained from time immemorial by the inexhaustible treasure of parental love."
Pestalozzi then asks what there is to be done to fight the evil he has just described, and suggests seven chief lines of action. He points out that it is neither with the rich nor the poor that the first efforts must be made, but with the great middle-class, with whom success will be much easier than with the others, because they have, in a measure, preserved the habits and virtues of the domestic hearth. Moreover it is from the middle class that regeneration will spread most surely and easily to the other portions of society, for, on the one hand, they give instructors to the rich, and on the other, they supply the poor with the example and advice of protectors, near enough to them to know them well and to be sure of being listened to.
It is because the institute of Yverdun is intended for middle-class children that Pestalozzi attaches such great value to it as a means of regeneration, and is so anxious for
its continuance after his death. He declares that he could not have found a country, town, or spot more fitted for his purpose, and congratulates himself on the sympathy, facilities and welcome accorded him by the authorities and inhabitants of Yverdun, and especially by the educated portion of the community. It is at Yverdun, moreover, that he has made many important preparations, and it is at Yverdun that his institution must remain. After having developed the foregoing ideas at considerable length, Pestalozzi comes back once more to his doctrine of elementary education, as being the only means of regenerating, not merely the poor, but all classes of society. He then continues:
"Elementary education is nothing else but a supreme return to the truest and simplest form of educational art, the education of the home. This is indeed the supreme art. Its means are not special gifts of knowledge and skill, like the watering-pots with which a gardener waters a thirsty ground, after which the earth dries up again and waits for a careful hand to water it once more; no, no; the means of elementary education are rather like a running spring which is always flowing and never allows the ground to dry. No, no; the effects of true elementary culture are not transient, for it is they that set in action those powers of human nature on which all skill and knowledge depend.
"With the two thousand pounds resulting from the subscription, I propose to form an inalienable capital, the annual interest of which will be perpetually employed as follows:
"1. To continue experiments in pursuit of ever simpler means for elementary teaching in the home.
“2. To train in this spirit and for this purpose, proper masters and mistresses.
"3. To found one or several model schools for the instruction of children according to the principles indicated above. "4. To continue the search for the most suitable means of regenerating domestic education among the people.
"Now I have done my part according to my strength, and have deposited my mite on the altar of my country and of humanity. But my age tells me that my personal influence cannot last much longer, for which reason I shall do all that is necessary to strengthen my establishment by outside sup
port. I shall address myself to de Rougemont, of Neuchâtel; Mollin, of Lausanne; Doxat, of Turin; and Constançon, of Yverdun; I am, indeed, already in communication with the two last concerning my financial arrangements, and shall ask these gentlemen to receive all moneys resulting from the subscription, invest it safely, and pay the interest each year to the persons appointed by me to carry on my work.
I am well aware that the amount produced by the subscription is quite inadequate for such a purpose; but I look upon our past labours and experiments as the real capital of my foundation, and I should hope, too, that the mite I add will not remain quite alone. By the work of my life, and by that of Niederer, Krusi, Mieg, Jullien, de Muralt, Henning, and many other friends, most of whom are now far away, the interest of a great number of men has been aroused in favour of our enterprise, the importance of which is generally felt. I hope, therefore, that a large number of my contemporaries will take part in it, and that my small contribution will disappear under the abundance of their gifts."
Pestalozzi then announces that he will work to the end of his days to increase his contribution; that he will leave the subscription open, and add to his works many important manuscripts, as yet incomplete; and further that he is going to begin at once the publication of a journal, entitled, Journal of the Foundations of Yverdun. In short, he will no longer consider the institute of Yverdun as his private property, but as having an independent moral personality of its own. He also points out that the income of the institute will be very small during the first few years.
Pestalozzi refers once more to his attempt to found a school for the poor at Neuhof fifty years before, and regrets that his wife, to whose devotion he then owed so much, is not still living to see him resume the execution of this project. He also thanks God for having consoled his old age by making it possible for him to do this, and announces that he is on the point of setting to work; he wishes it, however, to be known that the new asylum of Neuhof will merely bring help to a few unfortunates who are suffering, and cannot wait; whereas the entire realization of his ideal can only come later, and as the result of the work which will be carried on in his foundations at Yverdun.
Further on, Pestalozzi points out that in the middle classes there are many families who cannot pay the price of their children's schooling, and that it is precisely from these children, brought up in poverty and economy, that most is to be expected for the success of his undertaking. For that reason he has made up his mind to admit them into the institute at reduced prices, provided only that their moral nature is good and that they are thoroughly intelligent. Such children are not accustomed to have wine and meat every day, nor will they have them at the institute; there will be a separate table for them, but the moral equality will not be affected. Pestalozzi himself will eat with them, and he will take care that they do not regret the other table.
After having thus exposed all his projects, Pestalozzi addresses his grandson Gottlieb, who is once more present, after an absence of four years. He thanks him for returning, and for saying that he is ready to devote his life to his grandfather's work, and to do his best to be like him, and that he will be content with the fortune left by his grandmother, and never regret that which has been given to the foundation. Pestalozzi praises him for having thus chosen the good part; and says that he now feels free to make over everything he possesses to his work, since he leaves his grandson a vocation that is worth more than all the gold in the world. He inspires Gottlieb with courage, gives him advice, and tells him that he will find Schmidt a strong and devoted support. After reminding his hearers that Schmidt alone had saved and sustained him, he proceeds to speak of him in terms of the highest praise, denying, however, that he has ever made an idol of him. Every one has his faults, and Schmidt has his; Pestalozzi, indeed, knows them well, for they often cause him pain, but Schmidt has so many of the qualities that are wanting in the old man, that it would be difficult to find two men more different. Schmidt brings Pestalozzi power, perseverance, and absolute devotedness.
Then he enters upon the divergencies of views which have manifested themselves in his house, and the fatal dissensions which followed. The explanation he gives is as follows:
In the first days of his association with his coadjutors, Pestalozzi seemed to see that the world wished what he wished, and loved what he loved; the Government supported him, the public admired all he did, often even before he himself