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will never receive a keen and durable impression, however
slight, an impress of whatever kind, whose effects are not to
influence the life of the man."

At the same time that she sees in the infant the rough
draft of the man, Madame Guizot recognizes with a remark-
able delicacy of psychologic sense, that which distinguishes.


that which characterizes, the irreflective and inconsiderate
nature of the child. "What is more just than this observation ?

"We often deceive ourselves in attributing to the conduct
of children, because it is analogous to our own, motives
similar to those which guide ourselves."

"What better observation than the example which Madame
G-uizot cites in support of this statement !

"Louise, by a sudden impulse, drops her toys, throws
herself upon my neck, and cannot cease kissing me. It
seems that all my mother's heart could not sufficiently
respond to the warmth of her caresses ; but by the same
playful impulse she leaves me to kiss her doll or the arm of
the chair which she meets on her way."

581. Philosophic Rationalism. — Madame Guizot pushes
rationalism much farther than Madame de Remusat, and still
farther than Madame Necker de Saussure. She is first a
philosopher, then a Christian. She more nearly approaches
Rousseau. She would first form in the minds of children the
universal idea of God before initiating them into the particular
dogmas of positive religions. She bases morals on the idea
of duty, which is " the only basis of a complete education."

" I would place," she says, " each act of the child under
the protection of an idea or of a moral sentiment."

Recalling the distinction made by Dupont de Nemours
between 'paternal commands and military commands, the
first addressing themselves to the reason, the others to be
observed without protest and with a passive obedience, she
does not conceal her preference for the use of the first,
because she would form in the woman, as in the man, a spirit
of reason and of liberty. She absolutely proscribes personal
interest, and hence declares that " rewards have always
seemed to her contrary to the true principle of education."


Let us say, lastly, without being able to enter into detail,
that the book of Madame Guizot deserves to be read with
care. There will be found in it a great number of excellent
reflections on instruction which ought to be substantial
rather than extensive ; upon the reading of romances, and
upon the theatre, which she does not forbid ; upon easy
methods, which she condemns ; and, finally, on almost all
pedagogical questions. 1

582. Madame Necker de Saussure (1765-1841). —
There are in the history of education privileged moments,
periods that are particularly and happily fruitful. It is thus
that within the space of a few years there appeared in suc-
cession the books of Madame de Remusat, of Madame
Guizot, and, the most important of all, the Progressive Edu-
cation of Madame Necker de Saussure. 2

A native of Geneva, like Rousseau, Madame Necker de
Saussure has endowed French literature with an educational
masterpiece, which for elevation of view and nobleness of
inspiration, can take rank by the side of the Emile. Though
she may sometimes be too logical and too austere, and while
in general she is lacking in good humor, and while she looks
upon life only through a veil of sadness, Madame Necker is
an incomparable guide in educational affairs. She brings to
the subject remarkable qualities of perspicacity and penetra-
tion, and a spirit of marked gravity. She takes a serious
view of life, and applies herself to training the noblest quali-
ties of the human soul. Profoundly religious, she unites a
"philosophical boldness to the submission of faith." She
is, in some measure, a Christian Rousseau.

1 See in the Revue pedagogique, 1883, No. 6, an interesting study on
Madame Guizot, by Bernard Perez.

2 L 'Education progressive ou £tude du cours de la nature humaine.
3 vols. 1836-1838.


583. Madame Necker de Saussure and Madame de
Stael. — The first work of Madame Necker, Notice of the
Character and the Writings of Madame de Stael, already gives
proof of her interest in education. The author of the Pro-
gressive Education here studies with care the ideas of her
heroine on education and instruction. It is plain that she
has profited by some of the solid reflections in the noble
book on Germany, and particularly by this opinion on the
gradual and progressive method of Rousseau and of Pes-
talozzi : —

"Rousseau calls children into activity by degrees. He
would have them do for themselves all that their little powers
permit them to do. He docs not in the least force their
intelligence ; he does not make them reach the result with-
out passing over the route. He wishes the faculties to be
developed before the sciences are taught."

" What wearies children is to make them jump over inter-
mediate parts, to make them advance without their really
knowing what they think they have learned. With Pestalozzi
there is no trace of these difficulties. With him, children
take delight in their studies, because even in infancy, they
taste the pleasure of grown men, namely, comprehendiug
and completing that on which they have been engaged."

Moreover, Madame Necker must have recognized her own
spirit, her preference for a severe and painstaking educa-
tion, in this passage where Madame de Stael vigorously pro-
tested against amusing and easy methods of instruction : —

"The education that takes place through amusement
dissipates thought ; labor of some sort is one of the great f
aids of nature; the mind of the child ought to accustom!
itself to the labor of study, just as our soul to suffering. . . .
You will teach a multitude of things to your child by means
of pictures and cards, but you will not teach him how to


584. Progressive Education and Rousseau. — It is
undeniable that Madame Necker owes much to Rousseau ;
but she is far from always agreeing with him.

For Rousseau, man is good ; for her, man is bad. The
first duty of the teacher should be to reform him, to raise
him from his fall ; the purpose of life is not happiness, as an
immoral doctrine maintains, but it is improvement ; the basis
of education ought to be religion.

Even when she is inspired by Rousseau, Madame Necker
is not long in separating from him. Thus we may believe
that she borrows from him the fundamental idea of her book,
the idea of a successive development of the faculties, to
which should correspond a parallel movement in educational
methods. Like the author of the Emile, she follows the
awakening of the senses in the infant. She considers the
infant as a being sui generis " who lives only on sensations
and desires." She sees in the infant a distinct period of life,
an age whose education has its own special rules. But at
that point the resemblances stop ; for Madame Necker de
Saussure hastens to add that, from the fifth year, the child
is in possession of all his intellectual faculties. He is no
longer simply a sentieut being, a robust animal like Emile ;
but he is a complete being, soul and body. Consequently,
education should take account of his double nature. Moral
education ought not to be separated from physical education,
and cannot begin too soon.

" It is a great error to believe that nature proceeds in the
systematic order imagined by Rousseau. With her, we
nowhere discern a commencement ; we do not surprise her at
creating, and it always seems that she is developing."

So, in education, we must know how to appeal, at the
same time and as soon as possible, to the different motives,
instinctive or reflective, selfish or affectionate, which sway
the will.


Often, in practice, the two thinkers approacli each other,
and, even in her protestations against her countryman,
Madame Necker de Saussure preserves something of Rous-
seau's spirit. Thus, she does not desire the negative educa-
tion which leaves everything to nature. The teacher ought
not to allow the child to do (laisser /aire) , but cause him to
do (f aire f aire) . But, at the same time, she demands that
the will be strengthened, so that education may find in it a
point of support ; that the character be hardened ; that some
degree of independence be accorded to the child; " that in
permissible cases he be allowed to come to his own decision ;
and that half-orders, half-obligations, tacit entreaties, and
insinuations, be avoided." Is not this retaining all that is
just and practical in Rousseau's theory, namely, the necessity
of associating the special and spontaneous powers of the
child with the work of education? Madame de Saussure
adopts a just medium between the active education which
makes a misuse of the master's instruction, and the passive
education which makes a misuse of the pupil's liberty. She
would willingly have accepted this precept of Froebel, " Let
teachers not lose sight of this truth : it is necessary that
always and at the same time they give and take, that they
precede and follow, that they act and let act."

585. Originality of Madame Necker. — Though she had
reflected much on the writings of her predecessors, it is never-
theless to her personal experience and to her original investi-
gations that Madame Necker owes the best of her thought.
She had herself followed the advice which she gives to moth-
ers, of "observing their children, and of keeping a journal,
in which a record should be made of each step of progress,
and in which all the vicissitudes of physical and moral health
should be noted." It is a rich psychological fund, and at the


same time a perpetual aspiration after the ideal, which makes
the strength and the beauty of the Progressive Education.
With what penetrating insight Madame Necker has pointed
out the difficulty and also the charm of the study of children !

" It were so delightful to fix the fugitive image of child-
hood, to prolong indefinitely the happiness of contemplating
their features, and to be sure of ever finding again those dear
creatures whom, alas, we are always losing as children, even
when we still have the happiness of keeping them ! "

"We must love children in order to know them, and we
divine them less by the intelligence than by the heart."

Thanks to the pronounced taste for the study of child
nature, the most just psychological observations are ever
mingled, in the Progressive Education, with the precepts of
education, and it has been truly said tbat " this book is
almost a journal of domestic education which takes the pro-
portions of a theory."

586. Division of the Progressive Education. — The
Progressive Education appeared in 1836 and 1838 in three
volumes. The first three books treat of the history of the
soul in infancy ; the fourth examines the general principles
of teaching, independently of the age of the pupil ; the fifth
studies the child of from five to seven years of age ; the sixth
takes us to the tenth year ; the seventh shows " the distinc-
tive marks of the character and the intellectual development
of boys, during the years which immediately precede ado-
lescence." Finally, the last four books form a complete
whole, and treat of the education of women during the whole
course of life.

587. Development of the Faculties. — We cannot at-
tempt in this place to analyze a work so rich in ideas as the
work of Madame Necker. Let us limit ourselves to indicating


the essential points in her system of education. First, it is
the preoccupation of training the will, a faculty which is too
much neglected by teachers, but which, nevertheless, is the
endowment which dominates life. Madame Necker treats this
subject in a masterly way in a chapter to which she prefixes
these words as a superscription : —

" Obedience to law constrains the will without enfeebling
it, while obedience to man injures it or enervates it.

"It is, above all, to place the interior education of the
soul above superficial and formal instruction.

" To instruct a child is to construct him within ; it is to
make him become a man."

588. Culture of the Imagination. — Whatever impor-
tance she attaches to the active powers, Madame Necker does
not neglect the contemplative faculties. The imagination,
next to the will, is the faculty of the soul which has most
often engrossed her attention.

" She has made it appear," says a distinguished writer,
" that this irresistible power, when we believe it to have been
conquered, takes the most diverse forms ; that it disguises
its power and arouses with a secret fire the most miserable
passions. If you refuse it space and liberty, it slinks away
in the depths of selfishness, and under vulgar features it
becomes avarice, cowardice, and vanity."

" So it is necessary to see with what tender anxiety
Madame Necker watches its first movements in the soul of
the child ; with what intelligent care she seeks to make of it
from entrance upon life, the companion of truth ; how she
surrounds it with everything which can establish it within the
circle of the good. The studies which ex lend our intellectual
horizon, the spectacle of nature in her marvelous diversities,
the emotions of the arts, — nothing seems to her superfluous


or dangerous for directing the imagination in the way that is
good. She fears to see it escape, through the lack of pleas-
ures that are intense enough, in the direction of other routes." 1

In other terms, it is not proposed to repress the imagina-
tion, still less to destroy it ; but merely to guide it gently,
to associate it with reason and virtue, to awaken it to a taste
for the good, and to an admiration for nature.

" Show him a beautiful sunset, in order that nothing which
can enchant him may pass unnoticed."

589. The Education of Women. — In her special studies
on the education of women, Madame Necker, who in other
parts of her work sometimes makes an improper use of vague
declarations of principles, without entering sufficiently into
the details of practical processes, has had the double merit
of assigning to the destiny of women an elevated ideal, and
of determining with precision the means of attaining it.
She complains that we too often adhere to Rousseau's pro-
gramme, that of an education which relates exclusively to
the conjugal duties of the woman. She recommends that the
marriage of young girls be delayed, so that they may have
time to become "enlightened spirits and intelligent crea-
tures " ; so that the}' may acquire, not " an assortment of all
petty knowledges," but a solid instruction, which prepares
them for the duties of society and of maternity, which make
of them the first teachers of their children, which, in a word,
starts them on the way towards that personal perfection
which they will never completely attain except by the efforts
of their whole life. 2

1 Preface to the fifth edition of the Progressive Education. Paris.

2 We must include in the educational school of Madame Necker de
Saussure one of her countrymen, the celebrated Vinet (17H9-1847), who, in
his excellent hook, L'Education, la famille et la socie'ti (Paris, 1855), has
vigorously discussed certain educational questions.


590. Madame Pape-Carpentier (1815-1878).— With
Madame Pape-Carpentier, we leave the region of theories to
enter the domain of facts ; we have to do with a practical
teacher. In 1846, after several trials at teaching at La
Fleche, her native city, and at Mans, she published her
Counsels on the Management of Infant Schools. In 1847 she
founded at Paris a Mothers' Normal School, which the next
year, under the ministry of Carnot, became a public estab-
lishment, and which, in 1852, under the ministry of Fortoul,
took the distinctive title Practical Courses on Infant Schools.
It is there that during twenty-seven years Madame Pape-
Carpentier applied her methods and trained a large number
of pupils, more than fifteen hundred, who have propagated
in France and abroad her teaching and her ideas. In 1847
she was removed from the management of her normal school
through intrigues ; but her loss of position was not of long
duration. A little later she was appointed inspector-general
of infant schools.

591. General Character of her Works. — Madame
Pape-Carpentier may be considered as a pupil of Pestalozzi
and of Froebel. She was specially occupied with elementary
education, and carried into her work a spirit of great sim-
plicity. We must not demand of her ambitious generalities
nor views on abstract metaphysics ; but she excels in practical
wisdom, and speaks the language of childhood to perfection.

592. Principal Works ok Madame Pape-Carpentier.
— Among the important works of Madame Pape-Carpentier
we shall recommend the following in particular : —

1. Advice on the Management of Infant Schools (1845).
In her preface the author excuses herself for undertaking
" a subject of such gravity." But she goes on to say that
" no instruction lias yet been given the teacher on the educa-


tion of the poor child," and she asks the privilege of speak-
ing in the name of her personal experience. This book,
often reprinted, has become Enseignement pratique dans les
salles d'asile. 1

2. Narratives and Lessons on Objects (1858). This is a
collection of little stories, lt simple as childhood," which
were tested before children before being written, and in
which Madame Pape-Carpentier attempts to teach them
things which are good : " I mean," she says, " things really,
seriously good."

3. Pedagogical Discussions held at the Sorbonne (1867).
During the Universal Exposition of 1867, Monsieur
Duruy had assembled at Paris a certain number of teachers
before whom pedagogical discussions were held. Madame
Pape-Carpentier took upon herself the special task of ex-
plaining to them how the methods of the infant school might
be introduced into the primary school.

4. Reading and Work for Children and Mothers (1873).
Here Madame Pape-Carpentier is especially intent on
popularizing the methods of Froebel ; she suggests ingenious
exercises which can be applied to children to give them skill
in the use of their fingers, and to inspire them with a taste
for order and symmetry.

5. Complete Course of Education (1874). This book,
which would have been the general statement of the peda-
gogical principles of the author, was left incomplete. Only
three volumes have appeared. A few quotations will make
known their spirit.

" To co-operate with nature in her work, to extend it, to
correct her when she goes wrong, — such is the task of the
educator. In all grades of education, nature must be

1 See the sixth edition, Paris, Hachette, 1877.


" The child should live in the midst of fresh and soothing
impressions ; the objects which surround him in the school
should be graceful and cheerful.

" Socrates has admirably said, ' The duty of education is
to give the idea birth rather than to communicate it.'"

6. Note on the Education of the Senses, and some Peda-
gogical Appliances (1878). Madame Pape-Carpentier is
very much interested in the education of the senses, because,
she says, "every child born into the world is a workman in
prospect, a future apprentice to an occupation still unknown."
It is then necessary to perfect at an early hour the natural
tools he will need in order to fulfill liis task. The education
of the senses will have its place some day or other in the
official programmes, and, for this sense-training, instruments
are just as necessary as books are for the culture of the in-

593. Lessons on Objects. — "The object-lesson is the
new continent on which Madame Pape-Carpentier has planted
her standard." She herself wrote a number of works which
contain models of object-lessons ; she has stated the theory
of them, notably in her discussions of 18G7. It is even
permissible to think that she has made a wrong use of them.
With her, the object-lesson becomes a universal process
which she applies to all subjects, to chemistry, to physics,
to grammar, to geography, and to ethics.

However it may be, this is the course to follow according
to her : it is necessary to conform to the order in which the
perceptions of the intelligence succeed each other. The
child's attention is first struck by color. Then he will dis-
tinguish the form of the object, and would know its use,
its material, and mode of production. It is according to
this natural development of the child's curiosity that the
object-lesson should proceed.


Moreover, it can be given with reference to everything.
Madame Pape-Carpentier admits what she calls " occasional
lessons " ; but she also thinks that object-lessons can be
given according to a plan, a fixed programme.

Madame Pape-Carpentier deserves, then, to be heard as an
experienced adviser in whatever relates to elementary in-
struction ; but that which we must admire in her still more
than her professional skill and her pedagogical knowledge, is
an elevated conception of the teacher's work, and a lofty in-
spiration coming from her devotion to children and her love
for them.


"To educate children properly," she said, "ought to be
for the teacher only the second part of his undertaking ; the
first, and the most difficult, is to perfect himself."

" What we are able to do for children is measured by the
love we bear them."

594. Other Women who were Educators. — If the edu-
cation of women has received an important development in
our day, it is due, then, in great part to the women who have
shown what they were worth and what they could do, either
as teachers or as educators. And yet the history whose
principal features we have just traced remains very incom-
plete. By the side of the celebrated women whose works we
have studied, we should mention Mademoiselle Sauvan, who,
in 1811, founded at Chaillot an educational establishment
which she did not leave till about 1830, to take the intel-
lectual and moral direction of the girls' schools of Paris ; x
Madame de Maisouneuve, author of an Essay on the Instruc-
tion of Women, 2 in which she sums up the results of a long

1 See the work entitled Madamoiselle Sauvan, premiere inspectrice des
Ccolesde Paris, sa vie, son vmvre, par E. Gossot. Paris, 1880.

2 Essai sur V instruction desfemmes. Tours, 1841.


experience acquired in the management of a private boarding-

But men have also contributed by their theoretical objec-
tions, or by their practical efforts, to the progress of the edu-
cation of women. It would be of interest, for example, to
study the courses in secondary instruction of Lourmand
(1834), and the Courses in Maternal Education, of L£vi
Alvares (1820) . "Monsieur LeVi," says Gr£ard, " makes the
mother tongue and history the basis of instruction. He him-
self sums up his methods in this formula of progressive edu-
cation : Facts, comparison of facts, moral or philosophical
consequence of facts ; that is, seeing, comparing, judging.
This is the very order of nature." Let us mention also the
work of Aime" Martin, The Education of Mothers, 1 which for
several years enjoyed an extraordinary reputation that it
would be rather difficult to justify.


bishop of the nineteenth century, Dupanloup, has assumed
to rival Fenelon in the delicate question of the education of
women. Different works, and in particular the one which he
esteemed most, his Letter* on the Education of Girls, pub-
lished after his death in 1879, give proof of the interest
which he took in these questions. These letters are for the
most part real letters which were addressed to women of the
time. Notwithstanding the variety and the freedom of the
(epistolary form, the work may be divided into three parts :
1. the principles of education; '2. the education of Young
women ; 3. free and personal study in the world. Dupanloup
should be thanked for having summoned woman to a true
intellectual culture, and for not consenting to have her facul-
ties remain " smothered and useless." Through the revela-

l The first edition is dated 1834. The ninth was published in 1ST."..


tions of the confessional and the spiritual direction of a great

Online LibraryGabriel CompayréThe history of pedagogy → online text (page 39 of 48)