and widen the superior education in the three
French-speaking cities of Lausanne, Geneva,
and Neufchatel. But how ? By means, says
Bambert, of a French University in Celtic
Switzerland. Professor Bambert is a native of
Lausanne, and he proposes to erect this Federal
University in Lausanne. But here creeps in once
more the si^ of race. Instead of urging that
the three French-speaking cities should subscribe
the money and begin the work, these Celtic
DEMOCRACY AT SCHOOL. 261
Switzers ask their common country in the main
Teutonic to provide the means. The League,
they say, is rich ; the Canton poor. The Com-
munes are already taxed beyond their strength ;
the Cantons cannot bear fresh burthens ; let a
generous country pay !
A BAND, a line of flags ; much patter of smaU
feet, with now and then a swell of fervid song ;
some fifteen hundred girls in white ; a troop of
magistrates and councillors, pastors, teachers,
foreign consuls ; then a second band, with firemen
in their casques, and landwehr in their uniforms ;
some fifteen hundred boys in line of march ; soft
babble of young voices, in the intervals of drums
Scene the English Garden at Geneva. Time
the afternoon of Tuesday, June the twenty-
seventh. Group the pupils of the primary
schools. Occasion the completion of the half-
years school-work. Prizes have been given to the
deserving scholars. Lists of those most worthy
of such honours have been read aloud. The ma-
gistrates of the repubhc have addressed them all
in cheery and exciting words. It is a great day
in their lives. They are the heroes of one happy
hour ; and all their faces glow with inner fire. A
word is given the bugles sound the lines begin
to move ; and soon the EngHsh Garden is behind
us. For the last three days the skies have opened
all their gates ; this morning brought a pause in
the great roar of rain ; and as the heads of co-
lumns quit the ground a gleam of sunshine shoots
to right and left, and soon the city and the lake
are bathed in golden hght. The Canton is agog
with joy. All men make way for the procession.
' Ha ! the merry ones ! Good children ! Soldiers
of the Lord !' are some of many greetings, as the
boys and girls troop forward, pass the quays, and
winding by the Molard, up the Rue Corraterie,
reach the Electoral Palace, where the magistrates
receive them, and regale them. After honest
fexe and kindly speech, the children march to the
theatre, where conjurors and showmen entertain
them ; then to the Plainpalais, where all the city
goes to meet them; and a happy day is ended
with a wonderful discharge of fireworks, rockets^
wheels, and detonating stars.
Much glory to the boys and girls ; but glory
earned by weeks of earnest work.
Enter one of the primary schools, from which
these children swarm into the streets. A goodly
264 THE SWITZERS.
edifice clean stairs and passages silence like the
hush of summer woods a door that opens to a
touch a teacher glad to see you enter children
at their desks, and evidently used to strangers
coming in and going out ^these things strike the
senses first. You look around the class-room,
which contains some fifty boys, from six or seven
to nine or ten years old. These lads are all so
clean and spruce, that you are tempted to ex-
claim, * Are these your city Arabs V In Geneva,
lying close to Savoy, there are many poor, and
some neglected people. Standing at the outlet of
three Alpine valleys, she receives into her streets
the overflow from Sallanche, fi:om Annecy, from St.
Claude ; and if her streets are not so littered with
the waste of life as those of Lyons, there are
some undoubted Arabs here and there about her
cafes and along her quays.
* Our city Arabs,' says the teacher, ' drop their
nature when they come to school. Our laws are
strict, and we enforce them with the utmost zeal.
Our law declares that every child has a right to
come to school ; and his exclusion jfrom the school
is felt to be a serious blow for him. We punish,
therefore, by refusing him his seat. At six, a
boy should come to us of right, and claim his
place ; but we retain by law a power to strip him
of that right. We use this power in cases where
the child is not in fault, but where the pubUc
good requires a sacrifice of private right as where
a child is either deaf, dumb, blind, or idiotic.
Children who have not been vaccinated, children
who are suffering from diseases, children who pre-
sent disfigured and repulsive faces, are excluded
After they have got their seats, they may be sent
away for bad behaviour in the school, and on the
way to school A child is made to feel that coming
to the school is like the going to a palace and a
* But some of them must come in filth and rags V
* Yes, some ; not many and not long. For
dirt is but a habit of the eye, and habits of the
eye are quickly changed. "We wash the dirty
ones, and send them home with shining skins. A
mother gets ashamed on finding that some other
woman has to wash her child. The child, too,
gets ashamed ; for all the little lads about him
are as clean as new-shelled peas. No boy has
ever to be washed three times.'
A stranger's eye can see scant difference in
the scholars as to class, since all are trim and
tight, and look well fed.
266 THE SWITZERS.
* Is there much mixture of the various social
classes in your Primary Schools V
' We have no social classes in our common-
* Of course not. Pardon me. But you have
offices and professions, like the outer world. You
have, for instance, Councillors of State. Are any
of your boys the sons of Councillors of State V
'1 cannot say so. In some Cantons, such as
Bern and Ziirich, you will find the son of a pro-
fessor sitting in a primary school with sons of
weavers, goatherds, and mechanics. In Geneva
it is not the mode. We Latins are democratic
in our speeches, and Geneva is to us the centre
of all Hberal thought ; but not one member of
the democratic party in Geneva will allow his
boy to mix with common lads. You think he
would deny this statement ? You are right, he
would deny it ; yet he does not send his Jean and
Henri to the primary school'
Inquiry proves this teacher to be right in
what he says about the freer mixture of all
classes in Teutonic Cantons.
'Your pupils come from every grade?' I ask
a Zurich teacher.
' Yes,' he answers, ' every grade. This boy
is a professor's son. You know his father. He
is B . The next to him that clever-looking
lad is a cabman's son.'
* Professor B has no objection to his
boy being school-mate to the cabman's son V
' No, none. Why should he have ? In coun-
tries where you have a privileged class such
things may be. With us abihty is the only
rank, and men are thrown together in their later
life according to the groups they form at school.
If A. is equal to B. in learning, he is equal to
him in everything that ought to count'
I take the actual census in one Zurich class.
The boys are fifty -two in number, and their
ages seven to eight.
Sons of shopkeepers ... . .21
merchants ... .10
petty tradesmen ... 4
innkeepers .... 4
professors .... 2
Son of a musician
an apothecary .
a business agent
a porter .
a day labourer .
268 THE SWITZERS.
In talking on this subject to Professor B ,
I find tlie teacher right in substance even when he
errs in form. Professor B does not exactly
hold that learning gives the only title to respect ;
he thinks that gentle manners and a manly spirit
count for something ; but he sees that in a free
commonwealth, where power depends on popularity,
it is the best thing for a lad that he should grow
up with his fellows. 'Mark me,' also adds Pro-
fessor B , ' the education that my boy obtains
in the public school is very good, and is provided
for him at the public cost.'
In the Teutonic Cantons, though the teaching
is not better, there is less division of society in
the schools. The Teutons talk much less about
equality than the Latins ; but the Teutons practise,
while the Latins only preach. A Councillor of
State in such a Canton as Geneva is an aristo-
crat in feeling, though a democrat in flag. He
keeps a shop (say) on the Grand Quay ; he owns
a villa on the lake; he has a room of. books, a
cabinet of wines. He takes an interest in this
question of primary instruction. Only yesterday
he spoke for upwards of an hour in answer to
Professor Vogt; his eyes aglow with light; his
tones impressed with zeal ; his passion noble.
tender, liberal ; yet he sees no need to let his
, children mix with those of citizens A. and B.,
who vend their wares in smaller streets, and are
not Councillors of State. His fellows in the
Council send their boys to private schools, and
he must send his also to a private school.
* Do tradesmen send their children to you?'
* Yes ; the greater part. The school is good,
and cheap. No private master can pretend to
vie with us. What he can offer is exclusiveness
a dear and poor instruction, in a smaller house
and a less airy place. A man has not yet come
to be a true repubHcan if he prefers a private
to a pubHc school The higher class of tradesmen
send their sons, and these good fellows are our
'Your walls and floors and desks are very
clean. Your passages and staircase show no
scratch and scrawL No bits of paper dot the
floors, no splash of ink defaces desk and form.'
* Our discipline is one of self-respect and self-
restraint. We teach our children how to think
and act, no less than how to read and write.
Instruction is but part of education. If our plans
are right, it is in fact the lesser part. We pay
QS much attention to the things of life as to
270 THE SWITZEES.
the tilings of learning. Thus we see to a boy's
manners and appearance : how he looks, and how
he walks, and how he speaks. We see that he
has washed his hands, and that he keeps his
papers clean. "We teach him to regard a blot
upon his page as worse than even a smudge upon
his face. A book befouled with grime is wasted,
and our simple habits will not suffer Avaste.
Turn over any of these books the books in
daily use no leaf is torn, no cover is defaced.
The writing-desk, though ink is freely used, is
free from speck and spot.*
* Your boys seem gentle to the touch ; but
you must have some rougher types of lad ? What
means have you of keeping the unruly spirits in
*We expel them. Such a case is rare; in
some schools hardly known. A threat suffices
to subdue the proudest flesh. In truth, to be
expelled from school is only one degree from
ruin. Where can the expelled one go? Our
laws about exchange of school are very strict.
These laws permit a lad whose parent passes
from one village to another to exchange his
school, but recognise no other cause as giving
him a natural right to change. Nor can such
change be made at all without a special leave,
in writing, from the inspector of his district
school. A special leave is hard to get. Thus
change is rare, and when it comes the cause of
it is known ; and so a lad who is expelled must
go into a second school with evil name and
fame. His course in that new place will not be
'Expulsion is with you a public act?'
' Entirely so that is, expulsion in the last
' You have degrees V
' Yes, three degrees ; a first, a second, and a
third degree. The first is a forbidding of the
school ; it may be for a day, a week ; and when
the lad returns his parents must come with him,
and must promise he shall mend his ways. The
second is removal for a longer term ; a month, a
quarter, perhaps ; when he can only take his place
again by an express authority from either the
inspector of his district or his village mayor.
The third expulsion is the last. It is a public
act. The master and inspector must consent ;
the Educational Department must concur. No
boy can be expelled from school excepting by
this public act.'
272 THE SWITZERS.
' Expulsion is your last resource ; but you
have other means?'
* Yes ; many.'
* Of a moral kind ? Your laws, I think, pro-
hibit every form of corporal punishment?'
' Our laws are clear upon that point. No
bodily pain, no bodily shame, is suffered in our
schools. A lad has rights. We cannot stint
his food ; we cannot lock him up ; we cannot
put him in a corner ; we cannot lay him on his
back ; we cannot crown him with a dunce's cap ;
we cannot make a guy of him, even thoiigh his
parents should request us to employ such means.'
' Your discipline is wholly moral V
'Yes; our means are prizes smiles, good
words, good notes ; all leading up to pubHc acts
of honoiu", when the more deserving pupils are
the heroes of their time. Desire to win a prize
has more effect than fear of punishment in keep-
ing scholars out of mischief. Pranks take time,
and boys who mean to win their prizes have no
time to spare.'
'But now and then some boy offends the
'A word, a glance, a call of name, suffice in
almost every case. We sometimes have to keep
a lad an hour in school, when all his fellows
have gone home. We sometimes give an extra
task to learn. We mark his card ; we let his
parents know of his default. In some bad cases,
we may keep him in a room apart. If all these
methods fail and they but seldom fail we
may expel him for a week, a month; and in
the last resort we turn him out of school for
good and bad.'
'You never use the rod?*
*The law does not permit us.'
* But you have a rod ; it seems much worn
about the end V
'We point with it; and beat the desk with
it; and yes we sometimes touch a dull boy's
fingers with it.'
*Do you ever box a lad's ears?'
* Well, no ; I hardly think so. Not in anger,
surely ; we may tickle him by a little slap, but
not to hurt him ; just to wake him up. Our
discipline is that of steady, daily work. Our
yoimgsters have no idle hours. We have abolished
mischief with the penalties for mischief Look
at our Scheme of Work, and teU me how a lad
who has to face it can indulge in prank and play.'
SCHEME OF WORK.
These Genevese lads are seven years old and
upwards. Most of them are eight or ten.
A few have been at infant-schools. The
state encourages such schools, and helps them by
a pubhc grant ; but Communes are not forced to
found them, and in many Cantons infant-schools
are hardly known. The few who may have been
at infant-schools have learnt to count, to name
their letters, both in type and writing, and to
sing their baby songs. All that was play the
time has come for work.
Each child must stay six years at school, and
every year, if he does well, should see him mount
his ladder step by step. For every year there is
a new degree.
The infant stage is past, and in the outset
SCHEME OF WORK. 275
every lad is thought to know as much as would be
taught him at an infant-school. The first degree
is tliat of reading, writing, and accounting. He
has to undergo a course of pictures on the wall,
with object lessons on the diiferent themes. He
learns to read and spell a little, and he makes his
first acquaintance with a book a simple spelling-
book. He now begins to write to copy hooks,
rings, strokes, and bars ; to study letters, in the
capital form ; and afterwards to set down, from
dictation of his master, letters, syllables, and easy
words. In arithmetic he studies adding and sub-
tracting only. He must copy numbers up to
twenty. He must know the figures both by ear
and eye, and practise writing them by sound and
sight. He learns addition and subtraction up to
twenty. In this early stage the singing is of
simple sort, and not so much a lesson as a game.
The lessons open with an exercise on moral
life, on natural history, on the laws of health, and
on historical events. These exercises are to be
continued by the master, in all after years, up
to the sixth degree. The reading is expected
276 THE SWITZERS.
to be better, care being given to an exact pro-
nunciation of the words. The writing goes from
big to middle size, and when the figures grow more
easy to the child, he is allowed to try the finer
forms. In his arithmetic he makes a stride ; he
numbers, adds, subtracts up to a thousand ; reck-
ons by the mind, and makes acquaintance with his
second book a treatise on addition and subtrac-
tion. As he marks his way, the master gives him
some examples of multiplication as they stand
connected with the rules of addition, now familiar
to his eye. A new and most important study
stands before him French, his native speech. He
has to learn some words each day by heart; to
study, copy, and dictate these words. He hears
of noun, verb, article, and adjective, and tries to
master how these parts of speech are used. He
gets some lessons on gender and number ; and con-
tinues singing, as before.
In the third degree (besides the exercises on
moral life, on natural history, on laws of health,
and on historical events) the lad is taught to read
a current page, and then the master tells him what
SCHEME OF WORK. 277
it means. Great care is paid to pronunciation ; and
the teacher must explain the use of dashes, dots, and
hyphens, on a page of print. The writing is con-
tinued in all hands the big, the medium, and the
fine. Examples must be written out. The cypher-
ing must include addition, subtraction, and multi-
phcation, up to any number, with study of the
works on these three operations. Simple cases of
division, as developed from subtraction, may be
given, with problems and exercises of a simple
kind. The French is more advanced ; the lad is
told to use a vocabulary ; and up to this date a
boy's third year at school it is supposed that he
has never seen a book of words ! He is now to
tackle time and person in his grammar ; and his
master is to tell him of indicative and imperative,
gender and number, subject and object. He is
taught the formation of plurals, and to know a
personal pronoun when he sees it. He is intro-
duced to feminine and masculine, and taught to
see the kinship of an adjective and a verb. He
has to face another subject, drawing, which he first
encounters in the shape of lines and angles ; but
he only has to face it for an hour a week, and with
a rule and compass in liis hand. His singing
lessons still go on.
278 THE SWITZERS.
Exercises on morals, natural history, and laws
of health, as usual, current reading, with an ex-
planation ; also dashes, dots, and hyphens as
before. The reading lessons now include intona-
tion ; study and recital of simple pieces ; with
questions and replies. The writing is after
model and dictation, with copies of invoices and
bills. The cyphering includes multiplication and
division up to any numbers. The French be-
comes more complex : studies in the construction
of co-ordinate propositions, auxiliary verbs, the
commoner class of irregular verbs, the passive
form, and explanations of the adverb, preposition,
and conjunction. Learning of words by heart
goes on. The drawing must advance some steps.
No rule, no compass is allowed ; a printed model
is hung up ; and all the pupils copy it as they
can. When single lines and angles have been
neatly done, a pupil is instructed to combine
them into groups. Another subject has been
introduced this year geography ; this subject
for two hours a-week. Geography is taught on
natural lines ; the teacher starts with Geneva, and
explains from what is known by sight to what is
only known by word. Land and water lead to
SCHEME OF WORK. 279
continent and ocean, and the general features
of the earth's surface are exhibited in lake
The singing has become more serious, and a
goodly slice of time is now given up to exercise
Exercise and current reading as before, but
more of it More singing, exercise, and drill than
The reading lessons are continued, with explan-
ations, questions, ,and replies. Much time is
given to intonation, also to reading poetry and
selected bits of prose aloud. The writing lessons
take the form of copying models, and writing under
dictation. In his fifth year the pupil commences
round hand, of the sort which English boys learn
first and then forget. The cyphering begins with
practice in the four rules, separately and con-
jointly, then proceeds to decimal fractions and the
four operations in decimals. Practice continues;
mental arithmetic continues ; and the pupils dash
at vulgar fractions. French progresses into the
abstruser parts of grammar ; and the lessons are
on the different sorts of determinatives, the chief
280 THE SWITZERS.
exceptions to the formation of plural and feminine,
the classification of pronouns, the conjugation of
verbs, the preposition and the adverb. Exercises
in analysis are given. The drawing now includes
the outlines of seas and continents, together with
such figures as consist of straight lines and curves
only. Outline maps are made. The geography
takes in the world ; the lessons being three a
general view of the five parts of the globe, a
special view of Europe, and a fuller view of Switz-
erland in her physical aspects. Two fresh sub-
jects have been introduced this year geometry
and history. In the class of geometry the pupil
studies lines, angles, figures, with the measure-
ment of plain surfaces. The history is local, fol-
lowing the plan pursued in the class of geography,
and sets before the boy a picture of his country
fixjm the earliest to the latest times.
Not to speak of exercises in morals, natural
history, the laws of health, and historical events ;
not to speak of current readings, with an ex-
planation of the use of hyphen, dot, and dash ;
the subjects in the sixth degree are eight in num-
ber, without counting music, exercise, and drill.
SCHEME OF WORK. 281
These eight subjects are severely taught ; the lads
being twelve years old.
The reading now consists of exercises in into-
nation and declamation ; summaries by voice and
writing ; special treatises on history, health, natural
history, agriculture (for the coimtry folk), and
science as applied to industry for all ; and recita-
tions of poetry and selected bits of prose.
The writing now embraces cursive hand under
dictation, models of round hand, copies of pubHc
acts, of bills, of letters on business, with specimens
in all the styles, big, middling, cursive, round.
The arithmetic comprises sums in vulgar fractions,
in mixed numbers, some ideas of aliquot parts,
the metrical system, the rule of three and applica-
tion of this rule to interests, discounts, dividends.
The French embraces lessons on invariable words,
the principal exceptions to the rules of concord,
the participles, the collective nouns, the main
difficulties of French syntax. These are followed
by a string of exercises ; exercises on the mo-
dification which changes in the verb cause the
prepositions ; on the general principles of com-
position, on the rules of epistolary correspondence ;
on common synonymes ; on bad grammar and on
slang. The drawing passes from even lines and
282 THE SWITZERS.
curves into the representation of common ob-
jects, houses, men, and boats, and the master
gives instruction in perspective, and in light and
shade. Objects are copied and models made.
The class of geometry employs itself upon the
means of measuring surfaces and bodies, with
the art and practice of surveying land. Three
hours a-week are given to geography ; including,
first, a detailed study of Switzerland and the ad-
jacent parts of Savoy, Burgundy, and Franche
Comtd ; second, lessons on the form and motion of
the earth ; third, a general view of the starry
heavens. The history consists of courses on
national events from 1513 (the first year of the
Republic) to 1848 (when the existing system of
Confederate Cantons took its form), the constitu-
tion of Geneva, and the Federal pact.
An extra subject that of agriculture is
taught in the country schools. A master parts
his sixth year into agricultural sessions ; in the
first of which he gives instruction on the nature
of soils, the different kinds of soil, the art of mix-
ing and manuring soil, together with the use and
economy of labour ; in the second, he discourses
on agricultural implements, on seeds and dried
plants, on various cereals, vines, straw, forage,