SCHEME OF WORK. 283
and the like, with hints on noxious plants and
animals, on insects, and the general business of
To this large list of subjects must be added
singing and gymnastics, branches of primary-
education which are given in two divisions, and
in unison with each other. Both are taught
with care, and both with reference to a due
development of the physical and the moral
These pupils in Geneva toil more hours
a-year than any one would like to set our
boys to toil. A school week in Geneva numbers
thirty hoiu-s; a year from forty- four to forty-
six weeks. These hours and weeks are those
in which the pupil must attend at school; but
they are only half the time he is expected to
be hard at work. This rule is matter of the
strictest law. * All scholars in the primary schools
have daily tasks to do at home ; the length
and value of which tasks are in proportion to
their age.' In rural districts some discretion
is allowed the teacher in this matter. Lads of
seven or eight may be exempted from these
tasks ; but no such weakness is displayed in
towns. The task at home is nearly equal to
284 THE SWITZERS.
the task at school. Inquiry at Geneva and
Lausanne has shown me that the hours of study
school- work, drill, and home-work are not
less than ten, and often rise as high as twelve
or thirteen hours a-day. In fine, these Switzers
tug at learning as we EngHsh tug at trade.
A LAD who passes through his six degrees, and
through his extra subjects, in a primary school,
with fair success, is not unfit to enter on his
course of active life in any of the lower grades.
He may aspire to drive a coach, to row a boat,
to fell a wood, to guide a plough. His age is
only twelve ; the world is all before him ; and
more paths than one entice his feet. If he would
keep what he has got, and clutch at more, an
evening school is open either in his village or a
neighbouring village, where, his daily toil being
ended, he may follow science to her secret haunts.
In evening schools the course of study runs
to three ftiU years; the masters are the best
that can be hired ; the mayor and councillors
take an interest in them ; and a lad who keeps
his terms, and finishes his course, will then have
had the benefit of being under good instruction
286 THE SWITZERS.
for at least nine years. He ought to know his
If he should aim at higher things, and if his
parents can afford to spare him in the early-
hours, he goes into a secondary school. A
country lad, he finds his secondary school
in either his native village or a neighbouring
village, always at an easy walk from home. A
city lad, he finds his secondary school in the
shape of either a college or a special school;
but always in a neighbouring street. The means
are at his door ; and if he fails to use them, it is
not the pubhc fault.
All pubhc schools for secondary teaching in
the Canton of Geneva may be grouped under
two heads : the rural scht)ols, the city schools ;
each group of institutions framed to meet the
wants of those who come to them. The country-
schools are mostly union schools. One Commune
only that of Satigny has a secondary school
for itself. In one case, two Communes Meyrin
and Vernier have a school between them.
Generally four Communes join in keeping up a
secondary school. The forty-two Communes in
the Canton of Geneva have twelve of these rural
schools among them.
SECONDARY SCHOOLS. 287
A lad begins his second education at the
point where he broke off his first. In entering
on his thirteenth year, he finds in front of him
three years of toil. A part of these arrange-
ments stands the same for boys and girls : to
wit, the principles of moral science ; French,
with composition and the elements of style ;
elocution ; the more important facts in modem
history, with reference to the history of Geneva ;
common geography, with the use of globes ;
meteorology; the elements of physic, natural
history, and chemistry ; the laws of health ; the
art of writing ; singing. Here lines divide, and
the instruction is adapted to the sex. A sepa-
rate course is given to boys, on civic duties, on
geometry applied to measurements, on agricul-
tural science, on the books for a farm ; and exer-
cises are provided in drawing common objects,
in gymnastics, and in German if the regent
is able to teach this language. Girls are taught
in special classes, how to cast accounts, to tend
plants and flowers, to use the needle, and to
keep the house. The girls are also taught the
art of treating sick and wounded men.
One school suffices for both girls and boys ;
the boys attending only in the morning, while
288 THE SWITZERS.
the girls come only in the afternoon. This suits
the parents, who could hardly spare their children
all at once from work ; and makes one school-
house serve for both the sexes. A regent has the
general charge. A quarter of the regent's salary-
is paid by the united Communes, three-quarters
by the Canton. In return these secondary schools
are founded when and where the Council of State
The elements of drill begin the very first
week of a scholar's course. A teacher sets his
pupils in a row ; he makes them stand erect ;
he moves their hmbs together; bids them bend,
recover, stretch the hands, march, leap, and
jump. All kinds of games are practised in the
play-ground. Every game that tends to open
and expand the chest, to nerve the limbs, and
give a carriage to the firame, is studied, and, if
need be, introduced. From six to eight a lad
is exercised in simple motions of the body ; at
the age of nine he learns to hold a pole, to run
with ropes, and swing on bars. From ten to
thirteen harder things made easy by the pre-
vious training are commenced. The lines are
formed hke regular squads ; the exercise is but
another name for drill. In walking, running.
SECONDARY SCHOOLS. 289
hopping, every one obeys the word ; whirls,
changes front, and halts as he is told. All exer-
cise is orderly and rhythmical. Much care is
taken with the halting, turning round, and facing
to the right or left. The squads are put through
many exercises in bending, twisting, reaching,
and recovering at the ease. Long jumps and
high jumps, every sort of sport on foot, with
hanging by the hands and feet from rungs, with
chmbing poles and ropes, with bounding from a
spring-board, and a hundred games that strengthen,
temper, and adjust the frame.
On leaving one of these rural schools at fifteen
years of age, a lad is fit for any post that he is
likely to obtain ; is fit to be a waiter, farmer,
boatman, forester, and so on ; and is also fit to
exercise his public rights to hold his rifle and
to cast his vote. For such a lad can read and
write, can sing and shoot ; he knows the con-
stitution of his country, and can foUow with a
free intelligence the politics of his city and his
State. Of course he is no scholar, for he knows
no Greek and Latin, and his range of language,
poetry, mythology, and humanities, is not wide.
He has no chance of entering the professions.
He cannot hope to be an advocate, physician,
290 THE SWITZERS.
clergyman, professor. If he means to try a higher
flight, he must repair to one of the burgher
The burgher schools in the Canton of Geneva
which may be taken as examples of their
fellows are : (1) the College of Geneva ; (2) the
College of Carouge ; (3) the Industrial and
Commercial School ; (4) the Supplementary
School ; (5) the Superior Ladies' School.
Pupils, whether boys or girls, are subject to
preliminary examination, in the presence of cer-
tain persons named by the Department of Public
Instruction. These examinations are very strict,
alike for scholars who have passed through pubhc
schools and private schools. Some general rules
apply to each and all. No class can be increased
beyond sixty pupils ; the year comprises forty
weeks at least ; the hours of study in each week
are fixed at thirty in summer time, at thirty-
two in winter time ; examination in the several
branches must be holden once a-year at least ;
and a festival of promotion is given at the con-
clusion of the summer term.
The most renowned of these superior schools
is the College of Geneva. If our aspirant is a
city lad, ambition will induce him to prefer that
SECONDARY SCHbOLS. 291
school It is divided into two main sections a
classical section, a commercial section ; and the
boy will enter one or other, as his aim in life
suggests. He studies to some end, and takes
his course according to that end.
The course of classical education runs seven
years from the age of fifteen to twenty-two.
The course includes the principles of morahty ;
French, with composition and the elements of
style ; the art of making verses ; diction ; Latin,
Greek, mythology (clubbed together as one sub-
ject) ; the German language ; the salient points
of general history and national history ; the rights
and duties of a citizen ; ancient and modem geo-
graphy ; arithmetic ; caligraphy ; singing ; and
gymnastics. All these subjects must be taught;
but extra subjects may be introduced, if they
are not allowed to interfere with what the law
lays down as fixed and regular work. An English
eye sees much to note as odd in such a list of
subjects. How can composition be regarded as
a separate study from versification, and, still
more, from diction ? How can Latin, Greek,
and Mythology, be treated in a single class ? No
Enghsh master dreams of giving lessons on the
rights and duties of a citizen. What pubhc school
292 THE SWITZEBS.
in England teaches writing as an art ? Yet most
of these things seem so natural to a Switzer,
that he starts when you remark upon them. All
French teachers pay attention to their native
tongue, and dwell, with an adoring fondness, on
its beauty, force, and point. We give our youth
to Latin, and a Latin gives his youth to French.
The rights and duties of a citizen are themes of
daily interest to a Switzer, who must take his
part in every movement of the state. A country
squire in England likes his son to know a
little law, for he may have to judge offenders
from the local bench. All Switzers may have
magisterial duties to discharge as village mayor,
as justice of the peace, as councillor of state ;
and thus the rights and duties of a citizen are
taught in all the secondary and superior schools.
That caligraphy should be studied as a separate
branch, by youths of twenty-two, may seem
absurd ; but the result is good ; and nearly all
these Switzers write in hands which men who
run may read. One knows some English hands
and those of men the best worth reading which
no mortal patience can make out. A young man
who has kept his seven years in the classical
section of this college should be fit for most
SECONDARY SCHOOLS. 293
things in his Canton short of a professor's
The commercial section differs from the classical
section in the length and course of study. Six
instead of seven years complete the series, and
the Greek and Latin tongues give place to
English. Every care is given to practical train-
ing for office. The course of study runs morals ;
French, with composition, elements of style, and
literary history ; diction ; the German tongue ;
the English tongue for the superior classes ; salient
points of general history and national histoiy;
the rights and duties of a citizen; mythology;
geography, and cosmography ; the history of
discoveries ; a brief history of the arts ; elements
of poHtical economy ; arithmetic ; book-keeping ;
elementary algebra, with logarithms ; elementary
geometry and trigonometry, with application to
topography ; the elements of physics and me-
chanics ; studies in natural history and chemistry ;
drawing, with descriptive geometry; caligraphy;
singing ; gymnastics.
At the end of these two courses at the age
of twenty -two and twenty-one respectively the
pupils who have passed a satisfactory examination
receive certificates of capacity, and may then
294 THE SWITZERS.
proceed to any university and so prepare tliem-
selves for the bar, the pulpit, the professor s chair.
The College of Carouge intended mainly for
the Catholic population, who are less instructed,
as a rule, than the Calvinistic population has a
course of three years only ; corresponding to the
first three years in the College of Geneva.
Carouge is separated from Geneva by a mile
of neutral territory, called the Plain ; but what a
difference in the people and the schools ! Carouge
is Savoyard, not Swiss. Adjoined to the republic
of Geneva, in 1814, for political reasons by the
Powers, this town has none of the traditions of
Geneva, and her people rank among the least
enhghtened members of the League. Laws which
suit the Free City do not suit this Catholic
suburb. Every rule must be relaxed. The term
from six or seven years to three is lowered.
The hours demanded in the week are fewer.
They may be only twenty-six ; and they are
mostly twenty-six. A lad who passes through
this college of Carouge is not prepared to enter
on a higher course of study, and he cannot hope
to win professional rank.
Here lies the secret of that high predominance
which the Calvinistic population of the city
SECONDARY SCHOOLS. 295
exercises over the Catholic population of the
country, even in the face of a majority of
Cathohc votes. If ruling force in a repubHc lay
in numbers only, and the march of public law-
was governed by the polling-booth, this Canton
of Geneva should be ultramontane, like the
Catholic bishop, Gaspard Mermillod, who rules,
as Curd of Geneva, an unruly flock of sheep. The
latest census gives the several confessions in the
Canton thus :
CathoHcs .... 48,340 souls.
Evangehcals . . . 44,138
Other Sects ... 637
Mermillod, therefore, has a clear and strong
majority of the Canton at his back. The suffrage
is universal ; and a clear majority in the polling-
booths should give him a majority in the Hotel
de Ville. But he has no such power; the
better taught minority carries everything before
it in the pubHc council and the public press.
SCHOOL AND CAMP.
Director Max Wirtli of Bern assures me that
no boy, no girl, exists in this Confederation
save an idiot here and there wlio cannot read
and write. So far as one can judge, Herr Wirth
is right, as to the outer side of things. All
Switzers seem to be and to have been at
school. There must be some exceptions to this
happy rule ; exceptions in remote and barren
wilds, where nature gives her offspring an embrace
like that of wolves and bears. In cities there
are no illiterate classes like the savages of Lon-
don, Paris, and New York; but in such chasms
as break the snowy alps of Schwyz and Uri,
where the pine and larch can hardly grasp the
rocks, there may be found some unkempt, un-
taught boors. Not many, perhaps but some ;
enough to show that men are men, and that
the sternest rules may fail where nature works
SCHOOL AND CAMP. 297
against them. More than once, in crossing by
the passes of Graublinden, through the Fore
Rhine country, I have come on village schools
shut up ; and on inquiring at the nearest house
of call, have learned that that they are closed
for more than six months out of twelve. In
siunmer time a lad is on the mountains tending
goats ; in winter time his house is buried luider
snow. The school is three miles from his door;
how can he be expected to attend it every day ?
The law may tell him he must go to school.
The law soimds well enough in Chiu- ; but who
shall fetch him from the Alpine tops, and
who unearth him from the falHng snow ? In
these secluded mountain troughs the life is
hard, the priest is easy, and the village mayor
is kind. A peasant mayor can feel for peasant
woes ; and though he reads the' law, and talks
of putting it in force from day to day, the
months sHp by, and Johann is not seen at school.
But these exceptions hardly tell against the
mass. In looking broadly for results, these
Alpine savages may well be dropped. ' We reckon
all such waifs and strays as idiots,' Wirth
remarks. They need not mar the picture, though
they shade it with a little cloud.
298 THE SWITZERS.
In general terms, all Switzers, male and female,
may be said to read and write, to keep accounts,
to sing, to shoot, and take a personal and intelli-
gent part in what concerns the public weaL
How much unlike the state of things in
England, who shall need to say ? At home, we
Enghsh stand outside the lists ; and even in the
United States our kinsmen show to disadvantage.
Take the census of 1860 in the United States.
The figures will astound some persons who have
long been saying that if education is neglected
on the parent soil, it flourishes abundantly
among our sons. How stands the record? In
America the number of illiterate men and women,
white of skin, and over twenty-one years old,
is upwards of a million. The number of illite-
rate persons is increasing, not diminishing. In
1840 the white-skins over twenty-one who could
not read and write were 549,850; in 1850 these
illiterates had increased to 962,898 ; in 1860-
they had swelled to 1,126,575. If you were to
throw in other classes red-skins, black-skins,
yellow-skins you would increase this number
very much. The yellow-skins and red-skins were
not counted in this census, but the black-skins
were ; and from this colour only the Department
SCHOOL AND CAMP. 299
of Education add 1,750,536 adults to the mass
of ignorant whites. In all, the States report
that they are burthened with a population of
2,872,111 whites and blacks who neither read
Thus the number of ignorant adults in America
of men who read no books, no laws, no con-
stitutions, no reports, yet exercise political power
is greater than the whole population of Swit-
zerland. It may be fancied that these ignorant
whites are strangers ; this is partly true, though
not to any large extent. The mass of those
who neither read nor write are natives of the soil
We cite these figures from the census :
Illiterate white adults, 1860 :
Native-born .... 871,418
Foreign-bom .... 346,893
But some may dream that this neglect of
education in America is partial only; in the
ignorant South, in the chaotic West. The tables
yield no facts that would support this view.
What strikes one most in going through these
tables is the uniformity of ignorance in the leading
States. Virginia home of Chivalry is the most
ignorant State of all ; but North Carolina and
Tennessee are not far behind. Bead this tale of
grown-up white men and women who (in 1860)
could neither read nor write :
In the State of Virginia
. 72,000 souls
New York .
Horace Mann asserts that these returns are
far below the facts. He takes some pains to show
that many persons are returned as able to read
and write who are not able ; and he adds no less
than forty in the hundred to these numbers, in
correction of that false return. He nearly doubles
the enormous totals of these ignorant whites.
Select one State for more exact comparison
with Switzerland. Take Pennsylvania as a spe-
cial State, in which the care of education has
been constant, from the day when Sydney aided
Penn to frame a true Republican constitution. The
population of Pennsylvania is a Httle over that of
Switzerland. The State has 13,936 schools, with
815,763 pupils attending them, yet the number of
men and women, white of skin, and over twenty-
SCHOOL AND CAMP. 301
one years old, who cannot read and write, stands
in the latest census at 36,000 ! The school law
of Pennsylvania dates from 1848, about the time
when Switzerland began her educational reform.
But many of the townships would not execute
the law. A sect who call themselves Economists
oppose the State department, and in 1860, when
the tables were compared, these ignorant brethren
still controlled results. In Switzerland the town-
ships have no power to question and postpone the
law. These facts and figures on America are taken
from a report of the Commissioner of Education,
dated Washington, Oct. 27, 1870, and that Com-
missioner, Mr. Eaton, has the duty of correcting
them if they are wrong. My end in citing them
is to suggest, on both sides of the Ocean, what
a task is still before us, ere we English get in
line with these keen dwellers on the alps.
The cost at which these great results are pur-
chased by the Switzers, is, for them, immense ; but
education is their chief affair ; the cost of educa-
tion stands in nearly all the Cantonal budgets even
before the army, though that army is the national
force. The totals for these services in 1 8 70 :
Cost of Cantonal troops . . . 4,508,901 frs.
schools . . . 5,157,756
Such figures are so startling, in comparison with
budgets hke our own, that one is tempted to
extract these details from the tables kept in
Cost of Cantonal Schools and Armies.
1. Zurich .
2. Bern .
3. Luzem .
6. Schwyz .
7. Glarus .
11. Basel .
14. St. GaUen
16. Aargau .
18. Ticino .
19. Vaud .
20. Valais .
22. Geneva .
Totals . . 6,157,756 . 4,508,901
These -fiofiTres show the cost for schools and
troops so far as the expense is charged upon
SCHOOL AND CAMP. 303
the Cantonal budgets, and are safe for contrast
just so far as they extend. Three other items
lie outside : (1) The amount contributed by each
Commune in support of its own primary schools ;
(2) the amount contributed by the League in
support of the Polytechnic ; (3) the amount
contributed by the League in support of the
Federal army. Wlien the first and second of
these items have been added to the cost of schools,
the bill stands thus :
Cost of Communal schools . . . 5,000,000 frs.
,, Cantonal schools . . . 5,157,756
Federal school (Polytechnic) . 287,611
I give the roimd figure of five million francs
as the cost of Communal schools on the authority
of Herr Wirth. It is the lowest sum that can
be named. When the third item is added to the
cost of war, the bill stands thus :
Cost of Cantonal troops . . . 4,508,901 frs.
Federal troops . . . 5,486,396
Thus we have it proved, and in official papers,
that in Switzerland more money is expended on
the public schools than on the pubHc forces.
Such a fact is sought in vain elsewhere. In
804 THE SWITZERS.
London, Paris, and Berlin, war budgets come in
great excess of education budgets; eight, ten,
twelve to one, it may be. Look at these
totals, put into English money:
Cost of Swiss schools . . . 417,814
Swiss army . . . 399,811
Yet iQ Switzerland every man is drilled and
armed, and ready to turn out and fight. Here
lies the secret of a cheap defence.
The truth is that a soldier learns his busi-
ness in the school ; not only exercise and drill,
the use of arms, the habits of obedience, order,
silence, cleanliness, the power to listen and to
speak ; but those yet higher duties of a camp, the
will to mingle class with class, to act in bodies
with a single soul, to put down personal hopes
and fears, and seek no object but the public good.
*We have to guard the refuge,' says a Federal
colonel, as we quit the military school at Thun,
where we have seen the Cantonal officers at
their tasks 'our forces are but slight; our only
strength is that derived from mutual help. Yo\)r
rivalries and struggles would not suit us ; for
our schools are but the opening to a camp where
every man must take his place and find his
brethren in the rank and file. You see we are
SCHOOL AND CAMP. 305
a handful in the midst of powerful nations.