houses nestling in the midst of trees ; quaint
streets, arcades, and spires ; grim minsters look-
ing down on shop and stall ; wide quays and
bridges, piers and water-mills ; old convents, walls,
and towers ; new colleges, hotels, and railway-
lines ; the records of a thousand years, the
fancies of a passing day ; a church of Charles the
Great, a palace of the modem arts; one river
leading from the lake ; a second river rushing
from the hills ; around you mounds and crests,
here rolling outward to the Adlis-berg, there
straining upward to the Albis chain ; each hill
with vineyards at her base and village belfry on
her top ; and in the front, beyond the stretch of
sliining lake, a rugged line of alps, all swathed
and lit with snow is Zurich city, capital of
110 THE SWITZERS.
Zurich Canton, and a paradise of learning and of
Some natives speak of Zurich as the Swiss
Athens ; men who live in books and have their
hearts inflamed with ancient Greeks. For Zurich is
the centre of a Switzer's intellectual life. Among
her Hterary and artistic circles, she can boast
academies of art and music ; institutes of science
and of law ; botanic gardens, pubHc libraries and
museums ; a society of public usefulness ; a Grlitli
club, an Alpine club, a reading club, a natural-
history club ; societies of commerce and of agri-
culture ; many hospitals, retreats, asylums ; a
society of antiquities; a public garden on the
lake ; a theatre ; a temple of freemasons ; many
Church unions ; and a hundred colleges and
schools. The University is here ; the Polytech-
nic is here ; the anatomical school is here ; the
cantonal schools and burgher schools are here. Yon
shining edifice on the slope, above the Heretics
Tower, is a palace of the practical arts. This block
abutting on the minster is the ladies' school.
Those buildings in the tulip-trees are secondary
Schools. In the Virgin's quarter, near the Town
Hall, stand the city schools for boys. On every
side, in almost every street, you find a school ; a
CANTON ZURICH. Ill
primary school, a secondary school, a supple-
mentary school ; day schools, evening schools ;
schools for the blind ; schools for the deaf and
dumb (all models of their kind) ; industrial
schools, commercial schools, linguistic schools :
yes, schools of every sort and size, excepting
actual pauper schools. For Canton Zurich has no
paupers bom and bred ; no paupers known and
labelled aa a class apart. Some poor she has ; but
they are few in number ; not, as with ourselves, a
s;tate within the State.
A prosperous country stretches round the city
and reflects her life ; a Canton small in si2:e com-
pared with Bern, Graubtinden, Vaud, and Valais ;
but teeming with a brave, enduring race ; a people
full of labour, song, and fight; a little rough in
speech and hard in style, as men who know
their worth are apt to be ; yet patient in
their strength, disposed to work with nature,
not against her laws. The land is lovely in
itself, and made more lovely still by art. Fair
lakes are brightened by the works of man; by
latteen sail and puff of silver cloud, no less than
by the cheery range of garden, chalet, wood, and
spire. Low hills are tamed to vineyards, while
the higher grounds are fat with fruit. Above
112 THE SWITZERS.
tkese knolls, on which the grapes and medlars
seem to ripen against nature, start the bergs and
spits aU green with wood ; and straining up their
sides, and flowbig from their feet, broad belts of
pasture land, on which vast herds of cattle range to
browse. So far as art can reach, these mountain
slopes are cleared and fenced for use. A craft, a
will, a strength, but seldom seen in man's affairs,
are noted in this Canton ; not in one part only, and
in one thing only, but in every part and every
thing alike. The climate is not good. The average
warmth is lower than in Kent. Sharp winds
sweep down the gullies and across the lake. Yon
peaks are noted for their wintry storms, and one
great breadth of alp in front of Zurich bears the
name of Windgeile screaming wind. The soil
is poor and gritty ; three parts pounded rock
to one part vegetable mould. Yet when the best is
made of it, how much that best can do ! Observe
the peasant's shed, the pastor's porch, the farmer's
field : how clean that shed, how bright that porch,
how orderly that field ! You see no heaps of
mess, you smell no hidden filth. Each article is
in its place ; and order reigns by virtue of some
natural law. These roads are wide, these bridges
strong, these waters fenced. The snows melt
CANTON ZURICH. 113
rapidly in Canton Zurich ; yet the floods, being
guided and contained by dykes, roll down their
beds, and through their overflows, without much
hurt ; while in some neighbouring and neglected
Cantons they are dashing mills to pieces, drown-
ing goats and sheep, and tearing forests from the
ground. In small things and in great you find
these proofs of active thought and ready hand.
Just peep into this bit of ground; a common
garden, with the usual herbs and roots, the usual
flowers and seeda Each bed, each tree, each
plant, is treated by itself, as though it were
a child. Observe how every branch is pruned,
how every leek is watered, and how every
gourd is trained You need not marvel at the
cherries on that tree. Here in the comer climbs
a vine. The summer heat is on her leaves,
and what a promise of the blood-red grapes to
The country aU round Zurich is a garden,
watered by innumerable springs and lakes. These
springs and lakes are trained, with Oriental craft,
to flow about the orchards and potato-fields.
Though mostly built of stone, the farms are
painted of a cheery yeUow, pink, and white. These
walks are planted, and these roads well kept. Each
114 THE SWITZERS.
house appears to stand in its own grounds. No
poor are to be seen about the roads, save here and
there some Swabian tramp, some Savoy beggar,
or some pilgrim to St. Meinrad's cell No Ziiricher
is homeless ; hardly any Ziiricher is poor. In
driving on these roads, you hear at every turn the
song of life and work ^the woodman felling trees,
the milkmaid bringing home her pail, the cobbler
stitching at his stall, the miller grinding at his
wheel all chirping at their task the live-long
day. The secret of this gracious look of things
in Canton Zurich is, that every man enjoys an
These labourers have an interest in the soil
they till No ballast for a man like that of having
a httle earth his own about his feet. These
rustics own the cottages in which they live the
ground on which they toil. Though peasants
bom and bred, they understand their rights.
They have been long at school, and know the
history of their canton and their country. Every
man among them has been taught his civic duties
has been schooled and drilled into a man.
A child, he conned his lessons in the Virgin's
quarter of the town ; a youth, he marched and
wheeled on the parade ; a man, he casts his vote
CANTON ZURICH. ^ 115
in the electoral urn, and scores his bull's eye
at the Wollis Hofen butts.
Each peasant owns, besides his house and field,
a rifle and a vote.
No sleepy hollow, where a shepherd feeds his
flock, a craftsman plies his trade, without one
thought beyond the summer heat and winter
cold, is Canton Zurich; but a fierce and busy
agora, in which all news are searched, all ques-
tions put, all answers canvassed in their length
and depth. The heat of life is felt in every
vein. All forces here seem vital forces ; pulse
and brain beat time together ; and the hearts of
men dilate with the abounding tides. Democracy
is not a name a form of words a label on a
book of laws ; it is a fact. Each unit in
the body politic is a living force. At dawn,
a man gets up to work ; while sitting at his
loom he thinks ; some grievance in the code
arrests him ; he imparts his fancy to a neigh-
bour ; in a week a new discussion may arise.
A thousand projects agitate men's minds, and
keep them in a state of civic health ; from
Federal questions down to Communal questions,
ajid from problems of the church and state
to trifles of the streets and stalls. But
116 THE SWITZERS.
most of all, men talk and fight about political
In one sense, Canton Ziirich is conservative.
She clings with limpet-like tenacity to her main
ideas her republican faith, her Federal duty,
her religious life ; but in a lower plane she is
of revolutionary cities the most revolutionary.
Every twenty years, or so, she sets about revising
her fundamental pact. Men yet living can re-
member five or six fundamental laws in Ziirich,
from the semi-feudal constitution overthrown in
1831, to the new and perfect system of democracy
set up in 1869.
Some forty years ago, some Feudal families in
Ziirich, boasting of descent from ancient vogts
and bailiffs, held the whip ; an aristocracy of
wealth and learning, fenced about with privilege
and immunity, and holding by the right of birth
aU avenues to poHtical power. By a set of public
movements, and with scarcely any bloodshed in
her streets, these Feudal families were displaced.
It is the genius of the Ziiricher to gain his ends
by short and easy steps. A man of order, he
contents himself with action in the polling-
booths. One day he gains a point ; another
day he gains a point. In time his revolution
CANTON ZtlRICH. 117
has been made, and public order has not been
The University was in the lower town, in old
monastic lodgings, dreary, small, and dark. The
Liberals wished to plant it out on open ground,
in sunshine, on the crest, where every eye could
catch a glimpse of it. The Feudalists would have
no change ; the Liberals beat them, and the Uni-
versity was removed.
Old walls and towers surrounded, cramped,
and closed the town. The Liberals wished to
puU them down, to let in air and Hght, to
build a railway station near the city gates, to
fill the ditch, and turn the glacis into terraces
and schools. The Feudalists opposed this
change ; the Liberals beat them, and the walls
came down, excepting only two or three old
towers retained as picturesque memorials of the
The constitution was too feudal in its character
to please a democratic people holding guns and
votes. A public meeting was convened in 1867
to ask for a revision. What the Liberals wanted
was a more direct relation of the voters to the
government ; a right to choose the State Council
as well as the Grand Council ; a veto on financial
118 THE SWITZERS.
projects ; and a larger influence over churcli and
schooL The Feudalists protested ; but the Libe-
rals beat them on appeal, and then the Cantonal
constitution was revised.
In the Pure Democracy set up by her new con-
stitution, Zurich left behind her old principle of
Parliamentary Rule, and ceased, so far as Cantonal
objects are concerned, to be a representative state.
Her government is now direct. The people name
their officers ; the people choose their judges ;
and the people make their laws. The deputies
are clerks, not kings. Each voter has a share,
direct and visible, in pubhc acts. He hires a
servant, in his deputy, to report on such and such
a case, and draft a bill in such and such a sense.
But he invests this servant with no plenary
powers. In all affairs of consequence he gives his
vote with his own hand and tongue. He only is
the sovereign prince, and in his sphere he only
reigns and rules.
In front of the new constitution of Canton
Zurich stand these words : * The People of
120 THE SWITZERS.
Canton Zurich, in the exercise of their sovereign
rights, give themselves the following constitution.'
Sixty-five articles succeed in groups.
The first group articles 1 to 18 deal with
1. The public power resides in the whole body
of citizens, not in any part of it. This pubHc
power is used directly by all citizens having civic
rights ; and indirectly by such citizens as may
be either chosen officers of state, or hired as
servants of the State.
2. All citizens are equal, in a legal and
political sense, unless deprived by law of civil
and pohtical rights. Article 18 defines the causes
for suspending civil and poHtical rights, as lunacy,
degrading crime, fraudulent bankruptcy, and re-
ceipt of public alms.
3. Speech is free ; printing is free. The
right of meeting and associating is guaranteed.
No Hmit can be put upon this freedom of
speaking, printing, meeting, and associating, other
than such as springs from the rights enjoyed by
all. A true statement, pubhshed with an honest
motive, is not to be regarded as a libel by the
courts of law.
4. The State defends all honest private
PT7RE DEMOCRACY. 121
rights. The State may sei^e in case of public
need ; but compensation must be given ; the
details settled in the proper courts.
5. The punishment of death is abolished.
Chains and manacles are forbidden in the public
jails. The criminal laws are to be softened.
7. A man's personal liberty is secured. No
man may be arrested save on proper warrants, as
prescribed by special laws. Imprisonment for debt
is abolished. No means of forcing a confession
are allowed. The state must satisfy in money
any injury done to a citizen by false arrest.
8. A man's house is his castle, only to be
entered either by his own consent or by a legal
writ. This legal writ must specify the object of
the visitation, and the extent to which it may
be carried. In case of public danger these re-
strictions are not binding ; but the officers must
answer for their acts.
10. Every public functionary is responsible
to the Canton and the city, as well as to private
persons, in accordance with the law.
11. No office can be held for life. Authorities
must be renewed in block and not in parts.
Father and son, two brothers, father-in-law and
son-in-law, two brothers-in-law, may not serve
122 TELE 8WITZERS.
together on any administrative board, nor on any-
judicial bench. A member of the Council is
chosen for three years. An oflS.cer is chosen, and
a functionary is appointed, for three years. A
judge is named for six years ; and a notary for
13. Election of officers is by ballot, whether
the election is in Canton or in city. Munici-
paHties may also use this form of voting.
14. Settlement is free. Any Switzer, on
performing certahi legal acts, may fix himseh in
any place, and get the local rights of citizenship.
A Commune can only charge a moderate enter-
ing fee. No higher taxes can be levied on a
stranger than on natives. A refusal to admit
a claimant must be justified by evidence that
his ways of life are dangerous to public morals.
If a settler is expelled, this act of rigour must
be justified by evidence that his presence is a
danger to the State.
15. Civil marriage and clerical marriage are
placed on the same legal ground. No fees are
to be paid to either pastor, priest, or mayor.
16. A man enters on the enjoyment of his
dvic right with the close of his twentieth year.
These civil rights include the faculty of contracting
PURE DEMOCRACY. 123
debts, of voting at elections, and of serving in
any public office.
A second group Articles 19 to 27 deal
with Economical Principles.
19. Every one must pay his rates. Com-
munal and burgher property is taxed. An income-
tax and property-tax are laid on an ascending
scale. Small fortunes are exempt. The tax on
property may be doubled on the greater income.
Lands and goods inherited are taxed on a pro-
gressive scale, according to the distance of re-
lationship and to the sum bequeathed. Large
fortunes are abominable in a pure democracy.
No corporate body is exempt. The tax on salt
is to be lowered. No fresh tax of any kind is to
be put on common articles of food.
21. All crafts are open, saving in so far as
they are limited by law. Any one can practise
a profession. Art, science, industry, and trade
are free to all.
22. The Communes have charge of the poor ;
the State assists in case of need.
23. The State approves and aids co-operative
societies, resting on the principle of self-help.
Laws are made for the protection of working
124 THE SWITZEKS.
25. The State assists the Communes to repair
26. The State controls all railway lines.
27. The State provides an outfit for the men
who join the Cantonal flag.
A third group articles 28 to 36 deals with
28. The people, with the help of the Cantonal
Council, chosen by themselves, assume the legis-
The people vote on every bill proposed to
them, and either make it law or cast it off.
From this decision there is no appeal. The
people have a right to offer measures for debate.
The people may demand first, the passing of a
new law ; second, the amendment of an old law ;
third, the full and absolute cancel of a law.
These rights are to be used according +o the
A single person may propose a bill, and
send it to the Cantonal Council ; if a third
part of that Council should support his view,
the subject must be laid before the people for
decision. When a private person sends a question
to the Cantonal Council for debate, he has a
right to come before that Council to explain
PURE DEMOCRACY. 125
his views, if twenty-five members think he should
Five thousand voters may insist on putting
any question to a popular vote. A number
of Communal meetings, representing five thou-
sand voters, may insist. The Cantonal Council
must return their question on the paper.
No delay will be allowed. In every case the
Cantonal Council have the right to offer an
opinion on the bill proposed, and, if they
choose, may place before the people a counter-
project of their own.
30. A popular vote takes place in every spring
and autumn. Every act must be submitted to
the popular wiU. No act is legal till it has
been sanctioned by this pubhc poll. In urgent
cases, the Cantonal Council may propose to take
an extra vote. The Council may submit a bill
in one of two forms, either as a whole, or part
by part. The voting is by ballot in each Com-
mune ; every citizen is bound to cast his card
into the box. A man must answer. Yea or Nay.
All matters to be voted on must be printed
and dispersed a month before the poll is held.
An absolute majority of voices makes or mars.
31. The Cantonal Council shape the public
126 THE SWITZERS.
bills, command the public force (except so far
as it is under Federal obligation), execute the
laws, elect their officers, and exercise the right
32. A Councillor, as public officer, receives
a daily stipend, with a sum of money for
36. The two members of the State Council
who are sent to Bern must be elected by the
people, forming for this Federal act a single
district. The members of the National Council
who are also sent to Bern must be elected (as
they were under the old constitution) by the
people, forming for this purpose a single district.
These two elections must be held at the same
time. The service of these Federal delegates is
for three years.
A fourth group articles 37 to 55 deals
with the Administration.
37. The Executive Power consists of seven
members, called a Council of Government.
These governors are elected by the people, form-
ing one electoral district, at the same time with
the Cantonal Council.
38. These seven governors appoint a President
and a Vice-president for a year.
PURE DEMOCRACY. 127
39. No man having an appointment with
a fixed salary can be a governor.
41. The governors appoint a public pro-
A fifth group articles 56 to 61 deals with
Crime and Justice.
56. A judgment of the law-courts cannot
be set aside. The Cantonal Council have the
power of mercy ; but the administration cannot
modify the verdict given. PoHtical crimes, in-
cluding press offences, must be tried by jury.
Courts of arbitration are allowed.
A public officer is charged with process in
a case of debt.
A sixth group articles 62 to 64 deals with
PubHc Education and Ecclesiastical Affairs.
62. The general education of the people,
and the republican education of the citizens,
is the business of the State. In order to in-
crease the professional and productive power
of all classes, the Cantonal schools are to be
extended and improved. The training must
be better, and the period of instruction longer.
The Universities and colleges are to be brought
into more perfect harmony with modem life.
Their scientific character must be retained ; and
128 THE SWITZERS.
they must be connected in their courses with
the Cantonal schools.
Primary instruction is obligatory and gra-
tuitous. The State, together with the Com-
munes, will supply the funds. The Communes
have the management of primary schools, assisted
by a district School Board.
63. Liberty of faith, of worship, and of
teaching, is established. Civil rights and civil
duties have no dependence on rehgious creeds.
No force (as excommunication) can be used
against communities or individuals. The Na-
tional Church (that is to say, the Evangehcal
Church), and other rehgious corporations, rule
themselves within the law and under the supreme
control of the State.
64. The Church Communes elect their own
pastors, and the School Communes their own
teachers. The State endows the pastors, and
she pays a portion of the teacher's salary.
These pastors and these teachers are elected
to their functions for a term of six years; at
the end of which they may be re-elected if
the people choose. This rule applies to the
E-omanist Communes, not less than to the Evan-
PURE DEMOCRACY. 129
The seventh group article 65 deals with
the subject of any future revision of the con-
stitution. It is provided that the people may
at any time, according to the legal mode, revise
this fundamental pact, either in the mass or in
any of the parts.
In tiie struggles of tlie Radical party with the
Feudal party, following the adoption of this pact,
Johannes Sieber, until then a man unknown, came
quickly to the front, took up the popular flag,
and made himself at once a type of the new era,
and an incarnation of the radical cause.
Johannes Sieber was the master of a village-
school at Uster, on the Greifen lake, some dozen
miles from Zurich. Uster was a feudal hamlet,
now it is a weaving station. On the knoU. above
the weavers' houses rise the remnants of a castle,
which are turned to use as court-house, jail,
and inn. A tower, on which the weavers
drink their beer, commands the lake below,
and in the distance sweeps the peaks and crests
of Schwyz. Near by a group of factories
frets the sky, and smoking chimneys overtop
both feudal tower and Gothic spire. In Uster,
A REVOLUTION. 131
Sieber was employed in teaching rustics how to
read and sing. Like nearly all his class he was
a politician of advancing views. His school was
in the shadow of that ancient pile ; a living
proof that victory is with the popular cause.
He was no learned pundit ; he had taken no
degree ; but he was full of speech and pluck ;
and, more than all, he had the sense to see that
this great struggle of the popular and conservative
parties turned upon the public schools.
'You see the fruit, but not the root,' my
host explains to me, as we are driving past the
Cantonal schools ; ' these youngsters streaming
from the steps are like the vines on yonder
waU ; they flourish in our soil, but draw their
being from a distant source. We Switzers are
not poets and inventors ; we are homely folk ;
but then we know a good thing when we see
it, and are quick to try if it will suit us. I
am not an old man yet ; but in my youth you
might have passed from Basel to Ticino and
not have seen a decent public school.'
* You have not let the grass grow where
* Not only is our scheme of State instruction
new, it is Germanic, and not Latin, in its origin.
132 THE SWITZERS.
its spirit, and its plan. We date our university
in Zurich from an early time ; but in that early
time the church was always in a teacher's mind.
A teacher seldom thought of civil Ufe. He
was a priest ; he wished to make his pupils
priests. His school was part of some rehgious
house ; some priory, some abbey, where the ruler
was in holy orders. His instruction was devoted
to a single purpose. Priests required some let-
ters, and they got some. Girls required no
letters, and they got none. Females had no
chance of learning how to read and write, except