through private means and at enormous cost.
A man who wished his girls to learn was forced
to hire a priest and lodge him in his house.'
* The change came on, you think, with the
revolt from Bome?'
* With Martin Luther.
Bome was pagan in
her spii'it. She would never give her system of
instruction to all classes. Luther was our source
of civic life. He was the first to claim that pubHc
teaching should extend to all ; to rich and poor,
to male and female, and to bond and free. Yes,
Luther is the father of democracy. He, more
than any Switzer, shaped our politics and framed
A REVOLUTION. 133
In England, Luther's efforts in the cause of
education are not known so well as his attacks
on Rome. He meant to build a new world on
the ruins he was making ; and the world he
wished to raise was one of right and reason, not
of simple trust. He wanted men to read and
think, assured that men who read and think will
never drop into a stagnant faith. All men, he
therefore said, must learn to read. It is the
business of society to see that none fall off and
lose their souls for lack of light. He taught the
two great doctrines of the democratic party that
female education is of equal moment to the State
with male, and that the State should force all
citizens to attain a certain grade in either public
schools or private schools.
* The fruit is here, the root is yonder,' says
my host. * We know the truth ; our system is
Germanic ; and we feed it daily from the parent
source. Although we are a nation of school-
masters Pestalozzi was born in Zurich yet our
leading lights are German. Pestalozzi, FeUen-
berg, and other Switzers have been great in de-
tail, not in principle. Our great reformers come
from the original source. We start with Luther,
and we end with Scherr.'
134 THE SWITZEES.
Scherr who is Scherr, some reader asks, that
he should stand in line with Luther ? Scherr is
not a man of name, and yet his work was good
and he performed it well. In Zurich he is dearly
loved. As Luther gave to public teaching a popu-
lar spirit, Scherr endowed it with a popular form.
Scherr is the actual founder of the system now
prevailuig in Canton Zurich; and in no slight
measure is the author of her wealth, intelligence,
and fame. She loves him all the more that she
was cruel to him while he Hved, and torn with
anguish for him when he died.
Bom in the small village of Hohenrechberg, in
the kingdom of Wiirtemberg, Thomas Scherr re-
ceived his training in the pubHc school, and feel-
ing a vocation for the teacher's office, studied
pedagogy as an art, and got appointed to a desk.
His fame soon spread abroad; for he was not a
teacher only, but a special teacher, with ideas of
his own. Promoted to the mastership of a deaf-
and-dumb institution, he arrested wide attention
by his plan for teaching mutes to speak. At
twenty-four he came to Zurich, where the state
of education was below the mark. Here he got
appointed to the BHnd School, which he tho-
roughly reformed, and with such full approval of
A REVOLUTION. 1 35
the city that the Government increased his school
by adding to it a department for the deaf and
dumb, in order that his theories of teaching might
be fully tried. Before that day the time was
1825 to 1836 aU teachers of the deaf and dumb
had been content with the opinion of De TEpee
and the Abb^ Sicard, that the only way to teach
a mute is by the hand. Watson in England,
Heinicke in Germany, Clerc in the United States,
were followers of that method. Scherr had other
thoughts. No man, he found, is naturally
mute. A child is dumb because he is first deaf,
and does not hear articulate sounds. But may
he not be taught articulation through the eye ?
Scherr thought he might. He dropped the finger-
alphabet, and tried to teach his pupils to articu-
late in letters, syllables, and words. Articulate
sounds are formed by breathing through the
lips and teeth, along the palate and the tongue,
and aU the movements of these organs, while the
sounds are issuing, may be see7i. A little care
and patience, and the pupil imitates these move-
ments, and acquires the gift of speech. A double
end is gained; for while he learns the art of
breathing words, he also learns the art of reading
them. A class of mutes who can distinguish
136 . THE SWITZERS.
what the master says can also trace the accents
on each other's lips by sight. The power of
interchanging thought, if not so rapid as in men
with all their senses, is complete. A great success
attended Scherr. Some pupils learned to speak
with ease, and many learned to speak a bit. In
six years he had made his ground so sure that,
when the Canton wished to frame a better code,
he was elected to the Education Council, and
intrusted by that Council with the task of draw-
ing up a general law.
Public codes are common now, for every
Canton in the League has framed a public code ;
but in the days of Scherr such things were new
and strange, and the Feudal party, urged by
Dr. Bluntschli (one of the aristocrats whose
ancestors had governed Zurich long before she
joined the Forest Cantons), led the innovator an
Scherr wished this business of education to
be made a business of the State. He held that
every one should go to school, that every village
should provide a school, that every citizen should
take his share in managing a school, and that the
parents should be pressed to visit and inspect the
school He wished to see the school a home, and
A REVOLUTION. 137
hoped to call the family spirit to his help. To
him no subject was so serious as the school He
meant the worid to see things as he saw them ;
and he hoped by means of public festivals to
bring the highest interests of the Canton on the
One part of his reform the Canton put in force
without delay. The want of Zurich was the want
of Europe teachers who were fit to teach. Ex-
cept in Germany, no such artists in tuition could
be found ; and Scherr proposed to found a training
college near the city, where selected youths, of
either sex, might be instructed id this difficult
and important art.
Four miles from Zurich city, on a slip of vine-
yard mirrored in the waters, stands the pretty
thorpe of Kiisnacht. In this pretty thorpe his
training college was erected. Three years later
Kiisnacht was a place of name and fame, and
men from every part of Europe flocked to see
the master at his work. An impetus was given
to teaching in all countries ; more than all in the
Teutonic Cantons of the League. As teacher,
Scherr was very great. His lessons on the foi-ms
of speech, and on the graces of expression, were
remarkable for neatness, brilliancy, and point.
138 THE SWITZERS.
With boys and girls he had a vast success ; his
manner was convincing, and his power of illus-
tration and comparison was endless. Scherr was
happy in his work, and aU, except the Feudal
party, who were open enemies of public educa-
tion, were extremely proud of ScheiT.
The wider grew his fame, the sharper grew
his pain. A cry rose up against him that he
wished to ruin trade by driving every boy and
girl to school. A hundred manufacturers de-
clared that they would have to close their shops.
They could not carry on their works. Their
industry would perish, and their capital be lost.
If Scherr were suffered to go on they must re-
move their mills to Cantons where such fools
were not allowed to tamper with the laws of
trade. They might be driven away to France.
Scherr answered that the city was extending
on aU sides ; five hundred new houses were being
built ; the streets were cleaner, quieter than of
yore ; the port was filled with an increasing fleet
of boats ; and thousands of foreign artisans were
coming to the town for work. New public build-
ings were commenced ; the ancient walls were
overthrown ; new terraces and gardens rose on
either side the lake. New book-shops opened.
A REVOLUTION. 139
Singing-clubs were formed. A theatre was built.
Some fine hotels were added to the town. The
Dom was put into repair. A higher spiritual
plane was reached.
The Feudal party were convicted, not con-
vinced ; and when the next reflux of passion
brought them into power, they wreaked their
hatred on the man, although they were not strong
enough to stay his work. Scherr died in exile
from the Canton he had made liis own.
Johannes Sieber seized the golden chance.
A master of a school like Scherr, he found the
liberal sentiment was with his class. The name
and cause of Scherr were dear to all ; and Sieber
wrote that name, that cause, upon his flag. The
Liberals took him for their leader, and the fight
being won, they carried him from his desk at
Uster into Government House in Zurich, where
he holds, under the Pure Democracy, the two
chief offices of this Canton President of the
Council, and Director of the Education Board.
Some articles in the newest Zurich code arrest
the eye at once, as being the latest phase of
democratic hope and faith. Two points have
been established in this fundamental pact: (l)
the Relation of the People to the State, and (2)
the Relation of the People to the Church.
The people have assumed all powers. Great
Councils and State Councils are no longer what
they were, and party government is swept away.
No parhaments meet to choose the rulers and to
make the laws. Canton Zurich is herself a par-
liament. These Zurich people choose their
governors as American people choose their presi-
dents by one direct and universal vote. Seven
governors are elected at a . single poll. A
governor can only stay three years in office ; he
must then retire ; and it is not supposed that
POPULAB VICTORIES. 141
lie will stand again. The spirit of the pact is
In the sphere of legislation this reserve of
powers is more complete than in the sphere of
government. No act is vaHd till the people have
pronounced their verdict. In theory this refer-
ence to the people (Referendum) is a kind of veto,
like the vetos exercised in monarchies by kings
and queens ; in practice it is something more
than kings and queens can claim. The right is
absolute and imperious. A right of veto is no
more than that of raising an objection, more or
less, of days or months. It gives no power to
modify a bill ; it gives no power to substitute a
bill. It is a pure negation. But a Zurich voter
is an autocrat. He has a right, not only to
reject, but to propose. He may suggest a bill;
and, by assent of certain of his fellows, can insist
on having his proposal laid before the Canton.
Every Ziiricher enjoying civil rights is a member
of the national parliament, by which his rulers
are elected and his laws are made. A Ziiritjher
is commoner, peer, and king in one.
More curious than this reference to the
people in affairs of state, is the position taken
up by pure democracy towards the church.
142 THE SWITZERS.
In England, France, and Italy, the radicals
are mostly though not all in favour of a
thorough separation of the church and state ;
but such is not a Ziiricher's idea; for in this
republic men perceive, not only that religion is
a part of public life, but that the church is
an integral portion of the state. To drive the
church away from the state is not to over-
throw the church. These Switzers understand
that a state church is a Lay church. To cast
away the church as something alien to the
state and civil life, is to abandon aU control
of the most vital force and passion in the human
These radicals hold on, therefore, to the doc-
trine of a National Church. Being EvangeHcal
in opinion, they declare the Evangelical Church
to be the National Church. All forms of worship
are allowed ; all forms of worship recognized
by the Canton are endowed ; all congregations
regulate their own affairs, within the law
and under state control Each Commune
chooses her own priest and pastor for a term
A church so ruled presents to them the very
model of a national and democratic church.
POPULAR VICTORIES. 1 43
When Sieber, carried into office on the crests
of this pacific revolution, came to live at Govern-
ment House, he found himself opposed by two
strong parties iii the city ; first, the Feudalists,
whom he had beaten at the poll, and the Pro-
fessors, whom his victory seemed to threaten in
In Radical creeds no article is held with firmer
faith than that which says, no public office should
be held for life. In every Canton of Switzerland
this article is urged against appointments in the
pulpits and the schools, no less than in the
principal offices of state. If you would have
the best men in the best places, say the Radi-
cals, you must change them often. Sieber, as
a Radical leader, sent to Government House in
order to complete the changes introduced into
the Cantonal code, proposed a bill to amend
the laws appointing teachers and professors to
The old laws gave such posts for life, without
regard to changes in the men, the methods, and
the means. No reason, say the Radicals, can
be given for such a rule, which came into existence
through the church and not the state. The doc-
trine, once a priest always a priest, impHed, once
144 THE SWITZERS.
a teacher always a teacher, while the teacher and
the priest were one. But now that rule is changed ;
a priest is not a teacher, and a teacher not a priest.
A layman has no sacred privilege to plead. He is
a man, as every citizen is a man ; and what was
suffered in the cleric, who received his mandate
from a spiritual power, need not be suffered in
the laic, who derives his mandate' from a tem-
poral power. All liberal Ziirichers desire a
change, not only for the public good, but for
the good of teachers and professors. But the
teachers and professors are of different minds
respecting Sieber's plan. The teachers are in
favour of a change, and Sieber is no other than
their mouthpiece on the Board. No art, they
urge, stands still, and that of teaching is a swiftly
growing art. From Fellenberg to Scherr the dis-
tance is immense. A man who holds liis post for
life has no inducement to excel; good teachers
have no chance against bad teachers ; and im-
provements in the method have to wait for years.
They, therefore, pray the Council to declare by
law that every desk and chair in Zurich shall be
held for some fixed term of years say two years,
four years, six years and shall then be filled
again by pubHc choice. Who can question the
POPULAR VICTORIES. 1 45
sincerity of persons pleading for reform against
their seeming interests ? All these teachers held
their posts for life. Their prayer is granted,
and the teachers will in future hold their desks
six years. At every term a fresh election
must take place; and every teacher in the
Canton hails this verdict as a victory for his
The great professors take another line. These
learned persons Hve on higher planes, and have
no personal objects to attain by public strife.
Engaged in work which will not perish with the
hour, they turn with some disdain from what is
passing in the streets, to ask of what is new
in Bunsen's crucible and what is written in the
latest book by Mill. They live in their own
world a high, serene, and prosperous world for
them well fed, well housed, and easy in their
minds. Not so the teachers of a lower grade.
A teacher, with a cottage, garden-plot, and thirty
pounds a-year ; his home an alpine valley, with
no outlet to the world ; his fortune, like his
home, without a second hope ; is likely to be
swayed by popular passions, to indulge in dreams,
to fancy he has wrongs, to enter into contests
which excite his blood, and, if successful, bring
146 THE SWITZERS.
him to the front. A great professor cannot rise.
He is a duke ; he walks in purple ; nay, he
wears the crown. To be elected on the Council
would be loss of rank. What a republic can do
for such men as Kinkel, Vogelin, Gusserow, Behn-
Eschenburg, and others, has been done. A
teacher, like Johannes Sieber, fagging in his
village school at Uster, finds that public life
has many charms and chances. What has such
a man to lose ? What he may gain is proved.
A village teacher may become a Governor, may
preside at Council meetings, and may live at
Such rising of the lower ranks against the
higher is regarded by the University men with an
unfriendly eye. ' Good sort of man, this Sieber,'
they remark, ' if he would only keep his place ;
but a Director of the Board of Education why,
the fellow has not taken his degree ! ' When
Sieber comes to live at Government House, the
great professors whisper to each other, 'Why,
this fellow wants to be our master, and he has
not taken his degree!' The fact is certain, and
the learned men wax high in wrath.
Much trouble grows between the city and
the University. For several years a course of
POPULAR VICTORIES. 147
winter lectures has been given by great pro-
fessors in the city haU ; a course on special
subjects, treated in a popular style. These lec-
tures have been weU received ; the public pay
six francs a seat to hear them ; the city lend the
haU ; the lecturer gives his service ; and the money
taken at the doors is paid in lump to the authori-
ties of the University and Polytechnic for the
adornment of their common pile. Much painting
on the walls, and many figures in the niches, are
required to clothe the public rooms with beauty ;
and the funds which come from lecturing keep an
artist at this work. Last winter this delightful
course was stopped, to the regret of every class
alike professor, citizen, and stranger in the town.
When men like Kinkel lecture on the arts, when
men like Keller lecture on the water-folk, the
"world is glad to hear them, and the course is
sure to pay. Why are they stopped ? ' It is
the war in France,' says one ; 'It is the small-
pox,' says another. There is something in the
air; the moon comes nearer to the earth; the
spheres are out of tune ; the pulse of party life
is strong ; men cannot act together ; and the
city and the University retire into their several
camps. But time has laid this strife ; and
1 48 THE SWITZERS.
in these present winter months the learned men
have stooped once more from their Olympian
The fact is, they are heating Sieher and the
democrats. Unlike the teachers, these professors
will not yield on what the new and pure re-
puhhc holds to he a cardinal doctrine that of
short appointments to all pubHc seats. Some
hate this principle of Reference to the People ;
but the matter does not touch them closely, and
they yield to it with some reserve. Subjecting
chairs of Greek and Hebrew, chemistry and ma-
thematics, to a popular vote, renewed from time
to time, appears to them absurd. This demo-
cratic principle is apphed at the Polytechnic,
where the chairs are only held six years. The
great professors fear it may invade the University,
and empty half the higher seats. They will not
yield to Sieher s project, and the Radical party,
rather than distiurb a University which is their
noblest pride, consent to strike this article out
of Sieber's bill.
Amended so far, Sieber's bill is law. Professors
in the University are the only officers of the new
republic, who retain their posts for life. On every
other class on Pastor, President, Captain, Coun-
POPULAR VICTORIES. 149
cillor the new and pure republic exercises sove-
reign power. Each officer must yield his place,
and take his chances of a second choice. Was
it not said just now that a professor in the
University of Zurich is a duke ?
The Swiss League consists of twenty-five repub-
lics ; nineteen Cantons, six Half-cantons ; which
agree for certain purposes, mainly of defence, to
form a single commonwealth, with one assembly,
one executive power.
This League of Cantons is a growth of time.
Before the thirty-three famous patriots met in
Griitli to exchange their pledges, acts of union
had been signed by some of the Cantons, and the
very words of Griitli, ' All for each, and each for
all,' had been exchanged by them on oath. Luzer^..
had signed an act of mutual help with Bern, an
those who signed that act were called Con
panions of the Oath. In 1291, Canton Schwyz
and Canton Uri formed a league with the Half-
canton of Unterwalden-nidwald, to which the
second Half-canton, Unterwalden-obwald, after-
wards adhered. They took the vow of ' All for
THE LEAGUE. 151
each and each for all/ Sixty days after the
swearing of this oath of friendship, Canton Zurich
entered into union for defensive purposes with
Canton Schwyz and Canton UrL All these acts
of union cleared the ground for what was soon
to be an actual League.
At GriitH, a secluded field below the SeeHs-
berg, in Canton XJri, thirty herdsmen, stout of
heart and strong of limb, were brought in 1307
by three good patriots Werner Stauffacher of
Canton Schwyz, Walter Fiirst of Canton Uri, and
Emi of Melchthal, Canton Unterwalden to en-
gage each other, by the pledge of * All for each
and each for all.' They swore to rise against
their tyrant, to destroy his castles, and to free
their Cantons from the Austrian yoke. As Schwyz
became the theatre of war, the world outside first
heard of these confederates as the Switzers. When
Morgarten made the name and flag of Schwyz
illustrious, the other Cantons were not sorry to
accept her name and banner for their infant
Both name and banner are of unknown origin.
The name of Schwyz has been derived from swine,
from snow, and many other words. The flag was
once a blood-red field ; the cross was won in fight.
152 THE SWITZERS.
but whether in defence of Pope or Kaiser is a
subject of dispute. The better story seems, that
certain men of Schwyz went out to serve the
Emperor Conrad in his wars. They bore with
them a blood-red flag. In every fray that blood-
red flag was seen in front, and Conrad watched it
with a soldier's eye. When the imperial armies
moved on Burgundy, these troops marched with
them ; and in one of the assaults of Hericourt
they roused his martial admiration to so high a
pitch, that he bestowed on them the right to
quarter on their blood-red field his own imperial
arms the pure white cross.
Morgarten fought and won, the herdsmen met
in Brunnen, and renewed, in 1315, the League
already sworn by them eight years before. In
1332 Luzem became a member; and in 1351
Zurich joined them, bringing in her train the
neighbouring towns of Zug and Glarus. Two
years later this confederacy was joined by Bern.
For upwards of a century and a quarter (1353-
1481) these eight Cantons Zurich, Bern, Luzem,
Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, Glarus, Zug com-
posed the League ; but in this centiuy and a
quarter, Sempach, Nafels, Grandson, Morat, gave
the simple mountaineers a taste for war. They
THE LEAGUE. 153
broke into Aargau, Thurgau, and Ticino, and
annexed these countries to the League, but not
as members of a free and equal commonwealth.
The conquerors were all but nobles, and the con-
quered race were all but serfs.
In 1481 they took in Fribourg and Solothum,
as ninth and tenth Cantons. Afterwards they
occupied St. Gallon by a Federal force. In 1501
Basel and Schaffhausen were admitted, as ele-
venth and twelfth Cantons ; and a dozen years
later Appenzell, a portion of the occupied country
of St. Gallen, was accepted as the thirteenth
Canton. For upwards of two centuries and
three quarters (1513-1798) these thirteen Can-
tons formed the League.
As yet these Leaguers had no ftindamental pact.
Each Canton kept her sovereign rights in full ;
made peace and war, coined money, sent her
ministers to king and pope, and exercised the
faculties of life and death. She only joined her
sisters when their common frontiers were assailed.
The Leaguers had no code, no capital, no executive
power. When conferences were needed, they were
called at either Bern, Luzem, or Ziirich ; but the
deputies conferred, decided, and returned ; each man
to get his Canton to accept what they had done.
154 THE SWITZERS.
In fact, the League was nothing but a group of
states connected by a treaty of alliance, and the
name of Switzer nothing but a form of speech
occasionally heard in foreign camps.
The actual origin of the League, as now exist-
ing, must be traced to France.
In 1798 the French, as friends of liberty,
broke into Switzerland, upset the Cantonal
governments, and framed a new republic on the