Henry Barnard.

Pestalozzi and Pestalozzianism : life, educational principles, and methods of John Henry Pestalozzi; with biographical sketches of several of his assistants and disciples online

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Reprinted from, the American Journal of Education.


Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin.





ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1859,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Connecticut.



THE following Memoirs and Papers were originally prepared
by the editor, or at his request, for " The American Journal of
Education" as part of the History and Discussion of the great
subject to which that periodical is devoted. They are col-
lected in the present volume, as a Tribute to the Character
and Services of one of the great Champions of Popular En-
lightenment, and as a valuable contribution to the department
of Educational Literature in the English language.

54 - i







Portrait of Pestalozzi, 1


INTRODUCTION. Influence of Pestalozzi on the aims, principles, and methods of popular


Influence on Reformatory Education. By Dr. Blochmann, ...'.-

Influence on the Sch'ls and Educational Methods of Germany. By Dr. Diesterweg, 16
Summary of Pestalozzi's Principles of Education. By William C. Woodbridge,

Influence on the Infant School System of England, 32

LIFE OF PESTALOZZI. By Karl von Raumer, 37

Preface, 41

I. Childhood and Youth, 1746-1767, 49

II. Agricultural and Educational Experiments at Neuhof, 1767, .... - 56

III. The Evening Hour of a Hermit, 1780, 59

IV. Leonard and Gertrude, 1781. 62

V. Life and Writings between 1781 and 1798, 65

VI. Experience at Sfanz. 1798, 68

VII. " Burgdorf, 1799-1804, 71

VIII. ' Buchsee, 1804, 87

IX. " Yverdun, 1805, 87

X. Last Years, 1815-1827, 115

XI. Relations to Christianity, 116

XII. Retrospect, 123

APPENDIX. By the American Editor, 1^7

Celebration of Pestalozzi's Centennial Birth-day in Germany and Switzerland, 129

List of Publications by Pestalozzi, 139

List of Publications in different languages on Pestalozzi and his Educational Prin-
ciples and Methods, 142

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES of several of the assistants and disciples of Pestalozzi. - - 145

Preface, 149

I. Johannes Niederer, 151

II. Hermann Kriisi, 161

III. Johannes Buss, 193

IV. Joseph Schmid, 202

V. John George Tobler. 205

VI. John Ramsauer, ' 213

VII. John Ernst Plamann, 217

IX. Hans George Nageli. 220

X. Johannes Harnisch. 221

XI. Karl Augustus Zeller. 223

XII. Charles Christian Wilhelm von Turk, 155

yill. Hern hard Gottlieb Denzel, 227

XIV. Friedrich Adolf Wilhelm Diesterweg, 229

Gustavus Frederick Dinter, 232



Preface, 1

I. LEONARD AND GERTRUDE; or a Book for the People, As tirst published in

German in 1781, - 9

Notice of subsequent additions, .......... 135

The School in Bonnal, 137


School and Home Education compared, 151

III. THE EVENIN ; HOUR OF A HERMIT. The Programme or Key to Pestalozzi's Edu-

cational Labors. First published in German in 1780, 154

IV. A CHRISTMAS EVE. DISCOURSE. Delivered by Pestalozzi to his Family School

on the 24th of December, J8jO, 166




Notice, 183

Pestalozzi. account of his educational experience, 185

Methods of Elementary Instruction, 189

Modifications of. bv Bnttsh Home and Colonial Infant and Juvenile Sch'l Society, 217
VIII. PATEUNAL INSTRUCTIONS. A Ikijut.-t <>f Fatlp r Ptstalozzi to his Pupils. Edited

by Kriisi. Extracts, 228


Slsststnnts ttttfo Bisriphs nf |<tstnlnj)i.




" IT is to the charitable efforts of Pestalozzi" remarks M. Demetz,
the founder of the most complete and successful institution of reformatory
education in the world, in a report on the Agricultural Reformatory Colo-
nies of France, " that we owe the establishment of agricultural colonies,"
that is, of institutions, organized on the basis, and in the spirit of the
family, with agricultural employment as the principal means of industrial
training, and with methods of instruction, moral, intellectual, and physi-
cal, so far as applied, good enough for children of any class of society,
and yet capable of being followed by an intelligent mother in the home
of the poor. Not that Pestalozzi's own plans and methods under his
own application, were eminently successful for they were not. His in-
stitution at Neuhof, was a disastrous failure, in its immediate results, both
as a school, and as a pecuniary speculation. But the Christian spirit in
which this excellent man labored the family organization into which he
gathered, even the outcasts of society, living among such pupils as a father,
as well as pastor and teacher, and denying himself the quiet seclusion
and comforts of the home which the fortune of his noble minde'd wife had
secured for him, that he might inspire the orphan, and the abandoned and
even criminal child with filial attachments, cultivate habits of self-reliance
and profitable industry, and thus enable them " to live in the world like
men" this spirit, system and aim, the dream and labor of his long and
troubled life, imperfectly inaugurated at Neuhof, and never fully realized
at Stanz, Burgdorf, and Yverden, but widely diffused by his writings,
and the better success, under more favorable conditions, of his pupils and
disciples in Switzerland and German}^ have led to the establishment of
new educational institutions for rich and poor, of schools of practical
agriculture, as well as of agricultural reformatories, and at the same time
has regenerated the methods of popular education generally. To the con-
nected and comprehensive survey of Pestalozzi's Life and Educational
System by von Kaumer, we add a notice of his labors at Neuhof by Dr.
Blochmann, of Dresden, and by Dr. Diesterweg, of Berlin, from discourses
pronounced on the occasion of the Centennial celebration of Pestalozzi's
birth-day on the 12th of January, 1846.


PESTALOZZI having failed in a plantation of madder which he had com-
menced in connection with a mercantile house of Zurich, on an estate of
about one hundred acres of land on which he commenced a house in the


"Itklian Vfila style, to which he gave the name of Neuhof, projected the
plan of an educational establishment respecting which Dr. Blochmann,*
an admiring pupil and avowed follower thus writes :

It was not in Pestalozzi's nature to sink under misfortune, so long as he
could pursue the attainment of the object of his life. He had early learned
and deeply fixed in his mind the maxim,

" Tu ne cede mails, sed contra fortior ito."

He advanced like a roused lion, with resolute courage, against all
unfriendly influences. In spite of the severe distress into which the
unforseen withdrawal of the Zurich house plunged him, he determined to
go on, and to make his landed estate the centre of operations for his
educational and agricultural plans. He resolved even upon more and
higher designs. Henceforward he will live amongst beggar children, and
share his bread in poverty amongst them ; will live like a beggar himself,
that he may learn to teach beggars to live like men.

He also proposed to render his establishment an institution for the
poor. This undertaking attracted attention. It was considered a noble
and benevolent enterprise ; and his views and principles had so much
influence, in spite of the mistrust of his practical ability, that he found
assistance in Zurich, Bern and Basle, and was able without much diffi-
culty to obtain the necessary funds for the institution, by the aid of a
loan, for several years, without interest. His friends on all sides assisted
him ; more especially Iselin of Basle, whom he had met and known in
the Helvetic Diet, and who introduced the beloved enterprise to public
notice in his Ephemerides.

The Institution for the Poor at Neuhof was opened in 1775. Poor
children flocked in from all directions, many of them gathered by
Pestalozzi himself from their misery, and out of the streets. He had
soon fifty children, whom he kept busy in summer' with field labor, and
in winter with spinning and other handicrafts, instructing them all the
time, and developing and clearing up their mental faculties, especially by
oral recitations and mental arithmetic.! Pestalozzi had early perceived

''HENRY PESTALOZZI. Touches at a Picture of his Life and Labors : from his own testi-
mony, from observation, and communication. By Dr. Karl Justus Blochmann, Privy School
Councilor and Professor : Leipsic. 1846.

t The idea of such a school for the poor, in which agricultural and industrial labor were to
De combined with instruction, accompanied Pestalozzi. to whose mind it was so new and
stimulating, all his life ; and even remained like a sunbeam shining from behind the dark sad
clouds of the past, his last love, his last active desire. What, however, he never completely
accomplished, has been done by Emanuel von Fellenberg, who was assisted in the work, not
only by his certain and practical skill and experience, but especially by his good fortune in dis-
covering in Vehrli, such a man as is very seldom to be found, but absolutely necessary in the
actual realization of such a school. Whoever, like myself and there are thousands has be-
tome thoroughly acquainted with Vehrli's school in Hofwyl, must be convinced that in institu-
tions for the education of the poor so organized, conducted in such a spirit, with such love
and self-sacrifice, there is to be found an inestimable blessing for the state and the people. Fel-
.enberg has shown from his account books, that a poor boy, received at his ninth year, and re-
maining in the institution through his eighteenth, pays by his labor during the last half of his
stay, for the excess of the expense of maintaining him over his earnings, during the first half.
Lange, in his work on "The Country Educational Institutions for Poor Children," (Landlicla
Erziehungs Anstalten fur Armenkinder,) has made very thorough researches into this


that in the nature of every man are innate powers and means sufficient
to assure him an adequate support ; and that the hindrances arising from
exterior circumstances, to the development of the natural endowments,
are not in their nature insuperable.

The usual means of benevolence and mercy (as he was accustomed to
name the orphan houses, institutions for supporting the poor, &c., of the
period,) seemed to him to stimulate and encourage the evil, instead
of helping it. The thousand public and private ways of spending alms,
with which the times were crowded to nauseation, the beggar making
and hypocrite training modes of assisting the poor, seemed to him only
a palliative. The only means of affording real assistance he saw to lie in
this ; that the inborn natural powers of every man to provide for his own
necessities, and sufficiently to perform the business, duties and obligations
of his being, should be developed, encouraged, and set upon an independ-
ent footing. With this conviction the impulse increased within him to
labor for this definite purpose ; that it should become practicable for the
poorest in the land to be assured of the development of their bodily,
spiritual and moral powers both in relation to their own characters, and
to their personal, domestic and social relations ; and through this devel-
opment to obtain the sure basis of a peaceful and sufficient means
of existence. He had already taken the first step in this direction, by
admitting into his house beggar children and others abandoned to neglect,
that he might rescue them from their debasing condition, lead them back
to manhood and a higher destiny, and thus prove to himself and those
around him more and more clearly the truth of his opinion. His institu-
tion was to comprise the means for a sufficient instruction in field labor,
in domestic work, and in associated industry. This was not, however,
the ultimate purpose. That was, a training to manhood ; and for it,
these other departments were only preparatory.

First of all, he proposed to train his poor children to exertion and self-
control, by forbearing and assiduous discipline, and by the ever powerful
stimulus of love. He aimed to possess himself of their hearts, and from
that starting point to bring them to the consciousness and the attainment
of every thing noble and great in humanity. " I had from my youth " he
says, "a high instinctive value of the influence of domestic training
in the education of poor children, and likewise a decided preference
for field labor, as the most comprehensive and unobjectionable external
basis for this training, and also for another reason : as it is the condition
of the manufacturing population which is increasing so rapidly amongst
us, who, abandoned to the operations of a mercantile and speculating

subject, not only from other writings upon institutions for the poor after the model of Fellen-
berg's, but from his own repeated and extensive travels and personal observation. Our own
teacher's association (p'ddagogische rerein, at Dresden,) has proposed as a chief aim of ifs
practical efforts, the realization of an institution for the education of poor and abandoned
children, after Pestalozzi's model ; for which purpose, it purchased some eight years since, a
property in great part already in cultivation, and with a roomy mansion house, near the
Lb'btaner Schlage, which was dedicated on the 12th of January, 1845, by the name of the
Pestalozzi Foundation, (Pestaiozzi Stiftung.)


interest, wholly destitute of humanity, are in danger, in case of unforseeii
accident, of being able to find within themselves no means of escape from
entire ruin.* Full of a love for my father-land, which hoped for it almost
impossible things, and longed to lead it back to its native dignity and
power, I sought with the greatest activity not only for the possible but for
the certain means of averting the coming evil, and of awakening anew the
remainder of the ancient home happiness, home industry, and home
manners. These designs sank deep into my heart and often made
me feel with sorrow what a high and indispensable human duty it is
to labor for the poor and miserable, with all the means which our
race possesses, in church, state or individuals, that he may attain to a
consciousness of his Own dignity through his feeling of the universal pow-
ers and endowments which he possesses, awakened within him ; that he
may not only learn to gabble over by rote the religious maxim that * man is
created in the image of God, and is bound to live and die as the child of
God,' but may himself experience its truth by virtue of the divine
power within him, so that he may be irresistibly and really elevated not
only above the ploughing oxen, but above the man in purple and silk,
who lives unworthily of his high destiny."

With such lofty and magnificent views, and with a heart at even
a higher level of love, Pestalozzi labored at Neuhof from sunrise to sunset,
amongst his beggar children. He lived steadily up to his principles,
laboring in his vocation to the full extent of his powers ; always knew
what he was seeking, cared not for the morrow, but felt from moment to
moment the needs of the present. Among his children were very many
ungovernable ones of a better class, and still worse, many who had
brought themselves from a better condition to beggary, and who were
presumptuous and pretentious by reason of their former situation ; to
whom the energetic discipline which he applied, according to his design,
was at first hateful. They considered their situation with him as more
degrading than that in which they had been before. Neuhof was full
every Sunday of the mothers and relatives of children who found
their situation not what they had expected. All the impertinences
which a miserable rabble of beggars could indulge in a house without
visible protection or imposing exterior, were practiced, to encourage the
children in their discontent ; even so far that they were often tempted to
run away by night just after they had been washed clean and clad
in their Sunday clothes. However, these difficulties would little by little

* Upon the influence of manufacturing wealth amongst the Swiss at that time, Pestalozzi
expresses himself thus in another place : " The paternal love of the upper and the filial love
of the lower classes, in consequence of the increase of the manufacturing interest, is going
more and more to ruin under the effects of ignoble wealth. The blinding height of arro-
gance derived from an eminent position obtained by money, the deceitful cornucopia of an
unreliable life of mere pleasure, has drawn all within its destructive influence, even down to
the commonest of the people, and carried them into the crooked path of a spiritless and pow-
erless routine life. Truth, honor, sympathy, moderation, are daily vanishing. Pride,
insolence, recklessness, contemptnousness, laxity, immorality, the eager pursuit of vain and
ostentatious pleasure, the cherishing of boundless selfishness, have taken the place of the
ancient simplicity, faith and honor.


have been overcome, had not Pestalozzi pushed his undertaking to
an extent altogether beyond his means, and undertaken to modify it
according to the original design, which supposed the possession of
the utmost knowledge of manufacturing and of human nature; qualities
in which he was lacking in the same measure in which he needed them
urgently for managing his institution. Moreover, he hurried on to
the higher branches of instruction, before supplying the solid foundation
of acquaintance with the lower; an error recognized as the leading
one of the teaching of the age, against which he had striven in his
scheme of education with all his strength. For the sake of a fallacious
prospect of greater profit, in higher branches of industry, he committed,
in teaching his children to spin and weave, the very faults which he had
so strongly abjured in all his expressed opinions upon education, and
which he saw to be so dangerous to children of all classes. He would
attempt to secure the finest spinning, before his children had acquired
even a small amount of firmness and surety of hand in coarse work ; and
undertook to manufacture muslin before his weavers had attained skill in
weaving common cotton stuff.

Through these and the like mistakes, through his ignorance of
business, and his great lack of a sound practical faculty of learning it, it
happened that Pestalozzi fell every year deeper in debts ; and when these
also from time to time had been paid by the self-sacrificing generosity of
his noble wife, there came at last an end of this means of help, and in a
few years the greater part of his substance and his expected inheritance
was dissolved into smoke. The great confidence which he had enjoyed
among his neighbors, changed when his undertaking failed so soon, into
an utter and blind rejection of any shadow even of faith in his enterprise,
or of belief in his possessing any capacity at all as a teacher. But such
is the way of the world ; it treated Pestalozzi, when poor, as it treats all
who become poor by their own faults. Their money being gone, it with-
draws also its confidence from them, in matters where they really are
capable and efficient.

His enterprise failed, in a manner excessively painful, both to himself
and his wife, in the year 1780, in the fifth year of its existence. His
misfortune was complete ; he was now poor. He felt most deeply the
condition of his noble hearted wife, who in the excess of her devotion had
mortgaged away for him nearly all her possessions. His situation was
indeed shocking. In his over handsome country house, he was often
destitute of bread, wood, and a few pennies, wherewith to defend himself
from cold and hunger. Only the entire forbearance of his creditors and
the kind help of his friends preserved him from despair and entire ruin.

Thus he lived a poor and destitute life in Ncuhof for eighteen years,
fighting with want and misery. He lived as a poor man amongst the
poor ; suffered what the common people suffered, and saw what they
were. He studied the wants of the lower classes and the sources of their
misery, in a manner which would have been impossible for one in better



EVERY one considers it a matter of course that all our children go to
school until they grow up to be youths and maidens. The observance
of this custom begins at the sixth year. But the parents have long be-
fore spoken of the school to the child ; he looks eagerly forward to the
day of entrance ; and when it takes place, he is absorbed in his school
and his teacher for the next six or eight years or more. We always
think of children and schools or children and books together. To be a
child and to learn, have become almost synonymous terms. To find
children in school, or passing along the streets with the apparatus which
they use there, makes no one wonder. It is only the reverse, which at-
tracts attention. The school fills a very important part in the life of the
young. In fact school life is almost the whole life of childhood and
youth ; we can hardly conceive of them without it. Without school,
without education, what would parents do with their children ? With-
out them, where would they secure the young the necessary preparation
for actual life ?

With our present organization of society, schools are indispensable
institutions. Many others may perish in the course of time ; many have
already perished ; but schools abide, and increase. Where they do not
exist, we expect barbarity and ignorance ; where they flourish, civiliza-
tion and knowledge.

No apology is necessary for sending our children to school. At school
they learn. There they acquire mental activity and knowledge ; the
manifold varieties of things ; to gain the knowledge of things in heaven
above and in the earth beneath, and under the earth ; of stones, and
plants, and animals, and men ; of past, present, and future.

[The remainder of the discourse treats of three points :

1. What were the schools before Pestalozzi?

2. What did they become by his means, and since ; that is, what are
they now ?

3. What was Pestalozzi's life and labors ?]


Our present system of common or public schools that is schools
which are open to all children under certain regulations date from the
discovery of printing in 1436, when books began to be furnished so
cheaply that the poor could buy them. Especially after Martin Luther
had translated the Bible into German, and the desire to possess and un-
derstand that invaluable book became universal, did there also become
universal the desire to know how to read. Men sought to learn, not only
for the sake of reading the Scriptures, but also to be able to read and


sing the psalms, and to learn the catechism. For this purpose schools
for children were established, which were essentially reading schools.
Reading was the first and principal study ; next came singing, and then
memorizing texts, songs, and the catechism. At first the ministers
taught; but afterward the duty was turned over to the inferior church
officers, the choristers and sextons. Their duties as choristers and sex-
tons were paramount, and as schoolmasters only secondary. The chil-
dren paid a small monthly .fee ; no more being thought necessary, since
the schoolmaster derived a salary from the church.

Nobody either made or knew how to make great pretensions to educa-
tional skill. If the teacher communicated to his scholars the acquire-
ments above mentioned, and kept them in order, he gave satisfaction ;
and no one thought any thing about separate institutions for school chil-

Online LibraryHenry BarnardPestalozzi and Pestalozzianism : life, educational principles, and methods of John Henry Pestalozzi; with biographical sketches of several of his assistants and disciples → online text (page 1 of 58)