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have disappeared ; those of his growing powers have replaced
them. The moral sentiments which were the product of his
first impressions will soon disappear too, if they are not
now indissolubly bound up with the supreme aspirations of
our nature, with the duties of life, and the will of the
Creator. The world is now beginning to loosen the child
from the mother's heart, and if at this time no one is found
to reconcile the noblest sentiments of his nature with this
new and seductive world, it is all over with him. The
child, I say, is snatched from the loving heart ; the world is
now his mother, its sensual pleasures and proud spirit of
dominion are now his god.

" Here, for the first time, you can no longer trust Nature ;
you must, on the other hand, do your utmost to preserve
your child from his own blind strength, and give him such
rules, principles and powers as the experience of centuries
has shown us to be good. The world which is now before
his eyes, is no longer as God first created it ; not only have
its pleasures lost their innocence, but human nature has lost
its nobility, and everywhere is war, revolt, usurpation,
violence, selfishness, lying and deceit." . . .

We have no space for further quotations from this im-
portant work. What we have already quoted furnishes a
good example of Pestalozzi's tendency to digress. He took
up his pen to set forth the views which the Burgdorf insti-


tute was intended to realize ; but, as the work proceeded,
fresh ideas crowded so thick and fast upon him, that at last,
carried away by his feeling and imagination, he launched
out into entirely new regions of thought. This explains how
it is that the book contains so much more than its title
seemed to promise. Morf, who has analyzed the work with
much care and penetration, thus resumes its pedagogical
principles :

1. " Sense-impression is the foundation of instruction.

2. " Language must be connected with sense-impression.
3 " The time for learning is not the time for judgment

and criticism.

4. " In each branch, instruction must begin with the
simplest elements, and proceed gradually by following the
child's development ; that is, by a series of steps which are
pyschologically connected.

5. " A pause must be made at each stage of the instruc-
tion sufficiently long for the child to get the new matter
thoroughly into his grasp and under his control.

6. " Teaching must follow the path of development, and
not that of dogmatic exposition.

7. " The individuality of the pupil must be sacred for the

8. " The chief aim of elementary instruction is not to
furnish the child with knowledge and talents, but to develop
and increase the powers of his mind.

9. " To knowledge must be joined power ; to what is
known, the ability to turn it to account.

10. "The relations between master and pupil, especially
so far as discipline is concerned, must be established and
regulated by love.

11. " Instruction must be subordinated to the higher end
of education."

"We shall not here undertake an examination of the " method,"
as it is still in course of formation. Pestalozzi's own ex-
periences at Burgdorf tended to modify it somewhat, and,
later on, the labours of his assistants had a considerable
effect in developing and extending it. Moreover, Pestalozzi
worked at it with almost unimpaired intellectual vigour till
quite the end of his life, as we see in the Song of the Swan,


written when lie was eighty years of age. Not till we have
related his whole life, therefore, can we examine the educa-
tional method bequeathed to us by his genius and marvellous
mental activity.

But what we are in a position to state at once is, that in
this book, in which Pestalozzi endeavoured to set forth his
educational doctrine at a time when it could not possibly
have been affected by any foreign influence, he constantly
returns to the idea, so often expressed already in his writings,
that the intellectual and moral development of the child is
governed by the same organic laws as his physical develop-
ment or that of the plant or animal ; in other words, that
there is a human organism which comprises a material, an
intellectual, and a moral organism. It is our belief that if
Pestalozzi had investigated and formulated the laws of
organism so as to be able to apply them to the object of his
labours, he would have succeeded in giving his method more
clearness and precision. 1

We must now give some account of the elementary books
to which we have referred in a previous chapter, and which
were published during the existence of the Burgdorf insti-

The first, which appeared in 1801, and received some
pecuniary support from the Helvetian Government, was the
Guide for Teaching Spelling and Reading. It was originally
supplemented by large letters, which were intended to be
gummed on cardboard. The use of these movable letters
seems to have constituted Pestaloz/i's first real public
success, so that it is to him we owe this practical method,
still employed in so many families.

His Book for Mothers was printed in 1803 ; it came far
short of what he had intended to make it, and not only
failed to produce the good effect he had expected, but was
ignored by the very people for whom it was written.

This failure seems to us to depend upon an error that had
crept into Pestalozzi's thought, an error which we must now
endeavour to explain, since its consequences were lasting
and fatal. This error not only rendered many of the efforts

1 We have given an account of the laws of organism and their appli-
cation to physical, moral and intellectual education iu our first work,
Pliilosoyhy and Practice of Education. Paris, 1860.


of Pestalozzi and his helpers quite futile, but also served
to spread a false idea of his method, and compromised the
success and utility of the various elementary books which
were afterwards published in his name.

We must say at once that it was not an error of doctrine,
but simply a want of due appreciation of the difficulties
which the mothers of his time were bound to meet with, in
attempting to apply his method to the instruction of their

It was assuredly a beautiful and noble thought to ask
mothers themselves to begin the reform of education by
teaching their children by a method which was to be but a
continuation of the natural method suggested to them by
the first inspirations of the maternal instinct. But to
succeed, it would have been necessary for them to forget the
methods by which they had been taught themselves, to break
away from those they saw in use around them, and to be as
fervently devoted to the new method as they would have
been if they had been brought up themselves by Pestalozzi,
or even in the spirit of his teaching.

Pestalozzi thought he could avoid this difficulty by sim-
plifying the elements of instruction and multiplying the
successive steps, so as to form a series of minute gradations.
His idea was to explain the course to be followed in all its
details, and supply mothers word for word with all they
would have to say to their children. But such a work was
too long and monotonous for a mind like Pestalozzi's, so
easily carried away by new ideas, and it was left, in a great
measure, to his collaborators.

According to the original plan of its author, the Book for
Mothers was to lead the child not only to a precise know-
ledge of the various objects of Nature or of art which were
presented to him, but also to an understanding of the
relations both of numbers and forms.

The study of that part of the sensible world which lay
within the child's comprehension included an infinite variety
of objects. Some order was necessary, and a starting-point
which should be everywhere the same a first object of
observation, that is, which every mother who was anxious
to use these exercises would invariably have before her

Pestalozzi chose the body of the child itself. He had


indeed said elsewhere : " All I am, all I wish, and all I can
do, comes from myself." After the child were to come
animals, then plants, then the inorganic world, and then,
after the works of. God, the works of man.

It was Krusi who wrote the Book for Mothers, under
Pestalozzi's directions; but the study of the external parts
of the human body, their names, number, relative position ;
relations, functions, etc., filled a volume, and there the work

Pestalozzi had written the preface, in which he announced
a series of ten exercises, seven only of which were even-
tually carried out. The seventh, which was drawn up by
Pestalozzi himself, consists of a collection of instructive
remarks on the functions of the child's various organs, and
well repays perusal. The following quotation from an article
entitled, Seeing with the Eyes, will give a sufficient idea
of it:

" When the child is still but a babe, his mother takes him
to the open window, and he sees the sky and earth, the
garden before the house, trees, houses, men and animals ;
he sees things near and things in the distance, great things
and small things, some standing alone, some in groups ; he
also sees white and blue and red and black. But he has
no idea of nearness or distance ; he knows nothing of size,
number, and colour.

" Some weeks later his mother carries him in her arms
into the garden, where he finds himself close to the same
tree that he had seen from the window. Dogs, cats, cows
and sheep pass near him ; he sees the fowls peck the grains
his mother scatters ; he sees the water flowing from the
fountain. His mother picks flowers of different colours for
him, and putting them into his hand, teaches him to smell

" As the months go by, his mother takes him about with'
her still more ; he at last comes quite near to the houses,
trees, or steeples, that hitherto he has seen only from afar.
Almost before he can walk he is prompted by the twofold
desire for pleasure and knowledge to crawl over the paternal
threshold, and go and breathe the fresh air and feel the
pleasant warmth of the sun in some sheltered nook behind
the houne. He tries to take hold of everything he sees ; he


picks up stones, and breaks the bright, scented flowers from
their stalks, putting both stones and flowers into his mouth.
He would fain stop the worm on its way, the butterfly as it
flies past him, the lambs in the meadows. Nature is unfold-
ing before his eyes and he is eager to enjoy everything ;
each day he learns something new, each day gives him a
clearer conception of size, distance, and number. . . .

" And now, mothers, what have you to do all this time ?
Nothing but follow the course that Nature and Providence
are laying down for you. You see what objects God presents
to your child as soon as he opens his eyes, you see the effect
of his involuntary and, so to speak, inevitable perceptions, you
see what pleases and amuses him. Let your whole conduct
be regulated then by what you see ; take your child near
the object which strikes him and attracts him the most,
show him his favourite objects again and again, search
amongst everything within your reach in the garden, the
house, the meadows and fields for those objects which, by
their colour, shape, motion or brilliancy, have most in com-
mon with what he likes best. Surround his cradle with
them and place them on the table where he takes his food.
Give him full time to examine their properties at his ease,
and let him observe that by putting new flowers into the
vase where others have faded, by calling back the dog, or
by picking up the fallen toy, you are often able to reproduce
them when they disappear. This will be doing something
for his heart and judgment ; but you must never forget,
young mothers, that the one essential thing is that your
child shall love you better than everything else, that his
happiest smiles, his most eager attentions shall be for you
alone, and that you, on your side, shall love nothing better
than him."

Already, in the preface, Pestalozzi had appealed to the
feelings of mothers. He there exhorts them and encourages
them, and points out that they are not to follow these exer-
cises from one end to the other without any variation, but
that they must lose no opportunity of fixing the attention of
their child on any object that may attract him that, in
short. 4 he guide which he is giving them is but an example
of how the child is to be taught to see properly and to
express clearly what he has seen.


He then adds:

" I know too well Low it will be ; this poor husk, which
is but the mere outward form of my method, will appear to
be its real substance to a great number of men, who will
endeavour to introduce this form into the narrow circle of
their own ideas, and will judge of the value of the method
according to the effects it produces in this strange associa-
tion. I cannot prevent the forms of my method from having
the same fate as all other forms, which inevitably perish in
the hands of men who are neither desirous nor capable of
grasping their spirit."

In spite of all these warnings, Pestalozzi's predictions
were fulfilled. The Book for Mothers did not succeed ;
some of his critics even did not understand what his inten-
tion had been in publishing it, and looked on it merely as an
absurd experiment. Dussault, a celebrated and witty French
journalist, gave the following humorous account of it :

u Pestalozzi takes a world of trouble to teach a child that
his nose is in the middle of his face."

These words are actually to be found in the book, in the
chapter on the relative positions of the parts of the body,
which was drawn up by Krusi. Those, however, who
already knew something of Pestalozzi and his doctrine, took
a considerable interest in the book in spite of its defects.
A French translation of it was published at Geneva, in 1821,
but the translator withheld his name.

After the Book for Mothers came the books intended for
sense-impressing exercises on number and form, that is, for
the first instruction in arithmetic and geometry. They were
begun by Krusi and Buss, but were afterwards completed
by Schmidt.

These books were just as overburdened with details, just
as prolix and tedious as the Book for Mothers, nor were
they any more successful or any more useful, although the
path to be followed is minutely mapped out.

These elementary books, as we have said, gave a false
impression of Pestalozzi's method. People did not sufficiently
understand that these series of statements were to result


from the child's own observation and experience ; slaves to
tradition, they only saw in them a lesson to be learned by
heart and repeated mechanically. And thus, not without
some show of reason, Pestalozzi's method has been blamed
for a defect which is precisely the defect it was intended to

Pestalozzi's method is spirit and life, and before we can
apply it we must be inspired by this spirit and this life ;
his work cannot be carried on by a mere stereotyped imita-
tion of his procedure. And yet, since Pestalozzi's time,
some of his less important principles have spread and taken
root, and already, in nearly every country, effected a certain
improvement in educational methods. This progress is both
slight and incomplete, and very far indeed from what we
should have been justified in expecting. But Pestalozzi's
method will not produce its full results until his philosophy
has been still further popularized, and all educationalists are
thoroughly imbued with its spirit.

We have still to speak of a work that Pestalozzi wrote at
this time (that is, between 1802 and 1805), but which he
never published. The manuscript, written throughout in
Pestalozzi's hand, is in the possession of Mr. Morf, of Win-
terthur, so that its authenticity is incontestable. It is called
The Natural Schoolmaster, and was printed for the first time
in 1872, in Seyffarth's collection. Its history is as follows :

The Book for Mothers, as it was published in 1803, was
but a first instalment, and that a very unsatisfactory one, of
a much more important work projected by its author. Pesta-
lozzi's view was that, after having accustomed the child to
talk about his physical impressions, it would be well to go
on and accustom him to talk about his moral impressions.
With this object, he took as his text the language itself, or
rather, those words in the language which express such
moral sentiments as the child is capable of understanding
and from the explanation of which he is likely to profit. It
was to this new work, which seems to have been undertaken
at the same time as the first, that Pestalozzi gave the title,
The. Natural Schoolmaster. The book, both in plan and form,
was entirely different from the Book for Mothers.

Whether the author was dissatisfied with his work, or
whether time failed him to correct and complete it, we do
not know : but this, at least, is certain, that he abandoned


his idea, and gave his manuscript to Krusi, with permission
to make whatever use of it he thought best.

In putting this book on one side, Festal ozzi was far from
giving up his intention of writing a work on the elementary
teaching of language ; a subject, indeed, at which he con-
tinued to work steadily till the end of his life, and on which
he left a great quantity of manuscripts, which, however,
with many others, were unfortunately lost some few years
after his death. Schmidt, who was then in Paris, having
asked to see them, Gottlieb sent them off to him. But they
never reached their destination. Inquiries were made, and
they were traced to Mulhouse, but, in spite of every effort,
it was impossible to discover what became of them after-

In 1829, Krusi, at that time the director of the Cantonal
School at Trogen, decided to utilize for the public benefit
the documents that had been entrusted to him. After
studying the manuscript, therefore, and reducing it to order,
he published a selection of passages in a pamphlet of some
hundred and twenty pages, entitled : Paternal Instnictions
on the Moral Signification of Words a Legacy from Father
Pestalozzi to his Pupils.

In the preface, Krusi gives the history of the manuscript,
and quotes the following passage from Pestalozzi's letters to
Gessner :

*' I hope to complete my reading-lessons by a legacy to
my pupils, in which, after my death, they will find, connected
with the principal verbs in the language, and stated in
such a way as to strike them as they struck me, a certain
number of moral instructions, all drawn from my own ex-

The paternal instructions are indeed based on the mean-
ings of a series of words, nearly all of which are verbs.

The body of .the work is preceded by a number of
detached thoughts and notes, jotted down without any
attempt at order, like so much material for a building that
has never been completed. It is amongst these notes that
we come across the title of the work: The Natural School-
master or, Practical Instructions based on the Simplest
Principles of Education for Teaching Children all they


need know up to the age of six years. Then follows the
dedication :

" To the People of Helvetia !

" I have seen thy degradation, thy terrible degradation,
and I have had pity on thee, and long to help thee. I have
neither talent nor knowledge, and I am of no account in the
world, but I know thy needs. I give thee, then, myself and
all that I have been able to accomplish for thee by the pain-
ful labours of my life.

"Read what I say without prejudice, and if any one should
offer anything better, throw me aside, and let me sink back
into the obscurity in which I have passed my life. But if
no one can tell thee what I tell thee, if no one can help thee
as I can, then give a tear to my memory and to the life I
have lost for thy sake."

Amongst the preliminary notes we find some striking
ideas as to the moral importance of good language-teaching
which pat us in mind of the work of Father Girard twenty
years later ; there are also plans for the study of language,
and criticisms of the methods then in use. After speaking
of the mischief done by the bad methods of so many school-
masters, the author exclaims, " Jesus Christ, the only
Master!" That, then, is where "Pestalozzi looked for his

As we have said, the body of the work is a collection of
instructions founded on the meanings of words. The words
are arranged alphabetically, each word being accompanied
by its derivatives, and each being taken successively in its
different acceptations. To be thoroughly understood, the
book must, of course, be read in German, but we will endea-
vour to give our readers some idea of it by translating the
first paragraph :

"I. Achten, achtend, geachtet, erachten, beobachten, hoch-
a eh ten, verachten, sich selbstachten ; die Achtung, die

" Children, the first word I am going to explain to you 13
Sclbstachtung (attention to self, respect for self).

"It is this that makes you blush when you have done
wiong; that makes you love virtue, pray to God, believe in


eternal life, and overcome sin. It is this that makes you
honour age and wisdom, and prevents your turning aside
from poverty and distress ; it is this that enables you to
repel error and falsehood, and teaches you to love truth.
Children, it is this that makes the coward a hero, the idler
a man of action ; that makes us honour the stranger, and
come to the rescue of the outcast and the fallen."

The manuscript in the hands of Mr. Morf is not all that
Pestalozzi entrusted to Krusi ; there were also a number of
separate sheets, made use of by Krusi for his publication,
which have since been lost. But everything contained in
The Natural Schoolmaster and the Paternal Instructions
has been published by Seyffarth in the sixteenth volume
of his collection of Pestalozzi's works, a volume which any
one who was thinking of preparing a marmal of language-
exercises for young children would do 'well to read.



Helpers. Vulliemin's reminiscences. Prussia adopts the Pesta-
lozzian Method. Great reputation of the Institute. Testi-
mony of Hitter, Raumer, etc. School for girls. School for
deaf-mutes. L>fe in the institute. A printing-press in the
Castle. " Weekly Journal of Education." Other publica-
tions. Games, manual labour, festivities.

ONCE installed in the old Castle of Yverdun, 1 the institute
grew rapidly ; the pupils were soon much more numerous
than they had been at Burgdorf, and the number of masters
was considerably increased. Many of the latter had been
pupils at Burgdorf, and now, as under-masters entrusted
with the teaching of the most elementary subjects, they
faithfully applied the method by which they had themselves
been formed. The others were men of various attainments
and capacity, who had eagerly accepted work under Pesta-

Amongst the new helpers we must mention :
John Niederer, of Outer Appenzell, Doctor of Philo-
sophy, who when the Burgdorf institute was opened was
the pastor of Sennwald, in the Rheinthal. In the letters
which he wrote at the time to his intimate friend Tobler,
and which have since been published by his widow, he
expresses sincere admiration for Pestalozzi, and a groat
desire to join him. This desire, however, was not satisfied
till some years later, for he would not leave his parish till
he was satisfied that it would not suffer from his absence.
Niederer has been called the philosopher of the " method,"

1 Once the residence of the Bailiffs of Canton Berne, it had become
the property of the Vaudese Government, and had been sold in 1804 to
the town of Yverduu, on condition that Pestalozzi, during his life, should
have the gratuitous use of it for his educational institution.


because he put Pestalozzi's ideas into a more philosophical
form. At Yverdun he revised everything that the master
wrote for publication, correcting the chief defects, and, it
must be added, somewhat spoiling the originality of both
matter and form. Indeed, if Pestalozzi's thought is to be
thoroughly understood, it must be examined in those of his
writings which were not touched by anybody but himself.

Online LibraryRoger de GuimpsPestalozzi: his life and work → online text (page 24 of 43)