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ment is a universal human need.

10. " The infant whose hunger has been satisfied learns in
this way the relations between its mother and itself ; love
and gratitude are awakened in its heart before their names
Strike its ear ; the son who eats his father's bread, and warms


himself at his father's hearth, acquires in this natural manner
the salutary knowledge of his filial duties.

12. " Man ! in thyself, in the inward consciousness of thine
own strength, is the instrument intended by Nature for thy

21. " The path of Nature, which develops the forces of
humanity, must be easy and open to all ; education, which
brings true wisdom and peace of mind, must be simple and
within everybody's reach.

22. " Nature develops all the forces of humanity by exer-
cising them ; they increase with use.

23. " The exercise of a man's faculties aud talents, to be
profitable, must follow the course laid down by Nature for the
education of humanity.

24. " This is why the man who, in simplicity and inno-
cence, exercises his forces and faculties with order, calmness,
and steady application, is naturally led to true human wis-
dom ; whereas he who subverts the order of Nature, and thus
breaks the due connection between the different branches of
his knowledge, destroys in himself not only the true basis
of knowledge, but the very need of such a basis, and becomes
incapable of appreciating the advantages of truth.

25. " Thou who wouldst be a father to thy child, do not
expect too much of him till his mind has been strengthened
by practice in the things he can understand ; and beware of
harshness and constraint.

26. " When men are anxious to go too fast, and are not
satisfied with Nature's method of development, they imperil
their inward strength, and destroy the harmony and peace of
their souls.

27. "When men rush into the labyrinth of words, for-
mulas, and opinions, without having gained a progressive
knowledge of the realities of life, their minds must develop
on this one basis, and can have no other source of strength.

28. " The schools hastily substitute an artificial method of
words for the truer method of Nature, which knows no hurry,
and is content to wait. In this way a specious form of
development is produced, hiding the want of real inward
strength, but satisfying times like our own.

36. " Man ! if thou seekest the truth in this natural order,
thou wilt find it as thou hast need of it for thy position and
for the career which is opening before thee.


40. " The pure sentiment of truth and wisdom is formed
in the narrow circle of our personal relations, the circum-
stances which suggest our actions, and the powers we need
to develop.

49. " The performance of acts which are contrary to our
inward sense of right takes from us the power of recognising
truth, and our principles and impressions lose in nobleness,
simplicity, and purity.

50. " And thus all human wisdom rests on the strength of
a heart that follows truth, and all human happiness on this
feeling of simplicity and innocence.

60. " A man's domestic relations are the first and most
important of his nature.

61. "A man works at his calling, and bears his share of
the public burdens, that he may have undisturbed enjoyment
of his home.

62. "Thus the education which fits a man for his pro-
fession and position in the State must be made subordinate
to that which is necessary for his domestic happiness.

63. "The home is the true basis of the education of

64. " It is the home that gives the best moral training,
whether for private or public life.

70. " A man's greatest need is the knowledge of God.

71. " The purest pleasures of his home do not always
satisfy him.

72. "His weak, impressionable nature is powerless without
God to endure cc n itraint, suffering, and death.

94. " God is the Father of humanity, and His children are

135. " Sin is both the cause and effect of want of faith,
and is an act opposed to what a man's inmost sense of good
and evil t^nS him to be right.

168. " It is because humanity believes in God that I am
contented in my humble dwelling.

175. " I base all liberty on justice, but I see no certainty of
justice in the world so long as men are wanting in upright-
ness, piety, and love.

178. "The source of justice and of every other blessing in
the world, the source of all brotherly love amongst men, liea
in the great conception of religion that we are the children
of God.


180. " That Man of God who, by His sufferings and death,
restored to men the sense that God is their Father, is indeed
the Saviour of the world. His teaching is justice itself, a
simple philosophy of practical value for all, the revelation of
God the Father to his erring children."

The Evening Hour does not seem to have aroused much
attention ; indeed, the great majority of people were incapable
of appreciating its real merit. It was a more popular book,
and one written in an easier and more agreeable style, that
first gave Pestalozzi a literary reputation, and drew him out
of his retirement.

About this time the Zurich Council, anxious to put things
on a more modern footing, had drawn up certain regulation?
concerning the dress of the officials who maintained order in
the town. To Pestalozzi, who was always strongly attached
to old-fashioned simplicity, the change thus introduced seemed
most ridicxilous, and one day, in a humorous vein, he wrote a
satire on the plan for u changing crooked, dirty, and unkempt
guards into erect, clean, and tidy ones." He sent the paper
to Zurich, to his friend Fiissli the bookseller, whose brother
the painter, happening to see it one day, was so struck by it
that, after reading and re-reading it, he exclaimed, " To a man
who can write like this, his pen is a fortune in itself! " This
opinion, confirmed by other competent judges, gave great
delight to Fiissli, who repeated it to Pestalozzi, at the same
time urging him to write. The solitary of Neuhof was little
inclined to take the advice, believing himself quite incapable
of ever succeeding as an author.

" For ten years," he said, " I have read nothing, and lived
only with ignorant people. I could hardly write a sentence
without a mistake." But at last he allowed himself to be
persuaded. "I would even have made periwigs," he said
afterwards, " to get bread for my wife and child."

He accordingly set to work to read Marmontel's Moral
Tales, and had made as many as seven successive attempts
to imitate this style of composition, without being at all satis-
fied with his work, when suddenly the idea occurred to him
to draw a picture of the peasants he knew so well. He would
faithfully paint their vices and their poverty, but he would
also faithfully paint the elements of moral and physical re-
generation that, in spite of all their degradation, they stil]


retained, and in this way he would still be working towards
his favourite end.

This sudden conception was the saving of his work. From
this time he wrote without trouble and without stopping,
without even preparing a plan beforehand, and Leonard 2nd
Gertrude flowed from his pen in one unbroken stream. Too
poor to buy paper, he wrote between the lines in an old
account book, and in a few weeks the book was completed.

He then asked a friend to read it. The friend did so, and
pronounced it interesting, but horribly incorrect, and " want-
ing in literary style." As he further offered to correct it for
him, Pestalozzi gratefully accepted the offer ; but when his
MS. was returned, it was little more than a string of high-
sounding phrases, the peasants talking like pedants, and all
the truth and naturalness having disappeared.

Pestalozzi naturally could not consent to publish the work
thus disfigured, and in his embarrassment was on the point
of giving up all idea of doing so, when another of his friends
came to his rescue. This was Iselin, of Basle, who, under-
standing the real value and bearing of the manuscript, pre-
pared it for the press by correcting the mistakes, and
persuaded Decker, a bookseller in Berlin, to undertake its
publication. The price Decker paid Pestalozzi was rather
less than a shilling a page.

Leonard and Gertrude appeared in 1781 ; it was the
first of the four volumes which afterwards formed the com-
plete work. It had an immediate and immense success ;
most of the papers praised it, and extracts were inserted in
many almanacs. The Agricultural Society at Berne ad-
dressed a letter of congratulation to the author, with a gift
of fifty florins, and a gold medal of the same value. On the
medal was a crown of oak, with the words : Civi optimo.

Though Pestalozzi was now visited and made much of by
numbers of distinguished people, he retained all his simple-
mindedness. It is even said that one day, having been
invited out to dinner, and his host having sent his carriage
for him. he made the footman sit in the carriage beside him.
Charles de Bonstetten pressed him to come to his country-
house to stay, and several other influential people made simi-
lar overtures to him, but he refused to leave Nexihof.

Leonard and Gertrude is but a simple story, though
graphic and touching, of that village life which Pestalozzi


knew so well. Leonard is an honest fellow, full of good
intentions, but fond of drink. At one time his love for his
wife and children, whose ruin he is causing, induces him to
make the best resolutions ; at another, the influence of bad
companions drags him into evil again. Gertrude, his wife,
is an excellent mother, gentle, hard-working, and sensible.
By dint of hard work, patience, and perseverance, she saves
her family by saving her husband. The bailiff, Hummel,
who is also the village innkeeper, is a cunning, unscrupulous
man. He takes advantage of his position to get foolish men
to his house to drink and run into debt, and then hastens
their ruin, that he may grow rich on the spoil. Arner, the
new squire, is a man of noble ideas, and a generous heart ;
it is he who supports Gertrude in her trouble, and baffles the
plans of the bailiff.

In Leonard and Gertrude the characters are so admir-
ably drawn that, after having read the book, we seem to
know all the personages as well as if we had lived with them.
That, however, is not its chief merit. In Pestalozzi's view,
this story was only another way of popularizing his ideas, by
showing how education can raise the people and make them
happy. Into Gertrude's mouth he puts his views as to the
method in which children should be taught and made to take
part in the work of the home, and he uses Arner to prove
how much can be done by a kind and enlightened adminis-
tration towards helping and improving the moral condition of
the poor. But the story is so life-like that the intention to
teach never appears.

It is not surprising, then, that the public read it simply as
a healthy and interesting novel. Their very praise showed
Pestalozzi that he had not yet attained his end. He accord-
ingly wrote another book, intended to show the use that
might be made of Leonard and Gertrude in the education
of children, and to bring out more clearly the lessons it
contained. Its title was: The Instruction of Children in
the Home. This book was never printed, either because
Pestalozzi was not satisfied with it, or because he foresaw
that it would be very little read. Niederer, however, who
at one time had the MS. in his possession, afterwards pub-
lished a part of it in his Notes on 'Pestalozzi. The first
chapter runs as follows :


CHAPTER I. A man whose heart is good, and who yet
makes his wife and children very unhappy.

There is one woman in Bonal who brings up her children
better than all the others. Her name is Gertrude (1); her
husband, who is a mason (2), is called Leonard (3). They
have (4) seven children, who (5) work from morning till
evening, and are obedient, good-tempered, clean, careful, and
fond of each other. The father's failing (6) is that he often
allows himself to be enticed to the inn, where he sometimes
acts (7) like a madman.

(8) The village where this family has the misfortune to
live has been so demoralized for more than thirty years, that
(9) most of the present inhabitants care neither for law nor

The fault is really (10) due to the late squire, who died
a few weeks ago. This (11) man took less interest in his
people than (12) in his dogs and game, with the result that
(13) there is nothing but misery in his villages, and that
they are filled with men who suck the very heart's blood of
the people. The worst of these blood-suckers (14) is Hummel,
the bailiff of Bonal. His house is full every day (15) of
cunning scoundrels, whose sole occupation and amusement
it is to lay snares for simple, honest folk, and rob them of
their money. They know the good-natured Leonard (16),
whom they encourage to drink and gamble, and so deprive
him almost daily of the fruit of his toil (17). But he always
repents bitterly the next morning, and (18) his heart bleeds
when he sees Gertrude and her children without bread (19)
He dares not look Gertrude in the face ; his eyes fill when
he takes one of his children in his arms, and he often weeps
bitter tears in secret.

Gertrude is the best wife in the village, but (20) as
Leonard cannot resist the seductions of the inn, she and her
children (21) are in danger of losing father and cottage,
of being separated, and of falling into the direst poverty.

(22) Gertrude sees the extent of the danger, and is sore
troubled by it. She cannot forget it for a moment, and when
bringing grass from the meadow, or hay from the barn, or
when filling her spotless pails with milk, she has always
present with her the same terrible thought (23) that meadow,
barn, cow, nay, her very cottage may soon no longer be hers.


When (24) her children surround her and nestle to her
bosom, her trouble is still greater, and often (25) when her
precious little ones are folding their innocent hands in
prayer to the Father in heaven, her heart is rent with

(26) Hitherto, however, she had succeeded in hiding from
her children her silent tears, but (27) when, on the Wednes-
day before Easter, her husband was even later than usual
in coming home, she could not restrain her grief. The chil-
dren noticed her tears, and cried with one accord (28), " Oh,
mother, you are crying ! " (29) With grief on their faces
they clung about her, sobbing aloud in their terror. For the
iirst time the very baby looked into his mother's eyes with-
out smiling, for he saw in them nothing but despair. (30)
Gertrude, feeling that her heart must break, burst out into
loud sobs, the children weeping with her. (31) At this
moment the mason opened the door unperceived, for (32)
Gertrude had hidden her face in the bed. (33) The chil-
dren did not notice him either ; they had no eyes for
anything but their mother's grief, and clung about her in
helpless wonder. And thus their father found them.

(34) God in heaven sees the tears of the afflicted, and
puts an end to men's sorrows, and (35) it was this goodness
of God that now made Leonard a witness of this most painful
scene. (36) As, pale and trembling, he stammered a few-
broken words, the mother and children became aware of
his presence. (37) The children's sobs at once ceased.
" Mother, mother," they cried, " here's father come home ! "
It is thus that when a wild flood or devouring fire ceases its
ravages, the first terror subsides, and is succeeded by a
dumb, calm sorrow.


(1) What is the name of the woman in Bonal who brings
up her children better than all the rest ? (2) What is her
husband's name? (3) What is he? (4) How many chil-
dren has he ? (5) How do the children behave ? (6) What
is the father's failing ? (7) How does he often act when he
is at the inn? (8) What is the state of the village? (9)
What is the result of this demoralization ? (10) Whose
fault is it chiefly? (11) Why is it his fault ? (1'J) What
did he consider more than his people ? etc., etc.



1. Children who are well brought up are obedient, good-
tempered, clean, tidy, and affectionate.

2. In the ale-house men sometimes act like madmen.

3. It is the same with towns and villages as with indi-
viduals : demoralization ends in unhappiness.

4. Demoralized men respect neither law nor gospel.

5. The more demoralized a country is, the more is it
infested by clever scoundrels whose only occupation and
livelihood consists in cheating honest, simple folk out of
their money.

6. He who thinks less of his inferiors than of his dogs or
preserves, is the cause of much evil in the world, and incurs
a grave responsibility.

7. There is a certain kind of repentance which has no
reality, and is without effect on men's actions.

8. A bad conscience deprives men of the power of helping

9. A bad father brings a thousand troubles on his wife
and children.

10. When children are good and thoughtful, kind and
God-fearing, their troubles cause their parents double pain.

11. God who is in heaven puts an end to man's distress.

Such was the beginning of the great work by which Pesta-
ozzi hoped to show the public that Leonard and Gertrude
was not merely a tale, but a popular manual of education for
every age.

The author, however, gave up the idea of publishing it,
and we cannot help thinking that he was right. But he was
anxious to continue the story he had begun with so much
success, and in 1783 a second volume of Leonard and
Gertrude appeared, in 1785, a third, and in 1787, a fourth.

The fourth volume was dedicated to Felix Battier, a
merchant in Basle, by whose help he had been able to con-
tinue at Neuhof, after the failure of his first experiments.
In this dedication, dated the 1st April, 1787, Pestalozzi
expresses himself as follows :

" My friend ! you found me a bruised plant by the way-
B : de, and you preserved me from being trodden under foot.
Read these pages, and accept my thanks, for my most im-


portant views would never have ripened without your help.
The burden of my experiences is still heavy upon me. I
still have the picture of my work before me, but only as in
a dream. As long as I breathe I shall keep my end steadily
in view, and shall only be happy in so far as I succeed in
realizing the ideas which inspired my first undertakings."

The four-volume work contains a complete account of the
regeneration of the village of Bonal, the result of the com-
bined effects of" law, religion, education, and a careful
administration. Pestalozzi called it, Leonard and Gertrude :
a Book for the People, but "the people" took very little
notice of it. The numerous readers of the first volume had
enjoyed it simply as a novel, without in the least caring for
the lessons it contained. The three other volumes, in which
the action is less sustained and less dramatic, and in which
educational, economical, and social questions occupy a very
large place, had much less success. They had no interest
for any but the saost thoughtful people, and even thought-
ful people found parts of them beyond their comprehension,
so far was their author ahead of his time. The reforms he
advocated were then felt to be entirely impracticable, and
yet most of the great economical and moral improvements
of which Switzerland is proud to-day were suggested by
Pestalozzi in this book.

We find, for instance, the abolition of commonage, the
division of unproductive parish-land, only requiring the care
of an owner to become a source of wealth, the redemption
of tithes, the institution of savings-banks, the organization
of reformatory schools, the abolition of hanging, and, lastly,
the establishment of good primary schools, caring no less for
moral than material needs. But for some of these reforms
Switzerland had to wait thirty years after the publication
of Leonard and Gertrude, for others sixty, for others

Count Zinzendorf, the Austrian Minister of Finance, had
vainly endeavoured to induce Pestalozzi to go to Vienna.
On the 26th of April, 1784, after receiving the continuation
of Leonard and Gertrude, he wrote to him as follows :

" Your plans and efforts for the education of the poor, and
the reform of vicious children, and more particularly what-


ever you think necessary for the instruction of the people,
and whatever you think should form the object of legis-
lative measures, will have a great importance in my eyes,
and I shall receive with the greatest pleasure everything
you write on this subject."

And, again, on the 19th December, 1787, he writes :

" I have read the fourth volume twice. From page 164 it
is of the deepest interest, and develops views of great im-
portance for all legislation affecting the masses. To carry
out your ideas, the first thing to do would be to attempt to
get Arner's views shared by the whole of the nobility, who
are almost the only owners of property, that they might have
both the inclination and 'courage to bring their children up in
his spirit side by side with the country children, and be con-
tent to live on their estates."

In his reply of the 18th January, 1788, Pestalozzi says :

" A few statesmen and magistrates have indeed praised
the fourth volume, but the mass of readers have found it very
uninteresting from page 164. . . .

" Education being the centre from which everything should
start, the State should consider this the most important part
of its work, and make everything else subordinate to it. If
this matter is properly attended to, the private interests of
sovereigns will be the more easily looked after, and the
relations between the local and central authorities will be
all the more satisfactory.

" Let us hope that those who are the leaders of humanity
will soon arrive at the conviction that human progress and
improvement is their chief, nay, their only concern. For
my part, I am certain that sooner or later the difficulties
in the way of such an education of the people as I desire
will vanish, and that princes themselves will be the first
to encourage it, and lend their assistance to those who are
the most capable of directing it aright." *

We have lately re-read the four volumes of Leonard and
Gertrude, after a long interval, and have been much struck

We have borrowed these extracts from Pompee's interesting work,
M Studies of the Life and Works of J. H. Pestalozzi." Pads, 1850.


by the richness, truth, and variety of the views which have
been lying hidden there for ninety years. In the strength
of Pestalozzi's convictions and in his deep sympathy with
misfortune in any shape, lies the secret of the eloquence and
real pathos of his writings. It may be said that his intel-
lect borrows its breadth and sagacity from his heart, for it
is his heart that fills him with such intelligent sympathy for
the suffering, the weak, and needy.

It is worthy of notice that in this picture of the vices
of a degraded people, complete as it is in other respects,
Pestalozzi makes no mention of impurity. He is as s lent
about libertinism, and everything connected with it, as
if his countrymen had been all saints, and nowhere will a
single word be found which might nt be read by anybody.

In the first volume a few lines have been replaced by
dots, and the author explains in a note that this passage was
suppressed because a child of ten on hearing it read aloud
exclaimed that it was " very rude."

A French translation of the first volume of Leonard and
Gertrude, by the Baroness de Guimps, was published at
Geneva by J. J. Paschoud, in 1826, and a new edition was
brought out a few years ago. It is much to be regretted
that the three last volumes have not yet been translated.

Cotta's edition of the complete works published towards
the end of Pestalozzi's life does not include the whole of the
fourth volume of the first edition of Leonard and Gertrude,
the reason being that the author wanted to revise the last
part of it, make certain additions, and write a sixth part,
an intention he did not live to carry out. In the recent
edition published by Seyffarth, Leonard and Gertrude is in
five parts, but the fifth part is merely a reproduction of the
fourth volume, which appeared in 1787.

Online LibraryRoger de GuimpsPestalozzi: his life and work → online text (page 9 of 43)