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SIGNS OF THE TIMES.
arduous a career.
We shall not esteem it a light favour to be admitted behind the scenes and to watch in the development of his own mind the gradual victory of truth over innate darkness and imbibed prejudice.
The main topic of Pestalozzi's literary labours was to set forth and illustrate the principles, on the ground of which, he anticipated, rather than pretended himself to realise, not a mere improvement in the system of tuition, but a fundamental reform in the march of human civilization. But while his eye was steadily fixed upon the point in the heavens in which he expected the sunrise of a new era in the education of mankind, he was neither blind nor indifferent to the shades which the purple-tinged morning clouds cast over the earth around him. He was privileged to witness that long succession of gigantic events by which the whole aspect of the civilized world was changed, and which would have astonished and aroused any generation except the selfish and nerveless one to which the signs were given. Pestalozzi shared not the indifference of his contemporaries ; almost every stage of the history of his times is marked by some word of warning or advice to his countrymen, who were thoughtless enough to expose the weak vessel of their republic to the furious waves and insidious eddies of the revolution. Among the numerous productions of his pen which have reference to the political position and the moral state of the Swiss at different periods, the most remarkable are his “Swiss Journal,” which forms a prologue, and his “ Appeal to the purer and nobler Feelings of his Countrymen,” which may be considered as an epilogue, to the great drama; while his “Fables,” or, as he called them, his “ Figures to his Spellingbook,” give a painful but true picture of the degradation into which human nature sinks when deriving its light from the fallacies of reason and putting its trust in the violence of brute force. The object of these writings was to draw the attention of the public to those deeper causes of the welfare or ruin of nations which are overlooked or underrated by“ the craft” of
THE SWISS JOURNAL.
politicians, and to point out the existence of a moral order of things, overruling in retributive justice the shortsighted enactments of man.
The Swiss Journal, published in weekly numbers, on a plan similar to that of the Spectator, the Examiner, the Rambler, &c., contains essays, occasionally illustrated by anecdote, on the corruption of servants in great houses; on the temptations which surround females of the lower classes, and on the severity of the law against them, especially in cases of infanticide, contrasted with the impunity of their seducers; on the abuse of the law-forms for defeating the ends of justice; on the want of evenhanded justice between the rich and the poor, the man of connexions and the man without connexions; on the oppression exercised in levying rents and tithes on church property; on the demoralizing effect of the game laws in France before the revolution; on the hypocrisy of liberal sentiments among the privileged classes and their indifference to the real sufferings of the people; on popular education; on domestic economy among the lower classes; on the prevalence of honest principles in the legislative acts of former times, compared to the laxity and the compromising spirit of modern legislation; on the influence of different occupations on the character of the people ; on the state of the peasantry and of the manufacturing classes; on the best interests of landed proprietors; on the disadvantages attached to commercial wealth ; on parochial administration; on the corruption of high life ; on medical police; on the destructive effects of quackery and superstition; on insanity; on the tendency of the penal laws by the mode of their administration to increase rather than to diminish the sources of crime; on the infamy of police spies and informers; on the organization of prisons; on the moral improvement of criminals; on the defects of charity schools; on the duty of society to secure to every individual the means of gaining an honest livelihood, and on a variety of other topics of a similar description.
ADDRESS TO MY FATHERLAND.
On the anniversary of the emancipation of Switzerland from the yoke of tyranny in the days of William Tell and Arnold Winkelried, is inserted the following “ADDRESS TO MY FATHERLAND.
«1782. “Their armies are annihilated, their castles are broken; the ruins of their bulwarks rolled down into our valleys: the contest is decided.
“ Thou art Free! “ Thus spake to Helvetia her guardian angel, on the triumphal day of her liberty.
“But suffer thy people to enjoy this freedom in all the purity in which I now give it to thee, or it will be taken from thee,' added the guardian angel, with menacing countenance, with a frown on his brow, and a cloud over
“ Helvetia's sons understood the warning of the oracle, and lived for centuries, like brethren, in their mountains and vallies.
“Now and then, it is true, a spark of discord began to glimmer, but the guardian angel extinguished it speedily, for the men of Helvetia lived as brethren, and the children of the great and noble walked hand in hand, and arm in arm, with the children of the peasant, who being free was equally noble, though not of blood. None of the confederates said to another : 'Thou art inferior to me.'
“Our people feared God, and loved their rulers; for they were the sons of the guardian angel, the nursing fathers of our liberty.
“Our people were manly and strong, faithful and true, plain spoken and upright, industrious and happy, sober and merciful, and blessings rested upon the mansions of the great and the cottages of the humble.
“ The highborn Helvetian was as one of the people, and the common man was high-minded, for both were prosperous and contented.
“Guardian angel of Helvetia, show me once more the sires of thy land. Cause to appear before my eyes the image of the founders of our union and liberty.
“ I see them; men of high stature, with majestic beards flowing down to their girdles, and mighty swords hanging at their sides; but their countenances friendly and cheerful; their arms scaled with iron, but ever ready for the embrace of pious affection; their hands terrible in the battle, but faithful in promise; they live for those whom they love, and die for those to whom they have sworn.
“ I see them, the sires of our Union, assembled in the temple of liberty ; the glory of Helvetia's guardian angel shining in the darkness of the sanctuary; the sires of the Union, prostrate on their knees, vowing before God and all the saints, everlasting freedom to fatherland.
“ And a voice resounds through the vaults of the temple
ADDRESS TO MY FATHERLAND.
«The laws of your cities, the laws of your land, are the guarantees of your liberty ! Kneel, ye sires, and swear again!' And the men of Helvetia knelt again, and swore obedience to the laws of their cities, to the laws of their land.
“ And their oath re-echoed three times from the vault of the temple, and three times the glory of the angel in the sanctuary shone as the fame of the heavenly sun.
“ And the sons of the sires that were in the temple remembered for centuries the miracles of the day when the oath of their Union was sworn.
“ And the generous mothers of the land taught for centuries to Helvetia's children the prayer of their sires, which they offered up to God, at the appearance of the angel of freedom in the temple, and the hymn of concord which their sires sung when they embraced each other in the brotherly love of that day.
“Sanctify, 0 Helvetian, the memory of that day! prostrate thyself in gratitude before the guardian angel who taught our fathers for centuries to grant the blessings of freedom to the people of Helvetia, and to tender the hand of friendship to the meanest citizen, that he might feel himself the beloved and befriended, honoured and protected son of his country.
“Guardian angel of Helvetia ! during centuries thou causedst our fathers to respect and to obey the laws of the land, according to the oath of our sires! They required nothing of their country, for they wanted little and were contented with their own.
“Guardian angel of this country! during centuries thou madest our fathers willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of the land, and to found the dignity of their families upon the moderation of private life, considering the public weal as the best guarantee of domestic happiness, and the dissipation of fashion as the ruin of both.
“Guardian angel of this land ! during centuries thou causedst the fathers of Helvetia to regard above all the claims of public morality, and to view with contempt the children of wantonness, born for a curse to the world in the palaces of courtiers and favorites.
“During centuries Helvetia flourished under the rule of men, who never said to the people: 'we are your kings ! nor ever polluted the ears of their children, nor the ears of the people in the cities and in the country with the wicked cant of that speech. *
“Peace and concord, happiness and joy, piety and simplicity, courage and faithfulness, justice and love, obedience and wisdom, united men of different ranks in ancient Helvetia into one body.
• This is not directed against royal authority, as by law established, which Pestalozzi duly respected, but against the vain pomp with which some of the Swiss aristocrats of that time mimicked royalty. As a republican, born and bred, he was of course sully impressed with the inferiority of a monarchical government.
ADDRESS TO MY FATHERLAND.
“Guardian angel of this land ! before thy altar the poor and humble Helvetian knelt by the side of the great and the rich, who was his benefactor and his father, and they united with one accord in the thanks-offering of liberty.
“But now-oh! hide thy countenance, and mourn, thou priest of liberty ; thy altars are without a gift; the people of Helvetia are burning incense on the altars of strange gods! the people of Helvetia have become as the starving people in the lands of the kings round about them, and they plead, in the anxiety of hunger and destitution, for the smallest fragments that are left of their much-modified and qualified rights : the sons of those men who knew nothing but their fatherland, now know nothing but themselves, and become every day more precise about matters which concern the honour and interest of their families, while they forget the honour and interest of that country, to which their families owe their existence and their glory.
“ Hide thy countenance, O priest of liberty; the people of Helvetia sacrifice on the altars of false honour, on the altars of avarice and dissipation.
“Wicked men quibble with the laws that our sires have established; and the sons of the nobles, and the sons of the rich, cast off the sons of the people, and say to them : 'we have no communion with you, for we are the sons of your kings whom ye serve.' Yet among the people of Helvetia, among those that are cast off, there are men whose sires sat upon the thrones of the land in the day of union and liberty.
“Guardian angel of Helvetia ! appear, oh appear again, and be gracious unto us, as thou wert gracious unto our fathers !
“Show thyself again in the glory wherein thou shonest on the day of union and liberty.
“ He comes, he comes, the guardian angel of liberty! I behold him! but his countenance is veiled, his eye filled with tears; and with a deep and mournful tone resounds, through the mountains and valleys, the warning voice of the God to whom Helvetia is dear!
“ • Ye men of Helvetia! what were ye in the day when I gave freedom to your land, and what was it that you wanted then ?'
“Ye men of Helvetia! return to what you then were, and seek no more than you wanted at that day! You are not the sons of kings, ye nobles ! and ye, children of the land, return to the hearts of your fathers; regain the hearts of those that are erring among the sons of the nobles, for to their sires you owe a debt of gratitude, of love, of fidelity.
Children of the land ! strive not with your fathers; regain their hearts by love and faithfulness, by gratitude and obedience !
“Guardian angel of Helvetia ! raise thy voice louder, and let thy words be heard on every mountain and in every valley!
““Ye men of Helvetia ! flee discord, for by discord you sink to the level of the countries who divide their bread with their kings.
“ • Ye men of Helvetia ! great and small ! industry and zeal the service