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the wealthiest merchants at Zurich. The woman that gave him her hand, set at defiance the voice of public opinion, the tastes of her sex, and all considerations of worldly interest ; and, by this triumph of love over the meaner feelings of human nature, she proved herself worthy to share the affections and the destinies of a man, whom God had chosen to raise the voice of reform in his generation.
This marriage, while it gave more reality to the image which Pestalozzi had made to himself of his domestic circle, offered him a new sphere of useful exertion, by putting him in possession of a share in a flourishing cotton manufactory. As might be expected, he took an active part in the conduct of it, with a view not only to acquire a knowledge of this branch of national industry, which had been recently introduced in Switzerland, but also to become acquainted with the character of the manufacturing classes, and to compare the influence of their occupation with that of agriculture, upon the minds and morals of the people. The result of his observations brought him back to the conclusion, that the then prevailing system of popular education was not by any means calculated to fit mankind for the discharge of their duties in after-life, and the attainment of a tranquil and happy existence. The effect which this conviction produced upon him, was, however, very different now from what it had been, when he had gathered it from conflicting theories. The school of life, it is true, had shown him the same evils, but it had also taught him, what his books never could teach him, to find and to apply a remedy. Hence it was that the same views, which had once plunged him into a state of gloom approaching to misanthropy, now aroused his soul to courageous exertion, and kindled in him a zeal and energy, for which no sacrifice was too great, no difficulty too appalling
Orphan School – Its Dificulties and Failure _The French Revolution_ Lessons taught by it-Writings of this period - Plans
of National Improvement-Stantz.
EIGHT years of assiduous labour had brought the Neuhof into a prosperous state of cultivation, when Pestalozzi resolved to make the experiment, how far it might be possible, by education, to raise the lower orders to a condition more consistent with a Christian state of society. To secure himself against extraneous influence, which might be at variance with his own views and plans, and to enhance the value of the results which he hoped to obtain, he selected the objects of his care from the very dregs of the people. Wherever he knew a child that was bereaved, or one whom the beggary or vagrancy of his parents rendered in another sense fatherless, he took him into his house; and, in a short time, his establishment was converted into an asylum in which fifty orphan or pauper children were provided with food, clothing, and instruction. He was deeply convinced that pauperism and vice, so far from being counteracted by extensive relief funds and strict police measures, received, on the contrary, an additional stimulus and new nourishment from institutions founded upon the supposition that these evils are necessary, and that all the state can do is to bring them within the bounds and forms of a regular system. He felt that the improvement of the lower orders required an internal stimulus to be awakened in their own breast; that no correction would make them good, and no support happy, unless there were a determination on their part to be good and happy. He saw, moreover, that even such a determination could be of no avail, unless they had it in their power to rise from the low condition to which they had sunk; and he turned, therefore, towards education
with a view not only to give them that mental and moral
purpose of his undertaking was essentially national, and he endeavoured, accordingly, to combine in it, as far as possible, the chief branches of national industry. The children whom he had rescued from the most abject poverty, were initiated in his establishment in the different employments of domestic and rural economy, and from the cotton manufactory in which he was a partner, he procured sufficient work to make them acquainted likewise with this sort of labour, and to keep up industrious habits at those seasons of the year in which agricultural pursuits are necessarily suspended. But he did not imagine, as some have done, that the mechanical acquirement of certain abilities and habits would of itself tend to improve the circumstances of his pupils in after-life; much less did he expect that an amendment of circumstances would better their moral condi
ITS NATIONAL DESIGN.
tion. He was aware that all these were only subordinate means, the efficacy of which in producing the desired effect would entirely depend on the simultaneous employment of means of a higher cast. This fact was, indeed, historically established before his eyes, though few men were, like himself, clear sighted enough to perceive it. The resources of Switzerland had been considerably augmented, its industry and its wealth had risen to a degree unparalleled at any former period, and yet the people, so far from showing any symptoms of improvement, were, on the contrary, sinking lower and lower every day. While the rulers of the land and the teachers of the people were buried in deep slumber, amusing themselves with vain dreams of the approaching return of a golden age, Pestalozzi, who lived among the people, and sought their acquaintance with eager benevolence, saw the degradation to which they were fast descending, and he resolved, as far as in him lay, to stem the torrent by endeavouring to place national education upon a more internal and more solid basis. He wished to purify the affections, which he saw depraved into low propensities; to substitute intelligence and true knowledge in the place of cunning and ignorant routine; and to restore to the word of faith, which had been perverted into a dead creed, its original influence upon mankind, by receiving the child, not only as a child of man, but also as a child of God, destined to be restored to the image of divine perfection.
Such was his generous intention; but, unfortunately, his means were, in almost every respect, inadequate to the magnitude of the object he had in view. The most important qualification required on his part, was an accurate and comprehensive knowledge of human nature, and of the laws by which it is governed, both in its internal development, and in its intercourse with the world. Of this knowledge, however, he was almost entirely destitute. He had, no doubt, acquired a deep insight into the workings of his own mind, in consequence of the freedom and decision with which he had, at every period of his life, acted up to his
REQUIREMENTS OF THE UNDERTAKING.
convictions; he had, moreover, had ample opportunities of watching the train of thoughts and feelings by which the lower orders become a prey to ignorance, prejudice, and vice; he had observed most of the evils by which human nature is beset, and traced many of them to their source; but, with all this experience, he was quite a novice in the difficult art of fostering the growth of the young mind, and modifying the influences of the surrounding world, and especially of human society, so that they should bear upon it with all the power of truth and love. His career had hitherto been essentially one of opposition against the existing state of things, and against the systems by which that state was upheld ; and he now embarked in an undertaking, in which a merely negative wisdom, teaching how things ought not to be, was in nowise sufficient. His establishment required organization; that organization required positive principles; but positive principles were exactly what Pestalozzi did not possess.
Considering that he was himself conscious of this deficiency, the reception of so many children into his house for the purpose of giving them a suitable education, was one of the boldest undertakings in the annals of private life. He was prompted to it by the mighty impulses of faith and love: faith, that God, whose will it is that man should be raised from the degradation to which he has sunk, would enable him to trace the means deposited for that purpose in the mind and heart of the child; and love, which was ready to sacrifice all the comforts and enjoyments of affluence, in order to rescue the poor from their wretched condition. It was that faith in the self-evidence of the divine purpose in human nature, that enabled him to dispense altogether with those "beggarly elements” of education, with which one generation after the other has been nursed up to a crippled and sickly existence, and to strike out for himself an entirely new road, which would lead him more directly and more securely to the end. And it was that tender
sympathy for the sufferings of his fellow-creatures, that benevo