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FIGURES TO MY SPELLING-BOOK.
“ And another, who understood the art of governing excellently well, replied : ‘I, on the contrary, am never fatigued, and yet they are always contented with me.' The grovelling one : ‘I would buy thy secret with gold, if it were for sale.' “ The good magistrate: “It would be to thee of no use.
When Kitty cooks her turnips, and Johnny dungs his land, and Harry waters his donkey, I pass on whistling, and think to myself: What is that to thee ??
“ The grovelling one : Well, and I think the village would go to ruin, if I had not knowledge of every thing.'
Political Horoscope. “This poor invalid will soon die,' said Joe. 'Oh, no, replied Harry, there is not the slightest danger for his existence:' and he rested his argument on the solidity of the constituent parts of the skeleton.”
Appeal to the Purer and Nobler Feelings of my Countrymen
Portrait of Bonaparte.
The last of Pestalozzi's political writings which remains to be noticed, viz. his “ Appeal to the Purer and Nobler Feelings of my Countrymen,” published after the overthrow of the French usurper, when the nations of Europe were looking forward to the restitution of peace and liberty, affords striking evidence of the changes which had been produced in his views during the eventful interval. His attention was no longer directed towards the secondary causes of social corruption; he traced the ruin of nations to the degradation of their character, and this degradation to the neglect of the infant in the cradle. Hence while his countrymen were deliberating on the forms of government which they were to adopt, after the overthrow of the order of things established under the French eagles, he addressed them on the spirit which the nation and its rulers ought to cherish, and which alone could prevent their present deliverance from being a mere transition to another captivity.
“Be not deceived,” he says, “oh my country! Thy liberty, thy happiness, will not drop down from the clouds. Nations generally attain no greater prosperity than that which they deserve: nor is this thy sacred hour given thee for the display of perfection. May God grant that thou mayest employ it in preparing for a better state. There are no transitions in nature from the deepest corruption at once to the highest pitch of perfection. All the transitions of nature are gradual: deadly illness is not followed by health, but by convalescence, and a careful attention to the days of convalescence alone can lead again to the full enjoyment of health. My country! the present period is for thee only a time of convalescence, and the blessings
which it may bring thee will entirely depend on thy turning it to account scrupulously and with holy solicitude.
“ Friends of humanity ! fathers of generations to come! let us not deceive ourselves. The real internal blessings of humanity are not the fruits of the external forms of the civil constitution, but of the morally and spiritually sound condition of the individuals. And therefore, wherever there is a failing of holy solicitude for the individual improvement of our species, there all external advantages of social constitution will be fruitless.
“Be not deceived, oh my country! A charmer is presenting to thy eyes a garden of fruitful trees; thou art amazed ; and hungry and languishing thou stretchest out thy hand for one of its fruits, and behold, in an instant, the whole garden disappears from before thy eyes. There is a terrible illusion in constitutional freedom, especially when newly established.
Be not deceived, oh my country! Slow is the growth of every good tree, and much time passes away before it is full grown, and yields fruit in abundance. A small seed is deposited in the ground, which soon springs up; but its stem is feeble, and its growth is arrested all the winter, and every winter. It continues for years like the growth of man, and like man it requires care and attention during the whole period of its growth. Wild shoots spring up from its roots, which must be cut off; its tender bark is nibbled by the hungry hare, against which it must be protected by an envelope of straw; its roots are turned up by wild boars, who must be kept away by strong hounds, by fire and sword; its stem is bent by the wind, and must be sustained by props. Even the plough which opens the soil around it, will injure its roots, unless the ploughman guide the blade with an attentive hand. Such is the fostering care required for the growth of a tree which springs up from the seed, or has been transplanted while its stem is yet delicate.
“ But if thou mean to be cleverer than the peasant, who gives that care to his tree, or impatient, like an autocrat, who, wishing to surround a newly built palace in great haste with beauty and refreshing shade, digs out grown trees, cuts their roots and their branches, and then plants them; what else canst thou expect but to fare like him, and to see ten of the old trunks die away to one that prolongs a lingering existence.
“Oh my country! old constitutions thus curtailed in root and branches, and transplanted into a new soil, prosper no more than old trees when so treated. Blessed art thou, my country, if thou be able to nurse up new constitutions, from a seed of truth and life, and to bestow upon them that maternal solicitude which they will require. Blessed art thou, if thou canst preserve thyself from being blinded against the most urgent and the most sacred claims of this present period, by a wicked reliance on the efficacy of power, which can never produce the fruits of wisdom and holy solicitude."
Such is the general tendency of the whole work, which occupies a full octavo volume. To enter into its details
POLITICAL THEORY OF THE REVOLUTION.
would be foreign to the purpose of the present pages; and it may, therefore, suffice to subjoin the following extract, which, as concerning the extraordinary individual whom the age raised up for a scourge to itself, has more than local interest:
“Of all that Bonaparte did, to desecrate the holy power of kings, and to crush the rights of humanity under the footsteps of his assumed majesty, nothing, perhaps, has had so destructive an effect upon the basis of human civilization, by striking at all the most sacred relationships of life, as the sway which his tendency to view mankind only in their collective capacity, induced him to exercise over the property of the church, of schools, and other charitable foundations, as well as of corporations. The divine justice of that higher view, which had from time immemorial connected such property not with the state as a mass, but with individual bodies or members in the state, was trampled upon by the barbarian foot of unhallowed power, with a violence and a cunning unequalled in the history of mankind.
“It is true, Bonaparte was not the inventor of that political theory, according to which all this property was to become the property of the whole mass.
That theory existed before his time; but there existed likewise a secret consciousness of its injustice, even in the hearts of its advocates, which prevented them, generally speaking, from carrying their projects openly and fully into effect. Their desires were as lawless as his, but his courage was superior to theirs; and by the example of his own boldness, he succeeded in extinguishing the last trace of that warning voice in the soul of every man whom he employed as a political tool in the service of his selfish views. The glaring manifestation of the evil, therefore, was no doubt his work, whereas the evil itself had long before taken deep root in most of our governments. Religion, education, and domestic life, which ever were, and ever will be, the only guardians of individual rights against the encroaching influence of the mass, had been shaken in their very foundations by the cold and selfish tendency of our civilization; and the persons employed by the church and civil bodies in the administration of their various funds, had lost the holy reverence which our forefathers had for the nature of that sort of property, and the scrupulous honesty with which they presided over its
That which had been committed to the hands of mankind as a sacred deposit, was no longer acknowledged as such by those into whose hands the trust was placed. Church property was, in the hands of many clergymen, and even of clerical bodies, no longer subservient to the holy purposes of Christianity; charitable foundations were no longer administered for the benefit of the poor; school funds were no longer made available for what is most essential to the education of youth ; lastly, the corporate property of towns and parishes was no longer applied to the general improvement of
those cities and parishes, and to the promotion of all their individual interests.
“The abuses gradually introduced in the administration of such funds, had transferred the advantages arising out of them from the real proprietors to the trustees, an evil which would naturally lead to the interference of the higher powers. Bonaparte was entirely right in not allowing property which was intended for the service of religion, but had been alienated from that service, to rot within the walls of convents, and to poison the political atmosphere by their corrupt exhalations; he was certainly right in preventing the property of towns and parishes from being spent in civil lists to the privileged families of municipal and parochial power bearers; he was certainly right in not permitting school funds to be applied to the humbug of a narrow and superficial education, directly opposed in its tendency to the claims of true civilization; he was certainly right in objecting to charitable foundations becoming a prey to the rapacity of their administrators, who, regardless of the destitution and starvation of the actually poor and needy, lavished their funds upon the genteel support, as it was called, of the fashions and vanities of families of extraction, ruined by idleness and dissipation; he was certainly right in not acknowledging any longer the correctness of those accounts, as audited by privileged families and their creatures.
“ The nature of sovereign power, as the guardian of individual rights, and protector of the weak and suffering, not only gave him a right, but imposed upon him a solemn obligation to interfere decidedly with every such violation of the primitive and most sacred relationships of society, but his right of interference was entirely derived from his position as sovereign, and from the duties which that position involved, and was entirely unconnected with his personal standing. He had no right, therefore, to appropriate the funds, the mal-administration of which he was bound to oppose, to his own personal use or to the purposes of his empire, at the expense of the individual interests that were involved in their right application; he had no right to seize them for covering the wants of the military, finance, and police systems created by him, and satisfying the claims of his avaricious agents.
He ought to have exerted his sovereign power, as a power derived from God, for arresting the abuse which those whom the state protects in their possessions, might be tempted to make of their property, to the injury of any of their fellow-citizens or to the prejudice of the public weal.
“But considering Bonaparte's character, his career, and the spirit of the age in which he lived, it must be admitted that it was not easy for him to take so just a view of t' is matter. A rich man can hardly enter into the kingdom of God, and so likewise a man who, with a character and an energy like Bonaparte's, rose up in the midst of an enervated generation, and who was carried along in his career by all the charms and impulses of universal corruptio to its full maturity, could hardly ard his sovereignty as a sacred office, hy which he was bound to exert his power in the