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states: “That his work, ‘Events of my Life, &c.' was written by him in a disposition of mind, which, bordering on insanity, rendered it impossible for him to take a true and correct view of things. That by circumstances, and the influence of those around him, he was compelled to make assertions, which, upon calm consideration, he finds himself obliged to retract as opinions not his own, but forced upon him against his conviction. That this is particularly applicable to all those passages, in which he rejected the method formerly established and publicly advocated by him, as being untenable, and not founded upon his own views. That he intends availing himself of the first opportunity of making a public declaration to this effect; but, if he should die before having done it, he begs of his friend to do it in his name, stating himself to have been expressly requested and commissioned by him so to do."*
It was in these years of alienation from his earlier friends, and from the cause in whose service they had joined him, that Pestalozzi undertook a new edition of his works. The arrangements which Schmid made with the publisher, authorized Pestalozzi to collect subscriptions on his own account, which he intended to convert into a public fund for the establishment of an orphan asylum according to his original plan; and the satisfaction which this circumstance afforded him, at a time when he was almost destitute of
pecuniary resources, contributed not a little to the ascendancy which Schmid acquired over his mind. In reality, however, none of the objects contemplated by this undertaking were attained; the sums which the liberality of the public placed, from implicit confidence in Pestalozzi's name, into the hands of his unfaithful steward, vanished like gold in the furnace of an alchymist; while the invaluable productions of his better days, calculated to become the lasting monuments of
• The document from wbich the above extract is taken, was inserted at the time in several public journals of Switzerland and Germany, and a manuscript copy of it was sent to the writer of this memoir.
his glory, were not only re-edited with great negligence, but in many parts intentionally mutilated, and disfigured by being made vehicles of personal insinuations. Meanwhile the institution, which had once been a model of domestic union and Christian fellowship, had become the scene of every disorder and corruption, and was crushed, at last, by the moral indignation of the public, and the weight of its pecuniary debt.
Thus did Pestalozzi see himself, at the age of eighty years, overwhelmed with disappointments and mortifications bitterer than any he had ever before experienced. Separated almost irrevocably, by a ten years' alienation and virulent contention before the public, from those with whose names every happy association of his mind was connected; riveted by the force of habit, the ties of blood, * and the difficulties of his position, to a man whom, however prejudiced he might at one time have been in his favour, his soul began at last to loathe and abhor; in open opposition to the cause, whose instrument he was called to be, and in whose service he had spent a life of troubles; he was an object of scorn to his enemies, of pity to his friends, and of just condemnation to the advocates of his own principles. Under these circumstances it was a blessing for him to be removed from this scene of sorrow. He died on the 17th of February, 1827, at Brugg, in the canton of Basel, and his mortal remains were afterwards deposited in the ground which owed its fertility to the vigorous exertions of his ripening manhood. Peace he with his ashes !
Schmid had taken care to render the tie which linked him to Pestalozzi indis. soluble, as far as in him lay, by a marriage between bis sister and Pestalozzi's grandson.
Person and Character- Testimonies of Friendship.
Pestalozzi was naturally endowed with extraordinary powers of body and mind. By the moral struggles which he sustained, his health was occasionally impaired, but his iron constitution could not be undermined by transient fits of nervousness, which had their origin more in the too free indulgence of his strong and acute feelings, than in any defect of his physical organization. His stature was short, and by a tendency of the head to sink in between the shoulders, his deportment, even in his younger years, uncomely. His eye beaming with benevolence and honest confidence, soon dispelled any unpleasant impressions which the ruggedness of his appearance was calculated to produce; while his wrinkled countenance, which attested in every feature the existence of a soul, to whom life had been more than a thoughtless game, commanded, with irresistible power, that reverence which his figure could never have imposed. His entire neglect of his person and dress increased the natural disadvantages of his exterior, and a characteristic anecdote which has been preserved, shows how much of what is commonly most noticed among mankind, the divine credential on his brow caused his admirers to forget. Mrs. Pestalozzi was in company with some other ladies enjoying the promenades of a watering place, to which she had repaired for the summer months, when her husband, who came travelling on foot, to pay her a visit, was perceived at a distance by one of the company; and the singularity and unattractiveness of his appearance having affected the sensibilities of his fair beholder, to whom he was personally quite unknown, she exclaimed, addressing Mrs. Pestalozzi; “Ah! je vous en prie, Madame, regardez
donc, quel monstre !”—“C'est mon mari, Madame ;" was Mrs. Pestalozzi's proud reply.
In his diet, Pestalozzi was a pattern of simplicity and moderation; he took little sleep, and often passed the greater part of the night in writing or dictating; mostly in a reclining posture, so as to afford rest and ease to his body, while his active mind refused to abandon itself to the arms of slumber. During the day he took much exercise in the open air, a practice which he continued to the most advanced period of his life. In the distribution of his time and his general habits, he was not only irregular from indulgence, but positively impatient of all order and system. Matters of business he treated, or rather neglected, with the utmost indifference; and if he ever learned the value of money, or appreciated the means of acquiring it, it was only because the want of it had impeded him repeatedly in the pursuit of the objects dearest to his heart.
His temper was cheerful; his wit ready and pointed, but without sting. His conversation was at all times animated, but most so when he entered into explanations of his views; his lively gesticulation was then called in to assist his utterance, especially when he spoke French, which not being familiar to him, he was constantly tormented by a vague consciousness of the inadequacy of his expressions to the ideas which he had in his mind. Such was the affability of his manner that it was impossible long to feel a stranger in his presence, while the native dignity diffused over his whole being, kept even the indiscreet at a respectful distance.
He was an affectionate husband and a kind father. The privations to which his enterprising spirit, and his unbusiness-like habits exposed his family, cost him many a pang; and much of the gloom and bitterness which assailed him at different periods, and especially towards the close of his life, is to be attributed to the struggle of his domestic affections against the generous disinterestedness of his public character. His wedded life, although not one of uninterrupted felicity, was one of love persevering to the
end; and the monument erected over the grave of Mrs. Pestalozzi, under the shade of two fine walnut trees in his garden, became the favorite spot of his lonely musings, when he could no longer share with her his secret joys and
He was less happy as a father; confirming by his example an observation frequently made, that men eminently successful in the education of youth generally, are not always so in that of their own offspring. His son, to whom it seemed injurious rather than beneficial to be descended from such a father, died little regretted at an early age; and his grandson, who was educated in the establishment, and afterwards apprenticed to a tanner, as the calling most suitable to his taste and abilities, reduced the hopes which Pestalozzi might have entertained of his posterity, to the uncertain prospect of what would, under such inauspicious circumstances, become of a little infant boy, the fruit of the grandson's marriage with Schmid's sister. But Pestalozzi had already learned, under so many different forms, the bitter lesson, that the dearest objects of our wishes are often those which are refused us by Providence, that it sufficed him to play away, in childish games with the little babe, the weary hours of his latter days.
The relation in which Pestalozzi's character was most fully developed, and appears to the greatest advantage, is that in which he stood, in the most flourishing times of the institution at Yverdon, to the whole family as their adoptive father, and to his earliest disciples as their paternal friend. The highest romance of friendship, to which a poet's imagination ever gave birth realized in his intercourse with Niederer and with Miss Kasthofer, afterwards Mrs. Niederer, not by the indulgence of an idle and fantastic sentimentality, but by the enjoyment of that genuine intimacy, which results from union in a higher bond. This, however, is a point on which no pen can do him more justice than his
When Miss Kasthofer had come to the determination of devoting her energies to the interesting task of applying