Obrazy na stronie

in Yverdon, and to every one who was in need, was in calculable.

All Pestalozzi's latter difficulties arose from his benevolence. He undertook this school for the rich, solely to give him the means of benefitting the poor. He had not the peculiar talent for the stewardship of a cumbrous machine; and it only involved him in greater difficulties, both pecuniary and other. But neither a school for the rich, nor a school for the poor, was his main object ; his grand design was, to induce all mothers and parents to attend to domestic education, and to act in their own families as representatives of God, and imitators of his wisdom and his mercy in governing his creatures ; and with a view to this end, he wished to simplify every part of education, so as to put it within the reach of all. Domestic education is, as far as man's power extends, the source of all national and personal virtue; and it is because it has not been attended to, that no revival of religion in the world ever since the Christian era, has continued to produce extensive effects longer, than during the single generation in which it appeared. Yet the promise is sure, to those “ who train up a child in the way in which he should go, that when he is old he shall not depart from it.”

Wholesale plans of education, such as Lancaster's, and Bell's and Owen’s, may serve many useful purposes in a state of society, such as existed in Ireland until lately, where few masters of any description, or in the least fit, could be found, and scarcely any mothers in the lower classes capable of teaching any thing. But nothing except domestic education will ever extensively benefit the community, for it is at home that the heart is taught, and the habits formed, well or ill, as it may be: and the grand feature in Pestalozzi's plan is, that he makes every thing tend towards this object; and as the object we have in view generally determines the means, hence it is, that be gives prominence to many measures, which are commonly overlooked. For this domestic education, by mothers and parents, Sunday Schools and Infant Shools are but poor substitutes, though the best that can be devised :—they prove a defective state of domestic education, and unless directed solely with a view to prepare the next generation for giving domestic education, will only perpetuate this evil, though effecting much that is good.

When I was finally leaving Yverdon, I wrote a long letter to Pestalozzi, mentioning to him all the different defects which, I bad observed in his Institution, and in its management, and some omissions that had struck me in his books. This I did, not as a caviller, but as a sincere friend, and in a kind. manner, with a firm conviction that it would be well received. The following extracts from his answer, which overtook me in Paris, will sufficiently explain some few of the defects to which I alluded, and the Christian manner in which he accepted advice and censure, from a stranger, who was young enough to be his grand-child. It will at the same time give some idea of his heart and feelings. It was written in French, of which language he was never perfectly master, though he understood it perfectly, and spoke it pretty well. And though some foolish persons have henceaccused him of ignorance of languages, it is to be remembered, that Pestalozzi was a German Swiss, and had lived almost entirely among Germans, even after he had come at a very advanced age to live at Yverdon, where French is spoken. It alluded to some of the topics which I have already noticed. The use of the pronoun thou instead of you, is a mark of affection, being the manner in which members of a family address each other.

The same custom prevails still in the north of England.

" Dear and valued friend-All that thou bast said to me is true, even to the last syllable ; and I thank thee with my heart and soul.... I love truth, and cherish the man who speaks it to me, as thou, without hesitation and without reserve.... Ob, my God, all my life long have I been seeking thine assistance, to lead me to a life tranquil, religious, and blessed. But, often have I prepared for myself tempest upon tempest. For I myself was too weak not to sink under the difficulties which surrounded, and the dangers which threatened me.

" Thou wilt see in my sermon, which thou heardest me address to my house on my last birtb-day, how I struggle against all the embarrassments of my life. The Lord saved me a thousand times, and a thousand times bave I again fallen into difficulties, which I ought, and yet never was able to rectify or quiet. The heterogeniousness of the characters who surrounded me latterly, was too great. I was too weak to support my rights, and the others not strong enough to make me wholly abandon them. This led to an unceasing disagreement, the bitterness of which encreased from year to year.

“ At present I am safe-the subscription for the new edition of all my works has ensured to me a sufficiency for the independence of my Institution, and thy presence too bas raised new hopes. My personal liberty at least is safe, but my means are not yet sufficient for all that I can, and ought to be to mankind and my country. My friend, thou wilt aid me, thou canst aid me, tby nation will aid-I wish only the good of mankind. God bas entrusted me with some means for animating and encouraging others, he bas given me some power of persuasion. My experience also has strengthened my real means of influencing others. My internal tranqu.'lity is almost bound up with the feeling of fulfilling what I can and ought to do in this way. Do assist me—thou hast lent thyself to establish my internal tranquility-thou art preparing for me a calmness of soul on my bed of death. I wish to serve my God in serving bis creatures.

“ I know the duty of attending primarily to what is most near to me, the children of my school, even wbile prosecuting the re-publication of all my works ; but it is only internal tranquillity of mind that can make me capable of fulfilling this. I see the faults of my Institution..J know that attention to these ought to be my principal care. My friend—my present external tranquillity fits me every day more and more for fulfilling it in all its extent. My friend, I declare to you in the sight of our God, that my sole desire is neither glory, nor any mere external extension of my views. I promise you, before God, that I seek, in all that I do, to obey bis holy will. I know, too, the duty of making this boly will of God to be fulfilled to the utmost of my power by each individual in my house. My dear friend, pardon my weakness; but I know this to be my own simple and sole desire. God's assist. ance has exceeded all my hopes. He will assist me more he will assist me by thee-be will assist by thy countrymen-and so far as a miserable man can, the will of the Lord shall be done by me ; and the men who adore him, will bless my

poor weak efforts for educating the poor.... Thou art right also in saying, that the positive principles and truths of Cbristianity are not sufficiently distinctly stated and brought forward in Leonard and Gertrude. I bave been endeavouring to remedy this defect, without bowever adopting too much of a theological tone, which would be unsuitable to the entire form of the work, and wbich is grievously abused in our days, sometimes. If thou badst made this reinark to me, while with me, I could have shown thee considerable improvements in this point, which I considered essential.

“ As to Schmidt, perhaps I ought to mention, that he is doing every thing in his power, in order that, after my decease, this establishment may be in the hands of several respectable persons, whom we are seeking anxiously. Be sure thou wilt find bim sterling. “ I have deep compassion for


-, Wishing, as they always do, more and more to encircle themselves with words of conscience, while forgetting the duties of love and truth. God will assist. Be sure they will return. I shall be always ready again to bring them close to me; but I must wait upon time, which always does more than men. As to myself, I will not take a single step, either as to the accounts which are between us, or any other matter, unless they force me by intrigue, or by any other steps which might endanger the present safety of my situation, and the establisbment of my views, and I shall be always as ready to help them as before.

I hope some good effects upon them from my sermon, which will be printed in about a fortnight. I will send it to you instantly. Adieu-adieu, dear friend, ever yours,

o PESTALOZZI. My respects to Synge, and a thousand thousand remembrances to him."

Pestalozzi's School never recovered from the shock it received from the departure of so many of his elder assistants, and the pecuniary embarrassments to which I have alluded. After some time, baving, I believe, settled all his affairs, he retired to a small patrimonial property or farm in the canton of Argau (Argovia,) which he never could be prevailed on to part with, and which he retained for this very purpose, that if he ever should be obliged to quit the busy world, he might retire there, and establish a poor school, and die among the children of the poor. I never saw him again. He went, for a short time, afterwards to Paris. My dear friend Synge went to see him. He was the same as ever, only still further improving in clearness of religious views, looking forward peacefully, and preparing to fall asleep in the Lord, which I believe he did.

He died, after a short but painful illness, at Neuhof, in the canton of Argovia, in February, 1827. I think it a duty to his memory to authenticate this with the signature of my real name, though not usually done, as I perceive, in your Journal.

I am your obedient servant,

CHARLES Edw. HERBERT Orpen. 11, North Great George's-street.

P.S.-If you should think these sketches, as to Pestalozzi and his Institution, of any interest, I may perhaps, if leisure permit, proceed, in some future number, to say something of his principles of education.


(Concluded from Page 385.)

What are their prayers, and charms against certain diseases, their holy-water, their candles, gospels, rosaries, and cords, but the phylacteries of the same pharisees, and the verses which they were in the habit of repeating out of the Bible, for similar superstitious purposes ? whilst the enlightened and Christian worship of God is neglected. Look through all Paganism, ancient and modern, and what can you find of all that is erroneous and unreasonable in the religion of men, which, unhappily, the Church in which I was educated does not present ? It is a contemplation, my dear Sir, which is enough to rend the heart of a benevolent and sincere Christian with sorrow. Was the sword of Mahomet worse than the racks and tortures of the Inquisition ?-or the banner of the pale crescent than the dreadful and mysterious characters that floated in the black flag of an auto da fe ? What is the invocation and worship of saints but the religion of the North American Indians and others, who invoked and worshipped the spirits of their departed friends ?-or the offerings made at the shrine of the Virgin Mary and saints, but the bread, and meat, and other necessaries, which are left by savages for the use of the dead ? If there be a Juggernaut and a Mecca,-is there not a Loughderg and a Loretto ? If there be a Lama, with the veil of mystery around his impious brow, bowed down to and adored by the slaves of his will,-is there not one professing to be the vicar of the meek and lowly Jesus, who places his feet (fit emblem of degradation,) upon the necks of his equally deluded followers ? I would not, Sir, have dwelt so long upon this melancholy comparison, were I not anxious to prove to you that the motives which have induced me to determine on coming out of the Church of Rome, are founded upon a serious and solemn investigation of her doctrines and principles. I have compared her, not only with the word of God, and with other Churches, but with herself at different periods-I have, by the assistance of this little library, traced the progress of her power and the gradual development of her authority; and am led to acknowledge, that wherever her influence is esiablished, or has been established, knowledge, arts, science, industry, and civilization have retrograded—the human mind has become dark and grovelling, and the character of mankind sunk into slavery on the one hand, or raised into an intolerable and arrogant oppression on the other.

There is very little more, Sir, in my history.-On rising from my illness, after Ellen's death, I found her mother dying, and in a week afterwards, I saw her laid for ever beside that daughter whom she loved so well. Father A. was now very anxious that I should make a visit along with him to C. What his reasons were for this I did not then know ; but I knew them the next morning, when my father, at breakfast, after having con


3 K

my dear

templated my countenance very earnestly for some time, whispered me to follow him to his room as soon as breakfast should be over.

I accordingly went, and he there informed me, that in consequence of Father A's representations, he had willed the property to the establishment at C

- What, father,” said I," was the nature of his representations ?”— “Why,” said be, he entered into a long argument, in which he proved, I think very clearly and satisfactorily, that I could not with a good conscience dispose of it otherwise.—Your son, þe argued, will not live to inherit it, for he will not survive yourself ; in that case it is your duty to consider the claims which the Church has upon you, and indeed upon every child who lives within her bosom.- These claims, if the Church thought proper to urge them, could be made imperative; in their own nature they supersede every other. In addition to this, he said that I should establish a perpetual mass for you and me, and the rest that are in dust, which indeed, James, we ought to do.” I now saw that I had much to encounter : but I knew my father was both a liberal and an intelligent man, who met with unqualified indignation any thing like duplicity or deceit. To relate the arguments that passed between us on the subject, would occupy too much of your time; let it suffice to say, that I succeeded in giving him a thorough knowledge of Father A.'s views and disinterestedness. The Will he immediately cancelled, and he has now made another, to which I have to request that you will have the goodness to become either a witness or an executor. I told him that I certainly did not like the office of executor, nor to have much to do with wills in general; “ but,” said I,“ your case is so peculiar, I shall have no objection to become a witness."

I must observe here, that this narrative occupied a much longer time, in consequence of Father Butler's weakness and the frequent fits of coughing which seized him, than would be spent in its perusal. I now rose to take my leave, which I did accordingly, after promising to call the next day but one-when two friends more were to meet me for the purpose of subscribing as witnesses-and he went out, leaning on the arm of a servant, to seek his father.

It was now the forenoon of a beautiful day, and I was on my way home, driving leisurely along, reading a book, as I am in the habit of doing—when I overtook a poor, but clean-looking woman, leading an interesting little girl, aged about ten years, by the hand. There appeared to be no other object in the walk they were taking, than that of exercise for the child, who seemed to be an invalid; for they stopped now and then to pull such wild flowers as the little one thought pretty enough to put into a a nosegay which she carried in her hand. When I came up with them, they forebore their amusement, and each made a low curtsey. I was much struck with the appearance of the child, who was a sweet little creature, with fine blue eyes, and flaxen hair, that fell into natural ringlets on her fair and graceful neck. She appeared to be recovering from a fit of sickness.


« PoprzedniaDalej »