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often excited by novel and extensive plans of improvement. He seems to have studied the subject in all its bearings and details with great deliberation, and, from the sincere convictions of his understanding, to have become a zealous convert to its truth and utility. He is himself the author of one or two works, which we understand possess considerable value, in illustration of the Pestalozzian system; and, although in the present volume he sometimes indulges in speculations which we cannot regard as just or useful, we should pronounce him, upon the whole, one of the most candid and enlightened of the disciples of Pestalozzi, with whose writings we are acquainted, and singularly imbued with all that is most excellent and practical in the spirit of his master. We infer from the discrimination and care apparent in this work, that he has given us a trustworthy account of the different subjects which he undertakes to treat, and that he may be confidently relied upon, when he declares, as he does in his Preface, that the facts stated in the biographical part are derived from the best sources of information ; the author having been called upon when abroad, not only to take cognizance of all those which had received publicity, but also to examine a great number of private documents connected with the history of Pestalozzi.'
We apprehend that the assertion made in the Edinburgh Review, soon after the death of Pestalozzi a few years since, is perfectly correct, — that, while his name was as familiar as a household word on the continent of Europe, and his memory held in pious veneration, its sound had been scarcely heard in Great Britain ; and although we are not entirely strangers to it in this country, and some of his most important principles have been introduced and successfully applied to the practical business of education among ourselves, we are not aware that any connected account of his life and character has ever been presented to the American public. There is a deep interest in tracing back a system, which, as we believe, is destined to exert a great influence on the future welfare of our species, to its origin. We wish to lay before our readers the successive steps, by which the system that bears the name of Pestalozzi was matured in his own mind; the discouragements and trials, which he was compelled to endure in its establishment; the measure of success it received during his life ; and its probable effects on the future history of mankind. We shall follow the narrative of Dr. Biber, in describing the leading events of Pestalozzi's life, of which we now propose to give a general outline.
Henry Pestalozzi was descended from an ancient Italian family, who sought refuge in Switzerland from the persecutions which attended the commencement of the Reformation in their native country. He was born at Zurich on the 12th of January, 1745. By the death of his father, who was a physician of some eminence, he was left an orphan at an early age, with very limited means for his future support. His mother, however, was assisted by the more prosperous branches of the family, to give him many of the advantages for entering upon a successful career, which, in the small aristocracies of Switzerland, depend almost entirely upon family connexions. The exertions of an old female domestic, whose highest ambition was to preserve the respectability of the widow's household under its reverses of fortune, are said to have had a great influence on young Pestalozzi, in cherishing honorable sentiments, and a desire for excellence, in his heart; while they made such a lasting impression upon his mind, that in after life, he maintained the deepest regard for the neglected classes of society, and never ceased to vindicate their moral and intellectual rights, as a debt of gratitude to one, from whom, though placed by the caprice of fortune below his own rank in life, he had derived the most important benefits.
His childhood was passed in obscurity, and gave few indications of the genius which was destined afterwards to such signal achievements. His disposition, though concealing feelings of intense energy, was usually marked with an almost feminine gentleness ; which, united to a singular want of judgment, that never entirely left him, procured for him, among his schoolfellows, the nickname of Harry Oddity. At the same time that he was the innocent object of their boyish raillery, and seldom joined in their games and sports, be was so frank, kind-hearted, and obliging, that he enjoyed the general affection of his companions, and was always ready to return it, by taking upon himself the burdens which they were unwilling to bear. An instance of this is given, at the time of the tremendous earthquake of 1755, the shock of which was felt in many places in Switzerland.
The school-house where he was taught was so shaken, that, as he himself relates, the teachers ran down stairs almost over the heads of the boys; after the first alarm had subsided, and all wished to recover the hats, books, and other articles which they had left behind, no one but Harry Oddity could be induced to undertake the perilous enterprise.
After completing the usual course of education, Pestalozzi continued his studies, with a view to engaging in the ministry of the Gospel, to which the wishes of his friends, as well as his own deep religious feelings, had early destined him. This course, however, was soon abandoned. He appeared for the first and only time in the pulpit as a candidate; and then, discouraged by the ill-success of the experiment, renounced all aspirations to the sacred office. Soon after, he applied himself to the law, but with a strong predilection for political studies. At this time, his inquiries seem to have taken the direction which ultimately led him to the discoveries that characterize his name. clearly the great abuses in society, which prevailed in his native country ; and, by dwelling on their enormity, his active mind suggested means of relief, which could be realized only by a more thorough and judicious education of the people at large. His first publication, issued while a student at law, contained his views on this subject. It was an essay on the bearing which education ought to have upon our respective callings.
It was not for a mind like Pestalozzi's to behold the evils which had been brought to his notice, without deep and painful emotion. This was experienced to such a degree, that he was thrown into a state of morbid excitement; and, at length, a dangerous illness broke off his ardent researches. Still his mind was not quieted. His thoughts could not be prevented from dwelling on the painful subjects to which he had given his whole soul. Prostrate on the bed of sickness, he continued to indulge himself in dark musings; and his fancy represented the prospects of the future, both for society and for himself, in gloomy colors. The strength of his constitution, however, carried him through the disorder; and from the moment of his recovery, he resolved to watch the leadings of Providence, and, setting aside all human considerations, to act up to the full extent of his conceptions, and, if possible, to put his views to the test of life.
He now abandoned all his former studies, committed his papers to the flames, and, believing that the evils into which society was plunged, were mainly owing to a departure from the straight and simple path of nature, to the school of nature he resolved to go. Accordingly he quitted Zurich and went to Kirchberg, in the canton of Berne, where he became an apprentice to a farmer of the name of Tschiffeli. This person had great reputation at that time, for his superior husbandry, and for the warm interest he took in the improvement of the agricultural classes. Here a new scene was opened to Pestalozzi. The lecture-room was exchanged for the stable, and the sedentary occupations of the study for constant exercise in the open air. After qualifying himself, under the direction of Tschiffeli, for the charge of a farm, he purchased a tract of waste land, in the neighbourhood of Lensburg, in the canton of Berne, on which he erected a dwelling-house, with suitable buildings, and gave it the name of Neuhof. The work of his hands here was prospered. He soon brought himself into comfortable circumstances, and saw his prospects as bright and happy as could he wished. At this time, he formed a connexion in marriage with Ann Schulthess, the daughter of one of the wealthiest merchants in Zurich, a young lady of a refined education, and great dignity of character. This marriage, while it increased the happiness of his domestic circle, offered him a new sphere of useful exertion, by giving him an interest in a flourishing cotton-manufactory. He took an active part in the management of it, with a view to become acquainted with this branch of national industry, as well as to compare the influence of manufacturing pursuits with that of agriculture on the minds and morals of the people. The result of his experience was, that the system of popular education, which then prevailed, was by no means adapted to fit the subjects of it for the discharge of their future duties or the attainment of a happy existence. But instead of giving way to despondency, as formerly, in the struggle of conflicting theories, he was now aroused to fresh zeal and more active exertions in a cause, for which no sacrifices seemed to him to be too great. After eight years of successful industry at Neuhof, Pestalozzi resolved to make a fair trial of the plan, which he had long had at heart, of giving the lower orders such an education, as should raise them to a condition more consistent with the capacities of their nature and with the spirit of Christianity. To avoid the interference of others as much as possible, and to place the beneficial results of his system in a clearer light, he selected the objects of his experiment from the very dregs of the people. If he found a child who was left in destitute circumstances from the death of its parents, or from their incompetency and vice, he immediately took him home ; so that, in a short time, his house was converted into an asylum, in which fifty orphan or pauper children were fed, clothed, and instructed. His great object in this undertaking was, not so much to relieve them from the actual presence of want, as to give them judicious mental and moral cultivation, imbue them with a spirit of improvement and self-direction, and form them to those habits of industry and order, without which, he was persuaded, all external assistance was worthless. The children were instructed in the different employments from which they might afterwards be able to gain a livelihood, and for the exercise of which, his farm and the cotton-manufactory, in which he was a partner, afforded an ample opportunity. This, however, he did not, by any means, deem sufficient. He did not permit himself to be deceived by the idea, which has often been cherished, that the possession of mechanical skill alone would insure a favorable condition in life ; or that any external advantages would compensate for the want of intellectual and moral superiority. He aimed, accordingly, to purify the affections which he saw converted into sinful passions ; to substitute intelligence for low and ignorant cunning; and to give the principle of faith its original influence upon the heart, by receiving the child, not only as a child of man,
but also as a child of God, designed to be restored to the image of divine perfection.
But this experiment, so happily conceived by Pestalozzi, was destined to prove unsuccessful. He possessed few of the means necessary to bring it to a prosperous issue. His zeal, which led him to undertake the most magnificent enterprises, was not combined with sufficient patience, practical knowledge of human nature, and fixed habits of order and economy, to enable him to realize the plans which he proposed; and, at length, he was obliged to abandon his experiment in despair. It was not, however,