Page images
PDF
EPUB

able to command no other means of instruction in their own country than the ordinary village school. Herr Zuberbühler was appointed to the charge of the institution. He had been in the troop of poor children who went with Krüsi to Burgdorf; and was peculiarly fitted for his place, by his acquirements and by the mildness of his character. But man proposes and God disposes. Zuberbühler was soon seized by an illness, which brought him to the edge of the grave, and which profoundly impressed him with the idea of his own 'helplessness and the danger from it to his institution. It being necessary to employ another teacher, he invited Krüsi, who was now well known in that neighborhood since his abode near it, and who had besides during the journey into Appenzell, in 1819, made himself acquainted with various influential men there. Soon after this journey he made another to Karlsruhe, Frankfort, Wiesbaden and Schnepfeuthal, near Gotha, where he visited the excellent Gutsmuths, who has done so much for the art of gymnastics. It was in 1822 that the news of Zuberbühler's illness reached him, and of his own invitation to the place of director. The prospect of being useful to his fatherland was irresistible to him; and he was also influenced by the promises of an assured income and of entire freedom in modes of instruction. The reputation of his own institution was already great, as will be understood from Krüsi's own mention of the fact as a rare one, that even while he was at Yverdun, pupils were sent to him from three-quarters of the world; some by French merchants from Alexandria, in Egypt, and one from the capital of Persia, Teheran, 800 leagues distant. This may, however, be in some measure ascribed to the fame of the Pestalozzian institution. A very respectable lady from Memel had besides taken lodgings in Krüsi's house with her two daughters, in order to learn under bis guidance how to instruct them; and the same thing happened afterwards with an English family at Gais. Krüsi, however, did not hesitate long, but accepted Zellweger's offer in a respectful letter. He himself went first alone to 'Trogen, and proceeded to his sick friend, Zuberbühler. He says, " When I entered the room Zuberbühler put his hands before his eyes and burst into tears. It relieved his heart to know that I had come to continue the work which he had so well begun.” In fact, he grew better from that very day, and was soon completely well. In his native place of Gais, Krüsi attached himself, especially to his early friend Kern, who had traveled to Yverdun to see him. He also had the great pleasure of finding his old friend, the good-natured Tobler, at the head of an institution in St. Gall; where afterwards he often visited him. Having after a time removed thither his effects and his family, Krüsi

with his two assistants, pastor Bänziger from Wolfhalden, and Egli from Hittnem, commenced operations in his new place, in the cantonal school at Trogen.

Want of space will oblige me to be brief in our account of Krüsi's stay at Trogen and Gais. Most readers are however better acquainted with this part of his life than with the earlier. This earlier period is especially valuable for teachers, as being that of the Pestalozzian discoveries, and of the enthusiasm which attended them. The later period is occupied more particularly with the further development of it. The institution at Trogen soon gained reputation. At first, most of the pupils were from Appenzell; but afterwards quite a number came from the canton and city of Zurich, and a less number from the cantons of Bündten, Thurgan, St. Gall and Basle, and several from Milan. There was an annual exhibition, which was always interesting, both as showing the progress of the pupils, and the spirit of the institution, and from the addresses made by the director, and Herren Kasper Zellweger, and Dean Frei; most of which have also appeared in print. The situation of the institution, in a somewhat retired place, had the advantage of withdrawing the pupils from material pleasures and the attractions of the world; in the stead of which were offered many enjoyments of a nobler kind in the pleasure of nature, and in the use of an excellent play-ground and garden. Although none of the studies, (which included the ancient and modern languages,) were carried so far as in many institutions of a higher grade, its results were very favorable, from the harmonious labors of the three teachers, and from the efficient character of the method by which Krüsi aimed always at increasing the capabilities of his scholars, and the industry of most of the pupils. There were, it is true, sad exceptions; and if the teachers did not succeed with any such pupils, there were often put under their charge a number of ill-taught or orphan children. Many were by Krüsi's friendly and earnest admonitions, caused to reflect, and brought into the path of virtue, no more to leave it. Krüsi, who always himself took charge of the instruction and management of such pupils, tried mild methods at first, as long as he had any hopes of succeeding with them; at lessons he was cheerful, pursuing every study with love and pleasantly encouraging every smile from his scholars which proceeded from honest animation. He became severe however upon the appearance

of any

falsehood, rudeness or immorality, and at such times every one feared the wrath of the angry and troubled father.

In 1832, one of the places of assistant teacher became vacant by the death of Herr pastor Bänziger, in whose stead he placed Herr

Siegfried of Zurich, an active and learned man. Meanwhile another change was at hand in Krüsi's lot. His earnest wish to devote him. self to the training of teachers was to be gratified; although even in the cantonal school he had done something in this direction.

Since the year 1830 the cause of popular education had been gaining new life in many cantons of Switzerland. Funds were raised in many places for the establishment of new schools which were to be assisted by the State; the position of teacher began to be considered more respectable, and to be better paid ; although neither a fair price nor this respect were paid in more than a few places. Clearminded men however saw that in order to the improvement of popular education, the teacher must first be educated; that for this purpose teachers' seminaries must be established. The question of the choice of a director for the seminary at Zurich, being under consideration, Krüsi was mentioned by various persons, and particularly by the celebrated composer and firm admirer of Pestalozzi, Nägeli. Although this place, as the sequel showed, was not the right one for Krüsi, he still considered it his duty to think over the matter, and to communicate his views upon it, which he did in a letter to his friend Bodmer, at Zurich, from which we extract the following:

The higher education was always the field in which I hoped to labor, if it were the will of God, and to plant in it some good seed for the common schools of my native land. Thirty years ago, I hoped that I had found such a field, in the Swiss seminary, established in 1802, by the Helvetian government, under Pestalozzi as teacher. The act of mediation broke up the plan by disuniting the cantons, and the schools for the common people with them; but the investigation of the laws of education had always been since that a favorite pursuit with me. During a rich experience at Pestalozzi's side, and during researches up to this time uninterrupted, for the purpose of establishing a system of natural education, it has been my hope to be able to labor efficiently for the school system of my native land. The canton of Zurich is one which rather than any other I would glady see the first in Switzerland in furthering this most high and noble object. But I ought not to hide from you my fears, whether :

1. I can count upon being able to carry out Pestalozzi's system of elementary education, freely and without hindrance. In that I recognize the only means of awakening the intellectual life of the teacher, or of bringing the same into the school.

2. The strict necessity of coöperating labor would be regarded in the choice of a second teacher. They should each supplement the work of the other; and this can only happen when their efforts are put forth in the same spirit and for the same object.

3. There should be a model school, which I consider an indisputable necessity for the seminary. It is not as a place of probation for new scholars that I desire this, but as affording an example of the correct bodily, material, moral and religious training of the children.

4. Sufficient care should be taken in the selection of a place for the seminary, that the supervision of its morals should be as much facilitated as possible. The pupils of such a seminary are usually of an age most difficult to manage; and their own moral character subsequently has a strong influence upon that of their scholars.

When Krüsi at last entered upon his long desired field of labor, in 1833, being appointed director of the teachers' seminary, erected in

that year, he felt the liveliest pleasure. The object of his life seemed to him now to stand in a clear light before him, and to open to him the prospect that his countrymen would reap the harvest, whose seed he had sown in the spring of youth, and watched over in the summer. Honor to our Grand Council, and to those who were the cause of the resolution, to spread such manifold blessings among our people and blooming youth. Honor to them, that they gave to poor but upright and study-loving youth, the means of training themselves for teachers in their own country, and of learning its necessities, that they might be able to labor for their relief. With gratitude to God, the wise disposer of his fate, Krüsi left the cantonal school, and proceeded to Gais; recalling with emotion the time forty years before, when as an ignorant youth he had there taken up the profession of teaching, himself afterward to become a teacher of teachers.

He considered the years of his labor in Gais, among the happiest of his life. To pass the evening of his days in his native country and bis native town, to communicate the accumulated treasures of his teachings and experience to intelligent youth, to labor surrounded by his own family and with their aid, and to benefit so many pupils,

all this was the utmost that he had ever dared wish for. This wish was however to be entirely realized. He conducted five courses, attended by sixty-four pupils, and with the assistance of his valued friend, pastor Weishaupt, of his own eldest son, and of Gähler, a graduate of the seminary itself. During the latter course death overtook him.

A boys' school, and a girls' school conducted by his second daughter, soon arose near the seminary, forming a complete whole, over which Krüsi's kind feeling and paternal supervision exercised a beneficial influence. Hardly ever did three institutions proceed in happier unity. Many pleasant reminiscences of this period present themselves; but the space is wanting for them. Krüsi's skill as educator and teacher were the same here as elsewhere. He used the same method, showed the same mild disposition, love of nature and enthusiasm for every thing beautiful and good. He occupied a position even higher in respect of insight and experience, in the completion of his system of education, as adapted to nature; and a more honorable one by reason of his old age and the gray

hairs which began to ornament his temples. But despite of his age, whose weaknesses his always vigorous health permitted him to feel but little, he ever preserved the same freshness of spirit. His method of instruction did not grow effete, as is often the case with old teachers. He was always seeking to approach his subject from a new side; and felt the same animation as of old, at finding any new fruits from his method

or his labors. His kind and friendly manners won all his pupils, whether boys and girls, or older youth. Nor is it strange that all the other members of the establishment also looked upon him as a father. An expression of their love and respect appeared on the occasion of his birthday, which they made a day of festival, with a simple ceremonial speeches and songs. Upon such occasions he was wont to recall the time of his abode with Pestalozzi ; and his affectionate heart always impelled him to speak in beautifully grateful language of his neverto-be-forgotten father and friend, the originator of his own useful labors, and all his happiness. The crowning event of his happiness was the presentation on his sixty-ninth birthday, in 1843, the fiftieth year of his labors as a teacher, by all the teachers who had been instructed by him, of a beautiful silver pitcher, as an expression of their gratitnde. He looked hopefully upon so large a number of his pupils, and gave them his paternal blessing. Two of his birthday addresses have appeared in print.

Until April of that year, Krüsi continued to teach in the seminary and connected schools. After the completion of his fifth course, he had hoped to be able to completely work out his system of instruction, and more fully to write his biography; but this was not to be permitted him. He was able at leisure times to write and publish much matter; the last of these was a collection of his poems. These are valuable, not as artistic productions, but as true pictures of his pure and vivid feeling for every thing good and beautiful. The fact that he wrote many of his songs to the airs of his friend, pastor Weishaupt, shows that he valued high-toned musical instruction. This love of singing remained with him to the end of his life; and his face always grew animated if he saw men, youth and maidens, or young children, enjoying either alone or in pleasant companionship, that elevating pleasure.

At the annual parish festival of 1844, the old man now seventy, was present in Trogen, entering heartily into the exercises of the occasion, and particularly, the powerful chotal, “ Alles Leben stromt aus Dir," which was sung by a thousand men's voices, and an eloquent discourse on common education, by Landarman Nagel. The fatigue, excitement, and exposure to the weather, which was damp and cold, were too much for his strength, and in the evening he was ill, and on the following day he was visited by a paralytic attack, from which he never recovered, but closed his earthly career on the 25th of July, 1844. His funeral was attended by a multitude of mourners from far and near, and his body was borne to its last resting place in the churchyard of Gais, by the pupils of the seminary.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »