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For the. use of the Department of Education 




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Drputy, Doctob or Letters , and Professor in the Normal SornooL 

or Fontrnay-aux-Roses. 



W. H. PAYNE, A.M., 

Chancellor or the Uniyersitt or Nashyillr, and President of «r 

State Normal College; late Prorsbor or the Science and thr 

Art or Teachino in the University of MioMiOAft. 



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Copyright, 8kpt. 30, 188*. 
By W. H^AYKK. 

J. a. Cvbuinu & Co.. Printers, Boston. 



Translator's Preface v-vii 

Introduction — ht-xxii 

Chapter I. — Education in Antiquity 1-16 

Chapter II. — Education among the Greeks 17-42 

Chapter III. — Education at Rome 43-60 

Chapter IV. — The Early Christians and the Middle Age. . . 61-32 


Chapter V. — The Renaissance and the Theories of Educa- 
tion in the Sixteenth Century. — Erasmus, 
Rabelais, and Montaigne 83-111 

Chapter VI. — Protestantism and Primary Instruction. — 

Luther and Comenius. 112-137 

Chapter VIL — The Teaching Congregations. — Jesuits and 

Jansenists 138-163 

Chapter VIII. — Eenelon 164-186 

Chapter IX. — The Philosophers of the Seventeenth Century. 

— Descartes, Malebranche, and Locke. . . .187-211^1^ 

Chapter X. — The Education of Women in the Seventeenth 

Century. — Jacqueline Pascal and Ma- . 

dame de Maintenon 212-231 

Chapter XI. — Rollin 232-252 

Chapter XII. — Catholicism and Primary Instruction. — La 

Salle and the Brethren of the Christian 
Schools 253-278 




Chapter XIII. — Rousseau and the Emile 278-310 

Chapter XIV. — The Philosophers of the Eighteenth Cen- 
tury. — Condillac, Diderot, Helve tius, 

and Kant 311-339 

Chapter XV. — The Origin of Lay and National Education. 

— La Chalotais and Holland 340-361 

Chapter XVI. — The Revolution. — Mirabeau, Talleyrand, 

and Condorcet 302-389 

Chapter XVlI. — The Convention. — Lepelletier Saint-Far- 

geau, Lakanal, and Daunou 390-412 

Chapter XVtlL — Pestalozzi 413-445 

Chapter XlX. — The Successors of Pestalozzi. — Frcebel 

and the Pere Girard 440-477 

Chapter XX. — Women as Educators 478-607 

Chapter XXI. — The Theory and Practice of Education in , 

the Nineteenth Century 508-634 

Chapter XXII. — The Science of Education. — Herbert Spen- 
cer, Alexander Bain, Channing, and 
Horace Mann 636-570 

Appendix 571-675 

Index 677-598 


rriHE two considerations that have chiefly influenced me in 
~*~ making this translation are the following : — 

1. Of the three phases of educational study, the prac- 
tical, the theoretical, and the historical, the last, as proved 
by the number of works written on the subject, has received 
bat very little attention from English and American teach- 
ers ; and yet, if we allow that a teacher should first of all 
be a man of culture, and that an invaluable factor in his 
professional education is a knowledge of what has hitherto 
been done within his field of activity, there are the best of 
reasons why the claims of this study should be urged upon 
the teaching profession. For giving breadth of view, 
Judicial candor, and steadiness of purpose, nothing more 
helpful can be commended to the teacher than a critical 
survey of the manifold experiments and experiences in 
educational practice. The acutest thinkers of all the ages 
have worked at the solution of the educational problem, and 
the educating art has been practised under every variety of 
conditions, civil, social, religious, philosophic, and ethnic. 
Is it not time for us to review these experiments, as the 
very best condition for advancing surely and steadily? 

2. The almost complete neglect of this study among us 
has been due, in great measure, to the fact that there have 


vi translator's preface. 

been no books on the subject at all adapted to the ends to 
be attained. A dry, scrappy, and incomplete narration of 
facts can end only in bewilderment and in blunting the taste 
for this species of inquiry. The desirable thing has been 
a book that is comprehensive without being tedious, whose 
treatment is articulate and clear, and that is pervaded by a 
critical insight at once catholic and accurate. Some years 
ago I read with the keenest admiration, the Histoire Critique 
des Doctrines de V Education en France depute le Seizieme 
Steele, by Gabriel Compayr6 (Paris, 1879) ; and it seemed 
to me a model, in matter and method, for a general history 
of education. Within a recent period Monsieur Compayr6 
has transformed this Histoire Critique into such a general 
history of education, under the title Histoire de la Ptdagogie. 
In this book all the characteristics of the earlier work have 
been preserved, and it represents to my own mind very 
nearly the ideal of the treatise that is needed by the teach- 
ing profession of this country. 

The reader will observe the distinction made by Monsieur 
Compayr6 between Pedagogy and Education. Though our 
nomenclature does not sanction this distinction, and though 
I prefer to give to the term Pedagogy a different connota- 
tion, I have felt bound on moral grounds to preserve Mon- 
sieur Compayr6's use of these terms wherever the context 
would sanction it. 

It seems mere squeamishness to object to the use of the 
word Pedagogy on account of historical associations. The 
fact that this term is in reputable use in German, French. 

translator's preface. 


and Italian educational literature, is a sufficient guaranty 
that we may use it without danger. With us, the term 
Pedagogics seems to be employed as a synonym for Peda- 
gogy. It would seem to me better to follow continental 
usage, and restrict the term Pedagogy to the art or practice 
of education, and Pedagogics to the correlative science. 

I feel under special obligations to Monsieur Com pay r^, 
and to his publisher, Monsieur Paul Del ap lane, for their 
courteous permission to publish this translation. I am also 
greatly indebted to my friend, Mr. C. E. Lowrey, Ph.D., for 
material aid in important details of my work. 

University op Michigan, 

Jan. 4. 1886. 

The issue of a second edition has permitted a careful 
revision of the translation and the correction of several 
verbal errors. In subsequent editions, no effort will be 
spared by the translator and his publishers to make this 
volume worthy of the favor with which it has been received 
by the educational public. 

W. H. P. 

Auo. 1. 1886. 


What a Complete History op Education would be. — 
In writing an elementary history of pedagogy, I do not 
pretend to write a history of education. Pedagogy and 
education, like logic and science, or like rhetoric and 
eloquence, are different though analogous things. 

What would a complete history of education not 
include? It would embrace, in its vast developments, 
the entire record of the intellectual and moral culture 
of mankind at all periods and in all countries. It would 
be a risumi of the life of humanity in its diverse man- 
ifestations, literary and scientific, religious and political. 
It would determine the causes, so numerous and so diverse, 
which act upon the characters of men, and which, modi- 
fying a common endowment, produce beings as different 
as are a contemporary of Pericles and a modern Euro- 
pean, a Frenchman of the middle ages and a Frenchman 
subsequent to the Revolution. 

In fact, there is not only an education, properly so called, 
that which is given in schools and which proceeds from 
the direct action of teachers, but there is a natural educa- 
tion, which we receive without our knowledge or will, 


through the influence of the social environment in which 
we live. There are what a philosopher of the day has 
ingeniously called the occult coadjutors of education, — 
climate, race, manners, social condition, political institu- 
tions, religious beliefs. If a man of the nineteentli cen- 
tury is very unlike a man of the seventeenth centurj*, it 
is not merely because the first was educated in a Lyc6c 
of the University and the other in a college of the 
Jesuits ; it is also because in the atmosphere in which 
they have been enveloped they have contracted differ- 
ent habits of mind and heart; it is because the}' have 
grown up under different laws, under a different social 
and political regime; because they have been nurtured 
by a different philosophy and a different religion. Upon 
that delicate and variable composition known as the human 
soul, how many forces which we do not suspect have left 
their imprint! How many unobserved and latent causes 
are involved in our virtues and in our faults ! The con- 
scious and determined influence of the teacher is not, 
perhaps, the most potent. In conjunction with him are 
at work, obscurely but effectively, innumerable agents, 
besides personal effort and what is produced b}' the original 
energy of the individual. 

We see what a history of education would be : a sort 
of philosophy of history, to which nothing would be for- 
eign, and which would scrutinize in its most varied and 
most trifling causes, as well as in its most profound sources, 
the moral life of humanity. 


What an Elementary History of Pedagogy should 
be. — Wholly different is the limited and modest purpose 
of history of pedagogy, which proposes merely to set 
forth the doctrines and the methods of educators properly 
so called. In this more limited sense, education is reduced 
to the premeditated action which the will of one man 
exercises over other men in order to instruct them and 
train them. It is the reflective auxiliary of the natural 
development of the human soul. To what can be done 
by nature and by the blind and fatal influences which 
sport with human destiny, education adds the concurrence 
of art, that is, of the reason, attentive and self-possessed, 
which voluntarily and consciously applies to the training 
of the soul principles whose truth has been recognized, 
and methods whose efficiency has been tested by expe- 

Even thus limited, the history of pedagogy still presents 
to our inquiry a vast field to be explored. There is scarcely 
a subject that has provoked to the same degree as educa- 
tion the best efforts of human thinking. Note the cata- 
logue of educational works published in French, which 
Buisson has recently prepared. 1 Though incomplete, this 
list contains not less than two thousand titles ; and prob- 
ably educational activity has been more fruitful, and has 
been given a still greater extension in Germany than in 
France. This activity is due to the fact, first of all, that 

1 See the Dictionnaire de Pedagogic, by F. Buisson, Article Bibliogra- 
phic. » 


educational questions, brought into fresh notice with each 
generation, exercise over the minds of men an irresistible 
and perennial attraction ; and also to the fact that parent- 
hood inspires a taste for such inquiries, and, a thing that 
is not always fortunate, leads to the assumption of some 
competence in such matters ; and finally to the very nature 
of educational problems, which are not to be solved by 
abstract and independent reasoning, after the fashion of 
mathematical problems, but which, vitally related to the 
nature and the destiny of man, change and vary with the 
fluctuations of the psychological and the moral doctrines 
of which they are but the consequences. To different 
systems of psychology correspond different systems of 
education. An idealist, like Malebranche, will not reason 
upon education after the manner of a sensationalist like 
Locke. In the same way there is in every system of morals 
the germ of a characteristic and original system of educa- 
tion. A mystic, like Gerson, will not assign to education 
the same end as a practical and positive writer like Herbert 
Spencer. Hence a very great diversity in systems, or at 
least an infinite variety in the shades of educational opinion. 
Still farther, educational activity may manifest itself in 
different ways, either in doctrines and theories or in 
methods and practical applications. The historian of ped- 
agogy has not merely to make known the general concep- 
tions which the philosophers of education have in turn 
submitted to the approbation of men. If he wishes to 
make his work complete, he must give a detailed account 


of what has been accomplished, and make an actual study 
of the educational establishments which have been founded 
at different periods by those who have organized instruction. 
Pedagogy is a complex affair, and there are many ways 
of writing its history. One of these which has been too 
little considered, and which would surely be neither the 
least interesting nor the least fruitful, would consist in 
studying, not the great writers on education and their 
doctrines, not the great teachers and their methods, but 
pupils themselves. If it were possible to relate in minute 
detail, supposing that history would furnish us the neces- 
sary information on this point, the manner in which a great 
or a good man has been educated ; if an analysis could be 
made of the different influences which have been involved 
in the formation of talent or in the development of virtue 
in the case of remarkable individuals; if it were possible, 
in a word, to reproduce through exact and personal biogra- 
phies the toil, the slow elaboration whence have issued at 
different periods solidity of character, rectitude of purpose, 
and minds endowed with judicial fairness ; the result would 
be a useful and eminently practical work, something analo- 
gous to what a history of logic would be, in which there 
should be set forth not the abstract rules and the formal 
laws for the search after truth, but the successful experi- 
ments and the brilliant discoveries which have little by 
little constituted the patrimony of science. This perhaps 
would be the best of logics because it is real and in action ; 
and also the best of treatises on pedagogy, since there 


might be learned from it, not general truths, which are 
often of difficult application and of uncertain utility, but 
practical means and living methods whose happy and effi- 
cient applications would be seen in actual use. 

We have just traced the imaginary plan of a history of 
pedagogy rather than the exact outline of the series of 
lessons which this book contains. However, we have 
approached this ideal as nearly as we have been able, by 
attempting to group about the principal philosophical and 
moral ideas the systems of education which they have 
inspired ; by endeavoring to retain whatever is essential ; 
by adding to the first rapid sketches studied and elaborate 
portraits ; by ever mingling with the expositions of doc- 
trines and the analysis of important works the study of 
practical methods and the examination of actual institu- 
tions; and, finally, by penetrating the thought of the 
great educators, to learn from them how they became such, 
and by following them, as they have united practice with 
theory, in the particular systems of education which they 
have directed with success. 1 

Division op the History op Pedagogy. — The abun- 
dance and the variety of pedagogical questions, the great 
number of thinkers who have written upon education, in 
a word, the complexit}* of the subject, might inspire the 

1 The book now offered to the public was taught before it was written. 
It is the result of the lectures given for three years past, either at the 
higher normal school of Fontenay-aux-Roses, or in the normal courses for 
men at Sevres and at Saint Cloud. 


historian of pedagogy with the idea of dividing his work, 
and of distributing his studies into several series. For 
example, it would be possible to write the history of educa- 
tion in general by itself, and then the history of instruction, 
which is but an element of education. As education itself 
comprises three parts, physical education, intellectual edu- 
cation, and moral education, there would be an opportu- 
nity for three series of distinct studies on these different 
subjects. But these divisions would present grave incon- 
veniences. In general, the opinions of an educator are 
not susceptible of division ; there is a connection between 
his manner of regarding the matter of instruction and the 
solution he gives to educational questions proper. One 
mode of thinking pervades his theories or his practice in 
the matter of moral discipline, and his ideas on intellectual 
education. It is, then, necessary to consider each of the 
different systems of education as a whole. 

Perhaps a better order of division would be that which, 
without regard to chronological order, should distinguish 
all pedagogical doctrines and applications into a certain 
number of schools, and connect all educators with certain 
general tendencies: as the ascetic tendency, that of the 
fathers of the church, for example, and of the middle 
ages ; the utilitarian tendency of Locke, and of a great 
number of moderns; the pessimism of Port Royal, the 
optimism of F6nelon ; the literary school of the humanists 
of the Renaissance, and the scientific school of Diderot 
and of Condorcet. Such a mode of procedure would have 


its interest, because in the manifestations of educational 
thought so apparently different it would sharply distin- 
guish certain uniform principles which reappear at all 
periods of history ; but this would be rather a philosoplry 
of the history of education than a simple history of 

The best we can do, then, is to follow the chronological 
order and to study in turn the educators of antiquity, 
those of the middle ages, of the Renaissance, and of 
modern times. We shall interrogate in succession those 
who have become eminent as teachers and educators, and 
ask of each how he has solved for himself the various 
portions of the problems of education. Besides being 
more simple and more natural, this order has the ad van- 
tage of showing us the progress of education as it has 
gradually risen from instinct to reflection, from nature to 
art, and after long periods of groping and many halts, 
ascending from humble beginnings to a complete and defi- 
nite organization. This plan also exhibits to us the beau- 
tiful spectacle of a humanity in a state of ceaseless growth. 
At first, instruction comprised but few subjects, at the 
same time that only a select few participated in it. Then 
there was a simultaneous though gradual extension of the 
domain of knowledge which must be acquired, of the 
moral qualities demanded by the struggle for existence, 
and of the number of men who are called to be instructed 
and educated, — the ideal being, as Comenius has said, 
that all may learn and that everything may be taught. 


Utility of the History of Pedagogy. — The history of 
pedagogy is henceforth to form a part of the course of 
study for the primary normal schools of France. It has 
been included in the prescribed list of subjects for the third 
year, under this title : History of Pedagogy y — Principal 
educators and their doctrines; Analysis of the most important 
works. 1 

Is argument necessary to justify the place which has 
been assigned to this study ? In the first place, the history 
of pedagogy possesses great interest from the fact that 
it is closely connected with the general history of thought 
and also with the philosophic explication of human actions. 
Certainly, pedagogical doctrines are neither fortuitous 
opinions nor events without significance. On the one hand, 
they have their causes and their principles in moral, reli- 
gious, and political beliefs, of which they are the faithful 
image ; on the other, they are instrumental in the train- 
ing of mind and in the formation of manners. Back of 
the Ratio Studiorum of the Jesuits, back of the Emile 
of Rousseau, there distinctly appears a complete religion, 
a complete philosophy. In the classical studies organ- 
ized by the humanists of the Renaissance we see the 
dawn of that literary brilliancy which distinguished the 
century of Louis XIV., and so in the scientific studies 
preached a hundred years ago by Diderot and b}- Condorcet 
there was a preparation for the positive spirit of our time. 
The education of the people is at once the consequence 

* Resolution of Aug. 3, 1881. 


'of all that it believes and the source of all that it is 
destined to be. 

But there are other reasons which recommend the study 
of educators and the reading of their works. The his- 
tory of pedagogy is a necessary introduction to pedagogy 
itself. It should be studied, not for purposes of erudi- 
tion or for mere curiosity, but with a practical purpose 
for the sake of finding in it the permanent truths which 
are the essentials of a definite theory of education. 
The desirable thing just now is not perhaps so much 
to find new ideas, as properly to comprehend those which 
are already current; to choose from among them, and, 
a choice once haying been made, to make a resolute effort 
to apply them to use. When we consider with impar- 
tiality all that has been conceived or practised previous 
to the nineteenth century, or when we see clearly what 
our predecessors have left us to do in the way of con- 
sequences to deduce, of incomplete or obscure ideas to 
generalize or to illustrate, and especially of opposing 
tendencies to reconcile, we may well inquire what they 
have really left us to discover. 

It is profitable to study even the chimeras and the 
educational errors of our predecessors. In fact, these 
are so many marked experiments which contribute to the 
progress of our methods by warning us of the rocks 
which we should shun. A thorough analysis of the 
paradoxes of Rousseau, and of the absurd consequences 
to which the abuse of the principle of nature leads us. 


is no less instructive than meditation on the wisest 
precepts of Montaigne or of Port Royal. 

In truth, for him who has an exact knowledge of the 
educators of past centuries, the work of constructing a 
system of education is more than half done. It remains 
only to co-ordinate the scattered truths which have been 
collected from their works by assimilating them through 
personal reflection, and by making them fruitful through 
psychological analysis and moral faith. 

Let it be observed that as studied by the men who 
first conceived and practised them, pedagogical methods 
present themselves to our examination with a sharpness 
of outline that is surprising. Innovators lend to what- 
ever they invent a personal emphasis, something life-like 
and occasionally extravagant; but it is exactly this which 
permits us the better to comprehend their thought, and 
the more completely to discover its truth or its falsity. 

However, it is not alone the intellectual advantage 
which recommends the history of pedagogy ; it is also 
the moral stimulus which will be derived from the study. 
For the sake of encouraging to noble efforts the men 
and women who are our teachers, is it of no moment 
to present to them the names of Comenius, Rollin, and 
Pestalozzi as men who have attained such high excellence 
in their profession? Will not the teacher who each da}' 
resumes his heavy burden be revived and sustained? 
Will he not enter his class-room, where so many diffi- 
culties and toils await him, a better and a stronger man 


if his imagination teems with articulate memories of those 
who, in the past, have opened for him the way, and 
shown him by their example how to walk in it? Bj 
the marvellous agency of electricity we are now able tc 
transport material and mechanical power, and to cause 
its transfer across space without regard to distance. But 
by reading and by meditation we are able to do some- 
thing analogous to this in the moral world ; we are able 
to borrow from the ancients, across the centuries, some- 
thing of the moral cnerg}' that inspired them, and to 
make live again in our own hearts some of their virtues 
of devotion and faith. Doubtless a brief history of 
pedagogy could not, from this point of view, serve as 
a substitute for the actual reading of the authors in 
question ; but it is a preparation for this work and 
inspires a taste for it. 

We are warranted in saying, then, that the utility of 
the history of pedagogy blends with the utility of ped- 
agogy itself. To-day it is no longer necessary for us to 
offer an}* proof on this point. Pedagogy, long neglected 
even in our country, has regained its standing ; nay 
more, it has become the fashion. "France is becoming 
addicted to pedagogy" was a remark recently made by 
one of the men who, of our day, will have contributed 
most to excite and also to direct the taste for peda- 
gogical studies. 1 The words pedagogue, pedagogy, have 

1 See the Article of M. Pecaut in the Revue Pedagoyiqiie, No. 2, 1882. 


encountered dangers in the history of our language. 
Littr6 tells us that the word pedagogue " is most often 
used in a bad sense." On the other hand, we shall 
see, if we consult his dictionary, that several years ago 
the sense of the word pedagogy was not yet fixed, 
since it is there defined as " the moral education of 
children." To-day, not only in language, but in facts and 
in institutions, the fate of pedagogy is settled. Of course 
we must neither underrate it nor attribute to it a sovereign 
and omnipotent efficiency that it does not have. We 
might freely say of pedagogy what Sainte-Beuve said 
of logic: The best is that which does not argue in its 
own favor ; which is not enamoured of itself, but which 
modestly recognizes the limits of its power. The best 
is that which we make for ourselves, not that which we 
learn from books. 

Even with this reserve, the teaching of pedagogy is 
destined to render important services to the cause of 
education, and education, let us be assured, is in the 
way of acquiring a fresh importance day by day. This 
is due to the fact, first, that under a liberal govern- 
ment, and in a republican society, it is more and 
more necessary that the citizens shall be instructed and 
enlightened. Liberty is a dangerous thing unless it has 
instruction for a counterpoise. Moreover, we must rec- 
ollect that in our day, among those occult coadjutors of 
which we have spoken, and which at all times add their 
action to that of education proper, some have lost their 



influence, while others, so far from co-operating in this 
movement, oppose it and compromise it. On the one 
hand, religion has seen her influence curtailed. She is 
no longer, as she once was, the tutelary power under 
whose shadow the rising generations peacefully matured. 
It is necessary that education, through the progress of 
the reason and through the reflective development of 
morality, should compensate for the waning influence of 

On the other hand, social conditions, the very progress 
of civil and political liberty, the growing independence 
accorded the child in the family, the multiplication of 
books, good and bad, all these collateral agents of educa- 
tion are not always compliant and useful aids. They 
would prove the accomplices of a moral decadence did 
not our teachers make an effort as much more vigorous 
to affect the will and the heart, as well as the mind, 
in order to establish character, and thus assure the re- 
cuperation of our country. 



Gabriel Compayrb was born Jan. 2, 1843, at Albi, a 
citj of Southern France, containing about fifteen thousand 
inhabitants, and the capital of the province of Tarn. His 
early education was received from his father, a man of 
sterling character, and the author of a book entitled, His~ 
toxical Studies Concerning the Albigenses. 

He passed from his father's care to the college of Castres, 
then to the lycte of Toulouse, and finally to the lycte Louis- 
le-Ghrand at Paris. His fellow-pupils recall with pleasure, 
his triumphs at these institutions of learning. His brilliant 
intellectual powers, his vivid imagination* his well-stored 
memory, and his unwearied industry, marked him as des- 
tined to render signal services to his race. 

He entered the Ecole NormcUe Supe*rieure in 1862. His 
tastes led him to philosophical studies ; indeed, he had 
already manifested a strong tendency to moral and intel- 
lectual science. Yet his intensely practical nature could 
not long remain satisfied with metaphysical subtleties where 
he found no sure foot-hold. He became a warm advocate 
of experimental methods, and of the Baconian philosophy. 
He set himself to a study of man as he appears in society 

* Furnished by Mr. Geo. E. Gay, Principal of the Maiden High School, • 


and in the family ; to the analysis of his emotions and his 
acts, and to the deduction, from these analyses, of those 
rules which ought to preside over his conduct and his intel- 
lectual and moral development. 

He graduated from the normal school in 1865, and was 
immediately appointed professor of philosophy at the lyc4e 
of Pau. A lecture upon Rousseau, which he delivered here, 
brought upon him the severe condemnation of the ultra- 
montane party, and involved him in a controversy which 
has continued to the present time. 

In 1868, having been made a fellow of the University, he 
was sent to the lycte of Poitiers. At this place he mani- 
fested his sympathy for the common people by a course of 
lectures to workmen on moral subjects. About this time 
he received honorable mention from the Academy for an 
eloquent eulogy upon Rousseau, in which he carefully por- 
trayed the influence 'of Rousseau upon the government of 
his country and Upon methods of school instruction, giving 
him full credit for the reform in both. 

From this time forward Compayre* , s life has been filled 
with labors and with honors. In addition to his pro- 
fessional duties and philosophical writings, he has made 
careful study of the social and political questions of his 

Promoted from one post of honor to another, on the 
14th of July, 1880, he was appointed Chevalier of the 
Legion of Honor. 

In 1874 he presented his theme for bis doctor's degree 
upon the Philosophy of David Hume, a work of the highest 


philosophical thought and language, which received a prize 
from the Academy. 

Between 1874 and 1880 his lectures were largely devoted 
to the subjects most closely connected with modern thought. 
A Study of Dawrinism, The Psychology of a Child, Educa* 
tional Principles, are subjects that indicate the sweep of 
his investigations. The brilliancy of his style, the liber- 
ality of his opinions, and the extent of his learning have 
exposed him to bitter attacks from those who envy his 
powers and disbelieve his doctrines ; yet his popularity has 
continually increased, and the young professor has become 
a great power in the party of the republic, to whose cause 
he early devoted himself. 

The works which he published during this period were 
numerous. He translated with great care, adding valua- 
ble matter of his own : Bain's Inductive and Deductive 
Logic, Huxley's Hume* His Life and Philosophy, and 
Locke's Thoughts on Education. His most considerable 
work is his History of the Doctrine of Education in France 
since the Sixteenth Century, a work of two volumes, pub- 
lished in 1879, which reached its fourth edition in France 
in 1883, has been translated entire into German, and 
from which numerous extracts have been made for the 
educational journals of England and America. If we add 
to these labors his work upon the Revue Philosophique, 
and the Dictionnaire de Pe*dagogie, we shall understand 
why he was called to Paris in 1881, by the Minister of 
Public Instruction, to aid in founding the Ecole Normale 
SupeWieure des InstUutrices, de Fonlenay-aux-Roses. He 


successfully arranged the course of instruction for this 
school. In the same year he assisted in the organization 
of a new school at Sevres, which prepares young teachers 
for the course of instruction in the normal schools. 

In 1880 he published his Manual of Civil and Moral 
Instruction, in two courses, or parts. This book has had 
a remarkable career. In less than three years more than 
three hundred thousand copies of the first part, and over 
five hundred thousand of the second part, were sold. 

In 1882, in conjunction with a friend, M. A. Delplan, 
an author of merit, he published his Civil and Moral Lec- 
tures. In 1883 he published a Course of Civil Instruction 
for normal schools. 

Compayre" entered political life in 1881, having been 
elected deputy from the arrondissement of Lavaur in Tarn. 
He occupies a distinguished position among the men of 
to-day ; his character, his talents, his popularity, and his 
devotion to the cause of civil and intellectual freedom, 
give him the assurance of a place no less important among 
the men of the future. 

In his personal appearance Compayre* combines the 
scholar and the man of the world. His dark hair, parted 
in the middle, is combed back from a forehead very high 
and very broad. His eye 'is bright and piercing, and his 
face, clean shaven except upon the upper lip, bears the 
impress of both his ingenuousness and his indomitably 







1 . Preliminary Considerations. — A German historian of 
philosophy begins his work by asking this question : " Was 
Adam a philosopher?" In the same way certain historians 
of pedagogy begin by learned researches upon the education 
of savages. We shall not carry our investigations so far 
back. Doubtless from the day when a human family began 
its existence, from the day when a father and a mother began 
to love their children, education had an existence. But there 
is very little practical interest in studying these obscure be- 
ginnings of pedagogy. It is a matter of erudition and curi- 


osity. 1 Besides the difficulty of gathering up the faint traces 
of primitive education, there would be but little profit in 
painfully following the slow gropings of primeval man. In 
truth, the history of pedagogy dates but from the period 
relatively recent, when human thought, in the matter of edu- 
cation, substituted reflection for instinct, art for blind nature. 
So we shall hasten to begin the study of pedagogy among 
the classical peoples, the Greeks and the Romans, after hav- 
ing thrown a rapid glance over some Eastern nations consid- 
ered either in their birthplace and remote origin, or in their 
more recent development. 

2. The Pedagogy op the Hindoos. — It would not be 
worth our while to enter into details respecting a civilization 
so different from our own as that of the Hindoos. But we 
should not forget that we are in part the descendants of thai, 
people, and that we belong to the same ethnic group, and 
that the European languages are derived from theirs. 

3. Political Caste and Religious Pantheism. — The 
spirit of caste, from the social point of view, and pantheism, 
from the religious point of view, are the characteristics of 
Hindoo society. The Indian castes constituted hereditary 

1 A knowledge of the mental and moral condition of savages serves the 
in valuable purpose of showing what education has accomplished for the 
human race. There would he much less grumbling at the tax-gatherer if 
men could clearly conceive the condition of societies where no taxes are 
levied. To know what education has actually done we need to know the 
condition of societies unaffected by systematic education. Such a book as 
Lubbock' 8 Origin of Civilization is a helpful introduction to the history of 
education. Whoever reads such a book carefully will be confronted with 
this problem: How is it that intellectual inertness, amounting almost to 
stupidity, is frequently the concomitant of an acute and persistent sense- 
training? Besides, savage tribes are historical illustrations of what has 
been produced on a large scale by " following Nature/' (P.) 


classes where social rank and special vocation were deter- 
mined, not by free choice, but by the accident of birth. The 
consequence of this was an endless routine, with no care 
either for the individuality, or the personal talents, or the 
inclination of children, and without the possibility of rising 
by personal effort above one's rank in life. 1 On the other 
hand, religious ideas came to restrict, within the limits where 
it was already imprisoned, the activity of the young Hindoo. 
God is everywhere present ; he manifests himself in all the 
phenomena of heaven and earth, in the sun and in the stars, 
in the Himalayas and in the Ganges ; he penetrates and ani- 
mates everything ; the things of sense are but the changing 
and ephemeral vestments of the unchangeable being. "With 
this pantheistic conception of the world and of life, the 
thought and the will of the Hindoo perished in the mystic 
contemplation of the soul. To become master of one's in- 
clinations ; to abandon every terrestrial thought ; after this 
life to lose one's identity, and to be annihilated by absorp- 
tion in the divine nature ; to prepare one's self by macera- 
tions and expiations for complete submersion in the original 
principle of all being, — this is the highest wisdom, the true 
happiness of the Hindoo, the ideal of all serious education." 2 

1 There is an argument for caste in the modern fiction of a " beautiful 
economy of Nature/' which plants human beings in society as it does trees 
in the earth, and thus makes education consist in the action of environment 
upon man and in the reaction of man upon his environment. To support 
existence, man needs certain endowments; but the force of circumstances 
creates these very endowments. One man is predestined to be a Red 
Indian, another a Bushman, and still another an accountant; and in each 
case the function of education is to adapt the man to the place where 
Nature has fixed him. This modern justification of caste is adroitly 
worked out by Mr. Spencer in the first chapter of his Education. (P.) 

2 Dittes, HUtoire de V education et de I'instruction, translated by Redolfi, 
1880, p. 38. 


4. Effects on Education. — It is easy to predict what 
education would become under the weight of these double 
chains, social and religious. While the ideal in our modern 
societies is more and more to enfranchise the individual, and 
to create for him personal freedom and self-consciousness, 
the effort of the Hindoo Brahmins consisted above all in 
crushing out all spontaneity, in abolishing individual predi- 
lections, by preaching the doctrine of absolute s^lf-renuncia- 
tion, of voluntary abasement, and of contempt for life. 
Man was thus born doubly a slave, — by his social condition, 
which predestinated him to the routine apprenticeship ol his 
ancestral caste, and by his mysterious dependence on the 
divine being who absorbed in himself all real activity, and 
left to human beings only the deceptive and frail appearance 
of it. 

5. Buddhist Reform. — The Buddhist reform, which so 
profoundly affected Brahmanism at about the sixth century 
B.C., did not sensibly modify, from the educational point of 
view, the ideas of the Hindoos. Buddha also taught that 
the cause of evil resides in the passions of men, and that in 
order to attain moral peace, there is no other means to be 
employed than that of self-abnegation and of the renounce- 
ment of everything selfish and personal. 

6. Conversation of Buddha and Purna. — One of the 
traditions which permit us the better to appreciate the origi- 
nal character, at once affecting and ingenuous, of Indian 
thought, is the conversation of Buddha with his disciple 
Purna about a journey the latter was going to undertake to 
the barbarians for the purpose of teaching them the new 
religion : — 

" They are men," said Buddha, " who are fiery in temper, 
passionate, cruel, furious, insolent. If they openly address 


you in words which are malicious and coarse, and become 
angry with you, what will }*ou think?" 

44 If they address me to my face in coarse and insolent 
terms, this is what I shall think : they are certainly good 
men who openly address me in malicious terms, but they will 
neither strike me with their hands nor stone me." 

44 But should they strike you with their hands and stone 
you, what will you think?" 

44 1 shall think that they are good men, gentle men, who 
strike me with their hands and stone me, but do not beat me 
with a club nor with a sword." 

44 But if they beat you with a club and with a sword?" 

44 They are good men, gentle men, who beat me with a 
club and with a sword, but they do not completely kill me." 

44 But if they were really to kill you? " 

44 They are good men, gentle men, who deliver me with so 
iittle pain from this body encumbered with defilements." 

44 Very good, Puma ! You may live in the country of 
those barbarians. Go, Puma ! Being liberated, liberate ; 
being consoled, console ; having reached Nirvana thus made 
perfect, cause others to go there." * 

Whatever there is to admire in such a strange system of 
morals should not blind us to the vices which resulted from 
its practical consequences : such as the abuse of passive 
resignation, the complete absence of the idea of right and of 
justice, and no active virtues. 

7. Effects on Education. — Little is known of the 
actual state of educational practice among the Hindoos. It 
may be said, however, that the Brahmins, the priests, had 
the exclusive charge of education. Woman, in absolute 
subjection to man, had no share whatever in instruction. 

1 Burnouf, Introduction a Vhittoire du Bouddhisme, p. 252. 


As to boys, it seems that in India there were always 
schools for their benefit; schools which were held in the 
open country under the shade of trees, or. in case of had 
weather, under sheds. Mutual instruction has been prac- 
tised in India from the remotest antiquity ; it is from here, 
in fact, that Andrew Bell, at the close of the eighteenth 
century, borrowed the idea of this mode of instruction. 
Exercises in writing were performed first upon the sand with 
a stick, then upon palm leaves with an iron style, and 
finally upon the dry leaves of the plane-tree with ink. In 
discipline there was a resort to corporal punishment ; besides 
the rod the teacher emploj*ed other original means of correc- 
tion ; for example, he threw cold water on the offender. 
The teacher, moreover, was treated with a religious respect ; 
the child must respect him as he would Buddha himself. 

The higher studies were reserved for the priestly class, 
who, long before the Christian era, successfully cultivated 
rhetoric and logic, astronomy and the mathematics. 

8. Education among the Israelites. — "If ever a peo- 
ple 1ms demonstrated the power of education, it is the people 
of Israel." ! In fact, what a singular spectacle is offered us 
by that people, which, dispossessed of its own country for 
eighteen hundred years, has been dispersed among the 
nations without losing its identity, and has maintained its 
existence without a country, without a government, and 
without a ruler, preserving with perennial energy its habits, 
its manners, and its faith ! Without losing sight of the part 
of that extraordinary vitality of the Jewish people, which is 
due to the natural endowments of the race, its tenacity of 
temperament, and its wonderful activity of intelligence, it is 
Just to attribute another part of it to the sound education, 

i Dittos, p. 49. 


at once religious and national, which the ancient Hebrews 
have transmitted by tradition to their descendants. 

9. Education, Religious and National, during the 
Primitive Period. — The chief characteristic of the educa- 
tion of the Hebrews in the earliest period of their history is 
that it was essentially domestic. During the whole Biblical 
period there is no trace of public schools, at least for young 
children. Family life is the origin of that primitive society 
where the notion of the state is almost unknown, and where 
God is the real king. 

The child was to become the faithful servant of Jehovah. 
To this end it was not needful that he should be learned. 
It was only necessary that he should learn through language 
and the instructive example of his parents the moral precepts 
and the religious beliefs of the nation. It has been very 
justly said 1 that " among all nations the direction impressed 
on education depends on the idea which they form of the 
perfect man. Among the Romans it is the brave soldier, 
inured to fatigue, and readily yielding to discipline ; among 
the Athenians it is the man who unites in himself the happy 
harmony of moral and physical perfection ; among the 
Hebrews the perfect man is the pious, virtuous man, who is 
capable of attaining the ideal traced by God himself in these 
terms : 4 Ye shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am 

The discipline was harsh, as is proved by many passages 
in the Bible : " He that spareth his rod, hateth his son," say 
the Proverbs; %l but he that loveth him chasteneth him 
betimes." 8 " Withhold not correction from the child, for if 

1 L* Education et Vinstruction chez let ancient Juifs, by J. Simon, Paris, 
1879, p. 16. 

* Levit. xix. 2. « Prov. xiii. 24. 


thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt 
beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell." 1 
And still more significant : k k Chasten thy son while there is 
hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying." 2 

Only boys, it seems, learned to read and write. As tc 
girls, they were taught to spin, to weave, to prepare food foi 
the table, to superintend the work of the household, and 
also to sing and to dance. 

In a word, intellectual culture was but an incident in the 
primitive education of the Hebrews ; the great thing, in their 
eyes, was moral and religious instruction, and education in 
love of country. Fathers taught their children the nation's 
history, and the great events that had marked the destiny 
of the people of God. That series of events celebrated 
by the great feasts which were often renewed, and in which 
the children participated, served at once to fill their hearts 
with gratitude to God and with love for their country. 

10. Progress op- Popular Instruction. — It is not easy 
to conceive to what extent the zeal for instruction was devel- 
oped among the ancient Jews in the years that followed the 
advent of Christianity. From being domestic, as it had been 
up to that time, Jewish education became public. Besides, 
it was no longer sufficient to indoctrinate children with good 
principles and wholesome moral habits ; they must also be 
instructed. From the first centuries of the Christian era, 
the Israelites approached our modern ideal, with respect to 
making education obligatory and universal. Like every 
brave nation that has been vanquished, whose energy has 
survived defeat, like the Prussians after Jena, or the 
French after 1870, the Jews sought to defend themselves 
against the effects of conquest by a great intellectual effort, 

i Prov. xxiii. 13, 14. a Prov. xix. 18. 


and to regain their lost ground by the development of popu- 
lar instruction. 

11. Organization op Schools. — In the year 64, the 
high priest, Joshua Ben Gamala, imposed on each town, 
under pain of excommunication, the obligation to support a 
school. If the town is cut in two by a river, and there is 
no means of transit by a safe bridge, a school must be estab- 
lished on each side. Even to-day we are far from having 
realized, as regards the number of schools and of teachers, 
this rule stated in the Talmud: If the number of children 
does not exceed twent} ? -five, the school shall be conducted 
by a single teacher ; for more than twenty -five, the town 
shall employ an assistant; if the number exceeds forty, 
there shall be two masters. 

12. Respect for Teachers. — In that ancient time, what 
an exalted and noble conception men had of teachers, 
" those true guardians of the city " ! Even then, how exact- 
ing were the requirements made of them ! But, on the other 
hand, how they were esteemed and respected ! The Rabbins 
required that the schoolmaster should be married ; they 
mistrusted teachers who were not at the same time heads of 
families. Is it possible to enforce the advantages of matu- 
rity and experience more delicately than in this beautiful 
language? " He who learns of a young master is like a man 
who eats green grapes, and drinks wine fresh from the 
press ; but he who has a master of mature years is like a 
man who eats ripe and delicious grapes, and drinks old 
wine." Mildness, patience, and unselfishness were recom- 
mended as the ruling virtues of the teacher. " If your 
teacher and your father," says the Talmud, " have need of 
your assistance, help your teacher before helping your 
father, for the latter has given you only the life of this 


world, while the former has secured for you the life of the 
world to come." * 

13. Method and Discipline. — The child entered school 
at the age of six. " If a child below the age of six is 
brought to your school," says the Talmud, " you need not 
receive him " ; and to indicate that after that age it is proper 
to regain the lost time, the Talmud adds, " After the age of 
six, receive the child, and load htm like an ox." On the 
contrary, other authorities of the same period, more judicious 
and far-seeing, recommend moderation in tasks, and say 
that it is necessary to treat " the young according to their 
strength, and the grown-up according to theirs." 

There was taught in the Jewish schools, along with reading 
and writing^ 2 a little of natural history, and a great deal of 
geometry and astronomy. Naturall}', the Bible was the first 
book put in the hands of children. The master interspersed 
moral lessons with the teaching of reading. He made a 
special effort to secure a correct pronunciation, and multi- 
plied his explanations in order to make sure of being under- 
stood, repeating his comments even to the four-hundredth 
time if it were necessary. It seems that the methods were 
suggestive and attractive, and the discipline relatively mild. 
There were but few marks of the proverbial severity of the 
ancient times. " Children," says the Talmud, " should be 
punished with one hand, and caressed with two." The 
Christian spirit, the spirit of him who had said u suffer the 

1 On similar grounds, Alexander declared that be owed more to Aristotle 
his teacher, than to Philip his father. (P.) 

2 What were the methods followed in teaching reading and writing? 
We are told by Renan in his Vie de Jisus that " Jesus doubtless learned to 
read and write according to the method of the East, which consists in 
patting into the hands of the child a book which he repeats in concert with 
his comrades till he knows it by heart." 


little children to come unto me," had affected the Jews them- 
selves. However, corporal punishment was tolerated to a 
certain extent, but, strange to saj-, only for children above 
the age of eleven. In case of disobedience, a pupil above 
that age might be deprived of food, and even struck with a 
strap of shoe-leather. 

14. Exclusive and Jealous Spirit. — Some reservation 
must accompany the encomiums justly due Jewish education. 
With respect to the rest of the human race, the Jewish spirit 
was mean, narrow, and malevolent. The Israelites of this 
day have retained something of these jealous and exclusive 
tendencies. At the beginning of the Christian era, the fierce 
and haughty patriotism of the Jews led them to proscribe 
whatever was of Gentile origin, whatever had not the 
sanction of the national tradition. Nothing of Greek or 
Roman culture penetrated this closed world. 1 The Jewish 
doctors covered with the same contempt him who raises 
hogs and him who teaches his son Greek science. 

15. Education among the Chinese. — We have at- 
tempted to throw into relief the educational practices of 
two Eastern nations to which the civilization of the 
West is most intimately related. A few words will suf- 
fice for the other primitive societies whose history is too 
little known, and whose civilization is too remote from 
our own, to make their plans of education anything more 
than an object of curiosity. 

1 This statement needs qualifying. "In nearly all the families of high 
rank," says the Dictionnaire de Ptdagoyie (1*~ Partie, Article Juifs), the 
daughters spoke Greek. The Rabbins did not look with any favor upon 
the study of profane philosophy ; but notwithstanding their protests, there 
were many devoted readers of Plato and Aristotle. It is said that among 
the pupils of the celebrated Gamaliel there were five hundred who studied 
the philosophy and the literature of Greece." (P.) 


China has been civilized from time immemorial, and at 
every period of her long history she has preserved her 
national characteristics. For more than three thousand 
jears an absolute uniformity has characterized this immo- 
bile people. Everything is regulated by tradition. Edu- 
cation is mechanical and formal. The preoccupation of 
teachers is to cause their pupils to acquire a mechanical 
ability, a regular and sure routine. They care more for 
appearances, for a decorous manner of conduct, than for 
a searching and profound morality. Life is but a cere- 
monial, minutely determined and punctually followed. 
There is no liberty, no glow of spontaneity. Their art 
is characterized by conventional refinement and by a 
prettiness that seems mean ; there is nothing of the grand 
and imposing. By their formalism, the Chinese educa- 
tors are the Jesuits of the East. 

16. Lao-tsze and Khung-tsze. — Towards the sixth cen- 
tury B.C. two reformers appeared in China, Lao-tsze and 
Khung-tsze. The first represents the spirit of emancipa- 
tion, of progress, of the pursuit of the ideal, of protest 
against routine. He failed. The second, on the contrary, 
who became celebrated uuder the name of Confucius, and 
to whom tradition ascribes more than three thousand 
personal disciples, secured the triumph of his ideas of 
practical, utilitarian morality, founded upon the authority 
of the State and that of the family, as well as upon the 
interest of the individual. 

A quotation from Lao-tsze will prove that human 
thought, in the sixth century B.C., had reached a high 
mark in China: — 

" Certain bad rulers would have us believe that the 
heart and the spirit of man should be left empty, but 


that instead his stomach should be filled ; that his bones 
should be strengthened rather than the power of his will; 
tliat we should always desire to have the people remain 
in a state of ignorance, for then their demands would 
be few. It is difficult, they say, to govern a people that 
are too wise. 

" These doctrines are directly opposed to what is due 
to humanity. Those in authority should come to the aid 
of the people by means of oral and written instruction ; 
so far from oppressing them and treating them as slaves, 
they should do them good in every possible way." 

In other words, it is by enlightening the people, and 
by an honest devotion to their interests, that one be- 
comes worthy to govern them. 

If the Chinese have not fully profited by these wise and 
exalted counsels, it appears that at least they have at- 
tempted to make instruction general. Hue, a Chinese 
missionary, boldly declares that China is the country of 
all countries where primary instruction is most widely dif- 
fused. To the same effect, a German writer affirms that 
in China there is not a village so miserable, nor a ham- 
let so unpretending, as not to be provided with a school 
of some kind. 1 In a country of tradition, like China, 
we can infer what once existed from what exists to-day. 
But that instruction which is so widely diffused is wholly 
superficial and tends merely to an exterior culture. As 
Dittes says, the educational method of the Chinese con- 
sists, not in developing, but in communicating. 2 

1 For a series of interesting documents on the actual state of education 
in China, consult the article Chine, in Buisson's Dictionnaire de Pid- 

* Dittes, op. cit., p. 32. 


17. Education among the Other Nations of tub 
East. — Of all the oriental nations, Eg3*pt is the one in 
which intellectual culture seems to have reached the high- 
est point, but only among men of a privileged class. 
Here, as in India, the priestly class monopolized the 
learning of the day ; it jealously guarded the depository 
of mj'sterious knowledge which it communicated only to 
the kings. The common people, divided into working 
classes, which were destined from father to son to the 
same social status, learned scarcely more than was nec- 
essary in order to practise their hereditary trades and 
to be initiated into the religious beliefs. 

In the more military but less theocratic nation, the 
Persian, efforts were made in favor of a general edu- 
cation. The religious dualism which distinguished Ormuzd, 
the principle of good, from Ahriraan, the principle of 
evil, and which promised the victory to the former, made 
it the duty of each man to contribute to this final vic- 
tory by devoting himself to a life of virtue. Hence arose 
noble efforts to attain physical and moral perfection. The 
education of the Persians in temperance and frugality has 
excited the admiration of certain Greek writers, especially 
Xenophon, and there will be found in his Cyropcedia a thrill- 
ing picture of the brave and noble manners of the ancient 
Persians. 1 

1 On a recent occasion Archdeacon Farrar referred to Persian edu- 
cation as follows : " We boast of our educational ideal. Is it nearly 
as high in some essentials as that even of some ancient and heathen 
nations long centuries before Christ came? The ancient Persians were 
worshippers of fire and of the sun ; most of their children would have 
been probably unable to pass the most elementary examination in 
physiology, but assuredly the Persian ideal might be worthy of our 
study. At the age of fourteen — the age when we turn our children 
adrift from school, and do nothing more for them — the Persians gave 


On the whole, the history of pedagogy among the people of 
the East offers us but few examples to follow. That which, 
in different degrees, characterizes primitive education is that 
it is the privilege of certain classes ; that woman is most gen- 
erally excluded from its benefits ; that in respect of the com- 
mon people it is scarcely more than the question of an 
apprenticeship to a trade, or of the art of war, or of a 
preparation for the future life ; that no appeal is made to 
the free energy of individuals, but that the great masses of 
the people in antiquity have generally lived under the har- 
assing oppression of religious conceptions, of fixed tradi- 
tions, and of political despotism. 

[18. Analytical Summary. — Speaking generally, the edu- 
cation of the primitive nations of the East had the following 
characteristics : — 

1. It was administered by the hieratic class. This was 
due to the fact that the priests were the only men of learn- 
ing, and consequently the only men who could teach. 

2. The knowledge communicated was in the main relig- 
ious, ethical, and prudential, and the final purpose of instruc- 
tion was good conduct. 

3. As the matter of instruction was knowledge bearing 
the sanction of authority, the learner was debarred from free 
inquiry, and the general tendency was towards immobility. 

4. As the knowledge of the day was embodied in lan- 
guage, the process of learning consisted in the interpretation 
of speech, and so involved a large and constant use of the 

their young nobles the four best masters whom they could find to 
teach their boys wisdom, justice, temperance, and courage — wisdom 
including worship, justice including the duty of unswerving truthful- 
ness through life, temperance including mastery over sensual tempta- 
tions, courage including a free mind opposed to all things coupled 
with guilt." (P.) 


17. Education among the Other Nations of the 
East. — Of all the oriental nations, Egypt is the one in 
which intellectual culture seems to have reached the high- 
est point, but only among men of a privileged class. 
Here, as in India, the priestly class monopolized the 
learning of the day ; it jealously guarded the depository 
of mysterious knowledge which it communicated only to 
the kings. The common people, divided into working 
classes, which were destined from father to son to the 
same social status, learned scarcely more than was nec- 
essary in order to practise their hereditary trades and 
to be initiated into the religious beliefs. 

In the more military but less theocratic nation, the 
Persian, efforts were made in favor of a general edu- 
cation. The religious dualism which distinguished Ormuzd, 
the principle of good, from Ahriman, the principle of 
evil, and which promised the victory to the former, made 
it the duty of each man to contribute to this final vic- 
tory by devoting himself to a life of virtue. Hence arose 
noble efforts to attain physical and moral perfection. The 
education of the Persians in temperance and frugality has 
excited the admiration of certain Greek writers, especially 
Xenophon, and there will be found in his Cyi'opcedia a thrill- 
ing picture of the brave and noble manners of the ancient 
Persians. 1 

1 On a recent occasion Archdeacon Farrar referred to Persian edu- 
cation as follows : " We boast of our educational ideal. Is it nearly 
as high in some essentials as that even of some ancient and heathen 
nations long centuries before Christ came? The ancient Persians were 
worshippers of fire and of the sun ; most of their children would have 
been probably unable to pass the most elementary examination in 
physiology, but assuredly the Persian ideal might be worthy of our 
study. At the age of fourteen — the age when we turn our children 
adrift from school, and do nothing more for them — the Persians gave 


On the whole, the history of pedagogy among the people of 
the East offers us but few examples to follow. That which, 
in different degrees, characterizes primitive education is that 
it is the privilege of certain classes ; that woman is most gen- 
erally excluded from its benefits ; that in respect of the com- 
mon people it is scarcely more than the question of an 
apprenticeship to a trade, or of the art of war, or of a 
preparation for the future life ; that no appeal is made to 
the free energy of individuals, but that the great masses of 
the people in antiquity have generally lived under the har- 
assing oppression of religious conceptions, of fixed tradi- 
tions, and of political despotism. 

[18. Analytical Summary. — Speaking generally, the edu- 
cation of the primitive nations of the East had the following 
characteristics : — 

1 . It was administered by the hieratic class. This was 
due to the fact that the priests were the only men of learn- 
ing, and consequently the only men who could teach. 

2. The knowledge communicated was in the main relig- 
ious, ethical, and prudential, and the final purpose of instruc- 
tion was good conduct. 

3. As the matter of instruction was knowledge bearing 
the sanction of authority, the learner was debarred from free 
inquiry, and the general tendency was towards immobility. 

4. As the knowledge of the day was embodied in lan- 
guage, the process of learning consisted in the interpretation 
of speech, and so involved a large and constant use of the 

their young nobles the four best masters whom they could find to 
teach their boys wisdom, justice, temperance, and courage — wisdom 
including worship, justice including the duty of unswerving truthful- 
ness through life, temperance including mastery over sensual tempta- 
tions, courage including a free mind opposed to all things coupled 
with guilt." (P.) 


17. Education among the Other Nations of the 
East. — Of all the oriental nations, Egypt is the one in 
which intellectual culture seems to have reached the high- 
est point, hut only among men of a privileged class. 
Here, as in India, the priestly class monopolized the 
learning of the day; it jealously guarded the depository 
of mj*sterious knowledge which it communicated only to 
the kings. The common people, divided into working 
classes, which were destined from father to son to the 
same social status, learned scarcely more than was nec- 
essary in order to practise their hereditary trades and 
to be initiated into the religious beliefs. 

In the more military but less theocratic nation, the 
Persian, efforts were made in favor of a general edu- 
cation. The religious dualism which distinguished Ormuzd, 
the principle of good, from Ahriman, the principle of 
evil, and which promised the victory to the former, made 
it the duty of each man to contribute to this final vic- 
tory by devoting himself to a life of virtue. Hence arose 
noble efforts to attain physical and moral perfection. The 
education of the Persians in temperance and frugality has 
excited the admiration of certain Greek writers, especially 
Xenophon, and there will be found in his Cyropcedia a thrill- 
ing picture of the brave and noble manners of the ancient 
Persians. 1 

1 On a recent occasion Archdeacon Farrar referred to Persian edu- 
cation as follows : " We boast of our educational ideal. Is it nearly 
as high in some essentials as that even of some ancient and heathen 
nations long centuries before Christ came? The ancient Persians were 
worshippers of fire and of the sun ; most of their children would have 
been probably unable to pass the most elementary examination in 
physiology, but assuredly the Persian ideal might be worthy of our 
study. At the age of fourteen — the age when we turn our children 
adrift from school, and do nothing more for them — the Persians gave 


On the whole, the history of pedagogy among the people of 
the East offers us but few examples to follow. That which, 
in different degrees, characterizes primitive education is that 
it is the privilege of certain classes ; that woman is most gen- 
erally excluded from its benefits ; that in respect of the com- 
mon people it is scarcely more than the question of an 
apprenticeship to a trade, or of the art of war, or of a 
preparation for the future life ; that no appeal is made to 
the free energy of individuals, but that the great masses of 
the people in antiquity have generally lived under the har- 
assing oppression of religious conceptions, of fixed tradi- 
tions, and of political despotism. 

[18. Analytical Summary. — Speaking generally, the edu- 
cation of the primitive nations of the East had the following 
characteristics : — 

1 . It was administered by the hieratic class. This was 
due to the fact that the priests were the only men of learn- 
ing, and consequently the only men who could teach. 

2. The knowledge communicated was in the main relig- 
ious, ethical, and prudential, and the final purpose of instruc- 
tion was good conduct. 

3. As the matter of instruction was knowledge bearing 
the sanction of authority, the learner was debarred from free 
inquiry, and the general tendency was towards immobility. 

' 4. As the knowledge of the day was embodied in lan- 
guage, the process of learning consisted in the interpretation 
of speech, and so involved a large and constant use of the 

their young nobles the four best masters whom they could find to 
teach their boys wisdom, justice, temperance, and courage — wisdom 
including worship, justice including the duty of unswerving truthful- 
ness through life, temperance including mastery over sensual tempta- 
tions, courage including a free mind opposed to all things coupled 
with guilt." (P.) 



memory ; and this literal memorizing of the principles and 
rules of conduct promoted stability of character. 

5. As the purpose of instruction was guidance, there was 
no appearance of the conception that one main purpose of 
education is discipline or culture. 

6. The conception of education as a means of national 
regeneration had a distinct appearance among the Jews ; and 
among this people we find one form of compulsion, — the 
obligation placed on towns to support schools. 

7. In Persia, the State appears for the first time as a dis- 
tinct agency in promoting education. 

8. In China, from time immemorial, scholarship has been 
made the condition for obtaining places in the civil service, 
and in consequence education has been made subordinate to 

9. Save to a limited extent among the Jews, woman was 
debarred from the privileges of education. 

10. In the main, education was administered so as to 
perpetuate class distinctions. There was no appearance of 
the conception that education is a universal right and a 
universal good.] 



greek pedagogy; athenian and spartan education; the schools 
of athens ; schools of grammar j schools of gymnastics j the 
palestra ; schools of mcsic ', the schools of rhetoric and of 
philosophy; socrates and the socratic method; socratic 
irony ; maieutics, or the art of giving birth to ideas \ 
examples of irony and of maieutics borrowed from the 
memorabilia of xenophon j plato and the republic j the edu- 
cation of warriors and magistrates j music and gymnastics j 
religion and art in education j the beautiful and the good j 
high intellectual education ; the laws j definition of educa- 
tion ; detailed precepts ) xenophon j the economics and the 


against toe degenerate manners of the greeks j aristotle j 
general character of his plan of education ; public edu 
tion j progressive development of human nature j physical 
education; intellectual and moral educatjon ; defects in 
the pedagogy of aristotle, and in greek pedagogy in ge 
eral; analytical summary. 

19. Greek Pedagogy. — Upon that privileged soil of 
Greece, in that brilliant Athens abounding in artists, poets, 
historians, and philosophers, in that rude Sparta celebrated 
for its discipline and manly virtues, education was rather the 
spontaneous fruit of nature, the natural product of diverse 
manners, characters, and races, than the premeditated result 
of a reflective movement of the human will. Greece, how- 
ever, had its pedagogy, because it had its legislators and its 
philosophers, the first directing education in its practical 
details, the second making theoretical inquiries into the 
essential principles underlying the development of the human 


soul. In respect of education, as of everything -else, the 
higher spiritual life of modern nations has been developed 
under the influence of Grecian antiquity. 1 

20. Athenian and Spartan Education. — In the specta- 
cle presented to us by ancient Greece, the first fact that 
strikes us by its contrast with the immobility and unity of 
the primitive societies of the East, is a freer unfolding of the 
human faculties, and consequently a diversity in tendencies 
and manners. Doubtless, in the Greek republics, the indi- 
vidual is always subordinate to the State. Even in Athens, 
little regard is paid to the essential dignity of the human 
person. But the Athenian State differs profoundly from the 
Spartan, and consequently the individual life is differently 
understood and differently directed in these two great cities. 
At Athens, while not neglecting the body, the chief preoccu- 

' pation is the training of the mind ; intellectual culture is 
pushed to an extreme, even to over-refinement; there is 
such a taste for fine speaking that it develops an abuse of 
language and reasoning which merits the disreputable name 

« of sophistry. At Sparta, mind is sacrificed to body ; physi- 
cal strength and military skill are the qualities most desired ; 
the sole care is the training of athletes and soldiers. Sobriety 
and courage are the results of this one-sided education, but 
so are ignorance and brutality. Montaigne has thrown into 
relief, not without some partiality for Sparta, these two con- 
trasted plans of education. 

".Men went to the other cities of Greece," he says, " to 
find rhetoricians, painters, and musicians, but to Lacedae- 
mon for legislators, magistrates, and captains ; at Athens 
fine speaking was taught ; but here, brave acting ; there, one 

1 Upon this subject consult the excellent study of Alexander Martin, en- 
titled Lcs Doctrines des Greet, Paris, 1881. 


learned to unravel a sophistical argument and to abate the 
imposture of insidiously twisted words ; here, to extricate 
one's self from the enticements of pleasure and to overcome 
the menaces of fortune and death by a manly courage. The 
Athenians busied themselves with words, but the Spartans 
with things ; with the former, there was a continual activity of 
the tongue ; with the latter, a continual activity of the soul.'' l 
The last remark is not just. The daily exercises of the 
young Spartans, — jumping, running, wrestling, playing with 
lances and at quoits, — could not be regarded as intellectual 
occupations. On the other hand, in learning to talk,' the 
young Athenians learned also to feel and to think. 

21. The Schools of Athens. — The Athenian legislator, 
Solon, had placed physical and intellectual training upon the 
same footing. Children, he said, ought, above everything 
else, to learn " to swim and to read." It seems that the 
education of the body was the chief preoccupation of the 
Athenian republic. While the organization of schools for 
grammar and music was left to private enterprise, the State 
took a part in the direction of the gymnasia. The director 
of the gymnasium, or the gymnasiarch, was elected each 
year by the assembly of the people. Nevertheless, Athenian 
education became more and more a course in literary train- 
ing, especially towards the sixth century b.c. 

The Athenian child remained in the charge of a nurse and 
an attendant up to his sixth or seventh year. At the age ot 
seven, a pedagogue, that is, a " conductor of children," 
usually a slave, was charged with the oversight of the child. 
Conducted by his pedagogue, the pupil attended by turns the 
school for grammar, the palestra,* or school for gymnastics, 

1 Montaigne, Essais, I. 1. chap. xxrv. 

8 The palestra was the school of gymnastics for children; the gym' 
nasium was set apart for adults and grown men. 


and the school for music. The grammarian, who sometimes 
gave his lessons in the open air, in the streets and on the 
public squares, taught reading, writing, and mythology. 
Homer was the boy's reading-book. Instruction in gymnas- 
tics was given in connection with instruction in grammar. 
It was begun in the palestra and continued in the gymnasium. 
Instruction in music succeeded the training in grammar and 
gymnastics. The music-master, or citharist, first taught his 
pupils to sing, and then to play upon the stringed instru- 
ments, the lyre and the cithara. We know what value the 
Athenians attributed to music. Plato and Aristotle agree in 
thinking that the rhythm and harmony of music inspire the 
soul with the love of order, with harmoniousness, regularity, 
and a soothing of the passions. We must recollect, more- 
over, that music held a large place in the actual life of the 
Greeks. The laws were promulgated in song. It was neces- 
sary to sing in order to fulfil one's religious duties. It was 
held that the education of Themistocles had been neglected 
because he had not learned music. "We must regard the 
Greeks," says Montesquieu, u as a race of athletes and 
fighters. Now those exercises, so proper to make men hardy 
and fierce, had need of being tempered by others which could 
soften the manners. Music, which affected the soul through 
the organs of the body, was exactly adapted to this purpose." l 

In the elementary schools of Athens, at least at the first, 
the current discipline was severe. Aristophanes, bewailing 
the degeneracy of his time, recalls in these terms the good 
order that reigned in the olden school : - — 

" I will relate what was the ancient education in the happy 
time when I taught (it is Justice who speaks) and when 
modesty was the rule. Then the boys came out of each 

1 Montesquieu, Esprit des lois, I. iv. chap. vhi. 

2 Aristophanes, Clouds, 


street with bare heads and feet, and, regardless of rain and 
snow, went together in the most perfect order towards the 
school for music. There they were seated quietly and 
modestly. They were not permitted to cross their legs, and 
they learned some good songs. The master sang the song 
for them slowly and with gravity. If some one took a notion 
to sing with soft and studied inflections, he was severely 

22. The Sohools of Rhetoric and Philosophy. — 
Grammar, gymnastics, and music proper, represented the 
elementary instruction of the young Athenian. But this 
instruction was reserved for citizens in easy circumstances. 
The poor, according to the intentions of Solon, were to 
learn only reading, swimming, and a trade. The privilege 
of instruction became still more exclusive in the case of the 
schools of rhetoric and philosophy frequented by those of 
adult years. 

It would be beside our purpose to speak in this place of 
the courses in literature, or to make known the methods of 
those teachers of rhetoric who taught eloquence to all who 
presented themselves for instruction, either in the public 
squares or in the gymnasia. The sophists, those itinerant 
philosophers who went from city to city offering courses at 
high rates of tuition, and teaching the art of speaking on 
every subject, and of making a plea for error and injustice 
just as skilfully as for justice and truth, at the same time 
made illustrious and disgraceful the teaching of eloquence. 1 
The philosophers were more worthy of their task. Socrates, 

1 The reputation of the sophists has heen considerably raised by Mr. 
Grote {History of Greece, vol. VIII.). For an entertaining account of a 
sophist of a later age, see Pliny's Letters, Melmoth's translation, Book II., 
Letter m. See also Blackie's Four Phases of Morals, and Ferrier's Greek 
Philosophy. (P.) 


Plato, and Aristotle were illustrious professors of ethics. 
Socrates had do regular school, but he grouped about him 
distinguished young meu aud initiated them into learning 
and virtue. The Academy of Plato and the Lyceum of Aris- 
totle were great schools of philosophy, real private univer- 
sities, each directed by a single man. The teaching given 
in these schools has traversed the ages, and has been pre- 
served in imperishable books. Moreover, those illustrious 
spirits of Greece have transmitted to us either methods or 
general ideas which the history of pedagogy should reverently 
collect, as the first serious efforts of human reflection on the 
art of education. 

23. Socrates : the Socratic Method. — Socrates spent 
his life in teaching, and in teaching according to an original 
method, which has preserved his name. He had the genius 
of interrogation. To question all whom he met, either at the 
gymnasium or in the streets ; to question the sophists in order 
to convince them of their errors and to confound their 
arrogance, and presumptuous young men in order to teach 
them the truth of which they were ignorant ; to question 
great and small, statesmen and masons, now Pericles and 
now a shopkeeper; to question always aud everywhere in 
order to compel every one to form clear ideas ; such was the 
constant occupation and passion of his life. When he 
allowed himself to dream of the future life, he said smilingly 
that he hoped to continue in the Elysian Fields the habits of 
the Athenian Agora, and still to interrogate the shades of 
the mighty dead. With Socrates, conversation became an 
art, and the dialogue a method. He scarcely ever employed 
the didactic form, or that of direct teaching. He addressed 
himself to his interlocutor, urged him to set forth his ideas, 
harassed him with questions often somewhat subtile, skil- 
fully led him to recognize the truth which he himself had in 


mind, or the rather permitted him to go off on a false route 
in order finallj* to discover to him his error and to sport with 
his confusion ; and all this with an art of wonderful analysis, 
with a subtilty of reasoning pushed almost to an extreme, 
and also with a great simplicity of language, and with 
examples borrowed from common life, such as we are accus- 
tomed to call intuitive examples. 

24. The Socratic Irony. — To form an intelligible ac- 
<*>unt of the Socratic method, it is necessary to distinguish 
its two essential phases. Socrates followed a double method 
and sought a double end. 

In the first case, he wished to make war against error and 
to refute false opinions. Then he resorted to what has been 
called the Socratic irony. 1 He raised a question as one 
who simply desired to be instructed. If there was the 
statement of an error in the reply of the respondent, Socra- 
tes made no objection to it, but pretended to espouse the 
ideas and sentiments of his interlocutor. Then, by questions 
which were adroit and sometimes insidious, he forced him to 
develop his opinions, and to display, so to speak, the whole 
extent of his foil}*, and the next instant slyly brought him 
face to face with the consequences, which were so absurd and 
contradictory that he ended in losing confidence, in becoming 
involved in his conclusions, and finally in making confession 
of his errors. 

25. Maieutics, or the Art of giving Birth to Ideas. — 
Analogous processes constituted the other part of the So- 
cratic method, that which he himself called maieutics, or the 
art of giving birth to ideas. 

1 The primitive meaning of the Greek word tlpwvda, irony, is interroga- 
tion. Socrates gave a jeering, ironical turn to his questions, and in conse- 
quence this word lost its primary meaning, and took the one which we 
give it at this time. 


Socrates was convinced that the human mind in its normal 
condition discovers certain truths through its own energies, 
provided one knows how to lead it and stimulate it ; and so 
he here appealed to the spontaneity of his auditor, to his 
innate powers, and thus gently led him on his way by easy 
transitions to the opinion which he wished to make him 
admit. However, he applied this method only to the search 
for truths which could either be suggested by the intuitions 
of reason and common sense, or determined by a natural 
induction, that is, psychological, ethical, and religious truths. 1 

26. Examples of Irony and Maieutics. — We can best 
give an exact idea of the Socratic method by means of ex- 
amples. These examples are to be found in the writings of 
the disciples of Socrates, as in the Dialogues of Plato, such 
as the Gorgias, the Euthydemus, etc., and still better in the 
Memorabilia of Xenophon, where the thought of the master 
and his manner of teaching are more faithfully reproduced 
than in the bold and original compositions of Plato. While 
recognizing the insufficiency of these extracts, we shall here 
make two quotations, in which is displayed either his incisive, 
critical spirit, or his suggestive and fruitful method: " The 
thirty tyrants had put many of the most distinguished citi- 
zens to death, and had encouraged others to acts of injustice. 
'It would surprise me,' said Socrates one day, 'if the keeper 
of a flock, who had killed one part of it and had made the 

1 The Socratic method for the discovery of truth can be employed only 
in those cases where the pupil has the crude materials of the new knowl- 
edge actually in store. Psychology, logic, ethics, mathematics, and per- 
haps grammar and rhetoric, fall within the sphere of the Socratic method; 
but to apply this method of instruction to geography, history, geology, and, 
in general, to subjects where the material is inaccessible, is palpably absurd. 
The Socratic dialogue, in its negative phase, is aimed at presumption, arro- 
gance, and pretentious ignorance; but it is sometimes misused to badger 
and bewilder an honest and docile pupil. (P.) 


other part poor, would not confess that he was a bad herds- 
man ; but it would surprise me still more if a man standing 
at the head of his fellow-citizens should destroy a part of 
them and corrupt the rest, and were not to blush at his con- 
duct and confess himself a bad magistrate.' This remark 
haying come to the ears of the Thirty, Critias and Charicles 
sent for Socrates, showed him the law, and forbade him to 
hold conversation with the young. 

"Socrates inquired of them if he might be permitted to ask 
questions touching what might seem obscure to him in this 
prohibition. Upon their granting this permission : 4 1 am 
prepared,' he said, 4 to obey the laws, but that I may not 
violate them through ignorance, I would have you clearly in- 
form me whether you interdict the art of speaking because it 
belongs to the number of things which are good, or because 
it belongs to the number of things which are bad. In the 
first case, one ought henceforth to abstain from speaking 
what is good ; in the second, it is clear that the effort should 
be to speak what is right.' 

"Thereupon Charicles became angry, and said: 'Since 
you do not understand us, we will give you something easier 
to comprehend : we forbid you absolutely to hold conversa- 
tion with the young.' 'In order that it may be clearly seen,' 
said Socrates, 4 whether I depart from what is enjoined, tell 
me at what age a youth becomes a man.' 4 At the time 
when he is eligible to the senate, for he has not acquired 
prudence till then ; so do not speak to young men who are 
below the age of thirty.' 

44 ' But if I wish to buy something of a merchant who is 
below the age of thirty, may I ask him at what price he sells 

44 4 Certainly you may ask such a question; but you are 
accustomed to raise inquiries about multitudes of things 



which are perfectly well known to you ; it is this which is 

" ' So I most not reply to a young man who asks me where 
Charicles lives, or where Critias is.' ' You may reply to such 
questions,' said Charicles. ' But recollect, Socrates/ added 
Critias, ' you must let alone the shoemakers, and smiths, and 
other artisans, for I think they must already be very much 
worn out by being so often in your mouth.' 

" ' I must, therefore,' said Socrates, 'forego the illustra- 
tions I draw from these occupations relative to justice, piety, 
and all the virtues.' " * 

In the final passage of this cutting dialogue, observe the 
elevation of tone and the gravity of thought. So Socrates 
had marvellous skill in allying enthusiasm with irony. 

Here is an extract in which Socrates applies the maieutic 
art to the establishment of a moral truth, the belief in God : 

U I will mention a conversation he once had in my pres- 
ence with Aristodemus, surnamed the Little, concerning the 
gods. He know that Aristodemus neither sacrificed to the 
gods, nor consulted the oracles, but ridiculed those who took 
part in these religious observances. 'Tell me, Aristodemus/ 
said he, 'are there men whose talents you admire?' 'There 
are/ he replied. ' Then tell us their names/ said Socrates. 
' In epic poetry I especially admire Homer ; in dithyrambic, 
Melanippides ; in tragedy, Sophocles ; in statuary, Poly- 
cletus ; in painting, Zeuxis.' ' But what artists do you think 
most worth) 7 of admiration, those who form images destitute 
of sense and movement, or those who produce animated 
beings, endowed with the faculty of thinking and acting?' 
1 Those who form animated beings, for these are the work of 
intelligence and not of chance.' ' And which do you regard 

1 Memorabilia, I. n 


as the creation of intelligence, and which the product of 
chance, those works whose purpose cannot be recognized, 
or those whose utility is manifest?' 'It is reasonable to 
attribute to an intelligence the works which have some useful 
purpose.' " * 

Socrates then points out to Aristodemus how admirably 
the different organs of the human body are adapted to the 
functions of life and to the use of man. And so proceeding 
from example to example, from induction to induction, 
always keeping the mind of his auditor alert by the questions 
he raises, and the answers that he suggests, forcing him to 
do his share of the work, and giving him an equal share in 
the train of reasoning, he finally brings him to the goal 
which is to make him recognize the existence of God. 

27. The Republic op Plato. — " Would you form," 
said J. J. Rousseau, " an idea of public education? read 
the Republic of Plato. It is the finest treatise on education 
ever written." For truth's sake we must discount the en- 
thusiasm of Rousseau. The Republic doubtless contains 
some elements of a wise and practical scheme of education ; 
but, on the whole, it is but an ideal creation, a compound of 
paradoxes and chimeras. In Plato's ideal commonwealth, the 
individual and 'the family itself are sacrificed to the State. 
Woman becomes so much like man as to be subjected to 
the same gymnastic exercises ; she too must be a soldier as 
he is. Children know neither father nor mother. From the 
day of their birth the}' are given in charge of common nurses, 
veritable public functionaries. In that common fold, " care 
shall be taken that no mother recognize her offspring." We 
may guess that in making this pompous eulogy of the Repub" 
frc, the paradoxical author of the £mile hoped to prepare 

1 Memorabilia, I. iv. 


the reader for giving a complaisant welcome to his own 

28. The Education of Warriors and Magistrates. — . 
Plato, by some unexplained recollection of the social con* 
stitution of the Hindoos, established three castes in his idea] 
State, — laborers and artisans, warriors, and magistrates. 
There was no education for laborers and artisans ; it was 
sufficient for men of this caste to learn a trade. In politics, 
Plato is an aristocrat; he feels a disdain for the people, 
" that robust and indocile animal." It should be observed, 
however, that the barriers which he set up between these 
three social orders are not insuperable. If a child of the 
inferior class gives evidence of exceptional qualities, he must 
be admitted to the superior class; and so if the son of a 
warrior or of a magistrate is notably incompetent and un- 
worthy of his rank, he must suffer forfeiture, and become 
artisan or laborer. 

As to the education which he designs for the warriors and 
the magistrates, Plato is minutely careful in regulating it. 
The education of the warriors comprises two parts, — music 
and gymnastics. The education of the magistrates consists 
of a training in philosophy of a high grade ; they are ini- 
tiated into all the sciences and into metaphysics. Plato's 
statesmen must be, not priests, as in the East, but scholars 
and philosophers. 

29. Music and Gymnastics. — Although Plato attaches a 
high value to gymnastics, he gives precedence to music. 
Before forming the body, Plato, the idealist, would form 
the soul, because it is the soul, according to him, which, bv 
its own virtue, gives to the body all the perfection of which 
it is capable. Even in physical exercises, the purpose should 
be to give increased vigor to the soul : " In the training of 


the body, our young men shall aim, above everything else, 
at augmenting moral power/' Note this striking picture of 
the man who trains only his body : " Let a man apply him- 
self to gymnastics, and become trained, and eat much, and 
wholly neglect music and philosophy, and at first his body 
will become strengthened ; but if he does nothing else, and 
holds no converse with the Muses, though his soul have some 
natural inclination to learn, yet if it remains uncultivated 
by acquiring knowledge, by inquiry, by discourse, in a word, 
by some department of music, that is, by intellectual educa- 
tion, it will insensibly become weak, deaf, and blind. Like 
a wild beast, such a man will live in ignorance and rudeness, 
with neither grace nor politeness." However, Plato is far 
from despising health and physical strength. On the con- 
trary, it is a reproach to him that he has imposed on the 
citizens of his Republic the obligation of being physically 
sound, and of having excluded from it all those whose in- 
firmities and feeble constitution condemn them to " drag 
out a dying life." The right to live, in Plato's city, as in 
the most of ancient societies, belonged only to men of robust 
health. The weak, the ailing, the wretched, all who arc of 
infirm constitution, — Plato does not go so far as ordering 
such to be killed, but, what amounts almost to the same 
thing, — " they shall be exposed," that is, left to die. The 
good of the State demands that every man be sacrificed 
whose health renders him unfit for civil duties. This cruel 
and implacable doctrine shocks us in the case of him whom 
Montaigne calls the divine Plato, and shocks us even more 
when we discover it among contemporary philosophers, whom 
the inspirations of Christian charity or the feeling of human 
fraternity should have preserved from such rank heartless- 
ness. Is it not Herbert Spencer who blames modern so- 
cieties for nourishing the diseased and assisting the infirm? 


30. Religion and Art in Education. — Plato had 
formed a high ideal of the function of art in education, but 
this did not prevent him from being severe against certain 
forms of art, particularly comedy and tragedy, and poetry 
in general. He would have the poets expelled from the city 
and conducted to the frontier, though paying them homage 
with perfumes which will continue to be shed upon their 
heads, and with flowers with which they will ever be crowned. 
He admits no other poetry than that which reproduces the 
manners and discourse of a good man, and celebrates the 
brave deeds of the gods, or chants their glory. As a severe 
moralist and worshipper of the divine goodness, he condemns 
the poets of his time, either because they attribute to the 
divinity the vices and passions of men, or because they invest 
the imagination with base fears as they speak of Cocytus 
and the Styx, and portray a frightful hell and gods always 
mad with desire to persecute the human race. Elsewhere, 
in the Laws, Plato explains his conception of religion. He 
says that the religious books placed in the hands of children 
should be selected with as much care as the milk of a nurse. 
God is an infinite goodness who watches over men, and he 
should be honored, not by sacrifices and vain ceremonies, 
but by lives of justice and virtue. 

For making men moral, Plato counts more upon art than 
upon religious feeling. To love letters, to hold converse 
with the Muses, to cultivate music and dancing, such, in the 
opinion of the noble spirits of Athens, is the natural route 
towards moral perfection. In their view, moral education 
is above all an education in art. The soul rises to the good 
through the beautiful. "Beautiful and good" (koAo* koI 
&ya06s) are two words constantly associated in the speech of 
the Greeks. Even to-dav we have much to learn from 
reflections like these: "We ought," says Plato, "to seek 


oat artiste who by the power of genius can trace out the 
nature of the fair and the graceful, that our young men, 
dwelling, as it were, in a healthful region, may drink in good 
from every quarter, whence any emanation from noble works 
may strike upon their eye or their ear, like a gale wafting 
health from salubrious lands, and win them imperceptibly 
from their earliest years into resemblance, love, and harmony 
with the true beauty of reason. 

tfc Is it not, then, on these accounts that we attach such 
supreme importance to a musical education, because rhythm 
and harmony sink most deeply into the recesses of the soul, 
bringing gracefulness in their train, and making a man 
gracef ul if he be rightly nurtured ; but if not, the reverse ? 
and also because he that has been duly nurtured therein will 
have the keenest eye for defects, whether in the failures of 
art, or in the misgrowths of nature ; and feeling a most just 
disdain for them, will commend beautiful objects, and gladly 
receive them into his soul, and feed upon them, and grow to be 
noble and good ; whereas he will rightly censure and hate all 
repulsive objects, even in his childhood, before he is able to 
be reasoned with ; and when reason comes, he will welcome 
her most cordially who can recognize her by the instinct 
of relationship, and because he has been thus nurtured ? " 1 

31. High Intellectual Education. — In the Republic 
of Plato the intellectual education of the warrior class 
remains exclusively literary and Aesthetic. In addition to 
this, the education of the ruling class is to be scientific and 
philosophic. The future magistrate, after having received 
the ordinary instruction up to the age of twenty, is to be 
initiated into the abstract sciences, mathematics, geometry, 

1 Republic, 401, 402. I have quoted from the version of Vaughan and 
Daviee. (P.) 


and astronomy. To this scientific education, which is to 
continue for ten years, there will succeed for five years the 
study of dialectics, 1 or philosophy, whicli develops the highest 
faculty of man, the reason, and teaches him to discover, 
through and beyond the fleeting appearances of the world of 
sense, the eternal verities and the essence of things. But 
Plato prolongs the education of his magistrates still further. 
After having given them the nurture of reason and intellectual 
insight, he sends them back to the cavern 2 at the age of 
thirty-five, that is, calls them back to public life, and makes 
them pass through all kinds of civil and military employ- 
ments, until finally, at the age of fifty, in possession of all 
the endowments assured by consummate experience super- 
added to profound knowledge, they are fitted to be charged 
with the burdens of office. In the Republic of Plato states- 
men are not improvised. And yet in this elaborate sj-stem 
of instruction Plato omits two subjects of great importance. 
On the one hand, he entirely omits the physical and natural 
sciences, because, in his mystic idealism, things of sense are 
delusive and unreal images, and so did not appear to him 
worthy of arresting the attention of the mind ; and on the 
other, though coming after Herodotus, and though a con- 

* Dialectic, as used in the Republic, is neither philosophy nor logic. 
I doubt whether it can be considered a subject of instruction at all. It 
is rather a method or an exercise, the purpose of which is to subject 
received opinions, formulated knowledge, current beliefs, etc., to a sifting 
or analysis for the purpose of distinguishing the real from the apparent, 
the true from the false. The Socratic dialogues are examples of the dialectic 
method. Dialectic might be defined as the method of thought proper or the 
discursive reason in act. (P.) 

2 See the allegory of the cavern, Republic, Book vn. In Plato's 
scheme of education, knowing is to precede doing, thus following Socra- 
tes (Memorabilia, IV. chap, n.) and Bias (TvuBt ko\ t6t* wpdrrt), and 
anticipating Bacon (''studies perfect nature, and are perfected by ex- 
perience"). (P.) * 


temporary of Thucydides, he makes do mention of history, 
doubtless through a contempt for tradition and the past. 

32. The Laws. — In the Laws, the work of his old age, 
Plato disavows in part the chimeras of the Republic, and 
qualifies the radicalism of that earlier work. The philoso- 
pher descends to the earth and really condescends to the 
Actual state of humanity. He renounces the distinction of 
social castes, and his very practical and very minute precepts 
are applied without distinction to children of all classes. 1 

First note this excellent definition of the end of education : 
" A good education is that which gives to the body and to 
the soul all the beauty and all the perfection of which they 
are capable." As to methods, it seems that Plato hesitates 
between the doctrine of effort and the doctrine of attractive 
toil. In fact, he says on the one hand that education is a 
very skilful discipline which, by way of amusement, 2 leads the 
mind of the child to love that which is to make it finished. 
On the other hand, he protests against the weakness of those 
parents who seek to spare their children every trouble and 
every pain. " I am persuaded," he says, u that the inclina- 
tion to humor the likings of children is the surest of all ways 
to spoil them. We should not make too much haste in our 
search after what is pleasurable, especially as we shall never 
be wholly exempt from what is painful." 

Let us add this definition of a good education: "I call 
education the virtue which is shown by children when the 
feelings of joy or of sorrow, of love or of hate, which arise 
in their souls, are made conformable to order." 

1 See especially Book vn. of the Laws, 

2 Compare also this quotation: "A free mind ought to learn nothing as 
a slave. The lesson that is made to enter the mind by force, will not 
remain there. Then use no violence towards children ; the rather, canst 
them to learn while playing." 


With the statement of these principles, Plato enters into 
details. For children up to the age of six, he recommends 
the use of swaddling-clothes. The habit of rocking, the 
natural plays which children find out for themselves, the 
separation of the sexes ; swimming, the bow, and the javelin, 
for boys ; wrestling for giving bodily vigor, and dancing, for 
graceful movement; reading and writing reserved till the 
tenth year and learned for three years. 

It would require too much time to follow the philosopher 
to the end. In the rules he proposes, he makes a near 
approach to the practices followed by the Athenians of his 
day. The Republic was a work of pure imagination. The 
Laws are scarcely more than a commentary on the actual 
state of practice. But here we still find what was nearest 
the soul of Plato, the constant search for a higher morality. 

33. Xenophon. — As an educator, Xenophon obeyed two 
different influences. His master, Socrates, was his good 
genius. That graceful and charming book, the Economics, 
was written under the benign and tempered inspiration of the 
great Athenian sage. But Xenophon also had his evil genius, 
— the immoderate enthusiasm which he felt for Sparta, 
her institutions and her laws. The first book of the Cyropce- 
dia, which relates the rules of Persian education, is an unfor- 
tunate imitation of the laws of Lycurgus. 

\ 34. The Economics, and the Education of Woman. 

All should read the Economics, that charming sketch of the 
education of woman. We may say of this little work what 
Renan has said of the writings of Plutarch on the same sub- 
ject : " Where shall we find a more charming ideal of family 
life? What good nature! What sweetness of manners! 
What chaste and lovable simplicity ! " Before her marriage, 
the Athenian maiden has learned only to spin wool, to be 


discreet, and to ask no questions, — virtues purely negative. 
Xenophon assigns to her husband the duty of training her 
mind and of teaching her the positive duties of family life, — 
order, economy, kindness to slaves, and tender care of 
children. As a matter of fact, the Athenian woman was 
still held in a position of inferiority. Shut up in her own 
apartments, it was an exception that she learned to read and 
write ; it was very rare that she was instructed in the arts 
and sciences. The idea of human dignity and of the value 
of the human person had not yet appeared. Man had value 
only in proportion to the services which he could render the 
State, or commonwealth, and woman formed no part of the 
commonwealth. Xenophon has the merit of rising above 
the prejudices of his time, and of approaching the ideal of 
the modern family, in calling woman to participate more inti- 
mately in the affairs of the house and in the occupations of 
the husband. 1 

35. The Cyrop^edia. — The Cyropcedia is not worthy of 
the same commendation. Under the pretext of describing 
the organization of the Persian State, Xenophon here traces, 
after his manner, the plan of an education absolutely uniform 
and exclusively military. There is no domestic education, 
no individual liberty, no interest in letters and arts. When 
the period of infancy is over, the young Persian is made 
subject to military duty, and must not leave the encamp- 
ment, even at night. The state is but a camp, and human 
existence a perpetual military parade. Montaigne praises 
Xenophon for having said that the Persians taught their 
children virtue " as other nations do letters." But it ia 
difficult to form an estimate of the methods which were fol- 
lowed in these schools of justice and temperance, and we 

1 See particularly Chaps, vu. and vni. 


may be allowed to suspect the efficiency of the means pro- 
posed by Xenophon ; for example, that which consisted in 
transforming the petty quarrels of the scholars into regular 
trials which were followed by sentences, acquittals, or convic- 
tions. The author of the Cyrqpcedia is on surer ground 
when, recollecting his own studies, he recommends the study 
of history to those who would become just. He teaches 
temperance by practice rather than by precept ; his pupils 
have only bread for their food, only cresses for seasoning, 
and only water for their drink. 

Whatever may be the faults and the fancies of the Cyro- 
pcedia, we must recollect, as a partial excuse for them, that 
the purpose of the writer in tracing this picture of a simple, 
frugal, and courageous life, was to induce a reaction against 
jhe excesses of the fashionable and formal life of the 
Athenians. As Rousseau, in the middle of the eighteenth, 
century, protested against the license and the artificial 
manners of his time by advising an imaginary return to 
nature, so Xenophon, a contemporary of the sophists, held 
forth the sturdy virtues of the Persians in opposition to the 
degenerate manners of the Greeks and the refinements of an 
advanced civilization. 

36. Aristotle: General Character of his Plan op 
Education. — By his vast attainments, by his encyclopaedic 
knowledge, by the experimental nature of his researches, and 
by the positive and practical tendencies of his genius, 
Aristotle was enabled to excel Plato in clearness of insight 
into pedagogical questions. He had another advantage over 
Plato in having known and enjoyed the delights of family 
life, and in having loved and trained his own children, of 
whom he said, "parents love their children as a part of 
themselves." Let us add, finally, that he was a practical 
teacher, since he was the preceptor of Alexander from 343 


to 340 B.C. Such opportunities, superadded to the force of 
the most mighty geuius the world has ever seen, give promise 
of a competent and clear-sighted educator. Unfortunately, 
we have lost the treatise, On Education (^rcpi iratoVa?) , which 
on the authority of Diogenes Laertius, Aristotle is said to 
have composed ; and to form some conception of his ideas 
on education, we have at our disposal only some imperfect 
sketches, some portions, and those in an imperfect state, 
of his treatises on ethics and politics. 1 

Whoever labors to give stability to the family, and to 
tighten its bond of union, labors also for the promotion of 
education. Even in this respect, education is under great 
obligations to Aristotle.* In him the communism of Plato 
finds an able critic. That feeling of affection which we of 
to-day would call charity or fraternity, he declared to be the 
guaranty and the foundation of social life. Now, communism 
weakens this feeling by diluting it, just as a little honey 
dropped into a large quantity of water thereby loses all its 
sweetness. ' 4 There are two things which materially con- 
tribute to the rise of interest and attachment in the hearts of 
men, — property and the feeling of affection." It was thus 
in the name of good sense, and in opposition to the dis- 
tempered fancies of Plato, that Aristotle vindicated the 
rights of the family and the individual. 

37. Public Education. — But Aristotle does not go so far 
as his premises would seem to lead him, and relinquish to 
parents the care of educating their children. In accordance 
with the general tendencies of antiquity, he declares himself 
the partisan of an education that is public and common. 
He commends the Spartans for having ordained that " edu- 
cation should be the same for all." " As there is one end 

1 See especially the Politics, Books xv., v. 

■J- _ *- •> 


in view in every city," he says, " it is evident that education 
ought to be one and the same in all, and that this should be 
a common care, and not of each individual. ... It is the 
duty of the legislator to regulate this interest for all the 
citizens." There must, therefore, be the intervention of 
the State, not from the day of birth, as Plato would have it, 
for the nursing of infants, but only at the age of seven, for 
instructing and training them in the habits of virtue. 

What, then, should be the training of the child, and upon 
what subjects would Aristotle direct his studies ? 

38. The Progressive Development op Human Nature. 
— An essential and incontrovertible distinction is taken by 
the Greek philosopher as his starting-point. There are, he 
says, three moments, throe stages, in human development: 
first, there is the physical life of the body ; then, instinct and 
sensibility, or the irrational part of the soul ; and finally, the 
intelligence, or the reason. From this, Aristotle concludes 
that the course of discipline and study should be graduated 
according to these three degrees of life. "The first care 
should necessarily be given to the body rather than to the 
mind ; and then to that part of the spiritual nature which is 
the seat of the desires." But he adds this important obser- 
vation, which is a refutation of Rousseau in advance : " In the 
care which we give to the sensibilities, we must not leave out 
of account the intelligence ; and in our care of the body, we 
must not forget the soul." 

39. Physical Education, -f- The son of a physician of the 
Macedonian court, and well versed in the natural sciences, 
Aristotle is very happy in his treatment of physical educa- 
tion. It begins before the child is born, even before it has 
been conceived. Consequently ho enjoins a legal regulation 
of marriages, interdicts unions that are too early or too late, 


indicates the climatic conditions most favorable for marriage, 
and gives mothers wise counsels on matters of hygiene, rec- 
ommending them to nurse their own children, and prescrib- 
ing cold baths. Such, in outline, is a plan which a modern 
hygieuist would not disavow. 

40. Intellectual and Moral Education. — It was the 
opinion of Aristotle that intellectual education should not 
begin before the age of five. But, in accordance with the 
principle stated above, this period of waiting should not be 
the occasion of loss to the intelligence of the child ; even his 
play should be a preparation for the work to which he will 
apply himself at a later period. On the other hand, Aristotle 
strongly insists on the necessity of shielding the child from 
all pernicious influences, such as those which come from 
association with slaves, or from immoral plays. 

In accord with all his contemporaries, Aristotle includes 
grammar, gymnastics, and music, among the elements of 
instruction. To these he adds drawing. But he is chiefly 
preoccupied with music, by reason of the moral influence 
which he attributes to it. lie shared the prepossession 
which caused the Greeks to say, that to relax or to reform 
the manners of a people, it suffices to add a string to the 
lyre or to take one from it. 1 

Aristotle was strongly preoccupied with moral education. 
Like Plato, he insists on the greatest care in forming the 
moral habits of early life. In his different writings on ethics 
he has discussed different human virtues in a spirit at once 
wise, practical, and liberal. No one lias better sung the 

1 It seems impossible to comprehend the almost sovereign power which 
the Greeks ascribed to music, unless we conceive that the Greek was en- 
dowed with peculiar and extreme sensitiveness. Perhaps there is special 
significance in the story of Orpheus and his lyre. (P.) 


praises of justice, of which he says, " Neither the evening 
nor the morniug star inspires as much respect as justice." 

It would do Aristotle injustice to seek for a complete 
expression of his thoughts on education in the incomplete 
and curtailed statements of theory which are found in his 
Politics. In connection with these, we should recall the ad- 
mirable instruction which he himself gave in the Lyceum, and 
which embraced almost all the sciences in its vast programme. 
He excluded from it only the sciences and the arts which 
have a mechanical and utilitarian character. Enslaved on 
this point to the prejudices of antiquit}*, he regarded as 
servile and unworthv of a free man whatever has a direct 
bearing on the practical and material utilities of life. He 
recommended to his hearers only studies of the intellectual 
type, those whose sole purpose is to elevate the mind and to 
fill it with noble thoughts. 1 

41. Faults in the Pedagogy of Aristotle, and in 
Greek Pedagogy in General. — It must be said in con- 
clusion, that whatever admiration we may feel for the peda- 
gogy °f Aristotle, it was wrong, like that of all the Greek 
writers, in being but an aristocratic system of education. 
The education of which Plato and Aristotle dreamed was 
restricted to a small minority, and was even made possible 
only because the majority was excluded from it. The 
slaves, charged with the duty of providing for the suste- 
nance of their superiors, and of creating for them the leisure 
claimed by Aristotle, had no more participation in education 
than in liberty or in property. In the century of Pericles, 

1 1 think it may be doubted whether the disfavor shown by Plato and 
Aristotle to practical studies was merely a mean prejudice. Preoccupied 
as they were with the disciplinary value of studies, they may have seen 
that the culture aim and the utilitarian aim are in some sort antagonistic 


at the most glorious period of the Athenian republic, let us 
not forget that there were at Athens nearly four hundred 
thousand slaves to do the bidding of twenty thousand free 
citizens. To indulge in an easy admiration for Greek peda- 
gogy, we must detach it from its setting, and consider it in 
itself, apart from the narrow plan on which the Greek states 
were constructed, and apart from that social regime which 
assured the education of some, only by perpetuating the 
oppression of the many. 

[42. Analytical Summary. — 1. A leading conception in 
Greek education is that of symmetry, or harmony ; the ideal 
man, in Plato's phrase, must be "harmoniously constituted" ; 
all opposing tendencies must be reconciled ; and while the 
physical, the intellectual, and the moral must each be made 
the subject of systematic training, there must be no dispro- 
portionate development in either direction. 

2. The preoccupation of the Greek teacher was discipline 
or culture, rather than the communication of useful knowl- 
edge; and the final aim was a life of contemplation, rather 
than a life of action; ethical rather than practical; "good 
conduct " rather than masterv over what is material. 

3. Physical training received great emphasis, not as an 
end in itself, but as a means towards mental and spiritual 
health ; and knowledge was valued chiefly as the means for 
attaining moral excellence. 

4. The staple of instruction was wisdom, i.e., ethical and 
prudential knowledge, which was the basis of right action ; 
and teaching, especially according to the Socratic conception 
of it, consisted in causing the pupil's mind to react on the 
materials supplied by his own mind. Socrates, says Lewes, 
" believed that in each man la}' the germs of wisdom. He } 
believed that no science could be taught; only drawn out" ' 



5. The great teaching intrument was dialectic, i\«., dis- 
cussion, resolution, or analysis. Its use assumed that the 
subject-matter of instruction was already in the pupil's pos- 
session, and that the highest office of the teacher was to 
liberate the thought which had been formed by the active 
energies of the pupil's own mind. This is the maieutic art 
of Socrates. 

6 . The mode of mental activity which was chiefly brought 
into requisition was the reason ; in a secondary degree the 
imagination and the emotions ; and in a still lower degree, 
the memory. 

7. The large place assigned to music by Plato and Aris- 
totle shows that the culture of the emotions was an impor- 
tant element in Greek education. .^Esthetic training was 
not only an end in itself, but was regarded as the basis of 
moral and religious culture. 

8. In the writings of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, we 
see the first attempt to formulate a body of educational 
doctrine ; we have the germs of a science of education based 
on psychology, ethics, and politics. 

9. In the Republic, we see the theory of compulsion in 
both its phases : the State must provide an education suita- 
ble for State needs ; and the young must accept this educa- 
tion because the State has ordained it. For the first time in 
the history of thought, the State appears distinctly and 
avowedly as an educator. 

t 10. Practically, education was administered on the basis 
of caste ; though in the construction of his ideal State, Plato 
made it possible for talent, industry, and worth, to find their 
proper level.] 



two periods in roman education j education of the primitive 
romans; physical and military education; rome at school in 
greece; why the romans had no great educators; varroj 
cicero ; quintilian; the institutes of oratory; general 
plan of education; the child's first education; reading and 
writing ; public education ; the duties of teachers ; grammar 
and rhetoric; the simultaneous study of the sciences; 
schools for philosophy; seneca; plutarch; the lives of 
illustrious men ; the treatise on the training of children ; 
a charming picture of family life; the education of women j 
the function of poetry in education j the teaching of 
morals; marcus aurelius and personal education; conclu- 
sion j analytical summary. 

43. Two Periods in Roman Education. — In Greece, as 
we have seen, there were two essentially different systems of 
education in use : at Sparta, a one-sided education, wholly 
military, with no regard for intellectual culture ; at Athens, 
a complete education, which brought into happy harmony 
the training of the body and the development of the mind, 
and by means of which, as Thucydides observed, "men 
philosophized without becoming effeminate." 

Rome, in the long course of her history, followed these 
two systems in succession. Under the Republic, down to 
the conquest of Greece, preference was given to education 
after the Spartan type ; while under the emperors, Athenian 
education was dominant, with a very marked tendency to 
give the first place to an education in literature and oratory. 



44. The Education of the Early Romans. — The first 
schools were not opened at Rome till towards the end of the 
third century b.c. Till then, the Romans had no teachers 
save their parents and nature. Education was almost exclu- 
sively physical and moral, or rather, military and religious. 
On the one hand, there were the gymnastic exercises on the 
Campus Martius, and on the other, the recitation of the 
Salian hymns, a sort of catechism containing the names of 
the gods and goddesses. Besides this, there was the study 
of the Twelve Tables, that is, of the Roman Law. Men the 
most robust, the most courageous, the best disciplined, and 
the most patriotic that ever lived, were the fruit of this 
natural education. Rome was the great school of the civic and 
militarv virtues. The Romans did not imitate the Athenians 
in a disinterested pursuit of a perfect physical and intellectual 
development. Rome worked . for practical ends ; she was 
guided only by considerations of utility ; she had no regard 
for ideals ; her purpose was simply the education of soldiers 
and citizens who should be obedient and devoted. She did 
not know man in the abstract ; she knew only the Roman 

These high qualities of the early Romans were marred by 
a sort of brutal insensibility and a contempt for the graces 
of intellect and heart ; and leaving out of account the cir- 
cumstances of environment and race, their practical virtues 
may be ascribed to three or four principal causes. First 
among these was a firm family discipline. The authority 
of the father was absolute, and answering to this excessive 
power, there was blind obedience. Another cause was the 
position of the mother in the family. At Rome, woman was 
held in higher esteem than at Athens. She became almost 
the equal of man. She was the guardian of the family circle 
and the teacher of her children. The very name matron 


inspires respect. Goriolanus, who took up arms against his 
country, could not withstand the tears of his mother Veturia. 
The noble Cornelia was the teacher of her sous, the Gracchi, 
whom she was accustomed to call " her fairest jewels." 
Besides, the influence of religion was made to supplement 
the active efforts of the family. The Roman lived sur- 
rounded by deities. When a child was weaned, tradition 
would have it that one goddess taught him to eat, and another 
to drink. Later on, four goddesses guided his first steps aud 
held his two hands. All these superstitions imposed regu- 
larity and exactness on the most ordinary acts of daily 
life. Men breathed, as it were, a divine atmosphere. 
Finally, the young Roman learned to read in the laws of the 
Twelve Tables, that is, in the civil code of his country. He 
was thus accustomed from infancy to consider the law as 
something natural, inviolable, and sacred. 

45. Rome at School in Greece. — The primitive state of 
manners did not last. Under Greek influence, Roman sim- 
plicity suffered a change, and, as Horace says, Greece, in 
being conquered, conquered in turn her rude victor. The 
taste for letters and arts was introduced at Rome towards 
the close of the third century B.C., and transformed the 
austere and rude education of the primitive era. The 
Romans, in their turn, acquired a liking for fine phrases and 
subtile dialectics. Schools were opened, and the rhetoricians 
and philosophers took up the business of education. Parents 
no longer charged themselves with the instruction of their 
children. Following the fashion at Athens, they entrusted 
them to slaves, without troubling themselves about the faults 
or even the vices of these common pedagogues. 

" For if any of their servants," says Plutarch, " be better 
than the rest, they dispose some of them to follow husbandry, 
tome to navigation, some to merchandise, some to be stew- 


ards in their houses, and some, lastly, to put out their money 
to use for them. But if they find any slave that is a drunk- 
ard or a glutton, and unfit for any other business, to him 
they assign the government of their children ; whereas, a 
good pedagogue ought to be such a one in his disposition as 
Phoenix, tutor to Achilles, was." 1 

46. Why Rome had no Great Educators. — -In the age 
of Augustus, when Latin literature was in all its glory, we 
are astonished not to find', as in the century of Pericles, some 
great thinker like Plato or Aristotle, who presents general 
views on education, and makes himself famous by a remark- 
able work on pedagogy. This is due to the fact that the 
Romans never formed a taste for disinterested science and 
speculative inquiry. They readied distinction only in the 
practical sciences ; in the law, for example, in which they 
excelled. Now pedagogy, while in one sense a practical 
science, nevertheless reposes upon philosophical principles, 
upon a knowledge of human nature, and upon a theoretical 
conception of human destiny, — questions which had no liv- 
ing interest for the Roman mind, and which even Cicero has 
noticed only in passing, in the course of his translation of 
Plato, made with his usual magnificence of literary style. 

It is to be noted, moreover, that the Romans seem never 
to have considered education as a national undertaking, as an 
affair of the State. The Law of the Twelve Tables is silent 
upon the education of children. Up to the time of Quiutil- 
ian there were at Rome no public schools, no professional 
teachers. In the age of Augustus each teacher had his own 
method. '* Our ancestors," says Cicero, tk did not wish that 
children should be educated by fixed rules, determined by 
the laws, publicly promulgated and made uniform for all." 2 

1 Plutarch, Morals, vol. I. p. 9. a Cicero, Dc Bepublica, iv. 115. 


And he does not seem to disapprove of this neglect, even 
while noting the fact that Polybius saw in this an important 
defect in Roman institutions. 

47. Cicero. — In all Cicero's works we find scarcely a 
line relative to education. And yet the great orator ex- 
claims : " What better, what greater service can we of to-day 
render the Republic than to instruct and train the young ? " l 
But he was content with writing fine discourses on philoso- 
phy for his country, abounding more in eloquence than in 

48. Varro. — A less celebrated writer, Varro, seems to 
have had some pedagogic instinct. He wrote real educa- 
tional works on grammar, rhetoric, history, and geometry. 
Most of these have been lost ; but if we may trust his contem- 
poraries, they were instrumental in the education of several 

49. Quintilian (35-95 a.d.). — After the age of Augus- 
tus, education became more and more an affair of oratory. 
The chief effort in the way of education was a preparation 
for a career in the Forum. But from these vulgar rhetori- 
cians, occupied with the exterior artifices of style, these 
" traffickers in words," as Saint Augustine called them, we 
must distinguish a rhetorician of a higher order, who does 
not separate rhetoric from a general culture of the intelligence. 
This is Quintilian, the author of the Institutes of Oratory. 

ADpointed at the age of twenty-six to a chair of eloquence, 
the first that was established bv the Roman state, and called 
at a later period by the Emperor Domitian lo direct the 
education of his grand-nephews, Quintilian was practically 
acquainted with both public and private instruction. 

1 Cicero, De Divinatione, ii. 2. 


50. The Institutes of Oratory. — This work, under the 
form of a treatise on rhetoric, is in parts a real treatise on 
education. The author, in fact, begins the training of the 
future orator from the cradle ; he gives counsel to its nurse, 
and " not blushing to descend to petty details," he follows 
step by step the education of his pupil. Let us add, that in 
the noble ideal which he conceives, eloquence never being 
considered apart from wisdom, Quintilian was led by his 
very subject to treat of moral education. 

51. His General Plan of Education. - The first book 
entire is devoted to education in general, and its teachings 
might be applied indifferently to all children, whether des- 
tined or not to the practice of oratory. 

" Has a son been born to you? From the first conceive 
the highest hopes of him. ,, Thus Quintilian begins. He 
thinks that we cannot have too high an opinion of human 
nature, nor propose for it too high a purpose. Minds that 
rebel against all instruction are unnatural. Most often it is 
the training which is at fault; it is not nature that is to 

52. The Early Education of the Child. — The child's 
nurses should be virtuous and prudent. Quintilian does not 
demand that they shall be learned, as the stoic Chrysippus 
would have them ; but he requires that their language shall 
be irreproachable. The first impressions of the child are very 
durable: "New vases preserve the taste of the first liquor 
that is put into them ; and wool, once colored, never regains 
its primitive whiteness." 

By an illusion analogous to that of the literary men of the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, who would have the little 
French boy first learn Latin, Quintilian teaches his pupil 
Greek before making him study his native tongue. 


Studies, moreover, should begin betimes: u Turn to ac- 
count the child's first 3'ears, especially as the elements of 
learning demand only memory, and the memory of children 
is very tenacious." 

We seem to be listening to a modern teacher when Quin- 
tilian recommends the avoidance of whatever might ruffle the 
spirits of the child. " Let study be to him a play ; ask him 
questions ; commend him when he does well ; and sometimes 
let him enjoy the consciousness of his little gains in wisdom." 

53. Reading and Writing. — The passage relative to 
reading deserves to be quoted in full. It is wrong, says 
Quintilian, to teach children the names of the letters, and 
their respective places in the alphabet, before they know their 
shapes. He recommends the use of letters in ivory, which 
children take pleasure in handling, seeing, and naming. • 

As to writing, Quintilian recommends, for the purpose of 
strengthening the child's hand, and of preventing it from 
making false movements, that he should practise on wooden 
tablets on which the letters have been traced bv cutting. 1 
Later on, the copies shall contain, " not senseless maxims, 
but moral truths." The Roman teacher did not counsel 
haste in any case. " We can scarcely believe," he says, 
44 how progress in reading is retarded by attempting to go 
too fast." 

54. Public Education. — Quintilian has made an unsur- 
passed plea for public education and its advantages, which 

1 In principle, this is the same as the system of writing commended by 
Locke : " Get a plate graved with the Characters of such a Hand as you like 
best ... let several sheets of good Writing-paper be printed off with red 
Ink, which he has nothing to do but go over with a good Pen fiHM with 
black Ink, which will quickly bring his Hand to the Formation of those 
Characters, being first shewed where to begin, and how to form every 
Letter." {On Education, § ICO.) (P.) 



Rollin has reproduced almost entire. 1 From this we shall 
quote only the following passage, which proves how far the 
contemporaries of Quintilian had already departed from the 
manly habits of the early ages : and the truth which is hereiq 
expressed will always be applicable to parents who are in- 
clined to be over-indulgent : %, AVould that we ourselves did 
not corrupt the morals of our children ! We enervate their 
verv in fane v with luxuries. That delicacv of education, 
which we call fondness, weakens all the powers, both of 
body and miud. . . . We form the palate of our children be- 
fore we form their pronunciation. They grow up in sedan 
chairs : if thev touch the ground, thev hang bv the hands of 
attendants supporting them on each side. We are delighted 
if they utter anything immodest. Expressions which would 
not Ik? tolerated even from etfeminate Youths, we hear from 
them with a smile and a kiss. Need we be astonished at this 
behavior? We ourselves have taught them." s 

55. Duties of Teachers. — There was at Rome, in the 
first century of the Christian era, a high conception of the 
duties of a teacher : " His first care should be to ascertain 
with all j>os8ible thoroughness the mind and the character of 
the child." Judicious reflections on the memory, on the 
faculty of imitation, and on the dangers of precocious mental 
development, are proofs of the fine psychological discernment 
of Quiutilian. His insight is uo less accurate when he 
sketches the rules for moral discipline. " Fear," he says, 
" restrains some and unmans others. . . . For my part, I 
prefer a pupil who is sensitive to praise, whom glory animates, 
and from whom defeat draws tears." 

1 "Quintilian has treated this question with great breadth and elo- 
quence." (TraiU dcs Etudes, Liv. IV. Art. 2.) 

2 Quintilian, Institutes of Oratory, Watson's Translation, Book L 
chap. n. 6, 7. 


Quintilian expresses himself decidedly against the use of 
the rod, k4 although custom authorizes it," he says, "and 
Chrysippus does not disapprove of it." 

f>6. Grammar and Rhetoric. — Like his contemporaries, 
Quintilian distinguishes studies into two grades, — Grammar 
and Rhetoric. " As soon as the child is able to read and 
write, he must be placed in the hands of the grammarian." 
Grammar was divided into two parts, — the art of speaking 
correctly and the explication of the poets. Exercises in 
composition, development lessons called Chria\ and narra- 
tives, accompanied the theoretical study of the rules of 
grammar. 1 It is to be observed that Quintilian gives a high 
place to etymological studies, and that he attaches great im- 
portance to reading aloud. " That the child may read well, 
let him have a good understanding of what he reads. . . . 
When he reads the poets, let him shun affected modulations. 
It is with reference to this manner of reading that Caesar, 
still a young man, made this excellent observation : 4 If you 
are singing, you sing poorly ; if you are reading, why do you 
sing r 

$7. The Simultaneous Study of the Sciences. — Quin- 
tilian is very far from confining his pupil within the narrow 
circle of grammatical study. Persuaded that the child is 
capable of learning several things at the same time, he would 
have him taught geometry, music, and philosophy simulta- 
neously : — 

44 Must he learn grammar alone, and then geometry, and 
in the meanwhile forget what he first learned? As well ad- 
vise a farmer not to cultivate, at the same time, his fields, his 
vines, his olive trees, and his orchards, and not to give his 

1 Institutes, Book I> chap. dc. 


thought simultaneously to his meadows, his cattle, his gar- 
dens, and his bees." l 

Of course Quintilian considers the different studies which 
he sets before his pupil only as the instruments for an educa- 
tion in oratory. Philosophy, which comprises dialectics or 
logic, physics or the science of nature, and lastly morals, 
furnish the orator with ideas, tind teach him the art of dis- 
tributing them into a consecutive line of argument. And so 
geometry, a near relative of dialectics, disciplines the mind, 
and teaches it to distinguish the true from the false. Lastly, 
music is an excellent preparation for eloquence ; it cultivates 
the sense of harmony and a taste for number and measure. 

58. The Schools of Philosophy. — By the side of the 
schools of rhetoric, in which the art of speech was cultivated, 
imperial Rome saw flourish in great numbers schools of 
philosophy, whose purpose was the formation of morals. It 
was through no lack of moral sermonizing that there was a 
degeneration in the virtues of the Romans. All the schools of 
(Jrecee, especially the Stoics and the Epicureans, and also 
tlie Hchools of Pythagoras, of Socrates, of Plato, and of 
Aristotle, had their representatives, at Rome; but their ob- 
scure names have scarcely survived. 

Ci'.K Kknkca. — Among these philosophers and these mor- 
alists of the first century of the Christian era, Seneca has the 
diHliiKdion of standing in the front rank. It is true that he 
wan not the founder of a school, but by his numerous 
writings he succeeded in maintaining among his contempo- 
mrieH at. least some vestiges of the ancient virtues. His 
iHlvm to IsuriliuHs letters abounding in real intellectual 
and moral insight, also contain some pedagogical precepts. 

1 Inntitutvt, Book I. chap. xn. 


Seneca attempts to direct school instruction to practical ends, 
in following out the thought of this famous precept : " We 
should learn, not for the sake of the school, but for the pur- 
poses of life" (Non scholce, sed vitce discimus). Moreover, 
he criticises confused and ill-directed reading that does not 
enrich the understanding, and concludes by recommending 
the profound study of a single book (timeo hominem unius 
libri) . In another letter he remarks that the best means for 
giving clearness to one's own ideas is to communicate them 
to others ; the best way of being taught is to teach (docendo 
discimus) . Let us quote this other maxim so often repeated : 
" The end is attained sooner by example than by precept" 
(longum iter per prcecepta, breve per exempla). 

60. Plutarch (50-138 a.d.) . —In the last period of Roman 
civilization two names deserve to arrest the attention of the 
educator, — Plutarch and Marcus Aurelius. Although he 
was born in Boeotia, and wrote in Greek, Plutarch belongs 
to the Roman world. He lived at Rome at several different 
times, and there opened a school in the reign of Domitian, 
where he lectured on philosophy, literature, and history. 
Numerous works have transmitted to us the substance of that 
instruction which had such an extraordinary success. 

61. The Lives op Illustrious Men. — Translated in the 
fifteenth century by Amyot, the Parallel Lives of Plutarch 
were for our fathers a true code of morals founded on his- 
tory. How many of our great men, or how many of our 
men of worth, have drawn from this book, at least in part, 
the material which has nurtured their virtues ! L'Hopital 
and d'Aubigne 1 enriched their lives from this source. Henry 
IV. said of this book : " It has been to me as my conscience, 
and has whispered in my ear many virtuous suggestions and 



excellent maxims for my own conduct and for the manage- 
ment of my affairs." ! 

62. The Essay on the Training of Children. — The 
celebrated essay entitled OJ the Training of Children? is the 
first treatise, especially devoted to education, that antiquity 
has bequeathed to us. Its authenticity has been called in 
question by German critics ; but this is of little moment, since 
these critics are the first to recognize the fact that the author 
of this essay, whoever he might have been, was intimately 
acquainted with Plutarch, and has given us a sufficiently 
exact summary of the ideas which are more fully developed 
in others of his works. 3 

We shall not give an analysis of this work, which, how- 
ever, abounds in interesting reflections on the primary period 
of education. We shall simply note the fundamental thought 
of the essay, its salient and original characteristic, which is 
its warm appreciation of the family. In society, as Plutarch 
conceives it, the State no louger exercises absolute sover- 
eignty. Upon the ruins of the antique commonwealth 
Plutarch builds the family. It is to the family that he 
addresses himself in order to assure the education of 
children. 4 On this point he is not in accord with Quintilian. 

1 Equally great has been Plutarch's influence on English thought and 
life. Sir Thomas North's translation of Amyot's version appeared in 1579, 
and furnished Shakespeare with the materials for his Coriolanus, Julius 
Catsar, and Antony and Cleopatra. Milton, Wordsworth, and Browning 
are also debtors to the Parallel Lives. (P.) 

2 " Comment il faut nourrir les enfants," in the translation by Amyot. 
" Of the Training of Children, " in Goodwin's edition of the Morals (Vol. I.). 

3 The references that follow are to Plutarch's Morals. The first trans- 
lation into English was by Philemon Holland, in 1603. The American 
eVlition in five volumes (Boston, 1S71) is worthy of all commendation. 
The references I make are to this edition. (P.) 

4 Of course Plutarch, like all the writers of antiquity, writes only in be- 


What he recommends is an education that is domestic and 
individual. He scarcely admits the need of public schools 
save for the higher instruction. At a certain age a young 
man, already trained by the watchful care of a preceptor 
under the supervision of his parents, shall go abroad to hear 
the lectures of the moralists and the philosophers, and to read 
the poets. 

63. The Education of Women. — One of the conse- 
quences of the exalted function which Plutarch ascribes to 
the family is that by this single act he raises the material and 
moral condition of woman. In his essay entitled Conjugal 
Precepts, which recalls the Economics of Xenophon, he 
restores to the wife her place in the household. He asso- 
ciates her with the husband in the material support of the 
family, as well as in the education of the children. The 
mother is to nurse her offspring. " Providence," he naively 
says, " hath also wisely ordered that women should have two 
breasts, that so, if any of them should happen to bear twins, 
they might have two several springs of nourishment ready for 
them." 1 The mother shall also take part in the instruction 
of her children, and so she must herself be educated. Plu- 

half of free-born children in good circumstances. " He abandons," as he 
himself admits, "the education of the poor and the lowly." 

Plutarch seems to aim at what appears to him to be practicable. That 
he was liberal in his opinions must be evident, I think, from this extract : 
"It is my desire that all children whatsoever may partake of the benefits 
of education alike ; but if yet any persons, by reason of the narrowness of 
their estates, cannot make use of my precepts, let them not blame mo that 
give them, but Fortune, which disableth them from making the advantage 
by them they otherwise might. Though even poor men must use their 
utmost endeavor to give their children the best education ; or, if they can 
not, they must bestow upon them the best that their abilities will reach." 
{Morals, vol. I. pp. 19, 20.) (P.) 

1 Of ike Training of Children, § 6. 


tarcb proposes for her the highest studies, such as mathe- 
matics and philosophy. But he counts much more upon her 
natural qualities, than upon the science that she may 
acquire. u With women," he says, " tenderness of heart is 
enhanced by a pleasing countenance, by sweetness of speech, 
by an affectionate grace, and by a high degree of sensitive- 

G4. The Function of Poetry in Education. — In the 
essay entitled How a Young Man Ought to Hear Poems^ 
Plutarch has given his opinion as to the extent to which 
poetry should be made an element in education. More just 
than Plato, he does not condemn the reading of the poets. 
He simply demands that this reading should be done with 
discretion, by choosing those who, in their compositions, 
mingle moral inspiration with poetic inspiration. "Lycur- 
gus," he says, " did not act like a man of sound reason in 
the course which he took to reform his people that were 
much inclined to drunkenness, by traveling up and down to 
destroy all the vines in the couutry ; whereas he should have 
ordered that every vine should have a well of water near it, 
that (as Plato saith) the drunken deity might be reduced to 
temperance by a sober one." 1 

G5. The Teaching of Morals. — Plutarch is above all 
else a moralist. If he adds nothing in the way of theory to 
the lofty doctrines of the Greek philosophers from whom he 
catches his inspiration, at least he enters more profoundly 
iuto the study of practical methods which insure the efficacy 
of fine precepts* and exalted doctrines. "That contempla- 
tion which is dissociated from practice," he says, " is of no 
utility." He would have young men come from lectures on 

1 Morals, vol. 11. p. 44. 


morals, not only better instructed, but more virtuous. ,Of 
what consequence are beautiful maxims unless they are 
embodied in action? The young man, then, shall early 
accustom himself to self-government, to reflection upon his 
own conduct, and to taking counsel of his own reason. 
Moreover, Plutarch gives him a director of conscience, a 
philosopher, whom he will go to consult in his doubts, and 
to whom he will entrust the keeping of his soul. But that 
which is of most consequence in his eyes is personal effort, 
reflection always on the alert, and that inward effort which 
causes our soul to assimilate the moral lessons which we have 
received, and which causes them to enter into the very struc- 
ture and fibre of our personality. 

" As it would be with a man who, going to his neighbor's 
to borrow fire, and finding there a great and bright fire, 
should sit down to warm himself and forget to go home ; so 
is it with the one who comes to another to learn, if he does 
not think himself obliged to kindle his own fire within, and 
influence his own mind, but continues sitting by his master 
as if he were enchanted, delighted by hearing." 1 

So are those who are not striving to have a personal 
morality, but who, incapable of self -direction, are always in 
need of the tutorship of another. 

The great preoccupation of Plutarch — and by this trait he 
has a legitimate place among the great educators of the 
world— was to awaken, to excite, the interior forces of the 
conscience, and to stimulate the intelligence to a high state 
of activitv. When he wrote this famous maxim, " The soul 
is not a vase to be filled, but is rather a hearth which is to be 

1 Moral*, I. p. 463. This language directly follows the quotation given 
in the note (1) at the close of this paragraph. (P.) 


ma<Je to glow,'* 1 he was not thinking alone of moral educa- 
tion, but also of a false intellectual education which, instead 
of training the mind, is content with accumulating in the 
memory a mass of indigested materials. 2 

66. Marcus Aurelics. — The wisest of the Roman em- 
perors, the author of the book entitled To Myself, better 
known as Meditations, Marcus Aurelius deserves mention 
in the history of pedagogy. He is perhaps the most perfect 
representative of Stoic morality, which is itself the highest 
expression of ancient morality. He is the most finished type 
of what can be effected in the wav of soul-culture by the in- 
flue nee of home-training and the personal effort of the con- 
science. His teacher of rhetoric was the celebrated Fronto, 
of whose character we may judge from this one characteristic : 
" I toiled hard yesterday," he wrote to his pupil ; u I composed 
a few figures of sjwech, with which I am pleased." On the 
other hand, Marcus Aurelius found examples for imitation in 
his own family. " My uncle," he says reverently, " taught 
me patience. . . . From my father I inherited modesty. . . . 
To my mother I owe my feelings of piety." Notwithstanding 
the modest}* that led him to attribute to others the whole of 
his moral worth, it is especially to himself, to a persistent 
efTort of his own will, and to a ceaseless examination of his 
own conscience, that he is indebted for becoming the most 
virtuous of men, and the wisest and purest, next to Socrates, 
of the moralists of antiquity. His Meditations show us in 

* The exact reading is as follows : ' ' For the mind requires not like an 
earthen vessel to be filled up ; convenient fuel and aliment only will influ- 
ence it with a desire of knowledge and ardent love of truth." (Morals, I. 
p. 4*>3.) This makes the author's meaning more apparent. (P.) 

2 This does not mean that Plutarch sets a low value on memory, for he 
gays : " Above all things, we must exercise the memory of children, for it 
is the treasury of knowledge." 


action that self-education which in our time has suggested 
such beautiful reflections to Channing. 

67. Conclusion. — Finally, it must be admitted that 
Roman literature is poor in material for educational study. 
Some passages, scattered here and there in the classical 
authors, nevertheless prove that they were not absolutely* 
strangers to pedagogical questions. 

Thus Horace professed independence of mind ; he declares 
that he is not obliged to swear by the " words of any mas- 
ter." ! On the other hand, Juvenal defined the ideal purpose 
of life and of education when he said that the desirable thing 
above all others is u a sound mind in a sound body." 2 
Finally, Pliuy the Younger, in three words, multum, non 
m\dta, " much, not many things," fixes one essential point in 
educational method, and recommends the thorough stud}' of 
one single subject in preference to a superficial study which 
extends over too many subjects. 

While by their taste, their accuracy of thought, and the 
perfection of their style, the Latin writers are worthy of 
being placed by the side of the Greeks as proficients in edu- 
cation of the literary type, they at the same time deserve to 
be regarded as reputable guides in moral education. At 
Rome, as at Athens, that which formed the basis of instruc- 
tion was the search after virtue. That which preoccupied 
Cicero as well as Plato, Seneca as well as Aristotle, was not 
so much the extension of knowledge and the development of 
instruction as the progress of manners and the moral per- 
fection of man. 

[68. Analytical Summary. — 1. In contrast with Greek 
education, the chief characteristic of which was intellectual 

1 "Nullius addictus jurare in verba mayistri." 

f " Orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano." (Sat. x. 356.) 




discipline or culture, Roman education may be called prac- 
tical. Greece and Rome have thus furnished the world with 
two distinct types of education, and their modern representa- 
tives are seen in our classical and scientific courses respec- 

2. The disinclination of the Roman mind to speculative 
inquiry, was a bar to the production of any contributions to 
the theory of education. 

3. In the Institutes of Quintilian we see the first attempt to 
expound the art of teaching ; and in the Morals of Plutarch 
we have the first formal treatise on the education of children. 

4. In the later period of Roman education, we see a higher 
appreciation of woman, and a nobler conception of the 
family life. 

5. In common with all the systems of education thus far 
studied, Roman education is essentially literary, ethical, and 
prudential, as distinguished from an education in science. 
The conception of the money value of knowledge had not yet 



MAGNE ; scholasticism; abelard; the seven liberal arts; 
methods and discipline ; the universities j gerson j vittorino 
da feltrb; other teachers at the close of the middle age; 
recapitulation j analytical summary. 

69. The New Spirit of Christianity. — By its dogmas, 
by the conception of the equality of all human creatures, by 
its spirit of charity, Christianity introduced new elements 
into the conscience, anfi seemed called to give a powerful 
impetus to the mor al/ edu cation of men. The doctrine of 
Christ was at first fFrciction of free will and of personal 
dignity against the des poti sm of the State. " A full half of 
man henceforth escape^He action of lie State. Christian- 
ity taught that man noroiger belonged^D society except in 
part ; that he was under allegiance to it ujl his body and his 
material interests ; that beinpSut>ject to a tyrant, he must 
submit ; that as a citizen of a republic, he ought to give his 
life for it ; but that in respect of his soulj^he was free, and 
owed allegiance only to God." 1 HencefortiMt was not sim- 
ply a question of training citizens for the serviceV)f the State ; 


1 Fustel de Coulanges, La Citt antique, p. 476. 


but the conception of a disinterested development of the 
human person made its appearance in the world. On the 
other hand, in proclaiming that all men had the same destiny, 
and that they were nil equal in the sight of God, Christianity 
raised the poor and the disinherited from their condition of 
miser}', and promised them all the same instruction. To the 
idea of liberty was added that of equality ; and equal jus- 
tice for all, and participation in the same rights, were con- 
tained in germ in the doctrine of Christianity. 

SPECT of Education. — Nevertheless, the germs contained 
in the doctrines of the new religion did not bear fruit at 
once. It is easy to analyze the causes which led to the pov- 
erty of educational thought during the first centuries of the 
Christian era. 

In the first place, the Christian instruction was addressed 
to barbarous peoples who could not at ouce rise to a high 
intellectual and moral culture. According to the celebrated 
comparison of Jouffroy, the invasion of the barbarians into 
the midst of ancient society was like an armful of green 
wood thrown upon a blazing fire ; at first there could issue 
from it only a mass of smoke. 

Moreover, we must take into account the fact that the 
early Christians, in order to estAsh their faith, had to 
struggle against difficulties which^Ke ever being renewed. 
The first centuries were a period of struggle, of conquest, 
and of organization, which left; but little opportunity for the 
disinterested study of education. In their contests with the 
ancient world, the early Christians came to include in a com- 
mon hatred classical literature and pagan religion. Could 
thoy receive with sympathy the literary and scientific inheri- 
tance of a society whose morals they repudiated, and whose 
beliefs they were bent on destroying ? 


On the other hand, the social condition of the men who 
first attached themsel ves to the new r eligion turned them 
aside from the studies which are a prepar ation for real life.] 
Obliged to conceal themselves, to betake themselves to the 
desert, true Pariahs of the pagan world, they lived a life of 
contemplation ; they were naturally led to conceive an as- 
cetic anp monastic existence as the ideal of education*. 

Moreover, by i ts^ mystical tendencies. Christianity at th e 
first could not be a good sc hool fo r a practical and hum ane 
'system of education^ The Christian was detached from the 
commonwealth oT^fflah, only to enter into the commonwealth 
of God. He must break with a corrupt and perverse world. 
By privations, and by the renunciation of every pleasure, he 
must react against the immorality of Graeco-Roman society. 
Man must aspire to imitate God ; and God is absolute holi- 
ness, the very negation of all the conditions of earthly life, — 
supreme perfection. The very disproportion between such an 
ideal and human weakness as an actual fact must have be- 
trayed the early' Christians into leading a mystical life which 
was but a preparation for death. And the consequence of 
these doctrines was to make of the Church the exclusive 
mistress of education and instruction. Individual initiative, 
if called into play, on the one hand, by the fundamental doc- 
trines of Christianity, was stifled, on the other, under the 
domination of the Church. 

71. The Fathers of the Church. — Of the celebrated 
doctors who, by their erudition and eloquence, if not by 
their taste, made illustrious the beginning of Christianity, 
some were jealous mystics and sectaries, in whose eyes phil- 
osophical curiosity was a sin, and the love of letters a heresy ; 
and others were Christians of a conciliatory temperament, 
who, in a certain measure, allied religious faith and literary 


Tertullian rejected all pagan education. '.He saw in classi- 
cal culture only a robbery from God ; a road to the false and 
arrogant wisdom of the ancient philosopfieVs. Even Saint 
Augustine, who in his youth could not read the fourth book 
of the JEneid without shedding tears, and who had been devo- 
tedly fond of ancient poetry and eloquence, renounced, after 
his conversion, his literary tastes as well as the inad passions 
of his early manhood. It was by his influence that the 
Council of Carthage forbade the bishops to read the pagan 

This was not the course of Saint Basil, who demands, on 
the contrarj-, that the young Christian shall be conversant 
with the orators, poets, and historians of antiquity ; who 
thinks that the poems of Homer inspire a love for virtue ; 
and who desires, finally, that full use should be made of the 
treasures of ancient wisdom in the training of the young. 1 
Nor was this the thought of Saint Jerome, who said he 
would be none the less a Ciceronian in becoming a Christian. 

72. Saint Jerome and the Education of Girls. — The 
letters of Saint Jerome on the education of girls form the 
most valuable educational document of the first centuries of 
Christianity. 2 They have excited high admiration. Eras- 
mus knew them by heart, and Saint Theresa read selections 
from them every day. It is impossible, to-day, while admir- 
ing certain parts of them, not to condemn the general spirit 
which pervades them, — a narrow spirit, distrustful of the 
world, which pushes the religious sentiment even to mysti- 
cism, and disdain for human affairs to asceticism. 

1 See the Homily of Saint Basil On the Utility which the young can de- 
rive from the reading of profane authors. 

2 Letter to LtsiCk on the education of her daughter Paula (403). Lett^ 
to Gaudentius on the education of the little Pacatvla. The letUsiXaQy* 
dentius is far inferior to the other hy reason of the perpetual ^W^du^ 
into which the author permits himself to be drawn. % 


73. -Physical Asceticism. — It is no longer the question 
of giving power to the body, and thus of making of it the 
robust instrument of a cultured spirit, as the Greeks would 
have it. The body is an enemy that must be subdued by 
fasting, by abstinence, and by mortifications of the flesh. 

" Do not allow Paula to eat in public, that is, do not let 
her take part in family entertainments, for fear that she 
may desire the meats that may be served there. Let her 
learn not to use wine, for it is the source of all impurity. 
Let her food be vegetables, and only rarely of fish ; and 
let her eat so as always to be hungry." 

Contempt for the body is carried so far that cleanliness is 
almost interdicted. 

" For myself, I entirely forbid a }*oung girl to bathe." 

It is true that, alarmed at the consequences of such aus- 
terity, Saint Jerome, bj* way of exception, permits children 
the use of the bath, of wine, and of meat, but only " when 
necessity requires it, and lest the feet may fail them before 
having walked." 

74. Intellectual and Moral Asceticism. — For the 

mind, as well as for the body, we may say of Saint Jerome 

what Nicole wrote to a nun of his time : u You feed vour 

pupils on bread and water." The Bible is the only book 

recommended, and this is little ; but it is the Bible entire, 

which is too much. The Song of Songs, with its sensual 

imagery, would be strange reading for a young girl. The 

arts, like letters, find no favor with the mysticism of Saint 


« ' Never let Paula listen to musical instruments ; let her 

eyeti be ignorant of the uses served by the flute and the 

harp- " 

J±8 for the flute, which the Greek philosophers also did 
t Jilze , let it be so ; but what shall we say of this condem- 


nation of the harp, the instrument of David and the angels, 
and of religious music itself ! How far we are, in common 
with Saint Jerome, from that complete life, from that harmo- 
nious development of all the faculties, which modern educa- 
tors, Herbert Spencer, for example, present to us with 
reason as the ideal of education ! Saint Jerome goes so far 
as to proscribe walking : — 

4k Do not let Paula be found in the wavs of the world 
(emphatic paraphrase for streets), in the gatherings and in 
the company of her kindred ; let her be found only in 

The ideal of Saint Jerome is a monastic and cloistered life, 
even in the world. But that which is graver still, that which 
is the fatal law of mysticism, is that Saint Jerome, after 
having proscribed letters, arts, and necessary and legitimate 
pleasures, even brings his condemnation to bear on the most 
honorable sentiments of the heart. The heart is human 
also, and everything human is evil and full of danger : 

" Do not allow Paula to feel more affection for one of her 
companions than for others ; do not allow her to speak with 
such a one in an undertone." And as he held in suspicion 
even the affections of the family, the Doctor of the Church 
concludes thus : — 

" Let her be educated in a cloister, where she will not 
know the world, whore she will live as an angel, having a 
body but not knowing it, and where, in a word, you will be 
spared the care of watching over her. . . . If you will send us 
Paula, I will charge myself with being her master and nurse ; 
I will give her my tenderest care ; my old age will not pre- 
vent me from untying her tongue, and I shall be more re- 
nowned than the philosopher Aristotle, since I shall instruct, 
not a mortal and perishable king, but an immortal spouse of 
the Heavenly King." 


75. Permanent Truths. — The pious exaggerations of 
Saint Jerome only throw into sharper relief the justice and 
the excellence of some of his practical suggestions, — upon 
the teaching of reading, for example, or upon the necessity 
of emulation : — 

44 Put into the hands of Paula letters in wood or in ivory, 
and teach her the names of them. She will thus learn while 
playing. But it will not suffice to have her merely memorize 
the names of the letters, and call them in succession as they 
stand in the alphabet. You should often mix them, putting 
the last first, and the first in the middle. 

" Induce her to construct words by offering her a prize, 
or by giving her, as a reward, what ordinarily pleases chil- 
dren of her age. . . . Let her have companions, so that the 
commendation she may receive may excite in her the feeling 
of emulation. Do not chide her for the difficulty she may 
have in learning. On the contrary, encourage her by com- 
mendation, and proceed in such a way that she shall be 
equally sensible to the pleasure of having done well, and to 
the pain of not having been successful. . . . Especially take 
care that she do not conceive a dislike for study that might 
follow her into a more advanced age." 1 

76. Intellectual Feebleness of the Middle Age. — 
If the early doctors of the Church occasionally expressed 
some sympathy for profane letters, it is because, in their 
youth, before having received baptism, they had themselves 
attended the pagan schools. But these schools once closed, 
Christianity did not open others, and, after the fourth cen- 
tury, a profound night enveloped humanity. The labor of 
the Greeks and the Romans was as though it never had 

1 For writing, Saint Jerome, like Quintilian, recommends that children 
first practise on tablets of wood on which letters have been engraved. 



been. The past no longer existed. Humanity began anew. 
In the fifth century, Apollinaris Sidonius declares that 
" the young no louger study, that teachers no longer have 
pupils, and that learning languishes and dies." Later, Lupu* 
of Ferrieres, the favorite of Louis the Pious and Charles the 
Bald, writes that the study of letters had almost ceased. In 
the early part of the eleventh century, the Bishop of Laon, 
Adalberic, asserts that " there is more than one bishop who 
cannot count the letters of the alphabet on his lingers." In 
12 ( J1, of all the monks in the convent of Saint Gall, there 
was not one who could read and write. It was so difficult 
to find notaries public, that acts had to be passed verbally. 
The barons took pride in their ignorance. Even after the 
efforts of the twelfth century, instruction remained a luxury 
for the common people ; it was the privilege of the ecclesias- 
tics, and even they did not carry it very far. The Benedic- 
tines confess that the mathematics were studied only for the 
purpose of calculating the date of Easter. 

77. Causes of the Ignorance of the Middle Age. — 
What were the permanent causes of that situation which 
lasted for ten centuries? The Catholic Church has some- 
times been held responsible for this. Doubtless the Chris- 
tian doctors did not always profess a very warm sympathy 
for intellectual culture. Saint Augustine had said : " It is 
the ignorant who gain possession of heaven (indocti caelum 
rapiuni)" Saint Gregory the Great, a pope of the sixth 
century, declared that he would blush to have the holy word 
conform to the rules of grammar. Too many Christians, in 
a word, confounded ignorance with holiness. Doubtless, 
towards the seventh century, the darkness still hung thick 
over the Christian Church. Barbarians invaded the Episco- 
pate, and carried with them their rude manners. Doubtless, 


also, daring the feudal period the priest often became 
soldier, and remained ignorant. It would, however, be un- 
just to bring a constructive charge against the Church of the 
Middle Age, and to represent it as systematically hostile to 
instruction. Directly to the contrary, it is the clergj- who, 
in the midst of the general barbarism, preserved some ves- 
tiges of the ancient culture. The only schools of that period 
are the episcopal and claustral schools, the first annexed to 
the bishops' palaces, the second to the monasteries. The 
religious orders voluntarily associated manual labor with 
mental labor. As far back as 530, Saint Benedict founded 
the convent of Monte Cassino, and drew up statutes which 
made reading and intellectual labor a part of the daily life 
of the monks. 

In 1179, the third Lateran Council promulgated the follow- 
ing decree : — 

" The Church of God, being obliged like a good and ten- 
der mother to provide for the bodily and spiritual wants of 
the poor, desirous to procure for poor children the oppor- 
tunity for learning to read, and for making advancement in 
study, orders that each cathedral shall have a teacher charged 
with the gratuitous instruction of the clergy of that church, 
and also of the indigent scholars, and that he be assigned a 
benefice, which, sufficient for his subsistence, may thus open 
the door of the school to the studious youth. A tutor l shall 
be installed in the other churches and in the monasteries 
where formerly there were funds set apart for this purpose." 

It is not, then, to the Church that we must ascribe the 

1 Itcoldtre. The history of this word, as given by Littre, is instructive. 
"There was no cathedral church (sixteenth century) in which a sum was 
not appropriated for the salary of one who taught the ordinary subjects, 
and another for one who had leisure for teaching Theology. The first was 
called cscolastre (tcoldtre), the second theologal" Pasquier. (P.) 


general intellectual torpor of the Middle Age. Other causes 
explain that long slumber of the human mind. The first is 
the social condition of the people. Security and leisure, the 
indispensable conditions for study, were completely lacking 
to people always at war, overwhelmed in succession by the 
barbarians, the Normans, the English, and by the endless 
struggles of feudal times. The gentlemen of the time 
aspired only to ride, to hunt, and to figure in tournaments 
and feats of arms. Physical education was above all else 
befitting men whose favorite vocation, both by habit and 
necessity, was war. On the other hand, the enslaved peo- 
ple did not suspect the utility of instruction. In order to 
comprehend the need of study, that great liberator, one 
must already have tasted liberty. In a society where the 
need of instruction had not yet been felt, who could have 
taken the initiative in the work of instructing the people? 

Let us add that the Middle Age presented still other con- 
ditions unfavorable for the propagation of instruction, in 
particular, the lack of national languages, those necessary 
vehicles of education. The vernacular languages are the in- 
struments of intellectual emancipation. Among a people 
where a dead language is supreme, a language of the learned, 
accessible only to the select few, the lower classes necessarily 
remain buried in ignorance. Moreover, Latin books them- 
selves were rare. Lupus of Ferrieres was obliged to write 
to Rome, and to address himself to the Pope in person, in 
order to procure for his use a work of Cicero's. Without 
books, without schools, without any of the indispensable 
implements of intellectual labor, what could be done for the 
mental life ? It took refuge in certain monasteries ; erudi- 
tion flourished only in narrow circles, with a privileged few, 
and the rest of the nation remained buried in an obscure 



78. The Three Renascences. — It has been truly said 
that there were three Renascences : the first, which owed its - 
beginning to Charlemagne, and whose brilliancy did not last ; 
the second, that of the twelfth century, the issue of which 
was Scholasticism ; and the third, the great Renaissance of 
the sixteenth century, which still lasts, and which the French 
Revolution has completed. 

79. Charlemagne. — Charlemagne undoubtedly formed the 
purpose of diffusing instruction about him. He ardentty 
sought it for himself, drilled himself in writing, and learned 
Latin and Greek, rhetoric and astronomy. He would have 
communicated to all who were about him the same ardor for 
study. " Ah ! that I had twelve clerics," he exclaimed, " as 
perfectly instructed as were Jerome and Augustine ! " It 
was naturally upon the clergy that he counted, to make of 
them the instruments of his plans ; but, as one of his 
capitularies of 788 shows, there was need that the clergy 
themselves should be reminded of the need of instruction : 
" We have thought it useful that, in the bishops' residences, 
and in the monasteries, care be taken not only to live accord- 
ing to the rules of our holy religion, but, in addition, to teach 
the knowledge of letters to those who are capable of learning 
them by the aid of our Lord. Although it avails more to 
practise the law than to know it, it must be known before it 
can be practised. Several monasteries having sent us 
manuscripts, we have observed that, in the most of them, 
the sentiments were good, but the language bad. We 
exhort you, then, not onty not to neglect the study of letters, 
but to devote yourselves to them with all your power." 

On the other hand, the nobles did not make an}- great 
effort to justify their social rank by the degree of their 
knowledge. One day, as Charlemagne entered a school. 


displeased with the indolence and the ignorance of the young 
barons who attended it, he addressed them in these severe 
terms: " Do you count upon your birth, and do you feel a 
pride in it ? Take notice that you shall have neither govern- 
ment nor bishoprics, if you are not better instructed than 

80. Alcuin (735-804). — Charlemagne was seconded in 
his efforts by Alcuin of England, of whom it might be said, 
that he was the first minister of public instruction in France. 
It is he who founded the Palatine school, a sort of imperial 
and itinerant academy which followed the court on its 
travels. It was a model school, where Alcuin had for his 
pupils the four sons and two daughters of Charlemagne, and 
Charlemagne himself, always eager to be instructed. 

Alcuin's method was not without originality, but it is a 
great mistake to say that it resembles the method of Socrates. 
Alcuin doubtless proceeds by interrogation ; but here it is 
the pupil who interrogates, and the teacher who responds. 

u What is speech? asks Pepin, the eldest son of Charle- 
magne. It is the interpreter of the soul, replies Alcuin. 
What is life? It is an enjoyment for some, but for the 
wretched it is a sorrow, a waiting for death. What is 
sleep? The image of death. What is writing? It is the 
guardian of history. What is the body? The tenement 
of the soul. What is day? A summons to labor." 1 

All this is either commonplace or artificial. The senten- 
tious replies of Alcuin may be fine maxims, fit for embellish- 
ing the memory ; but in this procedure of the mere scholar, 
affected by the over-refinements of his time, there is nothing 
which can call into activity the intelligence of the pupil. 

1 For other examples, see the Life of Alcuin y by Lorenz ; and for Middle 
Age education in general, consult Christian Schools and Scholars, by 
Augusta Theodosia Drane. (P.) 


Nevertheless the name of Alcuin marks an era in the 
history of education. His was the first attempt to form ai. 
alliance between classical literature and Christian inspiration, 
— to create a " Christian Athens," according to the emphatic 
phrase of Alcuin himself. 

81. The Successors of Charlemagne. — It had been tb* 
ambition of Charlemagne to reign over a civilized society, 
rather than over a barbarous people. Convinced that the 
only basis of political unit}' is a unity of ideas and of morals, 
he thought to find the basis of that moral unity in religion, 
and religion itself he purposed to establish upon a more 
widely diffused system of instruction. But these ideas were 
too advanced for the time, and their execution too difficult 
for the circumstances then existing. A new decadence fol- 
lowed the era of Charlemagne. The clergy did not respond 
to the hopes which the great emperor had placed on them. 
As far back as 817, the Council of Aix-la-Chapelle decided 
that henceforth no more day-pupils should be received into 
the conventual schools, for the reason that too large a num- 
ber of pupils would make impossible the maintenance of the 
monastic discipline. No one of Charlemagne's successors 
seems to have taken up the thought of the great emperor ; 
no one of them was preoccupied witli the problems of educa- 
tion. It is upon despotic authority, and not upon the intel- 
lectual progress of their subjects, that those unintelligent 
rulers wished to found their power. Under Louis the Pious 
and Charles the Bald there were constructed more castles 
than schools. 

The kings of France were far from imitating the Anglo- 
Saxon king, Alfred the Great (849-901), to whom tradition 
ascribes these two sayings : u The English ought always to 
be free, as free as their own thoughts " ; ' l Free-born sons 
should know how to read and write." 


*2. hs.w/ULmr i*m. — It was not till the twelfth cen tur y 
that tiie huoutn juiud wnb awakened- That was the age of 
fv:W*sUcifciiK the essential character of which was the study 
of reasoning, aud the practice of dialectics, or syllogistic 
reafcociing. The fcyllog:i*in. which reaches necessary con- 
<:hibitjtit> from \zwzu premises, was the natural instrument of 
an age of faith, when men wished simply to demonstrate 
iiiiinutahle dogmas, without ever making an innovation on 
established beliefs. It has often been observed that the art 
of reasoning U the science of a people still in the early stage 
of its progress ; we might almost say of a barbarous people. 
A siibtile dialectic is in perfect keeping with manners still 
rude, and with a limited state of knowledge. It is only an 
intellectual machine. It was not then a question of 
original thinking. All that was necessary was simply to 
reason u|K>n conceptions already acquired, and the sacred 
dc|>oa!tory of these* was kept in charge by Theology. Con- 
sequently, there was no independent science. Philosophy, 
according to the language of the times, was but the humble 
servant of Theology. The dialectics of the doctors of the 
Middle Age was but a subtile commentary on the sacred 
books and on the doctrines of Aristotle. 1 It seems, says 
Locke, to see the inertness of the Middle Age, that God was 
pleased to make of man a two-footed animal, while leaving 
to Aristotle the task of making him a thinking being. From 
his point of view, an able educator of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, the Abbe" Fleury, pronounces this severe judgment on 
the scholastic method : — 

1 Tim following quotation illustrates this servile dependence on authority: 
" At the time when the discovery of spots on the sun first began to circu- 
late, u student railed the attention of his old professor to the rumor, and 
received the following reply: ' There can bo no spots on the sun, for I have 
read Aristotle twice from beginning to end, and he says the sun is incor- 
ruptlhle. Clean your lenses, and if the spots are not in the telescope, they 
uiUMt be in your eyes ! • •• Naville, La Logiquc dc VHypothtse. (P.) 


" This way of philosophizing on words and thoughts, with- 
out examining the things themselves, was certainly an easy 
way of getting along without a knowledge of facts, which 
can be acquired only by reading " (Fleury should have added 
and by observation) ; " and it was an easy way of dazzling 
the ignorant laics by peculiar terms and vain subtilties." 

But Scholasticism had its hour of glory, its erudite doc- 
tors, its eloquent professors, chief among whom was Abelard. 
/ 83. Abelard (1079-1142). — A genuine professor of 
higher instruction, Abelard, by the prestige of his eloquence, 
gathered around him at Paris thousands of students. Hu- 
man speech, the living words of the teacher, had then an 
authority, an importance, which it has lost in part since 
books, everywhere distributed, have, to a certain extent, 
superseded oral instruction. At a time when printing did 
not exist, when manuscript copies were rare, a teacher who 
combined knowledge with the gift of speech was a phenome- 
non of incomparable interest, and students flocked from all 
parts of Europe to take advantage of his lectures. Abelard 
is the most brilliant representative of the scholastic pedagogy, 
with an original and personal tendency towards the emanci- 
pation of the mind. ' "It is ridiculous, " he said, fc4 to preach 
to others what we^TJan neither make them understand, nor 
understand ourselves." With more boldness than Saint 
Anselm, he applied dialectics to theology, and attempted to 
reason out the grounds of his faith. T 

84. The Seven Liberal Ar ts. — The seven liberal arts 
constituted what may be called the secondary instruction of 
the Middle Age, such as was given in the cl austral or con- 
ventual schools, and later, in the universities. The liberal 
arts were distributed into two courses of stud}', known as the 
trivium and the quadrivium. The trivium comprised gram- 
mar (Latin grammar, of course), dialectics, or logic, and 


rhetoric ; and the quadrivium^ music, arithmetic, geometry, 
and astronomy. It is important to note the fact that this 
programme contains only abstract and formal studies, — no 
real and concrete studies. The sciences which teach us to 
know man and the world, such as history, ethics, the physical 
and natural sciences, were omitted and unknown, save per- 
haps in a few convents of the Benedictines. Nothing which 
can truly educate man, and develop his faculties as a whole, 
enlists the attention of the Middle Age. From a course of 
study thus limited there might come skillful reasoners and 
men formidable in argument, but never fully developed men. 1 

85. Methods and Discipline. — The methods employed 
in the ecclesiastical schools of the Middle Age were in accord 
with the spirit of the times, when men were not concerned 
about liberty and intellectual freedom ; and when they thought 
more about the teaching of dogmas than about the training 
of the intelligence. The teachers recited or read their 
lectures, and the pupils learned by heart. The discipline 
was harsh. Corrupt human nature was distrusted. In 1363, 
pupils were forbidden the use of benches and chairs, on the 
pretext that such high seats were an encouragement to pride. 
For securing obedience, corporal chastisements were used 
and abused. The rod is in fashion in the fifteenth as it was 
in the fourteenth century. 

44 There is no other difference," says an historian, " except 
that the rods in the fifteenth century are twice as long as 
those in the fourteenth. ,,2 Let us note, however, the pro- 
test of Saint Anselm, a protest that pointed out the evil 
rather than cured it. "Day and night," said an abbot to 

1 This is no exception to the rule that the education of an age is the ex- 
ponent of its real or supposed needs. (P.) 

* Monteil, Hittoire de* Fran^ais des divert 4taU. 


Saint Anselm, %i we do not cease to chastise the children 
confided to our care, and they grow worse and worse." 
Anselm replied, " Indeed ! You do not cease to chastise 
them ! And when they are grown up, what will they become ? 
Idiotic and stupid. A Gne education that, which makes 
brutes of men ! . . . If you were to plant a tree in your 
garden, and were to enclose it on all sides so that it could 
not extend its branches, what would you find when, at the end 
of several years, you set it free from its bands? A tree 
whose branches would be bent and crooked ; and would it 
not be your fault, in having so unreasonably confined it? " 

86. The Universities. — Save elaustral and cathedral 
schools, to which must be added some parish schools, the 
earliest example of our village schools, the sole educational 
establishment of the Middle Age was what is called the Cwi- 
versity. Towards the thirteenth and fourteenth century we 
see multiplying in the great cities of Europe those centres of 
study, those collections of students which recall from afar 
the schools of Plato and Aristotle. Of such establishments 
were the university which opened at Paris for the teaching 
of theology and philosophy (1200) ; the universities of 
Naples (1224), of Prague (1345), of Vienna (1365), of 
Heidelberg (138G), etc. 1 Without being completely affran- 
chised from sacerdotal control, these universities were a first 
expansion of free science. As far back as the ninth century, 
the Arabs had given an example to the rest of Europe by 
founding at Salamanca, at Cordova, and in other cities of 
Spain, schools where all the sciences were cultivated. 

87. Gerson (1363-1429). —With the gentle Gerson, the 
supposed author of the Imitation, it seems that the dreary dia- 

* Cambridge (1109), Oxford (1140). 

.-.--.-— - _^ . J 


lectics disappear to let the heart speak and make way for 
feeling. The Chancellor of the University of Paris is distin- 
guished from the men of his time by his love for the people. 
He wrote in the common tongue little elementary treatises 
for the use and within the comprehension of the plain people. 
His Latin work, entitled De parentis ad Christum trahendis 
(''Little children whom we must lead to Christ "), gives 
evidence of a large spirit of sweetness and goodness. It 
abounds in subtile and delicate observations. For exam- 
ple, Gerson demands of teachers patience and tenderness : 
44 Little children," he says, " are more easily managed by 
caresses than by fear." For these frail creatures he dreads 
the contagion of example. tfc No living being is more in 
danger than the child of allowing himself to be corrupted by 
another child." In his eyes, the little child is a delicate 
plant that must be carefully protected against every evil in- 
fluence, and, in particular, against pernicious literature, such 
as the Roman de la Rose. Gerson condemns corporal punish- 
ment, and requires that teachers shall have for their pupils 
the affection of a father : — 

44 Above all else, let the teacher make an effort to be a 
father to his pupils. Let him never be angry with them. 
Let him always be simple in his instruction, and relate to his 
pupils that which is wholesome and agreeable." Tender- 
hearted and exalted spirit, Gerson is a precursor of Fenelon. 1 

88. Vittorino da Feltre (1379-1446). — It is a pleas- 
ure to place beside Gerson one of his Italian contemporaries, 
the celebrated Vittorino da Feltre, a professor in the Uni- 
versity of Padua. It was as preceptor to the sons of the 

1 In the Tntitt dv la visitc »?«\« <ffW ( V«. in 1400, he directed the bishops to 
inquire whether each parish had a school, and, in case ther^ were none, tc* 
establish one. 


Prince of Gonzagas, and as founder of an educational estab- 
lishment at Venice, that Vittorino found occasion to show 
his aptitude for educational work. With him, education 
again became what it was in Greece, — the harmonious devel- 
opment of mind and body. Gymnastic exercises, such as 
swimming, riding, fencing, restored to honor; attention to 
the exterior qualities of fine bearing; an interesting and 
agreeable method of instruction ; a constant effort to discover 
the character and aptitudes of children ; a conscientious 
preparation for each lesson ; assiduous watchfulness over the 
work of pupils ; such are the principal features of the peda- 
gogy of Vittorino da Feltre, a system of teaching evidently 
in advance of his time, and one which deserves a longer 

89. Other Teachers at the Close of the Middle Age. 
— Were we writing a work of erudition, there would be 
other thinkers to point out in the last years of the Middle 
Age, in that uncertain and, so to speak, twilight period 
which serves as a transition from the night of the Middle 
Age to the full day of the Renaissance. Among others, let 
us notice the Chevalier de la Tour-Landry and iEneas Sylvius 

The Chevalier de la Tour-Landry, in the work which he 
wrote for the education of his daughters (1 372) , scarcely rises 
above the spirit of his time. Woman, as he thinks, is made 
to pray and to go to church. The model which he sets be- 
fore his daughters is a countess, who u each day wished to 
hear three masses." He recommends fasting three times a 
ireek in order " the better to subdue the flesh," and to pre- 
Fent it " from diverting itself too much." There is neither 
responsibility nor proper dignity for the wife, who owes 
bedietxce to her husband, her lord, and " should do his will, 


whether wrong or right; if wrong, she is absolved from 
blame, as the blame falls on her lord." 

iEneas Sylvius, the future Pope Pius II., in his tract on 
The Education of Children (1451), is already a man of the 
Renaissance, since he recommends with enthusiasm the read- 
ing and study of most of the classical authors. However, 
he traces a programme of studies relatively liberal. By the 
side of the humanities he places the sciences of geometry 
and arithmetic, kl which are necessary," he says, " for train- 
ing the mind and assuring rapidity of conceptions " ; and 
also history and geography. He had himself composed his- 
torical narratives accompanied by maps. The distrusts of 
an overstrained devotion were no longer felt by a teacher 
who wrote, fc% There is nothing in the world more precious 
or more beautiful than an enlightened intelligence." 

90. Recapitulation. — It is thus that the Middle Age in 
drawing to a close came nearer and nearer, in the way of 
continuous progress, to the decisive emancipation which the 
Renaissance and the Reformation were soon to perpetuate. 
But the Middle Age. in itself, whatever effort may be put 
forth at this day to rehabilitate it, and to discover in it 
the golden age of modern societies, remains an ill-starred 
epoch. A few virtues, negative for the most part, virtues 
of obedience and consecration, cannot atone for the real 
faults of those rude and barbarous centuries. A higher 
educatiou reserved to ecclesiastics and men of noble rank ; 
an instruction which consisted in verbal legerdemain, which 
developed only the mechanism of reasoning, and made of 
the intelligence a prisoner of the formal syllogism : agreea- 
bly to the barbarism of primitive times, a fantastic pedantry 
which lost itself in superficial discussions and in verbal 
distinctions : popular education almost null, and restricted to* 


the teaching of the catechism in Latin ; finally, a Church, 
absolute and sovereign, which determined for all, great and 
small, the limits of thought, of belief, and of action ; such 
was, from our own point of view, the condition of the Mid- 
dle Age. It was time for the coming of the Renaissance to 
affranchise the human mind, to excite and to reveal to itself 
the unconscious need of instruction, and by the fruitful 
alliance of the Christian spirit and profane letters, to prepare 
for the coming of modern education. 

[91. Analytical Summary. — [l. The fun damental char- 
acteristic of Middle Age education was the 


religious conceptions. The training was for thejjfa to figm^ 
rather than for this life ; it was almost exclusively religious 
and moral ; was based on authority ; and included the whole 

2. This alliai 

exclnsjyj^aim _ to ed ucatloi 
seriousness and earnestness. 

^f church and scho ol, wJ ule giving an 

[so gave it a spi rjt^ f intens e 

le survivals of this histori- 

cal alliance are church and parish schools, and a disposition . 
of the modern Church to dispute the right of the State to I 

3. The supreme importance attached to the Scriptures 
made education literary ; made instruction dogmatic and 
arbitrary ; exalted words over things ; inculcated a taste for 
abstract and formal reasoning ; made learning a process of 
memorizing ; and stifled the spirit of free inquiry. 

*• The inclusion of the whole world in one Christian 
^ 0n "noD wealth, led to the intellectual enfranchisement of 
*oma n and to the rise of primarj* education proper. 

* T/ie general tendency was towards harshness in disci- 
" ,ne » coarseness in habits and manners, and a contempt for 


^eaities of life. 



6. Scholasticism erred by exaggeration; but its general 
effect was to develop the power of deductive reasoning, to 
teach the use of language as the instrument of thought, and 
to make apparent the need of nice discriminations in the use 
of words. 

7. The great intellectual lesson taught is the extreme 
difficulty of attaining compass, symmetry, and moderation.] 




general characteristics of the education of the sixteenth 
century; causes of the renaissance in education; the 
theory and the practice of education in the sixteenth 
century ; erasmus (1467-1536) j education of erasmus j the 
jeromites; pedagogical works of erasmus; juvenile 
etiquette j early education ; the instruction of women j 
rabelais (1483-1553) j criticism of the old education ; gar* 
gantua and eudemon j the new education j physical edu- 
cation j intellectual education ; the phy8ical and natural 
• sciences; object lessons; attractive methods; religious 
education ; moral education j montaigne (1533-1502) and 
rabelais; the personal education of montaigne; edu- 
cation should be general; the purpose of instruction; 
education of the judgment; educational methods; 8tudie8 
recommended; montaigne's errors; incompleteness of his 
views on the education of women j analytical 8ummary. 

92. General Characteristics op the Educatiox op 
the Sixteenth Century. — Modern education begins with 
the Renaissance. The educational methods that we then 
begin to discern will doubtless not be developed and 
perfected till a later period ; the new doctrines will pass 
into practice only gradually, and with the general progress 
of the times. But from the sixteenth century education 
is in possession of its essential principles. The educa- 
tion of the Middle Age, over-rigid and repressive, which 
condemned the body to a regime too severe, and the 
mind to a discipline too narrow, is to be succeeded, 


at least in theory, by an education broader and more 
liberal; which will give due attention to hygiene and 
physical exercises ; which will enfranchise the intelligence, 
hitherto the prisoner of the syllogism ; which will call into 
play the moral forces, instead of repressing them ; which 
will substitute real studies for the verbal subtilties of dia- 
lectics ; which will give the preference to things over words ; 
which, finally, instead of developing but a single faculty, the 
reason, and instead of reducing man to a sort of dialectic 
automaton, will seek to develop the whole man, mind and 
body, taste and knowledge, heart and will. 

93. Causes of the Renaissance in Education. — The 
men of the sixteenth century having renewed with classical 
antiquity an intercourse that had been too long interrupted, 
it was natural that they should propose to the young the 
study of the Greeks and the Romans. What is called 
secondary instruction really dates from the sixteenth cen- 
tury. The crude works of the Middle Age are succeeded by 
the elegant compositions of Athens and Rome, henceforth 
made accessible to all through the art of printing ; and, with 
the reading of the ancient authors, there reappear through the 
fruitful effect of imitation, their qualities of correctness in 
thought, of literary taste, and of elegance in form. In 
France, as in Italy, the national tongues, moulded, and, 
as it were, consecrated by writers of genius, become the 
instruments of an intellectual propaganda. Artistic taste, 
revived by the rich products of a race of incomparable artists, 
gives an extension to the horizon of life, and creates a new 
class of emotions. Finally, the Protestant Reform develops 
individual thought and free inquiry, and at the same time, 
by its success, it imposes still greater efforts on the Catholic 


This is not saying that everything is faultless in the edu- 
cational efforts of the sixteenth century. First, as is natural 
for innovators, the thought of the teachers of this period is 
marked by enthusiasm rather than by precision. They are 
more zealous in pointing out the end to be attained, than 
exact in determining the means to be employed. Besides, 
some of them are content to emancipate the mind, .but forget 
to give it proper direction. Finally, others make a wrong 
use of the ancients ; they are too much preoccupied with the 
form and the purity of language ; they fall into Ciceromania, 
and it is not their fault if a new superstition, that of rhetoric, 
does not succeed the old superstition, that of the syllogism. 

94. The Theory and the Practice of Education in 
the Sixteenth Century. — In the history of education in the 
sixteenth century, we must, moreover, carefully distinguish 
the theory from the practice. The theory of education is 
already boldly put forward, and is in advance of its age ; 
while the practice is still dragging itself painfully along on 
the beaten road, notwithstanding some successful attempts 
at improvement. 

The theory we must look for in the works of Erasmus, 
Rabelais, and Montaigne, of whom it may be said, that before 
pretending to surpass them, even at this day, we should 
rather attempt to overtake them, and to equal them in the 
most of their pedagogical precepts. 

The practice is, first, the development of the study of the 
humanities, particularly in the early colleges of the Jesuits, 
and, before the Jesuits, in certain Protestant colleges, partic- 
ularly in the college at Strasburg, so briiiiantl}' administered 
by the celebrated Sturm (1507-1589). Then it is the revival 
of higher instruction, denoted particularly by the foundation 
of the College of France (1530), and by the brilliant lee- 


tures of Ramus. Finally, it is the progress, we might 
almost saj- the birth, of primary instruction, through the 
efforts of the Protestant reformers, and especially of Luther. 
Nevertheless, the educational thought of the sixteenth 
century is in advance of educational practice ; theories 
greatly anticipate applications, and constitute almost all that 
is deserving of special note. 

95. Erasmus (1467-1536). — By his numerous writings, 
translations, grammars, dictionaries, and original works, 
Erasmus diffused about him his own passionate fondness for 
classical literature, and communicated this taste to his con- 
temporaries. Without having a direct influence on education, 
since he scarcely taught himself, he encouraged the study of 
the ancients by his example, and by his active propagan- 
dism. The scholar who said, " When I have money, I will 
first buy Greek books and then clothes," deserves to be 
placed in the first rank among the creators of secondary 

96. The Education of Erasmus : the Jeromites. — 
Erasmus was educated bv the monks, as Voltaire was by the 
Jesuits, a circumstance that has cost these liberal thinkers 
none of their independent disposition, and none of their 
satirical spirit. At the age of twelve, Erasmus entered the 
college of De venter, in Holland. This college was con- 
ducted by the Jeromites, or Brethren of the Common Life. 
Founded in 1340 by Gerard Groot, the association of the 
Jeromites undertook, among other occupations, the instruc- 
tion of children. Very mystical, and very ascetic at first, 
the disciples of Gerard Groot restricted themselves to teach- 
ing the Bible, to reading, and writing. They proscribed, as 
useless to piety, letters and the sciences. But in the 
fifteenth century, under the influence of John of Wessel and 


Rudolph Agricola, the Jeromites became transformed ; they 
were the precursors of the Renaissance, and the promoters 
of the alliance between profane letters and Christianity. 
• 4 We may read Ovid once," said John of Weasel, " but we 
ought to read Virgil, Horace, and Terence, with more atten- 
tion." Horace and Terence were precisely the favorite 
authors of Erasmus, who learned them by heart at Deven- 
ter. Agricola, of whom Erasmus speaks only with enthu- 
siasm, was also the zealous propagator of the great works 
of antiquity, and, at the same time, the severe critic of the 
state of educational practice of the time when the school 
was too much like a prison. 

" If there is anything which has a contradictory name," 
he said, " it is the school. The Greeks called it a-xokyj, which 
means leisure, recreation; and the Latins, Indus, that is, 
play. But there is nothing farther removed from recreation 
and play. Aristophanes called it QpovTurrrjpiov, that is, 
place of care, of torment, and this is surely the designation 
which best befits it." 

Erasmus then had for his first teachers enlightened men, 
who, notwithstanding their monastic condition, both knew 
and loved antiquity. But, as a matter of fact, Erasmus 
was his own teacher. By personal effort he put himself at 
the school of the ancients. He was all his life a student. 
Now he was a foundation scholar at the college of Montaigu, 
in Paris, and now preceptor to gentlemen of wealth. He 
was always in pursuit of learning, going over the whole of 
Europe, that he might find in each cultivated city new oppor- 
tunities for self -instruction. 

97. Pedagogical Works of Erasmus. — Most of the 
works written by Erasmus relate to instruction. Some of 
them are fairly to be classed as text-books, elementary 
treatises on practical education, as. U* v example, his books 


On the Manner of toriting Letters, Upon Rules of Etiquette 
for the Young, etc. We may also notice his Adages, a vast 
repertory of proverbs and maxims borrowed from antiquity ; 
his Colloquies, a collection of dialogues for the use of the 
young, though the author here treats of many things which 
a pupil should never hear spoken of. Another category 
should include works of a more theoretical character, in 
which Erasmus sets forth his ideas on education. In the 
essay On the Order of Study (de Ratione Studii) , he seeks out 
the rules for instruction in literature, for the study of gram- 
mar, for the cultivation of the memory, and for the explica- 
tion of the Greek and Latin authors. Another treatise, 
entitled Of the First Liberal Education of Children (De pueris 
stathn ac liberaliter instituendis) , is still more important, and 
covers the whole field of education. Erasmus here studies 
the character of the child, the question of knowing whethei 
the first years of child-life can be turned to good account, 
and the measures that are to be taken with early life. He 
also recommends methods that are attractive, and heartily 
condemns the barbarous discipline which reigned in the 
schools of his time. 

98. Juvenile Etiquette. — Erasmus is one of the first 
educators who comprehended the importance of politeness. 
In an age still uncouth, where the manners of even the cul- 
tivated classes tolerated usages that the most ignorant rustic 
of to-day would scorn, it was good to call the attention to 
outward appearances and the duties of politeness. Eras- 
mus knew perfectly well that politeness has a moral side, 
that it is not a matter of pure convention, but that it pro- 
ceeds from the inner disposition of a well-ordered soul. So 
he assigns it an important place in education : 

u The duty of instructing the young," he says, u includes 
several elements, the firut and also the chief of which is, 


that the tender mind of the child should be instructed in 
piety ; the second, that he love and learn the liberal arts ; 
the third, that he be taught tact in the conduct of social 
life ; and the fourth, that from his earliest age he accustom 
himself to good behavior, based on moral principles.' ' 

We need not be astonished, however, to find that the 
civility of Erasmus is still imperfect, now too free, now too 
exacting, and always ingenuous. "It is a religious duty," 
he says, " to salute him who sneezes." " Morally speaking, 
it is not a proper thing to throw the head back while drink- 
ing, after the manner of storks, in order to drain the last 
drop from the glass." " If one let bread fall on the ground, 
he should kiss it after having picked it up." On the other 
hand, Erasmus seems to allow that the nose may be wiped 
with the fingers, but he forbids the use of the cap or the 
sleeve for this purpose. He requires that the face shall be 
bathed with pure water in the morning; "but," he adds, 
" to repeat this afterwards is nonsense." 

99. Early Education. — Like Quintilian, by whom he is 
often inspired, Erasmus does not scorn to enter the primary 
school, and to shape the first exercises for intellectual cul- 
ture. Upon many points, the thought of the sixteenth cen- 
tury scholar is but an echo of the Institutes of Oratory, or 
of the educational essays of Plutarch. Some of his maxims 
deserve to be reproduced : "We learn with great willingness 
from those whom we love ; " " Parents themselves cannot 
properly bring up their children if they make themselves 
only to be feared ; " ' ' There are children who would be 
killed sooner than made better by blows : by mildness and 
kind admonitions, one may make of them whatever he 
will;" "Children will learn to speak their native tongue 
without any weariness, by usage and practice;" "Drill in 
reading and writing is a little bit tiresome, and the teacher 


will ingeniously palliate the tedium by the artifice of an 
attractive method;" "The ancients moulded toothsome 
dainties into the forms of the letters, and thus, as it were, 
made children swallow the alphabet;" " In the matter of 
grammatical rules, instruction should at the first be limited 
to the most simple ; " u As the body in infant years is nour- 
ished by little portions distributed at intervals, so should 
the mind of the child be nurtured by items of knowledge 
adapted to its weakness, and distributed little by little." 

From out these quotations there appears a method of 
instruction that is kindly, lovable, and full of tenderness for 
the young. Erasmus claims for them the nourishing care 
and caresses of the mother, the familiarity and goodness of 
the father, cleanliness, and even elegance in the school, and 
finally, the mildness and indulgence of the teacher. 

100. The Instruction of Women. — The scholars of 
the Renaissance did not exclude women from all participa- 
tion in the literary treasures that a recovered antiquity had 
disclosed to themselves. Erasmus admits them to an equal 

In the Colloquy of the AbM and tlie Educated Woman, 
Magdala claims for herself the right to learn Latin, " so that 
she may hold converse each day with so many authors who 
are so eloquent, so instructive, so wise, and such good coun- 
sellors." In the book called Christian Marriage, Erasmus 
banters young ladies who learn only to make a bow, to hold 
the hands crossed, to bite their lips when they laugh, to eat 
and drink as little as possible at table, after having taken 
ample portions in private. More ambitious for the wife, 
Erasmus recommends her to pursue the studies which will 
assist her in educating her own children, and in taking part 
in the intellectual life of her husband. 



Vives, a contemporary of Erasmus (1492-1540), a Span- 
ish teacher, expressed analogous ideas in his books on the 
education of women, in which he recommends young women 
to read Plato and Seneca. 

To sum up, the pedagogy of Erasmus is not without value ; 
hut with him, education ran the risk of remaining exclusive]} 7 
Greek and Latin. A humanist above everything else, he j 
granted but very small place to the sciences, and to history, ,' 
which it sufficed to skim over, as he said ; and, what reveals • 
his inmost nature, he recommended the study of the physical/ 
sciences for this reason in particular, that the writer will fina 
in the knowledge of nature an abundant source of metaphors, 
images, and comparisons. 

101. Rabelais (1483-1553). —Wholly different is the 
spirit of Rabelais, who, under a fanciful and original form, 
has sketched a complete system of education. Some pages 
of marked gravity in the midst of the epic vagabondage of 
his burlesque work, give him the right to appear in the first 
rank among those who have reformed the art of training and 
developing the human soul. 1 

The pedagogy of Rabelais is the first appearance of what 
may be called realism in instruction, in distinction from the 
scholastic foi % mcdism. The author of Gargantua turns the 
mind of the young man towards objects truly worthy of oc- 
cupying his attention. He catches a glimpse of the future 
reserved to scientific education, and to the studv of nature. 
He invites the mind, not to the labored subtilties and com- 
plicated tricks which scholasticism had brought into fashion, 
but to manly efforts, and to a wide unfolding of human 

1 See especially the following chapters: Book I. chaps, xrv., xv., xxi., 
xxii., xxiv.; Book II. chaps, v., vi., vn., vni. 

-..-_> ■ ._ .£■■ 


102. Criticism of the Old Education : Gargantua and 
Eudemon. — In the manners of the sixteenth century, the 
keen satire of Rabelais found many opportunities for dis- 
porting itself ; and his book may be regarded as a collection 
of pamphlets. But there is nothing that he has pursued 
with more sarcasms than the education of his day. 

At the outset, Gargantua is educated according to the 
scholastic methods. He works for twenty years with all his 
might, and learns so perfectly the books that he studies that 
he can recite them by heart, backwards and forwards, " and 
yet his father discovered that all this profited him nothing ; 
and what is worse, that it made him a madcap, a ninny, 
dream v, and infatuated."' 

To that unintelligent and artificial training which sur- 
charges the memory, which holds the pupil for long years 
over insipid books, which robs the mind of all independent 
activity, which dulls rather than sharpens the intelligence, — 
to all this Rabelais opposes a natural education, which appeals 
to experience and to facts, which trains the young man, not 
onlv for the discussions of the schools, but for real life, and 
for intercourse with the world, and which, finally, enriches 
the intelligence and adorns the memory without stifling the 
native graces and the free activities of the spirit. 

Eudemon, who, tn Rabelais' romance, represents the pupil 
trained by the new methods, knows how to think with accu- 
racy and speak with facility ; his bearing is without bold- 
ness, but with confidence. When introduced to Gargantua, 
he turns towards him, "cap in hand, with open countenance, 
ruddy lips, steady eyes, and with modesty becoming a 
youth " ; he salutes him elegantly and graciously. To all 
the pleasant things which Eudemon says to him, Gargantua 
finds nothing to say in reply : " His countenance appeared 
as though he had taken to crying immoderately ; he hid his 


face in his cap, and not a single word could be drawn front 

In these two pupils, so different in manner, Rabelais hav 
personified two contrasted methods of education : that which, 
by mechanical exercises of memory, enfeebles and dulls 
the intelligence ; and that which, with larger grants cJ 
liberty, develops keen intelligences, and frank and open 

103. The New Education. — Let us now notice with 
some detail how Rabelais conceives this new education. 1 
After having thrown into sharp relief the faults con- 
tracted by Gargantua in the school of his first teachers, he 
entrusts him to a preceptor, Ponocrates, who is charged with 
correcting his faults, and with re-moulding him ; he is to 
employ his own principles in the government of his pupil. 

Ponocrates proceeds slowly at first; he considers that 
" nature does not endure sudden changes without great 
violence." He studies and observes his pupil ; he wishes to 
judge of his natural disposition. Then he sets himself to 
work ; he undertakes a general recasting of the character and 
spirit of Gargantua, while directing, at the same time, his 
physical, intellectual, and moral education. 

104. TPhysical Education. — Hygiene and gymnastics, 
cleanliness which protects the body, and exercise which 
strengthens it, — these two essential parts of physical edu- 

1 The contrast between the general system of education that culmin- 
ated with the Reformation, and the system that had its rise at the same 
period, is so marked that there is an historical propriety in calling the first 
the old education, and the second, or later, the new education. Recollect- 
ing the tendency of the human mind to pass from one extreme to an 
opposite extreme, we may suspect that the final state of educational 
thought and practice will represent a mean between these two contrasted 
systems: it is inconceivable that the old was wholly wrong, or that the 
new is wholly right. (P.) 


102. Criticism of the Old Education : Gargantua and 
Eudemon. — In the manners of the sixteenth century, the 
keen satire of Rabelais found many opportunities for dis- 
porting itself ; and his book may be regarded as a collection 
of pamphlets. But there is nothing that he has pursued 
with more sarcasms than the education of his day. 

At the outset, Gargantua is educated according to the 
scholastic methods. He works for twenty years with all his 
might, and learns so perfectly the books that he studies that 
he can recite them by heart, backwards and forwards, " and 
yet his father discovered that all this profited him nothing ; 
and what is worse, that it made him a madcap, a ninny, 
dreamv, and infatuated."* 

To that unintelligent and artificial training which sur- 
charges the memory, which holds the pupil for long years 
over insipid books, which robs the mind of all independent 
activity, which dulls rather than sharpens the intelligence, — 
to all this Rabelais opposes a natural education, which appeals 
to experience and to facts, which trains the young man, not 
only for the discussions of the schools, but for real life, and 
for intercourse with the world, and which, finally, enriches 
the intelligence and adorns the memory without stifling the 
native graces and the free activities of the spirit. 

Eudemon, who, in Rabelais' romance, represents the pupil 
trained by the new methods, knows how to think with accu- 
racy and speak with facility ; his bearing is without bold- 
ness, but with confidence. When introduced to Gargantua, 
he turns towards him, "cap in hand, with open countenance, 
ruddy lips, stead}' eyes, and with modesty becoming a 
youth " ; he salutes him elegantly and graciously. To all 
the pleasant things which Eudemon says to him, Gargantua 
finds nothing to say in reply: " His countenance appeared 
as though he had taken to crying immoderately ; he hid his 




face in his cap, and not a single word could be drawn front 

In these two pupils, so different in manner, Rabelais hav 
personified two contrasted methods of education : that which) 
by mechanical exercises of memory, enfeebles and dulls 
the intelligence ; and that which, with larger grants cl 
liberty, develops keen intelligences, and frank and open 

103. The New Education. — Let us now notice with 
some detail how Rabelais conceives this new education. 1 
After having thrown into sharp relief the faults con- 
tracted by Gargantua in the school of his first teachers, he 
entrusts him to a preceptor, Ponocrates, who is charged with 
correcting his faults, and with re-moulding him ; he is to 
employ his own principles in the government of his pupil. 

Ponocrates proceeds slowly at first; he considers that 
** nature does not endure sudden changes without great 
violence." He studies and observes his pupil ; he wishes to 
judge of his natural disposition. Then he sets himself to 
work ; he undertakes a general recasting of the character and 
spirit of Gargantua, while directing, at the same time, his 
physical, intellectual, and moral education. 

104* Physical Education. — Hygiene and gymnastics, 
cleanliness which protects the body, and exercise which 
strengthens it, — these two essential parts of physical edu- 

1 The contrast between the general system of education that culmin- 
ated with the Reformation, and the system that had its rise at the same 
period, is so marked that there is an historical propriety in calling the first 
the old education, and the second, or later, the new education. Recollect- 
ing the tendency of the human mind to pass from one extreme to an 
opposite extreme, we may suspect that the final state of educational 
thought and practice will represent a mean between these two contrasted 
systems: it is inconceivable that the old was wholly wrong, or that the 
new is wholly right. (P.) 


cation receive equal attention from Rabelais. Erasmus 
thought it was nonsense (" ne rime A rien ") to wash more 
than once a day. Gargantua, on the contrarj', after eating, 
bathes his hands and his eyes in fresh water. Rabelais does 
not forget that he has been a physician ; he omits no detail 
relative to the care of the body, even the most repugnant. 
He is far from believing, with the mystics of the Middle 
Age, that it is permissible to lodge knowledge in a sordid 
bod}', and that a foul or neglected exterior is not unbefitting 
virtuous souls. The first preceptors of Gargantua said that 
it sufficed to comb one's hair " with the four fingers and the 
thumb ; and that whoever combed, washed, and cleansed 
himself otherwise, was losing his time in this world." With 
Ponocrates, Gargantua reforms his habits, and tries to re- 
semble Eudemon, " whose hair was so neatly combed, who 
was so well dressed, of such fine appearance, and was so 
modest in his bearing, that he much more resembled a little 
angel than a man." 

Rabelais attaches equal importance to gymnastics, to walk- 
ing, and to active life in the open air. He does not allow 
Gargantua to grow pale over his books, and to protract his 
study into the night. After the morning's lessons, he takes 
him out to play. Tennis and ball follow the application to 
books : " He exercises his body just as vigorously as he had 
before exercised his mind." And so, after the studv of the 
afternoon till the supper hour, Gargantua devotes his time 
to physical exercises. Riding, wrestling, swimming, every 
species of physical recreation, gymnastics under all its forms, 
— there is nothing which Gargantua does not do to give agility 
to his limbs and to strengthen his muscles. Here, as in 
other places, Rabelais stretches a point, and purposely resorts 
to exaggeration in order to make his thought better compre- 
hended. It would require days of several times twenty-four 


hoars, in order that a real man could find the time to do all 
that the author of Gargantua requires of his giant. In con- 
trast with the long asceticism of the Middle Age, he proposes 
a real revelry of gymnastics for the colossal body of his hero. 
We will not forget that here,, as in all the other parts of 
Rabelais' work, fiction is ever mingled with fact. Rabelais 
wrote for giants, and it is natural that he should demand 
gigantesque efforts of them. In order to comprehend the 
exact thought of the author, it is necessary to reduce his 
fantastic exaggerations to human proportions. 

105. Intellectual Education. — For the mind, as for 
the body, Rabelais requires prodigies of activity. Gargantua 
rises at four in the morning, and the greater part of the long 
day is filled with study. For the indolent contemplations of 
the Middle Age, Rabelais substitutes an incessant effort and 
an intense activity of the mind. Gargantua first studies the 
ancient languages, and the first place is given to Greek, 
which Rabelais rescues from the long discredit into which it 
had fallen in the Middle Age, as is proved by the vulgar 
adage, " Grcecum est, non legitur." 

" Now, all disciplines are restored, and the languages rein- 
stated, — Greek (without which it is a shame for a person 
to call himself learned), Hebrew, Chaldean, Latin. There 
are very elegant and correct editions in use, which have been 
invented in my age by divine inspiration, as, on the other 
hand, artillery was invented by diabolic suggestion. The 
whole world is full of wise men, of learned teachers, and of 
very large libraries, and it is my opinion that neither in the 
time of Plato nor in that of Cicero, nor in that of Papinian, 
were there such opportunities for study as we see to-day." 

Like all his contemporaries, Rabelais is an enthusiast in 
classical learning ; but he is distinguished from them by a 


very decided taste for the sciences, and in particular for the 
natural sciences. 

106. The Physical and Natural Sciences. — The Mid- 
dle Age had completely neglected the study of nature. The 
art of observing was ignored 03* those subtile dialecticians, 
who would know nothing of the physical world except through 
the theories of Aristotle or the dogmas of the sacred books ; 
who attached no value to the study of the material universe, 
the transient and despised abode of immortal souls ; and 
who, moreover, flattered themselves that they could discover 
at the end of their syllogisms all that was necessary to know 
about it. Rabelais is certainly the first, in point of time, of 
that grand school of educators who place the sciences in the 
first rank among the studies worthy of human thought. 

The scholar of the Middle Age knew nothing of the 
world. Gargantua requires of his sou that he shall know it 
under all its aspects : 

" As to the knowledge of the facts of nature," he writes 
to Pantagruel, " I would have you devote yourself to them 
with great care, so that there shall be neither sea, river, nor 
fountain, whose fish you do not know. All the birds of the 
air, all the trees, shrubs, and fruits of the forests, all the 
grasses of the earth, all the metals concealed in the depths 
of the abysses, the precious stones of the entire East and 
South, — none of these should be unknown to you. By fre- 
quent dissections, acquire a knowledge of the other world, 
which is man. In a word, I point out a new world of 

Nothing is omitted, it is observed, from what constitutes 
the science of the universe or the knowledge of man. 

It is further to be noticed, that Rabelais wishes his pupil 
not only to know, but to love and experience nature. He 


recommends his pupils to go and read the Georgics of Virgil 
in ' the midst of meadows and woods. The precursor of 
Rousseau on this point as upon some others, he thinks there 
is a gain in spiritual health by refreshing the imagination and 
giving repose to the spirit, through the contemplation of the 
beauties of nature. 

Ponocrates, in order to afford Gargantua distraction from 
his extreme attention to study, recommended once each 
month some very clear and serene day, on which they set out 
at an early hour from the city, and went to Chantilly, or 
Boulogne, or Montrouge, or Pont Charenton, or Valines, or 
Saint Cloud. And there the}* passed the whole day in play- 
ing, singing, dancing, frolicking in some fine meadow, 
hunting for sparrows, collecting pebbles, fishing for frogs 
and crabs. 1 

107. Object Lessons. — In the scheme of studies planned 
by Rabelais, the mind of the pupil is always on the alert, 
even at table. There, instruction takes place while talking. 
The conversation bears upon the food, upon the objects 
which attract the attention of Gargantua, upon the nature 
and properties of water, wine, bread, and salt. Every sen- 
sible object becomes material for questions and explanations. 
Gargantua often takes walks across fields, and he studies 
botany in the open country, u passing through meadows or 
other grassy places, observing trees and plants, comparing 
them with ancient books where they are described, . . . and 
taking handfuls of them llome. ,, There are but few didactic 
lessons; intuitive instruction, given in the presence of the 
objects themselves, such is the method of Rabelais. It is 
in the same spirit that he sends his pupil to visit the stores 
of the silversmiths, the founderies, the alchemists' labora- 

* Book I. chap. xxrv. 


tories, and shops of all kinds, — real scientific excursions, 
such as are in vogue to-day. Rabelais would form a com- 
plete man, skilled in art and industry, and also capable, like 
the Emile of Rousseau, of devoting himself to manual labor. 
When the weather is rainy, and walking impracticable, Gar- 
gantua employs his time in splitting and sawing wood, and 
in threshing grain in the barn. 

108. Attractive Methods. — By a reaction against the 
irksome routine of the Middle Age, Rabelais would have 
his pupil study while playing, and even learn mathematics 
" through recreation and amusement." It is in handling 
playing-cards that Gargantua is taught thousands of " new 
inventions which relate to the science of numbers." The 
same course is followed in geometry and astronomy. The 
accomplishments are not neglected, especially fencing. Gar- 
gantua is an enormous man, who is to be developed in all 
directions. The fine arts, music, painting, and sculpture, are 
not strangers to him. The hero of Rabelais represents, not 
so much an individual man, as a collective being who per- 
sonifies the whole of society, with all the variety of its new 
aspirations, and with all the intensity of its multiplied needs. 
While the Middle Age, through a narrow spirit, left in inac- 
tion certain natural tendencies, Rabelais calls them all into 
life, without choice, it is true, and without discrimination, 
with the whole ardor of an emancipated imagination. 

109. Religious Education. — In respect of religion as of 
everything else, Rabelais is the adversary of an education 
wholly exterior and of pure form. He ridicules his Gargan- 
tua, who, before his intellectual conversion, when he was 
still at the school of " his preceptors, the sophists," goes to 
church, after a heart}' dinner, to hear twenty-six or thirty 
masses. What he substitutes for this exterior devotion, for 


this abuse of superficial practices, is a real feeling of piety, 
and the direct reading of the sacred texts: "It is while 
Gargantua was being dressed that there was read to him a 
page of Divine Scripture." 1 Still more, it is the intimate and 
personal adoration " of the great psalmodist of the universe," 
excited by the study of the works of God. Gargantua and 
his master, Ponocrates, have scarcely risen when they observe 
the state of the heavens, and admire the celestial vault. In 
the evening they devote themselves to the same contempla- 
tion. After his meals, as before going to sleep, Gargantua 
offers prayers to God, to adore Him, to confirm his faith, to 
glorify Him for His boundless goodness, to thank Him for 
all the time past, and to recommend himself to Him for the 
time to come. The religious feeling of Rabelais proceeds at 
the same time, both from the sentiment which provoked the 
Protestant Reformation, of which he came near being an 
adherent, and from tendencies still more modern, — those, for 
example, which animate the deistic philosophy of Rousseau. 

110. Moral Education. — Those who know Rabelais onty 
by reputation, or through some of his innumerable drolleries, 
will perhaps be astonished that the jovial author can be 
counted a teacher of morals. It is impossible, however, to 
misunderstand the sincere and lofty inspiration of such pas- 
sages as Ihis : / 

" Because, according to the wise Solomon, wisdom does 
not enter into a malevolent soul, and knowledge without con- 
science is but the ruin of the soul ; it becomes you to serve, to 
love, and to fear God, and to place on Him all your thoughts, 

1 Rabelais recommends the study of Hebrew, so that the sacred books 
may be known in their original form. In some place he says : " I love much 
more to hear the Gospel than to hear the life of Saint Margaret or some 
other cant." 


all your hopes. ... Be suspicious of the errors of the world. 
Apply not your heart to vanity, for this life is transitory ; 
but the word of God endures forever. Be useful to all your 
neighbors, and love them as yourself. Revere your teachers, 
flee the company of men whom you would not resemble ; and 
the grace which God has given you receive not in vain. And 
when you think you have all the knowledge that can be ac- 
quired by this means, return to me, so that I may see you, 
and give you my benediction before I die." * 

111. Montaigne (1533-1592) and Rabelais. — Between 
Erasmus, the learned humanist, exclusively devoted to belles- 
lettres, and Rabelais, the bold innovator, who extends as far 
as possible the limits of the intelligence, and who causes the 
entire encyclopaedia of human knowledge to enter the brain 
of his pupil at the risk of splitting it open, Montaigne 
occupies an intermediate place, with his circumspect and 
conservative tendencies, with his discreet and moderate ped- 
agogy, the enemy of all excesses. It seemed that Rabelais 
would develop all the faculties equally, and place all 
studies, letters, and sciences upon the same footing. Mon- 
taigne demands a choice. Between the different faculties he 
attempts particularly to train the judgment ; among the dif- 
ferent knowledges, he recommends by preference those which 
form sound and sensible minds. Rabelais overdrives mind 
and body. He dreams of an extravagant course of instruc- 
tion where every science shall be studied exhaustively. 1 

1 Book II. chap. vm. 

2 This pansophic scheme of Rabelais has been revived in later times by 
Bentham, in his Chrestomathia, and still later by Spencer, in his Educa- 
tion. It seems to have been forgotten that the division of labor affects 
education in much the same way as it affects all other departments of 
human activity: that there is no more need of having as a personal posses- 
sion all the knowledge we need for guidance, than for owning all the 
agencies we need for locomotion or communication. (P.) 


Montaigne simply demands that " one taste the upper 
crust of the sciences " ; that one skim over them without 
going into them deeply, " in French fashion." In his view, 
a well-made head is worth more than a head well filled. It 
is not so much to accumulate, to amass, knowledge, as to 
assimilate as much of it as a prudent intelligence can digest 
without fatigue. In a word, while Rabelais sits down, so to 
speak, at the banquet of knowledge with an avidity which 
recalls the gluttony of the Fantagruelian repasts, Montaigne 
is a delicate connoisseur, who would only satisfy with dis- 
cretion a regulated appetite. 

112. The Personal Education op Montaigne. — One 
often becomes teacher through recollection of his personal 
education. This is what happened to Montaigne. His ped- 
agogy is at once an imitation of the methods which a father 
full of solicitude had himself applied to him, and a protest 
against the defects and the vices of the college of Guienne, 
which he entered at the age of six j-ears. The home 
education of Montaigne affords the interesting spectacle of 
a child who develops freely. My spirit, he himself sa3*s, was 
trained with all gentleness and freedom, without severity or 
constraint. His father, skilful in his tender care, had him 
awakened each morning at the sound of musical instruments, 
so as to spare him those brusque alarms that are bad pre- 
parations for toil. In a word, he applied to him that tem- 
pered discipline, at once indulgent and firm, equally removed 
from complacency and harshness, which Montaigne has 
chrUtened with the name of severe mildness. Another char- 
acteristic of Montaigne's education is, that he learned Latin 
as one learns his native tongue. His father had surrounded 
him with domestics and teachers who conversed with him 
only in Latin. The result of this was, that at the age of six 
he was so proficient in the language of Cicero, that the best 


all your hopes. ... Be suspicious of the errors of the world. 
Apply not your heart to vanity, for this life is transitory ; 
but the word of God endures forever. Be useful to all your 
neighbors, and love them as yourself. Revere your teachers, 
flee the company of men whom you would not resemble ; and 
the grace which God has given you receive not in vain. And 
when you think you have all the knowledge that can be ac- 
quired by this means, return to me, so that I may see you, 
and give you my benediction before I die." * 

111. Montaigne (1533-1592) and Rabelais. — Between 
Erasmus, the learned humanist, exclusively devoted to belles- 
lettres, and Rabelais, the bold innovator, who extends as far 
as possible the limits of the intelligence^ and who causes the 
entire encyclopaedia of human knowledge to enter the brain 
of his pupil at the risk of splitting it open, Montaigne 
occupies an intermediate place, with his circumspect and 
conservative tendencies, with his discreet and moderate ped- 
agogy, the enemy of all excesses. It seemed that Rabelais 
would develop all the faculties equally, and place all 
studies, letters, and sciences upon the same footing. Mon- 
taigne demands a choice. Between the different faculties he 
attempts particularly to train the judgment ; among the dif- 
ferent knowledges, he recommends by preference those which 
form sound and sensible minds. Rabelais overdrives mind 
and body. He dreams of an extravagant course of instruc- 
tion where every science shall be studied exhaustively. 2 

1 Book II. chap. vm. 

2 This pansophic scheme of Rabelais has been revived in later times by 
Bentham, in his Chrp.stomathia, and still later by Spencer, in his Educa- 
tion. It seems to have been forgotten that the division of labor affects 
education in much the same way as it affects all other departments of 
human activity: that there is no more need of having as a personal posses- 
sion all the knowledge we need for guidance, than for owning all the 
agencies we need for locomotion or communication. (P.) 


Montaigne simply demands that " one taste the upper 
crust of the sciences " ; that one skim over them without 
going into them deeply, " in French fashion." In his view, 
a well-made head is worth more than a head well filled. It 
is not so much to accumulate, to amass, knowledge, as to 
assimilate as much of it as a prudent intelligence can digest 
without fatigue. In a word, while Rabelais sits down, so to 
speak, at the banquet of knowledge with an avidity which 
recalls the gluttony of the Fantagruelian repasts, Montaigne 
is a delicate connoisseur, who would only satisfy with dis- 
cretion a regulated appetite. 

112. The Personal Education op Montaigne. — One 
often becomes teacher through recollection of his personal 
education. This is what happened to Montaigne. His ped- 
agogy is at once an imitation of the methods which a father 
full of solicitude had himself applied to him, and a protest 
against the defects and the vices of the college of Guienne, 
which he entered at the age of six years. The home 
education of Montaigne affords the interesting spectacle of 
a child who develops freely. My spirit, he himself says, was 
trained with all gentleness and freedom, without severity or 
constraint. His father, skilful in his tender care, had him 
awakened each morning at the sound of musical instruments, 
so as to spare him those brusque alarms that are bad pre- 
parations for toil. In a word, he applied to him that tem- 
pered discipline, at once indulgent and firm, equally removed 
from complacency and harshness, which Montaigne has 
christened with the name of severe mildness. Another char- 
acteristic of Montaigne's education is, that he learned Latin 
as one learns his native tongue. His father had surrounded 
him with domestics and teachers who conversed with him 
only in Latin. The result of this was, that at the age of six 
he was so proficient in the language of Cicero, that the best 


Latinists of the time feared to address him (craignissent & 
Vaccoster) . On the other baud, he knew no more of French 
than he did of Arabic. 1 It is evident that Montaigne's father 
had taken a false route, but at least Montaigne derived a just 
conception from this experience, namely, that the methods 
ordinarily pursued in the study of the dead languages are too 
slow and too mechanical ; that an abuse is made of rules, 
and that sufficient attention is not given to practice : " No 
doubt but Greek and Latin are very great ornaments, and 
of very great use, but we buy them too dear." 2 

At the college of Guienne, where he passed seven years, 
Montaigne learned to detest corporal chastisements and the 
hard discipline of the scholars of his da}' : " . . . Instead of 
tempting and alluring children to letters by apt and gentle 
ways, our pedants do in truth present nothing before them 
but rods and ferules, horror and cruelty. Away with this 
violence ! away with this compulsion ! than which, I certainly 
believe, nothing more dulls and degenerates a well-descended 
nature. . . . The strict government of most of our colleges 
has evermore displeased me. . . . 'Tis the true house of 
correction of imprisoned youth. . . . Do but come in when 
they are about their lesson, and you shall hear nothing but 
the outcries of boys under execution, with the thundering 
noise of their Pedagogues, drunk with fury, to make up the 
consort. A pretty way this ! to tempt these tender and 
timorous souls to love their book, with a furious counte- 
nance, and a rod in hand. A cursed and pernicious way of 

1 " I was above six years of age before I understood either French or 
Periyordian any more than Arabic, and without art, book, grammar, or 
precept, whipping, or the experience of a tear, had by that time learned to 
speak as pure Latin as my master himself." Essays, Book I. chap. xxv. 
In this chapter I have several times quoted from Cotton's translation. 
(London: 1711.) (P.) 

2 Book L chap. xxv. 


proceeding. . . . How much more decent would it be to see 
their classes strewed with green leaves and fine flowers, than 
with bloody stumps of birch and willows? Were it left to 
my ordering, I should paint the school with the pictures of 
Joy and Gladness, Flora and the Graces . . . that where 
their profit is, they might have their pleasure too." 1 

113. Importance of a General rather than a Special 
Education. — If Montaigne, in different chapters of his 
essays, 2 has given passing attention to pedagogical questions, 
it is not only through a recollection of his own years of ap- 
prenticeship, but also because of his judgment as a philos- 
opher, that " the greatest and most important task of human 
understanding is in those matters which concern the nurture 
and instruction of children. " 

For him, education is the art of forming men, and not 
specialists. This he explains in his original manner under 
the form of an anecdote : 

" Going to Orleans one day, I met in that plain this side 
Clery, two pedants who were going towards Bordeaux, 
about fifty paces distant from one another. Still further 
back of them, I saw a troop of horse, and at their head a 
gentleman who was the late Count de la Ilochefoucault. One 
of my company inquired of the foremost of these dominies, 
who that gentleman was who was following him. He had 
not observed the train that was following after, and thought 
that the question related to his companion ; and so he 
replied pleasantly, 4 He is not a gentleman, but a grammarian, 
and I am a logician.' Now, as we are here concerned in the 
training, not of a grammarian, or of a logician, but of a 

1 Book I. chap. xxv. 

2 See particularly Chap. xxrv. of Book I., Of Pedantry ; Chap. xxv. 
Book I., Of the Education of Children ; Chap. vni. Book II., Of the Affec- 
tion of Fathers to their Children. 



complete gentleman, we will let those who will abuse their 
leisure ; but we have business of another nature." 1 

It is true that Montaigne says gentleman, aud not simply 
man ; but in reality his thought is the same as that of Rous- 
seau and of all those who require a general education of the 
human soul. 

114. The Purpose op Instruction. — From what has now 
been said, it is easy to comprehend that, in the opinion of 
Montaigne, letters and other studies are but the means or 
instrument, and not the aim and end of instruction. The 
author of the Essays does not yield to the literary craze, 
which, in the sixteenth century, took certain scholars captive, 
and made the ideal of education to consist of a knowledge of 
the ancient languages. It is of little consequence to him 
that a pupil has learned to write in Latin ; what he does 
require, is that he become better and more prudent, and have 
a sounder judgment. " If his soul be not put into better 
rhythm, if the judgment be not better settled, I would rather 
have him spend his time at tennis. 9 ' 2 

115. Education of the Judgment. — Montaigne has 
expressed his dominant thought on education in a hundred 
different ways. He is preoccupied with the training of the 
judgment, and on this point we might quote whole pages : 

"... According to the fashion in which we are instructed, 
it is not singular that neither scholars nor masters become 
more able, although they become more wise. In fact, our 
parents devote their care and expense to furnishing our heads 
with knowledge ; but to judgment and virtue no additions 
are made. Say of a passer-by to people, 4 O what a learned 
man ! ' and of another, ' O what a good man goes there ! ' 
and the}' will not fail to turn their eyes and attention towards 

* Book I. chap. xxv. * Book I. chap, xxrv, 


the former. There should be a third to cry, ' O the block- 
heads ! ' Men are quick to inquire, 4 Does he know Greek 
or Latin? Does he write in verse or in prose?' But 
whether he has become better or more prudent, which is the 
principal thing, this receives not the least notice ; whereas 
we ought to inquire who is the better learned, rather than 
who is the more learned ? " 

"We labor only at filling the memory, and leave the under- 
standing and the conscience void. Just as birds sometimes 
go in quest of grain, and bring it in their bills without tasting 
it themselves, to make of it mouthfuls for their young ; so 
our pedants go rummaging in books for knowledge, only to 
hold it at their tongues' end, and then distribute it to their 
pupils." * 

116. Studies Recommended. — The practical and utili- 
tarian mind of Montaigne dictates to him his programme of 
studies. With him it is not a question of plunging into the 
depths of the sciences ; disinterested studies are not his 
affair. If Rabelais proposed to develop the speculative 
faculties, Montaigne, on the contrary, is preoccupied with 
the practical faculties, and he makes ever}*thing subordinate 
to morals. For example, he would have history learned, not 
for the sake of knowing the facts, but of appreciating them. 
It is not so necessary to imprint in the memory of the child 
" the date of the fall of Carthage as the character of Hanni- 
bal and Scipio, nor so much where Marcellus died as why it 
was unworthy of his dut}* that he died there." 2 

And so in philosophy, it is not the general knowledge of 
man and nature that Montaigne esteems and recommends ; 
but only those parts that have a direct bearing on morals and 
active life. 

* Book I. chap. xxiv. * Book I. chap. xxv. 


» fc It is a pity that matters should be at such a pass as they 
are in our time, that philosophy, even with people of under- 
standing, should be looked upon as a vain and fanciful name, 
a thing of no use and no value, either for opinion or for 
action. I think that it is the love of quibbling that has 
caused things to take this turn. . . . Philosophy is that 
which teaches us to live." l 

117. Educational Methods. — An education purely 
bookish is not to Montaigne's taste. He counts less upon 
books th«n upon experience and mingling with men ; upon 
the observation of things, and upon the natural suggestions 
of the mind : 

"For learning to judge well and speak well, whatever 
presents itself to our eyes serves as a sufficient book. The 
knavery of a page, the blunder of a servant, a table witti- 
cism, — all such things are so many new things to think 
about. And for this purpose conversation with men is 
wonderfully helpful, and so is a visit to foreign lands . . . 
to bring back the customs of those nations, and their man- 
ners, and to whet and sharpen our wits by rubbing them upon 
those of others." 

"... The lesson will be given, sometimes by conversation, 
sometimes by book. . . . Let the child examine every 
man's talent, a peasant, a mason, a passer-by. Put into his 
head an honest curiosity in everything. Let him observe 
whatever is curious in his surroundings, — a fine house, a 
delicate fountain, an eminent man, the scene of an ancient 
battle, the routes of Cresar, or of Charlemagne. . . ." 1 

Things should precede words. On this point Montaigne 
anticipates Comenius, Rousseau, and all modern educators. 

1 Book I. chap. xxv. 


" Let our pupil be provided with things ; words will 
follow only too fast." l 

" The world is given to babbling ; I hardly ever saw a man 
who did not rather prate too much, than speak too little. 
Yet the half of our life goes in that way ; we are kept four or 
five years in learning words. . . ." * 

" This is not saying that it is not a fine and good thing to 
speak well ; but not so good as it is made out to be. I am 
vexed that our life is so much occupied with all this." 

118. How we should read. — Montaigne has keenly criti- 
cised the abuse of books: " I would not have this boy of 
ours imprisoned, and made a slave to his book. ... I would 
not have his spirit cow'd and subdu'd by applying him to the 
rack, and tormenting him, as some do, fourteen or fifteen 
hours a day, and so make a pack-horse of him. Neither 
should I think it good, when, by a solitary and melancholic 
complexion, he is discovered to be much addicted to his 
book, to nourish that humor in him, for that renders them 
unfit for civil conversation, and diverts them from better 
employments." 8 

But while he advises against excess in reading, he has 
admirably defined the manner in which we ought to read. 
Above all, he says, let us assimilate and appropriate what 
we read. Let the work of the reader resemble that of bees, 
that, on this side and on that, tap the flowers for their sweet 

1 Has not this extravagant preference for things, as distinguished from 
words, become a new superstition in educational theory ? Considering the 
misuse made of words by Scholasticism, it was time for Montaigne to summon 
the attention outwards to sensible realities; but it is more than doubtful 
whether there is any valid ground for the absolute rule of modern pedagogy, 
" first the idea, then the term.'' In actual experience, there is no invariable 
sequence. The really important thing is, that terms be made significant. (P.) 

3 Book I. chap. zxv. 

'Book I. chap. xxv. 



juices, and make them into honey, which is no longer thyme 
nor marjoram. In other terms, we should read with reflec- 
tion, and with a critical spirit, while mastering the thoughts 
of the author by our personal judgment, without ever be- 
coming slaves to them. 

119. Montaigne's Errors. — Montaigne's greatest fault, it 
must be confessed, is that he is somewhat heartless. Some- 
what of an egoist and Epicurean, he celebrates only the 
easy virtues that are attained " by shady routes through 
green meadows and fragrant flowers." Has he himself ever 
performed painful duties that demand effort? To love child- 
ren, he waits till they are amiable ; while they are small, he 
disdains them, and keeps them at a distance from him : 

" I cannot entertain that passion of dandling and caressing 
an infant, scarcely born, having as yet neither motion of 
soul nor shape of body distinguishable, by which they can 
render themselves amiable ; and have not suffered them to 
be nursed near me. . . ." l "- Never take, and, still less, 
never give, to the women of your household the care of the 
feeding of your children ! " 

Montaigne joined precept to example. He somewhere says 
unfeelingly : " My children all died while at nurse." * He 
goes so far as to say that a man of letters ought to prefer 

1 Book II. chap. vni. 

2 1 am not sure that this remark does not do Montaigne injustice, especi- 
ally when we consider the connection in which the original remark is made: 
"I am of opinion that what is not to be done by reason, prudence, and 
address, is never to be effected by force. I myself was brought up after 
that manner; and they tell me that, in all my first age, I never felt the rod 
but twice, and then very easily. I have practised the same method with my 
children, who all of them dy'd at nurse; but Leonora, my only daughter, is 
arrived to the age of six years and upwards without other correction for 
her childish faults than words only, and those very gentle/' Book H. 
chap. vm. (P.) 


his writings to his children : " The births of oar intelligence 
are the children the most truly our own." * 

120. Incompleteness of his Views on the Education 
of Women. — Another mental defect in Montaigne is, that, 
hv reason of his moderation and conservatism, he remains a 
little narrow. High conceptions of human destiny are not 
to be expected of him ; his manner of conceiving of it is 
mean and commonplace. This lack of intellectual breadth 
is especially manifest in his reflections on the education of 
women. Montaigne is of that number, who, through false 
gallantry, would keep woman in a state of ignorance on the 
pretext that instruction would mar her natural charms. 
In their case, he would prohibit even the study of rhetoric, 
because, he says, that would " conceal her charms under 
borrowed charm8. ,, Women should be content with the 
advantages which their sex assures to them. With the 
knowledge which they naturally have, " they command 
with the switch, and rule both the regents and the schools." 
However, he afterwards thinks better of it ; but in his con- 
cessions there is more of contempt than in his prohibitions : 
u If, however, it displeases them to make us any concessions 
whatever, and they are determined, through curiosity, to 
know something of books, poetry is an amusement befitting 
their needs ; for it is a wanton, crafty art, disguised, all for 
pleasure, all for show, just as they are." * 

The following passage may also be quoted : — 
" When I see them tampering with rhetoric, law, logic, 
and the like, so improper and unnecessary for their busi- 
ness, I begin to suspect that the men who inspire them with 
such things do it that they may govern them upon that 
account. ,,8 

* Book m. chap. xm. s Book IIL chap. m. 

• Book m. chap. m. 


It is impossible to express a greater contempt for women. 
Montaigne goes so far as to deny her positive qualities of 
heart. He chances to say, with reference to Mile, dc 
Gournay, his adopted daughter: "The perfection of the 
most saintly affection has been attained when it does not 
exhibit the least trace of sex." 
f To conclude : notwithstanding some grave defects, the 
\ pedagogy of Montaigne is a pedagogy of good sense, and 
•' certain parts of it will always deserve to be admired. The 
Jansenists, and Locke, and Rousseau, in different degrees, 
draw their inspiration from Montaigne. In his own age, it 
is true, his ideas were accepted by scarcely any one save his 
disciple Charron, who, in his book of Wisdom, 1 has done 
scarcely more than to arrange in order the thoughts that are 
scattered through the Essays. But if he had no influence 
upon his own age, Montaigne has at least remained, after 
three centuries, a sure guide in the matter of intellectual 

[121. Analytical Summary. — 1. The dominant charac- 
teristic of education during the Renaissance period is the 
reaction which it exhibits against certain errors in Middle 
Age education. 

2. A second characteristic is a disposition to conciliate or 
harmonize principles and methods whose fault is exagger- 

3. Against instruction based almost wholly on authority, 
there is a reaction in favor of free inquiry. 

4. Opposed to an education of the professional or technical 
type, there is proposed an education of the general or liberal 

1 See particularly Chap. xrv. of Book III. 



5. From being almost exclusively ethical and religious, 
education tends to become secular. 

6. Didactic, formal instruction out of books, dealing in 
second-hand knowledge, is succeeded by informal, intuitive 
instruction from natural objects, dealing in knowledge at first 

7. The conception that education is a process of manu- 
facture begins to give place to the conception that it is a 
process of growth. 

8. Teaching whose purpose was information is succeeded 
by teaching whose purpose is formation, discipline, or 

9. A discipline that was harsh and cruel is succeeded by 
a discipline comparatively mild and humane ; and manners 
that were rude and coarse, are followed by a finer code of 




origin of primary instruction; spirit of the protestant re- 
form ; calvin, melancthon, zwingli j luther (148s-15m) ;. 
appeal addressed to the magistrates and legislators 
of germany ; double utility of instruction j nec ess itt of 
a system of public instruction; criticism of the schools 
of the period; organization of new schools; programme 
of studies; progress in methods; the states general of 
orleans (1660) ; ratich (1571-1635) ; comenius (1502-1671) ; his 
character; baconian inspiration; life of comenius; his 
principal works ; division of instruction into four grades; 
elementary initiation into all the studies; the people's 
school ; site of the school ; intuitions of sense ; simplifica- 
tion of grammatical studies; pedagogical principles of 
comenius; analytical summary. 


122. Origin of Primary Instruction. — With La Salle 
and the foundation of the Institute of the Brethren of the 
Christian Schools, the historian of education recognizes the 
Catholic origin of primary instruction ; in the decrees and 
laws of the French Revolution, its lay and philosophical 
origin; but it is to the Protestant Reformers, — to Luther 
in the sixteenth century, and to C omeni us in the seventeenth 
— that must be ascribed the honor of having fir^ jQ^g&njged 
schools for the people. In its origin, the primary school is 
the child of Protestantism, and its cradle was the Reforma- 


123. Spirit of the Protestant Reform. — The develop- 
ment of primary instruction was the logical consequence of 
the fundamental principles of the Protestant Reform. As 
Michel Br6al has said : " In making man responsible for his 
own faith, and in placing the source of that faith in the Holy 
Scriptures, the Reform contracted the obligation to put each 
one in a condition to save himself by the reading and the 
understanding of the Bible. . . . The necessity of explain- 
ing the Catechism, and making comments on it, was for 
teachers an obligation to learn how to expound a thought, 
and to decompose it into its elements. The study of the 
mother tongue and of singing, was associated with the reading 
of the Bible (translated into German by Luther) and with 
religious services." The Reform, then, contained, in germ,v 
a complete revolution in education ; it enlisted the interests ( 

of religion in the service of instruction, and associated I rt 
knowledge with faith. This is the reason that, for three / 
centuries, the Protestant nations have led humanity in theJ 
matter of primary instruction. ^ 

124. Calvin (1509-1564), Melancthon (1497-1560), 
Zwingli (1484-1532). — However, all the Protestant Re- 
formers were far from exhibiting the same zeal in behalf of 
primary instruction. Calvin, absorbed in religious struggles , 
and polemics, was not occupied with the organization of I 
schools till towards the close of his life, and even the college [ 
that he founded at Geneva, in 1559, was scarcely more than/ 
a school for the study of Latin. Melancthon, who has been/ 
called "the preceptor of Germany," worked more for high ^ 
schools than for schools for the people. He was above~all 
else a professor of Belles-Lettres ; and it was with chagrin 
that he saw his courses in the University of Wittenberg de- 
serted by students when he lectured on the Olynthiacs of 


Demosthenes. Before Calvin and Melancthon, the Swiss 
reformer Zwingli had shown his great interest in primary 
teaching, in his little book " upon the manner of instructing 
and bringing up boys in a Christian way" (1524). In this 
he recommended natural history, arithmetic, and also exer- 
cises in fencing, in order to furnish the country with timely 

125. Lutoer (1483-1546). The German reformer Luther 
A is, of all his co-religionists, the one who has served the cause 
c of elementary instruction with the most ardor. He not only 

addressed a pressing appeal to the ruling classes in behalf of 
founding schools for the people, but, by his influence, meth- 
ods of instruction were improved, and the educational spirit 
was renewed in accordance with the principles of Protestant- 
ism. u Spontaneity," it has been said, not without some 
exaggeration, " free thought, and free inquiry, are the basis 
of Protestantism ; where it has reigned, there have disap- 
peared the method of repeating and of learning by heart 
without reflection, mechanism, subjection to authority, the 
paralysis of the intelligence oppressed by dogmatic instruc- 
tion, and science put in tutelage by the beliefs of the 
Church." l 

126. Appeal addressed to tiie Magistrates and Legis- 
lators of Germany. — In 1524, Luther, in a special docu- 
ment addressed to the public authorities of Germany, forcibly 
expressed himself against the neglect into which the interests 
of instruction had fallen. This appeal has this characteristic, 
that the great reformer, while assuming that the Church is 
the mother of the school, seems especially to count on the 
secular arm, upon the power of the people, to serve his pur- 

1 Dittes, op. cit. p. 127. 


poses in the cause of universal instruction. " Each city," 
he said, "is subjected to great expense every year for the 
construction of roads, for fortifying its ramparts, and for 
buying arms and equipping soldiers. Why should it not 
spend an equal sum for the support of one or two school- 
masters? The prosperity of a city does not depend solely 
on its natural riches, on the solidity of its walls, on the ele- 
gance of its mansions, and on the abundance of arms in its 
arsenals ; but the safety and strength of a city reside above 
all in a good education, which furnishes it with instructed, 
reasonable, honorable, and well-trained citizens." 1 

127. Double Utility of Instruction. — A remarkable 
fact about Luther is, that as a preacher of instruction, he does 
not speak merely from the religious point of view. After 
having recommended schools as institutions auxiliary to the 
Church, he makes a resolute argument from the human point 
of view. " Were there neither soul, heaven, nor hell," he 
says, "it would still be necessary to have schools for the sake i 
of affairs here below, as the history of the Greeks and the 
Romans plainly teaches,. The world has need of educated 
men and women, to the end that the men may govern the 
country properly, and that the women may properly bring up 
their children, care for their domestics, and direct the affairs 
of their households." 

128. Necessity of Public Instruction. — The. objection 
will perhaps be made, says Luther, that for the education of 

1 Lather's argument for compulsion should not be omitted: "It is my 
opinion that the authorities are bound to force their subjects to send their 
children to school. ... If they can oblige their able-bodied subjects to 
carry the lance and the arquebuse, to mount the ramparts, and to do com- 
plete military service, for a much better reason may they, and ought they, 
to force their subjects to send their children to school, for here it is the 
question of a much more terrible war with the devil." (P.) 


children the home is sufficient, and that the school is useless. 
" To this I reply : We clearly see how the boys and girls are 
educated who remain at home." He then shows that they 
are ignorant and " stupid," incapable of taking part in conver- 
sation, of giving good advice, and without any experience of 
life ; while, if they had been educated in the schools, by 
teachers who could give instruction in the languages, in the 
arts, and in history, they might in a little time gather up 
within themselves, as in a mirror, the experience of what- 
ever has happened since the beginning of the world; and 
from this experience, he adds, they would derive the wisdom 
they need for self -direction and for giving wise counsel to 

129. Criticism op the Schools op the Period. — But 
since there must be public schools, can we not be content 
with those which already exist ? Luther replies by proving 
that parents neglect to send their children to them, and by 
denouncing the uselessness of the results obtained by those 
who attend them. " We find people," he says, " who serve 
God in strange ways. They fast and wear coarse clothing, 
but they pass blindly by the true divine service of the home, 
— they do not know how to bring up their children. . . . 
Believe me, it is much more necessary to give attention to 
your children and to provide for their education than to pur- 
chase indigencies, to visit foreign churches, or to make sol- 
emn vows. . . . All people, especially the Jews, oblige their 
children to go to school more than Christians do. This is 
why the state of Christianity is so low, for all its force and 
power are in the rising generation ; and if these are neg- 
lected, there will be Christian churches like a garden that has 
been neglected in the spring-time. . . . Every day children 
are born and are growing up, and, unfortunately, no one 
cares for the poor young people, no one thinks to train them ; 


they are allowed to go as they will. Was it not lamentable 
to see a lad study in twenty years and more only just enough 
bad Latin to enable him to become a priest, and to go to 
mass? And he who attained to this was counted a very 
happy being! Right happy the mother who bore such a 
child ! And he has remained all his life a poor unlettered 
man. Everywhere we have seen such teachers and masters, 
who knew nothing themselves and could teach nothing that 
was good and useful ; they did not even know how to learn 
and to teach. Has anything else been learned up to this 
time in the high schools and in the convents except to 
become asses and blockheads? ..." 

130. Organization op the New Schools. — So Luther 
resolves on the organization of new schools. The cost of j 
their maintenance he makes a charge on the public treasury , 
he demonstrates to parents the moral obligation to have their 
children instructed in them ; to the duty of conscience he 
adds ciyilobligation ; and, finally, he gives his thought to 
the means of recruiting the teaching service. '* Since the 
greatest evil in every place is the lack of teachers, we must 
not wait till they come forward of themselves ; we must take 
the trouble to educate them and prepare them." To this end 
Luther keeps the best of the pupils, boys and girls, for a 
longer time in school; gives them special instructors, and 
opens libraries for their use. In his thought he never dis- 
tinguishes women teachers from men teachers ; he wants 
schools for girls as well as for boys. Only, not to burden 
parents and divert children from their daily labor, he re- 
quires but little time for school duties. " You ask : Is it 
possible to get along without our children, and bring them up 
like gentlemen? Is it not necessary that they work at 
home ? I reply : I by no means approve of those schools 
where a child was accustomed to pass twenty or thirty yean 


in studying Donatus or Alexander 1 without learning any- 
thing. Another world has dawned, in which things go 
differently. My opinion is that we must send the boys to 
school one or two hours a day, and have them learn a trade 
at home for the rest of the time. It is desirable that these 
two occupations march side by side. As it now is, children 
certainly spend twice as much time in playing ball, running 
the streets, and playing truant. And so the girls can 
equally well devote nearly the same time to school, without 
neglecting their home duties ; they lose more time than this 
in over-sleeping and in dancing more than is meet." 

131. Programme op Studies. — Luther gives the first 
place to the teaching of religion : " Is it not reasonable that 
every Christian should know the Gospel at the age of nine 
or ten ? " 

Then come the languages, not, as might be hoped, the 
mother tongue, but the learned language Latin,,. Greek, and 
Hebrew. Luther had not yet been sufficiently rid of the old 
spirit to comprehend that the language of the people ought 
to be the basis of universal instruction. He le ft to Comen ius 
LS the glory of making the final separation of the primary 
school from the Latin school. But yet, Luther gave excel- 
lent advice for the study of languages, which must be 
learned, he said, less in the abstract rules of grammar than 
in their concrete reality. 

Luther recommends the mathematics, and also the study 
of nature ; but he has a partiality for history and historians, 


1 Names for treatises on grammar and philosophy respectively. Donatus 
was a celebrated grammarian and rhetorician who taught at Rome in the 
middle of the fourth century a.d.; and Alexander, a celebrated Greek com- 
mentator on the writings of Aristotle, who taught the Peripatetic philoso- 
phy at Athens in the end of the second and the beginning of the third cen- 
turies a.d. (P.) 


who are, he says, "the best people and the best teachers," 
on the condition that they do not tamper with the truth, and 
that " they do not make obscure the work of God." 

Of the liberal arts of the Middle Age, Luther does not 
make much account. He rightly says of dialectics, that it is 
no equivalent for real knowledge, and that it is simply " an 
instrument by which we render to ourselves an account of 
what we know." 

Physical exercises are not forgotten in Luther's peda- 
gogical regulations. But he attaches an especial importance 
to singing. "Unless a schoolmaster know how to sing, I 
think him of no account." " Music," he says again, " is a 
half discipline which makes men more indulgent and more 

132. Progress in Methods. — At the same time that he 
extends the programme of studies, Luther introduces a new 
spirit into methods. He wishes more liberty. and more joy 
in the school. 

" Solomon," he says, " is a truly royal schoolmaster. He 
does not, like the monks, forbid the young to go into the 
world and be happy. Even as Anselm said : ' A young man 
turned aside from the world is like a young tree made to 
grow in a vase.' The monks have imprisoned young men 
like birds in their cage. It is dangerous to isolate the young. 
It is necessary, on the contrary, to allow young people to 
hear, see, and learn all sorts of things, while all the time 
observing the restraints and the rules of honor. Enjoyment 
and recreation are as necessary for children as food and 
drink. The schools till now were veritable prisons and hells, 
and the schoolmaster a tyrant. ... A child intimidated by 
bad treatment is irresolute in all he does. He who has trem- 
bled before his parents will tremble all his life at the sound 
of a leaf which rustles in the wind." 


These quotations will suffice to make appreciated the large 
and liberal spirit of Luther, and the range of his thought as 
an educator. No one has more extolled the office of the 
teacher, of which he said, when comparing it to preaching, 
it is the work of all others the noblest, the most useful, and 
the best; " and yet," he added, " I do not know which of 
these two professions is the better." 

Do not let ourselves imagine, however, that Luther at once 
exercised a decisive influence on the current education of his 
day. A few schools were founded, called writing schools ; 
but the Thirty Years' War, and other events, interrupted the 
movement of which Luther has the honor of having been the 

133. The States General of Orleans (1560). — While 
in Germany, under the impulse of Luther, primary schools 
began to be established, France remained in the background. 
Let us note, however, the desires expressed by the States 
General of Orleans, in 1560 : — 

" May it please the king," it was said in the memorial of 
the nobility, " to levy a contribution upon the church reve- 
nues for the reasonable support of teachers and men of 
learning in every city and village, for the instruction of 
the needy youth of the country ; and let all parents be 
required, under penalty of a fine, to send their children 
to school, and let them be constrained to observe this law by 
the lords and the ordinary magistrates." 

It was demanded, in addition, that public lectures be 
given on the Sacred Scriptures in intelligible language, that is, 
in the mother tongue. But these demands, so earnest and 
democratic, of the Protestant nobility of sixteenth century 
France, were not regarded. With the fall of Protestantism, 
the cause of primary instruction in France was doomed to a 
long eclipse. The nobles of the seventeenth and eighteenth 


centuries did not think of petitioning again for the education 
of the people, and Diderot couid truthfully say of them: 
fct The nobility complain of the farm laborers who know how 
to read. Perhaps the chief grievance of the nobility reduces 
itself to this : that a peasant who knows how to read is more 
difficult to oppress than another." 

134. Ratich (1571-1635).— In the first half of the 
seventeenth century, Ratich, a German, and Comenius, a 
Slave, were, with very different degrees of merit, the heirs 
of the educational thought of Luther. 

With something of the charlatan and the demagogue, 
Ratich devoted his life to propagating a novel art of teaching, 
which he called didactics, and to which he attributed marvels. 
He pretended, by his method of languages, to teach Hebrew, 
Greek, and Latin, in six months. But nevertheless, out of 
many strange performances and lofty promises, there issue 
some thoughts of practical value. The first merit of Ratich 
was to give the mother tongue, the German language, the 
precedence over theancient languages. An English educa- 
tional writer, Mr. R. H. Quick, in his JSssays on Educational 
Reformers (1874), has thus summed up the essential princi- 
ples of the pedagogy of Ratich : 1 . Everything should be 
taught in its own time and order, and according to the natural 
method, in passing from the more easy to the more difficult. 
2. Only one thing should be learned at a time. " We do not 
cook at the same time in one pot, soup, meat, fish, milk, and 
vegetables." 3. The same thing should be repeated several 
times. 4. By means of these frequent repetitions, the pupil 
will have nothing to learn by heart. 5. All school-books 
should be written on the same plan. 6. The thing as a whole 
should be made known before the thing in its details, and 
the sequence should be from the general to the special. ! 
7. In every case we should proceed by induction and experi- / 



writ, Ratten especially means by this that we most make 
an end of mere aathoritv. and of the testimony of the 
ari/rierit*, and must appeal to individual reason. 8. Finally, 
everything should lie learned without coercion. Coercion and 
the rod are contrary to nature, and disgust the young with 
study, The human understanding learns with pleasure all 
that it ought to retain. It does not seem that Ratich knew 
how to draw from these principles, which, by the way, are 
not trill; save under certain corrections, all the happ}* results 
that are contained in them. He left to Comenius the glory 
of applying the new spirit to actual practice. 

\'\!>. Comknius (1.VJ2-1671). — For a long time unknown 
un<l unappreciated, Comenius has finally received from our 
contemporaries the admiration that is due him. Michelet 
HpcakH of him with enthusiasm as " that rare genius, that 
gentle, fertile, universal scholar"; 1 and he calls him the 
first evangelist of modern pedagogy, Pestalozzi being the 
Hccntid. It iH easy to justify this appreciation. Thechar- 
aeter of Comenius equals his intelligence. Through a thou- 
MimtlolmlaeleH he devoted his long life to the work of popular 
hint met ion. With n generous ardor he consecrated himself 
to infancy. He wrote twenty works and taught in twenty 
clllcK. Moreover, he was the first to form a definite concep- 
tion of what, the elementary studies should be. He deter- 
mined, nearly three hundred years ago, with an exactness 
that leaves nothing to be desired, the division of the dif- 
ferent grades of instruction. He exactly defined some of 
the essential laws of the art of teaching. He applied to 
pedagogy, with remarkable insight, the principles of modern 
logic. Finally, as Michelet has said, he was the Galileo, we 
would rather sav, the llacon. of modern education. 

1 Michoiot, X\>9jih, p, 175 ct seq. 


136. Baconian Inspiration. — The special aims of peda- • 
gogy are essentially related to the general aims of science. C 
All progress in science has its corresponding effects on edu- / 
cation. When an innovator has modified the laws for the/ 
discovery of truth, other innovators appear, who modify, in) 
their turn, the rules for instruction. To a new logic almost/ 
necessarily corresponds a new pedagogy. 

Now Bacon, at the opening of the seventeenth century, 
had opened unknown routes to scientific investigation. For 
the abstract processes of thought, for the barren comparison 
of propositions and words, in which the whole art of the 
syllogism consisted, the author of the Novum Organum had 
substituted the concrete study of reality, the living and 
fruitful observation of nature. The mechanism of deduc- 
tive reasoning was replaced by the slow and patient inter- 
pretation of facts. It no longer answered to analyze with 
docile spirit principles that were assumed, right or wrong, as 
absolute truths ; nor to become expert in handling the syllo- 
gism, which, like a mill running dry, often produced but 
little flour. It was now necessary to open the eyes to the 
contemplation of the universe, and by sense intuition, by 
observation, by experiment, and by induction, to penetrate 
its secrets, and determine its laws. It was necessary to 
ascend, step by step, from the knowledge of the simplest 
things to the discovery of the most general laws ; and, 
finallv, to demand of nature herself to reveal all that the 
human intelligence, in its solitary meditations, is powerless 
to discover. 

Looking at this subject more closely, this revolution in 
science, so important from the point of view of speculative 
inquiry, and destined to change the aspect of the sciences, 
also contained in itself a revolution in education. For this 
purpose, all that was needed was to apply to the develop- 



ment of the intelligence and to the communication of knowl- 
edge the rules proposed by Bacon for the investigation of 
truth. The laws of scientific induction might become the 
laws for the education of the soul. No more setting out 
with abstract principles, imposed by authority* ; but facts 
Intuitiv ely apprehended, gathered by observation and veri- 
fied byexpeximlHvFrThir^ ; 
a cautious progression from the simplest and most elemen- 
tary ideas to the most difficult and most complex truths; 
the knowledge of things instead of an analysis of words, — 
such was to be the character of the new system of instruc- 
tion. In other terms, it was possible to make the child fol- 
low, in order to lead him to know and to comprehend the 
capitalized truths that constitute the basis of elementary 
instruction, the same method that Bacon recommended to 
scholars for the discovery of unknown truths. 1 
,' It is this conversion, or, as we might say, this translation, 
i of the maxims of the Baconian logic into pedagogical rules, 
that Coingnius attempted, and this is why he has been called 
" the father of the intuitive method." He was nourished, 
intellectually, by the reading of Bacon, whom he resembles, 
not only in his ideas, but also in his figurative and often 
allegorical language. Even the title of one of his books, 
Didactica Magna, recalls the title of Bacon's Instauratio 

1 This is, perhaps, the earliest appearance of the conception that learn- 
ing should be a process of discovery or of re-discovery. Condillac (1715- 
1780) has elaborated this idea in the introduction to his Grammairc, and 
Spencer (Education, p. 122) makes it a fundamental law of teaching. If 
this assumed principle were to be rigorously applied, as, fortunately, it 
cannot be, progress in human knowledge would be impossible. Mr. Bain's 
comment on this doctrine (Education as a Science, p. 94) is as follows: 
" This bold fiction is sometimes put forward as one of the regular arts of 
the teacher ; but I should prefer to consider it as an extraordinary device, 
admissible only on special occasions." (P.) 


137. The Life of Comenius. — To know Comenius and 
the part he played in the seventeenth century, to appreciate 
this grand educational character, it would be necessary to 
begin by relating his life ; his misfortunes ; his journeys to 
England, where Parliament invoked his aid; to Sweden, 
where the Chancellor Oxenstiern employed him to write 
manuals of instruction ; especially his relentless industry, his 
courage through exile, and the long persecutions he suffered 
as a member of the sect of dissenters, the Moravian Breth- 
ren ; and the schools he founded at Fulneck, in Bohemia, at 
Lissa and at Patak, in Poland. But it would require too 
much of our space to follow in its incidents and catastro- 
phes that troubled life, which, in its sudden trials, as in the 
firmness that supported them, recalls the life of Pestalozzi. 1 

138. His Principal Works. — Comenius wrote a large 
number of books in Latin, in German, and in Czech; but 
of these only a few are worthy to engage the attention of 
the educator. In his other works he allows himself to go off 
on philosophic excursions, and to indulge in mystic reveries, 
led by his ardor to find what he called pansophia^ wisdom or 
universal knowledge. In this wilderness of publications 
destined to oblivion, we shall notice only three works, which 

1 It may not be generally known that Comenius was once solicited to 
become the President of Harvard College. The following is a quotation 
from Vol. II., p. 14, of Cotton Mather's Mar/nalia : " That brave old man, 
Johannes Amos Com me ni us, the fame of whose worth hath been trumpetted 
as far as more than three languages (whereof every one is indebted unto 
his Janua) could carry it, was indeed agreed withal, by our Mr. Winthrop 
in bis travels through the low countries, to come over into New England, 
and illuminate this Colledge and country, in the quality of a President, 
which was now become vacant. But the solicitations of the Swedish Am- 
bassador diverting him another way, that incomparable Moravian became 
not an American." This was on the resignation of President Dunster, in 
165*. (P.) 


contain the general principles of the pedagogy of Comenius, 
and the applications which he has made of his method : — 

1. The Didactica Magna, the Great Didactics (written in 
Czech at about 1630, and rewritten in Latin at about 
1640). In this work Comenius sets forth his principles, 
his general theories on education, and also his peculiar 
views on the practical organization of schools. It is to be 
regretted that a French translation has not yet popularized 
this important book, that would be worthy a place beside the 
Thoughts of Locke and the Emile of Rousseau. 1 

2. The Janua linguarum reserata, the Gate of Tongues 
Unlocked (1631). In the thought of the author, this was 
a new method of learning the languages. Comenius, led 
astray on this point by his religious prejudices, wished to 
banish the Latin authors from the schools, " for the pur- 
pose," he said, u of reforming studies in the true spirit of 
ChristiaIlity. ,, Consequently, in order to replace the clas- 
sical authors, which he repudiated for this further reason, 
that the reading of them is too difficult, and to make a child 
study them "is to wish to push out into the vast ocean a 
tiny bark that should be allowed only to sport on a little 
lake," he had formed the idea of composing a collection of 
phrases distributed into a hundred chapters. These phrases, 
to the number of a thousand, at first very simple, and of a 
single member, then longer and more complicated, were 
formed of two thousand words, chosen from among the most 
common and the most useful. Moreover, the hundred chapters 
of the Janua taught the child, in succession and in a methodi- 
cal order, all the things in the universe, — the elements, the 
metals, the stars, the animals, the organs of the body, the arts 

1 The moat complete account ever written of Comenius and his writings 
is, "John Amos Comenius," by S. S. Laurie (Boston: 1885). It is an in- 
valuable contribution to the philosophy and the history of education. (P.) 



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and trades, etc., etc. In other terms, the Janua linguarum 
is a nomenclature of ideas and words designed to fix the atten- 
tion of the child upon everything he ought to know of the 
world. Divested of the Latin text that accompanies it, the 
Janua is a first reading-book, very defective doubtless, but 
it gives proof cf a determined effort to adapt to the intelli- 
gence of the child the knowledge that he ought to acquire. 

3. The Orbis sensualium pictus, the Illustrated World of 
Sensible Objects, the most popular of the author's works 
(1058). It is the Janua linguarum accompanied with pic- 
tures, in lieu of real objects, representing to the child the 
things that he hears spoken of, as fast as he learns their 
names. The Orbis pictus, the first practical application of 
the intuitive method, had an extraordinary success, and has 
served as a model for the innumerable illustrated books 
which for three centuries have invaded the schools. 

139. The Four Grades op Instruction. — We must not 
require a man of the seventeenth century to abjure Latin 
studies. Comenius prizes them highly ; but at least he is 
wise enough to put them in their place, and does not con- 
found them, as Luther did, with elementary studies. 

Nothing could be more exact, more clearly cut, than the 
scholastic organization proposed by Comenius. We shall 
find in it what the experience of three centuries has finally 
sanctioned and established, the distribution of schools into 
these grades, — infant schools, primary schools, secondary 
schools, and higher schools. 

The first grade of instruction is the maternal school, the 
school by the mother's knee, materni gremii, as Comenius 
calls it. The mother is the first teacher. Up to the age of 
six the child is taught by her; he is initiated by her into 
those branches of knowledge that he will pursue in the pri- 
mary school. 


The second grade is the elementary public scliool. All the 
children, girls and boys, enter here at six, and leave at 
twelve. The characteristic of this school is that the instruc- 
tion there given is in the mother tongue, and this is why 
Comenius calls it the "common" school, vemacula, a term 
given by the Romans to the language of the people. 

The third grade is represented by the Latin school or gym- 
nasium. Thither are sent the children from twelve to 
eighteen years of age for whom has been reserved a more 
complete instruction, such as we would now call secondary 

Finally, to the fourth grade correspond the academies, that 
is, institutions of higher instruction, opened to young men 
from eighteen to twenty-four years of age. 

The child, if he is able, will traverse these four grades in 
succession; but, in the thought of Comenius, the studies 
should be so arranged in the elementary schools, that in 
leaving them, the pupil shall have a general education which 
makes it unnecessary for him to go farther, if his condition 
in life does not destine him to pursue the courses of the Latin 

44 We pursue," says Comenius, <4 a general education, the 
teaching to all men of all the subjects of human concern. 
. . . The purpose of the people's school shall be that all 
children of both sexes, from the tenth to the twelfth or the, 
thirteenth year, may be instructed in that knowledge which 
is useful during the whole of life." 

This was an admirable definition of the purpose of the 
primary school. A thing not less remarkable is that Come- 
nius establishes an elementary school in each village : — 
'< ! 44 There should be a maternal school in each family ; an 
elementary school in each district; a gymnasium in each 
city ; an academy in each kingdom, or even in each consid- 
erable province." 



140. Elementary Initiation into All the Studies. — 
One of the most novel and most original ideas of the great 
Slavic educator is the wish that, from the earliest years of 
his life, the child may acquire some elementary notions of all 
the sciences that he is to study at a later period. From the 
cradle, the gaze of the infant, guided by the mother, should 
be directed to all the objects that surround him, so that his 
growing powers of reflection will be brought into play in 
working on these sense intuitions. "Thus, from the mo- 
ment he begins to speak, the child comes to know himself, and, 
by his daily experience, certain general and abstract expres- 
sions ; he comes to comprehend the meaning of the words 
something, nothing, thus, otherwise, where, similar, different; 
and what are generalizations and the categories expressed by 
these words but the rudiments of metaphysics ? In the do- 
main of physics, the infant can learn to know water, earth, 
air, fire, rain, snow, etc., as well as the names and uses of the 
parts of his body, or at least of the external members and 
organs. He will take his first lesson in optics in learning to 
distinguish light, darkness, and the different colors; and in 
astronomy, in noticing the sun, the moon, and the stars, and 
in observing that these heavenly bodies rise and set ever}* 
day. In geography, according to the place where he lives, 
he will be shown a mountain, a valley, a plain, a river, a 
village, a hamlet, a city, etc. In chronology, he will be 
taught what an hour is, a day, a week, a year, summer, win- 
ter, yesterday, the day before yesterday, to-morrow, the day 
after to-morrow, etc. History, such as his age will allow him 
to conceive, will consist in recalling what has recently passed, 
in taking account of it, and in noting the part that this one or 
that has taken in such or such an affair. Arithmetic, geom- 
etry, statistics, mechanics, will not remain strangers to him. 
He will acquire the elements of these sciences in distinguishing 


the difference between little and much, in learning to count up 
to ten, in observing that three is more than two ; that one 
added to three makes four; in learning the sense of the 
words great and small, long and short, wide and narrow ^ 
heavy and ligfU; in drawing lines, curves, circles, etc. ; in 
seeing goods measured with a yard-stick ; in weighing an 
object in a balance ; in trying to make something or to take it 
to pieces, as all children love to do. 

4k In this impulse to construct and destroy, there is but the 
effort of the little intelligence to succeed in making or build- 
ing something for himself; so that, instead of opposing the 
child in this, he should be encouraged and guided." 

" The grammar of the first period will consist in learning 
to pronounce the mother tongue correctly. The child may 
receive elementary notions even of politics, in observing 
that certain persons assemble at the city hall, and that they 
are called councillors ; and that among these persons there 
is one called mayor, etc. " 1 

141. The People's School. — Divided into six classes, 
the people's school should prepare the child either for active 
life or for the higher courses. Comenius sends here not 
only the sons of peasants and workmen, but the sons of the 
middle class or of the nobility, who will afterwards enter 
the Latin school. In other terms , the studv of Latin is 
postponed till the age of twelve ; and up to that period all 
children must receive a thorough primary education, which 
will comprise, with the mother tongue, arithmetic, geometry, 
Binging, the salient facts of history, the elements of the nat- 
ural sciences, and religion. The latest reforms in secondary 
instruction, which, only within a very late period, have post- 

1 Buisson's Dictionnaire de Ptdagogie, Article Comenius. 


poned the study of Latin till the sixth year, 1 and which till 
then keep the pupil upon the subjects of primary instruction, 
— what are they but the distant echo of the thought of Come- 
nius ? Let it be noted, too, that the plan of Comenius gave 
to its primary school a complete encyclopaedic course of 
instruction, which was sufficient for its own ends, but which, 
while remaining elementary, was a whole, and not a begin- 
ning. 2 

Surely, the programme of studies devised by Comenius 
did not fail in point of insufficiency ; we may be allowed, on 
the contrary, to pronounce it too extended, too crowded, 
conformed rather to the generous dreams of an innovator than 
to a prudent appreciation of what is practically possible ; 
and we need not be astonished that, to lighten in part the 
heavy burden that is imposed on the teacher, Comenius had 
the notion of dividing the school into sections which assist- 
ants, chosen from among the best pupils, should instruct 
under the supervision of the master. 

142. Site of the School. — One is not a complete 
educator save on the condition of providing for the exterior 
and material organization of the school, as well as for its 
moral administration. In this respect, Comenius is still 
deserving of our encomiums. He requires a yard for recre- 

1 In the French Lycees and Colleges the grades are named as follows, be- 
ginning with the lowest: "ninth, eighth, seventh, sixth, fifth, fourth, third, 
second, rhetoric, philosophy, preparatory mathematics, elementary mathe- 
matics, special mathematics." Latin was formerly begun in an earlier 

2 The public school of the European type may be represented by a series 
of (3) pyramids, the second higher than the first, and the third higher than 
the second, each independent and complete in itself; while the public school 
of the American type is represented by a single pyramid in three sections. 
While in an English, French, or German town, public education is admin- 
istered in three separate establishments, in an American town there is a 
single graded school that fulfills the same functions. (P.) 


ation, and demands that the school-house have a gay and 
cheerful aspect. The question had been discussed before 
him by Vives (1492-1540). 

44 There should be chosen," says the Spanish educator, 
4 4 a healthful situation, so that the pupils may not one day 
have to take their flight, dispersed by the fear of an epi- 
demic. Firm health is necessary to those who would heartily 
and profitably apply themselves to the study of the sciences. 
And the place selected should be isolated from the crowd, 
and especially at a distance from occupations that are 
noisy, such as those of smiths, stone-masons, machinists, 
wheelwrights, and weavers. However, I would not have the 
situation too cheerful and attractive, lest it might suggest to 
the scholars the taking of too frequent walks." 

But these considerations that do honor to Vives and to 
Comenius, were scarcely in harmony with the resources then 
at the disposal of the friends of instruction. There was 
scarcely occasion seriously to consider how school-houses 
should be constructed and situated, at a period when the 
most often there were no school-houses existing. 44 In win- 
ter," says Platter, 44 we slept in the school-room, and in 
summer in the open air." * 

143. Sense Intuitions. — If Comenius has traced with a 
master hand the general organization of the primary school, 
he has no less merit in the matter of methods. 

When they recommend the observation of sensible things 
as the first intellectual exercise, modern educators do but 
repeat what Comenius said three centuries ago. 

44 In the place of dead books, why should we not open the 
living book of nature ? . . . To instruct the young is not to 
beat into them by repetition a mass of words, phrases, sen- 

1 Platter, a Swiss teacher of the sixteenth century (1499-1582). 


fences, and opinions gathered ont of authors ; but it is to 
open their understanding through things. . . . 

44 The foundation of all knowledge consists in correctly rep- 
resenting sensible objects to our senses, so that they can be 
comprehended with facility. I hold that this is the basis of all 
our other activities, since we could neither act nor speak wisely 
unless we adequately comprehended what we were to do and 
say. Now it is certain that there is nothing in the under- 
standing that was not first in the senses, and, consequently, 
it is to lay the foundation of all wisdom, of all eloquence, 
and of all good and prudent conduct, carefully to train the 
senses to note with accuracy the differences between natural 
objects ; and as this point, important as it is, is ordinarily 
neglected in the schools of to-day, and as objects are pro- 
posed to scholars that they do not understand because they 
have not been properly represented to their senses or to their 
imagination, it is for this reason, on the one hand, that the 
toil of teaching, and on the other, that the pain of learning, 
have become so burdensome and so unfruitful. . . . 

44 We must offer to the young, not the shadows of things, ' 
but the things themselves, which impress the senses and 
the imagination. Instruction should commence with a real 
observation of things, and not with a verbal description of / 

We see that Comenius accepts the doctrine of Bacon, 
even to his absolute sensationalism. In his pre-occupation 
with the importance of instruction through the senses, he 
goes so far as to ignore that other source of knowledge and 
intuitions, the inner consciousness. 

144. Simplification op Grammatical Study. — The first 
result of the experimental method applied to instruction, is 
to simplify grammar and to relieve it from the abuse of ab- 



stract rules. " Children," says Comenius, u need examples 
and things which they can see, and not abstract rules. ' ' 

And in the Preface of the Janua lingvarum, he dwells 
upon the faults of the old method employed for the study 
of languages. 

u It is a thing self-evident, that the true and proper way of 
teaching languages has not been recognized in the schools 
up to the present time. The most of those who devoted 
themselves to the study of letters grew old in the study of 
words, and upwards of ten years was spent in the study of 
Latin alone ; indeed, they even spent their whole life in the 
study, with a very slow and very trifling profit, which did not 
pay for the trouble devoted to it." 1 It is by use and by read- 
ing that Comenius would abolish the abuse of rules. Rules 
ought to intervene onty to aid use and give it surety. The 
pupil will thus learn language, either in speaking, or in read- 
ing a book like the Orbis Pictus, in which he will find at the 
same time all the words of which the language itself is com- 
posed, and examples of all the constructions of its syntax, 

145. Necessity of Drill and Practice. — Another 
essential point in the new method, is the importance at- 
tributed by Comenius to practical exercises : "Artisans," he 
said, " understand this matter perfectly well. Not one of 
them will give an apprentice a theoretical course on his trade. 
He is allowed to notice what is done b}* his master, and then 
the tool is put in his hands : it is in smiting that one becomes 
a smith." * 

1 For this quotation, as for all those which we borrow from the preface 
of the Janua Ufiyuarum, a French edition of which (in three languages: 
Latin, German, and French) appeared in 1643, we copy from the authentic 

3 There is a misleading fallacy in all such illustrations. What analogy is 
there between the learning of history or geology and the learning of a trade 


It is do longer the thing to repeat mechanically a lesson 
learned by heart. There must be a gradual habituation to 
action, to productive work, to personal effort. 

146. General Bearing op the Work op Comentus. — 
How many other new and judicious ideas we shall have to 
gather from Comenius ! The methods which we would be 
tempted to consider as wholly recent, his imagination had 
already suggested to him. For example, preceding the Orbis 
Pictus, we find an alphabet, where to each letter corresponds 
the cry of an animal, or else a sound familiar to the child. 
Is not this already the very essence of the phononimic pro- 
cesses l brought into fashion in these last years ? But what 
is of more consequence with Comenius than a few happy dis- 
coveries in practical pedagogy, is the general inspiration of 
his work. He gives to education a psychological basis in 
demanding that the faculties shall be developed in their natu- 
ral order : first, the senses, the memory, the imagination, and 
lastly the judgment and the reason. lie is mindful of physi- 
cal exercises, of technical and practical instruction, without 
forgetting that in the primary schools, which he calls the 
" studios of humanity," there must be trained, not only strong 
and skilful artisans, but virtuous and religious men, imbued 
with the principles of order and justice. If he has stepped 
from theology to pedagogy, and if he permits himself some- 
times to be borne along by his artless bursts of mysticism, at 
least he does not forget the necessities of the real condition, 

like carpentry ? Should a physician and a blacksmith be educated on the 
same plan? In every case knowledge should precede practice; and the 
liberal arts are best learned by first learning their correlative sciences. (P.) 
1 " A process of instruction which consists in placing beside the elements 
of human speech thirty-three onomatopoetic gestures, which recall to the 
sight the same ideas that the sounds and the articulations of the voice recall 
to the ear.' ' — Gbosselln. (P.) 


and of the present life of men. " The child," he says, " shall 
learn only what is to he useful to him in this life or in the 
other." Finally, he does not allow himself to be absorbed in 
the minute details of school management. He has higher 
views, — he is working for the regeneration of humanity. 
Like Leibnitz, he would freely say: "Give me for a few 
years the direction of education, and I agree to transform the 
world ! " 

[147. Analytical Summary. — 1. Decisive changes in 
human opinion, political, religious, or scientific, involve cor- 
responding changes in the purposes and methods of educa- 

2. The Reformation was a breaking with authority in mat- 
ters of religion, as the Baconian philosophy was a breaking 
with authority in matters of science ; and their joint effect ou 
education was to subject matters of opinion, belief, and 
knowledge to the individual reason, experience, and observa- 

3. In holding each human being responsible for his own 
S salvation, the Reformation made it necessary for every one 

to read, and the logical consequence of this was to make 
instruction universal ; and as schools were multiplied, the 
number of teachers must be increased, and their grade of 
competence raised. 

4. The conception that ignorance is an evil /and a constant 
menace to spiritual and temporal safety, led to the idea of 
compulsory school-attendance. 

5. In the recoil from the intuitions of the intellect sanc- 
tioned by Socrates, to the intuitions of the senses sanctioned 
by Bacon, education passed from an extreme dependence on 
reflection and reason, to an extreme dependence on sense and 
observation ; so that inference has been thrown into dis- 


credit, and the verdict of the senses has been made the test 
of knowledge. 

6. In adapting the conception of universal education to 
the social conditions of his time, Comenius was led to a gra- 
dation of schools that underlies all modern systems of public 
instruction. j 



H iT ilfcuHi i" 





the teaching congregations j jesuits and jansenists; founda- 
tion of the society of jesus (1540) ; different judgments 
on the educational merits of the jesuits; authorities to 
consult; primary instruction neglected; classical studies; 
latin and the humanities; neglect of history, of philoso- 
phy, and of the sciences in general; discipline j emula- 
TION encouraged; official disciplinarian; general spirit 


148. Tiie Teaciiing Congregations. 1 — Up to the French 
Revolution, up to the day when the conception of a public 
and national education was embodied in the legislative acts 

1 Religious congregations, as known in France, are associations of per- 
sons who, consecrating themselves to the service of God, make a vow to 
live in common under the same rule. Many of these congregations devote 
themselves to the work of teaching, and these are of two classes, the 
authorized and the unauthorized. For example, the " Brethren of the 
Christian Schools," founded by La Salle, is unauthorized, and the •• Society 
of Jesus'' an unauthorized, congregation. From statistics published in 
1878. it appears that there were then in France, 24 congregations of men 
authorized to teach, and controlling 3090 establishments; and 528 similar 
congregations of women, controlling 1(>,478 establishments. At the same 
time there were 85 unauthorized congregations of men, and 260 unauthorized 
congregations of women, devoted to teaching. (P.) 


of our assembled rulers, education remained almost exclu- 
sively an affair of the Church. The universities themselves 
were dependent in part on religious authority. But especially 
the great congregations assumed a monopoly of the work of 
teaching, the direction and control of which the State had 
not jet claimed for her right. 

Primary instruction, it is true, scarcely entered at first into 
the settled plans of the religious orders. The only exception 
to this statement that can properly be made, is the congrega- 
tion of the Christian Doctrine, which a humble priest, Caesar 
de Bus, founded at Avignon in 1592, the avowed purpose of 
which was the religious education of the children of the com- 
pany. 1 But, on the other hand, secondary instruction pro- 
voked the greatest educational event of the sixteenth century, 
the founding of the company of Jesus, and this movement 
was continued and extended in the seventeenth century, J 
either in the colleges of the Jesuits, ever growing in number, \ 
or in other rival congregations. 

149. Jesuits and Jansenists. — Among the religious 
orders that have consecrated their efforts to the work of 
teaching, the first place must be assigned to the Jesuits and 
the Jansenists. Different in their statutes, their organiza- 
tion, and their destinies, these two congregations are still 
more different in their spirit. They represent, in fact, two 
opposite, and, as it were, contrary phases of human nature 
and of the Christian spirit. For the Jesuits, education is ' 
reduced to a superficial culture of the brilliant faculties of 
the intelligence ; while the Jansenists, on the contrary, aspire 
to develop the solid faculties, the judgment, and the reason. ^ 

1 The congregation of the Doctrinaries founded at a later period estab- 
lishments of secondary instruction. Maine de Biran, Laromiguiere, and 
Lakanal were pupils of the Doctrinaries. 


In the colleges of the Jesuits, rhetoric is held in honor; 
while in the Little Schools of Port Royal, it is rather logic 
and the exercise of thought. The shrewd disciples of Loyola 
adapt themselves to the times, and are full of compassion for 
human weakness ; the solitaries of Port Royal are exacting 
of others and of themselves. In their suppleness and cheer- 
ful optimism, the Jesuits are almost the Epicureans of Chris- 
tianity ; with their austere and somewhat sombre doctrine, 
the Jansenists would rather be the Stoics. The Jesuits and 
the Jansenists, those great rivals of the seventeenth century, 
are still face to face as enemies at the present moment. 
While the inspiration of the Jesuits tries to maintain the old 
worn-out exercises, like Latin verse, and the abuse of the 
memory, the spirit of the Jansenists animates and inspires 
the reformers, who, in the Teaching of the classics, break 
with tradition and routine, to substitute for exercises aimed 
at elegance, and for a superficial instruction, studies of a 
greater solidity and an education that is more complete. 

The merit of institutions ought not always to be measured 
by their apparent success. The colleges of the Jesuits, dur- 
ing three centuries, have had a countless number of pupils ; 
.the Little Schools of Port Royal did not live twenty years, 
and during their short existence they enrolled at most only 
some hundreds of pupils. And yet the methods of the 
Jansenists have survived the ruin of their colleges and the 
dispersion of the teachers who had applied them. Although 
the Jesuits have not ceased to rule in appearance, it is the 
Jansenists who triumph in reality, and who to-day control ^ 
the secondary instruction of France. 

150. Foundation of the Society of Jesus. — In organiz- 
ing the Society of Jesus, Ignatius Loyola, that compound of 
the mystic and the man of the world, purposed to establish, 


not an order devoted to monastic contemplation, but a real 
fighting corps, a Catholic army, whose double purpose was to 
conquer new provinces to the faith through missions, and to 
preserve the old through the control of education. Solemnly 
consecrated by the Pope Paul III., in 1540, the congregation 
had a rapid growth. As early as the middle of the sixteenth 
century, it had several colleges in France, particularly those 
of Billom, Mauriac, Rodez, Tournon, and Pamiers. In 1561 
it secured a footing in Paris, notwithstanding the resistance 
of the Parliament, of the university, and of the bishops them- 
selves. A hundred years later it counted nearly fourteen 
thousand pupils in the province of Paris alone. The college 
of Clermont, in 1651, enrolled more than two thousand young 
men. The middle and higher classes assured to the colleges 
of the society an ever-increasing' membership. At the end 
of the seventeenth century, the Jesuits could inscribe on the 
roll of honor of their classes a hundred illustrious names, 
among others, those of Conde* and Luxembourg, Fle'chier and 
Bossuet, Lamoignon and Siguier, Descartes, Corneille, and 
Moli&re. In 1710 they controlled six hundred and twelve 
colleges and a large number of universities. They were the / 
real masters of education , and thev maintained this educational - 
supremacy till the end of the eighteenth century. 

151. Different Judgments on the Educational Merits 
of the Jesuits. — Voltaire said of these teachers: "The 
Fathers taught me nothing but Latin and nonsense." But 
from the seventeenth century, opinions are divided, and the 
encomiums of Bacon and Descartes must be offset bv the 
severe judgment of Leibnitz. " In the matter of educa- 
tion," says this great philosopher, " the Jesuits have remained 
below mediocrity." l Directly to the contrary, Bacon had 

1 Leibnitii Opera, Geneve, 1768, Tome VI. p. 65. 



written : " As to whatever relates to the instruction of the 
young, we must consult the schools of the Jesuits, for there 
can be nothing that is better done." * 

152. Authorities to Consult. — The Jesuits have never 
written anything on the principles and objects of education. 
We must not demand of them an exposition of general 
views, or a confession of their educational faith. But to 
make amends, they have drawn up with precision, with 
almost infinite attention to details, the rules and regulations 
of their course of studj. Already, in 1559, the Constitu- 
tions, probably written by Loyola himself, devoted a whole 
book to the organization of the colleges of the society. 2 But 
in particular, the Ratio Studiorum, published in 1599, con- 
tains a complete scholastic- programme, which has remained 
for three centuries the invariable educational code of the 
congregation. Without doubt, the Jesuits, always ready to 
make apparent concessions to the spirit of the times, with- 
out sacrificing anything of their own spirit, and without 
renouncing their inflexible purpose, have introduced modifi- 
cations into their original rules ; but the spirit of their edu- 
cational practice has remained the same, and, in 1854, 
Beckx, the actual general of the order, could still declare 
that the Ratio is the immutable rule of Jesuit education. 

153. Primary Instruction Neglected. — A permanent 
and characteristic feature of the educational policy of the 
Jesuits is, that, during the whole course of their history, 
they have deliberately neglected and disdained primary in- 
struction. The earth is covered with their Latin colleges ; 
and wherever they have been able, they have put their hands 

1 Bacon de Aur/mentis Scientiarum, Lib. VI. chap. iv. 
3 See the fourth book of the Constitutions. 


on the institutions for university education ; but in no in- 
stance have they founded a primary school. Even in their 
establishments for secondary instruction, they entrust the 
lower classes to teachers who do not belong to their order, 
and reserve to themselves the direction of the higher classes. 
Must we believe, as they have declared in order to explain 
this negligence, that the only reason for their reserve and 
their indifference is to be sought for in the insufficiency of 
their teaching force? No; the truth is that the Jesuits 
neither desire nor love the instruction of the people. To 
desire and to love this, there must be faith in conscience and 
reason ; there must be a belief in human equality. Now 
the Jesuits distrust the human intelligence, and administer 
only the aristocratic education of the ruling classes, whom 
they hope to retain under their own control. They wish to 
train amiable gentlemen, accomplished men of the world ; 
the}' have no conception of training men. Intellectual cul- 
ture, in their view, is but a convenience, imposed on certain 
classes of the nation by their rank. It is not a good in 
itself ; it may even become an evil. In certain hands it is 
a dangerous weapon. The ignorance of a people is the best 
safeguard of its faith, and faith is the supreme end. So we 
shall not be astonished to read this in the Constitutions : — 

" None of those who are employed in domestic service on / 
account of the society, ought to learn to read and write, or, 
if they already know these arts, to learn more of them. 
They shall not be instructed without the consent of the 
General, for it suffices for them to serve with all simplicity 
and humility our Master, Jesus Christ." 

154. Classical Studies : Latin and the Humanities. — 
It is only in secondary instruction that the Jesuits have 
taken position with marked success. The basis of their 
teaching is the study of Latin and Greek. Their purpose is 


to monopolize classical studies in order to make them serve 
for the propagation of the Catholic faith. To write in Latin 
is the ideal which they propose to their pupils. The first 
consequence of this is the proscription of the mother tongue. 
The Ratio forbids the use of French even in conversation ; 
it permits it only on holidays. Hence, also, the importance 
accorded to Latin and Greek composition, to the explication 
of authors, and to the study of grammar, rhetoric, and 
poetry. It is to be noted, besides, that the Jesuits put 
scarcely more into the hands of their pupils than select 
extracts, expurgated editions. They wish, in some sort, to 
efface from the ancient books whatever marks the epoch and 
characterizes the time. They detach fine passages of elo- 
quence and beautiful extracts of poetry ; but they are afraid, 
it seems, of the authors themselves ; they fear lest the pupil 
find in them the old human spirit, — the spirit of nature. 
Moreover, in the explication of authors, they pay more 
attention to words than to things. They direct the pupil's 
attention, not to the thoughts, but to the elegancies of lan- 
guage, to the elocutionary effect ; in a word, to the form, 
which, at least, has no religious character, and can in no- 
wise give umbrage to Catholic orthodoxy. They fear to 
awaken reflection and individual judgment. As Macaulay 
has said, they seem to have found the point up to which 
intellectual culture can be pushed without reaching intellec- 
tual emancipation. 

155. Disdain op History, op Philosophy, and op the 
Sciences in General. — Preoccupied before all else with 
purely formal studies, and exclusively devoted to the exer- 
cises which give a training in the use of elegant language, 
the Jesuits leave real and concrete studies in entire neglect. 
History is almost wholly banished from their programme. 
It is only with reference to the Greek and Latin texts that 


the teacher should make allusion to the matters of histoiy 
which are necessary for the understanding of the passage 
under examination. No account is made of modern history, 
nor of the history of France. " History," says a Jesuit 
Father, "is the destruction of him who studies it." This 
systematic omission of historical studies suffices to put in its 
true light the artificial and superficial pedagogy of the 
Jesuits, admirably denned by Beckx, who expresses himself 
thus : — 

44 The gymnasia will remain what they are by nature, a 
gymnastic for the intellect, which consists far less in the 
assimilation of real matter, in the acquisition of different 
knowledges, than in a culture of pure form." 

The sciences and philosophy are involved in the same dis- 
dain as history. Scientific studies are entirely proscribed in 
the lower classes, and the student enters his year in philoso- 
phy, 1 having studied only the ancient languages. Philosophy 
itself is reduced to a barren study of words, to subtile dis- 
cussions, and to commentaries on Aristotle. Memory and 
syllogistic reasoning are the only faculties called into play ; 
no facts, no real inductions, no care for the observation of 
nature. In all things the Jesuits are the enemies of prog- 
ress. Intolerant of everything new, they would arrest the 
progress of the human mind and make it immovable. 

156. Discipline. — Extravagant statements have been 
made relative to the reforms in discipline introduced by the 
Jesuits into their educational establishments. The fact is, 
that they have caused to prevail in their colleges more of 
order and of system than there was in the establishments of 
the University. On the other hand, they have attempted to 
please their pupils, to gild for them, so to speak, the bars of 

i See note to § 111. 


the prison which confined them. Theatrical representations, 
excursions on holidays, practice in swimming, riding, and 
fencing, — nothing was neglected that could render their 
residence at school endurable. 

But, on the other hand, the Jesuits have incurred the 
grave fault of detaching the child from the family. They 
wish to have absolute control of him. The ideal of the per- 
fect scholar is to forget his parents. Here is what was said 
by a pupil of the Jesuits, who afterwards became a member 
of the Order, J. B. de Schultaus : — 

44 His mother paid him a visit at the College of Trent. 
He refused to take her hand, and would not even raise his 
eyes to hers. The mother, astonished and grieved, asked 
her son the cause of such a cold greeting. 4 1 refuse to 
notice you,' said the pupil, 4 not because you are my mother, 
but because you are a woman/ And the biographer adds : 
4 This was not excessive precaution ; woman preserves 
to-day the faults she had at the time of our first father ; it 
is always she who drives man from Paradise.' When the 
mother of Schultaus died, he did not show the least emotion, 
having long ago adopted the Holy Virgin for his true 

157. Emulation Encouraged. — The Jesuits have always 
considered emulation as one of the essential elements of dis- 
cipline. 44 It is necessary, " says the Ratio, 44 to encourage 
an honorable emulation ; it is a great stimulus to study. 
Superior on this point, perhaps on this alone, to the Jansen- 
ists, who through mistrust of human nature feared to excite 
pride by encouraging emulation, the Jesuits have always 
counted upon the self-love of the pupil. The Ratio mul- 
tiplies rewards, — solemn distributions of prizes, crosses, 
ribbons, decorations, titles borrowed from the Roman 
Republic, such as decurions and praetors; all means, even 


the most puerile, were invented to nourish in pupils an ardor 
for work, and to incite them to surpass one another. Let 
us add that the pupil was rewarded, not only for his own 
good conduct, but for the bad conduct of his comrades if he 
informed against them. The decurion or the praetor was 
charged with the police care of the class, and, in the absence 
of the official disciplinarian, he himself chastised his com- 
rades ; in the hands of his teacher, he became a spy and an 
informer. Thus a pupil, liable to punishment for having 
spoken French contrary to orders, will be relieved from his 
punishment if he can prove by witnesses that one of his 
comrades has committed the same fault on the same day. 

158. Official Disciplinarian. — The rod is an element, 
so to speak, of the ancient pedagogical regime. It holds a 
privileged place both in the colleges and in private educa- 
tion. Louis XIV. officially transmits to the Duke of Mon- 
tausier the right to correct his son. Henry IV. wrote to the 
governor of Louis XIII. : " I complain because you did not 
inform me that you had whipped my son ; for I desire and 
order you to whip him every time that he shall be guilty of 
obstinacy or of anything else that is bad ; for I well know 
that there is nothing in the world that can do him more good 
than that. This I know from the lessons of experience, for 
when I was of his age, I was soundly flogged." l 

The Jesuits, notwithstanding their disposition to make 
discipline milder, were careful not to renounce a punishment 
that was in use even at court. Only, while the Brethren of 
the Christian Schools, according to the regulations of La 
Salle, chastised the guilty pupil themselves, the Jesuits did 
not think it becoming the dignity of the master to apply the 
correction himself. They reserved to a laic the duty of 

1 Letter to Madame Montglat, Nov. 14, 1607. 



handling the rods. An official disciplinarian, a domestic, a 
porter, was charged in all the colleges with the functions of 
chief executioner. And while the Ratio Studionim recom- 
mends moderation, certain witnesses prove that the special 
disciplinarian did not always carry a discreet hand. Here, 
for example, is an account given by Saint Simon : — 

" The eldest son of the Marquis of Boufflers was fourteen 
years old. He was handsome, well formed, was wonder- 
fully successful, and full of promise. He was a resident 
pupil of the Jesuits with the two sons of d'Argenson. I do 
not know what indiscretion he and they were guilty of. The 
Fathers wished to show that they neither feared nor stood in 
awe of any one, and they flogged the boy, because, in fact, 
they had nothing to fear of the Marquis of Boufflers ; but 
they were careful not to treat the two others in this way, 
though equally culpable, because every day thej' had to 
count with d'Argenson, who was lieutenant* of police. The 
boy Boufflers was thrown into such mental agony that he 
fell sick on the same day, and within four days was dead. 
. . . There was a universal and furious outcry against the 
Jesuits, but nothing ever came of it." * 

159. General Spirit of the Pedagogy of the Jesuits. — 
The general principles of the doctrine of the Jesuits are 
completely opposed to our modern ideas. Blind obedience,^ 
the suppression of all liberty and of all spontaneity, such i^ 
the basis of their moral education. ; 

"To renounce one's own wishes is more meritorious than 
to raise the dead ; " " We must be so attached to the Roman 
Church as to hold for black an object which she tells us is 
black, even when it is really white;" "Our confidence in 
God should be strong enough to force us, in the lack of a 

i Saint Simon, Mtmoiree, Tome IX. 83. 


boat, to cross the ocean on a single plank ; " "If God should 
appoint for our master an animal deprived of reason, you 
should not hesitate to render it obedience, as to a master 
and a guide, for this sole reason, that God has ordered it 
thus ; " " One must allow himself to be governed by divine 
Providence acting through the agency of the superiors of 
the Order, just as if he were a dead body that could be put 
into any position whatever, and treated according to one's 
good pleasure ; or as if one were a baton in the hands of an 
old man who uses it as he pleases." 

As to intellectual e duca tion, as they understand it, it is 
wholly artificial and superficial. To find for the mind occu- 
pations that absorb it, that soothe it like a dream, without 
wholly awakening it; to call attention to words, and to 
niceties of expression, so as to reduce by so much the oppor- 
tunity for thinking ; to provoke a certain degree of intel- 
lectual activity, prudently arrested at the place where the 
reflective reason succeeds an embellished memory ; in a word, 
to excite the spirit just enough to arouse it from its inertia 
and its ignorance, but not enough to endow it with a real 
self-activity by a manly display of all its faculties, — such is 
the method of the Jesuits. u As to instruction," says 
Bersot, u this is what we find with them : history reduced to 
facts and tables, without the lesson derived from them 
bearing on the knowledge of the world ; even the facts sup- 
pressed or altered when they say too much ; philosophy 
reduqed to what is called empirical doctrine, and what 
de Maistre called the philosophy of the nothing, without 
danger of one's acquiring a liking for it ; physical science 
reduced to recreations, without the spirit of research and 
liberty ; literature reduced to the complaisant explication of 
the ancient authors, and ending in innocent witticisms. . . . 
With respect to letters, there are two loves which have noth* 


ing in common save their name ; one of them makes men, 
the other, great boys. It is the last that we find with the 
Jesuits ; they amuse the soul." 

160. The Oratorians. — Between the Jesuits, their adver- 
saries, and the Jansenists, their friends, the Oratorians oc- 
cupy an intermediate place. They break already with the 
over-mechanical education, and with the wholly superficial 
instruction which Ignatius Loyola had inaugurated. Through 
some happy innovations they approach the more elevated and 
more profound education of Tort Royal. Founded in 1 6 1 4 , by 
Be*rulle, the Order of the Oratory soon counted quite a large 
number of colleges of secondary instruction, and, in particu- 
lar, iu 1038, the famous college of Juilly. While with the 
Jesuits it is rare to meet the names of celebrated professors, 
several renowned teachers have made illustrious the Oratory 
of the seventeenth century. We note the Pere Lamy, author 
of Entretiens snr les Sciences (1683) ; the Pere Thomassin, 
whom the Oratorians call the u incomparable theologian," 
and who published, from 1681 to 1690, a series of Methods 
for studying the languages, philosophy, and letters ; Masca- 
ron and Massillon, who taught rhetoric at the Oratory ; the 
Pere Lecointe and the Pere Lelong, who taught history there. 
All these men unite, in general, some love of liberty to ardor' 
of religious sentiment ; they wish to introduce more air and 
more light into the cloister and the school ; they have a taste s , 
for the facts of history and the truths of science ; finally, they 
attempt to found an education at once liberal and Christian, 
religious without abuse of devotion, elegant without refine- i 
ment, solid without excess of erudition, worthy, finally, to 
be counted as one of the first practical tcntatives of modern ) 
pedagogy. i 

The limits of this study forbid our entering into details. 
Let us merely note a few essential points. That which dis- 


tinguishes the Orator ians, is, first, a sincere and disinterested 
love of truth. 

" We love the truth," says the Pere Lamy ; " the days do 
not suffice to consult her as long as we would wish ; or, rather, 
we never grow weary of the pleasure we find in studying her. 
There has always been that love for letters in this House : 
those who have governed it have tried to nourish it. When 
there is found among us some penetrating and liberally en- 
dowed spirit who has a rare genius for the sciences, he is 
discharged from all other duties." ! 

Nowhere have ancient letters been more loved than at 
the Oratory. 

" In his leisure hours the Pere Thorn assin read only the 
authors of the humanities ; " and yet French was not there 
sacrificed to Latin. The use of the Latin language was not 
obligatory till after the fourth year, and even then not for the 
lessons in history, which, till the end of the courses, had to 
be given in French. History, so long neglected even in the 
colleges of the University, particularly the history of France, 
was taught to the pupils of the Oratory. Geography was 
not separated from it ; and the class-rooms were furnished 
with large mural maps. On the other hand, the sciences had 
a place in the course of study. A Jesuit father would not 
have expressed himself as the Pere Lamy has done : — 

" It is a pleasure to enter the laboratory of a chemist. In 
the places where I have happened to be, I did not miss an 
opportunity to attend the anatomical lectures that were given, 
and to witness the dissection of the principal parts of the 
human body. ... I know of nothing of greater use than 
algebra and arithmetic." 

Finally, philosophy itself, — the Cartesian philosophy, so 
mercilessly decried by the Jesuits, — was in vogue at the Ora- 

1 Entrctiens sur les Sciences, p, 197. 




tor}*. " If Cartesiauism is a pest," wrote the regents of the 
College of Angers, fck there are more than two hundred of us 
who are infected with it." ... fc ' They have forbidden the 
Fathers of the Oratory to teach the philosophy of Descartes, 
and, consequently, the blood to circulate," wrote Madame de 
Se>igne\ in 1673. 

Let us also furnish proof of the progress and amelioration 
of the discipline at the Oratory : — 

" There are many other ways besides the rod," says the 
Pfcre Lamy ; " and, to lead pupils back to their duty, a ca- 
ress, a threat, the hope of a reward, or the fear of a humili- 
ation, has greater efficiency than whips." 

The ferule, it is true, and whips also, were not forbidden, 
but made part of the legitima poenarum genera. But it doe? 
not appear that use was often made of them ; either through 
a spirit of mildness, or through prudence, and through the 
fear of exasperating the child. 

u There is needed,'' says the Pdre Lamy again, u a sort of 
politics to govern this little community, — to lead them 
through their inclinations ; to foresee the effect of rewards 
and punishments, and to employ them according to their 
proper use. There are times of stubbornness when a child 
would sooner be killed than yield." 

" What made it easier at the Oratory to maintain the au- 
thority of the master without resorting to violent punishments, 
is that the same professor accompanied the pupils through the 
whole series of their classes. The Pfcre Thomassin, for 
example, was, in turn, professor of grammar, rhetoric, phil- 
osophy, mathematics, history, Italian, and Spanish, — a touch- 
ing example, it must be allowed, of an absolute devotion to 
scholastic labor. But this universality, somewhat superficial, 
served neither the real interests of the masters nor those of 
their pupils. The great pedagogical law is the division of 


161. Foundation of the Little Schools. — From the 
very organization of their society, the Jansenists gave evi- 
dences of an ardent solicitude for the education of youth. 
Their founder, Saint Cyran, said : " Education is, in a sense, 
the one thing necessary. ... I wish you might read in my heart 
the affection I feel for children. . . . You could not deserve 
more of God than in working for the proper bringing up of 
children." It was in this disinterested feeling of charity for 
the good of the young, in this display of sincere tenderness 
for children, that the Jansenists, in 1643, founded the Little 
Schools at Port Royal in the Fields, in the vicinity, and then 
in Paris. 1 They received into those schools only a small 
number of pupils, preoccupied as they were, not with domi- 
nating the world and extending their influence, but with do- 
ing modestly and obscurely the good they could. Persecution 
did not long grant them the leisure to continue the work they 
had undertaken. By 1660 the enemies of Port Royal had 
triumphed ; the Jesuits obtained an order from the king clos- 
ing the schools and dispersing the teachers. Pursued, impris- 
oned, expatriated, the solitaries of Port Royal had but the 
opportunity to gather up in memorable documents the results 
of their educational experience all too short. 2 

162. The Teachers and the Books of Port Royal. — 
Singular destiny, — that of those teachers whom a relentless 

1 For the Little Schools of Port Royal, see a recent account by Carre* 
(Revue Ptdagogique, 1883, Nos. 2 and 8). 

* No more pathetic piece of history has ever been written than that 
which relates the vindictive and relentless persecution of the peaceful 
and pious solitaries of Port Royal: " The house was razed to the ground, 
and even the very foundations ploughed up. The gardens and walks were 
demolished; and the dead were even torn from their graves, that not a ves- 
tige might be left to mark the spot where this celebrated institution had 
stood." — Lancelot's Tour to La Grande Chartreuse, p. 243. See also Nar- 
rative of the Demolition of Port Royal (London, 1816). (P.) 


fate permitted to exercise their functions for only five 
years, yet who, through their works, have remained perhaps 
the best authorized exponents of French education ! The 
first of these is Nicole, the moralist and logician, one of the 
authors of the Port Royal Logic, who taught philosophy 
and the humanities in the Little Schools, and who published 
in 1670, under the title, The Education of a Prince, a series of 
reflections on education, applicable, as he himself says, to 
children of all classes. Another is Lancelot, the grammarian, 
the author of the Methods for learning the Latin, Greek, 
Italian, and Spanish languages. Then there is Arnauld, the 
great Arnauld, the ardent theologian, who worked on the 
Jjogic, and the General Grammar, and who finally composed 
the Regulation of Studies in the Humanities. In connection 
with these celebrated names, we must mention other Janse- 
nists not so well known, such as De Sacy and Guyot, both 
of whom were the authors of a large number of translations ; 
Coustel, who published the Eules for the Education of Chil- 
dren (1687) ; Varet, the author of Christian Education 
(1668). Let us add to this list, still incomplete, the Regi- 
men for Children, by Jacqueline Pascal (1657), and we shall 
have some idea of the educational activity of Port Royal. 

163. The Study of the French Language. — As a 
general rule, we may have a good opinion of the teachers who 
recommend the study of the mflihe xtongu e. In this respect, 
the solitaries of Port Royal are in advance of their time. 
"We first teach to read in Latin, " said the Abbe* Fleury, 
" because, compared with French, we pronounce it more as 
it is written." l A curious reason, which did not satisfy 
Fleury himself ; for he acknowledged the propriety of putting, 
as soon as possible, into the hands of children, the French 

1 Du choix et <ie la mtthode dcs etudes. 


books that they can understand. This was what was done 
at Port Royal. With their love of exactness and clearness, 
with their disposition, wholly Cartesian, to make children 
study only the things they can comprehend, the Jansenists 
saw at once the great absurdity of choosing Latin works as 
the first reading-books. "To learn Latin before learning 
the mother tongue," said Comenius, wittily, u is like wishing 
to mount a horse before knowing how to walk." Aud again, 
as Saiute-Beuve says, "It is to compel unfortunate children 
to deal with the unintelligible in order to proceed towards the 
unknown." For these unintelligible texts, the Jansenists sub- 
stituted, not, it is true, original French works, but at least 
good translations of Latin authors. For the first time in 
France, the French language was made the subject of serious 
study. Before being made to write in Latin, pupils were 
drilled in writing in French. They were set to compose little 
narratives, little letters, the subjects of which were borrowed 
from their recollections, by being asked to relate on the spot 
what they had retained of what they had read. 

164. New System of Spelling. — In their constant pre- 
occupation to make study easier, the Jansenists reformed the 
current method of learning to read. u What makes reading 
more difficult," says Arnauld in Chapter VI. of the General 
Grammar ', *' is that while each letter has its own proper name, 
it is given a different name when it is found associated with 
other letters. For example, if the pupil is made to read the 
syllable /ry, he is made to say ef* ar, ?/, which invariably con- 
fuses him. It is best, therefore, to teach children to know the 
letters only bj* the names of their real pronunciation, to name 
them only by their natural sounds." Port Royal proposes, 
then, " to have children pronounce only the vowels and the 
diphthongs, and not the consonants, which they need not 


fate permitted to exercise their functions for only five 
years, yet who, through their works, have remained perhaps 
the best authorized exponents of French education ! The 
first of these is Nicole, the moralist and logician, one of the 
authors of the Port Royal Logic, who taught philosophy 
and the humanities in the Little Schools, and who published 
in 1670, under the title, The Education of a Prince, a series of 
reflections on education, applicable, as he himself says, to 
children of all classes. Another is Lancelot, the grammarian, 
the author of the Methods for learning the Latin, Greek, 
Italian, and Spanish languages. Then there is Arnauld, the 
great Arnauld, the ardent theologian, who worked on the 
Logic, and the General Grammar, and who finally composed 
the Regulation of Studies in the Humanities. In connection 
with these celebrated names, we must mention other Janse- 
nists not so well known, such as De Sacy and Guyot, both 
of whom were the authors of a large number of translations ; 
Coustel, who published the Rules for the Education of Chil- 
dren (1687) ; Varet, the author of Christian Education 
(1668). Let us add to this list, still incomplete, the Regi- 
men for Children, by Jacqueline Pascal (1657), and we shall 
have some idea of the educational activity of Port Royal. 

163. The Study of the French Language. — As a 
general rule, we may have a good opinion of the teachers who 
recommend the study of the mothe r, tongu e. In this respect, 
the solitaries of Port Royal are in advance of their time. 
u We first teach to read in Latin," said the Abbe" Fleury, 
"because, compared with French, we pronounce it more as 
it is written." l A curious reason, which did not satisfy 
Fleury himself ; for he acknowledged the propriety of putting, 
as soon as possible, into the hands of children, the French 

1 Du choix et de la mtthode des 4tude$, 


books that they can understand. This was what was done 
at Port Royal. With their love of exactness and clearness, 
with their disposition, wholly Cartesian, to make children 
study only the things they can comprehend, the Jansenists 
saw at once the great absurdity of choosing Latin works as 
the first reading-books. " To learn Latin before learning 
the mother tongue," said Comenius, wittily, " is like wishing 
to mount a horse before knowing how to walk." Aud again, 
as Sainte-Beuve says, "It is to compel unfortunate childreu 
to deal with the unintelligible in order to proceed towards the 
unknown." For these unintelligible texts, the Jansenists sub- 
stituted, not, it is true, original French works, but at least 
good translations of Latin authors. For the first time in 
France, the French language was made the subject of serious 
study. Before being made to write in Latin, pupils were 
drilled in writing in French. They were set to compose little 
narratives, little letters, the subjects of which were borrowed 
from their recollections, by being asked to relate on the spot 
what they had retained of what they had read. 

164. New System of Spelling. — In their constant pre- 
occupation to make study easier, the Jansenists reformed the 
current method of learning to read. u What makes reading 
more difficult," says Arnauld in Chapter VI. of the General 
Grammar, "is that while each letter has its own proper name, 
it is given a different name when it is found associated with 
other letters. For example, if the pupil is made to read the 
syllable fry, he is made to say e/, ar, ?/, which invariably con- 
fuses him. It is best, therefore, to teach children to know the 
letters only bj' the names of their real pronunciation, to name 
them only by their natural sounds." Port Royal proposes, 
tli en, " to have children pronounce only the vowels and the 
diphthongs, and not the consonants, which they need not 


pronounce, except in the different combinations which they 
form with the same vowels or diphthongs, in syllables and 

This method has become celebrated under the name of the 
Port Royal Method ; and it appears, from a letter of Jacque- 
line Pascal, that the original notion was due to Pascal him- 
self. 1 

165. Discipline in Personal Reflection. — That which 
profoundly distinguishes the method of the J an sen is ts from 
the method of the Jesuits, is that at Port Royal the purpose 
is less to make good Latinists than to train sound intelli- 
gences. The effort is to call into activity the judgment and 
personal reflection. As soon as the child is capable of it, he 
is made to Jthink and comprehend. In the lessons of the 
class-room, not a word is allowed to pass till the child has 
understood its meaning. Only those tasks are proposed to 
the child which are adapted to his childish intelligence, His 
attention is occupied only with the things that are within the 
compass of his powers. 

The grammars of Port Royal are written in French, " be- 
cause it is ridiculous," says Nicole, u to teach the principles 
of a language in the very language that is to be learned, and 
that for the present is unknown." Lancelot, in his Methods, 
abbreviates and simplifies grammatical studies : — 

"I have found out, at last, how useful this maxim of 
Ramus is, — Few jwecepts and much practice : and, also, that 
as soon as children begin to know these rules somewhat, it is 
well to make them observe them in practice." 

It is by the reading of authors that the grammar of Port 
Royal completes the theoretical study of the rules that are 
rigidly reduced to their minimum. The professor, with ref- 

1 See Cousin, Jacqueline Pascal, p. 262. 


erence to such or such a passage of an author, will make ap- 
propriate oral remarks. In this way the example, not the 
dry and uninteresting one of the grammar, but the living 
example, expressive, and, drawn from a writer that is being 
read with interest, will precede or accompany the rule, and 
the particular case will explain the general law. This is an 
excellent method, because it accords with the real movement 
of the mind, and adapts the sequence of studies to the prog- 
ress of the intelligence, and also because, according to the 
advice of Descartes, the child in this way proceeds from the 
known to the unknown, from the simple to the complex. 

166. General Spirit of the Intellectual Education 
at Port Royal. — Without (\oubt, we need not expect to 
find among the solitaries of Port Royal a disinterested devo- 
tion to science. In their view, instruction is but a means of 
forming the judgment. u The sciences should be employed," 
says Nicole, "only as an instrument for perfecting the 
reason." Historical, literary, and scientific knowledge has 
no intrinsic value. The thing required is simply to employ 
those subjects for educating just, equitable, and judicious 
men. Nicole declares that it would be better absolutely to 
ignore the sciences than to become absorbed in the useless 
portions of them. Speaking of astronomical researches, and 
of the works of those mathematicians who believe that ' i it is 
the finest thing in the world to know whether there is a bridge 
and an arch suspended around the planet Saturn," he con- 
cludes that it is preferable to be ignorant of those things 
than to be ignorant that they are vain. 

But, on the other hand, the Jansenists have struck from 
their programme of studies everything that is merely sterile 
verbiage, exercises of memory or of artificial imagination. 
Little attention is given to Latin verse at Port Royal. Ver- 


sion takes precedence of the theme, 1 and the oral theme 
often replaces the written. The pupil is to be taught, " not 
to be blinded by a vain flash of words void of sense, not to 
rest satisfied with mere words or obscure principles, and 
never to be satisfied till he has gained a clear insight into 

1C7. Pedagogical Principles of Nicole. — In his trea- 
tise on the Education of a Prince , Nicole has summarized, 
under the form of aphorisms, some of the essential princi- 
ples of his system of education. 

Let us first notice this maxim, a true pedagogical axiom : 
" The purpose of instruction is to carry forward intelligences 
to the farthest point they are capable of attaining." This 
is saying that every child, whether of the nobility or of the 
people, has the right to be instructed according to hi » apti- 
tude and ability. 

Another axiom : We must proportion difficulties to the 
growing development of the child's intelligence. " The 
greatest minds have but a limited range of intelligence. In 
all of them there are regions of twilight and shadow ; but 
the intelligence of the child is almost wholly pervaded by 
shadows ; he catches glimpses of but few rays of light. So 
everything depends on managing these rays, on increasing 
them, and on exposing to them whatever we wish to have the 
child comprehend." 

A corollary to the preceding axiom is, that the first 
appeal must be made to the senses. u The intelligence of 
children always being very dependent on the senses, we 
must, as far as possible, address our instruction to the 
senses, and cause it to reach the mind,' not only through 

1 Vernon: translation from Latin or Greek into French. Theme 
translation of French into Latin or Greek. (P.) 


hearing, but also through seeing." Consequently, geogra- 
phy is a study well adapted to early years, provided we 
employ books in which the largest cities are pictured. If 
children study the history of a country, we must not neglect 
to show them the situation of places on the map. Nicole also 
recommends that they be shown pictures that represent the 
machines, the arms, and the dress of the ancients, and also 
the portraits of kings and illustrious men. 

168. Moral Pessimism. — Man is wicked, human nature 
is corrupt : such is the cry of despair that comes to our ears 
from all the writings of the Jansenists. 

"The devil," says Saint Cyran, "already possesses the 
soul of even the unborn child." . . . 

And again : " We must always pray for souls, and always* 
be on the watch, standing guard as in a city menaced by an 
enemy. On the outside the devil makes his rounds." . . . 

44 As soon as children begin to have reason," says another 
Jansenist, " we observe in them only blindness and weak- 
ness. Their minds are closed to spiritual things, and they 
cannot comprehend them. But, on the contrary, their eyes 
are open to evil ; their senses are susceptible to all sorts of 
corruption, and they have a natural inertia that inclines 
them to it." 

44 You ought," writes Varet, 44 to consider your children 
as wholly inclined to evil, and carried forward towards it. 
All their inclinations are corrupt, and, not being governed 
by reason, they will permit them to find pleasure and diver- 
sion only in the things that carry them towards vice." 

169. Effects on Discipline. —The doctrine of the origi- 
nal perversity of man may produce contrary results, and 
direct the practical conduct of those who accept it in two 
opposite directions. They are either inspired with severity 

:jvt ^^a^_-^ 


toward beings deeply tainted and vicious, or they are excited 
to pity and to tenderness for those fallen creatures who suffer 
from an incurable evil. The solitaries of Port Royal obeyed 
the second tendency. They were as affectionate and good 
to the children confided to their care as, in theory, they were 
harsh and rigorous towards human nature. In the presence 
of their pupils they felt touched with an infinite tenderness 
for those poor sick souls, whom they would willingly cure of 
their ills, and raise from their fall, at the cost of any and 
every sacrifice. 

The conception of the native wickedness of man had still 
another result at Port Royal. It increased the zeal of the 
teachers. It prompted them to multiply their assiduity and 
vigilance in order to keep guard over 3 T oung souls, and there 
destroy, whenever possible, the seeds of evil that sin had 
sown in them. When one is charged with the difficult mission 
of moral education, it is, perhaps, dangerous to have too 
much confidence in human nature, and to form too favorable 
an opinion of its qualities and dispositions ; for then one is 
tempted to accord to the child too large a liberty, and to 
practise the maxim, " Let it take its own course, let it 
pass " (Laissez faire, laissez passer) . It is better to err on 
the other side, in excess of mistrust; for, in this case, 
knowing the dangers that menace the child, we watch over 
him with more attention, abandon him less to the inspiration 
of his caprices, and expect more of education ; we demand 
of effort and labor what we judge nature incapable of pro- 
ducing 03* herself. 

Vigilance, patience, mildness, — these are the instruments 
of discipline in the schools of Port Royal. There were 
scarcely any punishments in the Little Schools. " To speak 
little, to tolerate much, to pray still more," — these are the 
three things that Saint Cyran recommended. The threat to 


send children home to their parents sufficed to maintain 
order in a flock somewhat small. In fact, all whose exam- 
ple would have proved bad were sent away ; an excellent 
system of elimination when it is practicable. The pious 
solitaries endured without complaint, faults in which they 
saw the necessary consequences of the original fall. Pene- 
trated, however, as they were, with the value of human 
souls, their tenderness for children was mingled with a cer- 
tain respect; for they saw in them the creatures of God, 
beings called from eternity to a sublime destiny or to a ter- 
rible punishment. 

170. Faults in the Discipline op Port Royal. — The 
Jansenists did not shun the logical though dangerous con- 
sequences that were involved, in germ, in their pessimistic 
theories of human nature. They fell into an excess of pru- 
dence or of rigidity. They pushed gravity and dignity to 
a formalism that was somewhat repulsive. At Port Royal 
pupils were forbidden to thee and thou one another. The 
solitaries did not like familiarities, faithful in this respect to 
the Imitation of Jesus Christ* in which it is somewhere said 
that it does not become a Christian to be on familiar terms 
with any one whatever. The young were thus brought up 
in habits of mutual respect, which may have had their good 
side, but which had the grave fault of being a little ridicu- 
lous in children, since they forced them to live among them- 
selves as little gentlemen, while at the same time they oppose 
the development of those intimate friendships, of those last- 
ing attachments of which all those who have lived at college 
know the sweetness and the charm. 

The spirit of asceticism is the general character of all the 
Jansenists^ Varet declares that balls 'are - pTaces of" Infamy. 
Pascal denies himself every agreeable thought, and what he 
called an agreeable thought was to reflect on geometry. 


Lancelot refuses to take to the theatre the princes of Conti, 
of whom he was the preceptor. 

But perhaps a graver fault at Port Royal was, that through 
fear of awakening self-love, the spirit of emulation was pur- 
posely suppressed. It is God alone, it was said, who is to 
be praised for the qualities and talents manifested by men. 
" If God has placed something of good in the soul of a child, 
we must praise Him for it and keep silent.' ' By this delib- 
erate silence men put themselves on guard against pride ; 
but if pride is to be feared, is indolence the less so? ^And 
when we purposely avoid stimulating self-love through the 
hope of reward, or through a word of praise given in due 
season, we run a great risk of not overcoming the indo- 
lence that is natural to the child, and of not obtaining from 
him any serious effort. Pascal, the greatest of the friends 
of Port Royal, said : " The children of Port Royal, who do 
not feel that stimulus of envy and glory, fall into a state of 

171. General Judgment on Port Royal. — After all 
has been said, we must admire the teachers of Port Royal, 
who were doubtless deceived on some points, but who were 
animated by a powerful feeling of their duty to educate, and 
by a perfect charity. Ardor and sincerity of religious faith ; 
a great respect for the human person ; the practice of piety 
held in honor, but kept subordinate to the reality of the 
inner feeling ; devotion advised, but not imposed ; a marked 
mistrust of nature, corrected by displays of tenderness and 
tempered by affection ; above all, the profound, unwearied 
devotion of Christian souls who give themselves wholly and 
without reserve to other souls to raise them up and save 
them, — this is what was done by the discipline of Port 
Royal. But it is rather in the methods of teaching, and in 
the administration of classical studies, that we must look for 


the incontestable superiority of the J an sen is ts. The teachers 
of the Little Schools were admirable humanists, not of form, 
as the Jesuits were, but of judgment. They represent, it ' 
seems to us, in all its beauty and in all its force, that intel- 
lectual education, already divined by Montaigne, which 
prepares for life men of sound judgment and of upright 
conscience. They founded the teaching of the humanities. 
"Fort Iloyal, ,, says an historian of ' pedagogy, Bumier,- 
44 simplifies study without, however, relieving it of its whole- 
some difficulties ; it strives to make it interesting, while it 
does not convert it into child's play ; it purposes to confide • 
to the memory only what has first been apprehended by the 
intelligence. ... It has given to the world ideas that it has 
not again let go, and fruitful principles from which we have 
but to draw their logical consequences." 

[172. Analytical Summary. 1. In the history of the 
three great teaching congregations we have an illustration 
of the supposed power of education over the destinies of 

2.' To resist the encroachments of Protestantism that fol- 
lowed the diffusion of instruction among the people, Loyola 
organized his teaching corps of Catholic zealots ; and this 
mode of competition for purposes of moral, sectarian, and 
political control has covered the earth, in all Christian 
countries, with institutions of learning. 

3. The tendency towards extremes, and the difficulty of 
attaining symmetry and completeness, are seen in the pref- 
erence of the Jesuits for form, elegance, and mere discipline, 
in their excessive use of emulation ; and in the jMJSsimism of 
the Jansenists, their distrust of human nature, and their fear 
of human pride.] 

■ II ^ 

I — ■ ^* 




happy results; the fables; the dialogues OF the dead; 


173. Education in the Seventeenth Century. — Outside 
of the teaching congregations, the seventeenth century 
counts a certain number of independent educators, isolated 
thinkers, who have transmitted to us in durable records the 
results of their reflection or of their experience. The most 
of these belong to the clergy, — they are royal preceptors. 
In a monarchical government there is no grander affair than 
the education of princes. Some others are philosophers, 
whom the general study of human nature has led to reflect 
on the principles of education. Without pretending to 
include everything within the narrow compass of this ele- 
mentary history, we would make known either the funda- 
mental doctrines or the essential methods which have been 
concerned in the education of the seventeenth century, and 


which, at the same time, have made a preparation for the 
educational reforms of the succeeding centuries. 

174. Fenelon (1651-1715). — Fenelon holds an important 
place in French literature ; but it seems that of all the varied 
aspects of his genius, the part he played as an educator is 
the most important and the most considerable. Fenelon 
wrote the first classical work of French pedagogy, and it may ) 
be said, considering the great number of authors who have 
been inspired by his thoughts, that he is the head of a school 
of educators. 

175. How Fenelon became a Teacher. — It is well 
known that the valuable treatise, On the Education of Girls, 
was written in 1680, at the request of the Duke and the 
Duchess of Beauvilliers. These noble friends of Fenelon, 
besides several boys, had eight girls to educate. It was to 
assist, by his advice, in the education of this little family 
school, that Fe*nelon wrote his book which was not designed 
at first for the public, and which did not appear till 1687. 
The young Abb6 who, in 1680, was but thirty years old, had 
already had experience in educational matters in the man- 
agement of the Convent of theNewJJatholics (1678). This 
was an institution whose purpose was to retain young Protes- 
tant converts in the Catholic faith, or even to call them there 
by mild force. It would have been better, we confess, for 
the glory of Fenelon, if he had gained his experience else- 
where than in that mission of fanaticism, where he was the 
auxiliary of the secular arm, the accomplice of dragoons, 
and where was prepared the Revocation of the Edict of 
Nantes. We would have preferred that the Education of 
GHrU had not been planned in a house where were violently 
confined girls torn from their mothers, and wives stolen from 
their husbands. But if the first source of F6nelon's eduea- 

Mw^fcBwn -i- -I ---■ : 


tional inspiration was not as pure as one could wish, at least 
in the book there is nothing that betrays the spirit of intoler- 
ance and violence with which the author was associated. 
On the contrary, The Education of Girls is a work of gentle- 
ness and goodness, of a complaisant and amiable grace, which 
is pervaded by a spirit of progress. 

Fe"nelon soon had occasion to apply the principles that he 
had set forth in his treatise. August 16, 1689, he was 
chosen preceptor of the Duke of Bourgogne, 1 with the Duke 
of Beauvilliers for governor, and the Abbe* Fleury for sub- 
preceptor. From 1689 to 1695, he directed with marvellous 
success the education of a prince, " a born terror," as Saint 
Simon expressed it, but who, under the penetrating influence 
of hi3 master, became an accomplished man, almost a saint. 
It was for his royal pupil that he composed, one after 
another, a large number of educational works, such as the 
Collection of Fables, the Dialogues of the Dead, the treatise 
on TJie Existence of God, and especially the Telemachus, one 
of the most popular works in French literature. 

In furnishing occasion for the exercise of his educational 
activity, events served F6nelon according to his wish. We 
may say that his nature predestinated him to the work of 
education. With his tender soul, preserving its paternal 
instincts even in his celibate condition, with his admirable 
grace of spirit, with his .various erudition and profound 
knowledge of antiquity, with his competence in the studies 
of grammar and history, attested by different passages in 
his Letter to the Academy; finally, with his temperate dispo- 
sition and his inclinations towards liberalism in a century of 
absolute monarchy, he was made to become one of the guides, 
one of the masters, of French education. 

i Son of Louis XIV., born Aug. 6, 1682; died Feb. 18, 1712. 

fUnelon. 167 

176. Analysis of the Treatise on the Education of 
Girls. — This charming masterpiece of F^nelon's should be 
read entire. A rapid analysis would not suffice, as it is 
difficult to reduce to a few essential points the flowing 
thought of our author. With a facility in expression inclin- 
ing to laxness, and with a copiousness of thought somewhat 
lacking in exactness, F6nelon easily repeats himself; he 
returns to thoughts which have already been elaborated, and 
does not restrict his easy flowing thought to a rigorous and 
methodical plan. We may, however, distinguish three prin- 
cipal parts in the thirteen chapters composing the work. 
Chapters I. and II. are critical, and in these the ordinary 
faults in the education of women are brought into sharp out- 
line ; then in chapters III. to V11I. we have general 
observations, and the statement of the principles and 
methods that should be followed and applied in the education 
of boys as in the education of girls ; and finally, from chap- 
ter IX. to the end of the book, are all the special reflections 
which relate exclusively to the merits and demerits, the 
duties and the studies, of women. 

177. Criticism on Monastic Education. — In the open- 
ing of the treatise, as in another little essay ] that is usually 
included in this volume, F6nelon expresses a preference for 
a liberal and humane education, where the light of the world 
penetrates, and which is not confined to the shadow of a 
monastery : — 

" I conclude that it is better for your daughter to be with 
you than in the best convent that you could select. ... If 
a convent is not well governed, she will see vanity honored, 
which is the most subtile of all the poisons that can affect a 

1 See the Advice of Ftfnelon, Archbishop Cambray, to a lady of quality 
on the education of her daughter. 


young girl. She will there hear the world spoken of as a 
sort of enchanted place, and nothing makes a more perni- 
cious impression than that deceptive picture of the world, 
which is seen at a distance with admiration, and which 
exaggerates all its pleasures without showing its disappoint- 
ments and its sorrows. ... So I would fear a worldly con- 
vent even more than the world itself. If, on the contrary, 
a convent conforms to the fervor and regularity of its 
constitution, a girl of rank will grow up there in a pro- 
found ignorance of the world. . . . She leaves the convent 
like one who had been confined in the shadows of a deep 
cavern, and who suddenly returns to the full light of day. 
Nothing is more dazzling than this sudden transition, than 
this glare to which one has never been accustomed." 

178. Refutation of the Prejudices relative to the 
Education of Women. — It is, then, for mothers that F6ne- 
lon writes his book, still more than for the convents that he 
does not love. Woman is destined to play a grand part in 
domestic life. " Can men hope for any sweetness in life, il 
their most select companionship, which is that of marriage v 
is turned into bitterness ? " Then let us cease to neglect the 
education of women, and renounce the prejudices by which 
we pretend to justify this* neglect. A learned woman, it is 
said, is vain and affected ! But it is not proposed that 
women shall engage in useless studies which would make 
ridiculous pedants of them ; it is simply a question of teach- 
ing them what befits their position in the household. Woman, 
it is said again, ordinarily has a weaker intellect than man ! 
But this is the best of reasons why it is necessary to 
strengthen her intelligence. Finally, woman should be 
brought up in ignorance of the world ! But, replies F6nelon, 
the world is not a phantom ; " it is the aggregate of all the 

fUnelon. 169 

families " ; and women have duties to fulfill in it which are 
scarcely less important than those of men. u Virtue is not 
less for women than for men." 

179. Good Opinion of Human Nature. — There are two 
categories of Christians : the first dwell particularly on the 
original fall ; and the others attach themselves by preference 
to the doctrine of redemption. For the first, the child is 
deeply tainted with sin; his only inclinations are those 
towards evil ; he is a child of wrath, who must be severely 
punished. For the others, the child, redeemed by grace, 
"has not yet a fixed tendency towards any object"; his 
instincts have no need of being thwarted ; all they need is 
direction. F£nelon follows this last mode of thinking, which 
is the correct one. He does not fear self-love, and does not 
interdict deserved praise. He counts upon the spontaneity 
of nature. He regrets the education of the ancients, who 
left more liberty to children. Finally, in his judgments on 
human nature, he is influenced by a cheerful and amiable 
optimism, and sometimes by an excess of complacency and 

180. Feebleness of the Child. — But if Fe"nelon believes 
in the innocence of the child, he is not the less convinced of 
its feebleness. Hence the measures he recommends to those 
who have in charge the bringing up of children: " The 
most important thing in the first years of infancy is the 
management of the child's health. Through the selection of 
food and the regime of a simple life, the body should be 
supplied with pure blood. . . . Another thing of great im- 
portance is to allow the organs to strengthen by holding 
instruction in abeyance. . . ." The intellectual weakness of 
the child comes for the most part from his inability to fix his 
attention. " The mind of the child is like a lighted taper in 

«gl- ■ ■ TTr -rr-fc- rr 


a place exposed to the wind, whose flame is ever unsteady." 
Hence the urgent necessity of not pressing children beyond 
measure, of training them little by little as occasion permits, 
" of serving and assisting Nature, without urging her." 

181. Instructive Curiosity; Object Lessons. — If the 
inattention of the child is a .great obstacle to his progress, 
his natural curiosity, by way of compensation, is a potent 
auxiliary. F6nelon knows the aid that can be derived from 
this source, and we shall quote entire the remarkable passage 
in which he indicates the means of calling it into exercise 
through familiar lessons which are already real lessons on 
objects : — 

" Curiosity in children is a natural tendency which comes 
as the precursor of instruction. Do not fail to take advan- 
tage of it. For example, in the country they see a mill, and 
they wish to know what it is. They should be shown the 
manner of preparing the food that is needed for human use. 
They notice harvesters, and what they are doing should be 
explained to them ; also, how the wheat is sown, and how it 
multiplies in the earth. In the city, they see shops where 
different arts are practised, and where different wares are 
sold. You should never be annoyed by their questions; 
these are so many opportunities offered you by nature for 
facilitating the work of instruction. Show that you take 
pleasure in replying to such questions, and by this means 
you will insensibly teach them how all the things are made 
that serve human needs, and that give rise to commercial 

182. Indirect Instruction. — Even when the child has 
grown up, and is more capable of receiving direct instruc- 
tion, Fe'nelon does not depart from his system of mild man- 
agement and precaution. There are to be no didactic lessons, 

FlfiNELON. 171 

but as far as possible the instruction shall be indirect. This 
is the great educational method of F6nelon, and we shall 
soon see how he applied it to the education of the Duke of 
Bourgogne. "The less formal our lessons are, the better." 
However, there is need of discretion and prudence in the 
choice of the first ideas, and the first pictures that are to be 
impressed on the child's mind. 

" Into a reservoir so little and so precious onty exquisite 
things should be poured." The absence of pedantry is one 
of the characteristics of F6nelon. " In rhetoric," he says, 
" I will give no rules at all ; it is sufficient to give good 
models." As to grammar, " I will give it no attention, or, 
at least, but very little." Instruction must be insinuated, 
not imposed. We must resort to unexpected lessons, — to 
such as do not appear to be lessons. F6nelon here antici- 
pates Rousseau, and suggests the system of pre-arranged 
scenes and instructive artifices, similar to those invented for 
imile. * 

183. All Activity must be Pleasurable. — One of the 
best qualities of F6nelon as a teacher is that of wishing that 
study should be agreeable ; but this qualit}- becomes a fault 
with him, because he makes an abuse of attractive instruc- 
tion. We can but applaud him when he criticises the harsh 
and crabbed pedagogy of the Middle Age, and depicts to us 
those tiresome and gloomy class-rooms, where teachers are 
ever talking to children of words and things of which they 
understand nothing. " No liberty," he says, " no enjoy- 
ment, but always lessons, silence, uncomfortable postures, 
correction, and threats." And so there is nothing more just 
than this thought: " In the current education, all the pleas- 

1 For an example of this " artifice " carried to the extreme of absurdity, 
see Hiss Worthington's translation of the Umile, p. 133. (P.) 

--zL\=.- tt-i 


ure is pat on one side, and all that is disagreeable on the 
other; the disagreeable is all put into study, and all the 
pleasure is found in the diversions." F6nelon would change 
all this. For study, as for moral discipline, " pleasure must 
do all." 

First, as to study, seek the means of making agreeable to 
children whatever you require of them. "We must always 
place before them a definite and agreeable aim to sustain 
them in their work." " Conceal their studies under the 
appearance of liberty and pleasure." Let their range of 
vision extend itself a little, and their intelligence acquire 
more breadth." u Mingle instruction with play." " I have 
seen," he says again, " certain children who have learned to 
read while playing." 

For giving direction to the will, as for giving activity to 
the intelligence, never subject children to cold and absolute 
authority. Do not weary them by an indiscreet exactness. 
Let wisdom appear to them only at intervals, and then with 
a laughing face. Lead them by reason whenever it is pos- 
sible for you to do it. Never assume, save in case of ex- 
treme necessity, an austere, imperious air that makes them 

" You would close their heart and destroy their confidence, 
without which there is no profit to hope for from education. 
Make yourself loved by them. Let them feel at ease in 
your presence, so that they do not fear to have you see their 

Such, intellectually and morally, is the amiable discipline 
dreamed of by F6nelon. It is evident that the imagination 
of our author conducts him a little too far and leads him 
astray. F6nelon sees everything on the bright side. In 
education, such as this too complacent teacher dreams of it, 
there is no difficulty, nothing laborious, no thorns. "All 

rfNBLON. 173 


metals there are gold ; all flowers there are roses." The 
child is almost exempted from making effort : he shall not 
be made to repeat the lesson he has heard, " for fear of an- 
noying him." It is necessary that he learn everything while 
playing. If he has faults, he must not be told of them, save 
with precaution, " for fear of hurting his feelings." F6nelon 
is decidedly too good-natured, too much given to cajolery. 
In his effort to shun whatever is repulsive, he comes to ex- 
clude whatever is laborious. He falls into an artless pleasantry 
when he demands that the books of his pupil shall be 
" beautifully bound, with gilt edges, and fine pictures." 

184. Fables and History. — F6nelon's very decided 
taste for agreeable studies, determines him to place in the 
foremost rank of the child's intellectual occupations, fables 
and history, because narratives please the infant imagination 
above everything else. It is with sacred history especially 
that he would have the attention occupied, always selecting 
from it "that which presents the most pleasing and the 
most magnificent pictures." He properly demands, more- 
over, that the teacher " animate his narrative with lively and 
familiar tones, and so make all his characters speak." By 
this means we shall hold the attention of children without 
forcing it; "for, once more," he says, " we must be very 
careful not to impose on them a law to hear and to remember 
these narratives." 

185. Moral and Religious Education. — Contrary to 
Rousseau's notions, F£nelon requires that- children should 
early have their attention turned to moral and religious 
truths. He would have this instruction given in the con- 
crete, by means of examples drawn from experience. We 
need not fear to speak to them of God as a venerable old 
man, with white beard, etc. Whatever of the superstitious 


there may be in these conceptions adapted to the infant 
imagination will be corrected afterwards by the reason. 
It is to be noted, moreover, that a religion of extremes is 
not what F6nelon desires. He fears all exaggerations, even 
that of piety. What he demands is a tempered devotion, a 
reasonable Christianity. He is suspicious of false miracles. 
"Accustom girls," he says, "not to accept thoughtlessly 
certain unauthorized narrations, and not to practise certain 
forms of devotion introduced bv an indiscreet zeal." But 
possibly, without intending it, Flnelon himself is preparing 
the way for the superstition he combats, when, for the pur- 
pose of indoctrinating the child with the first principles of 
religion, he presents to him the notion of God under sensi- 
ble forms, and speaks to him of a paradise where all is of 
gold and precious stones. 

186. Studies Pkoper for Women. — So far, we have noted 
in F6nelon's work only general precepts applicable to boys 
and girls alike. But in the last part of his work, F6nelon 
treats especially of women's own work, of the qualities pecu- 
liarly their own, of their duties, and of the kind of instruction 
thev need in order to fulfill them. 

No one knew better than Fdnelon the faults that come to 
woman through ignorance, — unrest, unemployed time, in- 
ability to apply herself to solid and serious duties, frivolity, 
indolence, lawless imagination, indiscreet curiosity concern- 
ing trifles, levity, and talkativeness, sentimentalism, and, 
what is remarkable with a friend of Madame Guvon, a mania 
for theology: ''Women are too much inclined to speak 
decisively on religious questions." 

What does F6nelon propose as a corrective of these 
mischievous tendencies? It confessed that the plan 
of instruction which he proposes is still insufficient, and that 
it scarcely accords with the ideal as we conceive it to-day. 

FliNELON. 17l) 

" Keep young girls," he says, " within the common 
bounds, and teach them that there should be for their sex a 
modesty with respect to knowledge almost as delicate as that 
inspired by the horror of vice." 

Is not this the same as declaring that knowledge is not 
intended for women, and that it is repugnant to their deli- 
cate nature? 

When F^nelon tells us that a young girl ought to learn to 
read and write correctly (and observe that account is taken 
only of the daughters of the nobility and of the wealthy 
middle classes) ; when he adds, let her also leant grammar, 
we can infer from these puerile prescriptions, that F6nelon 
does not exact any great things from women in the way of 
knowledge. And yet, such as it is, this programme sur- 
passed, in the time of F6nelon, the received custom, and 
constituted a substantial progress. It was to state an excel- 
lent principle, whose consequences should have been more 
fullv analyzed, to demand that women should learn all that is 
necessary for them to know, in order to bring up their 
children. F6nelon should also be commended for having 
recommended to young women the reading of profane 
authors. He who bad been nourished on such literature, who 
was, so to speak, but a Greek turned Christian, who knew 
Homer so perfectly as to write the TelemacJius^ could not, 
without "belying himself, advise against the studies from 
which he had derived so much pleasure and profit. He also 
recognized the utility of history, ancient and modern. He 
grants a place to poetry and eloquence, provided an elimina- 
tion be made of whatever would be dangerous to purity of 
morals. What we comprehend less easily is that he con- 
demns, as severely as he does, music, which, he says, " fur- 
nishes diversions that are poisonous." 

But these faults, this mistrust of too high an intellectual 




culture, ought not to prevent us from admiring the Education 
of Girls. Let us be grateful to F^nelon for having resisted, 
in part, the prejudices of a period when young women were 
condemned by their sex to an almost absolute ignorance ; for 
having declared that he would follow a course contrary " to 
that of alarm and of a superficial culture of the intelligence " ; 
and finally, for having written a book, all the generous in- 
spirations of which Madame de Maintenon herself has not 
caught ; and of which we may say, finally, that almost every- 
thing that it contains is excellent, and that it is defective 
only in what it does not contain. 

187. Madame de Lambert (1647-1733). — F6nelon, as 
an educator of women, was the founder of a school. From 
Rollin to Madame de Genlis, how many teachers have been 
inspired by him! But in the front rank of his pupils we 
must place Madame de Lambert. In her Counsels to her Son 
(1701) , and especially in her Counsels to her DauglUer (1728), 
she has taken up the tradition of Fe*nelon with greater 
breadth and freedom of spirit. " As discreet as he with 
respect to works of the imagination, of which she fears that 
the reading may inflame the mind ; " more severe, even, than 
he towards Racine, whose name she seems to hesitate to 
pronounce ; disposed to exclude her daughter from " plays, 
representations that move the passions, music, poetry, — all 
belonging to the retinue of pleasure, — in other respects, 
Madame de Lambert takes precedence and surpasses her 
master " (Gr£ard). She reproaches Moliere for having 
abandoned women to idleness, pastime, and pleasure. She 
loves history, especially the history of France, " which no 
one is permitted not to know." Finally, without entering 
into the details of her protests, she makes a powerful plea for 
the cause of woman's education ; she already belongs to the 
eighteenth century. 

F^NELON. 177 

188. Education of the Duke of Bourgogke. — Singu- 
larly enough, Fe*nelon did not make an application of his 
ideas on education till after he had set them forth in a 
theoretical treatise. The education of the Duke of Bour- 
gogne permitted him to make a practical test of the rules 
established in the Education of Girls. Nothing is of more 
interest to the historian of pedagogy than the study of that 
princely education into which F6nelon put all his mind and 
heart, and which, by its results, at once brilliant and insuffi- 
cient, exhibits the merits and the faults of his plan of 

189. Happy Results. — The Duke of Bourgogne with his 
active intelligence, and also with his impetuous, indocile 
character, and his fits of passion, was just the pupil for the 
teacher who relied on indirect instruction. It would have 
been unwise to indoctrinate with heavy didactic lessons a 
spirit so impetuous. Through tact and industry, F6nelon 
succeeded in captivating the attention of the prince, and in 
skillfully insinuating into his mind knowledges that he would 
probabty have rejected, had they been presented to it in a 
scientific and pedantic form. " I have never seen a child," 
says Fe"nelon, " who so readily understood the finest things 
of poetry and eloquence." Doubtless the happy nature of the 
prince contributed a large part towards these results ; but 
the art of Fe'nelon had also its share in the final account. 

190. Moral Lessons; The Fables. — How shall morals 
be taught to a violent and passionate child? Flnelon did 
not think of preaching fine sermons to him ; but presented 
to him, under the form of Fables, the moral precepts that he 
wished to inculcate. The Fables of F^nelon certainly have 
not, as a whole, a large literary value ; but, to form a just 
appreciation of them, we must recollect that their merit is 



especially to be seen in the circumstances attending their 
composition. Composed from day to day, they were adapted 
to the circumstances of the life of the young prince ; they 
were filled with allusions to his faults and his virtues, and 
they conveyed to him, at the favorable moment, under the veil 
of a pleasing fiction, the commendation or the censure that he 
deserved. "One might," says the Cardinal de Bausset, 
u follow the chronological order in which these pieces were 
composed, by comparing them with the progress which age 
and instruction must have made in the education of the 
prince." The apologues, even with their very general morals, 
will always have their value and place in the education of 
children. What shall be said of the fables in which the 
moral, wholly individual, was addressed exclusively to the 
pupil for whom they were written, either on account of some 
perversity that he let come to the surface, or of a rising virtue 
that had been manifested in his conduct? It is thus that the 
fable called The Capricious presented to the young duke the. 
picture of his fits of passion, and taught him to correct him- 
self ; that of the Bee and the Fly reminded him that the 
most brilliant qualities serve no good purpose without mod- 
eration. One day, in a fit of anger, the prince so far forgot 
himself as to say to F6nelon, who was reproving him : " No, 
no, Sir! I know who I am, and who you are!" The next 
day, doubtless in response to this explosion of princely self- 
conceit, Fe'nelon had him read the fable entitled Bacchus 
and the Faun: " As Bacchus could not abide a malicious 
jeerer always ready to make sport of his expressions that 
were not correct and elegant, he said to him in a fiery and 
important tone: u How dare you jeer the son of Jupiter?" 
The Faun replied without emotion: u Alas ! how does the 
son of Jupiter dare to commit any fault?" 

Certain fables, of a more elevated tone than the others, 

' F^NELON. 179 

are not designed simply to correct the faults of children ; 
they prepare the prince for the exercise of government. 
Thus, the fable of the Bees disclosed to him the beauties of 
an industrious State, and one where order reigns ; the Nile 
and the Ganges taught him love for the people, u compassion 
for humanity, harassed and suffering." Finally, from each 
of these fables there issued a serious lesson uflider the pleas- 
ing exterior of a witticism ; and more than^once, in reading 
them, the prince doubtless felt an emotion of pleasure or of 
shame, as he recognized himself in a commendation or in a 
reproof addressed to the imaginary personages of the Fables. 

191. Historical Lessons ; The Dialogues of the Dead. — 
It is not alone in moral education, but in intellectual educa- 
tion as well, that F6nelon resorts to artifice. The ingenious 
preceptor has employed fiction in all its forms the better to 
compass and dominate the spirit of his pupil. There are the 
fables for moral instruction, the dialogues for the study of 
history, and finally, the epopee in the Telemachus, for the 
political education of the heir to the throne of France. 

The Dialogues of the Dead put on the stage men of all 
countries and conditions, Charles the Fifth and a monk of 
Saint Just, Aristotle and Descartes, Leonardo da Vinci and 
Ponssin, Caesar and Alexander. History proper, literature, 
philosophy, the arts, were the subjects of conversations com- 
posed, as in the Fables, at different intervals, according to 
the progress and the needs of the Duke of Bourgogne. 
These were attractive pictures that came from time to time 
to be introduced into the scheme for the didactic study of 
universal history. They should be taken only for what they 
were intended to be, — the pleasing complement to a regular 
and consecutive course of instruction. Fe*nelon knew better 
than any one else that history is interesting in itself, and 


that to make the study of it interesting, it is sufficient to pre- 
sent it to the childish imagination with clearness, with vivac- 
ity, and with feeling. 

192. Variety op Disciplinary Agents. — The education 
of the Duke of Bourgogne is the practical application of 
Finelon's principles as to the necessity of employing an 
insinuating gentleness rather than an authority which dryly 
commands. There are to be no sermons, no lectures, but 
indirect means of moral instruction. The Duke of Bourgogne 
was irascible. Instead of reading to him Seneca's treatise 
On Anger, this is Fenelon's device : One morning he has 
a cabinet-maker come to his apartments, whom he has in- 
structed for the purpose. The prince enters, stops, and 
looks at the tools. " Go about your business, Sir," cries 
the workman, who assumes a most threatening air, " for I 
am not responsible for what I may do ; when I am in a pas- 
sion, I break the arms and legs of those whom I meet." We 
guess the conclusion of the story, and how, by this experi- 
mental method, F^nelon contrives to teach the prince to 
guard against anger and its effects. 

When indirect means did not answer, Fe'nelon employed 
others. It is thus that he made frequent appeals to the self- 
love of his pupil ; he reminded him of what he owed to his 
name and to the hopes of France. He had him record his 
word of honor that he would behave well: "I promise the 
Abbe 1 F£nelon, on the word of a prince, that I will obey 
him, and that, in case I break my word, I will submit to any 
kind of punishment and dishonor. Given at Versailles, this 
29th day of November, 1689. Signed: Louis." At other 
times Fe'nelon appealed to his feelings, and conquered him 
by his tenderness and goodness. It is in such moments of 
tender confidence that the prince said to him, "I leave the 

FfcNELON. 181 

Duke of Bourgogne outside the door, and with you I am but 
the little Louis." Finally, at other times, F6nelon resorted 
to the harshest punishments ; he sequestered him, took away 
his books, and interdicted all conversation. 

193. Diversified Instruction. — By turns serious and 
tender, mild and severe, in his moral discipline, F6nelon was 
not less versatile in his methods of instruction. His domi- 
nant preoccupation was to diversify studies — the term is 
his own. If a given subject of study was distasteful to his 
pupil, Fe'nelon passed to another. Although the success of 
his tutorship seems to be a justification of his course, there 
is ground for thinking that, as a general rule, F^nelon's 
precept is debatable, and that his example should not be fol- 
lowed by making an over-use of amusement and agreeable 
variety. F6nelon has too often made studies puerile through 
his attempts to make them agreeable. 

194. Results of the Education of the Duke of Bour- 
gogne. — It seems like a paradox to say that F6nelon was 
too successful in his educational apostleship ; and yet this is 
the truth. Under his hand — "the ablest hand that ever 
was," says Saint Simon — the prince became in all respects 
the image of his master. He was a bigot to the extent of 
being unwilling to attend a royal ball because that worldly 
entertainment coincided with the religious celebration of the 
Epiphany ; he was rather a monk than a king ; he was desti- 
tute of all spirit of initiative and liberty, irresolute, absorbed 
in his pious erudition and mystic prayers ; finally, he was 
another Telemachus, who could not do without his Mentor. 
F£nelon had monopolized and absorbed the will of his pupil. 
He had forgotten that the purpose of education is to form, 
not a pale copy, an image of the master, but a man inde- 
pendent and free, capable of sufficing for himself. 


195. The Telemachus. — The Telemachus, composed 
from 1694 to 1698, was designed for the Duke of Bour- 
gogne ; but he was not to read it, and did not read it, in 
fact, till after his marriage. Through this epopee in prose, 
this romance borrowed from Homer, F6nelon purposed to 
continue the moral education of his pupil. But the book 
abounds in sermons. " I could have wished," said Boileau, 
" that the Abbe" had made his Mentor a little less a preacher, 
and that the moral of the book could have been distributed 
a little more imperceptibly, and with more art." At least, 
they are beautiful and excellent sermons, aimed against lux- 
ury, the spirit of conquest, the consequences of absolute 
power, and against ambition and war. Louis XIV. had 
probably read the Telemachus, and had comprehended the 
allusions concealed in the description of the Republic of 
Salentum, when he said of F^nelon that he was " the most 
chimerical spirit in his kingdom." Besides the moral lesson 
intended for princes, the Telemachus also contains bold 
reflections on political questions. For example, note the 
conception of a system of public instruction, very new for 
the time : " Children belong less to their parents than to the 
Republic, and ought to be educated by the State. There 
should be established public schools in which are taught the 
fear of God, love of country, and respect for the laws." 

196. Bossuet and Fenelon. — Bossuet, as preceptor of 
the Dauphin, 1 was far from having the same success as 
F6nelon. Nothing was overlooked, however, in the educa- 
tion of the son of Louis XIV. ; and the Letter to Pope 
Innocent XL (1679), in which Bossuet presents his scheme 
of study, gives proof of high fitness for educational work. 

* Eldest son of Louis XIV., born Nov. 1, 1G61; died April 14, 1711. 

F^NELON. 188 

He recommends assiduous labor, no leaves of absence, 
and play mingled with study. "A child must play and 
enjoy himself," he says. Emulation excited by the presence 
of other children, who came to compete with the prince ; a 
thorough reading of the Latin authors, explained, not in 
fragmeuts, as with the Jesuits, but in complete texts ; a cer- 
tain breadth of spirit, since the study of the comic poets — 
of Terence in particular — was expressly recommended ; a 
familiarity with the Greeks and the Romans, "especially 
with the divine Homer " ; the grammar learned in French ; 
history, " the mistress of human life," studied with ardor, 
and presented, first, in its particular facts, in the lessons 
which the Dauphin drew up, and then in its general laws, 
the spirit of which has been transmitted to us in the Dis- 
course on Universal Ilistoi-y; geography learned " while 
playing and making imaginary journeys " ; philosophy ; and 
finally the sciences, brilliantly presented, — with such a pro- 
gramme, and under such a master, it seems that the Dauphin 
ought to have been a student of the highest rank ; but he 
remained a mediocre pupil, " absorbed," to use Saint 
Simon's expression, " in his own fat and gloom." 

It must certainly be acknowledged that, notwithstanding 
his excellent intentions, Bossuet was in part responsible for 
the fact that these results were insufficient, or, rather, nil. 
He did not know how u to condescend," as Montaigne says, 
" to the boyish ways of his pupil." In dealing with him he 
proceeded on too high a plane. "The austere genius of 
Bossuet," says Henry Martin, u did not know how to be- 
come small with the small." Bossuet lacked in flexibility 
and tact, precisely the qualities that characterized F6nelon. 
Bossuet, in education, as in everything else, is grandeur, 
noble and sublime bearing ; F^nolon, as preceptor, is ad- 
dress, insinuating grace. That which dominates in the one 


is authority, a majesty almost icy; that which constitutes 
the charm of the other is versatility, a persuasive gentleness, 
a penetrating tenderness. 

To be just, however, it must be added that the faults were 
not all on Bossuet's side. In that education, stamped with 
failure, the pupil was the great culprit, with his ungrateful 
and rebellious nature. " My lord has much spirit," said a 
courtier, " but he has it concealed. 99 For one not a courtier, 
does it not amount to the same thing to have one's spirit 
concealed and to have none at all ? 

197. Sphere and Limits op Education. — It seems that, 
on one page of the Education of Girls, F£nelon has traced 
in advance, and by a sort of divination, the parallels of the 
two educations of the Dauphin and of the Duke of Bour- 
gogne respectively. How can we fail to recognize the 
anticipated portrait of F£nelon's future pupil in this passage, 
written in 1680? 

"It must be acknowledged, that of all the difficulties in 
education, none is comparable to that of bringing up chil- 
dren who are lacking in sensibility. The naturally quick 
and sensitive are capable of terrible mistakes, — passion and 
presumption do so betray them ! But they have also great 
resources, and when far gone often come to themselves. In- 
struction is a germ concealed within them, which starts, and 
sometimes bears fruit, when experience comes to the aid of 
knowledge, and the passions lose their power. At least, 
we know how to make them attentive, and to awaken their 
curiosity. We have the means of interesting them, and of 
stimulating them through their sense of honor ; but, on the 
other hand, we can gain no hold on indolent natures." 

On the other hand, all that follows applies perfectly to the 
Dauphin, the indocile pupil of Bossuet : — 

fUnelon. 185 

"... All the thoughts of these are distractions ; they are 
never where they ought to be ; they cannot be touched to 
the quick even by corrections ; they hear everything and feel 
nothing. This indolence makes the pupil negligent, and 
disgusts him with whatever he does. Under these conditions, 
the best planned education runs the risk of failure. . . . 
Many people, who think superficially, conclude from this 
poor success that nature does all for the production of men 
of merit, and that education has no part in the result ; but 
the only conclusion to be drawn from the case is, that there 
are natures like ungrateful soils, upon which culture has but 
little effect." 1 

Nothing better can be said, and F6nelon has admirably 
summed up the lesson that should be drawn from these two 
princely illustrations of the seventeenth century. If the 
sorry results of Bossuet's efforts should inspire the educator 
with some modesty, and prove to him that the best grain 
does not grow in an in grate soil, is not the brilliant educa- 
tion of the Duke of Bourgogne, which developed almost all 
the virtues in a soul adiere nature seemed to have planted 
the seeds of all the vices, of a nature to increase the con- 
fidence of teachers, and show them what can be done by the 
art of a shrewd and able teacher ? 

[198. Analytical Summary. — 1. Education as a plastic 
art has never been exhibited in a more favorable light than 
in this history of Fe'nelon's teaching; and perhaps the 
resistance that sometimes sets at defiance the teacher's art 
could not be better illustrated than in the case of Bossuet's 
royal pupil. 

2. These two historical illustrations also exhibit the play 
of the two factors that enter into education, — nature and 

1 Education of Girls, Chap. v. 



art. Flnelon's teaching illustrates the potency of human 
art in controlling, modifying, almost re-creating a work of 
nature. The Duke of Bourgogne was almost re-made to 

3. Here is also an illustrious example of the attempt to 
make education a pastime, to divest it of all constraint, to 
make learning run parallel with the pupil's inclinations. In 
the natural recoil from a dry and formal teaching that had 
to be enforced against the pupil's will, it is sometimes for- 
gotten that a large part of life's duties lie outside of our 

4. The policy of leading pupils at such a distance that 
they seem to themselves to be following their own initiative, 
is one of the highest of the teacher's arts. 

5. The inculcation of moral lessons through fables, after 
F£nelon's plan, is a practice that modern teaching might 
profitably adopt.] 



descartes, malebranche, locke; descartes (1596-1650); the dis- 
course of method; criticism of the current education j 
great principles of modern pedagogy j objective and sub- 
jective pedagogy; malebrancne (1638-1715); sense instruction 
condemned; influence of environment; locke (1632-1704); the 
thoughts concerning education j physical education ; the 
hardening process; hygienic paradoxes; moral education 
more important than instruction; sense of honor the 
principle of moral discipline j condemnation of corporal 
punishment; intellectual education; utilitarian studies; 
programme of studies; attractive studies; should a trade 
be learned? working schools; locke and rousseau; ana- 
lytical summary. 

199. Descartes, Malebranche, and Locke. — Descartes, 
a spiritualist ; Malebranche, an idealist ; Locke, a sensation- 
alist, — such are the philosophers of the seventeenth century 
who are related to the history of pedagogy. And yet the 
first two have only a remote connection with it, through their 
exposition of some of its general principles. Locke is the 
only one who has resolutely approached educational ques- 
tions in a special treatise that has become a classic in Eng- 
lish pedagogy. 

200. Descartes (1596-1650). — Descartes, the father of 
modern philosophy, does not generally figure in the lists 
drawn up by the historians of education ; and yet, in our 


opinion, there is no thinker who has exercised a more deci- 
sive influence on the destinies of education. The author of 
the Discourse of Method has, properly speaking, no system 
of pedagogy, having never directly treated of educational 
affairs ; but through his philosophical principles he has 
changed the direction of human thought, and has intro- 
duced into the study of known truths, as well as into the 
search for new truths, a method and a taste for clearness 
and precision, which have profited instruction in all of its 

" We now find," says Rollin, " in the discourses from the 
pulpit and the bar, and in the dissertations on science, an 
order, an exactness, a propriety, and a solidity, which were 
formerly not so common. Many believe, and not without 
reason, that we owe this manner of thinking and writing to 
the extraordinary progress which has been made within a 
a century in the study of philosophy." l 

201. The Discourse op Method (1637). — Every system 
of philosophy contains in germ a special system of educa- 
tion. From the mere fact that philosophers define, each in 
his own way, the nature and the destiny of man, they come 
to different conclusions as to the aims and methods of educa- 
tion. Only a few of them have taken pains to deduce from 
their principles the consequences that are involved in them ; 
but all of them, whether thev will or no, are educators. 

Such is the case of Descartes. In writing, in the first 
part of his Discourse of Method, his Considerations Touching 
the Sciences, Descartes has written a chapter on practical 
pedagogy, and through the general rules of his logic, he 
has, in effect, founded a new theory of education. 

1 Rollin, Trait* de* ttudes, Tome IV. p. 335. 


202. Criticism op the Current Education. — Descartes 
has given a long account of the education which he had re- 
ceived among the Jesuits, at the college of La Fleche, and 
this account furnished him occasion, either to criticize the 
methods in use, or to indicate his personal views and his 
educational preferences. 

" From my infancy letters have been my intellectual 
nourishment. . . . But as soon as I had completed the 
course of study required for the doctor's degree, I found 
myself embarrassed with so many doubts and errors that it 
seemed to me that I had received no other profit from my 
efforts at learning than the discovery of my growing igno- 

In other terms, Descartes ascertained that his studies, 
though pursued with ardor for eight years in one of the 
most celebrated schools of Europe, had not permitted him 
to acquire " a clear and sure knowledge of all that is useful 
for living." This was to condemn the barren teaching and 
the formal instruction of the Jesuits. Passing in review the 
different parts of the instruction, Descartes first remarks 
that it was wrong to make an abuse of the reading of j 
ancient books ; for, to hold converse with the men of other! 
centuries "is about the same as travelling; and when we 
spend too much time in tra veiling, we become strangers in| 
our own country." Then he complains that he was not 
made to know " the true use of mathematics," since he had 
been shown their application only to the mechanic arts. He 
nearly condemns rhetoric and poetics, since eloquence and 
poetry are "intellectual gifts rather than the fruits of study." 
The ancient languages — and in this he gravely deceives 
himself — seem to him useful only for the understanding of 
authors. He does not admit that the study of Latin or 
Greek can contribute to intellectual development. 

• 1 "■-■■KS 


From these reflections there seems to issue the notion of 
an instruction more solid, more positive, more directly use- 
ful for the purposes of life, than that which had been 
brought into fashion by the Jesuits. However, Descartes 
does not eliminate the ordinary studies, as eloquence, 
"which has incomparable power and beauty"; poetry, 
* ' which has an enchanting tenderness and melody " ; the 
reading of the classics, which is "a studied conversation 
with the most estimable men of past centuries " ; history, 
" which forms the judgment" ; fables, whose "charm arouses 
the spirit." But he would give to all these exercises a more 
practical turn, a more utilitarian character, a more positive 

203. Great Principles of Modern Pedagogy. — With- 
out intending it, without any other thought than that of 
modifying the false direction of the mind in the search for 
scientific truth, Descartes has stated some of the great prin- 
ciples of modern pedagogy. 

The first is the equal aptitude of minds to know and com- 
prehend. " Good sense," says Descartes, " is the thing of 
all else in this world that is most equally distributed. 1 . . . 
The latent ability to judge well, to distinguish the true from 
the false, is naturally equal among all men." What is this 
but saying that all men are entitled to instruction ? In a cer- 
tain sense, what are the innumerable primary schools scattered 
over the surface of the civilized globe, but the application 
and the living commentary of Descartes' ideas on the equal 
distribution of good sense and reason among men ? 

1 I am in doubt whether M. Compayre* intends to sanction this doctrine 
or not. This is an anticipation of one of Jacotot's paradoxes: " All human 
beings are equally capable of learning." The verdict of actual teachers 
Is undoubtedly to the effect that there are manifold differences in the 
ability of pupils to know, comprehend, and judge. (P.) 


But, adds Descartes, " it is not enough to have a sound 
mind ; the principal thing is to make a good use of it." In 
other words, nature is not sufficient in herself ; she needs to 
be guided and directed. Method is the essential thing ; it 
has a sovereign importance. Success will depend less on 
natural qualities, such as imagination, memory, quickness 
of thought, than upon the rules of intellectual direction 
imposed on the mind. Education has a far greater part 
than nature in the formation and development of accurate 
and upright intelligences. 

Another Cartesian principle is the substitution of free 
inquiry and reflective conviction for blind beliefs founded 
upon authority. Descartes promulgated this famous rule of 
his method : "The first precept is, never to receive anything 
for true that I do not know, upon evidence, to be such ; . . . 
and to comprise no more within my judgments than what is 
presented so clearly and distinctly to my mind that I have 
no occasion to call it in question." In this declaration he 
has not only reformed science and revolutionized philoso- 
phy, but has banished from the school the old routine, the 
mechanical processes and exercises of pure memory, and 
has made a demand for rational methods that excite the 
intelligence, awaken clear and distinct ideas, and provoke 
judgment and reflection. Of course, it is not proposed to 
make a little Descartes out of every child, despoiling him 
of received beliefs in order to construct personal opinions 
de novo ; but the rule of evidence, applied with moderation 
and discretion, is none the less an excellent pedagogical 
precept, which will never be disallowed by those who wish 
to make of the child something more than a mere machine. 

204. Objective and Subjective Pedagogy. — We have 
now reached a place where we may call into notice two dif- 
ferent tendencies, equally legitimate, which we shall find, 

ri5»r» -r 


with exaggerations that compromise their utility, in the 
practice of modern teachers. There are those who wish 
above all to develop the intelligence ; and there are others 
who are preoccupied with furnishing the mind with a stock 
of positive knowledge. The first conceive instruction as 
taking place, as it were, through what is within, through the 
development of the internal qualities of precision and meas- 
ure ; the others are preoccupied only with the instruction 
that takes place through what is without, through an ex- 
tended erudition, through an accumulation of knowledges. 
In a word, if I may be allowed the expression, some affect 
a subjective pedagogy, and others an objective pedagogy. 
Bacon is of the latter number. That which preoccupies the 
great English logician above everything else is the exten- 
sion of observations and experiments. "To reason without 
knowing anything of that which we reason upon," he says, 
" is as if we were to weigh or measure the wind." Des- 
cartes, however, who has never neglected the study of facts, 
esteems them less as material to be accumulated in the mind, 
than as instruments for training the mind itself. He would 
have repudiated those teachers of our day who seem to 
think the whole thing is done when there has been made to 
pass before the mental vision of the child an interminable 
series of object-lessons, without the thought of developing 
that intelligence itself. 

205. Malebranche (1638-1715). — We must not expect 
great pedagogical wisdom from a mystical dreamer and reso- 
lute idealist, who has imagined the vision of all things in 
God. Besides, Malebranche has given only a passing atten- 
tion to things relating to education. The member of a 
teaching congregation, the Oratory, he has not taught; and 
the whole effort of his inind was spent in the search for 
metaphysical truth. Nevertheless, it is interesting to stop 


for a moment this visionary who traverses the earth with 
eyes fixed on the heavens, and inquire of him what he 
thinks of the very practical question, education. 

206. Sense Instruction condemned. — Malebranche will 
reply to us, with the prejudices of a metaphysician of the 
idealist type, that the first thing to do is to nourish the child 
on abstract truths. In his view, souls have no age, so to 
speak, and the infant is already capable of ideal contempla- 
tion. Then let sense instruction be abandoned, " for this 
is the reason why children leave metaphysical thoughts, to 
apply themselves to sensations." Is it objected that the 
child does not seem very well adapted to meditation on 
abstract truths? It is not so much the fault of nature, 
Malebranche will reply, as of the bad habits he has con- 
tracted. There is a means of remedying this ordinary inca- 
pacity of the child. 

" If we kept children from fear, from desires, and from 
hope, if we did not make them suffer pain, if we removed 
them as far as possible from their little pleasures, then we 
might teach them, from the moment they knew how to speak, 
the most difficult and the most abstract things, or at least the 
concrete mathematics, mechanics." 

Does Malebranche hope, then, to suppress, in the life of 
the child, pleasure and pain, and triumph over the tendencies 
which ordinary education has developed ? 

" As an ambitious man who had just lost his fortune and 
his credit would not be in a condition to resolve questions in 
metaphysics or equations in algebra, so children, on whose 
brains apples and sugar-plums make as profound impressions 
as are made on those of men of forty years by offices and 
titles, are not in a condition to hear the abstract truths that 
are taught them." 

Consequently, we must declare war against the senses, and 


exclude, for example, all sorts of sensible rewards. Only, 
by a singular contradiction, Malebrancbe upholds material 
punishments in the education of children. The only thing 
of sense he retains is the rod. 1 

207. Influence of Material Environment. — Another 
contradiction more worthy of note is, that, notwithstanding his 
idealism, Malebranche believes in the influence of physical 
conditions on the development of the soul. He does not go 
so far as to say with the materialists of our time, that " man 
is what he eats " ; but he accords a certain amount of influ- 
ence to nourishment. He speaks cheerfully of wine and of 
" those wild spirits who do not willingly submit to the orders 
of the will." He never applied himself to work without hav- 
ing partaken of coffee. The soul, in his view, is not a force 
absolutely independent and isolated, which develops through 
an internal activity: u we are bound," he says, 4fc to every- 
thing, and stand in relations to all that surrounds us." 

208. Locke (1632-1704). — Locke is above all else a 
psychologist, an accomplished master in the art of analyzing 
the"orSTn of ideas and the elements of the mental life. He 
is the head of that school of empirical psycholog}* that rallies 
around its standard, Condillac in France, Herbart in Ger- 
many, and in Great Britain Hume and other Scotchmen, and 

1 Is not the antagonism pointed out by Malebranche more serious than 
M. Compayre' seems to think? If the current of mental activity sets 
strongly towards the feelings, emotions, or senses, it is thereby diverted 
from the purely intellectual processes, such as reflection and judgment 
The mind of the savage is an example of what comes from " following the 
order of nature " in an extreme training of the senses. On the nature and 
extent of this antagonism, the following authorities may be consulted: 
Hamilton. Metaphysics, p. JJ3<> ; Mansel, Metaphysics, pp.68, 70, 77 ; Bain, 
The Senses and the Intellect, pp. 31*2-394: ; Bain, Education as a Science, 
pp. 17, 29, 37 ; Spencer, Principles of Psychology, pp.9&-99. (P.) 


the most of modern philosophers. But from psychology to 
pedagogy the transition is easy, and Locke had to make no 
great effort to become an authority in education after having 
been an accomplished philosopher. 

209. Some Thoughts on Education (1693). — The book 
which he published towards the close of his life, under the 
modest title Some Thoughts concerning Education, was the 
summing up of a long experience. A studious pupil at 
Westminster, he conceived from his early years, as Descartes 
did at La Fleche, a keen sense of repugnance for a purely 
formal classical instruction, and for language studies in gen- 
eral, in which, nevertheless, he attained distinction. A 
model student at the University of Oxford, he there became 
an accomplished humanist, notwithstanding the practical and 
positive tendency of his mind that was already drawn to- 
wards the natural sciences and researches in physics and in 
medicine. Made Bachelor of Arts in 1656, and Master of Arts 
in 1658, he passed directly from the student's bench. to the 
professor's chair. He was successively lecturer and tutor in 
Greek, but this did not prevent him later from eliminating 
Hellenism almost completely from his scheme of liberal educa- 
tion. Then he became lecturer on rhetoric, and finally on 
moral philosophy. When, in 1666, he discontinued his schol- 
astic life to mingle in political and diplomatic affairs, he at 
least carried from his studious residence at Oxford, the germs 
of the most of his ideas on education. He sought occasion to 
make an application of them in the education of private indi- 
viduals, of whom he was the inspirer and counsellor, if not the 
official director. In the families of friends and hosts that he 
frequented, for example, in that of Lord Shaftesbury, he made 
a close study of children ; and it is in studying them, and in 
following with a sagacious eye the successive steps of their 
improvement in disposition and mind, that he succeeded in 



acquiring that educational experience which has left a trace 
on each page of the Thoughts concerning Education. This 
book, in fact, is the issue of one of Locke's experiences as an 
assistant in the education of the children of his friends. 
Towards the year 1684-5, he addressed to his friend Clarke 
a series of letters which, retouched and slightly modified, 
have become a classical work, simple and familiar in style, a 
little disconnected, perhaps, and abounding in repetitions, 
but the substance of which is excellent, and the ideas as 
remarkable, in general, for their originality as for their just- 
ness. Translated into French in 1695 by P. Coste, and re- 
printed several times in the lifetime of their author, the 
TJioughts concerning Education have had a universal success. 
They have exercised an undoubted influence on the educa- 
tional writings of Rousseau and Helvetius. They have 
received the enthusiastic praise of Leibnitz, who placed this 
work above that on the Human Understanding. " I am 
persuaded," said H. Marion recently, in his interesting study 
on Locke, " that if an edition of the TJioughts were to be 
published to-day in a separate volume, it would have a 
marked success." l 

210. Analysis op the Thoughts concerning Educa- 
tion. — Without pretending to give in this place a detailed 
analysis of Locke's book, which deserves to be read entire, 
and which discusses exhaustivelv or calls to notice, one after 
another, almost all important educational questions, we shall 
attempt to make known the essential principles which are to 
be drawn from it. These are : 1. in physical education, the 
hardening process; 2. in intellectual education, practical 
utility ; 3. in moral education, the principle of honor, set up 
y as a rule for the free self-government of man. 

1 John Locke. His Life and his Work. Paris, 1878. 


211. Physical Education; The Hardening Process. — 
The ideal of education, according to Locke, is " a sound 
mind in a sound body*" A physician like Rabelais, the 
author of the Thoughts concerning Education had special 
competence in questions of physical education. But a love 
for the paradoxical, and an excessive tendency towards the 
hardening of the body, have marred, on this point, the re- 
flections of the English philosopher. He has summed up 
his precepts on this subject in the following lines : — 

44 The whole is reduced," he says, " to a small number of 
rules, easy to observe ; much air, exercise, and sleep ; a 
simple diet, no wine or strong liquors ; little or no medicine 
at all ; garments that are neither too tight nor too warm ; 
finally, and above all, the habit of keeping the head and feet 
cold, of often bathing the feet in cqld wate r and exposing 
them to dampness." 1 But it is necessary to enter some- 
what into details, and to examine closely some of these 

Locke is the first educator to write a consecutive and 
methodical dissertation on the food, clothing, and sleep of 
children. It is he who has stated this principle, afterwards 
taken up by Rousseau : " Leave to nature the care of form- 
ing the body as she thinks it ought to be done." Hence, no 
close-fitting garments, life in the open air and in the sun ; 
children brought up like peasants, inured to heat and cold, 
playing with head and feet bare. In the matter of food, 
Locke forbids sugar, wine, spices, and flesh, up to the age 
of three or four. As to fruits, which children often crave 
with an inordinate appetite, a fact that is not surprising, he 
pleasantly remarks, " since it was for an apple that our first 

parents lost paradise," he makes a singular choice. He 

— - — 

1 Thoughts, translation by G. Corapayrd, p. 57. 


authorizes strawberries, gooseberries, apples, and pears ; but 
he interdicts peaches, plums, and grapes. To excuse Locke's 
prejudice against the grapes, it must be recollected that he 
lived in England, a country in which the vine grows with 
difficulty, and of which an Italian said, "The only ripe fruit I 
have seen in England is a baked apple." As to meals, 
Locke does not think it important to fix them at stated hours. 
Fe"nelon, on the contrary, more judiciously requires that the 
hour for repasts be absolutely determined. But this is not 
the onlv instance in which Locke's wisdom is at fault. 
What shall be said of that hygienic fancy which consists in 
allowing the child " to have his shoes so thin, that they 
might leak and let in water, whenever he comes near it " ? 

It is certain that Locke treats children with an unheard-of 
severity, all the more surprising in the case of one who had 
an infirm and delicate constitution that could be kept in 
repair only through precaution aud management. I do not 
know whether the consequences of the treatment which he 
proposes, applied to the letter, might not be disastrous. 
Madame de S£vign6 was more nearly right when she wrote : 
'• If your son is very robust, a rude education is good ; but 
if he is delicate, I think that in your attempts to make him 
robust, you would kill him." The body, says Locke, may be 
accustomed to everything. We may reply to this by quoting 
an anecdote of Peter the Great, who one day took it into his 
head, it is said, that it would be best for all the sailors to 
form the habit of drinking salt water. Immediately he pro- 
mulgated an edict which ordered that all naval cadets should 
henceforth drink only sea-water. The boys all died, and 
there the experiment stopped. 

Still, without subscribing to Locke's paradoxes, which 
have found no one to approve of them except Rousseau, we 
should recollect that in his precepts on physical education as 


a whole, the author of the Thoughts deserves oar commenda- 
tion for having recommended a manly course of discipline, 
and a frugal diet, for having discarded fashionable conven- 
tionalities and drawn near to nature, and for having con* 
demned the refinements of an indolent mode of life, and for 
being inspired by the simple and manly customs of England. 

212. Moral Education. — In the thought of Locke, moral j 
education takes precedence of instruction properly so called : v 

"That which a gentleman ought to desire for his son, 
besides the fortune he leaves him is, 1. virtue ; 2. prudence ; 
3. good manners ; 4. instruction." 

Virtue and prudence — that is, moral qualities and prac- 
tical qualities — are of first consideration. "Instruction," 
says Locke again, " is but the least part of education." In 
the book of Thoughts, where repetitions abound, there is 
nothing more frequently repeated than the praise of virtue. 

Doubtless it may be thought that Locke, like Herbert 
Spencer in our own day, cherishes prejudices with respect to 
instruction, and that he does not take sufficient account of 
the moralizing influence exercised over the heart and will by 
intellectual enlightenment ; but, even with this admission, we 
must thank Locke for having protested against the teachers 
who think they have done all when they have embellished the 
memory and developed the intelligence. 

The grand thing in education is certainly to establish good ) 
moral habits, to cultivate noble sentiments, and, finally, to ] 
form virtuous characters. * 

213. Honor, the Principle of Moral Discipline. — 
But after having placed moral education in its proper rank, 
which is the first, it remains to inquire what shall be the 
principles and the methods of this education. Shall it be 
the maxim of utility, as Rousseau requires ? Must the child, 


before acting, inquire what is the good of this? Cut bono? 
No ; utilitarian in instruction and in intellectual education, as 
we have just seen, Locke is not so in moral education. 
Shall it be fear, shall it be the authority of the teacher or of 
parents, founded on punishments, upon the slavish feeling 
of terror ? Still less. Locke reproves repressive discipline, 
and is not inclined to chastisements. Shall it be affection, 
the love of parents, the aggregate of tender sentiments? 
Locke scarcely speaks of them. Of too little sensibility him- 
self, he does not seem to think of all that can be done through 
the sensibility of the child. 

Locke, who perhaps is wrong in treating the child too 
early, as though he were a man, who does not take sufficient 
account of all the feebleness that is in infant nature, appeals 
from the first to the sentiment of honor, and to the fear of 
shame, that is, to emotions which, I fear, by their very 
nobleness, are above the powers of the child. Honor, which 
is, in fact, but another name for duty, and the ordinary 
synonym of virtue, — honor may assuredly be the guide of 
an adult and already trained conscience ; but is it not chi- 
merical to hope that the child, from his earliest years, will be 
sensible to the esteem or the contempt of those who surround 
him ? If it were possible to inspire a child with a regard for 
his reputation, I grant with Locke that we might henceforth 
u make of him whatever we will, and teach him to love all 
the forms of virtue " ; but the question is to know whether 
we can succeed in this, and I doubt it, notwithstanding the 
assurances of Locke. 

Kant has very justly said : — 

44 It is labor lost to speak of duty to children. They com- 
prehend it only as a thing whose transgression is followed by 
the ferule. ... So one ought not to try to call into play with 
children the feeling of shame, but to wait for this till the 



period of youth comes. In fact, it cannot be developed in 
them till the idea of honor has already taken root there." 

Locke is the dupe of the same illusion, both when he 
expects of the child enough moral power so that the sense of 
honor suffices to govern him, and when he counts enough on 
his intellectual forces to desire to reason with him from the 
moment he knows how to speak. For forming good habits 
in the child, and preparing him for a life of virtue, there is 
full need of all the resources that nature and art put at the 
disposal of the educator, — sensibility under all its forms, 
the calculations of self-interest, the lights of the intelligence. 
It is only little by little, and with the progress of age, that 
an exalted principle, like the sentiment of honor or the senti- 
ment of duty, will be able to emerge from out the mobile 
humors of the child, and dominate his actions like a sovereign 
law. The moral pedagogy of Locke is certainly faulty in that 
it is not sufficiently addressed to the heart, and to the 
potency of loving, which is already so great in the child. I 
add, that in his haste to emancipate the child, to treat him as 
a reasonable creature, and to develop in him the principles 
of self-government, Locke was wrong in proscribing almost 
absolutely the fear of punishment. It is good to respect the 
liberty and the dignity of the man that is in the child, but it 
is not necessary that this respect degenerate into supersti- 
tion ; and it is not sure that to train firm and robust wills, it 
is necessary to have them early affranchised from all fear 
and all constraint. 

214. Condemnation of Corporal Punishment. — It is 
undeniable that Locke has not sufficiently enlarged the bases 
of his theory of rcoral discipline ; but if he has rested incom- 
plete in the positive part of his task, if he has not advised 
all that should be done, he has been more successful in the 


negative part, that which consists in eliminating all that 
ought not to be done. The chapters devoted to punishments 
in general, and in particular to corporal punishments, count 
among the best in the Thovglits. Roll in and Rousseau have 
often copied from them. It is true that Locke himself has 
borrowed the suggestion of them from Montaigne. The 
"severe mildness" which is the pedagogical rule of the 
author of the Essays, is also the rule of Locke. It is in 
accordance with this that Locke has brought to bear on the 
rod the final judgment of good sense : " The rod is a slavish 
discipline, which makes a slavish temper." He has yielded 
to the ideas of his time on only one point, when he admits 
one exception to the absolute interdiction of the rod, and 
tolerates its use in extreme cases to overcome the obstinate 
and rebellious resistance of the child. This is going too far 
without any doubt; but to do justice to the boldness of 
Locked views, we must consider how powerful the custom 
then was, and still is, in England, in a country where the 
heads of institutions think themselves obliged to notify the 
public, in the advertisements published in the journals, that 
the interdiction of corporal punishment counts among the 
advantages of their schools. "It is difficult to conceive 
the perseverance with which English teachers cling to the old 
and degrading customs of corrections by the rod. ... A 
more astonishing thing is that the scholars seem to hold to it 
as much as the teachers." "In 1818," relates one of the 
former pupils of Charterhouse, " our head master, Doctor 
Russell, who had ideas of his own, resolved to abolish 
corporal punishment and substitute for it a fine. Everybody 
resisted the innovation. The rod seemed to us perfectly 
consistent with the dignity of a gentleman ; but a fine, for 
shame ! The school rose to the crv : ' Down with the fine ! 
Long live the rod ! ' The revolt triumphed, and the rod was 


solemnly restored. Then we were glad- hearted over the 
affair. On the next day after the fine was abolished, we 
found, on entering the class-room, a superb forest of birches, 
and the two hours of the session were conscientiously em- 
ployed in making use of them." 1,2 

215. Intellectual Education. — In what concerns intel- 
lectual education, Locke manifestly belongs to the school, 
small in his time, but more and more numerous to-day, of 
utilitarian teachers. lie would train, not men of letters, or 
of science, but practical men, armed for the battle of life, pro- 
vided with all the knowledge they will need in order to keep 
their accounts, administer their fortune, satisfy the require- 
ments of their profession, and, finally, to fulfill their duties as 
men and citizens. In a word, he wrote for a nation of trades- 
men and citizens. 

216. Utilitarian Studies. — An undeniable merit of 
Locke is that of having reacted against a purely formal in- 
struction, which substitutes for the acquisition of positive 
and real knowledge a superfluous culture, so to speak, a 
training in a superficial rhetoric and an elegant verbiage. 
Locke disdains and condemns studies that do not contribute 
directly to a preparation for life. Doubtless he goes a little 

1 Demogeot et Montucci, de V Enscignement secondaire en Angleterre, 
p. 41. 

3 On the question of corporal punishment in school, is not M. Compayre" 
too absolute in bis assumptions? On what principle does he base bis 
absolute condemnation of the rod ? What is to be done in those cases of 
revolt against order and decency that occur from time to time in most 
schools? There is no doubt that the very best teachers can govern without 
resorting to this hateful expedient ; but what shall be done in extreme cases 
by the multitude who are not, and never can be, teachers of this ideal 
type ? Nor does this question stand alone. Below, it is related to family 
discipline ; and above, to civil administration. If corporal punishment is 
interdicted in the school, should it not be interdicted in the State ? (P.) 

rwCTgf -• • -i^-^T-s: 


too far in his reaction against the current formalism and \n 
his predilection for realism. He is too forgetful of the fact 
that the old classical studies, if not useful in the positive 
sense of the term, and not satisfying the ordinary needs of 
existence, have yet a higher utility, in the sense that they 
may become, in skillful and discreet hands, an excellent 
instrument for intellectual discipline and the education of the 
judgment. But Locke spoke to fanatics and pedants, for 
whom Latin and Greek were the whole of instruction, and 
who, turning letters from their true purpose, wrongly mado 
a knowledge of the dead languages the sole end, and not, as 
should be the case, one of the means of instruction. Locke 
is by no means a blind utilitarian, a coarse positivist, who 
dreams of absolutely abolishing disinterested studies. He 
wishes merely to put them in their place, and to guard against 
investing them with a sort of exclusive privilege, and against 
sacrificing to them other branches of instruction that are 
more essential and more immediately useful. 

217. Programme of Studies. — As soon as the child 
knows how to read and write, he should be taught to draw. 
Very disdainful of painting and of the fine arts in general, 
whose benign and profound influence on the souls of children 
his colder nature has not sufficiently recognized, Locke, by 
way of compensation, recommends drawing, because drawing 
may be practically useful, and he puts it on almost the same 
footing as reading and writing. 

These elements once acquired, the child should be drilled 
in the mother tongue, first in reading, and afterwards in 
exercises in composition, in brief narratives, in familiar 
letters, etc. The study of a living language (Locke recom- 
mends French to his countrymen) should immediately follow ; 
and it is only after this has been acquired that the child shall 
be put to the study of Latin. Save the omission of the 


sciences, Locke's plan is singularly like that which for ten 
years has been in use in the French lyce'es. 

As to Latin, which follows the living language, Locke 
requires that it shall be learned above all through use, 
through conversation if a master can be found who speaks 
it fluently, but if not, through the reading of authors. As 
little of grammar as possible, no memoriter exercises, no 
Latin composition, either in prose or verse, but, as soon 
as possible, the reading of easy Latin texts, — these are the 
recommendations of Locke that have been too little heeded. 
The purpose is no longer to learn Latin for the sake of 
writing it elegantly ; the only purpose truly desirable is to 
comprehend the authors who have written in that language. 
The obstinate partisans of Latin verse and conversation will 
not read without chagrin these earnest protests of Locke 
against exercises that have been too much abused, and that 
impose on the learner the torment of writing in a language 
which he handles with difficulty, upon subjects which he but 
imperfectly understands. As to Greek, Locke proscribes it 
absolutely. He does not disparage the beauty of a language 
whose masterpieces, he says, are the original source of our 
literature and science ; but he reserves the knowledge of it 
to the learned, to the lettered, to professional scholars, and 
he excludes it from secondary instruction, which ought to be 
but the school which trains for active life. Thus relieved, 
classical instruction will more easily welcome the studies that 
are of real use and of practical application, — geography, 
which Locke places in the first rank, because it is " an exercise 
of the eyes and memory " ; arithmetic, which u is of so general 
use in all parts of life and business, that scarce anything can 
be done without it"; then what he somewhat ambitiously 
calls astronomy, and which is in reality an elementary cos- 
mography j the parts of geometry which are necessary for 


." «c- 


" a man of business" ; chronology and history, u the most 
agreeable and the most instructive of studies " ; ethics and 
common law, which do not yet have a place in French pro- 
grammes ; finally, natural philosophy, that is, the physical 
sciences ; and, to crown all, a manual trade and book- 

218. Attractive Studies. — Another characteristic of 
Locke's intellectual discipline is, that, utilitarian in its pur- 
pose, the instruction which he organizes shall be attractive 
in its methods. After hatred for the pedantry which use- 
lessly spends the powers of the learner in barren studies, the 
next strongest antipathy of Locke is that which is inspired 
by the rigor of a too didactic system of instruction, where 
the methods are repulsive, the processes painful, and where 
the teacher appears to his pupils only as a bugbear and a 

Although he ma}' go to extremes in this, he is partly right 
in wishing to bring into favor processes that are inviting aud 
methods that are attractive. Without hoping, as he does, 
without desiring even, that the pupil may come to make no 
distinction between study and other diversions, we are dis- 
posed to believe that something may be done to alleviate for 
him the first difficulties in learning, to entice and captivate 
him without constraining him, and, finally, to spare him the 
disgust which cannot fail to be inspired by studies too 
severely forced upon him, and which are made the subject 
of scourges and scoldings. It is especially for reading and 
the first exercises of the child that Locke recommends the 
use of instructive plays. t% They may be taught to read, 
without perceiving it to be anything but a sport, and play 
themselves into that which others are whipped for." 

Children of every n^e are jealous of their independence 
and eager for pleasure. No one before Locke had so clearly 


recognized the need of the activity and liberty which are 
natural to the child, or so strongly insisted on the necessity 
of respecting his independent disposition and his personal 
tastes. Here again English pedagogy of the seventeenth 
century meets its illustrious successor of the nineteenth. 
Herbert Spencer has thoroughly demonstrated the fact that 
the mind really appropriates only the knowledge that affords 
it pleasure and agreeable exercise. Now, there is pleasure 
and agreeable excitation wherever there is the development 
of a normal activity corresponding to an instinctive taste 
and proportioned to the natural powers of the child ; and 
there is no real instruction save at the expense of a real 
display of activity. 1 

219. Should there be Learning by Be art? — To this 
question, Should there be learning by heart? Locke gives a 
resolute reply in the negative. The conclusion is absolute 
and false ; but the premises that he assumes to justify his 
conclusion are, if possible, falser still. Locke sets out from 
this psychological idea, that the memory is not susceptible 
of progress. He brings into the discussion his sensualistic 
prejudices, his peculiar conception of the soul, which is 

1 It is usually said that a pupil's distaste for a study indicates one of 
two things, either the mode of presenting the subject is bad, or it is pre- 
sented at an unseasonable period of mental development ; but this distaste 
is quite as likely to be due to the fact that a certain mode of mental activity 
has not yet been established ; for until fairly established, its exercise can- 
not be pleasurable. The assumption that intellectual appetites already 
exist and are waiting to be gratified, or that they will invariably appear at 
certain periods of mental development, is by no means a general law of 
the mental life. In many cases, these appetites must be created, and it 
may often be that the studies employed for this purpose may not at first 
be relished. And there are cases where, under the best of skill, this 
relish may never come ; and still, the knowledge or the discipline is 
so necessary that the studies may be enforced contrary to the pupil's 
pleasure. (P.) 


but a tabula rasa, an empty and inert capacity, and not a con- 
geries of energies and of living forces that are strengthened 
by exercise. He does not believe that the faculties, what- 
ever they may be, can grow and develop, and this for the 
good reason, according to his thinking, that the faculties 
have no existence. 

But here let him speak for himself : — 

" I hear it is said that children should be employed in get- 
ting things by heart, to exercise and improve their memories. 
I would wish this were said with as much authority and 
reason as it is with forwardness of assurance, and that this 
practice were established upon good observation more than 
old custom. For it is evident that strength of memory is 
owing to an happy constitution, and not to any habitual 
improvement got by exercise. 'Tis true what the mind is 
intent upon, and, for fear of letting it slip, often imprints 
afresh on itself by frequent reflection, that it is apt to retain, 
but still according to its own natural strength of retention. 
An impression made oil beeswax or lead will not last so 
long as on brass or steel. Indeed, if it be renewed often, it 
may last the longer ; but every new reflecting on it is a new 
impression, and 'tis from thence one is to reckon, if one 
would know how long the mind retains it. But the learning 
pages of Latin by heart no more fits the memory for reten- 
tion of anything else, than the graving of one sentence in 
lead makes it the more capable of retaining firmly any other 
characters." ' 

If Locke were right, education would become wholly im- 
possible ; for, in case of all the faculties, education supposes 
the existence of a natural germ which exercise fertilizes and 

1 Thoughts, edited by R. II. Quick (Cambridge, 1880), pp. 153-4. 

^* ■ ■ n. . 


220. A Trade should bb learned. — Locke, like Boas- 
Beau, but for other reasons, wishes his pupil to learn a trade : 

" I can not forbear to say, I would have my gentleman 
learn a trade, a manual trade; nay, two or three, but one 
more particularly." l 

Rousseau will say the same : " Recollect that it is not 
talent that I require of you ; it is a trade, a real trade, a purely 
mechanical art, in which the hands work more than the head." 

But Locke, in haying his gentleman learn carpentry or 
agriculture, especially designed that this physical labor should 
lend the mind a diversion, an occasion for relaxation and 
repose, and secure to the body a useful exercise. Rousseau 
is influenced by totally different ideas. What he wants is, 
first, that through an apprenticeship to a trade, l£mile may 
protect himself against need in case a revolutionarj* crisis 
should deprive him of his wealth. In the second place, 
Rousseau obeys his. social, we might even say his socialistic, 
preoccupations. Work, in his view, is a strict duty, from 
which no one can exempt himself. " Rich or poor, every 
idle citizen is a knave." 

221. Working Schools. — Although Locke is almost ( 
exclusively preoccupied with classical studies and with a ) 
gentleman's education, nevertheless he has not remained / 
completely a stranger to questions of primary instruction. \ 
In 1697 he addressed to the English government a remark- 
able document on the importance of organizing " working 
schools" for the children of the poor. All children over 
three and under fourteen years of age are to be collected in 
homes where they will find labor and food. In this way 
Locke thought to contend against immorality and pauperism. 
He would find a remedy for the idleness and vagabondage of 

1 ThoughU, p. 177. 


the child, and lighten the care of the mother who is absorbed 
in her work. lie would also, through habits of order and 
discipline, train up steady men and industrious workmen. In 
other terms, he attempted a work of social regeneration, and 
the tutor of gentlemen became the educator of the poor. 

222. Locke and Rousseau. — In the EmUe we shall 
frequently find passages inspired by him whom Rousseau 
calls " the wise Locke." Perhaps we shall admire even more 
the practical qualities and the good sense of the English 
educator when we shall have become acquainted with the 
chimeras of his French imitator. In the case of Locke, we 
have to do, not with an author who wishes to shine, but with 
a man of sense and judgment who expresses his opinions, 
and who has no other pretense than to understand himself and 
to be comprehended by others. To appreciate the Thoughts 
at their full value, they should not be read till after having 
re-read the Emile, which is so much indebted to them. Ou 
coming from the reading of Rousseau, after the brilliant 
glare and almost the giddiness occasioned his reader by a 
writer of genius whose imagination is ever on the wing, 
whose passion urges him on, and who mingles with so many 
exalted truths, hasty paradoxes, and nois}* declamations, it 
is like repose and a delicious unbending to the spirit to go 
to the study of Locke, and to find a train of thought always 
equable, a style simple and dispassionate, an author always 
master of himself, always correct, notwithstanding some 
errors, and a book, finally, filled, not with flashes and smoke, 
but with a light that is agreeable and pure. 

[223. Analytical Summary. — 1. This study illustrates 
the fact that the aims and methods of education are deter- 
mined by the types of thought, philosophical, political, 


religious, scientific, and social, that happen to be in the 
ascendent; and also the tendency of the human mind to 
adopt extreme views. 

2. The subjective tendency of human thought is typified 
by the Socratic philosophy, and the objective tendency by 
the Baconian philosophy ; and from these two main sources 
have issued two distinctive schools of educators, the formal- 
ists and the realists, the first holding that the main purpose 
of education is discipline, training, or formation, and the 
other, that this purpose is furnishing instruction or informa- 
tion. This line is distinctly drawn in the seventeenth 
century, and the two schools are typified by Malebranche 
and Locke. 

3. The spirit of reaction is exhibited in the opposition to 
classical studies, in the effort to convert study into a diver- 
sion, in the use of milder means of discipline, and in the 
importance attached to useful studies. In these particulars 
the reaction of the sixteenth century is intensified.] 

j-. _■ rr_~^T 



the education of women in the seventeenth century; madame 
db 8eviqne j the abbe fleury j education in convents j port 
royal and the regulations of jacqueline pascal; general 
impression; severity and affection; general character of 
8 a ini oyr; two periods in the institution of saint cyr; 
dramatic representations; the reform of 1692; the part 
played by madame de maintenon; her pedagogical writ- 
ings ; interior organization of saint cyr j distrust of 
reading; the study of history neglected; instruction insuf- 

224. The Education of Women in the Seventeenth 
Century. — The Education of Girls of Fenelon has shown us 
how far the spirit of the seventeenth century was able to go 
in what concerns the education of women, as exhibited in 
the most liberal theories on the subject; but in practice, 
save in brilliant exceptions, even the modest and imperfect 
ideal of Fenelon was far from being attained. 

Chrysale was not alone of this opinion, when he said in 
the learned Ladies: — 

%% It is not very proper, and for several reasons, that a 
woman should study and know so many things. To train the 
minds of her children in good morals aud manners, to super- 
intend her household, by keeping an eye on her servants, 
and to control the ex|H>nditnrcs with economy, ought to be 


her study and philosophy.' ' l It is true that Moliere himself 
did not sympathize with the prejudices whose expression he 
put in the mouth of his comic character, and that he con- 
cludes that a woman " may be enlightened on every subject" 
(" Je consens qu'une femme ait des clart£s de tout"). But 
in real fact and in practice, it is the opinion of Chrysale 
that prevailed. Even in the higher classes, woman held 
herself aloof from instruction, and from things intellectual. 
Madame Racine had never seen played, and had probably 
never read, the tragedies of her husband. 

225. Madame de Sevigne. — However, the seventeenth 
century was not wanting in women of talent or genius, who 
might have made an eloquent plea in behalf of their sex ; but 
they were content to give personal examples of a high order, 
without any anxiety to be imitated. Madame de Lafayette 
made beautiful translations from Latin ; Madame Dacier 
was a humanist of the first order ; and Madame de Se" vigne* 
knew the modern languages as well as the ancient. No one 
has better described the advantage of reading. She recom- 
mends the reading of romances in the following terms : — 

" I found that a young man became generous and brave 
in seeing my heroes, and that a girl became genteel and wise 
in reading Cleopatra. There are occasionally some who take 
things somewhat amiss, but they ivould perhaps do scarcely 
any better if they could not read." 2 

Madame de Se'vigne' had her daughter read Descartes, and 
her granddaughter Pauline, the tragedies of Corneille. 

"For my part," she said, " if I were to bring up my 
granddaughter, I would have her read what is good, but not 
too simple. I would reason with her." 3 

1 Lea Femmes Savantes, Act n. Scene vn., Van Laun's translation. 
* Letter of Nov. 16, 1689. 8 Letter of June 1, 1680. 



226. The Abbe Fleury. — But Madame de Se'vigne' and 
Madame de Grignan were but brilliant exceptions. If one 
were to doubt the ignorance of the women of this period, it 
would suffice to read this striking passage from the Abbe* 
Fleurv, the assistant of F£nelon in the education of the 
Duke of Bourgogne : — 

4 'This, doubtless, will be a great paradox, that women 
ought to learn anything else than their catechism, sewing, 
and different little pieces of work, singing, dancing, and 
dressing in the fashion, and to make a fine courtesy. As 
things now go, this constitutes all their education." * 

Fleury desires something else for woman. He demands 
that she learn to write correctly in French, and that she 
study logic and arithmetic. But we need not fear lest the 
liberalism of a thinker of the seventeenth centun- carry him 
too far. Fleury admits, for example, that history is abso- 
lutely useless to women. 

227. Education in the Convents. — It is almost exclu- 
sively in convents that young girls then received what 
passed for an education. The religious congregations that 
devoted themselves to female education were numberless ; 
we note, for example, among the most celebrated, the Ursu- 
lines, founded in 1537 ; the Association of the Angelica, 
established in Italy in 1536 ; and the Order of Saint Eliza- 
beth. But, notwithstanding the diversity of names, all the 
convents for girls resemble one another. In all of them 
woman was educated for heaven, or for a life of devotion. 
Spiritual exercises formed the only occupation of the pupils, 
and study was scarcely taken into account. 

228. Port Royal and the Regulations of Jacqueline 
Pascal. — The best means of penetrating into the inner life 

1 TraiU du choix et dc U mtthode des (ftudes, Chap. 


of the convents of the seventeenth century is to read the 
Regulations for Children, written towards 1657 by Jacqueline 
Pascal, Sister Saint Euphemia. The education of girls 
interested the Jansenists not less than the education of 
men ; but in this respect, Port Royal is far from deserving 
the same encomiums in both cases. 

229. General Impression. — There is nothing so sombre 
and sad as the interior of their institution for girls, and 
nothing so austere as the rules of Jacqueline Pascal.' 

" A strange emotion, even at the distance of centuries, 
is caused by the sight of those children keeping silent or 
speaking in a whisper from rising till retiring, never walking 
except between two nuns, one in front and the other behind, 
in order to make it impossible, by slackening their pace on 
the pretext of some indisposition, for them to hold any com- 
munication ; working in such a way as never to be in com- 
panies of two or three ; passing from meditation to prayer, 
and from prayer to instruction ; learning, besides the cate- 
chism, nothing but reading and writing ; and, on Sunday, 
* a little arithmetic, the older from one to two o'clock, and 
the younger from two to half past two ' ; the hands always 
busy to prevent the mind from wandering ; but without 
being able to become attached to their work, which would 
please God as much the more as it pleased themselves the 
less ; opposing all their natural inclinations, and despising 
the attentions due the body * destined to serve as food for 
worms ' ; doing nothing, in a word, except in the spirit of 
mortification. Imagine those days of fourteen and sixteen 
hours, slowly succeeding one another, and weighing down 
on the heads of those poor little sisters, for six or eight 
years in that dreary solitude, where there was nothing to 
bring in the stir of life, save the sound of the bell announc- 


ing a change of exercise or of penance, and you will com* 
prehend F£nelon's feeling of sadness when he speaks of the 
shadows of that deep cavern in which was imprisoned and, 
as it were, buried the youth of girls." 1 

230. Severity and Love. — The severity of the Regula- 
tions is such that the editor, M. de Pontchartrain, also a 
Jansenist, allows that it will be impossible to obtain from 
all children "so complete a silence and so formal a life"; 
and requires that the mistresses shall try to gain their affec- 
tions. Love must be united with severity. Jacqueline 
Pascal does not seem to be entirely of this opinion, since 
she declares that only God must be loved. However, not- 
withstanding her habitual severity, human tenderness some- 
times asserts its rights in the rules which she established. 
We feel that she loves more than she confesses, those young/ 
girls whom she calls " little doves." On the one hand, 
the Regulations incite the pupils to eat of what is placed 
before them indifferently, and to begin with what they like 
the least, through a spirit of penitence ; but, on the other 
hand, Jacqueline writes: "They must be exhorted to take 
sufficient nourishment so as not to allow themselves to 
become weakened, and this is why care is taken that they 
have eaten enough." And so there is a touching solicitude 
that is almost maternal in this remark : "As soon as they 
have retired, each particular bed must be visited, to see 
whether all proprieties have been observed, and whether the 
children are well covered in winter." The mystic sister of 
the ascetic Pascal has moments of tenderness. "Never- 
theless, we must not cease to feel pity for them, and to 
accommodate ourselves to them in every way that we can, 
but without letting them know that we have thus conde- 

1 Gr&rd, Memoire tur Venseignement secondaire des/illes, p. 56. 


scended." However, the dominant conception ever reap- 
pearing, is the idea that human nature is evil ; that we have 
to do with rebellious spirits which must be conquered, and 
that they deserve no commiseration. 

There is a deal of anxiety to make study agreeable ! 
Jacqueline directs her pupils to work at the very things that 
are most repulsive, because the work that will please God 
the most is that which will please tliem the least. The 
exterior manifestations of friendship are forbidden, and 
possibly friendship itself. " Our pupils shall shun every sort 
of familiarity one towards another." 

Instruction is reduced to the catechism, to the application 
of the Christian virtues, to reading, and to writing. Arith- 
\ metic is not taught save on holidays. It seems that memory 
• is the only faculty that Jacqueline wishes to have developed} 
"This opens their minds, gives them occupation, and keeps 
them from evil thoughts." Have we not reason to say that 
at Port Royal women have less value than men ! What a 
distance between the solid instruction of Lancelot's and 
Nicole's pupils and the ignorance of Jacqueline Pascal's ! 
Even when the men of Port Royal speak of the education 
of women, they have more liberal ideas than those which are 
applied at their side. Nicole declares that books are neces- 
sary even in convents for girls, because it is necessary " to 
sustain prayer by reading." 

231. General Character of Saint Cyr. — In leaving 
Port Royal for Saint Cyr, we seem, on coming out of a 
• profound night, to perceive a ray of light. Without doubt, 
Madame de Maintenon has not yet, as a teacher, all that 
breadth of view that could be desired. Her work is far 
from being faultless, but the founding of Saint Cyr (1686) 
was none the less a considerable innovation. " Saint C3T," 
it has been said, " is not a convent. It is a great establish- 



mcnt devoted to the lay education of young women of 
noble birth ; it is a bold and intelligent secularization of the 
education of women." There is some excess of praise in 
this statement, and the lay character of Saint Cyr is very 
questionable. La valine, an admirer, could write : " The 
instructions of Madame de Maintenon are doubtless too 
religious, too monastic." Let us grant, however, that 
Madame de Maintenon, who, after having founded Saint 
Cyr, was the director of it, extra muros, and even taught 
there, at stated times, is personally the first lay teacher of 
France. Let us grant, also, that at least in the beginning, 
and up to 1092, the women entrusted with the work of 
instruction were not nuns in the absolute sense of the term. 
The}' were not bound by solemn and absolute vows. 

But this character relatively laic, and this rupture with 
monastic traditions, were not maintained during the whole 
life of the institution. 

232. Two Periods in tiik History of S'aint Ctr. — 
Saint Cyr, in fact, passed, within a few years, through two 
very different periods, and Madame de Maintenon followed 
in succession two almost opposite currents. For the first 
years, from 1686 to 1692, the spirit of the institution is 
broad and liberal ; the education is brilliant, perhaps too 
much so ; literary exercises and dramatic representations 
have an honored place. Saint Cyr is an institution inclining 
to worldliness, better fitted to train women of intellect than 
good economists and housewives. Madame de Maintenon 
quickly saw that she had taken a false route, and, from 
1692, she reacted, not without excess, against the tendencies 
which she had at first obeyed. She conceived an extreme 
distrust of literary studies, and cut off all she could from the 
instruction, in order to give her entire thought to the moral 
and practical qualities of her pupils. Saint Cyr became a 


convent, with a little more liberty, doubtless, than there was 
m the other monasteries of the time, but it was a convent 

233. Dramatic Representations. — It was the notorious 
success of the performance of Andromaque and Esther that 
caused the overthrow of the original intentions of Madame 
de Main tenon. Esther, in particular, was the greai event 
of the first years of Saint Cyr. Racine distributed the 
parts ; Boileau conducted the training in elocution ; and the 
entire Court, the king at the head, came to applaud and 
entertain the pretty actresses, who left nothing undone to 
please their spectators. Heads were a little turned by all 
this ; dissipation crept into the school. The pupils were 
no longer willing to sing in church, for fear of spoiling their 
voices. Evidently the route was now over a dangerous 
declivity. The institution had been turned from its purpose. 
Matters were in a way to establish, under another form, 
another H6tel de Rambouillet. 1 

234. Reform of 1692. — At the first, as we have seen, 
the ladies of Saint Louis, charged with the direction of Saint 
Cyr, did not found a monastic order properly so-called ; but, 
when Madame de Maintenon resolved to reform the general 
spirit of the house, she thought it necessary to transform 
Saint Cyr into a monaster}-, and she founded the Order of 
Saint Augustine. 

* " The name generally given to a social circle, which for more than half 
a century gathered around Catherine de Vivonne, marquise de Rambouillet, 
and her daughter, Julie d'Angennes, duchess de Montausier, and which 
exercised a very conspicuous influence on French language, literature, and 
civilization. . . . Her house soon became the place where all who had 
genius, wit, learning, talent, or taste, assembled, and from these reunions 
originated the French Academy, the highest authority of French literature, 
ftM the Batons, the most prominent feature of French civilization." 

— Johnson's Cyciopmdia. 


But what she changed in particular was the moral dis- 
cipline, and the programme of studies. 

Madame de Maintenon has herself recited, in a memorable 
letter, 1 the reasons of that reform which modified so pro- 
foundly the character of Saint Cyr : — 

" The sorrow I feel for the girls of Saint Cyr," she said, 
" can be cured only by time and by an entire cJiange in the 
education that we have given them up to this hour. It is 
verj' just that I should suffer for this, since I have contri- 
buted to it more than any one else. . . . The whole establish- 
ment has been the object of my pride, and the ground for 
this feeling has been so real that it has gone to extremes that 
I never intended. God knows that I wished to establish 
virtue at Saint Cyr, but I have built upon the sand. Not 
having, what alone can make a solid foundation, I wished 
the girls to be witty, high-spirited, and trained to think ; I 
have succeeded in this purpose. They have wit, and they 
use it against us. They are high-spirited, and are more 
heady and haughty than would be becoming in a royal 
princess. Speaking after the manner of the world, we have 
trained their reason, and have made them talkative, pre- 
sumptuous, inquisitive, bold . . . witty, — such characters as 
even we who have trained them cannot abide. . . . Let us 
seek a remedy, for we must not be discouraged. ... As 
many little things form pride, many little things will destroy 
it. Our girls have been treated with too much consideration, 
have been petted too much, treated too gently. We must 
now leave them more to themselves in their class-rooms, 
make them observe the daily regulations, and speak to them 
of scarcely anything else. . . . Pray to God, and ask Him to 
change their hearts ; and that He may give to all of them 

1 See the Letter to Madame de Fontaine, general mistress of the school, 
8ept. 20, 1001. 


humility. There should not be much conversation with them 
on the subject. Everything at Saint Cyr is made a matter of 
discourse. We often speak of simplicity, and try to define 
it correctly . . . and yet, in practice, the girls make merry in 
saying : 4 Through simplicity I take the best place ; through 
simplicity I am going to commend myself.' Our girls must 
be cured of that jesting turn of mind which I have given 
them. . . . We have wished to shun the pettiness of certain 
convents, and God has punished us for this haughty spirit. 
There is no house in the world that has more need of humility 
within and without than our own. Its situation near the 
Court; the air of favor that pervades it; the favors of a 
great king; the offices of a person of consideration, — all 
these snares, so full of danger, should lead us to take meas- 
ures directly contrary to those we have really taken. ..." 

235. The Part played by Madame de Maintenon. — 
Whatever may be the opinion respecting the tone of the edu- 
cational work at Saint Cyr, there cannot be the least doubt 
as to the admirable zeal of Madame dc Maintenon, and her 
indefatigable devotion to the success of her favorite under- 
taking. The vocation of the teacher was evidently hers. 
For more than thirty years, from 1686 to 1717, she did not 
cease to visit Saint Cyr every day, sometimes at six in the 
morning. She wrote for the directresses and for the pupils 
counsels and regulations that fill several volumes. Nothing 
which concerns u her children " is a matter of indifference to 
her. She devotes her attention to their meals, their sleep, 
their toilet, as well as to their character and their instruc- 
tion : — 

" The affairs we discuss at Court are bagatelles ; those at 
Saint Cyr are the more important. . . ." "May that establish- 
ment last as long as France, and France as long as the world. 
Nothing is dearer to me than my children of Saint Cyr. 9 ' 



It is not tenderness, it is well known, that characterizes 
the soul of Madame de Maintenon ; but, at Saint Cyr, from 
being formal and cold, which is her usual state, she becomes 
loving and tender : — 

" Forget nothing that may save the souls of our young 
girls, that ma}' fortify their health and preserve their form." 

One day, as she had come to the school, as her custom was, 
to consult with the nuns, a company of girls passed by raising 
a cloud of dust. The nuns, fearing that Madame de Main- 
<\ tenon was annoyed by it, requested them to withdraw. 
u Pray, let the dear girls be," replied Madame de Main- 
tenon ; "I love them even to the dust they raise." Con- 
versely, as it were, the pupils of Pestalozzi, consulted on 
the question of knowing whether they were willing always to 
be beaten and clawed by their old master, replied affirm- 
atively : they loved him even to his claws ! 

236. IIek Pedagogical Writings. — It is only in our 
day that the works of Madame de Maintenon have been 
published in the integrity of their text, thanks to the labors 
of The'ophile Lavallle. For the most part, these long and 
interesting letters are devoted to education and to Saint Cyr. 
These are, first, the Letters and Conversations on the Educa- 
tion of Girls. 1 These letters were written from dav to dav, 
and are addressed, sometimes to the ladies of Saint Cyr, and 
sometimes to the pupils themselves. "We find in them," 
says Lavallle, " for all circumstances and for all times, the 
most solid teaching, masterpieces of good sense, of natural- 
ness, and of truth, and, finally, instructions relative to educa- 
tion that approach perfection. The Conversations originated 
in the consultations that Madame de Maintenon had during 
the recreations or the recitations, either with the ladies or 

1 Two volumes, 2d edition, 1861. 


with the young women, who themselves collected and edited 
the words of their governess." 

After the Letters and Conversations comes the Counsels to 
Young Women who enter Society, 1 which contain general 
advice, conversations or dialogues, and, finally, proverbs, 
that is, short dramatic compositions, designed at once to 
instruct and amuse the young ladies of Saint Cyr. These 
essays are not admirable in all respects ; most often they are 
lacking in imagination ; and Madame de Main tenon, though 
an imitation of Fenelon, makes a misuse of indirect instruc- 
tion, of artifice, and of amusement, in order to teach some 
moral commonplaces by insinuation. Here are the titles of 
some of these proverbs: Hie occasion makes the rogue; 
Women make and unmake the home; Tliere is no situation 
more embarrassing than tliat of holding the handle of the fry- 

Finally, let us note the third collection, the Historical and 
Instructive Letters addressed to the Ladies of Saint Cyr. 2 

It is to be regretted that, out of these numerous volumes, 
where repetitions abound, there have not been extracted, in 
a methodical manner, a few hundred pages which should 
contain the substance of Madame de Maintenon's thinking 
on educational questions. 

237. Interior Organization. — The purpose of the found- 
ing of Saint Cyr was to assure to the two hundred and fifty 
daughters of the poor nobility, and to the children of officers 
dead or disabled, an educational retreat where they would be 
suitably educated so as to be prepared for becoming either 
nuns, if this was their vocation, or, the more often, good 
mothers. As M. Gre'ard has justly observed, u the very 

conception of an establishment of this kind, the idea of 


1 Two volumes, 1867. 2 Two volumes, 1860. 


making France pay the debt of France, educating the chil- 
dren of those who had given her their blood, proceeds from 
a feeling up to that time unknown." 1 

Consequently, children of the tend'erest years, from six or 
seven, were received at Saint Cyr, there to be cared for till 
the age of marriage, till eighteen and twenty. 

The young girls were divided into four classes, — the reds, 
the greens, the yellows, and the blues. The blues were the 
largest, and they wore the royal colors. Each class was 
divided into five or six bands or families, of eight or ten 
pupils each. 

The ladies of Saint Cyr were ordinarily taken from the 
pupils of the school. They were forty in number, — the supe- 
rior, the assistant who supplied the place of the superior, 
the mistress of the novices, the general mistress of the 
classes, the mistresses of the classes, etc. 

The capital defect of Saint Cyr is, that, as in the colleges 
of the Jesuits, the residence is absolute and the sequestra- 
tion complete. From her fifth to her twentieth year the 
young girl belongs entirely to Saint Cyr. She scarcely 
knows her parents. It will be said, perhaps, that in many 
cases she has lost them, and that in some cases she could 
expect only bad examples from them. But no matter ; the 
general rule, which interrupted family intercourse to the 
extent of almost abolishing it, cannot obtain our approbation. 
The girl was permitted to see her parents only three or four 
times a year, and even then these interviews would last only 
for a half an hour each time, and in the presence of a mis- 
tress. There was permission to write family letters from 
time to time ; but as though she mistrusted the natural im- 
pulses of the heart, and the free outpouring of filial affection, 
Madame de Maintenon had taken care to compose some models 

1 M. Gr&rd, MHnoire sur Venseignement secondare desJUlcs, 1882, p. 5a 


of these letters. With more of reason than of feeling, Madame 
de Maintenon is not exempt from a certain coldness of heart. 
It seems that she would impose on her pupils the extraordi- 
nary habits of her own family. She recollected having been 
kissed only twice by her mother, on her forehead, and then 
only after a long separation. 

238. Distrust of Reading. — After the reforms of 1692, 
the instruction at Saint Cyr became a matter of secondary 
importance. Reading, writing, and counting were taught, 
but scarcely anything besides. Reading, in general, was 
viewed with distrust : " Teach girls to be very sparing as to 
reading, and always to prefer manual labor instead." Books 
of a secular nature were interdicted ; only works of piety 
were put in the hands of pupils, such as the Introduction to a 
Devout Life, by Saint Francois de Salles, and the Confessions 
of Saint Augustine. " Renounce intellectual culture" is the 
perpetual injunction of Madame de Maintenon. 

" We must educate citizens for citizenship. It is not the 
question of giving them intellectual culture. We must 
preach family duties to them, obedience to husband, and care 
for children. . . . Reading does more harm than good to 
young girls. . . . Books make witlings and excite an in- 
satiable curiosity." 

239. The Study op History Neglected. — To judge of 
the spirit of Saint Cyr, from the point of view of intellectual 
education, it suffices to note the little importance that was 
there given to history. This went so far as to raise the 
question whether it were not best to prohibit the study of 
French history entirely. Madame de Maintenon consents to 
have it taught, but only just enough so that "pupils may 
not confuse the succession of our kings with the princes of 
other countries, and not take a Roman emperor for an 


emperor of China or Japan, a king of Spain or of England 
for a king of Persia or of Siam." As to the history of anti- 
quity, it must be held in mistrust for the very reason — who 
would believe it ? — of the beautiful examples of virtue that 
it contains. " I should fear that those grand examples of 
generosity and heroism would give our }'Oung girls too much 
elevation of spirit, and make them vain and pretentious." 
Have we not some right to feel surprised that Madame de 
Maintenon is alarmed at the thought of raising the intelligence 
of woman? It is true that she doubtless thought of the 
romantic exaggerations produced by the reading of the Cyrus 
(he Great and other Avritings of Mile, de Seud£ry. Let us 
add, besides, to excuse the shortcomings of the programme 
of Saint Cyr in the matter of history, that even for boys in 
the colleges of the University, the order that introduced the 
teaching of history into the classes dates only from 1695. 

240. Insufficient Instruction. — ' * Our day," says Laval- 
tee, " would not accept that education in which instruction 
properly so-called was but a secondary matter, and entirely 
sacrificed to the manner of training the heart, the reason, and 
the character ; and an education, too, that, as a whole and in 
its details, was wholly religious." The error of Madame de 
Maintenon consists essentially in the wish to develop the 
moral virtues in souls scarcely instructed, scarcely enlightened. 
There was much moral discoursing at Saint Cyr. If it did 
not always bear fruit, it was because the seed fell into intel- 
ligences that were but little cultivated. 

" Our young women are not to be made scholarly. Women 
never know except by halves, and the little that they know 
usually makes them conceited, disdainful, chatty, and dis- 
gusted with serious things." 

241. Manual Labor. — If intellectual education was 
neglected at Saint Cyr, by way of compensation great atten- 


tion was paid to manual education. The girls were there 
taught to sew, to embroider, to knit, and to make tapestry ; 
and there was also made there all the linen for the house, 
the infirmary, and the chapel, and the dresses and clothing 
of the ladies and the pupils : — 

" But no exquisite productions," says Madame de Main te- 
non, "nor of very elaborate design; none of those flimsy 
edgings in embroidery or tapestry, which are of no use." 

With what good grace Madame de Maintenon ever preaches 
the gospel of labor, of which she herself gave the example ! 
In the coaches of the king, she always had some work in 
hand. At Saint Cyr, the young women swept the dormitories, 
put in order the refectory, and dusted the class-rooms. ' " They 
must be put at every kind of service, and made to work at 
what is burdensome, in order to make them robust, healthy, 
and intelligent." 

" Manual labor is a moral safeguard, a protection against 


"Work calms the passions, occupies the mind, and does 
not leave it time to think of evil." 

242. Moral Education. — "The Institute," said Ma- 
dame de Maintenon, " is intended, not for prayer, but for 
action." What she wished, above all else, was to prepare 
young women for home and family life. She devoted her 
thought to the training of wives and mothers. "What I lack 
most," she said, "is sons-in-law!" Hence she was inces- 
santly preoccupied with moral qualities. One might make 
a fine and valuable book of selections out of all the practical 
maxims of Madame de Maintenon ; as her reflections on 
talkativeness: "There is alwavs sin in a multitude of 
words ; " on indolence : " What can be done in the farailv of 
an indolent and fastidious woman ? " on politeness, "which 
consists, above all else, in giving one's thought to others;*' 


on lack of energy, then too common among women of the 
world : ** The onlr concern is to eat and to take one's ease. 
Women spend the day in morning-gowns, reclining in easy- 
chairs, without any occupation, and without conversation ; 
all is well, provided one be in a state of repose." 

243. Discreet Devotion. — We must not imagine that 
Saint Cyr was a house of prayer, a place of overdone devo- 
tion. Madame de Maintenon held to a reasonable Christianity. 
Piety, such as was recommended at Saint Cyr, is a piety that 
is sAwflfart, judicious y and simjJe ; that is, conformed to the 
state in which one ought to live, and exempt from refine- 

"The young women are too much at church, considering 
their age," she wrote to Madame de Brinon, the first director 
of the institution. . . . tk Consider, I pray you, that this is 
not to be a cloister." ! 

And later, after the reform had begun, this is what she 
wrote : — 

* ; J^-t the piety with which our young girls shall be in- 
spired be cheerful, gentle, and free. Let it consist rather 
in the innocence of their lives, and in the simplicity of their 
occupations, than in the austerities, the retirements, and the 
refinements of devotion. . . . When a girl comes from a 
eon vent, saying that nothing ought to interfere with vespers, 
she is laughed at ; but when an educated woman shall say 
that vesjjers may be omitted for the sake of attending her 
nick husband, everybody will commend her. . . . When a 
tfirl shall say that a woman does better to educate her children 
and instruct her servants than to spend the forenoon in 
church, that religion will be heartily accepted, and will make 
itself loved and respected." 2 Excellent advice, perhaps too 

1 Lrttn-B historiqucf, Tome I. p. 48. 
*Lettrc* hiitoriques, Tome I. p. 89. 


little followed ! Madame de Maintenon here speaks the lan- 
guage of good sense, and we are wholly surprised to hear it 
from the lips of a politic woman who, not without reason, and 
for her part in the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, has 
the reputation of being an intolerant fanatic. 

244. Simplicity in All Things. — The simplicity which 
she recommended in religion, Madame de Maintenon de- 
manded in everything, — in dress and in language : 4k Young 
girls," she says, " must wear as few ribbons as possible." 

A class-teacher had given a fine lecture, in which she ex- 
horted her pupils to make an " eternal divorce " with sin. 
44 Very well said, doubtless," remarked Madame de Mainte- 
non ; " but, pray, who among our young ladies knows what 
divorce is?" 

245. Fenelon and Saint Cyr. — Michelet, speaking of 
Saint Cyr, which he does not love, said : " Its cold governess 
was much more a man than Fe'nelon." The fact is, that the 
author of the Education of Girls gives a larger place to sen- 
sibility and intelligence. It is not Madame de Maintenon 
who said : " As much as possible, tenderness of heart must 
be excused in young girls." It is not at Saint Cyr that these 
maxims were practised. " Pray let them have Greek and 
Roman histories. They will find in them prodigies of cour- 
age and disinterestedness. Let them not be ignorant of the 
history of France, which also has its beauty. . . . All this 
serves to give dignity to the mind, and to lilt the soul to 
noble sentiments." Nevertheless, F6nelon's work was 
highly esteemed at Saint Cyr. It appeared in 1G87, and 
Saint Cyr was founded in 1G8G. A great number of its 
precepts were there observed, such as the following: " Fre- 
quent leaves of absence should be avoided ; " " Young girla 
should not be accustomed to talk much." 

J i r* 


246. General Judgment. — In a word, if the ideal pro- 
posed to the young women of Saint Cyr by Madame de 
Main tenon cannot satisfy those who, in our day, conceive " an 
education broader in its scheme and more liberal in its spirit/* 
at least we must do justice to an institution which was, as 
its foundress said, " a kind of college, " a first attempt at 
enfranchisement in the education of women. Without de- 
manding of Madame de Maintenon what was not in her age 
to give, let us be inspired by her in what concerns the 
changeless education in moral virtues, and in the qualities 
of discretion, reserve, goodness, and submission. "How- 
ever severe that education may appear," says La valine, " I 
believe it will suggest better reflections to those who observe 
the way in which women are educated to-day, and the results 
of that education in luxury and pleasure, not only on the 
fireside, but still more on society and political life, and on 
the future of the men that it is preparing for France. I 
believe they will prefer that manly education, so to speak, 
which purified private morals and begot public virtues ; and 
that they will esteem and regret that work of Madame de 
Maintenon, which for a century prevented the corruption of 
the Court from extending to the provinces, and maintained 
in the old counts-seats, from which came the greater part of 
the nobility, the substantial virtues and the simple manners 
of the olden time." 

[247. Analytical Summary. — 1. The education of women 
in the seventeenth century reflects the sentiment of the age 
as to their relative position in society, their rights, and 
their destiny. Woman was still regarded as the inferior of 
man, in the lower classes as a drudge, in the higher as an 
ornament ; in her case, intellectual culture was regarded as 
either useless or dangerous ; and the education that was 



given her was to fit her for a life of devotion or a life of 
seclusion from society. 

2. The rules of Jacqueline Pascal exhibit the effects of 
an ascetic belief on education, — human nature is corrupt; 
all its likes are to be thwarted, and all its dislikes fostered 
under compulsion. 

3. The education directed by Madame de Maintenon is 
the beginning of a rupture with tradition. It was a move- 
ment towards the secularization of woman's education, and 
towards the recognition of her equality with man, with re- 
spect to her grade of intellectual endowments, her intellectual 
culture, and to her participation in the duties of real life. 

4 A/ The type of the higher education was still monastic, 
both for men and women^ No one was able to conceive 
that both sexes might be educated together with mutual 




the uwtvbr8itt of paris; statutes of 1598 ant) of 1000; organiza- 
tion of the different faculties j decadence of the university 
of paris in the seventeenth century; the restoration of 
studies and rollin (1661-1741) ; the treatise on studies j dif- 
ferent opinions ; division of the treatise on studies ; gene- 
ral reflections on education j studies for the first years j 
the education of girls j the study of french j greek and 
latin ; rollin the historian ; the teaching of history ; 
philosophy ; scientific instruction j educational character 
of rollin's pedagogy j interior discipline of colleges ; 
public education j the rod j punishments in general ) con? 
clubion; analytical summary. 

248. The University of Paris. — Since the thirteenth 
century, the University of Paris had been a centre of light 
and a resort for students. Ramus could say : " This Uni^ 
versity is not the university of one city only, but of the^ 
entire world." But even in the time of Ramus, in conse- 
quence of the civil discords, and by reason also of the prog- 
ress in the colleges organized by the Company of Jesus, the 
University of Paris declined ; she saw the number of her 
pupils diminish. She persisted, however, in the full light of 
the Renaissance, in following the superannuated regulations 
which the Cardinal d'Estouteville had imposed on her in 1452 ; 
she fell behind in the routine of the scholastic methods. A 
reform was necessary, and in 1600 it was accomplished by 
Henry IV. 

BOLLIX. 233 

249. Statutes of 1600. — The statutes of the new uni- 
versity were promulgated " by the order and the will of the 
most Christian and most invincible king of France and 
Navarre, Henry IV." This was the first time that the 
State directly intervened in the control of education, and 
that secular power was set up in opposition to the absolute 
authority of the Church. 

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries a reform had 
been made in the University, by the Popes Innocent III. and 
Urban V. The reformer of 1452, the Cardinal d'Estouteville, 
acted as the legate of the pontifical power. On the contrary, 
the statutes of 1600 were the work of a commission named 
by the king, and there sat at its deliberations, by the side of 
a few ecclesiastics, magistrates, and even professors. 

250. Organization of the Different Faculties. — The 
University of Paris comprised four Faculties : the Faculties 
of Theology, of Law, and of Medicine, which corresponded 
to what we to-day call superior instruction, and the Faculty 
of Arts, which was almost the equivalent of our secondary 
instruction. 1 

It would take too long to enumerate in this place the 
different innovations introduced by the statutes of 1600. 
Let us merely say a word of the Faculty of Arts. 

In the Faculty of Arts the door was finally opened to the 
classical authors. In a certain degree the tendencies of the 


Formerly secondary schools were schools in which was given a more 
advanced instruction then in the primary schools; and they were distin- 
guished into communal secondary schools, or communal colleges, and into 
private secondary schools or institutions. . . . To-day, secondary instruc- 
tion includes the colleges and lycees in which are taught the ancient lan- 
guages, modern languages, history, mathematics, physics, chemistry, and 
philosophy. Public instruction is divided into primary, secondary, and 
superior instruction." — Lrrntfc. 




248. The University op Paris. — Since the thirteenth 
century, the University of Paris had been a centre of light 
and a resort for students. Ramus could say: "This UnPi 
versity is not the university of one city only, but of th4r - 
entire world." But even in the time of Ramus, in conse- 
quence of the civil discords, and by reason also of the prog- 
ress in the colleges organized by the Company of Jesus, the 
University of Paris declined ; she saw the number of her 
pupils diminish. She persisted, however, in the full light of 
the Renaissance, in following the superannuated regulations 
which the Cardinal d'Estouteville had imposed on her in 1452 ; 
she fell behind in the routine of the scholastic methods. A 
reform was necessary, and in 1600 it was accomplished by 
Henry IV. 

BOLLIN. 233 

249. Statutes of 1600. — The statutes of the new uni- 
versity were promulgated " by the order and the will of the 
most Christian and most invincible king of France and 
Navarre, Henry IV." This was the first time that the 
State directly intervened in the control of education, and 
that secular power was set up in opposition to the absolute 
authority of the Church. 

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries a reform had 
been made in the University, b}' the Popes Innocent III. and 
Urban V. The reformer of 1452, the Cardinal d'Estouteville, 
acted as the legate of the pontifical power. On the contrary, 
the statutes of 1600 were the work of a commission named 
by the king, and there sat at its deliberations, by the side of 
a few ecclesiastics, magistrates, and even professors. 

250. Organization of the Different Faculties. — The 
University of Paris comprised four Faculties : the Faculties 
of Theology, of Law, and of Medicine, which corresponded 
to what we to-day call superior instruction, and the Faculty 
of Arts, which was almost the equivalent of our secondary 
instruction. 1 

It would take too long to enumerate in this place the 
different innovations introduced by the statutes of 1600. 
Let us merely say a word of the Faculty of Arts. 

In the Faculty of Arts the door was finally opened to the 
classical authors. In a certain degree the tendencies of the 

1 " Formerly secondary schools were schools in which was given a more 
advanced instruction then in the primary schools; and they were distin- 
guished into communal secondary schools, or communal colleges, and into 
private secondary schools or institutions. . . . To-day, secondary instruc- 
tion includes the colleges and lyce'es in which are taught the ancient lan- 
guages, modern languages, history, mathematics, physics, chemistry, and 
philosophy. Public instruction is divided into primary, secondary, and 
superior instruction." — Lrrntfc. 



Renaissance were obeyed. Nevertheless, the methods and 
the general spirit were scarcely changed. Catholicism was 
obligatory, and the French language remained under ban. 
Frequent exercises in repetition and declamation were main- 
tained. The liberal arts were always considered " the 
foundation of all the sciences." Instruction in philosophy 
was always reduced to the interpretation of the texts of Aris- 
totle. As to history, and the sciences in general, no account 
whatever was taken of them. 

251. Decadence of the University in the Seventeenth 
Century. — The reform, then, was insufficient, and the 
results were bad. While the colleges of the Jesuits 
attracted pupils in crowds, and while the Oratorians and 
the Jansenists reformed secondary instruction, the colleges 
of the University 1 remained mediocre and obscure. Save 
in rare exceptions, there were no professors of distinc- 
tion ; the education was formal, in humble imitation of that 
of the Company of Jesus ; there was an abuse of abstract 
rules, of grammatical exercises, of written tasks, and of 
Latin composition ; there was no disposition to take an ad- 
vance step ; but an obstinate resistance to the new spirit, 
which was indicated either by the interdiction of the philoso- 
phy of Descartes, or by the refusal to teach in the French 
language ; iu a word, there was complete isolation in im- 

1 This refers to the University of Paris, which must be distinguished 
from the Napoleonic University. " The latter was founded by a decree of 
Napoleon 1., March 17, 1*08. It was first called the Imperial University, 
and then the University of France. It comprises: 1. The faculties;* 2. the 
lycees or colleges of the State; o. the communal colleges; 4. the primary 
schools. All these are under the direction of a central administration." — 


* There are now five Faculties or institutions for special instruction, — 
the Faculties of the Sciences, of Letters, of Medicine, of Law, and of Theol- 
ogy. (P.) , 

ROLLIN. 235 

movable routine, and in consequence, decadence, — such is a 
summary history of the University of Paris up to the last 
quarter of the seventeenth century. 

252. The Restoration of Studies and Rollin (1661- 
1741). — We must go forward to the time when Rollin 
taught, to observe a revival in the studies of the University. 
Several distinguished professors, as his master Hersan, Pour- 
chot, and still others, had prepared the way for him. There 
was then, from 1680 to 1700, a real rejuvenescence of 
studies, which was initiated in part by Rollin. 

Latin lost a little ground in consequence of a growing 
recognition of the rights of the French language and the 
national literature, which had just been made illustrious by so 
man}' masterpieces. The spirit of the Jansenist methods 
penetrated the colleges of the University. The Cartesian 
philosophy was taught in them, and a little more attention 
was given to the explication of authors, and a little less to 
the verbal repetition of lessons. New ideas began to infil- 
trate into the old citadel of scholasticism. The question 
came to be asked if celibacy was indeed an indispensable 
condition of the teaching office. Men began to comprehend 
that at least marriage was not a reason for exclusion. 
Finally, real progress was made in discipline as well as in 
methods, and the indubitable proof of this is the Treatise on 
Studies, by Rollin. 

253. The Treatise on Studies. — Rollin has summed up 
his educational experience, an experience of fifty years, in a 
book which has become celebrated under the title of Treatise 
on Studies. The full title of this work was : De la mani&re 
cFenseigner et d'6tudier les belles-lettres i>ar rapport a V esprit 
et an cozur. The first two volumes appeared in 1726, and 
the other two in 1728. 


The Treatise on Studies is not like the Emile^ which was 
published twenty years later, a work of venturesome inquiry 
and original novelties ; but is a faithful exposition of the 
methods in use, and a discreet commentary on them. While 
this treatise belongs by its date to the eighteenth century, it 
is the pedagogy of the seventeenth century, and the tradi- 
tions of the University under the reign of Louis XIV. that 
Rollin has collected, and of which he has simply wished to 
be the reporter. In the Latin dedication, which he addresses 
to the Rector of the University of Paris, he clearly defines 
his intentions and his purpose : — 

" My first design was to put in writing and define the 
method of teaching which has long been in use among you, 
and which, up to this time, has been transmitted only by 
word of mouth, and through a sort of tradition ; and to erect, 
so far as I am able to do it, a durable monument of the 
rules and practice which you have followed in the instruction 
of youth, for the purpose of preserving, in all its integrity, 
the taste for belles-lettres , and to preserve it, if possible, 
from the injuries and the alterations of time." 

254. Different Opinions. — Rollin has alwavs had warm 
admirers. Voltaire called the Treatise a book " forever 
useful," and whatever may be our reservations on the defi- 
ciences, and on the short and narrow views of certain parts 
of the pedagogy of Rollin, we must subscribe to this judg- 
ment. But we shall not go so far as to accept the enthusi- 
astic declarations of Villemain, who complains that the study 
of the Treatise is neglected in our time, "as if new methods 
had been discovered for training the intelligence and the 
heart" ; and he adds, " Since the Treatise on Studies, not a 
forward step has been taken." This is to undervalue all the 
earnest efforts that have been made for two centuries by 

BOLLIN. 237 

educators just as profound as was the ever timid and cautious 
Roll in. When we compare the precepts of the Treatise with 
the reforms which the spirit of progress has already effected, 
and particularly with those which it will effect, we are 
astonished to hear Nisard say : " In educational matters, 
the Treatise on Studies is the unique book, or better still, 
the book." 

To put such a burden of pompous praise on Rollin is to 
compromise his real worth ; and without ceasing to do 
justice to his wise and judicious spirit, we wish to employ 
more discretion in our admiration. 

255. Division op the Treatise on Studies. — Before 
calling attention to the most interesting parts of the Treatise 
on Studies, let us briefly state the object of the eight books 
of which it is composed. 

The Treatise opens with a Preliminary Discourse which 
recites the advantages of instruction. 

The title of the first book is : Exercises which are proper 
for very young children; of the education of girls. Rollin 
acknowledges that he treats only very siiperficiall}* " this 
double subject," which is foreign to his original plan. In 
fact, the first edition of his Treatise on Studies contained but 
seven books, nnd it is only in 1734 that he wrote, "at the 
urgent requests and prayers of several persons," that short 
essay on the education of boys and girls which first appeared 
under the form of a supplement, and which became the first 
book of the work only in the subsequent editions. 

The different subjects proper for training the youth in 
the public schools, that is, in the colleges, — such is the 
object of the six books which follow : Book II. Of the learn- 
ing of the languages; that is, the study of Greek and Latin ; 
Book III. Of poetry; Book IV. Of rhetoric; Book V. Of 




Vie three kinds of eloquence; Book VI. Of history; Book 
VJI. Of philosophy . 

Book VIII., the last, entitled Of the intenor government 
of schools and colleges, has a particular character. It does 
not treat of studies and intellectual exercises, but of disci- 
pline and moral education. It is, on all accounts, the most 
original and interesting part of Rollin's work, and it opens 
to us the treasures of his experience. This eighth book has 
been justly called the " Memoirs of Rollin." That which 
constitutes its merit and its charm is that the author here at 
last decides to be himself. He does not quote the ancients 
so much ; but he speaks in his own name, and relates what 
he has done, or what he has seen done. 

256. General Reflections on Education. — There is 
little to be gathered out of the Preliminary Discourse of 
Rollin. He is but slightly successful in general reflections. 
When he ventures to philosophize, Rollin easily falls into 
platitudes. He has a dissertation to prove that "study 
gives the mind more breadth and elevation ; and that study 
gives capacity for business." 

On the purpose of education, Rollin, who copies the 
moderns when he does not translate from the ancients, is 
content with reproducing the preamble of the regulations of 
Henry IV., which assigned to studies three purposes : learn- 
ing, morals and manners, and religion. 

44 The happiness of kingdoms and peoples, and particularly 
of a Christian State, depends on the good education of the 
youth, where the purpose is to cultivate and to polish, by the 
study of the sciences, the intelligence, still rude, of the young> 
and thus to fit them for filling worthily the different vocations 
to which they are destined, without which they will be useless 
to the State ; and finally, to teach them the sincere religious 

ROLLIN. 239 

practices which God requires of them, the inviolable attach- 
ment they owe to their fathers and mothers and to their 
country, and the respect and obedience which they are bound 
to render princes and magistrates." 

257. Primary Studies. — Rollin is original when he in- 
troduces us to the classes of the great colleges where he has 
lived ; but is much less so when he speaks to us of little 
children, whom he has never seen near at hand. He has 
never known family life, and scarcely ever visited public 
schools ; and it is through his recollections of Quintilian that 
he speaks to us of children. 

There is, then, but little to note in the few pages that he 
has devoted to the studies of the first years, from three to 
six or seven. 

One of the most interesting things we find here, perhaps, 
is the method which he recommends for learning to read, — 
" the typographic cabinet of du Mas." "It is a novelty," 
says the wise Rollin, "and it is quite common and natural 
that we should be suspicious of this word novelty" But 
after the examination, he decides in favor of the system in 
question, which consists in making of instruction in reading, 
something analogous to the work of an apprentice who is 
learning to print. The pupil has before him a table, and on 
this table is placed a set of pigeon-holes, " logettes," which 
contain the letters of the alphabet, printed on cards. The 
pupil is to arrange on the table the different letters needed to 
construct the words required of him. The reasons that 
Rollin gives for recommending this method, successful tests 
of which he had seen made, prove that he had taken into 
account the nature of the child and his need of activity : — 

"This method of learning to read, besides several other 
advantages, has one which seems to me very considerable, — 


He U content to require of women the four rules of urithn 
luetic ; orthography, in which he is not over exacting, fori 
" their ignorance of orthography should not be imputed to 
them as a crime, since it is almost universal in their sex ; " 
ancient history and the history of France, " which it is dis-l 
graceful to every good Frenchman not to know." * As to 
reading, Roll in is quite as severe as Madame de Maintenon : 
" The reading of comedies and tragedies may be very dan- 
gerous for young ladies." He sanctions only Esther and 
Athalie. Music and dancing are allowed, but without enthu- 
siasm and with endless precautions : — 

" An almost universal experience shows that the study of 
music is an extraordinary dissipation." 

44 1 do not know how the custom of having girls learn to 
sing and play on instruments at such great expense has 
become so common. ... I hear it said that as soon as thev 
enter on life's duties, they make no farther use of it." 

2f>i). Tiik Study of French. — Rollin is chiefly preoccu- 
pied with the study of the ancient languages ; but he has the 
merit, notwithstanding his predilection for exercises in Latin, 
of having followed the example of the Jansenists so far as 
the importance accorded to the French language is oon- 

k * It is a disgrace," he says, " that we are ignorant of our 
own language ; and if we are willing to confess the truth, we 
will almost all acknowledge that we have never studied it." 

Rollin admitted that he was " much more proficient in the 
study of Latin than in that of French." In the opening of 
his Tmi/Mi*, which he wrote in French only that he might 
place himself within the reach of his young readers and their 
parents, he excuses himself for making a trial in a kind of 

1 RoUiu does not require it, however, of young 

ROLLIN. 243 

writing which is almost new to him. And in congratulating 
him on his work, d'Aguesseau wrote, tfc You speak French 
as if it were jour native tongue." Such was the Rector of 
the University in France at the commencement of the 
eighteenth century. 

Let us think well of him, therefore, for having so over- 
come his own habits of mind as to recommend the study of 
French. He would have it learned, not only through use, 
but also " through principles," and would have " the genius 
of the language understood, and all its beauties studied." 

Rolliu has a high opinion of grammar, but would not 
encourage a misuse of it: — 

" Long-continued lessons on such dry matter might be- 
come very tedious to pupils. Short questions, regularly 
proposed each day after the manner of an ordinary conversa- 
tion, in which they themselves would be consulted, and in 
which the teacher would employ the art of having them tell 
what he wished to make them learn, would teach them in the 
way of amusement, and, by an insensible progress, con- 
tinued for several years, they would acquire a profound 
knowledge of the language." 

It is in the Treatise on Studies that we find for the first 
time a formal list of classical French authors. Some of 
these are now obscure and forgotten, as the Remarkable 
Lives written by Marsolier, and the History of the Academy 
of Inscriptions and Belles- Lettres, by de Boze ; but the most 
of them have held their place in our programmes, and the 
judgments of Rollin have been followed for two centuries, on 
the Discourse on Universal History, by Bossuet, on the works 
of Boilean and Racine, and on the Logic of Port Royal. 

Like all his contemporaries, Rollin particularly recom- 
mends Latin composition to his pupils. However, he has 
spoken a word for French composition, which should bear, 



first, on fables and historical narratives, then on exercises in 
epistolary style, and finally, on common things, descriptions, 
and short speeches. 

260. Greek and Latin. — But it is in the teaching of 
the ancient languages that Rollin has especially tried the 
resources of his pedagogic art. For two centuries, in the 
colleges of the University, his recommendations have been 
followed. Iu Greek, he censures the stud}' of themes, and 
reduces the stud}' of this language to the understanding of 
authors. More of a Latinist than of a Hellenist, of all the 
arguments he offers to justify the study of Greek, the best 
is, that, since the Renaissance, Greek has always been 
taught ; but, without great success, he admits : — 

" Parents," he says, u are but little inclined in favor of 
Greek. They also learned Greek, they claim, in their youth, 
and they have retained nothing of it ; this is the ordinary 
language which indicates that one has not forgotten much of 

But Latin, which it does not suffice to learn to read, but 
which must be written and spoken, is the object of all 
Rollin's care, who, on this point, gives proof of consummate 
experience. Like the teachers of Port Royal, he demands 
that there shall be no abuse of themes in the lower classes, 
and recommends the use of oral themes, but he holds firmlv 
to version, and to the explication of authors : — 

u Authors are like a living dictionary, and a speaking 
grammar, whereby we learn, through experience, the very 
force and the true use of words, of phrases, and of the rules 
of syntax." 

This is not the place to analyze the parts of the Treatise 
on Studies which relate to poetics and rhetoric, and which 
are the code, now somewhat antiquated, of Latin verse and 
prose. Rollin brings to bear on this theme great professional 

ROLLIN. 245 


sagacity, but also a spirit of narrowness. He condemns 
ancient mythology, and excludes, as dangerous, the French 
poets, save some rare exceptions. He claims that the true 
use of poetry belongs to religion. He has no conception of 
the salutary and wholesome influence which the beauties of 
poetry and eloquence can exercise over the spirit. 

261. Rollin the Historian. — Rollin has made a reputa- 
tion as an historian. Frederick II. compares him to Thucy- 
dides, and Chateaubriand has emphatically called him the 
44 Fe"nelon of History." Montesquieu himself has pleasantly 
said: " A noble man has enchanted the public through his 
works on history r it is heart which speaks to heart ; we feel 
a secret satisfaction in hearing virtue speak ; he is the bee of 

Modern criticism has dealt justly with these exaggerations. 
The thirteen volumes of his Ancient History, which Rollin 
published, from 1730 to 1738, are scarcely read to-day. His 
great defect as an historian is his lack of erudition and of [ 
the critical spirit ; he accepts with credulity every fable and' 
every legend. 

We are to recollect, however, that as professor of history 
— and in truth he pretended to be only this — Rollin has 
greater worth than as an historian. He knew how to intro- 
duce into the exposition of facts great simplicity and great 
facility. And especially he attempted to draw from events 
their moral lesson. u We ought not to forget," says a 
German of our time, " that Rollin has never made anv 
personal claim to be considered an investigator in historical 
stud}*, but that the purpose he had chiefly in view was educa- 
tional. As he was the first to introduce the study of history 
into French colleges (this is true only of the colleges of 
the University), he sought to remedy the complete absence 
of historical reading adapted to the needs of the youn%» 


This is a great educational feat ; for it is undeniable that his 
works are of a nature to give to the young of all nations a 
real taste for the study of history, and at the same time 
a vivid conception of the different epochs, and of the life of 
nations." l 

262. The Teaching op History. — However, considered 
simply as a professor of history, Rollin is far from being 
irreproachable. Doubtless it is good to moralize on history, , 
and to make of it, as he says, " a school of enduring glory 
and real grandeur." But is not historical accuracy neces- 
sarily compromised, and is there not danger of making the 
subject puerile, when the teacher is guided exclusively by 
the idea of moral edification? 

Another graver fault in Rollin is that he systematically 
omits the history of France, and with it, all modern history. 
In this respect, he falls below the Oratory, Port Royal, 
Bossuet, F£nelon, and Madame de Main tenon. It is inter- 
esting to observe, moreover, that Rollin recognizes the utility 
of the study of national history, but his excuse for omitting 
it is the lack of time : — 

u I do not speak of the historj' of France. ... I do not 
think it possible to find time, during the regular course of 
instruction, to make a place for this study; but I am far 
from considering it as of no importance, and I observe with 
regret that it is neglected by many persons to whom, never- 
theless, it would be very useful, not to say necessary. 
When I say this, it is myself that I criticise first, for I 
acknowledge that I have not given sufficient attention to it, 
and I am ashamed of being in some sort a stranger in my 
own country after having traversed so many others." 

1 Doctor Wolkor, quoted by Cadet, In his edition of Rollin, Paris, 1882 

BOLLIN. 247 

263. Philosophy. — It is moral edification that Rollin i 
seeks in philosophical studies, as in historical studies. With t 
but little competence in these matters, he admits that he has 
applied himself only very superficially to the study of 
philosophy. He knows, however, the value of ethics and 
logic, which govern the morals and perfect the mind ; of 
physics, which furnishes us a mass of interesting knowl- 
edge ; and finally, of metaphysics, which fortifies the religious 
sentiment. The ethics of antiquity seems to him worthy of 
attention; it is, in his view, the introduction to Christian 

264. Scientific Instruction. — Rollin has given us a com-/ 
pendium of astronomy, of physics, and of natural history. 
Without doubt his essays have but a moderate value.- 
Roll in* s knowledge is often inexact, and his general ideas 
are narrow. He is capable of believing that " nature entire 
is made for man." But yet he deserves some credit for hav- 
ing comprehended the part that the observation of the sensi- 
ble world ought to play in education : — 

44 1 call children's physic* a study of nature which requires 
scarcely anything but eyes, and which, for this reason, is 
within the reach of all sorts of persons, and even of children. 
It consists in making yourselves attentive to the objects which 
nature presents to us, to consider them with care, and to 
admire their different beauties ; but without searching into 
their secret causes, which comes within the province of the 
physics of the scientist. 

44 1 say that even children are capable of this, for they have 
eyes, and are not wanting in curiosity. They wish to know ; 
they are inquisitive. It is only necessary to awaken and 
nourish in them the desire to learn and to know, which is 
latural to all men, This study, moreover, if it may be so 

,**--"--'-■■ ---'-■ 


call**], far from being painful and tedious, affords only 
pleasure and amusement : it may take the place of recrea- 
tion, and ordinarily ought not to take place save in playing. 
It is inconceivable how much knowledge of things children 
might gain, if we knew how to take advantage of all the 
occasions which they furnish for the purpose." 

265. The Educative Character of Rollfs's Pedagogy. 
— It should not be supposed that Rollin's exclusive purpose 
was to make Latin ists and literary men. I know very well 
that he himself has said that " to form the taste was his 
principal aim." Nevertheless, he has thought of other 
things, — moral qualities not less than intellectual endow- 
ments. He wished to train at once "the heart and the 
intellect." With him, instruction in all its phases takes an 
educative turn. He esteems knowledge only because it leads) 
to virtue. In the explication of authors, attention should be 1 
directed to the morality of their thoughts, at least as much 
iih to their literary beauty. The maxims and examples which 
their writings contain should be skillfully put in relief, so 
that these readings may become moral lessons not less than 
studies in rhetoric. To sum up in a word, Rollin follows the 
tradition of the Jansenists, and not that of the Company of 

2(i0. Christianity of Rollin. — Rollin, though perse- 
cuted for his Jansenist tendencies, was a fervent Christian. 
11 A Koiniui probity" did not suffice for him; he desired a 
Christian virtue. Consequently, he requires that religious 
Instruction should form a part of every lesson. A regulation 
which dates from his rectorship required that the scholar in 
ouch class should learn and recite each day one or more 
nmxium drawn from the Holy Scriptures. This custom has 
boon maintained to this day. Rollin knew, moreover, that 

BOLLIX. 249 

the best means of inspiring piety is to preach by example, 
and to be pious one's self : — 

44 To make true Christians, — this is the end and purpose of 
the education of children ; all the rest but fulfills the pur- 
pose of means. . . . When a teacher has received this spirit, 
there is nothing more to say to him. ..." 

The religious spirit of Rollin comes to view on each page 
of his book : — 

44 It remains for me," he says, in concluding his preface, 
44 to pray God, in whose hands we all are, we and our dis- 
courses, to deign to bless my good intentions." 

267. Interior Discipline of the Colleges. — The part 
of the Treatise on Studies which has preserved the most 
interest, and which will be studied with the most profit, is 
certainly that which treats of the interior government of 
schools and colleges. Here, though he does not completely 
divest himself of his method of borrowings, and references 
to the authority of others, and though he is especially under 
the influence of Locke, whose wise advice on rewards and 
punishments he reproduces almost verbatim, Rollin makes 
use of a long personal experience. We have charged him 
with not knowing the little child. On the other hand, he 
knows exactly what scholars a little older are, — children 
from ten to sixteen years old. And he not only knows 
them, but he loves them tenderly. He gives them this testi- 
mony, which affection alone can explain, that he has always 
found them reasonable. 

268. Enumeration of the Questions treated by Rol- 
lin. — To give an idea of this part of the Treatise, the best 
way is to reproduce the titles of the thirteen articles com- 
posing the chapter entitled General Counsels on the Educa- 
tion of the Young: — 



I. What end should be proposed in education? II. How 
to study the character of children in order to become able tc 
instruct them properly. III. How at once to gain authority 
over children. IV. How to become loved and feared. 
V. Punishments: 1. Difficulties and dangers in punish- 
ments ; 2. Rules to be observed in punishments. VI. Rep- 
rimands : 1. Occasion for reprimanding; 2. Time for 
making the reprimand ; 3. Manner of reprimanding. VII. 
Reasoning with children. Stimulating them with the sense 
of honor. Making use of commendation, rewards, and 
caresses. VIII. How to train children to be truthful. 
IX. How to train children to politeness, to cleanliness, and 
to exactness. X. How to make study attractive. XI. How 
to give rest and recreation to children. XII. How to train 
the young to goodness by instruction and example. XIII. 
Piety, religion, zeal for the salvation of children. 

269. .Public Education. — Rollin does not definitely ex- 
press himself on the superiority of public education. He 
does not dare give formal advice to parents ; but he brings 
forward the advantages of the common life of colleges with 
so much force, that it is very evident that he prefers it to" 
a private education. Let it be noted, besides, that he' 
accepts on his own account " the capital maxim of the 
ancients, that children belong more to the State than to 
their parents." 

270. The Rod. —In the matter of discipline, Rollini 
leans rather to the side of mildness. However, he does not 
dare pronounce himself absolutely against the use of the rod. 
That which in particular causes him to hesitate, which gives 
him scruples, which prevents him from expressing a censure 
which is at the bottom of his heart, but which never rises to 
his lips, is that there are certain texts of the Bible whose 

ROLLIN. 251 

interpretation is favorable to the use of the rod. It is inter- 
esting to notice how, in a strait between his sentiments as a 
docile Christian and his instincts towards mildness, the good 
and timid Roiliu tries to lind a less rigorous meaning in the 
sacred text, and to convince himself that the Bible does not 
say what it seems to say. After many hesitations, he finally 
comes to the conclusion that corporal chastisements are per- 
mitted, but that they are not to be emplojed save in ex- 
treme and desperate cases ; and this is also the conclusion 
of Locke. 

271. Punishments in General. — But how many wise 
counsels on punishments, and on the precautions that must 
be taken when we punish or reprimand ! One should refrain 
from punishing a child at the moment he commits his fault, 
because this might then exasperate him and provoke him to 
new breaches of duty. Let the master be cool when he 
punishes, and avoid the anger which discredits his authority. 
The whole of this excellent code of scholastic discipline might 
be quoted with profit. Rollin is reason and good sense itself 
when he guides and instructs the teacher as to his relations 
with the pupil. Doubtless the most of these precepts are not 
new ; but when they come from the mouth of Rollin, there 
is something added to them which I cannot describe, but 
which gives to the most threadbare advice the authority of 
personal experience. 

272. Conclusion. — We shall not dwell on the other 
precepts of Rollin. The text must be consulted for his 
reflections on plays, recreations, the means of making study 
attractive, and on the necessity of appealing to the child's 
reason betimes, and of explaining to him why one does this 
or that. In this last part of the Treatise on Studies there is 
a complete infant psychology which is lacking neither in 



keenness nor in penetration. In particular, there is a code 
of moral discipline which cannot be too highly commended 
to educators, and to all those who desire, in the words of 
Rollin, " to train at once the heart and the mind " of the 
young. Rollin has worked for virtue even more than for 
science. His works are less literary productions than works 
on morals, and the author himself is the perfect expression 
of what can be done for the education of the young by the 
Christian spirit allied to the university spirit. 

[273. Analytical Summary. — 1. The characteristic fact, 1 
disclosed by this study is the ver) T slow rate at which prog-, 
ress in education takes place. There is also an enforce- 
ment of the lesson which has reappeared from time to time, 
that education follows in the wake of new and general 
movements in human thought. 

2. A more specific fact is the extreme conservatism of 
universities, or the tenacity with which they hold to tradi- 
tions. The question is suggested whether, after all, the 
conservative habit of the university does not best befit its 
judicial functions. 

3. In the elbowing of the classics by history and French, 
we see the rise of innovations which have become embodied 
in the modern university. 

•I. A new factor in the higher education is the interven- 
tion of the State, as opposed to the historical domination of 
the Church. In the reform of the University of Paris the 
State became an educator. 

f>. There is evidence of some progress in the historical 
struggle towards the conception that woman has equal 
rights with man in the benefits of education.] 




274. The State of Primary Instruction in the Seven- 
teenth Century. — It does not form a part of our plan to 
follow from day to day the small increments of progress and 
the slow development of the primary schools of France ; 
bat we mast confine ourselves to the essential facts and to 
the important dates. 

The Catholic Church, in the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries, did not altogether renounce her interest in popu- 
lar instruction. She took measures, without doubt, to evan- 
golize the poor people, and sometimes " even to teach them 

^»*»*— ■ tm 


how to read and write." Nevertheless, up to the organiza- 
tion of the Christian schools, by La Salle, no serious effort 
was made. Some religious foundations establish gratuitous 
schools in many places, — charjity schools, — but no compre- 
hensive purpose directs these establishments. Conflicts of 
prerogative among certain independent colleagues, as that 
between the writing-masters and the masters of the infant 
schools placed under the direct authority of the precentor, or 
among the rectors and the tutors (6eoldtres) , that is, the 
assistants of the bishops charged with the supervision of the 
schools, — such dissensions came still further to defeat the 
good intentions of individuals, and to embarrass the feeble 
movement that was exerted in favor of popular instruction. 
For example, towards 1680, the writing-masters attempted 
to prevent the masters of the primary schools * from giving 
writing lessons, at least, from giving their pupils any copies 
except monosyllables; and a decree of Parliament is neces- 
sary to re-establish the liberty — and then under certain 
restrictions — of teaching to write. 

"Christian instruction was neglected, not to say dishon- 
ored," is the statement of contemporaries. The children 
who attended the schools of the poor were subjected to pub- 
lic contempt. They were obliged to wear on their caps a 
distinctive badge. In brief, far from progressing, primary 
instruction was rather in a state of decadence. 

275. Demi a and the Primary Schools of Lyons. — 
Among the progressive men who struggled against this 
unhappy state of affairs, and who tried to develop the 
Catholic schools, we must mention, before La Salle, Dgjnja, 

1 Prtites froles. This is the term commonly applied to primary schools 
at this period. By the Janseuists this term was used in a more distinctive 
sense, and for this reason I have translated it "Little Schools" in Chap. 
VU. ^P.) 



a priest of Lyons, who, in 1666, founded the Congregation 
of the Brethren of Saint Charles, for the instruction of poor 
children. The Institute of La Salle was not organized till 
eighteen years later, in 1684. In 1GG8, having addressed 
to the provosts of the merchants of the city of Lyons a 
warm appeal, his Proposals for the establishment of Christian 
schools for the instruction of the poor, Dlmia obtained an 
annual grant of two hundred livres. In 1675 .he was 
charged by "express command" of the archbishop of 
Lyons " with the management and direction of the schools 
of that city and diocese," and drew up a body of school 
regulations which was quoted as a model. 1 For the method 
of fc4 teaching to read, of learning the catechism, of cor- 
recting children, and similar things," D£inia conformed to 
the book known as the Parish School (Ecole paroissiale) , of 
which we shall presently say a word. He took it upon him- 
self to proceed " to the examination of the religion, the 
ability, and the good morals, of the persons who proposed 
to teach school." But, what was of greater moment, he 
established, for preparing and training them, a sort of semi- 

A few quotations will give an idea of De'mia's zeal in the 
establishment of Christian schools. 

44 This establishment is of such importance and of so 
great utility, that there is nothing in our political organiza- 
tion which is more worthy of the care and the watchfulness 
of the magistrates, since on it depend our peace and public 
tranquillity. The poor, not having the means of educating 
their children, leave them in ignorance of their obligations. 
• . . Thus we see, with keen displeasure, that such an edu- 
cation of the children of the poor is totally neglected, 
although it is the most important interest of the State, of 

1 8m the Lectures ptdagogiques. Hacbette, 1883, p. 420. 


how to read and write." Nevertheless, up to the organiza- 
tion of the Christian schools, by La Salle, no serious^ effort 
was made. Some religious foundations establish gratuitous 
schools in mauy places, — charity schools, — but no compre- 
hensive purpose directs these establishments. Conflicts of 
prerogative among certain independent colleagues, as that 
between the writing-masters and the masters of the infant 
schools placed under the direct authorit}' of the precentor, or 
among the rectors and the tutors (6coldtres) , that is, the 
assistants of the bishops charged with the supervision of the 
schools, — such dissensions came still further to defeat the 
good intentions of individuals, and to embarrass the feeble 
movement that was exerted in favor of popular instruction. 
For example, towards 1680, the writing-masters attempted 
to prevent the masters of the primary schools * from giving 
writing lessons, at least, from (jiving their pupils any copies 
except monosyllables; and a decree of Parliament is neces- 
sary to re-establish the liberty — and then under certain 
restrictions — of teaching to write. 

"Christian instruction was neglected, not to say dishon- 
ored," is the statement of contemporaries. The children 
who attended the schools of the poor were subjected to pub- 
lic contempt. They were obliged to wear on their caps a 
distinctive badge. In brief, far from progressing, primary 
instruction was rather in a state of decadence. 

275. Demi a and the Primary Schools of Lyons. — 
Among the progressive men who struggled against this 
unhappy state of affairs, and who tried to develop the 
Catholic schools, we must mention, before La Salle, Dginja, 

1 Pctites Scales. This is the term commonly applied to primary schools 
at this period. By the Jan sen is ts this term was used in a more distinctive 
sense, and for this reason I have translated it "Little Schools" in Chap, 
VII. ^P.) 




a priest of Lyons, who, in 1G6G, founded the Congregation 
of the Brethren of Saint Charles, for the instruction of poor 
children. The Institute of La Salle was not organized till 
eighteen years later, in 1684. In 1GG8, having addressed 
to the provosts of the merchants of the city of Lyons a 
warm appeal, his Proposals for the establishment of Christian 
schools for the instruction of the pooi\ Dlmia obtained an 
annual grant of two hundred livres. In 1675 .he was 
charged by "express command" of the archbishop of 
Lyons " with the management and direction of the schools 
of that city and diocese," and drew up a body of school 
regulations which was quoted as a model. 1 For the method 
of fc4 teaching to read, of learning the catechism, of cor- 
recting children, and similar things," D6mia conformed to 
the book known as the Parish School (Ecole paroissiule) , of 
which we shall presently say a word. He took it upon him- 
self to proceed " to the examination of the religion, the 
ability, and the good morals, of the persons who proposed 
to teach school." But, what was of greater moment, he 
established, for preparing and training them, a sort of semi- 

A few quotations will give an idea of D6mia's zeal in the 
establishment of Christian schools. 

44 This establishment is of such importance and of so 
great utility, that there is nothing in our political organiza- 
tion which is more worthy of the care and the watchfulness 
of the magistrates, since on it depend our peace and public 
tranquillity. The poor, not having the means of educating 
their children, leave them in ignorance of their obligations. 
• . . Thus -we see, with keen displeasure, that such an edu- 
cation of the children of the poor is totally neglected, 
although it is the most important interest of the State, of 

1 8m the Lectures pfdayogiques. Hacbette, 188% p. 420. 



how to read and write." Nevertheless, up to the organiza- 
tion of the Christian schools, by La Salle, no serious effort 
was made. Some religious foundations establish gratuitous 
schools in many places, — charity schools, — but no compre- 
hensive purpose directs these establishments. Conflicts of 
prerogative among certain independent colleagues, as that 
between the writing-masters and the masters of the infant 
schools placed under the direct authorit}' of the precentor, or 
among the rectors and the tutors (dcoldtres), that is, the 
assistants of the bishops charged with the supervision of the 
schools, — such dissensions came still further to defeat the 
good intentions of individuals, and to embarrass the feeble 
movement that was exerted in favor of popular instruction. 
For example, towards 1680, the writing-masters attempted 
to prevent the masters of the primary schools l from giving 
writing lessons, at least, from giving their pujrils any copies 
except monosyllables; and a decree of Parliament is neces- 
sary to re-establish the liberty — and then under certain 
restrictions — of teaching to write. 

4 'Christian instruction was neglected, not to say dishon- 
ored," is the statement of contemporaries. The children 
who attended the schools of the poor were subjected to pub- 
lic contempt. They were obliged to wear on their caps a 
distinctive badge. In brief, far from progressing, primary 
instruction was rather in a state of decadence. 

275. Demi a and the Primary Schools of Lyons. — 
Among the progressive men who struggled against this 
unhappy state of affairs, and who tried to develop the 
Catholic schools, we must mention, before La Salle, D6mja, 

1 Petites tcoles. This is the term commonly applied to primary schools 
at this period. By the Jan sen is ts this term was used in a more distinctive 
sense, and for this reason I have translated it "Little Schools" in Chap, 
VII. ^P.) 



a priest of Lyons, who, in 1G66, founded the Congregation 
of the Brethren of Saint Charles, for the instruction of poor 
children. The Institute of La Salle was not organized till 
eighteen years later, in 1684. In 16G8, having addressed 
to the provosts of the merchants of the city of Lyons a 
warm appeal, his Proposals for the establishment of Christian 
schools for the instruction of the poor, Dlmia obtained an 
annual grant of two hundred livres. In 1675 .he was 
charged by "express command" of the archbishop of 
Lyons " with the management and direction of the schools 
of that city and diocese," and drew up a body of school 
regulations which was quoted as a model. 1 For the method 
of " teaching to read, of learning the catechism, of cor- 
recting children, and similar things," D£niia conformed to 
the book known as the Parish School (Ecole jtaroissiule) , of 
which we shall presently say a word. He took it upon him- 
self to proceed " to the examination of the religion, the 
ability, and the good morals, of the persons who proposed 
to teach school." But, what was of greater moment, he 
established, for preparing and training them, a sort of semi- 

A few quotations will give an idea of D£mia's zeal in the 
establishment of Christian schools. 

44 This establishment is of such importance and of so 
great utility, that there is nothing in our political organiza- 
tion which is more worth}* of the care and the watchfulness 
of the magistrates, since on it depend our peace and public 
tranquillity. The poor, not having the means of educating 
their children, leave them in ignorance of their obligations. 
• . . Thus we see, with keen displeasure, that such an edu- 
cation of the children of the poor is totally neglected, 
although it is the most important interest of the State, of 

1 8m the Lectures pe'dagogiques. Hacliette, 188% p. 420. 



which they comprise the largest part; and, although it is 
quite as necessary, and even more so, to maintain public 
schools for them, as to support colleges for the children of 
families in good circumstances. ..." 

276. Claude Joly. — In 1676, Claude Joly, precentor of 
Notre Dame, "collator, director, and judge of the primary 
schools of the city, the suburbs, and the outskirts of Paris," 
published his Christian and Moral Counsels for the Instruction 
of Children. There is but little to gather from this work, 
where the author is so forgetful of elementary instruction as 
to speak only of secondary instruction and of the educa- 
tion of princes. What most concerns Claude Joly is to put 
in force the regulations which forbid the association of boys 
and girls in the schools. The separation of the sexes was 
for a long time an absolute principle in France. D6mia, in 
article nine of his regulations, restores the ordinance of the 
archbishop of Lyons, " which forbids school-masters to 
admit girls, and school-mistresses to admit boys." Rollin 
was of the same opinion. Claude Joly, in the capacity of 
chief precentor, bluntly claimed his sovereign rights in the 
matter of primary instruction : — 

"We shall contest the power claimed by the rectors of 
Paris to control the schools, under the name and pretext of 
charity, without the permission of the chief precentor, to 
whom alone belongs this power. To him, also, belongs the 
right of nomination to the schools of the religious and secu- 
lar communities. We shall disclose, besides, the attempts 
of writers to interfere with the teaching of orthography, 
which belongs only to good grammarians, that* is, to the 
masters of the little schools." 

We see to what petty questions of prerogative was sacri- 
ficed, in the seventeenth century, the great cause of popular 


277. The Book of the Parish School. — Under the 
\ title, The Parish School, or the Manner of Properly Instruct' 
\ing the Children in the Little Schools, a priest of the diocese 
of Paris had written, in 1655, a school manual, often re- 
printed, 1 which became the general standard of the schools 
during the years that followed, and which gives an exact 
idea of what was narrow and poorly defined in the primary 
instruction of that period. 

The author of the Parish School does not have a high 
opinion of the office of the teacher, which he regards as an 
employment without lustre, without pleasure, and without 
interest. He does not expect great results from instruction, 
of which he is pleased to say, that it is not completely useless. 
It is true that instruction is reduced to a very few things, — 
reading, writing, and counting. To this the author adds 
religion and politeness. 

Let us observe in particular, that the programme of the 
parish school also comprises the principles of the Latin lan- 
guage. The primary school of that period was still con- 
founded with the college of secondary instruction ; the 
ancient languages and rhetoric were taught in it. In the 
catalogue of the master's books, drawn up by the author of 
the Parish School, we find a Greek grammar. In the classes, 
the reading of Latin precedes the reading of French. 

Some good advice in practical pedagogy might be extracted 
from the first part of the work, especially on the duties of a 
school-master, on the power of example, and on the necessity 
of knowing the disposition of pupils. But how many art- 
less assertions and mischievous precepts, in that school code 
of the city of Paris, in the near presence of the grand cen- 
tury ! The Parish School complains that the scholars eat 
too much bread : — 

1 We have before as the edition of 1722. 

— 'z 5?.-_r. 


" The children of Paris, as a rule, eat a great deal of 
bread. This food stupefies the mind, and very often makes 
them, at the age of nine or ten, incapable of learning. 
Omnis repletio mala, panis vero pessima" A serious mat- 
ter is that espionage is not only authorized, but is encouraged 
and organized : — 

"The master will select two of the most reliable and 
intelligent to be on the lookout for the disorders and the 
improprieties of the school and the church. They shall 
write the names of the offenders, and of those guilty of 
improprieties, on pieces of paper or on tablets, to be given 
to the master. These officers shall be called observers. 9 * 


278. La Salle (1651-1719) and the Christian Schools. 
— The reading of the Parish School prepares us the better 
to comprehend the work of La Salle. If one were in any 
degree tempted to depreciate the Institute of the Brethren 
of the Christian Schools, it would suffice, to counteract this 
disposition, to contrast the reforms of La Salle, however 
insufficient they may be, with the real state of ^e schools of 
that period. To be equitably judged, human institutions 
ought to be replaced in their setting and in their environ- 
ment. It is easy to-day to formulate charges against the 
pedagogy of the Brethren of the Christian Schools. But 
considered in their time, and compared with what existed, 
or rather with what did not exist, the establishments of La 
Salle deserve the esteem and the gratitude of the friends of 
instruction. They represent the first systematic effort of the 
Catholic Church to organize popular instruction. What the 
Jesuits did in the matter of secondary instruction, with im- 
mense resources and for pupils who paid them for their 
efforts, La Salle attempted in primary instruction, through 
a thousand obstacles and for pupils who did not^pay. 


279. Life and Character of La Salle. — We sHall have 
to criticise in the most of its principles and in many details 
of its practice, the educational institute of La Salle. But 
that which merits an admiration without reserve is the 
professional zeal of the founder of the order, the daunt- 
less spirit of improvement which he displayed in the ' 
organization of his schools, and in the recruitment of 
his teachers ; it is also his tenacious zeal which was dis- 
couraged neither b} T the jealous opposition of corporations, 
the writing-masters for example, nor by the inexplicable 
opposition of the clergy ; and, finally, it is the indefatiga- 
ble devotion of a beautiful life consecrated to the cause of 
instruction, which was a long series of efforts and sacrifices. 

At an early hour, La Salle had given proofs of the energy 
of his character. Weak and sickly, he was obliged to # 
struggle against the infirmities of his constitution. To|)T 
overcome sleep, and to prolong his studious vigils, he 
sometimes kneeled on sharp stones, and sometimes he placed 
in front of him, upon his study-table, a board fitted with 
iron points, against which his head would strike as soon as 
fatigue made him doze and he leaned forward. Canon of 
the chapter of Reims in 1667, ordained priest in 1678, he 
resigned his prebendship in 1683, and, voluntarily making 
himself poor, in order to approach those whose souls he 
would save, he renounced his whole patrimony, to the great- 
disgust of his friends, who treated him as a madman. 

280. Ascetic Tendencies. — But it is not a disinterested 
love of the people, it is not the thought of their moral regen- 
eration, and of their intellectual progress, which animated 
and sustained the efforts of La Salle. His purpose wae 
above all else religious. He pushed devotion even to asceti- 
cism. In his childhood, while he still lived at home, h& 


came to have a sense of unrest in the parlors of his mother ^ 
and one evening, as his biographers relate, while those about 
him were engaged in music, or were talking on worldly mat- 
ters, he threw himself into the arms of one of his aunts, and 
said to her, " Madam, relate to me the life of one of the 
saints." He himself was a saint, though the Church did not 
think him worthy of this venerable title. In his youth he 
passed whole nights in prayer, and slept on boards. All his 
life he was severe to himself and also to others, considering 
abstinence and privations as the regimen of the Christian. 
His adversaries, at different times, imputed this to him as a 
crime. He was represented as a hardened man, pushing his 
ascetic requirements to the extreme of cruelty. To appease 
their anger, he removed penances and boHily inflictions from 
his institution, but he maintained them for himself, and con- 
tinued his life of voluntary suffering. Heroic virtues, it may 
be ; but it may be added also, an unfortunate disposition 
for a teacher of children. We distrust, in advance, a system 
of teaching whose beginning was so sad, whose founder 
inclosed his life within so narrow an horizon, and which, at 
first, was illuminated by no rays of gladness and* good 

281. Foundations of the Institute. — The Institute of 
the Brethren was founded in 1684, but it was not sanctioned 
by pontifical authority and royal power till forty years later, 
iii 1724. 

We shall not recite at full length the vicissitudes of the 
first years of the Institute. We simply state that La Salle 
inaugurated his work by offering hospitality in his own house 
to several poor teachers. In 1679 he opened at Reims a 
school for boys. In 1684 he imposed on his disciples vows 
of stability and obedience^ and prescribed their costume. In 
1688 he went to Paris in order to found schools there, and 


it was here in particular, as he himself says, that " he saw 
himself pecac^uted by the men from whom he expected help." 
In spite of all these difficulties his enterprise prospered, and 
when he died, in i.7^0? the Institute of the Brethren already 
counted a large number of establishments for primary in- 

282. The Idea of Normal Schools. — We kuow how 
the teaching force was then recruited. In Paris, if we may 
believe Pourchot, the chief precentor, Claude Joly, was 
obliged to employ, for the direction of scjjpols, old-clothes- 
men, innkeepers, cooks, nu^ns, wjp- makers, puppet- 
players — the list might ^5e continued. Id 1682 ]\|arie 
Moreau, a teacher, was scn£,hy Bossuet to keen the school 
at Fert£-Gaucher. The recta)* of the place, iifflis capacity 
as tutor (faoldtre) , wishing to ascertain her Competence, 
subjected her to an examination, of which the followjflg is 
an account : — 

u 1. He asked her if sheJlould r£ad, Jind she replied that 
she read passably well, but not well endigh to teach. 

44 2. He gave her a pen to mend, and she declared that 
she could not do it. 

44 3. He handed her a Latin book and requested her to 
read it, but she was prevented from making the attempt by 
sister Rem}', who had just prevented her from exhibiting her 
writing." 1 

Ignorance, and often moral unfitness, w r as the general 
character of the teachers of that period. The}' often entered 
upon their duties without the least preparation. La Salle 
had too great an anxiety for the good condition of his schools 
to accept improvised teachers. So in 1085 he opened at 
Reims, under the name of Seminary for Schoolmasters, a 

1 Histoire <Vune €colc gratuite, par V. Plessier, p. 15. 



. real normal school, in which teachers were to be trained for 
the rural districts. Only D£mia had preceded him in this 
work. Later he founded an establishment of the same kind 
in Paris, and — a thing worthy of note — he annexed to this 
normal school a primary school, in which the teaching was 
done by the students in training under the direction of an 
experienced teacher. 

In the third part of his Conduct of Schools La Salle has 
drawn up the rules for what he calls the training of new 
masters. Here are the faults that he notices in young 
teachers : — 

1. An itching to talk ; 2. too great activity, which degen- 
erates into petulance ; 3. indifference ; 4. preoccupation and 
embarrassment ; 5. harshness ; 6. spite ; 7. partiality ; 8. 
slowness and negligence ; 9. pusillanimity and lack of force ; 
10. despondency and fretfulness ; 11. familiarity and 
trifling; 12. distractions and loss of time; 13. fickleness; 
14. giddiness; 15. exclusiveness ; 1G. lack of attention to 
the different characters and dispositions of children. 

283. The Idea op Gratuitous and Obligatory In- 
struction. — The Institute of the Brethren of the Christian 
Schools, say the statutes of the order in so many words, is a 
society whose members make a profession to conduct schools 
gratuitously. " La Salle thought only of the children of 
artisans and of the poor, who, he said, being occupied 
during- the whole day in earning their own livelihood and that 
of their families, could not give their children the instruction 
they need, and a respectable and Christian education." In 
1694, the founder of the Institute and his first twelve disci- 
pies went and kneeled at the foot of the altar, and pledged 
themselves to "conduct collectively and through organized 
effort schools of gratuitous instruction, even when, in order 



to do this, they might be obliged to ask alms and to live on 
bread alone." 

But a thing still more remarkable than to have popular- 
ized gratuitous instruction, already realized in many places 
through charity schools, is to have formed the conception of 
obligato ry ins truction. La Salle, who did not believe that 
this was any encroachment on the liberty of parents, pro- 
poses, in this Conduct of Schools, a means for affecting their 
will : — 

" If among the poor there are certain ones who are unwill- 
ing to take advantage of the opportunities for instruction, 
they should be reported to the rectors. The latter will be . 
able to cure them of their indifference by threatening to give * 
them no more assistance till they send their children to 

284. Professional Instruction. — Besides primary schools 
proper, La Salle, who is truly an innovator, inaugurated the 
organization of a technical and professional instruction. 
At Saint^You, near Rouen, he organized a sort of college 
where was taught " all that a young man can learn, with 
the exception of Latin, and whose purpose was to prepare 
the student for commercial, industrial, and administrative 

285. Conduct of the Christian Schools : Successive 
Editions. — La Salle took the trouble to draw up for his 
Institute a very miuute code of rules, with this title : Tl\e 
Conduct of Schools. The first edition bears the date of 
1720. It appeared at Avignon a year after the author's 
death. 1 Two other editions have since appeared, in 1811 
and in 1870, with some important modifications. The sub- 

1 We have before us a copy of this Avignon edition: J. Charles Chasta- 
nler, printer and bookseller, near the College of the Jesuits. 


stance has not been changed, but certain passages relative 
to discipline, and to the use of tiie rod, have been sup- 

" With the view to adapt our education to the mildness of 
the present state of manners," says the preface of 1811, 
" we have suppressed or modified whatever includes cor- 
poral correction, and have advantageously (sic) replaced 
this, on the one hand, by good marks, by promises and 
rewards, and on the other by bad marks, by deprivations 
and tasks." 

On the other hand, some additions have been made. The 
Institute of the Brethren had to yield in part to the demands 
of the times, and to subtract something from the inflexi- 
bility of its government. 

" The Brethren," it is said in the preface to the edition of 
1870, written by the Frere Philip, " the Brethren have little 
by little enlarged the original Conduct, in proportion as 
they have perfected their methods. ... It is plain that a 
book of this kind cannot receive a final form. New experi- 
ments, progress in methods, legislative enactments, new 
needs, etc., require that it receive divers modifications from 
time to time." 

28G. Abuse of Regulations. — A feature common to the 
pedagogy of the Jesuits, and to that of the Brethren of the 
Christian Schools, is, that everything is regulated in advance 
with extraordinary exactness. No discretion is left to the 
teachers. The instruction is but a rule in action. All nov- 
elty is interdicted. 

"It has been necessary," says the Preface of La Salle, to 
prepare this Conduct of the Christian schools, " to the end 
that there may be uniformity in all the schools, and in all 
the places where there are Brethren of the Institute, and 
that the methods employed may always be the same. Man 


is so subject to slackness, and even to chaugeableness, that 
there must be written rules for him, in order to keep him 
within the bounds of his duty, and to prevent him from 
introducing something new, or from destroying that which 
has been wisely established." 

Need we be astonished, after this, that the teaching of the 
Brethren often became a useless routine ? 

287. Division of tiie Conduct. — The Conduct of the 
Christian Schools is divided into three parts. The first 
treats of all the exercises of the school, and of what is 
done in it from the time the pupils enter till they leave. 
The second describes the means for establishing and main- 
taining order ; in a word, the discipline. The third treats of 
the duties of the inspector of schools, of the qualities of 
the teachers, and of the rules to be followed in the educa- 
tion of the teachers themselves. This mav be called, so to 
speak, the manual of the normal schools of the Institute. 

288. Interior Organization of the ScnooLS. — That 
which first . strikes the attention in the Christian Schools, 
such as La Salle organized, is the complete silence that 
reigns in them. Nothing is better than silence on the part 
of pupils, when it can be obtained, but La Salle enjoins 
silence on teachers as well. The Fi&re is a professor who 
does noTtalk. 

"He will watch carefully over himself, to speak very 
rarely, and very low." " It would be of but little use for 
the teacher to try to make his pupils keep silence if he does 
not do this himself." " When necessity obliges him to speak 
— and he is careful that this necessity is rare — he will 
always speak in a moderate tone." 

It might be said that La Salle fears a strong and sono- 
rous voice. 




/_ e : 


How, then, shall the teacher communicate with his pupils, 
since he is almost debarred from the use of speech? La 
Salle has invented, to supersede language, a complete sys- 
tem of signs, a sort of scholastic telegraphy, a long account 
of which will be found in several chapters of the Conduct. 
b have prayers repeated, the teacher will fold his hands ; 
to have the catechism repeated, he will make the sign of the 
cross. In other cases he will strike his breast, will look at 
the pupil steadily, etc. Besides, he will employ an instru- 
ment of iron named a signal, which he will raise or lower, 
and handle in a hundred ways, to indicate his wish, or to 
announce the beginning or the close of such or such an 

What is the meaning of this distrust of speech? And 
what are we to think of these schools of mutes where 
teachers and pupils proceed only by sigus ? When a scholar 
asks permission to speak, he will stand erect in his place, 
with hands crossed and eyes modestly lowered. Doubtless, 
to attempt to excuse these practices, we must consider the 
annoyances of a noisy school, and the advantages of a 
silent school where everything is done discreetly and noise- 
lessly. Is there not, however, in these odd regulations, 
something besides the desire for order and good conduct, — 
the revelation of a complete system of pedagogy which is 
afraid of life and liberty, and which, under the pretext of 
making the school quiet, deadens the school, and, in the 
end, reduces teachers and pupils to mere machines? 

289. Simultaneous Instruction. — By the side of the 
evil we must note the good. Up to the time of La Salle, 
the individual, method was almost alone in use in primary 
instruction ; but he substituted for this the simultaneous 
method, that is, teaching given to all the pupils at the same 
time. For this purpose, La Salle divided each school into 


three divisions: "The division of the weakest, that of the ! ' 
mediocres, and that of the more intelligent or the more 

"All the scholars of the same order will receive the 
same lesson together. The instructor will see that all are 
attentive, and that, in reading for example, all read in a 
low voice what the teacher reads in a loud voice." 

To aid the instructor, La Salle gives him one or two of 
the better pupils of each division, who become his assistants, 
and whom he calls inspectors, "The more children have 
taught," said La Salle, " the more they will learn." 

To be just, however, we must recognize, in certain recom- 
mendations of La Salle, some desire to appeal to the judg- 
ment and the reason of the child : — 

"The teacher will not speak to the scholars during the 
catechism, as in preaching, but he will interrogate them 
almost eoutinually by questions, direct or indirect, in order 
to make them comprehend that which he is teaching them." 

The Frere Luccard, in his Life of the Venerable J. B. de 
La Salle, 1 quotes this still more expressive passage, borrowed 
from his manuscript Counsels : — 

" Let the teacher be careful not to lend his pupils too 
much help in resolving the questions that have been proposed 
to tnem. He ought, on the contrary, to invite them not 
to be discouraged, but to seek with ardor what he knows 
they will be able to find for themselves. He will convince 
them that they will the better retain the knowledge they 
have acquired by a personal and persevering effort." 


— Reading, writing, orthography, arithmetic, and the cate- 
chism, — this is the programme of La Salle. 

1 Two volumes, Paris, 1876. 



In reading, La Salle, agreeing in this respect with Port 
Royal, requires that French books be used in the beginuing. 

44 The book in which the pupil will begin to learn Latin is 
the Psalter ; but this lesson will be given only to those who 
can readily read in French." 

La Salle requires that the pupil shall not be exercised in 
writing till u he can read perfectly." He attaches, more- 
over, an extreme importance to calligraphy, and it is known 
that the Brethren have remained masters in this art. La 
Salle does not weary in giviug advice on this subject: the 
pens, the knife for mending them, the ink, the paper, the 
tracing-papers and blotters, round letters and italic letters 
(a bastard script) , — everything is passed in review. 1 The 
Conduct also insists u on the manner of teaching the proper 
posture of the body" and " on the manner of teaching how 
to hold the pen and the paper." 

ifc It will be useful and timely in the beginning to give the 
pupil a stick of the bigness of a pen, on which there are three 
notches, two on the right and one on the left, to mark the 
places where his fingers should be put." 

The exercises in writing are to be followed by exercises in 
orthography and in composition : — 

" The teacher will require the pupils to compose and write 
for themselves notes, receipts, bills, etc. He will also 
require them to write out what they remember of the cate- 
chism, and of the lectures that they have heard." 2 

As to arithmetic, reduced to the four rules, we must 
commend La Salle's attempt to have it learned by reason 
and not by routine. Thus, he requires the teacher to inter- 
rogate the pupil, in order to make him the better comprehend 

1 The use of the round script was in fashion. La Salle introduced the 
bastard hand. 

'<* See Chap. II. of the Second Part. 



and retain the rule, or to make sure that he is attentive. He 
44 will give him a complete understanding" of* what he 
teaches; and, finally, he will require him u to produce a 
certain number of rules that he has discovered for himself." 

Prayers and religious exercises naturally hold a large place 
in the schools organized by La Salle : — 

"There shall always be two or three scholars kneeling, 
one from each class, who will toll their beads one after 
another." ' 

*' Care will everywhere be taken that the scholars hear the 
holy mass every day." 

" A half hour each day shall be devoted to the cate- 

291. Method of Teaching. — The Institute of the 
Brethren has often been criticised for the mechanical char- 
acter of its instruction. The Frere Philip, in the edition of 
the Conduct published in 1870, implicitly acknowledges the 
justice of this criticism when he writes : " Elementary 
instruction has assumed a particular character in these last 
days, of which we must take account. Proposing for its 
chief end to train the judgment of the pupil, it gives less 
importance than heretofore to the culture of the memory ; it 
makes especial use of methods which call into activity the 
intelligence, and lead the child to reflect, to take account of 
facts, to withdraw from the domain of words to enter into 
that of ideas." Do not these wise cautions unmistakably 
betray the existence of an evil tradition which should be 
corrected, but which tends to hold its ground ? He who has 
read the Conduct is not left in doubt that the general char- 
acter of the pedagogy of the Christian Schools, at the first, 
was a mechanical and routine exercise of the memory, and 
the absence of life. 


292. Christian Politeness. — Under the title of Rules 
of Decorum and Christian Civility , La Salle had composed a 
reading book, intended for pupils already somewhat ad- 
vanced, and printed in Gothic characters. 1 It was not only 
a manual of politeness, but was, the Conduct claims, a 
treatise on ethics, " containing all the duties of children, 
both towards God and towards their parents." But we 
would examine the work in vain for the justification of this 
remark. In it are discussed only the puerile details of out- 
ward behavior and of worldly bearing. It would, however, 
be in bad taste to criticise at this day a book of another age, 
whose artlessness makes us smile. La Salle's purpose was 
certainly praiseworthy, though attempting a little too much. 
It is said in the Preface that " there is not a single one of 
our actions which ought not to be regulated b}* motives 
purely Christian. " Hence an infinite number of minute 
prescriptions upon the simplest acts of daily life. 2 

But here are a few specimens of this pretended elementary 
ethics : — 

"It is not proper to talk when one has retired, the bed 
. being made for rest." 

" One should ti-y to make no noise and not to snore while 
asleep ; nor should one often turn from side to side in bed as 
if he were restless and did not know on which side to lie." 

tfc It is not becoming, when one is in company, to take off 
one's shoes." 

1 We have before us the sixth edition of this work: Rouen. 1729. La 
Salle had written it towards the year 1703. 

2 See, for example, the following chapters: upon the nose and the manner 
of using the handkerchief and of sneezing (chap, vii.) ; upon the back, the 
shoulders, the arms, and the elbow (chap, viii.) ; on the manner in which 
one ought to behave with respect to the bones, the sauce, and the fruit 
(chap, vi., of the second part) ; on the manner of behaving while walking 
in the streets, on journeys, in carriages, and on horseback (chap. x.). 


" It is impolite to play with a stick or a cane, and to use 
it to strike the grouud or pebbles, etc., etc." 

How many mistakes in politeness we should make every 
day of our lives if the rules of La Salle were infallible ! 

293. Corporal Chastisements. — The Brethren, within 
two centuries, have singularly ameliorated their system of cor- 
rection. "Imperative circumstances" said the Frere Philip 
in 1870, "no longer permit us to tolerate corporal punish- 
ment in our schools." Already, in 1811, there was talk of 
suppressing entirely, or at least modifying, the use of these 
punishments. The instruments of torture were perfected. 
ki We reduce the heavy ferule, the inconvenience of which 
has been only too often felt, to a simple piece of leather, 
about a foot long and an inch wide, and slit in two at one 
end ; still we hope that by divine help and by the mildness 
of our very dear and dearly beloved colleagues, they will 
make use of it only in cases of unavoidable necessity, and 
only to give a stroke with it on the hand, without the per- 
mission ever to make any other use of it." 

But at first, and in the original Conduct? corporal pun- 
ishment is freely permitted and regulated with exactness. 
La Salle- distinguished five sorts of corrections, — repri- 
mand, penances, the ferule, the rod, expulsion from school. 

294. Reprimands. — Silence, we have seen, is the funda- 
mental rule of La Salle's schools : u There must be as little 
speaking as possible. Consequently, corrections by word of 
mouth are very rarely to be employed." It even seems, 
adds the Conduct, that " it is much better not to use them 
at all " ! 

A curious system of discipline, verily, where it is as good 

» See the edition of 1720, from page 140 to page 180. 



as forbidden to resort to admonitions, to severe reprimands, 
to an appeal through speech to the reason and the feelings of 
the child ; where, consequently, there is no place for the 
moral authority of the teacher, but where there is at once 
invoked the ultima ratio of constraint and violence, of the 
ferule and the rod ! 

295. Penances. — La Salle recommends penances as well 
as corporal corrections. By this term he means punishments 
like; the following : maintaining a kneeling posture in the 
school ; learning a few pages of the catechism by heart ; 
44 holding his book before his eyes for the space of half an 
hour without looking off ; " keeping motionless, with clasped 
hands and downcast eyes, etc. 

290. The Fehule. — We have not to discuss in this place 
the use of material means of correction. The Brethren 
themselves have repudiated them. Only it is provoking 
that they bow to what they call ' k imperative circumstances," 
and not to considerations based on principles. But it is 
interesting, were it only from an historical point of view, to 
recall the minute prescriptions of the founder of the Order. 

The Conduct first describes the ferule, " an instrument 
formed of two pieces of leather sewed together ; it shall be 
from ten to twelve inches long, including the handle ; the 
palm shall be oval, and two inches in diameter ; the 
palm shall be lined on the inside so as not to be wholly flat, 
but rounded to fit the hand." Nothing is overlooked, we 
observe ; the form of the ferule is ofliciallv defined. But 
what shocks us still more is the nature of the faults that 
provoke the application of the ferule: " 1. for not having 
attended to the lesson, or for having played; 2. for being 
tardy at school ; .**. for not having obeyed the first signal." 
It is true that La Salle, always preoccupied with writing, 


orders the ferule to be applied only to the left hand; the 
right hand shall always be spared. The child, moreover, is 
not to cry while he receives the ferule ; if he does, he is to 
be punished and corrected anew. 

297. The Rod. — In the penal code of La Salle, the cate- 
gories of faults worthy of punishment are sharply defined. 
The rod shall be employed for the followiug faults : 1 . re- 
fusal to obey ; 2. when the pupil has formed the habit of not 
giving heed to the lesson ; 3. when he has made blots upon 
his paper instead of writing ; 4. when he has had a fight with 
his comrades ; 5. when he has neglected his prayers in 
church ; 6. when he has been wanting in " modesty " at 
mass or during the catechism ; 7. when he lias been absent 
from school, from mass, or from the catechism. 

Even supposing that the principle of the rod is admissible, 
we must still coudemn the wrong use which La Salle makes 
of it, for faults manifestly out of proportion to such a chas- 

I ver}' well know that the author of the Conduct requires 
that corrections shall be rare ; but could he be obeyed, when 
he put into the hands of his teachers scarcely any other 
means of discipline? 

But to comprehend to what extent La Salle forgot what is 
due to the dignity of the child, and considered him as a 
machine, without any regard to the delicacy of his feelings, 
with no respect for his person, we must read to the end the 
strange prescriptions of this manual of the rod. The pre- 
cautions that La Salle exacts make still more evident the 
impropriety of such punishments : — 

<fc When the teacher would punish a scholar with the rod, 
he will make the ordiuarv sign to summon the attention of 
the school ; next he will indicate by means of the signal the 



decree which the pupil has violated, and then show him the 
place where correction is ordinarily administered ; and he 
will at once go there, and will prepare to receive the punish- 
ment, standing in such a way as not to be seen indecently 
by an}* one. This practice of having the scholar prepare 
himself for receiving the correction, without any need on the 
part of the teacher of putting his hand upon him, shall be 
very exactly observed. 

" While the scholar is preparing himself to receive the cor- 
rection, the teacher shall be making an inward preparation 
to give it in a spirit of love, and in a clear view of God. 
Then he will go from his desk with dignity and gravity. 

" And when he shall have reached the place where the 
scholar is " (it is stated, moreover, that this place should be in 
one of the most remote and most obscure parts of the school, 
where the nakedness of the victim cannot be seen), " he will 
speak a few words to him to prepare him to receive the cor- 
rection with humility, submission, and a purpose of amend- 
ment ; then he will strike three blows as is usual ; to go 
beyond five blows, there would be needed a special order of 
the director. 

" He shall be careful not to put his hand on the scholar. 
If the scholar is not ready, he shall return to his desk with- 
out saying a word ; and when he returns, he shall give him 
the most severe punishment allowed without special permis- 
sion, that is, five blows. 

' • When a teacher shall have thus been obliged to compel a 
scholar to receive correction, he shall attempt in some way 
a little time afterwards to make him see and acknowledge 
his fault, and shall make him come to himself, and give him 
a strong and sincere resolution never to allow himself again 
to fall into such a revolt." 


The moment is perhaps not well chosen to preach a 
sermon and to violate the rule which forbids the Brethren 
the use of the reprimand. 

"After the. scholar has been corrected, he will modestly 
kneel in the middle of the room before the teacher, with 
arms crossed, to thank him for having corrected him, and 
will then turn towards the crucifix to thank God for it, and 
to promise Him at the same time not again to commit the 
fault for which he had just been corrected. This he will do 
without speaking aloud ; after which the teacher will give 
him the sign to go to his place." 

Is it possible to have a higher misconception of human 
nature, to trifle more ingeniously with the pride of the child, 
and with his most legitimate feelings, and to mingle, in the 
most repulsive manner, indiscreet and infamous practices 
with the exhibition of religious sentiments ? 

44 It is absurd," says Kant, " to require the children whom 
we punish to thank us, to kiss our hands, etc. This is to 
try to make servile creatures of them. ,, 

To justify La Salle, some quotations from his works have 
been invoked. 

" For the love of God, do not use blows of the hand. 
Be very careful never to give children a blow." 

But it is necessary to know the exact thought of the 
author of the Conduct, and this explains the following 
passage : — 

" No corrections should be employed save those which are 
in use in the schools ; and so scholars should never be struck 
with the hand or the foot." 

In other words, the teacher should never strike except 
with the authorized instruments, and according to the official 



298. Mutual Espionage. — We may say without exag- 
geration that the Conduct recommends mutual espionage : — 

" The inspector of schools shall be careful to appoint 
one of the most prudent scholars to observe^ those who make 
a noise while .they assemble, and this scholar shall then 
report to the teacher what has occurred, without allowing the 
others to know of it." 

299. Rewards. — While La Salle devotes more than forty 
pages to corrections, the chapter on rewards comprises two 
small pages. 

Rewards shall be given fc ' from time to time." They shall 
be of three kinds : rewards for piety, for ability, and for 
diligence. They shall consist of books, pictures, plaster 
casts, crucifix and virgin, chaplets, engraved texts, etc. 

300. Conclusion. — We have said enough to give an 
exact idea of the Institute of the Christian Brethren in its 
primitive form. Its faults were certainly grave, and we can- 
not approve the general spirit of those establishments for 
education where pupils are forbidden "to joke while they 
are at meals" ; to give anything whatsoever to one another; 
where children are to enter the school-room so deliberately 
and quietly that the noise of their footsteps is not heard ; 
where teachers are forbidden "to be familiar " with the 
pupils, " to allow themselves to descend to anything com- 
mon, as it would be to laugh ..." But whatever the dis- 
tance which separates those gloomy schools from our modern 
ideal, — from the pleasant, active, animated school, such as 
we conceive it to-day, — there is none the less obligation to 
do justice to La Salle, to pardon him for the practices which 
were those of his time, and to admire him for the good 
qualities that were peculiarly his own. The criticism that is 



truly fruitful, is that which is especially directed to the 
good, without caviling at the bad. 1 

[301. Analytical Summary. — 1. This study exhibits the 
zeal of the Catholic Church in the education of the children 
of the poor. The motive was not the spirit of domination, 
as in the case of the Jesuits, but a sincere desire to engage 
in a humane work. 

2. A proof of the multiplication of schools, and so of the 
diffusion of the new educational spirit, is the wretched 
quality of those who were allowed to teach. There must be 
schools even if they are poor ones. 

3. The need of competent teachers led to the establish- 
ment of the Teachers* Seminary, the parent of the modern 
normal school. The two elements in this professional 
instruction seem to have been a knowledge of the subjects 
to be taught and of methods of organization and discipline. 

4. The severe discipline and enforced silence of La Salle's 
schools permit the inference that the school of the period 
was the scene of lawlessness and disorder. The reaction 
went to an extreme ; but considering the times, this excess 
was a virtue. 

5. The scarcity of teachers and the abundance of pupils 
led to the expedient of mutual and simultaneous instruction. 
While this method is absolutely bad, it was relatively good. 

/ 6. To the benevolent and inventive spirit of La Salle is 
due the organization of industrial schools.] 

1 The influence of the teaching congregations in general, and of this one 
in particular, on public education as administered by the State, is very 
strikingly exhibited by Meunier in his Lutte dn Principe Clerical et du 
Principe Laique dans V Ensciftnement (Paris: 1861). There is also inter- 
esting information concerning La Salle. See particularly the introductory 
Letter and Chaps. I. and II. (P.) 



tub pedagogy of the eighteenth century j the precursors ot 
rousseau; the abbe de saint pierre; other inspirers of 
rousseau; publication of the emile (1762); rous8eau as a 
teacher; general principles of the emile j its romantic 
and utopian character ,* division of the work j the first two 
books ; education of the body and of the senses j let nature 
act; tiik mother to nurse her own children; negative edu- 

302. The Pedagogy of the Eighteenth Century:. — 
The most striking of the general characteristics of French 
pedagogy in the eighteenth ceutury, is that iu it the lay spirit 
comes into mortal collision with the ecclesiastical spirit. 
What a contrast between the clerical preceptors of the seven- 
teenth century and the philosophical educators of the eight- 
eenth! The Jesuits, all-powerful under Louis XIV M are 
to be decried, condemned, and finally expelled in 1762. 
The first place in the theory and in the practice of education 
will belong to laymen. Rousseau is to write the Emile. 
D'Alembert and Diderot will be the educational advisers of 
the Empress of Russia. The parliamentarians, La Chalotais 



and Holland, will attempt to substitute for the action of the 
Jesuits the action of the State, or, at least, one of the powers 
of the State. Finally, with the Revolution, the lay spirit 
will succeed in triumphing. 

Again, the pedagogy of the eighteenth century is distin- 
guished by its critical and reformatory tendencies. The 
century of Louis XIV. is, in geueral, a century of content ; 
the century of Voltaire, a century of discontent. 

Besides, the philosophical spirit, which associates the 
theory of education with the laws of the human spirit, which 
is not content to modify routine by a few ameliorations of 
detail, which establishes general principles and aspires to an 
ideal perfection, — the philosophical spirit, with its excel- 
lencies and with its defects, — will come to the light in the 
Emile, and in some other writings of the same period. 

Finally, and this last characteristic is but the consequence 
of the others, education tends to become national, and at the 
same time humane. Preparation for life replaces preparation 
for death. During the whole of the eighteenth century, a 
conception is in process of elaboration which the men of the 
Revolution will exhibit in its true light, — that of an educa- 
tion, public and national, which makes citizens, which works 
for country and for real life. 

303. Precursors of Rousseau. — The greatest educational 
event of the eighteenth century, before the expulsion of the 
Jesuits and the events of the French Revolution, is the pub- 
li cation of the Emile. Rousseau is undeniablv the first in 
rank among the founders of French pedagogy, and his influ- 
ence will be felt abroad, especially in Germany. But what- 
ever may be the originality of the author of the Emile, his 
system is not a stroke of genius for which no preparation 
had been made. He had his precursors, and he profited by 
their works. A Benedictine, who might have spent hit 

DU1C1J LlihO 

liuvention ; 
-Was inspir 


strength to better advantage, has written a book on the 
Plagiarisms of J. J. Ifousseau. 1 

We do not propose to treat Rousseau as a plagiarist, for he 
surely has inspiration of his own, and his own boldness in 
but however much of an innovator he may be, he 
inspired by Montaigne, by Locke, and without speaking 
of those great masters whom he often imitated, he had his 
immediate predecessors, whose ideas on certain points are in 
conformity with his own. 

304. TnE Abbe de Saint Pierre (1658-1743). — Among 
the precursors of Rousseau, a place among the first must be 
assigned to the Abb6 de Saint Pierre, a dreamy, fantastic 
spirit, fitted more to excite curiosity than to deserve admir- 
ation, whom Rousseau himself called " a man of great pro- 
jects and petty views." His projects in fact were great, 
at least in number. Between " a project to make sermons 
more useful, and a project to make roads more passable," 
there came, in his incoherent and varied work, several pro- 
jects for perfecting education in general, and the education 
of girls in particular. 

The dominant idea of the Abb6 de Saint Pierre is his 
anxiety in behalf of moral education. In proportion as we 
advance towards the era of liberty, we shall notice a grow- " 
ing interest in the development of the moral virtues. 

The Abb6 de Saint Pierre requires of man four essential 
qualities : justice, benevolence, the discernment of virtue or 
judgment, and, lastly, instruction, which holds but the lowest 
rank. Virtue is of more worth than the knowledge of Latin. 

44 It cannot be said that a great knowledge of Latin is not 
an excellent attainment ; but in order to acquire this knowl- 

l Dom Joseph Cajet, Lee Plagiats de J. J. R. de Geneve sur Pidueation, 


edge, it is necessary to give to it an amount of time that 
would be incomparably better employed in acquiriug great 
skill in the observation of prudence. Those who direct edu- 
cation make a very great mistake in employing tenfold too 
much time in making us scholarly in the Latin tongue, aud 
in employing tenfold too little of it in giving us a confirmed 
use of prudence." l 

But what are the means proposed by the Abbe" de Saint 
Pierre? All that he has devised for organizing the teaching / 
of the social virtues is reduced to the requirement of reading 
edifying narratives, of playiug moral pieces, and of accus- 
toming young people to do meritorious acts in the daily inter-\ 
course of the school. When the lessons have been recited 
and the written exercises corrected, the teacher will say to 
the pupil : " Do for me an act of prudence, or of justice, or 
of benevolence." This is easier to sav than to do. College 
life scared}' furnishes occasion for the application of the 
social virtues. 

But the Abbe" de Saint Pierre should be credited with his 
good intentions. He is the first in France to give his thought 
to this matter of professional instruction. The mechanic 
arts, the positive sciences, the apprenticeship to trades, — 
these things he places above the stud}* of languages. Around 
his college, and even in his college, there are to be mills, 
printing offices, agricultural implements, garden tools, etc. 

Was it not also an idea at once new and wise, to establish 
a continuous department of public instruction, a sort of per- 
manent council, charged with the reformation of methods 
and with establishing, as far as possible, uniformity in all 
the colleges of the kingdom? 

Finally, we shall commend the Abbe* de Saint Pierre for 
having persistently urged the necessity of the education of 

l (Euvres diverse*, Tome L p. 12. 


women. From F6nelon to the Abbe* de Saint Pierre, from 
1680 to 1730, great progress was made in this question. We 
seem already to hear Condorcet when we read the following 
passage : — 

"The purpose should be to instruct girls in the elements 
of all the sciences and of all the arts which can enter into 
ordinary conversation, and even in several things which re- 
late to the different employments of men, such as the history 
of their country, geography, police regulations, and the prin- 
cipal civil laws, to the end that they can listen with pleasure to 
what men shall say to them, ask relevant questions, and easily 
keep up a conversation with their husbands on the daily 
occurrences in their occupations." 

For the purpose of sooner attaining his end, the Abbe* de 
Saint Pierre, anticipating the centuries, demanded for women 
national establishments, colleges of secondary instruction. 
He did not hesitate to cloister young girls in boarding-schools, 
and in boarding-schools without vacations ; and he entreated 
the State to organize public courses for those who, he said, 
" constitute one-half of the families in society." 

305. Other Inspireks op Rousseau. — With the eight- 
eenth century there begins for modern thought, in education 
as in everything else, an era of international relations, of 
mutual imitation, of the action and reaction of people on 
people. The Frenchman of the seventeenth century had al- 
most absolutely ignored Comenius. Rousseau knows Locke, 
and also the Hollander Crousaz, 1 whom, by the way, he treats 
rather shabbily, speaking of him as "the pedant Crousaz." 

Crousaz, however, had some good ideas. He criticised 
the old methods, which make "of the knowledge of Latin 

1 De V Education des en/ants, la Haye, 1722; Pen&tes libres iur Ut inr 
itructions publique* de* bos colleges, Amsterdam, 1727. 


and Greek the principal part of education " ; and he preached 
scientific instruction and moral education. 

In the Spectacle of Nature, which was so popular in its 
day, the Abbe* Pluche also demanded that the study of the 
dead languages should be abridged * : — 

" Experience with the pitiable Latinity which reigns in the 
colleges of Germany, Flanders, Holland, and in all places 
where the habit of always speaking Latin is current, suffices 
to make us renounce this custom which prevents a young 
man from speaking his own tongue correctly." 

The Abbe" Pluche demanded that the time saved from 
Latin be devoted to the living languages. On the other 
hand, he insisted on early education, and on this point he 
was the complement to his master, Rollin, who, he said, 
wrote rather u for the perfection of studies than for their 

Still other writers were able to suggest to Rousseau some 
of the ideas which he developed in the Emile. Before him, 
La Condamine declared that the Fables of La Fontaine are 
above the capacity of children. 2 Before him, Bonneval, much 
interested in physical education, violently criticised the use of 
long clothes, and claimed for children an education of the 
senses. He demanded, besides, that in early instruction, the 
effort of the teacher should be limited to the keeping of evil 
impressions from the childish imagination, and that instruc- 
tion in the truths of religion should be held in abeyance. 

We shall discover in the Emile all these ideas in outline 
revived and developed with the power and with the brilliancy 
of genius, sometimes transformed into boisterous paradoxes, 
but sometimes, also, transformed into solid and lasting 

1 Spectacle de la nature, Paris, 1732, Vol. VI. Entretien eur V education* 
3 Lettre critique $ur r education, Paris, 1701. 

nit ii 


306. Publication of the ISmile (1762). — Roasseau has 
made striking statements of nearly all the problems of edu- 
cation, and he has sometimes resolved them with wisdom, 
and always with originality. 

Appearing in 1762, at the moment when the Parliament 
was excluding the Jesuits from France, the Emile came at 
the right moment in that grand overthrow of routine and 
tradition to disclose new hopes to humanity, and to announce 
the advent of philosophic reason in the art of educating men. 
But Rousseau, in writing his book, did not think of the 
Jesuits, of whom he scarcely speaks ; he wrote, not for the 
man of the present, but for the future of humanit}* ; he com- 
posed a book endowed with endless vitality, half romance, 
half essay, the grandest monument of human thought on the 
subject of education. The Emile, in fact, is not a work of 
ephemeral polemics, nor simply a practical manual of peda- 
gogy, but is a general system of education, a treatise on 
psychology and moral training, a profound analysis of human 

307. Was Rousseau prepared to become a Teacher? — 
Before entering upon the study of the Emile, it is well to 
inquire how the author had been prepared by his character 
and by his mode of life to become a teacher. The history of 
French* literature offers nothing more extraordinary than the 
life of Jean Jacques Rousseau. Everything is strange in the 
destiny of that unfortunate great man. Rousseau com- 
mitted great faults, especially in his youth ; but at other 
moments of his life he is almost a sage, a hero of private 
virtues and civic courage. He traversed all adventures and 
all trades. Workman, servant, charlatan, preceptor, all in 
turn ; he lodged in garrets at a sou, and experienced days 
when he complained that bread was too dear. Through all 



these miseries and these humiliations a soul was in process 
of formation made up, above all else, of sensibility and 

Rousseau's sensibility was extreme. The child who, 
unjustly treated, experienced one of those violent Gts of 
passion which he has so well described in his Confessions, 
and who writhed a whole night in his bed, crying u Caniifex, 
carnifex!" was surely not an ordinary child. "I had no 
idea of things, but all varieties of feeling were already 
known to me. I had conceived nothing ; I had felt every- 
thing." Even a mediocre representation of Alzire made him 
beside himself, and he refused witnessing the play of trage- 
dies for fear of becoming ill. 

The sentiment of nature early inspired him with a passion 
which was not to be quenched. His philosophic optimism 
and his faith in providence were never forgotten. Other 
pure and generous emotions filled his soul. The study of 
Plutarch had inspired him with a taste for republican virtues 
and with an enthusiasm for liberty. Falsehood caused him 
a veritable horror. He had the feeling of equity in a high 
degree. Later, to the hatred of injustice there was joined in 
his heart an implacable resentment against the oppressors of 
the people. He had doubtless received the first germ of this 
hate when, making the journey afoot from Paris to Lyons, 
he entered the cabin of a poor peasant, and there found, as 
iu a picture, the affecting summary of the miseries of the 

At the same time he was an insatiable reader. He nour- 
ished himself on the poets, historians, and philosophers of 
antiquity, and he studied the mathematics and astronomy. 
As some one has said, " That life of reading and toil, inter- 
rupted by so many romantic incidents and adventurous 
undertakings, had vivified his imagination as a regular course 



of study in the College of Plessis could not possibly have 

It is in this way that his literary genius was formed, and, 
in due order, bis genius for pedagogy. We need not seek in 
tbe life of Rousseau any direct preparation for the composi- 
tion of the Emile, It is true that for a time he had been 
preceptor, in 1739, in the family of Mablv, but he soon 
resigned duties in which he was not successful. A little 
essay which he composed in 1740 l does not yet give proof 
of any great originality. On the other hand, if he loved to 
observe children, he observed, alas, only the children of 
others. There is nothing sadder than that page of tbe Confes- 
sions in which he relates how he often placed himself at the 
window to observe the dismission of school, in order to listen 
to the conversations of children as a furtive and unseen 
observer ! 

| The Emile is thus less the result of a patient induction and 
of a real experience than a work of inspiration or a brilliant 
improvisation of genius. 

308. General Principles of the £mile. — A certain 
number of general principles run through the entire work, and 
give it a systematic form and a positive character. 

The first of these is the idea of the innocence and of the 
\ perfect goodness of the child. The Emile opens with this 
Hole mn declaration: — 

u Everything is good as it comes from the hands of the 
Author of nature ; everything degenerates in the hands of 
man." And in another place, " Let us assume as an incon- 
testal>le*maxim that the first movements of nature are always 
right ; there is no original perversity in the human heart." 

Without doubt Rousseau was right in opposing the pessi- 

1 Projet pour V education de At. de Ste-Marie. 



mism of those who see in the child a being thoroughly wicked 
and degraded before birth ; he is deceived in turn when he 
affirms that there is no germ of evil in human nature. 

Society is wicked and corrupt, he says, and it is from I 
society that all the evil comes ; it is from its pernicious / 
influence that the soul of the child must be preserved ! But, 
we reply, how did society itself happen to be spoiled and 
vitiated ? It is nothing but a collection of men ; and if the 
individuals are innocent, how can the aggregate of individu- 
als be wicked and perverse? But let the contradictious of 
Rousseau pass ; the important thing to note is that from his 
optimism are derived the essential characteristics of the 
education which he devises for Emile. This education will [ 
be at once natural and negative : — 

44 iSmile," says Gr6ard, " is a child of nature, brought up 
by nature, according to the rules of nature, for the satisfac- 
tion of the needs of nature. This sophism is not merely in- 
scribed at random on the frontispiece of the book, but is its 
very soul ; and it is by reason of this sophistry that, sepa- 
rated from the body of reflections and maxims that give it so 
powerful an interest, Rousseau's plan of education is but a 
dangerous chimera." 

Everything that society has established, Rousseau con- 
demns in a lump as fictitious and artificial. Conventional / 
usages he despises ; and he places Emile at the school of I 
nature, and brings him up almost like a savage. 

On the other hand, the education of Emile is negative, at 
least till his twelfth year ; that is, Rousseau lets nature have 
her wav till then. For those who think nature evil, educa- 
tion ought to be a work of compression and of repression. 
But nature is good ; and so education consists simply in let- 
ting her have free course. To guard the child from the shock 
of opinions, to form betimes a defence about his soul, to 



assure against every exterior influence the free development 
of bis faculties — such is the end that he proposes to himself. 

Another general principle of the Emile^ another truth 
which Rousseau's spirit of paradox quickly transforms into 
error, is the idea of the distinction of ages : — 

" Each age, each state of life, has its proper perfection, 
and a sort of maturity which is its own. We have often 
heard of a man growu ; but let us think of a child grown. 
That sight will be newer to us, and perhaps not less agree- 

" We do not know infancy. With the false ideas we have, 
the further we go, the more we are astray. The most learned 
give their attention to that which it is important for men to 
know without considering what children are in a condition to 
comprehend. The}* always look for the man in the child* 
without thinking of what he was before he became a man." 

" Everything is right so far, and from these observations 
there proceeds a progressive education, exactly conforming 
in its successive requirements to the progress of the faculties. 
But Rousseau does not stop in his course, and he goes be- 
yond progressive education to recommend an education in 
fragments, so to speak, which isolates the faculties in order 
to develop them one after another, which establishes an abso- 
lute line of dcmarkation between the different ages, and 
which ends in distinguishing three stages of progress \n the 
soul. Rousseau's error on this point is in forgetting that 
the education of the child ought to prepare for the education 
of the young man. Instead of considering the different ages 
as the several rings of one and the same chain, he separates 
them sharply from one another. He does not admit that 
marvellous unity of the human soul, which seems so strong in 
man only because God has, so to speak, woven its bands into 
the child and there fastened them." (Gr6ard). 


809. Romantic Character of the £mile. — A final ob- 
servation is necessary before entering into an analysis of the 
Emile ; it is that in this, as in his other works, Rousseau is 
not averse to affecting singularities, and with deliberation 
and effrontery to break with received opinions. Doubtless we 
should not go so far as to say with certain critics that the 
Emile is rather the feat of a wit than the serious expression 
of a grave and serious thought; but what it is impossible 
not to grant is that which Rousseau himself admits in his 
preface : " One will believe that he is reading, not so much 
a book on education as the reveries of a visionary." £mile, 
in fact, is an imaginary being whom Rousseau places in strange 
conditions. He does not give him parents, but has him 
brought up by a preceptor in the country, far from all society. / L i 
£mile is a character in a romance rather than a real man. / 

^ 310. Division op the Work. — Without doubt, there 
are in the Emile long passages and digressions that make the 
reading of it more agreeable and its analysis more difficult. 
But, notwithstanding all this, the author confines himself to 
a methodical plan, at least to a chronological order. The 
different ages of Emile serve as a principle for the division 
of the work. The first two books treat especially of the in- 
fant and of the earliest period of life up to the age of twelve. 
The only question here discussed is the education of the body 
and the exercise of the senses. The third book corresponds 
to the period of intellectual education, from the twelfth to 
the fifteenth year. In the fourth book, Rousseau studies 
moral education, from the fifteenth to the twentieth year. 

Finally, the fifth book, in which the romantic spirit is still 
rampant, is devoted to the education of woman. 

311 . The First Two Books of the £mile. — It would be 
useless to search this first part of the Emile for precepts rela- 

***^—^*— i " *' n^^^ay^^tt^B 


tive to the education of the mind and the heart. Rousseau 
has purposely eliminated from the first twelve years of t,he 
child's life everything which concerns instruction and moral 
discipline. At the age of twelve, iSmile will know how to 
run, jump, and judge of distances ; but he will be perfectly 
ignorant. The idea would be that he has studied nothing ac 
all, and " that he has not learned to distinguish his right 
hand from his left." 

The exclusive characteristic of Smile's education, during 
this first period, is, then, the preoccupation with physical 
development and with the training of the senses. 

Out of many errors, we shall see displayed some admirable 
flashes of good sense, and grand truths inspired by the prin- 
ciple of nature. 

^-312. Let Nature have her Wat. — What does nature 
demand? She demands that the child have liberty of move- 
ment, and that nothing interfere with the nascent activities 
of his limbs. What do we do, on the contrary? We put 
him in swaddling clothes ; we imprison him. He is deformed 
by his over-tight garments, — the first chains that are imposed 
on a being who is destined to have so many others to bear ! 
On this subject, the bad humor of Rousseau does not tire. 
He is prodigal in outbreaks of spirit, often witty, and some- 
times ridiculous. 

44 It seems," he says, " as though we fear that the child 
may appear to be alive." "Man is born, lives, and dies, in a 
state of slavery ; at his birth he is stitched into swaddling- 
clothes ; at his death he is nailed in his coffin ; and as long 
as he preserves the human form he is held captive by our 

We shall not dwell on these extravagances of language 
which transforms a coffin and a child's long-clothes into inati- 


tutions. The protests of Rousseau have contributed towards 
a reformation of usages ; but, even on this point, with his 
great principle that everything must be referred to nature, 
-because whatever nature does she does well, the author of 
Emile is on the point of going astray. No more for the 
bodv than for the mind is nature sufficient in herself ; she 
must have help and watchful assistance. Strong supports 
are needed to prevent too active movements and dangerous 
strains of the body ; just as, later on, there will be needed a 
vigorous moral authority to moderate and curb the passions 
of the soul. 

313. The Mother to nurse her own Children. — But 
there is another point where it has become trite to praise 
Rousseau, and where his teaching should be accepted without 
reserve. This is when he strongly protests against the use 
of hired nurses, and when he eloquently summons mothers 
to the duties of nursing their own children. Where there is 
no mother, there is no child, says Rousseau, and he adds, 
where there is no mother, there is no family ! " Would you 
recall each one to his first duties? Begin with the mothers. 
You will be astonished at the changes you will produce ! " 
It would be to fall into platitudes to set forth, after Rous- 
seau, and after so many others, the reasons which recom- 
mend nursing by the mother. We merely observe that 
Rousseau insists on this, especially on moral grounds. It is 
not merely the health of the child ; it is the virtue and the 
morality of the family ; it is the dignity of the home, that he 
wishes to defend and preserve. And, in fact, how many 
other duties are provided for and made easier by the per- 
formance of a primal duty. 

314. Hardening of the Body. — So far, the lessons of 
nature have instructed Rousseau. He is still right when ho 

■ *— — — maammmnm&h 


wishes iSmile to grow hardy, to become inured to privations, 
to become accustomed at an early hour to pain, and to 
learn how to suffer ; but from being a stoic, Rousseau soon 
becomes a cynic Contempt for pain gives place to a con- 
tempt for proprieties. £mile shall be a barefoot, like Dioge- 
nes. Locke gives his pupil thin shoes ; Rousseau, surpassing 
him, completely abolishes shoes. He would also like to 
suppress all the inventions of civilization. Thus £mile, 
accustomed to walk in the dark, will do without candles. 
" I would rather have Eraile with eyes at the ends of his 
fingers than in the shop of a candle-maker." All this tempts 
us to laugh ; but here are graver errors. Rousseau objects 
to vaccination, and proscribes medicine. l£mile is fore- 
handed. He is in duty bound to be well. A physician will 
be summoned only when he is in danger of death. Again, 
Rousseau forbids the washing of the new-born child in wine, 
because wine is a fermented liquor, and nature produces 
nothing that is fermented. And so there must be no play- 
things made by the hand of man. A twig of a tree or a 
poppy -head will suffice. Rousseau, as we see, by reason of 
his wish to make of his pupil a man of nature, brings him 
into singular likeness with the wild man, and assimilates 
him almost to the brute. 

315. Negative Education. — It is evident that the first 
period of life is that in which the use of negative education 
is both the least dangerous and the most acceptable. Ordi- 
narily, Emile's preceptor will be but the inactive witness, 
the passive spectator of the work done by nature. Had 
Rousseau gone to the full length of his system, he ought to 
have abolished the preceptor himself, in order to allow the 
child to make his way all alone. But if the preceptor is 
tolerated, it is not to act directly on £mile, it is not to per- 


form the duties of a professor, in teaching him what it is 
important for a child to know ; but it is simply to put him in 
the way of the discoveries which he ought to make for himself 
in the wide domain of nature, and to arrange and to combine, 
artificially and laboriously, those complicated scenes which 
are intended to replace the lessons of ordinary education. 
Such, for example, is the scene of the juggler, where fimile 
is to acquire at the same time notions on physics and on 
ethics. Such, again, is the conversation with the gardener, 
Robert, who reveals to him the idea of property. The pre- 
ceptor is no longer a teacher, but a mechanic. The true 
educator is nature, but nature prepared and skillfully ad- 
justed to serve the ends that we propose to attain. Rousseau 
admits only the teaching of things : — 

4fc Do not give your pupil any kind of verbal lesson; he 
should receive none save from experience." "The most 
important, the most useful rule in all education, is not to 
gain time, but to lose it." 

The preceptor will interfere at most only by a few timid 
and guarded words, to aid the child in interpreting the les- 
sons of nature. "State questions within his comprehension, 
and leave him to resolve them for himself. Let him not 
know anything because you have told it to him, but because 
he has comprehended it for himself." 

'" For the body as for the mind, the child must be left to 

" Let him run, and frolic, and fall a hundred times a day. 
So much the better ; for he will learn from this the sooner to 
help himself up. The welfare of liberty atones for many 

In his horror for what he calls " the teaching and pedantic 
mania," Rousseau goes so far as to proscribe an education 
in habits : — 


" The only habit that a child should be allowed to form 
is to contract no habit." 

316. The Child's Right to Happiness. — Rousseau did 
not tire of demanding that we should respect the infancy that 
is in the child, and take into account his tastes and his apti- 
tudes. With what eloquence he claims for him the right of 
being happy ! 

" Love childhood. Encourage its sports, its pleasures, and 
| its instinct for happiness. Who of you has not sometimes 
regretted that period when a laugh was always on the lips, 
and the soul always in peace? Why will you deny those 
little innocents the enjoyment of that brief period which is so 
soon to escape them, and of that precious good which they 
cannot abuse ? Whv will vou fill with bitterness and sorrow 
those first years so quickly passing which will no more re- 
turn to them than they can return to you ? Fathers, do }*ou 
know the moment when death awaits vour children? Do 
not lay up for yourselves regrets by depriving them of the 
few moments that nature gives them. As soon as they can 
feel the pleasure of existence, try to have them enjoy it, and 
act in such a wav that at whatever hour God summons them 
they may not die without having tasted the sweetness of 

317. Proscription of Intellectual Exercises. — Rous- 
seau rejects from the education of £raile all the intellectual 
exercises ordinarily employed. He proscribes history on the 
pretext that Emile cannot comprehend the relations of events. 
He takes as an example the disgust of a child who had been 
told the anecdote of Alexander and his physician : — 

ik I found that he had an unusual admiration for the cour* 
age, so much lauded, of Alexander. But do you know in 
what he saw that courage? Simply in the fact 'that he 
swallowed a drink that had a bad taste." 


And from this Rousseau concludes that the child's intelli- 
gence is not sufficiently open to comprehend history, and that 
he ought not to learn it. The paradox is evident. Because 
£mile is sometimes exposed to the danger of falling into ^ 
errors of judgment, must he be denied the opportunity of 
judging? Similarly, Rousseau does not permit the study of 
the languages. Up to the age of twelve, l£mile shall know 
but one language, because, till then, incapable of judging and 
comprehending, he cannot make the comparison between 
other languages and his own. Later, from twelve to fifteen, 
Rousseau will find still other reasons for excluding the study 
of the ancient languages. And it is not only history and the 
languages ; it is literature in general from which iSmile is 
excluded by Rousseau. No book shall be put into his hands, 
not even the Fables of La Fontaine. It is well known with 
what resolution Rousseau criticises The Crow and the Fox. 

318. Education of the Senses. — The grand preoccupa- 
tion of Rousseau is the exercise and development of the 
senses of his pupil. The whole theor}- of object lessons, and 
even all the exaggerations of what is now called the intuitive 
method, are contained in germ in the Emile : — 

44 The first faculties which are formed and perfected in us 
are the senses. These, then, are the first which should be 
cultivated ; but these are the very ones that we forget or that 
we neglect the most." 

Rousseau does not consider the senses as wholly formed 
by nature ; but he makes a special search for the means of 
forming them and of perfecting them through education. 

44 To call into exercise the senses, is, so to speak, to learn 
to feel ; for we can neither touch, nor see, nor hear, except as 
we have been taught." 

Only, Rousseau is wrong in sacrificing everything to this 


education of the senses. He sharply criticises this favorite 
maxim of Locke, " We must reason with children." Rous- 
seau retards the education of the judgment and the reason, 
and declares that " he would as soon require that a child be 
five feet high as that he reason at the age of eight." 

319. The Third Book of the £mile. — From the twelfth 
to the fifteenth year is the length of time that Rousseau has 
devoted to study and to intellectual development proper. It 
is necessary that the robust animal, "the roe-buck," as he 
calls iSmile, after a negative and temporizing education of 
twelve years, become in three years an enlightened intelli- 
gence. A 8 the period is short, Rousseau disposes of the time 
for instruction with a miser's hand. Moreover, lSinile is very 
poorly prepared for the rapid studies which are to be im- 
posed on him. Not having acquired in his earlier years the 
habit of thinking, having lived a purety physical existence, he 
will have great difficulty in bringing to life, within a few 
months, his intellectual faculties. 

But without dwelling on the unfavorable conditions of 
fimile's intellectual education, let us see in what it will 

320. Choice in the Things to be taught. — The princi- 
ple which guides Rousseau in the choice of Smile's studies 
is no other than the principle of utility : — 

" There is a choice in the things which ought to be taught as 
well as in the time fit for learning them. Of the knowledges 
within our reach, some are false, others are useless, and still 
others serve to nourish the pride of him who has them. Only 
the small number of those which really contribute to our good 
are worthy the care of a wise man, and consequently of a 
child whom we wish to render such. It is not a question of 
knowing what is, but only what is useful." 



821. Rousseau and the Abbe de Saint Pierre. — Among 
educators, some wish to teach everything, while others de- 
mand a choice, and would retain only what is necessary. 
The Abbe* de Saint Pierre follows the first tendency. He 
would have the scholar learn everything at college ; a little 
medicine towards the seventh or eighth year, and in the 
other classes, arithmetic and blazonry, jurisprudence, Ger- 
man, Italian, dancing, declamation, politics, ethics, astron- 
omy, anatomy, chemistry, without counting drawing and the 
violin, and twenty other things besides. Rousseau is wiser. 
He is dismayed at such an accumulation, at such an obstruc- 
tion of studies, and so yields too much to the opposite ten- 
dency, and restricts beyond measure the list of necessary 

322. Smile's Studies. — These, in fact, are the studies to 
which iSmile is limited : first, the physical sciences, and, at 
the head of the list, astronomy, then geography, geography 
taught without maps and by means of travel : — 

i% You are looking for globes, spheres, maps. "What 
machines ! Why all these representations ? Why not begin 
by showing him the object itself ? " 

Here, as in other places, Rousseau prefers what would be 
best,- but what is impossible, to that which is worth less, but 
which alone is practicable. 

But Rousseau does not wish that his pupil, like the pupil of 
Rabelais, become an "abyss of knowledge." 

" When I see a man, enamored of knowledge, allow him- 
self to yield to its charms, and run from one kind to another 
without knowing where to stop, I think I see a child on the 
sea-shore collecting shells, beginning by loading himself with 
them ; then, tempted by those he still sees, throwing them 
aside, picking them up, until, weighed down by their number, 


and no longer knowing which to choose, he ends by rejecting 
everything, and returns empty-handed." 

No account is made of grammar and the ancient languages 
in the plan of EmhVs studies. Graver still, history is pro- 
scribed. This rejection of historical studies, moreover, is 
systematically done. Rousseau has placed iSmile in the 
country, and has made him an orphan, the better to isolate 
him ; to teach him history would be to throw him back into 
society that he abominates. 

323. No Books save Robinson Crusoe. — One of the con- 
sequences of an education that is natural and negative is the 
suppression of books. Always going to extremes, Rousseau 
is not content to criticise the abuse of books. He deter- 
mines that up to his fifth year £mile shall not know what a 
book is : — 

u I hate books," he exclaims ; " they teach us merely to 
speak of things that we do not know." 

, Besides the fact that this raving is rather ridiculous in the 
case of a man who is a writer by profession, it is evident that 
Rousseau is roving at random when he condemns the use of 
books in instruction. 

One book, however, one single book, has found favor in 
his sight. Robinson Crusoe will constitute by itself for a long 
time the whole of Emile's library. We understand without 
difficulty Rousseau's kindly feeling for a work which, under 
the form of a romance, is, like the Entile, a treatise on natu- 
ral education, finiile and Robinson strongly resemble each 
other, since they are self-sufficient and dispense with 

324. Excellent Precepts on Method. — At least in the 
general method which he commends, Rousseau makes amends 
for the errors in his plan of study : — 


"Do not treat the child to discourses which he cannot 
understand. No descriptions, no eloquence, no figures of 
speech. Be content to present to him appropriate objects. 
Let us transform our sensations into ideas. But let us not 
jump at once from sensible objects to intellectual objects. 
Let us always proceed slowly from one sensible notion to 
another. In general, let us never substitute the sigu for the 
thing, except when it is impossible for us to show the 

"I have no love whatever for explanations and talk. 
Things ! things ! I shall never tire of saying that we ascribe 
too much importance to words. With our babbling education 
we make only babblers." 

But the whole would bear quoting. Almost all of Rous- 
seau's recommendations, in the way of method, contain an 
element of truth, and need only to be modified in order to 
become excellent. 

325. Exclusive Motives op Action. — A great question* 
in the education of children is to know to what motive we 
shall address ourselves. Here again, Rousseau is exclusive 
and absolute. Up to the age of twelve, £mile will have 
been guided by necessity ; he will have been made depend- 
ent on things, not on men. It is through the possible and 
the impossible that he will have been conducted, by treating 
him, not as a sensible and intelligent being, but as a force of 
nature against which other forces are made to act. Not till 
the age of twelve must this system be changed. iSmile has 
now acquired some judgment ; and it is upon an intellectual 
motive that one ought now to count in regulating his con- 
duct. This motive is utility. The feeling of emulation can- 
not be employed in a solitary education. Finally, at the 
age of fifteen, it will be possible to appeal to the heart, to 



feeling, and to recommend to the young man the acts we set 
before him, no longer as necessary or useful, but as noble, 
good, and generous. The error of Rousseau is in cutting 
up the life of man to his twentieth year into three sharply 
defined parts, into three moments, each subordinated to a 
single governing priuciple. The truth is that at every age 
an appeal must be made to all the motives that act on our 
will, that at every age, necessity, interest, sentiment, and 
finally, the idea of duty, an idea too often overlooked by 
Rousseau, as all else that is derived from reason, — all these 
motives can effectively intervene, in different degrees, in the 
education of man. 

326. ISmile learns a Trade. — At the age of fifteen, 
Smile will know nothing of histor}*, nothing of humanity, 
nothing of art and literature, nothing of God ; but he will 
know a trade, a manual trade. By this means, he will be 
sheltered from need in advance, in case a revolution should 
strip him of his fortune. 

"We are approaching," says Rousseau, with an astonish- 
ing perspicacity, " a century of revolutions. Who can give 
you assurance of what will then become of you ? I hold it 
to be impossible for the great monarchies of Europe to last 
much longer. They have all had their day of glory, and 
every State that dazzles is in its decline." 

We have previously noticed, in studying analogous ideas in 
the case of Locke, for what other reasons Rousseau made of 
Emile an apprentice to a cabinet-maker or a carpenter. 

327. Smile at the Age op Fifteen. — Rousseau takes 
comfort in the contemplation of his work, and he pauses 
from time to time in his analyses and deductions, to trace 
the portrait of his pupil. This is how he represents him at 
the age of fifteen : — 


" lSmile has but little knowledge, but that which he has is 
really his own ; he knows nothing by halves. In the small 
number of things that he knows, and knows well, the most 
important is that there are many things which he does not 
know, but which he can some day learn ; that there are many 
more things which other men know, but which he will never 
know ; and that there is an infinity of other things which no 
man will ever know. He has a universal mind, not through 
actual knowledge, but through the ability to acquire it. He 
has a mind that is open, intelligent, prepared for everything, 
and, as Montaigne says, if not instructed, at least capable 
of being instructed. It is sufficient for me that he knows 
how to find the ofichat good is it? with reference to all that 
he does, and the why? of all that he believes. Once more, 
my object is not at all to give him knowledge, but to teach 
him how to acquire it as he may need it, to make him esti- 
mate it at its exact worth, and to make him love truth above 
everything else. With this method, progress is slow ; but 
there are no false steps, and no danger of being obliged to 
retrace one's course." 

All this is well ; but it is necessary to add that even 3? mile 
has faults, great faults. To mention but one of them, but 
one which dominates all the others, he sees things only from 
the point of view of utility, and he would not hesitate, for 
example, " to give the Academy of Sciences for the smallest 
bit of pastry." 

328. Education op the Sensibilities. — It is true that 
Rousseau finally decides to make of £mile an affectionate 
and reasonable being. " We have formed," he says, " his 
body, his senses, his judgment; it remains to give him a 
heart." Rousseau, who proceeds like a magician, by wave of 
wand and clever tricks, flatters himself that within a day's 


time Emile is going to become the most affectionate, the 
most moral, and the most religious of men. 

32 J . The Fourth Book of the £mile. — The develop- 
ment of the affectionate sentiments, the culture of the moral 
sentiment, and that of the religious sentiment, such is the 
triple subject of the fourth book, — vast and exalted questions 
that lend themselves to eloquence in such a way that the 
fourth book of the Emile is perhaps the most brilliant of the 
whole work. 

33#. Genesis of the Affectionate Sentiments. — Here 
Rousseau is wholly in the land of chimeras. Emile, who 
lives in isolation, who has neither family, friends, nor com- 
panions, is necessarily condemned to selfishness, and every- 
thing Rousseau can do to warm his heart will be useless. 
Do we wish to develop the feelings of tenderness and affec- 
tion? Let us begin by placing the child under family or 
social influences which alone can furnish his affections the 
occasion for development. For fifteen years Rousseau leaves 
the heart of Emile unoccupied. What an illusion to think 
he will be able to fill it all at once ! When we suppress the 
mother in the education of a child, all the means that we can 
invent to excite in, his soul emotions of gentleness and 
affection are but palliatives. Rousseau made the mistake of 
thinking that a child can be taught to love as he is taught to 
read and write, and that lessons could be given to iSmile in 
feeling just as lessons are given to him in geomefry. 

331. Moral Education. — Rousseau is more worthv of 
being followed when he demands that the moral notions of 
right and wrong have their first source in the feelings of sym- 
pathy and social benevolence, on the supposition that accord- 
ing to his system he can inspire Emile with such feelings. 



We enter, finally, the domain of morals," he says. " If 
this were the place for it, I would show how from the first 
emotions of the heart arise the first utterances of the con- 
science, and how, from the first feelings of love and hate 
arise the first notions of good and evil. I would make it 
appear that justice and goodness are not merely abstract 
terms, conceived by the understanding, but real affections 
of the soul enlightened by the reason." 

Yes ; let the child be made to make his way gradually 
towards a severe morality, sanctioned by the reason, in 
having him pass through the gentle emotions of the heart. 
Nothing can be better. But this is to be done on one condi- 
tion : this is, that we shall not stop on the way, and that the 
vague inspirations of the sensibilities shall be succeeded by 
the exact prescriptions of the reason. Now Rousseau, as 
we know, was never willing to admit that virtue was anything 
else than an affair of the heart. His ethics is wholly an 
ethics of sentiment. 

332. Religious Education. — We know the reasons which 
determined Rousseau to delay till the sixteenth or eighteenth 
year the revelation of religion. It is that the child, with his 
sensitive imagination, is necessarily an idolater. If we 
speak^to him of God, he can form but a superstitious idea of 
him. "Now," says Rousseau, pithily, u when the imagina- 
tion has once seen God, it is verv rare that the understanding 
conceives him." In other terms, once plunged in supersti- 
tion, the mind of the child can never extricate itself from it. 
We must then wait, in the interest of religion itself, till the 
child have sufficient maturity of reason and sufficient power 
of thought to seize in its truth, divested of every veil of 
sense, the idea of God, whose existence is announced to him 
for the first time. 


It is difficult to justify Rousseau. First, is it not to be 
feared that the child, if he has reached his eighteenth year in 
ignorance of God, may find it wholly natural to be ignorant 
of him still, and that he reason and dispute at random with 
his teacher, and that he doubt instead of believe? And if 
he allows himself to be convinced, is it not at least evident 
that the religious idea, tardily inculcated, will have no pro- 
found hold on his mind? On the other hand, will the child, 
with his instinctive curiosity, wait till his eighteenth year to 
inquire the cause of the universe? Will he not form the 
notion of a God in his own way ? 

" One might have read, a few years ago," says Villemain, 
41 the account, or rather the psychological confession, of a 
writer (Sentenis), a German philosopher, whom his father 
had submitted to the experiment advised by the author of 

Emile. Left alone by the loss of a tenderly loved wife, this 
father, a learned and thoughtful man, had taken his infant 
son to a retired place in the country ; and not allowing him 
communication with any one, he had cultivated the child's 
intelligence through the sight of the natural objects placed 
near him, and by the stud}* of the languages, almost without 
books, and in carefully concealing from him all idea of God. 
The child had reached his tenth year without having either 
read or heard that great name. But then his mind {bund 
what had been denied it. The sun which he saw rise each 
morning seemed the all-powerful benefactor of whom he felt 
the need. He soon formed the habit of going at dawn to the 
garden to pay homage to that god that he had made for 
himself. His father surprised him one day, and showed him 
his error by teaching him that all the fixed stars are so many 
suns distributed in space. But such was then the disap- 
pointment and the grief of the child deprived of his worshio, 

T1 " ' ™** =Li— J.'—g^ ^ ~—~- t mam^!2 


that the father, overcome, acknowledged to him that there 
was a God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth." 1 

333. The Savoyard Vicar's Profession of Faith. — 
Rousseau has at least attempted to retrieve, by stately lan- 
guage and an impassioned demonstration of the existence of 
God, the delay which he has spontaneous!}' imposed on his 

The Savoyard Vicar's Profession of Faith is an eloquent 
catechism on natural religion, and the honest expression of a 
sincere and profound deism. The religion of nature is evi- 
dently the only one which, in Rousseau's system, can be 
taught, and ought to be taught, to the child, since the child is 
exactly the pupil of nature. If Emile wishes to go beyond 
this, if he needs a positive religion, this shall be for himself 
\o choose. 

334. Sophie and the Education of Women. — The weak- 
est part of the Emile is that which treats of the education of 
woman. This is not morel v because Rousseau, with his 
decided leaning towards the romantic, leads fimile and his 
companion into odd and extraordinary adventures, but it is 
especially because he misconceives the proper dignity of 
woman. Sophie, the perfect woman, has been educated only 
to complete the happiness of Emile. Her education is wholly 
relative to her destinv as a wife. 

"The whole education of women should be relative to men ; 
to please them, to be useful to them, to make themselves 
honored and loved by them, to educate the young, to care for 
the older, to advise them, to console them, to make life agree- 
able and sweet to them, — these are the duties of women in 
every age." 

** i Report of Villemain on the work of the Pcre Girard (1844). 


It is difficult to justify Rousseau. First, is it not to be 
feared that the child, if he has reached his eighteenth year in 
ignorance of God, may find it wholly natural to be ignorant 
of him still, and that he reason and dispute at random with 
his teacher, and that he doubt instead of believe? And if 
he allows himself to be convinced, is it not at least evident 
that the religious idea, tardily inculcated, will have no pro- 
found hold on his mind? On the other hand, will the child, 
with his instinctive curiosity, wait till his eighteenth year to 
inquire the cause of the universe? Will he not form the 
notion of a God in his own way ? 

" One might have read, a few years ago," says Villemain, 
64 the account, or rather the psychological confession, of a 
writer (Sentenis), a German philosopher, whom his father 
had submitted to the experiment advised by the author of 
Emile. Left alone by the loss of a tenderly loved wife, this 
father, a learned and thoughtful man, had taken his infant 
son to a retired place in the countr}- ; and not allowing him 
communication with any one, he had cultivated the child's 
intelligence through the sight of the natural objects placed 
near him, and by the stud}' of the languages, almost without 
books, and in carefully concealing from him all idea of God. 
The child had reached his tenth year without having either 
read or heard that great name. But then his mind Sound 
what had been denied it. The sun which he saw rise each 
morning seemed the all-powerful benefactor of whom he felt 
the need. He soon formed the habit of going at dawn to the 
garden to pay homage to that god that he had made for 
himself. His father surprised him one day, and showed him 
his error by teaching him that all the fixed stars are so many 
suns distributed in space. But such was then the disap- 
pointment and the grief of the child deprived of his worshiu, 


that the father, overcome, acknowledged to him that there 
was a God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth." 1 

333. The Savoyard Vicar's Profession of Faith. — 
Rousseau has at least attempted to retrieve, by stately lan- 
guage and an impassioned demonstration of the existence of 
God, the delay which he has spontaneously imposed on his 

The Savoyard Vicar's Profession of Faith is an eloquent 
catechism on natural religion, and the honest expression of a 
sincere and profound deism. The religion of nature is evi- 
dently the only one which, in Rousseau's system, can be 
taught, and ought to be taught, to the child, since the child is 
exactly the pupil of nature. If Emile wishes to go beyond 
this, if he needs a positive religion, this shall be for himself 
So choose. 

334. Sophie and the Education of Women. — The weak- 
est part of the Emile is that which treats of the education of 
woman. This is not merely because Rousseau, with his 
decided leaning towards the romantic, leads iSmile and his 
companion into odd and extraordinary adventures, but it is 
especially because he misconceives the proper dignity of 
woman. Sophie, the perfect woman, has been educated only 
to complete the happiness of Emile. Her education is wholly 
relative' to her destinv as a wife. 

"The whole education of women should be relative to men ; 
to please them, to be useful to them, to make themselves 
honored and loved by them, to educate the young, to care for 
the older, to advise them, to console them, to make life agree- 
able and sweet to them, — these are the duties of women in 
every age." 

" * Report of ViUemain on the work of the Pcre Girard (1844). 



u Sophie," says Gr6ard, " has but virtues of the second 
order, virtues of conjugal education." It has been said that 
marriage is a second birth for man, that he rises or falls 
according to the choice which he makes. For woman, ac- 
cording to the theory of Rousseau, it is the true advent into 
life. According to the expressive formula of Michelet, who, 
in a sentence, has given a marvellous summary of the doc- 
trine, but in attaching to it a sense which poetizes it, " the 
husband creates the wife." Sophie, up to the day of her 
marriage, did not exist. She had learned nothing and read 
nothing " except a Barime and a TM&maque which have 
chanced to fall into her hands." She has been definitelv 
admonished, "that were men sensible, every lettered girl 
will remain a girl." It is iSmile alone who is to instruct her, 
and he will instruct her and mould her into his own ideal, 
and in conformity to his individual interest. 

While it was only in his youth that he received the first 
principles of the religious feeling, Sophie must be penetrated 
with it from infancy, in order that she may early form the 
habit of submission. He commands and she obeys, the first 
duty of the wife being meekness. If, during her youth, she 
has freely attended banquets, amusements, balls, the theatre, 
it is not so much to be initiated into the vain pleasures of 
the world, under the tutelage of a vigilant mother, as to be- 
long, once married, more fully to her home and to her 
husband. She is nothing except as she is by his side, or as 
dependent on him, or as acting through him. Strange and 
brutal paradox, which Rousseau, it is true, corrects and 
repairs in detail, at every moment by the most happy and 
charming inconsistencies." 

Sophie, briefly, is an incomplete person whom Rousseau is 
not careful enough to educate for herself. 

In her subordinate and inferior position, the cares of the 



household occupy the largest place. She cuts and makes 
her own dresses : — 

44 What Sophie knows best, and what was taught her with 
most care, is the work of her sex. There is no needle- work 
which she does not know how to make." 

It is not forbidden her, but is even recommended that she 
introduce a certain coquetry into her employments : — 

44 The work she loves the best is lace-making, because 
there is no other that gives her a more agreeable attitude, 
and in which the fingers are used with more grace and 

She carries daintiness a little too far : — 

44 She docs not love cooking ; its details have some disgust 
for her. She would sooner let the whole dinner go into the 
fire than to soil her cuffs." 

Truly this is fine housewifery ! We feel that we have here 
to do with a character in a romance who has no need to dine. 
Sophie would not have been well received at Saint Cyr, where 
Madame de Maintenon so severely scolded the girls who were 
too fastidious, 44 fearing smoke, dust, and disagreeable odors, 
even to making complaints and grimaces on their account as 
though all were lost." 

335. General Conclusion. — In order to form a just esti- 
mate of the Emile, it is necessary to put aside the impressions 
left by the reading of the last pages. We must consider as 
a whole, and without taking details into account, that work, 
which, notwithstanding all, is very admirable and profound. 
It is injured by analysis. To esteem the Emile at its real 
worth, it must be read entire. In reading it, in fact, we are 
warmed by contact with the passion which Rousseau puts into 
whatever he writes. We pardon his errors and chimeras by 
reason of the grand sentiments and the grand truths which 
we meet at every step. We must also take into account the 


time when Rousseau lived, and the conditions under which he 
wrote. We have not a doubt that had it been written thirty 
years later, in the dawn of the Revolution, for a people who 
were free, or who desired to be free, the Emile would have 
been wholly different from what it is. Had he been working 
for a republican society, or for a society that wished to become 
such, Rousseau would not have thrown himself, out of 
hatred for the reality, into the absurdities of an over-spe- 
cialized and exceptional education. We can judge of what 
he would have done as legislator of public instruction in the 
time of the Revolution, by what he wrote in his Considerations 
on the Government of Poland : — 

" National education belongs only to people who are 
free. ... It is education which is to give to men the national 
mould, and so to direct their opinions and their tastes that 
they will become patriots by inclination, by passion, and by 
necessity" (we would only add, by duty). "A child, in 
opening his eyes, ought to see his country and nothing but 
his country. Every true republican, along with his mother's 
milk, will imbibe love of country, that is, of law and liberty. 
This love constitutes his whole existence. He sees but his 
country, he lives but for her. So soon as he is alone, he is 
nothing ; so soon as there is no more of country, he is no 
more. . . . While learning to read, I would have a child of 
Poland read what relates to his country ; at the age of ten, I 
would have him know all its productions ; at twelve, all its 
provinces, all its roads, all its cities ; at fifteen, the whole of 
its history ; and at sixteen, all its laws ; and there should not 
be in all Poland a notable deed or an illustrious man, of which 
his memory and his heart were not full." 

33G. Influence of tiie 1?mile. — That which proves 
better than any commentary can the high standing of the 
Emile, is the success which it has obtained, the influence 


which it has exerted, both in France aud abroad, and the 
durable reuown attested by so many works designed, either 
to contradict it, to correct it, or to approve it and to dis- 
semiuate its doctrines. During the twenty-five years that 
followed the publication of the Entile, there appeared in the 
French language twice as many books on education as dur- 
ing the first sixty years of the century. Rousseau, besides 
all that he said personally which was just and new, had the 
merit of stimulating minds and of preparing through his 
impulsion the rich educational harvest of this last one hun- 
dred vears. 

To be convinced of this, it suffices to read this judgment 
of Kant : — 

44 The first impression which a reader who does not read 
for vanity or for killing time derives from the writings of 
Rousseau, is that this writer unites to an admirable penetra- 
tion of genius a noble inspiration and a soul full of sensi- 
bility, such as has never been met with in any other writer, 
in any other time, or in any other country. The impression 
which immediatelv follows this, is that of astonishment 
caused by the extraordinary and paradoxical thoughts which 
he develops. ... I ought to read and re-read Rousseau, 
till the beauty of his style no more affects me. It is only 
then that I can adjust my reason to judge of him." 

[337. Analytical Summary. — 1. The study of the Emile 
exhibits, in a very striking manner, the contrast between the 
respective agencies of art and nature in the work of educa- 
tion, and also the power of sentiment as a motor to ideas. 

2. What Monsieur Compayr6 has happily called Rous- 
seau's u misuse of the principle of nature" marks a recoil 
against the artificial and fictitious state of society and opinion 
in France in the eighteenth century. In politics, in religion, 
and in philosophy, there was the domination of authority, and 



bat a small margin was left for the exercise of freedom, 
versatility, aud individual initiative ; while education was 
admin is te red rather as a process of manufacture, than of 
regulated growth. 

t 3. The conception that the child, by his very constitution, 
is predetermined, like plants and animals, to a progressive 
development quite independent of artificial aid, easily degen- 
erates into the hypothesis that the typical education is a 
process of spontaneous growth. 

4. The error in this hypothesis is that of exaggeration or 
of disproportion. Education is neither a work of nature 
alone, nor of art alone, but is a natural process, supple- 
mented, controlled, and perfected by human art. What 
education would become when abandoned wholly to " nature " 
may be seen in the state of a perfected fruit which has been 
allowed to revert to its primitive or natural condition. 

5. Man is distinguished from all other creatures by the 
fact that he is not the victim of his environment, but is en- 
dowed with the power to control his environment, almost to 
re-create it, and so to rise superior to it. This ability gives 
rise to human art, which is a coordinate factor with nature 
in the work of education. 

6. This convenient fiction of "Nature," conceived as an 
infallible and incomparable guide in education, has intro- 
duced countless errors into educational theorv ; and Miss E. R. 
Sill is amply justified in saying that "probably nine-tenths 
of the popular sophistries on the subject of education, would 
be cleared away by clarifying the word Nature." 1 

7. In spite of its paradoxes, its exaggerations, its over- 
wrought sentiment, and florid declamation, the Emile n in its 
general spirit, is a work of incomparable power and of per- 
ennial value.] 

i Atlantic Monthly, February, 18S3, p. 175, 



the philosophers of the eighteenth century j condillac (1716- 
1780); abuse of the philosophic spirit; must wk reason 
with children ? preliminary lessons j the art of think- 
ing j other parts of the course of study j personal 
reflection; excesses of devotion criticised; diderot (171&- 
1784); his pedagogical works; his qualities as an educa- 
tor j necessity of instruction j idea of a system of public 
instruction; criticism of frencii colleges; PROPOSED re- 
forms ; preference for the sciences ; incomplete tiews 
on the province of letters; opinion of marmontel; other 
novelties of diderot's plan; helvetius (1715-1771); paradoxes 
of the treatise on man ; refutation of helvetius by 
diderot; instruction secularized; the encyclopaedists; kant 
(1724-1804); high conception of education j psychological op- 
timism j respect for the liberty of the child ; culture of 
the faculties; stories interdicted; different kinds of 
punishment; religious education; analytical summary. 

338. The Philosophers of the Eighteenth Century. — 
If there has been considerable progress made in education in 
the eighteenth century, it is due, in great part, to the efforts 
of the philosophers of that age. It is no longer alone the 
men who are actually engaged in the schools that are pre- 
occupied with education ; but nearly all the illustrious 
thinkers of the eighteenth century have discussed these great 
, questions with more or less thoroughness. The subject is 
far from being exhausted by the study of Rousseau. Besides 
the educational current set in movement by the EmiJr, the 
other philosophers of that period, in their isolated and inde- 



pendent march, left original routes which it remains to fol- 
low. From out their errors and conceptions of systems there 
emerge some new outlooks and some definite truths. 

339. Condillac (1715-1780). — An acute and ingenious 
psychologist, a competitor and rival of Locke in philosophy, 
Condillac is far from having the same authority in matters 
pertaining to education ; but still there is profit to be derived 
from the reading of his Course o£Sludy, which includes not 
less than thirteen volumes. This important work is a collec- 
tion of the lessons which he had composed for the education 
of the infant Ferdinand, the grandson of Louis XV., and 
heir of the dukedom of Parma, whose preceptor he became 
in 1757. 

340. Abuse op the Philosophic Spirit. — It is certainlv 
a matter of congratulation that the philosophical spirit is 
entering more and more largely into the theories of educa- 
tion, and there would be only words of commendation for 
Condillac had he restricted himself to this excellent declara- 
tion, that pedagogy is nothing if it is not a deduction from 
psychology. But he does not stop there, but with an indis- 
cretion that is to be regretted, he arbitrarily tr ansport s into 
education certain philosophical principles which it is not 
proper to apply to the art of educating men, whatever may 
be their theoretical truth ; thus Condillac, having established 
the natural order of the development of the sciences and the 
arts in the history of humanity, presumes to impose the same 
law of progress upon the child. 

" The method which I have followed does not resemble the 
usual manner of teaching ; but it is the very way in which 
men were led to create the arts and the sciences." l 

1 Discours prtliminaire sur la grammaire, in the (Euvre* completes of 
Condillac, Tome VI. p. 264. 



In other terms, the child must do over again, on his own 
account, kk that which the race has done." He must be com- 
pelled to follow, step by step, in its long gr opings , the slow 
progress made b y the race. 1 

There is, dduBTless, an element of truth in the error of 
Condillac. The sciences and the arts began witli the obser- 
vation of particulars, and thence slowly rose to general prin- 
ciples ; and to-day no one thinks of denying the necessity of 
proceeding in the same manner in education, so far as this is 
possible. It is well at the first to present facts to the child, 
and to lead him step by step, from observation to observation, 
to the law which governs them and includes them ; but there is 
a wide distance between the discreet use of the inductive and . 
experimental method, and the exaggerations of Condillac. 
No one should seriously think of absolutely suppressing the 
synthetic method of exposition, which, taking advantage of 
the work accomplished through the centuries, teaches at the 
outset the truths that have been already acquired. It would 
be absurd to compel the chihj. painfully to recommence the 
toil of the race. 2 

1 This is also the main principle in Mr. Spencer's educational philosophy. 
" The education of the child must accord both in mode and arrangement 
with the education of mankind as considered historically ; or, in other 
words, the genesis of knowledge in the individual must follow the same 
course as the genesis of knowledge in the race." — Education, p. 122. (P.) 

2 The general law of human progress is inheritance supplemented by 
individual acquisition. Using the symbols i (inheritance) and a (acqui- 
sition), the progress of the race from its origin upwards, through successive 
generations, may be exhibited by this series : i ; i + a ; i (2 a) + a ; i (3 a) + a ; 
i (4a)+a. If the factor of inheritance could be eliminated, as Condillac 
and Spencer recommend, the series would take this form: a' ; a" ; a"'; 
a ir ; a r : the successive increments in acquisition being due to successive 
increments in power gained through heredity. But, happily, the law of in- 
heritance cannot be abrogated, and so philosophers write books in order to 
save succeeding generations from the fate of Sisyphus. (P.) 


Graver still, Condillac, led astray bjLhia-loxfi,foE-philoso« 
phizing, presumes to initiate the child, from the very begin- 
ning of his studies, into psychological analysis. 

" The first thing to be done is to make the child acquainted 
with the faculties of his soul, and to make him feel the need 
of making use of them." 

In other terms, the analy sis of the soul shall be the first 
object proposed to the reflection of the child. It is not 
proposed to make him attentive, but to teach him what 
attention is. 

How can one seriously think of making of the child a little 
psychologist, and of choosing as the first element of his edu- 
cation the very science that is the most difficult of all, the 
one which can be but the coronation of his studies? 

341. Must we reason with Children? — Rousseau had 
sharply criticised the famous maxim of Locke : u We must 
reason with children." Condillac tries to restore it to credit, 
and for this purpose he invokes the pretended demonstra- 
tions of a superficial and inexact psychology. 

"It has been proved/' he says, "that the faculty of 
reasoning begins as soon as the senses commence to de- 
velop ; and we have the early use of our senses only because 
we early began to reason." Strange assertions, which are 
disproved by the most elementary observation of the facts in 
the case. Condillac here allows himself to be imposed upon 
by his sensational psychology, the tendency of which is to 
efface the peculiar character of the different intellectual 
faculties, to derive them all from the senses, and, conse- 
quently, to suppress the distance which separates a simple 
sensation from the subtile, reflective, and abstract process 
which is called reasoning. It cannot be admitted for a 
single instant that the faculties of the understanding are, as 
be says, "the same in the child* as in the mature man," 


There is, doubtless, in the child a beginning of reasoning, a 
sort of instinctive logic ; but this infantile reasoning can be 
applied only to familiar objects^ such as are sensible and 
concrete. It were absurd to employ it on general and ab- 
stract ideas. 

342. Preliminary Lessons. — We shall quote, without 
comment, the first subjects of instruction which, under the 
title of Legons prtliminaires, Condillac proposes to his 
pupil: 1. the nature of ideas; 2. the operations of the 
soul; 3. the habits; 4. the difference between the soul and 
the body ; 5. the knowledge of God. 

How are we to conceive that Condillac had the pretension 
to place these high philosophical speculations witliin the 
reach of a child of seven years who has not yet studied the 
grammar of his native language ! How much better some 
fables or historical narratives would answer his purpose ! 

But Condillac does not stop there. When his pupil has a 
systematic knowledge of the operations of the soul, when 
he has comprehended the genesis of ideas ; in a word, when, 
towards the age of eight or ten, he is as proficient in philos- 
ophy as his master, and almost as capable of writing the 
Treatise an Sensations, what do you think he is invited to 
study? Something which very much resembles the philoso- 
phy of history : — 

" After having made him reflect on his own infancy, I 
thought that the infancy of the world would be the most 
interesting subject for him, and the easiest to study." 

343. The Art of Thinking. — It is only when he judges 
that the mind of his pupil is sufficiently prepared by psycho- 
logical analysis and by general reflections on the progress 
of humanity, that Condillac decides to have him enter upon 
the ordinary course of study. Here the spirit of system die- 



appears, and gives place to more judicious and more practi- 
cal ideas. Thus Condillac thinks that "the study of gram- 
mar would be more wearisome than useful if it come too 
early." Would that he had applied this principle to psychol- 
ogy ! Before studying grammar, then, Condillac's pupil reads 
the poets, — the French poets, of course, — and preferably 
the dramatic authors, Racine especially, whom he reads for 
the twelfth time. The real knowledge of the language pre- 
cedes the abstract study of the rules. Condillac himself 
composed a grammar entitled the Art of Speaking. In this 
he imitates the authors of Port Royal, " who," he says, 
44 were the first to write elementary books on an intelligent 
plan." After the Art of Speaking he calls the attention of 
his pupil to three other treatises in succession, — the Art of 
Writing, or rhetoric, the Art of Reasoning, or logic, and the 
Art of TJiinking. We shall not attempt an analysis of these 
works, which have gone out of date, notwithstanding the 
value of certain portions of them. The general characteris- 
tic of these treatises on intellectual education is that the 
author is pre-occupied with the relations of ideas more than 
with the exterior elegancies of style, with the development of 
thought more than with the beauties of language : — 

"Especially must the intelligence be nourished, even as 
the body is nourished. We must present to it knowledge, 
which is the wholesome aliment of spirit, opinions and errors 
being aliment that is poisonous. It is also necessary that 
the intelligence be active, for the thought remains imbecile 
as long as, passive rather than active, it moves at random." 

344. Other Parts of the Course op Study. — It 
seems that Condillac is in pursuitjof but one single purpose, 
— to make of his pupil a thinking being. The study of 
Latin is postponed till the time when the intelligence, being 
completely formed, will find in the study of that language 

If ^PM«+^M&*fc«— ■■Mfc 


only the difficulty of learning words. Condillac has but 
little taste for the study of th§^nc|ent Jauguagfes. He rele- 
gates the study of Latin to the second place, and omits 
Greek entirely. But he accords a 'great importance to his- 
torical studies. 

"After having learned to think, the Prince made the study 
of history his priucipal object for six years." 

Twelve volumes of the Course of Study have transmitted 
to us Condillac's lessons in history. In this he does not take 
delight, as Rolliu does, in long narrations ; but he analyzes, 
multiplies his reflections, and abridges facts ; he philoso- 
phizes more than he recites the facts of history. 

345. Personal Reflection. — What we have said of Con- 
dillac's Course of Study suffices to justify the judgment 
expressed of his pedagogy by one of his disciples, Gerando, 
when he wrote: " He who had so thoroughly studied the 
manner in which ideas are formed in the human mind, had 
but little skill in calling them into being in the intelligence 
of his pupil." 

But we would judge our author unjustly if, after the criti- 
cisms we have made of him, we were not to accord him the 
praise he deserves, especially for having comprehended, as he 
has done, the value of personal reflection, and the superiority 
of judgment over memory. A few quotations will rehabilitate 
the pedagogy of Condillac in the minds of our readers. 

Above all else there must be an exercise in personal 
reflection : — 

" I grant that the education which cultivates only the 
memory may make prodigies, and that it has done so ; but 
these prodigies lalst only during the time of infancy. . . . 
He who knows only by heart, knows nothing. ... He who 
has not learned to reflect has not been instructed, or, what is 
still worse, -has been poorly instructed." 





"True knowledge. ia in.. the reflection, which has acquired 
it, much more than in the memory, which holds it in keep* 
ing ; and the things which we are capable of recovering are 
better known than those of which we have a recollection. 
It does not suffice, then, to give a child knowledge. It is 
necessary that he instruct himself by seeking knowledge on 
his own account, and the essential point is to guide him 
properly. If he is led in an orderly way, he will acquire 
exact ideas, and will seize their succession and relation. 
Then, able to call them up for review, he will be able to 
compare them with others that are more remote, and to 
make a final choice of those which he wishes to studv. 
Reflection can always recover the things it has known, 
because it knows how it originally found them ; but tho 
memory does not so recover the things it has learned, 
because it does not know how it learns." 

This is why Cond iliac places far above the education w a 
receive, the education that we give~ourselves : — 

"Henceforth, Sir, it remains for you alone to instruct 
yourself. Perhaps you imagine you have finished ; but it is I 
who have finished. You are to begin anew ! " 

346. Excessive Devotion Criticised. — What beautiful 
lessons Condillac also addresses to his pupil to induce him to 
enfranchise himself from ecclesiastical tutelage ! Written 
by an abbot, the eloquent page we are about to read proves 
how the lay spirit tended to pronounce itself in the eighteenth 

" You cannot be too pious, Sir; but if your piety is not 
enlightened, you will so far forget your duties as to be 
engrossed in the little things of devotion. Because prayer is 
necessary, you will think you ought always to be praying, 
not considering that true devotion consists first of all in 
fulfilling the duties of your station in life : it will not be your 



fault that you do not live in your heart as in a cloister. 
Hypocrites will swarm around you, the monks will issue 
from their cells. The priests will abandon the service of the 
altar in order to be edified with the sight of your holy 
works. Blind prince ! you will not perceive how their con- 
duct is in contradiction with their language ^ You will not 
even observe that the men who praise you for always being 
at the foot of the altar, themselves forget that it is their own 
duty to be there. You will unconsciously take their place 
and leave to them your own. You will be continually at 
prayer, and you will believe that you assure your salvation. 
They will cease to* pray, and you will believe that they 
assure their salvation. Strange contradiction, which turns 
aside ministers from the Church to give bad ministers to the 
State." i 

347. Diderot (1713-1784). — To him who knows noth- 
ing of Diderot save his works of imagination, often so licen- 
tious, it will doubtless be a surprise to see the name of this 
fantastic writer inscribed in the catalogue of educators. 
But this astonishment will disappear if we will take the 
trouble to recollect with what versatility this mjghty spirit 
could vary the subject of his reflections, and pass from the 
gay to the solemn, and especially with what ardor, in con- 
junction with D'Alembert, he was the principal founder of 
the Encyclopidie, and the indefatigable contributor to it. 

348. His Pedagogical Works. — But there is no room 
for doubt. Diderot has written at least two treatises that 
belong to the history of education: first, about 1773, The 
Systematic Refutation of the Book of Helvetius on Man, an 
incisive and eloquent criticism of the paradoxes and errors 

of Helvetius; and, in the second place, about 1776, a com- 

^—^-^— ^— . 

1 Coura d'ttudes, Tome X. Introduction. 


pletc scheme of education, composed at the request of Cath- 
erine II., under the title, Plan of a University. 1 

349. His Merits as an Educator. — Doubtless Diderot 
did not have sufficient gravity of character or sufficiently 
definite ideas to be a perfect educator ; but, by way of com- 
pensation, the natural and acquired qualities of his mind 
made him worthy of the confidence placed in him by Cathe- 
rine II. in entrusting him with the organization, at least in 
theory, of the instruction of the Russian people. First of 
all, he had the merit of being a universal thinker, " suffi- 
ciently versed in all the sciences to know their value, and 
not sufficiently profound in any one to give it a preference 
inspired by predilection." Engaged in the scientific move- 
ment, of which the EncyclopMie was the centre, he at the 
same time cherished an enthusiastic passion fox. Jet$ers. He 
worshipped Shakespeare and modern poetry, but he was not 
less enamored of classical antiquity, and for several years, 
he says, "he thought it as much a religious duty to read a 
song of Homer as a good priest would to recite his breviary." 

350. Necessity of Instruction. — Diderot, and this is 
to his praise, is distinguished from the most of his contem- 
poraries, and especially from Rousseau, by his ardent faith 
in the moral efficacy of instruction : — 

" Far from corrupting," he exclaims, "instruction sweet- 
ens character, throws light on duty, makes vice less gross, 
and either chokes it or conceals it. . . . I dare assert that 
purity of morals has followed the progress of dress, from the 
skin of animals to fabrics of silk." 

Hence he decides on the necessity of instruction for all : — 
" From the prime minister to the lowest peasant, it is good 
for every one to know how to read, write, aud count." 

1 See (Euvres completes of Diderot. Edited by Tourneux, 1876-77. 
Tomes IL and III. 



And he proposes to all people the example of Germany, 
with her strongly organized system of primary instruction. 
He demands schools open to all children, u schools of read- 
ing, writing, arithmetic, and religion, " in which will be 
studied both a moral and a political catechism. Attend- 
ance on these schools shall be obligatory, and to make com- 
pulsion possible, Diderot demands gratuity. He goes even 
farther, and would have the child fed at school, and with his 
books would have him find bread. 

351. The Conception op Public Instruction. — Like all 

»-- - ~— -»«*» 

who sincerely desire a strong organization of instruction, 
Diderot assigns the direction of it to theJState. His ideal of 
a Russian university bears a strong resemblance to the French 
University of 1808. He would have at its head a politician, 
a statesman, to whom should be submitted all the affairs of 
public instruction. He even went so far as to entrust to 
this general master of the university the duty of presiding 
over the examinations, of appointing the presidents of col- 
leges, of excluding bad pupils, and of deposing professors 
and tutors. 

352. Criticism op French Colleges. — Secondary instruc- 
tion,- what was then called the Faculty of Arts, is the princi- 
pal object of Diderot's reflections. He criticises the traditional 
system with extreme severity, and his charge, though some- 
times unjust, deserves to be quoted : — 

t 4 It is in the Faculty of Arts that there are still taught 
to-day, under the name of belles-lettres, two dead languages 
which are of use onlv to a small number of citizens ; it is 
there that they are studied for six or seven years without 
being learned ; under the name of rhetoric, the art of speak- 
ing is taught before flie art of thinking, and that of speaking 
elegantly before having ideas ; under the name of logic, the 
head is filled with the subtilties of Aristotle, and of his very 


sublime and very useless theory of the syllogism, and there 
is spread over a hundred obscure pages what might have been 
clearly stated in four ; under the name of ethics, I do not 
know what is said, but I know that there is not a word said 
either of the qualities of mind or heart ; under the name of 
metaphysics, there are discussed theses as trifling as they are 
knotty, the first elements of scepticism and bigotry, and the 
germ of the unfortunate gift of replying to everything ; under 
the name of physics, there is endless dispute about the ele- 
ments of matter and the system of the world ; but not a word 
on natural history, not a word on real chemistry, very little 
on the movement and fall of bodies ; very few experiments, 
less still of anatomy, and nothing of geography." l 

353. Proposed Reforms. — After such a spirited criticism, 
it was Diderot's duty to propose earnest and radical reforms ; 
but all of those which he suggests are not equally com- 

Let us first note the idea revived in our day by Auguste 
Comte and the school of positlvists, of a connection and a 
subordination of the sciences, classified in a certain order, 
according as they presuppose the science which has preceded, 
or as they facilitate the study of the science which follows, 
and also according to the measure of their utility. 2 It is 
according to this last principle in particular, that Diderot 
distributes the work of the school, after having called atten- 
tion to the fact that the order of the sciences, as determined 
by the needs of the school, is not their logical order : — 

" The natural connection of one science with the others 
designates for it a place, and the principle of utility, more 
or less general, determines for it another place." 

1 (Euvresy Tome III. p. 459. 

2 For Comte's classification of the sciences, see Spencer's Ulxutrationt 
of Universal Progress, Chap. IIL (P.) 


But Diderot forgets that we must take into account, not 
alone the principle of utility in the distribution of studies, 
but that the essential thing of all others is to adapt the order 
of studies to the progress of the child in age and aptitudes. 

354. Preferenc es for t he Sciences. — Although equally 
enamored of letters and the sciences, Diderot did not know 
how to hold a just balance between a literary and a scientific 
education. Anticipating Condorcet and Auguste Comte, he 
displaces the centre of instruction, and gives a preponderance, 
to the sciences. Of the eight classes comprised in his 
Faculty of Arts, the first five are devoted to the mathematics, 
to mechanics, to astronomy, to physics, and to chemistry. 
Grammar and the ancient languages are relegated to the last 
three years, which nearly correspond to what are called in 
our colleges the " second " and " rhetoric." x 

The charge that must be brought against Diderot in this 
place, is not merely that he .puts an unreasonable restriction 
on Jiterary -studies, but also that he makes a bad distribution 
of scientific studies in placing the mathematics before physics. 
It is useless for him to assert that "it is easier to learn 
geometry than to learn to read." He does not convince us 
of this. It is a grave error to begin by keeping the child's 
attention on numerical abstractions, by leaving his senses 
unemployed, by postponing so long the study of natural 
history and experimental physics, those sciences expressly 
adapted to children, because, as Diderot himself expresses 
it, " they involve a continuous exercise of sight, smell, taste, 
and memory." 

To excuse Diderot's error, it does not suffice to state that 
his pupil does not enter the Facnltv of Arts till his twelfth 
year. Till that period, he will learn only reading, writing, 

i See note, p. 131. 


and orthography. There is ground for thinking that these 
first years will be rather poorly employed ; but besides this, 
it is evident that even at the age of twelve the mind is not 
sufficiently mature to be plunged into the cold deductions of 

355. Incomplete Views as to the Scope of Literart 
Studies. — Diderot's attitude with respect to classical studies 
is a matter of surprise. On the one hand, he postpones their 
study till the pupil's nineteenth and twentieth year. On the 
other, with what enthusiasm this eloquent scholar speaks of 
the ancients, particularly of Homer ! 

44 Homer is the master to whom I am indebted for what- 
ever merit I have, if indeed I have any at all. It is difficult 
to attain to excellence in taste without a knowledge of the 
Greek and Latin languages. I early drew my intellectual 
nourishment from Homer, Virgil, Horace, Terence, Anacreon, 
Plato, and Euripides on the one hand, and from Moses and 
the Prophets on the other." 

How are we to explain this contradiction of an incon- 
sistent and ungrateful humanist who extols the humanities 
to the skies, and at the same time puts such restrictions on 
the teaching of them as almost to annihilate them? The 
reason for this is, that, in his opinion, the belles-lettres are j» 
useful only for the training of orators and poots,¥ut are not/ 
serviceable in the general development of the mind. Conse- 
quently, being fancy studies, so to speak, they are fit only 
for a small minority of pupils, and have no right to the first 
place in a common education, destined for men in general. 
Diderot is not able to discern what, in pedagogy, is their 
true title to nobility, — that thev are an admirable instru- 
ment of intellectual gymnastics, and the surest and also the 
most convenient means of acquiring those qualities of just- 



nesB, of precision, and of clearness, which are needed by all 
conditions of men, and are applicable to all the special em- 
ployments of life. 1 

356. Opinion of Marmontel. — Diderot seems to reduce 
the office of letters to a study of words, and to an exercise of 
memory. He might have learned a lesson from one of his 
contemporaries, Marmontel, whose intellect, though less bril- 
liant, was sometimes more just, an advantage Which the 
intelligence gains from early discipline in the study of the 
languages : — 

"The choice and use of words, in translating from one 
language to another, and even then some degree of elegance 
in the construction of sentences, began to interest me ; and 
this work, which did not proceed without the analysis of ideas, 
fortified my memory. I perceived that it was the idea attached 
to the word which made it take root, and reflection soon made 
me feel that the study of the languages was also the study of 
the art of distinguishing shades of thought, of decomposing it, 
of forming its texture, and of catching with precision its 
spirit and its relations ; and that along with words, an equal 
number of new ideas were introduced and developed in the 

1 This thought will bear extension as in the following quotation : " The 
reasoning that I oppose starts from the low and false assumption that in- 
struction serves only for the practical use that is made of it; for example, 
that he who, by his social position, does not make use of his intellectual 
culture, has no need of that culture. Literature, from this point of view, 
is useful only to the man of letters, science only to the scientist, good man- 
ners and fine bearing cnly to men of the world. The poor man should be 
ignorant, for education and knowledge are useless to him. Blasphemy, 
Gentlemen! The culture of the mind and the culture of the soul are duties 
for every man. They are not simple ornaments; they are things as sacred 
as religion" (Renan, Famillc ctlZtat, p. 3). This is a sufficient answer 
to Mr. Spencer's assumption (Education, p. 84), that the studies that arc 
best for guidance are at the same time the best for discipline. See also 
Dugald Stewart (Elements, p. 12). (P.) 


bead* of the yoong, 1 and that in this war the early Humeri 
were a course in elementary philosophy, much more rich, 
more extended, and of greater real utility than we think, 
when, we complain that in our colleges nothing is learned but 
Latin." * 

*.SU1. Othkb Novelties ix Diderot's Plax. — Without 
entering into the details of the very elaborate organization 
of Diderot's Rustian University , we shall call attention to 
some other novelties of his system : — 

1. The division of the classes into several series of paral- 
lel courses : first, the series of scientific and literary courses ; 
then, the series of lectures devoted to religion, to ethics, and 
to history ; and finally, courses in drawing, music, etc. 

2. The whimsical idea of teaching history in an inverted 
order, so to speak, in beginning with the most recent events, 
and little by little going back to antiquity. 

tf. His extreme estimate of the art of reading: "Let a 
teacher of reading be associated with a professor of drawing ; 

1 TIiIn thought throws light on a dictum of current pedagogy, "First, 
the idea, then the term." It shows that very often, in actual experience, 
the sequence is from term to idea. The relation between term and idea is 
the same in kind as that between sentence and thought. Must we then say, 
" First the thought, then the sentence " ? Or, " First the thought, then the 
chapter or the book ' ' ? 

The disciplinary value of translation is also well stated. It may be 
doubted whether the schools furnish a better "intellectual gymnastic" 
Three high intellectual attainments are involved in a real translation : 1. 
The separation of the thought from the original form of words; 2. The 
seizing or comprehension of the thought as a mental possession; and 3. The 
embodying of the thought in a new form. A strictly analogous process, of 
Almost equal value in its place, is that variety of reading in which the 
pupil is required to express the thought of the paragraph in his own lan- 
1ju<t</e. This exereise involves the three processes above stated, and may 
bo railed "the translation of thought from one form into another, in the 
same language." (l\) 

8 Marmontel, .\femoires d'un perc pour servir a V instruction de set en* 
fants, Tome I. p. 10, 


there are so few men, even the most enlightened, who know 
how to read well, a gift always so agreeable, and often so 

4. A special regard for the study of art and for aesthetic, 
education, which could not be a matter of indifference to the 
great art critic who wrote the Salons. 

5. A reform in the sj'stem of ushers. 1 Diderot would ' 
have for supervising assistants in colleges, educated men, 
capable on occasion of supplying the places of the profes- 
sors themselves. To attach them to their duties, he requires 
that some dignity be given to their modest and useful func- 
tions, and that the usher be a sort of supernumerary, or 
" professor in reversion," who aspires to the chair of the pro- 
fessor, whose place he supplies from time to time, and which 
he may finally attain. 

358 . Helvetius (171 5-1771). — In undertaking the study 
of the thoughts of Helvetius on education, and the rapid 
analysis of his Treatise on Man, we shall not take leave of 
Diderot, for the work of Helvetius has had the good or the 
bad fortune of being commented on and criticised by his 
illustrious contemporary. Thanks to the Systematic Refuta- 
tion of the Book of Helvetius on Man, which forms a charming 
accompaniment of pungent or vigorous reflections to a dull 
and languid book, the reading of the monotonous treatise of 
Helvetius becomes easy and almost agreeable. 

359. The Treatise on Man. — Under this title, a little 
long, De Vhomme, de ses facnlUs intellectuelles et de son e*du- 
cation, Helvetius has composed a large work which he had in 
contemplation for fifteen years, and which did not appear 
till after his death, in 1772. As a matter of fact, education 
does not directly occupy the author's attention except in the 

1 Mditre d'ttude : " He who in a lycee, college, or boarding-school, has 
oversight of pupils daring study hours and recreations." — Lixtb&. 


first and the last chapters (sections I. and X.) . With this 
exception, the whole book is devoted to long developments 
of the favorite maxims of his philosophy : as the intel- 
lectual equality of all men, and the reduction of all the pas- 
sions to the pursuit of pleasure ; or to platitudes, such as 
the influence of laws on the happiness of people, and the evils 
which result from ignorance. 

360. Potency op Education. — When he does not fall 
into platitudes, Helvetius goes off into paradoxes that are 
presumptuous and systematic. His habitual characteristic 
is pedantry. in what i$ false. According to him, for example, 
education is all-powerful ; it is the sole cause of the differ- 
ence between minds. The mind of the child is but an empty 
capacity, something indeterminate, without predisposition. 
The impressions of the senses are the only elements of the 
intelligence ; so that the acquisitions of the five senses are 
the only thing that is of moment ; " the senses are all that 
there is of man." It is not possible to push sensationalism 
further than this. 

The impressions of the senses are, then, the basis of 
human nature, and as these impressions vary with circum- 
stances, Helvetius arrives at this conclusion, that chance is 
the great master in the formation of mind and character. 
Consequently, he undertakes to produce at will men of 
genius, or, at least, men of talent. For this purpose, it 
suffices to ascertain, by repeated observations, the means 
which chance employs for making great men. These means 
once discovered, it remains only to set them at work arti- 
ficially and to combine them, in order to produce the same 

" Genius is a product of chance. Rousseau, like a count- 
less number of illustrious men, may be regarded aa one of 
the masterpieces of chance." 


361. Helvetius refuted by Diderot. — It is easy to 
reply to extravagant statements of this sort. Had Helve- 
tius consulted teachers and parents, had he observed himself, 
had he simply reflected on his two daughters, so unequally 
endowed though identically educated, he would doubtless 
have felt constrained to acknowledge the limitations of 
education ; he would have comprehended that it cannot give 
imagination to minds of sluggish temperament, nor enthusi- 
asm and sensibility to inert souls, and that the most marvel- 
lously helpful circumstances will not make of a Helvetius a 
Montesquieu or a Voltaire. 

But if it is easy to refute Helvetius, it is impossible to 
criticise him with more brilliancy and eloquence than Diderot 
has done. With what perfection of reason he restores to 
nature, to innate and irresistible inclinations, the influence 
which Helvetius denies to them in the formation of char- 
acter ! 

44 The accidents of Helvetius," he says, 44 are like the 
spark which sets on fire a cask of wine, and which is extin- 
guished in a bucket of water." 

44 For thousands of centuries the dew of heaven has fallen 
on the rocks without making them fertile. The sown fields 
await it in order to become productive, but it is not the dew 
that scatters the seed. Accidents themselves no more pro- 
duce anything, than the pick of the laborer who delves 
in the mines of Golconda produces the diamond that it 
brings to the surface." 

Doubtless education has a more radical effect than that 
which is attributed to it bv La Bruverc when he said that 
44 it touches only the surface of the soul." But if it can do 
much, it cannot do all. It perfects if it is good ; it deadens 
and it perverts if it is bad ; but it can never be a substitute 
for lacking aptitude, and can never replace nature. 



362. Secularized Instruction. — In other parts of his 
system Helvetius is in accord with Diderot. Like him, he 
believes the necessary condition of progress in education is 
that it be made secular and entrusted to the civil power. 
The vices of education. come from the opposition of the two 
powers, spiritual and temporal, that assume to direct it. 
Between the Church and the State there is an opposition of 
interests and views. The State would have the nation 
become brave, industrious, and enlightened.. The Church 
demands a blind submission and unlimited credulity. Hence 
there is contradiction in pedagogical precepts, diversity in 
the means that are employed, and, consequently, an educa- 
tion that is hesitating, that is pulled in opposite directions, 
that does not know definitely where it is going, that misses 
its way, that gropes and wastes time. 

But the conclusion of Helvetius is not as we might expect, 
— the separation of Church and State in the matter of 

instruction and education, such as recent laws have estab- 


lished in France. No ; Helvetius would have the State 
absorb the Church, and have religious power and civil 
power lodged in the same hands and both belong to those 
who control the government, — a vexatious confusion that 
would end in the oppression of consciences. 

Helvetius, whatever may be thought of him, does not 
deserve to claim our attention for any length of time, and we 
cannot seriously consider as an authority in pedagogy a writer 
who, in intellectual as in moral education, reduces ever}*thing 
to a single principle, the development and the satisfaction of 
physical sensibility. 1 

1 It Is a matter of surprise that In a German Pedagogical Library the very 
first French work published is the Traits de V Homme of Helvetius. This 
is giving the place of honor to what is perhaps of the most ordinary value 
in French pedagogical literature. 



363. The Encyclopaedists. — The vast collection which, 
under the name Encyclopedic, sums up the science and the 
philosophy of the eighteenth century, touches educational 
questions only in passing. Properly speaking, the Encyclo- 
pe'die contains no system of pedagogy. The principal frag- 
ment is the article Education, written by the grammarian 
and Latinist Dumarsais. 

But this piece of work is little worthy of its author, and 
little worthy in particular of the Ency elope* die. It contains 
scarcely anything but vague and trite generalities, and 
belongs to the category of those articles for padding which 
caused Voltaire to say : u You accept articles worthy of the 
Journal of TreVoux." We shall notice, however, in this 
article, the importance accorded to the study of physics, and 
to the practice of the arts, even the most common, and the 
marked purpose to " subordinate " knowledges and studies, 
or to distribute them in a logical, or rather psychological, 
order ; for example, to cause the concrete always to precede 
the abstract. But, after having lost himself in considera- 
tions of but little interest on the development of ideas and 
sentiments in the human soul, the author, who is decidedly 
far below his task, concludes by recommending to young 
people " the reading of newspapers." 

The other pedagogical articles of the Encyclopedic are 
equally deficient in striking novelties. If the great work of 
D'Aleinbert and Diderot has contributed something to the 
progress of education, it is less through the insufficient 
efforts which it has directly attempted in this direction, than 
through the general influence which it has exercised on the 
French mind in extolling the sciences in their theoretical 
study as well as in their practical applications, in diffusing 
technical knowledge, in glorifying the industrial arts, and in 
thus preparing for the coming of a scientific and positive 


education in place of an education exclusively literary and of 
pure form. 

364. Kant (1724-1804). —We know the considerable 
influence which, for a century, Kant has exercised on the 
development of philosophy. Since Descartes, no thinker had 
to the same degree excited an interest in the great problems 
of philosophy, nor more vigorously obliged the human reason 
to render an account of itself. It is then a piece of good 
fortune for the science of education that a philosopher of this 
order has taken up the discussion 1 of pedagogical questions, 
and has thrown upon them the light of his penetrating criti- 
cism. The admiration which he felt for Rousseau, his atten- 
tive and impassioned reading of the Emile^ his own reflec- 
tions on the monastic education which he had received at the 
Collegium Fredericianum, a sort of small seminary conducted 
by the Pietists, the experience which he had had as a precep- 
tor in several families that entrusted him with their children, 
and finally, above all else, his profound studies on human 
nature and his exalted moral philosophy, had given him a 
capital preparation for treating educational questions. Pro- 
fessor at the University of Konigsberg, he several times 
resumes the discussion of pedagogical subjects with a marked 
predilection for them, and the notes of his lectures, collected 
by one of his colleagues, formed the little Treatise on Peda- 
gogy which we are about to analyze. 1 

3C>f>. Hkjii Conception of Edccation. — In the opinion 
of Kaut, the art of educating men, with that of governing 
thorn, is the most difficult and the most important of all. It 
is by education alone that humanity can be perfected and 
regenerated : — 

1 See the French translation of this tract at the end of the volume, pub- 
lished by Monsieur Barni, under the title. Elements mtta physique* de la 
doctrine dc la vcrtu. Paris, 1855. The work of Kant appeared in German 
in 1803. 


u It is pleasant to think that human nature will always be 
better and better developed by education, and that at last 
there will thus be given it the form which best befits it. 

4fc To know how far the omnipotence of education can go, 
it would be necessary that a being of a superior order should 
undertake the bringing up of men." 

But in order that it may attain this exalted end, education 
must be set free from routine and traditional methods. It 
must bring up children, not in view of their success in the 
present state of human society, but " in view of a better state, 
possible in the future, and according to an ideal conception 
of humanity and of its complete destination." 

366. Psychological Optimism. — Kant comes near 
accepting the opinion of Rousseau on the original innocence 
of man and the perfect goodness of his natural inclina- 
tions : — 

44 It is said in medicine that the physician is but the ser- 
vant of nature. This is true of the moralist. Ward off the 
bad influences from without, and nature can be trusted to 
find for herself the best way." 1 

Thus Kant does not tire of exalting the service which 
Rousseau had rendered pedagogy, in recalling educators to 
the confidence and respect that are due to calumniated human 
nature. Let us add, however, that the German philosopher 
is not content to repeat Rousseau. He corrects him in 
affirming that man, at his birth, is neither good nor evil, 
because he is not naturally a moral being. He does not be- 
come such till he raises his reason to the conception of duty i 
and law. In other terms, in the infant everything is in germ. 
'. The infant ts a being in preparation. The future alone, the 
development which he will receive from his education, will 
make him good or bad. At the beginning, he has but inde- 

1 Extract from Kant's Fragments posthumes. 

fc 111 '- 


terminate dispositions, and evil will come, not from a definite 
inclination of nature, but solely from the fact that we will 
not have known how to direct it, — from the fact, according 
to Kant's own expression, that we will not have u subjected 
nature to rules." 

367. Respect for the Liberty op the Child. — The 
psychological optimism of Kant inspires him, as it does 
Rousseau, with the idea of a negative education, respectful 
of the libertv of the child : — 

" In general, it must be noted that the earliest education 
should be negative ; that is to say, nothing should "Be~added 
to the precautions taken by nature, and that the effort should 
be limited to the preservation of her work. ... It is well to 
employ at first but few helps, and to leave children to learn 
for themselves. Much of the weakness of man is due, not 
to the fact that nothing is taught him, but to the fact that 
false impressions are communicated to him." 

Without going so far as to say with Rousseau that all 
dependence with respect to men is contrary to order, Kant 
took great care to respect the liberty .of the pupil. He com- 
plains of parents who are always talking about " breaking 
the wills of their sons." He maintains, not without reason, 
that it is not necessary to offer much resistance to children, 
if we have not begun by yielding too readily to their caprices, 
and by always responding to their cries. Nothing is more 
harmful to them than a discipline which is provoking and 
degrading. But, in his zeal for human liberty, the theorist 
of the autonomy of wills goes a little too far. He fears, for 
example, the tyranny of habits. He requires that they be 
prevented from being formed, and that children be accus- 
tomed to nothing. He might as well demand the suppression 
of all education, since education should be but the acquisition 
of a body of good habits. 

**^H^AflM-<— >«M«itaMMMfc«MMh 


368. Stories Interdicted. — In the education of the in- 
tellectual faculties or talents, which he calls the physical cul- 
ture of the soul, as distinguished from moral culture, which 
is the education of the will, Kant also approaches Rousseau. 
He proscribes romances and stories. 4k Children have an ex- 
tremely active imagination which has no need of being devel- 
oped by stories." It may be said in reply, that fables and 
fictions, at the same time that they develop the imagination, 
also direct it and adorn it with their own proper grace, and' 
may even lend it moral support. Rousseau, notwithstanding 
the ardor of his criticisms on the Fables of La Fontaine, him- 
self admitted the moral value of the apologue. 

369. Culture of the Faculties. — That which distin- 
guishes Kant as an educator is that he is pre-occupied with 
the culture of the faculties much more than with the acquisi- 
tion of knowledge. He passes in review the different intel-* 
lectual forces, and his reflections on each of them might be 
collected as the elements of an excellent system of educational 
psychology. He will criticise, for example, the abuse of 
memory : — 

44 Men who have nothing but memory," he says, " are but 
living lexicons, and, as it were, the pack-horses of Parnassus." 

For the culture of the understanding, Kant proposes u at 
first to train it passively to some degree," by requiring of the 
child examples which illustrate a rule, or, on the contrary, 
the rule which applies to particular examples. 

For the exercise of the reason, he recommends the SocratK. 
method, and, in general, for the development of all the fac- 
ulties of the mind, he thinks that the best way of proceeding 
is to cause the pupil to be active : — 

44 The best way to comprehend is to do. What we learn 
the most thoroughly is what we learn to some extent by 


370. Different Kinds of Punishments. — Kant has made 
a subtile analysis of the different qualities with which punish- 
ment may be invested. He distinguishes from physical 
punishment, moral punishment, which is the better. It con- 
sists in humiliating the pupil, in greeting him coolly, " in 
encouraging the disposition of the child to be honored and 
loved, that auxiliary of morality." Physical punishments 
ought to be employed with precaution, " to the end that they 
may not entail servile dispositions." 

Another distinction is that of natural punishments and 
artificial punishments. The first are preferable to the second, 
because they are the very consequences of the faults which 
have been committed; "indigestion, for example, which a 
child brings on himself when he eats too much." Another 
advantage of natural punishment, Kant justly remarks, "is 
that man submits to it all his life." ! 

Finally, Kant divides punishments into negative and posi- 
tive. The first arc to be used for minor faults, and the 
others are to be reserved for the punishment of conduct that 
is absolutely bad. 

Moreover, whatever punishment may be applied, Kantt 
advises the teacher to avoid the appearance of feeling malice] 
towards the pupil : — 

"The punishments we inflict while exhibiting signs of 
anger have a wrong tendency." 

371. Religious Education. — At first view, we might 
be tempted to think that Kant has adopted the conclusions 
of Rousseau, and that, like him, he refuses to take an early 

1 Monsieur Compayre* seems to give his sanction to the " Discipline of 
Consequences." 1 think that Mr. Fitch has correctly stated its limitations 
(Lectures, p. 117). Kant doubtless borrowed the idea from Rousseau, who 
employs it in the government of his imaginary pupil. (See Miss Worthing-* 
ton's translation of the £mile, p. <K>.) This doctrine is the basis of Mr. 
Speneer's chapter on Moral Education. (P.) 


occasion to inculcate in the child's mind the notion of a 
Supreme Being: — 

u Religious idea&.always suppose some system of theology. 
Now, how are we to teach theology to the young, who, far 
from knowing the world, do not yet know themselves? How 
shall the young who do not yet know what duty is, be in a 
condition to comprehend an immediate duty towards God?" 

To speak of religion to a young man, it would then be logical 
to wait till he is in a condition to form a clear and fixed con- 
ception of the nature of God. But it is impossible to do 
this, says Kant, because the young man lives in a society 
where he hears the name of the Divinity spoken at each 
moment, and where he takes part in continual observances 
of piety. It is better, then, to teach him at an early hour 
true religious notions, for f«ar that he may borrow from 
other men notions that are superstitious and false. In 
reality, Kant dissents from Rousseau only because, re-estab- 
lishing the conditions of real life, he restores £mile to society, 
no longer keeping him in a fancied state of isolation. What a 
broad and noble way, moreover, of conceiving religious edu- 
cation ! The best wa}' of making clear to the mind of 
children the idea of God, is, according to Kant, to seek an 
analogy in the idea of a human father. It is necessary, 
moreover, that the conception of duty precede the conception 
of God ; that morality precede, and that theology follow. 
Without morality, religion is but superstition ; without 
morality, the pretended religious man is but a courtier, a 
suitor for divine favor. 

372. Moral Catechism. — Those who know to what a 
height Kant could raise the theory of morality, will not be 
surprised at the importance which he ascribes to the teaching 
of morals. 

"Our schools," he says, " are almost entirely lacking in 



one thing which, however, would be very useful for training 
children in probity, — I mean a catechism on duty. It should 
contain, in a popular form, cases concerning the conduct to 
be observed in ordinary life, and which would always naturally 
raise this question : Is this right or not ? " 

He had begun to write a book of this kind under the title 
Moral Catechism; 1 and he would have desired that an hour 
a day of school time be given to its study, " in order to 
teach pupils to know and to learn by heart their duty to men, 
— that power of God on the earth." The child, he says 
again, would there learn to substitute the fear of his own 
conscience for that of men and divine punishment, inward 
dignity for the opinion of others, the intrinsic value of 
actions for the apparent value of words, and, finally f a serene 
and cheerful piety for a sad and gloomy devotion. 

[373. Analytical Summary. — 1. This study exhibits the 
influence of philosophical systems on education. New con- 
ceptions of human destiny, new theories with respect to the 
composition of human nature, or a new hypothesis concerning 
man's place in nature, determine corresponding changes iu 
educational theory. 

2. Perhaps the broadest generalization yet reached in 
educational theory is the assumption made by Condillac, 
that the education of each individual should be a repetition 
of civilization in petto. With Mr. Spencer this hypothesis 
becomes a law. ~" 

3. In theory, the secularization of education has begun. 
The Church is to lose one of its historical prerogatives, and 
the modern State is to become an educator. 

1 Helvetius, but poorly qualified for teaching moral questions, had had 
the idea of a Catechiime de probite. Saint Lambert published, in 1798, a 
CaMchi$me univenel. 


4. Helvetius typifies what may be called the plastic theory 
in education, or the conception that the teacher, if wise 
enough, may ignore all differences in natural endowment. 
This makes man the victim of his environment. The truth 
evidently is that man is the only creature which can bend 
circumstances to his will ; and he has such an endowment of 
power in this direction that he can virtually recreate his en- 
vironment and thus rise superior to it. And farther than 
this, there are innate differences in endowment that will per- 
sist in spite of all' that education can do. 

5. The culture value of literary studies is justly exhibited 
in the quotation from Marmontel, and in particular the dis- 
ciplinary value of translation. 

6. Education for training, discipline,, or culture, as dis- 
tinguished from an education whose chief aim is to impart 
knowledge, receives definite recognition from Kant.] 

art ] 



jesuits and parliamentarians; expulsion of the jesuits (1764); 
general complaints against the education of the jesuits; 
efforts made to replace them j la chalotais (1701-1786) ; his 
essay on national education (1763) j secularization of 
education ; practical end of instruction j new spirit in 
education j intuitive and natural instruction ; studies 
of the earliest period; criticism of negative education; 
history avenged of the disdain of rousseau; geography; 
natural history ; physical recreations j mathematical 
recreations; studies of the second period; the living 
languages; other studies; the question of books; aristo- 
cratic prejudices; instruction within the reach of all; 
normal schools j spirit of centralization ; turgot (172t- 
1781); analytical summary. 

874. Jesuits and Parliamentarians. — Of the educators 
of the eighteenth century of whom we have been speaking 
up to the present time, no one has been called to exercise an 
immediate and direct action on the destinies of public edu- 
cation ; no one of them had the power to apply the doctrines 
which were so dear to him to college education ; so that, so 
far, we have studied the theory and not the practice of edu- 1 
cation in the eighteenth century. 

On the contrary, the members of the French Parliaments, 
after having solicited and obtained from the king the expul- 
sion of the Jesuits, made memorable efforts* from 1762 up 
to the eve of the Revolution, to supply the places of the 


teachers whom they had driven away, to correct the faults 
of the ancient education, and to give effect to the idea, 
cherished b}' the most of the great spirits of that time, of a 
nation aj^exlucation adapted to the needs of civil-^asciet}*. 
They were the practical organizers of instruction ; they pre- 
pared the foundation of the French University of the nine- 
teenth century ; they resumed, not without lustre, the 
struggle too often interrupted, which the Jansenists had 
sustained against the Jesuits. 

375. Expulsion of the Jesuits (1764). — The causes of 
the expulsion of the Jesuits were doubtless complex, and, 
above all else, political. In attacking the Company of Jesus, 
the Parliaments desired especially to defend the interests of 
the State, compromised by a powerful society which tended 
to dominate all Christian nations. But reasons of an edu- 
cational character had also some influence on the condemna- 
tion pronounced against the Jesuits by all the Parliaments of 
France. From all quarters, in the reports which were drawn 
up by the municipal or royal officers of all the cities where 
the Jesuits had colleges, complaint is made of the scholastic 
methods and usages of the Company. Reforms were de- 
manded which they were incapable of realizing. ' 

And it is not in France alone that the faults in the educa- 
tion of the Jesuits were vigorously announced. In the edict 
of 1759, by which the king of Portugal expelled the Jesuits 
from his kingdom, it was said : u The study of the human- 
ities has declined in the kingdom, and the Jesuits are evi- 
dently the cause of the decadence mto which the Greek and 
Latin tongues have fallen." Some years later, in 17G8, the 
king of Portugal congratulated himself on having banished 
"the moral corruption, the superstition, the fanaticism, and 
the ignorance, which had been introduced by the Society of 
Jesus. 1 


m » ■ 


376. General Complaints against the Education of the 
Jesuits. — Even in the middle of the eighteenth century the 
Jesuits were still addicted to their_oJ(J. routine, and even their 
faults were aggravated with the times. 
/ At Auxerre, complaint is made that pupils study in their 
schools only a few Latin authors, and that they leave them 
without ever receiving into their hands a single French 

At Moulins, a request is made that at least one hour a 
• week be devoted to the history of France, which proves that 
the Society of Jesus, always enslaved to its immobile formal- 
ism, did not grant even this little concession to the teaching 
of history. 

At Orleans, the necessity of teaching children the French 
language is insisted on. 

At Montbrison, the wish is expressed that pupils be taught 
a smattering of geography, especially of their own country. 

At Auxerre, it is proved that in the teaching of philos- 
ophy the time is employed " in copying and learning note- 
books filled with vain distinctions and frivolous questions." 

At Montbrison, the request is made " that the rules of 
reasoning be explained in French, and that there be a disuse 
of debates which train only disputants and not philosophers." 
~~ It would be interesting to pursue this study, and to collect 
from these reports of 1762, — real memorials of a scholastic 
revolution, — all the complaints of public opinion against the 
Jesuits. Even in religion, the Company of Jesus is charged 
with substituting for the sacred texts, books of devotion com- 
posed by the Fathers. At Poitiers, a demand is made in 
favor of the Old and the New Testaments, the study of 
which was wholly neglected. From time to time the Jesuits 
were accused of continually mixing religious questions with 
classical studies and of catechising, at every turn. " The 


masters of the fifth and sixth forms in the College of 
Auxerre dogmatize in the themes which they dictate to the 
children." Finally, the Company of Jesus maintained in 
the schools the teaching of moral casuistry ; it encouraged 
bigotry and superstition ; it relaxed nothing from the sever- 
ity of its discipline, and provoked violent recriminations 
among some of its former pupils who had preserved a pain- 
ful recollection of corrections received in its colleges. 1 

377. Efforts made to displace the Jesuits. — The Par - \ 
1 iaments, then, did nothing more, so to speak, than register 
the verdict of public opinion everywhere excited against the 
Jesuits. But while they heartily joined in the general rep- 
robation, they undertook to determine the laws of the new 
education. " It is of little use to destroy," they said, " if I 
we do not intend to build. The public good and the honor 
of the nation require that we should establish a civil education 
which shall prepare each new generation for filling with sue- j 
cess the different employments of the State." It is not just 
to say with Michel Breal, that " once delivered from the 
Jesuits, the University installed itself in their establishments 
and continued their instruction." Earnest attempts were 
made to reform programmes and methods. La Chalotais, 
Guy ton de Morveau, Holland, and still others attempted 
by their writings, and, when they could, by their acts, to 
establish a system of education which, while inspired by 
Rollin and the Jansenists, attempted to do still better. 

378. La Chalotais (1701-1785). — Of all the parliamen- 
tarians who distinguished themselves in the campaign under- 
taken towards the middle of the eighteenth century against 
the pedagogy of tht^jttiits, the most celebrated, and the 

1 See the pamphlet F^^^^^^H?^ entitled : Mt moires historiques fur 
VdrbilianUme et let corl^^^^^^mje suites. 



most worthy of being such, is undoubtedly the solicitor- 
general of the Parliament of Bretagne, Reu6 de la Chalotais. 
A man of courage and character, he was arres ted and im- 
prisoned in the citadel of Saiut Malo for having upheld the 
franchise of the province of Bretagne ; and it was in his 
prison, in 1765, that he drew up for his defence an eloquent 
and impassioned memorial, of which Voltaire said, " Woe 
to every sensitive soul that does not feel the quivering of a 
fever in reading it I " 

379. His Essay on National Education. — The Essni of 
LaChalotais appeared in 1763, one year after' the EmUe. 
Coming after the ambitious theories of a philosopher who, 
scorning polemics and the dissensions of his time, had 
written only for humanity and the future, this was a modest 
and opportune work, the effort of a practical man who 
attempted to respond to the aspirations and the needs of his 
time. Translated into several languages, the Ensai d'4duca- 
Hon nationale obtained the enthusiastic approval of Diderot, 
and also of Voltaire, who said, " It is a terrible book against 
the Jesuits, all the more so because it is written with moder- 
ation." Grimm carried his admiration so far as to write, " It 
would be difficult to present in a hundred and fifty pages 
more reflections that are wise, profound, useful, and truly 
worthy of a magistrate, of a philosopher, of a statesman." 
Too completely forgotten to-day, this little composition of 
LaChalotais deserves to be republished. Notwithstanding 
some prejudices that mar it, it is already wholly penetrated 
with the spirit of the Revolution. 

380. Secularization of EduAtiok. — As a matter of 
fact, the whole pedagogy of the^^MkBfbentury is domi- 
nated by the idea of the i - ^^k ^H ■■ I i ■ of instruc- 
tion. Thorough -going Gnllicam^H ^^m ■ or Holland, 
dauntless free-thinkers like ■ ■ *B^Br : ■ ■ !■. -. all believe 



and assert that public instruction is a civil affair, a " govern- 
ment undertaking," as Voltaire expressed it. All wish to 
substitute lay teachers for religious teachers, and to open 
civil schools upon the ruins of monastic schools. 

44 Who will be persuaded," says Holland in his report of 
1708, " that fathers who feel an emotion that an ecclesiastic 
never should have known, will be less capable than he of 
educating children ? " 

La Chalotais also demands these citizen teachers. He 
objects to those instructors who, from interest as well as 
from principle, give the preference in their affections to the 
supernatural world over one's native land. 

44 I do not presume to exclude ecclesiastics," he said, 
44 but I protest against the exclusion of laymen. 1 dare claim 
for the nation an education which depends only on the State, 
because it belongs essentially to the State ; because every 
State has an inalienable and indefeasible right to instruct its 
members ; because, finally, the children of the State ought to 
be educated by the members of the State." This does not 
mean that La Chalotais is irreligious ; but he desires a national 
religion which does not subordinate the interests of the 
country to a foreign power. What he wants especially is, 
that the Church, reserving to herself the teaching of divine 
truth, abandon to the State the teaching of morals, and the 
control of purely human studies. He is of the same opinion 
as his friend Duclos, who said : — • 

44 It is certain that in the education which was given at 
Sparta, the prime purpose was to train Spartans. .ttHHtS' 
that in every State the purpose should }>e* tojfaik iflpf^Ehe 
spirit of citizenship ; and, in our case, JBfcaihj»enchmen, 
and in order to make Frenchmen, to HH^fllke men of 
them." 1 ' ^** ^ 

1 Duclos, Considerations sur les mwurs de ce siecle, Ch. II. Sur r Educa- 
tion et lesprtjugU, 


381. Practical Purpose of Instruction. — The partic- 
ular charge brought by La Chalotais against the education of 
his time, against that of the Unixfirsity as well as against 

! that of the Jesuits, is, that it does not prepare children for 
;real life, for life in the State. "A stranger who should visit 
1 our colleges might conclude that in France we think only of 
peopling the seminaries, the cloisters, and the Latin col- 
onies." How are we to imagine that the study of a dead 
language, and a monastic discipline, are the appointed means 
for training soldiers, magistrates, and heads of families? 

"The greatest vice of education, and perhaps the most 
inevitable, while it shall be entrusted to persons who have 
renounced the world, is the absolute lack of instruction on | 
the moral and political virtues. Our education does not 
affect our habits, like that of the ancients. After having 
endured all the fatigues and irksomeness of the college, the 
young find themselves in the need of learning in what consist 
the duties common to all men. They have learned no prin- 
ciple for judging actions, evils, opinions, customs. They 
have everything to learn on matters that are so important. 
They are inspired with a devotion which is but an imitation 
of religion, and with practices which take the place of virtue, 
and are but the shadow of it." 

382. Intuitive and Natural Instruction. — A pupil of 
the sensational school, a disciple of Locke and of Condillac, 
La Chalotais is too much inclined to misconceive, in the 
development of the individual, the play of natural activities 
and innate dispositions. But, by way of compensation, his 
predilection for sensationalism leads him to excellent thoughts 
on the necessity of beginning with sensible objects before 

dvancing to intellectual studies, and first of all to secure an 
education of the senses. 

"I wish nothing to be taught children except facts which 

- -TIM ■ ■ ■ *-*-' : 


are attested by the eyes, at the age of seven as at the age of 

" The principles for instructing children should be those 
by which nature herself instructs them. Nature is the best 
of teachers. " 

" Every method which begins with abstract ideas is not.' 
made for children. 

" Let children see many objects ; let there be a variety of 
such, and let them be shown under many aspects and on 
various occasions. The memory and the imagination of 
children cannot be overcharged with useful facts and ideas 
of which they can make use in the course of their lives." 

Such are the principles according to which La Chaiotais 
organizes his plan of studies. 

383. The New Spirit in Education. — The purpose, 
then, is to replace that monastic and ultramontane education 
(this is the term employed by La Chaiotais) , and also that 
narrow education, and that repulsive and austere discipline, 
" which seems made only to abase the spirit" ; that sterile 
and insipid teaching, " the most usual effect of which is to 
make study hated for life " ; those scholastic studies where 
young men " contract the habit of disputing and caviling" ; 
and those ascetic regulations " which set neatness and health 
at defiance." The purpose is to initiate children into our 
most common and most ordinary affairs, into what forms 
the conduct of life and the basis of civil societv. 

" Most young men know neither the world which they 
inhabit, the earth which nourishes them, the men who supply 
their needs, the animals which serve them, nor the workmen 
and citizens whom thev emplov. Thev have not even any 

%f l ft c ft/ 

desire for this kind of knowledge. No advantage is taken 
of their natural curiosity for the purpose of increasing it. 


They know how to admire neither the wonders of nature nor 
the prodigies of the arts." 

This is equivalent to saying that they should henceforth 
learn all that up to this time they had been permitted to be 
ignorant of. 

384. Studies of the First Period. — Education, ac- 
cording to La Chalotais, should be divided into two periods •. 
the first from five tp ten, the second from ten .to seventeen. 

During the first period, we have to do with children who 
have no experience because they have seen nothing, who 
have no power of attention because they are incapable of any 
sustained effort, -and no judgment because they have not yet 
any general ideas ; but who, by way of compensation, have 
senses, memory, and some power of reflection. It is neces- 
sary, then, to make a careful choice of the subjects of study 
which shall be proposed to these tender intelligences ; and 
La Chalotais decides in favor of history, geography, natural 
history, physical and mathematical recreations. 

u The exercises proposed for the first period," he says, 
" are as follows : learning to read, write, and draw ; dancing 
and music, which ought to enter into the education of persons 
above the commonalty ; historical narratives and the lives of 
illustrious men of every country, of every age, and of every 
profession ; geography, mathematical and physical recrea- 
tions ; the fables of La Fontaine, which, whatever may be 
said of them, ought not to be removed from the hands of 
children, but all of which thev should be made to learn bv 
heart; and besides this, walks, excursions, merriment, and 
recreations ; I do not propose even the studies except as 

385. Criticism of Negative Education. — La Chalotais 
is often right as against Rousseau. For example, he has 
abundantly refuted the Utopia of a negative education in 


which nature is allowed to have her way, and which consid- 
ers the toil of the centuries as of no account. It is good sense 
itself which speaks in reflections like these : — 

" If man is not taught what is good, he will necessarily 
become preoccupied with what is bad. The mind and the 
heart cannot remain unoccupied. ... On the pretext of 
affording children an experience which is their own, they are 
deprived of the assistance of others' experience." 

386. History avenged of the Disdain of Rousseau. — 
The sophisms of Rousseau on history are brilliantly refuted. 
History is within the comprehension of the youngest. The 
child who can understand Tom Thumb and Blue Beard, can 
understand the history of Romulus and of Clovis. More- 
over, it is to the history of the most recent times that 
La Chalotais attaches the greatest importance, and in this 
respect he goes beyond his master Rollin : — 

" I would have composed for the use of the child histories 
of every nation, of every century, and particularly of the 
later centuries, which should be written with greater detail, 
and which should be read before those of the more remote 
centuries. I would have written the lives of illustrious men 
of all classes, conditions, and professions, of celebrated . 
heroes, scholars, women, and children." 

387. Geography. — La Chalotais does not separate the 
study of geography from that of history, and he requires 
that, without entering into dry and tedious details, the pupil 
be made to travel pleasantly through different countries, and 
that stress be put i% on what is of chief importance and inter- 
est in each country, such as the most striking facts, the 
native land of great men, celebrated battles, and whatever 
is most notable, either as to manners and customs, to 
natural productions, or to arts and commerce." 


888. Natural History. — Another study especially 
adapted to children, says La Chalotais with reason, is 
natural history: "The principal thing is first to -show the 
different objects just as they appear to the eyes. A repre- 
sentation of them, with a precise and exact description, is 

"Too great detail must be avoided, and the objects chosen 
must be such as are most directly related to us, which are 
the most necessary and the most useful." 

" Preference shall be given to domestic animals over those 
that are wild, and to native animals over those of other 
countries. In the case of plants, preference shall be given 
to those that serve for food and for use in medicine." 

As far as possible, the object itself should be shown, so 
that the idea shall be the more exact and vivid, and the 
impression the more durable. 

889. Recreations in Physics. — La Chalotais explains 
that he means by this phrase observations, experiments, and 
the simplest facts of nature. Children should early be made 
acquainted with thermometers, barometers, with the micro- 
scope, etc. 

890. Recreations in Mathematics. — All this is excellent, 
and La Chalotais enters resolutely into the domain of modern 
methods. What is more debatable is the idea of putting 
geometry and mathematics into the programme of children's 
studies, under this erroneous pretext, that "geometry pre- 
sents nothing but the sensible and the palpable." Let us 
grant, however, that it is easier to conceive " clear ideas of 
bodies, lines, and angles that strike the eyes, than abstract 
ideas of verbs, declensions, and conjugations, of an accusa- 
tive, an ablative, a subjunctive, an infinitive, or of the 
omitted that." 


891 . Studies of the Second Period. — La Chalotais post- 
pones the study, of the classical languages till the second 
period, the tenth year. The course of study for this second 
period will comprise: 1. French and Latin literature, or the 
humanities ; 2. a continuation of history, geography, math- 
ematics, and natural history ; 3. criticism, logic, and meta- 
physics ; 4. the art of invention ; 5. ethics. 

La Chalotais complains that his contemporaries neglect 
French literature, as though we had not admirable models in 
our national language. Out of one hundred pupils there are 
not five who will find it useful to write in Latin ; while there 
is not one of them who will have occasion to speak or write 
in Greek, and to construct Latin verses. All, on the con- 
trary, ought to know their native raeguage. Consequently, 
our author suggests the idea of devoting the morning session 
to French, and that of the afternoon to Latin, so that the 
pupils who have no need of the ancient languages may pur- 
sue only the courses in French. 

892. The Living Languages. — La Chalotais thinks the 
knowledge of two living languages to be necessary, " the 
English for science, and the German for war." German 
literature had not yet produced its masterpieces, and it is 
seen that at this period the utility of German appears espe- 
cially with reference to military affairs. However it may be, 
let us be grateful to him for having appreciated, as he has 
done, the living languages. ik It is wrong," he says, u to 
treat them nearly as we treat our contemporaries, with a sort 
of indifference. Without the Greek and Latin languages 
there is no real and solid erudition ; and there is no complete 
erudition without the others." 

393. Other Studies. — How many judicious or just reflec- 
tions we have still to gather from the Essay on National Educa- 



tion, as upon the teaching of the ancient languages, which La 
Chalotais, however, is wrong in restricting to too small a 
number of years ; upon the necessity of presenting to pupils 
as subjects for composition, not puerile amplifications, or 
dissertations on facts or matters of which they are ignorant, 
but things which they know, which have happened to them, 
44 their occupations, their amusements, or their troubles"; 
upon logic or criticism, the study of which should not be 
deferred till the end of the course, as is still done in our day ; 
upon philosophy, which is, he says, 44 the characteristic of 
the eighteenth century, as that of the sixteenth was erudition, 
and that of the seventeenth was talent ! " La Chalotais 
reserves the place of honor to ethics, 44 which is the most 
important of all the sciences, and which is, as much as any 
other, susceptible of demonstration." 

394. The Question of Books. — In tracing his programme 
of studies, so new in many particulars, La Chalotais took 
into account the difficulties that would be encountered in 
assuring, and, so to speak, in improvising, the execution 
of it, at a time when there existed neither competent teachers 
nor properly constructed books. Teachers especially, he 
said, are difficult to train. But, while waiting for the re- 
cruiting of the teaching force, La Chalotais puts great de- 
pendence on elementary books, which might, he thought, be 
composed within two years, if the king would encourage the 
publication of them, and if the Academies would put them 
up for competition. 

44 These books would be the best instruction which the mas- 
ters could give, and would take the place of every other 
method. Whatever course we may take, we cannot dispense 
with new books. These books, once made, would make 
trained teachers unnecessary, and there would then be no 
longer any occasion for discussion as to their qualities, 


whether they should be priests, or married, or single. All 
would be good, provided they were religious, moral, and 
knew how to read ; they would soon train themselves while 
training their pupils." 

There is much exaggeration in these words. The book, as 
we know, cannot supply the place of teachers. But the lan- 
guage of La Chalotais was adapted to circumstances as they 
existed. He spoke in this way, because, in his impatience 
to reach his end, he would try to remedy the educational 
poverty of his time, and supply the lack of good teachers by 
provisional expedients, by means which he found within his 


895. Aristocratic Prejudices. — That which we would 
expunge from the book of La Chalotais is his opinion on pri- 
mary instruction. Blinded by some unexplained distrust of 
the people, and dominated by aristocratic tendencies, he com- 
plains of the extension of instruction. lie demands that the 
knowledge of the poor do not extend beyond their pursuits. 
He bitterly criticises the thirst for knowledge which is begin- 
ning to pervade the lower classes of the nation. 

" Even the people can study. Laborers and artisans send 
their children to the colleges of the smaller cities. . . . When 
these children have accomplished a summary course of study 
which has taught them only to disdain the occupation of their 
father, they rush into the cloisters and become ecclesiastics ; 
or they exercise judicial functions, and often become subjects 
harmful to society. The Brethren of the Christian Doctrine 
(sic), who are called ignorantins, have just appeared to com- 
plete the general ruin ; they teach people to read and write 
who ought to learn only to draw, and to handle the plane and 
the file, but have no disposition to do it. They are the rivals 
or the successors of the Jesuits." 

A singular force of prejudice was necessary to conceive that 


the Brethren of the Christian Schools were instructing the 
people too highly. 

Let it be said, however, towards exonerating LaChalotais, 
that he perhaps does not so much attack the instruction in 
itself, as the bad way in which it is given. What he censures 
is instruction that is badly conceived, that which takes people 
from their own class. In some other passages of his book 
we see that he would be disposed to disseminate the new 
education among the ranks of the people. 

u It is the State, it is the larger part of the nation, that 
' must be kept principally in view in education ; for twenty 
; millions of men ought to be held in greater consideration 
than one million, and the peasantry , ivho are not yet a class in 
France, as they are in Sweden, ought not to be neglected in a 
system of instruction. Education is equally solicitous that 
letters should be cultivated, and that the fields should be 
plowed ; that all the sciences and the useful arts should be 
perfected ; that justice should be administered and that relig- 
ion should be taught; that there should be instructed and 
competent generals, magistrates, and ecclesiastics, and skill- 
ful artists and citizens, all in fit proportion. It is for the 
government to make each citizen so pleased with his condi- 
tion that he may not be forced to withdraw from it." 

Let us quote one sentence more, which is almost the for- 
mula that to-day is so dear to the friends of instruction : — 

44 We do not fear to assert, in general/ that in the condi- 
tion in which Europe now is, the people that are the most 
enlightened will always have the advantage over those who 
are the less so." 

896. General Conclusion. — Notwithstanding the faults 
which mar it, the work of La Chalotais is none the less one of 
the most remarkable essays of the earlier French pedagogy. 
41 La Chalotais," says Gr6ard, "belongs to the school of 



Ro Bflpftfl u ; but on more than one point he departs from the 
plan traced by the master. He escapes from the allurements 
of the paradox. Relatively he has the spirit of moderation. 
He is a classic without prejudices, an innovator without 

His book is pre-eminently a book of polemics, written with 
the ardor of one who is engaged in a fight, and overflowing 
with a generous passion. What noble words are the fol- 
lowing : — 

" Let the young man l§arn what bread a ploughman, a 
day laborer, or an artisan eats. He will see in the sequel 
how they are deprived of the bread which they earn with so 
much difficulty, and how one portion of men live at the ex- 
pense of the other." 

In these lines, which breathe a sentiment of profound pity 
for the disinherited of this world, we already hear, as it were, 
the signal cry announcing the social reclamations of the 
French Revolution. 

379. Rolland (1734-1794). — La Chalotais, after hav- 
ing criticised the old methods, proposed new ones ; Rolland 
attempted to put them in practice. La Chalotais is a polemic 
and a theorist ; Rolland is an administrator. President of the 
Parliament of Paris, he presented to his colleagues, in 1768, 
a Report which is a real system of education. 1 But above 
all, he gave his personal attention to the administration of 
the College Louis-le-Grand. An ardent and impassioned 
adversary of the Jesuits, he used every means to put public 
instruction in a condition to do without them. " Noble and 
wise spirit, patient and courageous reason, who, for twenty 
years, even during exile and after the dissolution of his 
society, did not abandon for a single moment the work he 

1 See the Iiecueil of the works of President Rolland, printed in 1783, by 
order of the executive committee of the College Louis-le-Grand. 


had undertaken, but brought it, almost perfected, to the 
very con lines of the Revolution ; a heart divested of every 
ambition, who, chosen by popular wish, and by the cabinet 
of the king, as director of public instruction, obstinately 
entrenched himself in the peace of his studious retreat." This 
is the judgment of a member of the University, in the nine- 
teenth century, Dubois, director of the Normal School. 

No doubt Holland is not an original educator. " It is in 
Roll'm's TraiU des itudes" he says, " that every teacher will 
find the true rules for education." Besides, he borrowed 
Ideas from La Chalotais, and also from the Me* moires which 
the University of Paris drew up in 1763 and 1764 at the 
request of Parliament ; so that the interest in his work is 
less, perhaps, in its personal views than in the indications 
it furnishes relative to the situation of the University and 
its tendency towards self-reformation. 

398. Instruction within the Reach of All, — At least 
on one point Holland is superior to La Chalotais ; he takes a 
bold stand for the necessity of primary instruction, and for 
the progress and ditFusion of human knowledge. 

" Education cannot be too widely diffused, to the end that 
there may be no class of citizens who may not be brought to 
participate in its benefits. It is expedient that each citizen 
receive the education which is adapted to his needs." l 

It is true that Holland joins in the wish expressed by the 
University, which demanded a reduction in the number of 
colleges. Hut only colleges for the higher studies were in 
question, and Holland thought less of restricting instruction 
than of proportioning and adapting it to the needs of the 
different classes of societv. 

" Each one ought to have the opportunity to receive the 
education which is adapted to his needs. . . . Now each 

1 Recueil, etc, p. 25. 



soil," adds Holland, " is not susceptible of the same culture 
and the same product. Each mind does not demand the 
same degree of culture. All men have neither the same 
needs nor the same talents ; and it is in proportion to these 
talents and these needs that public education ought to be 

Holland shared the prejudices of La Chalotais against "the 
new Order founded bv La Salle " ; but none the less on this 
account did he demand instruction for all. 

" The knowledge of reading and writing, which is the key 
to all the other sciences, ought to be universally diffused. 
Without this the teachings of the clergy are useless, for the 
memory is rarely faithful enough ; and reading alone can 
impress in a durable manner what it is important never to 
forget." Would it be granted by every one to-day, affected 
by prejudices that' are ever re-appearing, that " the laborer 
who has received some sort of instruction is but the more 
diligent and the more skillful by reason of it " ? 

899. The Normal School. — We shall not dwell upon 
the methods and schemes of study proposed by Holland. 
Save very urgent recommendations relative to the study of 
the national history and of the French language, we shall 
find nothing very new in them. What deserve to be pointed 
out, by way of compensation, are the important innovations 
which he wished to introduce into the general organization 
of public instruction. 

First there was the idea of a higher normal school, of a 
seminary for professors. The University had already 
expressed the wish that such an establishment should be 
founded. To be convinced how much this pedagogical sem- 
inary, conceived as far back as 1763, resembled our actual 
Normal School, it suffices to note the following details. The 
establishment was to be governed by professors drawn from 


the different faculties, according to the different subjects of 
instruction. The young men received on competitive exam- 
ination were to be divided into three classes, corresponding 
to the three grades of admission. Within the establishment 
they were to take part in a series of discussions, after a 
given time to submit to the tests for graduation, and finally 
to be placed in the colleges. Is it not true that there was 
no important addition to be made to this scheme ? Holland 
also required that pedagogics have a place among the studies 
of these future professors, and that definite and systematic 
instruction be given in this art, so important to the teachers 
of youth. 

Holland does not stop even there. He provides for 
inspectors, or visitors , who are to examine all the colleges 
each year. Finally, lie subjects all scholastic establishments 
to one Mingle authority, to a council of the government, to 
which ho applies the rather odd title, the " Bureau of Corre- 
spondence. " 

400. Spirit op Centralization. — Whatever opinion 
may bo formed of absolute centralization, which, in our cen- 
tury, has become the law of public instruction, and has 
caused the disappearance of provincial franchises, it is certain 
that the parliamentarians of the eighteenth century were the 
first to conceive it and desire it, if not to realize it. Paris, in 
Holland's plan, becomes the centre of public instruction. 
The universities distributed through the provinces are co-or- 
dinated and made dependent on that of Paris. 

<% Is it not desirable," said Holland, " that the good taste 
which everything concurs to produce in the capital, be dif- 
fused to the very extremities of the kingdom ; that every 
Frenchman participate in the treasures of knowledge which 
are there accumulating from clay to day ; that the young men 
who have the same country, who are destined to serve the same 


prince and to fulfill the same functions, receive the same les- 
sons and be imbued with the same maxims ; that one part of 
France be not under the clouds of ignorance while letters 
shed the purest light in another ; in a word, that the time 
come when a young man educated in a province cannot be 
distinguished from one who has been trained in the cap- 
ital?" And he adds that " the only means for attaining an 
\ end so desirable is to make Paris the centre of public instruc- 

Besides the gain that will thus accrue to instruction, Holland 
sees this other advantage, that, through uniformity in instruc- 
tion, there will be secured a uniformity in manners and in 
laws. By means of a uniform education, " the young men 
of all the provinces will divest themselves of all their preju- 
dices of birth ; they will form the same ideas of virtue and 
justice ; they will demand uniform laws, which would have 
offended their fathers." 

Bj' this means, finally, there will be developed a national 
spirit, a national character, and a national jurisprudence, 
1 " the only means of recreating love of countn*." Is it not 
true that the great magistrates of the close of the eighteenth 
century deserve also to be counted among the founders of 
French unity? 

401; Tcrgot (1727-1781).— In his M&moires to the king 
(1775), Turgot set forth analogous ideas, and also demanded 
the formation of a council of public instruction. He made 
an eloquent plea for the establishment of a civil and national 
education which should be extended to the country at large. 

" Your kingdom, Sir, is of this world. Without opposing 
any obstacle to the instructions whose object is higher, and 
which already have their rules and their expounders, I 
think I can propose to you nothing of more advantage to 
your people than to cause to be given to all your subjects an 


instruction which shows them the obligations they owe to 
society and to your power which protects them, the duties 
which those obligations impose on them, and the interest 
which they have in fulfilling those duties for the public good 
and their own. This moral and social instruction requires 
books expressly prepared, by competition, and with great 
care, and a schoolmaster in each parish to teach them to 
children, along with the art of writing, reading, counting, 
measuring, and the principles of mechanics.'* 

44 The study of the duty- <of_£itizenship ought to be the 
foundation of all the other studies." 

" There are methods and establishments for training 
geometricians, physicists, and painters, but there are none 
for training citizens." 

In a word, La Chalotais, Holland, Turgot, and some of 
their contemporaries, were real precursors of the French 
Revolution in the matter of education. At the date of 1762 
the scholastic revolution began, at least so far as secondary 
instruction is concerned. The Parliaments of that period 
conceived the plan of the University of the nineteenth cen- 
tury, and prepared for the work of Napoleon I. But they 
left to the men of the Revolution the honor of being the first 
to organize primary instruction. 

[402. Analytical Summary. — 1. This study exhibits the 
evils brought upon a country by an education controlled and ■ 
administered by a dominant Church for the attainment of 
its own ends ; and also the efforts of a nation to save itself 
from imminent disaster by making the State the great public 

2. The right of the State to self-preservation is the vindi- 
cation of its right to control and direct public education. 
The State thus becomes the patron of the, public school ; 



the product it requires is good citizenship ; and for the sake 
of securing this product the State endows the school, wholly 
or in part. 

3. The situation in France, as described in this study, is 
an aggravated case of what may occur whenever education is 
administered by a class having special interests and ambi- 
tions ; and under some form there must be the intervention 
of the State as a means of protecting its own interests. 

4. When education is administered in the main by the 
literary class, there is some danger that the instruction may 
not be that which is best adapted to the needs of other 



mC — — 






OF instruction; political catechism ; INDEPENDENT morality ; 


404. Contradictory Judgments on the Work of the 
Revolution. — An historian of education in France, Thery, 
opens his chapter on the Revolution with these contemptuous 
words. u One does not study a void, one does not analyze a 
negation." 1 A more recent historian of public instruction 
during the Revolution, Albert Duruy, arriving at the work 
of Condorcet, certainly the most important undertaking of 

* * Thdry, Histoire de I Education en France, Paris, 1861, Tome H. p. 188. 


the pedagogy of the Revolution, does not hesitate to record 
this absolute and summary judgment: "We are now no 
longer in the real and in the possible ; we are travelling in 
the laud of chimeras ; we are soaring in space at heights 
which admit of only ideal attainment." 1 

How easy it is to say this ! To believe these facile 
judges, one who would estimate the efforts of the Revolu- 
tion in the matter of public instruction would have to choose 
between a nothing and a chimera. The men of the RejA|- 
tion have done nothing, say some ; they are dreamerffVm 
idealists, say others. 

These assertions do not bear examination. For every 
impartial observer it is certain that the Revolution opened a 
new era in education, and the proof of this is to be found in 
the very documents that our opponents so triflingly condemn, 
and the practical spirit of which they misconceive. 

405. General Character of that Work. — It is not 
that the men of the Revolution were ed^ators in the strict 
sense of the term. The science of educarton is not indebted 
to them for new methods. They have not completed the 
work of Locke, of Rousseau, and of La Chalotais ; but 
they were the first to attempt a legislative organization of a 
vast 8}*stem of public instruction. It is just to place them 
in the front rank of the men who might be called "educa- 
tional statesmen." Doubtless they lacked time for apply- 
ing their ideas, but they had at least the merit of having 
conceived these ideas, and of having embodied them in 
legislative acts. The principles which we proclaim to-day, 
they formulated. The solutions which we attempt to put in 
practice after a century of waiting, were decreed by them. 
The reader who will follow the long series of reports and 

1 Albert Duruy, L' instruction publique et la Revolution, p. 80. 


decrees which constitutes the pedagogical work of the Rev- 
olution will have witnessed the genesis of popular instruc- 
tion in France. 

406. The State of Primary Instruction. — In order 
to form a proper appreciation of the merits of the men of 
the Revolution, it is first necessary to consider in what a 
deplorable.. state they found primary instruction. What a 
contrast between that which they hoped to do and the actual 
situation in 1 V 89 ! I very well know that fancy sketches 
have been drawn of the old regime. A very showy enu- 
meration has been made of the number of colleges ; but we 
have not been told how many of these colleges had no pro- 
fessors, and how many had no pupils. And so of the 
schools ; they are found everywhere, but it remains to be 
shown what was taught in them, and whether anything was 
taught in them. 1 

Party writers who are bound to gainsay the work of the 
French Revolution in the matter of education, generally put 
under contribution, to serve their political prejudices, the old 
communal archives. They cite imaginary statistics which 
prove, for example, that in the diocese of Rouen, in 1718, 
there were 855 schools for boys, and 306 schools for girls, 
for a territory of 1159 parishes. 

It is first necessary to verify these statistics, whose accu- 
racy has not been demonstrated, and whose figures were 
evidently obtained only by counting a school wherever the 
rector of the parish gave lessons in reading and in the cate- 
chism to three or four children. 

But there are other replies to make to the traducers of the 
Revolution who tax their ingenuity to prove that instruction 
was flourishing under the old regime, and that the Revolution 

1 J. Simon, Dieu,patrie, et liberty, p. 11. 


destroyed more than it created. With this assumed efflo- 
rescence of schools of which we hear, it is necessary to 
contrast the results as shown by authentic statistics of the 
number of illiterates. In 1790 there was 53 per cent of men 
and 73 per cent of women who could not sign their names 
to their marriage contracts. 

Besides, we must inquire what was taught in these pre- 
tended schools, how many children attended them, and what 
was the material and moral condition of the teachers who 
directed them. 

407. What was taught in the Schools. — Instruction 
was reduced to the catechism, to reading and writing. On 
this point there can be no dispute. The official pro- 
gramme of the Brethren of the Christian Schools did not go 
beyond this. The ordinance of Louis XIV., dated in 1698, 
has been pompously quoted. 

4fc We would have appointed," it is there said, "as far as 
it shall be possible, masters and mistresses in all the par- 
ishes where there are none, to instruct all children, and in 
particular those ichose parents have made profession of the 
pretended reformed religion, in the catechism and the prayers 
which are necessary ; to take them to mass on every work 
day ; and also to teach reading and writing to those who trill 
need this knoivledge." 

But does not this very text support those who maintain 
that the Monarchy and the Church have never encouraged 
primary instruction except as required by the necessities of 
the straggle against heresy, and that primary instruction 
tinder the old regime was scarcely more than an instrument 
of religious domination ? 

Most often the school was simply a place to which parents 
sent their children for temporary care. Writing was not 
always taught in it. A school- mistress of Haute-Mame 



was forbidden to teach writing " for fear her pupils might 
employ their knowledge in writing love-letters." 

408. Discipline. — Corporal punishments were more than 
ever the order of the day. The bishop of Montpellier, at 
the end of the seventeenth century, forbids, it is true, beat- 
ing with sticks, kicks, and raps on the head ; but he author- 
izes the ferule and the rod, on the condition that the patient 
be not completely exposed. 

409. Condition of the Teachers. — That which is graver 
still is that the teachers themselves (I speak of lay teachers, 
who, it is true, were not numerous) lived in a wretched con- 
dition, without material independence and without moral 
dignity. In general, there were no fixed salaries. Wages 
varied from 40 to 200 francs, arbitrarily fixed by the vestry- 
board or by the community, in return for a great number of 
services the most various and the least exalted. The school- 
masters were far less teachers than sextons, choristers, 
beadles, bell-ringers, clock-makers', and even grave-diggers. 
" Attendance at marriages and at burials was counted at the 
rate of 15 sols and dinner for marriages, and 20 sols for 
burials." And Albert Duruy concludes that in this there 
were substantial advantages to the school-masters ; 1 — advan** 
tages dearly bought in ever}' case, and repudiated by those 
who were interested in them. "The more services we ren- 
der the community," said the teachers of Bourgogne in their 
complaints in 1789, "the more we are degraded. "* The 
school-masters were scarcely more than the domestics of the 

1 Albert Duruy, op. cit., p. 16. 

9 DoMances presented to the States-General by the teachers of the 
umaller cities, hamlets, and villages of Bourgogne. 


In order to live, they were not only obliged to accept 
these church services, but they also became shoemakers, 
tailors, innkeepers, millers, etc. The teacher of the com- 
mune of Angles, in the High Alps, was a " barbers' 

Thus there was no assured salary, and consequently nc 
moral consideration. " In the communes, teachers were 
regarded as strangers and not as citizens ; like tramps and 
vagrants, they were not admitted to the assemblies of the 

410. The Recruitment op Teachers. — Nowhere were 
there nor mal sc hools for the training of teachers. The 
schools were entrusted to the first comer. The bishop 
granted his approbation, or permission to teach, after an 
examination of the most summary kind. The duties of 
teaching were the means of subsistence which were accepted 
without call and without serious preparation. In Provence, 
school-masters attended kinds of "teachers' fairs" for the 
purpose of being hired. In the Alps, teachers were numer- 
ous, but only in winter. They tarried in the plain and in 
the valleys only during the inclement season. They returned 
home for the labors of the summer. 

Consequently, most of the schools existed only in name. 
44 The schools," we are told, 1 " were in vacation for four or 
five months." For a half of the year, the school -masters 
were free to follow another trade, or, rather, to devote them- 
selves more completely to their ordinary trade, which their 
school duties did not always interrupt. 

411. What the School Itself was. — School-houses were 
most frequently merely wretched huts, wooden cots, and nar- 
row ground-floors, badly lighted, which served at the same 

1 A. Duruy, op. cit^ p. 10. 


time as a domicile for the school-master and his family, and 
as a class-room for pupils. Benches aud tables were things 
rarely seen, and pupils wrote while standing. 

In a word, the state of primary instruction, when the 
States-General opened in 1789, was as follows: schools 
few in number and poorly attended ; few lay teachers, trained 
no one knows how, without thorough instruction, and, _ as 
they themselves said, "degraded" by their inferior position; 
few or no elementary books ; gratuity only partial ; finally, 
a general indifference for elementary instruction, which phil- 
osophers like Voltaire, and Rousseau, and Parliamentarians 
like La Chalotais, themselves lightly esteemed. 

412. The Proper Work of the Revolution. — I do not 
saj* that the Revolution accomplished all that there was to be 
attempted in order to bring instruction up to the needs of the 
new society ; but it purposed to do this. Every time a lib- 
eral ministr}' has decided to work for the promotion of in- 
struction, it has revived its plans ; and it is these same plans 
that by a vigorous effort public authority has attempted to 
realize in recent times. 

413. The Reports of 1789. — Already, in the reports of 
1789, public opinion vigorously pronounced itself iu favor. of 
educational reforms. "The cahiers of 1789, even those 
of the clerg}- and the nobility, demand the reorganization of 
public instruction on a comprehensiye. plan. The cahiers 
of the clergy of Rodez and of Saumur demand ' that there 
may be formed a plan of national education for the young'; 
those of Lyons, that education be restricted 4 to a teaching 
body whose members may not be removable except for neg- 
ligence, misconduct, or incapacity ; that it may no longer be 
conducted according to arbitrary principles, and that all pub- 
lic instructors be obliged to conform to a uniform plan 


adopted by the States-General.' The colliers of the nobility 
of Lyons insist that ' a national character ' be impressed on 
the education of bothjexes. Those of Paris demand c that 
public education be perfected, and extended to all classes of 
citizens.' Those of Blois, fc that there be established a coun- 
cil composed of the most enlightened scholars of the capital 
and of. the provinces and of the citizens of the different 
orders, to form a plan of national education, for the use of 
all the classes of society, and to edit elementary treatises.' " * 

414. Mirabeau (1749-1791). — From the first days of 
the Revolution, pedagogical literature abounds, and gives evi- 
dence of the ever-growing interest which public opinion 
attaches to educational questions. The Oratorians, of whom 
LaChalotais said, u that they were free from the prejudices 
of the school and of the cloister, and that thev were citi- 
zens," present to the National Assembly a series of scholastic 
plans. On its part, the Assembly sets itself at work ; Tal- 
leyrand prepares his great report, and Mirabeau embodies his 
own reflections in four eloquent discourses. 

Mirabeau's discourses, published after his death through 
the good offices of his friend Cabanis, had the following 
titles : 1 . Draft of a Law for the Organization of the Teach- 
ing Body ; 2. Public and Military Festivals; 3. Organiza- 
tion of a National Lyce'e; 4. Tlie Education of the Heir 
Presumjrtive of the Crown. 

415. The Dangers of Ignorance. — With what brilliancy 
the illustrious orator made appear the advantages and the 
necessity of instruction ! 

"Those who desire that the peasant may not know how * 
to read or write, have doubtless made a patrimony of his 

1 See the Dictionnaire de Ptdagogie, Article France. J r ; - 


ignorance, and their motives are not difficult to appreciate ; 
but they do not know that when they have made a wild beast 
of a man, they expose themselves to the momentary danger 
of seeing him transformed into a savage beast. Without in- 
1 telligence there is no morality. But on whom, then, is it 
important to bestow intelligence, if it is not upon the rich ? 
Is not the safeguard of their enjoyments the morality, of the 
people ? Through the influence of the laws, through that ol 
a wise administration, through the efforts to which each one 
should be inspired by the hope of ameliorating the condition 
of his fellows, exert yourselves, public and private citizens, 
to diffuse in all quarters the noble fruits of knowledge. 
Believe that in dissipating one single error, in propagating 
one single wholesome truth, you will do something for the 
happiness of the human race ; and whoever you are, do not 
have the least doubt that it is only by this means that you 
can assure your own happiness." 

But through some inexplicable spirit of timidity, Mirabeau 
did not draw from these principles the consequences that 
they permit. He does not admit that the State can impose 
the obligation to attend school, 
v "Society," he says, "has not the right to prescribe in- 
| struction as a duty. . . . Public authority has not the right, 
with respect to the members of the social body, to go beyond 
the limits of watchfulness against injustice and of protection 
against violence. . . ." "Society," he adds, "can exact of 
each one only the sacrifices necessary for the maintenance 
of the liberty and the safety of all." 

Mirabeau forgets that the obligation to send children to 
school is exactly one of those necessary sacrifices which the 
State has the right to impose on parents. 

Hostile to obligation, Mirabeau feels no greater partisan- 
ship for gratuity : — 


"Gratuitous education," he said, " is paid for by every- 
body, while its -fruits are immediately gathered by only a ' 
small number of individuals." 

416. Liberty of Teaching. — Like so manj other gener- 
ous spirits, Mirabeau cherished the dream of the most com- 
plete liberty of teaching. 1 

" Your single purpose," he said to the members, " is to give 
to man the use of all his faculties, to make him enjoy all his 

i What is meant by " liberty of teaching " will be better understood from 
the following quotations from the Dictionnaire de Pddagogie, Premiere 
Partie, p. 1575 et seq. : — 

" Liberty of teaching, in a country which has proclaimed obligatory in- 
struction, is the equal right of all to give that instruction, or the prohibition 
of every monopoly which would put that instruction into the hands either 
of privileged individuals, or of corporations, or even of the State, to the 
exclusion of every other teaching body. 1 ' 

" Under the old regime, the education of the masses was committed to 
the hands of the Church ; the colleges, directed by a body of men who were 
all ecclesiastics, gave 'a vain pretence of an education, where the memory 
alone was exercised, and where the reason was insulted in the forms of 
reasoning.' " 

" The purpose of the men of the Revolution was, then, above all else, to 
emancipate science, and to guarantee the right of free inquiry; and while 
rescuing instruction from the tyranny of tbe Church, to assure to citizens 
in general the opportunity to acquire the knowledge that is essential to 
man. On the one hand, they would take precautions against the abuse 
of power by a government which had always shown itself hostile to free 
thought . . . ; on the other, in opposition to the old doctrine which con- 
demned the people to ignorance, they proclaimed the duty of the State to 
create a system of public instruction, common to all citizens." 

" It is at this point of view that we must place ourselves in order to gain 
a correct notion of the plans that were submitted to the Constituent Con- 
vention and the Legislative Assembly. What Talleyrand and Condorcet 
desired was, first, to organize, under the form of a public service, a system 
of national education in which all might participate; and in the second 
place, to take precautions against the Church and the royal authority, and 
so prevent despotic power from attempting to prevent the development of 
new troths and the teaching of theories which it judged contrary to its 
policy and interests. For them, liberty of teaching is the demand of phil- 
osophic liberty against ecclesiastical and secular^ authority." (P.) 


rights, to develop the corporate life out of all the individual 
lives freely developed, and the will of the whole out of all 
personal wills." 

417. Distribution op Studies. — In Mirabeau's plan, 
public aud national instruction depends, not on the executive 
power, but on " the magistrates who truly represent the peo- 
ple, that is to say, who are elected and often renewed by the 
people," — in other terms, the officers of departments or dis- 
tricts. Establishments for instruction ought not to form a 
consolidated bod}\ 

Let us observe, finally, that by the side of the primary 
schools Mirabeau established a college of literature for each 
department, and at Paris, a single National Lyc6e, " designed 
to secure to a select number of French youth the means of 
finishing their education." In this he established a chair of 
method, which, he said, ought to be the basis of instruction. 

In conclusion, the work of Mirabeau is .but a very imper- 
fect sketch, and a sort of graduated transition between the 
old and the new regime. 

We do not yet find in it the grand ideas which are to 
impassion men, and it is the Rapport of Talleyrand which 
constitutes the real introduction to the educational work of 
the Revolution. 

418. The Constituent Assembly and Talleyrand. — 
The constitution of Sept. 4, 1791, announced the following 
provision : — 

"There shall be created and organized a system of public 
instruction, common to all citizens, and gratuitous with re- 
spect to those branches of instruction which are indispensable 
for all men." 

It was to put in force the decree of the Constitution that 
Talleyrand drew up his Rapport and presented it to the 



Assembly at the sessions of September 10 and 11. The 
entire bill contained not less than 208 articles. Having 
reached the term of its troubled existence, the Assembly did 
not find the time to discuss it, and, while regretting u not 
having established the bases of the regeneration of educa- 
tion," it referred the examination of Talleyrand's work to 
the Legislative Assembly. 

The Legislative Assembly showed but little anxiety to 
accept the legacy of its predecessor. Another report, that 
of Condorcet, was prepared, so that the bill of Talleyrand 
never had the honor of a parliamentary discussion. 

419. Talleyrand (1758-1838). — The ex -bishop of 
Autun, having become a revolutionist of 1789, before being 
the chamberlain of Napoleon I. and the minister of Louis 
XVIII., scarcely deserves by his character the esteem of 
history ; he too often gave a striking example of political 
versatility. But at least, by his supple and acute intelli- 
gence, and by the abundance of his ideas, he has always 
risen to the height of the various tasks that he has under- 
taken, and his Rapport is a remarkable work. 

420. General Principles. — As Montesquieu has said, 
u the laws of education ought to be relative to the principles 
of government." It is by this truth that Talleyrand is 
inspired in the long considerations that serve as a preamble 
to his bill. 

What was to be done in the presence of a constitution 
which, limiting the powers of the king, called the entire peo- 
ple to participate in political life? That constitution would 
have remained sterile, would have been but a dead letter, if 
a suitable education had not come to vivify it by causing it 
to pass, so to speak, into the blood of the nation. In what 
did the new regime consist? You have separated, said 



Talleyrand to the members, you have separated the will of 
the whole, or the power of making the laws, from the execu- 
tive power, whicli you have reserved to the king. But that 
general will must be upright, and, in order to be upright, it 
must be enlightened and instructed. After having given 
(power to the people, you ought to teach them wisdom. Of 
what use would it be to enfranchise brutal and unconscious 
forces, to turn them over to their own keeping? Instruction 
is the necessary counterpoise of liberty. The law, which is 
henceforth the work of the people, ought not to be at the 
mercy of the tumultuous opinions of an ignorant multitude. 

421. Education as related to Liberty and Equality. 
— Talleyrand is pleased with his thought, and, considering 
in turn the two fundamental ideas of the Revolution, the 
idea of equality and the idea of liberty, he shows, not with- 
out some length of analysis, that instruction is necessary, on 
the one hand, to create free individuals, by giving to them a 
conscience and a reason, and on the other, to draw men 
together by diminishing the inequality of intelligences. 

422. Rules for Public Instruction. — Instruction i9 
due to all. There must be schools in the villages as in the 
cities. Instruction ought to be given by all ; there ought to 
be no privilege in instruction. Fiuall}*, instruction ought to 
extend to all subjects ; everything shall be taught which can 
be taught : — 

"In a well organized society, though no one can attain to 
universal knowledge, it should nevertheless be possible to 
learn everything." 

423. Political Education. — At the basis of every 
educational system there is always a dominant and essential 
thought. In the Middle Age — and the Middle Age is con- 
tinued in the schools of the Jesuits — ft is the idea of salva- 



tion, it is the preparation of the soul for the future life. In 
the seventeenth century it is the conception of a perfect 
justness of spirit joined to uprightness of heart; such 
was the ideal of the solitaries of Port Royal. In 1792 poli- 
tics became the almost exclusive preoccupation of the 
educators of youth. Everything else — religion, accuracy 
of judgment, nobility of heart — is relegated to the second 
place : man is nothing more than a political animal, brought 
into the world to know, to love, and to obey the constitution. 
The Declaration of the Rights of Man became, in the sys- 
tem of Talleyrand, the catechism of childhood. It is neces- 
sary that the future citizen learn to know, to love, to obey, 
and finally to perfect the constitution. We cannot help 
thinking that Talleyrand himself showed a marvellous apti- 
tude for loving and obeying the constitution. Unfortunately 
this has not always been the case ! / 

424. Universal Morality. — One of the most beautiful 
pages of Talleyrand's work is certainly that in which he 
recommends the teaching of universal morality, and claims 
the autonomy of natural laws, distinct from all positive 

"We must learn to infuse ourselves with morality, which 
is the first need of all constitutions. . . . Morality must be 
taught as a real science, whose principles will be demon- 
strated to the reason of all men, and to that of all ages. It 
is only in this way that it will resist all trials. It has long 
been a matter of lamentation to see men of alt nations and 
of all religions make it depend exclusively on that multitude 
of opinions which divide them. From this have resulted 
great evils ; for abandoning morality to uncertainty, and 
often to absurdity, it has necessarily been compromised ; it 
has been made versatile and unsettled. It is time to estab- 
lish it upon its own bases, and to show men that if baneful 


divisions separate them, they at least have in morality a 
common meeting place where they all ought to take refuge 
and unite for protection. It is necessary, then, to detach it 
in some sort from everything else, in order to reunite it at 
once to that which merits our approval and our homage. 
. . . This change is simple and injures nothing ; above all, 
it is possible. How is it possible not to see, in fact, that 
abstraction being made of every system and of every opinion, 
and by considering in men only their relations with other 
men, they can be taught what is good and just, made to love 
it, and made to find happiness in virtuous actions and 
wretchedness in those which are not so?" 

425. Four Grades of Instruction. — The organization 
of instruction, in Talleyrand's bill, -vas " to be combined 
with that of the government," and to bo modeled after the 
division of administrative functions. The Rapport estab- 
lished four grades of instruction. There wa& a school for 
each caotett, corresponding to each primary assembly. Then 
came intermediate or secondai^iu^truction, intended , if not 
for all, at least for the great er nu mber, and given in the 
principal town of the, district, or arro ndisse ment. In the third 
place, special schools, scattered over th&, territory of the 
kingdom, in the pnncipal Umu$ of the departments, prepare 
young men for the different professions. Finally, the select 
intelligences find at Paris^ frfthe Rational Institute, all that 
constitutes the higher instruction. 

The great novelty of this system was the creation of can- 
tonal schools, open to peasants andjc^ workmen, to those 
whom, up to this time, improvidence or the purpose of the 
great sent off to their plows or to their planes. 

426. Gratuity op Primary Instruction. — Talleyrand did 
not desire compulsory education any more than Mirabeau ; 


but, in accordance with the constitution of 1791, he demands 
the gratuity of primary instruction. Society is under obli- 
gations to give elementary instruction, but not intermediate 
and secondary instruction, and still less, special and higher 
instruction. Gratuitous for the lowest grade, and in case 
of that elementary knowledge which constitutes for every 
civilized man a real moral necessity, instruction ought not 
to be free to young men who-aspire to a liberal profession, 
because they have leisure, and whojiave leisure because they 
have wealth. However, Talleyrand admits exceptions in the 
case of talent. By the creation of national scholarships, 
the doors of all the schools will be opened to select intelli- 
gences whom the lowness of their condition would condemn 
to remain obscure and unappreciated, did not society lend to 
them a helping hand. 

427. Programme op Primary Instruction. — Primary 
instruction should comprise the principles of the national 
language, the elementary njjes of calculation and mensura- 
tion ; the elements of religion, the principles of mojals, the 
principles of the constitution ; finally, the development of 
the physical, intellectual, and moral powers. 

428. Means op Instruction. — We shall not insist on the 
details of the organization of the different parts of that 
which Talleyrand himself called his " immense machine." 
Let us notice only the last part of his work, where he dis- 
cusses a certain number of general questions under this 
arbitrary and unjustifiable title : Des moyens <T instruction* 
The professors, carefully chosen, shall be elected by the 
king. Talleyrand does not determine that they shall be 
irremovable, but he requires that their, situation shall be 
surrounded by all possible guarantees. Prizes, and rewards 
of every kind, shall encourage the teachers of youth to re- 


double their zeal and to find new methods. Talleyrand 
counts on dramatic representations and on national holidays 
to hasten the progress of instruction. Finally, let it be 
added that he entrusts the supreme direction of public in- 
struction to six commissioners, chosen by the king and 
obliged to make an annual report. 

429. The Education op Women. — Talleyrand, in his 
proposal, has not wholly forgotten women, and what he has 
said of them is just and sensible. He discusses the question^ ^ 
of their political rights, and, in accord with tradition andl-^jt 
good sense, he concludes that the happiness of women, their r 
own interests, their nature and their proper destination, I 

\ ought to forbid them from entering the political arena. J 
What is particularly fit for them is a domestic^sducation, 
which, received in the family, prepares them for living there. 

I Like Mirabeau, he wishes woman to remain a woman.] Her 
function, said the great orator, is to perpetuate the species, 
to watch with solicitude over the perilous periods of early 
youth, and u to enchain to her feet all the energies of the 
husband by the irresistible power of her weakness." With- 
out being as gallant in his expressions, Talleyrand's thought 
is the same. He thought it necessary, however, in order to 
respond to certain proprieties, that the State should estab- 
lish institutions of public education destined to replace the 

This desire sets right whatever was unreasonable in this 
passage of his proposed law : — 

" Girls shall not be admitted to the primary schools after 
the age of eight. After that age the National Assembly 
advises parents to entrust the education of their daughters 
only to themselves, and reminds them that this is their first 



430. The Legislative Assembly and Condorcet. — Of 
all the educational undertakings of the Revolution, the most 
remarkable is that of Condojget. His Rapport presented to 
the Legislative ^Assembly, in behalf of the committee on 
public instruction, April 20 and 21, 1792, reprinted in 1793 
by order of the Convention, did not directly have the honor 
of a public discussion ; but it contained principles and solu- 
tions which are found in the deliberations and legislative 
acts of his successors. It remained, during the whole dura- 
tion of the Convention, the widely accessible source whence 
the legislators of that time, like Romme, Bouquier, and Lak- 
anal, drew their inspiration. 

431. Condorcet (1743-1794). — Condorcet was admira- 
"bly qualified for the task which the Legislative Assembly 

imposed on him, in charging him with the organization of 
public instruction. During the first years of the Revolution 
he had employed his leisure (he was not a member of the 
Constituent Assembly) in writing five MSmoires on instruc- 
tion, which appeared in a periodical called the Bibliothkque 
de Vhomme public. The Rapport which he submitted to the 
Assembly was a sort of re'sume' of his long reflections. Con- 
dorcet brought to this work, not the indiscreet imagination 
of an improvised educator, but the authority of a competent 
thinker, who, if he had no personal experience in teaching, 
had at least reflected much on these topics and was con- 
scions of all their difficulties. Besides, he devoted himself 
to his work with the ardor of an enthusiastic nature, and 
with the serious convictions of a mind that had carried 
farther than any one else the religion of progress and zeal 
for the public good. 

432. General Considerations upon Instruction. — All 
the Revolutionists have sung the praises of instruction, of 


which they were the passionate admirers. Condorcet Is its 
reflective partisan. He did not love it more than the others, 
but he comprehended it better, and better stated why it 
should be loved. He first takes up the ideas of Talleyrand, 
and shows that without instruction, liberty and equality 
would be chimeras : — 

"A free constitution which should not be correspondent 
to the universal instruction of citizens, would come to destruc- 
tion after a few conflicts, and would degenerate into one of 
those forms of government which cannot preserve the peace 
among an ignorant and corrupt people." 

Anarchy or despotism, such is the future of peoples who 
have become free before having been enlightened. 

As to equality, without falling into the chimeras of an in- 
struction which should be the same for all, and which should 
reduce all men to the same level, Condorcet desires to realize 
it so far as it is possible. He desires that the poorest and 
the humblest shall be sufficiently instructed to belong to him- 
self, and not to be at the mercv of the first charlatan who 
comes along; and also to be able to fulfill his civil duties, to 
be an elector, a juror, etc. 

433. Instruction and Morality. — The instrument of 
liberty and equality, instruction, in the opinion of Condorcet, 
is, in addition, the real source of public morality and of 
human progress. If it were not correspondent to the 
advances in knowledge, a free and impartial constitution 
would be hostile rather than favorable to good morals. 

" Instruction alone can give the assurance that the princi- 
ple of justice which the equality of rights ordains, shall not be 
in contradiction with this other principle, which prescribes 
that only those rights shall be accorded to men which they 
can exercise without danger to society." 


But it is moral reasons still more than political motives 
that make instruction the condition of virtue. Condorcet 
has shrewdly seen that the vices of the people come chiefly 
from their intellectual impotency. 

" These vices come," he says, " from the need of escaping 
from ennui in moments of leisure, and in escaping from it 
through sensations and not through ideas." 

These are notable words which should never be lost sight 
of by the teachers and moralists of the people. 

To cause gross natures to pass from the life of the senses 
to the intellectual life ; to make study agreeable to the end 
that the higher pleasures of the spirit may struggle success- 
fully against the appetites for material pleasures ; to put 
the book in the place of the wine bottle ; to substitute the 
library for the saloon ; in a word, to replace sensation by idea* 
— such is the fundamental problem of popular education. 

434. Instruction and Progress. — Condorcet was a 
fanatic on the subject of progress. Up to the last moment 
of his life he dreamed of progress, its conditions, and its 
laws. Now the most potent means of hastening progress is 
to instruct men ; and here is the final reason why instruction 
is so dear to him. 

These are grand words : — 

"If the indefinite improvement of our species is, as I be- 
lieve, a general law of nature, man ought no longer to regard 
himself as a being limited to a transitory and isolated exis- 
tence, destined to vanish after an alternative of happiness or 
of misery for himself, and of good and evil for those whom 
chance has placed near him ; but he becomes an active part 
of the grand whole, and a fellow-laborer in a work that is 
eternal. In an existence of a moment, and upon a point in 
space, he can, by his works, compass all places, relate him- 



self to all the centuries, and continue to act long centuries 
after his memory has disappeared from the earth." And 
further on: "For a long time I have considered these views 
as dreams which were to be realized only in an indefinite 
future, and for a world where I should not exist. A happy 
event has suddenly opened an immense career to the hopes 
of the human race ; a single instant has put a century of dis- 
tance between the man of to-day and him of to-morrow." 

435. The Liberality of Condorcet. — Wrongly credited 
with a despotic and absolute habit of mind, Condorcet is, on 
the contrary, full of scruples and penetrated with respect as 
regards the liberty of individual opinions. In fact, he care- 
fully distinguishes instruction from education. Instruction ( 
has to do with positive and certain knowledge, the truths of 
fact and of calculation ; education, with political and religious 
beliefs. Now, if the State is the natural dispenser of instruc- 
tion, it ought, on the contrary, in the'matter of education, to 
forbear, and to declare itself incompetent. In other words, 
the State ought not to abuse its power by imposing by force 
on its citizens such or such a religious Credo, such or such I 
a political dogma. 

" Public authority cannot establish a body of doctrine 
which is to be exclusively taught. No public power ought 
to have the authority, or even the permission, to prevent the 
development of new truths, or the teaching of theories con- 
trary to its particular policy or to its momentary interests." 

436. Five Grades op Instruction. — Condorcet distin- 
guishes five grades of instruction : 1. Primary schools proper ; 
2. Secondary schools, that is, such as we now call higher 
primary schools ; 3. Institutes, or colleges of secondary in- 
struction ; 4. Lycies, or institutions of higher instruction ; 
5. The National Society of Sciences and Arts, which corre- 
sponds to our Institute. 



Two things are especially to be noted: first, Condorcet 
establishes for the first time higher primary schools, and de- 
mands one for each district, and, in addition one for each town 
of four thousand inhabitants ; then, for primary schools proper, 
he takes the population as a basis for their establishment, and 
requires one for each four hundred inhabitants. 1 

437. Purpose and Plan of Primary Instruction. — 
Condorcet has admirably defined the purpose of primary in- 
struction : — 

"In the primary schools there is taught that which is 
necessary for each individual in order to direci_iiis_pwn con- 
duct and to enjoy the plenitude of his own rights." 

The programme comprised reading, writing, some notions 
on grammar, the rules of arithmetic, simple methods of 
measuring a field and a building with exactness ; a simple 
description of the productions of the country, of the processes 
in agriculture and the arts; the development of the first 
moral ideas and the rules for conduct derived from them ; 
finally, such of the principles of social order as can be put 
within the comprehension of children. 

438. The Idea of Courses for Adults. — Condorcet - 
was strongly impressed with the necessity of continuing the 
instruction of the workman and of the peasant after with- 
drawal from school : — 

1 Public instruction as now organized in France is of three grades, as 
follows: — 

" Primary instruction, which gives the elements of knowledge, reading, 
writing, and arithmetic. Secondary instruction, embracing the study of 
the ancient languages, of rhetoric, and the first elements of the mathemati- 
cal and physical sciences, and of philosophy. This is given in the lycees 
and colleges, as well as in the smaller seminaries. Superior instruction, 
designed to teach in all their completeness letters, the languages, the sci- 
ences, and philosophy. This is given in the Faculties, in the College of 
France, and in the larger seminaries.' ' — Lrrrafc. (P.) 


u We have observed that instruction ought not to abandon 
individuals the moment they leave the schools ; that it ought 
to embrace all ages ; that there is no period of life when it is 
not useful and possible to learn, and that this supplementary 
instruction is so much the more necessary as that of infancy 
has been contracted to the narrowest limits. Here is one 
of the principal causes of the ignorance in which the poor 
classes of society are to-day plunged ; they lacked not nearly 
so much the possibility of receiving an elementary instruction 
as that of preserving its advantages." 

Consequently, Condorcet proposed, if not courses of in- 
struction for adults, at least something very like them, — 
weekly lectures, given each Sunday by the village teachers, 
a kind of lay sermons. 

"Each Sunday the teacher shall give a public lecture 
which citizens of all ages will attend. In this arrangement 
we have seen a means of giving to young people those neces- 
sary parts of knowledge, which, however, did not form a part 
of their primary education." 

439. Professional and Technical Education. — But 
Condorcet does not think his duty to the people done when 
he has given them intellectual emancipation. He is very 
anxious to give in addition to the sons of peasants or work- 
men the means of struggling against misery, by diffusing 
more and more among the masses of the people a technical 
knowledge of the arts and trades. He deserves to be 
counted among the adepts in professional instruction and in 
industrial education. He asks that there be placed in the 
schools " models of machines or of trades" ; and in all grades 
of instruction, he recommends with a special solicitude the 
teaching of the practical arts. 

We fancy we are doing something new to-day when we 
establish school museums. "Each school," says Condorcet, 


•• shall have a small library, and a small cabinet in which 
shall be placed some meteorological instruments or some 
specimens of natural history." 

440. The Education of Women. — Condorcet may be 
regarded as one of the most ardent apostles of the education 
of women. He wishes education to be common and equal. 
He is evidently wrong when he dreams of a perfect identity 
of instruction for the two sexes, when he forgets the partic- 
ular destination of women, and the special character of their 
education. But we have found so many educators disposed 
to depreciate the abilities of woman, that we are happy to 
find at last one voice that exalts them, even beyond 

Let us recall, however, the excellent reasons which he 
gives in support of his thesis on the equality of education. 
It is necessary that women should be instructed : 1 . in order 

/that they may be able to bring up their children, of whom 
they are the natural instructors ; 2. in order that they may 

•be the worthy companions, the equals of their husbands, that 
they may feel an interest in their pursuits, share in their 
preoccupations, and, finally, participate in their life, such 
being the condition of conjugal happiness ; 3. in order, 
further, by an analogous reasdh* that they may not quench, 

'by their ignorance, that inspiration of heart and mind which 
previous studies have developed in their husbands, but that* 
they may nourish this flame by conversation and reading in 
common ; 4. finally, because this is just, — because the two 

• sexes have an equal right to instruction. 

441. Reservations* to be made. — All is not equally 
worthy of commendation in the work of Condorcet. Some 
faults and some omissions mar this fine piece of political 
pedagogy. The faults are, first, the exaggerated idea of lib- 


erty and of equality. From Condorcet's ardors for liberty there 
issues, in his plan for education, a grave error, — the idea of 
making of the teaching body a sort of State within the State, 
an independent authority, a fourth power, released from all 
exterior authority, governing itself and administering its 
own affairs, the State intervening only as treasurer to pay for 
the services which it neither regulates nor supervises. The 
liberal Daunou, while explaining the system of our author, 
has criticised it on this point. 1 " Condorcet," he said, " the 
enemy of corporations, has sanctioned one in his scheme of 
national instruction ; he established, as it were, an academic 
church. This is because Condorcet, the enemy of kings, 
would add in the balance of public powers one counter- 
balance more to that royal power whose monstrous existence, 
in a free constitution, is sufficiently attested by the alarms 
and fears of all the friends of liberty." 

The passion for equality led Condorcetinto another chimera, 
— that of the absolute gratuity of instruction of all grades. 

Finally, in his dreams of infinite perfectibility, Condorcet 
allows himself to be carried so far away as to imagine for 
man, and to expect from instruction, results that are utterly 
unattainable. Instruction, according to him, ought to be so 
complete " as to cause the disappearance of every inequality 
which induces dependence." 

442. Prejudices op the Mathematician. — From another 
point of view, Condorcet was led astray by his predilection, 
for the sciences. He so far forgot that he was a member of 
the French Academy as to obey only his tendencies, a little*, 
too exclusive, as a mathematician and a member of the 
Academy of Sciences. By a reaction, natural enough, 
against those long centuries in which an abuse was made of 

1 See the Rapport of Daunou presented to the National Convention, 27 
Vendlmiaire, year IV. 


literary culture, Condorcet is too prompt to underrate the 
influence of letters in education, and to invest the sciences 
with the place of honor. The reasons which he invokes to 
justify his preference are not all conclusive. 

443. Omissions. — The idea of obligatory instruction is # 
still wanting injhe scheme we are examining. We shall be 
surprised, perhaps, that Condorcet, who has so clearly pro- 
claimed the necessity of universal instruction, did not think 
to impose obligatory attendance, which is the only means of 
establishing it. This is because the early revolutionists, in 
the ardor of their enthusiasm, did not suspect the opposition 
to the accomplishment of their plans that was to come from 
the indifference of the greater number, and from the preju- 
dices of those who, as Condorcet has eloquently said, 
44 thought they were obeying God while betraying their coun- 
try." It seemed to them that when centres of light had 
been made to glow over the whole surface of the country, 
citizens would hasten after them, impelled by a natural 
appetite, spontaneously thirsting for enlightenment. They 
were deceived. These hopes, a little artless, were destined 
to be disproved by facts; and it was to triumph over the 
neglect of some, and the resistance of others, that the Con- 
vention, supplying one of the rare defects in Condorcet's 
plan, decreed, on several occasions, instruction " imperative 
and forced," as was then said. 

On still another point, Condorcet remained inferior to his 
successors ; in his report there was no mention made of the 
organization of jiojma], schools. In this grave and funda- 
mental question of the education of the teaching body, 
Condorcet contented himself with a provisional expedient, 
which consisted in entrusting to the professors of the grade 
immediately higher the care of preparing teachers for the 
grade lower. 

— »•■ 


444. Final Conclusion. — But even with these reserva- 
tions, the work of Condorcet deserves scarcely anything but 
praise. We have commended its new and exalted concep- 
tions. Its beautiful and exact arrangement and its masterly 
style also deserve praise. Condorcet's periods are symmetri- 
cal in their fullness, and the expression is precise and vigor- 
ous. Doubtless there is some monotony and some frigidity 
in that style so concise and strong. But at intervals there 
are outbursts of passion. The man whom his contempora- 
ries compared to u an enraged lamb," or to a " volcano 
covered with snow," is painted to the life in his writings. 
His Rapport is like a beautiful and finished statue of marble, 
cold to the touch, but upon which the hand might feel beat- 
ing in places a vein warm with life. 

[445. Analytical Summary. — 1. The more important 
lessons to be derived from this study are the following : the 
necessity of making instruction universal and of having it 
administered by the State ; the need of making instruction 
obligatory, and, in certain grades, gratuitous ; the value of 
intellectual culture as a moral safeguard. 

2. The right of the State to self-preservation carries with 
it the right to ordain the establishment of schools for giving 
a certain kind and degree of instruction. This constitutes 
the first form of compulsion. 

3. When there is not a voluntary and general attendance 
on the schools ordained by the State, it may avail itself of 
the supplementary right to make attendance obligatory. 
This constitutes the second form of compulsion. 

4. Gratuity is the logical sequence to compulsion. If the 
State may require all children to partake of a certain degree 
of instruction, it must make such instruction free. 

5. Should instruction that is above the compulsory grade 
be free? This depends on the question whether the State 



needs a certain amount of the higher culture, and whether 
this required amount will be secured at the pupils' own ex- 
pense. Monsieur Compayr6 decides, as against Condorcet 
(paragraph 441), that the higher grades of instruction 
should not be gratuitous. In this country the prevailing 
theory is that the higher education should be endowed by 
the State. 

6. The relation of instruction to morality has never been 
more Justly and pointedly stated than in paragraph 433. 
This is not only good sense but sound philosophy.] 




the contention; successive measures; the bill of lanthenas; 
the bill of romme j the national holidays j elementary 
books; decree of may 80, 1793; lakanal (1762-1845); daunou 
(1761-1840) ; the bill of lakanal, sieves, and daunou j lepelle- 
tier 8a1nt-fargeau (1760-1793) ; his scheme of education (july 
13, 1793) j lepelletier and condorcet j compulsory education 
in boarding-schools; the child belongs to the republic; 
school occupations; absolute gratuity j the rights of the 
family; saint-just j the romme law j the bouquier law; the 
lakanal law; educational methods; elementary books,* 
geography; letters and sciences; the foundation of normal 
schools; the normal school of paris; central schools ; their 
defects; positive and practical spirit; great foundations 
of the convention; the LAW OF OCTOBER 27, 1795; insufficiency 
of daunou's scheme ; ANALYTICAL summary. 

446. The Convention. — The Constituent Assembly and 
the Legislative Assembly had done nothing more than to 
prepare reports and projected decrees, without either dis- 
cussing them or bringing them to a vote. The Convention 
went so far as to vote, but it did not have the time to exe- 
cute the resolutions, contradictory and incoherent, which it 
was forced to adopt, one after another, by the fluctuation 
of political currents. 

447. Successive Measures. — Nothing definite in the 
way of execution issued from the enthusiastic passion which 
the Convention exhibited for the organization of primary 
instruction. First there was a triumph of modern ideas in 

■•#•:■«- ■"' : ' 


the bill of Lanthcnas, the first article of which was adopted 
December 12, 1792 ; and they appeared again in the bill of 
Sieyes, Daunou, and Lakanal, presented June 26, 1793, 
and defeated after an exciting discussion. But the influence 
of the Girondists was succeeded by the domination of the 
Montagnards 1 whose dictatorial and violent spirit is indi- 
cated: 1. in the bill of Lepelletier, adopted through the 
support of Robespierre, August 13, 1793; 2. in the bill 
projected and presented by Romrae in behalf of the commis- 
sion of public instruction, October 20, 1793, and passed on 
the following day ; 3. and lastly in the bill of Bouquier, 
which, presented December 19, 1793, became the decree of 
December 26. The reaction which followed resulted in the 
legislative acts by which the Convention finished its 
educational work. The bill of Sieyes, Daunou, and Laka- 
nal was reconsidered, and November 17, 1793, it was substi- 
tuted for the bill of Bouquier. Finally, when the constitution 
of 1794 was substituted for the constitution of 1793, a new 
law of public instruction was passed on the report of Daunou, 
October 27, 1795, and it is this law which presided over 
the organization of schools under the Directory. 

In this confusion, this chaos of bills and counter-bills, it is 
difficult to establish any clew that is wholly trustworthy. 
We shall restrict ourselves to noting the points that seem 
essential. * 

Impatient to finish its business, the committee on public 

1 A term applied to the most pronounced revolutionists of the Convention 
and of the National Assembly. 

3 It is impossible, within the limits prescribed by the character and plan 
of this work, to enter into detail and enumerate all the decrees and counter- 
decrees of the Convention on the subject of public instruction. To see 
clearly into this chaos and this confusion, it is necessary to read the 
excellent article of Monsieur GuiUaume in the Dictionnaire de Ptdagogie, 
article Convention. 


instruction, which the Convention had appointed October 2, 
1792, decided to put aside, for the present, the other branches 
of public instruction, and proposed for immediate action 
only the organization of primary schools, by taking, as a 
point of departure, the bill which Condorcet had presented 
to the Legislative Assembly. The report of Lanthenas and 
a proposed decree were within a few weeks the results of 
these deliberations ; but in all its parts this result is scarcely 
more than the reproduction of Condorcet's work, and presents 
nothing original. Let us note, however, the idea of as- 
sociating the pupil with his teacher in the work of instruc- 
tion : — 

44 Teachers will call to their aid the pupils whose intelligence 
shall have made the most rapid progress ; and they will thus 
be able, vei-y easily, to give to four classes of pupils, in the 
same session, all the attention needed for their progress. 
At the same time, the efforts made by the most competent 
to teach what they know to their schoolmates, will be much 
more instructive to themselves than the lessons they receive 
from their masters." 

Further, let us notice title III. of the proposed decree 
relative to the measures to be taken in order to make obli- 
gatory the use of the French language, and to abolish the 
patois, or particular idioms. The minimum salary of men 
teachers was fixed at six hundred francs. The appointment 
of teachers was entrusted to the heads of families, who were 
to elect one from a list prepared by a " commission of edu- 
cated persons" appointed by the Councils-General of the 
communes and the Directories of departments. 

448. The Bill of Lanthenas. — The discussion of the bill 
of Lanthenas began on December 12, 1792, but only article 
first was carried, and the bill itself did not become a law. 


On December 20, another member of the Convention, 
Rom me, mathematician, deputy from Puy-de-D6me, read 
a new report on public instruction. 

449. The Bill of Romme. — The bill of Lanthenas 
aimed at only the first grade of instruction, but the report of 
Romme embraced the four grades of instruction, and was 
but little more than a reproduction of Condorcet's work. 
But no legislative measure followed the reading of his bill, 
and up to the 30th of May, 1793, there is scarcely anything 
to be noted, as the educational work of the Convention, save 
the bill of Rabaud Saint-£tienne on public festivals, and the 
report of Arbogast on elementary books. 

450. National Holidays. — It is difficult to form an 
idea of the importance which the' men of this period attributed 
to the educational influence of national holidays. At vari- 
ance on so many points, they all agree in thinking that the 
French people could be instructed and regenerated simply 
by establishing popular solemnities. 

u It is a kind of institution," said Robespierre, " which 
ought to be considered as an essential part of public educa- 
tion, — I mean national holidays." 

Daunou also persisted in considering national holidays as 
the most certain and the most comprehensive means of pub- 
lic instruction. The decree passed at his request established 
seven national holidavs : that of the foundation of the 
Republic, of young men, of husbands, of thanksgiving, of 
agriculture, of liberty, of old men. 

451. Elementary Books. — An important point in the 
pedagogy of the Revolution was the attention given to the 
composition of elementary books. On several occasions 
the Convention put up for competition these modest works 
intended to aid parents or teachers in their task. It was one 


of the happiest thoughts of that period to desire that there 
should be placed in the hands of parents simple methods and 
well-arranged books which might teach them how to bring up 
their children. The difficulty of this kind of composition 
was understood, and so application was made to the most 
distinguished writers. Bernardin de Saint Pierre was em- 
ployed to edit the Elements of Morality. 

December 24, 1792, Arbogast had submitted to the Con- 
vention a proposed decree in which it was said : — 

" It is only the superior men in a science, or in an art, 
those who have sounded all its depths, and have earned it to 
its farthest limits, who are capable of composing such ele- 
mentary treatises as are desirable." 

452. Decree of May 30, 1793. — The first decree of the 
Convention relative to primary schools was passed May 30, 
1793. But this laconic law contained nothing very new. 
Besides, it was forgotten in the storm which on the next 
day, May 31, swept away the Girondists, and gave to the 
Montagnards the political supremacy. 

453. Lakanal (1762-1845). — After the revolution of 
May 31, among the men who, in the committee on public in- 
struction and in the assembly itself, were occupied with the 
educational organization of France, we must assign the first 
place to Lakanal and Daunou. On June 26, 1793, three 
days after the adoption of the new constitution, Lakanal 
brought to the tribune the bill which he had drawn up in 
conjunction with Daunou and Sieyes. 

Lakanal is one of the purest and most remarkable charac- 
ters of the French Revolution. 1 " Lakanal," said Marat, to 
whom some one had denounced him, " works too much to 

1 See a recent sketch, Lakanal, by Paul Legendre (Paris, 1882), with a 
Preface by Paul Bert. 


have the time to conspire." Industrious and thoughtful, 
after having taught philosophy with the * 4 Doctrinaires," of 
whom he was the pupil, he became the first, after Condorcet, 
of the educators of the Revolution. " His appearance," says 
Paul Bert, *' has always particularly attracted me. It unites 
gentleness with force, energy with serenity. We feel that 
this austere citizen has never known any other passion than 
that of well-doing, and has neither desired nor obtained any 
other reward than that of having done his duty. He despises 
violence of language, and hates that of acts ; and so we do 
not find him, under the Empire, a baron like Jean-Bon Saint 
Andr6, a minister like Fouche 1 , or a senator like a whole herd." 

454. Daunou (1761-1840). — At an early period in his 
life, Daunou had taught philosophy in the colleges of the 
Oratorians, of whom he was a member. In 1789 he pub- 
lished in the Journal Encyclop6dique, a plan of national 
education which was approved by the Oratory, and which 
he presented to the Constituent Assembly in 1790. In the 
Convention he took an active part in the work of the com- 
mittee on public instruction, and assisted in the preparation 
of Lakanal's first bill. In the same year he published an 
Essay on Public Instruction. In the Council of the Five 
Hundred he was appointed to make a report on the organiza- 
tion of special schools. Under the Empire he accepted the 
management of the national archives. Under the Restora- 
tion he was appointed professor of history in the College of 
France. Finally, after 1830, we find him once more in the 
Chamber of Deputies, giving proof of unusual energy and 
vitality, and presenting in opposition to the minister of pub- 
lic instruction, de Mon tali vet, a counter-bill, the principal 
aim of which was to lodge with the municipal authorities the 
administration of schools, a power which the government 
wished to leave in the hands of the inspectors. 


455. The Bill of Lakanal, Sieyes, and Daunou. — 
These are the principal provisions of this bill : a school for 
each thousand inhabitants ; separate schools for girls and 
boys ; the election of teachers entrusted to a board of in- 
spectors composed of three members, and located at the gov- 
ernment centre of each district ; the general organization of 
methods, regulations, and school regime placed in the hands 
of a central commission sitting with the Corps Legislatif, 
and placed under its authority ; an education which embraces 
the whole man, at once intellectual, physical, moral, and in- 
dustrial ; the first lessons in reading given to boys as to girls 
by a woman teacher; arithmetic, geometry, physics, and 
morals included in the programme of instruction ; visits to 
hospitals, prisons, and workshops ; finally, liberty granted to 
private initiative to found schools. 

" The law can put no veto on the right which all citizens 
( have to open private courses and schools, free in all grades 
' of instruction, and to direct them as shall seem to them 
best." (Art. 61.) 

This was pushing liberality rather far. 

Another distinctive feature of this bill, which is not with- 
out value, is the respect shown the character and functions 
of the teacher. On public occasions the schoolmaster shall 
wear a medal with this inscription : He who instructs is a 
second father. The form is rather pretentious, but the sen- 
timent is good. Other articles do not merit the same com- 
mendation, particularly the one which established theatres in 
each canton, in which men and women would take part in 
music and dancing. 

The bill of Lakanal, vigorously opposed by a part of the 
Assembly, was not adopted. Under the leadership of Robes- 
pierre, the Convention gave preference to the dictatorial and 
violent measure of Lepelletier Saint-Fargeau. 


456. Lepelletier Saint-Fargeau (1760-1793). — As- 
sassinated in 1793, Lepelletier Saint-Fargeau left among 
his papers an educational bill which Robespierre took up, 
and which he presented to 'the Assembly July 13,; 1793, on 
the occasion of the debate opened on the motion fli Barrere. 
A month later the bill was passed by the Convention, but be- 
fore being carried into operation, the decree was revoked. 
The Assembly receded from the accomplishment of a reform 
in which some good intentions could not atone for measures 
that, on the whole, were mischievous and tyrannical. 

457. His Scheme of Education. — The plan of Lepel- 
letier scarcely deserves the admiration which Michelet gives 
it, who salutes in this work the "revolution of childhood " and 
who declares that it is u admirable in spirit, and in no respect 
chimerical." An imitation with but little originality of the 
institutions of Lycurgus and the reveries of Plato, the plan 
of Lepelletier is scarcely more than an historical curiosity. 

458. Lepelletier and Condorcet. — Lepelletier accepted 
Condorcet's plan in all that relates to secondary schools, insti- 
tutes, and lyce*es, that is to say, higher primary instruction, 
secondary instruction, and superior instruction. 

" I find," he said, u in these three courses a plan which 
seems to me wisely conceived." 

But Lepelletier follows only his own fancy in the concep- 
tion of those curious boarding-schools, little barracks for 
childhood, in which he confined all children by force, wrest- 
ing them from their parents, and placing at the expense of 
the State their moral training, as well as their material 

459. Obligatory Attendance in Boarding-Schools. — 
In education, Lepelletier represents the doctrine of the 
Jacobins. In order to make France republican, he would 
emploj' radical and absolute measures. 


" Let us ordain," he says, fct that all children, girls as well 
as boys, girls from five to eleven, and boys from five to 
twelve, shall be educated in common, at the expense of the 
State, and shall receive, for six or seven years, the same 

In order that there may be complete equality, their food, 
like their instruction, shall be the same ; even more, their 
dress shall be identical. Docs Lepelleticr then desire, in his 
craze for equality, that girls shall be dressed like boys? 

460. The Child belongs to the Republic. — The idea 
of Lepelletier is that the child is the property of the State, 
a chattel of the Republic. The State must make the child in 
its own image. 

"In our system," he says, ki the entire being of the child 
belongs to us ; the material never leaves the mould." And 
he adds, " Whatever is to compose the Republic ought to be 
cast in the republican mould." 

Lepelletier imposes on all children, girls and boys, the 
same studies, — reading, writing, numbers, natural morality, 
domestic economy. This is almost the programme of Con- 
dorcet. But he adds to it manual labor. All children shall 
be employed in working the soil. If the college has not at 
its disposal enough land to cultivate, the children shall be 
taken out on the roads, there to pick up stones or to scatter 
them. Can we imagine, without smiling, a system of educa- 
tion, in which our future advocates and writers are to spend 
six years in transporting material upon the highways? 

461. Absolute Gratuity. — The colleges in which Lepel- 
letier sequesters and quarters all the children are to be abso- 
lutely free. Three measures were proposed for covering the 
expense: 1. tuition paid by parents in easy circumstances; 
2. the labor of the children ; 3. the balance needed furnished 


by the State. But is there not just a little of the chimerical 
in counting much on the work of children of that age ? 

462. The Rights of the Family. — Lepelletier takes 
but little account of the rights of the family. However, 
notice must be taken of that idea which Robespierre thought 
" sublime, " — the creation, at each college, of a council of 
heads of families, entrusted with the oversight of teachers 
and their children. 

463. Saint- Just. — Saint-Just, in his Institutions ripub- 
licaines, maintains opinions analogous to those of Lepelletier. 
He admits that the child belongs to his mother till the age of 
five ; but from the age of five till death he belongs to the 
Republic. Till the age of sixteen boys are fed at the ex- 
pense of the State. It is true that their food is not expen- 
sive. It is composed of grapes, fruit, vegetables, milk-diet, 
bread, and water. Their dress is of cotton in all seasons. 
However, Saint-Just did not subject girls to the same regime. 
More liberal on this point than Lepelletier, he would have 
them brought up at home. 

464. The Romme Law (Oct. 30, 1793). — Romme was 
one of the most active members of the committee on public 
instruction. He was the principal author of the bill which 
the Convention passed in October, 1793, the principal articles 
of which were conceived as follows : — 

" Art. 1. There are primary schools distributed through- 
out the Republic in proportion to the population. 

" Art. 2. In these schools children receive their earliest 
physical, moral, and intellectual education, the best adapted 
to develop in them republican manners, love of country, and 
taste for labor. 

44 Art. 3. They learn to speak, read, and write the French 


u They are taught the acts of virtue which most honor free 
men, and particularly the acts of the French Revolution most 
fit to give them elevation of soul, and to make them worthy 
of liberty and equality. 

" They acquire some notions of the geography of France. 

" The knowledge of the rights and duties of the man and 
the citizen is brought within their comprehension through 
examples and their own experience. 

"They are given the first notions of the natural objects 
that surround them, and of the natural action of the 

tfc They have practice in the use of numbers, of the com- 
pass, the level, weights and measures, the lever, the pulley, 
and in the measurement of time. 

4 ' They are often allowed to witness what is done in the 
fields and in workshops ; and they take part in these em- 
ployments as far as their age permits." 

But the bill of Romme was not put in operation. The 
Convention presently decided on a revision of the decree it 
had passed, and the bill of Bouquier was substituted for the 
bill of Koinme. 

4G5. The Bouquier Law (Dec. 19, 1793). — Bouquier 
was a man of letters, deputy from Dordogne, and belonged 
to the Jacobinic party. He spoke of his bill as follows : — 

" It is a simple and natural scheme, and one easy to exe- 
cute ; a plan which forever proscribes all idea of an academic 
bodv, of a scientific societv, of an educational hierarchv ; a 
plan, finally, whose bases are the same as those of the con- 
stitution, liberty, equality, and simplicity." 

The Bouquier bill was adopted December 19, and remained 
in force till it was superseded by the Lakanal law. 

These are its principal provisions : — 

Hfias _ 


" The right to teach is open to all." " Citizens, men and 
women, who would use the liberty to teach, shall be required 
to produce a certificate of citizenship and good morals, and 
to fulfill certain formalities." u They shall be designated as 
instituteurs and institutrices." They shall be placed " under 
the immediate supervision of the municipality, of parents, 
and of all the citizens." " They are forbidden to teach any- 
thing contrary to the laws and to republican morality." On 
the other hand, parents are required to send their children to 
the primary schools. Parents who do not obey this order 
are sentenced, for the first offence, to pay a fine equal to a 
fourth of their school tax. In case of a second offence, the 
fine is to be doubled and the children to be suspended for ten 
years from their rights as citizens. Finally, young people 
who, on leaving the primary schools, " do not busy them- 
selves with the cultivation of the soil, shall be required to 
learn a trade useful to society." 

Enforced school attendance, and what is an entirelv differ- 
ent thing, the obligation of citizens to work, were thus estab- 
lished by the Bouquier law. 

Let us add that the author of this bill, which, like so many 
others, was not executed, had strange notions on the sciences 
and on instruction. 

" The speculative sciences," he says, " detach from society 
the individuals who cultivate them. . . . Free nations have 
no need of speculative scholars, whose minds arc constantly 
travelling over desert paths." 

Hence, no scientific instruction. The real schools, " the 
noblest, the most useful, the most simple, arc the meetings 
of committees. The Revolution, in establishing national 
holidays, in creating popular associations and clubs, has 
placed in all quarters inexhaustible sources of instruction. 
Then let us not go and substitute for this organization, as 


simple and sublime as the people that creates it, an artificial 
organization, based on academic statutes which should no 
longer infect a regenerated nation." 

466. The Lakanal Law (Nov. 17, 1794).— There still 
remained something of the spirit of Lepelletier in the Bouquier 
law, though the idea of an education in common had been 
abandoned ; but the Lakanal law openly breaks with the ten- 
dencies of Robespierre and his friends. 

The law which was passed November 17, 1794, upon the 
report of Lakanal, reproduced in its spirit and in its principal 
provisions the original bill which the influence of Robespierre 
had defeated. 

The following was the programme of instruction contained 
in this law. 

The instructor shall teach : — 

" 1. Reading and writing; 2. the declaration of the 
rights of man and the constitution ; 3. elementary lessons 
on republican morals ; 4. the elements of the French lan- 
guage both spoken and written ; 5. the rules of simple cal- 
culation and of surveying; 6. lessons on the principal 
phenomena and the most common productions of nature ; 
there shall be taught a collection of heroic actions and songs 
of triumph." 

At the same time the bill required that the schools be 
divided into two sections, one for the girls and the other for 
the boys, and distributed in the proportion of one to each 
thousand inhabitants. The teachers, nominated by the people 
and confirmed by a jury of instruction, are to receive salaries 
as follows : men, twelve hundred francs ; women, one thou- 
sand francs. 

467. Pedagogical Methods. — Lakanal had given much 
thought to pedagogical methods. It is the interior of the 
school, not less than its exterior organization, that preoc- 


copied bis generous spirit. Like the most of bis contem- 
poraries, a partisan of Condillac's doctrine, he believed that 
the idea could not reach the understanding except through 
the mediation of the senses. Consequently, he recommended 
the method which consists " in first appealing to the eyes of 
pupils, . . . iu creating the understanding through the senses, 
... in developing morals out of the sensibility, just as un- 
derstanding out of sensation." This is an excellent method 
if we add to it a corrective, if we do not forget to excite the 
intelligence itself, and to make an appeal to the interior forces 
of the soul. 

468. Elementary Books. — A few other quotations will 
suffice to prove with what acuteness of pedagogic sense 
Lakanal was endowed. 1 Very much interested in the com- 
position of works for popular instruction, he sharply distin- 
guished the elementary book, which brings knowledge within 
the reach of children, from the abridgment, which does no 
more than condense a long work. 4i The abridged," he said, 
" is exactly opposed to the elementary." No one has better 
comprehended than he the difficulty of writing a treatise on 
morals for the use of children : — 

" It requires special genius. Simplicity in form and art- 
less grace should there be mingled with accuracy of ideas ; 
the art of reasoning ought never to be separated from that 
of interesting the imagination ; such a work should be con- 
ceived by a profound logician and executed by a man of 
feeling. There should be found in it, so to speak, the ana- 
lytical mind of Condillac and the soul of F6nelon." 

469. Geography. — Lakanal has defined with the same 
exactness the method to be followed in the teaching of 
geography. "First let there be shown," he says, "in 

1 See in the Revue politique et litttralre, for Oct. 7, 1882, an excellent 
article on Lakanal, by Monsieur Janet. 


every school, the plan of the commune in which it is situated, 
and then let the children see a map of the canton of which 
the commune forms a part ; then a map of the department, 
and then a map of France ; after which will come the map 
of Europe and of other parts of the world, and lastly a map 
of the world. 1 

470. Letters and Sciences. — More just than Condorcet, 
Lakanal did not wish scientific culture to do prejudice to 
literary culture : — 

" For a long time we have neglected the belles-lettres, 
and some men who wish to be considered profound regard 
this stud}' as useless. It is letters, however, which open 
the intelligence to the light of reason, and the heart to 
impressions of sentiment. They substitute morality for 
interest, give pupils polish, exercise their judgment, make 
them more sensitive and at the same time more obedient to 
the laws, more capable of grand virtues." 

471. Necessity op Normal Schools. — LakanaPs highest 
title to glory is that he has associated his name with the 
foundation of normal schools. The idea of establishing 
pedagogical seminaries was not absolutely new; A number 
of the friends of instruction, both in the seventeenth and in 
the eighteenth century, 3 had seen that it would be useless to 
open schools, if good teachers had not been previously 

1 If the consensus of philosophic opinion is trustworthy, there is no basis 
whatever in psychology for this sequence. On the almost uniform testi- 
mony of psychologists, the organic mental sequence is from aggregates to 
parts ; so that if the method of presentation is to be in harmony with the 
organic mode of the mind's activities, the sequence should be as follows: 
the globe; the eastern continent; Europe; France; the department; the 
canton; the commune. On the mental sequence, see Hamilton's Lectures, 
Vol. I. pp. 60, 70, 368, 371, 469, 498, 600, 502, 503. (P.) 

* Dumonstier, rector of the University of Paris in 1645, La Salle, and in 
the eighteenth century, the Abbe' Courtalon. 


trained ; but the Convention has the honor of having for the 
first time given practical effect to this vague aspiration. 

Decreed June 2, 1793, the foundation of normal schools 
was the object of a report by Lakanal on October 26, 1794. 
In a style which was inferior to his ideas, and which would 
have been more effective had it been simpler, Lakanal sets 
forth the necessity of teaching the teachers themselves be- 
fore sending them to teach their pupils : — 

"Are there in France, are there in Europe, are there in 
the whole world, two or three hundred men (and we need 
more than this number) competent to teach the useful arts 
and the necessary branches of knowledge, according to 
methods which make minds more acute, and truths more 
clear, — methods which, while teaching you to know one 
thing, teach you to reason upon all things ? No, that numbei 
of men, however small it may appear, exists nowhere on the 
earth. It is necessary, then, that they be trained. In being 
the first to decree normal schools, you have resolved to create 
in advance a very large number of teachers, capable of be- 
ing the executors of a plan whose purpose is the regenera- 
tion of the human understanding, in a republic of twenty-five 
millions of men, all of whom democracy renders equal." 

The term normal schools (from the Latin word norma, a 
rule) was not less new than the thing. Lakanal explains 
that it was designed by this expression to characterize with 
exactness the schools which were to be the type and the 
standard of all the others. 

472. The Normal School of Paris. — To accomplish 
his purpose, Lakanal proposed to assemble at Paris, under 
the direction of eminent masters, such as Lagrange, Berthol- 
let, and Daubenton, a considerable number of young men, 
called from all quarters of the Republic, and designated "by 
their talents as by their state of citizenship." The masters 


of this great normal school were to give their pupils u lessons 
on the art of teaching morals, . . . and teach them to apply 
to the teaching of reading and writing, of the first elements 
of calculation, of practical geometry, of history and of 
French grammar, the methods outlined in the elementary 
courses adopted by the National Convention and published 
by its orders." Once instructed " in the art of teaching 
human knowledge," the pupils of the Normal School of Paris 
were to go and repeat in all parts of the Republic the " grand 
lectures " they had heard, and there form the nucleus of pro- 
vincial normal schools. And thus, says Lakanal with exag- 
geration, " that fountain of enlightenment, so pure and so 
abundant, since it will proceed from the foremost men of the 
Republic of every class, poured out from reservoir to reser- 
voir, will diffuse itself from place to place throughout all 
France, without losing anything of its purity in its course." 
October 30, 1794, the Convention adopted the proposals 
of Lakanal. The Normal School opened January 20, 1795. 
Its organization was defective and impracticable. First, there 
were too many pupils, — four hundred young men admitted 
without competitive tests, and abandoned to themselves in 
Paris ; professors who were doubtless illustrious, but whose 
literary talent or scientific genius did not perhaps adapt itself 
sufficiently to the needs of a normal course of instruction and 
of a practical pedagogy ; lectures insufficient in number, 
which lasted for only four months, and which, on the testi- 
mony of Daunou, " were directed rather towards the heights 
of science than towards the art of teaching." Thus the 
experiment, which terminated May 6, 1795, did not fulfill 
the hopes that had been formed of it : the idea of establish- 
ing provincial normal schools was not carried out. But no 
matter ; a memorable example had been given, and the fruit- 
ful principle of the establishment of normal schools had made 
a start in actual practice. 


473. Central Schools. — The central schools, designed 
to replace the colleges of secondary instruction, were estab- 
lished by decree of February 25, 1795, on the report of 
Lakanal. Daunou modified them in the law of October 25, 
1795. They continued, without great success, till the law of 
May 1, 1802, which suppressed them. 

474. Defects op the Central Schools. — The Central 
Schools of Lakanal resembled, trait for trait, the Institutes 
of Condorcet. And it must be confessed that here the imi- 
tation is not happy. Lakanal made the mistake of borrow- 
ing from Condorcet the plan of these poorly defined establish- 
ments, in which the instruction was on too vast a scale, and 
the programmes too crowded, where the pupil, it seems, was 
to learn to discuss de omni re scibili. Condorcet went so far 
as to introduce into his Institutes a course of lectures on mid- 
wifery ! The Central Schools, in which the instruction was 
a medley of studies indiscreetly presented to an overdriven 
auditory, do honor neither to the Convention that organized 
them, nor to Condorcet who had traced the first sketch of 

475. Positive and Practical Spirit. — However, there 
was something correct in the idea which presided over the 
foundation of the Central Schools. We find this expressed in 
the Essays on Instruction, by the mathematician, Lacroix. 1 
Lacroix calls attention to the fact that the progress of the 
sciences and the necessity of learning a great number of new 
things, impose on the educator the obligation to take some 
account of space ; and, if I may so speak, of clipping the 
wings of studies which, like Latin, had thus far been the 
unique and exclusive object of instruction. 

* Essais sur l'enseignement. Paris, 1806. 


In the Central Schools, in fact, the classical languages 
held only the second place. Not only were the mathematical 
sciences, and those branches of knowledge from which the 
pupil can derive the most immediate profit, associated with the 
classics, but the preference was given to them. In the minds 
of those who organized these schools, the positive and prac- 
tical idea of success in life was substituted for the speculative 
and disinterested idea of mental development for its own sake. 
In reality, these two ideas ought to complete each other, 
and not to exclude each other. The ideal of education con- 
sists in finding a system which welcomes both. But in the 
Central Schools the first point of view absorbed the second. 
These establishments resembled the industrial schools of our 
da}*, but with this particular defect, that there was a deter- 
mination to include everything in them, and to give a place 
to new studies without wholly sacrificing the old. Let there 
be created colleges of practical and special instruction ; noth- 
ing can be better, for provision would thus be made for the 
needs of modern societv. But let no one force literarv studies 
and the industrial arts to live together under the same roof. 

476. Great Foundations of the Convention. — In the 
first years of its existence, the Convention had given its at- 
tention only to primary schools. It seemed as though teach- 
ing the illiterate to read was the one need of society. In the 
end the Convention rose above these narrow and exclusive 
views, and turned its attention towards secondary instruction 
and towards superior instruction. It is particularly by the 
establishment of several special schools for superior instruc- 
tion that the Convention gave proof of its versatility and 

In quick succession it decreed and founded the Polytechnic 
School, under the name of the Central School of Public Works 


(March 11, 1794) ; the Normal School (October 30, 1794) ; 
the School of Mars (June 1, 1794) ; the Conservatory of Arts 
and Trades (September 29, 1794). The next year it organ- 
ized the Bureau of Longitudes, and finally the Natioual Insti- 
tute. What a magnificent effort to repair the ruins which 
anarchy had made, or to supply the omissions which the old 
regime had patiently suffered ! Of these multiplied creations 
the greater number remain and still flourish. 

477. Law of October 27, 1795. — Those who ask us to 
see in the decree of October 27, 1795, " the capital work of 
the Convention in the matter of instruction, the synthesis of 
all its previous labors and proposals, the most serious effort 
of the Revolution," 1 evidently put forward a paradox. La- 
kanal and his friends would certainly have disavowed a law 
which cancels with a few strokes of the pen the grand revo- 
lutionary principles in the matter of education, — the gratu- 
ity, the obligation, and the universality of instruction. 

The destinies of public instruction are allied to the fate of 
constitutions. To changes of policy there correspond, b}' an 
inevitable recoil, analogous changes in the organization of in- 
struction. Out of the slightly retrograde constitution of 1793 
there issued the educational legislation of 1794, of which it 
could be said that " the spirit of reaction made itself pain- 
fully felt in it." 

Daunou, who was the principal author of it, doubtless had 
high competence in questions of public instruction ; but with 
a secret connivance of his own temperament he yielded to the 
tendencies of the times. He voluntarity condescended to 
the timidities of a senile and worn-out Assembly, which, 
having become impoverished by a series of suicides, had 
scarcely any superior minds left within it. 

1 Albert Duruy, op. cit. p. 137. 


In the Central Schools, in fact, the classical languages 
held only the second place. Not only were the mathematical 
sciences, and those branches of knowledge from which the 
pupil can derive the most immediate profit, associated with the 
classics, but the preference was given to them. In the minds 
of those who organized these schools, the positive and prac- 
tical idea of success in life was substituted for the speculative 
and disinterested idea of mental development for its own sake. 
In reality, these two ideas ought to complete each other, 
and not to exclude each other. The ideal of education con- 
sists in finding a system which welcomes both. Hut in the 
Central Schools the first point of view absorbed the second. 
These establishments resembled the industrial schools of our 
day, but with this particular defect, that there was a deter- 
mination to include every tiling in them, and to give a place 
to new studies without wholly sacrificing the old. Let there 
be created colleges of practical and special instruction ; noth- 
ing can be better, for provision would thus be made for the 
needs of modern society. But let no one force literary studies 
and the industrial arts to live together under the same roof. 

476. Great Foundations of the Convention. — In the 
first years of its existence, the Convention had given its at- 
tention only to primary schools. It seemed as though teach- 
ing the illiterate to read was the one need of society. In the 
end the Convention rose above these narrow and exclusive 
views, and turned its attention towards secondary instruction 
and towards superior instruction. It is particularly by the 
establishment of several special schools for superior instruc- 
tion that the Convention gave proof of its versatility and 

In quick succession it decreed and founded the Polytechnic 
School, under the name of the Central School of Public Works 


(March 11, 1794) ; the Normal School (October 30, 1794) ; 
the School of Mars (June 1, 1794) ; the Conservatory of Arts 
and Trades (September 29, 1794). The next }*ear it organ- 
ized the Bureau of Longitudes, and finally the National Insti- 
tute. What a magnificent effort to repair the ruins which 
anarchy had made, or to supply the omissions which the old 
regime had patiently suffered ! Of these multiplied creations 
the greater number remain and still flourish. 

477. Law of October 27, 1795. — Those who ask us to 
see in the decree of October 27, 1795, " the capital work of 
the Convention in the matter of instruction, the synthesis of 
all its previous labors and proposals, the most serious effort 
of the Revolution," 1 evidently put forward a paradox. La- 
kanal and his friends would certainly have disavowed a law 
which cancels with a few strokes of the pen the grand revo- 
lutionary principles in the matter of education, — the gratu- 
ity, the obligation, and the universality of instruction. 

The destinies of public instruction are allied to the fate of 
constitutions. To changes of policy there correspond, by an 
inevitable recoil, analogous changes in the organization of in- 
struction. Out of the slightly retrograde constitution of 1793 
there issued the educational legislation of 1794, of which it 
could be said that " the spirit of reaction made itself pain- 
fully felt in it." 

Daunou, who was the principal author of it, doubtless had 
high competence in questions of public instruction ; but with 
a secret connivance of his own temperament he yielded to the 
tendencies of the times. He voluntarily condescended to 
the timidities of a senile and worn-out Assembly, which, 
having become impoverished by a series of suicides, had 
scarcely any superior minds left within it. 

1 Albert Duruy, op, cit. p. 137. 


478. Insufficiency of Daunou's Scheme. — Nothing 
could be more defective than Daunou's plan. The number 
of primary schools was reduced. It is no longer proposed 
to proportion them to the population. Daunou goes back to 
the cantonal schools of Talleyrand : u There shall be estab- 
lished in each canton of the Republic one or more primary 
schools." We are far from Condorcet, who required a school 
for each group of four hundred souls, and from Lakanal, who 
demanded one for each thousand inhabitants. On the other 
hand, teachers no longer receive a salary from the State. 
The State merely assures to them a place for a class-room 
and lodging, and also a garden ! " There shall likewise be fur- 
nished the teacher the garden which happens to lie near these 
premises." There is no other remuneration save the annual 
tuition paid by each pupil to the teacher. At the same stroke 
the teacher was made the hireling of his pupils, and gratuity 
of instruction was abolished. Only the indigent pupils, a 
fourth of the whole number, could be exempted by the muni- 
cipal administration from the payment of school fees. Finally, 
the programme of studies was reduced to the humblest pro- 
portions : reading, writing, number, and the elements of 
republican morality. 

After so many noble and generous ambitions, after so 
many enthusiastic declarations in favor of the absolute gra- 
tuity of primary instruction, after so many praiseworthy 
efforts to raise the material and moral condition of teachers, 
and to cause instruction to circulate to the minutest fibres of 
the social tissue, the Convention terminated its work in a 
mean conception which thinned out the schools, which im- 
poverished the programmes, which plunged the teacher anew 
into a precarious state of existence, which put him anew at 
the mercy of his pupils, without, however, taking care to 
assure him of patronage, and which, for his sole compensa 


tion in case be had no pupils to instruct, guaranteed him tbe 
right to cultivate a garden, if, indeed, there should be one in 
the neighborhood of the school ! Had the law of 1 795 been 
in fact the educational will of the Convention, is it not true, 
at least, that it is after the manner of those wills extorted by 
undue means, where a man by his final bequests recalls his 
former acts, and proves himself faithless to all the aspirations 
of his life ? 

No, it is not from Daunou, but from Talleyrand, from 
Condorcet, and from Lakanal that we must seek the real 
educational thought of the Revolution. Doubtless the meas- 
ure of Daunou had over all previous measures the advan- 
tages of being applied, and of not remaining a dead letter ; 
but the glory of the early Revolutionists should not be belit- 
tled by the fact that circumstances arrested the execution of 
their plans, and that a century was necessary in order that 
society might attain the ideal which they had conceived. 
They were the first to proclaim the right and the duty of each 
citizen to be instructed and enlightened. We are ceaselessly 
urged to admire the past and to respect the work of our 
fathers. We do not in the least object to this, but the Rev- 
olution itself also forms a part of that past, aud we regret 
that the men who so eloquently preach the worship of tradi- 
tions and respect for ancestors, are precisely those who the 
most harshly disparage the efforts of the Revolution. 

[479. Analytical Summary. — 1. The educational legis- 
lation of the French Revolution, apparently so inconsiderate, 
so vacillating, and so fruitless, betrays the instinctive feeling 
of a nation in peril, that the only constitutional means of re- 
generation is universal instruction, intellectual and moral. 

2. Out of the same instinct grew the conception that the 
starting-point in educational reform is the instruction and 



inspiration of the teaching body. The normal school lies at 
the very basis of national safety and prosperity. 

3. The immediate fruitlessness of the educational legisla- 
tion of the Revolution, is another illustration of the general 
fact that no reform is operative, which in any considerable 
degree antedates the existing state of public opinion. Could 
there be a revelation of the ideal education, human society 
could grow into it only by slow and almost insensible degrees. 
While there can be rational growth only through some degree 
of anticipation, it is perhaps best that educators have only 
that prevision which is provisional.] 




480. German Pedagogy. — For two centuries Germany 
has been the classical land of pedagogy ; and to render an 
account of all the efforts put forth in that country in the 
domain of education it would be necessary to write several 

From the opening of the eighteenth century, says Dittes, 
" a change for the better takes place. Ideas become facts. 
The importance bf education is more and more recognized ; 
pedagogy shakes off the ancient dust of the school and in- 
terests itself in actual life ; it is no longer willing to be a 
collateral function of the Church, but begins to become an 
independent art and science. A few theologians will still 
render it important service, but in general they will do this 
outside the Church, and often in opposition to it." 


While awaiting the grand find fruitful impulsion of Pesta- 
lozzi, the history of pedagogy ought to mention at least the 
Pietists, " whose educational establishments contributed to 
prepare the way for the new methods," and after them, the 
Philanthropists, of whom Basedow is the most celebrated 

481. The Pietists and Francke (1663-1727). — Francke 
played nearly the same part in Germany that La Salle did in 
France. He founded two establishments at Halle, the Pceda- 
gogium and the Orphan Asylum, which, in 1727, contained 
more than two thousand pupils.* He belonged to the sect of 
Pietists, Lutherans who professed an austere morality, and, 
in conformity with the principles of his denomination, h* 
made piety the supreme end of education. 

That which distinguishes and commends Francke, is hi? 
talent for organization. He was right in giving marked at- 
tention to the material condition of schools and to needed 
supplies of apparatus. The Paedagogium was installed in 171? 
in comfortable quarters, and there were annexed to it * 
botanical garden, a museum of natural history, physical ap- 
paratus, a chemical and an anatomical laboratory, and a shop 
for the cutting and polishing of glass. 

After him his disciples, Niemeyer, Semler, and Hecker. 
continued his work, and, in certain respects, reformed it. 
They founded the first real schools of Germany. They kept 
up the practical spirit, the professional pedagogy of their 
master, and assured the development of those educational 
establishments which still exist to-day under the name of 
the Institutions of Francke. 

482. The Philanthropists and Basedow (1723-1790).*^ 
With Basedow, a more liberal spirit, borrowed in part from 
Rousseau, gained entrance into German pedagogy. Basedow 


founded at Dessau a school which received the praise of the 
philosopher Kant, and of the clergyman Oberlin. He desig- 
nated it by a name which reflects his humanitarian intentions, 
the Philanthropinum. In the methods which he employed in 
it he seems always to have had before his eyes the exclama- 
tion of Rousseau : u Things, things ! Too many words ! " 
The intuitive method, or that of teaching by sight, was prac- 
tised in the school of Dessau. 

The principal work of Basedow, his Elementary Book, is 
scarcely more than the Orbis Pictus of Comenius recon- 
structed according to the principles of Rousseau. At Dessau, 
the pretence was made of teaching a language in six months. 
44 Our methods," says Basedow, " make studies only one- 
third as long and thrice as agreeable." An abuse was made 
of mechanical exercises. The children, at the command of 
the master : Imitamini sariorem, — Imitamini sutorem, — all 
began to imitate the motions of a tailor who is sewing, or of 
a shoemaker who is using his awl. Graver still, Basedow 
made such an abuse of object lessons as to represent to chil- 
dren certain scenes within the sick-chamber, for the pur- 
pose of teaching them their duties and obligations to their 
mothers. 1 

483. Schools for the People. — Great efforts were made 
in the eighteenth century, in the Catholic, as well as in the 
Protestant countries of Germany, towards the development 
of .popular instruction. Maria Theresa and Frederick II. con- 
sidered public instruction as an affair of the State. Private 
enterprise was added to the efforts of the government. In 
Prussia, a nobleman, Rochow (1734-1805), founded village 

* Besides Basedow, there should be mentioned among the educators who 
have become noted in Germany under the name of Philanthropists, Salz- 
man (1741-1811) andCampe (1746-1818). 



schools; and in Austria, two ecclesiastics, Felbiger (1724- 
1788) and Kindermann (1740-1801), contributed by their 
activity in education to the reform of schools. 

Nevertheless, the results were still very poor, and the pub- 
lic school, especially the village school, remained in a sorry 

" Almost everywhere," says Dittes, " there were employed 
as teachers, domestics, corrupt artisans, discharged soldiers, 
degraded students, and, in general, persons of questionable 
morality and education. Their pay was mean, and their 
authority slight. Attendance at school, generally very irreg- 
ular, was almost everywhere entirely suspended in summer. 
Many villages had no school, and scarcely anywhere was the 
school attended by all the children. In many countries, most 
of the children, especially the girls, were wholly without in- 
struction. The people, especially the peasantry, regarded 
the school as a burden. The clergy, it is true, always re- 
garded themselves as the proprietors of the school, but on 
the whole they did but very little for it, and even arrested its 
progress. The nobility was but little favorable, in general, 
to intellectual culture for the people. . . . Instruction re- 
mained mechanical and the discipline rude. It is reported 
that a Suabian schoolmaster, who died in 1782, had inflicted 
during his experience in teaching 911,527 canings, 124,010 
whippings, 10,235 boxes on the ear, and 1,115,800 thumps 
on the head. Moreover, he had made boys kneel 777 times 
on triangular sticks, had caused the fool's cap to be worn 
5001 * times, and the stick to be held in air 1707 times. He 
had used something like 3000 words of abuse. ..." 

1 What a painstaking soul to be so exact in his accounts! Doubtless ht 
had an eye to the future publication of his record as a maitre de fottet! 
This account is rather too exact to be trustworthy. (P.) 


484. Pe8Talozzi (1746-1827). — In Switzerland, the sit- 
uation of primary instruction was scarcely better. The 
teachers were gathered up at hazard ; their pay was wretched ; 
in general they had no lodgings of their own, and they were 
obliged to hire themselves out for domestic service among the 
well-off inhabitants of the villages, in order to find food and 
lodging among them. A mean spirit of caste still dominated 
instruction, and the poor remained sunk in ignorance. 

It was in the very midst of this wretched and unpropitious 
state of affairs that there appeared, towards the end of the 
eighteenth century, the most celebrated of modern educators, 
a man who, we may be sure, was not exempt from faults, 
whose mind had deficiencies and weaknesses, and whom we 
have no intention of shielding from criticism, by covering 
him with the praises of a superstitious admiration ; but who 
is pre-eminently great by reason of his unquenchable love for 
the people, his ardent self-sacrifice, and his pedagogic instinct. 
During the eighty years of his troubled life, Pestalozzi never! 
ceased to work for children, and to devote himself to theifJ 
instruction. War or the ill-will of his countrymen destroyed 
his schools to no purpose. Without ever despairing, he 
straightway rebuilt them farther away, sometimes succeed- 
ing, through the gift of ardent speech, which never deserted 
him, in communicating the inspiration to those about him ; 
gathering up in all places orphans and vagabonds, like a kid- 
napper of a new species ; forgetting that he was poor, when 
he saw an occasion to be charitable, and that he was ill, when 
it was necessary to teach ; and, finally, pursuing with an un- 
conquerable energy, through hindrances and obstacles of 
every description, his educational apostleship. u It is death 
or success ! " he wrote. " My zeal to accomplish the dream 
of my life would have carried me through air or through fire, 
no matter how, to the highest peak of the Alps ! " 


485. The Education of Pestalozzi. — The life of Pes- 
talozzi is intimately related to his educational work. To 
comprehend the educator, it is first necessary to have become 
acquainted with the man. 

Born at Zurich in 1746, Pestalozzi died at Brugg in Argo~ 
via in 1827. This unfortunate great man always felt the 
effects of the sentimental and unpractical education given 
him by his mother, who was left a widow with three children 
in 1751. He early formed the habit of feeling and of being 
touched with emotion, rather than of reasoning and of reflect- 
ing. The laughing-stock of his companions, who made sport 
of his awkwardness, the little scholar of Zurich accustomed 
himself to live alone and to become a dreamer. Later, 
towards 1760, the student of the academy distinguished him- 
self by his political enthusiasm and his revolutionary daring. 
At that early period he had conceived a profound feeling for 
the miseries and the needs of the people, and he already pro- 
posed as the purpose of his life the healing of the diseases of 
society. At the same time there was developed in him an 
irresistible taste for a simple, frugal, and almost ascetic life. 
To restrain his desires had become the essential rule of his 
conduct, and, to put it in practice, he forced himself to sleep 
on a plank, and to subsist on bread and vegetables. Life in 
the open air had an especial attraction for him. Each year 
he spent his vacations in the country at his grandfather's, who 
was a minister at Hcengg. Omne malum ex urbe was his 
favorite thought. 

486 . Pestalozzi an Agriculturist ( 1 765-1 775) . — Pes- 
talozzi's call to be a teacher manifested itself at first only by 
some vague aspirations, of which it would be easy to find the 
trace in the short essays of his youth, and in the articles 
which he contributed in his twentieth year to a students' 
journal published at Zurich. After having tried his hand] 



. unsuccessfully at theology and law, he became an agricul- 
\turist. When he established at Neuhof an agricultural en- 
ter prise, he thought less of enriching himself than of raising 
the material condition of the Swiss peasantry by organizing 
new industries. But notwithstanding his good intent, and 
the assistance of the devoted woman whom he had married 
in 1769, Anna Schultess, Pestalozzi, more enterprising than 
skillful, failed in his industrial establishments. In 1775 he 
had exhausted his resources. It is then that he formed an 
heroic resolution which typifies his indiscreet generosity. 
Poor, and scarcely more than able to support himself, he 
opened on his farm an asylum for poor children. 

487. How Pestalozzi became an Educator. — The asy- 
lum for poor children at Neuhof (1775-1780) is, so to speak, 
the first step in the pedagogical career of Pestalozzi. The 
others will be the orphan asylum at Stanz (1798-1799), the 
primar}' schools at Burgdorf (1799) , the institute at Burgdorf 
(1801-1804), and, finally, the institute at Yverdun (1805- 


The first question that is raised when we study systems 
of education, is, how the authors of those systems became 

The best, perhaps, are those who became such because of 
their great love for humanity, or because of their tender love 
for their children. Pestalozzi is of this class. It is because 
he has ardently dreamed from his youth of the moral amelio- 
ration of the people ; and it is also because he has followed 
with a tender solicitude the first steps of his little son Jacob 
on life's journey, that he became a great teacher. 

488. The Education of his Son. — The Father's Jour- 
nal^ where Pestalozzi noted from day to day the progress of 

1 See interesting quotations from the " Journal d'un pere," in the excel- 
lent biography of Pestalozzi, by Roger de G aim pa. 


his child, shows him intent on applying the principles of 
Rousseau. At the age of eleven, Jacob, like iSmile, did not 
yet know how to read or to write. Things before words, the 
intuition of sensible objects, few exercises in judgment, 
respect for the powers of the child, an equal anxiety to hus- 
band his liberty and to secure his obedience, the constant 
endeavor to diffuse joy and good humor over education, — 
such were the principal traits of the education which Pesta- 
lozzi gave his son, an education which was a real experiment 
in pedagogy, from which the pupil perhaps suffered some- 
what, but from which humanity was to derive profit. From 
this period Pestalozzi conceived some of the ideas which be- 
came the principles of his method. The father had made the 
educator. One of the superiorities of Pestalozzi over Rous- 
seau is, that he loved and educated his own child. 

489. The Asylum at Neuiiof. — Madame de Stael was 
right in saying that " we must consider Pestalozzi's school 
as limited to childhood. The education which it gives is 
designed onl}* for the common people." And, in fact, the 
first and the last establishments of Pestalozzi were schools 
for small children. In the last vears of his life, when lie 
was obliged to leave the institute of Yverdun, he returned 
to Neuhof, and there had constructed a school for poor 

The school at Neuhof was to be above all else, in Pesta- 
lozzi's thought, an experiment in moral and material regen- 
eration through labor, through order, and through instruction. 
Many exercises in language, singing, reading of the Bible, — 
such were the intellectual occupations. But the greater part 
of the time was devoted to agricultural labor, to the cultiva- 
tion of madder. 

Notwithstanding his admirable devotion, Pestalozzi did not 
long succeed in his philanthropic plans. He had to contend 



against the prejudices of parents, and the ingratitude of the 
children. Very often the little beggars whom he had gath- 
ered up waited only till they had received from him new 
clothing, and then ran away and resumed their vagabond 
life. Besides, he lacked resources. lie became poor, and 
fell more and more into debt. His friends, who had aided 
him on the start, warned him that he would die in a hospital 
or in a mad-house. 

" For thirty years," he says himself, " my life was a des- 
perate struggle against the most frightful poverty. . . . More 
than a thousand times I was obliged to go without dinner, 
and at noon, when even the poorest were seated around a 
table, I devoured a morsel of bread upon the highway . . . ; 
and all this that I might minister to the needs of the poor, 
by the realization of my principles." 


490. Pestalozzi a Writer. — After the check to his un- 
dertaking at Neuhof , Pestalozzi renounced for some time all 
practical activity, and it was by his writings that he mani- 
fested, from 1780 to 1787, his zeal in education. 

/In 1780 appeared the Evening Hours of a Recluse, a series 

of aphorisms on the rise of a people through education. In 

this, Pestalozzi sharply criticised the artificial method of the 

school, and insisted on the necessity of developing the soul 

\ through what is within, — through interior culture : — 

" The school everywhere puts the order of words before 
the order of free nature." 

" The home is the basis of the education of humanity." 
" Man, it is within yourself, it is in the inner sense of your 
power, that resides nature's instrument for your develop- 

491. Leonard and Gertrude. — In 1781 Pestalozzi 
published the first volume of Leonard and Gertrude. He 


had written it within the blank spaces of an old account book. 
This book, the most celebrated perhaps of all Festalozzi's 
writings, is a sort of popular romance in which the author 
brings upon the stage a family of working-people. Gertrude 
here represents the ideas of Pestalozzi on the education of 
children. The three other volumes (1783, 1785, 1787) re- 
late the regeneration of a village through the concerted action 
of legislation, administration, religion, and the school, and 
especially the school, " which is the centre whence everything 
should proceed." 

/"Leonard and Gertrude is the only one of Pestalozzi's 
'works which Diesterweg 1 recommends to practical teachers* 

" It was my first word," says Pestalozzi, " to the heart of 
the poor and of the abandoned of the land." 

In making Gertrude the principal character of his romance, 
Pestalozzi wished to emphasize one of his fundamental ideas, 
which was to place the instruction and the education of the 
", people in the hands of mothers. 

492. New Experiments in Agriculture. — From 1787 
to 1797 Pestalozzi returned to farming. It is from this 
period that date his relations with Fellenberg, the celebrated 
founder of Agricultural Institutes, and with the philosopher 
Fichte, who showed him the agreement of his ideas with the 
doctrine of Kant. His name began to become celebrated, 
and, in 1792, the Legislative Assembly proclaimed him a 
French citizen, in company with Washington and Klopstock. 

During these years of farm labor, Pestalozzi had meditated 
different works which appeared in 1797. 

493. Other "Works of Pestalozzi. — Educational thought 
pervades all the literary works of Pestalozzi. Thus his 
tables, short compositions in prose, all have a moral and 

1 See Chap. XIX. 



educational tendency. Also, in his Researches on the Course 
of Nature in the Development of the Human Race, he sought 
to justify the preponderant office which he accorded to nature 
in the education of man. But Pestalozzi was not successful 
in philosophical dissertations. 

44 This book," he says himself, ' k is to me only another 
proof of my lack of ability ; it is simply a diversion of my 
imaginative faculty, a work relatively weak. . . . No one," 
he adds, " understands me, and it has been hinted that the 
whole work has been taken for nonsense." 

This judgment is severe, but it is only just. Pestalozzi 
had an intuition of truth, but he was incapable of giving a 
theoretical demonstration of it. His thought all aglow, and 
his language all imagery, did not submit to the concise and 
methodical exposition of abstract truths. 

494. The Orphan Asylum at Stanz (1798-1799).— 
Up to 1798 Pestalozzi had scarcely found the occasion to 
put in practice his principles and his dreams. The Helvetic 
Revolution, which he hailed with enthusiasm as the signal of 
a social regeneration for his country, finally gave him the 
means of making a trial of his theories, which, by a strange 
destiny, had been applied by other hands before having been 
applied by his own. 

The Helvetic government, whose sentiments were in har- 
mony with the democratic sentiments of Pestalozzi, offered 
him the direction of a normal school. But he declined, in 
order that he might remain a teacher. He was about to take 
charge of a school, the plan of which he had organized, when 
events called him to direct an orphan asylum at Stanz. 

495. Methods followed at Stanz. — From six to eight 
o'clock in the morning, and from four to eight in the after- 
noon, Pestalozzi heard the lessons of his pupils. The rest 


of the time was devoted to manual labor. Even during the 
lesson, the child at Stanz "drew, wrote, and worked." To 
establish order in a school which contained eighty pupils, 
Pestalozzi had the idea of resorting to rhythm ; " and it was 
found," he says, " that the rhythmical pronunciation increased 
the impression produced by the lesson." Having to do with 
pupils absolutely ignorant, he kept them for a long time on 
the elements ; he practised them on the first elements till 
they had mastered them. He simplified the methods, and 
sought in each branch of instruction a point of departure 
adapted to the nascent faculties of the child. The mode of 
teaching was simultaneous. All the pupils repeated in a 
high tone of voice the words of the teacher ; but the instruc- 
tion was also mutual : — 

" Children instructed children ; they themselves tried the 
experiment ; all I did was to suggest it. Here again I obeyed 
necessity. Not having a single assistant, I had the idea of 
putting one of the most advanced pupils between two others 
who were less advanced." ~ 

Reading was combined with writing. Natural history artcT: 
geography were taught to children under the form of con- 
versational lessons. 

But what engrossed Pestalozzi above all else was tdj 
develop the moral sentiments and the interior forces of thp 
conscience. He wished to make himself loved by his pupils, 
to awaken among them, in their daily association, sentiments 
of fraternal affection, to excite the conception of each virtue 
before formulating its precept, and to give the children moral 
lessons through the influence of nature which surrounded 
them and through the activity which was imposed on them. 

Pestalozzi's chimera, in the organization at Stanz, was to 
transport into the school the conditions of domestic life, — 
the desire to be a father to a hundred children. 



u 1 was convinced that my heart would change the condi- 
tion of my children just as promptly as the sun of spring 
would reanimate the earth benumbed by the winter." 

" It was necessary that my children should observe, from 
dawn to evening, at every moment of the day, upon my brow 
and on my lips, that my affections were fixed on them, that 
their happiness was my happiness, and that their pleasures 
were my pleasures." 

" I was everything to my children. I was alone with them 
from morning till night. . . . Their hands were in my hands. 
Their eyes were 'fixed on my eyes." 

496. Results accomplished. — Without plan, without 
apparent order; merely by the action and incessant com- 
munication of his ardent soul with children ignorant and 
perverted by misery ; reduced to his own resources in a 
house where he was himself " steward, accountant, footman, 
and almost servant all in one," Pestalozzi obtained surpris- 
ing results. 

"I saw at Stauz," he says, "the power of the human 
faculties. . . . My pupils developed rapidly ; it was another 
race. . . . The children very soon felt that there existed in 
them forces which they did not know, and in particular they 
acquired a general sentiment of order and beauty. They 
were self-conscious, and the impression of weariness which 
habitually reigns in schools vanished like a shadow from my 
class-room. They willed, they had power, they persevered, 
they succeeded, and they were happy. They were not 
scholars who were learning, but children who felt unknown 
forces awakening within them, and who understood where 
these forces could and would lead them, and this feeling 
gave elevation to their mind and heart." 

"It is out of the folly of Stanz," says Roger de Guimps, 





" that has come the primary school of the nineteenth cen- 

While the pupils prospered, the master fell sick of over- 
Work. When the events of the war closed the orphan 
asylum, it was quite time for the health of Pestalozzi. He 
raised blood and was at the limit of his strength. 

497. The Schools of Burgdorf (1799-1802). — As 
soon as he had recovered his health, Pestalozzi resumed the 
course of his experiments. Not without difficulty he suc- 
ceeded in having entrusted to him a small class in a primary 
school of Burgdorf. He passed for an ignoramus. 

" It was whispered that I could neither write, nor compute, 
nor even read decently." Pestalozzi does not defend him- 
self against the charge, but acknowledges his incapacity, and 
even asserts that it is to his advantage. 

" My incapacity in these respects was certainly an indis- 
pensable condition for my discovery of the simplest method 
of teaching." 

What troubled him most in the school at Burgdorf " was 
that it was subjected to rules." " Never in my life had I 
borne such a burden. I was discouraged. I cringed under 
the routine yoke of the school." 

Nevertheless, Pestalozzi succeeded admirably in his little 
school. Then more advanced pupils were given him, but 
here his success was less. He always proceeded without a 
plan, and he gave himself great trouble in obtaining results 
that he might have attained much more easily with a little 
more system. Blunders, irregularities, and whimsicalities 
were ever compromising the action of his good will. To be 
convinced of this, it suffices to read the books which he pub- 
lished at this period, and in particular the most celebrated, 
of which we shall proceed to give a brief analysis. 


498. How Gertrude teaches her Children. — It is 
under this title that in 1801 Pestalozzi published an exposi- 
tion of his doctrine. 1 "It is the most important and the 
most profound of all his pedagogical writings/' says one of 
his biographers. We shall not dispute this ; but this book 
also proves how the mind of Pestalozzi was inferior to his 
heart, how the writer was of less worth than the teacher. 
Composed under the form of letters addressed to Gessner, 
the work of Pestalozzi is too often a tissue of declamations, 
of rambling thoughts, and of personal grievances. It is the 
work of a brain that is in a state of ferment, and of a heart 
that is overflowing. The thought is painfully disentangled 
from out a thousand repetitions. Why need we be aston- 
ished at this literary incompetence of Pestalozzi when he 
himself makes the following confession: " For thirty years 
I had not read a single book ; I could not longer read them." 

499. Pestalozzi's Style. — The style of Pestalozzi is the 
eery man himself: desultory, obscure, confused, but with 
sudden flashes and brilliant illuminations in which the warmth 
of his heart is exhibited. There are also too many compari- 
sons ; the imagery overwhelms the idea. Within a few 
pages he will compare himself, in succession, "to a sailor, 
who, having lost his harpoon, would try to catch a whale 
with a hook," to depict the disproportion between his 
resources and his purpose ; then to a straw, which even a 
cat would not lay hold of, to tell how he was despised ; 
to an owl, to express his isolation ; to a reed, to indicate 
his feebleness ; to a mouse which fears a cat, to characterize 
his timidity. 

1 A second edition appeared in the lifetime of the author, in 1820, with 
some important modifications. The French translation published in 1882 
by Dr. Darin wm made from the first edition. 


500. Analysis op the Gertrude. — It is not easy to 
analyze one of Pestalozzi's books. To begin with, How 
Gertrude teaches her Children is a very bad title, for Gertrude 
is not once mentioned in it. This proper name became for 
Pestalozzi an allegorical term by which he personifies himself. 

The first three letters are rather autobiographical memoirs 
than an exposition of doctrine. Pestalozzi here relates his 
first experiments, and makes us acquainted with his assist- 
ants at Burgdorf, — Krusi, Tobler, and Buss. In the letters 
which follow, the author attempts to set forth the general 
principles of his method. The seventh treats of language ; 
the eighth, of the intuition of forms, of writing, and of 
drawing ; the ninth, of the intuition of numbers and of com- 
putation; the tenth and twelfth, of intuition in general. 
For Pestalozzi, intuition was, as we know, direct and ex- 
perimental perception, either in the domain of sense, or in 
the interior regions of the consciousness. Finally, the last 
letters are devoted to moral and religious development. 

Without designing to follow, in all its ramblings and in all 
its digressions, the mobile thought of Pestalozzi, we shall 
gather up some of the general ideas which abound in this 
overcharged and badly composed work. 

501, Methods Simplified. — The purpose of Pestalozzi 
was indeed, in one sense, as he was told by one of his 
friends, to mechanize instruction. He wished, in fact, to 
simplify and determine methods to such a degree that they 
might be employed by the most ordinary teacher, and by the 
most ignorant father and mother. In a word, he hoped to 
organize a pedagogical machine so well set up that it could 
in a manner run alone. 

" I believe," he says, " that we must not dream of making 
progress in the instruction of the people as long as we have 

-"■- -"-■= 


not found the forms of instruction which make of the 
teacher, at least so far as the completion of the elementary 
studies is concerned, the simple mechanical instrument of a 
method which owes its results to the nature of its processes, 
and not to the ability of the one who uses it. I assert that 
a school-book has no value, save as it can be employed by a 
master without instruction as well as by one who has been 

This was sheer exaggeration, and was putting too little 
value on the personal effort and merit of teachers. On this 
score, it would be useless to found normal schools. Pesta- 
lozzi, moreover, has given in his own person a striking 
contradiction to this singular theory ; for he owed his success 
in teaching much more to the influence of his living speech, 
and to the ardent communication of the passion by which his 
heart was animated, than to the methodical processes which 
he never succeeded in combining in an efficient manner. 

502. The Socratic Method. — Pestalozzi recommends 
the Socratic method, and he indicates with exactness some of 
the conditions necessary for the employment of that method. 
He first observes that it requires on the part of the teacher 
uncommon ability. 

"A superficial and uncultivated intelligence," he says, 
" does not sound the depths whence a Socrates made spring 
up intelligence and truth." 

Besides, the Socratic method can be employed only with 
pupils who already have some instruction. It is absolutely 
impracticable with children who lack both the point of de- 
parture, that is, preliminary notions, and the means of 
expressing these notions, that is, a knowledge of language. 
And as it is always necessary that Pestalozzi 's thought 
•hould wind up with a figure of speech, he adds : — 


"In order that the goshawk and the eagle may plunder 
eggs from other birds, it is first necessary that the latter 
should deposit eggs in their nests.'* 

503. Word, Form, and Number. — A favorite idea of 
Pestalozzi, which remained at Yverdun, as at Burgdorf, the 
principle of his exercises in teaching, is that all elemen- 
tary knowledge can and should be related to three princi- 
ples, — word, form, and number. To the word he attached 
language, to form, writing and drawing, and to" number, 

"This was," he says, "like a ray of light in my re- 
searches, like a Deus ex machinal" Nothing justifies such 
enthusiasm. It would be very easy to show that Pestalozzi's 
classification, besides that it offers no practical interest, is 
not justifiable from the theoretical point of view, first be- 
cause one of the elements of his trilogy, the word, or lan- 
guage, comprises the other two ; and then because a large 
part of knowledge, for example, all physical qualities, does not 
permit the distinction of which he was superstitiously fond. 

504. Intuitive Exercises. — What is of more value is 
the importance which Pestalozzi ascribes to intuition. An 
incident worthy of note is that it is not Pestalozzi himself, 
but one of the children of his school, who first had the idea 
of the direct observation of the objects which serve as the 
text for the lesson. One day as, according to his custom, he 
was giving his pupils a long description of what they 
observed in a drawing where a window was represented, he 
noticed that one of his little auditors, instead of looking at 
the picture, was attentively studying the real window of the 

From that moment Pestalozzi put aside all his drawings, 
and took the objects themselves for subjects of observation. 



" The child," he said, " wishes nothing to intervene be- 
tween nature and himself.' 1 

Ramsauer, a pupil at Burgdorf, has described, not with- 
out some inaccuracy perhaps, the intuitive exercises which 
Pestalozzi offered to his pupils : — 

" The exercises in language were the best we had, espe- 
cially those which had reference to the wainscoting of the 
school-room. He spent whole hours before that wainscot- 
ing, very old and torn, busy in examining the holes and 
rents, with respect to number, form, position, and color, and 
in formulating our observations in sentences more or less de- 
veloped. Then Pestalozzi would ask us, Boys, what do you 
see? (He never mentioned the girls.) 

Pupil : I see a hole in the wainscoting. 

Pestalozzi : Very well ; repeat after me : — 
I see a hole in the wainscoting. 
I see a large hole in the wainscoting. 
Through the hole I see the wall, etc., etc." 

505. The Book for Mothers. — In 1803 Pestalozzi pub- 
lished a work on elementary instruction, which remained un- 
finished, entitled The Book for Mothers. This was another 
Orbis Pictua without pictures. Pestalozzi's intention was to 
introduce the child to a knowledge of the objects of nature 
or of art which fall under his observation. In this he tar- 
ried too long over the description of the organs of the body 
and of their functions. A French critic, Dussault, said, 
with reference to this : — 

" Pestalozzi gives himself much trouble to teach children 
that their nose is in the middle of their face." In his anxiety 
to be simple and elementary, Pestalozzi often succeeds in 
reality in making instruction puerile. On the other hand, 
the P&re Girard complains that the exercises in language 



which compose The Book for Mothers, " really very well ar- 
ranged, are also very dry and monotonous." 

506. A Swiss Teacher in 1793. — To form a just esti- 
mate of the efforts of Pestalozzi and his assistants, we must 
take into account the wretched state of instruction at the 
period when they attempted to reform the methods of teach- 
ing. Kriisi, Pestalozzi's first assistant, one of those who 
were perhaps the nearest his heart, has himself related how 
he became a teacher. He was eighteen, and till then his 
only employment had been that of a peddler for his father. 
One day, as he was going about his business with a heavy 
load of merchandise on his shoulders, he meets on the road a 
revenue officer of the State, and they enter into conversation. 
" Do you know," said the officer, " that the teacher of Gais 
is about to leave his school ? Would vou not like to succeed 
him ? — It is not a question of what I would like ; a school- 
master should have knowledge, in which I am absolutely lack- 
ing. — What a school-master can and should know with us, 
you might easily learn at your age." — Krusi reflected, went 
to work, and copied more than a hundred times a specimen 
of writing which he had procured ; aud he declares that this 
was his only preparation. He registered for examination. 
The day for the trial arrived. 

" There were but two competitors of us," he saj*s. " The 
principal test consisted in writing the Lord's Prayer, and to 
this I gave my closest attention. I had observed that in 
German, use was made of capital letters ; but I did not know 
the rule for their use, and took them for ornaments. So I 
distributed mine in a symmetrical manner, so that some were 
found even in the middle of words. In fact, neither of us 
knew anything. 

'* When the examination had been estimated, I was sum- 


moned, and Captain Schoepfer informed me that the exam- 
iners had found us both deficient ; that my competitor read 
the better, but that I excelled him in writing ; . . . that, 
besides, my apartment, being larger than that of the other 
candidate, was better fitted for holding a school, and, finally, 
that I was elected to the vacant place." 

Is it not well to be indulgent to teachers whom we meet on 
the highway, who scarcely know how to write, and whom a 
captain commissions? 

507. The Institute at Burgdorf (1802). — When Pes- 
talozzi published the Gertrude and The Book for Mothers^ he 
was not simply a school-master at Burgdorf ; he had taken 
charge of an institute, that is, of a boarding-school of higher 
primary instruction. There also he applied the natural 
method, " which makes the child proceed from his own intui- 
tions, and leads him by degrees, and through his own efforts, 
to abstract ideas." The institute succeeded. The pupils of 
Burgdorf were distinguished especially by their skill in draw- 
ing and in mental arithmetic. Visitors were struck with their 
air of cheerfulness. Singing and gymnastics were held in 
honor, and also exercises on natural history, learned in the 
open field, and during walks. Mildness and liberty charac- 
terized the internal management. "It is not a school that 
yon have here," said a visitor, " but a family ! " 

508. Journey to Paris. — It was at this period that Pes- 
talozzi made a journey to Paris, as a member of the consulta 
called by Bonaparte to decide the fate of Switzerland. He 
hoped to take advantage of his stay in France to disseminate 
his pedagogical ideas. But Bonaparte refused to see him, 
saying that he had something else to do besides discussing 
questions of a b c. Monge, the founder of the Polytechnic 
School, was more cordial, and kindly listened to the explana- 


tions of the Swiss pedagogue. But he concluded by saying, 
" It is too much for us ! " More disdainful still, Talleyrand 
had said, " It is too much for the people ! " 

On the other hand, at the same period, the philosopher 
Maine de Biran, then sub-prefect at Bergerac, called a disciple 
of Pestalozzi, Barraud, to found schools in the department of 
Dordogne, and he encouraged with all his influence the appli- 
cation of the Pestalozzian method. 

509. The Institute at Yverdun (1805-1825).— In 1803 
Pestalozzi was obliged to leave the castle of Burgdorf . The 
Swiss government gave him in exchange the convent of 
Mtinchen-Buchsee. Pestalozzi transferred his institute to 
this place, but only for a little time. In 1805 he established 
himself at Yverdun, at the foot of Lake Neufchatel, in French 
Switzerland ; and here, with the aid of several of his col- 
leagues, he developed his methods anew, with brilliant success 
at first, but afterwards through all sorts of vicissitudes, diffi- 
culties, and miseries. 

The institute at Yverdun was rather a school of secondary 
instruction, devoted to the middle classes, than a primary 
school proper.* Pupils poured in from all sides. The char- 
acter of the studies, however, was poorly defined, and Pesta- 
lozzi found himself somewhat out of his element in his new 
institution, since he excelled only in elementary methods and 
in the education of little children. 

510. Success op the Institute. — Numerous visitors be- 
took themselves to Yverdun, some through simple love of 
strolling. The institute of Yverdun made a part, so to speak, 
of the curiosities of Switzerland. People visited Pestalozzi 
as they went to see a lake or a glacier. As soon as notice 
was given of the arrival of a distinguished personage, Pesta- 
lozzi summoned one of his best masters, Ramsauer or 


" Take your best pupils," he said, u and show the Prince 
what we are doing. He has numerous serfs, and when he is 
convinced, he will have them instructed." 

These frequent exhibitions entailed a great loss of time. 
Disorder reigned in the instruction. The young masters 
whom Pestalozzi had attached to his fortunes were over- 
whelmed with work, and could not give sufficient attention to 
the preparation of their lessons. Pestalozzi was growing old, 
and did not succeed in completing his methods. 

511. The Tentatives of Pestalozzi. — The teaching of 
Pestalozzi was in reality but a long groping, an experiment 
ceaselessly renewed. Do not require of him articulate ideas, 
and methods definitely established. Always on the alert, and 
always in quest of something better, his admirable pedagogic 
instinct never came to full satisfaction. His merit was that 
he was always on the search for truth. His theories almost 
always followed, rather than preceded, his experiments. A 
man of intuition rather than of reasoning, he acknowledges 
that he went forward without considering what he was doing. 
He had the merit of making many innovations, but he was 
wrong in taking counsel of no one but himself, and of his 
personal feelings. 4k We ought to read nothing," he said ; 
44 we ought to discover everything." Pestalozzi never knew 
how to profit by the experience of others. 

He never arrived at complete precision in the establish- 
ment of his methods. He complained of not being under- 
stood, and he was not in fact. One of his pupils at Yverdun, 
Volliemin, thus expresses himself : — 

44 That which was called, not without pretense, the method 
of Pestalozzi was an enigma for us. It was for our teachers 
themselves. Each of them interpreted the doctrine of the 
master in his own way ; but we were still far from the time 


when these divergencies engendered discord ; when our 
principal teachers, after each had given out that he alone 
had comprehended Pestalozzi, ended by asserting that Pes- 
talozzi himself was not understood; that he had not been 
understood except by Schmid, said Schmid, and by Niederer, 
said Niederer." 

512. Methods at Yverdun. — The writer whom we have 
just quoted gives us valuable information on the methods 
which were in use at Yverdun : — 

" Instruction was addressed to the intelligence rather than 
to the memory. Attempt, said Pestalozzi to his colleagues, 
to develop the child, and not to train him as one trains a 

" Language was taught us by the aid of intuition ; we 
learned to see correctly, and through this very process to 
form for ourselves a correct idea of the relations of things. 
What we had conceived clearly we had no difficulty in 
expressing clearly." 

" The first elements of geography were taught us on the 
spot. . . . Then we reproduced in relief with clay the valley 
of which we had just made a study." 

"We were made to invent geometry by having marked 
out for us the end to reach, and by being put on the route. 
The same course was followed in arithmetic ; our computa- 
tions were made in the head and viva voce, without the aid 
of paper." 

513. Decadence of the Institute. — Yverdun enjoyed 
an extraordinary notoriety for some years. But little by 
little the faults of the method became apparent. Internal 
discords and the misunderstanding of Pestalozzi's col- 
leagues, of Niederer, " the philosopher of the method," and 
of Schmid, the mathematician, hastened the decadence of 


an establishment in which order and discipline had never 
reigned. Pestalozzi was content with being the spur of the 
institute. He became more and more unfit for practical 
affairs. He allowed all liberty to his assistants, and also to 
his pupils. At Yverdun the pupils addressed their teachers 
in familiar style. The touching fiction of paternity trans- 
ported into the school, which was successful with Pestalozzi 
in his first experience in teaching, and with a small number 
of pupils, was no longer practicable at Yverdun, with a mass 
of pupils of every age and of every disposition. 

514. Judgment of Pere Girard. — In 1809 the Pere 
Girard 1 was commissioned by the Swiss government to 
inspect the institute. The result was not favorable, though 
Girard acknowledges that he conceived the idea of his own 
method from studying at first hand that of Pestalozzi. 

The principal criticism of Girard bears on the abuse of 
mathematics, which, under the influence of Schmid, became 
in fact more and more the principal occupation of teachers 
and pupils. 

"I made the remark," he says, " to my old friend Pes- 
talozzi, that the mathematics exercised an unjustifiable sway 
in his establishment, and that I feared the results of this on 
the education that was given. Whereupon he replied to me 
with spirit, as was his manner : * This is because I wish m}* 
children to believe nothing which cannot be demonstrated as 
clearly to them as that two and two make four.' My reply 
was in the same strain : ' In that case, if I had thirty sons, 
I would not entrust one of them to you, for it would be 
impossible for you to demonstrate to him, as you can that 
two and two make four, that I am his father, and that I 
have a right to his obedience.' " 

1 See the following chapter. 



It is evident that Pestalozzi was deviating from his own 
inclinations. The general character of his pedagogy is in 
fact to avoid abstraction, and in all things to aim at concrete 
and living intuition. Even in religion, he deliberately 
excluded dogmatic teaching, precise and literal form, and 
sought only to awaken in the soul a religious sentiment, 
sincere and profound. The Pfcre Girard had remarked to 
him that the religious instruction of his pupils was vague 
and indeterminate, and that their aspirations lacked the 
doctrinal form. " The form," replied Pestalozzi, " I am 
still looking for it ! " 

515. The Last Years of Pestalozzi. — Disheartened by 
the decadence of his institute, Pestalozzi left Yverdun in 
1824, and sought a retreat at Neuhof, on the farm where he 
had tried his first experiments in popular education. It is 
here that he wrote his last two works, — The Swan's Sang and 
My Destinies. Januarj- 25, 1827, he was taken to Brugg to 
consult a physician. He died there February 17; and two 
days after he was buried at Birr. It is there that the Canton 
of Argovia erected a monument to him in 1846, with the 
following inscription : — 

" Here lies Henry Pestalozzi, born at Zurich, January 12, 
1746, died at Brugg, Februarj' 17, 1827, savior of the poor 
at Neuhof, preacher of the people in Leonard and Gertrude, 
father of orphans at Stanz, founder of the new people's 
school at Burgdorf and at Miinchen-Buchsee, educator of 
humanity at Yverdun, man. Christian, citizen: everything 
for others, nothing for himself. Blessed be his name." 

516. Essential Principles. — Pestalozzi never took the 
trouble to formulate the essential principles of his pedagogy. 
Incapable of all labor in abstract reflection, he borrowed 
from his friends, on every possible occasion, the logical 


exposition of his own methods. In his first letter to Gess- 
ner, he is only too happy to reproduce the observations of 
the philanthropist Fischer, who distinguished five essential 
principles in his system : — 

1. To give the mind an intensive culture, and not simply 
extensive : to form the mind, and not to content one's self 
with furnishing it ; 

2. To connect all instruction with the study of language ; 

3. To furnish the mind for all its operations with funda- 
mental data, mother ideas ; 

4. To simplify the mechanism of instruction and study ; 

5. To popularize science. 

On several points, indeed, Pestalozzi calls in question the 
translation which Fischer has given of his thought; but, 
notwithstanding these reservations, powerless to find a more 
exact formula, he accepts as a finality this interpretation of 
his doctrine. 

Later, another witness of the life of Pestalozzi, Morf, also 
condensed into a few maxims the pedagogy of the great 
teacher : — 

1. Intuition is the basis of instruction ; 

2. Language ought to be associated with intuition ; 

3. The time to learn is not that of judging and of criti- 
cising ; 

4. In each branch, instruction ought to begin with the 
simplest elements, and to progress by degrees while follow- 
ing the development of the child, that is to say, through a 
series of steps psychologically connected ; 

5. We should dwell long enough on each part of the in- 
struction for the pupil to gain a complete mastery of it ; 

6. Instruction ought to follow the order of natural 
development, and not that of synthetic exposition ; 

7. The individuality of the child is sacred ; 


8. The principal end of elementary instruction is not to 
cause the child to acquire knowledge and talents, but to 
develop and increase the forces of his intelligence ; 

9. To wisdom there must be joined power; to theoretical 
knowledge, practical skill ; 

10. The relations between master and pupil ought to be 
based on love ; 

1 1 . Instruction proper ought to be made subordinate to 
the higher purpose of education. 

Each one of these aphorisms would need a long com- 
mentary. It is sufficient, however, to study them in the aggre- 
gate, in order to form an almost exact idea of that truly 
humane pedagogy which reposes on psychological principles. 

Krfisi could say of his master: "With respect to the 
ordinary knowledge and practices of the school, Pestalozzi 
was far below a good village magister; but he possessed 
something infinitely superior to that which can be given by a 
course of instruction, whatever it mav be. He knew that 
which remains concealed from a great number of teachers, — 
the human spirit and the laws of its development and culture, 
the human heart and the means of vivifying it and ennobling 

517. Pedagogical Processes. — The pedagogy of Pesta- 
lozzi is no less valid in its processes than in its principles. 
Without presuming to enumerate everything, we will indicate 
succinctly some of the scholastic practices which he employed 
and recommended : — 

The child should know how to speak before learning to 

For reading, use should be made of movable letters glned 
on pasteboard. Before writing, the pupil should draw. 
The first exercises in writing should be upon slates. 

Uh =»^W*w— 5i-i— i-*Jk-MHS*i 


In the study of language, the evolution of nature should 
be followed, first studying nouns, then qualificatives, and 
finally propositions. 

The elements of computation shall be taught by the aid of 
material objects taken as units, or at least by means of strokes 
drawn on a board. Oral computation shall be the most 

The pupil ought, in order to form an accurate and exact 
idea of numbers, to conceive them alwavs as a collection of 
strokes or of concrete things, and not as abstract figures. 
A small table divided into squares in which points are rep- 
resented, serves to teach addition, subtraction, multiplica- 
tion, and division. 

There was neither book nor copy-book in the schools ot 

The children had nothing to learn by heart. They had to 
repeat all at once and in accord the instructions of the 
master. Each lesson lasted but an hour, and was followed 
by a short interval devoted to recreation. 

Manual labor, making paper boxes, working in the garden, 
gymnastics, were associated with mental labor. The last 
hour of each day was devoted to optional labor. The pupils 
said, " We are working for ourselves." 

A few hours a week were devoted to military exercises. 

Surely everything is not to be commended in the processes 
which we have just indicated. It is not necessary, for ex- 
ample, that the child conceive, when he computes, the con- 
tent of numbers, and Pestalozzi sometimes makes an abuse 
of sense intuition. He introduces analysis, and an analysis 
too subtile and too minute, into studies where nature alone 
does her work. " My method," he said, " is but a refinement 
of the processes of nature." He refines too much. 


518. Pestalozzi and Rousseau. — Pestalozzi has often 
acknowledged what he owed to Rousseau. "My chimerical 
and unpractical spirit was taken," he said, "with that chimer- 
ical and impracticable book. . . • The system of liberty ideally 
established by Rousseau, excited in me an infinite longing 
for a wider and more bounteous sphere of activity." 

The great superiority of Pestalozzi over Rousseau is that 
he worked for the people, — that he applied to a great num- 
ber of children the principles which Rousseau embodied only 
in an individual and privileged education. £mile, after all, 
is an aristocrat. He is rich, and of good ancestry ; and is 
endowed with all the gifts of nature and fortune. Real pu- 
pils do not offer, in general, to the action of teachers, mate- 
rial as docile and complaisant. Pestalozzi had to do only 
with children of the common people, who have everything to 
learn at school, because they have found at home, with busy 
or careless parents, neither encouragement nor example, — 
because their early years have been only a long intellectual 
slumber. For these benumbed natures, many exercises are 
necessary which would properly be regarded as useless if it 
were a question of instructing children of another condition. 
Before condemning, before ridiculing, the trifling practices of 
Pestalozzi, and of teachers of the same school, we should 
consider the use to which these processes were applied. The 
real organizer of the education of childhood and of the peo- 
ple, Pestalozzi has a right to the plaudits of all those who 
are interested in the future of the masses of the people. 

519. Conclusion. — We should not flatter ourselves that 
merely by means of an analysis of Pestalozzi's methods, we 
can comprehend the service of a man who excelled in the 
warmth of his charity, in his ardor of devotion and of propa- 
gandism, and in I know not what that makes a grand per* 

-11 1 w-~~~" * ' -*~^~^- 


sonality, more than by the clearness and the exactness of 
his theories. It is somewhat with Pestalozzi as with those 
great actors who carry with them to their tomb a part of the 
secret of their art. 

He was especially-great in heart and in love. To read 
some of his writings, we would sometimes be tempted to say 
that his intellect was far inferior to the expectation excited 
by his name ; but what a splendid revenge he takes in the 
domain of sentiment ! 

He passionately loved the people. He knew their suffer- 
ings, and nothing turned him from his anxiety to cure them. 
In the presence of a beautiful landscape, he thought less of 
the charming scene that was displayed before his eyes than 
of the poor people who, under those splendors of nature, led 
a life of misery. 

That which assures him an immortal glory is the high pur- 
pose that he set before himself, — his ardor to regenerate 
humanity through instruction. Of what consequence is it 
that the results obtained were so disproportionate to his 
efforts, and that he could say, " The contrast between what 
I would and what I could is so great that it cannot be ex- 
pressed " ? Even the French Revolution did not succeed in 
the matter of instruction, in making its works commensurate 
with its aspirations. 

The love and the admiration of all the friends of instruction 
are forever secured to Pestalozzi. He was the most sugges- 
tive, the most stimulating, of modern educators. If it was 
not given him to act sufficiently on French pedagogy, he was 
in Germany the great inspirer of reform in popular education. 
While he was despised by Bonaparte, he obtained, in 1802, 
from the philosopher Fichte, this fine compliment, "It is 
from the institute of Pestalozzi that I expect the regenera- 
tion of the German nation." 



518. Pestalozzi and Rousseau. — Pestalozzi has often 
acknowledged what he owed to Rousseau. '*Mv chimerical 
and unpractical spirit was taken," he said, " with that chimer- 
ical and impracticable book. . . . The system of liberty ideally 
established by Rousseau, excited in me an infinite longing 
for a wider and more bounteous sphere of activity." 

The great superiority of Pestalozzi over Rousseau is that 
he worked for the people, — that he applied to a great num- 
ber of children the principles which Rousseau embodied only 
in an individual and privileged education. iSmile, after all, 
is an aristocrat. He is rich, and of good ancestry ; and is 
endowed with all the gifts of nature and fortune. Real pu- 
pils do not offer, in general, to the action of teachers, mate- 
rial as docile and complaisant. Pestalozzi had to do only 
with children of the common people, who have everything to 
learn at school, because they have found at home, with busy 
or careless parents, neither encouragement nor example, — 
because their early years have been only a long intellectual 
slumber. For these benumbed natures, many exercises are 
necessary which would properly be regarded as useless if it 
were a question of instructing children of another condition. 
Before condemning, before ridiculing, the trifling practices of 
Pestalozzi, and of teachers of the same school, we should 
consider the use to which these processes were applied. The 
real organizer of the education of childhood and of the peo- 
ple, Pestalozzi has a right to the plaudits of all those who 
are interested in the future of the masses of the people. 

519. Conclusion. — We should not flatter ourselves that 
merely by means of an analysis of Pestalozzi's methods, we 
can comprehend the service of a man who excelled in the 
warmth of his charity, in his ardor of devotion and of p*x>pa- 
gandism, and in I know not what that makes a grand per* 


sonality, more than by the clearness and the exactness of 
his theories. It is somewhat with Pestalozzi as with those 
great actors who carry with them to their tomb a part of the 
secret of their art. 

He was especially-great in heart and in love. To read 
some of his writings, we would sometimes be tempted to say 
that his intellect was far inferior to the expectation excited 
by his name ; but what a splendid revenge he takes in the 
domain of sentiment ! 

He passionately loved the people. He knew their suffer- 
ings, and nothing turned him from his anxiety to cure them. 
In the presence of a beautiful landscape, he thought less of 
the charming scene that was displayed before his eyes than 
of the poor people who, under those splendors of nature, led 
a life of misery. 

That which assures him an immortal glory is the high pur- 
pose that he set before himself, — his ardor to regenerate 
humanity through instruction. Of what consequence is it 
that the results obtained were so disproportionate to his 
efforts, and that he could say, " The contrast between what 
I would and what I could is so great that it cannot be ex- 
pressed " ? Even the French Revolution did not succeed in 
the matter of instruction, in making its works commensurate 
with its aspirations. 

The love and the admiration of all the friends of instruction 
are forever secured to Pestalozzi. He was the most sugges- 
tive, the most stimulating, of modern educators. If it was 
not given him to act sufficiently on French pedagogy, he was 
in Germany the great inspirer of reform in popular education. 
While he was despised by Bonaparte, he obtained, in 1802. 
from the philosopher Fichte, this fine compliment, u It is 
from the institute of Pestalozzi that I expect the regenera- 
tion of the German nation." 





[520. Analytical Summary. — 1. Inveniam viam ant 
faciam. To know the end is to find the way ; and to be pos- 
sessed of an impuise to reach an end is to make a way. 
There are thus two categories of educational reformers. 
Some see a goal by the light of reason and reflection, and 
then lay out a logical route to it which they may or may not 
traverse, but which some one will ultimately traverse. 
Others are dominated by an intense feeling, and grope their 
uncertain way towards a goal whose outline and position are 
only dimly discerned through the mists of emotion. With 
some, the motive is intellectual, with others, it is emotional ; 
and in their higher manifestations these endowments are mu- 
tually exclusive. 

2. Pestalozzi belongs pre-eminently to the emotional re- 
formers. He felt intensely, but he saw vaguely. His im- 
pulses were the highest and the noblest that can animate the 
human soul, but at every stage in his career his success was 
compromised by his inability to see things in their normal 
relations and proportions. Conscious of his inability to 
frame a rational defence of his system, he was glad to bor- 
row philosophic insight from abroad ; but he could not live 
with colleagues who would test the logic of his methods. 

3. Tested by the simplest rules of order, symmetry, and 
economy, the schools organized by Pestalozzi were failures ; 
but tested by the exalted humanity, the heroic devotion, and 
self-sacrifice of their founder, and by the new life which, 
through his example, was henceforth to animate the teaching 
profession, his schools were successful beyond all precedent. 
Judged by modern standards, Pestalozzi was a poor teacher, 
but an unsurpassed educator. 

4. The conception which the humanitarian warmth of Pes- 
talozzi's nature converted into a motive, was that true edu- 
tion is a growth, the outward evolution of an inward life. 



The conception itself was as old as David and Socrates, but 
it had ceased to have the power of a living truth. 

5. The history of human thought shows that there has 
ever been a tendency to separate form from content, or letter 
from spirit, and as constant a predilection for form or letter, 
as distinguished from content or spirit; and the essential 
work of reform has consisted in reanimation. This illustrates 
and defines Pestalozzi's mission as an educator. The story 
of his devotion and suffering is the most pathetic in the his- 
tory of education, and it should be unnecessary to repeat the 
lesson that was taught at such cost.] 





the pedagogy op the nineteenth century j frcebel (1782-1852) ; 
youth of frcebel; different employments; call to teach; 
frcebel and pestalozzi j treatise on the spherical j new 
studies; institute of keilhau; the education of max; 
analysis of that work; love for children; unity of edu- 
cation ; different stages in the development of man j 
naturalism of frcebel; new experiments in teaching; kin- 
dergartens; origin of the kindergartens; the gifts of 
frcebel; appeal to the instincts of the child; importance 
of 8pokt9; principal needs of the child; faults in frcebel 'ft 
method; the last establishments of frcebel; frcebel and 
diesterweg; popularity of frcebel; the pere girard (1765- 
1850); life of the pere girard j plan of education for hel- 
vetia; last years of the pere girard; teaching of the 
mother tongue; grammar of ideas; discreet use of rules; 
educative course in the mother tongue j analysis of that 
work; moral arithmetic; moral geography; influence of 
girard; analytical summary. 

521. The Pedagogy of the Nineteenth Century. — 
Pestalozzi really belongs to our century by the close of his 
career, and especially by the posthumous glory of his name. 
With Froebel and the Pere Girard, we enter completely 
upon the nineteenth century ; both, in different degrees and 
with characteristics of their own, continue the work of 


522. Frcebel (1782-1852).— It may be said of Froebel 
as of Pestalozzi, that in France at least, he is more praised 
than known, more celebrated than studied. We have been 
tardy in speaking of him, — it is scarcely twenty years since ; 
but it seems that our admiration has sought to atone for the 
slowness of its manifestation by its vivacity and its ardor. 
The name of the founder of Kindergartens has become almost 
popular, while his writings have remained almost unknown. 

An impartial and thorough study of Froebel's work will 
abate rather than encourage this excessive infatuation and 
this somewhat artificial enthusiasm. Assuredly, Froebel 
had grand qualities as a teacher ; bqt he lacked a profound 
classical culture and also the sense of proportion. Like 
most of the Germans of this century, he has ventured on the 
conceptions of a nebulous philosophy, and following the 
steps of Hegel, he has too often deserted the route of obser- 
vation and experiment, to strike out into metaphysical diva- 
gations. Frcebel's imagination magnifies and distorts every- 
thing. He cannot see objects as they are, but lends them 
a symbolical meaning, and wanders off into transcendental 
and obscure considerations. But his practical work is worth 
more than his writings, and he cannot be denied the glory 
of having been a bold and happy innovator in the field of 
early education. 

523. The Youth of Froebel. — Froebel was born in 
Thuringia in 1782. He lost his mother almost at birth, and 
was educated by his father and his uncle, both village 
pastors. We recollect that by a contrary destiny, Pestalozzi 
was brought up by his mother. From his earliest years he 
manifested remarkable traits of character, and also mental 
tendencies which were a little singular. He was dreamy and 
wholly penetrated with a profound religious sentiment. 



Thus, the day when he believed that he was assured by per* 
emptory reasoning that he was not doomed to eternal flames, 
was an event in his life. Ardently enamored of nature, he 
considers her as the true inspirer of humanity. This had 
also been the conception of Rousseau and of Pestalozzi, but 
it exhibits itself with much more power in the case of 

It is difficult to comprehend the exaggeration of his 
thought when he says that nature, attentively observed, 
appears to us as the symbol of the highest aspirations of 
human life. 

" Entire nature, even the world of crystals and stones, 
teaches us to recognize good and evil, but nowhere in a more 
living, tranquil, clear, and evident way than in the world of 
plants and flowers." 

Morality, thus understood, is a little vague. We do not 
deny that the calm life of the fields contributes to surround 
us with a pure atmosphere, and to beget within us wholesome 
and elevated aspirations ; but one must have a singularly 
sentimental temperament to believe that nature can give us 
" the clearest and the most obvious " lessons in morals. 

524. Different Occupations. — The first part of Frae- 
bel's life gives evidence of a certain unsteadiness of mind. 
Inconstant in his tastes, he cannot settle on a fixed mode of 
life. Improvident and poor, like Pestalozzi, he is in turn 
forester, intendant, architect, preceptor; he feels his way 
up to the day when his vocation as a teacher is suddenly 
revealed to him. Moreover, he studies everything, — law, 
mineralogy, agriculture, mathematics. 

525. Vocation to Teacii. — It was in 1805, at Frankfort, 
that Froebel began to teach. He was then twenty-three. 
The teacher Gruner offered him a position as instructor in 


the model school which he directed ; Froebel accepted, but 
he was of that number who do nothing artlessly. 

" An accidental circumstance determined my decision. I 
received news that my certificates were lost [certificates that 
he had sent to an architect to secure a position with him]. 
I then concluded that Providence had intended, by this inci- 
dent, to take from me the possibility of a return backward." 

At the end of a few days he wrote to his brother 
Christopher : — 

44 It is astonishing how my duties please me. From the 
first lesson it seemed to me that I had never done anything 
else, and that I was born for that very thing. I could no 
longer make it seem to me that I had previously thought of 
following any occupation but this, and yet I confess that the 
idea of becoming a teacher had never occurred to me." 

526. Froebel and Pestalozzi. — At the school in Frank- 
fort, Froebel, still a novice in the art of teaching, attempted 
scarcely more than scrupulously to apply the Pestalozzian 

And upon many points Froebel remained to the end a 
faithful disciple of Pestalozzi. Intuition is the fundamental 
principle of his method, and we might say that his effort in 
pedagogy consists chiefly in organizing into a system the 
sense intuitions which Pestalozzi proposed to the child some- 
what at random and without plan. 

FnEbel had had direct relations with Pestalozzi. In 1808 
he went to Yverdun with three of his pupils, and there spent 
two years, taking part in the work of the institute, and 
becoming acquainted with the methods of the master. He 
declares that it was a " decisive " epoch in his life. 

Bat let us note, in passing, the difference in character 
between Pestalozzi and Froebel. While Pestalozzi is ever 


ready to accuse himself with a touching humility, Froebel 
regards himself as almost infallible. He never attributes 
failure to his own insufficiency, but lays the blame on destiny 
or on the ill-will of others. Pestalozzi is* ever forgetting 
himself, and he is so neglectful as to be uncouth in his attire. 
" He never knew how to dress," say his biographers ; " his 
distraction made him forget sometimes his cravat, and at 
others his garters." Froebel, on the contrary, affected an 
elegant and theatrical bearing. He studied effect. At cer- 
tain periods, as we are told, he wore Hessian boots and a 
Tyrolese cap with high plumes. 

527. The Treatise on Sphericity (1811). — It was 
about 1811 that the peculiar originality of Froebel manifested 
itself, and this was done, it must be confessed, in an unfortu- 
nate way, by the publication of his Treatise on SpJiericity. 

Pestalozzi somewhere wrote : "If my life is entitled to 
any credit, it is that of having placed the square at the basis 
of an intuitive instruction which has never yet been given to 
a people." 1 This language coming from Pestalozzi is cer- 
tainly calculated to surprise us ; but at least Pestalozzi 
meant square in the proper sense of the term, as a 
geometrical figure, or as a form for drawing. When Froe- 
bel speaks to us of the sphere, and makes of it the basis of 
education, it is a wholly different thing. 

In reading the Treatise on Sphericity, we are sometimes 
tempted to inquire whether we have to do with a well- 
balanced mind, or whether an exuberant imagination has not 
caused the author to lose the consciousness of reality. 

According to Froebel, the sphere is the ideal form : — 

" The sphere seems like the prototype or the unity of all 
bodies and of all forms. Not an angle, not a line, not a 

1 Comment Gertrude instrvit set en/ants, translated by Darin, p. 204. 


plane, not a surface, is shown in it, and jet it has all points 
and all surfaces." 

Let this pass ; but besides this, the sphere has mysterious 
relations with spiritual things ; it teaches the perfection of 
the moral life. 

"To labor conscientiously at the development of the 
spherical nature of a being, is to effect the education of a 
being. " 

An incident borrowed from the life of Frcebel will com- 
plete the picture. He enlisted as a volunteer in 1812, and 
made the campaigns of 1812-1813, with Langethal and Mid- 
den dor f, who were afterward to be his colleagues. After 
the war, he returned to Berlin, passing through the whole of 
Germany. During the whole journey, he says, " I was seek- 
ing something, but without reaching a definite idi*& of what 
I was in quest of, and nothing could satisfy me. Wholly 
engrossed in this thought, I entered one day into a very 
beautiful garden, ornamented with plants the most various. 
•I admired them, and yet none of them brought relief to my 
inmost feeling. 

" Passing them in review, at a glance, in my soul, I sud- 
denly discovered that among them there was no lily. . . . 
Then I kuew what was lacking in that garden, and what I 
was looking for. How could my inmost feeling have mani- 
fested itself to me in a more beautiful way? You seek, I 
said to myself, tranquil peace of heart, harmony of life, add 
purity of soul, in the image of the lily, that peaceful flower, 
simple and pure. The garden, with all its varied flowers, 
but without the blossoms of the lilv, was for me like life 
agitated and variegated, but without harmony and without 

528. New Studies. — Froebel returned to Berlin in 1814, 
and there obtained an assistant's place in the mineralogicol 



museum. He there studied at leisure the geometrical forms 
of crystals, and reflected anew on their symbolical meaning. 
Perhaps he derived from these studies the idea of the first 
gifts which he afterwards introduced into his Kindergartens. 
It was not till two years afterwards that he formed the defi- 
nite resolution to devote himself to the education of youth 
(1816). He first established himself at Griesheim, and then 
at Keilhau (a league's distance from Rudolstadt), where, 
with five pupils, all his nephews, he opened a school which 
he called by a pompous title, and one hardly justifiable at 
the beginning, the General German Institute of Education. 
He succeeded in associating with himself Langethal and 
Middendorf. The establishment was administered at first on 
a verj* modest scale, as the resources were slender ; but it 
prospered little by little, and in 1826 it numbered more than 
fifty pupils. 

529. Institute at Keilhau. — The principles of Pestalozzi 
were applied at Keilhau. Langethal and Middendorf 
passed their apprenticeship in the Pestalozzian method under 
the direction of Frcebel. The three professors met in the 
common hall, and there were frequently heard as echoes 
from their discussion the words : intuition, personal initia- 
tive, jrroceeding from the known to the unknown. " They are 
learning the system," said the children who heard them. 

At Keilhau, physical, intellectual, and moral education 
marched abreast. The master was to attempt to penetrate 
the individuality of each child, to the end that he might thence 
provoke the free development of that individuality. The 
government was austere and the fare frugal. The system 
of physical hardening was carried to an extreme. The 
pupils, winter and summer, wore a blouse and cotton trou- 
sers. A considerable time was devoted to religious excr- 


rises. Froebel always remained attached to the Lutheran 
Church, though his orthodox}* might have seemed open to 
suspicion, and he always thought that education ought to be 
essentially religious. 

44 All education that is not founded on religion is sterile." 
And he adds, "All education that is not founded on the 
Christian religion is defective and incomplete." 1 

530. The Education op Man. — It was at Keilhau in 
1826, that Froebel published his principal work, The Edu- 
cation of Man.* 

At that date, the idea of Kindergartens had not yet taken 
form in his mind ; and The Education of Man was not so 
much the exposition of the practical applications of Froebel's 
method, as a nebulous and tumid development of his meta- 
physical principles. It is a book little read, and, let it be 
confessed, partly illegible ! We have ventured to speak of 
the nonsense written bv Pestalozzi. What shall be said of 
the mystical dreams of Froebel ? The pedagogy of the Ger- 
mans, like their philosophy, has for a century often lost its 
way in strange theories which absolutely surpass the com- 
prehension of the French mind. From a mass of vague and 
pretentious speculations on universal nature, there are culled 
with difficult}* some ideas which are well founded. How- 
ever, let us try to gather up the obscure idea of Froebel, 
made still more obscure by the exterior form of the work. 
In the first edition Froebel had omitted to introduce into the 
text any division into chapters and paragraphs. The read- 
ing of this uninterrupted text could not fail to be laborious ; 
even with the somewhat artificial divisions which were subse- 

1 See the Aphorisms published by Froebel in 1821. 
9 See the French translation by Madame de Crombrugghe, Paris, 1881. 
Also, the English translation by Josephine Jarvis, New York, 1885. 



museum. He there studied at leisure the geometrical forms 
of crystals, aud reflected anew on their symbolical meaning. 
Perhaps he derived from these studies the idea of the first 
gifts which he afterwards introduced into his Kindergartens. 
It was not till two years afterwards that he formed the defi- 
nite resolution to devote himself to the education of youth 
(1816). He first established himself at Grieshcim, and then 
at Keilhau (a league's distance from Rudolstadt), where, 
with five pupils, all his nephews, he opened a school which 
he called by a pompous title, and one hardly justifiable at 
the beginning, the General German Institute of Education. 
He succeeded in associating with himself Langethal and 
Middendorf. The establishment was administered at first on 
a verj' modest scale, as the resources were slender ; but it 
prospered little by little, and in 1826 it numbered more than 
fifty pupils. 

529. Institute at Keilhau. — The principles of Pestalozzi 
were applied at Keilhau. Langethal and Middendorf 
passed their apprenticeship in the Pestalozzian method under 
the direction of Froebel. The three professors met in the 
common hall, and there were frequently heard as echoes 
from their discussion the words : intuition, personal initia- 
tive, proceeding from the known to the unknown. " They are 
learning the system," said the children who heard them. 

At Keilhau, physical, intellectual, and moral education 
marched abreast. The master was to attempt to penetrate 
the individuality of each child, to the end that he might thence 
provoke the free development of that individuality. The 
government was austere and the fare frugal. The system 
of physical hardening was carried to an extreme. The 
pupils, winter and summer, wore a blouse and cotton trou- 
sers. A considerable time was devoted to religions exer- 


rises. Froebel always remained attached to the Lutheran 
Church, though his orthodox}* might have seemed open to 
suspicion, and he always thought that education ought to be 
essentially religious. 

•• All education that is not founded on religion is sterile." 
And he adds, "All education that is not founded on the 
Christian religion is defective and incomplete." 1 

530. The Education op Man. — It was at Keilhau in 
1826, that Froebel published his principal work, The Edu- 
cation of Man.* 

At that date, the idea of Kindergartens had not yet taken 
form in his mind ; and The Education of Man was not so 
much the exposition of the practical applications of Froebel's 
method, as a nebulous and tumid development of his meta- 
physical principles. It is a book little read, and, let it be 
confessed, partly illegible ! We have ventured to speak of 
the nonsense written bv Pestalozzi. What shall be said of 
the mystical dreams of Froebel? The pedagogy of the Ger- 
mans, like their philosophy, has for a century often lost its 
way in strange theories which absolutely surpass the com- 
prehension of the French mind. From a mass of vague and 
pretentious speculations on universal nature, there are culled 
with difficulty some ideas which are well founded. How- 
ever, let us try to gather up the obscure idea of Froebel, 
made still more obscure by the exterior form of the work. 
In the first edition Froebel had omitted to introduce into the 
text any division into chapters and paragraphs. The read- 
ing of this uninterrupted text could not fail to be laborious ; 
even with the somewhat artificial divisions which were subse- 

m - — ■ ■ ■ — — ■ ^ ^ m^IM 

1 See the Aphorisms published by Froebel in 1821. 
3 See the French translation by Madame de Crombrugghe, Paris, 1881. 
Also, the English translation by Josephine Jarvis, New York, 1885. 



quently introduced, The Education of Man remains difficult 
to read and to analyze. 

531. Analysis op the Work. — The introduction is the 
most interesting part of the work. We might reduce the 
somewhat confused ideas which it contains to three essentia] 
points, to three general ideas, of philosophy, of psychology, 
and of pedagogy. 

The idea of general philosophy is this : " Everything comes 
solely from God. In God is the unique principle of all 

It is a vague pantheism which consists in believing that 
all the objects of nature are the direct manifestations of the 
divine activity. 

" The end, the destiny of each thing, is to publish abroad 
its being, the activity of God which operates in it, and the 
manner in which this activity is combined with the thing." 
From these premises Froebel is logically brought to this psy- 
chological statement, that everything is good in man, for it 
is God who acts in him. He pushes his optimism so far as 
to say : — 

"From his earliest age the child yields himself to justice 
and right with a surprising tact, for we rarely see him avoid- 
ing them voluntarily." 

The pedagogical conclusion is easy to guess : Education 
shall be essentially a work of liberty and of spontaneity. It 
ought to be indulgent, flexible, supple, and restricted to pro- 
tecting and overseeing. 

" The vocation of man, considered as a reasonable intelli- 
gence, is to let his nature act in manifesting the action of God, 
who operates in him ; to publish God outwardly, to acquire 
the knowledge of his real destiny, and to accomplish it in all 
liberty and spontaneity." 


These last two words are repeated ad nauseam. Froebel 
goes so far as to say that there can be no general form of 
education to impose or even to recommend, because account 
must be taken of the nature of each child, and the free 
development of his individuality provoked by inviting him 
to action and to personal exertion. The choice in the mani- 
festation of the exterior form of education ought to be left 
to the intelligence of the educator, and there ought to be 
almost as many ways of educating men as there are individ- 
uals, with their own natures aspiring to a personal develop- 

532. Love for Children. — Froebel, and this is perhaps 
his best quality, loves children tenderly. He speaks of 
them with touching accents, but be does not fail to mingle 
with his affection for them his habitual symbolism. The 
child is not for him simply the little real being that he has 
under his eyes. He sees him through mystic veils, so to 
speak, and, as it were, crowned with an aureole : — 

44 Let the child always appear to us as a living pledge of 
the presence, of the goodness, and of the love of God." 

533. Unity op Education. — Froebel is alwavs bitterlv 
complaining of the fragmentary and scrappy character of the 
ordinary education. His dream was to introduce unity into 
it. In this respect he separates himself squarely from Rous- 
seau. The different stages of life form an uninterrupted 
chain. " Let life be considered as being but one in all its 
phases, as forming one complete whole." 

534. Different Stages in the Development of Man. 
— Froebel, in The Education of Man, considers in succes- 
sion the different periods of life. The first three chapters 
treat of theirs* stages of development in man, — the nurseling, 
the child, the young boy. We here find pages full of charm, 


upon the education of the child by the mother, and upon the 
progress of the faculties ; but pretentious considerations 
and whimsical interpretations too often come to spoil the 
psychology of Frcebel. 

" The child," he says, u scarcely knows whether he loves 
the flowers for themselves, for the delight which they give 
him, ... or for the vague intuition which they give him of 
the Creator." 

Farther on he speaks of introducing the child to colors, 
and from this exercise he at once draws moral conclusions : 
the child loves colors because he comes by means of them 
" to the knowledge of an interior unity." 

535. The Naturalism op Frcebel. — The elements of 
education according to Frcebel are, with religion, the artis- 
tic studies, mathematics, language, and, above all, nature. 
" Teachers should scarcely let a week pass without taking to 
the country a part of their pupils. They shall not drive them 
before them like a flock of sheep. • . . They shall walk with 
them as a father among his children, or a brother among his 
brothers, in making them observe and admire the varied 
richness which nature displays to their eyes at each season 
of the year. 1 


536. New Experiments in Teaching. — The institute of 
Keilhau did not long prosper. In 1829 it was necessary to 
close it for lack of pupils. Froebel lacked the practical quali- 
ties of an administrator. In 1831 he tried in vain to open a 
new school at Wartensee in Switzerland. The attacks of the 
clerical party obliged him to abandon his project. After 
several other attempts he was elected director of an orphan 
asylum at Burgdorf ; and it was there that he resolved to 
devote his pedagogical efforts to the education of early 


The little village of Burgdorf had the honor, within a period 
of thirty-five years, of offering an asylum to Pestalozzi and 
to Frcebel, and of being the scene of their experiments in 

537. The Kindergartens. — The master conception of 
Frcebel, the creation of the Kindergarten, was only slowly 
developed in his mind. It was only in 1840 that he invented 
the term. Of course, given the imagination of Froebel, and 
his tendency to symbolism, children's garden ought to be 
taken in its allegorical sense. The child is a plant, the school 
a garden, and Froebel calls teachers " gardeners of chil- 
dren." l 

But before giving a name to his school for early childhood, 
Froebel had long cherished the idea of it. In 1835, at Burg- 
dorf, he attempted to realize it ; in 1837, at Blankenburg, 
near Rudolstadt, he founded his first infant school. 

538. Origin of the Kindergarten. — Without wishing to 
belittle the originality of Froebers creation, it is right to say 
that it was suggested to him in part by Comenius. The phil- 
osopher Krause had pointed out to him the importance of the 
writings of the Slavic educator. He studied them, and the 
Kindergarten certainly has some relations of parenthood with 
the schola materni gremii. There is, however, one essential 
difference between the idea of Comenius and that of Froebel, 
— the first confided to the mother the cares which the second 
relegates to the teachers of the children's gardens. 

It is said that it was from seeing a child playing at ball 
that Froebel conceived the first idea of his svstem. We know 

i Consequently it is wrong to take Froebers expression in the sense that 
he wished to establish by the side of each school a garden, a lawn planted 
with trees and adorned with flower-beds. See Greard, L'inatruction pri» 
maire a Paris, 1877, p. 73. 


what importance he attached to the spherical form and to 
play. The first principle of his Kindergarten was then that 
the child ought to play, and to play at hall. 

But Froebel enveloped the simplest ideas in prolix and 
whimsical theories. If he recommends the ball, it is not for 
positive reasons, nor because it is an inoffensive play, very 
appropriate to the need of movement which characterizes the 
child. It is because the ball is the symbol of unitv. The 
cube, which was to succeed the ball, represents diversity in 
unity. It is also because the word ball is a symbolic word, 
formed from letters borrowed from the German words BUd 
von all, picture of the ivhole. 

Froebel came to attribute an occult meaning to the differ- 
ent letters of words. He thought he found in the figures of 
the year 1836, the date of his first conception of the Kinder- 
garten, the proof that that year was to open to humanity a 
new era, and he expressed his views in an essay entitled : 
TJie Year 1836 requires a Renovation of Life. In this we 
read such things as these: "The word marriage (German 
Ehe) represents by its two vowels e-6, life; these two vowels 
are united by the consonant //, thus symbolizing a double 
life which the spirit unites ; again, the two halves thus united 
are similar and equal each to each : e-/<-e." And farther on : 
44 What does the word German (Deutsch) signify? It is de- 
rived from the word deuten (signifying to manifest), which 
designates the act by which self-conscious thought is clearly 
manifested outwardly. ... To be a German is then to raise 
one's self as an individual and as a whole, by a clear mani- 
festation of one's self, to a clear consciousness of self." 

539. The Gifts op Froebel. — Under the graceful 
name of gifts, Froebel presents to the child a certain number 
of objects which are to serve as material for his exercises. 


The five gifts are contained in a box from which they are 
taken in succession, as the children are in a condition to re- 
ceive them. In the original plan of Froehel, these gifts 
were: 1. the ball; 2. the sphere and the cube; 3. the cube 
divided into eight equal parts ; 4. the cube divided into eight 
rectangular parallelopipeds, in the form of building-bricks, 
which the child will use as material for little constructions ; 
5. the cube divided in each of its dimensions, that is, cut into 
twenty-seven equal cubes ; three of them are subdivided into 
two prisms, and three others into four prisms, by means of 
an oblique section, single or double. 1 And to these gifts 
Frcebel added other objects, such as thin strips of wood and 
little sticks for constructing figures ; and bits of paper for 
braiding, folding, dotting, etc. 

The conception of Froebel does not rest, as one might 
think, on the adaptation of the objects which he chooses in 
succession, to the faculties of the child. It is not this at all 
which interests him. The order which he has adopted is 
derived from another principle. According to him, the form 
of bodies has an intimate relation with the general laws of 
the universe. There is, consequently, a methodical grada- 
tion to be observed, according to the intrinsic character of 
the objects themselves, for the purpose of initiating the child 
into the laws of the divine thought symbolized in the sphere, 
in the cube, in the cylinder, etc. Froebel was greatly irritated 
at those of his scholars who misunderstood the philosophical 

mport of his "gifts," and who saw in them only plays. 

■• If my material for instruction possesses some utility," he 
said, " it does not owe it to its exterior appearance, which 
has nothing striking and offers no novelty. It owes it sim- 

1 The disciples of Frcebel have modified in different manners his system 
of gifts. See, for example, the Jardin d'etifants, by Goldammer, French 
translation by Louis Foamier, 1877. 


ply to the way in which I use it, that is, to my method 
and to the philosophical law on which it is founded. The 
justification of my system of education is entirely in this law; 
according as this law is rejected or admitted, the system falls 
or continues with it. All the rest is but material without any 
value of its own." 

It is this " material," however, which for Frcebel had no 
value, that his admirers have above all preserved of his 
method, without longer caring for the allegorical sense which 
he attached to it. 

540. Appeal to the Instincts op the Child. — That 
which makes, notwithstanding so much that is whimsical, the 
lasting merit of Frcebers work, that which justifies in part 
the admiration which it has excited, is that he organized the 
salle d'asile, the infant school, and that he realized for it 
that which Pestalozzi had attempted for the elementary 
school. He knew how to make an appeal to the instincts of 
the youngest child, to combine a system of exercises for the 
training of the hand, for the education of the senses, to 
satisfy the need of movement and activity which develops 
itself from the first day of life, and, finally, to make of the 
child a creator, a little artist always at work. 

For the old education, which he calls " a hot-house educa- 
tion," and in which the instruction, premature through lan- 
guage, smothers in their germs the native powers of the 
child, in order to excite his memory and his judgment by 
artificial means, — for this education he substitutes a free and 
cheerful education which cultivates the faculties of the child 
by love, and which makes a just estimate of his instincts. 
Books are suppressed, and lessons also. The child freely 
expands in play. 

541. The Importance of Play. — With Froebel, play be- 
came an essential element of education. This ingenious 


teacher knew how to make of it an art, an instrument for the 
development of the infant faculties. 

44 The plays of the child," he said, " are, as it were, the 
germ of the whole life which is to follow, for the whole man 
develops and manifests itself in it; in it he reveals his 
noblest aptitudes and the deepest elements of his being. 
The whole life of man has its source in that epoch of exis- 
tence, and whether that life is serene or sad, tranquil or 
agitated, fruitful or sterile, whether it brings peace or war, 
that depends on the care, more or less judicious, given to the 
beginnings of existence." 

542. Principal Needs op the Child. — Gr6ard, in a re- 
markable study on the method of Froebel, reduces the aspira- 
tions of the child to three essential instincts : — 

1. T he taste f or observation : — 

44 All the senseTot tne crura are on the alert; all the ob- 
jects which his sight or his hand encounters attract him, 
interest him, delight him." 

2. The need of activity, the taste for construction : — 

44 Itlsnot enough that we show him objects ; it is neces- 
sary that he touch them, that he handle them, that he appro- 
priate them to himself. • • . He takes delight in construct- 
ing ; he is naturally geometrician and artist." 

8. Finally, the sentiment of personality : — 

44 He Wishes to have his own place, his own occupation, 
his own teacher." 

Now Frcebers method has precisely for its object the 
satisfaction of these different instincts. 

44 To place the child before a common table," sajs Gr6ard, 
44 but with his own chair and a place that belongs to him, so 
that he feels that he is the owner of his little domain ; to 
excite at the very beginning his good will by the promise of 



an interesting game ; to develop in succession under his 
very eyes the marvels of the five gifts : to teach him in the 
first place, from concrete objects exposed to his sight, balls 
of colored worsted and geometrical solids, to distinguish 
color, form, material, the different parts of a body, so as to 
accustom him to see, that is, to seize the aspects, the figures, 
the resemblances, the differences, the relations of things ; 
then to place the objects in his hands, and to teach him to 
make with the balls of colored worsted combinations of col- 
ors agreeable to the eye, to arrange, with matches united 
by balls of cork, squares, angles, triangles of all sorts, to 
set up little cubes in the form of crosses, pyramids, etc. ; — 
then, either by means of strips of colored paper placed in 
different directions, interlaced into one another, braided as a 
weaver would make a fabric, or with the crayon, to drill him 
in reproducing, in creating, designs representing all the 
geometrical forms, so that to the habit of observation is 
gradually joined that of invention ; finally, while his hand 
is busy in concert with his intelligence, and while his need of 
activity is satisfied, to take advantage of this awakened and 
satisfied attention to fix in his mind by appropriate questions 
some notions of the properties and uses of forms, by relating 
them to some great principle of general order, simple and 
fruitful, to mingle the practical lesson with moral observa- 
tions, drawn in particular from the incidents of the school 
— this, in its natural progress and its normal development, is 
the method of Frcebel." 

543. Defects in Fiuebel's Method. — .There is ground 
for thinking, notwithstanding all, that Fraebel's method is a 
little complicated, a little artificial, and that it sometimes 
proceeds in opposition to the natural disposition of children. 
Their soul, he said, cannot in the first period of its develop- 


ment, recognize itself, apprehend itself, save in the percep- 
tion of the simplest forms of the exterior world, presented in 
a concrete manner. Now nature of herself does not offer 
these elementary forms ; it is necessary to know how to ex- 
tract them from the intinite diversity of things. And Froe- 
bel found these simple forms in the sphere, the cube, and the 

But these forms, we reply, are but abstractions ; it does 
not suffice to say that the cube and the sphere are material 
and palpable, — they are none the less the product of ab- 
stract thought on this account ; nature does not present these 
simple geometrical forms ; everything in them is complex. 
Now the nascent thought is employed at first on real things, 
on the living and irregular forms of animals and vegetables ; 
then in this case, the mind proceeds naturally from the com- 
plex to the simple, from the concrete to the abstract. It 
seems, on the contrary, that Froebel begins with the abstract 
in order to arrive at the concrete. 

In the school of Froebel other defects have been developed. 
An abuse has been made of the exercises in imitation and 
invention. The child has been made to produce marvels of 
construction which take too much of his time and demand of 
him too much effort. It has been forgotten that these em- 
plo3*ments should be preparatory exercises, — means, and 
not the end of education. 

544. The Last Establishments op Frcebel. — Towards 
1840, the ideas of Froebel began to become popular. His 
methods attracted attention. Then he wished to transform 
his school at Blankenburg into a model establishment. He 
addressed an appeal to the German nation in favor of his 
work, but it was only slightly successful. Obliged in 1844 
to close his institute, through lack of resources, he then 



travelled through Germany in order to make known his 
methods. He did not derive from his journey the profit that 
he expected from it, and, discouraged, he returned once 
more to Keilhau, where he opened a course in method, or a 
normal course, for the use of young women who were pre- 
paring themselves for the education of infants. This asso- 
ciation with women, in which Froebel lived till his death, 
exercised a profound influence on the development of his 
system. A much greater share of attention was given to the 
practical exercises, and the mathematics was put in the back- 

In 1850 he obtained through the intervention of the Bar- 
oness von Marenholtz, one of his most ardent admirers, the 
lease of the Castle of Marie n thai, and to this he transferred 
his establishment. A long period of activity seemed open- 
ing before him. He personally directed the games of the 
children, and trained the teachers ; but he died suddenly 
in 1852. 

545. Froebel and Diesterweg. — However, before his 
death, Froebel was able to witness the growing success of 
his work. Each day he received eminent adhesions ; for ex- 
ample, that of Diesterweg. 1 It was through the mediation 
of the Baroness von Marenholtz that Froebel and Diesterweg, 
the celebrated director of the normal school of Berlin, be- 
came acquainted. Diesterweg was a strong and practical 
spirit, who contributed much to the development of instruction 
in Prussia. At first he had a contempt for Froebel, whom 
he treated as a charlatan ; but on his first conversation with 
him he changed his opinion. He was taken to the school- 
room in which Froebel was teaching ; but wholly intent on 

i See on Diesterweg the article by Pecaut, iu the Dictionnaire de 



his work, Froebel did not observe the presence of the visitor. 
Diesterweg was impressed by seeing this old man devoting 
himself entirely to his Utile pupils, and his prejudices disap- 
peared. To a certain extent he became the propagator of 
Froebel' s ideas. He agreed with him on his general concep- 
tion of the needs of the child, and of the province of woman 
as the earliest educator. 

546. Success op Frcebel's Work. — Froebel had other imi- 
tators. Like Pestalozzi, he inspired a large number of minds 
by his writings, and through the zeal of Madame von Maren- 
holtz, and of some other disciples, his practical work pros- 
pered. The Kindergartens have been multiplied in many 
places, and particularly in Austria. 

547. The Pere Girard (1765-1850). — The Pere Girard 
is the most eminent educator of modern Switzerland. Less 
celebrated than Pestalozzi and Froebel, he yet has this advan- 
tage over them, of having been better prepared for his pro- 
fession as an educator. After having finished a thorough 
and complete course of classical study, he for a long time 
taught the same subjects in the same school. He acquired 
experience and wrote his treatises only in an advanced age, 
at a time when he was in complete possession of his ideas. 
He was in fact seventy-nine years old when he published 
his book On the Systematic Teaching of the Mother Tongue. 
It is a work of mature thought, and sums up a whole life- 
time of labor. Less addicted to system than Froebel and 
Pestalozzi, the Pfcre Girard still carries mere system too 
far, and makes a misuse of the principle which consisted in 
making of all the parts of instruction the elements of moral 

548. Life op the Pere Girard. — Girard was born in 
Friburg in 1765. His pedagogic instinct manifested itself 



at an early hour. While still very young he aided his mother 
in instructing his fourteen brothers and sisters. Like Froebel, 
he was passionately fond of religious questions. One day as 
he had heard his preceptor say that there was no salvation 
outside of the Roman Church, he sought his mother in tears, 
and asked her if the Protestant tradesman who brought her 
. fruit each day would be damned. His mother reassured 
him, and he always remained faithful to what he called " the 
theology of his mother," — a tolerant and broad theology 
which brought on him the hatred of the Jesuits. 

At the age of sixteen he entered the order of the Gray 
Friars, and completed his novitiate at Lucerne. He then 
taught in several convents, in particular at Wurtzburg, where 
he remained four years (1785-1788). He returned to Fri- 
burg in 1789, and for ten years he devoted himself almost 
exclusively to his ecclesiastical functions. 

But his vocation as an educator was even then indicated 
by some things that he had written. 

In 1798, under the influence of the ideas of Kant, whose 
philosophical doctrine he had ardently studied, he published 
a Scheme of Education for all Helvetia, addressed tp the 
Swiss minister Stapfer, who was also the patron of Pesta- 

It was only in 1804, that Girard devoted himself entirely 
to teaching, the very year in which Froebel began his work. 
He was appointed to direct the primary school at Friburg, 
which had just been entrusted to the Gray Friars. Girard 
received the title of " prefect of studies," and for nineteen 
years, from 1805 to 1823, he exercised his functions "as a 
teacher in that school. Very small in the beginning, the 
school had a remarkable growth. There was added to it 
even a school for girls. At first Girard had Gray Friars for 
colleagues; but he soon replaced them with lay teachers, 



who obeyed him better and devoted themselves more entirely 
to their task. The teacher of drawing was a Protestant. 

549. Success op the School at Friburg. — A disciple 
and an admirer of Girard, the pastor Naville, has related in 
his work on Public Education 1 the brilliant results obtained 
by Girard in his school at Friburg. 

•"He had trained a body of youth the like of which 
perhaps no city in the world could furnish. It was 
not without a profound emotion that the friends of hu- 
manity contemplated a spectacle so uew and so touching. 
That ignorant and boorish class, full of prejudices, which 
everywhere abounds, was no longer met with at Friburg. . . . 
The young there developed graces of an amiable deportment 
which were never marred by anything disagreeable in tone, 
speech, or manner. If, seeing children approaching you 
covered with rags, you approached them thinking that you 
were about to encounter little ruffians, you were wholly sur- 
prised to have them reply to you with politeness, with judg- 
ment, and with that accent which bespeaks genteel manners 
and a careful education. . . . You will find the explanation 
in the school, when you observe the groups where these same 
children exercise by turns, as in playing, their judgment and 
their conscience. Three or four hours a day emplojed in 
this work gave the young that intelligence, those sentiments, 
and those manners which delighted you." 

550. The Last Years op the Pere Girard. — Notwith- 
standing the success of his instruction, the Pere Girard was 
obliged to abandon the charge of his school in 1823. His 
loss of position was the result of the intrigues of the Jes- 

*D« Mducatton publique. Paris, 1833, p. 158. Naville (1784-1846) 
founded in 1817, at Vernier, near Geneva, an institute where he applied 
with success the educative method of the Pere Girard. 



uits, whose college had been re-established in 1818. He left 
Friburg amid universal regrets, and retired to Lucerne, where 
he taught philosophj* till 1834. At that date he returned to 
his native city and lived a life of seclusion. It was then 
that he wrote his pedagogical works. But through his disci- 
ples, and particularly through the pastor Naville, the methods 
of the Pere Girard were known before he had published any- 

551. Teaching of the Mother Tongue. — Let us now 
examine the general spirit of the pedagogy of Girard. It is 
in the theoretical work which he published in 1844, and 
which was crowned by the French Academy in the same year, 
that we must look for the principles of his method. It con- 
sisted in " choosing a study which may be considered as one 
essential part of the instruction common to all the classes of 
society, and which nevertheless is fit for calling into exercise 
all the intellectual powers." This study was the mother 
tongue, which Girard employed for the moral and religious 
development of children. 

Villemain, in his report on the books of Girard, has clear- 
ly defined the purpose of the common school as conceived by 
the educator of Friburg : — 

44 Where the period of instruction is necessarily short and 
its object limited, a wise choice of method is the thing of 
first importance, for upon this choice will depend the educa- 
tion itself. If that method is purely technical, if its exclu- 
sive object is reading, writing, and the rules of grammar and 
computation, the child of the common people will be poorly 
instructed and will not be educated at all. A difficult task 
burdens his memory without developing his soul. A new 
process is placed at his disposal, one workshop more is open 
to him, so to speak ; but the trace left by that instruction 


will not be deep, will sometimes even be lost through lack of 
application and exercise, and will not have acted on the 
moral nature, too often absorbed eventually by a monotonous 
devotion to duty or the excessive fatigue of bodily labor. 
The only, the real people's school, is then that in which all 
the elements of study serve for the culture of the soul, and 
in which the child grows better by the things which he learns 
and by the manner in which he learns them." 

552. Analysis of this Work. — The book of Girard is 
divided into four parts. The first contains general considera- 
tions on the manner in which the mother teaches her children 
to speak, upon the purpose of a course of instruction on the 
mother tongue, and on the elements which should compose it. 

The second part is entitled : The Systematic Teaching of 
the Mother Tongue considered solely as the Expression of 
Tliought. It is language considered in itself ; but Girard 
desires that the word should always be united to the thought. 
It is not necessary that the teaching of grammar should be 
reduced to verbal instruction ; it should also serve to develop 
the thought of pupils. 

In the third part, the Systematic Teaching of the Mother 
Tongue considered as the Means of Intellectual Culture, Girard 
considers everything which can contribute to the development 
of the faculties. 

In the fourth part, the Systematic Teaching of Language 
employed for the Culture of the Heart, Girard shows how the 
teaching of language may assist in moral education. 

A fifth part, Use of the Course in the Mother Tongue, is, 
so to speak, the material part of the book, and, as it were, 
the outline of the great practical work of Girard, the Edu- 
cative l Course in the Mother Tongue. 

i I am aware that this term is not found in the latest Webster, but I see 
no other way of expressing the force of the word tducattf, which seems to 
signify the disciplinary, or rather the culture, value of a study. (P.) 


553. The Grammarian, the Logician, the Educator, 
— In other terms, Girard places himself in succession at 
four different points of view in the teaching of language : — 

" Four persons," he says, 4t ought to concur in construct- 
ing the course in the mother tongue : the grammarian, the 
logician, the educator, and, finally, the man of letters/* 

The task of the grammarian is to furnish the material of 
the language and its proper forms. 

The logician will teach us what must be done in order to 
cultivate the intelligence of the young. 

The educator will ever be inspired by this grand truth : 
" Man acts as he loves, and he loves as he thinks." He will 
try to grave in the souls of children all the beautiful and 
grand truths which can awaken and nourish pure and noble 

Finally, the man of letters has also his part in the course 
in language, in the sense that pupils, besides being required 
from the beginning of their studies to invent propositions 
and sentences, will have a little later to compose narratives, 
letters, dialogues, etc. 

554. The Grammar op Ideas. — Elementary instruction 
should have for its purpose the development of the mind 
and the judgment. It is no longer a question of cultivating 
the memory alone and of causing words to be learned. The 
Pere Girard would have grammar made an exercise in 

"The grammars in use," he says, u are intended simply 
to teach correctness in speaking and writing. By their aid 
we are able finally to avoid a certain number of faults in 
style and orthography. . . . This instruction becomes a 
pure affair of memory, and the child becomes accustomed 
to pronounce sounds to which he attaches no meaning. The 


child needs a grammar of ideas. . . . Our grammars of 
words are the plague of education." 

In other terms, grammar should be made above all else an 
exercise in thinking, and, as it were, 4i the logic of childhood." 

555. Discreet Use op Rules. — The Pere Girard does 
not proscribe rules. The teaching of language cannot do 
without them ; 4fc but there is," he says, " a proper manner 
of presenting them to children, and a just medium to hold." 

In the teaching of grammar we must follow the course 
which the grammarians themselves have followed in order to 
construct their science: " The rules were established on 
facts. It is then to facts that they must be referred in 
instruction, in order that by this means children may be 
taught to do intelligently what they have hitherto done 
through blind imitation. . . . Few rules, many exercises. 
Rules are always abstract, dry, and for this very reason 
poorly adapted to please children, even when they can com- 
prehend them. We ought, then, in general, to make a very 
sparing use of them." 

So the Pere Girard particularly recommends practical 
exercises, oral instruction, the continual use of the black- 
board, the active and animated co-operation of all the mem- 
bers of the class, rapid interrogation, the Socratic method, 
the abuse of which, however, he criticises. 1 

556. Moral Arithmetic. 8 — The Pere Girard, like almost 
all the men who have conceived an original idea, has fallen 

1 See Chap. III. of Book III. paragraph 1st. Just medium between two 
txtr ernes. 

* Here is an example from Pere Girard's arithmetic: — 
" A father had the habit of going every evening to the dram-shop, and 
often left his family at home without bread. During the five years that 
be led this life, he spent, the first year, 197 francs, the second, 204 francs, 



into the love of systematizing. He believed that not only 
language, but all the branches of study might contribute to 
moral education. 

" He conceived," says Naville, " that by means of a 
selection of problems adapted to the development of the 
social affections in the family, the commune, and the State, 
one might give to arithmetic such a wholesome direction that 
it might be made to contribute, not only to making the child 
prudent and economical, but even more to extend his views 
beyond the narrow circle of selfishness, and to cultivate in 
him beneficent dispositions." * 

557. Moral Geography. — It is in the same spirit that 
he claimed to find in the study of geography a means of 
contributing to the development of the moral nature. 

"According to my honest conviction, every elementary 
work for children ought to be a means of education. If it 
is limited to giving knowledge, if it is limited to developing 
the faculties of the pupil, I can approve the order and the 
life which the author has known how to put into his work ; 
but I am not satisfied with it. I am even offended to find 
only a teacher of language, of natural history, of geography, 
etc., when I expected something much greater, — an instructor 
of the young, training the mind in order to train the heart. 
. . . Geography lends itself as marvellously to this sublime 
purpose, although in a sphere a little narrower." 2 

558. Educative Course in the Mother Tongue. — 
Girard is not content to state his doctrine in his book On the 

the third, 212 francs, and the fourth, 129 francs. How many francs would 
this unfortunate father have saved if he had not had a taste for drink ? " (P.) 

1 Naville, De V Education publique, p. 411. 

* Explication du plan de Fribourg en Suisse, 1817. 



Systematic Teaching of the Mother Tongue ; but in the four 
volumes of his Educative Course (1844-1846) he has applied 
his method. Full of new and radical views, original in the 
arrangement of material as in its system of exposition, 
revolutionary even in its grammatical terminology, this book 
is a mine from which we may borrow without stint, only 
we shall not advise wholesale adoption : there is matter to 
take and to leave. 1 

559. Analysis of this Work. — The title indicates the 
general character of the work. In his Cours idticatif, Girard 
does not separate education from instruction. The purpose 
is to develop the moral and religious sentiments of the child, 
no less than to teach him his native language. 

The first lessons in grammar ought to be lessons in things. 
The child is made to name the objects which he knows, — per- 
sons, animals, things, — and through these he is made to ac- 
quire notions of nouns, common and proper, of gender and 
number. He is then induced to find for himself the physical, 
intellectual, and moral qualities of objects, and by this means 
is made familiar with qualifying adjectives. Care is taken, 
moreover, while causing each qualit}' to be named, as farther 
on while causing each judgment to be expressed, to ask the 
child, " Is this right? Is this wrong?" 

The agreement of adjective with noun is learned by prac- 
tice. The child is drilled in applying adjectives to the nouns 
which he has found, and vice versa. 

Once in possession of the essential elements of the propo- 
sition, the child begins the study of the proposition itself, 
and finally the study of the verb. Girard makes it a princi- 
ple always to have the conjugations made by means of propo- 

1 See the interesting articles of Lafargue in the Bulletin ptdagogique 
de I'enseignement aecondaire, 1882. 


sitioDB. At first, however, he employs in simple propositions 
only the indicative, the infinitive, the imperative, and the 
participle ; he postpones till later the study of the conditional 
and the subjunctive. It is to be noted, in addition, that he 
brings forward simultaneously the simple tenses of all the 

The order followed by Girard is wholly different from that 
of the ordinary grammars. This is how he explains it : — 

" In their first part, the grammars set out in a row the nine 
sorts of words, and thus give in rapid succession their defini- 
tions, distinctions, and variable forms, which introduces a 
legion of terms wholly unknown to the child. The second 
part of these grammars takes up these words again in the 
same order, so as, in an uninteresting way, to regulate 
their use in construction, — a tedious and arid system, which 
affords the child no interest." 

Elsewhere, speaking of his own work, he writes : — 

" My work differs essentially from the grammars which 
are put in the hands of children. When we write on lan- 
guage for adults, we may adhere to definitions, distinctions, 
rules, and exceptions, and formulate statements regarding 
their proper use ; but he who writes for children ought to 
have the education of the mind and heart in view, and regu- 
late on that basis the course and form of instruction. The 
course ought to be rigorously progressive, and the pupils 
ought, from beginning to end, to assist themselves in con- 
structing a grammar of their own." 

" So, instead of making generalizations on the noun, 
adjective, verb, etc., and of connecting with these parts of 
speech all that relates to them, we must apply ourselves to 
the substance of language, passing step by step from the 
simple to the complex, and teaching children to think, in 
order to teach them to comprehend and to speak the language 



of man. The little details cannot appear till later, and aa 
occasion requires. From this there necessarily results a 
.displacement of grammatical material which has been indus- 
triously collected and arranged. Hence, also, a great parsi- 
mony in definitions and abstract distinctions which repel 

560. Educational Influence of the Pere Girard. — 
The influence of the P&re Girard was not extended simply to 
Switzerland. It has radiated abroad. His ideas have been 
disseminated in Italy, propagated by the Abb£ Lambruschini 
and by Enrico Mayer. A journal even has been founded to 
serve as the organ of the " Girardists " of the Peninsula. 
In France, Michel, in the Journal de V Education pratique, 
and Rapet in different works, 1 have commended to public 
attention the methods of the Swiss educator. Finally, it 
may be remarked that the principles very recently set forth 
by the Conseil supMeure de V instruction publique (1880), 
on the teaching of French in the elementary classes of the 
lyc£es, are in great part the echo of the pedagogical doctrine 
of the P&re Girard. 

[561. Analytical Summary. — 1. In this study we have the 
third exposition, in historical order, — Rousseau, Pestalozzi, 
Froebel, — of the doctrine of nature as applied to education. 
This doctrine may be summarized as follows : — 

The existing order of things is conceived as an animated 
organism, and is personified under the term Nature. All 
living things, such as plants, animals, and men, are products 
of the creative power that is immanent in nature, and each 
is predetermined to an upward development in the line of 

* Monsieurs Rapet and Michel were associated in the publication of the 
Cours 4ducatifde la tongue maternelle. 



sitioDB. At first, however, he employs in simple propositions 
only the indicative, the infinitive, the imperative, and the 
participle ; he postpones till later the study of the conditional 
and the subjunctive. It is to be noted, in addition, that he 
brings forward simultaneously the simple tenses of all the 

The order followed by Girard is wholly different from that 
of the ordinary grammars. This is how he explains it : — 

44 In their first part, the grammars set out in a row the nine 
sorts of words, and thus give in rapid succession their defini- 
tions, distinctions, and variable forms, which introduces a 
legion of terms wholly unknown to the child. The second 
part of these grammars takes up these words again in the 
same order, so as, in an uninteresting way, to regulate 
their use in construction, — a tedious and arid S3*stem, which 
affords the child no interest." 

Elsewhere, speaking of his own work, he writes : — 

44 My work differs essentially from the grammars which 
are put in the hands of children. When we write on lan- 
guage for adults, we may adhere to definitions, distinctions, 
rules, and exceptions, and formulate statements regarding 
their proper use ; but he who writes for children ought to 
have the education of the mind and heart in view, and regu- 
late on that basis the course and form of instruction. The 
course ought to be rigorously progressive, and the pupils 
ought, from beginning to end, to assist themselves in con- 
structing a grammar of their own." 

44 So, instead of making generalizations on the noun, 
adjective, verb, etc., and of connecting with these parts of 
speech all that relates to them, we must apply ourselves to 
the substance of language, passing step by step from the 
simple to the complex, and teaching children to think, in 
order to teach them to comprehend and to speak the language 



of man. The little details cannot appear till later, and aa 
occasion requires. From this there necessarily results a 
.displacement of grammatical material which has been indus- 
triously collected and arranged. Hence, also, a great parsi- 
mony in definitions and abstract distinctions which repel 

560. Educational Influence op the Pere Girard. — 
The influence of the Pere Girard was not extended simply to 
Switzerland. It has radiated abroad. His ideas have been 
disseminated in Italy, propagated by the Abbe* Lambruschini 
and by Enrico Mayer. A journal even has been founded to 
serve as the organ of the " Girardists" of the Peninsula. 
In France, Michel, in the Journal de V Education pratique, 
and Rapet in different works, 1 have commended to public 
attention the methods of the Swiss educator. Finally, it 
may be remarked that the principles very recently set forth 
by the Conseil mpfoieure de Vinstruction publique (1880), 
on the teaching of French in the elementary classes of the 
lyce*es, are in great part the echo of the pedagogical doctrine 
of the Pere Girard. 

[561 . Analytical Summary. — 1. In this study we have the 
third exposition, in historical order, — Rousseau, Pestalozzi, 
Froebel, — of the doctrine of nature as applied to education. 
This doctrine may be summarized as follows : — 

The existing order of things is conceived as an animated 
organism, and is personified under the term Nature. All 
living things, such as plants, animals, and men, are products 
of the creative power that is immanent in nature, and each 
is predetermined to an upward development in the line of 

1 Monsieurs Rapet and Michel were associated in the publication of the 
Court 4ducatifde to tongue maternelle. 


growth. This growth is an unfolding from within outward, 
and each individual thing, as a child, has reached the 
term of its development when it has grown into the type of 
its kind. In the case of tiie human species, this growth is 
best when it is natural, and it is natural to the degree in 
which it takes place without the deliberate intervention of 
art. This process of development is Nature's work, and its 
synonym is education. Education is best when it is most 
natural, that is, when it suffers least from human interfer- 
ence. The question of the relative parts to be played by 
Nature and by Art in education has given rise to two schools 
of educators. 

2. In Froebel's application of this doctrine, the original 
conception is obscured by three circumstances : 1 . his deism ; 
2. his mysticism or symbolism ; 3. his dependence on artifi- 
cial agents, his " gifts," and his belief in the potency of 

3. The Kindergarten has introduced many ameliorations 
into primary instruction, and its tendency is to make child- 
life happy through self-activity. Its shortcomings are that 
it undervalues the acquisition of second-hand knowledge, 
obscures the distinction between work and play, and indis- 
poses, and perhaps unfits, the pupil to contend with real 
difficulties. 1 

4. The effect of this new movement in primary instruction 
upon educational science has been wholesome. It has induced 
a closer study of child nature, has enlisted the sympathies 

1 " Man owes his growth, his energy, chiefly to that striving of the will, 
that conflict with difficulty, which we call effort. Easy, pleasant work 
does not make robust minds, does not give men a consciousness of their 
powers, does not train them to endurance, to perseverance, to steady force 
of will, that force without which all other acquisitions avail nothing." 
Dr. Channing. 




and affections in support of elementary instruction, and has 
profoundly modified the conception of the primary school. 

5. Whether the Kindergarten is to be maintained apart, 
as an institution sui geveris, or whether it is to lose its iden- 
tity by the absorption of its spirit into the primary school, is 
a question for the future. Probably the latter result will 

6. The misuse of a good thought is seen in the attempt of 
the Pere Girard to give a distinct moral value to every school 
exercise. It is the verdict of experience that the moral 
value of science is greatest when it is taught simply as science, 
and that the direct teaching of ethics should be conducted 
on an independent basis. "] 



women a8 educators; madame de genl18 (1746-1830); pedagogical 
works; encyclopedic education; imitation of rousseau ; 
miss edge worth (1787-1849); miss hamilton (1758-1816); madame 
campan (1752-1822); commendation of home education; prog- 
ress in instruction j interest in popular education j 
madame de remubat (1780-1821); outline of feminine psy- 
chology ; the serious in education ; philosophical spirit ; 
madame guizot (1773-1827); letters on education; psychological 
optimism ; nature of the child ; philosophical rationalism j 
madame necker de sau8sure (1765-1841) ; madame necker de 
saussure and madame de stakl j progressive education and 
rousseau; originality of madame necker de saussure; divis- 
ion of progressive education j development of the facul- 
ties ; culture of the imagination ; education of women j 
madame pape-carpentier (1815-1878) ; general character of 
her works ; principal works of madame pape-carpentier j 
object lessons j other women who were educators j du- 
panloup and the education of women ; analytical sum- 

562. Women as Educators. — One of the characteristic 
features of the pedagogy of the nineteenth century is the 
constant progress in the education of women. Woman will 
be better instructed, and at the same time she will play a 
more important part in instruction. Primary schools for girls 
did not exist, so to speak, in France, at the commencement 
of this century. Fourcroy, who reported the bill of May 1, 
1802, declared that "the law makes no mention of girls." 
But through the efforts of the monarchy of July, and stili 


more of the liberal laws of the second and of the third Repub- 
lic, the primary instruction of girls will become more and 
more general. Secondary public instruction will be * created 
for women by the law of December 20, 1880, and the equality 
of the two sexes, in respect of education, will tend more and 
more to become a reality, through the influence of govern- 
mental action as well as that of private initiative. 

But not less remarkable is the important part which women, 
by their abstract reflections or by their practical efforts, have 
taken in the progress of pedagogy. In the history of educa- 
tion, the nineteenth century will be noted for the great num- 
ber of its women who were educators, some who were real 
philosophers and distinguished writers, and others, zealous 
and enthusiastic teachers. 

563. Madame de Genlis (1746-1830). — While she does 
not belong to the nineteenth century by her pedagogical 
writings, Madame de Genlis has certain rights to a foremost 
place in the list of the educational women of our time. She 
had in the highest degree the pedagogic vocation ; only, that 
vocation became a mania and was squandered on everything. 
Madame de Genlis wished to know everything in order that 
she might teach everything. " She was more than a woman 
author," says Sainte-Beuve, wittily; " she was a woman 
teacher; she was born with the sign on her forehead." 

Young girls of their own accord play mamma with their 
dolls. From the age of seven, Madame de Genlis played 

" I had a taste for teaching children, and I became school- 
mistress in a curious way. . . . Little boys from the village 
came under the window of my parents' country-seat to play. 
I amused myself in watching them, and I soon took it into 
my head to give them lessons." 


Twenty years later, the village teacher became the gov- 
erness of the daughters of the Duchesse de Chart res, and the 
governor of the sons of the Duke de Chartres (Philippe- 
£galit6) . 

564. Pedagogical Works. — The principal work of 
Madame de Genlis, Letters on Education (1782), treats of 
the education of princes and also of " that of young persons 
and of men." In giving it that other title, Addle and Theo- 
dore, the author indicated her intention of rivaling Rousseau, 
and of educating a man and a woman more perfect than 
iSinile and Sophie. 

Although she had a profoundly aristocratic nature, Madame 
de Genlis, after the revolution of 1789, seemed for an instant 
to follow the liberal current which was sweeping minds along. 
It was then that she published the Counsels on the Education 
of the Dauphin^ and some parts of her educational journal, 
entitled Lessons of a Governess. She never ceased to preach 
love of the people to sovereigns, and in justice this must be 
said to her credit, that she did not write merely for courtly 
people. She protests, and with spirit, " that she is the first 
author who has concerned herself with the education of the 
people. This glory," she adds, " is dear to my heart." In 
support of these assertions, Madame de Genlis cites the 
fourth volume of her ThSdtre d'tducation, which is, she says, 
u solely intended for the children of tradesmen and artisans ; 
domestics and peasants will there see a detailed account of 
their obligations and their duties." 

565. Encyclopaedic Education. — It has been said with 
reason that Madame de Genlis was the personification of 
encycloptedic instruction. 1 

l Grdard, Mtmoire sur Venseignement secondaire des fillet t p. 78. 

rf*. !■-;■ i - -^mfc 


•• Her programme of instruction had no limits. She favors 
Latin, without, however, thinking the knowledge of it indis- 
pensable. She gives a large place to the living languages. 
At Saint Leu, her pupils garden in German, dine in English, 
and sup in Italian. At the same time she invents gymnastic 
apparatus, — pulleys, baskets, wooden beds, lead shoes. 
Nothing takes her at unawares, her over-facile pen stops at 
nothing; she is universal. A plan for a rural school for 
children in the country is wanted, and she furnishes it." 

566. Imitation op Rousseau. — Madame de Genlis never 
ceased to criticise Rousseau, and yet, in her educational 
romances, the inspiration of Rousseau is everywhere present. 
How can we fail to recognize a pupil of Rousseau in the 
father of Adele and Theodore, who leaves Paris in order to 
devote himself entirely to the education of his children, to 
make himself " their governor and their friend, and finally, 
to screen the infancy of his son and daughter from the exam- 
ples of vice " ? And the methods manufactured by Rousseau, 
the unforeseen lessons, the indirect means employed to in- 
struct without having the appearance of doing so, — Madame 
de Genlis desires no others. Nothing is more amusing than 
the description of the country-seat of the Baron d'Almane, 
the father of Adele and Theodore. It is no longer a country- 
seat ; it is a school-house. The walls are no longer walls ; 
they are charts of history and maps of geography. 

44 When we would have our children study history accord- 
ing to a chronological order, we start from my bed-chamber, 
which represents sacred history ; from there we enter my 
gallery, where we find ancient history ; we reach the parlor, 
which contains Roman history, and we end with the gallery 
of Monsieur d'Almane (it is the Baroness who speaks), where 
is found the history of France." 

VM- ti 


In her pedagogic fairyland, Madame de Genlis does not 
wish the child to meet a single object which may not be 
transformed into an instrument of instruction. Addle and 
Theodore cannot take a hand-screen without finding a geog- 
raphy lesson represented on it, and drawn out at full length. 
Here are pictures worked in tapestry ; they are historical 
scenes ; on the back of them care has been taken to write 
an explanation of what they represent. At least, those five 
or six movable partitions which are displayed in the apart- 
ment on cold days have no instructive purposes? You are 
mistaken. There is painted and written on them the history 
of England, of Spain, of Germany, and that of the Moors 
and the Turks. Even in the dining-room, mythology encum- 
bers the panels of the room, and u it usually forms the sub- 
ject of conversation during the dinner." In that castle, 
bewitched, so to speak, by the elf of history, there is not a 
glance that is lost, not a minute without its lesson, not a 
corner where one may waste his time in dreaming. Histon 
pursues you like a ghost, like a nightmare, along the corri- 
dors, on the stairs, even on the carpet on which you tread, 
and on the chairs upon which you sit. The true way to 
disgust a child forever with historical studies is to condemn 
him to live for eight days in this house-school of Madame de 

567. Miss Edgeworth (1767-1849). —It is with the 
Scotch philosophy and the psychological theories of Reid and 
Dugald Stewart, that were inspired in different degrees two 
distinguished women, who honored English pedagogy at the 
beginning of this century, — Miss Edgeworth and Miss Ham- 

In her book on Practical Education, published in 1798, 1 

1 French translation by Pictet, 1801. 

fc. r trig it 


Miss Edgeworth does not lose herself in theoretical disserta- 
tions. Her book is a collection of facts, observations, and 
precepts. The first chapter treats of toys, and the author 
justifies this beginning by saying that in education there is 
nothing trivial and minute. It is first by conversations, and 
then by the use of the inventive, analytical, and intuitive 
method, that Miss Edgeworth proposes to train her pupils ; 
and her reflections on intellectual education deserve to be 
considered. In moral education she agrees with Locke, and 
seems to place great reliance on the sentiment of honor, and 
on the love of reputation. In every case she absolutely 
ignores the religious feeling. The characteristic of her sys- 
tem is that it makes " a total abstraction of religious ideas." 

568. Miss Hamilton (1758-1816). — Miss Hamilton is 
at once more philosophical and more Christian than Miss 
Edgeworth. It is from the psychologist Hartley that she 
borrows her essential principle, which consists in making of 
the association of ideas the basis of education. Hartley saw 
in this the sovereign law of intellectual development. But, 
on the other hand, she declares " that she follows no other 
guide than the precepts of the Gospel." 

The principal work of Miss Hamilton, her Letters on the 
Elementary Principles of Education (1801), 1 has a more 
theoretical character than the book of Miss Edgeworth. 
With her it is above all else a question of principles, which, 
she says, are more necessary than rules. We find but few 
reflections on teaching proper. She borrows the very words 
of Dugald Stewart to define the object of education : — 

" The most essential objects of education are the follow- 
ing : first, to cultivate all the various principles of our nature, 
both speculative and active, in such a manner as to bring 

1 French translation by Cheron, 2 vols., Paris, 1804. 


them to the greatest perfection of which they are suscepti- 
ble ; and secondly, by watching over the impressions and 
associations which the mind receives in early life, to secure 
it against the influence of prevailing errors ; and, as far 
as possible, to engage its prepossessions on the side of 
truth." l 

To cultivate the intellectual and moral faculties, Miss 
Hamilton places her chief dependence, as we have said, on 
the principle of the association of ideas. We must break up, 
or, rather, prevent from being formed, all false associations, 
that is, all inaccurate judgments. Order once re-established 
among ideas, the will will be upright, and the conduct well 
regulated. In other terms, this was to subordinate, perhaps 
too completely, the development of the moral faculties to the 
culture of the intellectual faculties. 

44 It is evident," says Miss Hamilton, " that all our desires 
are in accord with ideas of pleasure, and all our aversions 
with ideas of pain." 

The educator will then try to associate the idea of pleasure 
with what is good and useful for the child and for the man. 

Let us also note, in passing, the solicitude of Miss Hamil- 
ton for the education of the people : — 

44 From most of the writers on education it would appear 
that it is only to people of rank and fortune that education 
is a matter of any importance. . . . My plan has for its 
object the cultivation of the faculties that are common to the 
whole human race." 2 

On this point her thought was the same as that of Miss 
Edgeworth, whose father, in 1799, in the Irish Parliament, 
had caused the adoption of the first law on primary instruc- 

^ 1 1 1 ^^— ^^^^^M" ■ I ■ I I -*- 

1 Stewart, Elements, p. 11. 
* Letters, Vol. I. p. 11. 


569. Madame Campan (1752-1822).— Twenty-five years' 
experience, either at the court of Louis XV., or in the school 
at Saint-Germain, which she founded under the Revolution, 
or finally in the institution at ficouen, the direction of which 
was entrusted to her by Napoleon I., in 1807, — such are the 
claims which at once assure to Madame Campan some author- 
ity on pedagogical questions. 1 Let us add that good sense, 
a methodical and prudent mind, — in a word, qualities which 
were reasonable rather than brilliant, — directed that long 
personal experience. 

" First I saw," she said, " then I reflected, and finally I 

570. Eulogy on Home Education. — From a teacher, 
from the directress of a school, we would expect prejudices 
in favor of public education in boarding-schools. That which 
secures our ready confidence, is that Madame Campan, on 
the contrary, appreciates better than an}' one else the advan- 
tages of maternal education : — 

" To create mothers," she said, u this is the whole educa- 
tion of women." Nothing seems to her superior to a mother 
governess " who does not keep late hours, who rises betimes," 
who, finally, devotes herself resolutely to the important duty 
with which she is charged. 

44 There is no boarding-school, however well it may be con- 
ducted, there is no convent, however pious its government 
may be, which can give an education comparable to that 
which a young girl receives from a mother who is edu- 
cated, and who finds her sweetest occupation and her true 
glory in the education of her daughter." 

Madame Campan, moreover, reminds mothers who would 

1 See the two volumes published in 1824 by Barriere, on the Education, 
par Madame Campan, followed by the Conseils aux jeunes fllles. 


be the teachers of their own daughters, of all the obligations 
which are involved in such a charge. Too often the mother 
who jealously keeps her daughter near her, is not capable of 
educating her. In this case there is only the appearance of 
home education, and as Madame Campan wittily says, " this 
is no longer maternal education; it is but education at 

571. Progress in Instruction. — F6nelon was Madame 
Campan's favorite author. On the other hand, there was 
some resemblance between the rules of the school at ficouen 
and those of Saint Cyr. The spirit of the seventeenth cen- 
tury lives again in the educational institutions of the nine- 
teenth, and Madame Campan continues the work of Madame 
de Main tenon. 

However, there is progress in more than one respect, and 
the instruction is more solid and more complete. 

"The purpose of education," wrote Madame Campan to 
the Emperor, " ought to be directed : 1. towards the domes- 
tic virtues ; 2. towards instruction, to such a degree of per- 
fection in the knowledge of language, computation, history, 
writing, and geography, that all pupils shall be assured of 
the happiness of being able to instruct their own daughters." 

Madame Campan desired, moreover, to extend her work. 
She demanded of the Emperor the creation of several public 
establishments " for educating the daughters of certain classes 
of the servants of the State." She desired that the govern- 
ment should take under its supervision private institutions, 
and contemplated for women as for men a sort of university 
u which might replace the convents and the colleges." But 
Napoleon was not the man to enter into these schemes. The 
schools of " women-logicians " were scarcely to his taste, 
and the teaching congregations, which he restored to their 
privileges, the better served his purpose. 


572. Interest in Popular Education. — One might be- 
lieve that Madame Cam pan, who had begun by being the 
teacher of the three daughters of Louis XV., and who asso- 
ciated with scarcely any save the wealthy or the titled, had 
never had the taste or the leisure to think of popular instruc- 
tion. It is nothing of the sort, as is proved by her Counsels 
to Young Girls, a work intended for Elementary Schools. 

44 There is no ground for fearing that the daughters of the 
rich will ever be in want of books to instruct them or of 
governesses to direct them. It is not at all so with the chil- 
dren who belong to the less fortunate classes. ... I have 
seen with my own eyes how incomplete and neglected is the 
education of the daughters of country people. ... It is for 
them that I have penned this little work." 

The work itself has not perhaps the tone that could be de- 
sired, nor all the simplicity that the author would have wished 
to give it ; but we must thank Madame Campan for her in- 
tentions, and we count among her highest claims to the 
esteem of posterity the effort which she made in her old age 
to become, at least in her writings, a simple school-mistress 
and a village teacher. 

573. Madame de Remusat (1780-1821). — Madame de 
Remusat has written only for women of the world. Herself 
a woman of the world, lady of the palace of the Empress 
Josephine, she had no personal experience in the way of 
teaching. She had nothing to do with the practice of educa- 
tion save in supervising the studies of her two sons, one of 
whom became a philosopher and an illustrious statesman, 
Charles de Remusat. The noble book of Madame de Remu- 
sat, her Essay on the Education of Tubmen, does not commend 
itself by reason of its detailed precepts and scholastic meth- 
ods, but by its lofty reflections and general principles. 1 

1 The work of Madame de Remusat was published in 1824, after the au- 
thor's death, under the direction of Charles de Remusat. 


be the teachers of their own daughters, of all the obligations 
which are involved in such a charge. Too often the mother 
who jealously keeps her daughter near her, is not capable of 
educating her. In this case there is only the appearance of 
home education, and as Madame Campan wittily says, " this 
is no longer maternal education; it is but education at 
home. 9 * 

571. Progress in Instruction. — F6nelon was Madame 
Campan's favorite author. On the other hand, there was 
some resemblance between the rules of the school at iScouen 
and those of Saint Cyr. The spirit of the seventeenth cen- 
tury lives again in the educational institutions of the nine- 
teenth, and Madame Campan continues the work of Madame 
de Main tenon. 

However, there is progress in more than one respect, and 
the instruction is more solid and more complete. 

44 The purpose of education," wrote Madame Campan to 
the Emperor, 44 ought to be directed : 1. towards the domes- 
tic virtues ; 2. towards instruction, to such a degree of per- 
fection in the knowledge of language, computation, history, 
writing, and geography, that all pupils shall be assured of 
the happiness of being able to instruct their own daughters." 

Madame Campan desired, moreover, to extend her work. 
She demanded of the Emperor the creation of several public 
establishments 44 for educating the daughters of certain classes 
of the servants of the State." She desired that the govern- 
ment should take under its supervision private institutions, 
and contemplated for women as for men a sort of university 
44 which might replace the convents and the colleges." But 
Napoleon was not the man to enter into these schemes. The 
schools of " women-logicians " were scarcely to his taste, 
and the teaching congregations, which he restored to their 
privileges, the better served his purpose. 


572. Interest in Popular Education. — One might be- 
lieve that Madame Cam pan, who had begun by being the 
teacher of the three daughters of Louis XV. , and who asso- 
ciated with scarcely any save the wealthy or the titled, had 
never had the taste or the leisure to think of popular instruc- 
tion. It is nothing of the sort, as is proved by her Counsels 
to Young Girls, a work intended for Elementary Schools. 

" There is no ground for fearing that the daughters of the 
rich will ever be in want of books to instruct them or of 
governesses to direct them. It is not at all so with the chil- 
dren who belong to the less fortunate classes. ... I have 
seen with my own eyes how incomplete and neglected is the 
education of the daughters of country people. ... It is for 
them that I have penned this little work." 

The work itself has not perhaps the tone that could be do* 
sired, nor all the simplicity that the author would have wished 
to give it ; but we must thank Madame Campan for her in- 
tentions, and we count among her highest claims to the 
esteem of posterity the effort which she made in her old age 
to become, at least in her writings, a simple school-mistress 
and a village teacher. 

573. Madame de Remusat (1780-1821). — Madame de 
Remusat has written only for women of the world. Herself 
a woman of the world, lady of the palace of the Empress 
Josephine, she had no personal experience in the way of 
teaching. She had nothing to do with the practice of educa- 
tion save in supervising the studies of her two sons, one of 
whom became a philosopher and an illustrious statesman, 
Charles de Remusat. The noble book of Madame de Remu- 
sat, her Essay on the Education of Women, does not commend 
itself by reason of its detailed precepts and scholastic meth- 
ods, but by its lofty reflections and general principles. 1 

1 The work of Madame de Remusat was published in 1824, after the au« 
thor's death, under the direction of Charles de Remusat. 


574. Sketch op Feminine Psychology. — Let us first 
notice different