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of their salary, so as to dispense with tuition fees, so that all instruction might be free, and poor parents have no excuse for withholding their children from school.
This book, of which several editions were published during his life, created much interest among educators, and arrested the attention of Minister von Zedlitz, deserves a description, as being the first beginning of a sound elementary instruction for country schools, and because there are still many countries that might learn from it much on popular education.
In the introduction to the first edition, the author modestly inquires : Who called you to be a teacher of the country people ?" And he answers: ‘My heart yearns to help men who, besides the severity of their condition, are suffering under the burden of ignorance and prejudice. The cause of many evils, destructive to the state, lies in the neglected education of the young in rural districts.' He knew the rudeness and barbarism of the peasantry; but felt that the soul of a peasant child is as precious as the soul of a child of the nobleman.
Want of Competent Teachers. * Not having found any thing that to him appeared directly suitable for the common people and their children, he had attempted to produce it,'-closing with the remark—all efforts to improve their education will be unavailing without competent teachers.'
On this last point, Büsching, Counselor of the Consistory, in his Journey from Berlin to Rekahn,' communicates his conversation with Rochow (June, 1775): "The children can not learn without teachers, on whom, consequently, all depends.' 'I know not,' says Büsching, whether I ought to be astonished or vexed, that so little is done to provide schools in cities and the country with able teach
There are plenty of complaints, wishes, and writing, but no money or respect for their work; and yet without these nothing can be done, especially in common schools. I can hardly tolerate the common idea, that for the first elements, moderate skill is sufficient, since it is all-important that children are not only not spoiled in their first learning, but are taught in the best and most careful manner.' Rochow says: Since there is no state (1775) which provides for the proper remuneration and honor of the teacher, so as to render the position desirable, it appears necessary to find candidates who will devote themselves to it with the same pious enthusiasm which inspires others to become missionaries among the heathen. Without teachers full of this missionary spirit, the true reform of the people must fail. He who is not
penetrated by the saving power of the doctrine of Jesus, who desires not from all his heart the welfare of man, will be an bireling; and reading, writing, and ciphering will in the end be the only product of our schools, and thus bold out but little hope for the extension of the kingdom of God. The coldness with which hirelings in the cbureh speak of religion is more injurious than their silence. He, whose heart is not warmed by the spiritual power of religion, has no call to be its teacher.'
In the introduction to his School book, Rochow remarks: 'As medicine is given to sick children through their nurses, so also this attempt at reform ; I want to infuse into teachers what I consider good methods for them to use. He then defines the plan of his book;—the beginning consists of exercises of observation, which are continued for about six months, and are then followed by demonstrations of cause and effect, to lead to reflection and the use of language in description. All of which, though familiar now, was unheard of as the preparatory conditions of instruction proper at
In a preface to the second edition of his book, he treats on catechetic instruction, by which he means instruction by conversation, not theological or church catechising. By conversation children learn quicker and more accurately; for they can ask questions, and by questions the attention is kept awake, and they learn to comprehend, to form, and express their thoughts on what they understand-in a word, they become rational. With this view, he decidedly opposed the so-called literal and tabulated method, introduced by the Berlin Real-school, as not at all suitable for country schools. Abbot Felbiger, who had been trained in the Berlin system, and had published the principles of morality in tabular form for the schools of Silesia, entered into a friendly correspondence with Rochow on his book, which, however, soon ceased, as Felbiger, in all probability, was not inclined to adopt the views of its author.
The contents of Rochow's School book consists of 16 chapters, which, in ordinary but attractive style, treat of:-1. Attention and Studiousness; 2. Cause and Effect; 3. The Foundation; 4. Truth, Certainty, Probability, Error, Faith, Unbelief, Credulity, Superstition; 5. On the Human Soul; 6. On Religion; 7. Doctrine of Virtue according to the Bible; 8. Society and Government, Law and Soldiery ; 9. Relations; 10. Politeness in Intercourse and Conversation, Letter-writing; 11. Arithmetical Exercise of Reason ; 12. Measurements of Surfaces and Solids, and something on Mechanics, with a table of Weights and Measures; 13. Of Optical Illusion; 14. Common Phenomena, for the increase of useful knowledge; 15. Recreation, for the preservation of health, and simple remedies for reëstablishing lost health; 16. Farming, and what is necessary in all kinds of agricultural work. These subjects are all treated in a practical manner, with dignity and originality. Much that has since been prepared, as the basis of common school instruction, is here anticipated, and in many particulars developed in a masterly
His second publication was the 'Reader,' the first edition of which bore the title of Peasants' Friend,' which, in the next edition, was changed into Children's Friend.'
Rochow and Von Zedlitz. The publication of these books brought Rochow into correspondence and personal intercourse with Baron von Zedlitz, and other higher officials at Berlin, connected or interested in the establishment and improvement of schools.
The Minister, in a letter dated Jan. 17, 1773, writes :- Praise is due the man who could be induced to prepare school books from a sole regard to their general utility. Allow me to consult you as a person, who is able to render powerful aid to the great plans of the best of kings for the improvement of country schools, and who has patriotism enough to be disposed to render such service.' From this date, the Minister does not enter on any great or small reform in popular schools, without obtaining Rochow's opinion. In regard to the application of the sum of 100,000 thalers, from the interest of which the salaries of teachers in the electorate of Brandenburg should be paid, the Minister desires some Saxon schoolmasters. Rochow, in answer, says: With all due deference I beg your gracious preference for my own countrymen. The Saxons, as much as I honor the Tellers, Gellerts, etc., nantes in gurgite vasto, are not specially qualified for schoolmasters among the Brandenburgians. An offending accent, an effeminate manner of living, orthodoxy, that means punctuality in form, not in essentials, etc., are, I
say, the characteristics of the Saxon, and in the end will prove no patriotic attachment for our State.' •The attraction of Saxon manners around Dresden and Leipsie is deceptive, and disappears upon close investigation; it can not stand the test of good morals. Our intentions of colonization can not be realized here. If the Prussians, from the Margraviate and from Silesia (my new schoolmaster is from Halberstadt) are honored and paid, I hope we shall soon find an abundance of good teachers, and be able to engage some also for this part of the country. “I have some young
people trained on my plan of making good teachers. For as we have seen for many years in the cathedral school of Halberstadt, nobody teaches after a method better than he who has found out its advantages in himself.' Basedow, in reference to this suggestion, adds: “Nor should the method, except in your Rekahn and some schools near by, where you can exercise a personal superintendence, be introduced in other communes until a sufficient numbor of tcachers have been trained, which can be done by two years practice in Rekabn' (January, 1773). Again Rochow writes to Zedlitz, in reference to the king's pressing any body into the service: 'I need not mention that such trained teachers must not, of necessity, on account of their size, be good soldiers.' As early as 1773, Rochow gives way to the following expressions on instruction in religion: Much more perfection could be obtained, by having taught outside of the school all that is Lutheran, Reformed, or Roman Catholic, which the clergyman can supply during a long preparation for confirmation; while in school, nothing should be taught but such a knowledge of God as can be derived from reading his works, and the general principles of Christian morality.' December, of the same year: “What punishments shall I devise for parents who, notwithstanding a free school, detain their children at home to work? My principle is: children belong to the State the State must provide for their education, and that they learn reading, writing, ciphering, and how to think correctly. The proper school period can not be replaced in after life.' He then makes propositions for the establishment of teachers' seminaries.
In 1774, Counselor Zedlitz pays a visit to Rochow's school, and Büsching the next year; Zedlitz writes to the latter: "Rochow is too impatient because things do not progress as fast as he desires. Zedlitz also made a report of his visit to the king, and spoke to Rochow of his intention to organize a teachers' seminary in Klosterbergen, complaining of the obstacles put in his way by the Chief Consistory. “He who will improve the schools,' replies Rochow,'must not be a schoolman but an honest statesman. There are no universal prescriptions for schools, no more than we have universal medicines.' Rochow describes the wants of country schools, and what he has done to relieve them. Zedlitz writes in 1775: ‘Help me to some patience, and to means by which ecclesiastical inspectors and clergymen may become more active, or may be entirely withdrawn from the supervision of country schools.' In 1776, a difference of opinion sprang up between Zedlitz and Rochow. "Especially, I think,' writes the former, 'that metaphysical education of the peasantry should be managed with caution, and never be recommended. Where schoolmasters have not such a good superintendent (as Rochow), they very often will go astray and do injury; they become pragmatical.' Hence this last favorite expression; after this doubts sprang up in the ministry, whether it would be generally beneficial, to let the common classes be made sensible (be educated). Rochow, in his reply, endeavors to refute these objections, and declares, as the final object of his labors and thoughts, to train good Christians, obedient subjects, and skillful farmers; and he is not insensible to an expression of Zedlitz, who, in an academical discourse, termed him a cosmopolitan enthusiast.' The letters become shorter and less frequent, more formal and reserved ; Rochow waits for the Minister of State to make inquiries; no direct communication comes from him any longer. His correspondence with other persons, however, increases, though it is not of a like importance. Afterward Zedlitz offers a position to Rochow, which the latter declincs, and recommends, in the absence of other teachers, to the Minister the appointment of Dr. Bahrdt of Halle, as director of a seminary shortly to be established: 'I know you will smile; but would it not be better for Bahrdt, than to starve in Halle with wife and child ?' The Minister replies August 7th, 1799: 'It is true Bahrdt would be a good-principal of the seminary. But (1) he is married and has children; you know we do not want that in teachers; (2) the instruction in school should not be given over to the clergy, but neither should we intentionally offend them. They would believe themselves entitled to cry out, if we would confide the instruction of teachers to a man who is not strictly orthodox. I take it my duty not to regard the stings in the heel of superstition if I have to take my way right over the snake's body; but when I can pass around and yet reach my place, why should I cause the beast to hiss; it is only the devil's music.'
Only one volume of Rochow's correspondence has been published; and nothing more is known about his further intercourse. There are six letters of Rochow to Gleim, in one of which, after expressing his thanks for a copy of Halladat,' he says: Not in words of such value, but with similar feelings, I expect to return your favor, as I have just finished an enlarged second edition of the work which has for two years engaged my attention, but could not be finished without many experiments. Many of your excellent pieces contain consolation for the heterogeneous labors of the pro
• Trendelenburg: Frederic the Great and Minister von Zedlitz. Berlin. 1859.