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What has already been said indicates clearly enough that nothing is usually done in this direction by parents; but quite the contrary. It is usual to enervate the children, to seek to satisfy all their desires. Nor should this astonish, in an age when the most fleshly epicureanism prevails. How could strong self-denial and self-command grow out of such an idle, pleasure-loving home-life? These virtues are to most persons bitterness and folly. Woe to humanity, when nothing is desired except mere undisturbed animal enjoyment, and when all nobler aspirations pass for folly!
It is difficult to proceed methodically in the more passive portion of bodily training. This must be lived rather than taught. Boys in the country, who run about out-doors, in the hottest as well as in the coldest weather, in rain and snow, become hardened against wind and weather, without their parents or teachers knowing any thing of it. But if a child grows up in a great city, where it is probably half an hour's walk and more to the nearest city-gate, especial pains must be taken to see that he goes into the fresh air every day. For this reason gymnastic establishments are an especial need of large cities.
It is important that the child should become inured to wind and weather during the first years of his life.
"Journeys on foot afford the best opportunity for hardening and privations of all kinds. Bad weather, bad roads, miserable inns, and innumerable other inconveniences, annoy even the most fortunate traveler. But all this will be endured, especially in the company of companions, not only with patience but with superabundant delight. He who makes some sour faces at rain and bad food suffers double.
It is to be lamented that steamboats and railroads have made such a destruction of journeys on foot. Such a flitting across countries is entirely useless. It does not strengthen the body; one who goes in one day, by railroad, from Manheim to Basle, seems to himself afterward to have dreamed of an exhibition, where the Rhine and Neckar, the Black Forest and the Vosges, Heidelberg, Carlsruhe, Strasburg, &c., were all passed rapidly before his eyes—all is to him a transitory cloud-picture.
In war, young persons who have been hardened, who are easily satisfied, and not corrupted by luxury, are far superior to their opposites. The latter are quite without self-control, and as if without their senses or courage, upon being summoned to turn out a little early in the morning, especially after having a cold night in the
It is well known how highly the Greeks valued gymnastics, and
how the Roman boys practiced bodily exercises as a preparation for
We are equally well acquainted with the bold strength and activity of the ancient German nations, and their chivalric renown in the middle ages. As the cities became prominent, the citizens were not behind in this respect, and there grew up among them fencingschools for the mechanics, privileged by the emperor.
That bodily exercise is an important part of the training of the young was a truth recognized by Luther; but which, since the sixteenth century, has been made most prominent by those already mentioned as realists.
Luther says,t “It was right well thought of and ordered by the ancients, that the people should exercise themselves, and learn something useful and honorable, so that they might not fall into rioting, rice, gluttony, drunkenness, and gaming. Therefore these please me the best of all these two exercises and amusements, to wit, music and tilting, with fencing, wrestling, &c.; whereof the first drives away care of heart and melancholy thought, and the second gives well-proportioned and active limbs to the body, and keeps it in good health, by jumping, &c. But the most weighty reason is that people may not fall into drunkenness, vice, and gaming, as we see them, sad to say, in court and in city, where there is nothing except 'Here's to you! Drink out!' And then they gamble away perhaps a hundred florins, or more. Thus it goes, when men despise and neglect such honorable exercises and tiltings."
Luther observes, very correctly, that an active, healthy man, skillful in his exercises, and who takes pleasure in them, will for that very reason energetically withstand the loose and vicious life of mere pleasure-seeking, while the sensual at once give up to it.
Montaigne, the realist forerunner of Rousseau, blames those weak parents who can not bring themselves to keep their children on simple food, to see them covered with sweat and dust from their exercises, riding a spirited horse, receiving a smart thrust in fencing, or a kick from the discharge of a gun. “He who desires," he says, his son a strong man, must certainly not make him effeminate in luis youth, and must often set aside the rules of the physician. It is not enough to make his mind firm; his muscles must be made firm too. I know well how my own mind is tormented by its companionship with so weak a body, which depends so much, and bears so heavily,
" to see
upon it." |
Rousseau says, “The body should be strong, that it may obey * See Jahn's * Turning System,” (Turnkunst,) p. 278. 1 Walch, XXII., 2280, 281. : Essays, 1, 299–301.
the soul-a good servant should be strong. The weaker the body is, the more it commands; and the stronger, the more it obeys.* A weak body weakens the soul.” “ If you would develop the understanding of your pupil, develop the powers which his understanding is to govern; incessantly train his body. Make him strong and healthy, that you may make him wise and intelligent; make him work, run, cry out, always busied about something; let him be a man in strength, and then he will be one in reason.”+
We have already seen how these counsels of Rousseau were followed in the Dessau Philanthropinum, where they practiced gymnastics, and took pedestrian journeys with the boys. Rector Vieth, of Dessau, a man of great skill in many bodily exercises, published an "Encyclopedia of Bodily Erercises," (Encyklopädie der Leibesübungen.)
But the greatest attainment was made at Salzmann's institution, under Guts Muths; who wrote a work on gymnastics, which gained a wide influence. It was founded upon “ Emile.”
The chief principle of physical education is, according to Guts Muths, “ Train all the powers of the physical man to the point of utmost possible beauty and usefulness of the body, as of the teacher and servant of the soul." Gymnastics is “a system of exercises for the body, intended to perfect it."||
Guts Muths, with great care and judgment, worked out this system of discipline in the fullest detail; and at Schnepfenthal there was serious earnestness in the department of physical training. The children played, not only for the sake of relaxation from the labor of the school, but their bodily exercises were made a necessary part of their intellectual training, and an indispensable department of instruction in the school.
Meierotto, the eminent Berlin rector, erected, in 1790, a roomy * Just as Marcellus Palingenius had said:
“ Corpus enim male si valeat, parere nequibit
Præceptis animi, magna et præclara jubentis," t I have said more about gymuastics, and errors in - Emile,” in my chapter on Rous. seau, q. v.
:“Gymnastics for the Young,” (Gymnastik für Jugend.) By Guts Muths. Second edi. tion. Vienna, Doll, 1805. Prof. Klumpp issued a third edition, with many additions. The first edition was translated into Danish, English, and French. Gymn., p. 31. Il lb., p. 13.
? I shall hereafter discuss Guts Muths' instructions for the cultivation of the senses. In 1817 he published a work on Turning, which set forth the relations between Turning and collective exercises. Turning has no more reference than school instruction has to any par. ricular class; but seeks a general development, equally beneficial in any condition of life. Turoing is to develop the bodily independence of individuals; exercising, to make them efficient members of a body. Games, in which a company of Turners put forth free, graceful, genera! exertions, are much preferable to a stiff exercise under direction of a subaltern. Skillful Turners can very quickly learn the infantry manual. It is very good to teach soldiers the Turners' exercises; but it requires instant attention when the Turners begin to play soldiers.
exercising-place, in connection with the Joachimsthal Gymnasium, including among other things a swinging-tree; and this inay be considered a forerunner of the subsequent Turning organizations in Berlin. At the repeated request of Meierotto, King Friedrich Wilhelm II. gave 30,000 thalers (about $22,500) toward the purchase of the ground.*
Fichte, in his orations to the German nation, strenuously recommended bodily exercise, and cited Pestalozzi. He says, “Nor must another subject, brought forward by Pestalozzi, be omitted; namely, the cultivation of the bodily activity of the pupil—which should go hand in hand with the mental. He requires an A B C of this department. His most important observations on the subject are as follows: 'Striking, carrying, throwing, pushing, drawing, whirling, wrestling, swinging, &c., are the simplest bodily exercises. There is a natural order of succession from the beginning of these exercises up to a complete knowledge of them; that is, to the highest degree of
2 activity, which makes certain the hundred applications of striking, pushing, swinging, and throwing, and gives certainty of hand and foot. According to these views all depends upon the natural order of study; and it will not suffice to begin blindly and arbitrarily with any exercise whatever, and then to assert that we have a physical education, as the ancient Greeks had. In this respect every thing is yet to be done; for Pestalozzi did not prepare an A B C of this department. But such a one must first be prepared; and, to do it properly, there is needed a man equally at home in the anatomy of the human body and in scientific mechanics ; who unites with this knowledge a bigh grade of philosophical character, and who is thus fitted to bring to a condition of symmetrical perfection the machine which we may consider the human body as intended to be; and so to conduct every step in the only possible right course as to prepare and facilitate every subsequent one, and thus not only not to endanger the health and beauty of the body and the powers of the mind, but to strengthen and increase them, and thus to develop this machine from every healthy human body. The indispensableness of this department, in an education professing to train the entire man, and claiming to be especially appropriate for a nation seeking to recover and afterward to maintain its independence, needs no further mention to be perfectly clear."| Pestalozzi's institution did not accomplish what Fichte expected of it in respect to bodily exercise; but among his hearers there was one who was perhaps influenced by these very
• Attempt at an Account of Meierollo's Life,” (Versuch einer Lebensbeschreibung Meierotto's.) By Brunn. Berlin, 1802, p. 312, &c.
"Oration," &c., pp. 171, 172. Weekly for Human Development,” (Wochenschrift für Menschenbildung.) Vol. 2, No. 11.
addresses to his distinguished labors for gymnastics; namely, Freidrich Friesen.*
Bodily exercises were commenced at Yverdun in 1807; and there is an account of the mode pursued, and of the views entertained on the subject, in the first volume of Pestalozzi's “ Weekly for Human Development.”+ This account contains much that is correct and well worth consideration, and also many errors. It is true that the body should not be developed in a partial manner, that is, not for fencing or jamping alone; but that the gymnastics pursued should aim at a harmonious total development of the whole. The bodily ill condition of manufacturing operatives is also well described.I “ Manufacturing labor," it says, “is undermining the physical strength of our people still more than all this. 'Stand up there, boy, at the carding-table; girl, sit at the cotton machine, or the embroidering machine; spread your colors from morning to night, or turn your wheel, or sew, from morning to night; and I will pay you more than a farmer or his wife will earn with their hacking and grubbing.' Thus have our poor been addressed, for forty or fifty years; but they did not say, This one-sided sort of occupation will make you crippled and sickly. They did not say, When the cotton manufacture ceases to prosper, when power-looms are invented, when embroidery goes out of fashion, you will be left with your distorted hand, your weakened bones, and injured digestion, as unfit to learn any other manufacturing as to use the bill or the axe. You will live out your old age a worn-out and hungry beggar. You will know nothing except what you have learned, and you have sacrificed your general strength of body and its cultivation to a one-sided and crippling occupation, and to its deceptive profits. Examples of such destruction have long been before our eyes; but white bread, bacon, wine, brandy, and insinuating manners make a deeper impression than all these dangers. And every thing that was bad, on the part of the parents, drove the children, even down to the youngest, to these carding-tables and machines. Why did these wretched people make such sickly creatures of their children? It was because they shared with them the white bread, and bacon, and wine, and brandy that they earned. In many places the miserable school-rooms had already prepared the children for the miserable factory-rooms. The parents took them out of the former and drove them into the latter, where they would at least earn them something to eat. Thus the number of sickly people increased in the land to thousands. But now they no longer receive their wages,
* See the extracts below, from Jahu's preface to the “Turning System.": * Nos. 3--6, from 3d June, 1807, onward, pp. 33-87. 1 lb., pr. 49, 50.