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affairs of the Protestants were intrusted to a special chief. But it was only after the close of the Seven Years' War that the great king could give his special attention and care to what he considered the hobby of his old age, schools and public instruction. For the carrying out of his views of education and mental culture, he chose Baron von Zedlitz-Leipe, who, as minister of the State and Law department, was made ex-officio chief of the ecclesiastical department for the Protestant church and school affairs, (January 18, 1771.) The king's letter of 1769 sur l'éducation, (Euvres ix., p. 113,) contains the principles by which public instruction was to be guided, and has been guided since. He regretted that in the gymnasiums the pupils were not accustomed to think for themselves and did not begin early to exercise their own judgment. In the public offices, birth had no advantage over merit. “I am persuaded," he says, “that man can be made what you wish him to be. All that enlightens the mind, all that widens the circle of knowledge, elevates the soul, and never lowers it.” The exercise of one's judgment, the cultivation of the understanding, thinking for one's self, were considered the soul of instruction, and Zedlitz was the man to make these principles the fundamental springs of his activity, in opposition to the blind memorizing of matters never understood, to the reciting of mere words, and to the mental inactivity of both pupils and teachers. He succeeded in carrying out his purposes, to find the right sort of men in Meierotto, Niemeyer, Gedike; he called the philologist Fr. Aug. Wolf to Halle, and the development of the Prussian high-school system is still linked with the activity of these men. It was at the time when Zedlitz was at the head of the Educational administration, that that great movement of the Pedagogy took place, a revolution which originated with Basedow, who harmonized thoroughly with the fundamental ideas underlying Zedlitz's views. It was also to carry these out that Trapp was called from his Philanthropinum in Dessau, to take the chair of Professor of Pedagogics at Halle. But Zedlitz recognized soon the emptiness of this scheme of mere pedagogics, and in announcing to the king (1782) the return of Trapp to Holstein, declared the vacant chair to be “no very great loss."
Considering the self-dependent development of the school-system, Zedlitz conceived the plan of organizing a supreme school-board, independent of the superior councils, which, beside the consistory, should have the supervision of the whole school administration in all the royal domains. This plan was carried out by Frederick William II. in 1787. The board was to depend immediately on the king, and have charge of all the affairs which had till then been conducted by the chief trustees of the universities. It became the duty of all State collegiums, magistrates and public officers, to execute the orders of the chief school-board as rapidly as possible. At the head of this new board stood Von Zedlitz, and Wöllner, presidents of the privy council of the department of finances; and as members, the chaplain of the University of Halle, Von Hofmann, the consistorial counselor, Professor Steinbart, of Frankfort on the Oder, and
the gymnasium directors, Gedike and Meierotto, of Berlin, who were also commissioned to make the inspection visits through the provinces. The most important decree of this council, and the most fruitful in results, was the plan of instruction conceived by Gedike, under the coöperation of Meierotto, given December 23, 1788, and stating among other regula tions that the final university examination of the school was to take place before the dismissal of the scholars.
A short time previous to this, however, a counter-movement had taken place in school and church affairs, by the withdrawal of the minister Zedlitz, and the subsequent election of the privy counselor, Wöllner, to the actual privy State and Law ministry, and as chief of the ecclesiastical department, (July 3, 1788,) which election found forthwith an expression in the religious edict of July 9, 1788. This edict was decidedly opposed to the so-called “rage of improvement, by which the respect for the Bible, as the revealed word of God, was calculated to grow weak, which falsified, distorted, and even rejected the divine records, concerning the welfare of the human race. A general rule of conduct was necessarily maintained, by which the masses could be led faithfully and honestly by their teachers in matters of faith, and this line of conduct had thus far been the Christian religion, as set forth by its three principal confessions.” The edict of December 19, 1788, brought back into full force the censure on philosophical and theological writings, which in the last years of Frederic had lain dead, and men of a rationalistic cast of mind like Gedike lost their influence.
Niemeyer was threatened with suspension, and a circular addressed to all the inspectors of Kurmark stated, that to help towards the increase of neology, all newly-appointed teachers in the gymnasiums and cityschools should be made to sign a reciprocal agreement printed for that purpose, (1794.) On the 5th of February of the same year was published the general common law for the Prussian States, which, in part ii., tit. 12, declares schools and universities to be State institutions, and sets up a system of laws embracing the whole plan of instruction, of which the principal points are still in force.
Frederic William III., on his accession to the throne, November 16, 1797, sent on the 23d of the same month a cabinet order to the various departments, houses, and public authorities, cautioning them against the many unworthy subjects that had found means to get into office. Prompted by this message, Wöllner dispatched, December 5, 1797, a special order to the consistories, to remind all lower councils of their duties, and urge upon them a renewed vigilance in respect to the pastors and teachers under their special supervision, that these may not only teach religion in its purity and according to the prescription of the religious edict, but that they may also prove efficient and industrious in the discharge of their school and pastoral offices. Meanwhile, the counselor of the legation, Menken, who opposed the policy of Wöllner, had been appointed privy cabinet counselor to the king. The influence of this
gentleman upon the king determined Wöllner to issue, January 13, 1798, a circular in which he proposed to devise better means to advance the spirit of true religion and morality. But in spite of the readiness he showed to destroy his own work, he received a message disapproving his course, wherein the leading principle of government which actuated Frederic William III. is freely set forth: “I honor religion myself, and follow gladly its blissful precepts, and would not rule over a people that disregarded it. But I know also that it must come from the heart, from the feelings, from inner conviction ; if degraded to a methodical restraint, if made a senseless babble, it will never promote virtue and honesty. Reason and philosophy must be its inseparable companions; only then will it exist of itself, and be able to maintain itself without the authority of those who would impose their dogmas upon future times, and prescribe to generations to come, how they should think and feel at all times and in all circumstances, on subjects that have the most important influence on their welfare.” In spite of this reprimand, Wöllner continued in his own way of administration, and received in the early part of March his dismissal, as did the counselors of the chief consistory and the members of the chief school-college committee, who sympathized with him. There remained in the chief consistory, Andrew Jacob Hecker, who, like all those appointed after 1800—Zöllner, Nolte, Niemeyer, Sack, Ribbeck, Hanstein-were the right sort of men to carry out the cabinet order of January 11, 1798. Wöllner's place was filled by Von Massow, who was elected chief of the Lutheran and all ecclesiastical affairs, and the school department in general. The church affairs of the Roman Catholics were connected with the former, but the school affairs of the German Reformed Church came under a special department, of which Thulemeyer was chief. Both ministers were designated as minis. ters of State of the Judicial Department. The chief of the Lutheran party was also president of the chief consistory and chief school-board, of the directory of the poor in Berlin and Potsdam, of the privy high court, and of the court of credit system of the rural districts of East Prussia and Pomerania. The Lutheran school affairs of Silesia, conducted by the chief president of the Breslau bailiff administration, and the Roman Catholic, ecclesiastical and school affairs in Silesia, South Prussia, New East Prussia, and in the Frankish Principalities, that come within the administration of the province ministers, were outside his jurisdiction. In the latter, the Erlangen University came under the supervision of the minister Hardenberg. This dismemberment did not allow of constructing and pursuing a consistent plan for a satisfactory development of the mental and moral faculties of the people : the Prussian nation was composed of too many elements.
Soon followed a period of the severest trial and of the most spirite advancement. The words of the king, (August 10, 1807:) “The State must regain in mental force what it has lost in physical force," became henceforth the guiding star of the Prussian government. By the new organization of the State councils, in 1808, the chief school-college was dissolved, and the administration of public instruction was attached to the Ministry of the Interior, under the name of “Third Section, for Wor. ship and Public Instruction,” and placed under the immediate direction of a privy State counselor and section chief. The king appointed as minister the count of Dohna, and as chief of the third section, William von Humboldt, who united in the rarest manner all the qualities of a statesman and a scholar, and who, free from all selfish motives, was best calculated to fulfill the high charge intrusted to him, viz., the regeneration of Prussia. An educational system was the regeneration the Prussian monarchy aimed at, but the limited financial means of the State set obstacles to the plans the great Humboldt had conceived, and the latter, discouraged by continual pecuniary impediments, resigned, June 23, 1810, the position he had entered upon December 17, 1808.
Nie vius and Suvern had been elected with him as technical counsel. ors, to take charge of the section of instruction. Nicolovius had previously been secular consistorial counselor, and member of the East Prus. sian consistories, then representative counselor in the university affairs at Königsberg, and finally menıber of the department of ecclesiastical affairs and those concerning the schools and the poor, and had in the latter time been in constant intercourse with the most distinguished men of the State. His fine and gentle appearance, the close intimacy in which he had stood for a long time with Goethe, Jacobi, and other superior and congenial minds, his firm faith in the progressive and magnificent devel. opment of our time, rendered him a worthy co-laborer of Humboldt. He remained through many changes in the clerical ministry until May 22, 1839. Suvern brought into his new position, beside his vast scientific acquirements, a great experience in the profession of teaching, which he had obtained in the discharge of the duties of two directorships, at Thorn and Elbing, and during his academical career at Königsberg. He drafted the most important regulations and instructions, which the reorganization of the higher school-system required; for example, the subject of the examination of the candidates for the higher school office, of July 12, 1810, the examination of abiturientes, of June 25, 1812, and an essay on general instruction, in 1816, of which all was not published, but whose leading principles dictated the regulations of the administration. He submitted to the consideration of the State's ministry, a general plan for the form of government of the school system in Prussia, according to the cabinet order of November 3, 1817, in which it was said, "that the success of all that the State aimed at by its constitution, legislation and administration, depended on the foundations laid in the minds of the young," but the diverging and conflicting opinions, on the time and mode of putting portions of the plan into effect, prevented its execution. Sub. sequent to 1818, he confined himself almost entirely to the reports of the Academy of Sciences and to the sphere of activity of the co-directors in the department of instruction ; he died October 2, 1829.
Humbold's place, at the head of the third section of public worship, was filled by the privy State counselor Von Schuckmann; and Nicolovius was appointed director for the specialities of the same ; even when Schuckmann was elected Minister of the Interior, in 1814, the administration of public culture and instruction remained for some time within his jurisdiction. On the 3d of November, 1817, a cabinet order declared that "the Minister of the Interior should resign the office of culture and public instruction, as well as that of the department of medicine, connected with it,” inasmuch as “the dignity and importance of the ecclesiastical and educational affairs demand a special minister," and Baron von Altenstein was selected for that office.
The energetic and effectual activity which, since 1814, the government displayed in the transformation and reconstruction of the higher institu. tions of learning, gained an intelligent and well-informed guide in. Altenstein, and after him in Dr. Johannes Schulze, (1st August, 1818,) a new life-giving power, that made itself felt throughout the whole field of the sciences. About the same time, Hegel was appointed professor of philosophy in the University of Berlin, where, particularly favored by the educational system, he exercised a mighty influence upon the mental development of bis cotemporaries, opening on all sides new avenues to science, and working out through a well-sustained method the taming curb that was to lead thought to the recognition of truth.
A glowing testimony of the organizing, regulating, and all-pervading spirit of the administration, is the large number of special and general amendments that appear in the higher school-system, which, during the. Altenstein administration, (from 1817 till the death of the minister, May 14, 1840,) amounted, including those of the University concerning the last examination, June 4, 1834, to 738, all of which, special as well as general, contain much that is awakening and fertilizing to the mind, and in many instances, far outreach their immediate circle of action. That regulation formed an important clause in the reorganization system of the higher court. It was the result of years of experience, and of the mature consideration of circumstances. There would necessarily follow from it a better and greater unanimity in systems of instruction, and in the classifications of the various gymnasiums. In subsequent times, and till Altenstein's death, there were 438 more amendments made, among which the ministerial regulation of Oct. 24, 1837, is accounted the most important for its laying down the fundamental conditions by which gympasial instruction was to be governed. It was the first time that a general Normal School system was devised for all gymnasiums. Its principles were adopted and followed until 1856.
The political changes, whose causes and reasons are sufficiently known, made in 1819 a painful break in the promising condition of the higher school instruction, and called forth the circular of the minister of Altenstein, which, addressed to the various presidents of educational institutions, ran as follows, in its introductory pages: "Recent events, and