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ened many away from me, as though I with a good salary; and with the help were smitten with plague-spots. My of both these perfected the reformation. beard became an object of wit; my I myself kept a school twice a week, friendly salutation, without ceremo- composed of the larger boys and young niously taking off the hat in the streets, men; Amelia took the girls; and the was called rudeness. I did not suffer wife of the pastor the matrons. I myself to be put out. At some time caused all the children to be clothed at or other the ice must be broken. I my expense, as thou seest them now. wished to see, whether one would be At our expense also, Amelia changed allowed in the nineteenth century, in the ill-shaped dresses of the maidens. a European city, to live, throwing The school and prison worked well. away all humbugs, and all the pre- The young men, at my solicitation, scribed notions of honor, manners, just- suffered their beards to grow. I forice and respectability. So far from bade it to the slaves-only the free being offending any one by an ill-habit, or allowed to wear beards; slaves must from making their prejudices, or whims, go shorn. I opened the door to freeor moral peculiarities a reproach, dom. Whoever, after my directions, I was more complaisant towards them; cultivated his field the best, received it I sought out men, from whom I dif- at the end of the year for a small but fered as much externally as I did al- easily redeemed ground-rent, as his ready in my inmost being, in order to own, and therewith certain privileges. conciliate them by goodness and kind. Whoever for two years was the most ness.
frugal, diligent, and skilful, obtained “ I betook myself to my estate here in his freedom, his own house, an outfit Flyeln ; I found delight on it, in be- in money, an honorable dress, modelled coming known and served by my de- after my own, and might suffer his pendants. They were then half wild; beard to grow. Before the end of the they were slaves. They cringed in first year, I had occasion, nay was unthe most slavish manner before their der obligation, to free a great many master. None of them could read or families; these had begun to improve write; they were lazy and indecent. before my arrival. They awakened To be idle, to guzzle, to fight, seemed the envy of some, but the strife of emuto be their heaven. Superstition was lation among others, the more so, their religion, a deadly, godless sancti- when on judgment-day I placed the mony their observance of it, and de- freemen beside me to decide the cases ceit and falsehood their prudence. I of those who had erred. The assessor determined to make men out of these of the judgment was chosen by the brutes. I caused the prisons to be im- freemen themselves from out of their proved, and a great school-house to be own number. built; I and Amelia visited every hut; “Whilst I was here troubling myself they were mere mud stalls. I com- very little about the outward world, manded, under heavy punishments, the the world troubled itself the more strictest purity: Whoever did not about me. Quite unexpectedly there obey, was put into gaol; on the other appeared one day, by ministerial comhand, to the obedient I gave, by way of mand, brought about by my relations, encouragement, tables, glasses, chairs, an extraordinary commission, to inand other household furniture. Soon quire into the state of my health and everything in the houses was well ar- property. They had reported me to ranged and neat. I forbade card-playing, be crazy, and ihat I squandered my brandy, coffee, wrestling, cursing, and property in the most frantic methods. swearing, &c., &c. Whoever failed The gentlemen of the commission bewas chastised, and those that obeyed, haved very well for several months. and for one month gave no cause for What report they rendered I don't censure, I suffered to become bond- know, but probably, as I forgot to put servants. I gave the old pastor an money into their hands, not the most annuity; chose a young, learned, and favorable. For, without regard to my excellent clergyman, who soon entered trouble or my threats of vengeance, into my plans, in place of the former : they treated me as a lunatic, and deappointed a person skilled in various prived me of my possessions. An adknowledge, and educated in Switzer- ministrator of my estate was sent land by Pestalozzi, as schoolmaster, down who was at the same time to
watch my conduct, and to prevent the on that account, and that I might give intrusions of visitors. Fortunately, the offence to no one by means oi' niy new administrator was an honest, well in- error, namely, my free utterance of formed man, so that we speedily be. whatever nature and reason sanctioned, came friends. When he had looked I was forbidden, without special perthrough my accounts, the good mao mission, from going out of the boundawas astonished at my rigid economy, ries of my estate, i. e. from visiting and was of opinion, that by means of the great European lunatic asylum, and this, and the redemption money paid allowed to know of it only from the by the bond-servants and slaves, I newspapers. That could profit me little. should gain more than I lost. For a “It is now five years I have dwelt long while, he assisted me in the at- here in my blessed solitude. Go out, tempt to humanize my slaves. It sug- consider my fields, and the fields of our gested one good thing to him, viz. : that farmers, our foresis, our flocks, and our the emancipated for the space of five dwelling places! Thou shalt see a years should render an account of blooming, though before unknown, their receipts and expenditures, in order prosperity. All my slaves are free. to assure themselves that they were only a single drunkard, and another not growing worse or becoming more lazy rough churl, seemed to be unimindolent. The good man, in the end, proved. The drunkard starved. The was quite enamored with our Flyeln other could not be corrected either by household, since he saw that, under rewards or punishments. But as all well-directed management, nothing Flyeln wore beards, and he and the was done in vain. Since the two years pastor alone were clear-chinned, it of my being there, the peasants of our wrought a most wonderful effect upon community had distinguished them- the fellow; for the pastor was moved selves above the whole neighborhood, to let his beard grow, so that the slave for thrift, knowledge, and respectabili- became the only shorn one of the lot. ty. They called us, in other places, He couldn't endure that, and so imthe Moravian brethren, and even to proved himself, that he might be rethis day, in the neighboring villages, spected among respectable people. they believe that we have adopted a “ The beard of the good pastor gave new religion.
great offence to the consistory. Al“ The administrator and guardian though he proved that beard was not found my notions of the world, in the against the true faith ; although he main, uncommonly correct. He even called to mind the holy men of both went so far as to wish that people gen- the Old and New Testament; although erally would return to greater simpli- he showed that he, by making himcity and truthfulness in manners, con- self like his equals, could do more duct and life. But he could not stand good, and that he by means of it had the beard; he stuck for life and death changed one deemed utterly irreclaimto the cu in the neck and the powder able, the beard gave offence to the conon the hair ; the Thou was quite of- sistorial body. After my pastor adfensive to him, and he could not, to duced the evidence of a physician, that Amelia and me, in spite of all his ef- the toothache, under which he had alforts, bring it over his lips. Mean- ways suffered, was put a stop to by while, his report about me,--after the means of the beard, he was allowed administration of one year, and after he to provide for his own health, and that had made to the government the most only within bounds. favorable disclosures as to my sound “I not only instituted courts among management of my property, had the my free people, but gave them the happy effect of restoring me to the right to choose an overseer or governor control of my own affairs, under a con- immediately from themselves, as they dition, however, that I should render a pleased. From time to time the more yearly account of them. This was the noted among them ate at my table, doing of my relatives. They would with their wives. I was their equal. not be persuaded that I had not lost Similarity of dress begat confidence, a good deal of sound human under- without diminishing respect. Chilstanding, although my former guar. dren were required to stand up before dian at the worst had made me out older people, and uncover their heads, only a wonderfully queer fellow. So, but not to uncover before their equals.
Every manifestation of deceit was the space of the half of ten years, ranked as a crime, no less than theft. would have been a veritable wonder, if The people judged themselves more we did not know how prudently and strictly than I had formerly done. I surely Olivier went to work; how grahad often to moderate their decisions. dually he passed from the character of Our schools are flourishing. The apter an imperious master to that of, first, a boys learn the history of the world, a teacher, and then a father ; how his knowledge of the earth, with its coun- peasants, moved only by the fear of tries and people, geometry, and some the lash, had been allured and subdued thing of architecture. In the churches by means of their rude self-respect; we have already choral hymning and how he counted neither upon their worship.
thankfulness nor their understanding, “But, dear Norbert, better that thou nor their moral or religious feeling, but stayest one week with us, and see for from the outset, disciplined rather than thyself ; canst thou while away a instructed them, relying chiefly upon week?"
their old established customs, and the rising generation. Thence, he and the
baroness, the pastor and the school THE CONVERSATION ON THE HEIGHTS OF teacher, undertook the instruction of
all; thence, also, it came that the as
sessors of the judgment, that the overSuch was the narration of Olivier. seers of the community were mostly
I do not conceal it, that all that he young persons from five-and-twenty to had said to me, and all I had seen in thirty years of age; at least I saw none Flyeln, made a great impression upon of the older peasants among them. mé. I wondered at his perseverance,
But all this does not concern us here. and his benevolent invention, but re- I will describe the success of my friend, gretted that his lot was such as it and not the art and method by which
he tamed his dependants, and made a But neither the persuasions of my sterile place blooming. friend, nor the seductive flattery of the As Olivier exhibited his accountrequests of the baroness, were necessa- books, and showed irrefutably that, so ry to induce me to prolong my stay in far from having lost by the reformathis lordly oasis. Yes, I must call tion, he had gained more than his deFlyeln an oasis, a blooming island in ceased uncle or any of his ancestors, he the waste of the surrounding country. said to me laughingly, “ Now thou For here, as soon as you reach the spot, seest, Norbert, where folly is at home, if you have travelled through the whether at Flyeln or in the royal resisometimes sandy, and sometimes bog- dence! While I was actually gaining gy lands of the vicinity, or through the I was treated as a spendthrift, and pine forests, and the poor, muddy, or- compelled every year to suffer strandinary villages, with their barracks gers, whom they sent here to investiand neglected inhabitants,—the ground gate my accounis, to look into the intiseems suddenly greener, and the peo- macies of my household.” ple more humane. Here, too, there Wherefore hast thou not were once barracks, but they have be- plained of this? It is an injustice-it come neat cottages, which I visited, is an outrage." with Amelia, with pleasure. Here My complaint would be in vain. also there had been morasses, as might No justice, but the mere command of be learned from the long ditches and the cabinet, sent forth by the ministry, excavations, filled up with stones and condemned me to this position. The covered with earth, made to draw off matter is not easily remedied; for the the water; here, too, had been slaves, ministry will take no back step by who had been accustomed to tremble which to declare themselves to have before the overseers and officers, but been in fault. The annual committee to cheat them behind their backs. Now of investigation would not advise it, bethey had the upright and bold bearing cause they would lose the delights of of freemen, who looked upon the Baron their annual pleasure-visit and the proas an equal,—but with what childlike fit of their daily pay. That I have reverence and love they clung to him been confined here, in the estate of my and his! This transformation, within forefathers, is the most endurable thing
about it. Now, Norbert, what think- the plural number, but what harm is est thou of all this?"
it, after all? Did not the old Greeks “I confess, Olivier, I came with pre- and Romans address each other in the judice and sorrow to thee; I shall plural number? Thou knowest the quit thee with the most pleasurable meaning of you and thou. Dost thou remembrances. They have every- not, then, take the offensive part, where given thee out as a lunatic. when rejecting common innocent cusI do not think thou art, but I concur toms, and, without regard to former with thy former guardian, that thou notions of civility, force Thou upon art a wonderfully queer fellow.” every body? Whoever fights with
“Queer fellow ! truly, that is the the world must have the world fightproper name for all those who do not ing with him. Canst thou wonder at it succumb to the common-place and then?" confusion of the age. Diogenes of Si “I do by no means wonder at what nope was regarded as a fool; Cato I expect. But do not adduce the exthe Censor was considered by the Ro- ample of Christ, after the manner of mans a pedant; Columbus was pointed those who conceal deceit and villainy, at as a crazy man in the streets of Ma- with a pious countenance, behind some drid; Olavides was condemned to the distorted version of the Bible. The Inquisition ; Rousseau driven from his God-like One had a higher mission asylum among the Bernese; and Pes- among his contemporaries than I have, talozzi held by his countrymen as and forbore speaking of smaller follies; more than half a fool, because he as- but I have to do with these alone; and sociated with beggars and dirty chil. I will not suffer myself to be condren rather than with the be-powdered strained to praise, excuse, or practise and be-queued world. And that I should barbarisms. There is reason enough be called a queer fellow-I, that pre- still among the inhabitants of earth, sume only to speak, to think, and to to permit one to make use of his own act, naturally and intelligently-ac- poor understanding." cording to my right derived from God “Friend, as it appears to me, they is it not rather a reproach to you your- have not even made that right quesselves ?"
tionable; but that right, by the indis“No, Olivier, neither a reproach creet communication of your sentiagainst the world nor against you. No ments, especially if they are at war one prevents thee from acting or think- with existing arrangements, is likely ing naturally or reasonably; but thou to occasion confusion. Thou thyself, must also respect the right of others to at the outset in Flyeln, played the think, to speak, and to act, according part of a severe task-master to thy to their opinions, customs, and even slaves, and gradually not suddenly enprejudices, until they or their children franchised them, after they were pregrow wiser. All men can't be philoso- pared for freedom. Thou knowest how phers.”
dangerous it is to put in the unprac“ Have I not paid them proper re- tised hands of children, a knife, which spect? Have I trespassed upon them ?" yet in skilful hands is a useful instru
“ Certainly, friend, if you will allow ment. What wouldst thou have said, me to say so. While thou opposest thy if one of thy slaves had suddenly own cusioms to the general customs of spoken the truth to his companions the world, thou breakest the peace with concerning the fundamental principles those among whom thou livest, and ac- of human nature, the barbarism and complishest only half the good that thou profligacy of the feudal relation, and mightest do, if indeed the half. Christ the natural equality of men? Would received the customs of Judea, let not the reformer have broken up all himself down even to Judea's prejudi- thy projects ?". ces, in order to work the more power Certainly, Norbert; but the examfully. What is the object of thy lu- ple does not go against me for what I dicrous address? What matters it have done. I have never spoken whether we wear a stiff cue or shorn against the existing order, even when pate, a beard or a smooth chin? Thou it was bad, though I have rendered knowest the meaning of sie in German, unto God the things which were God's, and of vous in French; well, I grant, it and unto Cæsar the things which were is silly to speak of a single person in Cæsar's. I have spoken only against
existing fooleries and prejudices; for of all thy questions it is the most against your foreign airs, against your important. First, consider my right as masquerades and hypocritical compli- a man, that I dare, within my own ments, against your unnatural indul- house, on my own grounds, according gences, against your effeminate disfi- to my own better convictions, eat, guration of yourselves by foreign fash- drink, dress, speak and act as I please, ions, against your conceptions of honor if I trespass upon no other's right. and shame, of worth and reward, and Then again, I find the follies, the imonly in the way of a defence for my pertinences, the artifices, and affectaperson, when you Europeans would tions of modern European human naurge me to abandon my return to rea- ture, which has been culled out of the son, and would force me to be pleased refuse of ancient barbarism, ludicrous, with your perversity, to desert nature." shameful, unnatural and mean,—why
“But, friend Olivier, your notions of should I, with all my inclinations, with standing armies, of hereditary nobility, my vocation, with my obligations to of the rights of subjugated nations, of truth and justice, not make use of my the
right? Should the sailor, whom the “Ah, ha! Norbert, these sentiments wild Indians should set down to a are generally recognized in Europe as banquet of human flesh, overcome his dead truths. They are spoken of in horror and adopt the terrible custom, essays and theories, but not in practice. lest the Indians should laugh at him? I have nothing against those that do So much, Norbert, as to what immeit. I myself, were I a prince or minis- diately and only concerns myself.” ter, unless I had a philosophical peo Here Olivier remained silent as if ple, would take great care how I at- awaiting an answer, but soon contitempted to organize a Plato's Repub- nued. “Besides, Norbert, recall the lic. I have only uttered my senti. Fragment from the Voyage of Pythias, ments in the company of my friends and thy own confession as to the truth and equals, and not preached them to which strikes, and that which does not the multitude to raise a revolution. I strike. Thou thyself hast granted, have done what millions are doing at that human society has departed very this time both in writing and oral con- far from the dictates of paiure. You versation. You must cut off half the all acknowledge, that there is infinitely heads of populous Europe if you too much to endure; for the violations would prevent such matters from being of the eternal laws of God carry with thought of and talked about.” them the punishment of the transgres
“Let us leave that ;—understand me, sor. None of you will deny, that your I wish to reconcile you to the world. whole civil and domestic state, your A little sacrifice from thee, a little com- constitution, customs, and manner of pliance with unimportant externals, life, are at best but a persevering reand believe me, they would forgive thy sistance to nature. But which of you opinions, and even thy paradoxes.” has heroism of understanding enough
“ Thou requirest a little sacrifice to return to the simple, eternal order of from me; thou askest as a small mat- God? In this you fail; but to me, it ter, nothing less than that I should is nothing new. It is good, that some sacrifice my convictions, my principles, individual, undisturbed by the opiand all the consequent duties. But if I nions and laughter of the great horde, sacrifice my convictions and principles, should bring back an example of goodthat is, my whole being, what am I ness and justice. It is good, that some fit for in the world? How shall I do individual, who will not capitulate or good ?”
make terms with the follies of the “In many ways. See other wise age, should stand out, not to minister men—they accomplish unspeakable to your intercourse, but to make open good without falling out with the war upon it. For, by means of the world. Wherefore canst not thou ? simple teaching of the church, the caWhat canst thou do now, by thy single thedral, and the theatre, by means of example, standing all alone, when all simple philosophy, by the eulogy of thy neighbors are convinced and be- naturalness and truth, nothing is done. lieve, that thy understanding is a little For talk, philosophize, and write for shattered ?"
ever, and your teachers remain for ever “The question serves an answer, the same, and your scholars do not be