system of Pestalozzi had been taught and the practice of the art had been illustrated to thousands of students in the Normal Schools and teachers in the Teachers' Institutes in the State of Massachusetts.
Of the system of Pestalozzi everything was then known that is now known, although the application of the system may have been improved in these thirty years.
Much credit is due to Dr. Sheldon, the founder of the Oswego School, but it is manifest that in 1859 he was ignorant of the educational condition of the country, and consequently he sent across the Atlantic for information which he could have obtained in New England.
As to the system of Pestalozzi there was nothing new but the system. The mode of teaching had been exhibited occasionally and unsystematically through many long years. In my boyhood, in the thirties, the scholars in a country village school were trained in the science of astronomy by outdoor lessons in clear evenings and with the aid of a celestial globe. In Morse's Geography, published in the last century and prepared by the father of the inventor of the telegraph, physical geography is made the primary fact of the study, thus anticipating Guyot, whose system was based on the teachings of Pestalozzi.
The opening questions of Colburn's Mental Arithmetic, "How many thumbs have you on your right hand? How many on your left hand? How many on both hands together?" contain and express the rudimental truths of the Pestalozzian system.
In one particular Pestalozzi stands with Bacon: Pestalozzi did not discover a new method of teaching. Bacon did not discover a new method of reasoning. Each systematized a desultory but long-existing practice.