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Westphalian Nobleman Clemens August Droste zu Vischering Provides Instructions on the Duties of his Children's Tutor (1776)

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3. The court tutor must entertain the children innocently and cheerfully during walks and at other times; answer their questions politely and sensibly, and get involved in conversation with them, and, in case they ramble on, guide them back to themselves or else mete out punishment. Incidentally, I am referring to the instruction that I have conveyed to you, the court tutor, last summer in writing, which is intended for diligent re-reading. [ . . . ] For instance, the court tutor must urge the children to practice pure pronunciation, especially in public prayers, and to say them in an edifying way, not rattle them off quickly, nor say the words of benediction without crossing themselves, as happened very often last year during evening prayers, thus setting a bad example.

[ . . . ]

I feel confirmed in these hopes [for improvement], since for the last four weeks I seem to have detected in the court tutor more diligence directed at the children. In particular, I recommend teaching the children the new pronunciation, good posture, and order in the keeping of their personal things, just as I will, as is known, certainly accuse him and hold him responsible for bad habits, if they are to take root with and become permanent in the children. Finally, in this connection, I will not conceal the fact that once more this April, I had to discover with great displeasure proof of the court tutor’s meager concern for the children entrusted to him, when instead of attending after supper to the children, one of whom, Caspar, had a cough, he preferred the company of Mr. Zuckmann and the housekeeper over his foremost duty; incidentally, there is a great difference between adults and children having something wrong with them, in which case even the smallest detail requires attention [ . . . ] and at any rate, interaction with ladies-in-waiting, housekeepers, and servants is not appropriate for a court tutor.

Vorhelm, 4 May 1776
C.A. m. F. h. Droste von Vischering.

Source: From the Diocesan Archive of Münster, Archive Droste-Vischering-Darfeld, Papers of Clemens August Droste zu Vischering, No. 1d.

Reprinted in Jürgen Schlumbohm, ed., Kinderstuben, Wie Kinder zu Bauern, Bürgern, Aristokraten wurden 1700-1850 [Upbringing, How Children Became Farmers, Middle-Class Citizens, and Aristocrats 1700-1850]. Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1983, pp. 186-88.

Translation: Erwin Fink

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