Mirror of the Indies

Education and Child-Life,
page 10 of 17

New York schoolmasters were ever as cruel as were those of New England.) A graver matter to honest colonists was his charging a whole beaver-skin too much per quarter to some scholars, and soon he was packed back to Holland. His successor, a young man of twenty-two, who had been tutor to Stuyvesant’s sons, had better luck, better control, and a better academy; and New Amsterdam to “great splendour was attained,” having pupils from other towns and colonies, even from so far away as Virginia.

The relations between church, school, and state were equally close throughout all New Netherland. Thus, in 1661, Governor Stuyvesant recommended Charles De Bevoise as schoolmaster for Brooklyn; and when Domine Henricus Selyns left the Brooklyn church, Schoolmaster De Bevoise was ordered to read prayers and sermons, “to read a postille” every Sabbath until another minister was obtained. He was also a krankebesoecker, or comforter of the sick. Even after the establishment of English rule in the colony, the connection of Dutch church and school was equally close. When Johannis Van Eckellen was engaged by the Consistory of the Dutch church in Flatbush in October, 1682, as a schoolmaster for the town, it was under this extremely interesting and minute contract, which, translated, reads thus:—

ARTICLES OF AGREEMENT made with Johannis Van Eckellen, schoolmaster and clerk of the church at Flatbush.
1st. The school shall begin at eight o’clock in the morning, and go out at eleven o’clock. It shall begin again at one o’clock and end at four o’clock. The bell shall be rung before the school begins.
2nd. When the school opens, one of the children shall read the morning prayer, as it stands in the catechism, and close with the prayer before dinner. In the afternoon it shall begin with the prayer after dinner, and close with the evening prayer. The evening school shall begin with the Lord’s Prayer, and close by singing a Psalm.
3rd. He shall instruct the children in the common prayers and the questions and answers of the catechism, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, to enable them to say their catechism on Sunday afternoons in the church before the afternoon service, otherwise on the Monday following, at which the schoolmaster shall be present. He shall demean himself patient and friendly towards the children in their instruction, and be active and attentive to their improvement.


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