Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Call for Some Old-Fashioned Civility, Just Like Washington's

Soap Ad from 1895

   Not Washington D.C., mind you... but George Washington.  He wrote a book with numerous "Rules of Civility" before the age of 16.  These rules are based on a set composed in 1595, by French Jesuits. The first English translation of the French rules appeared in 1640.  Those are ascribed to a 12 year old, Francis Hawkins, who was the son of a doctor.

  It is presumed that they were copied out by Washington, as part of a school exercise.  The spelling is his own, but these are some of the 110 "Rules":

"Wherein wherein you reprove Another be unblameable yourself; for example is more prevalent than Precepts."  George Washington


George Washington as Depicted at 19 Years Old
1st Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.

2d When in Company, put not your Hands to any Part of the Body, not usualy Discovered.

4th In the Presence of Others Sing not to yourself with a humming Noise, nor Drum with your Fingers or Feet.

5th If You Cough, Sneeze, Sigh, or Yawn, do it not Loud but Privately; and Speak not in your Yawning, but put Your handkercheif or Hand before your face and turn aside.

6th Sleep not when others Speak, Sit not when others stand, Speak not when you Should hold your Peace, walk not on when others Stop.

12th Shake not the head, Feet, or Legs rowl not the Eys lift not one eyebrow higher than the other wry not the mouth, and bedew no mans face with your Spittle, by approaching too near him when you Speak.

16th Do not Puff up the Cheeks, Loll not out the tongue rub the Hands, or beard, thrust out the lips, or bite them or keep the Lips too open or too Close.

22d Shew not yourself glad at the Misfortune of another though he were your enemy.

23d When you see a Crime punished, you may be inwardly Pleased; but always shew Pity to the Suffering Offender.

24th Do not laugh too loud or too much at any Publick Spectacle.

25th Superfluous Complements and all Affectation of Ceremonie are to be avoided, yet where due they are not to be Neglected.

33d They that are in Dignity or in office have in all places Preceedency but whilst they are Young they ought to respect those that are their equals in Birth or other Qualitys, though they have no Publick charge.

38th In visiting the Sick, do not Presently play the Physicion if you be not Knowing therein.

39th In writing or Speaking, give to every Person his due Title According to his Degree & the Custom of the Place.

41st Undertake not to Teach your equal in the art himself Proffesses; it Savours of arrogancy.

42d Let thy ceremonies in Courtesie be proper to the Dignity of his place with whom thou conversest for it is absurd to act the same with a Clown and a Prince.

48th Wherein wherein you reprove Another be unblameable yourself; for example is more prevalent than Precepts.

54th Play not the Peacock, looking every where about you, to See if you be well Deck't, if your Shoes fit well if your Stokings sit neatly, and Cloths handsomely.

56th Associate yourself with Men of good Quality if you Esteem your own Reputation; for 'tis better to be alone than in bad Company.

67th Detract not from others neither be excessive in Commanding.

81st Be not Curious to Know the Affairs of Others neither approach those that Speak in Private.

82d undertake not what you cannot perform but be carefull to keep your promise.

97th Put not another bit into your Mouth til the former be Swallowed let not your Morsels be too big for the Gowls.

98th Drink not nor talk with your mouth full neither Gaze about you while you are a Drinking.

99th Drink not too leisurely nor yet too hastily. Before and after Drinking wipe your Lips breath not then or Ever with too Great a Noise, for its uncivil.

100th Cleanse not your teeth with the Table Cloth Napkin Fork or Knife but if Others do it let it be done wt. a Pick Tooth.

101st Rince not your Mouth in the Presence of Others.

108th When you Speak of God or his Atributes, let it be Seriously & wt. Reverence. Honour & Obey your Natural Parents altho they be Poor.

My favorite is this last;
110th Labour to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Celestial fire Called Conscience.

1 comment:

  1. Love the old advertisement. And all of the old manners, that are still very good today! Even with the odd spellings :)

    ReplyDelete