George Washingtons Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior: ...And Other Important Writings


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The aphorisms - in all -- Washington collected and lived by! At times offers an unexpected glimpse into colonial American life. Difficult to understand in some areas due to the older style of English. Excerpts : 1. Every action done in company, ought to be with some sign of respect, to those that are present. Show nothing to your friend that may affright him.

Keep your nails clean and short, also your hands and teeth clean yet without showing any great concern for them. Reproach none for the infirmities of nature Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another though he were your enemy. When you see a crime punished, you may be inwardly pleased; but always show pity to the suffering offender.


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Do not laugh too loud or too much at any publick spectacle. Superfluous compliments When you meet with one of greater quality than yourself, stop, and retire especially if it be at a door or any straight place to give way for him to pass.

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In visiting the sick, do not play the physician if you be not knowing therein. Strive not with your superiors in argument, but always submit your judgment to others with modesty. Do not express joy before one sick or in pain for that contrary passion will aggravate his misery. When a man does all he can though it succeeds not well, blame not him that did it.

George Washington's Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior: A Most Merry and Illustrated Edition

Use no reproachfull language against any one; neither curse nor revile. Wear not your clothes foul, ripped or dusty In your apparel be modest and endeavor to accommodate nature, rather than to procure admiration keep to the fashion of your equals such as are civil and orderly with respect to times and places. Let your conversation be without malice or envy A man ought not to value himself of his achievements, or rare qualities of wit; much less of his riches, virtue or kindred.

Be not forward but friendly and courteous Gaze not on the marks or blemishes of others and ask not how they came. Speak not in an unknown tongue in company but in your own language and that as those of quality do and not as the vulgar; sublime matters treat seriously. Undertake not what you cannot perform but be careful to keep your promise.


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Speak not evil of the absent for it is unjust. Let your recreations be manfull not sinfull. Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience. Jul 01, Michelle rated it it was amazing. Originally written in about , good manners never really go out of style do they?

George Washington's Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior: ...And Other Important Writings

Here is the first: 1. This one had my boys laughing: Kill no vermin, or fleas, lice, ticks, etc. Though I'm not sure I agree with the first part, I heartily agree with the latter. Only The best kind of friend and companion will tell you if there is spinach in your teeth or toilet paper on your shoe! Apr 08, Dan rated it it was amazing Shelves: histrevolution-founding , history-united-states. We are told that at age 14, George Washington wrote down rules under the title "Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation. Some, of course, we would consider antiquated, but there are many gems here: Rule 1 - Every action done in company ought to be done with some sign of respect to those that are present;" Rule 6 - Sleep not when others speak, sit not when others stand, speak not when you We are told that at age 14, George Washington wrote down rules under the title "Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation.

Some, of course, we would consider antiquated, but there are many gems here: Rule 1 - Every action done in company ought to be done with some sign of respect to those that are present;" Rule 6 - Sleep not when others speak, sit not when others stand, speak not when you should hold your peace, walk not when others stop; Rule - "labour to keep alive in your breast that little celestial fire called conscience.

Jul 18, Bookworm Amir rated it liked it. Well for me, basic principles what we now call protocol on how to conduct yourself in terms of clothing, eating, behaving, conversing. But truth be told - a lot more people, the public really, should read this. Not everyone has had protocol training. But even so, this is something that we learn, and learn even more throughout our lifetime. And its a set of skills that will stick with you throughout your dealings with other people in whatever way. Manners are but fading - and we need a Well for me, basic principles what we now call protocol on how to conduct yourself in terms of clothing, eating, behaving, conversing.

Manners are but fading - and we need a renaissance. This is one small step to begin with.

I recommend this book for those who wish to be a gentleman. Unless your life says not to, well. Nov 06, Ashley rated it it was ok. Though an interesting look at what constituted proper behavior for upper class men in the 18th century, this edition is not particularly clear on the actual origin of the rules which were not written by Washington, but translated by him. It is unlikely that most people from other walks of life followed these even at the time, which is why the comments in other reviews to the effect that people should follow these more strictly today amuse me a little.

Though yes, there are some very good Though an interesting look at what constituted proper behavior for upper class men in the 18th century, this edition is not particularly clear on the actual origin of the rules which were not written by Washington, but translated by him. Though yes, there are some very good suggestions and much of what is suggested does contribute toward good manners, it's important to remember the cultural milieu of these things. One of the odder aspects is the emphasis on social rank, to include such things as what order a group of people should walk in, and who you can and cannot lodge with, even if the invitation is extended also based on rank.

Though there may be limited situations in which knowing these things might be useful today, I don't know very many people that exceptionally aware of their rank in comparison to others.

- The Washington Post

Some good suggestions, but also many suggestions that, if followed to the letter, would complicate a situation more than help it. So, in my view, it's mostly useful as a historical document that does help to illustrate the path to present-day good manners. It should not, for most people, be a strict rulebook to be taken at face value. More importantly, published editions should offer more analysis of the origins of the rules than this edition seemed to do.

Nov 26, Willow Redd rated it liked it. At the age of 14, George Washington translated and copied down a list of French maxims on civility and decent behavior. Reading these, I'm willing to bet that Washington would be appalled at the current state of civility in the world, but then, I'm sure there were also plenty of people in his own time that appalled him if he truly believed and followed all of these rules. I think my favorite of the bunch is number "Shake not the head, feet, or legs; roll not the eyes; lift not one eyebrow At the age of 14, George Washington translated and copied down a list of French maxims on civility and decent behavior.

I think my favorite of the bunch is number "Shake not the head, feet, or legs; roll not the eyes; lift not one eyebrow higher than the other; wry not the mouth; and bedew no man's face with your spittle by approaching too near him when you speak. Second, we really should use the word "bedew" more often these days. President Bartlett is seen reading the book at one point and explains to his aide Charlie how the book came to be.

Then he calls Washington a "poncy little twerp" after reading one of the maxims the 2nd one, I believe. I'm too tired to Google it right now. The quote from Bartlett could be off as well, but he definitely calls George "poncy". Jun 21, Joshua rated it really liked it Recommends it for: any interested in rules of civility. Supposedly written by Washington in his youth, it is said that he based it on rules of etiquette written by French Jesuit monks in the 15th century. Some of the language is a little tough to understand and some of the rules are antiquated.

All in all though, a very good reference book for how to act appropriately in a variety of different situations. He has stuff like, and I paraphrase: "Don't laugh at your own jokes", "Don't ask about someone's personal business" and "Don't talk poorly of Supposedly written by Washington in his youth, it is said that he based it on rules of etiquette written by French Jesuit monks in the 15th century.

He has stuff like, and I paraphrase: "Don't laugh at your own jokes", "Don't ask about someone's personal business" and "Don't talk poorly of someone who is not present". Good stuff.

George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior

Dec 12, Gerald rated it liked it Shelves: , common-sense. I recently received this little book from a friend written by my relative -- not long ago I discovered that President George Washington was my 3 cousin, 6 times removed.


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The Rules which are set forth in this little page book are interesting but understandably written in what from today's point of view is very archaic language. Almost all of Washington's Rules are what would generally be considered common sense. An example of both the archaic language and common sense to which I refer is I recently received this little book from a friend written by my relative -- not long ago I discovered that President George Washington was my 3 cousin, 6 times removed.

An example of both the archaic language and common sense to which I refer is Rule "Be not apt to relate news if you know not the truth thereof. In discoursing of things, name not your author; always a secret discover not. Neither put your hands into the flames to warm them, nor set your feet upon the fire, especially if there be meat before it. Feb 14, Steve Scott rated it it was amazing.

They suggested I compare the two.

George Washingtons Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior: ...And Other Important Writings George Washingtons Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior: ...And Other Important Writings
George Washingtons Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior: ...And Other Important Writings George Washingtons Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior: ...And Other Important Writings
George Washingtons Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior: ...And Other Important Writings George Washingtons Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior: ...And Other Important Writings
George Washingtons Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior: ...And Other Important Writings George Washingtons Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior: ...And Other Important Writings
George Washingtons Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior: ...And Other Important Writings George Washingtons Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior: ...And Other Important Writings
George Washingtons Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior: ...And Other Important Writings George Washingtons Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior: ...And Other Important Writings
George Washingtons Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior: ...And Other Important Writings George Washingtons Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior: ...And Other Important Writings

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