Monday, December 29, 2014

Abigail Adams on Self-Reliance

Abigail Adams

In all the letters I have read from the founding generation, no one person exemplifies self-reliance better than perhaps Abigail Adams.  After reading over 900 letters of Abigail to various personalities, particularly John Adams and Mercy Otis Warren, it became clear Mrs. Adams believed that God had blessed America and that Americans ought to consider fending for themselves.  In this excerpt from a letter to John Adams dated 21 September, 1777, she tackles the issue of remaining self-reliant:


"Your observation with regard to Luxery are very just, but trade and commerce will always support it.  The Necessity of times will be a temporary restraint upon it, and put us upon seeking Resources among ourselves."


She then asks:

 "We can live much better than we deserve within ourselves.  Why should we borrow foreign Luxuries.  Why should we wish to bring ruin upon ourselves."


Why indeed?



Read this letter and more here:

 Abigail Adams to John Adams, 21 September 1777,” Founders Online, National Archives ( [last update: 2014-12-01]). Source: The Adams Papers, Adams Family Correspondence, vol. 2, June 1776 – March 1778, ed. L. H. Butterfield. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1963, pp. 346–349.



Friday, December 19, 2014

Abigail Adams on Human Nature

During the Revolutionary Era, not all were on board to fight the British.  Some were called "Loyalists" and rightfully so because they pledged their allegiance to the British Crown.  Yet, even some Patriots questioned the effectiveness of a new government without British control.  In her November 27, 1775 letter to husband and "dear friend" John Adams, Abigail Adams voiced her concerns:


"If a form of Government is to be established here what one will be assumed?  Will it be left to our assemblies to chuse one?  And will not many men have many minds?  And shall we not run into Dissentions among ourselves?"


Here she notes her sentiments about the nature of man.  (Note, it rings similar to James Madison's later pronouncement in The Federalist No. 51 that, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary."):


"I am more and more convinced that Man is a dangerous creature, and that power whether vested in man or a few is ever grasping, and like the grave cries, give, give.  The great fish swallow up the small, and he who is most strenuous for the Rights of the people, when vested with power, is as eager after the perogatives of Government.  You tell me of degrees of perfection to which Human nature is capable of arriving, and I believe it, but at the same time lament that our admiration should arise from the scarcity of the instances."

Check out this letter and more:

Abigail Adams to John Adams, 27 November 1775,” Founders Online, National Archives ( [last update: 2014-12-01]). Source: The Adams Papers, Adams Family Correspondence, vol. 1, December 1761May 1776, ed. Lyman H. Butterfield. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1963, pp. 328–331.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

18th Century Time Capsule

A time capsule buried by Paul Revere and Samuel Adams was discovered this week under a cornerstone in the Massachusetts State House in Boston.  Read the complete exciting story here:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Benjamin Franklin: Passionate Patriot or Spineless Diplomat?

Benjamin Franklin
Looking at Benjamin Franklin's portraits, it may be easy to believe that he was a cool, collected, and suave personality.  After all, he did travel overseas as a diplomat, right?  Franklin was a diplomat indeed, however, he was also passionate and no-nonsense.  Take a look at the following excerpts from a few of his letters:


From Benjamin Franklin to Charles de Weissenstein, Passy, July 1, 1778:


"My Vanity might possibly be flatter'd by your Expressions of Compliment to my Understanding, if your Proposals did not more clearly manifest a mean Opinion of it.  You conjure me in the name of the omniscient and just God, before whom I must appear, and by my hopes of future Fame, to consider if some Expedient cannot be found to put a Stop to the Desolation of America, and prevent the Miseries of a General War.  As I am conscious of having taken every Step in my Power to prevent the Breach, and no one to widen it, I can chearfully appear before that God, fearing nothing from his Justice in this particular, tho' I have much Occasion for his Mercy on many others.  As to my future fame, I am content to rest it on my past and present Conduct, without seeking Addition to it in the crooked dark Paths you propose to me, where I should most certainly lose it.  This your solemn address therefore would have been more properly made to your Sovereign and his venal Parliament.  He and they who wickedly began and madly continue a War for the Desolation of America, are alone accountable for the Consequences."


And there's more to it.  Although the letter was not sent to the intended recipient, suffice it to say Franklin vented wholeheartedly in it. 

On the other hand, this short letter was delivered:


Benjamin Franklin to William Strahan, Philadelphia, July 5, 1775:


"Mr. Strahan,

You are a Member of Parliament, and one of that Majority which has doomed my Country to Destruction.  You have begun to burn our Towns, and murder our People.  Look upon your Hands!  They are stained with the Blood of your Relations!  You and I were long Friends:  You are now my Enemy, and I am, Yours,"


Passionate.  Yes.  Spineless.  No.



You can read Franklin's papers by following the link from my "Resources" page.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Home of General Lew Wallace

General Lew Wallace 


"I would rather write another book than be rich." - Lew Wallace.

Last weekend I visited the home of General Lew Wallace in Crawfordsville, Indiana.  Although the home was closed upon my arrival, I was able to walk around the building and take exterior photographs.  To be sure, Wallace's home is the true crown jewel of this town.  Surrounded by the natural beauty of tall trees and beautifully landscaped grounds, the red building with its unique dome-roof is a magnificent sight to behold.  
Front Gate
Brick Wall Fence around House

Interesting facts to note about Wallace:

In 1846, Wallace served in the Mexican-American War as a young soldier.  Later, he led his troops to military action as a Major General in the Union Army during the Civil War, notably at the battle of Shiloh.  


He is perhaps best remembered as the author of Ben-Hur:  A Tale of the Christ.  Published in 1880, Ben-Hur:  A Tale of Christ was produced as a feature film starring Charleston Heston in 1959 and received several awards.  


To learn more about Lew Wallace please visit:   

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Benjamin Franklin the Diplomat

Benjamin Franklin
As an American ambassador to France, Benjamin Franklin worked diplomatically to garner support for the American fight for freedom from the British.  Franklin was quite finesse with the French; however, diplomacy was sometimes difficult even for this great man.  In 1777, many young and aspiring Frenchmen appealed to Franklin for recommendation letters of introduction to fight in the American Revolution.  Franklin may have been impressed by some but his exasperation with the requests is evident in this letter to a friend dated October, 1777:


"You know, my dear Friend, that I am not capable of refusing you any Thing in my Power, which would be a real Kindness to you or any Friend of yours: But when I am certain that what you request would be directly the contrary, I ought to refuse it."


Here we can see Franklin's diplomacy at play:


"I know that Officers going to America for Employment will probably be disappointed: That our armies are full; that [there] are a Number of Expectants unemployed and starving for want of Subsistence; that my Recommendation will not make Vacancies; nor can it fill them to the prejudice to those who have a better Claim; That some of those Officers I have been prevail’d on to recommend have by their Conduct given no favourable Impression of my Judgment in military Merit: and then the Voyage is long, the Passage very expensive, and the Hazard of being taken and imprison’d by the English very considerable."


Nonetheless, he is acutely aware of his own position and points out:


"Permit me to mention to you that in my Opinion the natural Complacence of this Country often carries People too far in the Article of Recommendations. You give them with too much Facility to Persons of whose real Characters you know nothing, and sometimes at the request of others of whom you know as little. Frequently if a Man has no useful Talents, is good for nothing, and burthensome to his Relations, or is indiscreet, profligate and extravagant, they are glad to get rid of him by sending him to the other End of the World; and for that purpose scruple not to recommend him to those they wish should recommend him to others, as a bon sujet plein de merite, &c. &c. In consequence of my crediting such Recommendations, my own are out of Credit, and I cannot advise any body to have the least Dependance on them."


Towards the end, he adds with frustration that "these Applications are my perpetual Torment" because "You can have no Conception how I am harass’d. All my Friends are sought out and teiz’d to teaze me; Great Officers of all Ranks in all Departments, Ladies great and small, besides profess’d Sollicitors, worry me from Morning to Night. The Noise of Every Coach now that enters my Court terrifies me. I am afraid to accept an Invitation to dine abroad, being almost sure of meeting with some Officer, or Officer’s Friend, who as soon as I am put into good Humour by a glass or two of Champaign begins his Attack upon me."
*From Benjamin Franklin to [Barbeu-Dubourg], [after 2 October? 1777],” Founders Online, National Archives ( [last update: 2014-10-23]). Source: The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, vol. 25, October 1, 1777, through February 28, 1778, ed. William B. Willcox. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1986, pp. 20–22.  Accessed November 12, 2014.

Monday, November 3, 2014

George Rogers Clark Memorial

George Rogers Clark

Recently, I made another excursion to Vincennes, Indiana to visit the memorial dedicated to Colonel George Rogers Clark.  Although not quite as extraordinary as his friend Thomas Jefferson's Memorial in Washington D.C., Clark's Memorial is simple but beautiful.  Surrounded by a small park, the monument reflects a sturdy presence in the area much as the man did for whom it was erected.  Nearby, the Wabash River flows calmly unlike the time when Clark crossed it with his men to capture Fort Sackville from the British during the Revolutionary War.  Overall, the Memorial provides an opportunity to reflect upon another time when a young frontiersman led a small band of men to attack the mightiest power in the world and in the process became the Conqueror of the Old Northwest.  

George Rogers Clark Memorial

George Rogers Clark Memorial Overlooking the Wabash River


Monday, October 20, 2014

E Pluribus Unum

In 1776, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson devised a motto for the first Great Seal of the United States.  Franklin offered a design for the Great Seal as well.  Although the design was rejected, “E Pluribus Unum” a term in Latin which means “Out of Many, One,” became the official United States motto.  It signified the co-operation of the 13 States to form a unified nation.  The first Great Seal was used on all official government documents from 1782 – 1841.

Friday, September 26, 2014

James Madison and the Making of America by Kevin R. C. Gutzman. A Review.

Image Courtesy St. Martin's Press.
“In general, Madison was only human, in that he wanted to have been consistent even when he had not been.”  Kevin R. C. Gutzman.


In James Madison and the Making of America published by St. Martin’s Press (2012), author and historian Kevin R. C. Gutzman energetically debunks the mythical James Madison.  Here, Madison is not the “Father of the Constitution” but a man who felt the Constitution was simply a step above the Articles of the Confederation.  He is not the promoter of the Bill of Rights but a man who found them unnecessary.  He has less faith in the virtue of men and finds them “brutish.”  Indeed, he is not a demi-god but merely a man.

A few important points to note in this book:

·        Madison favors a national government over a federal government.  Unlike his famous friend, Thomas Jefferson, Madison prefers an “energetic government.”  Yet, once the Constitution is ratified, Madison supports the federal government because that is the idea that was "sold" to the People.

·         Madison feels the main purpose of having a Bill of Rights is to “allay the fears of moderate men” but he does “not consider a bill of rights desirable in itself.” 

·         Madison and Alexander Hamilton “jointly” collaborate on The Federalist-that is far from writing them remotely, the two men assist each other in drafting the papers.  (Gutzman dissects Federalist No. 9 and Federalist No. 10 specifically to argue his point). 

·         Madison’s belief in religious freedom is a reflection of his Princeton education where he develops his understanding of human nature and this understanding eventually leads to the creation of the Virginia Statues of Religious Freedom, an important but often overlooked contribution of his political career.  (Notably, Gutzman is not saying that Madison feels government is superior to religion but that Madison finds religion so important that he feels it should be kept separate from government (and the “brutes”) to safeguard its significance).

·         Overshadowed by Thomas Jefferson, Madison is a prime contributor (if not the creator) to the formation of the Republican Party.*  (Gutzman tackles the growing rift between the Federalists and the Republicans, and the Alien and Sedition Laws).

Although not quite a full-fledged biography of our fourth president, the book is essential to understanding Madison’s contributions and accomplishments as a political figure.  Gutzman’s expert knowledge and extensive research play an integral part in the book.  Those looking for a flowery description of Madison’s presence at his wife’s extravagant Washington soirees or his preference in dress may find James Madison and the Making of America challenging but those interested in a serious study of Madison’s complex character and the creation of our Republic will find much to appreciate in this remarkable book.

Gutzman, Kevin R. C.  James Madison and the Making of America.  New York:  St. Martin’s Press, 2012.
*Not today’s GOP.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel by David Limbaugh. A Review.

Image Courtesy Regnery Publishing

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16.

In his latest book, Jesus on Trial:  A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel, released by Regnery Publishing (2014), author David Limbaugh records his personal journey through life as a skeptic to a steadfast believer and now an apologetic for Jesus Christ.  Limbaugh meticulously uses his training as a lawyer to investigate and analyze many of the arguments made by skeptics against Christ.  He tackles Christ’s humanity and divinity, biblical prophecy, pain and suffering, and scientific evidence to make a strong case for Christianity by using his own personal experiences and weaving them with solid research based on historical, scientific, archeological, literary, and theological evidence. 

Limbaugh acknowledges that Jesus on Trial:  A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel covers only a fraction of questions skeptics (and some Christians) have about Christianity but he notes that, “these questions have answers, and in some cases, while they may not wholly satisfy, they will give…a better understanding…that there are plausible explanations….”  Indeed, it is Limbaugh’s focused attention to the specific questions he addresses in his book that encourage further discussion on Christianity between Christians and skeptics alike.  Through it all, he encourages skeptics to study the Bible with an open mind so they too may experience Christ’s saving grace as he did, “…examining the evidence, or reason alone can’t save us.  It can only get us to the point of faith.  In the end, no matter how much our intellect tells us that Christianity’s truth claims are valid, for salvation we must surrender and place our trust in Christ, and that’s a matter of the will, not the intellect.” 

Limbaugh writes purposefully and his strong narrative carries the reader from one page to the next with ease making the book a scholarly, yet, enjoyable read.  The book consists of thirteen chapters and a conclusion with fifty-two pages of invaluable notes for further research and examination.  Although Limbaugh aims his book towards skeptics, it is also an excellent resource for Christians. 

“John 3:16 (Spreading the Word).” In Open Bible  (accessed September 7, 2014).

Limbaugh, David.  Jesus on Trial:  A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel.  Washington D.C.:  Regnery Publishing, 2014.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Thank You and Stay Tuned

To my wonderful readers:

Lately, I have not posted as much on my BLOG because I am working on my book. Writing requires time and attention; this is even truer when working on non-fiction because it entails a thorough research of the subject matter.  I am reading primary sources (and a few secondary sources) from the 18th century many of which also require physical excursions to various locations throughout the country.  In my spare time (if there is such a thing), I am also working on my art.  All of this has made it more difficult to keep up with my BLOG as of late but I hope to return to it more regularly upon the completion of my book...that is until I begin my research for the next book.

I just wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone who has supported me by sticking with me.  I hope you will come back to discover what I am writing about.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Jefferson’s Advice for Good Living

                                                     *Miniature of Thomas Jefferson by John Trumbull. Image courtesy collections.

On February 21, 1825, Thomas Jefferson gave “Counsel to a Namesake.”  Written to Thomas Jefferson Smith, the letter noted A Decalogue of Canons for Observation in Practical Life.  The following is an excerpt:

1.  Never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day.
2.  Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
3.  Never spend your money before you have it.
4.  Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap; it will be dear to you.
5.  Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.
6.  We never repent of having eaten too little.
7.  Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
8.  How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.
9.  Take things always by their smooth handle.

10.  When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, an hundred.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Government of Force or A Government of Laws? by Alexander Hamilton

On August 28, 1794, Alexander Hamilton wrote Tully No. III asking the American People what secured America:

“If it were to be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of security in a Republic?  The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws-the first growing out of the last.”

He indicates that by honoring the Constitution We the People keep “caballers, intriguers, and demagogues…from climbing on the shoulders of faction to the tempting seats of usurpation and tyranny.”

Hamilton then addresses the two forms of government:

“Government is frequently and aptly classed under two descriptions, a government of FORCE and a government of LAWS; the first is the definition of despotism-the last, of liberty.”

Hamilton notes that “those, therefore, who preach doctrines, or set examples, which undermine or subvert the authority of the laws, lead us from freedom to slavery; they incapacitate us for a GOVERNMENT OF LAWS, and consequently prepare the way for one of FORCE, for mankind MUST HAVE GOVERNMENT OF ONE SORT OR ANOTHER.”

Finally, Hamilton agrees that when the Constitution is in jeopardy, the People must act to defend its principles:

“There are indeed great and urgent cases where the bounds of the constitution are manifestly transgressed, or its constitutional authorities are so exercised as to produce unequivocal oppression on the community, and to render resistance justifiable.”

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Laws of Nature by Alexander Hamilton

The Revolutionary Era produced many great writers, among them, a brilliant man named Alexander Hamilton.  In 1774, Hamilton wrote A Full Vindication of the Measures of Congress defending the Congress against attacks led by loyalists.  In this excerpt, Hamilton discusses laws of nature and obligations one society may (or may not) have towards another:

“There is no law, either of nature, or of the civil society in which we live, that obliges us to purchase, and make use of the products and manufactures of a different land, or people.  It is indeed a dictate of humanity to contribute to the support and happiness of our fellow creatures and more especially those who are allied to us by the ties of blood, interest, and mutual protection; but humanity does not require us to sacrifice our own security and welfare to the convenience, or advantage of others.*  Self preservation is the first principle of nature.  When our lives and properties are at stake, it would be foolish and natural to refrain from such measures as might preserve them, because they would be detrimental to others.”

*My emphasis added.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

America's Crisis by Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine, much in favor of America’s break from Great Britain, published his pamphlet Common Sense in January 1776.  A year later, he wrote The Crisis a pamphlet published to boost public morale and re-affirm the necessity for America’s independence from Britain.  In Crisis Number III, published on April 19, 1777, Paine notes:

“ America, till now, could never be called a free country, because her legislation depended on the will of a man three thousand miles distant, whose interest was in opposition to ours, and who, by a single ‘no,’ could forbid what law he pleased.”

What of America today?  Is America’s legislation now depended on the will of a man, perhaps not “three thousand miles distant” but a lot closer to home?  Are his interests in opposition to the interest of the People?  Is he saying “no” to whichever law he pleases?  Is America still the land of the free?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rules of Proper Etiquette Part 5 by George Washington

Resuming this week, Washington's Rules of Proper Etiquette beginning with number 41:

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 y same with a Clown and a Prince

43d  Do not express Joy before one sick or in pain for that contrary Passion will aggravate his Misery.

44th  When a man does all he can though it Succeeds not well blame not him that did it.

45th  Being to advise or reprehend any one, consider whether it ought to be in publick or in Private; presently, or at Some other time in what terms to do it & in reproving Shew no Sign of Cholar but do it with all Sweetness and Mildness

46th  Take all Admonitions thankfully in what Time or Place Soever given but afterwards not being culpable take a Time & Place conveninet to let him him know it that gave them.

47th  Mock not nor Jest at any thing of Importance break no Jest that are Sharp Biting and if you Deliver any thing witty and Pleasent abtain from Laughing thereat yourself.

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

49  Use no Reproachfull Language against any one neither Curse nor Revile

50th  Be not hasty to beleive flying Reports to the Disparagment of any

Monday, June 9, 2014

We the People

Are Americans overreaching their authority for holding our public officials accountable for their actions?  Should Americans simply remain bystanders and allow our “representatives” to do what they deem fit for our country?  George Washington was acutely aware of the sentiments of the People.  In a letter to Benjamin Harrison dated December 18, 1778, Washington expressed his concerns about the political system in America.  The following is an excerpt from the letter where Washington discusses the role of Americans in the nation’s political system: 

 “I think our political system may, be compared to the mechanism of a Clock; and that our conduct should derive a lesson from it for it answers no good purpose to keep the smaller Wheels in order if the greater one which is the support and prime mover of the whole is neglected.”

He addresses the concerns of Americans:

“The Public believes (and if they do believe it, the fact might almost as well be so) that the States at this time are badly represented, and that the great, and important concerns of the nation are horribly conducted, for want either of abilities or application in the Members, or through discord and party views of some individuals….”

Furthermore, he points out the necessity of why Americans should hold officials accountable for their actions:

“A picture of the times, and of Men; from what I have seen, heard, and in part know I should in one word say that idleness, dissipation and extravagance seem to have laid fast hold of most of them.  That Speculation, peculation, and an insatiable thirst for riches seems to have got the better of every other consideration and almost of every order of Men.  That party disputes and personal quarrels are the great business of the day whilst the momentous concerns of an empire, a great and accumulated debt; ruined finances, depreciated money, and want of credit (which in their consequences is the want of every thing)* are but secondary considerations and postponed from day to day, from week to week as if our affairs wore the most promising aspect; after drawings this picture from my Soul I believe to be a true one I need not repeat to you that I am alarmed and wish to see my Countrymen roused.”

Again, Washington insists that Americans must get involved:

“I am afraid even to think of It; but it appears as clear to me as ever the Sun did in its meredian brightness, that America never stood in more eminent need of the wise, patriotic, and Spirited exertions of her Sons than at this period….”

*My emphasis added.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Foreign Policy and National Security by George Washington

The emphasis on globalization may cause people to think that national security and foreign policy are issues relevant only to our world today.  Yet, the “shrinking” of the world is not a recent phenomenon but a challenge that demanded the attention of the founding generation as well.  President George Washington addressed foreign policy and national security challenges throughout his two terms in office as is noted in the following excerpts from his speeches:

“To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” - First Annual Message to Congress Jan 8, 1790.

Again, in his Fifth Annual Message to Congress Dec 3, 1793, Washington emphasizes the same point:

“There is a rank due to the United States among Nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness….If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War.”

Does the US have a sound foreign policy?  What is the US foreign policy?  Is our military still the strongest in the world?  Are we honoring our obligations to our Veterans?  Is the US in the position to maintain peace?  Is our national security sound?   Are the other nations of the world blatantly insulting the US?  Are the other nations of the world growing in power even as our power diminishes?  How close are we today to Washington's idea of protecting our nation?       

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Rules of Proper Etiquette Part 4 by George Washington

The next 10 Rules of Civility Presented by George Washington:

31st  If any one far Surpassess others, either in age, Estate, or Merit yet would give Place to a meander than himself in his own lodging or elsewhere the one ought not to except it, So he on the other part should not use much earnestness nor offer it above once or twice.

32d  To one that is your equal, or not much inferior you are to give the chief Place in your Lodging and he to who ‘tis offered ought at the first to refuse it but at the Second to accept though not without acknowledging his own unworthiness.

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.

34th  It is good Manners to prefer them to whom we Speak before ourselves especially if they be above us with whom in no Sort we ought to begin.

35th  Let your Discourse with Men of Business be Short and Comprehensive.

36th  Artificers & Persons of low Degree ought not to use many ceremonies to Lords, or Others of high Degree but Respect and highly Honour them, and those of high Degree ought to treat them with affability & Courtesie, without Arrogancy

37th  In Speaking to men of Quality do not lean nor Look them full in the Face, nor approach too near them at lest Keep a full Pace from them

38th  In visiting the Sick, do not Presently play the Physician 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.

40th  Undertake not to Teach your equal in the art himself Professes; it Savours of arrogancy

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Rules of Proper Etiquette Part 3 by George Washington

Part 3 from the Rules of Proper Etiquette by George Washington continues:

21st Reproach none for the Infirmities of Nature, nor Delight to Put them that have in mind thereof.

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

26th In Pulling off your Hat to Persons of Distinction, as Noblemen, Justices, Churchmen &c make a Reverence, bowing more or less according to the Custom of the Better Bred, and Quality of the Person.  Amongst your equals expect not always that they Should begin with you first, but to Pull off the Hat when there is no need is Affectation, in the Manner of Saluting and resaluting in words keep to the most usual Custom

27th Tis ill manners to bid one more eminent than yourself be covered as well as not to do it to whom it’s due Likewise he that makes too much haste to Put on his hat does not well, yet he ought to Put it on at the first, or at most the Second time of being ask’d; now what is herein Spoken, of Qualification in behavior in Saluting, ought also to be observed in taking of Place, and Sitting down for ceremonies without Bounds is troublesome

28th If any one come to Speak to you while you are Sitting Stand up tho he be your Inferiour, and when you Present Seats let it be to every one according to his Degree

29th 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

30th IN walking the highest Place in most Countrys Seems to be on the right hand therefore Place yourself on the left of whom you desire to Honour:  but if three walk together the mid Place is the most Honorouable the wall is usually given to the most worthy if two walk together

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Rules of Proper Etiquette Part 2 by George Washington

Continuing this week with George Washington's "Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation."  The following are the next 10 rules from Washington's personal book:

11th  Shift not yourself in the Sight of others nor Gnaw your nails

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

13th  Kill no Vermin as Fleas, lice ticks &c in the Sight of Others, if you See any filth or thick Spittle put your foot Dexteriously upon it if it be upon the Cloths of your Companions, Put it off privately, and if it be upon your own Cloths return Thanks to him who puts it off

14th  Turn not your Back to others especially in Speaking, Jog not the Table or Desk on which Another reads or writes, lean not upon any one

15th  Keep your Nails clean and Short, also your Hands and Teeth Clean yet without Shewing any great Concern for them

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

17th  Be no Flatterer, neither Play with any that delights not to be Play'd Withal.

18th  Read no Letters, Books, or Papers in Company but when there is a Necessity for the doing of it you must ask leave:  come not near the Books or Writings of Another so as to read them unless desired or give your opinion of them unask'd also look not nigh when another is writing a Letter.

19th  let your Countenance be pleasant but in Serious Matters Somewhat grave.

20th  The Gestures of the Body must be Suited to the discourse you are upon.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Rules of Proper Etiquette Part 1 by George Washington

George Washington wrote his Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation as a teenager.  110 rules became part of Washington’s list and helped with the development of America’s greatest Statesman.  The following is a list of the first 10 rules from Washington’s book:

 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 usually Discovered

3d   Shew Nothing to your Friend that may affright him

4   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 handkerchief 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

7th   Put not off your Cloths in the presence of Others, nor go out your Chamber half Drest

8th   At Play and at Fire its Good manners to Give Place to the last Commer, and affect not to Speak Louder than Ordinary

9th   Spit not in the Fire, nor Stoop low before it neither Put your Hands into the Flames to warm them, nor Set your Feet upon the Fire especially if there be meat before it

10th   When you Sit down, Keep your Feet firm and Even, without putting one on the other or Crossing them