On President’s Day we remember all our past Presidents, but I still like to honor our first President and his humility, character and wisdom which he brought to public service at a critical time in our history.
When he was about fourteen years old, young George Washington hand wrote the 110 Rules of Civility in his school book. The rules originated in France in the 16th century and were widely circulated in the American colonies during Washington’s youth. Historians believe these tenets influenced the development of Washington’s character for his lifetime.
Here are just a few for your reading enjoyment on this President’s Day. I have copied them as written in Washington’s school book including any misspellings.
Rule 1 - Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.
Rule 5 - 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.
Rule 6 - Sleep not when others Speak, Sit not when others stand, Speak not when you Should hold your Peace, walk not on when others Stop.
Rule 18 - 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.
Rule 22 - Shew not yourself glad at the Misfortune of another though he were your enemy.
Rule 40 - Strive not with your Superiers in argument, but always Submit your Judgment to others with Modesty.
Rule 48 - Wherein you reprove Another be unblameable yourself; for example is more prevalent than Precepts.
Rule 56 - Associate yourself with Men of good Quality if you Esteem your own Reputation; for 'tis better to be alone than in bad Company.
Rule 58 - Let your Conversation be without Malice or Envy, for 'tis a Sig[n o]f a Tractable and Commendable Nature: And in all Causes of Passion [ad]mit Reason to Govern.