Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Colonial Etiquette as Transcribed by Young George Washington

Photo used with permission by Victorian Adventures and taken at Colonial Camp held at Southern Oaks in Fayetteville, GA

Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation
(the original spelling errors are left unchanged)

All are good but here are some of my favorites:
1st Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.
3d Shew Nothing to your Freind that may affright him. (snakes, snails & puppy dog tails)
7th Put not off your Cloths in the presence of Others, nor go out your Chamber half Drest. (This rules out swimsuits doesn't it)
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. (Tsk! Tsk! I can no longer be a lip biter!)
32d: To one that is your equal, or not much inferior you are to give the cheif 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.
47th ...and if you Deliver any thing witty and Pleasent abstain from Laughing there at yourself.
52d In your Apparel be Modest and endeavour to accomodate 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.
72d 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.
73d Think before you Speak pronounce not imperfectly nor bring out your Words too hastily but orderly & distinctly.
74th When Another Speaks be attentive your Self and disturb not the Audience if any hesitate in his Words help him not nor Prompt him without desired, Interrupt him not, nor Answer him till his Speech be ended.
87th Let thy carriage be such as becomes a Man Grave Settled and attentive to that which is spoken. Contradict not at every turn what others Say.
91st Make no Shew of taking great Delight in your Victuals, Feed not with Greediness; cut your Bread with a Knife, lean not on the Table neither find fault with what you Eat.
92d Take no Salt or cut Bread with your Knife Greasy.
94th If you Soak bread in the Sauce let it be no more than what you put in your Mouth at a time and blow not your broth at Table but Stay till Cools of it Self.
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.
105th Be not Angry at Table whatever happens & if you have reason to be so, Shew it not but on a Chearfull Countenance especially if there be Strangers for Good Humour makes one Dish of Meat a Feast.
110th Labour to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Celestial fire Called Conscience.
To read the entirety of the transcription click here.

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