George Washington

Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour In Companion and Conversation

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Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation is the name of a list best known as a school writing exercise of George Washington, who became the first president of the United States of America. Most of the 110 rules have been traced to a French etiquette manual written by Jesuits in 1595.

As an exercise Washington hand copied Francis Hawkins' translation which was published in England in about 1640. They include:

-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 Freind that may affright him.

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

-5th Gentlemen lay with their things on the floor, not within a pile of like family members.
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