Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Education - in the 18thCentury

In the Library of Congress there are two volumes of school exercises. One dealing with mathematics exhibits a wide range with sureness, accuracy and clearness. Few college graduates today become so well trained in that subject. The problems in surveying show that at sixteen years of age this young man was fitted to earn his living in this field.

These books belonged to the young teen-aged George Washington.

The second book begins with legal forms such as every planter should know, some poetry, and "The Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation".
In the latter those maxims had their origin in France. Later in England additions were made concerning dining.

No, I won't list all 110, but here's a taste of the manners important at that time.
#6- Sleep not when others Speak, Sit not when others Stand, Speak not when you should hold your peace, Walk not when others stop.

#54 covers Vanity - Play not the peacock, looking everywhere about you, to See if you be well deck't, if your shoes fit well if your stockings sit neatly and clothes handsomely.

You know there are some that should be as important to us today as they were to Washington in the 18th century.
#56 Associate yourself with Men of good Quality if you esteem your own Reputation, for 'tis better to be alone than in bad company.
#109 Let your Recreations be Manfull not Sinfull
#110 Labouur to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Celestial fire called Conscience.