George Washington's Rules of Civility

As a young schoolboy, George Washington wrote down over 100 "rules of civility" in a page of his notebook. The notebook is on display in the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. This is a photo of the original document.

Because these rules were written over 200 years ago, the written and spoken language was different from today. Here are ten of George Washington's Rules of Civility. Rewrite them in your own words, correcting for spelling, capitalization, and punctuation using today's grammar rules. Use a dictionary to help you with spelling and meanings of words that you are not sure of.

1. Every Action done in Company, ought to be with
Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.

2. Shew Nothing to your Freind that may affright

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

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. Shew not yourself glad at the Misfortune of another
though he were your enemy.

7. Do not laugh too loud or too much at any Publick

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

9. Use no Reproachfull Language against any one
neither Curse nor Revile.

10. Be not hasty to beleive flying Reports to the
Disparagement of any.

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George Washington's Rules of Civility