Last week I mentioned briefly the 110 rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation that George Washington copied out by hand into his copybook. I’d like to delve into those rules a little more deeply this week.

These 110 rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation are based on a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595. Presumably they were copied out as part of an exercise in penmanship assigned by young Washington’s schoolmaster. The first English translations of the French rules appeared in 1640, and are ascribed to Francis Hawkins, the 12-year-old son of a doctor. From the Hawkins book the 110 rules copied by Washington were selected, simplified and arranged by some person at present unknown.