Author Topic: Context  (Read 7026 times)

Jeff L Headley

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Context
« on: December 09, 2009, 10:26:38 PM »
From Speeches and Letters   George Washington
FROM A MANUSCRIPT BOOK KEPT BY WASHINGTON WHEN HE WAS A BOY
Rules Of Conduct
1 Every action in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those present.

2 In the presence of others sing not to yourself with a humming voice, nor drum with your fingers or feet.

3 Sleep not when others speak, sit not when others stand, speak not when you should hold your peace, walk not when others stop.

4 Turn not your back to others, especially in speaking: jog not the table or desk on which another reads or writes; lean not on any one.

5 Be no flatterer; neither play with any one that delights not to be played with.

6 Read no letters, books, or papers in company; but when there is a necessity doing it you must ask leave. Come not near the books or writings of any one so as to read them, unless desired, nor give your opinion of them unasked; also, look nigh when another is wrtiting a letter.

7  Let your countenance be pleasent, but in serious matters somewhat grave.

8 Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another, though he were your enemy.

9 When you meet with one of greater quality than yourself, stop and retire, espcially if it be at a door or any strait place, to give way for him to pass.

10 They that are in dignity, or in office, have  in all precedency; but whist they are young they ought to respect those that are their equals in birth or other qualities, though they have no public charge.


The first ten of 57 

John Grandestaff

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Re: Context
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2009, 08:57:24 AM »
was it a g&t night?

Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.

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Re: Context
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2009, 10:41:32 AM »
what is "g&t".

Dennis Bork
Professional period furniture maker since 1985.  Received a B.S. degree in physics then apprenticed and worked as a wood patternmaker for 12 years. Retired Dec. 2018.

MikeWenzloff

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Re: Context
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2009, 10:57:08 AM »
Gin and tonic = G&T...

Gotta say, around here of late it would more likely be some warmed Schnaaps or brandy. Kind of cold for an ice-based drink...

Thanks for the first installment, Jeff.

Take care, Mike

Jeff L Headley

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Re: Context
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2009, 06:41:08 PM »
I just thought these might be of interset on a cold fall evening

11 It is good manners to prefer them to whom we speak before ourselves, especially if they be above us, with whom in no sort we ought to begin.

12 Let your discourse with men of business be short and comprehensive.

13 In visiting the sick, do not presently play the physician if you be not knowing therein.

14 In writing, or speaking, give to every person his due title, according to his degree and the custom of his place.

15 Strive not with your superiors in argument, but always submit your judgement to others with modesty.

16 Undertake not to teach your equal in the art himself professes: it savors of arrogancy.

17 When a man does all he can, though it succeeds not well, blame not him that did it.

18 Being to advise, or reprehend any one, consider whether it ought to be in public or in private, presently or at some other time, and in what terms to do it; and in reproving show no signs of choler, but do it with sweetness and mildness.

19 Take all admonitions thankfully, in what time or place soever given; but afterwards, not being culpable, take a time and place convenient to let him know it that gave them.

20 Mock not, nor jest at anything of importance; break no jests that are sharp-biting, and if you deliver anything witty and pleasent, abstain from laughing thereat yourself

John Grandestaff

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Re: Context
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2009, 05:27:38 AM »
Sorry Jeff. The g&t comment was a failing attempt at comedy, I guess I should pay attention to what you have posted especially #14.

bmaus

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Re: Context
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2009, 08:07:29 AM »
We probably are getting away from the intent of this forum, however, since the cat is out of the bag. I don't think I appreciated Washington enough until new biographies of him were published in the last few years.
Also a book "Washington's Crossing" was published around 10 years ago. About the Revolutionary War and Washington's role. Why the man did not pack his bag and go home after all the setbacks is a miracle.
Would recommend it highly for history buffs.

Bob

Jeff L Headley

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Re: Context
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2009, 10:19:25 PM »
John, That's not a problem it actually wasn't a G&T that time.  
I, in posting these thoughts, thought that they might be relevent as to the mind set of the individuals from which we are all so inspired by as to copy their furnishings. I also thought that they might be relevent today as well. So nothing ventured nothing gained.
Washington's first political post was for Fredrick County, Virginia, which Clarke county( where we operate our business) was part of. Winchester, in Fredrick county, was a hub for western expantion. A truly overlooked area of furniture expertise. As many generations of cabinetmakers as found in Newport and other areas.  
« Last Edit: December 11, 2009, 10:21:24 PM by Jeff L Headley »

gvforster

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Re: Context
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2009, 11:19:43 AM »
If we made a habit of re-reading these "points" often and adhering to them, "the world " could "be a better place".

For myself, and I venture many others here, interest in furniture from the 18th-19thc is a combination of admiration of  both the quality of the pieces and of the times and people. Contributions enriching our knowledge of the period certainly should be welcome in this forum.

My appreciation of Shenandoah Valley furniture  continues to grow  the more I see of it. Perhaps its time for a masterful publication  similar to Biven's "The Furniture of Coastal North Carolina, 1700-1820".

Several years back a massive effort to collect and publish all of the George Washington letters/documents: both from and to Washington.
These papers had been dispersed around the world in the 250+ years from his birth. This effort is still underway, with publication about 2/3 finished and the completed set estimated at about 90 volumes. This has lead to a resurgence of biographies on G. Washington over the last 10 years.

Jeff L Headley

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Re: Context
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2009, 11:41:07 PM »
Just for interest.
21 Wherein you reprove another be unblamable yourself; for example is more prevalent than precepts.
22 Use no reproachful language against any one, neither curse nor revile.
23 Be not hasty to believe flying reports to the disparagement of any.
24 In your apparel be modest, and endeavor to accommodate 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.
25 Play not the peacock, looking everywhere about you to see if you be well decked, if your shoes fit well, if your stockings sit neatly, and clothes handsomely.

Jeff L Headley

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Re: Context
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2009, 10:55:58 PM »
Holiday cheer.
26 Associate yourself with men of good quality, if you esteem your own reputation, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.
27 Let your conversation be without malice or envy, for it is a sign of a tractable and commendable nature; and in all causes of passion, admit reason to govern.
28 Be not immodest in urging your friend to discover a secret.
29 Utter not base and frivolous things among grave and learned men; nor very difficult questions or subjects  among the ignorant; nor things hard to be believed.
30 Speak not of doleful things in time of mirth, nor at the table; speak not of melancholy things, as death, and wounds, and if others mention them, change, if you can, the discourse. Tell not your dreams, but to your intimate friend.

Jeff L Headley

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Re: Context
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2010, 12:05:56 AM »
Happy belated New Year to all and best wishes for 2010,
31 Break not a jest where none take pleasure in mirth; laugh not aloud, nor at all without occasion. Deride no man's misfortune, though there seems to be some cause.
32 Speak not injurious words neither in jest nor earnest; scoff at none although they give occasion.
33 Be not forward, but friendly and courteous; the first to salute, hear, and answer; and be not pensive when it is a time to converse.
34 Detract not from others, neither be excessive in commending.
35 Go not thither where you know not whether you shall be welcome or not, Give not advice without being asked, and when desired, do it briefly.

Jeff L Headley

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Re: Context
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2010, 10:20:39 PM »
What is next?
36 If two contend together, take not the part of other either unconstrained, and be not obstinate in your opinion; in things indifferent be of the major side.
37 Reprehend not the imperfections of others, for that belongs to parents, masters, and superiors.
38 Gaze not on the marks or blemishes of others, and ask not how they came. What you may speak in secert to your friend, deliver not before others.
39 Speak not in an unknown tounge in company, but in your own language, and that of those of quality do and not as the vulgar; sublime matters treat seriously.
40 Think before you speak; pronounce not imperfectly, nor bring out your words too hastily, but orderly and distinctly.
I do hope someone finds interest in these!

Adam Cherubini

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Re: Context
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2010, 10:02:07 AM »
Did anybody else look up the origin of these?  They are based on the writings of French Jesuits from 1595.  I find that a bit ironic.

I agree it's a fascinating read.  I'm struck by the egalitarian nature of it. I think GW is probably the worst person to examine to help put the 18th c in context, precisely because he was so ahead of his time, especially socially.  I'm guessing where Jeff is coming from is that we can see the 18th c in the contrast, like you can sometimes see the shape of a bird in the negative space between the splat and rear leg of a Queen Anne chair. 

The context of 18th c furniture (in my mind) is the quickly fraying edge of a strict social class system.  Fine furniture was used as a vehicle to ensure social ascension in a world where social rank mattered. 

Social rank seemed to matter less to GW, which is just one more reason to idolize the man.  Imagine being offered Emperor or King status and turning it down!  Revolutionary leaders rarely (or ever) give up control of their conquered lands.

#37, reprehend not the imperfections of others... (sounds like a bible verse to me)- One can only assume George thought about this one precisely because folks did this.  And you gotta think sometimes folks were dressed down for what they wore, how they served their meals, etc etc.  Furniture was a big part of this. 

Helpful to look at the less exhalted.  Folks like privateer, owner of Mt. Pleasant, James MacPherson.  He took a good prize and decided he was a gentleman.  So he spent a fortune building and furnishing Mount Pleasant.  David Deshler built a country house out on the main line, moved his old furniture out there and re-did his rity rittenhouse property.  I copied one of the very ornate chairs he bought for it last year.  These guys were really relying on their furniture to proclaim (or achieve) their social rank.  Having just the right pieces, carved with foreign motifs perhaps, was important to them.  It enabled them to be accepted in certain circles etc etc. 

In my social class, cars and lawns seem to be status symbols.  Maybe if you have really nice versions of both you would get into country clubs.  Otherwise, neither seems to matter much to me.  I suspect there are many folks like me.  So all this talk of social classes seems foreign or unlikely.  So I appreciate you adding these in, Jeff.

Adam 

awleonard

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Re: Context
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2010, 03:14:53 PM »
Maybe you should move down yonder where our class is measured by the cars IN the lawns!!!

Tony