Brain Pickings Icon
Brain Pickings

Page 609

Scandal, Censorship, Science: How Darwin Shaped Our Understanding of Why Language Exists

What The Origin of Species and the love of dogs reveal about comprehension and cognition.

“Words belong to each other,” Virginia Woolf memorably proclaimed in the only surviving recording of her voice. But even in this beautifully aphoristic observation lies an unsolvable chicken-or-egg mystery: Where did words come from in the first place?

Charles Darwinman of routine, graphic novel hero, upbeat evaluator of marriage, occasional grump, poetry muse, rap muse, frequent literary jukeboxer — may have carved his place in history as the father of evolutionary theory, but he also demonstrated that science and the humanities need each other as he made major contributions to our understanding of why language emerged and how it shaped the course of our species.

In The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language (public library) — the fascinating chronicle of two intertwined stories, of how language evolved long ago and of what spurred a handful of modern scientists, including Darwin, to explore that mystery at the specific time they did — science writer Christine Kenneally traces Darwin’s linguistic legacy:

Although Darwin mentioned language very little in On the Origin of Species, the book is a keystone for every discussion about language evolution that has followed it. In fact, all debate about who we are and how we came to be on this planet can be divided into conversations that took place before the publication of Origin and those that have taken place after it. Origin was printed six times during Darwin’s lifetime, and many times since. Not only did it introduce the concept of evolution … but it initiated the modern study of evolutionary biology. The flow of books published about Darwin every year seems endless.

Darwin focused more on language in The Descent of Man (1871) than in Origin. Language was not a conscious invention, he said, but “it has been slowly and unconsciously developed by many steps.” At the same time, he noted, humans don’t speak unless they are taught to do so … because language is “not a true instinct.”

Darwin believed that language was half art, half instinct, and he made the case that using sound to express thoughts and be understood by others was not an activity unique to humans. He cited the examples of monkeys that uttered at least six different cries, of dogs that barked in four or five different tones, and of domesticated fowl that had “at least a dozen significant sounds.” He noted that parrots can sound exactly like humans and described a South American parrot that was the only living creature that could utter the words of an extinct tribe. Darwin included gesture and facial expressions under the rubric of language: “The movements of the features and gestures of monkeys are understood by us, and they partly understand ours.”

In fact, the father of evolution, known for his experiments on emotional expression in humans and animals, was also one of history’s most significant dog-lovers and, at a time when the question of what it means to be human stripped most other sentient beings of comprehension and cognition, he believed dogs were capable of both:

“As everyone knows,” he wrote, “dogs understand many words and sentences.” He likened them to small babies who comprehend a great deal of speech but can’t utter it themselves. Darwin quoted his fellow scholar Leslie Stephen: “A dog frames a general concept of cats or sheep, and knows the corresponding words as well as a philosopher [does].”

He also explored the question of why birds sing with a surprisingly humanistic lens:

Darwin also pointed out compelling parallels between human language and birdsong. All birds, like all humans, utter spontaneous cries of emotion that are very similar. And both also learn how to arrange sound in particular ways from their parents. “The instinctive tendency to acquire an art,” said Darwin, “is not peculiar to man.”

What set us apart from animals, he argued, was a matter of degree, not kind — a greater ability to produce sounds and ideas, an expression of our higher mental powers. Where humans differ from other animals, Darwin believed, is simply in our greater capacity to put together sounds with ideas, which is a function of our higher mental powers.

But as the era’s linguists enthusiastically embraced the perfect parallel biological evolution offered a for the emergence of language, they remained skeptical about how scientific a problem speculating about the origin of language was and were thus ambivalent about adopting Darwin’s theory as fact. Perhaps ironically, given we now know that ignorance is what drives rather than hinders science and Richard Feynman has wisely advised that allowing for uncertainty and doubt is scientists’ chief responsibility, this inability to remain speculative resulted in one of the most profound instances of censorship in scientific history:

The distaste for speculation about language origins culminated in an extraordinary move by the Société de Linguistique of Paris in the nineteenth century: it banned any discussion of the subject, even though it was attracting more and more attention. Its pronouncement read: “The Society will accept no communication concerning either the origin of language or the creation of a universal language.” In 1872 the London Philological Society followed suit.

This act of academic censorship, Kenneally writes, had strikingly enduring consequences. It wasn’t until nearly a century later that a handful of modern linguistic heroes — scientists like Noam Chomsky and Stephen Pinker — picked up the vetoed inquiry, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language, which is spectacularly stimulating, goes on to explore the enduring mystery of how our vehicle of communication evolved. Kenneally frames the journey with precisely the blend of poetic reflection and rigorous scientific inquiry that underpins the fascinating story she unravels:

For all its power to wound and seduce, speech is our most ephemeral creation; it is little more than air. It exits the body as a series of puffs and dissipates quickly into the atmosphere.


Only very recently have scientists begun to work out how language evolved. But in the same way that no single fossil can provide an answer, no one researcher can solve this problem, which is fundamentally awesome and multifaceted. There will be no Einstein of linguistic evolution, no single grand theory of the emergence of language. Unearthing the earliest origins of words and sentences requires the combined knowledge of half a dozen different disciplines, hundreds of intelligent, dedicated researchers, and a handful of visionary individuals. Finding out how language started requires technology that was invented last week and experiments that were conducted yesterday. It also needs simple basic experiments that have never been done before.


Happy Birthday, Jean-Jacques Rousseau: 21 Essential Reads on Education

Bertrand Russell, Richard Feynman, Susan Sontag, Noam Chomsky, Isaac Asimov, Kio Stark, and more.

After previously requested reading lists like famous writers’ collected advice on writing, the best books of 2012, and history’s finest letters of fatherly advice, here is another omnibus of popular demand: 21 great reads on education from the Brain Pickings archives, to commemorate the birthday of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (June 28, 1712–July 2, 1778), whose reverberating wisdom shaped modern thinking on education.

  1. Don’t Go Back to School: How to Fuel the Internal Engine of Learning
    “When you step away from the prepackaged structure of traditional education, you’ll discover that there are many more ways to learn outside school than within.”
  2. Bertrand Russell on Education and the Good Life
    On the art of acquiring “a high degree of intellectual culture without emotional atrophy.”
  3. How to Save Science: Education, the Gender Gap, and the Next Generation of Creative Thinkers
    “The skills of the 21st century need us to create scholars who can link the unlinkable.”
  4. Richard Feynman On The One Sentence To Be Passed On To The Next Generation
    “In that one sentence, you will see, there is an enormous amount of information about the world, if just a little imagination and thinking are applied.”
  5. Henry Miller on Reading, Influence, and What’s Wrong with Education
    “Our whole theory of education is based on the absurd notion that we must learn to swim on land before tackling the water. It applies to the pursuit of the arts as well as to the pursuit of…
  6. Alain de Botton on What Education and the Arts Can Learn from Faith
    How to glean secular models for engagement and inspiration from religious rituals.
  7. 14 Ways to Acquire Knowledge: A Timeless Guide from 1936
    “Write! Writing, to knowledge, is a certified check.”
  8. Sister Corita Kent’s Timeless Rules for Learning and Life, Hand-Lettered by Lisa Congdon
    “It’s the people who do all of the work all the time who eventually catch on to things.”
  9. The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge
    “The real enemy is the man who tries to mold the human spirit so that it will not dare to spread its wings.”
  10. How Children Learn: Portraits of Classrooms Around the World
    A revealing lens on a system-phenomenon both global in reach and strikingly local in degree of diversity.
  11. Neil deGrasse Tyson on Scientific Literacy, Education, and the Poetry of the Cosmos
    “Science is a way of equipping yourself with the tools to interpret what happens in front of you.”
  12. Bertrand Russell on the 10 Commandments of Teaching
    “Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”
  13. Frank Lloyd Wright on Education and Learning
    “You have to go wholeheartedly into anything in order to achieve anything worth having.”
  14. Noam Chomsky on the Purpose of Education
    On the value of cultivating the capacity to seek the significant.
  15. Susan Sontag’s Radical Vision for Remixing Education
    A new order of knowledge for cultivating lifelong learning.
  16. Learners Will Inherit the Earth: Alistair Smith on Fixing Education
    How to get unstuck, or why being a learner is infinitely better than being a knower.
  17. A New Culture of Learning: Rethinking Education
    The evolution of education, particularly as filtered through the prism of emerging technology and new media, is something we’re keenly interested in and something of increasing importance to society…
  18. How Geography Paved the Way for Women in Science and Cultivated the Values of American Democracy
    From the ideals of “republican motherhood” to a cure for “the wayward attention of children.”
  19. Isaac Asimov on Science and Creativity in Education
    What vintage science fiction has to do with the future of self-directed learning.
  20. Sir Ken Robinson on How Finding Your Element Changes Everything
    What knowing the limits of knowledge has to do with finding the frontiers of creativity.
  21. 7 Nonfiction Children’s Books Blending Whimsy and Education
    From typography to tsunamis by way of quantum physics, or what Langston Hughes has to do with LEGO.

Complement with the Book Pickings education archive.


14-Year-Old George Washington’s 110 Commandments for Cultivating Character

“Labour to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.”

“The list is the origin of culture,” Umberto Eco proclaimed. “I perceive value, I confer value, I create value, I even create — or guarantee — existence. Hence, my compulsion to make ‘lists,'” Susan Sontag reflected. But one of modern history’s greatest list-lovers was none other than America’s first President. In 1745, coming up on his fifteenth year, young George Washington penned a list of 110 commandments for cultivating character, titled Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation and digitally preserved by the University of Virginia Archives.

Even though in his 1890 book George Washington’s Rules of Civility Traced to Their Sources and Restored Moncure Daniel Conway notes that Washington generously “borrowed” the bulk of his rules from a 1595 French Jesuit book — a testament to the fact that everything builds on what came before — they remain fascinating in their own right as an ideological predecessor to the foundation of America’s democratic and moral ideals.

Some, at the intersection of the dated and the timeless, expose the parallel progress of cultural conventions and technology: For instance, Washington admonishes against reading “letters, books, or papers in company” — the then-equivalent of looking at your iPhone during a dinner party. Some speak to the enduring importance of critical thinking: “Be not hasty to beleive flying Reports to the Disparag[e]ment of any.” Some advocate for the humanizing effect of compassion: “When you see a Crime punished, you may be inwardly Pleased; but always shew Pity to the Suffering Offender.” Some remind us of how our personal micro-culture shapes us: “Associate yourself with Men of good Quality if you Esteem your own Reputation; for ’tis better to be alone than in bad Company.”

Transcript below, with teenage George’s original typos (long before “typing” as we know it, of course) preserved.

  1. Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.
  2. When in Company, put not your Hands to any Part of the Body, not usualy Discovered.
  3. Shew Nothing to your Freind that may affright him.
  4. In the Presence of Others Sing not to yourself with a humming Noise, nor Drum with your Fingers or Feet.
  5. 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.
  6. Sleep not when others Speak, Sit not when others stand, Speak not when you Should hold your Peace, walk not on when others Stop.
  7. Put not off your Cloths in the presence of Others, nor go out your Chamber half Drest.
  8. At Play and at Fire its Good manners to Give Place to the last Commer, and affect not to Speak Louder than Ordinary.
  9. Spit not in the Fire, nor Stoop low before it neither Put your Hands into the Flames to warm them, nor Set your Feet upon the Fire especially if there be meat before it.
  10. When you Sit down, Keep your Feet firm and Even, without putting one on the other or Crossing them.
  11. Shift not yourself in the Sight of others nor Gnaw your nails.
  12. Shake not the head, Feet, or Legs rowl not the Eys lift not one eyebrow higher than the other wry not the mouth, and bedew no mans face with your Spittle, by appr[oaching too nea]r him [when] you Speak.
  13. Kill no Vermin as Fleas, lice ticks &c in the Sight of Others, if you See any filth or thick Spittle put your foot Dexteriously upon it if it be upon the Cloths of your Companions, Put it off privately, and if it be upon your own Cloths return Thanks to him who puts it off.
  14. 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.
  15. Keep your Nails clean and Short, also your Hands and Teeth Clean yet without Shewing any great Concern for them.
  16. Do not Puff up the Cheeks, Loll not out the tongue rub the Hands, or beard, thrust out the lips, or bite them or keep the Lips too open or too Close.
  17. Be no Flatterer, neither Play with any that delights not to be Play’d Withal.
  18. Read no Letters, Books, or Papers in Company but when there is a Necessity for the doing of it you must ask leave: come not near the Books or Writings of Another so as to read them unless desired or give your opinion of them unask’d also look not nigh when another is writing a Letter.
  19. let your Countenance be pleasant but in Serious Matters Somewhat grave.
  20. The Gestures of the Body must be Suited to the discourse you are upon.
  21. Reproach none for the Infirmaties of Nature, nor Delight to Put them that have in mind thereof.
  22. Shew not yourself glad at the Misfortune of another though he were your enemy.
  23. When you see a Crime punished, you may be inwardly Pleased; but always shew Pity to the Suffering Offender.
  24. [Do not laugh too loud or] too much at any Publick [Spectacle].
  25. Superfluous Complements and all Affectation of Ceremonie are to be avoided, yet where due they are not to be Neglected.
  26. In Pulling off your Hat to Persons of Distinction, as Noblemen, Justices, Churchmen &c make a Reverence, bowing more or less according to the Custom of the Better Bred, and Quality of the Person. Amongst your equals expect not always that they Should begin with you first, but to Pull off the Hat when there is no need is Affectation, in the Manner of Saluting and resaluting in words keep to the most usual Custom.
  27. Tis ill manners to bid one more eminent than yourself be covered as well as not to do it to whom it’s due Likewise he that makes too much haste to Put on his hat does not well, yet he ought to Put it on at the first, or at most the Second time of being ask’d; now what is herein Spoken, of Qualification in behaviour in Saluting, ought also to be observed in taking of Place, and Sitting down for ceremonies without Bounds is troublesome.
  28. If any one come to Speak to you while you are are Sitting Stand up tho he be your Inferiour, and when you Present Seats let it be to every one according to his Degree.
  29. When you meet with one of Greater Quality than yourself, Stop, and retire especially if it be at a Door or any Straight place to give way for him to Pass.
  30. In walking the highest Place in most Countrys Seems to be on the right hand therefore Place yourself on the left of him whom you desire to Honour: but if three walk together the mid[dest] Place is the most Honourable the wall is usually given to the most worthy if two walk together.
  31. If any one far Surpassess others, either in age, Estate, or Merit [yet] would give Place to a meaner than hims[elf in his own lodging or elsewhere] the one ought not to except it, S[o he on the other part should not use much earnestness nor offer] it above once or twice.
  32. To one that is your equal, or not much inferior you are to give the cheif Place in your Lodging and he to who ’tis offered ought at the first to refuse it but at the Second to accept though not without acknowledging his own unworthiness.
  33. They that are in Dignity or in office have in all places Preceedency but whilst they are Young they ought to respect those that are their equals in Birth or other Qualitys, though they have no Publick charge.
  34. It is good Manners to prefer them to whom we Speak befo[re] ourselves especially if they be above us with whom in no Sort we ought to begin.
  35. Let your Discourse with Men of Business be Short and Comprehensive.
  36. Artificers & Persons of low Degree ought not to use many ceremonies to Lords, or Others of high Degree but Respect and high[ly] Honour them, and those of high Degree ought to treat them with affibility & Courtesie, without Arrogancy.
  37. In Speaking to men of Quality do not lean nor Look them full in the Face, nor approach too near them at lest Keep a full Pace from them.
  38. In visiting the Sick, do not Presently play the Physicion if you be not Knowing therein.
  39. In writing or Speaking, give to every Person his due Title According to his Degree & the Custom of the Place.
  40. Strive not with your Superiers in argument, but always Submit your Judgment to others with Modesty.
  41. Undertake not to Teach your equal in the art himself Proffesses; it Savours of arrogancy.
  42. [Let thy ceremonies in] Courtesie be proper to the Dignity of his place [with whom thou conversest for it is absurd to ac]t the same with a Clown and a Prince.
  43. Do not express Joy before one sick or in pain for that contrary Passion will aggravate his Misery.
  44. When a man does all he can though it Succeeds not well blame not him that did it.
  45. Being to advise or reprehend any one, consider whether it ought to be in publick or in Private; presently, or at Some other time in what terms to do it & in reproving Shew no Sign of Cholar but do it with all Sweetness and Mildness.
  46. Take all Admonitions thankfully in what Time or Place Soever given but afterwards not being culpable take a Time [&] Place convenient to let him him know it that gave them.
  47. Mock not nor Jest at any thing of Importance break [n]o Jest that are Sharp Biting and if you Deliver any thing witty and Pleasent abtain from Laughing thereat yourself.
  48. Wherein wherein you reprove Another be unblameable yourself; for example is more prevalent than Precepts.
  49. Use no Reproachfull Language against any one neither Curse nor Revile.
  50. Be not hasty to beleive flying Reports to the Disparag[e]ment of any.
  51. Wear not your Cloths, foul, unript or Dusty but See they be Brush’d once every day at least and take heed tha[t] you approach not to any Uncleaness.
  52. In your Apparel be Modest and endeavour to accomodate Nature, rather than to procure Admiration keep to the Fashio[n] of your equals Such as are Civil and orderly with respect to Times and Places.
  53. Run not in the Streets, neither go t[oo s]lowly nor wit[h] Mouth open go not Shaking yr Arms [kick not the earth with yr feet, go] not upon the Toes, nor in a Dancing [fashion].
  54. Play not the Peacock, looking every where about you, to See if you be well Deck’t, if your Shoes fit well if your Stokings sit neatly, and Cloths handsomely.
  55. Eat not in the Streets, nor in the House, out of Season.
  56. Associate yourself with Men of good Quality if you Esteem your own Reputation; for ’tis better to be alone than in bad Company.
  57. In walking up and Down in a House, only with One in Compan[y] if he be Greater than yourself, at the first give him the Right hand and Stop not till he does and be not the first that turns, and when you do turn let it be with your face towards him, if he be a Man of Great Quality, walk not with him Cheek by Joul but Somewhat behind him; but yet in Such a Manner that he may easily Speak to you.
  58. Let your Conversation be without Malice or Envy, for ’tis a Sig[n o]f a Tractable and Commendable Nature: And in all Causes of Passion [ad]mit Reason to Govern.
  59. Never express anything unbecoming, nor Act agst the Rules Mora[l] before your inferiours.
  60. Be not immodest in urging your Freinds to Discover a Secret.
  61. Utter not base and frivilous things amongst grave and Learn’d Men nor very Difficult Questians or Subjects, among the Ignorant or things hard to be believed, Stuff not your Discourse with Sentences amongst your Betters nor Equals.
  62. Speak not of doleful Things in a Time of Mirth or 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.
  63. A Man o[ug]ht not to value himself of his Atchievements, or rare Qua[lities of wit; much less of his rich]es Virtue or Kindred.
  64. Break not a Jest where none take pleasure in mirth Laugh not aloud, nor at all without Occasion, deride no mans Misfortune, tho’ there Seem to be Some cause.
  65. Speak not injurious Words neither in Jest nor Earnest Scoff at none although they give Occasion.
  66. Be not froward but friendly and Courteous; the first to Salute hear and answer & be not Pensive when it’s a time to Converse.
  67. Detract not from others neither be excessive in Commanding.
  68. Go not thither, where you know not, whether you Shall be Welcome or not. Give not Advice with[out] being Ask’d & when desired [d]o it briefly.
  69. If two contend together take not the part of either unconstrain[ed]; and be not obstinate in your own Opinion, in Things indiferent be of the Major Side.
  70. Reprehend not the imperfections of others for that belong[s] to Parents Masters and Superiours.
  71. Gaze not on the marks or blemishes of Others and ask not how they came. What you may Speak in Secret to your Friend deliver not before others.
  72. Speak not in an unknown Tongue in Company but in your own Language and that as those of Quality do and not as the Vulgar; Sublime matters treat Seriously.
  73. Think before you Speak pronounce not imperfectly nor bring ou[t] your Words too hastily but orderly & distinctly.
  74. When Another Speaks be attentive your Self and disturb not the Audience if any hesitate in his Words help him not nor Prompt him without desired, Interrupt him not, nor Answer him till his Speec[h] be ended.
  75. In the midst of Discourse ask [not of what one treateth] but if you Perceive any Stop because of [your coming you may well intreat him gently] to Proceed: If a Person of Quality comes in while your Conversing it’s handsome to Repeat what was said before.
  76. While you are talking, Point not with your Finger at him of Whom you Discourse nor Approach too near him to whom you talk especially to his face.
  77. Treat with men at fit Times about Business & Whisper not in the Company of Others.
  78. Make no Comparisons and if any of the Company be Commended for any brave act of Vertue, commend not another for the Same.
  79. Be not apt to relate News if you know not the truth thereof. In Discoursing of things you Have heard Name not your Author always A [Se]cret Discover not.
  80. Be not Tedious in Discourse or in reading unless you find the Company pleased therewith.
  81. Be not Curious to Know the Affairs of Others neither approach those that Speak in Private.
  82. Undertake not what you cannot Perform but be Carefull to keep your Promise.
  83. When you deliver a matter do it without Passion & with Discretion, howev[er] mean the Person be you do it too.
  84. When your Superiours talk to any Body hearken not neither Speak nor Laugh.
  85. In Company of these of Higher Quality than yourself Speak not ti[l] you are ask’d a Question then Stand upright put of your Hat & Answer in few words.
  86. In Disputes, be not So Desireous to Overcome as not to give Liberty to each one to deliver his Opinion and Submit to the Judgment of the Major Part especially if they are Judges of the Dispute.
  87. [Let thy carriage be such] as becomes a Man Grave Settled and attentive [to that which is spoken. Contra]dict not at every turn what others Say.
  88. Be not tedious in Discourse, make not many Digressigns, nor rep[eat] often the Same manner of Discourse.
  89. Speak not Evil of the absent for it is unjust.
  90. Being Set at meat Scratch not neither Spit Cough or blow your Nose except there’s a Necessity for it.
  91. Make no Shew of taking great Delight in your Victuals, Feed no[t] with Greediness; cut your Bread with a Knife, lean not on the Table neither find fault with what you Eat.
  92. Take no Salt or cut Bread with your Knife Greasy.
  93. Entertaining any one at table it is decent to present him wt. meat, Undertake not to help others undesired by the Master.
  94. If you Soak bread in the Sauce let it be no more than what you [pu]t in your Mouth at a time and blow not your broth at Table [bu]t Stay till Cools of it Self.
  95. Put not your meat to your Mouth with your Knife in your ha[nd ne]ither Spit forth the Stones of any fruit Pye upon a Dish nor Cas[t an]ything under the table.
  96. It’s unbecoming to Stoop much to ones Meat Keep your Fingers clea[n &] when foul wipe them on a Corner of your Table Napkin.
  97. Put not another bit into your Mouth til the former be Swallowed [l]et not your Morsels be too big for the Gowls.
  98. Drink not nor talk with your mouth full neither Gaze about you while you are a Drinking.
  99. Drink not too leisurely nor yet too hastily.Before and after Drinking wipe your Lips breath not then or Ever with too Great a Noise, for its uncivil.
  100. Cleanse not your teeth with the Table Cloth Napkin Fork or Knife but if Others do it let it be done wt.
  101. a Pick Tooth.

  102. Rince not your Mouth in the Presence of Others.
  103. It is out of use to call upon the Company often to Eat nor need you Drink to others every Time you Drink.
  104. In Company of your Betters be no[t longer in eating] than they are lay not your Arm but o[nly your hand upon the table].
  105. It belongs to the Chiefest in Company to unfold his Napkin and fall to Meat first, But he ought then to Begin in time & to Dispatch [w]ith Dexterity that the Slowest may have time allowed him.
  106. Be not Angry at Table whatever happens & if you have reason to be so, Shew it not but on a Chearfull Countenance especially if there be Strangers for Good Humour makes one Dish of Meat a Feas[t].
  107. Set not yourself at the upper of the Table but if it Be your Due or that the Master of the house will have it So, Contend not, least you Should Trouble the Company.
  108. If others talk at Table be attentive but talk not with Meat in your Mouth.
  109. When you Speak of God or his Atributes, let it be Seriously & [wt.] Reverence.
  110. Honour & Obey your Natural Parents altho they be Poor.

  111. Let your Recreations be Manfull not Sinfull.
  112. Labour to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Ce[les]tial fire Called Conscience.


Complement Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation with this timeless 1866 guide to the art of conversation.

Thanks, Cojourneo


View Full Site

Brain Pickings participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn commissions by linking to Amazon. In more human terms, this means that whenever you buy a book on Amazon from a link on here, I get a small percentage of its price. That helps support Brain Pickings by offsetting a fraction of what it takes to maintain the site, and is very much appreciated