The Laws of Etiquette

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The Laws of Etiquette

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Title: The Laws of Etiquette
Author: A Gentleman

Release Date: May, 2004 [EBook #5681] [Yes, we are more than one
year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on August 7, 2002]
Edition: 10
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

This eBook was produced by Holly Ingraham
Transcriber's Note: Note the inconsistency of "Brummell" in one place
of the original, and "Brummel" all other places. Also "Shakspeare,"
"Don Quixotte," "Sir Piercy," and "Esop" are as in the original. There
was no table of contents. The original uses both all caps and italics. I
have indicated the last with bracketing blanks, _like this._
Short Rules and Reflections


The author of the present volume has endeavoured to embody, in as
short a space as possible, some of the results of his own experience and
observation in society, and submits the work to the public, with the
hope that the remarks which are contained in it, may prove available for
the benefit of others. It is, of course, scarcely possible that anything
original should be found in a volume like this: almost all that it
contains must have fallen under the notice of every man of penetration
who has been in the habit of frequenting good society. Many of the
precepts have probably been contained in works of a similar character
which have appeared in England and France since the days of Lord
Chesterfield. Nothing however has been copied from them in the
compilation of this work, the author having in fact scarcely any
acquaintance with books of this description, and many years having
elapsed since he has opened even the pages of the noble oracle. He has
drawn entirely from his own resources, with the exception of some
hints for arrangement, and a few brief reflections, which have been
derived from the French.
The present volume is almost apart from criticism. It has no pretensions
to be judged as a literary work--its sole merit depending upon its
correctness and fitness of application. Upon these grounds he ventures
to hope for it a favourable reception.
The great error into which nearly all foreigners and most Americans
fall, who write or speak of society in this country, arises from
confounding the political with the social system. In most other
countries, in England, France, and all those nations whose government
is monarchical or aristocratic, these systems are indeed similar. Society
is there intimately connected with the government, and the distinctions
in one are the origin of gradations in the other. The chief part of the

society of the kingdom is assembled in the capital, and the same
persons who legislate for the country legislate also for it. But in
America the two systems are totally unconnected, and altogether
different in character. In remodelling the form of the administration,
society remained unrepublican. There is perfect freedom of political
privilege, all are the same upon the hustings, or at a political meeting;
but this equality does not extend to the drawing-room or the parlour.
None are excluded from the highest councils of the nation, but it does
not follow that all can enter into the highest ranks, of society. In point
of fact, we think that there is more exclusiveness in the society of this
country, than there is in that even of England--far more than there is in
France. And the explanation may perhaps be found in the fact which we
hate mentioned above. There being there less danger of permanent
disarrangement or confusion of ranks by the occasional admission of
the low-born aspirant, there does not exist the same necessity for a
jealous guarding of the barriers as there does here. The distinction of
classes, also,
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