An honest man can never be outdone in courtesy.

A sensual life is a miserable life.

The contempt of death makes all the miseries of life easy to us.

-Taken from Seneca’s Dialogues, a primer for young men in Tidewater Virginia and Maryland


Fear God.

Reverence the parents.

Imitate not the wicked.

Boast not in discourse of thy wit or doings.

Affront no one by word or deed.

Be not selfish, but free and generous to others

The School of Manners


As to the species of exercise I advise the gun.

-Thomas Jefferson


I am an aristocrat: I love liberty; I hate equality.

-John Randolph of Roanoke


We cannot but resent that forty thousand people should be impoverished to enrich more than forty merchants [Wall Street Bankers].

-Governor William Berkeley of Virginia


She lives in eternal shame that lives to see the death of her good name.

-Charles County Court, Maryland, Proceedings, 1662


We cannot master time nor tide, so we must master ourselves.

Good manners keep us from killing each other.

-Old proverbs from Anne Arundel County, Maryland


Salt yo’ food, suh, with humor . . . season it with wit, and sprinkle it all over with the charm of good-fellowship, but never poison it with the cares of yo’ life.  It is an insult to yo’ digestion, beside bein,’ suh, a mark of bad breeding’.

-F. Hopkinson Smith, Colonel Carter of Cartersville


A gentleman from Maryland and a gentleman from Virginia were discussing the merits of their respective liquors. The Marylander poured the Virginian two drinks.  Upon partaking of the one, the Virginian fainted.  When the Virginian came to, he admitted defeat.  “But suh,” exclaimed the Maryland gentleman, “you drank the chaser!”

-An old Maryland joke


Before this war is over I intend to be a Major General or a corpse!

-Major General Isaac Trimble, Army of Northern Virginia


Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.

-H. L. Mencken


Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure (and) which insures to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.

-Charles Carroll of Carrolton


I like whiskey. I always did, and that is why I never drink it.

-Robert E. Lee

John Devanny

John Devanny holds a Ph.D. in American History from the University of South Carolina. Dr. Devanny resides in Front Royal, Virginia, where he writes, tends garden, and occasionally escapes to bird hunt or fly fish..

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