Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Tidewater Wit and Wisdom

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


  1. John Randolph, in opposition of chartering a bank:

    "every man you meet in this House or out of it, with some rare exceptions, which only served to prove the rule, was either a stockholder, president, cashier, clerk, or doorkeeper, runner, engraver, paper-maker, or mechanic in some other way to a bank"

    "a man might as well go to Constantinople to preach Christianity, as to get up here and preach against banks"

    1. "a man might as well go to Constantinople to preach Christianity, as to get up here and preach against banks"

      Thanks and indeed.