Wednesday, July 30, 2008

' Alphabet for Beginners ': letters to live by...

William Hone was a political firebrand in the early days of nineteenth century merry old England. While his efforts in promoting the goals of the London Corresponding Society in parliamentary reform and other political efforts have faded over the years he did publish some works of long-lasting value.

In addition to a number of political pamphlets authored and published, Hone also produced some general consumption literature. One of his books is titled:
The Year Book of Daily Recreation and Information, concerning Remarkable Men and Manners, Times and Seasons, Solemnities and Merry-makings, Antiquities and Novelties: forming a Complete History of the Year
Yes, that is quite the mouthful. Perhaps that is why 'Poor Richard's Almanack' is remembered and this one not so much...

Included in 'The Year Book' is an "Alphabet for Beginners", perhaps best described as a secular credo for living based on traits identified by the 26 letters of the alphabet.

Such homilies as:
B e just to others, that you may be just to yourself.

N ever take credit; and, as far as possible, avoid giving it.

R evenge a wrong by forgiving it.
and other familiar and not so familiar advice are included.

It is pretty amazing that so many of the ideas might still be found applicable today, nearly two hundred years later. Perhaps basic human nature changes little over the years and through the generations.

hat tip: Neatorama


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