Antique Book The Perfect Gentleman Etiquette and Eloquence.

c1860 Pre Civil War, The Perfect Gentleman, or Etiquette and Eloquence, a book of information and instruction for those who desire to become brilliant or conspicuous in general society, or at parties, dinners, or popular gatherings, containing model speeches for all occasions, with directions how to deliver them. 500 toasts and sentiments for everybody, and their proper mode of introduction. How to use wine at table, with rules for judging the quality of wine, and rules for carving. Etiquette; or, proper behavior in company, with an American code of politeness for every occasion; and etiquette at Washington. Remarkable wit and conversation at table, etc., etc., to which are added the duties of chairmen of public meetings, and rules for the orderly conduct thereof, together with valuable hints and examples for drawing up preambles and resolutions. By a Gentleman. It goes on to state: To the American Gentleman: the man who is polite without affectation; proud without vanity; dignified without ostentation; affable to all, servile to none; who never deceived his friend, nor turned his back to his foe; this volume is respectfully dedicated.

Think about the period in which this was written, in context with characters like Rhett Butler and Scarlett O Hara from Gone With The Wind. It is right in that time frame, and what a wonderful insight into the manners expected from men at the time. All too often there are books on how women should conduct themselves, but this one pertaining to the male gender is quite a treat. This book in particular focuses on American etiquette, which is different from that of the English and French. In a word, it is not too much to say that we are beginning to have an American code, in better harmony with the practical and enlightened common sense of democratic institutions than much that has been dictated by the pompous impudence of aristocratic exclusiveness. As such, Americans were striking their own social norms and convections, without regard for as much pomp and circumstance that surrounded the traditional customs overseas.

This book is so extensive, and hence, I haveve only taken photos of just a very few pages, but let me delineate the table of contents for you:

Ariosto, Amendments, Adjournments, Speech of an actor, Americans toast to the queen of England, Speech of an author, Actors toast, Amatory toasts, Artistic toasts, American wines, Art of drinking wine, American code of politeness, Anecdotes, American valor, Alfieri, Speech of a bibliographer, Bakers toast, Bankers toast, Bookkeepers toast, Burgundy, Balls in Washington, Boccaccio, Cervantes, Speech of a cook, Speech of a capitalist, Selecting a chairman, Character of a chairman, Carpenters toast, Card-makers toast, Coat merchants toast, Coach-makers toast, Carving, Champagne, Claret wine, Catharine de Medicis, Chaucer, Camoens, Carving birds, ham, sirloin, veal, mutton, pig, fowl, goose, turkey, Giving dinners, On honest drinking, Speech of a man who would not fight one duel, Distillers toast, Invitations to dinners, Definition of politeness, Dress, Dress and dinners at Washington, Deportment in the street, Dinner table eloquence, Dante, Demosthenes, Duties of a chairman, Debates, Speech of an editor, Speech on English benevolence, Every mans toast, Etiquette of the dinner table, Evening parties, Etiquette at Washington, Evening parties at Washington, Speech of a fireman, Firemans toast, Geographical toast, Speech on great names, Glaziers toast, German wines, General rules of politeness, Speech at the opening of a hotel, How to call on the President of the United States, How to negative a motion, How to visit official persons in Washington, Handel Herodotus, Hogarth, Interruption in debate, Speech of an impudent man, Invitations to dinner, Introductions, Dr. Johnson, Speech of a judge Speech of a jester, Lovers speech on the lasses, Speech of a lawyer, Speech of an old lover, Speech of a loud laugher, Speech of a laconic man, Speech of a literary gentleman, Literary toasts, Lopez de Vega The millers wife, Modest women, Speech of a musician, Speech of a merchant, Speech of a man of honor, Speech at a marriage, Miscellaneous toasts, Masonic toasts, Manners at table, Marriage, Mozart, Montaigne, Naval and military toasts, Niagara Falls, On giving dinners, On carving, On introductions, On dress, On evening parties, On marriage, Opinion of Lord Byron on eating, Original motions, On motions, Our lakes and rivers, Speech of a poet, Speech of a punster, Speech on prize fighting, Speech of a poor man, Speech of a patriot, Speech of a polite man, Speech of a publisher, Patriotic toasts, Printers toast, Plumbers toast, Painters toast, Port wine, Politeness, Political dinners in the United States, Petrarch, Plutarch, Phidias, Plautus, Previous question, Questions of order, Riddle instead of a speech, Red-headed man speech, Road-makers toast, Rules for presiding at table, Roger Bacon, Robert Herrick, Rabelais, Raphael, Robert Fulton, Removing a chairman, Raising objections, Right of reply, Speech of the chairman, Speech of a man who does not make speeches, Sober man speech, Strong-minded women, Sam Slicks speech on the clergy, Song instead of a speech, Speech of a sailor, Speech of a shoemaker, Speech on scandal, Speech of a soldier, Surgeons toast, Saddlers toast, Sherry wine, Sir Walter Scotts rules for presiding at table, Sir Joshua Reynolds opinion of wine at table, Sidney Smith, Scolding wife, Sir Humphry Davy, Speech of a tailor, Speech of a tallow-chandler, Toast-masters companion, Toasts for all professions, Tinkers toast, Talking in company, Table wit, Titian, Thespis, The well-bred man, Treatment of servants, Taking the chair, Speech of an undertaker, United States and Central America, Vandyck, Voting on original motions and amendments, Speech of a wine merchant, Speech of a wag, Speech of a wine bibber, Wedding of Mr. Grave, Wine at table, How to know good wine, Art of drinking wine, Wits and wine, Watchword of America, William Caxton.

There was a speech and manner for just about everything. It is amazing how much wine enters into the context of this book. The well-bred man knew how to do all the customs portrayed in this book, and as such, defined culture and refinement at its best. Just read some of the pages I have shown in the photos, very entertaining!

This 335 page book is hardbound, with a green highly embossed cover. The cover boards have designs impressed into the cover, and the spine has gilt text with a figure of a seated gentleman with crossed legs. It is in very good condition, the cover board corners still quite sharp with little wear. Most of the wear is confined to the first few pages, typical handling wear. The back flyleaf page has half of it missing. Amazingly, the hinges are intact, and the inside is very clean with minimal wear for a book of its age. Text block is tight. The front and back pages offer advertising for other books that might interest the reader. Size is 5.25 x 7.5 inches. A fine example of gentlemens etiquette in the 1860 war period. We do welcome book layaways. We ship books inexpensively using USPS Media Mail insured, but can send at the Priority Mail rate.

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