Labour to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Celestial fire called Conscience.
— George Washington in his collection of maxims “Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation”, transcribed at the age of 14 in his notebook entitled Forms of Writing, (Fredericksburg, Virginia: 1745). Available in Moncure Daniel Conway‘s George Washington’s Rules of Civility: Traced to their Sources and Restored, (London: Chatto & Windus, 1890), p. 180. Cited by Lee Graves in his “Thought for the Day” email on February 16th, 2010.
"Labour to keep alive"
Labour to keep alive in thy breast, that little sparke of Celestial fire called Conscience, for Conscience to an evil man is a never dying worm, but unto a good man its a perpetual feast.
— Francis Hawkins, in Youths Behaviour, or Decency in Conversation amongst men, Edition 4, (London: W. Wilson, 1646), p. vii. Translated from the French at the age of 8 and first printed in 1640. As cited in Moncure Daniel Conway’s George Washington’s Rules of Civility: Traced to their Sources and Restored, (London: Chatto & Windus, 1890), p. 180.
This maxim is part of a collection originally composed by the Jesuit pensionnaires of the College of La Flèche and sent to those of the College at Pont-à-Mousson as “Bienseance de la Conversation entre les Hommes,” in 1595. This text was translated into the Latin by Léonard Périn in 1617 and printed in side-by-side translation (Lyon, France: Claude Morillon, 1618). See Conway’s discussion of his research into the provenance of Washington’s rules beginning on p. 12. See also Charles Moore’s “Origin of the Rules of Civility”, (Washington, D.C.: May 1926).