University of Virginia Library

Search this document 
The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

expand sectionA. 
expand sectionB. 
expand sectionC. 
expand sectionD. 
expand sectionE. 
expand sectionF. 
expand sectionG. 
expand sectionH. 
expand sectionI. 
expand sectionJ. 
expand sectionK. 
expand sectionL. 
expand sectionM. 
expand sectionN. 
expand sectionO. 
collapse sectionP. 
6723. POLITENESS, Good humor and.—
expand sectionQ. 
expand sectionR. 
expand sectionS. 
expand sectionT. 
expand sectionU. 
expand sectionV. 
expand sectionW. 
expand sectionX. 
expand sectionY. 
expand sectionZ. 

expand section 
expand section 

6723. POLITENESS, Good humor and.—

I have mentioned good humor as one of
the preservatives of our peace and tranquillity.
It is among the most effectual, and its effect
is so well imitated and aided, artificially, by
politeness, that this also becomes an acquisition
of first rate value. In truth, politeness is
artificial good humor; it covers the natural
want of it, and ends by rendering habitual a
substitute nearly equivalent to the real virtue.
It is the practice of sacrificing to those whom
we meet in society, all the little conveniences
and preferences which will gratify them, and
deprive us of nothing worth a moment's consideration;
it is the giving a pleasing and flattering
turn to our expressions, which will conciliate
others, and make them pleased with us
as well as themselves. How cheap a price for
the good will of another! When this is in return
for a rude thing said by another, it brings
him to his senses, it mortifies and corrects him
in the most salutary way, and places him at the
feet of your good nature, in the eyes of the company.—
To Thomas Jefferson Randolph. Washington ed. v, 389. Ford ed., ix, 231.
(W. 1808)