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Allestree, R. – Government of the Tongue

The Government of the Tongue

The Government of the Tongue
by Richard Allestree

The rare first edition of Allestree’s guide to ethical speech, Government of the Tongue, a lesson in morality with a severe regard to the faults and follies of others, and therefore, an improvement upon our own disposition. “Hold your tongue when nothing good can come from the words of criticism and condemnation of them.” It is full of moral advice and instruction about correct judgement. Among the many subjects he treats are: the manifold abuse of speech, lying, uncharitable truth, of flattery and boasting and obscene talk. He closes with ten specific “lessons” on how to proceed through one’s life while being able to commit to the positive utilization of the general rules of morality as well as their specific (and numerous) exceptions.

Allestree (1619-1681), a noted tutor, was later professor of Divinity at Oxford and provost of Eton College. As an ardent royalist, he took up arms for the king, and performed all duties of a common soldier. He was frequently seen holding a musket in one hand and a book in the other. He is noted “as a man of extensive learning, of moderate views, generous and charitable, of a solid and masculine kindness, and of a temper hot, but completely under control” (Encyclopedia Britannica, I, p. 694). Continue reading

Allestree - Government of the Tongue
Allestree - Government of the Tongue
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