Perhaps the summary of good-breeding may be reduced to this rule. Behave unto all men as you would they should behave unto you. This will most certainly oblige us to treat all mankind with the utmost civility and respect, there being nothing that we desire more than to be treated so by them.
Some young people do not sufficiently understand the advantages of natural charms, and how much they would gain by trusting to them entirely. They weaken these gifts of heaven, so rare and fragile, by affected manners and an awkward imitation. Their tones and their gait are borrowed; they study their attitudes before the glass until they have lost all trace of natural manner, and, with all their pains, they please but little.
We see a world of pains taken and the best years of life spent in collecting a set of thoughts in a college for the conduct of life, and after all the man so qualified shall hesitate in his speech to a good suit of clothes, and want common sense before an agreeable woman. Hence it is that wisdom, valour, justice and learning cannot keep a man in countenance that is possessed with these excellencies, if he wants that inferior art of life and behaviour called good-breeding.
There is no society or conversation to be kept up in the world without good-nature, or something which must bear its appearance, and supply its place. For this reason mankind have been forced to invent a kind of artificial humanity, which is what we express by the word good-breeding. For, if we examine thoroughly the idea of what we call so, we shall find it to be nothing else but an imitation and mimicry of good-nature, or, in other terms, affability, complaisance, and easiness of temper reduced into an art.