19 December 2010

The True Gentleman

John Wayland The True Gentleman

Dr John Walter Wayland, an historian and teacher, submitted “The True Gentleman” to The Baltimore Sun in 1899 as part of a competition for the best definition of a true gentleman with Wayland’s submission being crowned the winner.

“The True Gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds from good will and an acute sense of propriety and whose self-control is equal to all emergencies; who does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of his obscurity, or any man of his inferiority or deformity; who is himself humbled if necessity compels him to humble another; who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements; who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed follows his word; who thinks of the rights and feelings of others rather than his own; and who appears well in any company; a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe.”

– John Walter Wayland 1899

I particularly like this definition and I am thankful I found it – thanks to Wikipedia.

Today The True Gentleman is used as the creed for Sigma Alpha Epsilon (the North American college fraternity) and it must be memorised and recited by all prospective members.