Cardinal Richelieu

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To mislead a rival, deception is permissible; one may use all means against his enemies.

Armand Jean du Plessis, Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu et de Fronsac (9 September 15854 December 1642) was a French clergyman, noble, and statesman.

Sourced[edit]

If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.
  • Savoir dissimuler est le savoir des rois.
    • Deception is the knowledge of kings.
    • “Maxims,” Testament Politique (1641)
  • Secrecy is the first essential in affairs of state.
    • “Maxims,” Testament Politique (1641)
  • Pour tromper un rival l'artifice est permis; on peut tout employer contres ses ennemis.
    • We may employ artifice to deceive a rival, anything against our enemies.
      • As quoted in Dictionary of Quotations from Ancient and Modern English and Foreign Sources (1899) by James Wood
    • Variant translation: To mislead a rival, deception is permissible; one may use all means against his enemies.
  • Ultima ratio Regum
    • The last reasoning of Kings.
      • A comment upon artillery fire, as quoted in Dictionary of Foreign Phrases and Classical Quotations (1908) edited by Hugh Percy Jones, p. 119; these words were later inscribed upon cannon of Louis XVI of France.
  • Had Luther and Calvin been confined before they had begun to dogmatize, the states would have been spared many troubles.
    • As quoted in The Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), edited by Charles George Herbermann
  • Harshness towards individuals who flout the laws and commands of state is for the public good; no greater crime against the public interest is possible than to show leniency to those who violate it.
    • As quoted in Champlain's Dream‎ (2008) by David Hackett Fischer


Disputed[edit]

  • Qu'on me donne six lignes écrites de la main du plus honnête homme, j'y trouverai de quoi le faire pendre.
    • If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.
      • As quoted in The Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations (1896) by Jehiel K̀eeler Hoyt, p. 763
    • Édouard Fournier, in L'Espirit dans l'Historie (1867), 3rd edition, Ch. 51, p. 260, disputes the traditional attribution, and suggests various agents of Richelieu might have been the actual author.
    • Variant translations:
    • Give me six lines written by the most honest man in the world, and I will find enough in them to hang him.
      • Attributed in Dictionary of Foreign Phrases and Classical Quotations (1908) edited by Hugh Percy Jones, p. 327
    • If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.
      • As quoted in America Debates Privacy Versus Security‎ (2007) by Jeri Freedman
    • Give me six lines written by the most honest man, and I will find something there to hang him.
      • As quoted in Champlain's Dream‎ (2008) by David Hackett Fischer

External links[edit]

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