Champagne To Our Real Friends, and Real Pain To Our Sham Friends

The Royal Toastmaster? Supporters of U.S. President George Washington? Francis Bacon? Randall Munroe? An Anonymous Wit?

Dear Quote investigator: A brilliant toast uses antimetabole and a pun. Here are two versions:

  • Champagne to our real friends, and real pain to our sham friends.
  • Pain to our sham friends, and Champagne to our real friends.

Would you please explore the provenance of this expression?

Dear Quote investigator: The earliest match located by QI appeared in a 1793 collection titled “The Royal Toastmaster: Containing Many Thousands of the Best Toasts Old and New” published in London. The following four examples occurred on the same page. The term “laurel water” referred to a concoction that could be used as a poison. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

  • May avarice lose his purse, and benevolence find it.
  • May reason be the pilot when passion blows the gale.
  • Laurel water to the secret enemies of our glorious constitution.
  • Champaign to our real friends, and real pain to our sham ones.

QI believes that it was unlikely that the compiler of “The Royal Toastmaster” crafted the statement under examination; hence, it was probably already in circulation in 1793. The compilation was a third edition, so the toast may have appeared in the first or second edition which QI has not yet seen.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Champagne To Our Real Friends, and Real Pain To Our Sham Friends

Notes:

  1. 1793, The Royal Toastmaster: Containing Many Thousands of the Best Toasts Old and New, Third Edition Improved, Quote Page 26, Printed for J. Roach, London. (Google Books Full View) link

It Is Not Quite the Same God to Which One Returns

Samuel Johnson? Robert Gordis? Francis Bacon? Morris Raphael Cohen? Mordecai M. Kaplan? Benjamin Jowett?

Dear Quote Investigator: While I was a student a few decades ago I came across a remarkable metaphysical expression that was similar to the following:

The search for knowledge will lead a person away from God, and then back toward God, but it will be a somewhat different God than the original one.

Would you please help me to determine the provenance of this saying?

Quote Investigator: This is a very difficult problem because this thought can be communicated in many different ways. The earliest solid match located by QI occurred in the journal “Jewish Social Studies” in 1956 within a piece by Robert Gordis, a biblical scholar at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

Morris Raphael Cohen was wont to comment on Francis Bacon’s well-worn saying that “a little knowledge leads a man away from God, but a great deal brings him back,” by observing that it is not quite the same God to which he returns.

Cohen was a prominent Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. QI has not yet found a matching statement directly in Cohen’s writings or speeches.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading It Is Not Quite the Same God to Which One Returns

Notes:

  1. 1956 January, Jewish Social Studies, Volume 18, Number 1, Book Review by Robert Gordis (Columbia University and The Jewish Theological Seminary), (Book Review of “Theological Essays in Commemoration of the Jubilee of the Faculty of Theology” by L. W. Grensted, L. E. Browne, C. H. Dodd), Indiana University Press. (JSTOR) link

A Little Philosophy Inclineth Mans Mind to Atheism; But Depth in Philosophy, Bringeth Mens Minds about to Religion

Francis Bacon? Theophilus Gale? David Hume? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The famous English philosopher and scientist Francis Bacon made an intriguing assertion about atheism. Here are three versions:

(1) A little philosophy makes men atheists, though a great deal would cure them of Atheism.

(2) A little knowledge drives man away from God, but deeper knowledge brings him back.

(3) A little knowledge may take us away from God, but further knowledge will bring us back to him.

Would you please help me to find the correct phrasing and a citation?

Quote Investigator: The 1625 collection titled “The Essayes Or Covnsels, Civill and Morall” by Francis Bacon included the original version of the statement under analysis. The spelling in the 1625 text differed from modern spelling. For example, the letters “u” and “v” were sometimes swapped. The following passage employs updated spelling. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

I had rather believe all the Fables in the Legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran, then that this universal Frame, is without a Mind. And therefore, God never wrought Miracle, to convince Atheism, because his Ordinary Works convince it. It is true, that a little Philosophy inclineth Man’s Mind to Atheism; But depth in Philosophy, bringeth Men’s Minds about to Religion.

Below is a scan of the 1625 book page showing the text above followed by additional selected citations in chronological order. Continue reading A Little Philosophy Inclineth Mans Mind to Atheism; But Depth in Philosophy, Bringeth Mens Minds about to Religion

Notes:

  1. 1625, The Essayes Or Covnsels, Civill and Morall, of Francis Lo. Vervlam, Viscovnt St. Alban. Newly Written, Chapter: of Atheisme, Quote Page 90, Printed by John Haviland for Hanna Barret, London. (Google Books Full View) link

Riches Are Like Muck Which Stinks in a Heap But Spread Abroad Makes the Earth Fruitful

Richard Branson? Thornton Wilder? Francis Bacon? Mr. Bettenham? King James I of England? Henry Edmundson? Richard Flecknoe? Clint Murchison? Anonymous?

fertilizer10Dear Quote Investigator: The famous British entrepreneur Richard Branson employed an extraordinary simile. He said that “money is like manure”, and elaborated on the thought as follows: 1

If you let money pile up, it starts to stink. But if you spread it around then it can do a lot of good.

Branson also credited the prominent playwright Thornton Wilder with a remark that was thematically similar. Would you please explore the history of this figurative language?

Quote Investigator: This family of expressions has a very long history that stretches back into the 1600s. The English philosopher and scientist Francis Bacon wrote a piece discussing statecraft titled “Of Seditions and Troubles” that was published in his landmark collection of essays in 1625. Bacon wrote a precursor to the expression under examination that used the word “muck” instead of “manure”. Boldface has been added to excerpts: 2

Above all things, good Policie is to be used, that the Treasure and Moneyes, in a State, be not gathered into few Hands. For otherwise, a State may have a great Stock, and yet starve. And Money is like Muck, not good except it be spread. This is done, chiefly, by suppressing, or at the least, keeping a strait Hand, upon the Devouring Trades of Usurie, Ingrossing, great Pasturages, and the like.

Bacon presented the core simile, but he did not extend the analogy to the olfactory organ. Yet, in 1625 Bacon also released a collection of “Apophthegmes New and Old” that included a longer expression with the word “stench” that was attributed to someone named “Mr. Bettenham”: 3

Mr. Bettenham vsed to say; That Riches were like Mucke: When it lay, vpon an heape, it gaue but a stench, and ill odour; but when it was spread vpon the ground, then it was cause of much fruit.

The above simile matched the notion presented by Richard Branson recently. Thanks to top researcher Barry Popik who located the saying. Popik’s entry on this topic is located on his website.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Riches Are Like Muck Which Stinks in a Heap But Spread Abroad Makes the Earth Fruitful

Notes:

  1. Website: Richard Branson blog at Virgin.com, Article title: Why money is like manure, Article author: Richard Branson, Date on website: February 13, 2014, Website description: Thoughts of businessman Richard Branson who founded the Virgin Group. (Accessed virgin.com on February 5, 2016) link
  2. 1625, Title: The Essayes or Counsels, Ciuill and Morall, of Francis Lo. Verulam, Viscount St. Alban, Author: Francis Bacon, Quote Page 85, Printed by Iohn Haviland for Hanna Barret, London. (Early English Books Online 2)
  3. 1625, Title: Apophthegmes New and Old, Collected by the Right Honourable, Francis Lo. Verulam, Viscount St. Alban, Author: Francis Bacon, Quote Page 273, Printed by J. Haviland for Hanna Barret, and Richard Whittaker, and are to be sold at the Kings head in Pauls Chuch-yard, London. (Early English Books Online)