Category Archives: George Savile

They Who Are of Opinion that Money Will Do Everything, May Very Well Be Suspected To Do Everything for Money

Benjamin Franklin? George Savile? Apocryphal? Anonymous

Dear Quote Investigator: A popular technique in rhetoric consists of repeating a clause while permuting the words. For example:

  • Money will do everything for you.
  • You will do everything for money.

Apparently, statesman Benjamin Franklin contended that a belief in the first clause led individuals to follow the guidance of the second. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: Benjamin Franklin did include a matching statement in one of his famous almanacs, but the saying was already in circulation.

The earliest evidence known to QI appeared in a 1750 volume by the English nobleman George Savile, 1st Marquis of Halifax. The book included a section called “Political, Moral, and Miscellaneous Thoughts and Reflections” that contained items such as the following. The word “everything” was written as two words. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

If Men considered how many Things there are that Riches cannot buy, they would not be so fond of them.

Money in a Fool’s Hand exposeth him worse than a pyed Coat

They who are of opinion that Money will do every thing, may very well be suspected to do every thing for Money.

Savile had died in 1695 many years before publication. A note at the beginning of the manuscript stated that the original document had been held by Savile’s grand-daughter Dorothy, Countess of Burlington.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

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  1. 1750, A Character of King Charles the Second: And Political, Moral, and Miscellaneous Thoughts and Reflections by the George Savile, Marquis of Halifax, Section: Of Money, Start Page 145, Quote Page 145 and 146, Printed for J. and R. Tonson and S. Draper, London. (Google Books Full View) link