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John F. Edmund Burke? Murray Hyslop? Charles F. John Stuart Mill?
Dear Quote Investigator : Here is a challenge for you. Kennedy sometimes declaimed in his speeches. Here is an example of a famous one with an incorrect attribution:. Keyes says that the quote has not been successfully traced: 1.
Even though it is clear by now that Burke is unlikely to have made this observation, no one has ever been able to determine who did. The impressive research of Keyes is presented in a fascinating, entertaining, and fun manner.
Edmund Burke died inand John Stuart Mill died in Both produced apothegms that are loosely similar to the quotation under investigation but are unmistakably distinct. The earliest known citation showing a strong similarity to the modern quote appeared in October of The researcher J. Bell found this important instance. The maxim appeared in a quotation from a speech by the Reverend Charles F. Aked who was calling for restrictions on the use of alcohol: 2.
It has been said that for evil men to accomplish their purpose it is only necessary that good men should do nothing. QI believes that the full name of Aked was Charles Frederic Aked, and he was a prominent preacher and lecturer who moved from England to America. The same expression was attributed to Aked in another periodical in Details for this cite are given further below. The earliest attribution of Look here for good man modern saying to Edmund Burke was found by top researcher Barry Popik. In July of a man named Sir R. Murray Hyslop delivered an address at a Congregational church conference that included the following: 3.
The search for the origin of this famous quotation has led to controversy. Below are selected citations in chronological order and a brief discussion Look here for good man this altercation. In the Irish statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke wrote about the need for good men to associate to oppose the cabals of bad men.
The second sentence in the excerpt below is listed in multiple quotation references and shares some points of similarity to the saying under investigation, but it is clearly dissimilar: 4. No man, who is not inflamed by vain-glory into enthusiasm, can flatter himself that his single, unsupported, desultory, unsystematic endeavours are of power to defeat the subtle des and united Cabals of ambitious citizens. When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
In the British philosopher and political theorist John Stuart Mill delivered an inaugural address at the University of St. The second sentence in the excerpt below expresses part of the idea of the quotation under investigation: 5. Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion.
Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing. He is not a good man who, without a protest, allows wrong to be committed in his name, and with the means which he helps to supply, because he will not trouble himself to use his mind on the subject.
The wording of the second half matched closely though no attribution was given: 6. He should not be lulled to repose by the delusion that he does no harm who takes no part in public affairs. He should know that bad men need no better opportunity than when good men look on and do nothing. He should stand to his principles even if leaders go wrong. In a pithy form of the saying appeared in the Chicago Daily Tribune: 7. Aked in favor of prohibition as mentioned at the beginning of this article.
Thus, the saying was probably in circulation before Here is a longer excerpt: 8. That is all that the criminal wants of the law—to be let alone. The sin of doing nothing is the deadliest of all the seven sins. Note the second half of the adage is very close to the modern statement. The saying was again attributed to Rev. Aked and it occurred twice: once in the subhead of the article and once in the body. While this is recognized as true of municipal politics, is it not also being evidenced as an actual condition in American industry?
For bad men to accomplish their purposes it is only necessary that good men do nothing.
On July 5, the temperance crusader Sir R. The address was published inand it contained a version of the now famous statement which Hyslop attributed to Burke. This is the earliest example of this attribution that QI knows about and it was found by Barry Popik who presented it on his website: Let it alone, that is all that is required. Cowardice will suffice for its triumph. Courage Look here for good man suffice for its overthrow.
The subhead for the article was reproduced so the maxim appeared in this digest magazine and was further propagated: Are We Helping the Radicals? A speaker named Robert A. Jameson employed an instance of the saying which he attributed to Burke: In the saying appeared in the Washington Post and was attributed to Burke as noted in the Yale Book of Quotations: 14 It is high time that the law-abiding citizens of Washington, and particularly those in organized groups dedicated to civic betterment, became alert to this danger and demanded protection against organized gangdom. In a U.
Congressman named O. He is a good man but he does nothing. His inaction is often the handmaid of evil. As the great Edmund Burke once said, for evil to succeed, it is only necessary for good men to do nothing. In President John F. Kennedy addressed the Canadian Parliament and used a version of the quotation that he credited to Edmund Burke: But it is strengthened even more by the dedicated efforts of free men and free nations. The words were attributed to Burke and a letter was specified as support: The trouble is that it may be a phony. Long of Philadelphia wrote to ask where and when Burke had said it.
Then the quotation sleuth sprung his trap. Long replied triumphantly. They are false sources. In conclusion, quotations from Burke and Mill are conceptually related to the quote under examination, but neither expression is close textually. In October of Charles F. Aked used a maxim in a speech that was similar but not identical to the modern quote.
In Murray Hyslop attributed the modern version of the quote to Burke. The record is too incomplete to make strong claims about who crafted the quote. It is possible that Aked created an adage with conscious or unconscious inspiration from Burke or Mill.
Perhaps Hyslop heard the phrase and ased it to Burke because he believed it sounded similar to Burke. Kennedy kept a notebook of quotations that he found worth recording. He may have heard a version attributed to Burke and noted it down for future use. Sorry QI cannot provide a more definitive response, but these new cites represent some progress.
Thanks for your question. Thanks to researchers, e. Also, the citation was added, and the conclusion was partially rewritten. On January 25, the and citations were added. Also the style of the bibliographic notes was changed from alphabetic labels to numeric labels.
On February 21, an additional sentence was added to the excerpt. Your work along with that of Barry Popik and others has certainly carried our knowledge of quotation attributions beyond what I could do when researching that book with resources available at the time. Keep up the good work. Can you confirm that this similiar quote can be attributed to Thomas Jefferson? Karen Reed: I have not researched this variant quotation carefully yet. A preliminary search shows no compelling evidence that Jefferson made this remark.
She was not specific. Hey, Kathy.
Ps 12 v 7 — 8 O Lord, you will keep us safe and protected from such people forever. The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honoured among men. Here is an example of a famous one with an incorrect attribution: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
Will you explore this question? Aked who was calling for restrictions on the use of alcohol: 2 It has been said that for evil men to accomplish their purpose it is only necessary that good men should do nothing. The second sentence in the excerpt below is listed in multiple quotation references and shares some points of similarity to the saying under investigation, but it is clearly dissimilar: 4 No man, who is not inflamed by vain-glory into enthusiasm, can flatter himself that his single, unsupported, desultory, unsystematic endeavours are of power to defeat the subtle des and united Cabals of ambitious citizens.
The second sentence in the excerpt below expresses part of the idea of the quotation under investigation: 5 Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. The wording of the second half matched closely though no attribution was given: 6 He should not be lulled to repose by the delusion that he does no harm who takes no part in public affairs. The subhead for the article was reproduced so the maxim appeared in this digest magazine and was further propagated: 12 Are We Helping the Radicals?Look here for good man
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