“The thought of death brings no regret, but pleasure;
And after the last sacrament great peace
Will be mine own, in overflowing measure,
If but your mercy marks my soul’s release.”
– Antoinette De Coursey Patterson, Lucrezia Borgia’s Last Letter
– Albert Einstein, My Future Plans, September 18th, 1896 (from The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein: Volume I, Document 22)
Misattributed Quote #1
“Cleanliness is next to godliness”, so the Bible goes. Or at least, that’s what some say.
Paul F. Boller and John George in their book “They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading Attributions” explain the origin of this quote further, saying that it came from 18th century British clergyman John Wesley in a sermon titled “On Dress”, who himself quoted 2nd century Hebrew sage Phinehas ben-Yair, who is the originator of the quote.
Nonetheless, Pastor Robert Deffinbaugh, who preaches at Community Bible Chapel in Richardson, Texas, has some things to say about this quote in a (rather long-winded) post on the overall topic, which you can view here if you’re interested.
Ending with another “quote” from the founding father’s, this one comes from James Madison, or so we are told. Apparently, he said that “We have staked the whole future of American civilization not on the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
An exhaustive search from 9 volumes of Madison’s writings, however, show that he never uttered this phrase.
James Madison’s border views on religion are puzzling, yet quite comprehensive when viewed in full. Indeed, there’s a lot to discuss that cannot be said in this portion of this blog post, but I’ll leave you with two documents to look over; his Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments written in 1785 and his essay on Monopolies, Perpetuities, Corporations and Ecclesiastical Endowments, commonly refereed to as his Detached Memoranda, written sometime between 1817 and 1832. The links for both of them are below.