Fake Quotes

Mar 2011
1,209
The Carolinas
#41
I'm not sure if this exactly conforms with the OP, but 'Let them eat cake' bothers me a little. Some historians insist Marie Antoinette never said that. How would they know for sure? By most accounts she was the sort of person who would have said it.

OTOH she had a lot of enemies who'd have backstabbed her with that allegation in a heartbeat, and probably said much the same thing themselves often enough.
It's more likely thought and believed that Louis XIV's wife, Marie-Therese d'Espagne (or d'Autriche) was the infamous "Great Princess" who uttered those words.
Biographer Antonia Fraser calls the statement "callous and ignorant" and says MA was not those things, but neither was MT. She was a naive and simple woman, she was also extremely pious. So for Marie-Therese saying "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche", it was probably out of naivety rather being cruel.
 

Gudenrath

Ad Honorem
May 2012
2,626
Denmark
#42
It's more likely thought and believed that Louis XIV's wife, Marie-Therese d'Espagne (or d'Autriche) was the infamous "Great Princess" who uttered those words.
Biographer Antonia Fraser calls the statement "callous and ignorant" and says MA was not those things, but neither was MT. She was a naive and simple woman, she was also extremely pious. So for Marie-Therese saying "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche", it was probably out of naivety rather being cruel.
Not to mention that there was a whole separate literature of slander in calumny at that time in France which thrived on making up that sort of stuff, and which literally consisted of nothing more than more or less made up claims about high society in general and especially the court of France from the time of Louis XIV and onwards. And of course after the Revolution the apocryphal stories regarding the French monarchy flourished and became more vitriolic.

I can recommend this book on the subject. After having read it, it becomes clear that one should not put too much weight on such stories that originated in that period, because there were no limits for these authors (many writing in relative safety in London):

[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Devil-Water-Slander-Napoleon-Material/dp/0812221710"]The Devil in the Holy Water,or the Art of Slander from Louis XIV to Napoleon (Material Texts): Robert Darnton: 9780812221718: Amazon.com: Books@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51oZQbyvTfL.@@AMEPARAM@@51oZQbyvTfL[/ame]

So to take it even as something the consort of Louis XIV may have said when we have no historical documentation for the veracity of this even having been uttered by anyone is to give too much credit to the veracity of the contemporary French yellow press.
 
Apr 2011
1,286
Melbourne
#44
Something I enjoy pointing out and have mentioned on the forums in the past are the famous lines frequently attributed to French monarchs.

Take the Bourbons, for instance.

Henri IV - "Paris vaut bien une messe"
Louis XIV - "L'état, c'est moi"
Louis XV - "Après moi, le déluge"
Marie Antoinette - "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche"

In each case, the 'dictum' is either apocryphal or plainly wrong (in Henri IV's case, at least suspicious; in Antoinette's, certainly incorrect). On the other hand, they do often serve well to understand contemporaneous or later perceptions of them.
 

bartieboy

Ad Honorem
Dec 2010
6,616
The Netherlands
#45
"Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has no heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains."

This is attributed to Winston Churchill, but there is no evidence he said any such thing. In fact it would be an extremely odd thing for him to say as he was still a Member of Parliament for the Liberal Party at the age of 48.

ps: There is a common variation on this when the word 'Liberal' is replaced by the word 'Socialist', there is no evidence Churchill said this either.
Correct me if I'm wrong but I do believe this is by George Clemenceau.
Now here is a "famous" dutch quote by Jan van Speijk: he was supposed to have said: dan nog liever de lucht in. (then I'd rather blow it up!)

For as far as I know nobody can be sure of what he said since he blew himself up afterwards.
 

Rongo

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
5,683
Ohio
#46
There's a whole bunch of them in U.S. history. One of the worst, just because virtually everyone believes it, is what President Andrew Jackson was supposed to have said after the Supreme Court (headed by Chief Justice John Marshall) made a decision he disagreed with. Jackson was supposed to have said:

"John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it."
What he really said:

"The decision of the Supreme Court has fell still born, and they find that they cannot coerce Georgia to yield to its mandate."

Source: The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians ... - Francis Paul Prucha - Google Books
 
Sep 2012
1,033
#48
“Tolerance and apathy are the last virtues of a dying society.”

Most commonly misattributed to Aristotle, by white supremacists, neo nazis and their ilk. He never said that.
 

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