Cardinal Richelieu

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Sometimes we may learn more from a man's errors, than from his virtues.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.

Armand Jean du Plessis, Cardinal et Duc de Richelieu (9 September 1585 - 4 December 1642) was a French clergyman, noble, and statesman.

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To mislead a rival, deception is permissible; one may use all means against his enemies.
  • Qu'on me donne six lignes écrites de la main du plus honnête homme, j'y trouverai de quoi le faire pendre.
    • If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.
  • Pour tromper un rival l'artifice est permis; on peut tout employer contres ses ennemis.
    • To mislead a rival, deception is permissible; one may use all means against his enemies.
  • Savoir dissimuler est le savoir des rois.
    • Deception is the knowledge of kings.

  • Carry on any enterprise as if all future success depends on it.
  • Had Luther and Calvin been confined before they had begun to dogmatize, the states would have been spared many troubles.
  • Harshness towards individuals who flout the laws and commands of state is for the public good; no greater crime against the public interest is possible than to show leniency to those who violate it.
  • I have never had any [enemies] other than those of the state.
  • I have the consolation of leaving your kingdom in the highest degree of glory and of reputation.
  • Never write a letter and never destroy one.
  • One must believe neither the people of the palace, who ordinarily measure the power of the king by the shape of his crown, which, being round, has no end, nor those who, in the excesses of an indiscreet zeal, proclaim themselves openly as partisans of Rome.
  • Reason must be the universal rule and guide; all things must be done according to reason without allowing oneself to be swayed by emotion.
  • Secrecy is the first essential in affairs of state.
  • War is one of the scourges with which it has pleased God to afflict men.