"Never murder a man who is committing suicide"--Woodrow Wilson?

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri Dec 16 16:13:48 UTC 2005

On 12/16/05, Fred Shapiro <fred.shapiro at yale.edu> wrote:
> On Thu, 15 Dec 2005, Bapopik at AOL.COM wrote:
> > Did Wilson really say this, and what does Fred have? The earliest Safire
> > column is from 1972.
> According to the American Heritage Dictionary of American Quotations,
> "Never ... murder a man who is committing suicide" appears in a letter
> from Wilson to Bernard Baruch, 9 Aug. 1916.  In my experience, however,
> the AHDAQ is extremely unreliable (even more than Bartlett's), so I am
> nervous about this one.  If anyone cares to verify it, that would be
> great.

Questia says the quote also appears here:

_History of the Labor Movement in the United States. Volume 6_ by
Philip S. Foner.
International Publishers, New York, 1947. p. 228.

I don't have access to a Questia subscription right now to check the
context given by Foner.

--Ben Zimmer

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