Quote: I only wish that I was as cocksure of any one thing as he is sure of everything.

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 23 20:52:40 UTC 2014

Back in October 2009 a version of the expresson in the subject line
was discussed on the ADS mailing list. This joke can be expressed in
many ways. The earliest strong match I've located was published in

[ref] 1851 August, Graham's Magazine, Volume 39, Number 2, "The Use
and the Economy of Invective" by P., Quote Page 66, Column 2,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Google Books full view) link [/ref]


[Begin excerpt]
Macaulay's positiveness of assertion on the most obscure points of
history and policy is well known to all his multitudinous readers.
Lord Melbourne, who combined great accomplishments and unerring
political shrewdness with the skepticism of a Hume, and the languid
airs of a Brummell, once hit off this universal dogmatism of the great
essayist with inimitable tact. "I wish," said he, "that I knew any
thing as well as Tom Macaulay knows every thing."
[End excerpt]

An analysis of the quotation is now available on the Quote
Investigator website. Thanks to discussion participants especially
Kenneth Hirsch.



The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list