„Then I will speak upon the ashes.“

Last update Oct. 23, 2017. History
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Sojourner Truth13
African-American abolitionist and women's rights activist 1797 - 1883

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Context: The judge's authority depends upon the assumption that he speaks with the mouth of others. That is to say, the momentum of his utterances must be greater than any which his personal reputation and character can command, if it is to do the work assigned to it — if it is to stand against the passionate resentments arising out of the interests he must frustrate — for while a judge must discover some composition with the dominant trends of his times, he must preserve his authority by cloaking himself in the majesty of an overshadowing past.

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Conversation with Emmanuel, comte de Las Cases (20 November 1816), Mémorial de Sainte Hélène, v. 4, p. 251 http://books.google.com/books?id=945jAAAAMAAJ&vq=%22fable%20agreed%20upon%22&pg=PA251. However, the phrase predates Napoleon. Helvétius attributes it to Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle, De l'esprit (1758), p. 443 http://books.google.com/books?id=N7g8AAAAcAAJ&vq=%22fable%20convenue%22&pg=RA1-PA443

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