"The wise know their weakness too well to assume infallibility; and he who knows most, knows best how little he knows." - Thomas Jefferson, February 25, 1812, The Proceedings of the Government of the United States, in maintaining the Public Right to the Beach of the Missisipi, Adjacent to New-Orleans, against the Intrusion of Edward Livingston[1]

Note: This passage is often erroneously quoted as, "He who knows best, knows how little he knows."


  1. ^ Also known as the "Batture Pamphlet." See L&B, 17:130. Text also available online from Google Books. See also Jefferson’s Statement on the Batture Case, July 31, 1810, in PTJ, 2:657n. Editorial note available at Founders Online.