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The Bible is the source of liberty (Quotation)

Quotation: "The Bible is the source of liberty."

Variations:

  1. "The Bible is the source of liberty. I have always said, and I always will say, that the studious perusal of the sacred volume will make better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands."
  2. "The Bible is the source of liberty. I have always said, and I always will say, that the studious perusal of the sacred volume will make better citizens."

Earliest known appearance in print: Renwick Harper Martin, Our Public Schools, Christian or Secular (Pittsburgh: National Reform Association, 1952), 39.

Comments: This quotation has not been found in the writings of Thomas Jefferson.  The first sentence appears to date from the twentieth century.  The second part of this quotation (starting with "I have always said ...") has a much older pedigree. Daniel Webster, in a letter written in 1852, described a conversation he had with Jefferson some twenty-seven years earlier. According to Webster, Jefferson told him, "I have always said, and always will say, that the studious perusal of the sacred volume will make better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands."1 This letter appeared in print as early as 1858.2

- Anna Berkes, 10/18/07; updated 12/8/15

Further Sources

  • 1. Daniel Webster to Professor Pease, June 15, 1852, in The Writings and Speeches of Daniel Webster, ed. Edward Everett (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1903), 16:656.
  • 2. "Letter from Mr. Webster on Sabbath Schools," Vermont Chronicle (Bellows Falls, Vermont), May 11, 1858, Issue 19.

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