[PW] Saying: With great power comes great responsibility (Request help with French)

Charles Early charles.early at gmail.com
Tue Jun 30 12:07:02 PDT 2015

You can find a somewhat similar idea in the Gospels, e.g. Luke 12:48: "For
unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required."

Charles Early

On Tue, Jun 30, 2015 at 12:12 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <
adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:

> A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision penned by Justice Elena Kagan
> referred to a quotation in a 1962 comic book featuring Spiderman. Fred
> has an entry for the quotation in the Yale Book of Quotations: "with
> great power there must also come--great responsibility". Fred also
> noted the existence of an earlier citation with a matching expression:
>  [Begin excerpt]
> "Wherever there is great power . . . there is great responsibility’"
> appeared much earlier in John Cumming, Voices of the Dead (1854).
> [End excerpt]
> I have been asked (by a judge) to trace this quotation because it has
> also been attributed to Voltaire. At this time the linkage to Voltaire
> is unsupported. Nevertheless, I have attempted to find something
> pertinent in French.
> Below is a citation from the time of the French Revolution that may be
> relevant. Would someone please translate the passage below? I have
> removed diacritical marks because mailing list software sometimes
> handles these marks incorrectly. (The link below leads to a full
> version of the text with removed diacritical marks.)
> [ref] 1793 May, Title: Collection Generale des Décrets Rendus par la
> Convention Nationale, Date: May 8, 1793 (Du 8 Mai 1793), Quote Page
> 72, Publisher: Chez Baudouin, Imprimeur de la Convention Nationale. A
> Paris. (Google Books Full View) link [/ref]
> http://bit.ly/1TPpw79
> [Begin excerpt]
> Les Representans du peuple se rendront a leur destination, investis de
> la plus hante confiance et de pouvoirs illimites. Ils vont deployer un
> grand caractere. Ils doivent envisager qu'une grande responsabilite
> est la suite inseparable d'un grand pouvoir. Ce sera a leur energie, a
> leur courage, et sur-tout a leur prudence, qu'ils devront leur succes
> et leur gloire.
> [End excerpt]
> In recent years the claim of a linkage to Voltaire has sometimes
> included the following citation. The citation gives no page number.
> Also, the original supposed statement in French is not specified:
> [Begin excerpt]
> Voltaire: Voltaire. Jean, Adrien. Beuchot, Quentin and Miger, Pierre,
> Auguste. Oeuvres de Voltaire, Volume 48. Lefèvre, 1832.
> [End excerpt]
> Here is link to volume 48 of Oeuvres de Voltaire:
> Short link: http://bit.ly/1egYuVp
> Long link:
> https://books.google.com/books/about/Oeuvres_de_Voltaire.html?id=jKMGAAAAQAAJ
> I was unable to find a relevant quotation within volume 48. If some
> W0mbat finds something pertinent please let me know.
> Thanks for any translation help you can provide; also, any substantive
> evidence of a connection to Voltaire would be welcome,
> Garson O'Toole
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