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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

AUTHOR: Armand Jean du Plessis, Duc de Richelieu (1585–1642)
QUOTATION: If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.
(Qu’on me donne six lignes écrites de la main du plus honnête homme, j’y trouverai de quoi le faire pendre.)
ATTRIBUTION: Cardinal RICHELIEU, Mirame.—The Home Book of Quotations, ed. Burton Stevenson, 9th ed., p. 2259 (1964).

However, the other source Stevenson cites, Édouard Fournier’s L’Esprit dans l’Histoire, 3d ed., chapter 51, p. 260 (1867), does not accept the traditional attribution and suggests one or another of Richelieu’s agents as possible authors.

Adlai Stevenson was reminded “with a shudder” of Richelieu’s words, “Give me six sentences written by the most innocent of men and I will hang him with them,” in his Call to Greatness, p. 51 (1954).
SUBJECTS: Injustice