Voltaire (1694-1778) wrote in a 1719 letter to M. de Genonville, “On doit des egards aux vivants; on ne doit aux morts que la verite.” ("We should be considerate to the living; to the dead we owe only the truth.") The modern form of the quotation has used the word “deserve”—“The living deserve our respect; the dead deserve the truth.”
The quotation has been used when the truth is sought about an incident (such as a war) where someone has died.
François-Marie Arouet (November 21, 1694 – May 30, 1778), famous using his pen name Voltaire, was a French writer, deist and philosopher.
On doit des egards aux vivants; on ne doit aux morts que la verite.
We should be considerate to the living; to the dead we owe only the truth.
. Letter to M. de Grenonville (1719).
Google News Archive
4 March 1975, Sarasota (FL) Journal, “Historical Figures Deserve The Truth” by Max Lerner, pg. 6-A, col. 6:
THE PRIMARY obligation is to be fair, truthful and compassionate at the same time, which is a pretty big order. There is a sentence from Voltaire that Charles McCarry uses in his suspense novel about Kennedy’s Vietnam tole and his assassination, “The Tears of Autumn”: “To the living, one owes consideration; to the dead, only the truth.”
The Last Affairs of H.G. Wells
By Andrea Lynn
Boulder, CO: Westview Press
The dead deserve the truth, the living deserve our respect.
Thread: The Rev. Jerry Falwell dead at 73.
05-15-2007, 03:27 PM
The living deserve respect, the dead deserve the truth.
Posted: 08 July 2009 at 5:32am
Once again, my favorite quite from that old rascal Voltaire—“The living deserve our respect, the dead deserve the truth.”
The Times-Leader (Wilkes-Barre, PA)
Mailbag: Letters From Readers
Last Modified: June 08. 2013 10:34PM
Reveal truth about Benghazi, Boston
There is an old saying: the dead deserve our respect, and the living deserve the truth. But not with this administration. What exactly happened, who is responsible for what happened and let the consequences fall on the truth.
We need to respect those who gave up their lives in Benghazi, Boston and the truth needs to be told to have respect for the living.
George J. Kochis
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • Thursday, June 13, 2013 • Permalink