Quotation by Sir Henry Wotton

An Ambassador is an honest man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country.
Sir Henry Wotton (1568–1639), British diplomat, poet. Written in the album of Christopher Fleckmore, c. 1612. Quoted in Izaak Walton, Life of Sir Henry Wotton, published in Reliquiae Wottonianae (1651).

Wotton wrote the remark while in Germany, en route to Venice where he was serving as James I's envoy. However, he spoiled his pun by writing it in Latin, thus reducing "to lie" (ad mentiendum) to one meaning only—and thereby ruining his career.
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