Oscar Wilde (1854–1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. repr. In Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, ed. J.B. Foreman (1966). The Soul of Man Under Socialism (1895) Fortnightly Review (London, Feb. 1890).
This dictum was echoed in another line by Wilde—"Charity ... creates a multitude of evils," in The Critic as Artist, published in July and September of the same year (1890)Mbut both recall Thoreau's, "This is a charity that hides a multitude of sins" (referring to philanthropists) in Walden (1854) "Economy," which itself derives from the Bible, "For charity shall cover the multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8).