These Inventions require much wit, and application; and therefore it was, that Mons.

The first known instance in the English language was a sentence translated from a text written by the French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal.

The French statement appeared in a letter in a collection called “Lettres Provinciales” in the year 1657: My Letters were not wont to come so close one in the neck of another, nor yet to be so large.

The short time I have had hath been the cause of both.

I had not made this longer than the rest, but that I had not the leisure to make it shorter then it is.

The philosopher John Locke, the statesman Benjamin Franklin, the transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau, and the President Woodrow Wilson all presented statements matching this theme and the details are provided.

Mark Twain who is often connected to this saying did not use it according to the best available research, but one of his tangentially related quotations is given later for your entertainment.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

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