"to give hostage to fortune"

Posted by Masakim on November 16, 2001

In Reply to: "To give hostage to fortune" posted by Paul Schneider on November 16, 2001

: This phrase appears in a magazine article about H. Kissinger. The "one" in the phrase refers to one of two statements by Kissinger--neither of which are candid. The quote is as follows: "Kissinger gives one hostage to fortune in his earlier book, and another in a later book."

He that hath wife and children, hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief. (Francis Bacon, _The Essays_)

Once several good outfits are prepared, any one of which can attack a Japanese-held base or island and beat the life out of the garrison, all their islands will become hostages to fortune. (Winston Churchill, _The Hinge of Fate_)

See also: the last words of Sir Francis Bacon.