Celebrating 18 Years on the Web
TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY ®
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, ... finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell ... whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”
more quiz questions >>
Thumbnail of Thomas Fuller (source)
Thomas Fuller
(24 Jun 1654 - 17 Sep 1734)

English physician whose practice was in Sevenoaks, Kent. His Pharmacopoiea of a thousand prescriptions for medicines appeared in at least 12 editions. He also published Gnomologia in which he collected 6496 adagies and proverbs.


Thomas Fuller
“He that plants trees”

Illustrated Quote - Large (800 x 400 px)

“He that plants trees, loves others besides himself.”
— Thomas Fuller
Gnomologia: Adagies and Proverbs, Wise Sentences and Witty Sayings (1732).

More Thomas Fuller quotes on science >>

This quote is as written in Gnomologia (1732), a compilation of 6496 adagies and proverbs that Thomas Fuller had collected from various sources. In its introduction, Fuller wrote, “it hath been my constant Custom to note down and record whatever I thought of myself, or receiv’d from Men, or Books worth preserving.” The publication did not give any sources, or indicate any apothegms or maxims that were his original thoughts. So the quote might be original by Fuller, or not. It may be more likely be his wording of a proverb or sentiment he heard or found elsewhere.

The Gnomologia seems to be the first appearance of the quote with this particular wording and sentiment. In the centuries that followed, various compilations of proverbs have included it.

However, note that the quote is attributed to Hans Sloane in the 1884 collection Day's Collacon: an Encyclopaedia of Prose Quotations. Sloane (1660-1753), an avid botanic collector, was also a physician, and a contemporary of Fuller (1654-1734). It remains an open question whether Sloan learned the quote from Fuller's book (1732), or if Fuller heard Sloan use it. (Or, if the attribution was an editor's error.) Day’s Collacon includes several quotes with similar sentiments.

Though it appears only relatively recently in printed works so far found by Webmaster, compare this quote circulating, called a Greek proverb:

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.

Text by Webmaster with quote from No. 2248 in Gnomologia: Adagies and Proverbs, Wise Sentences and Witty Sayings (1732), 91. (source)


See also:
  • Science Quotes by Thomas Fuller.
  • 24 Jun - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Fuller's birth.
  • Thomas Fuller - context of quote “He that plants trees” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)

Nature bears long with those who wrong her. She is patient under abuse. But when abuse has gone too far, when the time of reckoning finally comes, she is equally slow to be appeased and to turn away her wrath. (1882) -- Nathaniel Egleston, who was writing then about deforestation, but speaks equally well about the danger of climate change today.
Carl Sagan Thumbnail Carl Sagan: In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) ...(more by Sagan)

Albert Einstein: I used to wonder how it comes about that the electron is negative. Negative-positive—these are perfectly symmetric in physics. There is no reason whatever to prefer one to the other. Then why is the electron negative? I thought about this for a long time and at last all I could think was “It won the fight!” ...(more by Einstein)

Richard Feynman: It is the facts that matter, not the proofs. Physics can progress without the proofs, but we can't go on without the facts ... if the facts are right, then the proofs are a matter of playing around with the algebra correctly. ...(more by Feynman)
Quotations by: • Albert Einstein • Isaac Newton • Lord Kelvin • Charles Darwin • Srinivasa Ramanujan • Carl Sagan • Florence Nightingale • Thomas Edison • Aristotle • Marie Curie • Benjamin Franklin • Winston Churchill • Galileo Galilei • Sigmund Freud • Robert Bunsen • Louis Pasteur • Theodore Roosevelt • Abraham Lincoln • Ronald Reagan • Leonardo DaVinci • Michio Kaku • Karl Popper • Johann Goethe • Robert Oppenheimer • Charles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about: • Atomic  Bomb • Biology • Chemistry • Deforestation • Engineering • Anatomy • Astronomy • Bacteria • Biochemistry • Botany • Conservation • Dinosaur • Environment • Fractal • Genetics • Geology • History of Science • Invention • Jupiter • Knowledge • Love • Mathematics • Measurement • Medicine • Natural Resource • Organic Chemistry • Physics • Physician • Quantum Theory • Research • Science and Art • Teacher • Technology • Universe • Volcano • Virus • Wind Power • Women Scientists • X-Rays • Youth • Zoology  ... (more topics)


- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton



who invites your feedback
Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.