For quite some time, I've been trying (along, I'm sure, with MANY others)
to pin down the source of the "Big Stick proverb.".
TR attributed it to a "West African Proverb" which read, in effect, "Speak
softly and carry a big stick and you will go far."
So far as I know, however, no one has ever located that actual West African
John Gable and others suggested it may have originated in the McGuffey's
Readers, but I've completed an examination of more than a decade of
original copies (ncluding supplemental books) and am unable to locate it.
Another suggestion has been that TR read some African History books in
FRENCH, and that this may have been the source of the "proverb."
And, of course, it's been suggested that the proverb was manufactured from
whole cloth to fit the needs of a particular speech.
From time to time I make some new efforts to track this down, and would
appreciate anyone's current ideas on the topic.
Regards from what's left of New York City.
NY, NY 10024-0502