Preoccupation with money is the great test of small natures, but only a small test of great ones; there may be a wide gulf between a man who despises money and a genuinely honest man.

[L’intérêt d’argent est la grande épreuve des petits caractères; mais ce n’est encore que la plus petite pour les caractères distingués; et il y a loin de l’homme qui méprise l’argent, à celui qui est véritablement honnête.]

Nicolas Chamfort
Nicolas Chamfort (1741-1794) French writer, epigrammist (b. Nicolas-Sébastien Roch)
Products of Perfected Civilization [Produits de la Civilisation Perfectionée], Part 1 “Maxims and Thoughts [Maximes et Pensées],” ch. 2, ¶ 164 (1795) [tr. Mathers (1926)]

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

Concern for money is the great test of small natures; but is scarcely a test at all for those who rise above the ordinary; and there is a long way between the man who scorns money and the one who is genuinely honest.
[tr. Merwin (1969)]

Weak characters think money all-important; for any well-bred person, it's a very minor concern.
[tr. Parmée (2003), ¶ 129]

The desire for money can go very far in proving that a person has a petty character, but it has little to say about a persons sincerity; and there is a great distance between a man who scorns money and someone who is truly honest.
[tr. Siniscalchi]

Added on 24-Jul-23 | Last updated 31-Jul-23
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