Connecticut State Motto
|Qui Transtulit Sustinet
|Translation:He Who Transplanted Still Sustains
What is a motto?
Merriam-Webster Online defines motto in this way:
Main Entry: motĚto
Inflected Form(s): plural mottoes also mottos
Etymology: Italian, from Late Latin muttum grunt, from Latin muttire to mutter
1 : a sentence, phrase, or word inscribed on something as appropriate to or indicative of its character or use
2 : a short expression of a guiding principle
State mottoes may be said to reflect the character and beliefs of the citizens of the state, or more
accurately, the citizens of the state when they were adopted. State mottoes can help us gain insight into the
history of a state.
Adoption of the Connecticut State Motto
The motto, Qui Transtulit Sustinet, has been an element of a number of versions of an official
seal used since colonial times and before. It was first seen in the colonies in 1639 on a seal brought from
England by Colonel George Fenwick. That seal served as the official seal of the Saybrook Colony. When the
land of the Saybrook Colony was purchased by the Connecticut Colony in 1644, the seal was transferred with the
title to the land.The current Seal of the State of Connecticut looks a little different than the 1639 seal but the
elements of the, the supported grape vines and the motto, Qui Transtulit Sustinet, sustain.
About the Connecticut State Motto
Translation of the motto Qui Transtulit Sustinet has be variously defined as "He Who
Transplanted Still Sustains" and "He Who Transplanted Continues to Sustain". As the story of the battles
in Lexinton and Concord spread throughout the colonies, local militias prepared. In an April 23, 1775
letter stamped in Whethersfield, Connecticut, it was written, "We fix on our Standards and Drums the Colony
arms, with the motto, Qui Transtulit Sustinet, round it in letters of gold, which we construe thus: God, who
transplanted us hither, will support us."
The origin of the motto is uncertain, but in 1889 State Librarian Charles J. Hoadly published an
article, printed in the Connecticut State Register and Manual, 1889: Register and Manual of the State
of Connecticut that indicated the 80th Psalm as a possible source. The article, The Public
Seal of Connecticut, stated:
"The vines [on the State Seal] symbolize the Colony brought over and planted here in the wilderness. We read in
the 80th Psalm: 'Thou has brought a vine out of Egypt: Thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it':--In
Latin, 'Vineam de AEgypto transtulisti, Ejicisti gentes et Plantasti eam'; and the motto expresses our
belief that He who brought over the vine continues to take care of it--Qui transtulit sustinet."
George Earlie Shankle, Ph.D., in State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers and Other
"Connecticut's motto, Qui Transtulit Sustinet, means He who transplanted contiues to sustain. It
is an adaptation of Psalms, Chapter 79, verse 3, of the Latin Vulgate Version of the
The Connecticut Statutes
The following information is excerpted from the Connecticut Statutes, Title 3, Chapter 33,
Sections 3-105 and 3-106.
TITLE 3. STATE ELECTIVE OFFICERS.
CHAPTER 33. SECRETARY.
Sec. 3-105. Arms of the state. The following-described arms shall be the official arms of the state: A shield of rococo design of white field, having in the center three grape vines, supported and bearing fruit. The vine located in the center of the shield and the vine located on the right side of the shield shall ascend in a counterclockwise manner. The vine located on the left side of the shield shall ascend in a clockwise manner. The bordure to the shield shall consist of two bands bordered by fine lines adorned with clusters of white oak leaves (Quercus alba) bearing acorns. Below the shield shall be a white streamer, cleft at each end, bordered with two fine lines, and upon the streamer shall be in block letters the motto "QUI TRANSTULIT SUSTINET". A drawing of said arms, made in conformity herewith and filed in the office of the Secretary, shall be the official drawing of the arms of the state.
(1949 Rev., S. 178; 1953, S. 61d; 1959, P.A. 328, S. 1; 1961, P.A. 76, S. 1; P.A. 90-156, S. 1.)
CHAPTER 33. SECRETARY.
Sec. 3-106. Seal. The great seal of the state shall conform to the following description: It shall be a perfect ellipse with its major axis two and one-half inches in length and its minor axis two inches in length, the major axis being vertical. Within such ellipse shall appear another ellipse with its major axis one and fifteen-sixteenths inches in length and its minor axis one and one-half inches in length. The inner ellipse is separated from the outer ellipse only by a line two points one-thirty-sixth of an inch in width and with the space between the two ellipses, being seven-thirty-seconds of an inch, forming a border. In said space shall appear, letter spaced and in letters one-eighth of an inch in height and of twelve point century Roman, the words "SIGILLUM REIPUBLICAE CONNECTICUTENSIS", beginning and ending one and one-sixteenth inches apart in the lower space along such border. In the center of the inner ellipse shall be three grape vines, two above and one below, each with four leaves and three clusters of grapes intertwined around a support nine-sixteenths of an inch high, and the base of the supports of the two upper vines one inch from the base of the inner ellipse and eleven-sixteenths of an inch apart. The base of the lower support shall be nine-sixteenths of an inch from the base of the inner ellipse and halfway between said bases shall appear the motto "QUI TRANSTULIT SUSTINET", in number three, six point card Roman letters, or engraver's Roman letters, on a ribbon gracefully formed, with the ends of the ribbon turned upward and inward and cleft. A drawing of said seal shall be filed in the office of the Secretary and shall be its official drawing.
(1949 Rev., S. 179, 8490; 1953, S. 3280d; 1959, P.A. 328, S. 2; 1961, P.A. 76, S. 2.)
State Motto List:
List of all of the state mottoes.
State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols:
A Historical Guide, Third Edition - Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer, Greenwood Press, 2002
State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers and Other Symbols:
A Study based on historical documents giving the origin and significance of the state names, nicknames, mottoes, seals,
flowers, birds, songs, and descriptive comments on the capitol buildings and on some of the leading state histories,
Revised Edition - George Earlie Shankle, Ph.D., The H.W. Wilson Company, 1938 (Reprint Services Corp. 1971)
Source: Connecticut Statutes, (http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/Statutes.asp), March 22, 2005
Source: Interactive Connecticut State Register & Manual, (http://www.sots.state.ct.us/RegisterManual/regman.htm), March 22, 2005
Source: Merriam-Webster Online, (http://www.m-w.com/), March 3, 2005
Source: State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols: A Historical Guide, Third Edition - Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer, Greenwood Press, 2002
Source: State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers and Other Symbols: Revised Edition (Reprint)- George Earlie Shankle, Ph.D., The H.W. Wilson Company, 1938