these matters were perfunctory and occasional, and his opinions were heated to the temper of the times and shaped to the instant exigencies of the forum, sometimes to his own convenience at the moment, instead of being the slow result of a deliberate judgment enlightened by intellectual and above all historical sympathy with his subject.
His interest was rather in the occasion than the matter of the controversy.
No aphorisms of political science are to be gleaned from his writings as from those of Burke
His intense personality could never so far dissociate itself from the question at issue as to see it in its larger scope and more universal relations.
He was essentially a doctrinaire
, ready to sacrifice everything to what at the moment seemed the abstract truth, and with no regard to historical antecedents and consequences, provided those of scholastic logic were carefully observed.
He has no respect for usage or tradition except when they count in his favor, and sees no virtue in that power of the past over the minds and conduct of men which alone insures the continuity of national growth and is the great safeguard of order and progress.
The life of a nation was of less importance to him than that it should be conformed to certain principles of belief and conduct.
could distil political wisdom out of history because he had a profound consciousness of the soul that underlies and outlives events, and of the national character that gives them meaning and coherence.
Accordingly his words are still living and operative, while Milton
's pamphlets are strictly occasional and no longer interesting except as they illustrate him. In the Latin
ones especially there is an odd mixture of the pedagogue and the public orator.
His training, so far as it was thorough, so far, indeed, as it may be called optional, was purely poetical and artistic.
A true Attic bee, he made boot on every lip where there was a trace of truly classic honey.