be true in his attachment to a woman or a friend, but
not to a principle, or a people.
‘The rabble,’ he would say, ‘is a monstrous beast, that has passions to
be moved, but no reason to be appealed to;. . . . . plain sense will influence half a score of men, at most, while mystery will lead millions by the nose;’ and, having no reliance in the power of the common mind to discern the right, or in the power of truth to resist opposition and guide through perils, he could give no fixedness to his administration, and no security to his fame.
Pushing intellectual freedom even to libertinism, it was he who was author of the tax on newspapers.
Indifferent, not to the forms of religion only, but to religion itself, he was the unscrupulous champion of the High Church, and supported the worst acts of its most intolerant policy.
As he grew older, he wrote on patriotism and liberty, and became himself, from the dupe of the Pretender, the suitor for power through the king's mistress.
Thus, though capable of great ideas, and catching glimpses of universal truth, his horizon was shut in by the selfishness of his ambition.
Writing brilliant treatises on philosophy, he fretted at the bit which curbed his passions; and, from the unsettled character of his mind, though rapid in appropriating a scheme, he could neither inspire confidence, nor enjoy internal calm, nor arrange an enterprise with method.
Capable of energy and present activity, he had no soundness of judgment, nor power of combination.
Such was the statesman who planned the conquest of Canada
‘As that whole design,’ wrote St. John
, in June, 1711, ‘was formed by me, and the management of it singly
carried on by me, I have a sort of paternal concern for the success of it.’