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[27] He left the standard of his king, because he saw ‘no
Chap. XLI.} 1775. June 17.
chance of being provided for at home,’ and, as an adventurer, sought ‘employment in any part of the world.’ Venerating England all the while, and holding it ‘wretchedness itself not to be able to herd with the class of men to which he had been accustomed from his infancy,’ he was continually craving intimate relations with British general officers and his old associates. He looked upon the Americans as unworthy of independence, which he never meant they should achieve, and he would have willingly become conspicuous as the instrument to lead them back to their allegiance; but he pursued no consistent plan; and whatever purpose for evil or for good rose in his mind, the eddies of his whims were sure to disturb its course. No position was too high for his conceit; yet he could not steadily pursue intrigues to supplant his superiors. He wrote with vivacity and sometimes with epigrammatic terseness, but never with warmth, for he had no fixed principles, and he loved neither man nor woman. He was subject to ‘spleen and gloomy moods;’ excitable almost to madness; but without depth or persistency; in his passions, alike violent and versatile. He passed for a brave man, but he wanted presence of mind, and in sudden danger he quailed. His mobility, though sometimes mistaken for activity, only disguised his inefficiency. He was poor in council; prodigal of censure; downcast in disaster; after success, claiming honor not his own; fit only to cavil and perplex. He professed to be a freethinker, after the type of his century; but he had only learned of scoffers to deny ‘the God of the Jews,’ curse the clergy, and hate orthodox dissenters.

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