of the constitution against the syren form of
, an Englishman by birth and in part by education, was a merchant of vast designs, and was indefatigable in the pursuit of gain; but he brought to the American
cause courage and weight of character, ‘a masterly understanding, an open temper, and an honest heart.’
With union, he had ‘no doubt that the colonies could at their pleasure choose between a reconciliation and total independence;’ and he opposed the latter, because he thought its agitation only tended to produce division, of which he dreaded ‘even the appearance;’ but if the liberties of America
could not otherwise be secured, he was ready to renounce the connection with Great Britain
and fight his way through.
, whose influence was enhanced by his possession of the intimate confidence of Washington
, had neither the timidity of Dickinson
nor the positiveness of Morris
, and he carried into public affairs less passion than either.
His heart sent out no tendrils to bind him closely to a party; he willingly left the outline of his opinions indistinct; and was led by his natural temper to desire a compromise between extremes.
His wife was an Englishwoman, but she nobly encouraged him by her unaffected attachment to the American
His love for his rising and dependent family made him the more anxious to avoid a lee shore, and keep where there was room to tack and change.
Elected as the candidate of the ardent patriots, his principles were naturally thought to militate against reconciliation; but in this they were much misunderstood: it was his judgment that