I believe that obstinacy, or the dread of control and discipline, arises not so much from self-willedness as from a conscious defect of voluntary power; as foolhardiness is not seldom the disguise of conscious timidity.
There is something in obstinacy which differs from every other passion. Whenever it fails, it never recovers, but either breaks like iron, or crumbles sulkily away, like a fractured arch. Most other passions have their periods of fatigue and rest, their sufferings and their cure; but obstinacy has no resource, and the first wound is mortal.
If it be true that men of strong imaginations are usually dogmatistsand I am inclined to think it is soit ought to follow that men of weak imaginations are the reverse; in which case we should have some compensation for stupidity. But it unfortunately happens that no dogmatist is more obstinate or less open to conviction than a fool.
Obstinacy, sir, is certainly a great vice; and in the changeful state of political affairs it is frequently the cause of great mischief. It happens, however, very unfortunately, that almost the whole line of the great and masculine virtuesconstancy, gravity, magnanimity, fortitude, fidelity, and firmnessare closely allied to this disagreeable quality, of which you have so just an abhorrence; and in their excess all these virtues very easily fall into it.