“That is a failing indeed!” cried Elizabeth. “Implacable resentment is a shade in a character. But you have chosen your fault well. I really cannot laugh at it. You are safe from me.”

“There is, I believe, in every disposition a tendency to some particular evil — a natural defect, which not even the best education can overcome.”

“And your defect is to hate everybody.”

“And yours,” he replied with a smile, “is willfully to misunderstand them.”

- Pride and Prejudice (images BBC 1980, 2005 and 1995)

Hamilton’s greatest disillusionment, however, was with the American people. Prior to his military service, Hamilton had waxed rhapsodic about the great republican virtue of the American people and the “enthusiasm in liberty, that makes human nature rise above itself.” Years of suffering and privation in the field had taught him otherwise. Although the ineffectual policies of Congress and the states exacerbated the army’s critical lack of supplies, overshadowing these failures was, in the words of one historian, “the speculative practices of countless farmers.” They hoarded their crops, sold them at inflated prices to merchants rather than to army quartermasters, and as a last resort distilled their grains into alcohol for more profitable sale to half-starved soldiers. Civilian theft of army supplies was rampant both in camp and throughout the countryside.

Magistrates and residents routinely found ways to avoid meeting their quotas of supplies and conscripts. Indeed, the failure of the states to supply the Continental Army was itself the result of their citizens’ utter unwillingness to pay higher taxes to support the war effort, a lesson not lost on Hamilton and his fellow soldiers. This was particularly evident after France entered the war on the American side. As Hamilton correctly noted, Americans expected the French to secure their independence without having to sacrifice themselves. “Our countrymen have all the folly of the ass,” wrote a disgusted Hamilton in 1780, “and all the passiveness of the sheep.”

Perhaps most discouraging of all, just as the southern colonies faced British conquest, South Carolina rejected John Laurens’s plan to raise several regiments of black soldiers, a scheme that had the backing of the Continental Congress. Laurens’s plan would have immeasurably aided the American war effort. Additionally, it would have at least made a dent in one of the gravest injustices that all Americans recognized as a blight on the nation’s moral and republican character. Even before the legislature had rejected Laurens’s proposal, Hamilton confessed that, although it was “the best resource the situation of your country will admit,” his hopes were “very feeble.” “Prejudice and private interest,” he predicted, “will be antagonists too powerful for public spirit and the public good.”The plan went down to defeat in South Carolina. Several years later Hamilton confessed to George Washington that “I have an indifferent opinion of the honesty of this country.” To his friend Laurens he was far more direct: “there is no virtue in America.”

—  Darren Staloff, Hamilton, Adams, Jefferson: The Politics of Enlightenment and the American Founding

The supervised injection site, the only one of its kind in North America but one of about 90 around the world, has been a target of the federal Conservative government since it came to power in 2006. In 2008, then federal health minister Tony Clement called Insite, “a failure of public policy, indeed of ethical judgment.” Since then a succession of ministers including current Health Minister Rona Ambrose have been consistent in their opposition, saying it diverts finances from treatment, legitimizes illegal drug use, encourages others to inject drugs, is a magnet for crime and threatens neighbourhoods.


While Insite as the full backing of the city of Vancouver, its police department, public health officials and the B.C. government, the constant federal attacks resulted in the facility becoming one of the most studied health initiatives in Canadian history. More than 40 peer reviewed studies have been published in Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, the British Medical Journal among others, concluding that the facility, and other harm reduction strategies like free needle exchanges, have slashed HIV infections and overdose death rates, have increased the number of people seeking treatment without contributing to an increase in crime, notes Kerr, one of the lead researchers.

The federal government’s determination to close Insite by refusing to renew its exemption from existing drug laws, was fought all of the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, only to lose in 2011 in a unanimous decision. The high court’s conclusion in ordering the federal government to allow the continued operation of the facility: “Insite has been proven to save lives with no discernible negative impact on the public safety and health objectives of Canada.

  • From the final Victorian scene
  • SHERLOCK:Have you written up your account of the case?
  • JOHN:Yes.
  • SHERLOCK:Modified to put it down as one of my rare failures, of course?
  • JOHN:Of course.
  • John has agreed to pretend the case was a failure when Sherlock's indeed solved it. A case about an Abominable Bride who turned out to be living murderers, using the name of a dead woman, to shoot the men in their life whom have wronged them. But that wasn't the only case he'd solved. The matter of Moriarty suddenly coming back from the dead. The matter of the Watson's own unhappy marriage. And yet, Mary wasn't a disguised bride using the name of a dead woman to veil her plans for murder- oh wait.
  • We must stick to our prepared words, Watson.
  • For now.