I was surprised to find myself liking Thomas Jefferson personally. (Of course he is on any short list of patriots, and heads any list of prose stylists.) Reading him in a big block showed that his hypocrisy rested on a truly sweet nature, which hated confrontation. “Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things” (Inauguration Address, 3/4/01).
He only lied when telling the truth would make him sad. That’s not exactly a character reference, is it?