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[83] “If any man die a violent death,” says the legislator. First, by adding the epithet “violent,” he has given an indication by which we understand his meaning to be, “if a man die wrongfully.” “His kinsmen may take and hold hostages in respect of such death, until they either submit to trial for bloodguiltiness, or surrender the actual manslayers.” You will note what an admirable provision this is. He requires the hostages, in the first instance, to stand trial; and then if they refuse, he enjoins them to give up the murderers; but, if they decline both these duties, he adds that the right to hold hostages is limited to three and no more. The whole of this statute is defied in the wording of the decree.

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