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[128] obstacles in the path of justice. Almost all the disturbances caused at anti-slavery meetings-frequently ending in personal violence and arson-had the scarcely disguised sympathy of the authorities, and the law was successfully invoked to spread slavery and return the fugitive slave. The leading statesmen and politicians of the country, with hardly a single exception, did what they could for slavery as long as they thought that cause advantageous to their fortunes. They had substituted paper and ink for their own consciences, and had forgotten the primitive obligations of man in the artificial claims of their oaths of office. This is surely inhuman. How does a bad law or a bad constitution differ from any other bad thing? We cannot throw the blame for our acts upon parchment and legal-cap. While a bill is on its passage in the legislature we do not hesitate to charge improper motives against the members, and we often detect log rolling and even bribery and corruption. But when the bill has triumphed over our protests and become a law we straightway fall down on our knees before it. Is not this fetishworship? We talk of the majesty of the law as we used to talk of the majesty of our rulers; but the two absurdities must vanish together, for laws are not a whit more majestic than those who make and enforce them.

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