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[82] confers the right, but actually enjoins it as an obligation, “blood for blood!”

They claim that this question lies entirely outside of the province of usual legislation. That is a very suspicious claim, to begin with. You are asked to give your support to a law which avowedly transcends your Constitution, on the ground that it belongs to the theory of Christianity. But who says this is a Christian government? It recognizes the Jew, the Mohammedan, or anybody else, as a voter and entitled to an equality of right. I do not say, gentlemen, that the spirit of Christianity does not permeate its laws; I simply say, this government does not recognize Christianity as an essential characteristic of its component parts.

You come now to the Bible. You come now to this verse of the Old Testament; and upon this verse hangs the whole theory of government, the whole theory of this legislation on capital punishment. I want you to bear in mind these observations, because it shows you that the thing claimed stands outside of the Constitution, outside of the whole theory of American government,--it is peculiar, essential, unique. We come, then, to that verse. It is an obligation, they say: “Whosoever sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” Let us suppose, gentlemen, to begin with, that it is a command. We will not say that we are Christians and not Jews, and that this was addressed, in the first place, to Jews and not to Christians. Who can show that this is a command to Christians? It is a command to the Jewish nation, so far as we know. But it is contended that this command stands behind the Jewish nation, and is addressed to the whole race, represented by Noah. Suppose we waive aside our objection, and consider it as a covenant with the race, through Noah.

If this is a covenant, if it is a law of God, if it is addressed

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