has the Governor
to exercise such a power on the theory of these gentlemen?
You perceive the force of my argument, gentlemen of the Committee
The upholders of capital punishment say that inside of this book there is a command to keep up the gallows.
We respectfully reply: Take the statute in this book; construe it as you would any other law, and obey it,--and if you will obey it in that way, we are willing the government shall try the experiment.
But we are not willing that anybody should take out as much as he pleases, and leave the rest as binding upon us. If this is a law of God, “Whosoever sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed,” --if that is the whole of it,--you have no right to give Governor Gardner
the pardoning power, because God does not recognize that power.
There was an old lawyer who used to say that he could make a flaw in any statute large enough to drive a coach through.
How large a flaw must you make in this statute before you can get modern government under it?
If it is a statute, it means all I have said; if it is not a statute, it means nothing.
You are to choose between one horn of the dilemma or another.
If you want a government based on Noah
, take it; but don't throw it in our faces when we undertake to erect a government on the principles of modern experience, that we are disobeying a divine command in its full letter and spirit.
Do not throw it in our faces for a single item, and then refuse to conform to it when it goes against yourselves.
Then, again, if this verse is a binding statute, all the verses are. Here is the covenant with Noah
, and this is one of the articles of that covenant, “But flesh, with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.”
IX. 4.) This has always been interpreted to prescribe a certain