But if the law applies to all men, it
will be of no avail to plead lack of education. We
must therefore try to discover whether there be not
some point on which the law can be invalidated.
We turn for guidance to nature (a point on which
I cannot insist too often); what does she suggest
save that when the letter of the law is against us,
we should discuss its intention? This introduces
the general question whether we are to stand by the
letter or the spirit. But if we argue this question
on general grounds with reference to law in the
abstract, we shall go on for ever; it is a question
that has never been decided. We must therefore
restrict our enquiry to the particular law on which
our case turns and try to find some argument
against adhesion to the strict letter.