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[49] 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.

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