Thursday, August 18, 2011

On Laws and Automata

We might as well have presiding over this nation a Maelzel automaton, or Babbage's Calculator, wound up by the Constitution to strike certain foregone conclusions, as to have a living representative of the people—a man whose heart, conscience and will have their legitimate place in interpreting and applying the written law to the nation's exigencies—if these feeble notions of the absolute preeminence in a civil war of every doubt or silence or uncertainty in a Constitution made for peace, are to prevail over the necessities of immediate and decisive action.
-- Rev. Henry W. Bellows, 1863, Unconditional Loyalty

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