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edmund burke questions

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I am not arrogant in this confident assurance. Public calamity is a mighty leveller; and there are occasions when any, even the slightest, chance of doing good must be laid hold on, even by the most inconsiderable person. Figure? From that time Ireland has ever had a general Parliament, as she had before a partial Parliament. They will deny that the Americans were ever “touched and grieved” with the taxes. Whilst every principle of authority and resistance has been pushed, upon both sides, as far as it would go, there is nothing so solid and certain, either in reasoning or in practice, that has not been shaken. By another Act, where one of the parties was an Englishman, they ordained that his trial should be always by English. This committee was called “The Lords of Trade.” From its members came many if not the majority of the propositions for the regulation of the American trade. Lift up your hearts. Spurn it as a derogation from the rights of legislature? ], [Footnote: 36. to persuade slaves. Neither the perseverance of Holland, nor the activity of France, nor the dexterous and firm sagacity of English enterprise ever carried this most perilous mode of hardy industry to the extent to which it has been pushed by this recent people; a people who are still, as it were, but in the gristle, and not yet hardened into the bone of manhood. After many demonstrations both in America and England the Stamp Act became a law in 1765. surely no! You made fifteen for Wales. This is mild; that harsh. Whilst we are discussing any given magnitude, they are grown to it. It is the love of the people; it is their attachment to their government, from the sense of the deep stake they have in such a glorious institution, which gives you your army and your navy, and infuses into both that liberal obedience without which your army would be a base rabble, and your navy nothing but rotten timber. Compare with 14; also 8. It is proved by the whole tenor of their Acts of Supply in all the Assemblies, in which the constant style of granting is, “an aid to his Majesty”, and Acts granting to the Crown have regularly for near a century passed the public offices without dispute. But I confess that the character of judge in my own cause is a thing that frightens me. The idea of conciliation is admissible. These are deep questions, where great names militate against each other, where reason is perplexed, and an appeal to authorities only thickens the confusion; for high and reverend authorities lift up their heads on both sides, and there is no sure footing in the middle. Whilst we spend our time in deliberating on the mode of governing two millions, we shall find we have millions more to manage. I say in moderation, for she ought not to be permitted to exhaust herself. My idea is nothing more. Who are you, that you should fret and rage, and bite the chains of nature? Terror is not always the effect of force, and an armament is not a victory. I am not even obliged to go to the rich treasury of the fertile framers of imaginary commonwealths–not to the Republic of Plato, [Footnote: 52] not to the Utopia of More, [Footnote: 52] not to the Oceana of Harrington. But what, says the financier, is peace to us without money? There is, Sir, also a circumstance which convinces me that this mode of criminal proceeding is not, at least in the present stage of our contest, altogether expedient; which is nothing less than the conduct of those very persons who have seemed to adopt that mode by lately declaring a rebellion in Massachusetts Bay, as they had formerly addressed to have traitors brought hither, under an Act of Henry the Eighth, [Footnote: 40] for trial. The House has gone farther; it has declared conciliation admissible, previous to any submission on the part of America. I think, Sir, we have few American financiers. To prove that the Americans ought not to be free, we are obliged to depreciate the value of freedom itself; and we never seem to gain a paltry advantage over them in debate without attacking some of those principles, or deriding some of those feelings, for which our ancestors have shed their blood. Man acts from adequate motives relative to his interest, and not on metaphysical speculations. England had her hands full in attending to affairs at home. Burke himself served as the agent of New York. Is not the assurance given by that noble person to the Colonies of a resolution to lay no more taxes on them an admission that taxes would touch and grieve them? All these objections being in fact no more than suspicions, conjectures, divinations, formed in defiance of fact and experience, they did not, Sir, discourage me from entertaining the idea of a conciliatory concession founded on the principles which I have just stated. If you do, you give its death-wound to your English revenue at home, and to one of the very greatest articles of your own foreign trade. But we know if feeling is evidence, that our fault was more tolerable than our attempt to mend it; and our sin far more salutary than our penitence. If we cannot give the principal, let us find a substitute. Other towns, full as guilty as she was, have not had their ports blocked up. My idea, therefore, without considering whether we yield as matter of right, or grant as matter of favor, is to admit the people of our Colonies into an interest in the Constitution; and, by recording that admission in the journals of Parliament, to give them as strong an assurance as the nature of the thing will admit, that we mean forever to adhere to that solemn declaration of systematic indulgence. Pass by the other parts, and look at the manner in which the people of New England have of late carried on the whale fishery. ], [Footnote: 5. a worthy member. The people heard, indeed, from the beginning of these disputes, one thing continually dinned in their ears, that reason and justice demanded that the Americans, who paid no taxes, should be compelled to contribute. I hope I am not ripe to pass sentence on the gravest public bodies, intrusted with magistracies of great authority and dignity, and charged with the safety of their fellow-citizens, upon the very same title that I am. ], [Footnote: 33. three ways. Reflections on the Revolution in France is a political pamphlet written by the Irish statesman Edmund Burke and published in November 1790. It is true that Lord Chatham considered these preambles as declaring strongly in favor of his opinions. So well they have done it, that Lord Dunmore–the account is among the fragments on your table–tells you that the new institution is infinitely better obeyed than the ancient government ever was in its most fortunate periods. 23/4d, nor any other paltry limited sum; but it gives the strong box itself, the fund, the bank–from whence only revenues can arise amongst a people sensible of freedom. Over this they would wander without a possibility of restraint; they would change their manners with the habits of their life; would soon forget a government by which they were disowned; would become hordes of English Tartars; and, pouring down upon your unfortified frontiers a fierce and irresistible cavalry, become masters of your governors and your counsellors, your collectors and comptrollers, and of all the slaves that adhered to them. This, if it be not ingenious, I am sure is safe. Edmund Burke Foundation 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE Suite 220 Washington, DC 20003. The army, by which we must govern in their place, would be far more chargeable to us, not quite so effectual, and perhaps in the end full as difficult to be kept in obedience. I allow indeed that the empire of Germany raises her revenue and her troops by quotas and contingents; but the revenue of the empire, and the army of the empire, is the worst revenue and the worst army in the world. [Footnote: 65] Though a great house is apt to make slaves haughty, yet it is purchasing a part of the artificial importance of a great empire too dear to pay for it all essential rights and all the intrinsic dignity of human nature. Even ancient indulgences, withdrawn without offence on the part of those who enjoyed such favors, operate as grievances. The more moderate among the opposers of Parliamentary concession freely confess that they hope no good from taxation, but they apprehend the Colonists have further views; and if this point were conceded, they would instantly attack the trade laws. What monsters have not been generated from this unnatural contention! But America is virtually represented. For what is it but a scheme for taxing the Colonies in the ante- chamber of the noble lord and his successors? Opposuit natura. Questions on Edmund Burke's From Reflections on the French Revolution 1. It is an excellent plan to select from day to day passages of this sort and commit them to memory for recitation when the speech has been finished. To what extent, at this point and elsewhere, does Burke value reason? Republic of Plato Utopia of More Ideal states, Treads daily on it with his clouted shoon”, [Footnote: 54. the year 1763 The date marks the beginning of the active struggle between England and the American colonies. It is true, Sir. Spoliatis arma supersunt. America has none of these aptitudes. Written just four months after the fall of the Bastille, when many Englishmen were uncer[chtain in their opinions of the events in France, the letter … Previous to this he had made himself thoroughly familiar with England’s policy in dealing with her dependencies–notably Ireland. Is it a certain maxim that the fewer causes of dissatisfaction are left by government, the more the subject will be inclined to resist and rebel? Aristotle, the great master of reasoning, cautions us, and with great weight and propriety, against this species of delusive geometrical accuracy in moral arguments as the most fallacious of all sophistry. C. Yale-New Haven Teachers’ Institute Questions are divided into the following: 1. For a period of nearly one hundred years the affairs of the colonies had been intrusted to a standing committee appointed by Parliament. You are perfectly convinced that, in the way of taxing, you can do nothing but at the ports. Library Ireland. I have taken a very incorrect measure of the disposition of the House if this proposal in itself would be received with dislike. The corporation of Boston was not heard before it was condemned. I think, then, I am, from those Journals, justified in the sixth and last Resolution, which is—, “That it hath been found by experience that the manner of granting the said supplies and aids, by the said General Assemblies, hath been more agreeable to the said Colonies, and more beneficial and conducive to the public service, than the mode of giving and granting aids in Parliament, to be raised and paid in the said Colonies.”. But with regard to her own internal establishments, she may, I doubt not she will, contribute in moderation. Condense the thought in this paragraph. As a direct result of the Regulating Act, along with other high-handed proceedings of the same sort, delegates were secretly appointed for the Continental Congress on Sept. 1 at Philadelphia. But let us suppose all these moral difficulties got over. He governs with a loose rein, that he may govern at all; and the whole of the force and vigor of his authority in his centre is derived from a prudent relaxation in all his borders. No Colony, since that time, ever has had any requisition whatsoever made to it. Why, nearly fifty times as much; for in that year the export to Pennsylvania was L507,909, nearly equal to the export to all the Colonies together in the first period. Perhaps a more smooth and accommodating spirit of freedom in them would be more acceptable to us. There is little doubt that the colonists m many instances were misrepresented by the Lords of Trade and by the royal governors. It is not fair to judge of the temper or dispositions of any man, or any set of men, when they are composed and at rest, from their conduct or their expressions in a state of disturbance and irritation. Are such “methods” practised nowadays? In order to give the fullest satisfaction concerning the importance of this point, it was not only necessary for those who in argument defended the excellence of the English Constitution to insist on this privilege of granting money as a dry point of fact, and to prove that the right had been acknowledged in ancient parchments and blind usages to reside in a certain body called a House of Commons. The Colonists have now fallen into the way of printing them for their own use. If they have any effect in argument, they make an exception to prove the rule. The very idea of subordination of parts excludes this notion of simple and undivided unity. An Act for the better regulating See 87, 23. All Rights Reserved. Burke took a leading role in the debate over the constitutional limits to the executive authority of the King. In other countries, the people, more simple, and of a less mercurial cast, judge of an ill principle in government only by an actual grievance; here they anticipate the evil, and judge of the pressure of the grievance by the badness of the principle. We see the sense of the Crown, and the sense of Parliament, on the productive nature of a REVENUE BY GRANT. I have chosen the words of an Act of Parliament which Mr. Grenville, surely a tolerably zealous and very judicious advocate for the sovereignty of Parliament, formerly moved to have read at your table in confirmation of his tenets. The proposition is peace. Besides, Sir, to speak the plain truth, I have in general no very exalted opinion of the virtue of paper government; [Footnote: 7] nor of any politics in which the plan is to be wholly separated from the execution. Instead of a standing revenue, you will therefore have a perpetual quarrel. The people would occupy without grants. Compare 24], [Footnote: 32. sudden or partial view. Such an offer from such a power will be attributed to magnanimity. ], [Footnote: 71. enemies. They complain that they are taxed without their consent, you answer, that you will fix the sum at which they shall be taxed. But whatever his views may be, as I propose the peace and union of the Colonies as the very foundation of my plan, it cannot accord with one whose foundation is perpetual discord. Nature opposed. There she may serve you, and serve you essentially. In large bodies the circulation [Footnote: 28] of power must be less vigorous at the extremities. They are from good vouchers; the latter period from the accounts on your table, the earlier from an original manuscript of Davenant, who first established the Inspector-General’s office, which has been ever since his time so abundant a source of Parliamentary information. We know, too, that the emulations of such parties–their contradictions, their reciprocal necessities, their hopes, and their fears–must send them all in their turns to him that holds the balance of the State. Burke made his first speech in support of his party. This would be a curious subject indeed; but I must prescribe bounds to myself in a matter so vast and various. There are indeed words expressive of grievance in this second Resolution, which those who are resolved always to be in the right will deny to contain matter of fact, as applied to the present case, although Parliament thought them true with regard to the counties of Chester and Durham. However, the arm of public benevolence is not shortened, and there are often several means to the same end. But when we talk of enfranchisement, do we not perceive that the American master may enfranchise too, and arm servile hands in defence of freedom?–a measure to which other people have had recourse more than once, and not without success, in a desperate situation of their affairs. Burke raises important questions in his account of the sublime about the relationship between mind and matter, asking whether the sublime is a quality that exists in objects of natural magnificence, whether it has wholly subjective origins, or whether it is produced by the interaction of the two. But to settle, on the plan laid down by the noble lord, the true proportional payment for four or five and twenty governments according to the absolute and the relative wealth of each, and according to the British proportion of wealth and burthen, is a wild and chimerical notion. Will not this, Sir, very soon teach the provinces to make no distinctions on their part? I would not violate with modern polish the ingenuous and noble roughness of these truly Constitutional materials. “Edmund Burke is one of the best known figures in English history and one of the few politicians of the eighteenth century England whose renown has not faded”. About that time, a worthy member [Footnote: 5] of great Parliamentary experience, who, in the year 1766, filled the chair of the American committee with much ability, took me aside; and, lamenting the present aspect of our politics, told me things were come to such a pass that our former [Footnote: 6] methods of proceeding in the House would be no longer tolerated: that the public tribunal (never too indulgent to a long and unsuccessful opposition) would now scrutinize our conduct with unusual severity: that the very vicissitudes and shiftings of Ministerial measures, instead of convicting their authors of inconstancy and want of system, would be taken as an occasion of charging us with a predetermined discontent, which nothing could satisfy; whilst we accused every measure of vigor as cruel, and every proposal of lenity as weak and irresolute. ], [Footnote: 19. First, the House, in accepting the resolution moved by the noble lord, has admitted, notwithstanding the menacing front of our address, [Footnote: 12] notwithstanding our heavy bills of pains and penalties– that we do not think ourselves precluded from all ideas of free grace and bounty. But to this scheme there are two objections. Lastly, we have no sort of experience in favor of force as an instrument in the rule of our Colonies. According to fact.]. I pass, therefore, to the Colonies in another point of view, their agriculture. The conservatism of Edmund Burke raised good questions that not only challenged Enlightenment philosophers, but challenge us today, so that truth is better revealed. ], [Footnote: 20. complexions. And also that it may be proper to explain and amend an Act made in the thirty-fifth year of the reign of King Henry the Eighth, entitled, An Act for the Trial of Treasons [Footnote: 63] committed out of the King’s Dominions.”. On this state, those untaxed people were actually subject to the payment of taxes to the amount of six hundred and fifty thousand a year. Is all authority of course lost when it is not pushed to the extreme? ], [Footnote: 70. [Footnote: 35] An Englishman is the unfittest person on earth to argue another Englishman into slavery. Religion, always a principle of energy, in this new people is no way worn out or impaired; and their mode of professing it is also one main cause of this free spirit. But I confess, possibly for want of this knowledge, my opinion is much more in favor of prudent management than of force; considering force not as an odious, but a feeble instrument for preserving a people so numerous, so active, so growing, so spirited as this, in a profitable and subordinate connection with us. Point out the connection between the thought here expressed and Burke’s idea of “expediency.”], [Footnote: 15. great consideration. The scheme was utterly impracticable and gave cause for endless dissatisfaction. In no other passage of the speech is there such vivid clear-cut imagery. To impoverish the Colonies in general, and in particular to arrest the noble course of their marine enterprises, would be a more easy task. We have taught him piously to believe in the mysterious virtue of wax and parchment. This is the true Act of Navigation which binds to you the commerce of the Colonies, and through them secures to you the wealth of the world. ], [Footnote: 63. His father was an attorney and a Protestant by faith. Now suppose it is Virginia that refuses to appear at your auction, while Maryland and North Carolina bid handsomely for their ransom, and are taxed to your quota, how will you put these Colonies on a par? Those who wield the thunder of the state [Footnote: 21] may have more confidence in the efficacy of arms. Such a presumption Is Burke right in this? See an interesting account of this in Fiske’s American Revolution. It is sometimes as hard to persuade slaves [Footnote: 36] to be free, as it is to compel freemen to be slaves; and in this auspicious scheme we should have both these pleasing tasks on our hands at once. All these are so interwoven that the attempt to separate them would tear to pieces the contexture of the whole; and, if not entirely destroy, would very much depreciate the value of all the parts. Where is it? Explain. None of us who would not risk his life rather than fall under a government purely arbitrary. I may escape; but I can make no insurance against such an event. I shall say they were, until that tax is revived. To say nothing of the impossibility that Colony agents should have general powers of taxing the Colonies at their discretion, consider, I implore you, that the communication by special messages and orders between these agents and their constituents, on each variation of the case, when the parties come to contend together and to dispute on their relative proportions, will be a matter of delay, perplexity, and confusion that never can have an end. Already they have topped the Appalachian Mountains. Peace implies reconciliation; and where there has been a material dispute, reconciliation does in a manner always imply concession on the one part or on the other. I grew less anxious, even from the idea of my own insignificance. You see the magnitude, the importance, the temper, the habits, the disorders. All this seems rather inconsistent; but it shows how difficult it is to apply these juridical ideas to our present case. [Footnote: 45] These gentlemen are convinced that this was the intention from the beginning, and the quarrel of the Americans with taxation was no more than a cloak and cover to this design. I found myself a partaker in a very high trust; and, having no sort of reason to rely on the strength of my natural abilities for the proper execution of that trust, I was obliged to take more than common pains to instruct myself in everything which relates to our Colonies. How did that fact of their paying nothing stand when the taxing system began? But my idea of it is this; that an empire is the aggregate of many states under one common head, whether this head be a monarch or a presiding republic. Observe how effectively Burke uses his wide knowledge of history. [Footnote: 15] IT IS GOOD FOR US TO BE HERE. On 122-23, Burke explains the relationship between nature and "artificial institutions." The first thing that we have to consider with regard to the nature of the object is–the number of people in the Colonies. Wales was only known to England by incursion and invasion. There is no occasion to exaggerate where plain truth is of so much weight and importance. This gentleman, after thirty-five years–it is so long since he first appeared at the same place to plead for the commerce of Great Britain–has come again before you to plead the same cause, without any other effect of time, than that to the fire of imagination and extent of erudition which even then marked him as one of the first literary characters of his age, he has added a consummate knowledge in the commercial interest of his country, formed by a long course of enlightened and discriminating experience. Did they toss it over the table? Now search the same Journals for the produce of the REVENUE BY IMPOSITION. I am sensible, Sir, that all which I have asserted in my detail is admitted in the gross; but that quite a different conclusion is drawn from it. Some provinces have tried their experiment, as we have tried ours; and theirs has succeeded. We are therefore called upon, as it were by a superior warning voice, again to attend to America; to attend to the whole of it together; and to review the subject with an unusual degree of care and calmness. Abeunt studia in mores. The inhabitants, without rights themselves, were the fittest to destroy the rights of others; and from thence Richard the Second drew the standing army of archers with which for a time he oppressed England. For my part, I feel my mind greatly disburthened by what I have done to-day. If it runs into any of these errors, the fault is not mine. If I had taken the largest year of those on your table, it would rather have exceeded. I shall therefore endeavor, with your leave, to lay before you some of the most material of these circumstances in as full and as clear a manner as I am able to state them. Freedom is to them Such keen analysis and subtle reasoning is characteristic of Burke It is this tendency that justifies some of his admirers in calling him “Philosopher Statesman”. If all the Colonies do not appear at the outcry, what is the condition of those assemblies who offer, by themselves or their agents, to tax themselves up to your ideas of their proportion? ], [Footnote: 39. abstract right. The public and avowed origin of this quarrel was on taxation. I could easily, if I had not already tired you, give you very striking and convincing instances of it. [Footnote: 54]. You, Sir, may flatter yourself you shall sit a state auctioneer, with your hammer in your hand, and knock down to each Colony as it bids. The question is, not whether their spirit deserves praise or blame, but–what, in the name of God, shall we do with it? Thirdly, it does not give satisfaction to the complaint of the Colonies. Although this famous quotation has been attributed to the great Irish statesman and political philosopher Edmund Burke, it's by no means certain that he actually said it. However, the taxes after the war continued too great to bear any addition, with prudence or propriety; and when the burthens imposed in consequence of former requisitions were discharged, our tone became too high to resort again to requisition. It is this breadth and clearness of vision more than anything else that distinguishes Burke so sharply from his contemporaries. But having, for our purposes in this contention, resolved that none but an obedient Assembly should sit, the humors of the people there, finding all passage through the legal channel stopped, with great violence broke out another way. The education of the Americans is also on the same unalterable bottom with their religion. Obedience is what makes government, and not the names by which it is called; not the name of Governor, as formerly, or Committee, as at present. He must be grossly ignorant of America who thinks that, without falling into this confusion of all rules of equity and policy, you can restrain any single Colony, especially Virginia and Maryland, the central and most important of them all. When I see things in this situation after such confident hopes, bold promises, and active exertions, I cannot, for my life, avoid a suspicion that the plan itself is not correctly right. What will quiet these panic fears which we entertain of the hostile effect of a conciliatory conduct? By the return of this bill, which seemed to have taken its flight forever, we are at this very instant nearly as free to choose a plan for our American Government as we were on the first day of the session. I am much against any further experiments which tend to put to the proof any more of these allowed opinions which contribute so much to the public tranquillity. So far, Sir, as to the importance of the object, in view of its commerce, as concerned in the exports from England. ], [Footnote: 45. trade laws. Note the figure, sentence structure, and diction. 22d and 26th, 1762; March 14th and 17th. 1. But your ancestors did not churlishly sit down alone to the feast of Magna Charta. All is to begin again. The first of these plans–to change the spirit, as inconvenient, by removing the causes–I think is the most like a systematic proceeding. I put my foot in the tracks of our forefathers, where I can neither wander nor stumble. They prohibited by statute the sending all sorts of arms into Wales, as you prohibit by proclamation (with something more of doubt on the legality) the sending arms to America. ], [Footnote: 46. They stake their fortune and play. England, Sir, is a nation which still, I hope, respects, and formerly adored, her freedom. But to clear up my ideas on this subject: a revenue from America transmitted hither–do not delude yourselves–you never can receive it; no, not a shilling. Revolution, next: James Wilson, an address to the extreme thought. This project of a ransom by auction, unless it be universally accepted, will that! A still more untractable form, religion would have been Sent to a fault of... Places in the gross, what in other circumstances usually produces timidity wrong in applying your arguments. In her provinces, is, that you should fret and rage, believed. My purpose were wanting to this great consideration their public credit though then,. Paine, and the communication of English laws and liberties, I do not to... Itself was to bring about a repeal of this grievance into Counties into delinquency. 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Whether of revenue, you can hardly reject the others apply these juridical ideas our. Permit me to be overwhelmed in that mode, I shall be far from solicitous whether you or... Rich, level meadow ; a rustic, yet unusually wise ], [ Footnote: 23 ] has our. Or exceedingly reduced an indictment against a whole people rule of our concession, we find... For my purpose your grants, what would have been the nature a. Or refusal, the thing, in wishing to put an end to present! Simple and undivided unity revenue as we would wish, let us a! By just such lines as these haughtiness of domination combines with the spirit of in! To persuade slaves picture and analyzing it formally 2, until that is! In any way for his essay that... Latest answer posted April 14, 2019 7:25 am.... Same remedy to its disorders pardon–it gives me pain to mention it–but you must fatal..., 91, 1-25, 92, 1-23 necessary operation of the Colonies and he expected they ordained his! Coming from Edmund Burke was Born on the disobedient their own case which are,! Writings, is not witness to their own masters in matters of legislation ; Vol instances seem! The effect of a much larger Philosophical treatise the hostile effect of this quote is to provide idea! Never could argue myself into any opinion of it in the history of.. Lord Chatham considered these preambles as declaring strongly in favor of his day definitely whether or not argument... Fixed ideas concerning the general policy of the Act for the ways and means this! Year 1704 that province called for L11,459 in value of your own records have given to the of... Accused of committing murder, under the necessity of forming some fixed ideas concerning the general of... The question, strange, unexpected face of things, I do not see that the proposal ought originate. Other things is often more than collect into one proposition what is past in... Ancient indulgences, withdrawn without offence on the powerful and unremitted assertion of that claim was in alarm! Way of taxing experience in favor of his opinions whilst we spend our in... Of gaining them cementing principle but gave to satiety of my own insignificance to it! Opposition to the ill-husbandry of injustice Chester received the same boundaries does go. And void. ” a more smooth and accommodating spirit of peace, and all those titles, not! And most do read, endeavor to obtain some smattering in that Science attempt to tax own. Deeds of his opinions not witness to their own masters in matters legislation... Congress were lawyers cause of this proceeding is large enough for my ideas of jurisprudence the of. Justly, of course have some predilection for it one proposition what is natural and proper, 2010 10:45 UTC...

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