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A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the end to the means.

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Source Notes: Source: THOMAS JEFFERSON, letter to John B. Colvin, September 20, 1810.The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Paul L. Ford, vol. 9, p. 279 .

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