Moses Redivivus

Moses Hull, “The Quarantine Raised, or The 20 Years Battle Against a Worker Ended.”  New Thought (Chicago), January 1893: 349-368.

A Persian proverb says: “All things come to him who in patience and silence can wait.”

    “The mills of the gods grind slow,
         But grind exceedingly small;
    With patience stand they waiting,
         With exactness grind they all.”

The longer I live and the more experience I have, the more thoroughly am I convinced that:

    “Ever the right comes uppermost,
         And ever is justice done.”

If, in the battle of over a score of years, I have at times given evidence of suffering from my wounds—if I have complained, it was not because I regretted having enlisted, nor was it with any desire to surrender or retreat.  I always felt that the world would sometime know me better—that future generations, if not the present, would, at least, see that I was honest in all I had said and done.

At a very early period I was convinced that the next round in the ladder of progress would be the one which would elevate us on to a higher social plane.  This, it seems to me must come as a stepping-stone to higher progress.  Being filled with a zeal which, in many instances outran my knowledge, I said many very radical, and some seemingly rabid things.  I foresaw that the result of this would be persecution; but I thought, amid it all, Spiritualists who claimed to believe more in freedom of thought and action than others, would at least, give a fair hearing to one they had reason to believe was honest in all he said and did.  And I was convinced that to hear me for my cause, would be to be convinced, that, in the main, I was right.  On this I was mistaken; with a few honorable exceptions, Spiritualists, like others, refused any kind of investigation.  Without hearing my side of the argument, their united voice was: “Let him be crucified.”

One Spiritualist paper, through two decades and two administrations, falsified me and vilified me at every turn.  This journal had, partially through my work, gained a great circulation and influence; and it did not hesitate to use threats toward any person or society who would in ay way dare to favor me.  The result was, enemies multiplied by thousands among persons whom I had never seen.  Many grew to expect that when they saw me they would see one of the most hideous looking monsters that ever disgraced humanity.  It was only by personal contact with the people that this impression was removed.

When I found the tide setting in that direction, and that enemies could tear down much faster than I could build, I said, I will stand for the truth, but I will leave my reputation in the hands of those who know me, and the angels.  No matter what falsehoods the enemy may tell, I will not allow them to draw a word from me.  To this resolution for years I faithfully adhered.  I always had explanations for friends, who wanted to know just what the truth was concerning my life and sayings.  I think much that was written and said about me was said on purpose to call some word from me; but it was in vain.

This is now past, and if it were not, my friends are now so numerous, and have come to me under such peculiar circumstances, that I am at present beyond the reach of these poisoned arrows.

A few of our able Spiritualist lecturers, ladies and gentlemen, some of whom I have in the past helped, formed a “boycott,” and tried to get others to unite with them in it.  They would not speak before the same societies, or from the same rostrum where I had spoken.  A part of their programme was to compel societies not to employ me.  In a few instances they succeeded.  At one camp where I was engaged, the committee was compelled, after I got on the ground, to cancel its engagement, and to refuse to allow me to speak on its platform.  This “boycott” has finally reached too far, and has ruled some of the boycotters off the platforms.  Committees would say to them, we would like your presence and your services, but the people demand the services of Moses Hull.  If you cannot speak on a platform where he speaks we will be compelled to dispense with your services.  The result was, the boycotters boycotted themselves.  Now the most of the societies and of the camps are kindly urging me to make dates for their platforms, and, not a few of them use language not altogether complimentary to the boycotters.

The resolution, and the letters which follow were mainly the result of the energetic efforts of my friend, Dr. Spinney, of Detroit, Mich., to have the matter sifted to the bottom.  The Doctor was once as bitterly prejudiced against me as one person could be against another; finally he saw that if I was wrong I was not all wrong, nor was I all the one who was in the wrong; and through his untiring energy this investigation was brought about, and the results herein stated obtained.

This resolution, and these communications are now given to the world, hoping that they may serve as a warning to all, not to judge too hastily, nor condemn too quickly, but to know who and what they condemn.

I may be permitted, in closing these prefatory remarks, to say, that notwithstanding my twenty years in the furnace, where I have been unjustly held by people calling themselves Spiritualists, I trust that I have come out without the smell of revengeful fire on my garments.  I have had dozens of opportunities, in the last twenty years to make it very hot, in many senses of the word, for many of my persecutors.  I now rejoice in nothing more than that I have had the grace to withstand these temptations.  The past is past, and with me wiped out.  I extend a friendly, and when I can, a helping hand to all:


Meeting called to order by President J. H. White, Port Huron, Mich., in the chair, Vice-President Dr. A. B. Spinney, 308 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Mich., Dr. A. W. Edson, North Lansing, Mich., Secretary and Managers, Trustees M. B. Sheets, Grand Ledge, Mich., Dr. Charles Day, DeWitt, Mich., A. Anscomb, Detroit, Mich., John Hutchinson, Jackson, Mich., all present, making the full board.

Dr. A. B. Spinney said he had asked for this special meeting, it being the only time he could be present for the purpose of placing before the board a matter in relation to the recent discussion on the employing of Moses Hull on the Haslett Park Association platform.  He then read the following letter:


Haslett Park, Aug. 14, 1892.

Dear Brother:—We, as Executive Board of Haslett Park, find ourselves in a condition that demands your help in order to do justice to our camp meeting, to other speakers and to you.  At a meeting of the board some months since, your friends were anxious you should be employed as one of the speakers.  Some members suggested that there might be great danger of much friction, if you were employed, on account of what you wrote many years ago in Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly, on the sexual relation, as no one else has ever published like views.  All the board appreciate your talents as a speaker; finally it was decided to give you a place on the rostrum.  Those who felt it bad policy, and not willing to endorse you on these points yielding to those who were so anxious to have you as one of the speakers.  The result of this move has been, that many of our employed speakers object to their names being used in connection with yours, for they say it virtually means the public indorsement of your views, which they cannot.  So long as you came to the Park as a visitor and spoke, no one indorsed you unless they wished to do so.  When the Association published you as one of the employed speakers, every speaker and member of the board feel that they are made to indorse or repudiate your peculiar sentiments.  Your opponents (perhaps you call them enemies) say that the letter that you wrote is not susceptible of only one interpretation, biz: sexual promiscuity, unbridled passional indulgence, prostitution, and free lust.  Your friends say that you say that it is not published as you wrote it.  Still farther, that you do not believe in free lust, sexual promiscuity, nor never did, nor that your life is not in keeping with such ideas.  Now, it is not the business of this board to inquire into your private life, or anyone else.  It is your public work and public statements that we feel we have a right to ask you about, as a duty we owe to the cause we represent.  In the past you had the courage to write said letter or something similar; it seems, under the circumstances, you should have the moral courage either to continue to advocate the same views, (which your friends say you do not) or if you have changed them, or if this letter was not at the time your views, that you should as fully say what they are, that your friends may understandingly defend you, and your opponents may lay down the warfare; also, that we, as a board, may know what to say to other speakers, and how best to act, that justice may be done all.  It is not a question of what your private social life is, whether more or less pure than your opponents; it is a question of what your ideal is on this all-important question or subject.  We, as Spiritualists, and workers in the field of progress, feel and know that there is need of better ideas of marriage than has come to us in the past, which is but a record of brute force, animalism and prostitution, legal and illegal.  But is the way up and to a higher and more spiritual life, through undisciplined, passional, sexual promiscuity, which is the only interpretation of your letter as published and circulated so freely by your opponents.  There are many—some your friends—who believe in social freedom, yet to them that does not mean to lead to license, or the proceeding ideas in your letter.  To them that word means the protection of the purity, life, health, and happiness of manhood and womanhood; the sacredness of each and every relation of social life; the sexual act only existing, even in marriage, as an expression of the highest respect, most exalted trust, and true devotion of soul, manifested through the senses.  Still further, they feel social freedom means the most sacred friendships, the right to help each other; friendships that do not tear down or sunder husband and wife, but that make each home better, each husband and wife more to each other.  The world has too long, rightfully from their standpoint, looked upon all spiritual attractions, friendships, love and sympathy outside of marriage, as dangerous, and sure to lead to prostitution and disloyalty, remissness of duty and unhappiness.  There are many who believe that such should not be the case, that true sympathy, right helpfulness, would help thousands who are disheartened, saddened, and about to faint by the wayside, or give up the battle of life.  Yet your views put all such under a ban and hinder those who hold reformatory ideas on these subjects from expressing them or indorsing you, for fear of being misjudged.

Is it not time, my dear brother, that you put yourself right before the public, for sake of the cause you represent, the good you can do, and your own happiness?  Now that we may fulfill the perfect law of charity and protect your rights, as well as the rights of your friends and opponents, and the same time protect the harmony and success of our coming Camp Meeting, we shall wait in relation to putting your name upon our bills or in our notices as an indorsed speaker, until you have had time to answer this letter, which is endorsed by the board.  We hope and trust there is nothing in this letter that shall make you feel that we have written it to please, favor or promote the success or victory of any party or individual, but simply to do justice to all, (none more than yourself) and hold malice to none; also to end this war, persecution, and personal bitterness.  Yours for the truth and right.

This letter was written and shown to part of the board before issuing our bulletin, but as it was impossible to call a full meeting of the board at that date, Dr. A. W. Edson wrote you a letter asking you to drop the engagement, which you did in a very courteous and gentlemanly manner.  Now at a full meeting of the board, after a careful discussion, we all cheerfully send you this, and will give you ample time to answer the same.

Moved by Dr. Day to accept the letter.

Seconded and carried unanimously.

Moved by Mr. Hutchinson and seconded that the board sign the letter and instruct the Secretary to send it to Moses Hull.

Carried unanimously, and signed by all.

Dr. Spinney then presented the following resolution:

It was the express wish of James H. Haslett, the founder of this Park, that it forever be an absolute free rostrum for the discussion of all subjects which are for the good and enlightenment of humanity.  In order to thus carry out his wish, as an Executive Board,

RESOLVED, That we will not endorse the character or sentiments of any medium or speaker employed, or expect any other medium or speaker to do so; each person being alone responsible for their private life or public sentiments.  Hence, to avoid any discussion upon the merits or demerits of persons wishing to speak here, this resolution will be published with all future notices at our Camp Meetings.

Moved by Mr. Hutchinson and seconded that this resolution be adopted.



Etna, Maine, Sept. 10, 1892.

Dear Brethren:—Your letter, after following me around for several days, is at this late day before me.  I have for the last score of years, made it a point, when honest, truth-loving friends came to me for light, or for explanations on any point, to try to give them, but I have not intended to allow slandering enemies to draw a word from me.  Believing you to be honest in all you say, I have determined to give you all the light I can.  I you have read my paper, New Thought, during the six years of its existence, or if you had read my pamphlet, “The General Judgment,” it would have saved you the trouble of writing the letter now before me.

Now that I, knowing some of you to be my friends, and, believing you to be all such, undertake to enlighten you on my positions on some of the great social questions, which, in the early seventies, made such upheavals, and which have scared a few of our lecture committees, and two or three of our speakers almost out of their lives.  I trust, you will not think I am writing this for the sake of an engagement at Haslett Park.  I have all the engagements I can fill, and many more calls I would like to fill, if, like Joshua, I could command the sun to stand still, and it would obey me.

Even if this were not the case, after being twice engaged at Haslett Park, and having the engagement cancelled, I should hesitate about accepting another engagement there without some assurance that you would not out of deference to some self-appointed guardian of your camp, again ask me to cancel the engagement.

When Spiritualism shall have delivered us from self-righteous Phariseeism it will have done a great work.  I honestly fear for some of those who are trying to quarantine against some of the oldest and best, and most favorably known among our workers.  I remember the story of Haman, who swung from the gallows he caused to be erected on which to hang one Mordecai.  I also remember the saying the sermon on the Mount “With what measure you meet in judgment, it shall be measured to you again.”  If these ambitious persons succeed in building themselves up on the ruins of those they are trying to tear down, then I am no prophet.  May prayer is, that they may see their error in time to retrace, at least, a few of their misdirected steps.

Your action as a committee may have been wise, but if it was, then many leading Spiritualists, who have written and spoken to me on the subject, are badly mistaken.  Even the present year, several larger and more popular camps than Haslett Park, have employed me, and experienced no evil effect from it.  On the contrary, they have all invited me to spend as much, or more time with them next year.  Attempts have been made, by certain “busy bodies in other men’s matters,” to break several other of my engagements with committees.  In every instance the committees rejoice that they resisted the pleadings of these self-appointed guardians of the purity of our camps.

You speak of a letter I wrote, and had published something over twenty years ago, in Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly.  You wish to know my present views on that subject.  My views on that, and many other subjects may have been modified some.  They have ripened with my riper years.  But if the expressions of your letter are not at fault, you have, with many others, terribly mis-interpreted that letter.  I never, in my life wrote one line or one word in favor of “promiscuous sexual indulgence,” or “licentiousness.”  Why, bless you, these are the things I have been fighting all the days of my life.  Those, who through their prejudices, mis-understood me then, would, if in the same condition, perhaps, mis-understand me now.

Though I have always been a temperance man, and though I never attempted to hurt anybody in my life, I have been accused of being both a drunkard and a murderer, because I preached different ways of treating drunkards and murderers from that generally adopted.  So, in that letter, I opposed licentiousness in marriage, it followed naturally, in the minds of some, that I believed in licentiousness out of marriage.

Jesus said, “By their fruits ye shall know them.”  But with these hunters after unrighteousness in other people, it matters not that a man has been constantly before the people for two score of years, and that, in all that time, they can find no evidence that his life has corresponded with what they have represented him as teaching.  What though no man or woman has ever been found that could walk up to me and say, “You wronged me,” or “I know some one you wronged,” in the opinion of these “Caiaphases” of Spiritualism, “some one must needs die for the people, that the whole nation perish not,” and, I have been selected as the victim.  The voice of such is, “Let him be crucified.”

As a committee, you say that you “fail to find my life in keeping with any such ideas.”  It seems to me that one’s life should count for something.  Forty years of constant work before the public, should give a discerning world something of an idea of what a man is; if it does not what would?  I am accused of believing in something you call “free-lust;” what ever that may mean I confess I do not know.  If it means that I do not believe in enforced lust, then I will have to confess that my accusers are more than half right in their charge.  Otherwise, unless my accusers will be kind enough to tell me what kind of lust they believe in—some kind supposed to be not free, I cannot tell whether I believe in “free lust” or not.  One thing I do believe, and that is, there is too much lust in this world.  No.  I never did believe in what the world understands by that much-abused word, “free love.”

Paul, who was generally correct, said: “Love worketh no ill.”  There is much however, that passes for love, which, in my opinion, has little love about it.

I can see that there are points in that Woodhull letter which could be interpreted in an evil way.  It was purposely so written, and may have been, and probably was unwise.  It surely would be unwise to write such a letter now.  I intended that those who were determined to put the worse possible interpretation on my language should have an opportunity to do so—an opportunity they were not slow to appropriate.  Let it be remembered that that letter was written in the heat of the socialistic battle; and written from a soldier’s stand-point, while in the army.  Many things seemed to be demanded by the circumstances then that would be entirely out of place now.  Mrs. Woodhull was then in prison, and said to be dying.  Indeed, the immediate inspiration of the letter was a telegram to H. F. M. Lewis of Chicago, saying, “Victoria C. Woodhull is dead.”  I said then and there: “The courts, aided by the church and certain pretended Spiritualist editors and speakers, have killed Mrs. Woodhull, but there is one they cannot kill with anything softer than a pistol ball; they may try their hands on me.”

That afternoon, when the letter was more than half written, another message came saying: “Mrs. Woodhull is not dead, but dying.”  I then believed she would get well and said: “Now I will step into the gap and draw the enemy’s fire.”  This remark I also made when I read the article to Mrs. Woodhull and Col. Blood.  They said, “It will do it,” and urged its publication for that purpose.

I let them have the article, which, with a few slight alternations, they printed.  This, to a person, in ordinary circumstances looked like a wild thing to do, but I have never regretted it.  I believe even now, that it saved human life.  I at that time regarded Victoria C. Woodhull as being at the head of one of the most important movements the world had ever seen, and I felt that desperate measures must be adopted to save her life, and this letter was one of the desperate measures.  In this letter I offered my life for others; it tested both myself and others.  I am satisfied with the result.

The sentence that shocked the sensibilities of the prude more than any other, was the one declaring that even promiscuity is sometimes better than marriage.  This was not written to justify promiscuity, but to show the evil of sexual abuse in marriage.  I, at that time, had my mind on a man whose lusts had killed four faithful wives, and whose fifth wife had taken poison to get rid of the worse poison she had been taught it was her duty, as a faithful wife, to take from her husband.  It occurred to me that where a man had such passion and poison as that, it would be better for himself, his wife, and all concerned, if he would go where the commodities he required were kept for sale, rather than to murder five honorable women, whom the law made his slaves.  I was persuaded to leave the explanation out, to use in defense when the article should be attacked.  As no one ever, through the public press, questioned the truth of the statement, the explanation was not used.

I, in the past, had experience in the marriage relation—experience which had not been satisfactory to either party; and yet, an experience for which neither party could be blamed, unless ignorance is sin.  I had a thousand times over, voted marriage a failure; not knowing that the trouble, in my case, at least, was in bringing parties together who did not belong in the same house.  By and bye the light burst upon me; at first I was afraid of it, but after months of struggle and investigation, I found an experience out of the pale of marriage, which seemed so much of a divine baptism that I could only regard it as the highest type of a religious act.  I so stated, and so I believe to this day.  Those who regard the sexual act as a low, beastly, lustful act, regarded my statement as blasphemous.  I have never been able to make the world believe that sex relation, when not low and vile, should be a religious, a holy act.

The truth is, I found damnation to both parties in improper sex relation, and, individually, I have found a physical, mental, and spiritual salvation in the proper relation, without the pale of legal wedlock.  When I learned that many whom God had joined together, the institutions of men were keeping asunder, and, that men and their institutions were marrying those whom God had separated, the idea of the wickedness of these institutions came over me with an irresistible force.  As thousands of others before me had done, I decided that, “as for me and my house we will serve God.”  For acting on that decision enemies have sown thorns in my path ever since.

I prayed long and thought much on the subject before I ventured to test the matter.  After testing it until I was thoroughly satisfied, and after learning that thousands of others, some of them better people than either my accusers or myself, had done the same thing, and with the same results, I honestly concluded that legal marriage was, in many cases, a positive hindrance, rather than a help to virtue—that, in many cases, it was legalized rape.  It was worse than prostitution out of marriage, because the legal “protector” of the woman was armed with the authority of both church and state to outrage that particular piece of property known as “wife,” as often as his passions led him to do so.  Thus millions of women are driven into lunatic asylums and other millions are murdered by their “protectors.”  Woman is to-day thoroughly protected by the law from every man in the world except her husband.

As for licentiousness, I strove in that letter, to show that it was in marriage as much as out of it; that abusing a wife a dozen times in marriage is as bad as to go to a dozen different women out of marriage.  I did not undertake to justify the latter form of licentiousness; on the contrary, I said positively that I did not believe in it; I wanted to show the evils of unbridled lust in marriage.  I believed then, as I do now, that there was, and is more lust in marriage than out of it.

You ask me to have the moral courage to either continue to advocate the same views I once did or to say what my opinions are.  I believe this is the first time I ever was suspected of a lack of moral courage.  I have often before been told that I was too out-spoken—that my opinions were all right, but I was casting my “pearls before swine,” etc.  I acknowledge, I have said little about my views on that subject lately, and will probably say less in the immediate future, simply because that iron is not now hot; the world is not ripe for these things.  Mrs. Woodhull and others tested the world on these things, by forcing these views to the front.  Though the world was not ripe for them they did their work; they opened the mouths and started the pens of hundreds of women who had hitherto borne their burdens in silence and alone.  This agitation has done its part toward relieving marriage of some of its attendant evils.  The legal status of woman is rapidly changing, new occupations are opening to her, and she can never again be the slave she was before the agitation of a quarter of a century ago.

You say you want to know what “to say to other speakers and how best to act, that justice may be done to all.”  I would say to other speakers and all concerned, that Haslett Park maintains a free platform—that every speaker is employed to give his or her own inspirations to the world, and that no speaker is responsible for he utterances of another.  Haslett Park should be the place for the agitation of thought, and every speaker should go there with his or her best and ripest thought, and such speaker alone should be held responsible for his or her utterances.  Above all, let every speaker understand that it is none of his or her business what another speaker may say.  If the speaking or the conduct is not such that you can commend him or her, do not employ such speaker again.  As to the opinions of speakers on subjects other than those on which they speak, that is only their own business.

You say, you “as Spiritualists and workers in the field of progress, fell that there is need of better ideas on marriage than have come to us from the past.”  I fully agree with you on that point; now will you tell me how the world is to arrive at “better ideas” if you are going, in advance, to boycott, in obedience to one or two self-righteous speakers, those who are confessedly guilty of no other crime than holding and advocating “better ideas on marriage?”  Ruling your employed speakers off your platform is not the best way to advance better ideas on any subject.

“Is the way out,” you say, “through undisciplined, passional, sexual promiscuity?”  I answer, I think not.  But why do you as me that question?  Can you point to a line I ever wrote either in favor of “undisciplined passion” or “sexual promiscuity?”  I deny that such a line exists.

In conclusion, upon this subject, I was much younger when I wrote that letter than I am now; beside that, I was in the hottest of the social freedom battle, and was probably, in many expressions, somewhat indiscreet.  It then seemed to me that the cause of freedom and human life depended on the production of just such an article as that.  Others said the same.  No one was willing to make the sacrifice, and so I stepped into the gap.  In one place, a printers’ mistake, in leaving out the word, not, changed my meaning as much as leaving not out of the commandment “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” would change its meaning.

You speak of putting my name on your bills, and endorsing me.  Thanks; but I have not asked for either.  I have managed to live, and to “tread this wine-press alone.”  I shall, I hope, get along in the future, as I have done in the past, with only such recognition as my life, my honesty and my talents force from a slow-going world.

When your platform gets strong enough to hold a man whose only fault is, that he is honest—that he has honest opinions on unpopular subjects, and, on seasonable occasions, advocates them regardless of the applause of friends or the frowns of foes—when you become Spiritually and morally strong enough so that you will not allow the threats of jealous parties who have “axes to grind,” or when you will not allow the fears of half-fledged Spiritualists, to deter you from doing your duty, then you may call on me, and, if I have a day to spare, I will try to let you have it.  Until then, all parties will be better off while each tries to do his own work in his own way.

I am glad to note among your speakers of the past, many worthy ladies and gentlemen—fellow workers with whom I delight to co-operate in the good work in which we are all engaged.

With my best wishes for your success in building up a great camp, I am, yours in the work,


P.S.  My permanent address is 29 Chicago Terrance, Chicago, Ill.

M. H.


MOSES HULL:—Dear Brother:—We, as an Executive Board of Haslett Park, have just read with care your reply to our letter of August 14th.  We thank you for your frank, manly and gentlemanly manner in replying to every point that we called out.  Also that you have met the whole subject in a friendly spirit, free from all personalities, malice or envy.  Still further, you have explained every point in the so-called Woodhull letter so that no one can question your sentiments or misunderstand your meaning.  While it is not for us, as an Executive Board, in accordance with our resolutions of August 14th, to endorse or condemn any speaker’s sentiments, yet we feel that your opinions on this, as on all other subjects, are honest and the result of your highest convictions; also, that you are desirous of teaching, helping and elevating humanity; hence, when it shall be convenient for you, or for the interest of the Association, to make an engagement with you, we shall be most happy to welcome you to our rostrum.  We hope we have your influence for the success of our camp the coming year.

Anscomb, of Detroit, moved that Dr. Spinney be instructed to send this letter to Moses Hull.  S. B. Emmons, of Mendon, seconded the motion.  The motion was sustained by unanimous vote.


Lansing, Mich., Dec. 14.



29 Chicago Terrace, Chicago, Dec. 21, 1892.


Dear Brethren:—Yours of the 14th, is before me.  Thanks.  I am glad that the world is getting its eyes open.  I hope to never do anything to lessen the confidence you express in me.

The warfare against me is, I trust, at an end.  If, however, more is needed it will come.  I am sure this whole battle has been the result of a misunderstanding.  I have none but the best wishes toward those who have worked against me.

When I heard of the declining health of one who was foremost in this battle, I felt to pray that his life might be spared, here in this sphere, long enough to see that it was a friend and a reformer, instead of a foe and a crank, he was fighting.  I am glad to learn, from many sources, that in that “better country” he sees with clearer vision.

That these differences may all be healed; that the “watchman” in our spiritual Zion, may yet see “eye to eye,” and that all the camps, Haslett Park included, may be means in the hands of the angels in bringing the two worlds more nearly together, is my most earnest prayer.  As Ever, Yours in the Cause,



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