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Old 09-30-2020
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Before we can proceed with our discussion, we must make a clear distinction between non-violence as a principle, accepted as an end in itself, and non-violence as a means to some other desired end. Much of the present confusion in pacifist thought arises from a failure to make this distinction.

On the one hand, the absolute pacifist believes that all men are brothers. Therefore, he maintains that the supreme duty of every individual is to respect the personality of every other man, and to love him, no matter what evil he may commit, and no matter how greatly he may threaten his fellows or the values which the pacifist holds most dear. Under no circumstances can the pacifist harm or destroy the person who does evil; he can use only love and sacrificial goodwill to bring about conversion. This is his highest value and his supreme principle. Though the heavens should fall, or he himself and all else he cherishes be destroyed in the process, he can place no other value before it. To the pacifist who holds such a position, non-violence is imperative even if it does not work. By his very respect for the personality of the evil-doer, and his insistence upon maintaining the bond of human brotherhood, he has already achieved his highest purpose and has won his greatest victory.

But much of the present pacifist argument in favor of non-violence is based rather upon its expediency. Here, we are told, is a means of social action that works in achieving the social goals to which pacifists aspire. Non-violence provides a moral force which is more powerful than any physical force. Whether it be used by the individual or by the social group, it is, in the long run, the most effective way of overcoming evil and bringing about the triumph of good. The literature is full of stories of individuals who have overcome highwaymen, or refractory neighbors, by the power of love.[4] More recent treatments[Pg 4] such as Richard Gregg's Power of Non-Violence[5] present story after story of the successful use of non-violent resistance by groups against political oppression. The history of the Gandhi movement in India has seemed to provide proof of its expediency. Even the argument in Aldous Huxley's Ends and Means, that we can achieve no desired goal by means which are inconsistent with it, still regards non-violent action as a means for achieving some other end, rather than an end in itself.[6]

So prevalent has such thinking become among pacifists, that it is not surprising that John Lewis, in his closely reasoned book, The Case Against Pacifism, bases his whole attack on the logic of the pacifist position upon the theory that pacifists must, as he does, hold other values above their respect for individual human personalities. Even in speaking of "absolute" pacifism he says, "The most fundamental objection to war is based on the conviction that violence and the taking of human life, being themselves wrong, cannot lead to anything but evil."[7] Thus he defines the absolute pacifist as one who accepts the ends and means argument of Huxley, which is really an argument based upon expediency, rather than defining him correctly as one who insists that violence and the taking of human life are the greatest evils, under any conditions, and therefore cannot be justified, even if they could be used for the achievement of highly desirable ends.

Maintaining as Lewis does that respect for every human personality is not their highest value, non-pacifists attack pacifism almost entirely on the ground that in the present state of world society it is not expedient—that it is "impractical." Probably much of the pacifist defense of the position is designed to meet these non-pacifist arguments, and to persuade non-pacifists of goodwill that they can really best serve their highest values by adopting the pacifist technique. Such reasoning is perfectly legitimate, even for the "absolutist," but he should recognize it for what it is—a mere afterthought to his acceptance of non-violence as a principle.

The whole absolutist argument is this: (1) Since violence to any human personality is the greatest evil, I can never commit it. (2) But, at the same time, it is fortunate that non-violent means of overcoming evil are more effective than violent means, so I can serve my highest value—respect for every human personality—and at the same[Pg 5] time serve the other values I hold. Or to say the same thing in positive terms, I can achieve my other ends only by employing means which are consistent with those ends.

On the other hand, many pacifists do in fact hold the position that John Lewis is attacking, and base their acceptance of pacifism entirely on the fact that it is the best means of obtaining the sort of social or economic or political order that they desire. Others, in balancing the destruction of violent conflict against what they concede might be gained by it, say that the price of social achievement through violent means is too high—that so many of their values are destroyed in the process of violence that they must abandon it entirely as a means, and find another which is less destructive.

Different as are the positions of the absolute and the relative pacifists, in practice they find themselves united in their logical condemnation of violence as an effective means for bringing about social change. Hence there is no reason why they cannot join forces in many respects. Only a relatively small proportion, even of the absolutists, have no interest whatever in bringing about social change, and are thus unable to share in this aspect of pacifist thinking.


FOOTNOTES:


[1] Ernest L. Meyer, "Hey! Yellowbacks!" (New York: John Day, 1930), 3-6.


[2] Krishnalal Shridharani, War Without Violence (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1939
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Revolutionary Anarchism

The revolutionary Anarchists belong essentially in this group. As Alexander Berkman has put it, "The teachings of Anarchism are those of peace and harmony, of non-invasion, of the sacredness of life and liberty;" or again, "It [Anarchism] means that men are brothers, and that they should live like brothers, in peace and harmony."[23] But to create this ideal society the Anarchist feels that violence may be necessary. Berkman himself, in his younger days, was able to justify his attack upon the life of Frick at the time of the Homestead Strike in 1893 in these words:


"But to the People belongs the earth—by right, if not in fact. To make it so in fact, all means are justifiable; nay advisable, even to the point of taking life.... Human life is, indeed, sacred and inviolate. But the killing of a tyrant, of an enemy of the People, is in no way to be considered as the taking of a life.... To remove a tyrant is an act of[Pg 11] liberation, the giving of life and opportunity to an oppressed people."[24]

Later, Berkman insisted that a successful revolution must be non-violent in nature. It must be the result of thoroughgoing changes in the ideas and opinions of the people. When their ideas have become sufficiently changed and unified, the people can stage a general strike in which they overthrow the old order by their refusal to co-operate with it. He maintains that any attempt to carry on the revolution itself by military means would fail because "government and capital are too well organized in a military way for the workers to cope with them." But, says Berkman, when the success of the revolution becomes apparent, the opposition will use violent means to suppress it. At that moment the people are justified in using violence themselves to protect it. Berkman believes that there is no record of any group in power giving up its power without being subjected to the use of physical force, or at least the threat of it.[25] Thus in effect, Berkman would still use violence against some personalities in order to establish a system in which respect for every personality would be possible. Actually his desire for the new society is greater than his abhorrence of violence.


FOOTNOTES:


[21] Cadoux, Christian Pacifism Re-examined, 116-117.


[22] The way in which a whole social order can differ from that of the West, merely because it chooses to operate on the basis of different assumptions concerning such things as the aggressive nature of man is well brought out in the study of three New Guinea tribes living in very similar environments. Margaret Mead, Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies (London: Routledge, 1935).


[23] Alexander Berkman, What Is Communist Anarchism? (New York: Vanguard, 1929), x-xi, 176.


[24] Alexander Berkman, Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist (New York: Mother Earth Publishing Association, 1912), 7.


[25] Berkman, Communist Anarchism, 217-229, 247-248, 290.



Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln represented the spirit of moderation in the use of violence. He led his nation in war reluctantly and prayerfully, with no touch of hatred toward those whom the armies of which he was Commander-in-Chief were destroying. He expressed his feeling in an inspiring way in the closing words of his Second Inaugural Address, when the war was rapidly drawing to a victorious close:


"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness to do the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations."



The Church and War

The statements of British and American churchmen during the present war call to mind these words of Lincoln. At Malvern, in 1941, members of the Church of England declared: "God himself is the[Pg 12] sovereign of all human life; all men are his children, and ought to be brothers of one another; through Christ the Redeemer they can become what they ought to be." In March, 1942, American Protestant leaders at Delaware, Ohio, asserted: "We believe it is the purpose of God to create a world-wide community in Jesus Christ, transcending nation, race and class."[26] Yet the majority of the men who drew up these two statements were supporting the war which their nations were waging against fellow members of the world community—against those whom they professed to call brothers. Like Lincoln they did so in the belief that when the military phases of the war were over, it would be possible to turn from violence and to practice the principles of Christian charity.[27]

There is little in human history to justify their hope. There is much to make us believe that the violent attitudes of war will lead to hatred and injustice toward enemies when the war is done. The inspiring words of Lincoln were followed by the orgy of radical reconstruction in the South. There is at least as grave a doubt that the spirit of the Christian Church will dominate the peace which is concluded at the end of the present war.

The question arises insistently whether violence without hate can long live up to its own professions.


FOOTNOTES:


[26] number of these religious statements are conveniently brought together in the appendix to Paul Hutchinson's From Victory to Peace (Chicago: Willett, Clark, 1943). For a statement of a point of view similar to the one we are discussing here, see also Charles Clayton Morrison, The Christian and the War (Chicago: Willett, Clark, 1942).


[27] Bernard Iddings Bell has expressed the attitude of such churchmen: "Evil may sometimes get such control of men and nations, they have realized, that armed resistance becomes a necessity. There are times when not to participate in violence is in itself violence to the welfare of the brethren. But no Christian moralist worth mentioning has ever regarded war per se as other than monstrous, or hoped that by the use of violence anything more could be accomplished than the frustration of a temporarily powerful malicious wickedness. War in itself gives birth to no righteousness. Only such a fire of love as leads to self-effacement can advance the welfare of mankind." "Will the Christian Church Survive?" Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 170, October, 1942, 109.
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  #153  
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THE BUCCANEERS IN THE WEST INDIES IN THE XVII CENTURY

BY

C.H. HARING

WITH TEN MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS

METHUEN & CO. LTD.
36 ESSEX STREET W.C.
LONDON

First Published in 1910
Map of the Caribbean
PREFACE

The principal facts about the exploits of the English and French buccaneers of the seventeenth century in the West Indies are sufficiently well known to modern readers. The French Jesuit historians of the Antilles have left us many interesting details of their mode of life, and Exquemelin's history of the freebooters has been reprinted numerous times both in France and in England. Based upon these old, contemporary narratives, modern accounts are issued from the press with astonishing regularity, some of them purporting to be serious history, others appearing in the more popular and entertaining guise of romances. All, however, are alike in confining themselves for their information to what may almost be called the traditional sources—Exquemelin, the Jesuits, and perhaps a few narratives like those of Dampier and Wafer. To write another history of these privateers or pirates, for they have, unfortunately, more than once deserved that name, may seem a rather fruitless undertaking. It is justified only by the fact that there exist numerous other documents bearing upon the subject, documents which till now have been entirely neglected. Exquemelin has been reprinted, the story of the buccaneers has been re-told, yet no writer, whether editor or historian, has attempted to estimate the trustworthiness of the old tales by comparing them with these other sources, or to show the connection between the buccaneers and the history of the English colonies in the West Indies. The object of this volume, therefore, is not only to give a narrative, according to the most authentic, available sources, of the more brilliant exploits of these sea-rovers, but, what is of greater interest and importance, to trace the policy pursued toward them by the English and French Governments.

The "Buccaneers in the West Indies" was presented as a thesis to the Board of Modern History of Oxford University in May 1909 to fulfil the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Letters. It was written under the supervision of C.H. Firth, Regius Professor of Modern History in Oxford, and to him the writer owes a lasting debt of gratitude for his unfailing aid and sympathy during the course of preparation.

C.H.H.

Oxford, 1910

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I. Introductory
CHAPTER II. The Beginnings of the Buccaneers
CHAPTER III. The Conquest of Jamaica
CHAPTER IV. Tortuga—1655-1664
CHAPTER V. Porto Bello and Panama
CHAPTER VI. The Government Suppresses the Buccaneers
CHAPTER VII. The Buccaneers Turn Pirate

APPENDIX I. English Buccaneers
APPENDIX II. List of Filibusters
SOURCES AND BIBLIGRAPHY
INDEX


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Map of the West Indies
Spanish Periagua, From Exquemelin's Histoire des Aventuriers Trevoux, 1744
A Correct Map of Jamaica, From the Royal Magazine, 1760.
Map of San Domingo, From Charlevoix' Histoire de S. Domingue.
Plan of the Bay and Town of Portobelo, From Prevost d'Exiles' Voyages.
The Isthmus of Darien, From Exquelmelin's Bucaniers, 1684-5.
Plan of Vera-Cruz, From Charlevoix' Histoire de S. Domingue, 1730.
Plan of the Town and Roadstead of Cartegena and of the Forts, From Baron de Pontis' Relation de ce qui c'est fait la prise de Carthagene, Bruxelles, 1698.

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CHAPTER II

THE BEGINNINGS OF THE BUCCANEERS

In the second half of the sixteenth and the early part of the seventeenth centuries, strangers who visited the great Spanish islands of Hispaniola, Jamaica or Porto Rico, usually remarked the extraordinary number of wild cattle and boars found roaming upon them. These herds were in every case sprung from domestic animals originally brought from Spain. For as the aborigines in the Greater Antilles decreased in numbers under the heavy yoke of their conquerors, and as the Spaniards themselves turned their backs upon the Antilles for the richer allurements of the continent, less and less land was left under cultivation; and cattle, hogs, horses and even dogs ran wild, increased at a rapid rate, and soon filled the broad savannas and deep woods which covered the greater part of these islands. The northern shore of Hispaniola the Spaniards had never settled, and thither, probably from an early period, interloping ships were accustomed to resort when in want of victuals. With a long range of uninhabited coast, good anchorage and abundance of provisions, this northern shore could not fail to induce some to remain. In time we find there scattered groups of hunters, mostly French and English, who gained a rude livelihood by killing wild cattle for their skins, and curing the flesh to supply the needs of passing vessels. The origin of these men we do not know. They may have been deserters from ships, crews of wrecked {58} vessels, or even chance marooners. In any case the charm of their half-savage, independent mode of life must soon have attracted others, and a fairly regular traffic sprang up between them and the ubiquitous Dutch traders, whom they supplied with hides, tallow and cured meat in return for the few crude necessities and luxuries they required. Their numbers were recruited in 1629 by colonists from St. Kitts who had fled before Don Federico de Toledo. Making common lot with the hunters, the refugees found sustenance so easy and the natural bounty of the island so rich and varied, that many remained and settled.

To the north-west of Hispaniola lies a small, rocky island about eight leagues in length and two in breadth, separated by a narrow channel from its larger neighbour. From the shore of Hispaniola the island appears in form like a monster sea-turtle floating upon the waves, and hence was named by the Spaniards "Tortuga." So mountainous and inaccessible on the northern side as to be called the Côte-de-Fer, and with only one harbour upon the south, it offered a convenient refuge to the French and English hunters should the Spaniards become troublesome. These hunters probably ventured across to Tortuga before 1630, for there are indications that a Spanish expedition was sent against the island from Hispaniola in 1630 or 1631, and a division of the spoil made in the city of San Domingo after its return.83 It was then, apparently, that the Spaniards left upon Tortuga an officer and twenty-eight men, the small garrison which, says Charlevoix, was found there when the hunters returned. The Spanish soldiers were already tired of their exile upon this lonely, inhospitable rock, and evacuated with the same satisfaction with which the French and English resumed their occupancy. From the testimony of some documents in the {59} English colonial archives we may gather that the English from the first were in predominance in the new colony, and exercised almost sole authority. In the minutes of the Providence Company, under date of 19th May 1631, we find that a committee was "appointed to treat with the agents for a colony of about 150 persons, settled upon Tortuga";84 and a few weeks later that "the planters upon the island of Tortuga desired the company to take them under their protection, and to be at the charge of their fortification, in consideration of a twentieth part of the commodities raised there yearly."85 At the same time the Earl of Holland, governor of the company, and his associates petitioned the king for an enlargement of their grant "only of 3 or 4 degrees of northerly latitude, to avoid all doubts as to whether one of the islands (Tortuga) was contained in their former grant."86 Although there were several islands named Tortuga in the region of the West Indies, all the evidence points to the identity of the island concerned in this petition with the Tortuga near the north coast of Hispaniola.87

The Providence Company accepted the offer of the settlers upon Tortuga, and sent a ship to reinforce the little colony with six pieces of ordnance, a supply of ammunition and provisions, and a number of apprentices or engagés. A Captain Hilton was appointed governor, with Captain Christopher Wormeley to succeed him in case of the governor's death or absence, and the name of {60} the island was changed from Tortuga to Association.88 Although consisting for the most part of high land covered with tall cedar woods, the island contained in the south and west broad savannas which soon attracted planters as well as cattle-hunters. Some of the inhabitants of St. Kitts, wearied of the dissensions between the French and English there, and allured by reports of quiet and plenty in Tortuga, deserted St. Kitts for the new colony. The settlement, however, was probably always very poor and struggling, for in January 1634 the Providence Company received advice that Captain Hilton intended to desert the island and draw most of the inhabitants after him; and a declaration was sent out from England to the planters, assuring them special privileges of trade and domicile, and dissuading them from "changing certain ways of profit already discovered for uncertain hopes suggested by fancy or persuasion."89 The question of remaining or departing, indeed, was soon decided for the colonists without their volition, for in December 1634 a Spanish force from Hispaniola invaded the island and drove out all the English and French they found there. It seems that an Irishman named "Don Juan Morf" (John Murphy?),90 who had been "sargento-mayor" in Tortuga, became discontented with the régime there and fled to Cartagena. The Spanish governor of Cartagena sent him to Don Gabriel de Gaves, President of the Audiencia in San Domingo, thinking that with the information the renegade was able to supply the Spaniards of Hispaniola might drive out the foreigners. The President of San Domingo, however, died three months later without bestirring himself, and it was left to his successor to carry out the project. With the {61} information given by Murphy, added to that obtained from prisoners, he sent a force of 250 foot under command of Rui Fernandez de Fuemayor to take the island.91 At this time, according to the Spaniards' account, there were in Tortuga 600 men bearing arms, besides slaves, women and children. The harbour was commanded by a platform of six cannon. The Spaniards approached the island just before dawn, but through the ignorance of the pilot the whole armadilla was cast upon some reefs near the shore. Rui Fernandez with about thirty of his men succeeded in reaching land in canoes, seized the fort without any difficulty, and although his followers were so few managed to disperse a body of the enemy who were approaching, with the English governor at their head, to recover it. In the mêlée the governor was one of the first to be killed—stabbed, say the Spaniards, by the Irishman, who took active part in the expedition and fought by the side of Rui Fernandez. Meanwhile some of the inhabitants, thinking that they could not hold the island, had regained the fort, spiked the guns and transferred the stores to several ships in the harbour, which sailed away leaving only two dismantled boats and a patache to fall into the hands of the Spaniards. Rui Fernandez, reinforced by some 200 of his men who had succeeded in escaping from the stranded armadilla, now turned his attention to the settlement. He found his way barred by another body of several hundred English, but dispersed them too, and took seventy prisoners. The houses were then sacked and the tobacco plantations burned by the soldiers, and the Spaniards returned to San Domingo with four captured banners, the six pieces of artillery and 180 muskets.92
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Meanwhile an English adventurer, some time after the Spanish descent of 1638, gathered a body of 300 of his compatriots in the island of Nevis near St. Kitts, and sailing for Tortuga dispossessed the few Frenchmen living there of the island. According to French accounts he was received amicably by the inhabitants and lived with them for four months, when he turned upon his hosts, disarmed them and marooned them upon the opposite shore of Hispaniola. A few made their way to St. Kitts and complained to M. de Poincy, the governor-general of the French islands, who seized the opportunity to establish a French governor in Tortuga. Living at that time in St. Kitts was a Huguenot gentleman named Levasseur, who had been a companion-in-arms of d'Esnambuc when the latter settled St. Kitts in 1625, and after a short visit to France had returned and made his fortune in trade. He was a man of courage and command as well as a skilful engineer, and soon rose high in the councils of de Poincy. Being a Calvinist, however, he had drawn upon the governor the reproaches of the authorities at home; and de Poincy proposed to get rid of his presence, now become inconvenient, by sending him to subdue Tortuga. Levasseur received his commission from de Poincy in May 1640, assembled forty or fifty followers, all Calvinists, and sailed in a barque {64} to Hispaniola. He established himself at Port Margot, about five leagues from Tortuga, and entered into friendly relations with his English neighbours. He was but biding his time, however, and on the last day of August 1640, on the plea that the English had ill-used some of his followers and had seized a vessel sent by de Poincy to obtain provisions, he made a sudden descent upon the island with only 49 men and captured the governor. The inhabitants retired to Hispaniola, but a few days later returned and besieged Levasseur for ten days. Finding that they could not dislodge him, they sailed away with all their people to the island of Providence.98

Levasseur, fearing perhaps another descent of the Spaniards, lost no time in putting the settlement in a state of defence. Although the port of Tortuga was little more than a roadstead, it offered a good anchorage on a bottom of fine sand, the approaches to which were easily defended by a hill or promontory overlooking the harbour. The top of this hill, situated 500 or 600 paces from the shore, was a level platform, and upon it rose a steep rock some 30 feet high. Nine or ten paces from the base of the rock gushed forth a perennial fountain of fresh water. The new governor quickly made the most of these natural advantages. The platform he shaped into terraces, with means for accommodating several hundred men. On the top of the rock he built a house for himself, as well as a magazine, and mounted a battery of two guns. The only access to the {65} rock was by a narrow approach, up half of which steps were cut in the stone, the rest of the ascent being by means of an iron ladder which could easily be raised and lowered.99 This little fortress, in which the governor could repose with a feeling of entire security, he euphuistically called his "dove-cote." The dove-cote was not finished any too soon, for the Spaniards of San Domingo in 1643 determined to destroy this rising power in their neighbourhood, and sent against Levasseur a force of 500 or 600 men. When they tried to land within a half gunshot of the shore, however, they were greeted with a discharge of artillery from the fort, which sank one of the vessels and forced the rest to retire. The Spaniards withdrew to a place two leagues to leeward, where they succeeded in disembarking, but fell into an ambush laid by Levasseur, lost, according to the French accounts, between 100 and 200 men, and fled to their ships and back to Hispaniola. With this victory the reputation of Levasseur spread far and wide throughout the islands, and for ten years the Spaniards made no further attempt to dislodge the French settlement.100

Planters, hunters and corsairs now came in greater numbers to Tortuga. The hunters, using the smaller island merely as a headquarters for supplies and a retreat in time of danger, penetrated more boldly than ever into the interior of Hispaniola, plundering the Spanish plantations in their path, and establishing settlements on the north shore at Port Margot and Port de Paix. Corsairs, after cruising and robbing along the Spanish coasts, retired to Tortuga to refit and find a market for their spoils. Plantations of tobacco and sugar were cultivated, and although the soil never yielded such rich returns as upon the other islands, Dutch and French trading ships frequently resorted there for these commodities, and especially for the skins prepared by the hunters, bringing in exchange {66} brandy, guns, powder and cloth. Indeed, under the active, positive administration of Levasseur, Tortuga enjoyed a degree of prosperity which almost rivalled that of the French settlements in the Leeward Islands.

The term "buccaneer," though usually applied to the corsairs who in the seventeenth century ravaged the Spanish possessions in the West Indies and the South Seas, should really be restricted to these cattle-hunters of west and north-west Hispaniola. The flesh of the wild-cattle was cured by the hunters after a fashion learnt from the Caribbee Indians. The meat was cut into long strips, laid upon a grate or hurdle constructed of green sticks, and dried over a slow wood fire fed with bones and the trimmings of the hide of the animal. By this means an excellent flavour was imparted to the meat and a fine red colour. The place where the flesh was smoked was called by the Indians a "boucan," and the same term, from the poverty of an undeveloped language, was applied to the frame or grating on which the flesh was dried. In course of time the dried meat became known as "viande boucannée," and the hunters themselves as "boucaniers" or "buccaneers." When later circumstances led the hunters to combine their trade in flesh and hides with that of piracy, the name gradually lost its original significance and acquired, in the English language at least, its modern and better-known meaning of corsair or freebooter. The French adventurers, however, seem always to have restricted the word "boucanier" to its proper signification, that of a hunter and curer of meat; and when they developed into corsairs, by a curious contrast they adopted an English name and called themselves "filibustiers," which is merely the French sailor's way of pronouncing the English word "freebooter."101
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