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At a U.S. arsenal a few years ago, a large cannon lay, marked "Condemned." The attendant pointed out some indentations about the size of a pinhead which dotted the barrel in a dozen places. They did not appear to go deeper than a 32nd of an inch; and yet the weapon was condemned. There might be a weakness extending through the entire gun, so that in war the mighty engine capable of hurling half a ton of metal, a dozen miles and hitting a target with fine accuracy, might under the heat of battle and the strain of powder, burst into a thousand fragments. Some basic flaw may destroy our characters and ruin others, be we ever so perfect in other points.

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