But, probably, it is not possible to formulate any rule that would guide safely to the conclusion that the literal meaning of any given phrase is to be set aside on the ground of its leading to absurdity, repugnancy, or inconsistency; and still less as to what should be the reading in lieu of that so set aside. Each case of that kind, unless covered by authority, would have to take care for itself, subject to this one general principle, which would probably be of universal acceptation, that the argument of convenience ought not to prevail except as a last resource.

Frederick Stroud
Frederick Stroud
1835 - 1912
Judicial Dictionary, 2nd ed., page ccxxiii.