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The Duel - a fight for honour between gentlemen

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Parnell View Drop Down
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    Posted: 08 Jan 2010 at 07:23
I've always found the custom of duelling to be somewhat intriguing. The list of people who have participated in one are immense - one which springs to mind automatically is William Pitt the Younger, Prime Minister of England. It was extremely popular in Ireland amongst the Anglo Irish elite, a common way to settle scores between political enemies. And there was also the famous duel between Danial O'Connell and d'esterre, in the 19th century.

When did the process die out? It seems to have always been illegal, including when the British Prime Minister did his sometime in the 1790s... but when did the practise itself start dying off?


Edited by Parnell - 08 Jan 2010 at 07:24
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drgonzaga View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jan 2010 at 09:44
The Code Duello probably had its last stand in the Southern sections of the United States where John Lyde Wilson's 1838 publication The Code of Honor, or Rules for the Government of Principal and Seconds in Dueling was more popular than a bible in a gentleman's chambers. Of course, such only applied between gentlemen since offense from a perceived "inferior" only merited caning [e.g. the fate of Senator Charles Sumner at the hands of Representative Preston Brooks in the Senate Chamber of the United States back in 1856]. However, at this late date most governments had effective laws prohibiting affairs of honor. Nevertheless, Wilson's text, little more than a variant of the Irish Code of 1777, (albeit with American peculiarisms) is ample evidence that dueling continued despite the fact that Congress outlawed the practice within the District of Columbia in 1839.  Wilson's book--really an 18 page pamphlet--was steadily reprinted, with the last edition coming in 1858.
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