1902 Encyclopedia > Duel

Duel




DUEL, a deadly combat between two persons. The word is used in two distinct senses—(1) the judicial combat, a form of trial which prevailed in the Middle Ages, ordained by law as a proof of guilt or innocence; and (2) the modern duel, a pre-arranged combat with deadly weapons between two private persons to settle some private quarrel.

Though duelling is in England obsolete, and in other countries fast obsolescent, yet it must still command our attention as the latest survival of feudalism, and its history will always be studied as one of the most curious develop-ments of mediaeval society.

On the origin of the duel a vast amount of perverse ingenuity has been spent. Writers of the 16th and 17th centuries commonly begin their treatises with an account of the combats between David and Goliath, Hector and Achilles, the Horatii and Curiatii. By etymology it is true that duellum is the same word as bellum, and in this sense the origin of the duel must be traced to the earliest condi-tion of society, when every man’s hand was against his neighbour. But, in the specialized sense which the word now bears, the duel was a peculiar institution of compara-tively recent origin, a local custom which never spread beyond the limits of civilized Europe. It is easily distin-guished both from the casual affrays of savages and the set battles of the champions of contending nations. An account of the judicial duel will clearly show that it is the direct parent of the modern duel. In the year 1501 Gondebald, king of the Burgundians, passed a law authoriz-ing, the wager of battle, and in the preamble he gives his reason for introducing this new form of trial. It is that his subjects may no longer take oaths upon uncertain matters, or forswear themselves upon certain. Here is one proof among many that the judicial duel was introduced to correct the abuses of compurgation by oath. Like the other ordeals which it superseded, it was a direct appeal to Heaven to vindicate truth and punish falsehood. Like them it was founded on the superstitious spirit of the age, but unlike them it addressed itself to the martial temper and personal prowess of the nobles. Other ordeals, such as the cross, the corsned, and the oath on the gospels, were in the hands of the clergy, and were manipulated by them in the interest of the church or of themselves. In the wager of battle each man felt that his cause was in his own hands, and, though might was right, yet even this was better than the jugglery of priests. Nor, as Montesquieu has pointed out, was the trial so irrational as it would seem to modern eyes. Among a warlike people cowardice is a sign of other vices, vices which are most hateful and most prejudicial to a simple community, of meanness, lying, and fraud. It shows an indifference to public opinion, a neglect of the education of the day, which consisted mainly in the use of arms and warlike exercises. In a word, the law was neither better nor worse than the received morality of the time. From this jurisdiction none was exempt ; women, minors, and ecclesiastics were required to appear by proxy; and adverse witnesses, and even the judge himselt, were liable to be challenged to make good their words by force of arms. Those who are curious to observe the formalities and legal rules of a judicial combat will find them described at length in the 28th book of Montesquieu’s Esprit des Lois. On these regulations he well remarks that, as there are an infinity of wise things conducted in a very foolish manner, so there are some foolish things conducted in a very wise manner. For our present purpose it is sufficient to observe the development of the idea of personal honour from which the modern duel directly sprang. In the ancient laws of the Swedes we find that if any man shall say to another, "You are not a man equal ta other men," or "You have not the heart of a man," and the other shall reply, "I am a man as good as you," they shall meet on the highway, and then follow the regulations for the combat. What is this but the modern challenge ? By the law of the Lombards if one man call another arga, the insulted party might defy the other to mortal combat. What is arya but the dummer Junger of the German student ? Beaumanoir thus describes a legal process under Louis le Débonnaire:—The appellant begins by a declaration before the judge that the appellee is guilty of a certain crime; if the appellee answers that his accuser lies, the judge then ordains the duel. Is not this the modern point of honour, by which to be given the lie is an insult which can only be wiped out by blood ?

From Germany the trial by judicial combat rapidly spread to every country of Europe. In France it was first confined to criminal causes, but this restriction was removed by Louis IX., who made it legal in civil matters as well, with the one proviso that in cases of debt the amount must exceed twelve deniers. By Philippe le Bel it was again confined in civil cases to questions of disputed inheritance, and forbidden altogether during the war between England and France. In 1385 a duel was fought, the result of which was so preposterous that even the most superstitious began to lose faith in the efficacy of such a judgment of God. A certain Jacques Legris was accused by the wife of Jean Carrouge of having introduced himself by night in the guise of her husband, and thus abused her. A duel was ordained by the Parliament, which was fought in the presence of Charles VI. Legris was defeated and hanged on the spot. Not long after a criminal arrested for some other offence confessed himself to be the author of the outrage. No institution could long survive so open a confutation. Henceforward the duel in France ceases to be an appeal to Heaven, and becomes merely a satisfaction of wounded honour. The last instance of a duel authorized by the magistrates, and conducted according to the forms of law, was the famous one between François de Vivonne de la Châtaignerie and Guy Chabot de Jarnac. The duel was fought on the 10th of July 1547 in the court-yard of the château of St Germain-en-Laye, in the presence of the king and a large assembly of courtiers. It was memorable in two ways. It enriched the French language with a now phrase; a sly and unforeseen blow, such as that by which De Jarnac worsted La Châtaignerie has since been called a coup de Jarnac. And Henry, grieved at the death of his favourite, swore a solemn oath that he would never again permit a duel to be fought. This led to the first of the many royal edicts against duelling.

In England, it is now generally agreed that the wager of battle did not exist before the time of the Norman Conquest. Some previous examples have been adduced, but on examination they will be seen to belong rather to the class of single combats between the champions of two opposing armies. One such instance is worth quoting as a curious illustration of the superstition of the time. It occurs in a rare tract printed in London, 1610, The Duello, or Single Combat. "Danish irruptions and the bad aspects of Mars having drencht the common mother earth with her sonnes’ blood streames, under the reigne of Edmund, a Saxon monarch, misso in compendium (so worthy Camden expresseth it) bello utriusque gentis fata Edmundo Anglorum et Canuto Danorum regibus commissa fuerunt, qui singulari certamine de summa imperij in hac insula (that is, the Eight in Glostershire) depugnarunt." By the laws of William the Conqueror the trial by battle was only compulsory when the opposite parties were both Normans, in other cases it was optional. As the two nations were gradually merged into one, this form of trial spread, and until the reign of Henry II. it was the only mode for determining a suit for the recovery of land. The method of procedure is admirably described by Shakespeare in the opening scene in Richard II., where Henry of Bolingbroke, duke of Hereford, challenges Thomas duke of Norfolk, and in the mock-heroic battle between Horner the Armourer and his man Peter in Henry VI., and by Sir W. Scott in the Fair Maid of Perth, where Henry Gow appears before the king as the champion of Magdalen Proudfute. The judicial duel never took root in England as it did in France. In civil suits it was superseded by the grand assize of Henry II., and in cases of felony by indictment at the prosecution of the Crown. One of the latest instances occurred in the reign of Elizabeth, 1571, when the lists were actually pre-pared and the justices of the common pleas appeared at Tothill Fields as umpires of the combat. Fortunately the petitioner failed to put in an appearance, and was conse-quently nonsuited (See Spelman, Glossary, s.v. "Campus"). As late as 1817 Lord Ellenborough, in the case of Thornton v. Ashford, pronounced that "the general law of the land is that there shall be a trial by battle in cases of appeal un-less the party brings himself within some of the exceptions." Thornton was accused of murdering Mary Ashford, and claimed his right to challenge the appellant, the brother of the murdered girl, to wager of battle. His suit was allowed, and, the challenge being refused, the accused escaped. Next year the law was abolished (59 Geo. III., c. 46).

In sketching the history of the judicial combat we have traced the parentage of the modern duel. Strip the former of its legality, and divest it of its religious sanction, and the latter remains. We are justified, then, in dating the com-mencement of duelling from the abolition of the wager of battle. To pursue its history we must return to France, the country where it first arose, and the soil on which it has most flourished. The causes which made it indigenous to France are sufficiently explained by the condition of society and the national character. As Buckle has pointed out, duelling is a special development of chivalry, and chivalry is one of the phases of the protective spirit which was predominant in France up to the time of the Revolu-tion. Add to this the keen sense of personal honour, the susceptibility, and the pugnacity which distinguish the French race. Montaigne, when touching on this subject in his essays, says, "Put three Frenchmen together on the plains of Libya, and they will not be a month in company without scratching one another’s eyes out." The third chapter of d’Audiguier’s Ancien usage des duels is headed, "Pourquoi les seuls Français se battent en duel." English literature abounds with allusions to this characteristic of the French nation. Lord Herbert of Cherbury, who was ambassador at the court of Louis XIII, says, "There is scarce a Frenchman worth looking on who has not killed his man in a duel." Ben Jonson, in his Magnetic Lady, makes Compass, the scholar and soldier, thus describe France, "that garden of humanity":—

There every gentleman professing arms
Thinks he is bound in honour to embrace
The bearing of a challenge for another,
Without or questioning the cause or asking
Least colour of a reason.





Duels were not common before the 16th century. Hallam attributes their prevalence to the barbarous custom of wearing swords as a part of domestic dress, a fashion which was not introduced till the later part of the 15th century. In 1560 the states-general at Orleans supplicated Charles IX. to put a stop to duelling. Hence the famous ordinance of 1566, drawn up by the Chancellor de l’Hôpital, which served as the basis of the successive ordinances of the following kings. Under the frivolous and sanguinary reign of Henry III., "who was as eager for excitement as a woman," the rage for duels spread till it became almost an epidemic. In 1602 the combined remonstrances of the church and the magistrates extorted from the king an edict condemning to death whoever should give or accept a challenge or act as second. But public opinion was revolted by such rigour, and the statute remained a dead letter. A duel forms a fit conclusion to the reign. A hair-brained youth named L’Isle Marivaux swore that he would not survive his beloved king, and threw his cartel into the air. It was at once picked up, and Marivaux soon obtained the death he had courted. Henry IV. began his reign by an edict against duels, but he was known in private to favour them; and, when De Crequi asked leave to fight Don Philip of Savoy, he is reported to have said, "Go, and if I were not a king I would be your second." Fontenay-Mareuil says, in his Mémoires, that in the eight years between 1601 and 1609, 2000 men of noble birth fell in duels. In 1609 a more effective measure was taken at the instance of Sully by the establishment of a court of honour. The edict decrees that all aggrieved persons shall address themselves to the king, either directly or through the medium of the constables, marshals, &c. ; that the king shall decide, whether, if an accommodation could not be effected, per-mission to fight should be given; that the aggressor, if pro-nounced in the wrong, shall in any case be suspended from any public office or employment, and be mulcted of one--third of his revenue till lie has satisfied the aggrieved party ; that any one giving or receiving a challenge shall forfeit all right of reparation and all his offices; that any one who kills his adversary in an unauthorized duel shall suffer death without burial, and his children shall be reduced to villanage ; that seconds, if they take part in a duel, shall suffer death, if not, shall be degraded from the profession of arms. This edict has been pronouned by Henri Martin "the wisest decree of the ancient monarchy on a matter which involves so many delicate and profound questions of morals, politics, and religion touching civil rights" (Histoire de France, x. 466).

In the succeeding reign the mania for duels revived. De Houssaye tells us that in Paris when friends met the first question was, "Who fought yesterday ? who is to fight to-day ?" They fought by night and day, by moonlight and by torch-light, in the public streets and squares. A hasty word, a misconceived gesture, a question about the colour of a riband or an embroidered letter, such were the commonest pretexts for a duel. The slighter and more frivolous the dispute, the less were they inclined to submit them to the king for adjudication. Often, like gladiators or prize-fighters, they fought for the pure love of fighting. A misunderstanding is cleared up on the ground. "N’im-porte," cry the principals, "puisque nous sommes ici, battons-nous." Seconds, as Montaigne tells us, are no longer witnesses, but must take part themselves unless they would be thought wanting in affection or courage; and he goes on to complain that men are no longer contented with a single second, "c’était anciennement des duels, ce sont à cette heure rencontres et batailles." There is no more striking instance of Richelieu’s firmness and power as a statesman than his conduct in the matter of duelling. In his Testament Politique he has assigned his reasons for disapproving it as a statesman and ecclesiastic. But this disapproval was turned to active detestation by a private cause. His elder brother, the head of the house, had fallen in a duel stabbed to the heart by an enemy of the cardinal. Already four edicts had been published under Louis XIII. with little or no effect, when in 1626 there was published a new edict condemning to death any one who had killed his adversary in a duel, or had been found guilty of sending a challenge a second time. Banishment and partial confiscation of goods were awarded for lesser offences. But this edict differed from preceding ones not so much in its severity as in the fact that it was the first which was actually enforced. The cardinal began by imposing the penalties of banishment and fines, but, these proving ineffectual to stay the evil, he determined to make a terrible example. To quote his own words to the king, "Il s’agit de couper la gorge aux duels ou aux édits de votre Majesté." The count de Boutteville, a renommist who had already been engaged in twenty-one affairs of honour, deter-mined out of pure bravado to fight a twenty-second time. The duel took place at mid-day on the Place Royal. De Boutteville was arrested with his second, the count de Chapelles ; they were tried by Parliament, condemned, and, in spite of all the influence of the powerful house of Montmorenci, of which De Boutteville was a branch, they were both beheaded at Gréve, June 21, 1627. For a short time the ardour of duellists was cooled. But the lesson soon lost its effect. Only five years later we read in the Mercure de France that two gentlemen who had killed one another in a duel were, by the cardinal’s orders, hanged on a gallows, stripped, and with their heads downwards, in the sight of all the people. This was a move in the right direc-tion, since, for fashionable vices, ridicule and ignominy is a more drastic remedy than death. It was on this principle that Caraccioli, prince of Melfi, when viceroy of Piedmont, finding that his officers were being decimated by duelling, proclaimed that all duels should be fought on the parapet of the Ponte Vecchio, and if one of the combatants chanced to fall into the river he should on no account be pulled out.

Under the long reign of Louis XIV. many celebrated duels took place, of which the most remarkable were that between the duke of Guise and Count Coligny, the last fought on the Place Royal, and that between the dukes of Beaufort and Nemours, each attended by four friends. Of the ten combatants, Nemours and two others were killed on the spot, and none escaped without some wound. No less than eleven edicts against duelling were issued under le Grand Monarque. That of 1643 established a supreme court of honour composed of the marshals of France ; but the most famous was that of 1679, which confirmed the enactments of his predecessors, Henry IV. and Louis XII. At the same time a solemn agreement was entered into by the principal nobility that they would never engage in a duel on any pretence whatever. A medal was struck to commemorate the occasion, and the firmness of the king, in refusing pardon to all offenders, contributed more to restrain this scourge of society than all the efforts of his predecessors.

The subsequent history of duelling in France may be more shortly treated. The two great Frenchmen whose writings preluded the French Revolution both set their faces against it. Voltaire had indeed, as a young man, in obedience to the dictates of society, once sought satisfaction from a nobleman for a brutal insult, and had reflected on his temerity in the solitude of the Bastille.1 Henceforward he inveighed against the practice, not only for its absurdity, but also for its aristocratic exclusiveness. Rousseau had said of duelling, "It is not an institution of honour, but a horrible and barbarous custom, which a courageous man despises and a good man abhors." Then came the Revolu-tion, which levelled at a blow the huge structure of feudalism, and with it the duel, its instrument and apanage. Pauca tamen suberunt priscae vestigia fraudis. With each reaction against the revolutionary spirit and return to feudal ideas the duel reappears. Under the Directory it again became fashionable among the upper classes. Napoleon was a sworn foe to it. "Bon duelliste mauvais soldat" is one of his best known sayings; and, when the king of Sweden sent him a challenge, he replied that he would order a fencing-master to attend him as plenipotentiary. After the battle of Waterloo duels such as Lever loves to depict were frequent between disbanded French officers and those of the allies in occupation. The restoration of the Bourbons brought with it a fresh crop of duels. Since then they have been chiefly confined to military circles, and a small section of Parisian journalists. Yet a list of duels fought within the last fifty years in France would occupy no inconsiderable space, and would include some of the most famous names in literature and politics, Emile de Girardin, Armand Carrel, Lamartine, Alexandre Dumas, Ledru Rollin, Edmond About, Sainte-Beuve, and M. Thiers. Even at the present hour men like Paul de Cassagnac exercise a sinister power, and an editor of the Pays must be an adept with swords and pistols no less than a skilled writer.





As a complete history of duelling would far exceed the limits of this article, we have preferred to trace in some detail its rise and fall in the country where it has most prevailed. We are thus compelled to pass by other nations, and conclude with a brief epitome of its annals at home. Duelling did not begin in England till some hundred years after it had arisen in France. There is no instance of a private duel fought in this country before the 16th century, and they are rare before the reign of James I. A very fair notion of the comparative popularity of duelling, and of the feeling with which it was regarded at various periods, might be gathered by examining the part it plays in the novels and lighter literature of the times. The earliest duels we remember in fiction are that in the Monastery between Sir Piercie Shafton and Halbert Glendinning, and that in Kenilworth between Tressilian and Varney. (That in Anne of Geierstein either is an anachronism or must reckon as a wager by battle.) Under James I. we have the encounter between Nigel and Lord Dalgarno. The greater evil of war, as we observed in French history, expels the lesser, and the literature of the Commonwealth is in this respect a blank. With the Restoration there came a reaction against Puritan morality, and a return to the gallantry and loose manners of French society, which is best represented by the theatre of the day. The drama of the Restoration abounds in duels. Passing on to the reign of Queen Anne, we find the subject frequently discussed in the Tatler and the Spectator, and Addison points in his happiest way the moral to a contemporary duel between Mr Thornhill and Sir Cholmeley Dering. "I come not," says Spinomont to King Pharamond," I come not," to implore your pardon, I come to relate my sorrow, a sorrow too great for human life to support. Know that this morning I have killed in a duel the man whom of all men living I love best." No reader of Esmond can forget Thackeray’s description of the doubly fatal duel between the duke of Hamilton and Lord Mohun, which is historical, or the no less life-like though fictitious duel between Lord Mohun and Lord Castlewood. Throughout the reigns of the Georges they are frequent. Richardson expresses his opinion on the subject in six voluminous letters to the Literary Repositor. Sheridan, like Farquhar in a previous generation, not only dramatized a duel, but fought two himself. Byron thus commemorates the bloodless duel between Tom Moore and Lord Jeffrey:—

Can none remember that eventful day,
That ever glorious almost fatal fray,
When Little’s leadless pistols met the eye,
And Bow Street myrmidons stood laughing by?

As we approach our own times they become rarer in fiction. Thackeray, indeed, who represents an older generation, and the worse side of aristocratical society, abounds in duels. His royal highness the late lamented commander-in-chief had the greatest respect for Major Macmurdo, as a man who had conducted scores of affairs for his acquaintance with the greatest prudence and skill; and Rawdon Crawley’s duelling pistols, "the same which I shot Captain Marker," have become a household word. Dickens, on the other hand, who depicts contemporary English life, and mostly in the middle classes, in all his numerous works has only three ; and George Eliot never once refers to a duel. Tennyson, using a poet’s privilege, has laid the scene of a duel in the year of the Crimean war, but he echoes the spirit of the times when he stigmatizes "the Christless code that must have life for a blow."

To pass from fiction to fact, a list of the celebrated public men who in the last century have fought duels will suffice to show the magnitude of the evil:—Fox, Pitt, William Pulteney and Lord Hervey, Canning and Lord Castlereagh, the duke of York, the duke of Richmond, Wilkes, Sir Francis Burdett, Grattan, Daniel O’Connell. For particulars we must refer the reader to the respective names.

The year 1808 is memorable in the annals of duelling in England. Major Campbell was sentenced to death and executed for killing Captain Boyd in a duel. In this case it is true that there was a suspicion of foul play; but in the case of Lieutenant Blundell, who was killed in a duel in 1813, though all had been conducted with perfect fair-ness, the surviving principal and the seconds were all convicted of murder and sentenced to death, and, although the royal pardon was obtained, they were all cashiered. The next important date is the year 1843, when public attention was painfully called to the subject by a duel in which Colonel Fawcett was shot by his brother-in-law Lieutenant Monro. The survivor, whose career was thereby blasted, had, it was well known, gone out most reluctantly, in obedience to the then prevailing military code. A full account of the steps taken by the late Prince Consort, and of the correspondence which passed between him and the duke of Wellington, will be found in the Life of the Prince by Theodore Martin. The duke, unfortunately, was not an unprejudiced counsellor. Not only had he been out him-self, but, in writing to Lord Londonderry on the occasion of the duel between the marquis and Ensign Battier in 1824, he had gone so far as to state that he considered the probability of the Hussars having to fight a duel or two a matter of no consequence. But though the proposal of the prince to establish courts of honour met with no favour, yet it led to an important amendment of the articles of war (April 1844). The 98th of the articles now in force ordains that "every person who shall fight or promote a duel, or take any steps thereto, or who shall not do his best to prevent a duel, shall, if an officer, be cashiered or suffer such other penalty as a general court-martial may award." By the same articles, to accept or to receive apologies for wrong or insult given or received is declared suitable to the character of honourable men. The effect has been that duels, which had already been banished from civil society, have been no less discredited in the English army. In tha German army, on the contrary, the institution survives in full force, and is recognized by law. A full account of the courts of honour to regulate disputes and duels among German officers will be found in The Armed Strength of the German Empire.

Any formal discussion of the morality of duelling is, in England at least, happily superfluous. No fashionable vice has been so unanimously condemned both by moralists and divines, and in tracing its history we are reminded of tho words of Tacitus, "in civitate nostra et vetabitur semper et retinebitur." Some, however, of the problems moral and social which it suggests may be shortly noticed. That duelling flourished so long in England the law is perhaps as much to blame as society. It was doubtless from the fact that duels were at first a form of legal procedure that English law has refused to take cognizance of private duels. A duel in the eye of the law differs nothing from an ordinary murder. Our greatest legal authorities, from the time of Elizabeth downwards, such as Coke, Bacon, and Hale, have all distinctly affirmed this interpretation of the law. But here as elsewhere the severity of the penalty defeated its own object. The public conscience revolted against a Draconian code which made no distinction between wilful murder and a deadly combat, wherein each party consented to his own death or submitted to the risk of it. No jury could be found to convict when conviction involved in the same penalty a Fox or a Pitt and a Turpin or a Brown-rigg. Such, however, was the conservatism of English publicists that Bentham was the first to point out clearly this defect of the law, and propose a remedy. In his Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, published in 1789, Bentham discusses the subject with his usual boldness and logical precision. In his exposition of the absurdity of duelling considered as a branch of penal justice, and its inefficiency as a punishment, he only restates in a clearer form the arguments of Paley. So far there is nothing novel in his treatment of the subject. But he soon parts company with the Christian moralist and proceeds to show that duelling does, however rudely and imperfectly, correct and repress a real social evil. "It entirely effaces a blot which an insult imprints upon the honour. Vulgar moralists, by condemning public opinion upon this point, only confirm the fact." He then points out the true remedy for the evil. It is to extend the same legal protection to offences against honour as to offences against the person. The legal satisfactions which he suggests are some of them extremely grotesque. Thus for an insult to a woman, the man is to be dressed in a woman’s clothes, and the retort to be inflicted by the hand of a woman. But the principle indicated is a sound one, that in offences against honour the punishment must be analogous to the injury. Doubt-less, if Bentham were now alive, he would allow that the necessity for such a scheme of legislation had in a great measure passed away. That duels have since become extinct is no doubt principally owing to social changes, but it may be in part ascribed to improvements in legal remedies in the sense which Bentham indicated. A notable instance is Lord Campbell’s Act of 1843, by which, in the case of a newspaper libel, a public apology coupled with a pecuniary payment is allowed to bar a plea. In the Indian Code there are special enactments concerning duelling, which is punishable not as murder but as homicide.

Suggestions have from time to time been made for the establishment of courts of honour, but the need of such tribunals is doubtful, while the objections to them are obvious. The present tendency of political philosophy is to contract rather than extend the province of law, and any interference with social life is justly resented. Real offences against reputation are sufficiently punished, and the rule of the lawyers, that mere scurrility or opprobrious words, which neither of themselves import nor are attended with any hurtful effects, are not punishable, seems on the whole a wise one. What in a higher rank is looked upon as a gross insult may in a lower rank be regarded as a mere pleasantry or a harmless joke. Among the lower orders offences against honour can hardly be said to exist ; the learned professions have each its own tribunal to which its members are amenable; and the highest ranks of society, however imperfect their standard of morality may be, are perfectly competent to enforce that standard by means of social penalties without resorting either to trial by law or trial by battle.

Bibliography.—Castillo, Tractato de duello, Turin, 1525 ; J. P. Pigna, Il duello, 1554 ; Muzio Girolamo, Traité du, duel, Venice, 1553 ; Boyssat, Recherches sur les duels, Lyons, 1610; J. Savaron, Traité contre les duels, Paris, 1610; F. Bacon, Charge concerning duels, &c., 1614; D’Audiguier, Le vray et ancien usage des duels, Paris, 1617 ; His Majesties Edict and severe Censure against private combats, London, 1618; Cockburn, History of Duels, London, 1720; Colombey, Histoire anecdotique du Duel, Paris; Millingen, History of Duelling, London, 1841 ; Sabine, Notes on Duels, Boston, 1859 ; Steinmetz, Romance of Duelling, London, 1868. See also Larousse, Dictionnaire du xix, siècle, article "Duel;" Mackay, History of Popular Delusions, Duels, and Ordeals; and for a valuable list of authorities, Buckle, History of Civilization in England, vol. ii. p. 137, note 71. (F. S.)


Footnote

FOOTNOTE (page 513)

1 Voltaire met the Chevalier Rohan-Chabot at the house of the Marquis of Sully. The Chevalier, offended by Voltaire’s free speech, insolently asked the Marquis, "Who is that young man?" "One," replied Voltaire, "who, if he does not parade a great name, honours that he bears." The Chevalier said nothing at the time, but, seizing his opportunity, inveigled Voltaire into his coach, and had him beaten by six of his footmen. Voltaire set to work to learn fencing, and then sought the Chevalier in the theatre, and publicly challenged him. A bon-mot at the Chevalier’s expense was the only satisfaction that the philosopher could obtain. "Monsieur, si quelque affaire d’intérêt ne vous a point fait oublier l’outrage dont j’ai à me plaindre, j’espère que vous m’en rendrez raison." The Chevalier was said to employ his capital in petty usury.



The above article was written by Francis Storr, M.A., editor of the Journal of Education; Master of Marlborough College, 1864-75; Merchant Taylors' School, 1875-1901; author of Tables of Irregular Greek Verbs, a translation of Heine's prose works, etc.




Search the Encyclopedia:



About this EncyclopediaTop ContributorsAll ContributorsToday in History
Sitemaps
Terms of UsePrivacyContact Us



© 2005-16 1902 Encyclopedia. All Rights Reserved.

This website is the free online Encyclopedia Britannica (9th Edition and 10th Edition) with added expert translations and commentaries