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|Thanks for the link to this post.
Written by Anselm
(9/30/2009 11:55 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, More serious than a slap on the wrist!, penned by Barbara
However, I could still read your highlighted bit in JA's letter as concern over something as serious as the inconvenience and adverse publicity of a trial but not as serious as the expectation of any real kind of punishment - certainly not as bad as JA's aunt Leigh-Perrot, who got arrested for shoplifting Ł1 worth of white lace in Bath in 1799. The penalty was death by hanging, although in her case it would more likely have been transportation for 14 years to Australia. This was a penalty that would doubtless have been applied, and she must have been very relieved indeed when the case was dropped.
JulieW's extracts from Blackstone's commentaries is a statement of statute and common law relating to duelling, not of the actual treatment of individual cases by the courts. Whatever the law said, it seems to have been the practice for the sentences in such cases to have been mere formalities. This is not to say that both Willoughby and Brandon would not have tried to hush the matter up, but just that they would not have feared any practical consequences worse than inconvenience and bad publicity. All this, of course, according to the articles I've read.
I'm still intrigued as to why he called Willoughby out in the first place, though. Several answers, but the most deafening one we have is JA's silence.
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