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|Lack of recourse
Written by Barb JA
(10/4/2009 2:16 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, proof of courage, penned by Karen G
As far as proof of courage, I was bringing that up as more of a hypothetical idea. If Colonel Brandon kept the reason for his challenge a secret, that wouldn't necessarily stop Willoughby from bragging about the duel itself to his friends.
I too have enjoyed reading this whole discussion and the links on duels. And as you say, many times men were duelling for ridiculous reasons, for insults and perceived insults. I found this book online called "The Romance of Duelling in All Times and Countries" by Andrew Steinmetz from 1868. It gives accounts of all kinds of duels including a detailed account of the deadly Byron/Chatworth duel over insult over whether Byron or another guy not present had more game on their manors. That duel was mentioned in the article Anselm linked above. The Steinmetz book also relates a deadly duel between highly decorated military men, because their dogs fought in Hyde Park! No wonder the people increasingly looked down on duels.
I read the entire Ch. 1 about duels in England between 1765 and 1798, then part of Ch. 3, British duels between 1800 and 1829. It was so fascinating that I will definitely return and read more. More often than not, the duels were over insults, and libel in the papers. In the end of the article Anselm linked, it talks about duels decreasing because of better laws against libel and such. But what about offenses against women?
I found two duels that may be of interest in being similar to our Dear Colonel fighting for a lady's honour. On page 51, there's a duel between Colonel King and Colonel Fitzgerald. This high society girl disappeared and the family was trying desperately to find her.
But also on page 183, there is a very affecting story of a duel between Lieutenant W--, of the Navy, and Captain I--, of the Army. I'm putting a link below, but you have to type in the page #'s to go to these specific stories.
Our Dear Colonel would never fight a duel over a trifle. As Cathy Allen said, he did it because it was the only thing he could do. What a man of passion!
|Romance of Duelling|
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