Tuesday, March 28, 2006

My first post about duelling...

There's a fascinating extract in the Guardian from its March 29th, 1829 issue concerning a duel fought between the Duke of Wellington and Lord Winchilsea concerning the former's support for Catholic emancipation:
It is our duty to announce to the public an event which fortunately has not been attended with fatal consequences to the personages concerned. A meeting took place yesterday morning in Battersea-fields between the Duke of Wellington and the Earl of Winchilsea.
The subject of the duel was explained by publishing correspondence surrounding their dispue, concluding with the following exhange:
From the Duke to Lord Winchilsea: "My Lord - is a gentleman who happens to be the king's first minister, to submit to being insulted by any gentleman who thinks proper to attributed to him disgraceful or criminal motives for his behaviour? Your lordship is alone responsible for the consequences. I call upon your lordship to give me that satisfaction for your conduct which a gentleman never refuses to give."
From Lord Winchilsea. "My Lord - the satisfaction which your grace has demanded, it is of course impossible for me to decline."
And what happened?
The Duke of Wellington and Lord Winchilsea met at the appointed place. The parties having taken their ground, Lord Winchilsea received the Duke of Wellington's fire [apparently not aimed at him] and fired in the air. After some discussion the accompanying memorandum was accepted as a satisfactory reparation to the Duke of Wellington
"Having given the Duke of Wellington the usual satisfaction, I do not now hesitate to declare, of my own accord, that, in apology, I regret having unadvisedly published an opinion which the noble Duke states to have charged him with disgraceful and criminal motives in a certain transaction.

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