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TOGETHER WITH THE
Annals of Chivalry,
ORDEAL TRIAL, AND JUDICIAL COMBAT,
FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES.
BY ABRAHAM BOSQUETT, Esq.
Qui ante non cavet, post dolebit.
This Work is particularly recommended
ATTENTION OF YOUNG OFFICERS, &c.
IN WHICH ARE CLEARLY POINTED OUT,
The Danger and Risks to which inexperienced Men are subject,
and the Ways and Means of guarding against them. The importance of a discreet Choice of SECONDS. The Qualifications of a good one, and the Qualities of a bad one,
exemplified. General Grounds of CHALLENGES futile, and easily settled by
prudent management. Duty
of Seconds to interfere and accommodate. A Court of REFERENCE proposed, The Rise and Progress of CHIVALRY, the JUDICIAL COMBAT, and
DUELLING. Some of the Laws, Edicts, and Opinions, of various Nations, at
various Periods, for and against them. Many of the most remarkable COMBATs and Duels of ancient and
modern Times recounted, from correct Authorities,
As it is every man's duty to contribute to the general stock of information what may be useful, and not generally known, I think it incumbent upon me to add my mite on this subject, with which some experience has ultimately furnished me, and to which I am the more induced, in consequence of the unfortunate issue of many duels that might have been amicably settled. It is, at the same time, with some reluctance I confess, that I have myself been four times a Principal, and twenty-five times a Second, in this kind of conflict, and of course my experience must be pretty extensive; yet I have, notwithstanding, the greatest satisfaction in being able to aver, that life or honor were never lost in my hands, but am confident it would have been otherwise, on many occasions, had I not been concerned. Therefore, whoever values the one or the other, and thinks himself so aggrieved that there can be no other alternative than a challenge, cannot be too circumspect in the choice of a friend ; particularly when it is considered, that all that a man most values, life and honor, are very much, if not wholly, at the disposal of the Seconds, in whom Í have often witnessed, not only the most ignorant, but the most infamous and blood-thirsty conduct; such fellows I have ever found to be, at bottom, cowards and poltroons themselves. This I have been under the necessity of evincing more than once ; having, not unfrequently, found it indispensably my duty to become a Principal with such Seconds, where they stood in the way of an honorable accommodation, or seemed determined to have a little blood drawn on the one side or the other. These VOL. XII.
gentlemen were, generally, as prone to make others fight, as they were backward to fight themselves when called to account.
Amongst the many instances of misconduct in Seconds, I shall mention a few. Two learned doctors, who had had a long paper war, met one evening in the pit of one of the Dublin Theatres, where their resentments burst out, with reciprocal violence, between each act. Both were men of abilities, and extremely eloquent, and afforded, by these interludes, much entertainment to the audience, who clapped the victors of the moment in proportion to the impression they had made. My friend, who sat near me, had rather the advantage; but, on the curtain dropping, was called upon by his adversary to meet him at an early hour next morning, at the four-mile stone on the north road, and immediately withdrew. This seemed to stun my friend a little, who had not before been concerned in an affair of honor of this nature. However, he determined to fight, finding it could not be avoided ; the other having publicly declared, he would post him if he did not. In consequence of this, he requested me to be his Second, to which I consented, in the hope of being able to reconcile the parties; and if not, at least to protect him from any undue advantage that might be taken of him, he being an Englishman, a stranger, and quite a novice in the duelling art. I therefore brought him
home with me, where I left him, and went, without his knowledge, to the house of his opponent; thinking, if I could see him, proceedings might be stayed; but he had immediately set off to Drogheda (twenty-four miles distant) to procure a friend, and of course no possibility of meeting till we came on the ground. I suspected the man he went for, who was also hostile to my friend, and beside had some experience in tactics of this kind, and was in the capacity of both surgeon and Second. I therefore took my friend into training during the night, prepared the pistols, aired the powder, and gave him the necessary cautions and instructions, which should be accurately understood, both offensively and defensively, and which generally afford to the experienced duellist a decided advantage.
We got to the ground at six, the hour appointed, and shortly after the others arrived; the Second was the same I expected. After a distant salute I took him aside, and observed, that it was rather unfortunate that we had not had an opportunity of talking the affair over before we came there ; but that, as it was not of desperate nature, a mere war of words, I conceived it might be as much to their honor to make a mutual apology as to fight; when he immediately vociferated, that he would not consent that his friend should either give or take any apology; that they came there to fight, and that whilst a ball remained (pulling out a handful