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Additional info for those interested in the Pellew clan...

It seems that Israel Pellew's only son, Edward, who was a Captain in the Life Guards, was killed in a duel in Paris by Lieutenant Theophilus Walsh, also of the Life Guards (6 Oct 1819). Pellew had been fooling around with Walsh's wife.

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Sat Jan 06, 2007 4:40 am
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Account of a duel on a prison hulk:

"Let me first refer to a duel which was fought, in 1813, between two of the French prisoners of war, on board the 'Samson' prison ship, lying in Gillingham Reach, when one of them was killed; not having any swords, they attached to the end of two sticks a pair of scissors each. The deceased received the mortal wound in the abdomen, and yet he continued to parry with his antagonist while his strength would permit. Afterwards an application was made to the surgeon of the ship who bound up the wound, but he survived but a short time. The affair took place below in the prison, unknown to the ship's company."

From Fashion Then and Now (1878) by Lord William Pitt Lennox.

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Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:06 am
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From the 6 March 1792 edition of The Times:

"Saturday a duel was fought in a field near Battersea, between an Officer of the Guards and a Lieutenant M— of the Navy, when after each exchanging a shot without effect, they were reconciled.—The dispute it is said originated from the former, when rather warm with wine, behaving in a manner at which the latter took offence and knocked him down."

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Fri Mar 23, 2007 4:48 pm
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Post Code Duello: The Rules of Dueling
Code Duello: The Rules of Dueling

With the recent comments about certain American duelists, I did some additional searching on-line and found a comment that a copy of the Code Duello (Click Here) was a normal part of the kit of a young American Naval Midshipman of the early 1800's. The website has a note that there were some slight modifications to the formal Code Duello for the Americans but I do not know what these modifications were.

The source for the Code is a book by Hamilton Cochran titled "Noted American Duels and Hostile Encounters" published in 1963.

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Fri Apr 20, 2007 5:19 pm
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More from The Times, 29 Mar 1790 issue:

"Friday morning a duel was fought on Black-Heath, between Lieutenant H.T.H. of the Royal Navy, and Lieutenant L— of the Marines; the parties met by agreement at half past six o'clock, and took the ground at 15 paces; and on Mr. H— having the advantage by getting the first fire, Mr. L— received a wound in the right shoulder, and immediately declined the contest."

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Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:10 am
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From the 17 Feb 1801 issue of The Times:

"On Saturday a meeting took place between Lieutenant MINSTER, of the Marines, belonging to his Majesty's ship Monarch, and Lieut. CHRISTIAN LASCHEN, of the Latona frigate, at Queenborough, near Sheerness, when the former was shot dead through the head; and the latter through the body, with very little hopes of his recovery. The Marine Officer lies dead at an Inn in Queenborough for the Coroner's inquest, and the Lieutenant of the Navy is sent on board the Spanker hospital ship, at Sheerness....The parties fought at twelve paces distance, and fired at the same instant. Both fell at the first shot."

The initial reason for the quarrel between the two was given as words that had passed between them during a game of cards when they both were serving on Latona. Someone (it doesn't specify who) struck a blow, but things were prevented from going farther by the captain who threatened them with a court martial. After Latona arrived at the Nore, Minster exchanged places with another officer in Monarch, after which Laschen sent him the challenge.

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Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:17 pm
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From the 3 Nov 1827 issue of the New Hampshire Statesman and Concord Register:

"A duel took place on the 20th of August at Rio, between Midshipman Bispham and Surgeon Bradner, of the United States sloop of War Peacock—the latter was so badly wounded that he died on the following day—two shots were also exchanged by the Seconds, neither of whom was wounded."

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Tue Apr 24, 2007 6:30 pm
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From the Naval Chronicle (Volume II):

"[June 26, 1799 - Plymouth] Lieutenant P. and Mr. J. of the Royal Navy, fought a duel near Mount Edgecumbe, and after discharging two pistols the seconds interfered and the affair was adjusted. The quarrel was of three years standing."

"[June 30, 1799] This morning a duel was fought near Stoke between Lieutenant M. and Lieutenant C. of the marines. After two shot, the latter of which passed through the ancle of Lieutenant C. the affair was settled. Lieutenant C. had the ball extracted, and is declared out of danger."

And another...

"[July 1, 1799] This morning Lieutenant D. of the navy, and Lieutenant M. of the marines, fought a duel near Stoke. After two fires Lieutenant D. had a bullet in his thigh, when the seconds interfered, and he was conveyed to his lodgings somewhat faint with loss of blood; but hopes are entertained for his recovery."

Hm. Wonder if it was the same Lieutenant M?

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Sun Aug 26, 2007 4:44 pm
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From The Times, November 21, 1789

" ..... a duel was fought at Kensington Gravel-pits, between a Mr Macdonald, and Mr Arbuthnot, a Midshipman, and nearly related to Admiral Arbuthnot. The dispute arose at the Jerusalem Coffee-House, in the City, concerning a lady.

The Gentlemen met half past six...... Mr Arbuthnot, according to agreement, fired first, and the ball slightly grazed Mr Macdonald's shoulder; Mr Macdonald returned the fire - the ball entered Mr Arbuthnot's thigh, and lodged a little below the hip bone..... the seconds immediately interfered, and settled the affair perfectly to the satisfaction of both parties......."



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Sat Oct 13, 2007 2:07 pm
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I understand that, in England, duelling was never strictly legal - that is why seconds arranged for encounters to take place in darkness, usually just before dawn. Secrecy was important because if the authorities got to know of a planned duel, officials would be sent to interrupt it. I believe it simply went out of fashion as a way of settling disputes.

When Captain Hardy fought a duel (both men missed their targets) they were subsequently taken into custody as a result of an anonymous letter and 'bound over to keep the peace', even though no one was hurt. So clearly, duelling was a matter for the law to interfere.

The customs and practices surrounding duels are interesting. (This information comes from my daughter, who is a historian.)

The seconds appointed had to go through the motions of attempting a reconciliation, though this was a formality.

The seconds also had to arrange for a doctor to be present.

If a duellist believed he was in the wrong, he would not call off the duel or apologise. Instead, he would fire in the air instead of at his opponent. This was called 'deloping' and was considered an honourable course of action.

Duels often involved acts of bravado such as wearing a white neckerchief or bright waistcoat to make yourself an obvious target.


Sat Oct 13, 2007 5:24 pm
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polly wrote:
If a duellist believed he was in the wrong, he would not call off the duel or apologise. Instead, he would fire in the air instead of at his opponent. This was called 'deloping' and was considered an honourable course of action.

I had noticed "delope" in the duel fought by Hornblower in the TV episode titled "The Duel" starring Ioan Gruffudd. Click Here to see some additional information.

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Sun Oct 14, 2007 9:41 am
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From The Times of October 8, 1790

" .... on opening the body of Mr Price, clerk to the Captain of the Racehorse sloop of war, who was wounded in a duel by an officer belong to the above ship about two months ago, the Surgeons found part of his waistcoat had been carried into his body with the ball, and lodged near his lungs ....."

You often read where the officers put on clean garments before an engagement for that very reason, and it reminds me of Maturin doing his self-surgery in M & C.

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Mon Oct 22, 2007 12:59 pm
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Mil Goose wrote:
You often read where the officers put on clean garments before an engagement for that very reason, and it reminds me of Maturin doing his self-surgery in M & C.


It figures prominently in that Hornblower book where he's fishing for sunken treasure in Turkey. I think an irascible Scotsman, whose Lascar divers are supposed to find the gold, is wounded in a duel by the surgeon, who then has to nurse him back to health lest Hornblower do something horrible to him.

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Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:57 pm
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From The Times of October 7, 1793:

" .... before the sailing of the last homeward bound fleet from Jamaica, a duel took place at Port Royal, in consequence of a dispute between Lieut. D of the Navy, and Lieut G. of the Marines. After exchanging a brace of pistols, the seconds interposed. Lieut. D was dangerously wounded in the right breast, and Lieut. G slightly in the hip. Lieut. G is on board the Hannibal, of 74 guns, Captain Colpoys, and Lieut. D on board the Hector, of 74 guns, Capt. Montague. They are both under arrrest ....."

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Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:26 am
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From The Times, April 23, 1803:

" .... we copy the following from a Morning Paper, but as the names and residence of the parties are not mentioned, we entertain considerable doubts on the truth of the statement ....' a duel was fought near Vauxhall, on Wednesday morning at five o'clock, between Capt. C, in the merchant service, and Capt.G, of the navy. They fired two shots each. Capt.G was severely wounded in the left breast, and Mr C in the shoulder. The seconds then interfered, and a reconciliation took place. The balls have been extracted, and the gentlemen are both in a fair way of recovery'...."

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Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:57 pm
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