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ing, with a countenance that showed he had passed a sleepless night, he went to the council, and said, I have changed my mind. We will negociate for a peace; but it must be on honourable terms.
“ The truth was that some of the council, who knew the superstitious foible of the mind of this great man, made it thus serve the cause of reason, justice, and humanity.”
SINGLE combats have, no doubt, taken place in all countries and at all times, under the influence of malevolent passions; but the modern practice of duelling by challenges and seconds, &c., seems to have owed its origin to the northern nations, with whom it was the custom not only to decide insults and injuries but civil suits by an appeal to arms, from which none were exempt but women, the sick, young men under 20, old men above 60, cripples, idiots, and ecclesiastics, who fought by proxy. The general recourse to duels on points of honour is said to have arisen from Charles V.'s challenge of Francis I.; which, after all, ended in mutual scurrilities. From that time duels became affairs of ordinary occurrence, not only among military men, but citizens in the other classes of life. Several sovereigns have endeavoured to put a stop to the practice, but in vain. Frederic II. of Prussia said, he would give permission to fight duels in particular cases, but that a gibbet should be erected on the battle ground, and the survivor should be hanged immediately. This practice absolutely prevailed in Burgundy in the twelfth century. The editor of the Morning Herald thinks the treadmill would be the most effectual remedy for duelling :
“ The majority of duellists,” he says, “undoubtedly become so from a fear of being the objects of ridicule or contempt; and it would appear, therefore, to follow, that the best preventative to duelling would be to make the position of those who resort to it ridiculous or contemptible. If the giving a challenge, or an insult equivalent to a challenge, subjected the parties concerned to some certain punishment, of a nature that no gentleman would, without loss of honour, undergo; the degrading nature of the consequences might prevent the commission of the crime that would render those consequences inevitable. The treadmill has been half-jestingly proposed as a penalty, which, if attached to duelling, would be efficacious in preventing it. We think that it is well worth
the trial; for it is, at all events, a punishment that the tribunals would not shrink from inflicting, though it is one from which men of honour would recoil with instinctive abhorrence.”
The translation of an eloquent essay on Duelling, by J. B. Salaville, was published, some years ago, by the learned and ingenious Rev. E. Mangin, one of the few authors of whom this city can boast.
It calls on governments to abolish this insane practice, by their most important duty as conservators of the lives of their subjects; for there is no real liberty if life and limb are not protected from continual alarm and danger. The appalling effects of some recent duels are strikingly related in the preface; and the extremely absurd origin of several are mentioned by Mons. Salaville.
One is of St. Foix, a celebrated French author, who having casually remarked to an officer, who was drinking some sugared water, that this was but a bad dinner, gave such offence that the officer resented the remark in very angry language. Mons. St. Foix repeated his opinion in nearly the same words. This was construed to be a direct insult: swords were immediately drawn, and St. Foix was wounded, but not mortally. The affair being ended, they shook hands according to custom: but St. Foix said, with great solemnity, “ You know you might have killed me; but you must allow, nevertheless, that a glass of sugared water would be but a bad meal for dinner.”
Many causes of duels, not less absurd than this, might be told, and many of wars also; but, it is much to be feared, that neither will be suppressed till the standard of Christian feeling, which so strongly militates against all war (but a war with our evil passions), can be generally raised and diffused throughout society.
Dr. Millingen, in his two very interesting volumes on Duelling (published in 1841), says, “ Duels were unknown amongst the ancients, however acute and fastidious might have been their feelings of what is called honour and the duties which it imposes. The lie, the blow, the most slanderous abuse, were not then considered a stain upon a man's character, requiring an appeal to arms in order to verify the old saying, that the dead are always in the wrong. When Eurybiades raised his stick against Themistocles, the youthful hero merely replied, “Strike, but