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listen to me.' Lycurgus did not deem it necessary to avenge the blow he had received from Alcander, although it deprived him of an eye; nor did Cæsar bring Cato to an account for the ridicule he heaped upon him in the senate. Agrippa, one of the bravest chiefs of Augustus, allowed the son of Cicero to throw a cup at his head; and it appears that this rude custom often appeared at their festive boards. The Roman law clearly stated that a blow did not dishonour— Ictus fustium infamiam non importat.' Christian IV. of Denmark answered a defiance of Charles IX. of Sweden by strongly advising him to take a dose of hellebore : and Charles Gustavus, when similarly circumstanced with Christian of Denmark, simply replied that he only fought in good company. In our own days, Gustavus IV. challenged Napoleon; and the only reply he received from the French emperor was that he would send him a fencingmaster as his plenipotentiary, with whom he might arrange the proceeding. Sully says, · Duellists have revived the base profession of gladiators, and rendered themselves more contemptible and hateful than the unfortunates who bore that name.""
Dr. Millingen continues, in vain did Henry IV. issue the most positive edicts against duelling: his commands were unheeded, and his humane intentions invariably set at nought. From his accession to the throne, in 1589, until 1607, it was calculated that not less than 4000 gentlemen were killed in duels : and we find that, in a journal of the 8th of August, 1606, was to be read the following paragraph—"Last week, we had in Paris four assassinations and three duels; no notice having been taken of these events.” The desperate nature of these bloody feuds was such that whole families were destroyed. Henry IV. is said to have granted 14,000 pardons for duels, in spite of the severity of his edicts against them. Sully observes on this subject, that “the facility with which the king forgave duels tended to multiply them; and hence these fatal examples pervaded the court, the town, and the kingdom.” Perefix, in his Life of Henry IV., says that the madness of duels did seize the spirits of the nobility and gentry so much, during this reign, that they lost more blood by each other's hands in time of peace than had been shed by their enemies in battle!
In fact, these royal edicts, like many other criminal laws, defeated their own intention by their severity, which would have rendered their application as ferocious as the offences which they were to punish : they were thus rendered illusive in practice, however praiseworthy they might have been in theory, the one neutralizing the operation of the other.
Some men have been so bold as to decline challenges on religious principle and obedience to the law; such was Mons, de Reuly, who, having refused to fight a duel, was waylaid by his antagonist and a second. He wounded and disarmed both, took them to his house, procured surgical attendance for them, restored their swords, told them he would never divulge their attack on him, and kept his word; nor did he ever after speak of the transaction, even to the servant who had been present at the affair.
In the year 1651, a clergyman of the name of Olier, founder of the congregation of St. Sulpice, conceived a plan of supplying the insufficiency of the law by putting honour in opposition to itself. With this view he projected an association of gentlemen of tried valour, who, by subscribing an engagement to which the solemnity of an oath was to be added, obliged themselves never to send or accept a challenge, and never to serve as seconds in a duel. The marquis de Fenelon, to whom the famous archbishop of Cambray owed his education and rise in the Church, was at the head of this association. On the Sunday of the Pentecost, the members assembled in the church of St. Sulpice, and placed in the hands of Mons. Olier a solemn instrument, expressing their firm and unalterable resolution never to be principals or seconds in a duel; and, moreover, to discourage the baneful practice to the utmost of their power. However, it appears that neither this, nor the king's determination to forward the views of this praiseworthy association, nor the exertions of its respectable members, nor the severe edicts (especially that of the edit des duels in 1670), could totally eradicate the prejudice that maintained the evil.
Even the peaceable Fontaine,--the poet who was proverbially called, “ le bon Fontaine,”-in compliance with the fashion of the day, thought it necessary to call out an officer who, he was informed, was intriguing with his wife. The officer soon disarmed the poet; but said, since his visits had been the occasion of scandal, he would from that hour cease to call at his house. 5 Le bon” was so affected with the sincere explanation his antagonist gave him of his conduct, that he not only insisted the captain should continue his visits, but swore he would fight him again if he discontinued them.
In England, since 1760, 200 duels have been fought. In three, both combatants were killed; in 80, one of them : in all, 120 were wounded. There were 20 trials for murder in duels: four were found guilty, and two hanged. The duke of York, the duke of Richmond, the duke of Norfolk, the duke of Wellington; prime ministers-Pitt, Fox, and Canning; Sheridan, Burdett, lord Winchelsea, &c.; fought in duels. In France, cardinal de Guise and cardinal de Retz stained their holy garments in single combats.
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