Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Newsworthy Duel

I have never used a duel in my Regency stories, but I have read many books which include a plot line that contains a duel. At least one non-fiction book about dueling sits on my TBR shelves, waiting. I have sometimes regarded duels as exotic, rare,  and very clandestine events.
French, cased duelling pistols, Boutet,Versailles,1794-1797 Royal Ontario Museum
In the last day or two of research, I have learned how wrong are my preconceptions. Though dueling was frowned upon by authorities, and any death resulting from a duel was considered a murder, often a blind eye was turned to the event by officialdom.
from The English Spy by Bernard Blackmantle, 1825

The newspapers, however, reported every duel. They seem to have been commonplace events in the first decade of the 1800's, and are noted along with fires, burglaries and murders. Nothing special indeed:
Carlisle Journal - Saturday 04 September 1802

Chester Courant - Tuesday 22 March 1803

Duel au pistolet au XIXème siècle
Source     La Lecture - Le Journal de Romans
Author     Bauce et Rouget
Wikimedia Commons

Friday 20 May 1803, Morning Post, London, England
Wednesday 01 March 1809, Morning Post, London, England

Wednesday 13 August 1806, Evening Mail, London, England

Saturday 17 March 1804, Lancaster Gazette, Lancashire, England

London Courier and Evening Gazette - Monday 27 April 1801

The newspaper articles went on and on. And so, apparently, did the duels. The 'honour' which required such extreme satisfaction is largely a mystery to western society today. And the duel does seem, as I first thought, dramatic and romantic. Perhaps I will include one in a story some day.

'Til next time,