Code Honor The Degrees Of Insult, And How Compromised
1. The prevailing rule is, that words used in retort, althoug...
The Party Receiving A Note Before Challenge.
1. When a note is presented to you by an equal, receive it, a...
Who Should Be On The Ground.
1. The principals, seconds, one surgeon and one assistant sur...
Duty Of Challengee And Second After Challenge Sent.
1. The challengee has no option when negotiation has ceased, ...
The Person Insulted, Before Challenge Sent
1. Whenever you believe that you are insulted, if the insult ...
Arms, And Manner Of Loading And Presenting Them.
1. The arms used should be smooth-bore pistols, not exceeding...
Second's Duty Before Challenge Sent.
1. Whenever you are applied to by a friend to act as his seco...
Since the above Code was in press, a friend has favored me wi...
Duty Of Principals And Seconds On The Ground.
1. The principals are to be respectful in meeting, and neithe...
Duty Of Challenger And His Second Before Fighting.
1. After all efforts for a reconciliation are over, the party...
Since the above Code was in press, a friend has favored me with the IRISH CODE OF HONOR, which I had never seen; and it is published as an Appendix to it. One thing must be apparent to every reader, viz., the marked amelioration of the rules that govern in duelling at the present time. I am unable to say what code exists now in Ireland, but I very much doubt whether it be of the same character which it bore in 1777. The American Quarterly Review for September, 1824, in a notice of Sir Jonah Barrington's history of his own times, has published this code; and followed it up with some remarks, which I have thought proper to insert also. The grave reviewer has spoken of certain States in terms so unlike a gentleman, that I would advise him to look at home, and say whether he does not think that the manners of his own countrymen, do not require great amendment? I am very sure, that the citizens of the States so disrespectfully spoken of, would feel a deep humiliation, to be compelled to exchange their urbanity of deportment, for the uncouth incivility of the people of Massachusetts. Look at their public journals, and you will find them, very generally, teeming with abuse of private character, which would not be countenanced here. The idea of New England becoming a school for manners, is about as fanciful as Bolinbroke's "idea of a patriot king." I like their fortiter in re, but utterly eschew their suaviter in modo.
"The practice of duelling and points of honor settled at Clonmell summer assizes, 1777, by the gentleman delegates of Tipperary, Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Roscommon, and prescribed for general adoption throughout Ireland.
"Rule 1.--The first offence requires the apology, although the retort may have been more offensive than the insult.--Example: A. tells B. he is impertinent, &C.; B. retorts, that he lies; yet A. must make the first apology, because he gave the first offence, and then, (after one fire,) B. may explain away the retort by subsequent apology.
"Rule 2.--But if the parties would rather fight on: then, after two shots each, (but in no case before,) B. may explain first, and A. apologize afterward.
"Rule 3.--If a doubt exist who gave the first offence, the decision rests with the seconds; if they won't decide or can't agree, the matter must proceed to two shots, or a hit, if the challenger requires it.
"Rule 4.--When the lie direct is the first offence, the aggressor must either beg pardon in express terms; exchange tow shots previous to apology; or three shots followed up by explanation; or fire on till a severe hit be received by one party or the other.
"Rule 5.--As a blow is strictly prohibited under any circumstances among gentlemen, no verbal apology can be received for such an insult; the alternatives therefore are: the offender handing a can to the injured party, to be used on his own back, at the same time begging pardon; firing on until one or both is disabled; or exchanging three shots, and then asking pardon without the proffer of the cane.
"If swords are used, the parties engage till one is well-blooded, disabled or disarmed; or until, after receiving a wound, and blood being drawn, the aggressor begs pardon.
"N.B. A disarm is considered the same as a disable; the disarmer may (strictly) break his adversary's sword; but if it be the challenger who is disarmed, it is considered ungenerous to do so.
"In case the challenged be disarmed and refuses to ask pardon or atone, he must not be killed as formerly; but the challenger may lay his sword on the aggressor's shoulder, than break the aggressor's sword, and say, 'I spare your life!' The challenged can never revive the quarrel, the challenger may.
"Rule 6.--If A. give B. the lie, and B. retorts by a blow, (being the two greatest offences,) no reconciliation can take place till after two discharges each, or a severe hit; after which, B. may beg A.'s pardon for the blow, and then A. may explain simply for the lie; because a blow is never allowable, and the offence of the lie therefore merges in it. (See preceding rule.)
"N.B. Challenges for individual causes, may be reconciled on the ground, after one shot. An explanation, or the slightest hit should be sufficient in such cases, because no personal offence transpired.
"Rule 7.--But no apology can be received, in any case, after the parties have actually taken their ground, without exchange of fires.
"Rule 8.--In the above case, no challenger is obliged to divulge the cause of his challenge, (if private,) unless required by the challenged to do so before their meeting.
"Rule 0.--All imputations of cheating at play, races, &c, to be considered equivalent to a blow; but may be reconciled after one shot, on admitting their falsehood, and begging pardon publicly.
"Rule 10.--Any insult to a lady under a gentleman's care or protection, to be considered as, by one degree, a greater offence than if given to the gentleman personally, and to be regulated accordingly.
"Rule 11.--Offences originating or accruing from the support of a lady's reputation, to be considered as less unjustifiable than any other of the same class, and as admitting of lighter apologies by the aggressor; this to be determined by the circumstances of the case, but always favorably to the lady.
"Rule 12.--In simple unpremeditated rencontres with the small sword or couteau-de-chasse, the rule is, first draw, first sheathe; unless blood be drawn: then both sheathe, and proceed to investigation.
"Rule 13.--No dumb-shooting, or firing in the air, admissible in any case. The challenger ought not to have challenged without receiving offence; and the challenged ought, if he gave offence, to have made an apology before he came on the ground: therefore, children's play must be dishonorable on one side or the other, and is accordingly prohibited.
"Rule 14.--Seconds to be of equal rank in society with the principals they attend, inasmuch as a second may choose or chance to become a principal, and equality is indispensable.
"Rule 15.--Challenges are never to be delivered at night, unless the party to be challenged intend leaving the place of offence before morning; for it is desirable to avoid all hot-headed proceedings.
"Rule 16.--The challenged has the right to choose his own weapon, unless the challenger gives his honor he is no swordsman; after which, however, he cannot decline any second species of weapon proposed by the challenged.
"Rule 17.--The challenged chooses his ground; the challenger chooses his distance; the seconds fix the time and terms of firing.
"Rule 18.--The seconds load in presence of each other, unless they give their mutual honors that they have charged smooth and single, which should be held sufficient.
"Rule 19.--Firing may be regulated, first by signal; secondly, by word of command; or, thirdly, at pleasure, as may be agreeable to the parties. In the latter case, the parties may fire at their reasonable leisure, but second presents and rests are strictly prohibited.
"Rule 20.--In all cases a miss-fire is equivalent to a shot, and a snap or a non-cock is to be considered as a miss-fire.
"Rule 21.--Seconds are bound to attempt a reconciliation before the meeting takes place, or after sufficient firing or hits, as specified.
"Rule 22.--Any wound sufficient to agitate the nerves and necessarily make the hands shake, must end the business for that day.
"Rule 23.--If the cause of meeting be of such a nature that no apology or explanation can or will be received, the challenged takes his ground, and calls on the challenger to proceed as he chooses: in such cases firing at pleasure is the usual practice, but may be varied by agreement.
"Rule 24.--In slight cases, the second hands his principal but one pistol; but in gross cases, two, holding another case ready charged in reserve.
"Rule 25.--When seconds disagree, and resolve to exchange shots themselves, it must be at the same time and at right angles with their principals.
"If with swords, side by side, at five paces interval.
"N.B. All matters and doubts not herein mentioned, will be explained and cleared up by application to the committee, who meet alternately at Clonmell and Galway, at their quarter sessions, for the purpose.
"CROW RYAN, President."
"AMBY BODKIN, Secretaries
ADDITIONAL GALWAY ARTICLES
"Rule 1.--No party can be allowed to bend his knee or cover his side with his left hand; but may present at any level from the hip to the eye.
"Rule 2.--One can neither advance nor retreat, if the ground be measured. If the ground be unmeasured, either party may advance at pleasure, even to touch muzzle; but neither can advance on his adversary after the fire, unless his adversary step forward on him.
"The seconds stand responsible for this last rule being strictly observed; bad cases have accrued from neglecting it."
This precise and enlightened digest was rendered necessary by the multitude of quarrels that arouse without "sufficient dignified provocation:" the point of honor men required a uniform government; and the code thus formed was disseminated throughout the island, with directions that it should b strictly observed by all gentlemen, and kept in their pistol cases. The rules, with some others, were commonly styled "the thirty-six commandments," and, according to the author, have been much acted upon down to the present day. Tipperary and Galway were the chief schools of duelling. We remember to have heard, in travelling to the town of the former name in a stage coach, a dispute between two Irish companions, on the point, which was the most gentlemanly country in all Ireland--Tipperary or Galway? and both laid great stress upon the relative duelling merits of those counties. By the same criterion, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia and South Carolina, would bear away the palm of gentility among the States of the Union.-
Previous: The Degrees of Insult, and How Compromised