Death is not sufficient to deter men who make it their glory to despise it; but if every one that fought a duel were to stand in the pillory, it would quickly lessen the number of these imaginary men of honour, and put an end to so absurd a practice.
When honour is a support to virtuous principles, and runs parallel with the laws of God and our country, it cannot be too much cherished and encouraged; but when the dictates of honour are contrary to those of religion and equity, they are the greatest deprivations of human nature, by giving wrong ambitions and false ideas of what is good and laudable; and should therefore be exploded by all governments, and driven out as the bane and plague of human society.
Joseph Addison: Spectator, No. 199.
The practice of the duel, as a private mode, recognized only by custom, of deciding private differences, seems to be of comparatively recent date.
William Thomas Brande.
How! a man’s blood for an injurious, passionate speech—for a disdainful look? Nay, that is not all: that thou mayest gain among men the reputation of a discreet, well-tempered murderer, be sure thou killest him not in passion, when thy blood is hot and boiling with the provocation; but proceed with as great temper and settledness of reason, with as much discretion and preparedness, as thou wouldest to the communion: after several days’ respite, that it may appear it is thy reason guides thee, and not thy passion, invite him kindly and courteously into some retired place, and there let it be determined whether his blood or thine shall satisfy the injury.
William Chillingworth: Sermons.
Duelling was then , as now, an absurd and shocking remedy for private insult.
It is astonishing that the murderous practice of duelling should continue so long in vogue.
I shall therefore hereafter consider how the bravest men in other ages and nations have behaved themselves upon such incidents as we decide by combat; and show, from their practice, that this resentment neither has its foundation from true reason or solid fame, but is an imposture, made up of cowardice, falsehood, and want of understanding.
Sir Richard Steele: Tatler, No. 25.
Shakspeare, in As You Like It, has rallied the mode of formal duelling, then so prevalent, with the highest humour and address.
Bishop William Warburton.
"Just read an editorial from 1819 saying dueling should be reserved to military men, and then only in affairs of national honor. Two American naval officers who beat a British officer on Malta to death were cited favorably as an example of “proper dueling,” since the British officer had insulted their honor."
My hist’ry bud, the inimitable Richard Jurnack
[Pictured: Us in a knife fight just a few high noons ago. He said the Early Middle Ages existed. I politely disagreed. Sic semper tyrannus: el Duello. I wore my stripiest pants, floweriest top, and a moustache to distract him. It totally worked! (Unfortch, that means he’s dead now. RIP, Rich.)](via younghistorian)