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Oh, give me Fame !"— The laurel bough
“Oh, give me”_“Stay !”—a soft voice came,
then, though clouds without thee roll,
RH. S. S. ANDROS.
A SWALLOw, in the Spring,
Wet earth and straw and leaves.
Day after day she toiled,
And dashed it to the ground.
She found the ruin wrought;
And built the nest anew.
But scarcely had she placed
And wrought the ruin o'er.
But still her heart she kept,
Within the earth-made walls.
What Truth is here, O Man!
Have Faith, and struggle on!
RH. S. S. ANDROS.
Small as may be the number of truths liaments, has decțeed against it the which can be regarded as settled by last and worst terrors of punishment the universal concurrence of mankind, which it can attach to the highest of beyond possibility of question or cavil, crimes against nature and society, debating clubs are yet sometimes at a stamping it on almost every statuteloss for suitable questions, of evenly book as Murder. It has been in vain balanced semblance of right and that the universal reason of men has wrong, on which to excercise their pronounced against it, in every other young powers of logic and eloquence. mode of expression but that of action, We beg leave to suggest to them one as a bad, bloody, and brutal barbarism. of which we can confidently affirm, All in vain! There it has stood, unthat it never can be decided to the one destroyed, unharmed,-a great pervadside or the other--Which is the great- ing practical fact-a living and strong er in degree, after their respective reality, smiling at the superficial and kinds, the folly or the wickedness--the frothy impotence of these attempts to mental stupidity or the moral crimin- put it down, much as we may, supality-of the practice of Duelling? pose big black rock, in the midst of
What a curious anomaly! What a the waves, to smile in contempt upon wonderful absurdity! What a strange all the yesty fury with which they have contradiction to all the fundamental been for centuries lashing its' base. ideas of the civilisation of those por. Would that good institutions among tions of the globe in which it prevails men were as tenacious of their exist-so far at least, as those ideas are to ence, against the surrounding pressure be found on the surface of all their of bad influences, as vice verså we systems of law, religion, philosophy see it of the bad, thus vainly assailed or ethics! It is really one of the most by all the arrayed antagonism of right remarkable illustrations that can be reason and religion. adduced, of the ineradicable tenacity Nations are educated through the of a habit once deeply planted into course of generations and centuries, as national character, in the infancy of a the individual through his little allotted new civilisation, however abhorrent it span of years. As“ the child is father may really be to all the principles of to the man,” so are there impressed, that civilisation as they become after- deeply and indelibly, on the latest maward developed and matured by the turity of the nation, the traits whose progress of centuries. We owe the origin is to be sought far back in the institution of the Duel--for it may be earliest period of its barbaric youth. called an institution to the barbarism Endowed with all the rude energy and of our Germanic origin, and it has simple strength incident to that period continued ever since, in all the coun- of savage freshness of character and tries of Europe which have grown up life, they not only mould to their own out of the Germanic root. It has been shape the entire system of habits of in vain that that holy Religion, which thought and sentiment, of the whole has given to all that portion of the mass of the people, individually and globe the designation of Christendom, collectively; but it would almost seem has denounced it as damnable and that by some of the mysterious laws deadly in its sinfulness. It has been yet unexplained by science, of the conin vain that Law, whether proceeding nection between the moral and physifrom despotic thrones or popular par. cal in our wonderful duality of nature,
The History of Duelling: including Narratives of the most remarkable Personal Encounters that have taken place from the Earliest Period to the Present Time. By J. G. Millingen, M. D., F. R. S. Author of “ Curiosities of Medical Experience,” &c. 2 vols. 8vo. London. Richard Bentley, New Burlington street. 1849
they so impress themselves upon even country, in favor of the usefulness and the physical man, upon his brain and necessity of the Duel in certain cases ; nervous system, that they become a but over the greater part of its extent, vital and essential part of his nature, though not the whole, the force of the transmitted down," link after link, general opinion and practice in its fathrough the chain of generations, like vor is so strong, that it can only be reany of the outward characteristics of sisted by a moral heroism of principle form or feature, which mark the va to which few indeed are equal. rious distinctions of race familiar to To explain a fact so utterly anomaevery eye. In no other way can we lous, we are thrown back upon phrenoexplain to our satisfaction the tenacity logy. The organs of combativeness with which nations are seen to cling and destructiveness, which we have to particular traits, like the one which inherited, as a race, from an ancestry suggests the remark, in spite of such with whom they were the seats of the an immense accumulation of counter- highest recognized virtues, have yet acting causes, of a moral nature, which such a predominance, that it is in vain ought long ago to have swept away that all the other organs through which every trace of their existence.
the moral and intellectual faculties act, We are sprung from what may be struggle to counterbalance them. termed peculiarly a fighting stock Upon the mutually acting and re-actand the pulpits of the Christianity we ing effect of such a national character profess may preach peace as they upon its language and literature, we please the old leaven continues to need not do more than advert in passwork too strongly up from the bottom ing. How thoroughly, for example, all to be overpowered by any precepts or these ideas of bravery and bloody bruprinciples of a moral nature, addressed tality are interwoven through the to us from without; even though they whole texture of our English literature, may issue from an authority we bow will be obvious to every reader at a to as divine, and though they may glance. All its departments are more at the same time recommend them- or less pervaded by them—some almost selves to our conscience and reason by exclusively so, as history and poetry. demonstrative logic the most incontes. While to illustrate their effeci upon table. All Christianity and all phi- language-one of the most powerful losophy to the contrary notwithstand- agents in the moulding of a nation's ing, we have an instinctive and inex- character and destiny, as well as the tinguishable sympathy with the spirit most expressive record of what they of the strife. We love the bravery of have been—we need but look to the the battle more than the highest he- Greek and Latin, in which the very roism of purely moral fortitude. No words that denote virtue were not only glory, in the estimation of the great derived from roots involving the idea masses of the people, can compare of martial prowess, but remained ever with that of splendid military achieve- after synonymously applied to either. ment. There is no baseness we des. And it is a curious fact that even to pise with a disgust equal to that in- the present day, in the modern lanspired in us by personal cowardice. guages derived from these originals, Any danger must be dared-any deed, the traces yet remain of that far antewhether of guilt or folly, must be Homeric age when the word virtue, done-rather than be subject to the aretē, was derived from the name of possibility of such a suspicion. When the god of the battle-field, Aris; and men fight duels-combining in one act when the degrees of comparison of the the double wickedness and folly of at- simplest and most common adjective in tempted murder and hazarded suicide the language, good, better, best, were -had we ten times as much law, agathos, areiūn, aristos,-or, according religion and morals against it, there is to their derivative meaning, good, a universal public opinion, or public braver, bravest. In our word, “ arissentiment rather, which palliates and tocracy,” for example, intended to de pardons even when it does not wholly signate the “ government of the best," justify. There is no class, no age, appears still the mark of the old idea profession or sex, free from the influ- of the identity of goodness with milience of this tendency. And not only tary virtue. are many respectable opinions to be But it is time to pass from these heard openly avowed, in all parts of the speculations to the book referre} to at
the beginning of this Article, the sub It was out of the depths of their ject of which has suggested them. swarming forests that the Germanic These volumes abound with a mass of tribes which inundated all the rest of information, curious and entertaining, Europe, carried with them a practice though at times revolting and sickening that had grown out of the fierce miliin the perusal. Tracing the practice tary spirit-combined with a high of Duelling to its first rude original, it pride of personal independenceis exhibited through all the succeeding which was their chief characteristic. stages of its history,—its combination Among a nation of warriors, who with the ordeal; the ferocity and trea- never assembled but in arms, a fight chery which often marked its primitive was the simplest and most natural character; its modification by the in- mode of settling any difference, espestitution of chivalry; and the subse- cially in the absence of any system of quent phase it assumed in connection civil institutions adequate to the diswith the “ point of honor." The first pensation of justice. It was in direct volume is the one of the chief interest, analogy with that custom of war begiving an account of its history in tween nation and nation, for the settleFrance, (its special classic ground), ment of public quarrels, which was and the different countries of the conti- their chief and favorite occupation; nent, with notices of a vast number of and as, in the one case, the state of the most remarkable instances of it in hostility involved all the members of the different ages and reigns through the respective communities or bodies which the narrative is carried along. politic; so, in the other, the private The second volume relates chiefly to war between two individuals usually duelling in Great Britain, with a copious embraced the whole circle of kindred enumeration of many of the principal and dependents of both parties, in modem duels which have taken place feuds which often became perpetuated in various countries—the United States through many generations. When not omitted.
Christianity attacked this new society Amor the ancients the Duel was of military barbarism—which thus unknown; and even were there no flooded over all Europe, to conquer it to better refutation of the modern argu- her own milder moral dominion-she ments we sometimes hear in its justi- was forced, naturally as well as necesfication, its absence among nations at sarily, to a certain extent, to harmonize the same time so polished and so mili- with and assimilate herself toit. Had she tary, and so careless of life and blood, spoken to it only in the sweet and genas both the Greeks and Romans, would tle tones which fell from the lips of the alone suffice to prove it to be a purely Prince of Peace himself when on earth, conventional and unnecessary absurd- she might as well have addressed herity. Neither blow nor insult was con- self to the wolves and bears haunting sidered among them as requiring a the same forests which poured forth “ satisfaction ” of this character--even these same savage hordes it was though they possessed none of the re to be her mission to civilize. She, therestraints imposed on us by the principles fore, was fain to accompany the wild of the religion we profess to believe. warrior whose soul she was to save, Themistocles could calmly reply to the into the midst of the scenes of carnage menaced blow of Eurybiades, “Strike, from which she might not hope nor atbut hear me !" Sophocles did not feel tempt to withhold him-ill as the batbound even to prosecute at law a man tle-stains of blood and dust with which who had struck him—very sensibly re- her white robe became there polluted, plying to the friend who advised him befitted the meek loveliness of aspect to that course, “If a donkey kicked properly belonging to her heavenly me, would you recommend me to go to birih. "If she could not then--as she law?" And the Roman law expressly is yet destined to do!-if she could stated that a blow did not dishonor not then wrest the sword from his “ Ictus fustium infamiam non impor. hand, to beat it into a ploughshare, she tat," the translation of which, we fear, could at least hilt it with the Cross. would hardly go down in our day, ex- If she could not renew the miracle of cept with the New England • Non- the great Author of the Gospel, and Resistants," that “ there's no disgrace say to the fierce waves of human pasin a caning."
sions amidst which she had to walk,
“Peace, be still!"-she could at least sions--calculated to sustain the true in a degree mitigate, and sometimes heart with a spiritual strength which even guide their rage. She could rear might well be mistaken for supernatusanctuaries, and afford shelter within ral, and to unnerve the false one with the shadow of her altar, to those for a corresponding terror and trembling-whom no other mercy remained on we must do our rude and simple old earth. She could give the world at ancestors at least the justice of conleast a periodical interval of repose, by fessing, that there was a great deal enacting a “Truce of God," from more of sense and reason in their JudiWednesday evening to Monday morn- cial Combat which we so much abuse, ing of each week, though she had to than in our Duel which, in practice, we bless the yery arms which through so universally sustain. As in most of the rest of the time were to be Sir Walter Scott's pictures of apparent given to an eager industry of carnage fiction, yet desigued to convey the and rapine. And by leading off all the more vivid illustration of a valuable most restless military energies of the historical truth, the scene of the great age to spend themselves upon the bar- warrior who went down, in the lists, barian soil of foreign continents, in with his guilty cause, before the feeble crusades for the recovery of the Holy touch of a lance which at another Sepulchre, she could at the same time time he would have felt only as the leave at least a partial tranquillity at shock of a reed or a rush, was intendhome, and elevate and sanctify, by a ed to illustrate the meaning of the inhigh spirituality of motive, the pas- stitution thus exhibited; and to represions and the efforts which were else sent a not unfrequent occurrence, in unqualifiedly bad, base, and brutal. those days of whose spirit he was himAnd that same Christianity, acting on self the last representative and the the same principle and tendency, took last minstrel. up the practice of private combat; The institution of chivalry brought a and, since she could not prevent it, she fresh modification to the Duel, and strove to moderate it. In the absence stamped upon it the character of which of other and better machinery of just, it retains deep traces to the present ice for the government of society and day. It created the“ point of honor.” the protection of right against oppres- If fighting had before been necessary, sion, she invoked the interference of to defend the head with the hand, it Heaven to bless even this, rude and now became fashionable. While the imperfect as it was, to that end; and, mock fights of tilts and tournaments taking a hint, partly from the Levitical beguiled the intervals of repose, it was law of the ordeal, and partly from the equally a duty and a delight to seek or consciousness present to every heart to make all the opportunities possible and arm of increased courage and for indulging in earnest in this the strength lent to both by a righteous chief honor and business of life. And cause, she thus converted the Duel into while glory for ever stimulated the the Judicial Combat.
knight to fresh feats of prowess, love And there can be no doubt but that, was ever ready to reward them, with absurd as we justly regard it as a mode the brightest smiles and tenderest deof ascertaining and executing the just- lights that beauty could bestow on ice of all controversies, the Judicial bravery. It has been well said that Combat was a great deal better than man is called a reasoning animal” nothing-a
-a great deal better than what because he has never any difficulty in would probably have been the state of finding a reason for the indulgence of things without it. An infirm person his inclination. When everybody, was not always bound to fight in per- therefore, was perfectly willing to fight
A champion could be substi. everybody else, with or without cause tuted--and champions were more easi- --and on the whole, probably, would ly to be found in those days than pro- rather do so than not-nothing was bably in the present. And when we more easy or natural than the gradual consider the moral influence of the establishment of a punctilious “code clear and the foul conscience, with the of honor,” which should furnish “reaimposing effect, in an age so supersti- sons as plenty as blackberries.” For sious, of all the solemnities usually example, it was early established as added by the Church to these occa a maxim of this “common law' of