|From The English Spy. Illustration by Robert Cruikshank|
To mark the release of the print edition of Royal Bridesmaids, containing my short story, “Lord Lovedon’s Duel,” I offer an excerpt from The British Code of Duel,* a book my characters refer to a few times.
~~~7 ELEMENTS OF DUELLING.
"The British Code of Duel," a little work professing to give the necessary instructions for man-killing according to honour, lays down the following rules as indispensable for the practice of principals and seconds in the pleasant and humane amusement of shooting at each other. "1. To choose out a snug sequestered spot, where the ground is level, and no natural, terrestrial, or celestial line presenting itself to assist either party in his views of sending his opponent into eternity. 2. To examine the pistols; see that they are alike in quality and length, and load in presence of each other. 3. To measure the distance; ten paces of not less than thirty inches being the minimum, the parties to step to it, not from it. 4. To fire by signal and at random; it being considered unfair to take aim at the man whose life you go out to take. 5. Not to deliver the pistols cocked, lest they should go off un-expectedly; and after one fire the second should use his endeavours to produce a reconciliation. 6. If your opponent fire in the air, it is very unusual, and must be a case of extreme anguish when you are obliged to insist upon another shot at him. 7. Three fires must be the ultimatum in any case; any more reduces duel to a conflict for blood," says the code writer; "if the parties can afford it, there should be two surgeons in attendance, but if economical, one mutual friend will suffice; the person receiving the first fire, in case of wound, taking the first dressing. 8. It being always understood that wife, children, parents, and relations are no impediment with men of very different relative stations in society to their meeting on equal terms." The consistency, morality, justice, and humanity of this code, I leave to the gratifying reflection of those who have most honourably killed their man.—Bernard Blackmantle, The English Spy (p. 214), courtesy Project Gutenberg.
For women duelists, please see this Intrepid Women post.
*The book itself, which is quite rare, has not yet turned up in my searches for an online version.