LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism
The late Scotch Duel.
The Examiner  No. 745  (14 April 1822)  232.
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH


No. 745. SUNDAY, April 14, 1822.


Wednesday, April 3, 1822.

One of the Scotch conspiring libellers has met his fate. We are not advocates for duelling in general; but we think there are offences which cannot be repressed or punished but by some such mode. Sir A. Boswell's was one of those; and we confess we are no more sorry that one of the above dishonourable gang has been punished, than we should be if the murderers of Mrs. Donelly were discovered and hanged. The hanging, it is probable, would be ineffectual as to the prevention of other murders; but we think that the pistolling will make these gentry cautious of assaulting private character and wounding private feeling. We hear the affected shudder at our classing the house-breaker and murderer with the writer of mere political squibs; and we despise it; first, because it is cant; and next, because the offence which brought the punishment upon the unfortunate man were not mere political squibs—they were gross, wanton, and malicious abuse, upon points which had no more to do with the general question, than if we were to call Sir Walter Scott “lame-footed;” and as far as honour is concerned, there is no distinguishing between the wretch who robs, and him who obtains a pitiful livelihood, or despicable title, by pandering to the vilest passions of those who pay him.

God forbid that we should ever exult over the misfortune of any one; but, we doubt not, Sir A. B. and his confederates have often enjoyed the agony they saw their victims writhing in; and we ask, is it to be endured, that these men are to sit in peace and quiet, while their unhappy victim is to be pointed out in every company to the sneer and ridicule, and undisguised laugh, of every wanton fool?

We have been often disgusted with the abominable cant of these licentious hypocrites; but never more so than on the present occasion. It appears Mr. Stuart obtained the manuscript of these libels through the agency of one Borthwick, a cheated accomplice, who played his employers a trick in return; and because Mr. S. made use of this man he is guilty of an unjustifiable and dishonourable act! This is mere cant:—he was as justified in making use of Borthwick, as the man who has a faithless wife is justified in opening the desk which contains the proofs of her guilt; and he was no more bound to hold any terms with the writers in the Sentinel and Beacon, than he should be with the seducer of his wife. But to hear such fellows talk of honour!—the skulking subscribers to the Beacon-bond; the purchasers of the necessities of other villains, to screen their own infamy; the branded tools of Blackwood; the inventors and publishers of all the lies, filth, and abominations, which sent the persecuted Queen, heart-broken, to her grave!