Fighting words in 1841 (UNCLASSIFIED)

Mullins, Bill AMRDEC Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Fri Dec 7 23:59:21 UTC 2007

Classification:  UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

Charles Dickinson once called Andrew Jackson a "worthless scoundrel, ...
a poltroon and a coward".  Dickinson was a feared dueller, and Jackson's
political opponents put Dickinson up to the insult, figuring Jackson
would challenge Dickinson to a duel, and get killed.

Jackson made the challenge.  He stood and took the first shot, being
wounded, and then calmly shot Dickinson, without the pressure of trying
to get off the first shot.  Dickinson died, and Jackson carried the
Dickinson's ball in his chest for the rest of his life.

No one called him a poltroon, anymore, though.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society
> [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of George Thompson
> Sent: Friday, December 07, 2007 5:04 PM
> Subject: Fighting words in 1841
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU>
> Subject:      Fighting words in 1841
> --------------------------------------------------------------
> -----------------
> This isn't an antedating of anything.  But a pithy remark,
> nonetheless.
> [Henry A. Griffith tried for assaulting Sarah A. Sprague; she
> had called him "a d----d low-lived shabby white-livered son
> of a b---h"]
>         New York Herald, October 21, 1841, p. 1, col. 6
> George A. Thompson
> Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre",
> Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -
Classification:  UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

The American Dialect Society -

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