Fighting words in 1841 (UNCLASSIFIED)

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sat Dec 8 15:11:46 UTC 2007

Duellists were pretty touchy. "Scoundrel" and "poltroon" could easily set one off.


Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Charles Doyle
Subject: Re: Fighting words in 1841 (UNCLASSIFIED)

Isn't it possible that the report of the insult was, er, redacted?


---- Original message ----
>Date: Fri, 7 Dec 2007 17:59:21 -0600
>From: "Mullins, Bill AMRDEC"
>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.

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