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No 97. THURSDAY, JUNE 21, 1711.
VIRG. XEn. vi. 436. They prodigally threw their souls away. Avong
MONG the loose papers which I have frequently spoken of heretofore*, I find a conversation between Pharamond and Fucrate upon the subject of duels, and the copy of an edict issued in consequence of that discourse.
Eucrate argued, that nothing but the most severe and vindictive punishment, such as placing the bodies of the offenders in chains, and putting them to death by the most exquisite torments, would be sufficient to extirpate a crime which had so long prevailed, and was so firmly fixed in the opinion of the world as great and laudable. The king answered, that indeed instances of ignominy were neces. sary in the cure of this evil; but, considering that it prevailed only among such as had a nicety in their sense of honour, and that it often happened that a duel was fought to save appearances in the world, when both parties were in their hearts in amity and reconciliation to each other, it was evident that turning the mode another way would effectually put a stop to what had being only as a mode; that to such persons, poverty and shame were torments sufficient ; that he would not go further in punishing in others, crimes which he was satisfied he himself was most guilty of, in that he might haye prevented them by speaking his displeasure sooner.' Besides which, the king said, ' he was in general averse to tortures, which was putting human nature itself, rather than the criminal, to disgrace ; and that he would be sure not to use this means where the crime was but an ill effect arising from a laudable cause, the fear of shame.' "The king, at the same time, spoke with much grace upon the
* See No 76 and NO S4,
subject of mercy; and repented of many acts of that kind which had a magnificent aspect in the doing, but dreadful consequences in the example. Mercy to particulars,' he observed, ' was cruelty in the general : that though a prince could not revive a dead man by taking the life of him who killed him, neither could he make reparation to the next that should die by the evil example; or answer to himself for the partiality in not pardoning the next as well as the former offender.'
« As for me,' says Pharamond, I have conquered France, and yet have given laws to my people. The laws are my methods of life; they are not a diminution but a direction to my power. I am still absolute to distinguish the innocent and the virtuous, to give honours to the brave and generous : I am absolute in my good-will; none can oppose my bounty, or prescribe rules for my favour. While I can, as I please, reward the good, I am under no pain that I cannot pardon the wicked: for which reason,' continued Pharamond, I will effectually put a stop to this evil, by exposing no more the tenderness of my na. ture to the importunity of having the same respect to those who are miserable bytheir fault, and those who are so by their misfortune.' Flatterers (concluded the king smiling) repeat to us princes, that we are heaven's vicegerents : let us be so, and let the only thing out of our power be to do ill.'
Soon after the evening, wherein Pharamond and Eucrate had this conversation, the following edict was published against duels.
PHARAMOND'S EDICT AGAINST DUELS.
· Pharamond, king of the Gauls, to all his loving
subjects sendeth greeting.
< WHEREAS it has come to our royal notice and observation, that in contempt of all laws divine and human, it is of late become a custom among the
gentry of this our kingdom, upon slight and trivial, as well as great and urgent provocations, to invite each other into the field, there by their own hands, and of their own authority to decide their controversies by combat; we have thought fit to take the said custom into our royal consideration, and find, upon inquiry into the usual causes whereon such' fatal decisions have arisen, that by this wicked custom, maugre all the precepts of our holy religion, and the rules of right reason, the greatest act of the human mind, forgiveness of injuries, is become vile and shameful: that the rules' of good society and virtuous conversation are hereby inverted; that the loose, the vain, and the impudent, insult the careful, the discreet, and the modest; that all virtue is suppressed, and all vice supported, in the one act of being capable to dare to the death. We have also further, with great sorrow of mind, observed that this dreadful action, by long impunity (our royal attention being employed upon mat. ters of more general concern), is become honourable, and the refusal to engage in it ignominious. In these our royal cares and inquiries we are yet farther made to understand, that the persons of most eminent worth, and most hop ful abilities, accompanied with the strongest passion for true glory, are such as are most liable to be involved in the dangers arising from this licence. Now taking the said premises into our serious consideration, and well weighing that all such emergencies (wherein the mind is incapable of commanding itself, and where the injury is too sudden or too exquisite to be borne) are particularly provided for by laws heretoforé chacted; and that the qualities of less injuries, like those of ingratitude, are too nice and delicate to come under general rules; we do resolve to blot this fashion, or wantonness of anger, out of the minds of our subjects, by our royal resolutions declared in this edict as follow :
• No person who either sends or accepts a challenge, or the posterity of either, though no death ensues thereupon, shall be, after the publication of this our edict, capable of bearing office in these our dominions.
The person who shall prove the sending or receiving a challenge, shall receive to his own use and property, the whole personal estate of both parties : and their real estate shall be immediately vested in the next heir of the offenders in as anıple manner as if the said offenders were actually deceased.
In cases where the laws (which we have already granted to our subjects) admit of an appeal for blood; when the criminal is condemned by the said appeal, he shall not only suffer death; but his whole estate, real, mixed, and personal, shall from the hour of his death be vested in the next heir of the person whose blood he spilt.
« That it shall not hereafter be in our royal power, or that of our successors, to pardon the said offences, or restore the offenders in their estates, honour, or blood, for ever.
Given at our court at Blois, the 8th of February 420, in the second year of our reign.'
NO 98. FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 1711.
-Tanta est quærendi cura decoris
JUV. Sat. vi. 500. So studiously their persons they adorn. There is not so variable a thing in nature as a Jady's head-dress. Within my own memory I have known it rise and fall above thirty degrees. About ten years ago it shot up to a very great height, insomuch that the female part of our species were much taller than the men*. The women were of such an enormous stature, that' we appeared as grasshoppers before them * :' at present the whole sex is in a manner dwarfed, and shrunk into a race of beauties that seems almost another species t: I remember several ladies, who were once very near seven feet high, that at present want some inches of five. How they came to be thus curtailed I cannot learn; whether the whole sex be at present under any penance which we know nothing of, or whether they have cast their head-dresses in order to surprise us with something in that kind which shall be entirely new; or whether some of the tallest of the sex being too cunning for the rest, have contrived this method to make themselves appear sizeable, is still a secret ; though I find most are of opinion, they are at present like trees new lopped and pruned, that will certainlysprout up and flourish with greater heads than before. For my own part, as I do not not love to be insulted by women who are taller than myself, I admire the sex much more in their present humiliation, which has reduced them to their natural dimensions, than when they had extended their persons and lengthened themselves out into formidable and gigantic figures. I am not for adding to the beautiful edifices of nature, nor for raising any whimsical superstructure upon her plans; I must therefore repeat it, that I am highly pleased with the coiffure now in fashion, and think it shews the good sense which at present very much reigns among the valuable part of the sex. One may observe that women in all ages have taken more pains than men to adorn the outside of their heads; and indeed I very much admire, that those female architecţs, who raise such wonderful structures out of ribands, lace, and wire, have not been recorded for their respective inventions. It is certain there have been as many orders in these kinds of building, as in those which have been made of marble. Sometimes they rise in the shape of a pyramid, some
* Alluding to the commode, a kind of head-dress worn by the ladies at the beginning of the 18th century, which by means of wire bore up the hair and fore part of the car, consisting of folds of fine lace, to a great height,