Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Clay-Randolph Duel

As a result of John Randolph's Blifil and Black George speech, recounted in earlier posts, Henry Clay challenged Randolph to a duel. Although the story is fairly well known, I can't help relating it. Here is Merrill Peterson's summary:
Randolph, having provoked the challenge, could not decline it. As much as he hated Clay's politics he had a sneaking admiration for him personally -- Black George, after all, was a good-natured knave -- and had been heard to say, "I prefer to be killed by Clay to any other death." The two men met, with their seconds, on the Virginia side of Potomac on April 8 [1826]. Neither was experienced with dueling pistols. Both missed on the first exchange of shots at ten paces. This was enough to satisfy the code duello, but it did not satisfy Clay. He insisted on another round, and Randolph consented. Clay then put his bullet through the long, voluminous white coat Randolph wore for the occasion. Uninjured, and drained of any desire to injure Clay, he fired into the air, dropped his pistol, came forward, extended his hand and said, "You owe me a new coat, Mr. Clay." Taking his hand, Clay replied, "I am glad the debt is no greater."

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:43 PM

    They don't make 'em like that any more.


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