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The New Zealand Evangelist



We regret exceedingly to observe, that in this settlement political discussions have degenerated into personal altercations, and these again have run so high that duelling has been attempted. We are not called upon to express any opinion as to the merits of these quarrels; but we feel bound, so far as our influence may extend, to array the moral sense of the community against a practice so directly at variance with the Word of God, and the simplest dictates of common sense. Amid the blazing and the boasted light of the nineteenth century, is it not humbling to see christian gentlemen—the models of intelligence and refinement—the conservators of law and order—lending their example to support one of the worst relics of barbarism;—in defiance of one of the first principles of constitutional law, continuing an imperium in imperio, taking law into their own hands, sporting with human life, and setting the worst possible example, especially to the aborigines? If christian gentlemen deliberately aim at one another's life, can we wonder if untutored savages commit murder? Passing over the thoroughly unscriptural character of the practice, is there not something essentially absurd in that code of honour which compels men to adopt this course to obtain redress for real or supposed injury? The person who challenges another is supposed to be innocent and injured, and yet, according to this system of morals, the innocent and the injured must expose his life to secure protection and obtain redress; surely the remedy is worse than the grievance, and the law is more honoured in the breach than in the page 225 observance. Might not reformers commence a reformation here with signal advantage to the interests of the settlement? From such vaunted civilization we look back for relief to the barbarism of 4000 years ago, and with respect to such principles of honour we would subscribe to the vulgar notions and simple language of a celebrated gentleman of antiquity :—“O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united!“*

* Those who would wish to see the sin of duelling fully exposed, we would refer to Dwight's Theology under the exposition, of the sixth commandment.