Thursday, July 11, 2013

burr hamilton duel

2012: The oath of office for a Kentucky state officeholders includes a declaration that the official has not recently fought in a duel. In 2010, NPR reported that a Kentucky lawmaker was running a campaign to strike the language from the oath, a statement, which many felt evoked the famous Hamilton-Burr duel of 1804, the but anti-dueling oath remains on the books today:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and be faithful and true to the Commonwealth of Kentucky so long as I continue a citizen thereof, and that I will faithfully execute, to the best of my ability, the office of…according to law; and I do further solemnly swear (or affirm) that since the adoption of the present Constitution, I, being a citizen of this State, have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this State nor out of it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as second in carrying a challenge, nor aided or assisted any person thus offending, so help me God.
July 11, 1804: Statesmen Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr traveled to New Jersey to fight each other in a gentleman’s duel. After Hamilton’s death at Burr’s hand, the seconds of both men released a joint statement confirming the event and defending the honor of their friends:
Col. Burr arrived first on the ground as had been previously agreed. When Gen. Hamilton arrived the parties exchanged salutations and the Seconds proceeded to make their arrangements. They measured the distance, ten full paces, and cast lots for the choice of position as also to determine by whom the word should be given, both of which fell to the second of Gen. Hamilton. They then proceeded to load the pistols in each others presence, after which the parties took their stations.

And asked if they were prepared, being answered in the affirmative he gave the word present as had been agreed on, and both of the parties took aim and fired in succession. The intervening time is not expressed as the seconds do not precisely agree on that point. The pistols were discharged within a few seconds of each other and the fire of Col. Burr took effect; Gen. Hamilton almost instantly fell, Col. Burr then advanced toward Gen. Hamilton with a manner and gesture that appeared to Gen. Hamilton’s friend to be expressive of regret, but without speaking turned about and withdrew - Being urged from the field by his friend as has been subsequently stated, with a view to prevent his being recognized by the Surgeon and Bargemen who were then approaching. No farther communication took place between the principals and the Barge that carried Col. Burr immediately returned to the City. We conceive it proper to add that the conduct of the parties in that interview was perfectly proper as suited the occasion." lapham's quarterly

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