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[259] the “broadsword proposition” was tendered, when his mind was so confused by the anticipated clatter of broadswords, or something else, that he did “not know fully what it purported to be.” The truth is, that, by unwisely refraining from mentioning it to his principal, he placed himself in a dilemma which he is now endeavoring to shuffle out of. By his inefficiency and want of knowledge of those laws which govern gentlemen in matters of this kind, he has done great injustice to his principal, a gentleman who, I believe, is ready at all times to vindicate his honor manfully, but who has been unfortunate in the selection of his friends, and this fault he is now trying to wipe out by doing an act of still greater injustice to Mr. Lincoln.1

E. H. Merryman.

1 The following letter from Lincoln to his friend Speed furnishes the final outcome of the “duelling business.”

Springfield, October 5, 1842.
Dear Speed:--

You have heard of my duel with Shields, and I have now to inform you that the duelling business still rages in this city. Day before yesterday Shields challenged Butler, who accepted, proposed fighting next morning at sun-rising in Bob Alien's meadow, one hundred yards distance, with rifles. To this Whiteside, Shields's second, said “no” because of the law. Thus ended duel Jo. 2. Yesterday Whiteside chose to consider himself insulted by Dr. Merryman, so sent him a kind of quasi-challenge inviting him to meet him at the Planter's House in St. Louis, on the next Friday, to settle their difficulty. Merryman made me his friend, and sent Whiteside a note, inquiring to know it he meant .is note as a challenge, an d if so, that he would, according to the law in such case made and provided, prescribe e terms of the meeting. Whiteside returned for answer that if Merryman would meet him at t e Planter's House as desired, he would challenge him. Merryman replied in a note, that he denied Whitesime's right to dictate time and place, but that he (Merryman) would waive the question of time, and meet him at Louisiana, M,. Upon my presenting this note to Whiteside, and stating verbally its contents, he declined receiving it, saying he Pad business in St. Louis. and it was as near as Louisiana Merryman then directed me to notify Whiteside that he should publish the correspondence between them, with such comments as he saw fit This I did. Thus it st o a bed-time last flight. This morning Whiteside, by his friend Shields, is praying for a new trial, on the ground that he was mistaken in Merryman's proposition to meet him at Louisiana Mo., thinking it was the State of Louisiana. This Merryman hoots at, and is preparing his publication; while the town is in a ferment, and a street-light somewhat anticipated. ...

Yours forever,


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