previous next

[178] to Mr. Jones and said, ‘Mr. Jones, this answer leaves Mr. Graves precisely in the position in which he stood when the challenge was sent.’

Another exchange of shots was now had to no purpose, and another attempt at reconciliation was likewise unsuccessful. The seconds appear to have been mutually and anxiously desirous that the affair should here terminate, but no arrangement could be effected. Mr. Graves insisted that his antagonist should place his refusal to receive the message of which he was the bearer on some grounds which did not imply such an opinion of the writer as must reflect disgrace on the bearer. He endeavored to have the refusal placed on the ground that Mr. C. ‘did not hold himself accountable to Colonel Webb for words spoken in debate.’ This was declined by Mr. Cilley, and the duel proceeded.

The official statement, drawn up by the two seconds, would seem to import that but three shots were exchanged; but other accounts state positively that Mr. Cilley fell at the fourth fire. He was shot through the body, and died in two minutes. On seeing that he had fallen, badly wounded, Mr. Graves expressed a wish to see him, and was answered by Mr. Jones—‘My friend is dead, sir!’

Colonel Webb first heard of the difficulty which has arisen on Friday evening, but was given to understand that the meeting would not take place for several days. On the following morning, however, he had reason to suspect the truth. He immediately armed himself, and with two friends proceeded to Mr. Cilley's lodgings, intending to force the latter to meet him before he did Mr. Graves. He did not find him, however, and immediately proceeded to the old dueling ground at Bladensburgh, and thence to several other places, to interpose himself as the rightful antagonist of Mr. Cilley. Had he found the parties, a more dreadful tragedy still would doubtless have ensued. But the place of meeting had been changed, and the arrangements so secretly made, that though Mr. Clay and many others were on the alert to prevent it, the duel was not interrupted.

We believe we have here stated every material fact in relation to this melancholy business. It is suggested, however, that Mr. Cilley was less disposed to concede anything from the first in consideration of his own course when a difficulty recently arose between two of his colleagues, Messrs. Jarvis and Smith, which elicited a challenge from the former, promptly and nobly declined by the latter. This refusal, it is said, was loudly and vehemently stigmatized as cowardly by Mr. Cilley. This circumstance does not come to as well authenticated, but it is spoken of as notorious at Washington.

But enough of detail and circumstance. The reader who has not seen the official statement will find its substance in the foregoing. He can lay the blame where he chooses. We blame only the accursed spirit of False Honor which required this bloody sacrifice—the horrid custom of Dueling which exacts and palliates this atrocity. It appears evident that Mr. Cilley's course must have been based on the determination that Col. Webb was not entitled

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Bladensburg (Ohio, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Cilley (7)
Graves (4)
James Watson Webb (3)
Jones (3)
John Smith (1)
Jarvis (1)
Henry Clay (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: