The Garden Guide

Book: London Parks and Gardens, 1907
Chapter: Chapter 2 Hyde Park

Dueling in Hyde Park

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Hyde Park has witnessed other gloomy pictures from time to time. Although the colouring of fashion and romance has endeavoured to make these incidents less repulsive, duels cannot be otherwise than distressing to the modern sense. For generations Hyde Park was a favourite place in which to settle affairs of honour. The usual spot is described by Fielding in "Amelia." The combatants walked up Constitution Hill and into Hyde Park "to that place which may properly be called the Field of Blood, being that part a little to the left of the King, which Heroes have chosen for the scene of their exit out of this World." One of the most famous duels was that fought between Lord Mohun and the Duke of Hamilton on November 15, 1712, which resulted in the death of both the combatants-the Duke, whose loss was a great blow to the Jacobite cause in Scotland, and the Whig opponent. All through the eighteenth century Hyde Park was frequently the place in which disputes were settled, and one of the last duels recorded, which resulted in the death of Captain Macnamara (his antagonist, Colonel Montgomery, being tried for manslaughter, but acquitted), although fought on Primrose Hill, originated in Hyde Park. The cause of quarrel was that the dogs of these two gentlemen fought while out with them in the Park, whereupon the respective masters used such abusive language to each other that the affair had to be settled by a duel.