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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, August 16, 1914, Image 33

Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1914-08-16/ed-1/seq-33/

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'vcnient that Thompson would decline the encounter and
therefore the duel would be averted. The evidence in favor
of this assumption is wholly insufficient. It is much easier
to believe that the late hour of the night was chosen in
order that the fight might not attract the attention of
passersby, and that the snowstorm was a mere coinci
At any rate, the seconds of the two men agreed that the
duel should be fought in University Place, New York City,
at about eleven o'clock at night; that the weapons should
be pistols, the distance eleven paces.
Those who dwell today in the literary and artistic en
vironment of University Place, which is in the heart of the
wholesale clothing and millinery section of New York, will
marvel that a duel could be fought there and remain an un
fathomable secret. But University Place was a lonesome
town in 1S04. However isolated it might have been then,
it was necessary to guard against uninvited witnesses.
The Hamilton-Burr duel had aroused such resentment
against the code that the hour of meeting must be late or
it would land all the participants in jail.
Authentic details of the fijiht are not to be had; even
hearsay evidence is scant and unsatisfactory. The men
met in the midst of a snowstorm so blinding that they could
scarcely see each other. The usual preliminaries were at
tended to, and each man shot wildly in the direction of his
antagonist. Both missed, and the seconds tried to con
vince them that honor was satisfied. But Thompson
would not withdraw his charge, and Coleman grimly handed
his pistol over to his second to be reloaded. Again the two
men straightened up, took uncertain aim in the drifting
snow, and fired at the word. Both bullets again tore gaping
holes in the atmosphere of University Place, but nothing
more. Honor was now most certainly satisfied?from the
viewpoint of the seconds ami tlif friends of the two men.
Not with Thompson, who was so constituted that it was
almost a physical impossibility for him to take back any
thing he ha'l said, even when he had such overwhelming
evidence that it was untrue. As for Coleman, any weakness
on his part would only prove the truth of Thompson's
original charge. So the two men wiped the snow out of
their eyes and handed the guns over to be loaded for the
third time.
Four shots had now reverberated throughout University
Place without disturbing the police; but there is another
of those uncertain rumors to the effect that a constable
hove in sight as the men were taking aim for the third
time, and that Thompson's second became excited and
jostled his principal. The only well authenticated fact is
that the men fired for the third time and Thompson called
out, "I have got it!" He fell over into the snow, mortally

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