In order to separate the components of dual combat, to understand their relevance in evaluating fencing performance or the ways safety and different regulations alter the manifestation of fencing theory, it is a great help to include the experiences of contemporary authors in our judgments and preference.
When thinking about creating competitive environment to support the progress of fencing, it should be advised to see romantic legends of old heroes and historical badassery in a realistic light. This might be possible through listening to the suggestions of experts whose everyday life contained inevitable armed affairs, and who wanted to invite threatening armed combat to a safe ground, to get rid of harmful social factors and still keep practicing the noble exercise. This seems to be a very different angle from the modern practitioner's occasional desire to relive those threats through specifically designed fencing matches.
The first part of Herczegh's treatise discusses the legal and moral reality of dueling in the XIXth century, and might be a valuable addition to the background of fencing history.
THE GENESIS AND REDUCTION OF THE DUEL.
WITH SPECIAL REGARD TO THE NATIONAL SOCIETY OF PEACE AND THE UNIVERSITY PIECE FEDERATION (ORSZÁGOS BÉKE- EGYESÜLET and EGYETEMI BÉKESZÖVETSÉG).
UNIVERSITY LAW TEACHER IN BUDAPEST
Translated by Krisztina Nagy, Budapest, 2014.
POLITZER ZSIGMOND AND SON 1903
The tools of society always have great influence on the tendency of social morals.
During present times, such phenomena are showing up in our society, which greatly endanger the pure and healthy nature of common morals and public opinions.
The concepts and borders of honor and respectability have become quite slurred, vulgar crimes have spawned even among the more educated classes. So much, that today, it is no more the glamour and creed of honor, that keep the unruly in check, but the interest, that counts on gain, and fear, that one may come to grief, or the pretense, manifesting in the outward appearance, that considers everything to be allowed; one must only beware two things: the prison and the inaptness for dueling. As if the soul was already entirely void, and the heart, rough and coarse.
This approach makes our society corrupt and flighty, spoils the common spirit and makes the majority of people colour-blind towards real honor.
This approach allows of that gentlemanly rascality, which, in the near past, has allegedly been committed, during a lustrous social evening, by the gallant members of the so-called golden youth, who, otherwise, received a good upbringing. It was to our great pleasure, that time, to castigate this outrageous sin.
What could become of the aspirations of the better and nobler patriots, if the wrong thinking and proceedings of certain groups made the overture, the coexistence between the different religious denominations and patriots belonging to different nationalities impossible.
The next events happened lately as well. The excellent gymnast-beau threw himself, through the window, into the room, where husband and wife were sitting, conversing privately. He jovially wished good evening, introduced himself politely and announced that he would never leave until the beautiful woman kissed him. The fearful shooter and fencer had such a shocking effect on the horrified spouses that the woman indeed kissed the midnight guest, who, thereafter, politely saluted and left.
The intention, that young gentlemen go down to the street from the coffeehouse, and there they insult women or hit the hat off of the firs passer-by, also belongs to the frequently practiced mischiefs. Or, when two or three of them stopped at a street-corner, and when someone wanted to enter that street, they asked them to turn somewhere else, as they won't let them in that very street. Then, when the stranger accepted the nice words, they burst out in horrible laughter and threw malicious remarks after them.
Most of all, these usually emerge from among the so called socialite young gentlemen perfect in their outward, they stand up skillfully, bow, smile, compliment, dance, and in the capital city as well as down in the country, they exercise terrorism. They take the leading roles in those elite balls, they organize those lustrous picnics. They are the most demanded guests. They are the ones whom wives and daughters pamper, favour, and they barely are willing to talk to such lummoxes, goodly philistines, who are not similar to them at least in something. It is natural, that they only draw encouragement of such a behavior of the society, for further similar feats and pugnacity. For, they see that instead of moral condemn, they receive reward and praise.
Honour and duel are in strong correlation with each other.
Honour is such a personal trait, whereby we may claim that our fellow humans treat us with respect and trust, completely, until the point when we, through our proceedings and actions, become unworthy of this.
Yet, we may only obtain and maintain the trust and appreciation of others, through the respectability and noble countenance of our lives. Some imprudent, popped-out words, anonymous letters or churlish proceedings of rough individuals won't, can't immediately demolish it. As it is proven first of all by the elections, where, before the elections, every campaigner is usually made appear as a characterless, vile person before the opposing party, and there is hardly any kind of immorality, dishonesty that they are not charged with, and which would not find believers among the opposing party. And still, when the elections have ended, and all those utterly slandered men meet in the parliament: this is called the 'house' (in Hungarian, the 'respected house'), and as such, even those recognize them who slurred them the most before the elections. The slanders did no harm and no one ever thought of objecting it to them, that they did not take up arms against the campaigners of the opposition.
In medieval times, honour went hand in hand with legal capacity. Only he had legal capacity, he was recognized as a human being, who was also honourable. And, the greater the power, the title and the position in society, the greater the honour, too.
The loss of honour procured loss of rights and elimination from human society.
There was a difference between common honor, which was based on the dignity of a human being, and should be protected in everyone bearing the shape of a human.
The relative or individual honor, which was based on the respectable and irreproachable antecedents; that character, which refuses, avoids everything that conflicts good renown.
The individual honor was again divided: to paramilitary and civilian honor.
The root of paramilitary honor is fidelity and valour. Loss of it evoked shattering of the sword, tearing off shoulder knot, collar, cap or other insignia and in case of ones of noble birth, shattering of the coat-of-arms.
The civilian honor relates to certain position in the orders, certain social class, and assumes such characteristic traits which are general, common with the members of that order or class: for example, the separate honour of the noble, the citizens, the craftsmen, the merchants or the officeholders. The female honour and the national honour also belong here. Civis romanus sum.
Today, the rules of chivalry only know one kind of honour: without regard to age, gender or religious denomination, and everyone is entitled to this, who is out of character, righteous, reputable and whose actions don't interfere the rules of either law or common morality.
Today, according to the authoritative approach, there is no separate military or civilian honour. Yet, there is the so-called gentlemanly honour, that belongs to every officer, and such citizen who may be considered a part of society.
The difference is not in the substance but in the defence.
For, while the duel is still official obligation of an officer, to keep his gentlemanly honour clean, even in the face of prohibitive laws: in case of a citizen, this is not an obligation but only a right, the exercising or disregarding whereof are subjects to one's discretion.
Currently, the officer loses his position, if he does not defend his honour. But in case of a citizen, although he keeps his position, the chivalrous society withdraws from him, denies contact with him and refuses to take him among its members. Although, it admits that there are many fathers with families, who is warded off of the thought of demanding knightly recompense by the adoring love of his wife and children. He gets scared of the possible consequences upon his family and he does not care, although his decision is going to be branded as cowardice.
Offences against personal honour.
The more sublime and chivalrous one's thinking, the more he respects the honour of others. Even if no more than his own, but at least as much as his own.
Every attack that is directed at the honour is offence against personal honour. Its criterion is deliberateness. Thus, offence against personal honour is excluded in case of a rash act. This goes for accidents as well, for example, when he pushes someone on the street, or drops his stick on someone's head and thus hits them.
Offences against personal honour may be committed through impoliteness, demonstrative, rigid glaring, scornful or derogatory looks, slighting behavior, squabbles, assault and battery, and in general every surmises concerning one's character or deliberate, purposeful recounting, rumour or misinterpretation of circumstances.
In most of the cases, they are brought forth by the narcotic effect of alcoholic drinks, pub, coffeehouse, casino or night scenes, or the card-table, where, for a few crowns, human lives are thrown in front of bullets.
But, offences against personal honour are frequent during scientific debates too, which is the most inappropriate. For, the person who is debating, must not be insulted either in general or, especially, through misinterpreting the facts being introduced. Such misinterpretations do not belong to chivalrous thinking. Berzsenyi, the poet said:
»The beautiful subject of criticism, my friends, is the creation, and not the artist. Only the ugly mix up these two, but whether beauty may emerge from the ugly!«
They occur at official operations too. Although here, the standard principle is that during official procedures offences against personal honour are impossible. Except, if the superior abuses his power against such an underling who, otherwise, fulfills his official duty.
Finally, the case of chercher la femme also belongs here. It is common knowledge, how great role women have in affairs of honour. One single ambiguous word, unskillful look away, or a dubiously accented expression is often enough to create a chivalrous affair, due to a woman. This, relatively to the nature of the different cases, shall be all the more allowed, because the female honour along with its virtues shall be respected before everyone.
One who does not avenge the offence: is usually denied the outward respect that is otherwise demandable from the predominant public opinion. And, this drain not only impairs the good reputation, but through its consequences, it may cause harm in his wealth, and other legal drawbacks.
In the middle age, they knew three kinds of dishonour: the loss of truce (Echt u. Friedlosigkeit), the loss of rights (Rechtlosigkeit) and the loss of honour (Ehrlosigkeit). Roman law called the first infamy, the second, turpitude. Former induced civilian death; it completely terminated the civil and political rights alike, the marriage was dismissed, paternal authority lost, the person could no more command his wealth and could be killed by anyone without penalty. The loss of rights meant only the loss of political rights; while it left the civil rights intact. The third, called simple loss of honour, only constrained the rights but did not revoke them completely.
In Hungarian law, dishonor was of two sorts: legal and real [factual?]. The legal dishonor was declared by court to the deniers of family relationship, the ones who masked themselves, document forgers, unfaithful guardians, disinheriters of consigned daughter-in-laws, parliamentary bribers, members of gatherings forbidden by law.
The basis of the real [factual?] dishonour is the public opinion of the people, which revokes outward respect from those who are deemed unworthy of their office, suspended of exercising political rights, lead some loathed or humiliating life or make themselves despicable by others through their actions conflicting character, like the perfidious, false witnesses or adulterers, the bigamous, ones who duel by habit, etc.
Common social habit has accepted duel as the avenging tool of offences against personal honour and dishonours. It lies upon the idea that certain offences may only be washed off with blood, and that the offender owes recompense in arms for his conduct.
Regarding dueling mania, the country is not behind the capital city at all. Guns are banging, swords are rattling indiscriminately in the lands of the Hun and the Scythian, - which, today, only causes stir, even in the smallest of towns, if one of them remains dead on the ground.
Duel is a medieval tool, a heritage reminding of fist-right, which, today, has no more reason for existence.
In the middle age it was necessary, because, unlike in every educated state today, there was no vindictive jurisdiction: chastising the culprit after his desert. - Thus it is not only a moral, but also a legal obligation of every citizen to lay down his personal desire for revenge, and respectfully accept the judgment that contains the judicial decision.
Duel does not make justice. It is a rare occurrence that a duel punishes the real offender. Generally it is reversed. The innocent falls. The sinner remains unpunished.
The sword or pistol proves nothing, erases nothing and for this very reason, is worth nothing - however the duel may end. For, the one who gets defeated is not regarded as a morally destroyed person by anyone; although the nature of the duel would demand this. More over, rather the opposite, no matter how dark he was before: he becomes white after the duel and wins patent that the whole world should hold him the paragon of the honourable and chivalrous person. The duel has knighted him, purified him of the filth, dirt that covered his honour.
For this reason, Emperor Joseph disdains the principles of those who defend the duel. For, a duelist is no other than a roman gladiator. He, so to say, does not tolerate such posts, even if he loses half of his officer corps immediately. Emperor Frederick II calls duelists executioners, declaring that he can not use such ones in his army. Frederick III traces duel back to the lack of moral ground and true honour. - Wilhelm II, the currently reigning German Emperor, spoke in similar spirit, who issued a strict edict towards his officer corps, restricting duel. The monarchy's common minister of defence did the same against the officer corps of the Austria-Hungarian army, where most often, the most ruthless duels occurred.
Archduke Charles, in his letter in February 1829, writes to Frederick of Saxony thus: I regard duel - so to say - as the remaining of those rough times, when people still thought, that one could seek and maintain one's right through violence. A barbarian habit becoming of savages. It conflicts all kinds or order and for this reason, it is the state-government's obligation to prevent dueling.
Similar was the thinking of Charles of Lorraine, Prince Eugen of Savoy, Badeczky, Blücher, the Duke of Wellington and other great warlords who all disapprove of the duel.
But, legislations too, disapprove of dueling. The catholic church forbids dueling under the threat of curse and excommunication.
Here in Hungary, the punishment is up to one year in state-prison, if it does not cause injury; up to two years in prison, if the opponent got injured in a duel; up to five years in prison for the one who killed his opponent in a duel. Witnesses are sentenced for one year in state-prison, if they stimulate someone for a duel.
Against the American type of duel, which makes it dependent on destiny, which one of them should commit suicide, the penalty set out is state-prison up to 5 years.
In Austria, the law is even stricter than here. There, the duel qualifies as a crime (criminal code 158. §.)
Committing it (Todt-schlägerei) is rewarded with 1-5 years in prison; in case of severe injury or death, twenty years in prison there (161. §.).
But, the military criminal code, which exists since the fifties, punishes duels among soldiers even tougher than this. This, too, calls dueling a crime (437. §.), in common cases, it sets out imprisonment of 1-5 years; while in more serious cases it imposes prison-sentence up to twenty years. It thoroughly punishes the seconds and all those who, be it through even mockery or advice, or in any other way, provoked duel (442., 443. §§.). – More over, it proceeds and declares that the officer who challenged someone for a duel, shall be punished with 1-3 months of imprisonment even if the duel does not happen. – In addition, it downright bids the higher military authorities to prohibit the officers of dueling and in case they transgress this prohibition, to punish them (447. §.). The military code also states that duelists lose their officer ranks and all courtly dignities (47., 48. §§.).
Although in spite of all these, the regimental commanders, corps commanders, even the minister of defence himself, not only haven't observed these laws, but these are the ones who forced officers to duel, in other words, to break the law. This is the reason for the Reichspost's exclamation: Chief Soldier Sirs, you lynch the law and logic!
This is why the Armeezeitung urges the legalization of the duel, according to this actual situation, and the enactment of the compulsion of dueling for the military officers.
The methods of preventing duels.
As we have seen previously, canonical and secular legislation, though, ban dueling with draconian rigour. Yet, these regulations prove themselves to be inefficient in life and practice.
For, people can not even – so to say – get on without affairs of honour. These are kept on agenda by the countless struggles of life, the rivalry among each other, impatience, lovelessness.
One of the French ministers, Cremiaux said, that although one may restrict duels, but while there are people, it can not be completely terminated; because there are such insults that make one's spine thrill and there can be no law that could offer recompense to such an affronted person.
Yet, it is also certain, that such affairs of honour can not only be solved through violence, with dueling, but also with gentler tools, in peaceful ways.
Stricter punishment of offences.
First of all, stricter punishment of offences, than the current one, belongs here. The cause of the duel: offence. If there is no offence, there is no affair. For this reason, one who harms the honour of others shall be smitten in an exemplary manner.
To this time, Hungarian honour is very cheap. It is a ware, which, in practice, has a common market value of two to ten crowns. It is rare that the accusee is charged for thirty or sixty crowns. A penalty that reaches two hundred crowns counts as quite an event, and it barely happens once, even in five years. The offender pays the penalty and his honour is all right. This is the poor state of today's Hungarian honour!
It is but different in England. There, honour is not only punished with money but also imprisonment. There, the penalty fee is not 2-10-20 crowns, but the income of a whole year, or the half of it, the quarter, depending on the severity of the cases. The culprit should be happy, if he gets away with this penalty fee. – Above this, as an addition, they even imprison them in England, where they can learn, that in terms of prisons and jails, and in general in the enforcement of penalties, the English are the strictest in whole Europe. Jails are not as humane, not as convenient there as here, where the prisoner misters long back after being released, because there, they can live the life they wish, in a gentlemanly manner, supplied with everything.
Let the price of offences against personal honour get raised here too, let the court proceeding in the cases of offences be a syndical jury of three members and let them apply, beside the financial penalty, a little imprisonment, the way it is ordered by the current law, 1-5 years: I assure everyone, that within two or three years, only on the rarest occasions will the swords fly out of their scabbards, and bullets, duel-pistols are going to be cheaper. For, everyone will consider most seriously, whether it is worth, for one single word, to pay one's income, or a part of it, or 1000-2000 crowns as a penalty, and above all, to suffer that one or more years of imprisonment, where thereafter, in the single cells, they would have time enough to contemplate about the true merchantile nature of honour.
If offences against personal honour won't be penalized only financially, as it is now, but with serious imprisonment as well: then duel will be as rare as the white raven; then the so called chivalrous misters will make peaceful tools out of the murderous weapons.
Now, offences against personal honour have a penalty of up to 500 florins, via press [libels] up to 3 months in jail. In case of defamation, jail up to 6 months and via press, also jail, which can last even a year. Yet all these punishments are very reservedly and too lightly applied in practice, by our courts.
Earlier, offences against personal honour were avenged in a civilian way. If it was committed by nobles or citizens, the penalty was 200 crowns, if the offender was a peasant, they paid 80 crowns. According to the nature of the case, there might have been place for imprisonment or physical punishment. If the offence occurred in court or county meeting: the 200 crowns had to be paid immediately, they were not allowed to leave without, they were held captive. Saint Stephen punished the offender of honour with cutting their tongue out.
The duel-courts and the old Hungarian knightly court.
The [jury], which would consist of a council of at least five members. The function thereof would be the second tool of preventing duels, the duel-court, to determine case-by-case and after serious deliberation: whether there is an offence and whose honour suffered it, and in relation to this, to declare whether there is a reason for a challenge, recompense, or duel, according to the circumstances of the case. If there is a reason, it would allow, if there is none, it would deny. Thus this duel-court would not eliminate dueling, but it would confine it to such cases where society holds it unavoidable.
Duel-courts should be constructed for each case, out of aristocratic men who are experienced with affairs of honour and have a confirmed reputation, preferably separately for every social class whose members represent higher intellectual level. The Duel-court should be elected every year, and it would be constructed from a duel-committee of 25-30 gentlemen, so that in case of the hindrance of one or the other, the committee of five members would still be possible to mandate. Thus, this duel-committee would not be permanent, unlike in the army, where service regulations specify it, and the judgment whereof can only be avoided through the loss of one's rank and position.
If someone feels offended, they are obliged to present their case if it is not possible to be settled in a peaceful way to the duel-court, and according to this, they send their emissaries to the offender, who will also name their emissaries, who are obliged to report the case to their authorized duel-court.
Duel-courts could and should be set up with a mandatory nature, in different casinos, lawyer's or teacher's circles, companies, associations, and first of all, established among national deputies and the youth of universities.
If someone knows that the offence is considered by such a prominent, genteel company like the duel-court: they will be more careful with the occasions and manners of their offences.
If the duel-court states that the expressions used are not offensive against personal honour, that there is no intention to offend: there is no reason for dueling. Then the parties and emissaries, too, can be assured, that it would be madness to match or kill each other for nothing.
If the duel-court speaks against the duel: this judgment shall be respected by the opponents and the seconds too. They shall make peace, unconditionally. For, making peace in itself is a knightly recompense too. Then, since such a knightly, peaceful solution, which is covered by the honour of five chivalrous gentlemen who are part of the council and have prominent roles in social life, will be considered much nobler and greater recompense than a duel, by everyone.
The procedure of the duel-court and the time this takes are quite suitable tools to cool down the mettle of the opponents. Its resolution can have a compelling effect too, inasmuch as one who does not obey the decision, ceases to be a member of the social circle. Such a resignation or blackballing is no joke, it is quite a great disaster.
Such a duel-court would prevent nine-tenth of the duels, the incorrectness and pugnaciousness would be expelled, and the childish, ridiculous, impostrous duels would once and for all be banished from the barrier.
The duel-court, and with permanent operation, was not unknown in our Hungarian judical practice either. It was called Knightly court (curia militaris). Its president was the judge royal, or in case of his hindrance, the chief justice of Hungary. Affairs of honour belonged here, for example, if someone promised something to their faith or to their word of honour, but did not fulfill; or addressed another with disparaging words, offended someone's honour, or if someone took a loan upon their word of honour, without witnesses, but did not pay back, or denied the deposit.
It depended on the offended party, if they want to resort to the court, in front whereof, the parties were obliged to appear personally. In case of absence, no excuse was accepted, the one absent lost their honour, and the suitor too, if they could not prove their accusations. - The duel was executed in front of the court. When king Mathias excluded the duel of regular legal procedures in his decree in 1486: he kept it exclusively for the cases before this knightly court. -Previously, someone who did not fence in a duel ordered by the court, lost his wealth and was sentenced to eternal servitude.
The duel happened in the presence of the king or the palatine of Hungary, on foot or on horseback. During a duel, they closed the city gates. It lasted until the first bloodshed, or until one forced the other out of the barrier. The one who became defeated in this duel, was denied the possibility of revision or appeal.
The seconds too, can do much to restrain or at least reduce the duels, whose severe words applied in their right place and time, could balance many misunderstandings, and could most of the time lead to reconciliation.
Yet, it is but these severe words that are not told. For, the seconds who risk neither their skin nor their lives: usually regard the attempts at reconciliation as void formalities. Even if most of the cases are about such idleness, that are hardly worth any serious anger, not to mention risking lives.
The great majority of cases prove that it is often the seconds who make the opponents jump into trouble, since no one likes to take their skin and lives into the jaws of death.
The „Armee Zeitung” and the „Vaterland” reported in its December 1901 issue, that all the military headquarters got the order, according to which, in the affairs of honour emerging among the officers, no one officer was allowed to provoke their companion in arms from then on, before they made a report to their superior authorities. The headquarters would then decide in each cases, if there was a reason for a duel. According to the order, this procedure should be followed even in case of assault and battery, and only after the former examination was it possible to order the procedure of the court of honour.
The most important provision of the decree is that someone who had committed assault or battery or similar severe offence, was, already thereby, setting aside everything else, deemed incapable of serving with recompense, and wouldn't be allowed to duel.
In principle, the decree stands on the basis of the duel; but practically, it means progress, because its consequence is, that the affairs which were so far settled through dueling, will be settled peacefully or in such a way that the parties are immediately expelled from the army or the case is taken to military court.
It would also be very advisable if the habit of dueling were forbidden accordingly to the decrees of law.
It is, without doubt, the most defeasible habit, says captain Breden in the 20th September 1900. issue of the „Armeezeitung”. Yet officers must not balk out of this habit. Even if the current knightly match has nothing in common with the medieval trials by ordeal, or with the duellum of the German age of chivalry. This, so called Viennese „Reichswehr” is merely a sad heritage of the rough martial habits predominant in the first century of the new age. A quite natural thing, writes the „Wiener Tagblatt” in its last year's 31st August issue, that no religion can agree with dueling, this inhumane and unrelenting judicium Dei resulting from necessity; more over, that humane sentiment as well as common sense, revolt against this as one.
When in the army such voices can emerge against dueling, and decrees like the previously introduced ones can be created: it proves that its cessation is not impossible, even there.
For, if we want to be fair, we must admit that military officers don't brawl with each other due to every useless thing. If this still happens: only a more serious confrontation can be a reason.
The agio of so-called dashing (schneidig) officers has already quite declined among the army as well and within a short time they will be the subject to mockery in the army as well, as on the columns of the humorous newspapers. Today, the sober restraint, cool-headed consideration and expertise receive greater respect in the army too, than the dashing countenance, the valour that lightly risks life, or the audacity, that seeks threat.
It belongs here, that among military officers, as a consequence to the already strict military discipline, a more refined manner of conversation is established, than in civil circles, thus, there are fewer reasons for conflicts than here.
If citizens follow the example of soldiers too: there won't occur as many duels among citizens either.
The standpoint of society.
It is society itself that can do the most for terminating dueling. The conviction is already general, that it is society that is supposed to obliterate duels.
Society shall proceed radically. Martial law shall be declared against industrial knights, against the pugnacious, who consciously, deliberately, purposely insult, and who, although seemingly honourable, still want to boycot and terrorize the truly serious and honourable people.
These latter ones shall team up, to sit judgment over half-honour; the rotting ulcer shall be teared out of the healthy body; these existences of vague morals, who blind the weak eyed, and want to be exemplary in state and society, shall be quarantined.
Thus, the methodical seek for affairs, the insulting of defenceless people will slowly lag behind; the bullying called spree, jux, and the intentional picking at such people whom they have never seen before, with whom, thus, could never even have any trouble with. - The common spirit and opinion will slowly get purified. There won't be more need for the provision of the criminal code against those new types of Hungarian society, who almost create fashion out of hijacking and cause scandals, so that they make their audacity and authority fearful through this.
We must confront those who stomp those laws of state and society, which persecute duels as well as offence against honour, with strict retributions.
The truly chivalrous person never offends the honour of others, because he knows what a grief such an outrage would cause them. The unconditional command of chivalry being, that one must respect the honour of others, their most valuable treasure.
Society must withdraw, the contact must be broken with offenders of honour, slanderers, no matter how fair semblance they bear. Such people are not chivalrous people; yet they hold duel a gentlemanly passion, and they seek the occasion to pick at decent, chivalrous gentlemen of character, with actual fervour.
General experience proves, but after sedulous inquiry, we ourselves can realize too, that in general, the record of such people is not square, not correct and not impeccable.
Let us treat such people with polite coldness, or let us shun them and if they do not want to leave our company, let us evade rather than having an affair with them, or having any blemish come down upon us through their unworthy company.
Unrelenting rigour is necessary against these parasites, vampiric members of society. Otherwise, it is not possible to incapacitate them. - While it is very well advised to avoid the occasions where completely alien elements mix.
So here, first of all it is the task of women, to prevent the coarsening of social morals. The power of the women is great in the society. What they condemn, shall be condemned and what they exclude of their circle: shall be excluded, it has lost its root in existence; it withers before being able to grow up.
The mission of women: to raise Hungarian society to the eminence where there is no difference between a gallant and a gentleman, where a woman only accepts a man as a gallant if he is a gentleman at once too.
Only this way may that romanticism that enamelled the gallant Hungarian swashbuckling with a certain glamour, cease. This is the only way to end those so called good old times, when young gentlemen seeked their amusement in bullying, when women and daughters fondled them, loved only them, acclaimed them, and were hardly willing to talk to those who were, at least in some traits, not similar to them.
Such gentlemen, even if socialite, if their appearance is ever so perfect, shall expect no reward, praises, but moral condemnation, excommunication from the society.
Thus, we shall turn to society, against the armed arrangement of affairs of honour. It is society that has to start the movement, as it happens in Austria, Germany and France, where the Viennese and Leipziger anti-dueling appeal was signed by leading personalities of society. One shall appeal to the intellect of mighty society; it has to be explained, that if, through the progress of democratic conceptions, once it could break up with so many prejudices: it shall emancipate itself from dueling, too.
Let such men take the lead in this movement, who, by their ranks and positions, stand in a prominent place in public life as well as science, art, industry and trade: the result won't lag behind.
Let the national casino and the country-wide casino, the activists of higher moral movements, the counties and cities: like Pest county, the capital city, Nagyvárad, Arad, Győr, Szeged, Szombathely, etc. take the lead in this movement. Let the doctors of medicine express and commit themselves to refusing collaboration in duels for the future. Let the lawyers express similarly, that they do not undertake the representation of a murderer duel-hero. Let anti-dueling leagues form, similarly to those that have already been created in certain cities of ours.
If, through this movement, the approach of society gets modified so that it will exclude such people from the company and withdraw social appreciation from them, who offend thoughtlessly and severely, and do not make amends by themselves: then the 12th hour will have beaten, whereafter not only the reduction but maybe even cessation of the duel will follow.