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Broadside entitled 'Fatal Duel'


This report of a duel begins: 'Just published, an Account of that Melancholy and Fatal DUEL, that took place between the Right Honourable the Earl of Eglinton and Captain Gorbon, concerning a Lady of high respectibility, when dreadful to relate his Lordship was shot though the heart.' The story was sourced from the 'Greenock Intelligencer'. The broadside also contains an account of a 'Libel for Sedition'. It was published by Ale(xa)nder Dunbar of Edinburgh, and is not dated.

There are very few details included in this report, which was derived from a short notice in a Greenock newspaper, and it may be that the details are inaccurate. Alexander Montgomerie, the 10th Earl of Eglinton, was shot and killed in October 1769 during a confrontation with an excisemen and persistent poacher, Mungo Campbell. Although this was not strictly a duel, nor did it involve a young lady or a Captain Gordon, it seems to be the only record of one of the earls of Eglinton dying a violent death, suggesting that rumours surrounding the earl's death reached the early newspapers before the facts did. The incident features in John Galt's classic novel of Ayrshire life, 'Annals of the Parish', first published in 1821.

Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.

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Probable period of publication: 1810-1820   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(096)
Broadside entitled 'Fatal Duel'
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