"That Absurd Relic of Gothic Barbarism" [Trial]. Byron, William, Lord [1722-1798], Defendant. The Trial of William Lord Byron, Baron Byron of Rochdale, For the Murder of William Chaworth, Esq; Before the Right Honourable the House of Peers, In Westminster-Hall, In Full Parliament. On Tuesday the 16th, And Wednesday the 17th of April, 1765: On the Last of Which Days the Said William Lord Byron was Acquitted of Murder, But Found Guilty of Manslaughter. Published by Order of the House of Peers. London: Printed for Samuel Billingsley, 1765. [ii], 47,  pp. Lacking initial imprimatur leaf. Folio (12-1/2" x 8"). Stab-stitched pamphlet, disbound and later resewn, edges speckled red. Light toning, occasional light foxing, light soiling and spotting in a few places, slightly heavier to first and final leaves. $200. * First edition. "April 16th came on before the house of peers in Westminster-hall, the trial of William Lord Byron for killing Mr. Chaworth a gentleman of Nottinghamshire, in a duel at the Star and Garter tavern in Pall Mall. After examining witnesses as to the circumstances of the encounter, the Lords next day acquitted the prisoner of murder, declaring him only guilty of manslaughter: and as by an old statute [1 Edw. VI. c. 12], in all cases wherein peers are allowed the benefit of clergy, they are dismissed without burning in the hand, loss of inheritance, or corruption of blood; Lord Byron was enlarged on paying his fees. Much might be said on the custom of duelling, that absurd relic of gothic barbarism; which still compels every man to risk his life at demand, on the most frivolous, or even the most insulting and cruel occasions. The laws of honour have so little connexion with those of honesty, that a man may support his claim to the title of a gentleman by the former, after he has forfeited all pretensions to the character by the latter. Sir John Brute is made to state the behaviour of some men of honour very justly when he says-" He comes to my house, eats my meat, lies with my wife, dishonours my family, gets a bastard to inherit my estate; and when I ask a civil account of all this,-sir, says he, I wear a sword!": Noorthouck, A New History of London: Including Westminster and Southwark (1773), Volume I:419-450. English Short-Title Catalogue T150380.
Book number 72900