Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
July 2007

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Duelling in Canada


Duelling. The duel was a feature of social life in Canada throughout the French régime, though it is worthy of note that it was always fought with swords. After the British conquest, the duel continued to be for many years a means by which affairs of honour were settled; but the duel with swords gave way to the duel with pistols. Some noted figures in the history of British Canada were principals in duels, such as William Weekes who was killed in a duel with William Dickson; Charles Michel de Salaberry, Michael O'Sullivan, Sir William Collis Meredith, and Sir George Etienne Cartier. But by the middle of the nineteenth century, public opinion had turned strongly against the duel. Louis Joseph Papineau refused to fight a duel in 1836, and in 1844 Francis Hincks declined to exchange bullets with Ogle R. Gowan; and in 1849 pressure was successfully brought to prevent a duel between John A. Macdonald and William Henry Blake. For an account of the history of the duel in Canada, see W. R. Riddell, "The duel in early Upper Canada" (Journal of the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology, 1915), and Aegidius Fauteux, Le duel au Canada (Montreal, 1934).


Source: W. Stewart WALLACE, The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. II, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 411p., p. 243.


© 2007 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College