Affair Of Honor

   This song was published at Charleston, South Carolina in 1778. It told the story of an affair of honor between General Howe and Lieutenant-Governor Gadsden

   The tune to which it was set is not known at this time. The cadence and rhythm are similar to that of Yankee Doodle, but this song does not include any chorus per se.

   A literary device common during the 1700s was the use of initial letters instead of whole names so that the flow of the rhyme would not be disturbed. In this song, "H" represented General Robert Howe, "G: represented Lieutenant-Governor Christopher Gadsden, "E" represented Gadsden's second, Bernard Eliott, and "P" represented Colonel Charles Cotesworth Pinckney.

It was on Mr. Peroy's land, At squire Rugeley's corner,
Great H. and G. met sword in hand, Upon a point of honor.
G. went before with Colonel E., Together in a carriage;
On horseback followed H. and P., As if to steal a marriage.
On chosen ground they now alight, For battle duly harness'd,
A shady place and out of sight, It show'd they were in earnest.
They met, and in the usual way With hat in hand saluted,
Which was, no doubt, to show how they Like gentlemen disputed.
And then they both together made This honest declaration,
That they came there, by honor led, But not by inclination.
That if they fought 'twas not because Of rancor, spite or passion,
But only to obey the laws Of custom and the fashion.
The pistols then, before their eyes, Were fairly prim'd and loaded!
H. wished, and so did G. likewise, The custom was exploded!
But as they now had gone so far In such a bloody business,
For action straight they both prepare With - mutual forgiveness.
But lest their courage should exceed The bounds of moderation,
Between the seconds 'twas agreed To fix them each a station.
The distance stepp'd by Colonel P. Was only eight short paces;
"Now, gentlemen," says Colonel E., Be sure to keep your places."
Quoth H. to G.-"Sir, please to fire!" Quoth G.-"No, pray begin, sir;"
And truly one must needs admire The temper they were in, sir.
"We'll fire both at once," said he, And so they both presented;
No answer was returned by G., But silence, sir, consented.
They paus'd awhile, these gallant foes, By turns politely grinning,
Till after many cons and pros, H. made a brisk beginning.
He missed his mark, but not his aim, The shot was well directed;
It sav'd them both from hurt and shame. What more could be expected?
Then G. to show he meant no harm, But hated jars and jangles,
His pistol fired across his arm, From H. almost at angles.
H. now was called upon by G., To fire another shot, sir;
He smiled, and "After this," quoth he, "No, truly, I cannot, sir."
Such honor did they both display, They highly were commended;
And thus in short, this gallant fray Without mischance was ended.
H. now was called upon by G., To fire another shot, sir;
He smiled, and "After this," quoth he, "No, truly, I cannot, sir."