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“Did You Just Spill My Pint?!”

“Did You Just Spill My Pint?!”
Charles Mohun, 4th Baron Mohun (1675 –1712)

Gentleman Thug

London 1712

Its 6 am, welcome to a glorious November morning here in London’s Hyde Park for what promises to be a truly honourable meeting of two gentlemen, settling their differences in a respectable way.

….By dueling.

To my left is James Douglas, 4th Duke of Hamilton , Peer of Scotland and “Master of the Great Wardrobe” accompanied by his “Second”,  Colonel John Hamilton.

For those of you not familiar with dueling  (perhaps you work on a farm) “A Second” is a close friend of each combatant who makes sure the duel is fair and honourable and who can also cross swords with his opposite number should both be inclined

On my right (indeed on everybody’s right) is dueling legend, rake, politician and murderer, Charles Mohun, 4th Baron Mohun.

He has arrived here directly from a brothel in the company of his “Second”… ruffian and convicted rapist, General George McCartney.

Mohun has ordered his coachman to wake up a local innkeeper so he can enjoy a jug of ale before the fight, so while we wait let’s look back at his remarkable career.

"For Gods sake Charles, cant we even go to bed without you fighting a duel?" “For Gods sake Charles, cant we even go to bed without you fighting a duel?”

1689

Affairs of honour run in Mohun’s family. His father was killed in a duel when Charles was a baby (a sword thrust through the stomach) leaving his mother a widow with a mass of debts.

As a result, young Charles was never schooled and in his teens wisely turned to gambling to pay for an increasingly frivolous lifestyle.

Married at 14, Charles was disappointed to learn that his new wife came with no dowry so he romantically divorced her and began frequenting bagnio’s and taverns.

The stage was set for some truly remarkable seasons of fatal swordplay

1692

A young man’s first duel is a very special moment.  Mohun was 16 when he became embroiled in a heated argument with John Kennedy,7th Earl of Cassilis over a gambling issue.

They decided to settle “ blade to blade” but each only received superficial wounds from the other before honour was deemed satisfied.

A promising start, but it was later that year when Charles’s potential really started to show through.

A hot blooded  army officer of his acquaintance , Captain Richard Hill was smitten with the respected actress Anne Bracegirdle.

This beautiful and virtuous young women was the toast of the Drury Lane stage and a close friend of fellow actress Mrs Mountford.

As she would entertain none of the young rakes who swarmed about her, rumour had it that she must surely be on intimate terms with Mrs Mountford’s husband, William (She was not)

When she refused Captains Hill’s proposal of marriage, he immediately assumed it was Mountford’s doing ( It was not) and swore vengeance.

"I'll be honest with you love, I don't take well to rejection" “I’ll be honest with you love, I don’t take well to rejection”

Mohun and Hill adjourned to a tavern, and  loudly planned to kidnap Miss Bracegirdle (taking her by force to Totteridge, of all places) and kill Mountford if he stood in their way.

They hired some disreputable soldiers and lay in wait for the beautiful actress as she left a female friend’s home, late one evening.  It was only the prompt action of this lady who, screaming, clung grimly to Miss Bracegirdle’s  neck as she was being dragged to a waiting carriage, which saved her from being spirited away.

Mohun and Hill paced outside the house with swords drawn for two hours until Mountford innocently walked past on his way home from the theatre. Words were exchanged before Hill drew his sword and ran the unfortunate fellow through. As the watch were called (from a tavern) Hill fled and didn’t stop fleeing until he reached Amsterdam but Mohun stood his ground and was arrested.

"Don't take it badly mate, there are plenty more fish in the sea" “Don’t take it badly mate, there are plenty more fish in the sea”

His trial for murder was attended by the highest and mightiest in the land. Hill was charged in his absence but Mohun was acquitted by an overwhelming majority.

Some said this was only because he was of the aristocracy and if he had been a commoner (or had been tried by commoners) he would have got the noose.

Others simply said that the fairest thing about the proceedings were all the pretty young ladies of quality who were sat in the public gallery (they had to build scaffolding to accommodate them all)

Guilty until proven rich. Guilty until proven rich.

1694

After a brief spell in the army during which the seeds of discipline and respect for authority spectacularly refused to take root , Mohun celebrated his return to London by attacking a coachman on Pall Mall. He then drew his sword upon a passing Member of Parliament who tried to intercede, (Obviously Mohun offered him out for a duel afterwards but the expected meeting never took place.)

He later stormed into a London coffee house and beat a writer named Dyer around the head with a stout wooden cudgel for scribbling unflattering things about him in a pamphlet.

"Who says I'm a violent sociopath...you cunts" “Who says I’m a violent sociopath?..you cunts”

1697

His second official duel (accessory to murder doesn’t count) took place in St James Park with a Captain Bingham. Unfortunately it was stopped by park officials before blood could be spilled.

A drunken brawl in a tavern followed later the same year in which his opponent, another military man by the name of Captain William Hill (of the Coldstream Guards, no less) found himself fatally stabbed.

"You're not getting me in one of those things...your highness" “You’re not getting me in one of those things…your highness”

This time it really was murder, so Mohun did the honourable thing ….and went into hiding. Just before his 21st birthday however, King William awarded the lucky fellow a Royal Pardon in order to secure his political support.

To celebrate escaping the noose a second time, Mohun, his good friend Edward Rich, the 6th Earl of Warwick and yet another army officer named Captain William Coote, drank heavily at a Charing Cross hostelry.

Much later (on some pretext known only to Rich) they proceeded to engage in a drunken night time duel upon the pitch black expanse of Leicester Fields. Captain Coote fell by the sword of the Earl of Warwick, Mohun was arrested again and tried for accessory to murder …again.

He was acquitted….again.

He was however sent to The Tower of London for manslaughter, where he behaved so unpleasantly he was placed in close confinement before receiving a royal pardon….again

The Earl was also found guilty of manslaughter but pleaded “Peer Privilege” so was symbolically burnt with a cold iron (which stings and leaves quite a vivid mark) This lenient sentence did not stop him prematurely dying in 1701 at the age of 27.

What kind of idiot fights a duel in the dark? Both of these cretins think they're fighting ME. What kind of idiot has a duel in the dark? Both of these cretins think they’re fighting ME.

After yet another narrow escape from the hangman, it seemed that Mohun’s duelling days were over as he vowed to become a respectable member of his majesties government .

“I will endeavour to make it the business of the future part of my life so to behave myself in my conversation in the world as to avoid all things that may bring me under any such circumstances as may expose me to the giving your Lordships any trouble of this nature for the future”

1712

So “Huzzah” for Charles Gerard, second earl of Macclesfield.

A wealthy patron of Mohun’s, he  conveniently passed away in 1701 with no heir, leaving much of his estate to the mildly reformed swordsman. James Douglas, 4th Duke of Hamilton however claimed that he also left some of it to him and the two men have been locked in a legal battle for the past eleven years.

Following a harsh exchange of words (Mohun being the instigator) a challenge was issued (by Mohun) and that legal battle is now set to become a lot more physical.

This should be an elegant and refined settling of differences by two respectable gentlemen

Lets join the action

As this intricate dance of skilful swordplay begins it could look to the untrained eye like the two men are slashing and hacking at each other in a brutal, sweaty frenzy.

Notice that the two seconds are also engaged in conflict. They did have the option to merely observe, but Mohun’s second General Mc Cartney insisted that he was keen to “ takes his share” – what a sportsman.

"Calm down McCartney, we haven't started yet" “Calm down McCartney, we haven’t started yet”

A savage rush by Hamilton there, opening a 6 inch gash in Mohuns side, that’s got to hurt.

A wild slash in return from Mohun and Hamilton’s got a bad cut on his right leg – and now another on his right elbow.

A superb “One Two” there from Mohun and I think he’s severed one of Hamilton’s arteries. That blood loss may be a deciding factor in this morning’s proceedings.

Hamilton’s not giving up, now he’s run Mohun through the body just below the right side of his rib cage – his sword point cheekily poking out of Mohun’s left hip. What an elegant display.

Mohuns falling, but as he stumbles he makes a powerful chopping motion with the last of his strength and cuts deep into the left side of Hamilton’s chest – right across the lung.

"Of course I wont say "Sorry", you've just stabbed me through the arse" “Of course I wont say “Sorry”, you’ve just stabbed me through the arse”

That looks fatal.

Hamilton’s not finished yet. With blood pouring from two gushing wounds, he’s leaning over Mohun who is lying, bleeding on the ground. Mohun is desperately hacking at his foot but Hamilton’s lost too much blood to notice.

Hamilton is going for a thrust and Mohun’s frantically gripping the blade of his sword trying to stop him.

There go his fingers, cut right through.. he’ll never play the harpsichord again.

Hamilton’s done it!

He’s just stabbed Mohun through the groin as he lay on the floor. The blade has come out of his buttocks…..another artery brilliantly severed.

" Bugger this, I'm off to Amsterdam" ” Bugger this, I’m off to Amsterdam”

The seconds are on the field, they think it’s all over….

 

General Mc Cartney has just run away to Holland

….It is now.

Well, It looks like both protagonists will be honourably dead before the end of the day.

Some people may say that a bloodthirsty boorish thug and a reputation obsessed ,aristocratic buffoon have just killed each other over an argument.

But, those people would be poor, so they don’t count.

 

Join us again tomorrow for more refined action.

"I say, aren't we stupid""Speak for yourself ...wanker" “I say, aren’t we stupid”
“Speak for yourself …wanker”

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