A Duel Down the Channel of the Sacramento River.
Two Chivalrous Stockton Printers Face Each Other with Pistols at Thirty Paces--
One of them Retires Dripping with Gore.

From the Stockton Herald, June 1.
On Wednesday afternoon about 3 o'clock two young men faced each other at thirty paces in the old Indian burying ground just outside the city limits. Each held a long and heavy single-barreled dueling pistol in his hand. The word was given, both raised their weapons and fired, one a little after the other. One of the young men remained erect. The other fell, and his friends rushed up to him. His right arm lay limp by his side, and the shirt-sleeve was deeply stained with red. His eyes were closed and he breathed heavily. After a hurried consultation he was lifted by four men and carried down to a boat on the beach. The sail was hoisted and the boat made rapidly up the channel for Stockton and medical assistance. The men who remained upon the ground got quickly into two other boats, the heads of which were pointed down stream. Anxiety sat upon every face, especially that of the victorious principal in the duel, who was anxious to get far away from Stockton in the shortest time possible. It was agreed to put him ashore at Wakefield, where be could catch the San Francisco steamer on her down trip. The men with him assured him that they would stand by him to the death and would resist any officers who might come in pursuit. The duelist thanked them with emotion for their devotion. He said he would remember their friendship, and that Harry Gill never forgot a favor.

The duelist who was brought back to town is a young man named James Slaven. He, as well as his antagonist, is a printer.


The quarrel which resulted in an appeal to the code of honor arose in a Main-street saloon on Tuesday night. A party of printers were en gaged in the popular and gentlemanly pastime of playing freeze-out poker for the drinks. There was an accusa tion of cheating. Mr. Slaven made it. Mr. Gill supposed himself to be the subject of this foul charge, and start ing to his feet as he pushed back his chair from the table, hotly gave the lie. At once the chivalry of the composing-room were mangling the lan guage in their usual style—though fortunately only with their tongues this time. Amid the hubbub Mr. Slaven retained his self-posession. Taking his steel rule from his vest pocket he picked his teeth with it calmly and said he would have the blood of Mr. Gill or perish in the at tempt. Mr. Gill said fiercely that he was from New Mexico and was a vet eran on the dueling field. He would fight Mr. Slaven with pleasure. The gentlemen after this mutual defiance placed themselves in the hands of their friends.


Mr. William Horstmeyer and Mr. Philip O'Rourke, of the Mail office, acted for Mr. Shwen, Mr. William Knowles, of the Mail office, and Hon. Thomas McDonald, a typographical fire-eater from Virginia City, of the Independent office, looked after the interests of Mr. Gill. One of the seconds was the happy possessor of a brace of muzzle-loading dueling pis tols that had belonged to his uncle. It was agreed to load these with powder and paper only, the omission of the leaden balls being in the nature of a trifling concession to the ungentle manly spirit which pervades the statutes of California with reference to dueling. Mr. Slaven was let into this consoling secret, but it was kept con cealed from Mr. Gill.


The start for the field of honor was made on Memorial Day, about 2 o'clock in the afternoon. The number of friends of the fighters was so great that it required three sailboats to ac commodate them. When the ground was reached it was decided to be absolutely necessary that a Master of Ceremonies should be chosen. Mr. Edouard Leonidas Coluon, the editor of the Mail, was the choice of the ma jority, but he peremptorily declined on the plea that his hair would get so persistently into his eyes that he could not properly examine the weapons. In his stead, Mr. David Mathews, the foreman of the Mail office, and a man noted for his ferocious and blood thirsty disposition, was selectcd. Before the principals were placed in position they were searched, it being feared that Mr. Gill might have an extra pistol about his clothes, and this involved the possibility of a bombardment of the crowd should he dis cover later the hoax that he had been made a victim of. He, like a man of honor, was heeled only with the dueling pistol.


Messrs. Gill and Slaven took their places. The word was to be: "One, two, three-- fire!" At "three," Gill let go. He saw Slaven standing be fore him taking a steady aim. He turned very pale, but stood his ground like a man. Bang! went Slaven's pis tol. The paper wad spread out as it came, and Gill dodged his head to avoid it, and was successful. The moment he fired Slaven fell, and one of his friends who rushed up poured a vial of red ink on his shirtsleeve-which accounts for the blood-stains before mentioned.

The practical jokers sailed around with Gill until dark, and then per suaded him that, all things considered, the best way to escape the police was to hide for awhile in Stockton under their noses. It was not until yesterday that he learned of the trick that had been played upon hum. At first he was very angry, but presently he took the joke good-humoredly, especially as his pluck in standing up before Slaven's pistol, which he believed was loaded, won him the praise of the entire typographical fraternity.

Los Angeles (California) Times, June 3, 1883.