Pair of flintlock dueling pistols with case and accessories (57)
Wood, iron, brass, silver, lead, silk, cloth, flint
Part (barrel length): 10 3/4 in. (27.3 cm) Part (pistol length): 15 7/8 in. (40.3 cm) Case: 21 x 9 1/2 in. ( 53.3 x 2
stamped: lockplate center: "H.W. /MORTIMER/& CO."; barrel: "H.W. MORTIMER & CO., LONDON./GUN MAKERS TO HIS MAJESTY" engraved: plate: "This case of pistols formerly the property/of/Rufus King,/was presented to the New York Historical Society/by/Mr. and Mr
Wood, iron, brass, and silver flintlock dueling pistols; browned octagon barrels with bladed brass front sights and torch-shaped brass rear sights with a blued iron leaf; furniture includes blued iron pineapple trigger guard and tailpipe; silver oval wedge escutcheons, nosecap, and shield-shaped escutcheon plate; bag-shaped checkered wood handle with swirled-line butt; browned lockplate, cock, and frizzen with blued frizzen spring, brass interior of pan, and brown pistol flints wrapped in cloth patches; inlaid brass floral bands and cannons, flags, halberds, Britannia shields, and other war trophies at greyed breech end of barrel and at center of lockplate; brass floral inlays at lockplate tail and barrel tang; engraved war trophies on trigger bow; wooden ramrod with browned iron middle pipe and trumpet head; stamped marks at lockplate center and barrel; green velvet-lined, formed rectangular wooden case contains saw-shaped wood handle with floral-engraved blued iron barrel tangs, a single cavity iron bullet mold, an iron screwdriver with a brass collar and pear-shaped wood handle, a tapered cylindrical wood cleaning rod with a jagged brass head and knurled tip, a tapered oval brass powder flask with a stitched red leather body cover and a blued iron spring at top, a hollow brass cylinder, small iron screw, and brass pin, eighteen brown pistol flints, a cloth patch, and twenty-eight lead musket balls; paper label and engraved brass plate affixed to inside of case cover; curved brass handle at top of case.
During the eighteenth century, dueling was considered an acceptable, even chivalrous, method of definding one's honor. This set of cased dueling pistols belonged to the politician and diplomat Rufus King, who was a signer of the Constitution and a United States senator from New York. The flintlock pistols are similar to the pair used in the famous 1804 duel in which Alexander Hamilton was mortally wounded by Aaron Burr.
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Gherardi Davis and Ellen King
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.