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This blog contains additional information about the bowie knife, as well as the fighting knives of other nations.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

An Argument For the Stick Over the Knife

From The Gentleman’s Magazine, 1837, v. 1, p. 33:
Carrying a walking stick or hand cane is a good 
custom, and may be useful. If you get into a row 
and find it imperative to do a bit of gladiatorial, fight 
your way with your cane; but if you value the character 
of a gentleman, never draw a knife — it is the act of an assassin, and betrays the worst of cowardice. 
Stabbing has become popular, I admit, but its glories 
will be evanescent. The good sense of the people 
must see the brutality of the custom, and the cutting 
and carving of live bodies will be left to the surgeons. 
Pugilism is a pretty amusement, but its public practice 
is not congenial and if you fall amongst blackguards 
you cannot ensure fair play. If you must fight, and a 
Quaker may occasionally be forced into a scrimmage, use your stick; and if you expect mischief, carry a 
green hickory cane, about the size [thickness] of your middle 
finger; or a sprig of English ash. Let it be quite 
straight and devoid of the curl at the thick end. 
When you have made up your mind to go to work, 
catch hold of your stick about a foot from the thick 
end; you will have more government over your weapon 
that way than any other; and, in case of a miss, 
you can recover your guard directly. The short end 
will give you the use of an additional weapon — an 
effective spur for the ribs of your adversaries. You 
will be enabled to present one of them with a poke 
and favour another with a thump almost at the same 
moment. It is useful also to peg with at close quarters. 
If you see one of your friends drawing his toothpick 
against you, hit it a crack with your shillelah 
and knock it to smithereens. You may do a very 
decent fight with a stick of this sort; it is quite as 
detersive as the Bowie knife, and destitute of its blood-thirstiness. Murder is a terrible anti-soporific, and 
the daily sight of your victim's widow and three fatherless 
children will not assist dyspepsia. Stick to sticks, 
and cut knives.


  1. Hi Paul, I am happy, that you are still posting. I love your books and this blog. Thank you. With best regards Karel Rudolf

    1. Thank you. I have largely retired this blog, which I set up to disseminate research material I didn't end up using in the book, but the other day I opened a word document that has a few entries I think are worth passing along. More to come.