A pair of English percussion duelling pistols converted from Flintlock, made by Aston. Circa 1770-1800. Probably converted to percussion circa 1830-1840. Engraved on the Lock plates the maker name Aston (The gun makers name Aston appears to have been previously cleaned). William Aston had a workshop on Deansgate, Manchester. Circa 1770-1826. The 10 inch octagonal barrels engraved MANCHESTER and fitted with a front and rear sight. Finely chequered grips with silver shield shape escutcheons. Decoratively engraved iron trigger guards. Iron ram rod pipes. Sliding safety fitted to rear of hammers. Each pistol is fitted with an adjustable set trigger. Good working actions. A small crack in the grip and another to the fore end on one pistol otherwise the pistols in good condition with a few minor dings and showing signs of use. Overall length 15.5 inches.
A duelling pistol is a type of pistol that was usually manufactured in pairs to be used in a duel, when duels were customary. Duelling pistols are often single-shot flintlock or percussion black-powder pistols which fire a lead ball. They were made in identical pairs to put both duellists on the same footing. More than two decades before he became the seventh president of the United States, Andrew Jackson faced off against Charles Dickinson, a lawyer regarded as one of the best shots in the area, in Logan, Kentucky. The proud and volatile Jackson, a former senator and representative of Tennessee, called for the duel after Dickinson described his wife Rachel as a bigamist, referring to a legal error in her 1791 divorce from her first husband. On May 30, 1806, the two men met with pistols in hand, standing 24 feet apart in accordance with dueling custom. After the signal, Dickinson fired first, grazing Jackson’s breastbone and breaking some of his ribs. Jackson, a former Tennessee militia leader, maintained his stance and fired back, fatally wounding his opponent. It was one of several duels Jackson was said to have participated in during his lifetime, the majority of which were allegedly in defence of Rachel’s honour. Ref 1713.
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