William Pantler

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William Pantler was an 18th century theoretical magician, chiefly notable as the author of Three Perfectible States of Being. He moreover had an unlucky role in the Frances Pevensey controversy. It seems the letters which proved that the magician Pevensey was not a man, as had been naturally assumed, but a woman, were found in the library of a Mr Whittlesea. Now, Mr Whittlesea had the misfortune to have a playwriting wife; Pantler thereupon argued that the letters were forgeries that Mrs Whittlesea had made. According to him, a woman who stooped to writing plays would stoop to anything, and he charged that Mrs Whittlesea had forged the letters "to elevate her sex to a higher place than God had ordained for it." Mr Whittlesea - naturally misliking the imputation that his wife was a fraud and a liar and being evidently a man of hasty temper - then challenged Pantler to a duel.

Happily Pantler, who was a scholar first and last and knew nothing of weapons, apologized and retracted his statement. The duel was averted[35].