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Estates and Rights. To this end and pur pose in this Kingdom, not only the Church but the State have prescribed a set Formi, according to which all Marriages ought to be solemnized, which shall be Jatisa

factory to the Government, and be accounted valid to all Intents and purposes in Law: And this is the Act not only of the Ecclesiastical, but the Civil Power, and the A&t it self for the greater Security recorded in the Tower of London. But how to what purpose all this, if those, who are refractory against it, may

assume to themselves a Privilege to set it aside at pleasure, and do as they lift? Some like not the Persons appointed to perforin it, fome the Time, fome the form, some will marry in their own way, and some will take one another's word. And I am told, that very

considerable Lawyers have. declared it as their Judgment, That these Marriages are good and valid in Law. I desire it may be here taken notice of that I speak : fcientiæ, but what is valid in foro Con

in foro Civili: Í against no Man's Liberty, that may con fift with his Reputation, and with his and


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others Safety here, and Salvation hereafter; and I think it hard, that Children should suffer for the fault or folly of their Parents, and yet they are often unavoidably, notwithstanding their Innocence, involved therein; which ought to make Parents more careful to prevent it. But if such Marriages be legal, I would hum. bly request those Gentlemen of the long Robe, who are of thạt Opinion, to solve me some few Doubts or Questions.

I. Suppose a Man marry in his own bumourous


and afterwards marries another according to the Form prescribed by Law, who knew nothing of the first supposed Marriage, which of the Two shall be reputed his tegal Wife? If the latter, then the first was illegal : If the first, then the Marriage in his own way makes void his Marriage according to Law; and she, who was legally marry'd, shall be a Whore, and the other the honest Woman.

II. Suppose that he have Children by both these Women, which of these Women's Children shall by Law inherit?

III. Suppose no Joynture made, and the Man dies, which of these two Wives shall have a right to the Thirds of his real Estate? One would think the legal Marriage should give the legal Right; but then if the preceding blind Marriage cannot overthrow it, it must be because of its invalidity in Law; but if it can, to what purpose is any legal Marriage presum d?

IV, Suppose two consent in Marriage after their own way, and the Man afterwards denies the Marriage, and faith she was only his Whore, where is her remedy? or how shall he be compellid to own her, or live with her, or provide for her as a Wife

V. Suppose the Woman so distasted as to deny such Marriage, and to leave him, and marry to another Man in such manner as prescribed by Law, what Law can enforce her to relinquish him, to whom she is legally marry'd, and to go and dwell with her fieft Husband, to whom she was perhaps after a fort marry'd, but denies it? And yet the Law ought to do this, if the first Marriage was valid and legal, with respect to the Civil Ştate. VI. Suppose two marry not legally,


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but hy their own consent, may they not
deny it again by consent, or part again by
consent, or dispose of themselves otherwise
by their own consent, notwithstanding any
thing the Law can do to hinder it? I do
not speak of what they ought to do; nor
ask whether the Law cannot punish them
in 'other respects? But whether the Laro
can interpose, as looking upon them as
Man and Wife in the eye of the Law ?
:.VII Suppofe a Man hath one Wife,
whom he marry'd according to Law; and
one or more Wives at the same time, whom
he did not marry according to Law, can
this Man be legally convicted, and made
liable to the Punishment, which the Lam
infli&s for having at the same time more
Wives than one? Do not think this an
idle Question: For I could name the Man,
who had seventeen Wives come after him,
when he was in a Gaol for such Pranks,
and yet he came off; and, as I was in-
form’d; afterwards follow'd the same trade
again Now if a Person in such cafe can-
not be convict, besides one legal Wife he
may have more Wives than the Alcoran al-
lows a Türk, and yet be out of danger of

I will

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I will put no more such troublesome Questions, because I know not what to do with these, and should be glad to see the Learned in the Lam clear the matter. But tho’I cannot solve these Difficulties, yet any Man may easily know how to prevent them. For let no Marriage be valid, with respect to Civil Rights and Advantages, but what is performed as the Law prescribes, and then none of these Inconveniences can arise, nor any of these Difficulties or Mischiefs follow thereupon. And here I should end this Instance, but that there now occurs to my Memory a Story very pertinent to the present case: During the time of our uncivil Wars there was a Man, who for his clamorous exerting himself against the Church and the King, was füfficiently known by the Title of Bawling Marsbal, a Person of too great Parts to be so ill employ'd: This Man came to a Kinsman of mine, then Vicar of Brixsworth in Northamptonshire, and desired his leave to marry his Daughter in his Church; my Kinsman readily granted his Request, and went along with the Church, chiefly out of curio


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