« PreviousContinue »
by an artful woman, shall his affec. permit them to marry below theirs. But tions be estranged from that woman
sometimes it happens otherwise, and you by a dictum of law, so that upon
wonld have a law to prevent it. Well : attaining his majority, he shall be
you have it, and wbat will you do with it?
The law adds nothing but force ; force is prepared with constant affection to
abhorrent to human nature, and may draw enter into marriage with another?
upon you and your children, mischiefs In either case, where are the chil. which you will surely repent, and for dren? Let the children of the son which you will find no remedy. For mis. be abandoned to their state of ille chief, give me leave to say, there may be, gitimacy, but shall the mother forget
unless you can find a nullity, which, like a her sucking child, or shall she be magic wand, would make every thing it
touches vanish and disappear, as if it had suffered to clasp a bastard to her
never been.” breast? There is but one alternative: the child is legitimate or ille.
In the Protests of the Lords, obgitimate, the mother is a wife or a jections were made to the retroconcubine. But the marriage is spective clauses and operations of miserable and degrading: in whose the Bill, as dangerous precedents, judgment ? upon what principle? especially affecting the right of proIs it that there is a difference of perty. The necessity of these rank and fortune, that it bears that clauses was defended by Dr. Philli. character, These are not the mar more at considerable length. riages, which courts are called to “ On general principles, I feel the argn. dissolve, or which minors are prone
ment in favour of the retrospective operato contract. The rich and the
tion of the Bill to be exceedingly strong. noble see no attractions in poverty judicial to the community; if, instead of
If a law by experience is found to be preand degradation. Doctor Stebbing's promoting order, and equity, and justice, advice to parents is worthy to be it holds out a temptation to perjury and repeated :
fraud, and tends by its operation and ef“ Consider, gentlemen, the power that
fect to villify and degrade in the estima. God and nature hath put into your hands :
tion of the community, that institntion, and which, if you use properly, you will which, for obvious reasons, ought to be find no great want of the aid of laws. upheld as a primary object of respect and Nature hath placed your children under veneration, surely no delay should be interyour inspection and care; always within posed to the repeal of such a law, Surely, the reach of your advice and authority, also, the repeal should be as complete and which should be employed in giving them effectual as possible, and in the manner a sober and virtuous education, suitable to best calculated to heal all the wounds, their rank and quality, which will natu
which by its operation it may have inrally dispose them to set a just value upou
flicted on Society." P. 50. themselves, and to think themselves de
In addition to general principles, graded when offers of marriage are made to them by persons of inferior condition.
Dr. Phillimore alleges as precedents Add to this, that you are masters of the
in favour of the Bill, that the late state and fortune of your families, which Marquis of Hertford and Bishop will always be a great check, ordinarily
. Horsley had brought in Bills for the sufficient, to keep them back, wheu they confirmation of marriages solembegin to find their inclinations running nized by banns published in chapels contrary to your judgments. Experience not recognized by the Act, which, shews this. For look abroad into the world, and what will you see? Why,
in all points involving the right of ordinarily, the poor marrying among the the persons so married and their depoor, the middle rank among the middle scendants, and the defeat of the rank, and the rich and the noble among claims of third parties as lawful the rich and the noble. The world natu
heirs of the persons unmarried or rally runs this way without the help of not legally married, correspond with laws. The lower classes of men have it
the recent enactment. The property not in their power to marry above their rank, or very rarely. The rich and the thus transferred from the legal to great have as rarely so little pride as to the natural heir, is placed in no REMEMBRANCER, No. 48.
other bands than would have pos- feiture to the crown; these are sessed it, if the Act of 1754 had not points on which surrogates can adbeen passed; if the parties had not vise, and on which legislators may been married during their minority; deliberate. The general reader will if the marriage had been celebrated regret “ the very great difficulties by banns; if some forms, which in- thrown in the way of marriage by tentionally or unintentionally were the irksome regulations contained neglected, had been observed. The in the eighth, ninth, and sixteenth current of inheritance is' again sections.” turned into its natural channel, from In regulating the publication of which an artificial statute had for- banns, the law appears to have cibly diverted it.
contemplated the wants of large Mr. Poynter further complains, and populous towns, rather than of that a most uncalled-for innovation villages, and moral districts, in the has taken place in respect “ of the circumstances of which its provi. regulations hitherto in force for the sions are generally useless and unprevention of clandestinity." The necessary. In respect of banns, the ground of the complaint is not very Act is also defective and imperfect, obvious, nor does it appear that any both in its retrospective operations, of the precautions hitherto in force and in its regulations for the time in respect of license or of banns
It takes no notice of has been superseded or repealed by marriages by banns before July 22, the present Act, of which the eighth 1822, which therefore remain “open and sixteenth section, together with to lawful objection in the same manthe former laws, may be thought to ner, and on the same grounds, and comprize almost every means for by the same persons as before." It the prevention of clandestinity. The neither confirms the marriages soonly fear is, that the machinery will lemnized by banns published in unbe obstructed by its own complica- authorized churches or chapels, por tion, Whether the means of ob- lays down any rule concerning such taining proof of the majority of publication for the future. The depersons alleged to be of age, may fect was pointed out by the Bishop not be facilitated by taking the evi- of Chester, and must be deeply felt dence of third parties upon bond, in that populous diocese: the obor by a more direct requisition of vious remedy is to give authority to the certificate of baptism; whether the Bishops to license chapels for the method of ascertaining the con the publication of banns, and the sent of parents, may not be modi- solemnization of marriage, of perfied so as to be rendered in all cases sons resident within a district to be practicable, and to throw not even defined. The Act specifies no time an imaginary difficulty in the way for the residence of the parties in of an unobjectionable marriage; the parish, before the publication of whether the retention of all the banns : they are required indeed to oaths is necessary; whether the certify their residence, but the resipersonal appearance of the woman dence may have been for an hour, before the surrogate, in considera a day, or a year. lo cases of lition of the delicacy of her situation, cense, the previous residence of the might not be dispensed with, espe- parties for the space of four weeks cially if her parent or guardian is necessary: and in this respect, should be present and consenting; the laws of license and of banns and whether the security of the should be assimilated. The misproperty to the issue in cases of chiefs and inconveniences arising fraud, as in the case of clandestine from this publication of banns in marriages of wards of chancery, parishes in which the parties do not might not be preferable to a for- reside, and the tendency of this
evasion to defeat the great purpose be suspended at the discretion of of the Act, the prevention of clan- the clergyman, on his certifying his destinity, were so strongly felt by knowledge of the parties, and his Dr. Phillimore, that he proposed to conviction that no fraud is intended. make it a ground of nullity at the In small parishes in the country, the instance of the parents or guardians clergyman knows his parishioners, during minority, if the parties should and their circumstances, and he not have been resident for fourteen needs no affidavit concerning them. days, immediately preceding the It has been reported, probably with publication, and in his Speech, he some exaggeration, that in the town insists on the corrupt fashion which of Hertford, but two sets of banns prevails, especially in the north, of were published for a certain period; being married, and having the bands and in both cases the man was in published in a populous town, to the bridewell, and the woman in the which the parties do not belong. work house. In this case, and in It has occurred within our many other cases, the oath is alto. knowledge, that the wife of a trans- gether needless and gratuitous; nor ported convict, who could not pro. is it of any conceivable importance, cure the publication of banus in her that the parties shall swear, that proper parish, found no difficulty they are under, or that they are not in a neighbouring town, where she under age, since majority claims no was also married, without any evi. exemption, and no further obligadence or suspicion that she was not tion is imposed upon the minor. On a widow: and very recently, a these points, it is but too truly obyoung man required that his banns served by Mr. Poynter: should be published as belonging " It has ever been held inconsistent to the same parish with his intended with sound policy, and even with morality, bride, because he was actually in to encumber the approaches to matrimony the parish on the several Sundays with unnecessary forms; besides which, on which they were published.
the multiplication of affidavits required by The more exact description of the amendments introduced by the new
Act, is little calculated to revive that rethe parties and of their residence, verential feeling for the sacred obligation and the more public and permanent of an oath, which its hacknied repetition, exhibition of the names, during the in compliance with the incessant demands time of publication, do not appear of the statute book, has nearly extinto be liable to any valid objection, guished.” Supplement, p. 19. to any which experience and custom There are various minor objec. will not overcome. . The requisition tions to the Bill; its clerical error, of the oath is a matter of far more requiring that a house shall be doubtful expedience, and will give affixed to a church.door; its redunrise to many questions; whether dancies and surplusage, especially the oath should not be adminstered in the fourth section, which is comalways by the clergyman, and as prehended in the third and the fifth; was certainly the intention of the the omission of all schedules, wheLegislature, without a stamp; whe- ther for licence or bands, for town ther it might not be sufficient to 'or country; and its circuitous diadminister it after the publication rections concerning the preservation of banns, and before the solemniza- of affidavits, which might at once tion of marriage; whether the oath be deposited in the iron chest with might not, in many instances, be the registers. The Act might also dispensed with altogether; and have restored the true time of the whether in parishes of a limited publication of banns, after the Nipopulation, and in the case of par- cene Creed, when the publication ties both belonging to the same pa- would not interrupt the public serrisb, the administration might not vice, and the clergyman would fol
low at once the direction of the Willim Lord Bishop of London. rubric and the requisition of the 24 pp. 4to. Rivingtons, 1822. statute. The Act is also required to be read again and again in the If our review of this Charge were church: if this clause should be intended to give the reader a full repeated in an ameuded Act, might idea of its merits, we should be it not be sufficient to require a forced to betake ourselves to the single recitation, more than which is obvious but somewhat unusual exa laborious addition to the duties of pedient of reprinting it from beginthe clergyman, and will be followed, ning to end. For we can safely on the part of the congregation, by say, that there is no part undeany feelings but those which become serving of consideration; nor any the house of prayer.
with which our clerical readers esThese are all hints of revision, pecially, ought not to make themrather than objections. The great selves acquainted. In this state of principle of the validity of marriage affairs we shall content ourselves has been restored; the great inno- with giving a very slight outline of vation of the nullity of marriage has the work at large, and extracting been rescinded. The new arrange the Bishop of London's sentiments ment of the details, after the prin- upon one particular head. Such a ciple has been settled, and the ex- proceeding seems best calculated, perience of a year has thrown light without a deviation from the ordion the practice, will be accomplish- nary laws of reviewing, to promote ed with little difficulty. When the that general perusal of the Charge subject was once mentioned in the before us, which cannot fail to House of Commons, Mr. Serjeant prove beneficial to the Church and Onslow intimated the necessity of a the country: general revision of the whole law of Of the Clergy Consolidation Act, matrimony: and a Bill, consolidat- the Bishop observes, that its pracing that law, would be a work tical if not its theoretic perfection worthy of the divine, the lawyer, is on the whole as great as can be and the legislator. The old Mar- expected, and he emphatically reriage Act, so far as it has not been minds his clergy that whatever exrepealed, the new Marriage Act, emptions may be allowed by law, the Rubric, and the Canons of 1604, the responsibility of declining a are now to be taken together, as personal discharge of their duties the one rule which governs the ce must rest with themselves, and lebration of marriage, and deter, that they should be assured that mines its validity. Necessity ap- the grounds upon wbich they act, pears to require an Act of Amend are such as will stand the scrutiny ment, which may not include the of their own conscience. This subBishop of Chester's proposition ject leads bis' Lordship to notice concerning banns in unauthorized and expose the preposterous notion churches and chapels : and in minds which is sometimes entertained that not familiar with legal investiga. the Curate is rendered independent tions, it will require considerable of the Rector by the Bishop's powers of discrimination to know licence, and cannot justly be diswhat part of these complicated laws placed except for flagrant misconis in force, and what has been re duct. The error is so common, pealed.
that our readers will be thankful for an opportunity of knowing the
Bishop of London's precise opinion A Charge delivered to the Clergy upon it.
of the Diocese of London, at the « The enactment of the 56 Geo. 3, Visitation in July 1822: By since re-enacted in the Clergy Consoli
dation Act, empowers' the Bishop of the ner in which they discharge their Diocese • to license any Curate actually duties. The former subject is employed, without express nomination, discussed in the followirg admirable and to revoke summarily and without process the licence of any Curate, and re
passage. move him from the curacy, for any cause • The Laity have a right to expect that which shall appear to the Bishop good and the attainments, in learning and piety, of reasonable. The obvious intent of these the Clergy, considered as a body, should enactments was, on the one hand, to give rise, at the least, above the ordinary level protection to the Curate, with ample se of other classes of society. Such comcurity against any injnstice on the part of parative excellence I believe to trave been the Incumbent : and on the other hand, to found in every country where the disci. provide for the Incumbent an immediate pline or doctrine of the Church has been and effectual remedy against the vexati- maintained in tolerable purity. I even ous obstinacy of a perverse or unworthy think it essential to the continued existence Carate. In the exercise of the discretion of any religious establishment. It was ary powers which are vested in the Bishop
one of the most efficient causes of that by this law, it will always be my endea, respect for the sacred order, which occavour to keep the objects in view, which I sioned their gradual advance in riches and believe to have been in the contemplation power, and was long retained amidst of the Legislature. On no account can I gross abuses of both, in the middle ages. shrink from the duty of protecting and sus If, in that period of darkness, ecclesiastaining the Curate in the full enjoyment of tics were licentious and illiterate, the his rights, while he attends with fidelity to
body of the people was still more deeply the duties of bis cure, and to the relation immersed in vice and ignorance. It is in which he stands to the Incumbent. But true, that the scandal occasioned by the I trust it will not be imagined, that the remissness of discipline, and the immoDiocesan's licence will uphold the Curate, ralities which infected the Church, underwho gives just cause of dissatisfaction, by mined by degrees the foundations of the insufficiency, negligence, or indecorous be- ecclesiastical power, and at lengtb bronght haviour in his official functions, or by per about the Reformation. Yet it does not sonal disrespect or hostility to the Incum- appear that the Clergy in that day were bent, whether shewn by direct opposition, less respectable in attainments or morals or by secret endeavours to diminish his than in several preceding centuries. The influence in the parish. The best interests number of ecclesiastics distinguished by of the parishioners will suffer, when discord learning and sanctity who respectively prevails between the ministers who have supported the Reformation, or adhered to joint core of their souls; and since regard the Church of Rome, abundantly proves to personal feelings must yield to cousi. the contrary. But of the general improvederations of public utility, it may be some ment which took place in society at the times expedient to dissolve the connection, revival of letters, the largest proportion had and thus put an end to a scandalous con fallen to the share of the Laity: the Clergy, test, though it may be difficult to appor- from various causes, were not benefited in tion the blame between the contending an equal degree: and from this alteration in parties." P. 8.
their relative circumstances, and its ef
fect on the feelings of the public, they From these matters of discipline necessarily lost the ascendancy, which his Lordship proceeds to consider had been preserved without difficulty by the present state of society, in its their less meritorious predecessors in a immediate bearings upon religion
qarker age. In referring to these historical and having observed that this nation facts, it is simply my object to urge the owed its escape from the horrors of tion in relation to the mass of society ; to
necessity of maintaining our proper posithe French Revolution, in great press the important truth, that, if other measure, to the influence of the classes advance in knowledge, intelligence, Clergy, he recommends them to virtue, and piety, and the Clergy, whatconsider and practise the means ever are their positive merits in all these by which that influence may be respects, continue stationary, they are preserved. Their weight in society, placed on a different level in regard to
their flocks, and will suffer a proportionit is remarked, will of course depend ate loss in their credit and weight with the upon the estimation in which their public, and consequently in their procharacter is held, and on the man- fessional utility. It is incumbent on us to