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of consanguinity, incurs suspension for three years, and is otherwise to be punished according to the laws.
According to the present regulations, when a license is granted, the man swears that the usual place of abode of the woman, with whom he intends to be united, has been within the parish in which he means to marry, for the space of four weeks immediately last past. Why should not the man who makes application for banns be obliged to take the same oath? If a certificate were granted him of having taken the oath, it might be given on a stamp of moderate amount; and this, although unimportant to each individual bridegroom, might yet, in the aggregate, bring in a considerable annual sum to Government.
I rely on your candid appreciation of the motives, which have induced me to engage your attention to this subject. If the views developed in this letter should be deemed worthy of your approbation (and however feeble the advocate, they can hardly fail to obtain it from the beneficial tendency of their object), permit nie to hope that you will grant me your earnest and powerful co-operation, in order to call forth the energies of the legislature. By this alone, can we expect to eradicate a system of licensed prostitution, that negligence would render more inveterate; and which threatens, unless effectually obstructed, to sap the frame of society by its baneful and pestilential con, tagion.
Original Letters and Extracts of Communications
to Mr. Wylde, on the subject of the former Pamphlet.
The Rev. R. D. to the Rev. S. T. Wylde.
I find one instance of illegal connexion at R
b w , in consequence of the facility, afforded in the neighbourhood of Bristol, of entering into a state of matrinony, without proper inquiry, and that is a man married to his Brother's Widow.
I am, Rev. Sir,
Your very humble Servant,
Jan. 25th, 1819.
Extracts from the Letter of the Rev. T. A. S. to the Rev. S. T. Wylde.
MY DEAR SIR,
Dec. 3, 1812.
I beg to return you my sincerest thanks, both as a private individual, and as a member also of that venerable order to which I have the honor to belong, for the very handsome compliment which you yesterday had the goodness to confer on me, by transmitting to me a copy of your ercellent printed letter, (accompanied with your polite note, ) on a subject, which I conceive to be of the utmost importance, at the present critical moment, not only to the civil and religious welfare of the community at large, but even to the very existence and stability of the Church itself, as maintained in this realm by law. Most cordially, my dear Sir, do I as a Brother Clergyman, congratulate the whole sacerdotal body, -and most cordially, too, do I, as a private Christian, congratulate the whole of the Christian Laity of this kingdom likewise, that some measures at least, in this holy“ labor of love" and charity, are, at last, about to be submitted to the consideration of our Legislators in Parliament. They will, I conceive, see great reason, in the course of their future discussions on this weighty matter, for repealing the major part of the present Marriage Act, (26 Geo. II.) and more particularly for enacting some stronger and more binding ties on the parties applying for publication of banns in parishes wherein they do not reside, than those which now exist in the said Act. And, in regard to this point, I am perfectly, my good Sir, of your own opinion ; and, indeed, (I must say,) have entertained the same myself for many years past, that the only apparent remedy for the prevention of the evil which is so much complained of at this day in this respect, would be to oblige every person “ to take the same oath,” on application for banns, as he is already obliged to do if he applies for a licence. Your addition, also, of a
stamped certificate in this case is unquestionably an improvement upon it; as this would afford a constant security to the officiating clergyman, as to his legally solemnizing every marriage by banns, as well as “ bring in,” likewise, (as you justly remark,—and for which, by the bye, my good friend, are you not intitled, if adopted, tó a premium from Parliament, as the proposer of a new tax ?) “ a considerable annual sum to Government.” In the little parish wherefrom I now write, and of which I have been the Rector for nearly these 19 years past, there have been but two fugitives from it, on clandestine matrimonial excursions, (as far as ever I have heard to the contrary,) from the commencement of my incumbency to the present hour. The banns were in each instance published, and the marriage ceremony completely gone through, at that infamous Gretna-Green of the Westycleped Bedminster, without the residence, even for a single day, of either party! In both these cases, I failed not, for my part, to “cry aloud and spare not :” I “ lifted up my voice like a truinpet” upon these occasions, and plainly “ told my people their transgressions ;" but alas! all to no purpose! As well might I, I conceive, in either instance, have “ beaten the air,” or “ struck the sounding brass, or the tinkling cymbal,” for the effect which it produced on the parties themselves, who well knew, as well as myself, that the validity of their union could not be called in question under the authority of the present statute, and that they were therefore, in consequence, amenable themselves to no tribunal upon earth, for the steps which they had (for private reasons) thought proper to take in this matter! On some other folks, however, amongst my little flock, I have great ground for believing, that my interference in the abovementioned irregularities, happily wrought a proper influence, by deterring them, under pain of my heavy displeasure, from the commission of similar practices in their own case, and reconciling them to their own parish church, as the only fit place for joining their right hands together, and entering into VOL. I.
their mutual pledges (that “ Tíotiv psyisthu"-as saith tre old Grecian Bard Euripides) to each other in the sacred bonds of wedlock. I would now, my good Sir, draw your attention to another desideratum, (had I not trespassed already too much upon your patience) which I think might easily be supplied in the intended Marriage Act : namely, the allowing marriages to take place in all Churches and Chapels of Euse, indiscriminately: belonging (of course, I mean) to the establishment, and which have accordingly been duly consecrated by the Bishop of the Diocese. But on this subject I must, for want of room here, refer you to the 1st vol. of the Ecclesiastical and University Register, p. 70–72. And it may be worth your while to look into the 2nd vol. also, p. 461. where you will find a case that will astonish you, if you have not seen it before. With every good wish to the cause in hand, which you have so laudably undertaken,
I remain, my dear Sir,
T. A. S.
The Rev. R. F. to the Rev. S. T. Wylde.
Dec. 5, 1912.
I have received the favor of your note and printed letter. I have resided so short a period of time in this country, and no instance of improper connection baving occurred (to my knowledge) in either of the parishes under my care, I have no communication to make of the nature you require. I agree with you, Sir, that a stop should be put (if possible) to the pernicious practice that obtains in some particular churches in large towns, and their environs, (for I hope it is not a general custom,) of marrying indis