its present provisions, must be considered as so much nonsense on waste paper. Our decided advice (which we need scarcely offer to our highly educated churchmen) is, in every such case, to solemnize no such marriage, without actual publication of banns.

We are the more positive on this point, since the first section is not imperative, but states that such marriage may be solemnized in such case; and some of our readers will remember the name of that sage who said, “ There is never a may, without a may not."

We should hold out the stiffer arm against this encroachment on the rites of church marriage, at the very threshold of this desultory law, because the projectors of the crude contrivance were listened to, above all, and all along, for that they falsely pretended not to interfere with any of the rules prescribed by the rubric; one of which is, that of publication by banns, as prefixed to the office of matrimony, in the Book of Common Prayer.

We are not now objecting to the marriage of Dissenters; nor even to that of those civil contractors, who, despising or setting aside all notions of holy ordinances, betake themselves to persons not in holy orders, and so complete the contract; but the objection is, that such persons are to go before some marrying officer (as the superintendent registrar is to be called) for his unhallowed sanction; and then to come to a clergyman of the Church of England, to complete the contract.

If the contracting parties choose to begin to avail themselves of that sanction, which it is degrading to the Church to acknowledge, let them, in Fortune's name, go on, and complete the business, as they have commenced it :-Let them not attempt to make the Church participate in a compact, to which, if she has not every possible repugnance, she denies that she is a consenting party; and let not the Clergy be sunk into mere fools for a secondary purpose, like this.

This, we conceive to be the point at issue, with regard to the first section; and, (with that section before us) we protest against the artifices which have been used to mislead the public, as to non-infringement; for, by substituting a lay certificate in the place of publication of banns, the first section itself expressly acknowledges this to be an infringement on the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England.

It is observable that many of the apparently new clauses of the act have been worked up from hints procured from previous statutes; such as the second section, allowing Quakers to do, what they are always determined to do, namely, just whatever they please, notwithstanding the law of England, or any other law to the contrary.

It is singular that no sect has followed their example. Founded

yearn for.


upon their indomitable obstinacy, they have quietly assumed to themselves customs which have obtained the force and effectyea, the sanction, support, and approval of modern acts of parliament. So much for obstinacy.

They will, and they will not, do precisely what they please; and truly they are a wise generation, for they know tha in these “ liberal” times, they have but to ask, and deny, and be stubborn; and, sooner or later, they shall have just what they

In like manner the second section, which beneficently allows to the Jews a similar privilege, has this wise declaration, that

every such marriage (of the said Jews and Quakers) shall be good in law, provided the parties to such marriage be both of the said society, or both of the Jewish religion."

This, it will be perceived, is a piece of handsomely bestowed, gratuitous legislation; inasmuch as this, that the Jews and Quakers themselves always take capital care upon these especial points.

The third section presumes that the superintendent registrar of births and deaths has been already appointed, pursuant to the Registration Act; and by that section he is declared to be, ex officio, the superintendent registrar of marriages.

We shall have much to observe on the proper performance of the duties of this officer and of others; but before we do so, we here positively declare, that we are not personally acquainted with any individual exercising office under these laws. Our remarks, therefore, cannot be deemed of a personal nature; and it will be the officer, and not the man; the office, and not the person executing it, to whom our strictures will be meant to apply; and, when alluding to the description of person, we must not be understood as designating the person himself.

In unison with our hope that the rites of the Church were not to be trifled with, we were much interested in the perusal of the fourth section, although an exceedingly clumsy clause, and inconsistent with the first; for it did seem that the fourth clause utterly excluded the Church from the vexatious interference of this meddling act of parliament.

If the cause stood alone, we should have no question about it; but, as the lawyers say, “ looking to the spirit of the act," and to the first and subsequent sections, we are left to presume that all marriages to be solemnized according to the rites of the Church of England, are expressly excepted from the operations of this act of parliament, unless where a lay certificate is to supply the place of banns: and that there cannot be any such lay certificate, so as to authorize the omission of banns, we think we have clearly proved, as the law now stands.

The strange misuser of the word “ licence” in the subsequent clauses, before any other licence has been mentioned

than that of the surrogate, is upon a par with the blunder about the registrar in the first section; and perplexes the reader with almost the same confusion of ideas as must have possessed the framer himself of these clauses. Another act of parliament can alone remedy that blunder; and, presuming such remedy to be applied, we proceed to show the difficulties in the way of procuring what we shall call a lay certificate, to supply the place of banns.

We should not deem it material to point out this particular inconvenience, if it were not for two or three reasons: first, because some of the members of the Church of England might conceive that this mode of evading the banns would be desirable, either as a saving of expense or trouble ; secondly, because it makes it incumbent on a clergyman to act as a party to proceedings, of which he does not approve; and thirdly, because we think that banns are preferable, and that the new mode will encourage clandestine marriages, and allow persons professing to be irreligious to avail themselves of church service, as it seems to us, unfairly, if not surreptiously. Besides all which, we have good ground for thinking that the Dissenters, for whom it has been asserted this act was passed, entirely disapprove of all the newlyinvented process. We mean the thinking part of the Dissenters.

The 4th clause directs that a notice of the intended mar riage must be given to the superintendent registrar, according to the form schedule (A), except where the parties are to be married by ecclesiastical licence, or banns. Upon this notice being properly given, it is, by section 5, to be entered by the superintendent in the marriage notice book; and by section 6, if the notice is to supply the place of banns, it is to be read at three weekly meetings of the guardians; and upon that being done, the superintendent is, by section 7, to issue his certificate.

Now we intend to show that this notice will, in itself and in its consequences, be vexatious and harassing, expensive, inquisitorial, and hateful. The reading of it to the guardians, is either a useless proclamation, in an improper place; or, if it be a proper place, it may be so read as not to be heard. To consider it in the first of those instances :- What respectable and worthy couple, who wish to keep their intended union known only to their immediate friends, could bear the thought of that intention being proclaimed to a set of parish officers, at their weekly meetings, for three successive weeks?

What, if the marriage does not take place in three months after the notice? Then another notice must be given, as we shall presently see, and another three weeks' proclamation must be made to the guardians, to be subjected to all the vulgar talk of the pot-house, and the still more vulgar gossip and malignant slander of every wash-house in the neighbourhood. There is not in England a young woman of modesty and virtue (though NO. I.


of humble birth) who would not shrink with horror and disgust from the thought of this needless promulgation of her sacred purpose.

But, overlooking for a moment all insults to feeling, which this new code is so suited to encourage, let us see how the poor and illiterate man is to proceed, in order to get married without licence or banns; and we will assume, that, not knowing what to do, he consults an attorney.

Suppose the intended husband lives three miles from the superintendent; and this will then be nearly the course of proceeding :- Attending and advising by the attorney, six shillings and eight-pence at the least; drawing and engrossing notice according to schedule (A) of Act 6 and 7 Wm. IV. c. 85 (just what the attorney pleases] ; fair copy [another charge] : for there is no provision for printed forms to be allowed to the persons most requiring them; no elaborate instructions, but for assisting the labours of the workmen of this complex machinery; and nothing could be better contrived for the purpose of putting an additional fee into the pocket of the superintendent, than the trick of leaving each individual to make out his own notice in the best way he can. Now, as marriage is not an every-day occurrence to any man, we are not to surmise that he carries its laws in his memory or in his pocket; and therefore he who would be married after this fashion, must procure the Marriage Act, or procure advice, if it be only to ascertain the form and service of the notice.

Presuming then that he cannot, or does not choose to consult the superintendent; the attorney proceeds thus :-He copies the notice, to serve on the superintendents; and if the marrying couple live in two districts, then he again copies the notice. He must serve each of the superintendents, one at two or three miles, the other at two or three hundred miles distant (as the case may be) : and it is observable that a question may be raised as to what shall be deemed good service : whether by the party (signing the notice) giving it himself to each superintendent, in person ; or whether he may cause it to be served by another; and then, whether on the person, or by leaving it at the house, or by sending it through the medium of the post-office, or by a coach, or a common carrier.

This is a point upon which there will be as much, if not more variety of opinion, than there is in respect of the notices of claims and objections directed to be given by the Reform Act : as to which muddle-headed performance, it is difficult to conceive whether that or this act of parliament be the greater disgrace to the statute book. It is to be remarked that the Marriage Act, directing that the party must give the notice, does not add “ or cause it to be given," or any words to that effect. This crotchet, therefore, may produce another journey by the intended bridegroom or his attorney; for unless the notice be received by the superintendent, he cannot enter it in the marriage notice book, pursuant to section 5. If it be not entered, it cannot be proclaimed; nor will a certificate be issued, nor a licence be granted, nor can the marriage take place.

The notice is likewise to state in what church, or other building, the marriage is to be solemnized. This requisition assumes, that a previous inquiry has been made, and that the convenience of other persons has been consulted. Therefore, if the intended husband cannot inquire, his attorney will attend, and confer, and advise, and take another journey, and make another charge.

Men who care less for their money than for their time and trouble, will leave the whole of these legal proceedings to their legal advisers; whilst men of a different character may endeavour to make themselves acquainted with this law; and if they do not consult the superintendent, they will purchase, and study, and try to follow, the directions of the act of parliament, notwithstanding the maxim, that “ he who is his own lawyer, has a fool for his client." There may be then some quibble about the notice, so as to prevent or delay the marriage; and who shall say that the superintendent will not raise such quibble, merely because he was not consulted and paid ? For let it be held in constant remembrance, that he is not amenable for either prevention or delay; and furthermore, if he were, of what satisfaction is that to the injured party, whose marriage, as we shall presently see, may be still longer delayed, if the first three months are permitted to expire?

How different is all this new law from the old! The man who would be married by banns, had but to give his name, and that of his intended wife, to the parish clerk, who forthwith published the banns, without further trouble or expense; but the poor fellow who


be led into the trammels of this new law, must give a written notice (which perhaps he cannot read), under his own hand (when perhaps he cannot write). His mark, we feel quite assured, would be objected to by the description of person who is to fill the office of superintendent, unless it were formally attested, or sufficiently authenticated.

All this noisome and vexatious trouble, and expense of time and money, are inflictions which, whatever may be the inclinations of Dissenters and others, the legislature has, in the instance of the lay certificate supplying the place of banns, most unjustifiably imposed, or attempted to impose, on the members of the Church of England, without their consent, and, we verily believe, without their knowledge. All the persons who have not studied these statutes, that we have conversed with, whether Dissenters or not, were of opinion, that the Clergy of the Established Church were entirely exempted from the necessity of the


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