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  1. #1
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    Selling Your Spouse and Window Into Life in Georgian England

    By Maria Glinskaya
    The 18th century in England is remembered for an unprecedented flourishing of science and art. However, the everyday life of the people of that era was very different from that of modern Britons. What did the English of the 18th century eat, how did they heal and where did they study?

    . . .
    Family and marriage


    In 1967, John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote their famous song "All You Need is Love'." If The Beatles had lived in the 18th century, this hit might well have become an anthem of sentimentalism . . .

    Sentimentalism placed feelings at the center of the corner. Sentimental stories of a wealthy man marrying a poor peasant woman or a noble lady eloping with a simple townsman appeared more and more often in literature and art. The sentimental hero resisted cruelty and injustice and was always guided by his feelings.

    Many young people stopped seeing marriage as a union between two wealthy families. Ideas about a happy marriage out of love were coming to the fore.

    In 1753, Parliament passed the Marriage Act. Until the middle of the 18th century, there was a de facto marriage in England; a man and a woman could cohabit, raise children, and share a household without having to register their relationship legally.

    Under the new law, those wishing to marry were now required to register formally and sign a contract. Those under the age of 21 had to obtain parental consent. Marriage was henceforth regulated by civil law, not by the church.

    This was to combat secret and early marriages (the age of consent was 12 for girls and 14 for boys). But to get around the law, lovers would run off to Scotland and marry there.

    The new law also made the divorce process much more difficult. It was very expensive to dissolve a marriage and permission for divorce had to be obtained from Parliament. Only very rich people could afford it. In addition, most marriages were not allowed to be renewed by Parliament.

    The poor had a rather original way out of the situation - they would sell their bored spouse at a fair for a token sum or a bottle of rum. The whole process rather resembled an auction -- the husband would bring his wife with a rope tied around her neck, waist or arm, then tell her of her merits and then announce the auction. Sometimes the buyer was known in advance by agreement, or it could be the wife's secret lover.

    The tradition of selling one's wives seems completely wild, but it was the way that made divorce more or less legitimate for the poorer classes of society.

    There were, at times, benefits to the women -- young and attractive girls might be "bought out" by wealthier and more noble men. After the purchase, the previous marriage was invalidated, and the first spouse gave up all claims to the wife's property -- (yes, yes, according to the 1753 law, all a woman's property and savings belonged to her husband).

    In Scotland and Ireland, this custom did not take root. Every time a man tried to get rid of his hated wife at the fair, it provoked the anger of the local women and escalated into a fierce beating of the husband . . .
    https://www.realclearhistory.com/art...nd_865173.html

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Mr Wombat's Avatar
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    Re: Selling Your Spouse and Window Into Life in Georgian England

    There's a famous quote from a judge who had to judge one of these cases - his point being that wife-selling existed because there was one law for the rich and another for the poor. He sentenced the guy to one day of time served.

  3. #3
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    Re: Selling Your Spouse and Window Into Life in Georgian England

    The poor had a rather original way out of the situation - they would sell their bored spouse at a fair for a token sum or a bottle of rum. The whole process rather resembled an auction -- the husband would bring his wife with a rope tied around her neck, waist or arm, then tell her of her merits and then announce the auction. Sometimes the buyer was known in advance by agreement, or it could be the wife's secret lover.
    This is the kind of thing that the Woke Revisionists ignore. People were simply gaming the system in the hope of improving their happiness and opportunities.

  4. #4
    Member Skywarp's Avatar
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    Re: Selling Your Spouse and Window Into Life in Georgian England

    Let's not forget that in the mid-18th century the life expectancy was like 39 years old. If your old lady wasn't going to be a team player when you got cholera or typhus, you were screwed. Better to get rid of the dead weight sooner rather than later in favor of someone who wasn't going to be a liability.


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