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Author Topic: Interesting Civil Action 1820  (Read 596 times)

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Interesting Civil Action 1820
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2018, 22:28:24 »
Things were so different 200 years ago.

This was an action for the breach of a marriage promise. The plaintiff was a young lady of considerable beauty and mental endowments, and one of the ten children of a respectable Surgeon at Seale, near Seven Oaks; and the defendant was a widower with two children, carrying on business at Sheerness as a linen draper. The plaintiff's age was 27, and that of the defendant 35. In July, 1818, during the election contest on Pennenden-heath, the defendant met the plaintiff, for the first time. She was in company with her brother and a young lady, named Pyne; and in eight or ten days afterwards he called at her father's house, and without any prefatory introduction, proffered his hand in marriage to Miss Richards, and required to know what portion it was in her father's power to bestow upon her. He was informed that the whole of her fortune was comprehended in her person. upon which he disclaimed the idea of pecuniary considerations, said he was enamoured of her person, and was in a very flourishing way of business and possessed besides 700 l (700). per annum independent properly, and was extremely anxious that the connubial knot should he tied forthwith. At this time Miss Richards was on a visit with some friends in Sussex, and her parents immediately communicated to her the offer. ln the mean time the defendant addressed a letter to the lady, tendering her his hand and fortune, and requiring her, if disengaged, to bless him with a matrimonial alliance.The young lady returned to her father's house, and wrote the defendant a letter from the dictation of her father, giving him to understand that his addresses would not be discouraged. Immediately afterwards the defendant again came over to Seale, and spent two days in the young lady's company, during which he was extremely anxious for the consummation of his happiness; but not being then out of mourning for his late wife, she objected to so hasty a proceeding; but consented that the day of solemnization should not be postponed beyond the ensuing Christmas. In the mean time, however, he made it a condition that he should have the happiness of writing to her, and that she should answer his correspondence. He then took his leave, after having bespoken one of her sisters to act as bride's maid at the nuptials. Between the time of his departure, which was about the middle of August, until December, when the match was broken off, a most affectionate epistolary correspondence was kept up between the lovers; but towards the end of the year the defendant's letters altogether ceased; when, in consequence of a desire expressed by the father to know the cause, he returned for answer, that his views towards Miss Richards were completely mistaken; that he had never contemplated any thing more than the happiness of corresponding with a woman of education and sentiment; and that nothing was farther from his intention than marriage. ln consequence of this information, a Professional Gentleman wrote to the defendant; who in answer to that letter assigned as a reason for his conduct, that Miss Richards had, in one of her recent letters, intimated to him that a younger and more worthy rival than the defendant had been paying her considerable attention, had praised her beauty, and that she doubted her power to resist his importunities to bestow her hand and heart upon him. A volume of the defendant's letters were given in evidence; and, as usual on such occasions, their contents produced a strong effect upon the risible muscles of the whole Court. It appeared that the defendant had never seen the plaintiff more than twice in his life. Mr. Adolphus, for the defendant, addressed the jury; who retired for about half an hour, and returned a verdict for the plaintiff-Damages 700 l.
             From The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser. Saturday 16 December 1820.


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