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Table of contents :
List of Figures
Contributors
General Editor’s Preface
Introduction / Edward Behrend-Martínez
1. Courtship and Ritual: Eighteenth-Century English Literature and the Reinvention of Courtship / Laura E. Thomason
2. Religion: Defending Continuity in an Age of Change / Edward Behrend-Martínez
3. State and Law / Rebecca Probert
4. The Ties that Bind: Money and Love in Western Europe / Kimberly Schutte
5. The Family Economy / Maria Ågren
6. Love, Sex, and Sexuality, 1650–1800 / Katherine Crawford
7. Breaking Vows: Divorce and Separation in the Postrevolutionary United States of America / Allison Fredette
8. Representations of Marriage / Chris Roulston
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Recommend Papers

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A CULTURAL HISTORY OF MARRIAGE VOLUME 4

A Cultural History of Marriage General Editor: Joanne M. Ferraro Volume 1 A Cultural History of Marriage in Antiquity Edited by Karen Klaiber Hersch Volume 2 A Cultural History of Marriage in the Medieval Age Edited by Joanne M. Ferraro and Frederik Pedersen Volume 3 A Cultural History of Marriage in the Renaissance and Early Modern Age Edited by Joanne M. Ferraro Volume 4 A Cultural History of Marriage in the Age of Enlightenment Edited by Edward Behrend-Martínez Volume 5 A Cultural History of Marriage in the Age of Empires Edited by Paul Puschmann Volume 6 A Cultural History of Marriage in the Modern Age Edited by Christina Simmons

A CULTURAL HISTORY OF MARRIAGE

IN THE AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT

Edited by Edward Behrend-Martínez

BLOOMSBURY ACADEMIC Bloomsbury Publishing Plc 50 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3DP, UK 1385 Broadway, New York, NY 10018, USA BLOOMSBURY, BLOOMSBURY ACADEMIC and the Diana logo are trademarks of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc First published in Great Britain 2020 Copyright © Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020 Edward Behrend-Martínez has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as Editor of this work. Cover image: The Proposal of Thomas Jefferson by Herndon Jefferson playing violin Martha Skelton piano romance literary digest © ClassicStock/Alamy All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publishers. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc does not have any control over, or responsibility for, any third-party websites referred to or in this book. All internet addresses given in this book were correct at the time of going to press. The author and publisher regret any inconvenience caused if addresses have changed or sites have ceased to exist, but can accept no responsibility for any such changes. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. ISBN: HB: 978-1-3500-0188-6 Set: 978-1-3500-0191-6 Series: The Cultural Histories Series Typeset by Integra Software Services Pvt. Ltd. To find out more about our authors and books visit www.bloomsbury.com and sign up for our newsletters.

CONTENTS

List of Figures Contributors General Editor’s Preface

vi ix xi

Introduction Edward Behrend-Martínez

1

1 Courtship and Ritual: Eighteenth-Century English Literature and the Reinvention of Courtship Laura E. Thomason

15

2 Religion: Defending Continuity in an Age of Change Edward Behrend-Martínez

29

3 State and Law Rebecca Probert

45

4 The Ties that Bind: Money and Love in Western Europe Kimberly Schutte

59

5 The Family Economy Maria Ågren

75

6 Love, Sex, and Sexuality, 1650–1800 Katherine Crawford

87

7 Breaking Vows: Divorce and Separation in the Postrevolutionary United States of America Allison Fredette

103

8 Representations of Marriage Chris Roulston

115

Notes Bibliography Index

133 149 169

FIGURES

INTRODUCTION I.1

I.2

I.3

W. Proud, The Pleasures of the Married State, c. 1780, printed for Robert Sayer and Jonathan Smith, London. The Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons

2

Unknown artist, Pintura de castas con todas las 16 combinaciones (Painting of all the 16 combinations of castes), eighteenth century, Museo Nacional del Virreinato, Tepotzotlán, Mexico. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

7

Anonymous, De español y india sale mestizo (From a Spaniard and an Indian comes a Mestizo), 1799, Biblioteca Museu Víctor Balaguer, Barcelona. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

8

COURTSHIP AND RITUAL 1.1

Joseph Highmore (1692–1780), The Harlowe Family, from Samuel Richardson’s “Clarissa,” c. 1746, oil on canvas, Yale Center for British Art. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

23

RELIGION 2.1

Jan Brueghel the Younger (1601–78), The Temptation of Adam, seventeenth century, Hulton Fine Art Collection. Photograph by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images 33

2.2

Nicolas de Largillière (1656–1746), François-Marie Arouet known as Voltaire, c. 1725, oil on canvas, Palace de Versaille. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

34

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746–1828), A Woman Whispering to a Priest, c. 1812, brush and brown wash on laid paper, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, via Wikimedia Commons

40

2.3

STATE AND LAW 3.1 3.2

Unnamed artist, A Country Wedding, 1794, published by Laurie and Whittle, London. Courtesy Mary Evans Picture Library

47

Unnamed artist, depiction of “Fleet Marriages,” from Robert Chambers’s Book of Days, 1871. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

50

Figures

3.3 3.4

vii

Collings and Barlow, Gretna Green, 1791, published by W. Locke. Courtesy Mary Evans Picture Library

55

Jean-Baptiste Mallet (1759–1835), Mariage Républicain, c. 1792. © Musée Carnavalet/Roger-Viollet/Mary Evans Picture Library

57

THE TIES THAT BIND 4.1

4.2

4.3 4.4

Alexandre Kucharski (1741–1819), Portrait of Olympes de Gouges, late eighteenth century, private collection. Photograph by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

63

Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806), The Visit to the Nursery, c. 1775, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

64

Pietro Longhi (1701–85), Familie, c. 1746, National Gallery, London. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

67

Andres De La Calleja (1705–85) from the original by Anton Raphael Mengs (1728–79), Portrait of Charles III, c. 1761. Photograph by De Agostini/Getty Images

68

THE FAMILY ECONOMY 5.1

Pietro Longhi (1701–85), The Milliner, c. 1746, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

76

LOVE, SEX, AND SEXUALITY 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4

A Burghmaster and his Wife, eighteenth century. Courtesy HIP/Art Resource, New York

89

C. Sheeres, A Marriage Ceremony in Fleet Prison during the reign of George II, nineteenth century. Courtesy HIP/Art Resource, New York

91

Punishment of Prostitutes in Switzerland, eighteenth century, Courtesy HIP/Art Resource, New York

94

Man lifting his hat to a woman. A Story of One Woman’s Life. Catharine Vizzani, a Famous Lesbian Woman of the 18th century in Italy, frontispiece from The True History and Adventures of Catharine Vizzani, 1755. © British Library Board/Robana/Art Resource

98

BREAKING VOWS 7.1

Matthew Harris Jouett (1788–1827), Thomas Jefferson, early nineteenth century. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

104

viii

Figures

7.2

Thackara & Vallance, Engraver, frontispiece and title page from The Lady’s magazine, and repository of entertaining knowledge, showing the “Genius of the Ladies magazine” presenting the figure of Liberty with a copy of Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women, 1792. Photograph via the Library of Congress 106

7.3

A Society of Patriotic Ladies, at Edenton in North Carolina (London: Printed for R. Sayer and J. Bennett, March 25, 1775), print. Photograph via the Library of Congress

109

Charles Willson Peale (1741–1827), Portrait of John and Elizabeth Lloyd Cadwalader and their Daughter Anne, c. 1772, Philadelphia Museum of Art. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

111

Junius Brutus Stearns (1810–85), George Washington as Farmer at Mount Vernon, c. 1851. Photograph by Leemage/Corbis via Getty Images

113

7.4

7.5

REPRESENTATION 8.1

8.2

8.3

8.4 8.5

8.6

Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725–1805), L’Accordée de village (The Marriage Contract), c. 1761, oil on canvas, the Louvre, Paris, via the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

117

Thomas Gainsborough (1727–88), Mr. and Mrs. Andrews, 1750, oil on canvas, the National Gallery, London. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

118

Jacques Louis-David (1748–1825), Portrait of Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier and his Wife, 1788, oil on canvas, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

119

Anonymous, Three Weeks Before and Three Weeks After Marriage, 1789, etching, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto

124

William Hogarth (1697–1764), Marriage A-la-Mode: 1, The Marriage Settlement, c. 1743–5, oil on canvas, the National Gallery, London. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

125

Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725–1805), The Angry Wife, c. 1785, oil on canvas, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

127

CONTRIBUTORS

Maria Ågren is Professor of History at Uppsala University, Sweden. Her work focuses on the intersection of economic, social, legal, and gender history. She is editor of The Marital Economy in Scandinavia and Britain, 1400–1900, with Amy L. Erickson (2005) and Making a Living, Making a Difference: Gender and Work in Early Modern European Society (2017). Her monographs include Domestic Secrets: Women and Property in Sweden, 1600–1857 (2009) and The State as Master: Gender, State Formation and Commercialisation in Urban Sweden, 1650–1780 (2017). Maria is leader of the Gender and Work research project and the GaW infrastructure project. Edward Behrend-Martínez is a professor in the Department of History at Appalachian State University. His publications include Unfit for Marriage: Impotent Spouses on Trial in the Basque Region of Spain, 1650–1750 (2007), “Abortion, Illicit Sex, and Social Control in the Courts of Early Modern Spain” in Perspectives on Early Modern Women in Iberia and the Americas: Studies in Law, Society, Art and Literature in Honor of Anne J. Cruz (2015), and “The Castigation and Abuse of Children in Early Modern Spain” in The Formation of the Child in Early Modern Spain (2014). He is currently writing a monograph on domestic violence in early modern Spain and its empire. Katherine Crawford is Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair of Women’s and Gender Studies, Professor of History, and Director of the Program in Women’s and Gender Studies at Vanderbilt University. She is the author of The Sexual Culture of the French Renaissance (2010), European Sexualities, 1400–1800 (2007), and Perilous Performances: Gender and Regency in Early Modern France (2004). She is interested in the ways that gender informs sexual practice, ideology, and identity, both in normative and nonnormative formations. Her current project, Eunuchs and Castrati: Disability and Normativity in Early Modern Europe (forthcoming), examines the cultural questions around gender, sexuality, and embodiment raised by castrated men in early modern Europe. Allison Fredette is a professor in the Department of History at Appalachian State University. Her research focuses on the history of marriage, divorce, and regional identity in the American South. She contributed to the recent collection Rethinking American Emancipation: Legacies of Slavery and the Quest for Black Freedom (2015). She is currently revising her book manuscript, Bonds and Borders: Marriage in the Upper South during the Civil War Era. Rebecca Probert is Professor of Law at the University of Exeter. Her research focuses on the history of marriage, bigamy, divorce, and cohabitation and she is the author of numerous articles and books, including Marriage Law and Practice in the Long Eighteenth Century: A Reassessment (2009) and The Legal Regulation of Cohabitation: From Fornicators to Family, 1600–2010 (2012).

x

CONTRIBUTORS

Chris Roulston is Professor of French Studies and Women’s Studies and Feminist Research at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. Her books include Virtue, Gender and the Authentic Self in Eighteenth-Century Literature (1998) and Narrating Marriage in Eighteenth-Century England and France (2010). She has articles in Heteronormativity in the Eighteenth Century (2014), After Marriage in the Long Eighteenth Century: Literature, Law and Society (2018), and Françoise de Graffigny: Femme de lettres des lumières (forthcoming, 2018). Currently, she is working on boarding school narratives from the eighteenth century to the present, and on the contemporary phenomenon of queer parenting families. Kimberly Schutte is an independent scholar. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Kansas and is the author of Women, Rank, and Marriage in the British Aristocracy, 1485– 2000: An Open Elite? (2014). She is currently working on the “Aristocracy Project,” a large-scale study of the British aristocracy from the early modern era to the present. Laura E. Thomason is Director of International Programs and Associate Professor of English at Middle Georgia State University. She is the author of The Matrimonial Trap: Eighteenth-Century Women Writers Redefine Marriage (2013) and of several articles on gender issues and interpersonal relationships in eighteenth-century literature. She leads comprehensive internationalization at Middle Georgia State University, administering study abroad programs, international service-learning programs, and international student services. Her teaching interests include book history, gender and sexuality, eighteenthcentury literature, and scholarly writing.

GENERAL EDITOR’S PREFACE JOANNE M. FERRARO

The six-volume Bloomsbury Academic Cultural History of Marriage series is designed for both students and scholars of history, gender and cultural studies, anthropology, sociology, and related disciplines. Its chronological boundaries and periodization are in accordance with the various other Bloomsbury Academic history series. While the volumes are implicitly Western and European in chronological perspective, the contributors have made strenuous efforts to make world comparisons where appropriate; to be mindful of religious differences where possible; and to reach across the disciplines. Together they offer a set of peer-reviewed original works of synthesis and interpretation that engage recent scholarship and use representative primary sources. With a uniform set of themes in mind, each of the six volumes contains the same chapter titles so that readers can explore a particular topic across the entire series. Each chapter offers an overview of a theme as well as a wide range of case material derived from original research. There are eight common areas of investigation. The volumes open with a chapter on the preludes to marriage in the way of courtship and rites. Two chapters follow, covering the evolution of law and practice in both the religious and secular spheres, respectively; examining how authorities made marital consent binding; and exploring the ways in which clerics and secular officials attempted to regulate the behavior of wives and husbands. The fourth chapter, “The Ties that Bind,” encompasses a broad spectrum of behavior, situating marital unions within the context of kinship groups and social networks as well as amidst alliances of property and power. Marriage as an economic contract and unit of production and reproduction is the general theme of the fifth chapter, “The Family Economy,” and includes the subjects of dowry and estate management as well as the role of wives and husbands in income-producing activities and child rearing. While marriage legitimized sexual relations, whether or not it included love in times past continues to be the subject of vigorous debate, particularly for the period preceding the eighteenth century. In the sixth chapter, “Love, Sex, and Sexuality,” historians tread cautiously, examining the quality of marriage and sexual relations on a case by case basis as well as reviewing expected, albeit ideal, norms in contrast to practice. Extramarital sex is also treated under this rubric and connects well with the theme of the seventh chapter, “Breaking Vows” through separation and divorce. Finally, the eighth chapter explores the myriad ways that marriage was represented in art, material culture, theater and literature. The contributors have availed themselves of a wide array of both prescriptive and descriptive sources. Among the former are biblical, classical, and religious texts; legal treatises and legislation; and an assortment of mythological, literary, and artistic works. These documents and visual materials often represent the ideal templates of an age, such as the cloistered maiden, the faithful wife, or the successful husband. Among the descriptive

xii

GENERAL EDITOR’S PREFACE

sources are letters and diaries as well as court testimonies from archival repositories; ledgers and account books; ecclesiastical records of marriage and marital litigation; and for the Modern age, film as well as digital media. Their descriptions often transcend the ideal templates offered in prescriptive writings and afford insights into the realities of social experience. They shed light on human behavior and the ways in which women and men negotiated and contested the enforcement of formal laws and parental authority. It is important to note, however, that there are fewer such sources for the classical period, wherein scholars often must rely more heavily on artifacts, while the number of available textual sources steadily increases over time. In tracing the evolution of marriage over the long term, the series highlights no less than sweeping changes in its significance to religious and secular institutions, to family status and estate management, and to the affective desires of women and men. Marriage was not available to everyone; opportunities were heavily dependent on financial means. Further, gender and social class were important determinants of marital experience and thus are important categories of analysis throughout the series. In principle men enjoyed more freedom within the conjugal bond than women, and free people had more flexibility than slaves or serfs. Yet it remains important to nuance such generalities by devoting close attention to regional differences as well as to the social and political status of individuals. Contributors in Volume 1, covering Antiquity, for example, have found that in contrast to Greece or Rome slaves in Ptolemaic Egypt could marry. These scholars have also determined that consent to marry was important in the Greco-Roman world, but nonetheless elite men as well as elite women were obliged to respect the priorities of their families and given little choice in the selection of spouses. Their marriages were arranged without a period of courtship, an experience that might possibly evolve within the union over time. It was not a sacrament but, rather, a legal transaction that provided for the transfer of property and the reproduction of the male line. Beyond family interests, marriage was of central importance to both community and state; the primary means of creating new households and citizens. It was fundamentally a patriarchal institution. However, scholars in Volume 1 suggest that the happiest marriages were in feminine hands. The period between 500 and 1450, termed broadly the Medieval Age in Volume 2, witnessed a dramatic change in perceptions of the institution of marriage in Christian communities. The transformation was in large part a product of the growth of the Christian church both as an institution and as a primary organizing principle for European society. Between roughly the sixth and eleventh centuries prelates gradually converted the pagan tribes of the West to Christianity. Irish monks, with reinforcement from the Franks, fostered and defended the spread of the new creed in the face of non-Christian invaders, making it the majority religion. Religious men preserved classical scholarship and oversaw the administration of secular government. Importantly, they were the dominant sponsors of cultural advancement in art, philosophy, and political ideology, all infused with Christian themes. In the social sphere they slowly but persistently regulated marital life, insisting on free will, even for serfs, and that a valid marriage require the mutual consent of the couple. The philosophical, theological, and legal developments that unfolded between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries solidified the church’s position as a dominant force in social life, influencing sexual norms, family economy, relations between the state and the individual, and transforming both liturgy and iconography. Insofar as marriage was concerned several developments stand out: the establishment of incest restrictions that set the kinship boundaries for marriage; the insistence on

GENERAL EDITOR’S PREFACE

xiii

free will; and the declaration that marriage was a sacrament, where the consent of the couple rendered it legally and spiritually binding before God. The twelfth and thirteenth centuries in particular witnessed changes in theologians’ understanding of canon law and with them the conjugal union became central to discussions about salvation. Marriage was both a spiritual and physical state of mind. Spiritually it was to reflect Christ’s loving relationship with the church, something that both the various members of the clergy and the laity could experience. However, while the clergy were bound by vows of celibacy, the laity were taught that monogamous marriage was the only place for sexual activity, and its sole purpose was for procreation. In the West a further proviso was established that veered away from the Gospels and the teachings of St. Paul: marriage could not be dissolved. This remained in stark contrast to both Greek Orthodox, Judaic, and Muslim traditions. The economic, intellectual, and religious reorganization of western European society that took place between 1450 and 1650, described generally in Volume 3 as the Renaissance and Early Modern Age, brought the parameters of marriage instituted by the medieval church under scrutiny. The period witnessed a commercial revolution that gave rise to a more literate and secular-minded professional class in Europe’s urban centers; the expansion of Europe to the Americas, Africa, and Asia; and a new approach to education termed humanism that, together with the scientific revolution, challenged medieval scholastic epistemology. With the rise of secularism both materially and intellectually, theologians and jurists debated over whether marriage was a sacrament or a contract. For many families it was a means of guarding or improving their social and political positions as well as their financial status. Thus parental control over the choice of their children’s spouses was tantamount, making notarial contracts essential. This more secular model of marriage challenged the church’s jurisdictional claims of primacy and conflicted with the religious mandate that only the verbal consent of bride and groom was required in order to make the union valid. For young couples, privileging the contract over the sacrament exacerbated the conflict over free choice and parental control. These tensions were particularly high among the classes of economic substance, such as the nobility or the commercial and juridical elites. The Protestant Reformation introduced a second challenge to the medieval parameters of marriage: the possibility of divorce. The practice was largely limited during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries but nonetheless a dramatic conceptual break with the medieval past. Divorce in Protestant areas of Europe recognized the possibility of failed marriage. It was not necessarily under the sole jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts. In some places secular consistories also heard petitions to dissolve marital unions. In Catholic areas, on the other hand, ecclesiastical tribunals sometimes granted a separation of bed and board, but the institution of marriage remained permanent in the eyes of God. Ecclesiastical courts also judged whether marital unions were legally valid and binding. Betrothals, promises to marry, and the marriage rite itself had unfolded throughout the Middle Ages in a variety of ways, reflecting both regional and confessional differences but also the urgency in some cases to have sexual relations prior to wedlock. When one partner, generally the man, reneged on the promise the litigation reached the ecclesiastical court. The flood of breech of promise suits and general confusion over whether couples were in a binding relationship led Catholic theologians to regularize the form of marriage at the Council of Trent in 1563. Prelates laid down some basic requirements: publication of the banns three times in the parish where the marriage would take place; the presence of a prelate and witnesses at the service; and the couple’s verbal expression of mutual consent.

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The marriage also had to be consummated and registered. Ironically, the regularization of marriage rites also led to a proliferation of petitions to annul unions, ostensibly because couples had not followed the prescribed form. The conflict between religious and secular models of marriage and between free will and parental control remained unresolved throughout the Renaissance and Early Modern Age and continued into the Age of Enlightenment, 1650–1800. The main issue, treated in detail in Volume 4, became whether marriage could be an affective bond and the fruit of love rather than an arranged match. Historians of that period are still debating whether marriage was a cold, business affair or filled with love and affection. Obviously no one model applies. However, the contributors in Volume 4 find that by the late eighteenth century there was greater emphasis on marrying for love, a trend that intertwined with historic economic developments and new Enlightenment ideals. Europe was expanding both economically and territorially, and there was a growing trend to allow free choice away from paternal authority. This did not break the religious stranglehold on marriage but it did attenuate it in some areas of the European continent. The Age of Empires, 1800–1900, also witnessed several changes in the domain of marriage. Generally, government and secular law took on greater influence in the regulation of conjugal unions than in the past. The introduction of civil marriage made registration by the state compulsory, a development that encouraged the practice of civil ceremonies. In some areas, however, common-law marriage prevailed over unions concluded under government supervision, while in others the influence of religion and religious rites remained substantial. The idea of romantic love, introduced in earlier times, featured prominently during this “Age of Romanticism,” particularly in literature and theater. Novel plots where lovers played a leading role more often than not ended happily. Nonetheless, in some parts of the world marriage was still arranged by the parents of the couple, keeping in mind the exchange and extension of wealth and labor power as well as the future of the family lines. The opportunities for premarital sex varied from place to place. Where individuals married young there was no room for romance or sexuality prior to the wedding. Southeast Asia, Japan, Polynesia, and parts of Africa, North American, and Europe afforded some ritualized opportunities for sexual experience before marriage in the form of “night courting.” Peers of the unmarried couple would supervise the activities in hopes of preventing unwanted pregnancies. In Western societies experiencing greater rural-to-urban migration and urbanization, the incidence of out-ofwedlock fertility rose, reaching its peak in the latter half of the nineteenth century with the introduction of birth control. The stigma of such pregnancies, however, prevailed and contributed to the spread of sexually repressive codes both in Europe and its colonies. The later nineteenth century also witnessed an increase in divorce, signaling a weakening of marriage as an institution and presaging what was to come in the twentieth century. Perhaps the most sweeping change in the institution of marriage during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, featured in the scholarship of Volume 6, The Modern Age, is that it was no longer the central organizing principle of social life. With the increasing autonomy of individuals, many people have chosen not to marry, living life as singles or simply cohabiting with a partner. It is not uncommon for individuals to have multiple sexual relationships over their life cycles or for childbearing to take place outside of marriage. A variety of factors have undermined both marriage and close connections with kin. Among them, globalization, improved means of long-distance transportation, and shifting labor opportunities, developments that have resulted in people leaving their natal villages, towns, and cities to settle in other far-off places, where family bonds are less

GENERAL EDITOR’S PREFACE

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accessible and there is less social pressure to conform to tradition. In this context kinship groups have become less cohesive, and the extended family has given way to nuclear units or individual autonomy. Increasing opportunities for women in the labor force, especially during the twenty-first century, have also contributed to changes in the nature or necessity of marriage. Women are less dependent on having husbands and are more reluctant to subscribe to the rigid gender roles of times past. The second-wave feminist movement of the late twentieth century has been critical in challenging patriarchal authority and in defining new roles for women in family and society. More women are obtaining advanced degrees and participating in the labor force. Finally, the twentieth and twentyfirst centuries have also witnessed no less than a revolution in the recognition of the complexities of human sexuality. The LGBTQ movements have liberated individuals to have sexual relationships and bear children with preferred partners, and in many countries same-sex marriage has become legal. These dramatic changes have not come without turmoil, and religious leaders, politicians, civic authorities, the media, communities, and individuals continue to question the origins and meaning of marriage and to attempt to define its parameters and purpose. Thus Bloomsbury Academic’s Cultural History of Marriage constitutes a timely and important body of scholarship addressing the ongoing debates of a broad segment of society today.

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Introduction EDWARD BEHREND-MARTÍNEZ

This book’s title, A Cultural History of Marriage: The Age of Enlightenment refers to developments in the institution of marriage during the century and a half beginning around 1650 and ending roughly in 1800. The “Age of Enlightenment” is a phrase loaded with value claims. At the very least an “Age of Enlightenment” must follow an age of something darker, but even during the eighteenth century there was much debate about what “Enlightenment” meant.1 In the traditional narrative of Western history, though, this period has come to be associated with the triumph of reason over superstition, the beginnings of new, more efficient methods of manufacture and production, observable science over blind faith, civilization over barbarism, democracy over tyranny, individual freedom over subjugation, and even the victory of the human “pursuit of happiness.” Many scholars argue that marriage—its definition, its entering into, the living of it—also experienced happy changes during this era: love and affection took hold as its basis after centuries of millions of miserable unions. Generations of historians, from Lawrence Stone in the 1960s to, more recently, Stephanie Coontz, have also applied this optimistic story of the eighteenth century to the history of marriage. Most of the chapters in this book demonstrate, in one way or another, that the Age of Enlightenment was when—as Coontz so forcefully put it—“Love conquered marriage.”2 This was the sentiment celebrated by the British panegyric “The Pleasures of the Married State” around 1770 (Figure I.1): A Wife so chaste, so tender, and so kind, So lovely in her Person, and her mind; The gentle smiling Girl, the pratling Boy, The father’s comfort, and the Mother’s joy; Are blessed Guardians ‘gainst all human woes, Unknown to idle Rakes, to Fops, and Beaus; These are the Pleasures of the Social State, View this you Batchelors and mourn your fate. But had marriage really changed so much and was life that much more “civilized” in the eighteenth century? People living during the decades before the “Age of Enlightenment” lived through many awful events: during the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48) Catholics and Protestants slaughtered hundreds of thousands of one another, primarily in central and northern Europe, Belgium, and the Netherlands. In the 1640s England fought its Civil War, which was also steeped in bloodshed. After that Oliver Cromwell’s conquest of Ireland brought more bloodshed to Ireland. Before 1650 European towns, bishops, and parishes burned tens of thousands of witches—most of them women—again throughout the British Isles and Europe, but especially in the north. By 1650 the Spanish and Portuguese colonization of the Americas, whose brutal conquests also introduced dozens of deadly diseases, resulted in the deaths of millions of people and the annihilation of hundreds of their languages and cultures. So it is not without basis that life at the end of the seventeenth century did look appreciably better, all things considered.

2

A CULTURAL HISTORY OF MARRIAGE IN THE AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT

FIGURE I.1:  W. Proud, The Pleasures of the Married State, c. 1780, printed for Robert Sayer and Jonathan Smith, London. The Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons.

Introduction

3

But history depends a great deal on one’s perspective, and though it would be difficult to argue that Enlightenment tropes promoting individual liberty and love were not “good” developments, the Age of Enlightenment also witnessed a great many “dark” societal changes: the exponential growth of the slave trade occurred precisely in the Age of Enlightenment, and with it the crystallization of modern ideas about race and power; humanity’s new found ability to destroy ecologies and species was realized across the globe, from the deforestation of England to the first modern human caused extinction of several entire species beginning with, for examples, the Pacific Sea Cow and the Dodo; millions of peoples around the world did not necessarily benefit from the “pursuit of happiness” under new European domination—in Africa, India, Australia, and East Asia. So we must be careful about finding the good news that we want to find in eighteenth-century developments. No historian today would be foolish enough to argue that marriages before 1650 were loveless, or that passionate love is even today the most important ingredient of modern marriage. Therefore, there are many caveats to be made in our exploration of the triumph of love in marriage during the eighteenth century.

MARRIAGE IN AN AGE OF EXPANSION As a fundamental institution of daily life, marriage in the eighteenth century was intertwined with historic economic developments. New Enlightenment ideals and rhetoric on matrimony and family life emerged within the context of the material and demographic forces that reshaped the lives of millions of people during the eighteenth century. Europe expanded economically and territorially throughout the period from 1650 to 1800. Capitalism undergirded many of the new ways intellectuals and everyone else discussed, lived, and thought about marriage in the 1700s. Adam Smith (1723–90), for instance, like many other writers of his century, saw multiplying marriages as critical for the production of new laborers and thus new wealth: We should not call a marriage barren or unproductive, though it produced only a son and a daughter, to replace the father and mother … As a marriage which affords three children is certainly more productive than one which affords only two; so the labor of farmers and country laborers is certainly more productive than that of merchants, artificers and manufacturers.3 Smith was influenced in his views on marriage by Scottish minister Robert Wallace who observed that “As the number of people in every nation depends most immediately on the number and fruitfulness of marriages, and the encouragement that is given to marry, wherever the greatest care is taken in this respect, the number of people … shall be greatest.”4 Happiness—love—held a direct relationship to marriage in Smith and Wallace’s economic thinking. They assumed that happily married laborers would have more children, while miserable spouses would neither be as productive nor as reproductive. Like Smith and Wallace, early modern French and Spanish commentators saw a clear link between national wealth and the popularity and fecundity of marriages. For much of the seventeenth century they worried about the decline in their respective nations’ power, which they often blamed on the lack of marriages, late marriages, and especially clerical celibacy. Montesquieu, speaking through one of his characters, worried that “Spain, once so densely populated, offers today’s travelers uninhabited countryside; and France is nothing compared with that ancient Gaul described by Caesar.”5 Sometimes they blamed

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the paucity of marriages on the costs that husbands bore in maintaining a wife, which led them to blame expensive new fashions in women’s dress. Pronatalism, of a sort, was the basis of many philosophe arguments for divorce, because divorces would end sterile unions and allow remarriage, creating fruitful couples. And they targeted the clerical estate as especially un(re)productive. Although a culture of capitalist practices—the urge to invest, trade, be frugal, and seek efficiencies—began in earlier centuries, the eighteenth century witnessed a true boom in the capitalist accumulation of wealth for several reasons: colonial expansion, increases in productivity, and population growth. The most lucrative capitalist opportunities resulted from European colonialism. British, French, Dutch, Russian, Portuguese—in fact, all European colonial empires underwent enormous expansions beginning in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The older Iberian colonial empires of Portugal and Spain experienced a burst of rejuvenated vigor and succeeded in squeezing ever more wealth from their sprawling oversea territories.6 The British and French empires would begin to surpass them in wealth, if not in size, bringing more and more areas of the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Australia under their colonial control. And Russia was expanding eastward, finding substantial wealth in the north Pacific. Trade in cotton, furs, sugar, tobacco, indigo, spices, and many other commodities brought immense economic opportunities. The enslavement of and trade in African peoples mushroomed, generating more wealth for Europeans and fueling the economies of the plantation societies of the Americas, Caribbean, and Atlantic islands. At the same time the slave trade complicated colonial social hierarchies and politics. The wealth that flowed into Europe and the consumerism it generated, in turn, stimulated local traditional economies—everything from lace-making to mining to arms manufacture—throughout Europe. Such wealth also kindled further international trade with economies and markets around the globe. Colonial profits especially flowed into European metropoles, such as London, Paris, Amsterdam, Lisbon, and Seville. And wealth also accumulated in colonial outposts as well as in, for example, Boston, New York, Havana, and New Orleans. These cities grew and became cosmopolitan crucibles for novel new social ideals, such as marrying only for love and having sex only for pleasure. Demographic expansion occurred nearly everywhere. Following a century of population stagnation and even decline due to plague, bad harvests, and devastating wars from the 1580s to 1680s, most European populations demonstrated robust growth during the eighteenth century. This was, in part, a result of new and more dependable foodstuffs and/or fodder foods like maize and the potato. In Europe maize, for instance, grew well on otherwise marginal soil, resulting in small population booms among the peoples living in the rocky slopes of alpine regions, as in northern Spain. The potato revolutionized and enriched the diets of peasants everywhere. More dependable sources of food and wages allowed couples to marry younger. Population growth also likely occurred during the 1700s because the average age of marriage among working-class women fell from the mid- to low twenties in some parts of Europe.7 But demographic growth was also due to the waning of some scourges, such as bubonic plague, that had ceased to permeate Europe by the early eighteenth century. Its last great outbreak was in Marseille in 1720. Like Europe, Africa and Asia experienced population growth during the eighteenth century. Colonial populations also grew during the Age of Enlightenment. In Mexico and Peru the population plunges—the millions of deaths from disease, war, and exploitation— that characterized the Spanish Empire during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries,

Introduction

5

for example, had reversed during the mid-seventeenth century. More people naturally translated into greater markets, more consumers, and growing numbers of laborers. Certainly, as we have seen, capitalism was the new phenomenon that many historians have credited to explain how eighteenth-century Europeans could begin dreaming about marrying for love rather than property. Movable wealth—in the form of capital for the wealthy and in the form of wage labor for the poor—expanded the pool of individuals whom people could marry. Wealth and wage labor also expanded the geographical reach of everyone’s “marriage market.” Historical demographer Bridget Hill explains that “The earlier assumption that marriage involved the creation of a new household, acquired either by inheritance or by saving over a considerable period of time, was becoming less valid.”8 A new class of capitalists were not as tied to landed property and family political interests as older aristocratic elites. This economic freedom, then, allowed them to seek spouses who genuinely made them happy—if not through love then at least through an affectionate, personal connection. The argument that the economic freedom unleashed by capitalism allowed people to dream of the romantic freedom to marry for love has been repeatedly made by various historians since Lawrence Stone proposed it in the 1960s. In a careful study of the Swiss diocese of Neuchâtel, for instance, Jeffrey Watt compared marriages made in the sixteenth century to those in the eighteenth. He concluded that ordinary folk were able to marry more for reasons of sentiment than property in the latter period.9 This was due mainly to changes in the economy and new opportunities for laborers. Although capitalism was one way that European expansion changed marriage, colonialism affected marriage in other ways as well. The encounters that Europeans had with other cultures and societies led Enlightenment thinkers to question the naturalness of European sexual and marital arrangements. Was monogamy right and natural, or did it limit individual freedom and pervert and artificially limit human sexual appetites? Peoples around the world practiced many long-held marital traditions that contradicted European practices. Since the beginning of the age of exploration publishers had disseminated a great deal of travel literature throughout Europe. Along with the rest of the economy, readership and the number of books boomed during the eighteenth century. More and more Europeans read about foreign ways of life that depicted marital traditions of polygamy, divorce, child marriage, even same-sex pairings, or the murder of widows. The popularity of such writings was imitated by Montesquieu in his Persian Letters of 1721. In it he describes the reactions of two Persians as they travel throughout France. Montesquieu used these fictional foreigners as mediums to debate the rationality of the French culture of marriage. On divorce, for example, Montesquieu’s character Usbek ponders: Divorce was permitted by the pagan religion, and forbidden to Christians. This change, which at first seemed to be of such trivial importance, very gradually came to have terrible consequences, consequences, of a kind that almost defy belief. Not only did [the prohibition against divorce] rob marriage of its sweetness, it also attacked its purpose; in attempting to strengthen its bonds, it weakened them; and instead of uniting hearts, as was the intention, it divided them for ever.10 The European encounter with cultures around the world, then, allowed for a continual reassessment of traditional institutions such as marriage. It also created a rhetoric defending European marriage as superior to and evidence of civilization as opposed to the “barbaric” marital practices of non-Europeans.

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Marriages had been used to gain power from time immemorial—“Let others wage war: thou, happy Austria, marry”—so it is not surprising that marriage was also a key tool of colonial expansion. For many European traders and colonists, intermarriage with locals, and especially local elites, allowed them to solidify connections and gain access to indigenous networks of trade and power. Alternatively, marriages were made to segregate Europeans living within colonial contexts. Homogeneous European marriages and the households they established created new European societies in new lands. In many more direct encounters, most especially within European colonial societies, Europeans, Africans, Amerindians, and Asians crossed old cultural boundaries and constructed new ones; marriage was often the medium of exchange and/or the borderline that limited contact. Perhaps the most revealing colonial phenomena along these lines were Spanish attempts to define a caste system in the Americas throughout the eighteenth century. Colonial Spanish elites—viceroys, bishops, governors—tried to make sense of the decades and centuries of racial intermixing in the New World by categorizing and naming the human progeny of different admixtures. Often an infant’s casta would be recorded when parents presented them to be baptized. These categories were also, now famously, illustrated, not as individuals by type but as married couples, in several different series of etchings and paintings known as casta paintings. Several historians have seen in casta painting an embrace of a racially diverse colonial society. However, the people who commissioned such works could not have been simply interested in showing how to recognize each casta: castas were formulaically shown in sixteen frames of mixed, marital pairings (Figure I.2). Rather, casta painting intended to announce how colonial subjects should consider castas within the marriage market. These casta illustrations revealed not only the skin color and facial features of the various castas, but also the dress and paraphernalia that announced each caste’s typical wealth, profession, and status; Spaniard and Indian produce a mestizo (Figure I.3); mestizo and Spaniard produce a castizo; Spaniard and mora (Black) produce a mulato; Indian and mestizo produce a coyote, etc. The combinations went on and on, leading to dozens of idiosyncratic terms. The illustration of castas was far from a celebration of racial hybridity. Rather, casta paintings and codification were, arguably, an attempt to control and define, and probably warn Europeans about the advantages and disadvantages of marriages made to people of different castes, but also announced a new interest of the elites to control colonial marriages and shape their consequences. It visually educated colonials as to how the caste system could be used for purposes of social mobility, either up or down the colonial social scale. Of course, the randomness of biological inheritance and genetics eventually made a farce of these colonial efforts to label hybridized individuals. However, the definition and illustration of casta marital parings is an excellent example of the Enlightenment project itself. Casta paintings illustrate the Enlightenment era’s urge to know, define, and, most importantly, educate. The casta system challenged colonial subjects to learn to regulate their lust by showing them the consequences of their romantic desires. This trend bears out Michel Foucault’s characterization of the eighteenth century as an era that promoted self-regulatory practices, channeling people’s biological desires into rational, productive forces. In other words, instead of pursuing happiness, the point was to harness the power of happiness. The rationalistic obsession with knowing about different caste pairings: measuring, categorizing, and defining the natural and human world was part and parcel of the Age of Enlightenment, as demonstrated by Linnaeus.

Introduction

FIGURE I.2:  Unknown artist, Pintura de castas con todas las 16 combinaciones (Painting of all the 16 combinations of castes), eighteenth century, Museo Nacional del Virreinato, Tepotzotlán, Mexico.

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A CULTURAL HISTORY OF MARRIAGE IN THE AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT

FIGURE I.3:  Anonymous, De español y india sale mestizo (From a Spaniard and an Indian comes a Mestizo), 1799, Biblioteca Museu Víctor Balaguer, Barcelona. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

FROM KINGDOMS IN MINIATURE TO SOCIAL CONTRACTS The most revealing principle in how authors, artists, clerics, and statesmen understood marriage in the eighteenth century was that they saw it not simply as a metaphor for society but an actual society in its tiniest form. Marriage was not like government, marriage was government. Any discussion of authority in the nation or society as a whole demanded that it find its parallel in a debate regarding marriage and the family. Arguments against slavery naturally led to debates over wives as slaves to their husbands. Criticism of monarchical authority necessitated scrutinizing the patriarchal authority over wives and children. Celebrating republican forms of government led to seeing marriages as tiny republics, of wives and children as citizens, of marriage contracts as signed constitutions. Today this connection between marriage and government—although it still appears in debates over marriage and fears of the ever impending demise of matrimony—is overshadowed by our modern emphasis on marriage as a vehicle providing us with lifelong love and affection. In other words, we think of marriage as existing for the benefit of individuals today and their personal fulfillment and happiness rather than for the good of society. But in the eighteenth century and earlier, the fact that marriage formed the foundation

Introduction

9

of government was far more apparent than today. Marriages created families, established households, hired servants, ran farms, estates, businesses, and commercial and political dynasties. Any change in government affected marriage and vice versa. As Enlightenment authors discussed new forms of government their views of marriage responded in kind. The proliferation in the Americas of entire colonial societies based on slavery caused many Europeans during the Age of Enlightenment to use slavery as a foil to discuss the institution of matrimony. Mary Astell (1666–1731) made, perhaps, the strongest condemnation of patriarchal authority over women by linking slavery and matrimony. In 1700 Astell asked “If all Men are born Free, how is it that all Women are born Slaves? … And why is Slavery so much condemn’d and strove against in one Case, and so highly applauded, and held so necessary and so sacred in another.”11 Using slavery to condemn the tyranny that husbands held over wives, though, was not simply a rhetorical strategy relegated to published Enlightenment debates. Slavery in the eighteenth century was clearly a common touchstone in everyday discourse, as in the demand by subordinates not to be treated “as a slave.” Wives and their lawyers, when they pleaded cases for marital separations, for instance, made accusations that this or that husband treated his wife beneath her station “as if she were a slave.”12 For philosophes the threat of monarchical absolutism was a major topic and their rhetoric about it often involved marriage and the family. Montesquieu, again in The Persian Letters, used polygamy, in the form of his Persian characters’ harems, as a metaphor for the French king’s absolutism. The single Persian husband’s authority over his unhappy wives, locked in their seraglio, guarded by eunuchs (a metaphor for the celibate French clergy) appeared to his European audience as clearly tyrannical. Like the distant Catholic French king at Versailles was separated from his subjects and their misery, Montesquieu’s Persian travelers were husbands to many imprisoned women. They neglected to love their subjugated wives, leaving them quarrelsome, distant, unproductive, and unsatisfied. Montesquieu hints at a better marital arrangement of power and therefore a better division of power in government. Debating the proper relationship between husband and wife, Montesquieu’s character Rica muses: However much this may shock our national character, we must admit that in the case of the most civilized races, women have always had authority over their husbands: the Egyptians established this authority by law honouring Isis, while the Babylonians made a similar law in honour of Semiramis. Of the Romans it was said that they held dominion over all nations, but that they obeyed their wives.13 By the end of the century it was not simply slavery and the church that came under fire for promoting marital despotism, but some writers attacked the tyrannical foundations of the state itself and along with it marriage as an institution. It should come as no surprise, for instance, that an early London anarchist like William Godwin (1756–1836), who questioned the necessity of the state and advocated the dissolution of government, also condemned the institution of marriage itself: The evil of marriage, as it is practiced in the European countries, extends further than we have yet described. The method is, for a thoughtless and romantic youth of each sex, to come together, to see each other, for a few times, and under circumstances, full of delusion, and then to vow eternal attachment. … So long as I seek, by despotic and artificial means, to maintain my possession of a woman, I am guilty of the most odious selfishness.14

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Nevertheless, the radical William Godwin married. In fact, he married Mary Wollstonecraft, another famous radical, in 1797. Wollstonecraft was skeptical of passions, sexual and otherwise. If dispassionate government was good, she reasoned, so was dispassionate marriage. Most male Enlightenment writers, like Montesquieu and Godwin above, lamented the shackles that marriage placed on, presumably male, sexuality; so they often advocated for divorce to give spouses the freedom to find “love” elsewhere. One suspects these men had in mind something less elevated than love, and with someone probably younger. Wollstonecraft, however, in her discussion of sex and marriage, separated lust from love, passion from reason. She had a kinder vision of marriage than her husband Godwin and many other authors who described marriage as more often a prison than a happy union. Wollstonecraft argued that it was good that marriage allowed passions to dissipate, comparing this also to good government: governmental institutions were best when they cooled human passions and conducted business through reason. For Wollstonecraft, the fact that marriage killed lustful, youthful passion was part of its genius: The passion, naturally increased by suspense and difficulties, draws the mind out of its accustomed state, and exalts the affections; but the security of marriage, allowing the fever of love to subside, a healthy temperature is thought insipid, only by those who have not sufficient intellect to substitute the calm tenderness of friendship, the confidence of respect, instead of blind admiration, and the sensual emotions of fondness.15 Perhaps the most liberal and revolutionary reform of marriage was one envisioned by Olympe de Gouges, the famous French revolutionary woman and feminist who authored The Declaration of the Rights of Woman and Female Citizen. In her assessment of marriage, Gouges, like most authors before her, assumed that the new way France was to be governed had to be reflected in family governance as well. If the French revolutionaries asserted that government was a contract established between citizens and the state, as laid out by the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, then marriages also needed to be established on a similar basis. Gouges preferred not to call her vision for future unions “marriages” at all, but following Rousseau, she called her template a “Form of the Social Contract between the Man and the Woman.” The form made marriage a simple contract that treated each spouse with complete political and financial equality, based on their own individual free will. Tellingly, Gouges was as interested in including language dealing with the status of children and inheritance as she was the relationship between husband and wife: [1] We, name and name, unite with one another of our own free will, [2] for the length of our lives and for the duration of our mutual inclinations, on the following conditions: [3] We understand that we willingly put our fortunes into communal ownership, reserving for ourselves, however, the right to separate them in favour of our children and those persons for whom we may have a particular inclination … [5] In case [our union ends in] a separation, we also obligate ourselves to divide our wealth and to set aside for our children the portion that is specified by the law. [6] In the case of a lasting union, the one who dies first will divest himself of half his property in favour of his children.16 Read today, Gouges’s form appears amazingly ahead of its time. In her own day, however, Gouges’s outspoken demand that women be treated as complete equals to

Introduction

11

men in marriage and society either seemed absurd, annoying, or utterly terrifying to revolutionary men. In 1793, the Jacobins silenced Gouges with the guillotine along with several other prominent revolutionary women and shut down women’s revolutionary clubs.17

MARRIAGE IN TRANSITION Each of this volume’s chapters deals with the Age of Enlightenment according to themes shared by the other books in the A Cultural History of Marriage series. Readers can therefore follow a theme—“Courtship and Ritual” for instance—through time rather than dealing with the various developments within a single historical period. There has also been a conscious effort made to include various scholarly perspectives, spanning literature, art, history, law, and economics. Geographic breadth has also been sought, and while several chapters focus on England, others concentrate on the Americas, France, Scandinavia, and Continental European developments. Most of this volume’s chapters deal, in one way or another, with the growing European trend that allowed people of many levels of society more individual choice in whom they would marry. In Chapter One, “Courtship and Ritual: Eighteenth-Century English Literature and the Reinvention of Courtship,” Laura Thomason looks at literary examples, novels, and plays from eighteenth-century England to explore how ideals about marital choice were in flux. The traditional roles that families and parents played arranging their children’s marriage were changing. While parental concerns had usually emphasized the importance of the status and property of male suitors who sought their daughters’ hands in marriage, they began to show more and more concern for the opinions and happiness of the prospective brides. In these idealized literary depictions a woman’s—or man’s—happiness would no longer necessarily take a back seat to the weighty demands of property and propriety. Or when property is preferred over affection, it is portrayed as tragic. In Chapter Two, “Religion,” I explore how marriage both became nominally more secular over the course of the eighteenth century but also, on the ground level, was still a deeply religious institution for the vast majority of people. I do this by juxtaposing the realization of liberal ideals of matrimony during the French and American revolutions with the day-to-day regulation of marriages in rural France and Spain by the Catholic Church. We find that there was a lot of distance between exciting Enlightenment suggestions for changing marriage and the actual experiences within marriages for people during the eighteenth century. The intellectual trends, publications, and developments in novels and literature may have presaged changes to marriage, but religion would continue to have a stranglehold on marriage throughout the period. Despite the fact that people have been marrying for thousands of years, and most people think of it as a fundamental social institution, marriage itself has been far from a universal constant. Marital law changed from nation to nation and decade to decade during the Age of Enlightenment. In Chapter Three, “State and Law,” Rebecca Probert explores the ways that the English courts and government debated, redefined, and conceptualized marital law during this period. Whether or not one could marry or divorce, with or without parental and/or ecclesiastical approval, depended on what side of a border one was on and what jurisdiction one was in. Probert provides the European legal traditions that helped shape English marital law and the many historical events that changed marital law in that country.

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English lawmakers debated whether marriage was an institution derived from natural law or customary law or from the church. To prevent people from marrying too quickly and easily, for example, the English Parliament passed Lord Hardwicke’s Act of 1753, reasserting the church’s role in marrying people. Several other authors in this volume point to the Hardwicke Act as having had a great influence on marriage in Britain during the eighteenth century, including Kimberly Schutte in Chapter Four, “The Ties that Bind: Money and Love in Western Europe.” Schutte explores how western European families reproduced family networks and inheritances over generations, bolstering and perpetuating patriarchal households. Several factors determined marriage choices between 1650 and 1800—money, status, dowries, etc.—but, she argues, these considerations slowly made room for romantic and affectionate desires. Schutte draws on a wide variety of sources including legal codes, case histories, letters, and literature to outline the eighteenth-century transition to the “love match.” In Chapter Five, “The Family Economy,” Maria Ågren explores eighteenth-century marriage from the perspective of household economics and family labor. She provides an in-depth explanation of the factors that affected financial stresses and work strategies for ordinary men and women from throughout western and northern Europe in the eighteenth century. Ågren shows how, for many families, the eighteenth-century transition meant more and more economic insecurity rather than self-sufficiency. Families needed to be resilient, and their efforts included supplementing agricultural work with work outside the home and, increasingly, cottage industries. Marriage, effectively uniting the goods and diverse work of the marital couple and their offspring, served as an essential institution that gave households the wherewithal to survive. Under constant financial pressures, families relied on the diversity of their skills and laborers (i.e., children) in flexible ways to earn income and provide for themselves when grappling with outside economic forces. Finally, Ågren describes how the spatial and institutional contexts affected and challenged household economies and the institution of marriage in different areas of Europe. She concludes that marriage provided spouses many advantages over the unmarried in terms of jobs, opportunities, and access to crucial social and financial networks. Katherine Crawford tackles the historical questions about the alleged new importance of love and affection in marriage in Chapter Six, “Love, Sex, and Sexuality 1650–1800.” To do this Crawford looks at a diverse array of literature and sources produced in many European national contexts to illustrate marital romantic and sexual mentalities. She concludes that, indeed, in the Age of Enlightenment marriages became the accepted place for the celebration of sentimental love. But more than this, Crawford argues that the new acceptance of marital sexuality as a natural good allowed for the discussion of many other forms of sexuality occurring outside marriage. This increased interest in the discussion of all kinds of sexual behavior and activity resulted in new sexual vocabulary and new identities based on sexual activity and desires. As Crawford puts it “marital normativity helped create non-normative sexual identity.” Enlightenment discourse on marriage and divorce was extremely influential in the newly formed United States of America, a topic explored in Chapter Seven. In “Breaking Vows: Divorce and Separation in the Postrevolutionary United States of America,” Allison Fredette argues that new Enlightenment ideals regarding the role of government and freedom in the early United States of America forged the nation’s new marital laws on divorce. Fredette illuminates the ways that debates over the contractual nature of marriage as well as values of individual liberty played out in actual court cases and the formation of early Virginia legislation on marriage. She uses a variety of divorce and

Introduction

13

separation cases from Virginia to show how local citizens and their marital problems tested postrevolutionary judges and courts. All participants in these cases—the litigants and the court functionaries—drew on Enlightenment and revolutionary rhetoric to make their cases for or against divorce, for the importance of contracts and individual rights. Chapter Eight, “Representations of Marriage,” returns to the question of new roles for sentiment and love in marriage in the Age of Enlightenment. Chris Roulston surveys the ways in which literature and the arts presented ideals of affection in marriage. Roulston shows that the widespread Enlightenment debates over marriage and divorce permeated many cultural mediums, from poetry to advice manuals to visual culture. She finds that the values traditionally espoused in literature and painting transitioned over the period from aristocratic norms like family alliances and patriarchy to the bourgeois ideals of love and choice. Roulston focuses on the English and French contexts, but hints at European and global marital trends more broadly. As this brief survey of chapter topics shows, the inescapable issues for scholars discussing marriage in the Age of Enlightenment remains the role of choice and love.

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CHAPTER ONE

Courtship and Ritual Eighteenth-Century English Literature and the Reinvention of Courtship LAURA E. THOMASON

The importance of courtship as subject matter for English literature is obvious to anyone who has observed the popularity of Jane Austen’s novels. A courtship culminating in a marriage is a useful narrative device, but more importantly the centrality of the subject to eighteenth-century literature reflects its centrality to the period’s thought. The eighteenth century was a turning point in the history of marriage: the choice of a marriage partner became accepted as an individual, rather than familial or social, decision. As marital choice gained currency, expectations about courtship changed. Women slowly gained more influence, but that influence was limited, contingent, and contested. A woman’s property in herself—her right to accept or reject a prospective spouse and to “dispose of herself” as she chose—became her stake in the marriage negotiation, giving her a brief moment of power between dutifully obeying as a daughter and doing the same as a wife. The literature of courtship both documents and drives this evolving situation. It looks backward both to test the complex situations of the present against the conservative norms of the past and to judge the value of tradition by the results that that tradition produces. Eighteenth-century courtship literature emphasizes the social context of courtship rather than the development of an interpersonal relationship. Mona Scheuermann explains that “the idea of courtship is generally attached to another, more compelling theme such as domination (Clarissa), or, more usually, money and making a living (Pride and Prejudice).”1 Literature shows us men and women—but especially women—attempting to integrate economic security, emotional satisfaction, and familial approval as they sought spouses. Women’s private and public writings attest that this emphasis in fiction mirrored real concerns about the challenge of reconciling personal desires with social expectations. For example, while Mary Delany called marriage “a state that should always be a matter of choice,” she recognized that women were too often “driven to the necessity of marrying,” as she had been: she was 17 when her uncle Lord Lansdown arranged her marriage to the 60-year-old Alexander Pendarves and made that marriage a condition of Lansdown’s continued financial support of Delany’s father.2 Delany’s experience is remarkable, yet it is

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illustrative of the concerns that made courtship and marriage such important literary subjects. Among the genteel classes whose lives are the subject of courtship literature, marriages buttressed a traditional, estate-based economy. The marriages that scholars now call “mercenary” or “prudential” consolidated and maintained estates through a system of legal settlements. The so-called strict settlement, typically drawn up at an eldest son’s marriage, established a life tenancy in an estate for the father, the son, and the unborn grandson. Strict settlements provided money known as “jointures” for wives who outlived their husbands and “portions” for daughters’ eventual marriage settlements. In most circumstances, women could not legally own property, and in the social classes with which literature concerned itself, they did not earn a living through work. Thus the marriage settlement was crucial to women’s financial security as well as to the maintenance of the estates system. Beyond the financial consequences, marriages based on strict settlements also helped to enforce class-based endogamy. John Habakkuk suggests that “the children of the landed family were unlikely to meet many contemporaries outside their social group sufficiently often to establish intimacy.”3 But the socioeconomic circumstances that Habakkuk identifies were changing. Minor landed gentry with large families could struggle economically, while successful businessmen sought opportunities to leverage themselves into gentility through marriage. A landed gentleman with a large family might consider a greater range of marriage partners for his children in the interest of securing both his estate and their futures. On the other hand, as Roy Porter explains, self-made men could not “count on marrying peers’ daughters, though in the next generation they might net a younger son of a needy peer as a match for their daughter, if she had a bulging dowry. It was the alliance of a gentleman’s son with a merchant’s daughter, the landed embracing the loaded, that was mariage à la mode.”4 For those who counted on and wished to preserve the endogamy that Habakkuk describes, the prospect of social mobility constituted one among several reasons to worry about changing courtship norms. But even within the boundaries of class, growing validation of what the eighteenth century called “sentiment” began to complicate the use of marriage to transmit estates.5 The value of an affective bond between spouses was particularly important to women, who saw that bond as countering the imbalance of power that a traditional marital relationship would create. The prospect of marital choice for women was gaining currency just as marriage became less reliable as a means of transmitting assets and reinforcing class. Scholars disagree about exactly when and to what extent marital choice became an accepted priority, but it arose at least as an ideal during the course of the so-called long eighteenth century. Lawrence Stone quotes Lord Halifax’s observation in 1688 that “young women are seldom permitted to make their own choice,” but Stone also asserts that by 1701 “more advanced parents” had been allowing their daughters to veto chosen partners “for at least half a century.”6 This veto power gave young women leverage in courtship that could to some extent outweigh other restrictions on their behavior. Women seem to have embraced the power accorded to them by courtship, using that power not only to choose their spouses but also to shape their marital relationships. They were taught to view their “virtue”—that is, their chastity—as their most valuable possession. Coupled with the veto power that was generally accorded to women at least in theory, the power to offer or withhold sexual access gave women more influence over their circumstances than might be

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expected: Lady Mary Pierrepont, for example, offered Edward Wortley Montagu the risky but romantic prospect of an elopement both in hopes of creating the marriage that she wanted and in order to escape a marriage that she desperately hoped to avoid. Although law and custom minimized women’s influence over the marriage decision, multiple instances in literature as well as in life suggest the growing valorization of marital choice. As choice became valued, social roles became more flexible, and economic structures became more heterogeneous, commentators wondered whether marriage could maintain its conservative social function. Choice threatened to undermine that function if it were not limited and controlled by other forces. The rise of companionate marriage occurred concomitantly with the rise of the novel and the popularity of conduct literature. Both genres defined the feminine role, often in terms that emphasized women’s subordination to authorities: family members, “friends,” and religion. Literature seemed to act as a conservative force because it “invested a great deal of energy into emphasizing women’s obligation to, their dependence upon, the men to whom they belonged.”7 Writers often attempted to counterbalance the particular power a woman held during the period of courtship by projecting an idealized vision of dutiful, dependent femininity. Conduct books in particular depicted courtship as those in power felt it should have been, reinforcing the traditional standards that de-emphasized interpersonal compatibility in favor of social suitability and familial approval. A virtuous woman would defer to her parents, trusting them to select a morally upright and financially solvent husband for her. A man pursuing such a courtship approached his intended through mutual acquaintances who would both approve of him and vouch for him. A traditional courtship thus became a crowded, quasi-public affair. Samuel Richardson’s Letters Written to and for Particular Friends (1741), a letter manual-cum-conduct book that advised its readers “How to Think and Act Justly and Prudently, in the Common Concerns of Human Life,” illustrates in detail the progress of such a courtship. The book includes an exchange spanning seven letters among a young man, a young woman, her father, and the father’s cousin. The young man appears to court the father rather than the daughter, writing, “I should think myself intirely unworthy of her favour, and of your Approbation, if I could have a Thought of influencing her Resolution but in Obedience to your Pleasure.”8 Although the young man announces his “Value” and “Affection” for the young woman and describes his financial and familial circumstances, his focus is on the forms of courtship that defer personal attachment in favor of an idealized ritual. Through his letter he demonstrates that he is a suitable mate because he is not passionately attached to the young woman. The young woman’s letter to her father likewise appeals to the father’s judgment, admitting no interest in the young man: I think it my duty to acquaint you, that a Gentleman of this Town … has made some Overtures to my Cousin Morgan, in the way of Courtship to me … But, I assure you, Sir, I have given him no Encouragement; and told him, that I had no Thoughts of changing my Condition, yet a while; and should never think of it but in Obedience to my Parents; and I desired him to talk no more on that Subject to me.9 A young woman could neither show a strong preference for a particular man nor too strenuously object to a proffered suitor. When the father writes to the young man that he will “consult [his daughter’s] Inclinations,” Richardson notes that a young man “cannot but construe it as an Encouragement to him … but still altogether on Condition

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of her Parents Consent and Approbation.”10 The father’s opinion is more important than the daughter’s, with only perfunctory attention paid to the daughter’s preference. Although the narrative progress of the letters depends on the daughter’s tacit approval of her suitor, the daughter falls silent after her initial alert to her father regarding the young man’s interest. Such “passive obedience” protected a woman’s reputation: a tractable daughter would become a virtuous wife and thus an ideal participant in the traditional marriage system. A young woman was expected to accept or reject what was offered while maintaining an attitude of dutiful neutrality. Conduct books cast “being at one’s own disposal” in courtship as a morally dangerous position, yet novels and plays would show that a woman’s emotional and intellectual autonomy was valuable and necessary to a successful marriage. The popularity of literary works about courtship arose from those works’ dissection of changing marital priorities: the value of an emotional connection versus the value of an estate; the pressure of “filial duty” versus the influence of individual attraction; the tradition of courtship by committee versus the power of individual choice. As genteel society moved toward a companionate ideal of marriage and away from prudential arrangements made at a distance, clinging to traditional formalities was one way of dealing with the unstable marital priorities of the period. Literature both predicted and recorded these changes, and it is often difficult to say whether a particular work is looking forward or simply looking around. But literary works played a key role in shaping the evolving expectations around courtship. Imaginative literature went beyond the traditional prescriptions of the conduct book to become an important source of information and formation for women who could only “practice” being courted, as it were, vicariously. Katherine Sobba Green correctly notes the value of literature as a substitute for real-world experience: Because their respectability proscribed the ritual experiences afforded by the Continental tour, women sought vicarious experience—coaching in discriminating or resisting reading of the world, of people, and of texts—as an essential step toward maturity or individuation. In a very real sense, then, if a woman wished to avoid conscription into the texts of male desire or marriage for convenience, she had to script her own story.11 A conduct book would teach a woman to be peripheral to her own courtship. Conversely, a novel or a play could suggest how a woman might respond to, counter, or use the indirection of traditional courtship to avoid an unwanted marriage or respond to a desirable suitor. While tradition valorized filial duty and deference to others, literature began to suggest the value of self-knowledge, individuality, and choice. Three well-known literary works, spanning the eighteenth century, offer particularly powerful depictions of courtship and marriage: William Congreve’s The Way of the World ([1700] 1997), which places an individualistic courtship in the unlikely frame of a Restoration comedy; Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa ([1748] 1985), the courtship disaster story nonpareil; and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice ([1813] 2001), perhaps the best-known English courtship novel and one that illustrates an endpoint to the marital anxieties of the eighteenth century. Although necessarily a limited selection, these three works demonstrate, in juxtaposition, the evolution of social norms from an emphasis on wealth and status to an interest in female autonomy and personal attraction.

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THE WAY OF THE WORLD William Congreve’s play The Way of the World ([1700] 1997) suggests that egalitarian relationships could remedy the period’s confusion about the value and meaning of marriage. Prefiguring the rise of the courtship novel in the decades that would follow, The Way of the World endorses the rising values of subjectivity and independent decisionmaking in courtship. The play’s protagonist, Mirabell, is the proverbial “reformed rake” that by Clarissa Harlowe’s time would be said to “make the best husband,” but he is “caught in the theater’s transition from a satirical to a sentimental mode,” a shift that mirrors the period’s slow and unsteady cultural movement from prudential to companionate marriage.12 The play’s heroine, Millamant, wields to the fullest the transitory power of the courted woman. Mirabell and Millamant triumph by breaking the conventional rules and seizing control of their courtship. In the play’s most famous scene, they speak honestly and directly to one another about their expectations for married life, agreeing to respect each other’s values and priorities. Their collaboration marks them out in comparison to the other characters, who use marriage for economic gain or social respectability while disparaging—if not defrauding—each other. In the claustrophobic confines of the postRestoration stage, the farcical antics of family members replace the tense flurry of letters and meetings that would animate the courtship novel. Yet the difference in genre, scene, and tone produces little difference in thematic effect: The Way of the World showcases the competing values and desires that made eighteenth-century marriage such a vexed prospect. The comedic center of The Way of the World is the widowed Lady Wishfort, who, “full of the vigor of fifty-five, declares for a friend and ratafia” as though she is no longer interested in courtship.13 However, she retains a vested interest in family members’ marriages and thus inserts herself into marital matters. In a nod to the traditional role of marriage as a means of transmitting assets, she controls half of her niece Millamant’s fortune and promises to withhold it if Millamant marries without her approval. Lady Wishfort also convinces herself, with the help of servants, cosmetics, and alcohol, that she is still attractive and marriageable. Despite her age and position, Lady Wishfort believes she can persuade the man she thinks is Mirabell’s uncle Sir Rowland to marry her and thereby deprive Mirabell of his inheritance. But “Sir Rowland” is Mirabell’s valet in disguise; and Lady Wishfort is deluded in every respect. Although her self-perception is radically inaccurate, Lady Wishfort’s fantasizing nonetheless illuminates the power and the challenge of a woman’s role in courtship. Her exaggerated delicacy parodies the behavioral expectations enforced upon much younger women: I shall die with confusion if I am forced to advance. Oh no, I can never advance! I shall swoon if he should expect advances. No, I hope Sir Rowland is better bred than to put a lady to the necessity of breaking her forms … I shall save decorums if Sir Rowland importunes. I have a mortal terror at the apprehension of offending against decorums. Nothing but importunity can surmount decorums.14 Of course, Lady Wishfort is a comic character, but she offers a serious reminder to readers: ladies are conscious of their worth as financial, social, and sexual possessions. Her misguided self-concept reflects a perverted version of that awareness. Women in courtship protect their worth through passive resistance: a lady must at least pretend that she does not know how to “advance” but should know how to respond to advances.

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Although a lady’s scope of available actions may be limited, she can manage the details of her self-presentation to provoke a particular reaction without overstepping the bounds of propriety. Lady Wishfort’s ruminations about how to make the best first impression on “Sir Rowland” humorously remind readers that women’s behavior in courtship was controlled and consciously deployed to withstand, but also to invite, minute scrutiny: I won’t lie neither, but loll and lean upon one elbow, with one foot a little dangling off, jogging in a thoughtful way—yes—and then as soon as he appears, start, aye, start and be surprised, and rise to meet him in a pretty disorder—yes—oh, nothing is more alluring than a levee from a couch in some confusion.—It shows the foot to advantage, and furnishes with blushes, and recomposing airs beyond compensation.15 Lady Wishfort, then, represents in parody the traditional modes of courtship that made passivity a useful form of manipulation: drawing a desirable suitor closer without making “advances” oneself, or discouraging an unwanted interest by appearing not to have noticed it. In contrast to a “superannuated” belle and a servant impersonating a gentleman, and the two other couples (the Fainalls and the Marwoods) who have explicitly chosen marriage for its financial or social convenience, The Way of the World presents the individualistic and egalitarian courtship of Mirabell and Millamant. Mirabell has already established that his admiration for Millamant is sincere, telling Fainall in Act I that “I like her with all her faults; nay, like her for her faults. Her follies are so natural, or so artful, that they become her; and those affectations which in another woman would be odious, serve but to make her more agreeable.”16 Millamant, for her part, is conscious of her powerful position as a courted woman, noting that “One’s cruelty is one’s power; and when one parts with one’s cruelty, one parts with one’s power.” Equally important, she sees her value as an individual and not merely as an object of affection: “One no more owes one’s beauty to a lover than one’s wit to an echo. They can but reflect what we look and say; vain empty things if we are silent or unseen, and want a being.”17 Seeming to repudiate the conductbook standards that would keep women withdrawn and passive, she validates a woman’s participation in her own courtship and later ridicules Mirabell for refusing to believe that a woman can be successfully courted with “plain dealing and sincerity.”18 Those qualities ultimately unite the headstrong but honest lovers. In the famous “proviso” scene, the play’s protagonists lay out for each other their requirements for marriage. Millamant insists that Mirabell continue to pursue her after marriage as if they were still courting, another strong suggestion that the liminal state of courtship is preferable, for a woman, to the settled state of marriage that Millamant characterizes as “an inglorious ease.” Rather than acquiesce in that secure but powerless position, “I’ll fly and be followed to the last moment,” she insists. “Though I am upon the very verge of matrimony, I expect you should solicit me as much as if I were wavering at the grate of a monastery, with one foot over the threshold. I’ll be solicited to the very last, nay and afterwards.”19 Given the near-compulsory character that marriage holds for women of Millamant’s class, it is interesting that she imagines herself as choosing between marriage and the solitude of the cloister, not between one suitor and another. But Congreve hints on more than one occasion that Millamant is more than usually self-sufficient: “I am thoughtful,” she responds to the announcement of Mirabell’s visit, “and would amuse myself.”20 Her investment in individuality provides an explanation for her demand that Mirabell refrain from addressing her with endearments or kissing her in public: “Let us be as strange as if we had been married a great while,” she asks, “and as well-bred as if

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we were not married at all.”21 The social distance observed in courtship was expected to protect virtue; Millamant’s insistence on continuing it suggests that it could additionally function to protect individuality. Millamant’s further demands show an even greater investment in intellectual independence and subjectivity: she declares “I will lie abed in a morning as long as I please,” but not merely to doze: her bed is where she finds her “faithful solitude,” her “darling contemplation,” and her “morning thoughts.” In short, Millamant demands to be allowed time to think and protected space in which to do it, telling Mirabell that she must have “her closet inviolate” and that he must knock before entering a room in which she is present. Finally, she insists on choosing her own friends, correspondents, clothes, and topics of conversation. Only under these circumstances will she agree to “dwindle into a wife.”22 She understands that the period of courtship is the ideal time, if not the only time, at which a woman can impose such requirements. A woman being courted could refuse a suitor, but a wife was enjoined by her marriage vows to obey her husband. Millamant’s demands, although exaggerated for comedic effect, allow us to reverseengineer a picture of a conventional marriage in the Enlightenment era: a relationship in which familiarity replaces courtesy and women’s time, space, and companionship are all subject to their husbands’ veto power. But Mirabell’s counter-proposals confirm, rather than undermine, Millamant’s independence: he adds a series of requests that, in effect, ensure that his wife will continue to be herself: she is not to use cosmetics, lace her corsets tightly while she is pregnant, or serve liquor at her tea table and drink toasts to other men, a prospect Millamant calls “odious.” While Mirabell starts his list of demands by addressing the husband’s perennial concern—infidelity—Millamant labels the prospect of any immoral behavior “detestable,” and he changes his emphasis to match hers, accepting and endorsing her assessment of her own morality. She concludes the negotiations by saying “I hate your odious provisos”; it is clear that she hates them because she finds them unnecessary: she already holds herself to high standards of conduct and morality.23 Meanwhile Mirabell has agreed to her demands that she be free to spend her time and use her space as she sees fit. Their relationship will succeed, the play implies, because Mirabell and Millamant know themselves and respect each other. The brief but concentrated exchange presented in the proviso scene produces an impression of a couple with a shared understanding of what makes a successful marriage. Surrounded by couples who married for the wrong reasons, Mirabell and Millamant validate affective individualism as an approach to courtship and a basis for marriage. Both state their desires openly and both have well-founded expectations for their partnership. Each respects the other’s role as well as the other’s individuality—especially the woman’s individuality, which could so readily be constrained by social norms and expectations. Those constraining norms persisted and were reinforced despite cultural movements in the opposite direction. The most concrete and observable change to courtship and marriage in the eighteenth century occurred in 1753 with the passage of Lord Hardwicke’s “Act for the Better Preventing of Clandestine Marriages,” a bill nominally intended to prevent besotted heiresses from eloping with penniless rakes. By placing marriage within a framework of church, community, and parental supervision, the Act both reinforced the social endogamy of the estates system and removed traditional legal protections on private marriages. In the debate about the Act, the rising emphasis on choice clashed with the tradition of using marriage to secure and transmit family property. As Erica Harth explains, “The propertied classes were alarmed at the prospect of fortune-hunters and opportunists ‘stealing’ heiresses.”24 To make such “thefts” more difficult, the Act

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regularized and bureaucratized marriage, requiring the calling of banns or purchase of a license, parental permission for those under age 21, and a Church of England marriage ceremony in the church of either the bride’s or the groom’s home parish. It further stipulated a registration process for marriages, though it stopped short of invalidating marriages that were not registered. Although a clandestine marriage and an ill-chosen marriage were not necessarily synonymous, the debate around the bill “recognized that the legislation would effectively clear the way for unions that parents saw as advantageous in decreasing obstacles created by refractory children to the will of their elders.”25 The bill’s passage both reinforced and relied on the idea that one’s social circle should play a role in one’s marriage decision. The Hardwicke Act thus represented an answer to the question of whether marriage was “a personal and private relationship, to be conducted outside the control of the state, or … a public commitment whereby the parties assumed legally enforceable rights and responsibilities.”26 The Act redefined marriage as a public, legal commitment in which the public aspect was as important as the legal one. That change made marriage, already an economic necessity for most women, even more crucial as it assumed the additional function of sanctioning and attaching a value to women’s sexuality. Eve Tavor Bannet suggests that this redefinition stripped women of the recourse that had been available under the old system of privately promised marriage. In that former system, “the couple’s promises to live together as man and wife created a binding marriage, even when unconsummated and without the presence of any witnesses.”27 Those promises “would in principle be sustained by the courts against any subsequent marriage—even if the latter had been celebrated publicly according to church ritual.”28 As well, a woman seduced by a man who promised to marry her could count on the force of the law to compel him to keep his promise. By making marriage a public, bureaucratic matter rather than a private or purely ecclesiastical one, the Hardwicke Act narrowed the definition and meaning of the marriage rite. In the process it effectively delegitimized “all the old local marriage rites, all seductions, abductions, and clandestine marriages—and indeed, all intercourse outside the state of marriage as demarcated by the act.”29 A woman who was seduced, abducted, or raped could no longer pursue the perpetrator in court and expect legal support. With no fortune and no marketable skills, a genteel woman had only her “virtue” as an asset on which to trade for marriage and was expected to protect that single asset with all her might.

CLARISSA Richardson’s Clarissa ([1748] 1985) anticipates the Hardwicke Act controversy, dramatizing the negative consequences that occur when parents overreach and feminine virtue is overvalued. Calling Clarissa a courtship novel at all strains the boundaries of the term, yet the novel interrogates the issues of individualism, sentiment, social mobility, and familial duty that lay at the heart of eighteenth-century anxieties about courtship and marriage. The virtuous Clarissa Harlowe, always dutiful toward her family, cannot bring herself to accept Mr. Solmes, the wealthy but oafish suitor they offer her. As a result, the Harlowes believe that Clarissa is secretly in love with another suitor, Mr. Lovelace, whose superior social connections can neither offset his questionable morality in Clarissa’s mind nor overcome Clarissa’s brother’s grudge against him. While Clarissa will not acknowledge any affection for Lovelace, neither will she break with him completely. Her sense of duty keeps her from taking her feisty friend Anna Howe’s advice and “resuming” the estate left to her by her grandfather that she has turned over to her father’s management, although

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doing so would give her financial security and independence. Fearing repercussions against her family, she will not cease corresponding with Lovelace even though she seems to be afraid of him. She cannot resign herself to destroying her mother’s peace of mind by refusing Solmes and yet, most of all, she cannot marry Solmes, finding him repellent. The impasse over Clarissa’s prospective marriage to Solmes is only the beginning of an odyssey that climaxes with the rape of Clarissa by Lovelace and concludes with Clarissa’s tragic death. This summary emphasizes Clarissa’s melodrama at the expense of its complexity and, indeed, its verisimilitude. Contemporary readers regarded Clarissa’s plight as both plausible and highly sympathetic; for example, the conduct writer Hester Chapone was so interested in Clarissa that she wrote several letters to Samuel Richardson arguing for greater marital choice for women. Her and her contemporaries’ reactions suggest the eighteenth century’s sense of what was at stake in a genteel courtship: not just money and property or even a spousal relationship, but a woman’s place in her society, including her acceptance in or rejection by her family of origin. Yet the novel begins more simply, with a formal courtship initiated as it should be: Lovelace arrives as an approved suitor for Clarissa’s sister Arabella. This visit is courtship, as it were, by the book: emissaries from both families have agreed that a visit is suitable. The chain of communication attending an initial meeting both protects a daughter’s

FIGURE 1.1:  Joseph Highmore (1692–1780), The Harlowe Family, from Samuel Richardson’s “Clarissa,” c. 1746, oil on canvas, Yale Center for British Art. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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virtue and controls her choice, as suitors are screened by family members and accepted only provisionally. The family, in admitting the visits, tentatively accepts the man as an acceptable husband for their daughter and expects an “understanding” soon to emerge between the couple. Arabella Harlowe thus anticipates a proposal in short order, but none is forthcoming. Because “her uncle brought him declaredly as a suitor to her,” she is frustrated and resentful when Lovelace has not made his intentions clear by his third visit to Harlowe Place.30 Her calculated sulking drives him to “put the question,” to which she responds with what Clarissa calls “consenting negatives”: “a disinclination to change her state. Exceedingly happy as she was, she never could be happier!” As Richardson depicted in Familiar Letters, such a formulaic response is an expected element of the courtship ritual in which a genteel woman would acquiesce indirectly in a proposal that could be equally indirect. Lovelace, however, uses Arabella’s pro forma refusal as an excuse to redirect his attention toward Clarissa, his real target. Because he is wealthy and prominent, Lovelace can afford to be selective and to insist on a “divinity,” as he calls Clarissa.31 But the Harlowe family rejects Lovelace because Clarissa’s brother James, the family’s heir, despises him. Clarissa’s fear of Lovelace’s pride and quick temper leads her to continue receiving his letters, while the family’s sensitivity to social hierarchy prevents them from refusing his visits. These complicated circumstances allow James and Arabella to cultivate the suspicion that Clarissa has a “prepossession” in Lovelace’s favor; a suspicion that Clarissa cannot successfully dispel even in her own mind. In contrast to the suave and manipulative Lovelace, Solmes is greedy and gauche. He poses no threat to James Harlowe’s ego and would bring the family considerable financial advantage. Motivated by their desire to “raise a family” by consolidating estates and assets, the Harlowes will not accept Clarissa’s reason for refusing Solmes, namely that she finds him “despicable.”32 Clarissa’s dilemma—accept a man she despises, or alienate her family—exemplifies Mary Astell’s description of the conventional feminine role in courtship: “Modesty requiring that a Woman should not love before Marriage, but only make choice of one whom she can love hereafter: She who has none but innocent affections, being easily able to fix them where Duty requires.”33 Mrs. Harlowe takes that understanding a step further, asking Clarissa, “But what is person, Clary, to one of your prudence, and your heart disengaged?” Clarissa replies, “Should the eye be disgusted, when the heart is to be engaged? Oh madam—who can think of marrying when the heart must be shocked at the first appearance, and where the disgust must be confirmed by every conversation afterwards?”34 The prejudice is not only Clarissa’s; Anna Howe confirms that the match is unthinkable: “I could not believe that the absurdest people in England could be so very absurd as to think of this man for you.”35 Yet Clarissa wishes she could accept Solmes for the sake of her family, writing to Anna, “How difficult it is, my dear, to give a negative where both duty and inclination join to make one wish to oblige!–.”36 Clarissa’s reaction to Solmes advances the goal that Richardson identifies in the novel’s preface, namely “to caution parents against the undue exertion of their natural authority over their children in the great article of marriage.”37 Although Clarissa’s insight into her own feelings has its limits, it is clear that the Harlowes have overreached, using the traditions of formal courtship and prudential marriage to force Clarissa into marriage to Solmes. Clarissa thus demonstrates that unscrupulous people could manipulate the stringent social systems and moral codes that surrounded the practice of courtship. Clarissa becomes

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a tragic moral exemplar in part because she is unwilling to break the rules even when she perceives their unjust nature. As Paula Backscheider explains, “Clarissa pushed the moral statements of [her] culture to the point that their contradiction of social codes and behavior became undeniable and, indeed, intolerable, because [she] put these codes and behaviors on trial and thereby called everyone’s principles and conduct into question.”38 Clarissa’s moral and intellectual rigor will draw her away from the basic question of her marriage, estrange her from her family, and ultimately lead to tragedy, reminding readers of Richardson’s essential conservative strain: the alternative to a daughter’s “implicit obedience” is her death; the only escape from a moral quandary in this life is the eternal reward promised in the next. Richardson likewise offers a pointed depiction of the courted woman as personally impotent but politically significant. As Backscheider notes, “as the discussion of marriage and the relationship between the sexes developed in the novel form, the political nature of family and courtship conflicts became increasingly obvious.”39 The politics were obvious among the genteel classes, who could use a daughter’s marriage “to transmit wealth from one generation of men to the next generation of men.”40 Clarissa’s marriage decision has explicit social and political consequences that the novel makes clear: according to the Harlowes, her marriage will set in motion a chain of events ending in her brother’s disgrace if she marries Lovelace, or in her brother’s ascension to a peerage if she marries Solmes. However, in marrying either man, Clarissa loses any power she might have had as a property owner. She knows the political value of her position, remarking that the bequest of the “dairy-house” would have made her “sole” if she had chosen to keep the property under her own management, an apparent reference to the independent position of the feme sole as opposed to that of the feme covert who is under the legal control of and financial dependency on a husband. Yet in other, equally evident ways, Clarissa is powerless. Although she cannot be forced to marry, she can be forced into sexual intercourse: her ownership of the “asset” that is her virtue is threatened. Her political power cannot save her from painful interpersonal conflict, because the social rules that create that power and the family dynamics that shape it restrict its use. The novel problematizes the complex courtship rituals that Richardson lauds elsewhere by demonstrating the ways in which intermediaries can distort, misinterpret, or ignore the messages they are asked to carry, especially when the messengers hold positions of social or familial power. The courted woman loses her influence when she is overpowered by manipulative family members.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice ([1813] 2001) can be seen as a literary endpoint to the marital anxieties of the eighteenth century: money and property concerns persist, but emotional fulfillment and independent decision-making take priority. Lisa O’Connell notes that as marriage evolved, so did the marriage plot. Stories ending in marriages were commonplace for centuries before the rise of the novel: But narratological and interpretative closure, marked in a wedding that legitimates simultaneously social status, states of feeling, Christian virtue, and moral worth, will increasingly coalesce in fictions written after 1750. More than anything, this coalescence defines the English marriage plot and arguably marks its stabilization in Jane Austen’s fiction by the century’s end.41

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In Pride and Prejudice, Austen presents the elaborate formalities of traditional eighteenth-century courtship as foolish. This impression becomes evident as soon as Mr. Collins, a fatuous distant cousin to the Bennets, comes on the scene with his “I propose myself the satisfaction of waiting on you and your family.” His intention of marrying one of the Bennet daughters is a holdover from traditional “property marriages,” and on that basis that intention is laudable. The Bennets’ estate is entailed on the nearest male relative, Mr. Collins himself, hence his assertion that he “could not satisfy [himself] without resolving to chuse a wife from among [Mr. Bennet’s] daughters.”42 Such a match would serve the multiple goals of the traditional marriage system: keeping an estate within a family, uniting two members of the gentry, and providing for a daughter in straitened circumstances. Mr. Collins identifies his motives for proposing to Elizabeth Bennet in almost exactly these terms, offering to “assure [her] in the most animated language of the violence of [his] affection” only at the end of a long disquisition on the socioeconomic suitability of the match.43 But Elizabeth claims her veto power without hesitation, contradicting Mr. Collins’s assumption that her initial refusal is “usual with young ladies”: I am not one of those young ladies (if such young ladies there are) who are so daring as to risk their happiness on the chance of being asked a second time. I am perfectly serious in my refusal … I would rather be paid the compliment of being believed sincere.44 Her reaction suggests that the ritual “consenting negatives” of Clarissa’s time are so far forgotten that it is hard to believe they were ever real. Yet Mr. Collins insists on traditional expectations when he refers the decision to Elizabeth’s parents: “I am persuaded that when sanctioned by the express authority of both your excellent parents, my proposals will not fail of being acceptable.”45 Mr. Collins is such a laughable character that his reasoning and assumptions become risible as well, undermining the legitimacy of the courtship ritual that has become outmoded. Austen further emphasizes this evolution of mores through her characterizations of Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Darcy’s aunt Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Both are clearly marked out in Pride and Prejudice as embarrassing relics of a prior age. Mrs. Bennet wants for her daughters the social legitimacy and economic security of a husband, with no consideration of compatibility; accordingly, she is desperate to patch up the rupture between Elizabeth and Mr. Collins: But I tell you what, Miss Lizzy, if you take it into your head to go on refusing every offer of marriage in this way, you will never get a husband at all—and I am sure I do not know who is to maintain you when your father is dead—I shall not be able to keep you—and so I warn you.46 Her desperation is understandable; Elizabeth’s economic prospects differ little from those of any other genteel woman with no independent earning power and only a tiny inheritance. Yet the novel leads readers to ridicule Mr. Collins’s pretensions and sympathize with Elizabeth’s independent-mindedness. When Elizabeth’s best friend Charlotte Lucas announces her engagement to Mr. Collins, the match is represented not as a triumph of social advancement for a penniless daughter, but as the sacrifice of an intelligent and virtuous woman to the necessity of marrying. Elizabeth questions her friend’s choice in terms that threaten their friendship: she sees Charlotte “disgracing herself and sunk in her [Elizabeth’s] esteem.”47 Charlotte, who calls herself “not romantic” and seeks only “a

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comfortable home,” is a reminder that prudential marriage remains a necessity for some, but such marriages are reevaluated as uncomfortable and disappointing compromises.48 As for Mr. Collins’s “patroness” Lady Catherine, her narrow focus on social status leads her to countenance only those marriages that unite those whom she considers to be equals, again with no consideration of compatibility, hence her attempt to intimidate Elizabeth into renouncing the possibility of an engagement to her nephew. Lady Catherine’s assessment of her daughter’s and Mr. Darcy’s social situations recalls the class endogamy protected by the system of strict settlements and the Hardwicke Act: My daughter and my nephew are formed for each other. They are descended on the maternal side from the same noble line; and, on the father’s, from respectable, honourable, and ancient, though untitled families. Their fortune on both sides is splendid. They are destined for each other by the voice of every member of their respective houses; and what is to divide them? The upstart pretensions of a young woman without family, connections, or fortune … If you were sensible of your own good, you would not wish to quit the sphere in which you have been brought up.49 But Elizabeth’s rejoinder reorients the reader’s attention toward a more progressive vision of egalitarianism and individual choice: “In marrying your nephew, I should not consider myself as quitting that sphere. He is a gentleman; I am a gentleman’s daughter; so far we are equals … Whatever my connections may be, said Elizabeth, if your nephew does not object to them, they can be nothing to you.”50 Austen’s characterization and narration lead readers to see Lady Catherine’s lecturing, Mrs. Bennet’s dithering, and Mr. Collins’s bumbling as the last remnants of beliefs that have been superseded. But not all of the signs of social change are so obvious. When Jane Bennet’s noncommittal reaction to being courted by Mr. Bingley leads Mr. Darcy to question her interest in her suitor, readers should remember that fifty years earlier her demurral would have been seen as commendable. Similarly, “worldly advantage” plays its role in Elizabeth’s marriage to Darcy, but it does so almost paradoxically. As I have suggested elsewhere, Pride and Prejudice allows its progressive heroine to receive a conservative reward: a freely chosen marriage to an admirable man who also happens to be wealthy and genteel. Mirabell and Millamant had to resort to trickery and disguise to accomplish their marriage despite its companionate foundation; Clarissa could only receive her reward of happiness in heaven; but Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy represent in literature an affective individualism so powerful that it trails a £10,000/year estate in its wake. These literary works represent an exemplary cross-section of evolving Enlightenment thought about courtship and marriage. As the eighteenth century progressed and individual interests began to take precedence over financial and familial ones, courtship became less regimented and more personal. However, family involvement persisted and economic concerns could still prevail. Writers such as those studied here seemed to use their works as laboratories in which they could work out the consequences of courtship’s reorientation away from the family and toward the prospective bride. The heroines of the three works discussed here all have the power of choice that is unique to the courted woman, though not all use it successfully. In The Way of the World, Millamant’s affection for Mirabell would not allow her to marry him in defiance of her aunt, but it does prompt her to dictate to him the nature of their eventual marital relationship.

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The play contrasts Mirabell and Millamant’s egalitarian courtship with the fraudulent relationships of their peers and family members to suggest that respect and affection between individuals can overcome greed and dishonesty. Richardson’s Clarissa, on the other hand, depicts the ruinous consequences that could occur when a young woman’s family disregards her preferences to force an advantageous match. Though grounded in Richardson’s conservative vision, the novel compellingly argues that women’s power in courtship should be respected. Finally, Pride and Prejudice suggests that the best marriages happen when personal choice is allowed to lead the way and socioeconomic interest takes second place. Tellingly, Elizabeth Bennet rejects the old-fashioned formal courtship of Mr. Collins in favor of a genuine—albeit hard-won—personal connection with Mr. Darcy. As marriage becomes a matter of mutual choice, courtship is reshaped in ways that allow that choice to be made. These and many other literary works participated in the reinvention of courtship as an individual process and marriage as an affective bond.

CHAPTER TWO

Religion Defending Continuity in an Age of Change EDWARD BEHREND-MARTÍNEZ

The novel One Hundred Years of Solitude portrays the typical twentieth-century view of the liberal-conservative struggle that followed the Age of Enlightenment: he heard some old man tell the tale of the man who had married his aunt, who was also his cousin, and whose son ended up being his own grandfather. “Can a person marry his own aunt?” he asked, startled. “He not only can do that,” a soldier answered him, “but we are fighting this war against the priests so that a person can marry his own mother.”1 Throughout much of the novel Gabriel García Márquez imagines a nineteenth-century Central American society torn apart fighting over the liberal anticlerical ideals of the eighteenth century. It has been argued—indeed, by many of the authors in this volume— that the Enlightenment changed the foundations of marriage fundamentally, transforming it from a religious institution to a secular one, rationalizing, dechristianizing, and desacralizing it. The liberal victory over benighted patriarchal traditions and religious dogma, in turn, made room for the “rise of sentiment,” the modern “love match,” civil marriage, romantic love, free love, and in the twentieth century, soul mates, interracial marriage, same-sex marriage, et cetera.2 Stephanie Coontz boldly asserts that due to the secularization of marriage and influence of market forces, by “the end of the 1700s personal choice of partners had replaced arranged marriage as a social ideal, and individuals were encouraged to marry for love.”3 However, some recent scholarship has muddled this comfortable narrative of progress and the central role of the Enlightenment in creation of modern marriage. Revisionists have argued that elements of modern marriage— marriage by individual choice and for love—occurred both before and after matrimony became desacralized and secularized in the eighteenth century. Laura Gowing argues that it happened earlier: “Attraction, affection, and love were, of course, foundations of many marriages long before the period to which Lawrence Stone dated the beginnings of affectional marriage, the mid- to late seventeenth century.”4 Other scholars point in the other direction, arguing that Stone predated the “love match”: Heide Wunder states that contrary “to popular opinion, it was not until the twentieth century that ‘romantic love’ had a chance as the basis of matrimony.”5 An answer to this puzzle is to acknowledge that

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both the patriarchal/religious and the individualist/secular models of marriage coexisted, with the latter model and its ideal of the “love match” in slow moving ascendancy. It is true that traditional marriages continued to be made long after the Age of Enlightenment introduced new ideals. However, arranged marriages validated by religious institutions, were cast into a great deal of doubt after the revolutionary intellectual, legal, and political changes of the eighteenth century. Often the last place people experienced cultural change was at the level of everyday life, which is where marriages occurred. And this was certainly the case in the rural spaces and provincial towns, where the vast majority of people lived, whether in Ireland, Germany, Spain, or Scotland, or indeed, Mexico, Massachusetts, or Cuba. For them, matrimony—the making and living of it—would continue to involve religious persons and institutions throughout the eighteenth century. In fact, because many churches and parishes thrived economically along with everyone else from the new wealth and demographic boom of the eighteenth century, religion at the local level even more efficiently inculcated itself in the regulation of marriages. Church courts oversaw significantly more disputes over broken promises of marriage and between husbands and wives, for instance, than in previous centuries. Marriage, for the church, remained big business. So while urban residents, powerful nobles, and burgeoning literate classes of people toyed with new possibilities of marriage for love and marriage as a contract, a robust continuity of religious marital traditions defined most people’s experience with the institution. That both of these phenomena—significant changes in the conceptualization of marriage in certain contexts along with robust continuity of religious marriage in most others—occurred at the same time should not surprise us, and we should be able to describe them both.

REPUBLICAN MARRIAGE To see what changes to marriage the Age of Enlightenment ultimately introduced it is useful to begin at the end: nothing throws the secularization and individualization of marriage into stark contrast so clearly as how it was treated during the most radical phases of the French Revolution. During that brief period in one particular nation, France 1789 to 1799, revolutionaries put Enlightenment views on marriage into practice, though we should remember that these views had been percolating for decades in salons, pamphlet literature, novels, plays, and elsewhere. French legalists of the mid-eighteenth century had already asserted that the church had appended the sacramental quality to marriage, which was, according to their reading of natural law, first and foremost a contract.6 The philosophes and especially Rousseau and his emphasis on rationalism and naturalism inspired revolutionaries. They stripped marriage of the religious meanings that the Catholic Church and Christianity had imbued it with over the centuries. While retaining matrimony’s patriarchal structure, revolutionaries desacralized it and made it into a political and material contract forged between individuals as citizens, man and woman. Matrimony officially became a mere contract. The French Constitution of 1791 stated: Title II, 7. The law considers marriage as only a civil contract. The legislative power shall establish for all inhabitants, without distinction, the manner in which births, marriages, and deaths shall be recorded and it shall designate the public officers who shall receive and preserve the records thereof.7

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A year later, on September 20, 1792, the Legislative Assembly provided that the contract of marriage could be broken; spouses could divorce.8 Marriage no longer needed a church, priest, or God, though it was now to recognize the power of the secular state. There was an immediate wave of thousands of divorces filed in France, as husbands and wives unleashed their pent up frustrations, embracing another kind of revolutionary liberty.9 And though some social historians have argued that the most radical stage of the French Revolution was an exception to changes in the daily life of Europeans, even a historical aberration, the way revolutionaries defined marriage during this tumultuous period, nonetheless, both encapsulated the purest Enlightenment notions of marriage and foreshadowed what modern marriage would become decades and centuries later: centered around individual needs and desires, civil and dissoluble. In the new republic of the United States too, religious ideals of marriage gave way to secular definitions. American revolutionaries used marriage to imagine their new republic in miniature, encapsulating within marriage the hopes for a new society based on individual liberty under a government separate from, though not devoid of, religion. Nancy Cott explains “Allegiance was to be contractual, not coerced—to be motivated by love, not fear … Marriage, being a voluntary and long-sustained bond, provided a ready emblem.”10 The Age of Enlightenment, and the Revolutionary era it spawned, upended the Christian and religious sacrament of marriage in the same way that it destroyed the concept of monarchical divine right. Like the church and monarchs before them, French and American revolutionaries understood marriage as governments in microcosm. Whereas the church had seen marriage as a sacrament reflecting the relationship between humans and God, and monarchs saw marriage and family as kingdoms in miniature, revolutionaries saw marriage as tiny, secular republics or business contracts. So if liberalism demanded a separation of church and state in government, that separation needed to extend to marriage as well. Organized religion’s role as a foundation for both institutions, the government and matrimony, was shattered and would never be the same again.

MARRIAGE: LOSING MY RELIGION Institutionalized religion began losing its control over marriage on two fronts over the course of the Age of Enlightenment. The first front was in institutionalized Christianity’s long running battle with monarchical authority. Royal secular jurisdiction had been encroaching on ecclesiastical control of matrimony for many hundreds of years before the eighteenth century. French historian Georges Duby outlined this struggle a generation ago; it was one that pitted secular against religious views of matrimony during a time when European society emerged from the Middle Ages.11 In this struggle the church had come out victorious, just in time to see its authority questioned by the Protestant Reformation in 1517. And yet, throughout Europe various states and monarchs had laid the legal groundwork for contesting ecclesiastical jurisdiction over marriage. They had found ways to make laws that could curtail or sanction or deny religious control over who married whom, what constituted a marriage, and who could separate, as well as the grounds for separation. The Castilian king Alfonso X “The Wise” (b.1221–d.1284), for example, set aside book four of his law code, the Siete Partidas, to deal with matrimonial and familial issues. However, his secular legislation generally reiterated canon law on marriage and left the making of

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marriage, and its indissoluability to the church. As in Castile, and the Spanish Empire it would create, most European monarchs had codified laws on marriage long before the eighteenth century that both paralleled and reiterated canon law, while establishing slight caveats to it, depending on what region of Europe one was in. In the sixteenth century the Reformation resulted in more concerted and successful efforts to wrest marriage away from religious control. To a greater or lesser extent, areas of Europe that became Protestant formally placed matrimonial issues in the hands of secular powers, having done away with a supersovereign church. This happened most famously in England when its king, Henry VIII, wishing to dissolve his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, initiated the break with the Roman Catholic Church. His new Church of England then allowed him to annul his marriage and marry again (and again and again). Despite tacit secular authority over religion, however, even in Protestant Europe by the eighteenth century the overwhelming majority of marriages were made in churches, they were overseen by pastors and a religious hierarchy, and were regulated by parishes and quasi-religious institutions such as, for instance, consistory courts.12 But the trickle of judicial authority over marriage that had been seeping out of the church’s control into the stream of secular jurisdictions during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries burst forth into a flood during the eighteenth century. Royal absolutism and the growth of secular authority in many European nations meant that monarchs were no longer content to leave marriage to the control of religious authorities. The second front on which religion fought to retain its hold over marriage during the Age of Enlightenment was ideological. The Catholic Church had insisted that marriage was a sacrament involving three entities: man, woman, and God. Man and woman made their covenant with one another, but God imbued that union with grace, making marriage an important path to salvation. This was somewhat a recent innovation: until the high Middle Ages it had yet to be established that matrimony was a sacrament at all. To accomplish marriage’s social and reproductive purposes spouses had to commit the sin of lust (lust being necessary for intercourse and—according to some medieval doctors—also women’s conception).13 This central role of a sin in a sacrament led to a complicated theological debate over marriage and was a key reason matrimony was the last of the seven sacraments established by the medieval church. Eighteenth-century Protestants also understood marriage as a religious institution. Though they did not accept the sacramental nature of marriage, Protestants still understood marriage as a divinely created and sanctioned union that first united Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden (Figure 2.1). Unlike Christian theologians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, however, many Enlightenment writers questioned the religious basis of marriage entirely. Montesquieu debated the question in The Persian Letters: “it’s a different matter to know whether, according to natural law women are subject to men. ‘No,’ I was told the other day by a very worldly philosopher; ‘Nature has never proclaimed such a law; the dominion we hold over them is a veritable tyranny …’.”14 Enlightenment praise of Nature also demanded that Europeans reassess the role of sex in society and marriage. Nature had no use for fig leaves. In fact, Nature demanded and rewarded sex and therefore human sexuality was right and good. Conversely, Nature did not sanction many Christian religious practices like celibacy and abstinence. Many philosophes now saw such traditions not as holy and praiseworthy, but as unnatural and restricting human desire and liberty. If sex were natural—and if it was natural, it was good—then clerical celibacy must be a perversion of nature, and therefore evil. Church doctrines that prohibited divorce—which prevented

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FIGURE 2.1:  Jan Brueghel the Younger (1601–78), The Temptation of Adam, seventeenth century, Hulton Fine Art Collection. Photograph by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images.

unhappy or infertile couples from seeking love and fruitfulness in the arms of others— must also be evil. Voltaire (Figure 2.2) writes that divorce “is probably of nearly the same date as marriage. I believe, however, that marriage is some weeks more ancient; that is to say, men quarrelled with their wives at the end of five days, beat them at the end of a month, and separated from them after six weeks’ cohabitation.”15 In fact, Enlightenment writers blamed many sorts of social ills on religious demands of clerical celibacy, marital chastity, and laws prohibiting divorce. Adultery, abortions, population decline, spousal abuse and murder, infanticide, illegitimacy, etc., could all be blamed on the irrational demands of Christian, and especially Catholic, matrimonial doctrines. The natural state of man (and woman) was free, according to Rousseau, and just as the social contract gave rise to the state, so couples entered the marital contract giving rise to the family. Enlightenment ideas directly conflicted with traditional Christian bases of marriage as sacramental and patriarchal. Most of these stemmed, not simply from a redefinition of marriage as a contract but more fundamentally from the Enlightenment’s emphasis on individual liberty.16 If individual freedom were to be the new basis for a rational and enlightened society, then this new society could not leave marriage unchanged: barring clergy from marrying violated individual liberty. It was a violation of individual liberty to outlaw divorce or to prohibit separated spouses from remarriage. It was a violation of individual liberty to force unwed daughters into convents, and it was a violation of

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FIGURE 2.2:  Nicolas de Largillière (1656–1746), François-Marie Arouet known as Voltaire, c. 1725, oil on canvas, Palace de Versailles. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

liberty to arrange a marriage for political or financial reasons. Patriarchal power over marriages infringed on the liberty of their children. So the eventual eighteenth-century embrace of freedom—not simply political freedom but the right to pursue happiness— demanded the fundamental reassessment of not only the making of marriages but how those marriages would be governed and lived and ended. And most aspects of such a reassessment threatened the hold that religion had over the marital institution.

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So how successful, and actual, was this eighteenth-century secularization of marriage? Is it true that the eighteenth century witnessed a real break from religious marriage to secular marriage? Did the West move from a sacramental model of marriage, founded on religious ideals, to a contract model, with its models in business and capitalism? Were eighteenth-century changes in marriage and monarchy reflected in one another? What was the role of the law and the state on actual local marital practices? Several historians have questioned how quickly religious foundations for marriage ebbed due to the pull of secular tides during the eighteenth century. Some, such as historian Frances Dolan, argue that the religious basis for modern marriage never left us, despite secular law codes, and like a discontented ghost, the religious foundations of Western marriage haunts our modern discourse about it and relationships within it.17 In many ways the answers to these questions depend on where one looks in the past and how one chooses to define modern marriage. There clearly were many changes to how institutions created legal marriages during the eighteenth century and which institutions those were. These changes most certainly went in the direction from the church to the state. But at the local level and at the level of daily life, by and large, the parish and church maintained their hold over moving people through the stages of life—marked by baptism, marriage, childbirth, and death. Work by social historians, who have scrutinized the daily struggles of married couples encounter a diversity of experiences and continuity over the decades. Elizabeth Foyster emphasizes continuity of marital experienes: “Rather than this period witnessing a transition in marriage from relations characterized by violence and cruelty to those of intimacy and affection … case studies of marriages have revealed how the experience of marriage continued to offer infinite variety between the extremes of happiness and misery.”18 Regarding religion, one might even expect that there was a strengthening of the role of the church due to the late eighteenth-century romantic movement, inevitable counterrevolutionary ideas, and the inherent spiritual individualism promised by the “love match.” In the many areas of Europe where the liberal ideals of the Enlightenment were slow to adhere, such as Central Europe or parts of Iberia and elsewhere, traditional religious conceptions of marriage endured and thrived. Prussia’s new law code of 1794, that dealt extensively with marriage, for instance, demanded that marriages take place in church and that mothers were responsible for breastfeeding their children, and husbands for educating them.19 Nowhere in Europe do large numbers of people rush off to get married in civil ceremonies or even persist in older traditions of cohabitation without ecclesiastical sanction. Even though divorce, eventually, becomes legal and more available throughout much of the West after the tumult of the late eighteenth century, it hardly becomes popular and does not lose the shame attached to it. In fact, it is ironic that while during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the institutional church struggled to ensure ordinary people married openly and in the church, having succeeded by the eighteenth century the church needed to fend off efforts by the state to take over stewardship of the making of the institution itself. By the end of the eighteenth century, jurisdictional issues might have moved matrimony from religion to secular state, but common folk still generally conceived of their marital unions as public and divinely ordained. This was as true in Protestant Europe as in Catholic Europe. The beginnings of the desacralization of marriage began not in the eighteenth century but with the Reformation in the sixteenth century. Luther and most other Protestant Reformers removed marriage from the list of Christian sacraments, but they retained its inherently godly ordained quality. Paradoxically, despite the fact that the sacred status of marriage

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was lost, Protestant churches actually bolstered the importance of marriage in society because they eliminated a celibate priesthood.20 In Germany, the idealized patriarchal family household, in which the father served as a spiritual as well as a material provider, formed by marriage, was an enduring social reality well into the twentieth century. With the elimination of monasteries and convents Protestants recommended that every adult should marry. Marriage became an anticlerical weapon Protestants could use to bring an elevated, celibate clergy down to the level of the ordinary laity. The exmonk Luther and his wife, the ex-nun Katharina von Bora, set the model for postReformation Protestant couples: maintaining a godly and fruitful marriage (they had six children). In fact, by making marriage the expected universal experience for men and women, Protestants elevated marriage to the ideal social state for men and women, while Catholics had always considered matrimony as an acceptable, lower state after clerical celibacy. Unlike Catholics, Protestant religious men could legitimately marry, live, and have sex with women, and have children. And rather than face shame, as they would in Catholic nations, Protestant pastors and their families became models of upright Christian behavior rather than embarrassing reminders of human sexual sin. So by the eighteenth century, after two centuries of religious confessionalization, Protestant marriages had become the cornerstone of a godly Christian life despite the fact that it was not theologically a sacrament.

RELIGION AND MARRIAGE IN DAILY LIFE So regardless of the challenges to matrimony by the state and by Protestant theology, institutionalized religion held a tight rein on the making of marriage and its fundamental definition in both Catholic and Protestant nations throughout Europe. It was not until the 1750s that monarchs instituted deeper inroads into the religious control of matrimony, and even those efforts were only partial and spasmodic.21 In England, in fact, the Hardwicke Act of 1753 strengthened rather than curtailed the Church of England’s hold over marriages. It demanded all marriages take place within a church.22 It is ironic, in fact, that religious control over marriage remained so vital in an age that historians often portray as witnessing the demise of institutional religion. The reasons for this historical blind spot are likely teleological; it is difficult to ignore the trend toward royal centralization and the triumph of secular justice over ordinary ecclesiastical courts by the end of the eighteenth century, so the continuity of religious control over marriage is easy to overlook. Another reason scholars may fail to notice the ordinary church courts that handled marital issues is the bewildering array of parochial and episcopal archives, many still uncataloged, residing in regional or small towns. But in one sense, the intense anticlericalism of a Voltaire or Rousseau, or even a Marquis de Sade, can only be explained because eighteenth-century religious institutions were still so ubiquitous and powerful. Religion was the foil against which these writers discussed their contrarian ideas about marriage and sex. In Catholic societies—from Iberian America to Italy, Austria to France—the pope and monarchs had empowered the church with officially marrying couples and registering those unions. Church courts continued to adjudicate all issues that occurred within the sacrament itself throughout much of the eighteenth century: issues of annulment, separation, desertion, etc., so they continued to be central judicial institutions in the everyday lives of early modern Catholics. Secular notaries, lawyers, and courts, however, continued to handle the financial and material matters of marriage. In rare instances when

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it suited his or her interests, the monarch could authorize that this or that matrimonial case be moved from the ecclesiastical jurisdiction into a royal court at the highest level, usually on appeal.23 However, such cases generally only involved important aristocrats. In most other situations involving marriage, however, the church retained the upper hand that it had over secular justice. We see the domination that ecclesiastical institutions took over marriage, for instance, in the slave-owning societies of eighteenth-century colonial Latin America. In Catholic slave-owning societies the church had long upheld that slaves had the right to marry.24 Because marriage was a sacrament and therefore imparted grace it could not be denied, they argued, even to slaves. If slaves from separate households or plantations married, their masters were supposed to allow them to visit their spouses at least one day a week. Citing Catholic Church law many slaves throughout the eighteenth century took their masters to ecclesiastical courts demanding, among other things, that they could not be sold to plantations too far away from their spouses.25 Secular interests, which aimed to support the patriarchal rights of slave owners, chaffed at the church’s demands regarding such slave marriages. Nevertheless, the church’s jurisdiction prevailed within its own courts. The church’s separate and protected jurisdiction could even be used (or abused) to harbor spousal murderers seeking asylum from secular justice. Victor Uribe-Uran recounted dozens of cases from throughout the Spanish Empire—Mexico, Colombia, and Spain—in which husbands and wives accused of murdering their spouses sought refuge and protection within church walls to avoid facing royal criminal courts.26 Though such asylum was temporary, and eventually most accused murderers were handed over for prosecution, these incidents show how extensive religious authority remained in relation to the secular justice in the eighteenth century. During the eighteenth century, as it had in earlier centuries, the Catholic Church was also deeply involved in regulating cases of domestic violence, trying to establish and maintain Christian peace in society by first establishing it within marriages and homes. It did this, first, at the parish level through the work of its priests, nuns, and monks, many of whom parishioners sought out to mediate their marital disputes and problems. Wives could follow the advice or receive the aid of their confessors when they encountered troublesome husbands. Sometimes clerical advice simply encouraged them to endure the suffering, perhaps as a form of penance. An example of this religious tendency to encourage wives to suffer and try to change their husbands is encapsulated in the popular Catholic hagiography of St. Monica, patron saint of wives and of the abused. St. Monica was the mother of St. Augustine. According to popular hagiographic literature, aside from giving birth to one of the church’s greatest authorities, Monica was known for her patience and humility in suffering the abuse of her angry husband, a pagan, Patricio27: The way that Saint Monica pacified her husband, says saint Agustin, was by serving him as her lord, and speaking to him more through actions than with words, which cause the suffering of which they speak; never get mad at him nor speak an ill word to him; pray often to the Lord, and beg him, to make him a Christian of pure Faith. When her husband would be angry, and insane with rage, she did not resist him neither in word nor deed, but was quiet; and in time he calmed down, given to modesty and humble reason. She never complained to other women about his abuse: nor did she speak bad of him as did those wives who had less misery and less prudence than she did. And

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the same saint Agustin adds that the other wives and neighbor women complained about the abuse their husbands did to them, showing her the bruises and signs of the beatings that they gave them, and they marveled that Patricio, being so bad-tempered and rough, that he was never known to have ever laid a hand on his wife and that between them there had never been a day of discord.28 Clergymen held women responsible for taming their husbands, as the example of St. Monica demonstrates. So, at least in the minds of some, a bad husband reflected poorly on his wife’s ability to make him a better man. Even though misogynistic Christian authors commonly derided women for manipulating men—as Eve did Adam, Delilah did Samson, etc.—in bad marriages clerics expected women to use manipulation for good: to reform, pacify, and make men better. Other clerics, though, confronted misbehaving husbands and chastised them about their gambling, drinking, or violence, etc. It is easy to be so distracted by the liberal Enlightenment writings of Voltaire or Montesquieu to overlook the fact that such religious rhetoric was undoubtedly much more common and pervasive in daily life, preached from pulpits and in print. In the eighteenth century the Catholic Church was mostly composed of single men and women who reputedly had little experience with intimate relationships. And yet these priests, monks, nuns, and bishops governed matrimony and were supposed to nurture and minister to the laity’s marital relationships. Clergy began their relationship with couples by performing the many crucial rites of marriage and blessing the fertility of wedlock. Most importantly, priests, the church, and the records they kept became invaluable to the laity: if anyone wanted to create a legitimate union, and from it, legitimate children to inherit property, titles, and authority, they needed to marry in church. All kinds of Catholic rhetoric further intertwined the clergy with people’s marriages. Church authors frequently described the unity of God and the church as a kind of matrimony. During the eighteenth century nuns taking holy orders openly referenced Jesus as their husband. In the minds of most Catholics marriage was inseparable from its spiritual and religious manifestation. Many spouses, especially wives, appealed to their local clergy when they encountered marital problems, abuse, and violence. This was not simply because the church held legal jurisdiction over matrimony: clergy had a special relationship to everyone’s marriages. An example of this connection between clergy and marriage occurred in a separation case from northern Spain in which a priest, Don Juan de Palacio, intervened to deal with a violent husband. On the afternoon of July 18, 1705, according to testimony of the mayor of the town of Bobadilla, a married man, Pedro Villoslada, dragged Don Palacio, out of and behind the local church, to a standing cross. There Villoslada swore on the cross and to the priest that “unless they removed his wife that night from the house he would cut her to pieces.”29 The priest took Pedro’s threat seriously and informed the town bailiff. Authorities removed Villoslada’s wife from the couple’s home and placed her in the protection of her brother; they placed Villoslada under house arrest. Don Juan de Palacio’s central role in this case highlights the clergy’s position as counselor and mediator in domestic disputes. To make his threat and seek a remedy to a marital dispute, Villoslada, an enraged husband, turned to the local cleric, the individual officially responsible for forging peace between married couples. Additional witnesses in this case echoed the belief that it was the cleric’s unique place to counsel quarreling

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husbands and wives. Another local priest, Don Joseph de Anguiano, recognized that, even though many people had visited Villoslada’s house to quiet the couple, he had been there “because he is a priest and it pressed upon him as his obligation.”30 And the town’s bailiff, Pedro Ojeda, said of the priests “whose office included bringing peace [to couples] in such situations.”31 In early modern Spain the church’s regulation of matrimony did not end with the nuptial blessing but continued through the life of the marriage. Not only was the Catholic Church a primarily male institution, which historians have described as advocating and supporting the concept and reality of a society ruled by men, but many scholars have highlighted the Catholic Church in a tradition of virulent misogyny. However, even though clerics—being as steeped in the belief in patriarchy as the foundation of European family as anyone—undoubtedly supported the norm of male run households and marriages, they could also be instrumental in checking wife-battery in daily life. Several instances show that many confessors and parish priests not only worked to calm and temper abusive husbands, but actually advised wives to leave their men and seek legal separations or annulments in the church courts. Part of what might have allowed or provoked clergymen to confront husbands had to do with their position vis-à-vis married lay men; priests and monks were not necessarily simply marital counselors but could also be women’s protectors, as well as male competitors for female devotion and attention. These male clerics provided a competing patriarchal, masculine ideal and authority against laymen and male heads of households. The presence of avowedly chaste confessors and parish priests presented a corrective to the daily abuse of women in early modern Spain. During the eighteenth century Catholic clerics, especially confessors, had a reputation for coming between husbands and wives. Generations of Catholic laymen have complained about admonitions from holier-than-thou priests and monks chastising them for everything from drinking to blasphemy, etc. These complaints included clerics who reprimanded husbands for abusing their wives. And laymen also chaffed at the influence clergymen had over their wives. One of the multitude of complaints, for instance, that nineteenth-century French anticlerical writers Jules Michelet and Charles Chiniquy had of the Catholic clergy was that confessors came between women and their husbands. Through confession, they argued, the cleric usurped a husband’s control over his wife. The clerical attack on patriarchal authority, according to this argument, created disorder in the household and society as a whole.32 Stephen Haliczer’s study of sexual solicitation in the confessional has also illuminated the harm that resulted from confessors coming between wives and their husbands. In my own investigations of Spanish church courts I have come across many cases against philandering priests. And yet for all the trouble that a supposedly meddling clergy could cause, its role as mediator between husband and wife had some benefits as well. Precisely by coming between husbands and wives priests were often able to defend the interests of women. Tomás Montecón Novellán documents the importance of the parish priest as a protector of wives from abuse in his study of the murder of Antonia Isabel Sánchez by her husband in eighteenth-century Cantabria, along the northern Spanish coast. Antonia’s husband had complained about their confessor’s attempts to counsel the couple together and stop him from abusing her. After beating Antonia on one occasion, for example, her husband was to have said “now the priests and monks come to defend you.”33

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FIGURE 2.3:  Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746–1828), A Woman Whispering to a Priest, c. 1812, brush and brown wash on laid paper, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, via Wikimedia Commons.

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CHURCH MEDIATED SEPARATIONS Occasionally the role of the local clergy, especially the couple’s confessor, was crucial in beginning or preventing litigation. Confessors and parish priests often meant that they became embroiled in the personal lives of married couples.34 Some wives only learned of the legal options open to them under canon law when they told their intimate marital problems to their confessor. A woman could have, for example, confided to her local priest that her husband was impotent and never consummated their marriage—the most common grounds for annulment in Spain and France.35 The priest could then advise them that the usual period to attempt consummation was three years, after which she could seek an annulment in a church court. Confessors were clearly not of one mind regarding the break-up of wedded couples. Some clerics when confronted with the marital problems of couples in their parishes may have chosen to advise tolerance and patience, and the maintenance of marital unions. From the evidence of trials for separation litigated in church courts there were many ways clerics attempted to prevent or stop wife-battery. A priests could advise a wife to either separate or seek an annulment from her husband, he could provide refuge for a battered women, or a priest could act against a husband directly, either scolding him or working to arrest him. In the northern Spanish town of Huercanos in 1735, for instance, estranged wife Angela Martínez del Campo was escorted back to her house by her parish priest because she was afraid of what would happen when she returned home after a twoday absence. According to her lawyer, the priest gave “her husband a severe reprimand for the bad example, note and scandal that he caused” by mistreating his wife.36 In this case the priest tried to reform an abusive husband by shaming him. He acted as the community’s voice demanding public peace and order, to prevent the scandal and grief that loud domestic quarrels invariably caused. Of course, we have to wonder about the effectiveness of such scoldings, since immediately after the priest left Angela alone with her husband he allegedly told her “don’t think, that even though the priest had come [to the house] that it would stop him from hitting her.”37 Julie Hardwick describes similar pastoral roles for Catholic clergy in France as in Spain: “Parish clergy provided mediation between spouses, and saw intervention in domestic conflict as a pastoral responsibility. Pierre Barat noted that his wife had ‘serval times’ tried to convince him to visit their parish priest to discuss his treatment of her.”38 Confessors and parish priests sometimes went a step further to put an end to domestic violence by advising wives to seek a separation or annulment from abusive husbands. In the case that I began with, for instance, it was the parish priest of Bobadilla, Don Juan de Palacio, who first went to the municipal authorities and asked them to remove his wife from the house for her protection. Another example comes from a couple in the town of Almarza de Cameros in 1695. According to all involved, Francisco Saenz Caluo had begun beating his wife, Ana Saenz Valladar, because she refused to comply with the conjugal debt and have sex with him. Francisco had complained to Domingo Gomez, the local priest that his “wife had not paid the [conjugal] debt, nor wants to, and says that she does not have to, denigrating [him for] the many bruises he had given her.”39 Ana refused to submit to her husband, claiming that she had been forced against her will to marry Francisco in the first place. Rather than ordering Ana to submit to her husband, father Domingo Gomez decided to separate the couple and sent them to the diocesan court so Ana could sue for an annulment. The slow moving process of litigation gave Ana two years to live apart from Francisco. But unfortunately for her, and despite the cleric’s efforts on

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Ana’s behalf, the church court decided that Francisco was her legitimate husband and sent her back to live with him in June of 1697. Regardless of the final decision against Ana, this case is an example of how local priests not only intervened between wives and husbands, but also of how clerics informed women about the legal options for separation and annulment available to them under canon law. The church, through its personnel, convents, and monasteries, commonly provided shelter for battered women, giving them a place to stay while litigation proceeded against their husbands. Though often church courts placed abused wives in the homes of close family while separation cases were pending, women without family nearby often resided in convents or, less often, in the houses of local clerics. In 1703, for instance, Josepha Gil had found refuge in the house and service of the archdeacon of the Cathedral of Calahorra, Juan Ximénez Soran Zurbina. She had independently left her husband, Clemente García, after he locked her out of her own house one night. When Clemente enlisted the bishop’s court to force Josepha to return home, she sued for a permanent separation and asked that she be allowed to remain serving the archdeacon. Despite the common synodal decrees that warned against allowing women to live under the same roof with avowedly chaste male clerics, wives also found protection in priests’ houses. Still, despite the many examples in which priests intervened between abusive men and abused wives, the evidence regarding the beneficial influences of clerics is mixed at best. For all the instances in which priests and other clerics are found to have actively defended women’s interests against their husbands, there are just as many, perhaps many more, in which clerics enforced the strictures against women in the patriarchal household. Foremost among the ways that priests defended husband’s patriarchal rights was sending women who had fled abusive marriages back to their husbands. It was far more common for a cleric to maintain social order by enforcing marriages than by suggesting that wives and husbands separate. Any married couple informally living separately without permission from the church was an insult to the sacrament of matrimony, and many priests, monks, and visiting officials of the church took it upon themselves to rectify these irregular situations.

ENLIGHTENED ABSOLUTISM AND MARRIAGE Many matrimonial issues that the church held within its jurisdiction would not be contested until several “Enlightened Despots” targeted these powers. This secular encroachment into marital issues was part of broad monarchical efforts to appropriate church authority and assets in the mid-eighteenth century. With his Real Pragmática of 1776, Charles III of Spain, for instance, expanded the Spanish state’s jurisdiction over marriage both in Spain and in its global territories (which included, at that time, the Philippines, much of South and North America, including the Louisiana territory). As in the case of slave marriages discussed above, it was the right of patriarchs to control the marriages of their dependents that most interested secular authorities. Among other things, the Spanish king’s Pragmática was meant to bolster the role of families’ material interests in marriage formation, so it included new requirements that anyone marrying under the age of 25 secure their parent’s approval.40 Joseph II in Austria, another “Enlightened Despot,” expanded secular government over marriage when he promulgated the Marriage Patent for the Habsburg lands in 1783, making marriage a civil contract, though it was still subject to the canon law of the Catholic Church.41

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Similar patriarchal rights over the marriages of children were even more extensive in France, where, in many provinces, the age of majority was 30.42 It is in monarchs’ defense of familial and patriarchal rights vis-à-vis the church that we can see the growth of secular power over ecclesiastical authority. This protection of parental rights over their children’s marriages contradicted ecclesiastical approaches toward marriage. The church had traditionally promoted the importance that individuals consent to any marriage into which their parents might push them, and that the marital sacrament should be open to any couple seeking it, even when they were young and, as we have already seen, even if they were slaves. That young men and women could have such a say over their own marriages often subverted parental and family interests, especially regarding the control parents desired over who inherited their estates and their social and political connections. Under pressure to crack down on elopements and clandestine marriages, the Catholic Church had relented at the Council of Trent (1545–63), requiring that couples marry before witnesses and publicize weddings beforehand. By the eighteenth century, monarchs further intervened, extending parental rights and raising the ages of majority to marry without parental consent. Though they both attacked religious authority over matrimony, it was in protection of parental rights over the marriage of children where monarchical and Enlightenment views diverged. While royal tendencies preferred to protect and extend patriarchal control over marriage, philosophes and revolutionaries advocated for individual freedom of choice. By the end of the eighteenth century writers and legislators railed against the domination of parents over their adult children. Young adults were to be liberated from the controlling and suffocating jealous interests of their families. Ideally, true love could now prevail over greedy marital plans that parents made to order inheritances and political alliances. Divorce, too, divided the traditional secular stance on matrimony from the opinion of Enlightenment thinkers. Here the monarchical view was that, marriage being the state in miniature, the marital hierarchy and relationship could not be broken without the destruction of social order. If one were able to overthrow the patriarch at home, one could overthrow the monarch at court. If wives could divorce their husbands it could presage the ability of subjects to dethrone their king. This clearly appealed to some revolutionary republican leaders. Marriage was the state in miniature for Enlightenment thinkers too: but instead of divinely ordained patriarchal hierarchy, republican marriage now envisioned couples heading up tiny republics, creating and educating new citizens to constitute a liberated nation. Since government demanded the consent of its citizens, marriages could be dissolved when couples rescinded that consent. In the British Isles and Ireland the Anglican Church was equally as important in its control over marriage as the Catholic Church in Catholic states. To be officially recognized by the state marriages had to be registered in the Anglican Church. The marriages of Jews and Catholics, of course, were therefore at a disadvantage before the state and its courts.43

CONCLUSION The budding of the “rise of sentiment,” the “love match” and the eventual secularization of marriage, the roots of modern divorce, did indeed happen during the Age of Enlightenment, all at the expense of organized religion. But this was a nuanced historical process, one that should be told with caveats and qualifications. In the eighteenth century peoples throughout the Western world began to have new visions of matrimony—what it could be (a mutual contract), how it should be formed (through the consent of individual

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women and men), what its foundation should be (reciprocal love and affection). But ordinary people entertained such new notions while living on a day-to-day basis according to cultural conventions that fated them to marry in churches generation after generation. Social historians should never underestimate the power of continuity, especially at the level of everyday life, which is where marriages took and still take place. In her study of family violence in early modern France Julie Hardwick admonishes historians to “acknowledge that continuities matter in the histories of violence, of women, of children, and of gender dynamics in families.”44 And this, of course, includes the history of marriage. Ancient religious marital rituals, formidable church institutions, religious buildings, clerical and pastoral personnel, and canon law refused to be easily dismantled either by the power grabs of eighteenth-century monarchs or the zealous revolutionaries at the end of the Age of Enlightenment. These institutions would persist to influence views of matrimony, in varying extents and ways, well into the twentieth and, indeed, the twenty-first century.

CHAPTER THREE

State and Law REBECCA PROBERT

In 1795 the eminent English ecclesiastical judge Sir William Scott presided over the case of Lindo v. Belisario, a complicated dispute regarding the validity of a Jewish marriage. In the course of his judgment he noted the debate between those who regarded marriage as being merely a civil contract and those who saw it as “a sacred, religious, and spiritual” one.1 Neither view, he thought, was entirely accurate. Instead, according to “the law of nature,” marriage was a contract predating civil institutions: an engagement to live together in a lasting relationship would thus be “a marriage in sight of God,” at least “in the absence of all civil and religious institutes.”2 This did not mean that such a contract would be a marriage in the eyes of either Jewish or English law. In the case of the former, there were “legal institutions to which the Jews adhere in practice” that needed to be taken into account, while in the case of the latter, “civil regulations” had “interfered” with the ancient canon law that had formed the basis of marriage law across Europe.3 Scott’s musings not only provide a useful introduction to the different types of law that might coexist (or compete) within any one legal system but also reflect Enlightenment debates about “the law of nature” and the very nature of law, who had the authority to set laws, and what values should underpin them. From a modern perspective, the idea that the state is responsible for creating laws regulating all aspects of our lives might seem so self-evident as to be hardly worth stating, but it would not have been so in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Since the regulation of marriage was one of the key areas over which both secular and religious authorities claimed jurisdiction in this period, it is important to sketch out some of these broader issues and debates about law and the state in order to understand just how controversial state claims to regulate marriage were in this period. Looking first at the different types of law that existed, in alluding to “civil regulations” Scott meant the legislation that had been passed to regulate marriage some decades earlier. While legislation was an increasingly important source of law in eighteenth-century England and Wales, it was far from forming a single unified code. Most acts of Parliament were local or personal in their scope, and most legal issues were resolved in the courts. The fact that marriage was one of the few areas where Parliament had intervened was thus highly significant in terms of what it said about the importance attached to it. At the same time, as Lindo illustrated, it was a religious tribunal that had jurisdiction to decide on the validity of marriages, and Scott was hearing evidence as to the laws of a minority religious group that was in many respects regarded as being outside of the state. Moreover, his reference to civil regulations “interfering” with the canon law reflects more than a simple dislike of the content of the law: his clear implication is that this is a matter with which the state should not interfere.

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Scott’s references to “the law of nature” and to “the antient canon law” were similarly intended to convey the inferiority of mere statute law.4 Philosophers and jurists alike sought to locate the origins of authority in a sacred—if sometimes imagined—past.5 In Two Treatises on Government, for example, the late seventeenth-century philosopher John Locke had portrayed the relationship between husband and wife as “the first society,” predating any form of political society and being formed “by a voluntary compact between man and woman.”6 The idea of “nature” and what was “natural” also formed a key reference point in Enlightenment discussions. To describe something as “natural” was to make a normative claim as well as an empirical one: this was not just how things were but how they should be. In identifying the laws applied in the English ecclesiastical courts as rooted in a pan-European canon law based on general principles that were consistent with “the law of nature,” Scott was sending a strong message about the rightfulness of this particular set of laws. Linked to these debates about nature was the concept of “natural law.” For centuries natural law had been regarded as being divinely inspired: man-made laws might be found to be wanting when held up to scrutiny against the law of God. But over the course of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, Enlightenment writers developed a concept of natural law independent of scriptural justification, one that was intended to be based on reasoning from first principles and attempted to find universal rules.7 This, however, reflected an ideal as to what law should be. Jurists also developed the concept of “positive law” to describe the actual laws of the state: in the words of the leading eighteenth-century lawyer William Blackstone, positive law was “a rule of civil conduct prescribed by the supreme power in a state, commanding what is right and prohibiting what is wrong.”8 The legitimacy of positive law was thus tested by reference to the authority of the person or body responsible for its creation—although external critics might regard it as failing to meet the higher standards of natural law. This in turn led to greater debate about the values that should underpin the law. It was not a question that was capable of an easy answer: the old certainties had gone. And scholars then and now have come to very different conclusions about what should be regarded as “enlightened” thought. For some, it was associated with a more rational, empirical, secular, and scientific approach. Others prioritized religious tolerance, or saw enlightenment in terms of progress towards a higher state of civilization. Some aimed to identify rules of universal application, others, such as Montesquieu, writing in L’Esprit des Lois in 1748, advocated the need for a close connection between any given system of law and the people for whom it was formulated, “and, by stressing the cultural specificity of law, gave an ideological foundation to an emphasis on national laws.”9 Reconciling these different strands was almost impossible. Ideas about universal laws based on reason implied a degree of equality that went against the hierarchy implicit in ideas about civilization. Universalism was also in tension with the idea of the cultural specificity of law. This chapter will focus on the regulation of marriage in England and Wales as a case study to examine these different debates about the role of law and the state. It is, after all, the formalities required for a valid marriage that perhaps provide the clearest illustration of the role of competing authorities in shaping marriage. Narrowing the focus to this specific context also enables comparisons with other jurisdictions to be made more easily than if the whole panoply of rules regulating who may marry whom, and when, and legal rights and responsibilities that flow from marriage, were to be covered. Focusing on England and Wales also highlights how more than one legal system might exist within any given state. In 1650 England and Scotland had been separate states and

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kingdoms, each with their own Parliament but linked by the same monarch, but just over half a century later the Acts of Union of 1707 had brought them together as one state and one kingdom of Great Britain, with one Parliament. Each, however, retained their own legal system, and their laws on marriage in particular were quite distinct. The position was different again in Ireland, which retained its own Parliament until the 1800 Act of Union created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. I will begin by analyzing the different ways in which entry into marriage was regulated by the state and by religion between 1650 and 1800. The picture that emerges is far more complex than a simple one of the state replacing religion: what is striking is how the regulation of marriage required laws endorsed by both state and religion. The next section will go on to consider the extent—and limits—of religious toleration: while this has been seen as a key element of the English Enlightenment,10 freedom of worship did not extend to freedom to marry as one chose. Ireland here offers an interesting comparison that shows the greater flexibility that might be achieved. In the third section I will examine the way in which the language of civilization was used both to justify formal requirements and reinforce perceived hierarchies: Enlightenment ideas of progress required that others be lagging behind. The final section will explore the idea of universalism: here a wider range of states and laws will be considered to bring out the irony that the laws governing marriage were far more disparate in 1800 than they had been in 1650.

FIGURE 3.1:  Unnamed artist, A Country Wedding, 1794 (London: Laurie and Whittle), via Mary Evans Picture Library.

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STATE, LAW, AND RELIGION IN THE MAKING OF MARRIAGE One of the key tenets of the Protestant Reformation had been that marriage was not a sacrament and that it could properly be regulated by the state rather than by the church.11 In England and Wales it was only in the 1650s that the Puritans had the opportunity to give full effect to this belief. The pared-down service that had been prescribed by the Directory of Public Worship in January 1645 had signaled Parliament’s desire to remove elements of the marriage service perceived to derive from Catholicism, declaring that “Marriage be no Sacrament, nor peculiar to the Church of God, but common to mankind.”12 This both evoked ideas about the law of nature and asserted the authority of the state over religious influences, whether internal or external. It was nonetheless deemed “expedient” that marriages should be solemnized “by a lawfull Minister of the Word” and the prescribed preliminaries were ones that would have been familiar to seventeenth-century men and women: banns were to be called and the consent of parents obtained. The parties were required to declare whether there was any reason why they might not lawfully marry and to exchange their vows, before the minister pronounced the parties to be husband and wife—“without any further Ceremony,”13 as the Directory dogmatically stated. This meant that no ring was given, since this was thought to smack of popery. Shortly after the establishment of the Commonwealth, Parliament went still further, introducing mandatory civil marriage in a desire to eliminate “all vestiges of Catholicism and prelacy.”14 This attempt by the state to eradicate religious influence was not the result of a secular ideology but rather a more purist idea of religion and marriage, aiming to restore both to their origins. The legislation provided that publication of the intended marriage could still take place “in the publique Meeting-place commonly called the Church or Chappel,” but provision was also made for the secular alternative of publication in the neighboring marketplace.15 The marriage itself had to take place before a local justice of the peace and determinations as to the validity of marriages were to be made by the General Quarter Sessions, the ecclesiastical courts having been temporarily abolished. Four years later it proved necessary to repeal the clause that no other forms of marriage would be recognized,16 reflecting the fact that universal civil marriage had not won universal acceptance.17 For many couples, the civil ceremony simply did not have the same cultural resonance as one conducted according to the Book of Common Prayer. The parish register of Maid’s Moreton in Buckinghamshire proudly asserted that, despite the 1653 Act, “none in this parish were bedded before they were solemnly wedded, in the church, and that according to the orders of the Church of England.”18 Anne Murray recounted how she went through two ceremonies, one before a justice of the peace, the other before a chaplain in a private house.19 It is clear that she had no inclination for the civil ceremony: it was done purely to “conforme to the order of those that were then in power.”20 As she commented, “if it had not been done more solemnly afterwards by a minister, I should not have believed it lawfully done.”21 The fact that couples chose to exchange vows before a minister even when they did not have to do so—indeed, even when such a ceremony was not by itself a valid method of constituting a marriage—suggests that there was a deep-rooted commitment to the religious ceremony.22 Positive legal commands could make little headway where they went against traditional culture.

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The downfall of the regime followed not long after, and the restored Parliament quickly passed legislation confirming the validity of marriages celebrated in the previous troubled decades, proclaiming that for the avoidance of doubt any marriages solemnized before a justice of the peace would be judged as if it had been solemnized according to the rites of the Church of England.23 Marriages that had actually been solemnized according to the rites of the Church of England—even when this was not a legally valid way of marrying—were also upheld: in Tarry v. Browne24 the common law courts reversed the earlier dissolution of a marriage that had taken place at midnight, in an alehouse, before what was tellingly described as a “parson in sacred orders.” While the marriage had not complied with the law then in force, the chief justice took the view that the law in operation during the Commonwealth, having been in this point contrary to the law of God, was void. Even the common law courts, in other words, were willing to evoke divine authority in deciding the outcome of a case. Future marriages were, as before the Commonwealth, to be governed by the canon law, and the restored ecclesiastical courts resumed jurisdiction over issues of validity. By these means the state acknowledged marriage as a matter to be governed by religious law—if only that of the established religion, recognized by and subject to the state. The Restoration saw a sharpening of the distinction between religious conformity and nonconformity. The new emphasis on episcopal ordination as the essential unifying characteristic of all clergymen of the Church of England25 had implications for the validity of marriages. It seems clear from the treatment of non-Anglican marriages in this period that a marriage that was not celebrated by an ordained Anglican clergyman would not be regarded as a valid marriage.26 Restoration comedies made much of the dramatic potential of this. Alleman’s examination of around 240 plays from the period found that no fewer than 70 contained tricked marriages that were “represented as valid because celebrated by a regular clergymen” and that a further 22 contained mock marriages that were represented as invalid because the priest was an imposter.27 This particular genre also reflected the growing problem with marriages being celebrated clandestinely, i.e., without due compliance with the church’s requirements. Under the canons of 1604, it was stipulated that marriages should be preceded by the calling of banns or the obtaining of a license, with parental consent being given where either party was under the age of 21, and that the ceremony should take place in the church of the parish to which at least one of the parties belonged, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and noon. Some clandestine marriages complied with most of the requirements; others with few or none. Crucially, though, a failure to comply with these requirements did not render the marriage void, although it did expose the parties and the clergyman to ecclesiastical censure and punishment for participating in a clandestine marriage. From the 1690s ecclesiastical penalties were supplemented by statutory ones as the state passed legislation to try to encourage compliance with the canon law (and where this was not possible, to raise revenue from noncompliance). Clergymen were first fined and then suspended for conducting marriages otherwise than in accordance with the canon law.28 The effect, however, was to create an opportunity for those clergymen with little to lose to conduct marriages outside any church at all, and over the first half of the eighteenth century what were known as “Fleet” marriages grew in popularity, to the point where they accounted for around half of all marriages in London (Figure 3.2).29 While across the country most couples continued to marry in church, Fleet marriages posed too big a problem to ignore. Parliament finally responded to the problem in one of

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FIGURE 3.2:  Unnamed artist, depiction of “Fleet Marriages,” from Robert Chambers’s Book of Days, 1871.

its rare flurries of legislative activity in the mid-century. Under the Clandestine Marriages Act of 1753, it was made explicit that all marriages had to take place according to the rites of the Church of England. Banns and licenses became essential to the validity of a marriage, and the ceremony had to take place in a church or public chapel “where Banns have been usually published.”30 Marriages that did not comply with these basic requirements were no longer simply clandestine, as under the canon law, but void, and clergymen who “knowingly and wilfully” failed to observe them faced transportation to America for fourteen years.31 It could have been worse: an earlier draft had prescribed the death penalty for those ministers who solemnized marriages other than according to the legal requirements.32 The death penalty did remain as a potential penalty under the Act, but only for those who were convicted of the felony of deliberately making false entries or destroying part of the register.33 The only groups exempted from the provisions of the Act were Quakers, Jews, and members of the Royal Family, and the last were soon to find themselves subject to the even stricter provisions of the Royal Marriages Act 1772, which required the consent of the sovereign for those under 25, and the consent of Parliament for those over that age. Advocates and opponents of reform alike focused on the relationship between law, the state, and religion in debating the provisions of the new Act. Henry Gally, for example, supported the reform, declaring that “all civil Laws, which are made for the Good of Society, and are not contrary to the Law of nature, are approved of by God, and, in this sense, are his Laws.”34 In any case God, in his eyes, was also subject to law: “God cannot be said to join two Persons in Marriage, but when this is done by certain legal

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means.”35 Others contested the ability of the state to legislate for the conscience of the parties. Henry Stebbing acknowledged that “society has the right to prescribe the form of marriage, to bring it under civil cognizance, but this has nothing to do with the essence of the contract as it lies before God.” Parties might therefore be bound to each other in conscience even if they were not recognized by the law as married. Even he, however, conceded that men were bound by the laws of society, “which in all things lawful and expedient are the Law of God” and that cohabiting after only a private contract would be an offense to God.36 It was clear, nonetheless, that legislators regarded themselves as having the power to regulate the laws of society, if not the laws of God and nature, as the terse statement from the Solicitor-General, William Murray, made clear during the passage of the Act: it is … objected, that we are going to do what we have not a power to do: that we cannot declare that to be void which is valid both by the law of God and the law of nature. Sir, we are only to declare a marriage void in law, which is not contracted according to the forms prescribed by the laws of this society, and that is what every society may do.37 Such positivistic statements about the power of the state should not obscure the important role retained for religious authority. As O’Connell has pointed out, “marriage became an instrument of the English state not through the erasure or mere toleration of religion, but through a vigorous appropriation and reanimation of Anglicanism as an Established faith.”38 The ecclesiastical courts retained exclusive jurisdiction over the question of what constituted a valid marriage, even if they now had to apply the statute in making that determination. The 1753 Act has been seen by historians as a pivotal moment in the regulation of marriage. Douglas Hay and Nicholas Rogers argued that it “was designed to regularize state control over marriage and … echoes … the triumph of law over custom.”39 In a similar vein, Lawrence Stone suggested that before the Act, “marriage was to a considerable extent out of the control of either church or state.”40 But both claims rest on an assumption about earlier practices that is not borne out by the evidence. The vast majority of couples married in church even before 1753, and there is no evidence of widespread cohabitation outside marriage.41 Nor is there any evidence of the alternative “folk” ceremonies that some historians have claimed were common in this period. Even those couples who resorted to the Fleet to marry were deliberately choosing to be united in matrimony by an Anglican clergyman, if not one who was entirely respectable. The fact that couples would travel—and pay—to be married in the squalid surroundings of the Fleet prison is hardly reconcilable with there being the option of marrying by a simple exchange of consent before witnesses. Between 1650 and 1800, then, entry into marriage had been briefly regulated by the state through the requirement of mandatory civil marriage, before authority returned to the ecclesiastical courts applying the canon law. The 1753 Act combined the authority of state and religion in that the “forms and solemnities” it required were the same as those that had been required by the canon law, now reinforced by the state’s sanctions of invalidity, transportation, and potentially death. And crucially, in terms of its reception, the 1753 Act was consistent with existing cultural practices as to how marriages were formed, unlike the requirement of a civil ceremony under the Commonwealth.

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The close connection between the state and established religion in regulating marriage was reflected not only in the continuing role accorded to the latter but also in the limited acceptance of other religious rites, as the next section will discuss.

THE LIMITS OF TOLERANCE Despite the acceptance of at least some degree of religious tolerance in the late seventeenth century,42 there was no question of allowing Catholic priests to conduct marriages in England and Wales. An early seventeenth-century statute had ordered that the marriages—along with the baptisms and burials—of “popish recusants” should be celebrated in the Anglican parish church, on pain of a fine.43 Further legislation in the late seventeenth century referred to Catholic marriages—along with those of Quakers and Jews—as “pretended marriages”: while they were to be taxed in the same way as Anglican marriages, the Act made it very clear that this did not confer any validity on them.44 While there were occasional cases in which the courts attached some legal consequences to marriages that had been conducted by Catholic priests, there were others in which marriages celebrated “after the Romish ritual” were not recognized.45 When marriage was placed on a statutory footing in 1753, it made no explicit mention of Catholic marriages, but it was clear that any marriage ceremonies conducted according to Catholic rites would be void. The conflict between conscience and legal validity was mitigated somewhat by papal sanction as to the legitimacy of obeying the civil law and marrying before an Anglican minister,46 and in practice most Catholics appear to have managed that conflict by going through a Catholic ceremony in addition to the Anglican one.47 Nor indeed should the special treatment of Jewish marriages in English law be seen as an example of Enlightenment toleration but, rather, as a reflection of the particular position of the Jewish people within the state. After all, at the very time that the legislation was passed exempting their marriages from the general law there had been protests against the passage of the Jewish Naturalization Bill, leading to its speedy repeal. And when in 1794 the ecclesiastical court had to consider whether it had jurisdiction over a marriage celebrated according to Jewish rites,48 it was pointed out that the particular tenets of the Jewish religion were “adverse to their use of the rites of the Christian Church” and that Jews “had existed always as a separate community, and in some respect on the footing of aliens.”49 Rather counterintuitively, these were arguments in favor of the ecclesiastical courts having jurisdiction—the counterargument being that those seeking to have the validity of their marriage tried in the ecclesiastical court must show that they had married according to the rites of the Church of England. So the special treatment of Jewish marriages was due to their status as aliens, and civilian judges heard evidence on Jewish law from experts, just as they would when determining the validity of a marriage that had been conducted in another state. The fact that the 1753 Act had made no exception for Protestant dissenters—with the exception of the Quakers—might seem to be more of an issue, given that they formed a larger section of the population. Even so, only around 6 percent of the population belonged to Independent, Baptist, Presbyterian, Unitarian, or Quaker churches in the mid-eighteenth century, as compared to around 100,000 Catholics and 8,000 Jews.50 Moreover, the evidence suggests that Protestant dissenters had not developed their own distinct marriage rites and tended to marry in the parish church. The exemption of the Quakers, one of the smaller sects, becomes easier to understand when one reviews their history. Unlike other Protestant dissenters, they had developed their own marriage practices during the

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ferment of the Commonwealth and maintained them thereafter, taking the view that marrying a couple “is the work of the Lord only, and not the priests or magistrates, for it is God’s ordinance and not man’s.”51 There was little likelihood of them complying with the new law and little risk that the exemption could be used by non-Quakers to evade its requirements, given their small numbers, strict endogamy, and stringent internal processes. Crucially, however, the legislation did not confirm that their simple exchange of consent constituted a valid marriage, and this remained a matter of speculation. In England and Wales the required form of marriage did at least reflect the dominant religion. In Ireland, by contrast, the relationship between the state and marriage law was rather different, with an established Anglican Church and a majority Catholic population. Requiring all couples to marry in the Church of Ireland would have been futile. Catholics married before their own priests, often in private houses, and such marriages were recognized by the ecclesiastical courts in Ireland. Anglican marriages were also governed by canon law rather than by statute. It was in the treatment of mixed marriages, however, that the anti-Catholicism of the state revealed itself. Over the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth century a series of acts was passed to try to deter such marriages and deprive those that took place of legal effect. Initially this was limited to depriving the parties to mixed marriages of property, but further legislation attempted to deter potential celebrants by penalizing Catholic priests for celebrating the marriages of Protestants, culminating in a statute of 1727 that made this a capital felony.52 More importantly for the parties (if not for the priest), in 1745 “An Act for annulling all marriages to be celebrated by any Popish Priest between Protestant and Protestant, or between Protestant and Papist” declared any such marriages to be void.53 Even when intermarriage between Catholics and Protestants was finally permitted in 1792, such marriages had to be celebrated by an Anglican clergyman, and Catholic priests still faced penalties if they conducted any mixed marriage. Yet as Maebh Harding has pointed out, the “limited state regulation of marriage aligned with the interests of the Catholic hierarchy in the 18th century” given that they too were opposed to mixed marriages and were even more “anxious to avoid legislation requiring all marriages to be carried out in the Established Church.”54 The example of Ireland thus brings out how multilayered the relationship between the state, law, and religion was: the lack of any overarching law of marriage did at least give Catholics the legal space to marry according to their own rites, and prohibitions that appear blatantly intolerant may have served the purposes of religious groups as well as the state. Tolerance was not, however, necessarily a prerequisite for a nation to regard itself as civilized, which brings us on to the next strand of Enlightenment thought.

ASSUMPTIONS OF CIVILIZATION There was an increasing tendency to make a link between the way in which marriages were regulated and the degree of perceived “civilization” within any given society. In the late seventeenth century the Italian writer Louis de Gaya had reviewed the marriage ceremonies of different faith groups across the world. Marriage was, in his eyes, “the first and most ancient stage, owing its Institution to the Supreme Author of Nature.” While the laws governing entry into marriage were “more or less strict, according to the Diversity of Religions and Nations,” he declared that there was “no Nation so Barbarous, as not to Solemnise Marriage with some Rites, Ceremonies, and publick Rejoicings.” And his review of the rites required among Jews, Christians, “Mahometans,” and “Idolaters

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and Pagans” gave equal standing to each: there was no sense of any set of rules being more advanced than any other. Over the course of the eighteenth century, by contrast, writers began to link differences in practice to national differences, and to postulate a very clear hierarchy of marriages, laws, and nations. Geographical differences were transformed into developmental sequences, with Europe at the pinnacle.55 The move away from scriptural sources and justifications allowed writers to be more disparaging of the marriage practices—real or supposed—of earlier times and to congratulate themselves on their own advanced systems. The idea of “civilization” assumed both the capacity for and actuality of progression, and a differentiation between those nations that were perceived to be enlightened and those that had not yet attained this state. While discussion of the perceived hierarchy of “civilized” and “barbarous” marriage laws tended to focus on the issue of monogamy versus polygamy, the existence of formal requirements for entering into a marriage was also seen as an element of a civilized society. The Scottish philosopher John Millar, for example, acknowledging that “some sort of marriage, or permanent union between persons of different sexes, has been commonly established, even in the early periods of society,” suggested that “the rude and barbarous inhabitants of the earth” probably embarked on such unions without any specific contract but that as time passed the advantages of a more formal celebration had been appreciated.56 Civilization meant “relinquishing all the ferocious pursuits of men, who live in the early and uncultivated periods of society”; as part of this, “promiscuous concubinage” would be replaced by “the ordinances of marriage.”57 The language of civilization also provided the basis for mutual recognition between states. If, for example, a marriage had taken place in France and the parties then came to England and sought to have the validity of their marriage determined by an English court, what laws would be applied? If the English courts applied English law, then there was a distinct possibility that the couple might find themselves married in one country but not in the other. The obvious solution was that the validity of the marriage would have to be tested by the law of the place where the parties married. This, as one eighteenth-century case emphasizes, “is conformable to what is laid down in our books, and what is practised in all civilized countries, and is agreeable to the law of nations, which is the law of every particular country, and taken notice of as such.”58 Even specific formalities were justified as reflecting civil practice. In 1753 the anonymous author of a pamphlet on the Clandestine Marriages Act defended the clause annulling those marriages that did not comply with the prescribed form, noting that it was “copied from the practice of all civilized countries.”59 So too the judge in Goldsmid v. Bromer declared that clandestine marriages were “considered as evils in all civilised societies,”60 holding a Jewish marriage to be invalid on account of the parties’ failure to comply with certain requirements of Jewish law. Such linkages between formal requirements and perceptions of civilization meant that marriage practices within Europe that did not conform to this image came under scrutiny. For example, there were concerns that Scottish marriage law was distinctly uncivil. One judge inveighed against the perceived61 informality of the law in Scotland in terms that evoked anthropological writings: All the European nations, Scotland excepted, have … required the interposition either of Church or of State to validate a marriage. Thus what was the law of all Europe, while Europe was barbarous, is now the law of Scotland only, when Europe has become civilised.62

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FIGURE 3.3:  Collings and Barlow, Gretna Green, 1791, published by W. Locke. Courtesy Mary Evans Picture Library.

The Scottish judge and philosopher Lord Kames similarly drew on empirical and utilitarian arguments to justify the requirement that marriages be conducted with some form of ceremony, as was the case “in all civilized countries.”63 Of course, an alternative and equally valid conclusion might have been that the formality with which marriages were celebrated did not have any correlation with the degree of civilization within that society. Claims about “civilization” also sat oddly with claims to equality—indeed, in many respects the humility instilled by religious teachings was more consistent with a genuine sense of equality—and with Enlightenment claims about “universal” laws.

UNIVERSALISM The presence of radically different laws regulating marriage in England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland, demonstrated the difficulty in trying to discern what universally applicable laws might be suitable to govern marriage. Across Europe more broadly, the rise of nation states following the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 had led to attempts to create more unified and nationally based legal systems. This meant on the one hand

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trying to eliminate or smooth over regional differences within the state, and on the other differentiating national law from the ius commune, a mix of canon law and Roman law that had provided a point of reference for centuries.64 Power struggles between political rulers and the Catholic Church formed the backdrop to such initiatives in a number of jurisdictions. Over the course of the eighteenth century, under the “enlightened absolutism” of Frederick II and Joseph II respectively, the state assumed responsibility for marriage in Prussia and in Austria. Within Austria, the 1783 Marriage Patent, or Ehepatent, “left religious ceremonies intact while recasting their validity in civil terms.”65 Catholic priests continued to be able to solemnize marriages, but as civil servants rather than as religious representatives.66 A new system was established for non-Catholics,67 with edicts passed in 1785–86 specifically recognizing the authority of rabbis to conduct marriages.68 The modernizing reforms of Peter the Great in Russia similarly led to the diminution of ecclesiastical control over family matters,69 although not to the extent of ceding control to the state.70 Elsewhere marriages remained governed by religious laws rather than by the state. Within the Islamic Ottoman Empire, the marriages of non-Muslims were regarded as governed by their own personal religious laws.71 In India, too, marriage was governed by the personal religious laws of the parties, and when the British settlements at Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras were brought under single rule in the 1770s the plan that British law was to apply was subject to a significant exception: it was established that issues relating to inheritance, caste, and marriage were to be governed by the laws of the Qu’ran in the case of Muslims and the Shaster in the case of Hindus.72 Across precolonial Africa a “multitude of indigenous tribal systems” determined what constituted a marriage, with norms differing between tribes.73 Across the Atlantic, the marriage laws enacted by early colonists in North America were equally diverse, reflecting their different origins and religious perspective, while in South America the hold of the Spanish Empire meant a strong Catholic influence. Towards the end of our period, there was an attempt to create a form of marriage law that would be universally available. Marriage laws in France had been marked by a similar intolerance toward Protestants as English law had demonstrated toward Catholics: between the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 and the Edict of Toleration in 1787, French Protestant had had to choose between a legally binding Catholic ceremony of marriage or one conducted by “an outlawed pastor whose blessing had no legal effect.”74 A more tolerant approach began to emerge in the 1760s: ideas of equality and religious toleration meant that Huguenots began to be seen as citizens rather than as heretics, while natural law concepts of marriage opened the way for recognition of their ceremonies.75 This, however, was to prove short-lived. In the wake of the Revolution of 1789 it was declared that “the law considers marriage to be only a civil contract.”76 Mandatory civil marriage, along with the civil registration of marriages,77 reduced the authority of the Catholic Church and increased that of the state: it was the state that now provided public sanction for marriages and the public record of vital events. The hope was that just as marriage bonded individual citizens to each other, so too civil marriage would bind citizens to the new state.78 Civil marriage was a civil right and rite that was available to all citizens, regardless of creed, rather than access being mediated by the church. As a result, “groups such as actors—who had been forbidden marriage by the Catholic Church—and Jews were able to marry and have their marriages recognized by the State.”79 The corollary of this was a lack of choice. This had particular implications for Jewish communities within

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FIGURE 3.4:  Jean-Baptiste Mallet (1759–1835), Mariage Républicain, c. 1792. © Musée Carnavalet/Roger-Viollet/Mary Evans Picture Library.

France. Prior to the Revolution they had been largely autonomous: since their marriages were not recognized by the civil law, it fell to Jewish courts to decide on the validity and consequences of marriages conducted according to Jewish rites. Civil marriage, by contrast, “became a publicly required contract in a way that religious marriage could not be.”80 All were equal before the law, but it was a law that allowed for no exceptions.

CONCLUSION The Age of Enlightenment saw the laws relating to marriage beginning to turn in a different direction—one that gave more power to the state, and positive law, over the church and religious law, and that did not require parties to comply with the requirements of just one religion in order to be validly married. Alongside greater religious tolerance, however, there were signs of a new perception of superiority emerging as regards other nations that were thought to be less civilized and enlightened, and a greater diversity of laws across different nations where the canon law had previously provided consistency. For some, civil marriage was both natural and modern, an appropriate use of state power to create universally applicable laws. For others, it was both intolerant of religion and profoundly uncivilized in removing the sanction of religion from so important a rite. It is a debate that has not yet ended.

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CHAPTER FOUR

The Ties that Bind Money and Love in Western Europe KIMBERLY SCHUTTE

In eighteenth-century Europe marriage was the expected state for adults; outside of those who chose the religious life, the vast majority of people married at some point in their lives.1 The western European world of that era was highly stratified and certainly the experience of marriage differed between classes, much as it did between cultures. That said, it does appear that there was a new pattern emerging. The Enlightenment era can be seen as the beginning of the modern notion that not only do things change but that things should change.2 In the eighteenth century, the ties that bind—the characteristics that people looked for in a spouse, as well as the purpose of matrimony—were in a state of flux. They were shifting from an essentially practical, unromantic approach to marriage that characterized the institution prior to the eighteenth century to one that emphasized love and companionship in the nineteenth century and on into the modern world. In the period under consideration in this chapter a good marriage was one that combined both of these considerations, duty and love. It was to be a financially and socially advantageous union between two people who were bound by romantic love. Marriage has long been considered one of the fundamental constructs of human society. According to Claude Lévi-Strauss, human societies can be divided into two basic types using marriage as the defining factor. In the first, the class of forbidden partners is defined as well as that of appropriate partners. In the second, only the type of person one cannot wed is defined. Generally speaking, Western societies fit into the second category.3 Western European law codes and societal mores generally designated those whom one was discouraged from marrying; thus, eighteenth-century society did not say, “you must marry someone who is like you,” rather they dictated, “you must not marry someone who is not like you.” As the century progressed more and more they added, “you must also not marry someone you do not love.” These constrictions posed a challenge for marriageable people of the Enlightenment and their families. Combining the necessity of romantic attachment to social and economic appropriateness narrowed the field of eligible partners significantly. When John Campbell, the second Duke of Argyll and Greenwich died in 1743, he left behind four daughters and a wife, Jane, charged with their upbringing and disposal. Jane decided

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to focus on making them appealing to prospective spouses rather than giving them extensive educations. Because, she reasoned, “if you had a pack of girls, if you were so unlucky, what upon earth could you do with them but find husbands to take them off your hands?”4 Those husbands needed to be both of an appropriate social status and of upright character.5 It was assumed in the eighteenth century that marriage was a key to the smooth working of society as well as to the happiness of individuals.6 The Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume believed that the tie between spouses was the fundamental building block of human society.7 Families and friends worried if one of their members seemed to take too long to marry and appeared to be quite relieved when the recalcitrant person finally took the plunge.8 To remain unmarried seemed somehow unnatural and even threatening to the world as they understood it. Women, particularly, faced the pressure of making a “good marriage.” In all social classes, the stakes for a woman in the marriage market were very high; not only was her personal happiness on the line but also the welfare of her family, both economically and socially.9 Even quite radical thinkers tended to take traditional views of the importance of marriage in a woman’s life. The revolutionary propagandist and woman of letters Germaine de Staël, believed that the only real goal of a woman’s life was marriage.10 Few people in the eighteenth century believed that women had viable life choices that did not include marriage. An undertaking as momentous as marriage, particularly in the unsettled eighteenth century, was fraught with uncertainty. People understood it to be a desirable state but also one that could pose real problems. In prerevolutionary America, the “negotiation of social power lay at the heart of all courtship decisions.”11 Young women discussed this inherent tension among themselves as they fretted over choosing the right “master” who would facilitate their future happiness. It was in the courtship period that women exercised the greatest social power, something that they lost once they acquiesced to a man’s proposal.

MONEY AND STATUS Prior to the eighteenth century, at all levels of European society, marriage was a practical enterprise. Individuals chose spouses based largely on financial and social considerations and hoped that there might be some affection as well (or at least not active dislike). These considerations remained in place when Enlightenment-era couples considered marriage, though society increasingly required that they be tempered by romantic love. Families at all social levels used marital unions to shore up their economic and commercial standing. Well-planned marriages served to create alliances that had economic and social benefits, including improving trade networks and opening doors to political opportunities.12 Families utilized strategic unions as a means of investing in the future and maximizing resources. At the upper levels of society, the financial status of a potential spouse loomed especially large. As families sought appropriate matches for their offspring they particularly looked for someone with wealth. In 1706, Isabella Lady Wentworth wrote to her eldest son Thomas, first Earl of Stratford who was looking for a wife, “I wish you had Lady Mary [Hastings] for she for certain has twelve hundred a year and ten thousand pounds.”13 Aristocratic society viewed wealthy women as conveyers of wealth but certainly not as independent economic agents.14

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This remained true in the colonial world as well as in Europe itself. Wealthy families in the Chesapeake arranged marriages in order to amass even greater wealth.15 The experience of Eliza Lucas Pinckney exemplified the approach to dowry at a slightly lower social level. Eliza, the daughter of a British army officer posted in South Carolina, took over the running of her family’s plantations while her father served in the War of Jenkins’ Ear (1739–48). Her first successful crop of indigo comprised her dowry that made possible a match with Charles Pinckney, a lawyer and neighboring planter twentyfour years her senior and above her natal family on the social scale.16 In order to safeguard familial property and standing, European society deemed it vital that families and friends play a role in vetting a potential union. “Respectable” families feared the disaster that a marital adventurer or adventuress could bring in their wake. This fear sometimes even turned friends into threats as the circumstances surrounding the marriage of John Burgoyne, the future general, demonstrated. During the 1740s Burgoyne, a young man of decidedly middle-class background, entered into a schoolyard friendship with James Smith-Stanley, eldest son of the eleventh Earl of Derby. This opened social circles to Burgoyne that would otherwise have been off limits. He met and wooed Smith-Stanley’s sister Charlotte and the couple decided to marry. The prospective bride’s family opposed the match so the pair eloped in 1751 prompting her father to cut them off financially. It took the birth of a child in 1755 to soften the paternal heart and open his purse strings a bit.17 The decision of John and Charlotte to elope was not particularly unusual. The eighteenth century witnessed an increase (or at least a perceived increase) in the number of clandestine marriages in England. Many of these marriages took place in the area around the Fleet Prison in London. Clergymen with shady credentials set up shop there to perform covert marriages in nonsanctified rooms such as private homes or alehouses. Reports indicated that between October 19, 1704, and February 12, 1705, 2,954 marriages took place in the Fleet precinct. These unions were perceived as threats to the societal order because they rested on ties between the couple that many did not see as appropriate: ties such as passion and lust. The circumstances under which these unions took place meant that they were remarkably open to questions about their validity.18 This questionable status of the marriages undercut the social stability that marriage was supposed to safeguard. Elopement posed such a threat that authorities passed laws to forbid it and to firmly place marriage under parental control.19 Eighteenth-century French women lived under a mid-sixteenth-century royal ordinance that placed them firmly under male governance, stipulating that if they were under the age of 25 they did not have the right to choose a spouse without parental permission. If the young woman had been orphaned her eldest brother had the right to control her marriage. The purpose of the law was to ensure that women married men of similar rank and wealth.20 In England, Parliament passed legislation that imposed heavy fines on clergy who conducted clandestine marriages.21 The 1753 Marriage Act, also known as Lord Hardwicke’s Act, mandated that all marriages (excepting those of Quakers and Jews) be conducted by Anglican clergy and threatened to nullify any that occurred without proper publication of the banns, and the use of a license, registration, and witnesses.22 Not only did families consider the financial situation of a potential spouse before marriage, but they also worked to ensure the financial well-being of the family (especially the wife and younger children) after marriage. The negotiations concerning the dowry, jointure, and settlement on younger children could be intensely fractious and it was

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not unheard of for a proposed union to break down at this point. This fractiousness stemmed from, at least in part, the vast sums in question. This emphasis underscored the continuing practical, businesslike nature of eighteenth-century marriage. In 1767, the First Duchess of Northumberland wrote in her journal, “Lord Thanet was married to Miss Sackville. Beauty without Art had in this case its reward; he had never spoken to her when he wrote to her Mother the following proposals: 800£ a year pin money, 3000 jointure, and 50,000£ for younger children.”23 Clearly Thanet perceived Sackville as a worthy investment. At all social levels the marital union was perceived as a material arrangement. The Scottish divine, Ralph Erskine in 1722 preached that a husband was duty bound “to make over himself to her; all he is, all he hath, all he hath purchased, all he hath promis’d.” A good husband was “to provide for her, protect her, direct her, pity her, clothe her, to encourage and comfort her, and to do all for her she needs.”24 French writer Olympe de Gouges (Marie Gouze; Figure 4.1) included in her revolutionary screed, The Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen, a “Form for a Social Contract Between Man and Woman” in which she set out a marriage agreement that had at its foundation, a financial agreement: We, ____ and _____, moved by our own will, unite for the length of our lives and for the duration of our mutual inclinations under the following conditions: We intend and wish to make our wealth communal property, while reserving the right to divide it in favor of our children and those for whom we might have a special inclination, mutually recognizing that our goods belong directly to our children … We likewise obligate ourselves, in the case of a separation, to divide our fortune equally and to set aside the portion the law designates for our children.25 In much of northern Europe, married women fell under the rule of coverture: they lost the legal right to property.26 This fit with the understanding of marriage as a means to facilitate wealth acquisition. An exception to this was Sweden where the law mandated that a woman retained ownership of the landed property that she brought to a marriage, though her husband had the right to administer the property. This arrangement permitted women to leave their property to members of their natal family, but did not challenge the husband’s right to control the family finances.27 Thus, this was a difference in technicality but not in functionality. Throughout Europe the union between a couple not only encompassed the material resources that each brought to the arrangement, but it also effectively transformed one half of the couple into a piece of property. Related to the emphasis on financial status were attitudes toward social status. Enlightenment Europe remained a very rank-conscious place and most people tended to marry someone with the same or similar social standing. Families worked hard to ensure that their children did not enter into socially disadvantageous matches. Formal social interactions between persons of widely disparate ranks rarely occurred, ensuring that young people tended to marry within their own groups.28 Mothers often took up the role of matchmaker, monitoring the relationships of their children with a keen eye toward the furtherance of the family position.29 In the eighteenth-century Spanish colony of New Mexico marriage was the most fundamental milestone in an individual’s life, and family honor was held to be the most important consideration in making such a momentous choice. If the eldest son married unwisely he not only damaged his own reputation but he also put the status of his entire family at risk.30 Because of this, parents exercised a great deal of influence on the marital choices of their children.

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FIGURE 4.1:  Alexandre Kucharski (1741–1819), Portrait of Olympe de Gouges, late eighteenth century, private collection. Photograph by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images.

Enforcing the necessity of parental consent was one of the primary ways to ensure that young people married appropriately. Frequently parents used their control of the purse strings to ensure that children did not marry without permission. Even if such overt threats were not utilized, there was a strong inclination for children to obey the wishes of their parents. In 1712, Mary Pierrepont wrote to Edward Montagu, whom she wished to marry, that the path was not open “for I own I cannot, nor dare not, resist my Father, and I know he has power over me to make me do whatever he pleases.”31 But times were changing; the eighteenth century witnessed the rise of a new class of vastly wealthy families that did not depend on traditional land ownership for their

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FIGURE 4.2:  Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806), The Visit to the Nursery, c. 1775, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

financial well-being. Some people were accruing massive commercial wealth throughout Europe while others amassed vast fortunes in the far-flung empires. Though their path to riches was nontraditional, many of these families attempted to follow very traditional social trajectories: they purchased landed estates and sought to participate in elite society.32 This level of new wealth opened social doors for the families that had profited from industrialization and empire which would have been firmly shut against them in earlier eras.33 Young people from this emerging commercial class had the means to live at least part of the year in capital cities and fashionable spa towns where they acquired a patina of culture and a widened social set. Strategic deployment of these resources enabled them to enter into unions that would have been unheard of a century earlier.34 In marriages that foreshadowed the so-called “dollar-princesses” of the late nineteenth century, some landed families began to see the wisdom of marrying their sons to the wellheeled daughters of the new industrialists or the rising nabobs. As the eighteenth century progressed and more women from the wealthy commercial classes entered the highest levels of the marriage markets, contemporaries noticed a corresponding rise in the size of dowries. The values placed on dowries and jointures increased steadily as the wealthy commercial classes began to utilize such legal safeguards.35 Marriages began to combine the money of one family with the status of another in order to create a class of immense wealth and standing.36 These unions that violated centuries-old strictures against marrying outside of the elite social class did meet with some opposition.

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There were those in France who believed that the degradation of the traditional noble bloodlines was far too high a price to pay for fattened bank accounts.37 A primary emblem of a family’s status was its name. For families with no sons the potential loss of that name was of grave concern. When his brother died leaving the family without a male heir to carry on the family name, Cardinal Francesco Barberini sought a match for his 12-year-old niece Cornelia who would take their name and thus ensure the continuation of the prominent Roman family. The plan worked, she married Giulio Cesare Colonna di Sciarra who duly took on the Barberini name and the union produced nine children including sons to carry the name forward.38 In New Mexico, society viewed the web of status represented by the family name as so important that its safeguarding was the primary reason for marriage.39 The safeguarding and expansion of wealth and status remained a vital aspect of marriage in the eighteenth century. Many European families held fast to the traditional views that the most important characteristics possessed by a potential spouse were the possession of an appropriate level of wealth and status.

LOVE AND COMPANIONSHIP Despite the persistence of the businesslike approach to marriage, attitudes were changing during the eighteenth century. It was not so much that the practical considerations passed from the scene but, rather, they were joined to an emphasis on more romantic ties. Discussions concerning the rise of companionate marriage are found throughout the historiography of Britain in the long eighteenth century, with most scholars pointing to the work of Lawrence Stone as the origination point.40 Susan Dwyer Amussen argues that a fundamental change in the nature of marriage and the family toward a more private, emotional bond occurred in the eighteenth century.41 According to Judith Schneid Lewis, between 1760 and 1860 young aristocratic women began to long for romantic love in their marriages.42 Amanda Vickery contends that while actual practice may have been little altered, there was a real shift in the language used to describe marriage with a marked increase in references to the importance of romantic attachment.43 It may well be that the actual desire for love and romance did not change all that much over the centuries, but that it was in the eighteenth century that women began to write a great deal more. Many more personal letters and journals survive from that period on and it is in those types of documents that historians have found evidence of the changing attitudes toward marriage. The change in attitude may well be more a change in the types of subjects women wrote about and the amount that women wrote. There is not, however, universal support for the belief that romantic love became increasingly important during the eighteenth century. Joanne Bailey argues in Unquiet Lives: Marriage and Marriage Breakdown in England, 1660–1860 that there was no major change in the emotional elements of marriage during the eighteenth century.44 Some scholars, notably Paul Langford in Public Life and Propertied Englishmen and David Lemmings in “Marriage and the Law in the Eighteenth Century: Hardwicke’s Marriage Act of 1753,” emphasize the continued patriarchal and economic nature of eighteenthcentury marriages. Both Langford and Lemmings challenge Stone’s contention that marriage was becoming increasingly companionate.45 In the eighteenth century, suffice it to say, it appears that romantic considerations increasingly took their place beside practical ones as people in Europe considered what

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made for a good marriage. This new emphasis flew in the face of centuries of Western history.46 Issues of personal attractiveness, temperament, and character began to be seen as vital considerations when choosing a mate.47 While this development is generally viewed in a positive light, it can be seen as simply a further complication in the quest to make a good marriage. No longer was appropriate wealth and standing sufficient, now one must also love one’s intended spouse.48 That love was expected to take precedence over all other emotional ties; no longer were unions to be held together by the force of kinship groups and economic considerations. Instead, the romantic tie between the spouses characterized by intimacy within the private sphere took precedence.49 Scholarship often attributes the emergence of the companionate marriage to the rise of Protestant ideology. Even if it did not begin with the Protestants, it is certainly enshrined in their writings. The Book of Common Prayer’s “Form of Solemnisation of Matrimony” states that marriage “was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.”50 While the causality is debatable, certainly Protestants did see love and sex as a primary duty of spouses.51 They were not the only ones of course. In Catholic dominated New Mexico in the period between 1690 and 1848 the most striking shift that happened concerning attitudes toward marriage was the growing preference for unions founded on mutual love rather than financial concerns.52 The desire for romantic fulfillment within marriage crossed class lines. Despite the 1796 report from the Parliamentary History that postulated that the “pressure of the times … has had the effect of discouraging marriage among the laboring classes,”53 the diaries of working-class men in eighteenth-century Manchester demonstrate that these otherwise intensely practical men expected to have companionate marriages based on mutual love.54 If economics played a role in determining when and if a workingclass couple married, it was only part of the larger set of factors that people took into consideration.55 Enlightenment writers recognized that this emphasis on mutual love also meant that there were mutual duties within marriage, no longer could husbands simply see their role as merely having and exercising rights.56 Scottish nobleman Lord Stair asserted that marriage comes with a “natural obligation of affection, but an outwardly obligation of cohabitation or adherence … and the obligation of the husband to aliment and provide for the wife all the necessaries for her life, health, and ornament according to their means and quality.”57 Eighteenth-century Scottish law articulated the duties and rights of both the wife and the husband, “among the first are the conjugal love and affection between the married persons; the protection due from the husband to the wife from all injuries; the obligation of aliment and provide her suitably with all necessaries; and obedience from the wife to the husband.”58 In 1715, William Secker wrote that the husband’s duty to his wife was to serve as her helpmeet and protector. Her reciprocal duties included faithfulness and industry.59 The eighteenth-century press gives a clear indication of the transitional nature of this era. Journals, periodicals, and novels all derided marriages made for nothing more than money and cheered those that placed romantic considerations above all else.60 American colonial writers Margaret Coghlan and Leonora Sansay reflected these changing attitudes in their work. They defined love as a passion for the right that impelled people to seek to do good for all of humanity. Increasingly commentators such as Coghlan and Sansay blamed the loveless businesslike approach to matrimony for the ills of society.61 This shift in attitude did not sit well with everyone. For every romantic novel that told young

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FIGURE 4.3:  Pietro Longhi (1701–85), Familie, c. 1746, National Gallery, London. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

people to follow their hearts, there was a piece of advice literature that warned against the dangers of intemperate passion and of disregarding parental wishes. These more conservative texts continued to counsel people to place characteristics such as social background and financial security in the forefront as they considered their choice of spouse.62 Traditionally minded thinkers asserted that love should follow marriage not the other way around.63 It was still controversial enough that in the last decade of the

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century ladies’ debating societies still discussed “In the Marriage State, which constitutes the greater evil, Love without money or money without love?”64 The rise of romantic love in marital choice created concern among the officials in the Spanish Empire, so much so that they passed legislation intended to mitigate its disruptive influence. In 1776, King Charles III issued a proclamation on marriage specifically designed to curtail the “disordered and violent passions of youths,” who believed that

FIGURE 4.4:  Andres De La Calleja (1705–85) from the original by Anton Raphael Mengs (1728–79), Portrait of Charles III, c. 1761. Photograph by De Agostini/Getty Images.

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they should follow their hearts when choosing spouses. This royal order permitted the disinheritance of children who chose to marry without parental approval.65 One sees this change in attitude in many of the letters of the era; where before the emphasis on wealth and status overshadowed all other considerations, in the eighteenth century other factors begin to take center stage. In 1760, Lady Elizabeth “Betty” Germain wrote to Lord George Sackville about the romantic entanglement of one of their acquaintances: The Miss Coats Lady Temple brought is a mighty pretty woman, well-bred and sensible; sings both French and English, though never learnt either French or to sing; has prodigious fine black eye-brows and half her eyelashes are white, the other half black. She is a grand-daughter of Lord William Digby … She is a parson’s daughter and but a small matter of fortune; I fancy Lord Temple makes pure work with his love to her, for that, you know, comes of course.66 At the end of the century, Elizabeth Kennedy hoped that her daughter would “let your affection be placed on a steady, sober, religious man, who will be tender and careful of you at all times … do not marry a very young man, you know not how he might turn out; it is a lottery at best, but it is a very just remark that it is better to be an old man’s darling than a young man’s scorn.”67 People began to be explicit in their belief that sexual gratification was an important component of marriage and they linked physical passion to emotional passion.68 Midcentury, Lady Mary Montagu wrote to her daughter, “Lord Halifax very justly tells his daughters that a husband’s kindness is to be received by a wife, even when he is drunk, and though it is wrapped up in never so much impertinence.”69 People viewed sex as a means of creating love within marriage, and children served as evidence of a “loving marriage.”70 American Puritans saw marital sex as good because of its progenitive results and its ability to relieve drives that otherwise would be satisfied outside of marriage. Puritan marital treatises explicitly admonished both women and men that one of the primary duties within marriage was the expression of physical love.71 Dr. Alexander Hamilton, a Scottish émigré to Maryland devoted considerable energy to finding a wife; one of the primary reasons for his desire to wed was the satisfaction of his sexual urges as his religious beliefs mandated that he remain celibate until marriage.72 Hamilton was not the only man who saw marriage as the answer to his sexual needs. In 1747 Frederick Mullins protested that “my taking of the charming Phoebe” was being delayed unnecessarily by the trustees of his financial affairs. But, he stated, they were “not so eager for a f__k as I am.”73 This increasing emphasis on the importance of sexual gratification to the human condition is further illustrated in the proliferation of pornography.74 The nature of love and marriage concerned many of the philosophers and artists of the eighteenth century. There was among the creative classes an understanding that the old truths about human relationships were being questioned. The composer Wolfgang Mozart wrote that marriage had its roots and soul in nature.75 Immanuel Kant, the philosopher, saw marriage as a partnership allowing for companionship and moral expression. He defined marriage as “the union of two persons of different sexes for lifelong possession of each other’s sexual attributes.” He asserted that spouses were “a single moral person.” “The two persons … constitute a unity of will. Neither will be subject to happiness or misfortune, joy or displeasure, without the other taking a share in it.”76 Kant’s attitude represents the increasing linkage in the popular mind of marital sex and romantic love.77 As the century progressed, love between spouses apparently became

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more important as a cement to the marital relationship. In America, people wrote “public love-letters” in which they declared their mutual commitment.78 The Irish Presbyterian philosopher Francis Hutcheson stated in his System of Moral Philosophy in Three Books that marriage’s foundation is “tender sentiments and affections.” He went on that it is “a state of equal partnership or friendship, and not such a one wherein the one party stipulates to himself a right of governing in all domestick [sic] affairs and the other promises subjugation.”79

HOUSEHOLD, KINSHIP, THE LAW, AND RELIGION Though the eighteenth century saw a transition toward an understanding of the tie between spouses as one of individual emotions and obligations, the earlier understanding of marriage as a part of a larger social construct continued. When individuals chose to marry, they no longer were simply two individuals—they were part of larger structures that operated in part to control the nature of the union. Despite the fact that the ties that bound a couple together were undergoing a change to include the primacy of romantic love, the larger societal institutions within which marriages existed remained quite stable. Throughout much of European history kinship groups served as the fundamental structure in society, and marriage functioned to bring new individuals into the larger groups and to link kinship groups by creating new households. This did not disappear in the eighteenth century despite the emergence of the “private sphere.”80 Whereas prior to the eighteenth century, marriage tended to bring individuals into a larger community— often linked by kinship—during the Enlightenment era marriage created private households that then were part of the kinship network.81 To be a member of a household it was not necessary to be related by blood or marriage; coresidence or submission to the head of household were sufficient to warrant inclusion.82 Households defined themselves broadly through the connections created by the lived relationships rather than narrowly based on blood. As families contemplated potential unions they understood the creation of new households as an extension of the kinship network. In North America, republican ideology posited a specifically domestic role for free women. Their highest purpose was to be rational mothers and wives within their households in the private realm. Republican womanhood rested on a conception of femininity that emphasized reason and control of female sexuality.83 Society expected women to bring those characteristics to their marriages and saw families as being held together by female virtue. People feared that a household without the steadying hand of a virtuous woman would be a destabilizing element in the larger kinship network and society as a whole. The legal status of marriage and of the individual spouses also served to bind the institution together. In Britain, the law codes of the different nations took different approaches to the regulation of marriage. In England the law emphasized the public nature of marriage and subjected it to firm state regulation. The Catholic law in Ireland enshrined the power of the church over matrimony. Scottish law exerted the least institutional control over marriage, seeing it as essentially a contract based on consent of the two parties involved.84 In Scotland, marital law had as its foundation the mutual consent of the individuals and did not require parental consent. Scottish law did give the husband control and possession of all movable property that either of the couple might own.85

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Restriction of individual freedom was believed to strengthen the institution of marriage and thus of society itself. Legal restrictions tended to weigh more heavily on women than on men. In England, France, and parts of North America married women found their legal existence circumscribed by the concept of coverture, which served to strip them of all legal identity and property rights.86 In Mexico, the law mandated that all women owed complete obedience to their husbands, who had the right to physically chastise them if it were thought that they had behaved in an inappropriate manner.87 The law took an active interest in marriage during the eighteenth century. This may well have been in part due to the expanding European empires. As people began to travel far from their traditional homes—sometimes to remain for years at a time—and to experience cultures with different mores, there was an increasing fear that the institution of monogamous marriage was under threat.88 The metropole responded to this fear by passing legislation intended to regulate marriage and keep it under control of traditional institutions. The 1776 law promulgated by Charles III of Spain discussed above is an example of this effort. European marriage had long been seen as a religious enterprise and both the Catholic and Protestant churches sought to regulate the institution. Eighteenthcentury people tended to see a shared religious faith as one of the most important ties holding a couple together and, likewise, the church (be it Catholic or Protestant) saw marriage among the faithful as one of the most important safeguards of Christendom’s survival. Religious leaders took an active role in defining the nature of an appropriate marital union and it was not unusual for church authorities to intervene in matters of marital discord, generally with the aim of the preservation of the marriage.89 In Spanish New Mexico the Catholic Church exercised exclusive rights to determine the validity of a union. Ecclesiastical law concerned itself primarily with the prevention of incest and the protection of the right to exercise free will.90 As with many of the fundamental institutions of society, the Revolution altered the status of marriage in France, taking it out from the purview of the Catholic Church and making it into a secular arrangement.91 In his Institutions of the Laws of Scotland, Lord Stair noted that the marriage contract “is not human, but a divine contract.” It is created through the mutual consent of the spouses, but its fundamental essence as an unalterable contract lay in its holy origin.92 After marriage, the husband and wife became the property of one another. Divines reminded couples that “the husband hath no more right or power over his own body, but the wife; and likewise the wife hath no more right or power over her body, than the husband.”93 Eliza Pinckney illustrated the concept of marriage as a religious undertaking when she resolved, to make a good wife to my dear Husband in all its several branches; to make all my actions Corrispond [sic] with that sincere love and Duty I bear him. To pray for him, to contribute all in my power to the good of his Soul and to the peace and satisfaction of his mind, to be careful of his Health, of his Interests, of his children, and of his Reputation; to do him all the good in my power; and next to my God, to make it my Study to please him.94 Religion was related to social rank; a family’s religious affiliation constituted an important indication of their place in the community. In post-Reformation Europe, religion was as important as class in determining a person’s place within society. Legal restrictions in

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many countries made interfaith marriage exceedingly difficult and though it did happen, marriages rarely crossed the religious divide.95

PATRIARCHY Marriage in the eighteenth century was seen to be held together by, and to hold together, society. To that end, as shown above, it was enmeshed in a large network of social, legal, and religious institutions. However, the attitudes that underscored its functioning ran even deeper. The patriarchal nature of Enlightenment society was enshrined in its understanding of marriage. Indeed, this most basic of attitudes, which most people at the time never even thought to question, was one of the primary things thought to be holding the institution of marriage together. The patriarchal system has proved to be remarkably long-lived. One of the primary reasons for its endurance is that it is not a “system” in any real sense of the word. More a grouping of attitudes, the patriarchal system has, over the centuries, allowed for a fair amount of elasticity within its fundamental constraints.96 In Scotland, the law mandated a patriarchal concept of marriage, but in reality families took a more flexible approach due to the centrality of women’s contributions to the family’s well-being. This indispensability not surprisingly had an impact on the power relationship between the couple.97 This realization led to a European-wide concern over who “wears the trousers” in a marriage. As the commercial culture of the continent began to change creating an urban middle class, it became socially desirable for wives to remain outside of the workplace. This served to increase women’s dependence on men and allow men to claim power over everything that happened in the home, since they were the source of its financial support.98 Though the patriarchal constraints may well have been blurred, they remained the social expectation and were seen as vital to the good order of the household. As both partners benefited from that good order, they tended to follow the patriarchal proscriptions.99 Literature abounded with examples of the disorder that ensued when patriarchal roles were broken. A frequent character in eighteenth-century Dutch literature, for instance, was the “bad-tempered wife” who undercut the authority of her husband by seizing the dominant role in the marriage. The chaos that her behavior caused struck at the very core of society.100 The popularity of Punch and Judy puppet shows during this period also speaks to the anxiety about gender roles. The laws and attitudes that held marriage together during the eighteenth century can be seen as essentially patriarchal. Scottish law of 1713 stated unequivocally, “no proviso in a contract of marriage can divert the husband of the administration as head of the family, or deprive him of his marital power over the wife.”101 In colonial America marriage for men meant becoming masters; for women it meant acquiescing in their own subjugation.102 Within marriage itself, the relations between spouses can be seen as a patriarchal performance where the roles tended to underscore female submission and male dominance.103 The enactment of these roles is apparent in the salutations of letters between spouses. In eighteenth-century America, these clearly indicated the traditional hierarchy in which wives tended to address their husbands as “Mr. ____” while men used their wive’s first name.104 The nature of marriage arrangements in this era consisted largely of the exchange of women, almost in the character of a commercial arrangement. This by necessity gave men power over women that women would never have over

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men.105 Popular maxims underscored this power differential; “The husband is king in his household.”106 The patriarchal arrangement stemmed from long-standing attitudes toward the nature of women. Egbert Buys, a Dutch encyclopedist and journalist, wrote in 1748, “It is true that Women’s passions are in general far stronger than those of Men: but it is equally certain that where their inclinations are for the good, they surpass Men in their qualities of patience, love, mercy, chastity, humility, and endurance.”107 A typical book of manners in the eighteenth-century Anglo-American world stated that the true woman is “humble and modest from reason and conviction, submissive from choice, and obedient from inclination … She makes it her business to serve, and her pleasure to oblige her husband.”108 Though many of the particulars of the relationship between the genders may have been changing, the bedrock upon which that relationship rested—patriarchy— remained solid.

CONCLUSION For the people of western Europe and its colonies the eighteenth century was a period of transition; it was a period in which European culture and society underwent significant alterations: France’s revolution fundamentally changed the entire structure of society. Global warfare impacted many families. Britain lost its North American empire and turned its imperial attentions toward the east. The nascent stages of industrialization created real disruption in people’s lives.109 People’s understanding of gender roles shifted as did the role of marginal groups in society.110 Given the transformative nature of the Enlightenment era, it comes as little surprise that the notion of the “ties that bind” in a marriage also changed. Alterations in the attitudes toward what constituted a “good” match illustrate this. For much of Western history, people took a pragmatic view of marriage, seeing it as a means to better their economic and social standing. During the course of the eighteenth century, romantic love joined pragmatism as a “tie that binds” for couples seeking an appropriate spouse. It is intriguing that though many of the fundamental structures within which European marriage took place (kinship groups, religious beliefs, the rule of law, and, most fundamentally, patriarchy) did not change, people’s expectations concerning their emotional attachment to a potential spouse did begin to change.

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CHAPTER FIVE

The Family Economy MARIA ÅGREN

Early modern family economies were not all alike: each family was exposed to specific economic, institutional, and ecological challenges to which its members had to adapt. Moreover, family members could develop different strategies to cope with the problems involved in supporting themselves, and these were not necessarily and always strategies that involved working with the other family members. Of course, early modern family members did sometimes work together on their farm or croft, but other times they worked on their own for wages or found income in other ways outside the household context. This was particularly true for resource-poor households but applied to the more affluent ones as well. These circumstances have far-reaching implications for how we should think of families’ economies in the past. The once held idea of one “family economy”—meaning both a cooperative unit of labor and a distinct chronological phase—is not sustainable.1 Consequently, it has been argued that the term “family economy” should be abandoned and replaced by “family strategies.” But while the latter term is useful in that it stresses flexibility and adaptability, it implicitly suggests that families are units of congruent interests and therefore common strategies. This may not always be the case, as feminist economists have reminded us. Family members do not necessarily have common interests as families can be sites of hierarchy, exploitation, and violence. Individuals may therefore develop strategies that reflect their interests rather than those of the group.2 While “family” may suggest (too) harmonious relations, “economy” tends to be understood as primarily production, consumption, and reproduction. But economy is also about distribution, transaction and communication happening across household borders and over longer distances. In the past as today, people interacted by transporting things they had produced; lending each other helping hands; negotiating deals in markets for labor, credit, and commodities; making marriage alliances; and talking to each other about matters of common interest. Like any economy, family economies are about interaction between people, and interaction produces cultural meanings. Families should be thought of as open structures in communication with and affected by the rest of society.3 For instance, terms of land tenure, rights of ownership, landlord attitudes, state policies, and access to paid work all impacted on families in the past but in different ways, depending on the life cycle and the specific ecological setting. Families and their—often gendered—arrangements in turn affected institutions and ecosystems. There was not one family economy but many, and the plural “family economies” were therefore essential. Still, such economies were generally based on the married couple. Early modern didactic writers often stressed the importance of marriage, as did mercantilist theory, and it is easy to see that it was a concern to the powers that be whether or not the subjects were included in households governed by a putatively reliable

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couple. Being married was, however, important to individuals as well; it conferred some authority and independence upon both women and men, and married people were often acknowledged as more trustworthy in local societies and credit markets. Marriage entitled people to command the labor of others such as children and servants. Daily activities were structured by whether or not one was married, and people showed their marital status through the ways in which they were dressed. Marriage was thus central to how family economies worked on the ground.4

FIGURE 5.1:  Pietro Longhi (1701–85), The Milliner, c. 1746, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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Many early modern men had better access to resources than did most early modern women, partly because their property rights were more robust. They often had better access to income-generating work and were therefore expected to assume the role as main provider. Men could also acquire political recognition and exercise authority in more contexts than women. It would, however, be disingenuous to claim that they did all this qua men. Social status/class had a considerable impact on what men could and could not do. New research has also shown that men’s access to resources varied depending on whether or not they were married. We cannot talk about men, or women for that matter, without paying close attention to their age, social, and marital status. As will be shown in the following, gender clearly mattered but was often tempered or trumped by the effects of marital status. Once again, this underlines the importance of marriage in the Age of Enlightenment. This chapter makes four broad claims about family economies in Enlightenment Europe. First, since far from all households could support themselves from landholdings only, other sources of income were important and increasingly so as the eighteenth century progressed. Second, the marital union was at the basis of these economies and contributions by both women and men were required for families to survive. Third, a plethora of institutional arrangements affected family economies in different and not always clear ways, but it is also evident that families and individuals actively used, and changed, institutions to their own benefit. Fourth, human activities are always situated in concrete landscapes and early modern people’s movements have to be taken into account in order to understand their ways of supporting themselves.

FAMILIES WITH AND WITHOUT SUFFICIENT RESOURCES In the Age of Enlightenment, European society was still massively rural. In 1700, the Netherlands and Belgium were the most urbanized countries of all and still, their rural populations comprised between 66 and 76 percent. In most other European countries, more than 90 percent of the total populations were based in the countryside. Eastern Europe was conspicuous for its low degree of urbanization, and it is noteworthy that the eastern European share of the total population grew between 1500 and 1800.5 Conditions in the countryside are clearly central to our understanding of family economies in the late early modern period, but it is vital to keep in mind that rural people did travel and that this often involved meeting urban people. While we cannot state with any certainty how many resource-poor households there were in Europe, we have good reason to assume that they constituted a significant and growing proportion of the early modern population and that they lived predominantly in the countryside. Theoretical modeling combined with case studies suggest that the share of proletarian households grew steadily between 1500 and 1700, especially in rural areas. In this context, “proletarian” denotes the opposite of an independent, selfsufficient household: a household whose access to economic resources is so limited that its members have to rely on wage work, other incomes, or poor relief. According to one such estimate, around 25–30 percent of all European households were proletarian in 1500, rising to around 60–70 percent in 1800.6 For instance, a very large share of the agrarian labor force was probably landless in France by the end of the seventeenth century and in southern Iberia by the eighteenth.7 In Saxony, gardeners, cottars, and

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dependent urban workers were the groups that grew fastest between 1550 and 1750.8 In some countries, these processes of downward social mobility are visible even before 1500: in England, the share of semiproletarian households (depending on smallholdings) was considerable already in the later Middle Ages, and the completely landless continued growing apace in the following centuries.9 In other parts of Europe, these processes set off later, after 1750. It is hard to exaggerate the importance of these developments. In fact, in many parts of Europe, the Age of Enlightenment was precisely the period when household selfsufficiency was visibly undermined. Whether forced or enticed, increasing numbers of households now turned to various types of income from sources outside their farm or croft.10 While still living in rural areas, the ways in which they used their time to support themselves included many other tasks than those narrowly associated with cattle-breeding and agriculture. Small-scale production of goods (often textiles or metal products) in the countryside, known as protoindustry, could be one option but it was not available everywhere. Short- and long-distance migration was another option. In cities and towns, many sustenance activities were reserved for guild members and their households, but this did not always prevent those outside the corporations from encroaching on their monopolistic rights (such encroachers were known as Störer in German). For those living under the most precarious conditions, stealing and receiving of goods could be a sideline or even their main occupation. The long-term trend was for land to become more expensive in the early modern period. In England, the trend set in from 1530 and the development was similar in other European countries. After periods of declining prices in the seventeenth century, prices rose again in the latter half of the eighteenth century. Rising land prices reflected rising grain prices that, in turn, reflected a rising demand for food and a growing population. These developments made it increasingly difficult to purchase land in order to increase self-sufficiency.11 Simultaneously, state land was being privatized in some countries, compounding the problem of making a living as it became harder to find land to rent. But some nevertheless managed to save up and chose to invest their wealth in land. While many lost access to land, others thus gained such access. This suggests that access to land was still seen as a main source of security. Self-sufficiency, based on land, may have been what many people desired.12 Indeed, not having to perform manual work at all may have been the ultimate but unrealistic dream of many. The eighteenth century also offered other investment opportunities than land for those who had assets. Placing one’s capital in company stock or government debt could be an interesting alternative to purchasing land. In England, there was a secondary market for shares and bonds that made it easy to turn even small capital into liquid assets. Widows, single women, and men used this option, creating a safe annual income for themselves while at the same time boosting the economic strength of companies and the English state.13 But most people lived in rural areas and may not have heard of or trusted these newfangled ways of saving. Instead, they made their capital useful by lending it to friends and neighbors. Whether to survive a temporarily precarious situation or to expand one’s business, credit was essential to everyone in preindustrial society, and both English and French single women have been shown to have been active as creditors in these markets.14 In these ways, individuals interacted across household borders, making capital available to those who needed it and integrating economy and society into the bargain. But, it must be remembered, credit and debt also created dependencies and power relations that could eventually be used by the stronger party.

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There were also families with more substantial landholdings and some affluence, and they too were involved in various networks of commercial or noncommercial character. Farmers and/or their wives travelled to markets and fairs to sell their produce. They also interacted with other households, for instance through teamwork. Typical forms of teamwork were haymaking and harvesting that required large groups of people to carry out a specific task in a short period of time. Laundry work was another form of teamwork, usually carried out by women, while hunting was a form of male teamwork. Many material resources were held in common by landholders, whose rights of usufruct were defined in different and often complicated ways, and these schemes required landholding families to coordinate their use of the resources. While some owned the land they tilled, most peasants rented their land from a landlord (a nobleman, the church, the state) on varying terms. Sometimes, landlords accepted that the former tenant’s widow appointed the new tenant, making these widows into attractive marriage partners and providing them with some choices.15 But not all landlords were this laid back. On Bohemian and Russian estates, landlords could and did take more active part in the choice of tenants. Female heads of household were particularly and disproportionately hit by eviction, the argument being that they were not capable holders.16 In conclusion, households supported themselves in a wide variety of ways and for this reason there was not one “family economy” but many sorts of family economies. Polarization between landholding and nonlandholding households increased over time, though, and in many countries the eighteenth century was a watershed in this respect. However, both the affluent, landholding households and the increasingly common resource-poor households were still members of communities governed by customary law. They also belonged to wider economic networks. Rather than closed and self-reliant, they should be thought of as open and interacting units.

THE TWO-SUPPORTER MODEL Early modern religious ideals stressed the importance of marriage, household order, and parental authority. In Protestant discourse, parental authority was ascribed particular weight. For partly different reasons, states and landlords also had an interest in ordered and well-functioning households. To them, prompt and reliable delivery of taxes and rents was of utmost importance. Consequently, they would prefer to have all subjects placed under the strict rule of a head of household since this was believed to prevent vagrancy, disorder, poverty, and—not least—tax arrears. Taken together, these agendas are thought to have made for a more entrenched and rigid patriarchal system in the early modern period. Here, “patriarchal” means both a system in which old people rule over young people and one in which men rule over women. Whether based on religion or administrative prudence, the ideal was to have adults, and especially male adults, in key positions in society.17 The importance attached to husbands in patriarchal ideologies probably explains why there is a tendency in historical sources to describe the household as if all important activities were carried out by the male head. Many tasks so described were in fact taken care of by his wife, his children, or his servants: when a head of household writes in his diary “we harvested the grain,” it does not necessarily mean that he took part in the work himself and, if he did, the “we” does not tell us exactly who the others were. Such linguistic usage exaggerates the importance of what the man did and, conversely, plays down contributions by other members of the household. Following the Reformation, there was a tendency to stress the unity of the household and consequently depict the

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husband’s occupation as the only sustenance activity of the household. The wife, in turn, was described as his “helpmate,” suggesting that they were engaged in the same occupation but that she was subordinated to him. That both husband and wife could be engaged in many different types of work, and that they could each run a business of their own, is veiled by such a discourse. Sometimes, it is the unrealistic workload ascribed to the male head of household that alerts the historian to the invisible contributions of the rest of the household: it is obvious that one person cannot have carried out all of the work himself. For these two reasons—the ideological emphasis on household order and the sources’ reticence on what individual members of the household did—it has been difficult and time-consuming for historians to tease out the importance of women’s and children’s economic contributions in early modern families. We now know, however, that ideological models such as the “male breadwinner” or the “pater familias” had limited purchase in practice. There was a high degree of pragmatism with respect to the gender division of work and, consequently, internal household order. While learned discourse stressed the wife’s subordination to her husband and legal rules gave her a more restricted scope of action than him, we now know that her de facto authority was often larger. Early modern spouses shared responsibility for the survival of their household for the simple reason that a family could seldom survive on the contributions of one person only. In order to shoulder that responsibility, married women had to have a certain authority and agency. This became particularly clear in crises. When illness or unemployment hit one of the spouses, it was more necessary than ever that the other one be able to provide. Among artisan families in late eighteenth-century Turin, for instance, the men neither had stable access to work nor unrestricted access to all household resources, such as the property of the wives. As wives contributed income and their dowries were legally protected against their husbands, their economic importance became obvious. In these situations, men were far from sole economic leaders of the households.18 The small margins within which many families operated turned crisis mode into a more or less normal situation. While married women’s access to income through paid work seems to have deteriorated after the Middle Ages,19 this does not mean that they could not contribute significantly to the family’s survival. Wages and salaries are not the only forms of economic contribution. Several studies have shown married women to be particularly active in production of goods and in provisioning of services such as taking in lodgers. Not least, they were highly active in trade. Most trade (c. 90 percent) was small scale in early modern society, and in these contexts married women were often to be found. In early modern Leipzig, women were very active in the weekly fairs where they often sold easily perishable food in small quantities. In the eighteenth century, a majority of them were either married to or widows of laborers.20 In the Netherlands in the period 1670 to 1815, the situation was the same: there was a positive correlation between female headship of households and retail density, suggesting again that wives and widows were particularly active in such trade.21 Trade was obviously an activity that married women could and did engage in. It is also an activity that requires skills (such as the ability to count), some capital, and an aptitude for communication. Women’s involvement in trade confirms therefore that households were open and in communication with the rest of society. In fact, their openness was probably a prerequisite for survival. Married women’s many and diverse economic contributions to their households are obvious once we start looking for them. For instance, evidence from probate inventories indicates what their work could consist in. In the English countryside, a wife could run

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a tavern while her husband’s economic contributions consisted in fishing and carving grave-stones.22 In eighteenth-century Leipzig, a huckster could find extra incomes doing laundry or working in cabbage gardens.23 Testimonial observations sometimes show married women performing the same tasks as their husbands. In Rome, for instance, witnesses confirmed that they had seen the widow of a gold-leaf artist working alongside her husband for over thirty years. She was, they added, a very good worker.24 Similar observations have been made for eighteenth-century Augsburg.25 Studies of southern Germany, England, and Sweden have all shown that married women had a broader repertoire of working practices than single women and widows. Instead of preventing women from assuming responsibility and authority, status as married was obviously the key to broader and, under the circumstances, better economic opportunities. A married woman could take up independent work in a way single women could not and, in spite of their formally restricted legal authority, married women were regarded as adults in the eyes of others.26 When English married women gave evidence at court, they often actively mentioned that they contributed financially to their households. To them, work was evidently a source of occupational identity. They took care, however, to distinguish their own work from that of servants. Such drawing of distinctions highlights the difference between the unmarried, doing subordinate work, and the married who deployed the labor of others.27 Married people—both women and men—could exploit the labor of the unmarried, entirely in line with patriarchal ideals. Obviously, early modern society harbored more diverse gender norms and realities than those captured by the “male breadwinner” and the “pater familias.” Heide Wunder has suggested that we think instead in terms of the Arbeitspaar (the working couple).28 Others have talked about “a long-standing economic ‘model’ in which the presence of women was of far greater importance than that indicated by statistics,” or a model presupposing partnership and mutuality, if not exactly equality.29 Here, this alternative model is called “the two-supporter model.”30 The model was built on the ideal and practical reality of two adult supporters, often but not necessarily a married couple. Sometimes, both supporters contributed income from paid work and in those cases we have a dual-earner household. But in many early modern societies, most forms of work were unpaid; still, there was a need for two pairs of hands to make ends meet. In a flexible way, the two supporters combined many sources of income, including children’s work. This should not be taken to mean that the two supporters were always in agreement about how to use their time; on the contrary. Many early modern court cases bear witness to how fraught matters of work and responsibility were. With its emphasis on everyone’s duty to contribute and its endorsement of married women’s agency, the two-supporter model is noteworthy in itself but the reasons for its acceptance are even more revealing. There was a widespread need for a formalized role of female responsibility, authority, and agency for which the term “subordinated agency” has been proposed.31 Married women’s agency was necessary for early modern households. Life simply did not work if the wife could not step in for the husband, or if tasks could not be swapped. A passive wife was a liability and, in Bernard Capp’s words, “beyond a certain point wifely submissiveness was against the interests even of the husband.”32 Married women’s agency could also be in the interest of early modern states. In state bureaucracies, there were many and complex tasks that had to be carried out to protect the interests of the state and in order to meet these demands, state servants had to rely on any help they could get from their household: servants, children, relatives, and,

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not least, the wife. When the husband had to serve his employer away from home, the wife would regularly act as his deputy. She received petitioners, forwarded information and questions to her husband through letter-writing, and nurtured social contacts in general. The husband could not be in two places at the same time, and had the household not consisted of two adults it would have been impossible to combine all diverse responsibilities in the way these households managed to do. Clearly, it was in the interest of early modern states that their employees were married and that the wives were people who could “man the shop.” Her knowledge and skills were of no little importance. There are, for instance, illuminating cases where state-employed postmasters had to surrender their positions after the demise of their wives because the postmaster could not read and write.33 These tasks, so crucial to the smooth working of a bureaucracy, were in fact carried out by the wives! More to the point, it was in the interest of early modern states that the state servant wife was not too submissive but able to defend state interests with assertiveness. This was particularly true of those state servant households who were responsible for the levy of taxes: such work could involve both husband and wife in conflicts with local communities and required them to have both grit and social networks to balance the disapproval of local tax-payers. But state servant wives could also be required to stand up against their husbands. For instance, the postmaster of Anklam in north Germany threatened his wife when she refused to give him the post’s cash-box; it presumably mattered that she was the daughter of a higher post official, well aware of the rules that applied and cognizant of her husband’s malpractices. The postmaster was later dismissed for embezzlement of state funds.34 Cases such as this make clear that the state benefited from the fact that rather than colluding with patriarchy the wife did not submissively follow her husband’s orders, but refused to give him the state funds.35 In conclusion, while it has long been well known that early modern widows were in legal respect like adult men, it has become increasingly evident that women whose husbands were alive could also assume roles of agency and authority: this was crucial to the workings of family economies but it was also important beyond the household. The gender division of work varied depending on the situation but it was seldom dichotomous, that is, married men and women had repertoires of tasks that partly overlapped. There were widespread ideals and practices of married men and women sharing economic responsibility, and married women consequently worked, whether for pay or not, and can be shown to have had occupational identities.

INSTITUTIONAL ENVIRONMENTS Institutions are man-made structures that exert influence in communities and societies by restricting people in their doings but also enabling them. Various laws (including those pertaining to marriage and property), terms of land tenure, and principles of taxation are typical institutions but so are everyday unwritten norms. Such structuring principles can only exert influence, however, if they are enforced and so there has to be societal vehicles for their enforcement. With its pronounced state formation, the early modern period witnessed a marked growth in institutions and institutional strength. The levy of taxes was made more efficient, for instance. Institutions affected families and households to an increasing extent but seldom in uniform and easily predictable ways. Terms of land tenure, statutory law and inheritance customs could combine to have complex effects on family economies. In eighteenth-century Sweden, statutory law

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frowned on land subdivision but this evidently meant little in everyday life. In one area, the devolution of land across generations can be followed over a 200-year period. In 1713, most wealthy peasants had wealthy ancestors and they were also to have many descendants in the area, some of whom remained wealthy while others became poor. The peasants who were poor in 1713 also had wealthy ancestors but were less likely to have descendants in the same area; their descendants moved elsewhere. This pattern was the result of widespread practices of fission: instead of accumulating land and investing resources to make a profit, wealthy peasants divided their holdings for the benefit of their children. In this way, the larger farms were gradually transformed into smaller farms. Thus, stratification—the fact that not all households had the same amount of resources—was a fundamental characteristic of rural society, but it did not trigger rapid social differentiation because farmers had two options, accumulation or subdivision, and tended to choose the latter.36 German examples also show how peasant holdings were subdivided so that while wealth did increase, there was no sustained accumulation and only slow social differentiation.37 Stratification hit daughters more than sons, but the mechanisms were complex. Freehold land was not as severely taxed as land held of a landlord, creating a certain surplus and allowing freeholders to subdivide their farms. However, while the inheritance system acknowledged the rights of daughters, they were nonetheless disfavored by their smaller shares and were often given resources other than land. The practice of subdividing family farms tended to benefit sons who were twice as likely as their sisters to take over a farm.38 Changes in land use also necessitated and encouraged new sustenance activities in the countryside and beyond. Some of the daughters who were disfavored by the inheritance practices probably moved into towns where they would seek to make a living, often as servants. In this way, they created the female surplus characteristic of many early modern urban environments. As this example shows, it is far from self-evident which parts of the institutional environment had an impact on people’s lives. Were we only to read statutory laws, we might draw the erroneous conclusion that restrictions on subdivision applied to all peasant farms whereas, in fact, these norms were seldom consistently enforced. In this case, the combined effects of terms of land tenure, burden of taxation and inheritance rules were more important than the ideal or ambition to keep farms undivided. Institutions are not just impassive rules that one can hit one’s head on or try to circumvent to the best of one’s ability. People could also use institutions in active and creative ways. In two Catalan small towns around 1800, for instance, middling people and laborers started to change their inheritance practices. Instead of continuing to leave all property to a universal heir (usually the eldest son), these groups gradually switched to distributing their assets more equally among all children. Alternatively, the surviving spouse received everything in the estate. Moreover, these social groups now postponed the decision on how to divide the assets as long as possible, and they consciously combined different legal devices to achieve their ends. Clearly, these shifts reflected changes in how family members made a living. As new generations moved far away from the towns, sometimes even across the Atlantic, it was better for the parents to wait until they knew which child was likely to remain and take care of them in their old age. For the young too, it was more attractive for everyone to inherit something, albeit of small value, than one child having everything and the others almost nothing.39 Studies from England also bear witness to a conscious and creative use of different legal solutions to protect the diverse interests of family members.40

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Many early modern families entered into dialogue with courts and other institutions. Since many of these institutions were part of the state apparatus, it has been argued that the state was effectively “invited” into people’s lives. At the same time, families or individual members of families turned into consumers of the legal and administrative system. These interactions affected the ways in which family economies worked and, vice versa, affected how states worked. The interactions have also left paper trails in the archives, allowing historians to observe how meanings were produced and contested.41 Litigation cases from early modern Lyons bear witness to this. When spouses brought their cases to the judiciary, they asked the judges to express opinions on what household authority and wives’ subordination to husbands actually meant. Records of these deliberations show that capacity to work and to cooperate with one’s spouse were crucial to uphold laboring men’s authority in households. The model of “a powerful household patriarch” was not explicitly challenged but working people tended to stress that gendered authority was never a given but had to be earned over and over again. The basis of husbandly authority was believed to lie in “hard work, good providing [for others], and careful management of resources.” The value attributed to hard work is particularly eye-catching and surfaces also in the wifely ideals expressed at court. Wives too had to be hard working so as to contribute to the survival of their households. Equally important, their publicly visible work was believed to instill the local community’s confidence and lay the basis for creditworthiness. As all households depended on credit, being creditworthy was highly beneficial to the woman’s household.42 In conclusion, all early modern family economies were affected by the institutional environment, but the proverbial gap between norm and practice makes it dangerous to assume anything about how norms were understood and enforced. Which norms, rules, and institutions were effective must be investigated for each situation. Here, the prohibitions against farm subdividing were used as an example but other aspects could also have been chosen; both craft guilds and their alleged reluctance to accept women’s work, and married women’s rights to separate property are examples of institutions that may or may not have been enforced in everyday life. Some norms were probably just ambitions or wishful thinking whereas others were more fundamental and commonly accepted. The varying enforcement of norms and rules goes some way toward explaining why diversity was so wide, but there were also contradictory norms that simply could not all apply at the same time. Legal pluralism was a trademark of early modern societies and people—both women and men—consciously navigated these complex systems in order to achieve their goals. That they could enter into dialogues with the judiciary and shape how work and other human exertions were valued is a remarkable feature of early modern societies.43

ECOLOGICAL ENVIRONMENTS AND SPATIAL ARRANGEMENTS It is almost a truism to say that families were dependent on the specific natural environment in which they lived, but the full implications of this truism are not always spelled out. Just as some institutional environments seem to have been more hospitable to women’s economic activities, so do some ecological environments. Eighteenth-century Lorca, in the east of Spain, provides a telling case. Here, the population was living in three distinct

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types of physical environment: the countryside, the towns, and the Huerta (irrigated garden communities). The latter offered many more income opportunities to women than the other two; it was significantly easier for women to find work in the Huerta than in the city or in the countryside. Not surprisingly, people married earlier in the Huerta than in the other two environments so there was a clear connection between demand for labor and propensity to marry.44 This finding supports the more general conclusion that married women wanted to work for income; if married women’s labor participation was low in any given situation, it is unlikely that this was because they preferred to stay at home.45 The favorable conditions for horticulture in certain parts of Lorca created a situation where women could easily combine married life and income-generating work. In other parts of Europe, it was more difficult. Clearly, the physical environment and how it could be used mattered to the gender division of work, and so did the distance or proximity of work. The state servant’s home office arrangements, mentioned above, created a situation where family and work were seamlessly interwoven, involving wives in the work that provided a living. In both cases, women’s work was visible to everyone at the time: the female workers could be seen performing their job in the Spanish garden areas and local petitioners knew the German state servant wives to be persons with influence. The spatial turn has encouraged historians to observe where things happened.46 It is clear that this insight has had beneficial effects on the history of women’s work. We know that many tasks that women performed were carried out in public rather than inside their houses. Laundry work took place in the open air, where there was water, and was often carried out by groups of women. We also know that other tasks required longer distance mobility, such as travelling to local markets to sell their produce and purchase commodities their households needed. Few households were entirely selfsufficient in this period, as emphasized above, and going to markets was therefore an essential part of a household’s survival strategies. Rural women were engaged in trading activities, just as urban women were, even if their degree of mobility depended on what the household produced. In Essex, England, women from dairying districts went more often to markets than did their sisters in the corn-growing districts, and they also traveled longer distances both because it was lucrative and, presumably, because their products perished more easily.47 The spatial mobility of married women had a number of important consequences. First, it affected childcare arrangements. Children had to accompany their mothers to wherever their work took them or be taken care of by others. In practice, this meant that a good deal of childcare took place outdoors and involved relatives and neighbors.48 Second, married women met many more people than just those in their local community. The Essex women who traveled all the way to London to sell their dairy products got into contact with both men and women, both strangers and acquaintances. During their working days, they probably saw more of men other than their husbands. Consequently, even if some husbands and wives performed different tasks and were spatially separated during work, this does not mean that the two genders moved in separate spheres that never intersected. In view of how common it was for early modern married women to engage in trade activities, this conclusion can probably be generalized. Third, married women’s market involvement and spatial mobility must have meant that they talked to people and relayed information in society. In so doing, they contributed to its economic and cultural integration.49 Fourth, if patriarchy is understood to be adult men’s effective control of adult women, such control must have been very difficult to uphold in spatially distributed economies.

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On the other hand, some households were much more isolated than the ones within traveling distance of metropolises such as London. In some parts of Europe, settlement was scattered and sparse, villages and hamlets small, and many farms lay far from the nearest neighbor. We need more knowledge on how family economies worked and how spatial organization affected structures of authority.

CONCLUSION There was not one family economy but many. There may have been as many family economies as there were households, each characterized at any point in time by a specific set of institutional and ecological factors. This diversity makes it difficult to say anything about the direction in which family economies developed, and no distinct phases can be discerned. Most households had one thing in common, though, and that was their openness to and interactions with surrounding society. When we focus on activities of distribution, transaction, and communication and not only production, consumption, and reproduction, women and their activities become particularly visible. Such activities were typically not taking place within the household but required household members to interact across household borders. Married people had a privileged position in early modern society. Husbands generally had a more privileged position than wives, but husbands and wives were all more privileged than the unmarried. It was in the interest of those in power (states, governments, landlords) that order be upheld and taxes and rents duly paid, and this interest seems to have complicated and attenuated (but not erased) patriarchal power structures. In practice, early modern societies were built on the two-supporter model, that is, the necessity of families having two adult leaders and providers rather than one. It was once claimed that across time, women’s work can be characterized as intermittent, casual, and subordinate.50 In early modern societies, these characteristics fit the work of many men too. Both men and women were engaged in combinations of employment rather than in full-time, specialized occupations; many did not have a steady wage income but earned extra now and then; many were subordinated to a master or mistress for long periods of time. Neither women nor men had a “standard employment pattern.” Their working lives were thus very different from that seen as normal in the modern Western world but, as the global history of labor has shown, the working lives of people in the modern non-Western world are also very different from that norm. When global labor history highlights complex gray zones between free wage work and other forms of labor, points out that many households today combine different forms of labor, and shows how men and women shift between different spheres of activity over the life course it alerts us to long-term continuities in the history of family economies.51

CHAPTER SIX

Love, Sex, and Sexuality, 1650–1800 KATHERINE CRAWFORD

In his treatise on impotence, the lawyer Antoine-Gaspard Boucher d’Argis maintained that marriage was “at once a union of bodies and of souls, it has become a source of grace and a beneficial asylum, where those who have not received the gift of continence can take refuge and find solace in their fragility.”1 Echoing St. Paul’s understanding of marriage as the lesser choice after chastity, Boucher d’Argis reflected the long-held view that acceptable sex was limited to heterosexual intercourse with the intent to procreate and anything else was carnal and sinful.2 But what marital sex meant—and with it, sex outside of marriage—was in considerable flux in terms of how it was understood and experienced. In the century and a half before 1800, marriage came to occupy an elevated and refined place in ways that defined love, sex, and sexuality as crucial components of personal identity. To be sure, marriage and its acceptable alternatives, chastity and virginity, had long been understood as forms of sexual identity. Especially for women, who were defined socially, legally, and politically primarily in relation to marriage, marital status constituted a fundamental aspect of how individuals recognized themselves and others. But how husbands and wives related to each other and as a unit in the economic and cultural landscape changed in the second half of the seventeenth century. By around 1800 marriage had caused shifts in, and been shifted by, changing understandings of love, sex, and sexuality. Commentators at the turn of the nineteenth century considered marriage to be founded on love, marked by certain kinds of sex that included (but were not limited to) procreative sex, and central to heightened tensions between normative and nonnormative sexuality.

LOVING MARRIAGES? In her poem, “To My Dear and Loving Husband,” Anne Bradstreet indicated the fusion of love and marriage: If ever two were one, then surely we. If ever man were lov’d by wife, then thee, If ever wife was happy in a man, Compare with me ye women if you can.3

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The poem continues with the assertion that love is of far greater value than material wealth and voices the hope that the couple may continue loving eternally in heaven. The language of marital love notwithstanding, what exactly was the relationship between love and marriage? What did marital love have to do with other transformations, such as the economic transition commonly called the Industrial Revolution, the intellectual movement known as the Enlightenment, or political transformations such as the French Revolution? Historians have engaged these questions, arguing in favor of the idea that romantic love moved to a central position in the formation of marriage in the eighteenth century. For Philippe Ariès, the late emergence of romantic love as a defining aspect of marital life occurred when life expectancy increased reliably enough for parents to attach emotionally to their children.4 Only then did people routinely come to expect affection in marriage and family life.5 According to Lawrence Stone, companionate marriage based on romantic love and personal choice became possible when people (especially middleclass people in his account) had material comfort and security enough to spare a thought for affection.6 Once the idea of individual choice in marriage took hold, romantic love became necessary to ensure that marriages held together. Stone maintained that affective, companionate marriage replaced the cold calculus of property and family interest that had previously determined marital unions.7 However neat and persuasive the claim that the suturing of marriage and love was both new and transformative might be, other perspectives suggested a more vexed and chronologically extended history. Demographic historians and historical anthropologists demonstrated that choice and companionship were crucial to marriage going back at least into the medieval period.8 Alan Macfarlane has argued that the problem with the romantic revolution model in part was that historians went looking for what they wanted to find.9 Evidence of love in marriage could be found in the eighteenth century, but that did not make it new. For Joanne Ferraro, families were replete with a variety of tensions generated by infanticide, abortion, and incest.10 Whatever the prescriptive rhetoric might claim, marriage was a locus of discontent, abuse, and coercion. The triumph of companionate marriage is not entirely persuasive, but more subtle shifts in the understanding and experience of marriage are apparent. The Protestant and Catholic Reformations gradually transformed the landscape of marriage. Protestants shuttered convents and monasteries, reducing the options available for women whose only choice was to marry in order to survive. Protestants also closed brothels, attacked adultery with renewed vigor, and chastised nonnormative sex. The Puritans in England, for instance, instituted the death penalty for adultery during the Interregnum. Although the Adultery Act (1650) was seldom utilized, the punishment remained available to intimidate married persons who might consider straying.11 For Catholics, the marriage decree of the Council of Trent, Tametsi, November 11, 1563, affirmed the requirement that both principals consent, undermining the power of parents to impose marital unions on behalf of their children and supporting unions based on love and affection.12 Reformation Catholics, like the Protestants, urged the closure of brothels and condemned nonmarital sex as blasphemous. Over time, Catholics and Protestants emphasized conjugal love and depenalized marital sexuality, while increasing the pressure on adultery and nonmarital sex. St. François de Sales and other clerics understood marriage as part of pastoral care, and allowed that sex in marriage could be a positive good rather than simply instrumental to serve procreation or avoid lust.13 On the Protestant side, marriage lost its sacramental status and, on occasion, was held up as a locus for love and affection, as in Dresden in 1667, when Bartolomeo de

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Sorlisi married Dorothea Lichtwer. As a castrato singer, Sorlisi could not have children, touching off a firestorm of explicit discussion about the role of procreation (or the lack of it) in marriage. Despite resistance from several clerical faculties, the marriage remained intact, signaling that love and affection could justify marriage.14 Why did love come to heightened prominence as a crucial element in marriage? Among many factors, the Industrial Revolution left its mark on marriage in several ways. The rise of factories and population growth altered the family economy model of agriculture, and an increasingly mobile workforce moved into wage labor. Young women went to work in towns or cities, aiming to save for their dowries.15 Many ended up pregnant outside of marriage, and along with industrialization and urban migration came an uptick in illegitimate births, as communities no longer absorbed children born out of wedlock.16 When industrial labor patterns took hold, children often went to work in factories or mines, further distending the earlier model of the marital family. Wage labor, often in separate places, replaced the family working together in an integrated unit. For many, marriage for companionship based on personal preference or love provided emotional ties in place of structural supports that had been attenuated or disappeared. Among the more affluent, the pattern of marriage joining economic interests remained, but the language of financial contract gave ground to privileging marital love as the mechanism that kept couples together.

FIGURE 6.1:  A Burghmaster and his Wife, eighteenth century. Courtesy HIP/Art Resource, New York.

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Enlightenment ideas further supported the notion that love and marriage ought to be coincident. With their preference for the “natural,” skepticism about tradition, rejection of despotism, and critique of organized religion, many Enlightenment thinkers turned their attention to marriage. For Jean-Jacques Rousseau, authentic love was natural and the appropriate basis of marriage in the novel Émile, ou De l’éducation ([1762] 1979). Indeed, Émile’s tutor sends his charge away for two years after Émile falls in love with Sophie to make certain that their love is genuine. Denis Diderot’s play Le Père de famille (1758) centered on a love match in which a young man falls in love with a poor girl, Sophie. His family’s opposition includes efforts to relegate Sophie to a convent, which Diderot depicts as the epitome of parental despotism. The couple ultimately triumphs, although Diderot contrived the plot so that Sophie’s social status was appropriate to the marriage. C. F. Gellert’s play, Die zärtlichen Schwestern (1747) centers on two sisters, whose marriages succeed in the absence of proper dowries because of love. Johann Elias Schlegel wrote in support of love and companionship as crucial to marriage formation in his Der Triumph der guten Frauen (1748).17 Denouncing celibacy as superstition, Paul Henri Thiry, Baron d’Holbach, argued that marriage rooted in mutual happiness was the basis of civil society, and anything less would lead to disaster and harm to society.18 Nicholas Forgeot’s play Le double divorce, ou Le bienfait de la loi (1794–5) told audiences that it was simply rational that marriages should be dissolved if they were not based in love.19 In Enlightenment discourse, marital love was natural and beneficial for individuals and society as a whole. The political and legal context reflected the growing concern with love in marriage. France provides a striking narrative. In 1556 with periodic renewals into the eighteenth century, the French monarchy forbade clandestine marriage and insisted on the right of parents to control the marriages of their children.20 French law courts (Parlements) upheld parental, especially paternal, power to regulate the marriages of their children, as did local customary law. Although women ostensibly gained legal personhood at age 25, Burgundian jurists warned, “If a girl over 25 marries without the father’s consent … she can be disinherited.”21 The law seemed to allow little room for romantic attachments over family strategy and parental direction. But in the second half of the eighteenth century, and especially during the French Revolution, the law shifted dramatically. Practical arguments for divorce stressed that unhappy unions did not produce children, while free choice ensured love and mutual desire.22 Defending the need for divorce, Charles-Louis Rousseau insisted that mutual marital love “enlarges existence, teaches courage … purifies hearts, inspires sublime sentiments and enthusiasm for virtues. Purity is its essence.”23 For Jean-Charles de Lavie “Natural law permits man to flee from evil,” and “perpetuation of [an unhappy] marriage is therefore contrary to the impression of nature.”24 Lavie praised ancient Rome, which allowed divorce when couples no longer loved each other, as a demonstration of the social utility of the practice. Although non-elite voices on love and divorce are rare, the Doléances des femmes de Franche-Comté sent to the Estates General in April 1789 argued indirectly for both: “Marriage is a union. Persons who intend to enter this state must be suited for one another and not be constrained by the will of their parents to marry someone whom they find repugnant.” On September 20, 1792, the Legislative Assembly made marriage a civil contract and set the age of majority at 21, after which persons did not need parental consent. The law reduced the scope for formal opposition to marriages and allowed divorce. Debates over the law’s provisions stressed that it would facilitate happy, productive unions with many (presumably patriotic) offspring.25 Love in marriage was not supposed to be mercenary, but it could be instrumental in the service of patriotism.

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The trajectory toward greater personal control over marriage was not always smooth. In Britain, “Fleet marriages” enabled couples to bypass legal constraints by getting married within the “rules” (jurisdiction) of the Fleet Prison and several other marriage centers in London (Figure 6.2). Clerics performed thousands of clandestine marriages each year

FIGURE 6.2:  C. Sheeres, A Marriage Ceremony in Fleet Prison during the Reign of George II, nineteenth century. Courtesy HIP/Art Resource, New York.

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until Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act (1753) insisted that marriages had to take place in church and using prescribed modes of publicity and witnessing.26 Age restrictions and the requirement that marriages be performed by the Church of England (unless the couple was either Jewish or Quaker) remained in effect until 1836, although couples could go to Scotland, where the law remained more lax. English law asserted the old priority on family approval (with coercion and family interest implicit), but marriage for love nonetheless took hold. Along with economic change, the Reformations, Enlightenment ideals about the naturalness of love, and political evolution all moved in the direction of supporting marital love as preeminent in marriage formation. Protestants desacrilized marriage but regarded it as appropriate for all Christians. Catholics retained marriage as a sacrament but accepted personal preference and love as part of marital consent. In the midst of rejecting religious dictates describing sex as sin, Enlightenment arguments stressed the naturalness of love (and sex as its corollary) in marriage. Laws in favor of marital choice and divorce for the failure of love gained traction, and lawmakers who discouraged marriage solely based on the whims of the couple fought a losing battle against the notion that love and marriage ought to go together.

SEX, MARITAL AND OTHERWISE What did the convergence of love and marriage mean for marital sex? How did changing understandings and practices of sex alter ideas about sex outside of marriage? With the increased concern about love and affection in marriage, commentators articulated the notion that marriage ought to include enjoying physical pleasure in sex. At the same time, acceptance of sexual pleasure seems to have encouraged some—perhaps many—to pursue a wide array of nonmarital sexual experiences. The simultaneous narrowing of normative sexuality around the valorized notion of marital love and rising visibility of sex outside of marriage marked the period before 1800. In support of marital sexuality, vernacular medical manuals explained anatomy, offered advice on how to facilitate fertility, and, over time, increasingly emphasized the value of sexual pleasure in marriage. Although warning against excessive desire, Giovanni Marinello’s 1610 manual told couples how to produce fertile and pleasant sexual encounters in marriage, including advice on proper timing, correct nutrition, and avoiding venereal problems.27 Like Marinello, Jacques Guillemeau emphasized sexual desire and satisfaction, and offered information to facilitate sexual pleasure.28 Vernacular literature on reproduction in German, including midwifery manuals and anatomical texts, worked somewhat differently. The German texts considered pregnancy to be a form of imitatio Christi, which allowed women to understand their physical suffering as having redemptive value.29 Sexual pleasure was not the focus, but even in the more religious manuals marital sex received positive encouragement. By the mid-seventeenth century, experts considered desire and sexual satisfaction to be crucial to a successful marriage. Over the seventeenth century, sex manuals integrated sexual pleasure and procreation within marriage while expanding their reach to ever-wider audiences. Roy Porter observes that the early modern sex manual, Aristotle’s Master-Piece, which advocated sexual knowledge for procreative purposes, was a massive bestseller.30 Cheaply printed, easily portable editions poured out of the presses, and copies survived even in such farflung and unlikely places as Puritan New England.31 Nicolas Venette’s Tableau de l’amour conjugal (1696) functioned similarly, with extensive advice about successful procreation

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within marriage appearing in at least thirty-three editions over the next two centuries, including translations into English, Spanish, German, and Dutch.32 Sex manuals—and despite the attention to medical issues, these were sex manuals—depicted sexual pleasure in a positive light. Other forms of sexually explicit writing supported marital sexuality in more complex ways. The influential early modern visual pornography called “Aretino’s Postures” or “I modi,” was a collection of engravings of heterosexual couples having sex in a variety of positions. Pietro Aretino’s accompanying sonnets riffed on the action, with irreverent comments about clerics, praise of nonprocreative sex, and much attention to pleasure.33 By the eighteenth century, the heterosexual pairings of the “Postures” had been outstripped by representations of lesbian encounters, group sex, and a panoply of alternatives to traditional heterosexual coitus. Explicit texts such as L’école des filles (1655) featured women engaging in same-sex eroticism, but with the stated aim of learning sex skills to use in marriage.34 Much of the sexual education of the titular character in the pornographic novel Thérèse philosophe (1748) supports the heroine settling into conventional marriage in the end. John Cleland’s Memoires of a Woman of Pleasure (1749) follows the story of the titular character from her initiation into sex by a woman to her eventual marriage for love, with stops along the way as a kept mistress, a participant in a flagellation encounter, an orgy, a cross-dressing ball, and aiding a fetishist achieve his desires.35 These and other novels support Sarah Toulalan’s argument that much sexually explicit writing in early modernity was intended to arouse desire in heterosexual couples with the ultimate aim of encouraging procreative sex.36 In a sense, the relentless nonprocreative, nonmarital sex in the novels of Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade (1749–1814) is the exception that proves the rule. Les 120 journées de Sodome, ou l’école du libertinage (1785), Justine, ou Les Malheurs de la vertu (1791), and La Philosophie dans le boudoir (1795) eschew marriage and procreation and stand as markers of extremely violent sexual representation. At the other end of the moral spectrum, religious commentators continued to evince ambivalence about marital sexuality but ultimately supported marital love as a positive good. Confessional manuals stressed procreative coitus and chastised couples for “impure” acts in marriage, including sex with the woman on top, withdrawal, and anal intercourse.37 At the same time, texts such as St. François de Sales’s Introduction à la vie dévote emphasized love in marriage: “Above all, I exhort all married people to mutual love … husbands, love your wives like Jesus Christ loves his Church; oh women, love your husbands as the Church loves her Savior.”38 Claude Maillard’s Le bon mariage said simply that love is, “the foundation and link of marriage.”39 Thomas Le Blanc considered mutual love to be the source of the union of souls that made a successful marriage.40 By the late seventeenth century, Jacques Chaussé could promise his treatise would “furnish you even with the means of making an eternal source of legitimate pleasures, and to taste there voluptuousness all the more sweet because pure and innocent.”41 The privileging of marital affection meant that extramarital sex took on heightened significance. Although clerics and marriage manuals emphasized fidelity between the partners, adultery and paying for sex outside of marriage remained common, especially for men of means. In the 1660s, Samuel Pepys chased women every chance he got. Expressing regret each time, Pepys fondled female petitioners at work, sought encounters with street prostitutes in London, and ogled women in church—one so persistently that she resorted to sticking him with a pin to back him off. Pepys judged the female servants in his household by their attractiveness and caused serious ructions in his marriage because of his affair with one maid, Deb Millet.42

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Many of the women Pepys chased exemplified the new conditions: economic displacement from agriculture and rapid urbanization forced many poor women to sell sex at least intermittently to make ends meet. The presumption that love and affection could and should be found in marriage meant that some men felt licensed to seek out prostitutes if they did not find (enough) love in their marriage. Expensive brothels and bagnios (public baths) catered to well-heeled gentlemen, while bawdy-houses and less elegant establishments provided protection in the form of “bullies” who kept rowdy customers from doing excessive damage to persons or property. Lower down the social and economic scale, taverns or inns often provided rooms for assignations. The lowest were women who walked the streets attracting customers as best they could, a practice James Boswell complained about, even as he took advantage of several opportunities.43 In London, arrest records indicate the majority of prostitutes were unmarried, young, and from elsewhere.44 Although most prostitutes were poor and sold sex to make ends meet, advertisements impressed the idea that they were beautiful, skilled, and lascivious. In Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies: Or Man of Pleasure’s Kalendar, a poem describing Miss B-nd at 28 Frith Street noted, “Her heaving breasts pant keen desire,” and although small pox has marred her beauty, she dresses elegantly and is “a desirable, well-tempered piece.”45 Lest there be any mistake about her abilities, the List announced that the 19-yearold “is ever ready to receive the well formed tumid guest.” An encounter will cost two guineas.46 Most women cost much less, but Harris’s and other lists such as The London Belles or, A Description of the most Celebrated Beauties in the City of London (1707) celebrated the particular skills, sexual and otherwise, of the women on offer. Men with a bit of money—and many women were desperate enough to charge very little—could seek sexual pleasure. Perversely, the exaltation of marital love encouraged nonmarital sex.

FIGURE 6.3:  Punishment of Prostitutes in Switzerland, eighteenth century. Courtesy HIP/Art Resource, New York.

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Not all kinds of sex outside of marriage, however, were made equal. Female same-sex desire could sometimes be imagined to support marriage; male-male sodomy enjoyed no such mitigating favor. The legal codification of sodomy as a capital crime began in the fifteenth century. Prosecutions in Italian cities such as Venice skyrocketed, as did capital sentences handed down by the Spanish Inquisition.47 In 1532, the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, promulgated the Constitutio Criminalis Carolina, which proffered punishment guidelines for sodomy that included torture to exact confessions and capital punishment upon conviction.48 The next year, Henry VIII’s England adopted a law making “buggery” a capital offense for the first time. Sweden waited until 1608 for its first sodomy law and shifted to a policy of silence on the subject in 1734.49 Some areas, such as Russia, remained relatively uninterested in sodomy, but the Inquisition took its hostility toward sodomy to the New World and even relatively benign regimes, such as in Denmark (in 1683), eventually added sodomy to the criminal law books.50 Although local conditions were highly variable, prosecution for sodomy generally increased beginning in the later seventeenth century. Theo van Der Meer (1989) traced the flurry of trials and executions in Holland beginning in 1675, and especially between 1730 and 1732, when at least seventy-five men were executed for sodomy.51 Both the high numbers and the public nature of the executions raised the visibility of sodomy, with reports of executions by strangling, hanging, burning, and drowning appearing in news accounts in France, across the Holy Roman Empire, and in English-speaking areas as far away as colonial America. As Louis Crompton argued, some of the worst events were the result of motivations other than hatred of sodomy.52 In the village of Faan, a local judge who had lost power seized on the confessions of two 13-year-old boys, one of whom was blind, that implicated several boys and young men. The accusations widened to mature men, with twenty-two eventually sentenced to death after officials used torture to extract confessions.53 Additional sweeps of suspected sodomites occurred in Amsterdam in 1764, multiple cities in 1776, and The Hague and Utrecht in 1797.54 Only in 1809 did the Dutch back off of capital punishment, except in cases involving the seduction of minors. A year later, the French annexed the country and imposed the Napoleonic Code, which tolerated sodomy between consenting adults. If Dutch Protestants could persecute sodomy, Spanish Catholics could too. The Spanish regarded the “pecado nefando” (nefarious sin) to be heretical, and included it in the purview of the Inquisition. Although the extent of persecution is difficult to ascertain, historians of Spain have documented thousands of accusations and hundreds of trials for sodomy from the 1550s through the seventeenth century.55 Despite pressure that the Inquisition exerted to eliminate sodomy, the records indicate some men were committed to seeking sexual satisfaction only with men. Rafael Carrasco’s meticulous study of the Inquisition records in Valencia found that, “Many confessed their erotic preferences [for men] without ambiguity.” Carrasco found that popular and juridical hostility was aimed at effeminate, passive men, pejoratively referred to as maricas.56 Maricas identified themselves to potential partners with feminine behaviors in speech and personal appearance. A similar, but more emphatic, pattern was apparent in Portugal while it was under Spanish control. Luiz Mott has found that the Portuguese Inquisition carried out 447 trials between 1587 and 1794, indicating a significant repressive intention.57 The trial records reveal a subculture replete with men using women’s names, carrying themselves in openly feminine ways, and adorning themselves like women. A few even cross-dressed.58 However much suffering the Inquisition imposed, intense repression did not eliminate sodomy. Instead, the pressure seems to have pushed sodomites to develop self-protective modes of identification.

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In England, despite the 1564 renewal of Henry VIII’s legislation against sodomy, prosecutions were scarce until anti-vice crusaders founded the Society for the Reformation of Manners in 1691 and made punishing sodomites a particular goal.59 The society rejected the decadence of Restoration society and its loose sexual morality, and the increased visibility of same-sex male establishments called Molly houses—the men who patronized them were known as “Mollies,” a name that deliberately effeminized them—outraged society members.60 In 1698, the society facilitated the entrapment of naval captain Edward Rigby, who was fined and pilloried, but fled before he could be imprisoned. Pamphlets put out by the society boasted that four sodomites were convicted and sentenced to hang in Kent in 1702. Another pamphlet claimed forty arrests and three suicides in 1707; a third trumpeted the unverified total of a hundred men caught by society agents.61 News accounts emphasized that Mollies were visibly feminine in appearance and demeanor. In a deliberately inflammatory account, Ned Ward said that Mollies were “so far degenerated from all masculine deportment, or manly exercise, that they rather fancy themselves women, imitating all the little vanities that custom has reconciled to the female sex, affecting to speak, walk, tattle, curtsy, cry, scold, and mimic all manner of effeminacy, that ever has fallen within their several observations.”62 By 1725, the persistence of Molly house culture prompted a deadly series of raids. On November 14, 1725, Samuel Stephens, acting on behalf of the society, went to Mother Clap’s house in Holborn, where he reported forty or fifty men engaged in various sexual acts, as well as same-sex “weddings” and mock birthing ceremonies. In the ensuing raid, approximately forty men were arrested and sent to prison, and additional raids were carried out on other Molly houses. Authorities executed William Griffin, Thomas Wright, and Gabriel Lawrence; pilloried Mother Clap and two other men; let a man die in prison and drove countless others into hiding.63 Along with the attacks on Molly houses, hostility toward sodomy featured in print culture. Publishers revived scandalous cases from the seventeenth century to sell their titles. John King published The Case of John Atherton, Bishop of Waterford in Ireland, Fairly Represented (1710), which recounted the 1640 conviction and execution of Atherton for buggery with his steward, John Childe. The scandal publisher Edmund Curll included Atherton in The Cases of Unnatural Lewdness (1710), along with an account of the trial and execution of Mervin Tuchet, Lord Audley, Earl of Castlehaven, in 1631, also for sodomy.64 In 1739, an anonymous wag satirized Robert Thistlethwayte, warden of Wadham College, Oxford, for directing his educational practice toward teaching sodomy: “Whose Art existed first in Sodom, / Began to shew his Skill most truly, Hard Fate! The Wretches prov’d unruly.”65 The Bloody Register … From the Year 1700 to the Year 1764, Inclusive (1764) included sodomy cases, as well as robbery, rape, and murder. Although capital convictions declined, hostility toward sodomy remained high in England. In France, the pattern differed in that the most virulent repression came earlier. Between 1565 and 1640, the Parlement of Paris, which served as the court of appeals in all capital cases, reviewed 176 sodomy cases of all kinds (including bestiality, for instance). Seventy-seven resulted in executions; thirty-three were released; and one died in prison. The rest cannot be traced.66 Despite the hostility of Louis XIV (r.1643–1715) toward sodomy, capital prosecutions declined by the 1680s. In 1682, a group of high-ranking young men at court that included the king’s illegitimate son, the comte de Vermandois, formed a secret confrérie of men devoted to loving other men and shunning the company of women. When the king found out, he had Vermandois whipped and several members of the confrérie exiled from court. But no one was executed.67 The monarchy did support

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police efforts to keep tabs on men who sought out other men, and hundreds were arrested over the course of the eighteenth century.68 Occasional spectacular prosecutions also occurred, such as the executions of Benjamin Deschauffours in 1726 (for violently molesting young boys), and Jean Diot and Bruno Lenoir (caught in consensual sodomy) in 1750. In 1783, officials in Paris tried and executed Jacques-François Pascal for sexual assault of a 14-year-old boy.69 For the most part, however, the French moved toward tolerance, and in 1791, the Penal Code omitted sodomy. Napoleon confirmed official lack of interest in sodomy as a crime in the Penal Code of 1810. The police continued to monitor male homosexuals in the name of public order, but spectacular punitive measures receded in France and where its armies could impose law codes on subject nations.70 Lesbian sex was less visible and less policed than male sodomy, but here too, changing attitudes moved away from the harshest penalties for same-sex female eroticism. Criminal prosecutions did happen, but they were relatively rare and usually involved women who used artificial means of penetration. Ludovico Maria Sinistrari reported the execution by burning of two Spanish nuns for using such “instruments.”71 Authorities in Prussia in 1721 executed Catherina Margaretha Linck for presenting herself as a man (named Anastasius), marrying Catherina Margaretha Mühlhahn, and having sex with her wife wearing a dildo. Authorities sentenced Mühlhahn, who may not have entirely understood what Linck was doing, to three years imprisonment and banishment.72 More prevalent was increasing scrutiny and concern about female same-sex eroticism. Valerie Traub has demonstrated that representations of female/female desire outside of marriage became prominent in early modern England, producing anxiety that gradually transformed same-sex female desire into monstrosity.73 Public denunciation of female friends—often termed “tribades” and characterized by destructive sexual appetites— facilitated the denigration of same-sex relations between women. Delariviere Manley wrote derisively of affection between women in The New Atalantis (1709). Satan’s Harvest Home (1749) warned against the spread of female-female desire, which was attributed to the fashion for things Turkish, including gender segregated baths. Mirabeau’s Ma conversion (1783) crudely portrayed lesbian sex as eroticism for male stimulation.74 A Sapphick Epistle from Jack Cavendish to the Honourable and Most Beautiful Mrs. D**** (c. 1782) referred to Sappho as the first “Tommy” (the female equivalent of the Molly) and made much of the scandalous affections of the sculptor Anne Damer for other women.75 Denis Diderot portrayed lesbian desire as verging on madness in La Religieuse (c. 1780), in which the reluctant nun, Suzanne, is the object of the intense desires of her mother superior. The negative characterizations of female/female eroticism supported a marriage regime in which women were required to channel all love and desire to their husbands. Beyond what we would call homosexuality, the rising visibility of nonmarital sex sharpened notions of the acceptable parameters of “normal” sexuality. Sexual activities that could be considered threats to marriage received particular attention. Dildos, which provided pleasure for women without their husbands, prompted anxious ruminations such as Parapilla, poème en cinq chants. Excessive desire worried the doctor Jean Baptiste Louis de Thesacq de Bienville (1771), whose La nymphomanie ou traité de la fureur uterine struck a note sufficient to prompt translation into English and twice into German.76 Beginning in the early eighteenth century, commentators fretted about masturbation as a form of sexual excess. Onania; or The Heinous Sin of Self Pollution argued that self-pleasuring was morally dubious, wasted semen, and debilitated habitual masturbators. Probably the work of quack physician John Marten, Onania (1724), utilized material from venereal disease pamphlets and emphasized the dangers of impotence

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FIGURE 6.4:  Man Lifting His Hat to a Woman. A Story of One Woman’s Life. Catharine Vizzani, a Famous Lesbian Woman of the 18th Century in Italy, frontispiece from The True History and Adventures of Catharine Vizzani, 1755. © British Library Board/Robana/Art Resource.

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from excessive self-abuse.77 The Swiss physician Samuel Tissot picked up on the fear of impotence, developing the notion that sex sensation was a matter of nerves rather than humoral balance, and arguing that masturbation damaged those nerves.78 Historian Thomas Laqueur has situated the masturbation obsession as the result of the rise of the “notion of morality as self-governance” within an emergent commercial economy that feared unlimited, debilitating excess.79 Sex with too many other people was at least as bad as the solitary vice and, as with masturbation, publicity reflected a combination of abhorrence and fascination with sexual profligacy. Over the seventeenth century, libertines dedicated to sex outside of marriage (often accompanied by freethinking attitudes in matters of religion) became publically visible. As an index of the complicated responses to the libertine, consider the figure of Don Juan. The popularity of the character suggests that the libertine in search of sexual pleasure resonated with audiences, although his story always included a moralizing comeuppance in the end. In France, Molière’s Dom Juan ou le Festin de Pierre premiered in 1665 at the Palais-Royal to enthusiastic audiences. Royal officials shuttered the original run after fifteen performances because the play featured a man who seduced and abandoned women without remorse. In The Libertine (1675), Don John and his aristocratic friends wreak sexual havoc for fun. Don Antonio announces proudly that he impregnated his sisters; Don Lopez makes salacious comments about sexual assault; and Don John ruminates: “She’ll endure a rape gallantly. I love resistance: it endears the pleasure.”80 Don John is presented as monstrous, and the playwright, Thomas Shadwell, prefaced the printed version with the disclaimer, “I hope that the severest reader will not be offended at the representation of those vices on which they will see a dreadful punishment inflicted.”81 Don John, the sexually predatory anti-hero, was designed to shock and thrill audiences. Mozart’s operatic version, Don Giovanni (1787), similarly ostensibly disclaimed the appeal of the main character—the full title was Il dissoluto punito, ossia il Don Giovanni (The Libertine Punished, namely Don Giovanni)—and Don Giovanni is consigned to Hell for refusing to repent. Despite his various unhappy endings, Don Juan evidently had lasting appeal. The activities of actual libertines produced a more ambivalent public record. Sir Christopher Dashwood (1708–81) bought a decaying abbey around 1750, restored it, and established the Hell-Fire Club. He invited a group of friends known as the Monks of Medmenham to engage in debauched ceremonies that seem to have included sex with prostitutes.82 In Scotland, “The Most Ancient and Most Puissant Order of the Beggar’s Benison and Merryland, Anstruther,” also called “The Beggar’s Benison,” was founded in 1732 and survived until 1836. Although there are records and artifacts associated with the club, what actually happened in meetings is again not entirely clear, but masturbation, prostitutes, and dirty books were part of the fun.83 Even if we cannot know exactly what went on, the imagination can and probably should run wild. Individual libertines encouraged such imagination. Freethinkers and libertines such as Casanova, John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, and, most notoriously, the Marquis de Sade made much of physical pleasure and sensory experience. Sade described sexual excesses in terms of the pleasure they afforded being worth any amount of pain they caused another: “The heaviest dose of agony in others ought, assuredly, to be as naught to us, and the faintest quickening of pleasure … we should, at whatever the price, prefer this most minor excitation which enchants us, to the immense sum of others’ miseries.”84 Libertines articulated the separation of sexual pleasure from reproduction as a positive good and sex without constraint as an idea and ideal.

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Fears about those ideals were reflected in increasingly urgent concerns about prostitution. As with sodomy and other nonnormative sex, the visibility of prostitution prompted a variety of reactions that collectively asserted the priority of marital relations and all other sex was cast as abnormal, unacceptable, and often criminal. In England, antivice crusaders harassed prostitutes and badgered officials into closing brothels. Schemes included proposals to open public brothels to cut down on the illegal street trade (which did not materialize) and facilities to reform and rehabilitate repentant prostitutes (which did).85 The Magdalene Hospital for Penitent Prostitutes, opened in 1758, served as a model for additional establishments, all of which focused on inculcating “good” behavior. Under strict surveillance and a regime of obedience, work, and pious exercises, girls were supposedly rendered suitable for release into the world. To increase its success rate, the Magdalene Hospital preferred girls who had been, or claimed to have been, led astray by promises of marriage. The naïve girl down on her luck was a better bet than the hardened whore, but recidivism remained high and critics questioned the efficacy of the punitive system of reform.86 The ideal of marital love with its presumptions about sexual satisfaction put pressure on prostitution, along with other forms of nonmarital sex. Valorizing marriage and sex as an expression of love within it raised the visibility of sex more generally. The process of differentiating acceptable from unacceptable sex made all sex more public, and gradually, names attached to those who practiced some kinds, Mollies, Maricas, Tommies, Tribades, libertines, and prostitutes, were identified as sexual types.

SEXUALLY EMERGENT The contestation over the meanings of marriage and sex, carried out in public venues as well as private relationships, heightened attention to what we would call “sexuality.” At its most basic, sexuality is meanings attached to sexual acts, but the term has come—since the late nineteenth century—to mean the personal significance an individual attaches to sexual behavior as a reflection of a fundamental aspect of the self. “Homosexuality” was coined in 1869 to indicate same-sex object choice as a central personal characteristic. In History of Sexuality: An Introduction (1976), Michel Foucault famously insisted that sexual identity was a modern invention.87 Against Foucault’s claim that sexual behavior was understood in terms of specific acts rather than as a personal identity, historians have argued that sexuality was a definitional category in the premodern past.88 If “sexuality” means a preference for certain kinds of partners and sex that an individual considers to be a central element of social identity, the difficulty remains that the majority of people in the past did not regard sexual preferences as separable from other aspects of identity, such as gender (which was not articulated as such but was evident in how people understood the roles of men and women) or marital status. Nonetheless, the conflicts over marriage, love, and sex increasingly created more awareness of and investment in sexuality as a matter of identity. The process of sexuality coming to be recognized as foundational arguably was not fully instantiated until the twentieth century, but the roots of its modern form were elaborated in the evolving meanings of love and sex beginning in the mid-seventeenth century. Sexual identities beyond marriage and celibacy coalesced around groups that became visible because of their sexual activities. As understood by contemporaries and depicted on stage, the pleasure-seeking libertine privileged pleasure and sex as an integral part of his self. Libertines, however, mixed the sexual in with other behaviors. Sex was only

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one piece of the package, albeit often a very important piece. In creating a vocabulary of male promiscuity that was at least partly positive, libertines contributed to notions about sexuality. Whether in terms of seeking multiple partners or men seeking more sex within marriage, libertines enabled the valorization of aggressive male sexual activity. The modern notion that men are “naturally” more interested in sex gradually replaced the long-standing, Christian-inflected emphasis on male continence and self-control. Whereas male sexual strength had been resisting desire and pleasure, by around 1800, “normal” male sexuality was aggressive and often rapacious. Libertines enabled and were enabled by ideas about masculine gender behavior; women who fell into the sexual identity category of “prostitute” were limited by gender. Prostitutes had long been assumed to be sexually voracious because they were women, and this was the dominant view before the rise of the idea that prostitutes were either victims of unscrupulous men or hardened whores (who had lost all that was appropriately feminine in them). Both narratives understood women as less interested in sex as sex, and more as victims of male sexual desire. For the habitual prostitute, the victim narrative might not seem to work, but here, the recognition that some women were economically desperate could be folded into the story: the hardened whore was an innocent girl who had not been rescued in time. Undergirding these versions of prostitution was a notion of largely passive or derivative female sexuality. Commentators regarded women as “naturally” (really meaning “ideally”) passive and demure. This new regime of male sexual activity and female passivity was further supported by what we now recognize as homosexuality. As early as 1575, the Spanish physician Juan Huarte de San Juan (1529–88) published a biological explanation for homosexuality in his Examen de ingenios para las ciencias (The Examination of Men’s Wits). Operating on a humoral model, Huarte argued that females subjected to excessive heat in utero developed into men, but defective ones, “this transformation happens in the womb of the mother and is clearly known afterwards in certain movements which are indecent in the manly sex, but are womanly and effeminate [mariosos] and with soft and musical voices. They are inclined to do womanly deeds and ordinarily fall into the nefarious sin.”89 Huarte articulated a link between gender and sexual behavior as biological (if accidental). The Examen proved durable as a text, going into seventy editions before 1700, with translations into French, Italian, Latin, English, and German. The idea that men might be born inclined toward attraction to other men was available even when the dominant notion insisted that sodomy was a sin of unnatural desire. With the rising visibility of— and public attention aimed at—men who sought sex with other men, commentators often concentrated on effeminacy as a marker of difference. Van der Meer notes that a Dutch forensic expert in 1768 argued that sodomites could be identified by their effeminate manners and affected speech.90 Men understood themselves as different from the sexual norm as well, with defendants at trials in 1776 and 1797 maintaining that they were born inclined to sodomy. In France at the court of Louis XIV, the idea that sodomy was biological also circulated. Giovanni Battista Primi Visconti reported that the Abbé del Carretto told him, “one must have compassion because men of such an inclination are born with it, like poets are born with rhyme.”91 The visibility of Mollies, Maricas, Tommies, and Tribades validated the idea that some men and women were attracted to their own biological sex. To be sure, many refused (as many still do) to give up the notion that same-sex desire was “unnatural” or sinful or both. But the burgeoning evidence that men and women, some of whom seemed to be identifiable types, existed in numbers was difficult to deny. This was no longer a matter of

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a few aristocrats getting away with deviant sex because of personal power and influence. The raids, pamphlets, news stories, and political discussions indicated over and over that people with sexual desire for their own sex were everywhere. This was sexuality different from the norm of marital love and in part made visible by the emphasis on marriage as the locus for love. Marriage had long occupied the normative center with respect to sex, but sex as a sinful alternative to chastity or virginity receded as marital love came to the fore. Because sex within marriage provided identity, sex outside of marriage did as well.

CHAPTER SEVEN

Breaking Vows Divorce and Separation in the Postrevolutionary United States of America ALLISON FREDETTE

Divorce law in the British colonies was both an outgrowth of and a reaction to the pattern set by the mother country. Traditionally, in England, divorce was rare and expensive. Before the end of the seventeenth century, divorces could only be heard in ecclesiastical courts, where marriage was considered a sacrament and, therefore, nearly indissoluble. The court granted divorces only in cases of adultery or life-threatening cruelty, and even then petitioners received a divorce a mensa et thoro, which amounted to a legal separation. At the turn of the eighteenth century, the House of Lords began to “dissolve marriages by private act,” making divorce only marginally more accessible. Petitioning the House of Lords was an expensive proposition and as such an option reserved for elite men. By the mid-eighteenth century, most unhappily married couples resorted to private separations, which had dubious legal standing.1 In the British colonies, English common law became the foundation for the judicial system, but individual colonies adapted it to fit their needs. Religious, economic, and ethnic differences all shaped the practice of law. For example, divorce was most readily available in the New England colonies. New England Puritans, like most other Protestants, believed that marriage was not a sacrament but a civil contract—one that could be broken with sufficient cause. The Massachusetts governor and ruling council granted 143 divorces between 1692 and 1786, while the House of Lords gave only ninety for all of England and Wales.2 On the other hand, the southern colonies followed the English pattern much more closely, granting few divorces in accordance with the English interpretation of religious law. Virginia, for example, did not grant a single legislative divorce before the Revolution.3 As the eighteenth century wore on, American colonists began to chafe under the restrictions of British rule. Increasingly, debates raged about trade rights, taxes, and the power of colonial legislatures. This last controversy dovetailed with a growing desire by some colonists to expand the grounds and accessibility of divorce. When legislatures in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New Hampshire granted divorces by private Act, Parliament invalidated them for “lack of conformity to English practice” and “invading the authority of Parliament.” Finally in 1773, the British government ordered all royal governors to refuse consent to divorce acts passed by colonial legislatures.4 When the

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Declaration of Independence stated that the king had “refused to Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good,” Thomas Jefferson (Figure 7.1) may have been thinking of divorce law.5 As they declared their independence, American revolutionaries saw their actions as a familial separation, not merely one akin to a fractured paternal relationship but also a marital one.6 The Declaration of Independence itself reads like a divorce bill, describing the grievances of a separating partner against

FIGURE 7.1:  Matthew Harris Jouett (1788–1827), Thomas Jefferson, early nineteenth century. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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a tyrannical authority. The new United States government was explicitly based on the consent of the governed, a philosophy encoded in such early colonial documents as the Mayflower Compact. Marriage provided a clear comparison. According to Nancy Cott, divorce rates in Massachusetts and other colonies grew even more after 1774. American colonists began to assert their rights to political self-rule, and this desire to exert power and control trickled down to the personal level. The impact was especially strong for women, many of whom saw themselves as individual citizens for the first time. In Massachusetts, female petitioners became equally successful with male petitioners.7 Nearly every state liberalized its divorce law as it joined the new union, expanding the causes for which one could receive a divorce, as well as the tribunals that held jurisdiction over these cases.8 In Pennsylvania, legislators immediately enacted a law stating their newly won rights: Whereas it is the design of marriage, and the wish of parties entering into that state that it should continue during their joint lives, yet where the one party is under natural or legal incapacities of faithfully discharging the matrimonial vow, or is guilty of acts and deeds inconsistent with the nature thereof, the laws of every well-regulated society ought to give relief to the innocent and injured person.9 While the English still had to apply to Parliament for a divorce at the beginning of the nineteenth century, many Americans could find relief in their local county court, while even the most stringent states allowed residents to apply to the state rather than a national, legislative body.10 These changes were especially clear outside the original thirteen colonies. In places like Tennessee and the Northwest Territory, lawmakers immediately gave local courts jurisdiction over divorce.11 Yet, we should not ignore the ways in which change occurred even in the eastern states during this era. Yet, if new philosophies of governing were shaped by their analogous relationship with marriage, then marriage was also remade to fit new beliefs about government. In the wake of revolution, marriage was “reenvisioned in terms of reciprocal rights and responsibilities rather than formal hierarchy.” It was at this same moment that a greater mutuality, most obvious in the rise of so-called “companionate relationships,” became the central tenet of a successful marriage.12 This contradicted older political theorists who defended absolute monarchies by pointing out hierarchy in a family, or “little kingdom.”13 Now, philosophers questioned hierarchy both in the home and in government. Doing so meant challenging women’s roles, and no one summed this up better than Abigail Adams. In March 1776, she famously wrote to her husband, John, “I desire you would Remember the Ladies.” As the American colonists prepared to declare their independence, she made a simple request, “Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could.”14 Adams was not the only woman who saw the Revolution as a moment of opportunity for her gender. During the Revolution, women found ways to serve in political capacities, often for the first time. In the wake of tax protests, women organized boycotts, made homespun clothing, and joined the Daughters of Liberty. Others took over the management of farms and businesses as their husbands fought in the war, becoming “deputy husbands.” Finally, the celebration of republican virtue led to increased support for women’s education. These “Republican Mothers” needed a proper education in order to raise the best (male) citizens. In this way, even when their roles remained restricted to the private sphere, women gained some advantages from the tenets of revolution.15 One of the purposes of this chapter is also to determine how separated wives’ rhetoric reflected these changes.

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FIGURE 7.2:  Thackara & Vallance, Engraver, frontispiece and title page from The Lady’s magazine, and repository of entertaining knowledge, showing the “Genius of the Ladies magazine” presenting the figure of Liberty with a copy of Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women, 1792. Photograph via the Library of Congress.

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MARRIAGE IN VIRGINIA Virginians played a vital role in the creation of the United States. Virginians wrote both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Four of the first five presidents were from the Old Dominion. Half of George Washington’s cabinet was from the state. Clearly, Virginians significantly influenced the process of revolution and creation of the new government. Because of this, Virginia’s elite represent many of the attitudes of other founding fathers during the era, and their knowledge of Enlightenment ideals was unparalleled. Virginia’s experience with divorce in the early republic is central to our understanding of how this new democracy’s ideals affected marriage.16 In many ways, Virginians embraced the Revolution’s rejection of monarchical authority. The state ratified its Constitution on June 29, 1776. Written by George Mason, it opened: “Whereas George the Third, King of Great Britain and Ireland and Elector of Hanover, heretofore intrusted [sic] with the exercise of the Kingly Officer in this Government, hath endeavoured to prevent the same into a detestable and insupportable Tyranny.”17 Like the Declaration of Independence, it followed the pattern of a divorce bill, notably a wife’s divorce bill, complaining of a husband’s abuse of power and failures of protection. Additionally, the state’s motto became Sic Semper Tyrannis—“Thus always to tyrants.”18 Virginians worked to separate church and state in the new nation, rejecting the power of another authority. In the colonial era, church attendance was mandatory, and residents had to pay taxes to support the Church of England.19 When independence came, many, like James Madison and Jefferson, saw the opportunity to establish a greater freedom of religion in the state.20 The Virginia Declaration of Rights declared that “all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion according to dictates of consciences.”21 Virginians ended the official connection between the church and state during the 1785/6 legislative session, when delegates ratified Jefferson’s “Statute for Establishing Religious Freedom.”22 This would have important implications for the process and requirements of marriage and divorce. Not only could a variety of religious leaders perform marriages, but divorce would no longer be limited by canon law. In England, ecclesiastical courts traditionally heard most divorces, and in colonial Virginia and early national Virginia, the legislature sent divorce petitions to the Committee on Religion. Yet, beginning in 1800, the legislature instead sent petitions to the Committee on Justice, a change that correlated with the state’s first official divorces. This change could not have happened without the efforts and exertions of such Enlightenment rationalists as Madison, Jefferson, and Mason. Their desire to disentangle government and religion also meant disentangling the church’s influence on Virginian’s marital lives. As it entered statehood, Virginians slowly enacted laws that regulated marriage. In a lengthy 1792 legislative Act, the General Assembly described who could perform marriages, including “any ordained minister of the gospel in regular communion with any society of christians,” as well as “the people called quakers and menonists, or any other christian society.” The law also validated all marriages performed by magistrates, previously unauthorized to marry couples.23 Marriage was no longer the exclusive purview of the Church of England (now restyled the Protestant Episcopal Church), although much of the law still saw it as a Christian religious institution. Nonetheless, Virginia did not formalize divorce law into their legal code. Their continued reliance on English precedent flew in the face of everything lawmakers like Madison, Mason, and Jefferson had been striving for during the revolutionary era.

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In the years following the American Revolution, only the Virginia General Assembly could grant a divorce. Yet, legislators refused to do so before 1803, nearly twenty-five years after Virginia had become a state.24 Because of this, far more residents brought separation and alimony cases before local chancery courts.25 The influence of the Enlightenment and the Revolution can be seen in a number of aspects of Virginians’ divorce petitions and bills. While the legislature maintained its monopoly on divorce, this does not mean that Virginians necessarily accepted this. Petitioners’ comments reflect frustration with the limitations of Virginia’s laws. In his 1782 petition, Francis Hill pushed the legislature, noting that “several of our Sister States [have] experienced the utility of establishing a Tribunal to determine on the merits of cases similar to this present.” Why, he wondered, did Virginia have “no Tribunal authorized”? The legislature’s rejection of his petition presumably only increased his frustration.26 Nearly fifteen years later, Joseph Mettauer applied to the legislature for a divorce after he discovered that his wife had had a child with his brother. The couple had already reached a separation agreement, but this was not the same as a formal divorce. Mettauer seemed annoyed that their agreement would not suffice, stating: “Your petitioner is constrained thus to trouble this humble House.” There was no other “Tribunal” which could settle the matter, he grumbled. He too found no relief.27 Petitioners to the General Assembly were overwhelmingly male, while wives more often turned to circuit courts sitting in chancery. Women still made up a quarter of petitioners before the legislature, but no woman received an affirmative decree from the General Assembly during the first thirty years of statehood. Chancery courts could provide a separate maintenances—a recognition that the couple had separated socially, if not legally, and an opportunity to receive some measure of alimony from his (or sometimes her former) estate. Yet, some women were dissatisfied at their limited options, reflecting a postrevolutionary belief that they deserved a better way to dissolve their marriages. For example, Judith Robinson sought relief from a local court when her husband’s abuse became intolerable. She did so because the court was her only option, the only place “injured and oppressed Wives meet with Assistance against the Violence … Of … unkind, unnatural and cruel Husbands.”28 Other women made the same plea in their bills, a gesture that could have been intended to appeal to the chivalry of judges or could have been a gentle nudge against women’s legal limitations.29 Emboldened by the Revolution, some women not only declared their desire for separation and alimony but claimed their right to sue their husbands as independent litigants. To sue for divorce or a separate maintenance already dealt a blow to coverture, the legal doctrine that made husband and wife one in the eyes of the law. Yet, some wives went even further. Women suing their husbands technically should have done so by a “next friend,” a legal device given to minors, the mentally disabled, and married women.30 Yet, only half of the Virginia women suing their husbands for a separate maintenance chose to do so (and one of them made her mother her “next friend”).31 Women also supported their friend’s lawsuits, adding their signatures to character references and depositions. Women’s decisions to sign legal or political documents in their own names served as a declaration of self and a declaration of power.32 Other women deployed the language of revolution by calling out the tyranny of their husbands. In 1797, Elizabeth Muse brought suit against her husband, Edward, for a separate maintenance. Although he had sworn to be a loving husband, once they married, she “found the tender lover whose promises were unbounded, converted into a tyrant of a Husband with whom it was impossible to live.” She knew she was supposed to “look up

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FIGURE 7.3:  A Society of Patriotic Ladies, at Edenton in North Carolina (London: Printed for R. Sayer and J. Bennett, March 25, 1775), print. Photograph via the Library of Congress.

to [her husband] for happiness,” but like the colonies lamenting the king’s failures, she no longer saw him as a benevolent ruler.33 Similarly, Abigail Beaucocke acknowledged the “dominion” of her husband, Peter, but believed he had abused that power, “availing himself of the tyrannical rights of a husband, and of that superiority of strength, which

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was given to men to protect, but not to oppress the weaker sex.”34 While these women were no modern-day feminists, they believed that power had limits, an idea quite common during the Enlightenment. While many separate maintenance cases cited dower laws requiring husbands to support their wives, many female litigants staked an individual claim to their own property.35 Upon the untimely death of her father, Ann Dantignac inherited a number of slaves, and her fortune expanded after the death of her first husband. She remarried John Dantignac, but less than a decade later, she sought the General Assembly’s help to free her from his abusive power. John had beaten her, neglected her, and finally fled to South Carolina with another woman. Yet, perhaps most insultingly he had deprived her of her property. In her petition, Ann stated that in order to marry her, John Dantignac had signed a marriage agreement giving Ann control over her own property. Yet, after their marriage, he refused to honor the agreement, exploiting its extralegal status. He “squandered” his estate before looting hers, and when he finally fled to South Carolina, he took her slaves with him. She demanded a divorce and the ability to “acquire enjoy, and dispose of property … as if she had never been married.” The legislature ignored her request.36 Women like Ann Dantignac brought up their status as feme covert before legislators and judges, demanding that they rectify this disability. They forced these men to contend with the system’s flaws, the ways in which coverture failed in the face of abusive and exploitative husbands. Polly Stone, for example, argued that she had worked hard since leaving her abusive husband to maintain herself and her child. Yet, her husband knew that anything she earned would belong to him under the laws of coverture. Without legal intervention, he would continue to impoverish and abuse her, unless the legislature “pass[ed] a Law desolving [sic] the marriage contract between them, which she flatters herself will enable her to keep in her hands the support which she may in any manner obtain.”37 Women also demanded that the court recognize their economic input in the household, perhaps inspired by their time as deputy husbands during the Revolution. Judith Robinson argued that her husband’s extensive financial wealth was in large part due to her hard work and diligence. Polly Dawson, a free black woman, stated that she and her husband, a former slave, had built a “considerable estate” due to their “mutual exertions and industry.” Another plaintiff Jane Conally’s “industry and frugality” had contributed to her husband’s financial success. Some wives bluntly stated that their husbands would have little without them.38 Americans’ founding documents asserted a right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But what did it mean to pursue happiness? Many believed that this applied to conjugal happiness and the right to divorce if their marriage did not live up to this ideal. Nancy Cott argues that more couples in revolutionary Massachusetts filed for divorce because they “refus[ed] to be ruled by unhappy fates.”39 The same could be said of some postrevolutionary Virginians. Samuel Ritchie wrote in his 1792 divorce petition that he was “joyful to observe that your Honble Body are regardful of the Interest & Happiness of your Citizens” by separating worthy couples (an interesting observation since they had yet to do so). Others pointed out the inverse—without a divorce, they could never be happy. If the legislature did not grant Joseph Mettauer’s divorce, his life would be “nothing but bitterness and misery.” Francis Hill’s marriage had resulted in “Extreme misery,” a vague allusion to marital discord he neglected to explain. Ann Burkey wrote that her husband’s departure for the West Indies left her with a “heart penetrated with sorrow.”40 These petitioners demanded that they receive relief, so that they could pursue happiness.

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FIGURE 7.4:  Charles Willson Peale (1741–1827), Portrait of John and Elizabeth Lloyd Cadwalader and their Daughter Anne, c. 1772, Philadelphia Museum of Art.

In April 1795, John Bonnell discovered a salacious letter from another man to his wife; shortly thereafter she left their home to live in a state of open adultery. After that, Bonnell told legislators, “I Consider[ed] myself Divorced from [my wife] by the Divine Law,” suggesting that some Virginians began to see divorce as a natural right. They echoed the words of Thomas Jefferson, who argued divorce reflected the “nature of covenants.” If one person broke the terms of the contract, it was a natural right that the other person should not be bound to it. Just as kings could violate the social contract

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with their people, ending the requirement for allegiance, so too could husbands or wives violate the marriage contract, ending the relationship itself. After Benjamin Butt’s wife gave birth to a “Mulatto” baby, he filed for divorce, arguing that he stood “in the Sight of God and Man justly absolved from every Matrimonial engagement with her.” Joseph Mettauer, whose wife had his brother’s child, went even further. “Your petitioner can not perceive any sound principle of morals, or of politics, which interdicts the dissolution of a marriage formed, and subsisting, under circumstances such as he has stated,” he wrote.41 Other Virginians acted on their own, writing separating agreements before submitting their case to the legislature or courts. Such agreements suggest that they felt that their marriages were effectively over, even without the law’s approval, and they had a right to mutually end it if it did not make both parties happy. Almost a third of those submitting petitions between 1776 and 1806 had already drawn up an extralegal marriage settlement. Additionally, two couples jointly submitted legislative petitions, claiming “disagreement” as the cause of divorce.42 These cases were unsuccessful, but they suggest that some Virginians believed that marriages could end for no other reason than the mutual dissatisfaction of both partners, a revolutionary idea indeed. Despite some progress in the early national era, most Virginians found divorce almost as difficult to obtain as ever. This was especially true for women. The American Revolution celebrated the ideals of freedom, equality, and liberty but nonetheless denied these rights to much of the population. White women became citizens for the first time, but their citizenship was circumscribed. The founding fathers left much of their patriarchal privilege intact. Specifically, male lawmakers maintained coverture, central to the women’s political limitations. Since only citizens with “independent control of property [were] thought to be able to exercise free will,” married women had no “independent political capacity.” By carefully preserving these rules, lawmakers made clear their attitudes about women’s rights in the new republic. Do not forget that John Adams laughed aside Abigail’s request to “Remember the Ladies.”43 Increasingly, American historians have recognized the passage of the Constitution as part of a counterrevolution. The initial protests that led to independence featured participants from a range of ethnic, racial, and economic backgrounds, who believed in the most radical interpretation of revolutionary ideals. In some ways, the Constitution was an attempt to limit the “excesses of democracy.”44 Other scholars have pointed out the conflict between slavery and freedom in the new republic. Enslaved African Americans certainly wielded the language of revolution, challenging the white Enlightenment narrative and sometimes eroding the system of slavery itself.45 Yet, the white founders maintained the nation’s peculiar institution into the coming century. Perhaps this explains one fact about divorce in postrevolutionary Virginia: those seeking relief from the legislature and the courts faced rejection in the majority of cases. Of thirty-six cases before the General Assembly between 1776 and 1806, only five were granted, a success rate of 14 percent. Of twenty-eight court cases with a clear outcome, only six received a decree awarding alimony, a success rate of 21 percent. Virginia made it especially difficult for women to receive a divorce. No woman received a divorce from either the legislature or a court during this era. Ending a marriage “undermined the foundations of a close-knit, slaveholding society based on the hierarchy and solidarity of the household.”46 In Virginia, many petitioners may have believed in the contractual nature of marriage and the right of citizens to pursue conjugal happiness, but many more, and those most powerful in the state, subsumed these values to the larger goal of maintaining a racial and social hierarchy.

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FIGURE 7.5:  Junius Brutus Stearns (1810–85), George Washington as Farmer at Mount Vernon, c. 1851. Photograph by Leemage/Corbis via Getty Images.

This did not, however, mean ignoring revolutionary ideals. Enlightenment philosophy also gave more power to individual households—and their male heads. As Ruth Bloch has argued, “what the revolutionaries most notably contributed to these nascent conceptions of privacy was their strident suspicion of centralized power and their countervailing elevation of the virtues of social and familial life that seemed set apart from the halls of government.” Focusing on debates over individualism during the Revolution ignores the way revolutionary rhetoric depicted society as made up of “collective units” rather than individuals. It was as heads of these units that men gained their rights and power as citizens.47 Since revolutionaries attached privacy rights to the household as a unit rather than individuals, women lost the ability to argue for protection from the state, which grew increasingly reluctant to intervene in a man’s private domain.48 Lawmakers in Virginia would certainly have found this interpretation of privacy and citizenship valuable. It helped them bridge the gap between the freedoms granted some during the revolution and the subservience they still demanded from half their population. Lawmakers were eager to validate the unilateral rights of male heads of households. Dominance in a Virginia household demanded a high degree of force and power, as one had to maintain deference from wives, children, and enslaved people. The loss of one might threaten the others. In their bills for separate maintenance, women often sought the protection of the courts, demanding that they intervene in private affairs, but the fact that only one-fifth of wives achieved their desired goals demonstrates justices’ reluctance to do so. In 1803, Isham Watkins rejected his wife’s claims of abuse and the right of the court to

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usurp his masculine authority. He denied ever having beaten her but said, “he might scold at her or the like of that & submits it to the Court whether under the marital Rights a man may not scold at his Wife, if she displeases him or he in his Discretion chuses [sic] to avail himself of his social rights.” The responses of husbands facing separate maintenance cases reveal the ways in which they saw their postrevolutionary rights as unchanged or even reinforced.49 Postrevolutionary Virginians walked a tricky line as they tried to uphold their Enlightenment ideals, while maintaining power in a firmly hierarchical society.

CONCLUSION As colonists harnessed the language of “liberty,” “freedom,” and “tyranny” to overthrow the king, so too did some begin to question the authority of husbands. In such a way, cracks emerged in the accepted hierarchy of the home and reshaped marital relationships and laws, both following the American Revolution and subsequent Enlightenment-era revolutions. In the United States, lawmakers liberalized divorced laws, literally breaking the ties that bound married men and women, just as they had severed the ties between themselves and their monarchical leaders.50 The Declaration of Independence declared that a government was obligated to protect its citizens and to bestow upon them certain rights and privileges. In return, citizens would pledge their allegiance to that government. This echoed the central bargain of the marital relationship: a husband granted his wife protection and support, while she, in return, gave him obedience and loyalty. The Declaration of Independence declared that if a government violated that obligation, then those citizens were within their rights to sever the bond that connected them to that ruler or rulers. Why then could wives not do the same if their husbands refused to protect or support them? Yet, as the divorce records of these Virginians have shown, this impact had conflicting results. As historians of marriage, it is vital that we determine the ways in which the Enlightenment could serve as both a liberating and restrictive influence on households. This also avoids a purely linear Whiggish interpretation of history as a constant stream of progress. The Enlightenment could be a source of power and a threat to power. In this case, lawmakers performed a delicate balancing act, overthrowing a tyrannical monarchy while maintaining some patriarchal control over their wives.

CHAPTER EIGHT

Representations of Marriage CHRIS ROULSTON

Marriage in a European context underwent a fundamental shift over the course of the long eighteenth century. Broadly speaking, representations of marriage began moving away from an aristocratic model based on familial alliances and an absolute obedience to paternal authority, toward a bourgeois model grounded in the idea of conjugal love and individual choice. Although husband and wife continued to be far from equal under the law, cultural representations of marriage—from advice manuals to poems, plays, novels, and paintings—were being recast in terms of ideals of sensibility, intimacy, and a more probing exploration of the private sphere. In the European context, we find marriage at the center of Enlightenment debates about subjectivity, individuality, and human agency. Marriage was debated in advice manuals, literature, poetry, drama, and visual culture. The shift in sensibility around the meaning of marriage is the combined result of the development of contract law, which brought in the idea of mutually consenting parties, and the development of the discourse of sensibility, which promoted emotional empathy.1 A key debate on marriage concerned the right to choose one’s spouse, rather than have an arranged marriage. Some eighteenthcentury writers even began promoting divorce as a reasonable extension of contract law and of individual rights. These shifts in the meaning of the marital institution gave rise to a range of cultural expressions and to an overall democratization of the representation of marriage. This included, for example, cross-class marriages, the occasional reference to interracial marriages, cross-cultural critiques of marriage, and even representations of “female husbands”—women passing as men and marrying women. At the same time, this opening up of marriage at the level of representation could belie the fact that in Europe, wives had either no or very few legal rights over their property, their income, or their children, and husbands had a right not only to expect wives to fulfill their conjugal duties but they also had the right to use reasonable force against their wives as a disciplinary measure.2 It is therefore important to distinguish some of the aspirational writings on marriage from its lived reality during this period. While this chapter will focus on the English and French traditions as harbingers of Enlightenment thought, it will also gesture toward other European nations and consider representations of marriage in a more global context. We will begin by focusing on the varied representations of the ideal marriage, grounded in the discourse of sensibility, and found in advice literature on marriage, marriage poetry, paintings of wedding ceremonies and marriage portraits, and the domestic novel. We will then consider representations

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of unhappy marriages, which served to highlight both ongoing gender inequalities and class tensions between the bourgeoisie and the aristocracy. Unhappy marriages were represented in novels and visual culture through satirical as well as sentimental genres. We will conclude by considering marriage narratives that engage with questions of boundaries; from narratives of empire and slavery to those of cross-dressing husbands, and to how certain writers used the lens of other cultures to critique Western conceptions of marriage and sexual intimacy.

IDEAL MARRIAGE AND ITS VARIATIONS Representations of ideal marriages went hand in hand with the modern vision of a new form of marital companionship and intimacy; questions included what a more private, individualized marriage might look like, what the new roles for husband and wife might be, and how the relationship between the private and public realms was to be managed. Advice literature played a leading role in laying the groundwork for new models of marital engagement. What emerges is a move away from “the overwhelming preoccupation … with the relationship which subordinated the wife to the husband,” to “the reconciliation of love and marriage.”3 In early advice literature, marriage was still being conceived of in terms of wifely obedience, as in John Sprint’s widely disseminated sermon of 1699, The Bride-Woman’s Counseller: “A good Wife should be like a mirror, which hath of Image of its own, but receives its Stamp and Image from the Face that looks into it … to rejoyce when he rejoyceth, to be sad when he mourns, to grieve and be troubled when he is offended and vexed.”4 Here, the wife’s subjectivity is entirely subsumed under the authority of the husband. However, with the growing influence of Thomas Hobbes’s (1588–1679) and John Locke’s (1632–1704) contract theory—picked up later in France by the philosophes— the hierarchical organization of families could no longer be assumed with the same confidence. We therefore begin to see a shift in the focus of advice literature toward the idea of complementarity and a new privileging of private space, as in the following advice from The Female Mentor (1793): “there is no situation in life so happy as the married state … It heightens every joy; it lessens every anxiety; it contracts our wants and our desires; we find every comfort at home, and enjoy calmly those blessings, which others are pursuing, but never reach.”5 Here, ideas of home and comfort are privileged over a more public model of sociability. In “On Female Literature” (1779), the Reverend Vicesimus Knox, in contrast to Sprint, explicitly elevates the wife from the status of servant to that of companion: “I must confess, I ever thought it the most valuable recommendation of a wife to be capable of becoming a conversable companion to her husband; nor did I ever conceive that the qualifications of a cook-maid, a laundress, or a house-keeper, were the most desirable accomplishments in a partner for life.”6 According to Nancy Armstrong, the new focus on the home and on domestic concerns, and the move away from public considerations such as birth and status, were also crucial to the construction of modern bourgeois subjectivity and positioned the domestic woman, rather than the political man, as the template for “the modern individual.”7 Scholars of sensibility such as G. J. Barker-Benfield, Eve Tavor Bennett, and David J. Denby are generally agreed that the cult of sensibility also formed part of an overall feminization of culture, which in turn contributed to the evolution of marital roles. In

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the English tradition, idealized representations of marriage were strongly influenced by John Milton’s Paradise Lost, in which “wedded love” is described as a “Perpetual fountain of domestic sweets, / Whose bed is undefiled and chaste pronounced.”8 According to William C. Horne, Milton provides “a wholesome, sheltered, socially regulated, and spiritually sanctioned structure for human sexuality.”9 This idealization continues in the marriage poetry of the mid-eighteenth century, as in Nathaniel Cotton’s Marriage: Vision VII (1751): “In wedlock when the sexes meet, / Friendship is only then complete. / ’Blest state! where souls each other draw, / Where love is liberty and law!’“10 These lines echo the privileging of mutuality present in much advice literature, as do the following lines from Thomas Chatterton’s “The Happy Pair” (1770): “Godlike Hymen, ever reign / Ruler of the happy train. / Lift thy flaming torch above / All the flights of wanton love, / Peaceful, solid, blest, serene, / Triumph in the married scene.”11 The theme of harmony and intimacy in marriage looms equally large in visual culture. From scenes of wedding ceremonies to marriage portraits, the descriptive quality of painting and its ability to emphasize both contrast and symmetry worked persuasively to represent marriage in its ideal form. However, in contrast to Renaissance marital portraits, which tended to highlight the official pomp and ceremony of aristocratic marriages, and to keep the viewer at a respectful distance, eighteenth-century representations of wedding ceremonies tended to bring the viewer in, offering a way of linking the public ritual of marriage with its private, domestic unfolding and thereby ensuring the tie between the individual and the collective. In the French tradition, representations include Antoine Watteau’s (1684–1721) La Signature du contrat and the Accordée de village, Nicolas

FIGURE 8.1:  Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725–1805), L’Accordée de village (The Marriage Contract), c. 1761, oil on canvas, the Louvre, Paris, via the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

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Lancret’s Noces de village (1735) and Jean-Baptiste Greuze’s L’Accordée de village (1761) (Figure 8.1). Greuze’s painting, which depicts a humble country wedding at the moment of the handing over of the bride’s dowry from father to son-in-law, most succinctly encapsulates the culture of sensibility and was singled out by Denis Diderot in his Salons writings. For Diderot, L’Accordée de village not only conveyed proper sentiment suitable to the occasion but also an orderly aesthetic composition: The subject is pathetic, and looking at it one is filled with a gentle emotion. The composition seems beautiful to me: describes the occasion as it must have taken place. There are twelve figures; each one is in their proper place, and doing what they should.12 Marriage portraits were equally popular, often conveying complementarity through contrast to depict marital harmony. In Thomas Gainsborough’s portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Andrews (1750) (Figure 8.2), the husband is standing over his wife with a hunting rifle in his right hand, while she sits demurely to his left in a brilliant blue dress. The painting is unusual in that it is set in the English countryside rather than indoors, away from marriage’s usual domestic context. Jacques Louis-David’s elegant neoclassical Portrait of Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier and His Wife (1788) (Figure 8.3) offers a different challenge to the conventional marriage portrait, in that the wife’s hand rests on her seated husband’s shoulder, as he looks up at her tenderly. Surrounding the couple are the tools of their respective trades—a large document case covered in black cloth indicating Mme Lavoisier’s devotion to painting and various scientific objects reflecting M. Lavoisier’s status as a renowned scientist. The portrait is atypical not only in that the wife is standing above her husband but also that it emphasizes as much a marriage of minds as of the heart, signaling the couple’s modernity. We can see how the long tradition of marriage portraits was being subtly challenged through these innovative poses and settings.

FIGURE 8.2:  Thomas Gainsborough (1727–88), Mr. and Mrs. Andrews, 1750, oil on canvas, the National Gallery, London. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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FIGURE 8.3:  Jacques Louis-David (1748–1825), Portrait of Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier and His Wife, 1788, oil on canvas, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

The genre in which the new marriage of sensibility was being explored to its fullest extent was that of the domestic novel. While it is difficult to separate out courtship from marriage narratives, the eighteenth century is arguably the period when married life begins

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to achieve representation on its own terms. There was a growing interest in understanding the more intimate aspects of marriage as well as its quotidian reality. Novels therefore began to appear in which the couple are already married, or get married over the course of the narrative rather than at its conclusion, thereby challenging the traditional courtship model. At times, this could also be a challenge to readers and reviewers. For example, in the following review of Henry Fielding’s Amelia (1751), in which Captain and Mrs. Booth are married at the novel’s opening, the reviewer is surprised by Fielding’s decision to represent a marriage: It has been heretofore a general practice to conduct the lover and his mistress to the doors of matrimony, and there leave them, as if after that ceremony the whole interest of them was at an end, and nothing could remain beyond it worthy of exciting or keeping up the curiosity of the reader. Instead of which Mr. Fielding … has had the art of keeping up the spirit of his narration from falling into that languor and flatness which might be expected from the nature of the subject.13 Although the reviewer praises Fielding for successfully representing a marriage, it is clear he considers courtship rather than marriage the appropriate topic for fiction. Two of the bestselling novels of the mid-eighteenth century, Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, volumes I and II (1740–1), and Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Julie, or The New Héloise (1761), both offer intimate explorations of the experience of married life. Richardson wrote Pamela after publishing an advice manual for young ladies, Familiar Letters on Important Occasions (1739), which reveals the close connection between advice literature and the novel form. In Richardson’s narrative, the virtuous servant, Pamela, refuses to be seduced by her employer, Mr. B., until, converted by her fierce resistance, Mr. B. offers her his hand in marriage. As one of the first examples of a successful marriage that crosses class boundaries, Pamela reveals the triumph of virtuous individualism over coercive class hierarchies. Pamela became so popular that Richardson followed it with a sequel, Pamela II (1741), which deals in detail with Pamela’s married life. Although not as successful a novel, the sequel provides key insights into how writers such as Richardson conceptualized the quotidian realities of marriage. For the critic Betty Schellenberg, Pamela II’s exploration of married life serves as a way of redefining the novel form itself, so that “writing within the bounds of an idealized marriage calls for a structuring of narrative upon a model other than one of conflict, aspiration, and self-exploration.”14 In this sense, the very fact of narrating marriage challenges novelistic boundaries. There is also a highly self-conscious element to Pamela II’s first-person narration, as Pamela finds herself in a story no longer fully her own, to the extent that her narration now orbits around the wishes and desires of a husband who must be managed as well as obeyed, establishing the new ground rules for bourgeois intimacy. For example, in their first disagreement about breastfeeding—a controversial topic at the time—during which the progressive Pamela argues that: “where there is good health, free spirits, and plentiful nourishment, I think it an indispensable duty,” Mr. B. sees nursing “as an office beneath Pamela,” so that Pamela must ultimately adhere to her husband’s wishes.15 Pamela becomes responsible for the narrative of the ideal marriage and must find a balance between obedience and independence, what Helen Thompson calls “uncoerced voluntariness.”16 In these representations of ideal bourgeois marriages, the language of obedience does not so much disappear as get reconfigured as a form of virtuous femininity, whereby the wife voluntarily surrenders much of her autonomy.

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In Rousseau’s La Nouvelle Héloise (1761), published the same year as Greuze’s L’Accordée de village, Julie, the protagonist, struggles between choosing her commoner lover, Saint-Preux, or accepting as her husband the man chosen for her by her father. Although Julie’s eventual decision to honor her father’s wishes may appear regressive, the novel remains unique in that Julie nevertheless consummates her relationship with Saint-Preux before establishing the ideal marital relationship with Wolmar, which will then occupy the last third of the novel. During the wedding ceremony, Julie will have a conversion experience that convinces her of the benefits of turning away from passion and towards domesticity. Rousseau is one of the great architects of gender theory in the eighteenth century and argues repeatedly in favor of absolute sexual difference. For him, this renders moot the question of equality between the sexes, since the perfect man and the perfect woman are so according to their differences, and in this sense “they are not comparable.”17 As Thomas Laqueur has shown, the eighteenth century was the period when theories of sex and gender were developing in such a way as to emphasize absolute difference between the sexes—“as horizontally ordered opposites, as incommensurable”—rather than following the Aristotelian model in which sex was perceived as a question of degree, with the female being an inferior version of the male.18 This both enabled the language of complementarity and created paradoxical contradictions in terms of the language of universal human rights—also being developed during this period—since women were in some sense outside the category of the universal “male” subject. For thinkers such as Rousseau, marriage became a testing ground for the logic of absolute sexual difference. As the newly married Julie explains to her ex-lover, SaintPreux: “wife and husband are certainly destined to live together, but not in the same manner; they must act in concert without performing the same acts … in a word, both work towards mutual happiness by different means, and this division of labors and duties is their union’s strongest tie.”19 In Rousseau’s novel, feminine virtue and masculine reason, embodied by the figures of Julie and Wolmar respectively, make possible a world in which everyone and everything has its place, and, as importantly, in which everyone desires the place that they have. Clarens, where Julie and Wolmar reside, is a self-sustaining and transparent consensual universe dominated by spatial and sexual differences from which everything else flows, including a strict class hierarchy. According to Carole Pateman, for Rousseau, the new contractarian political sphere was predicated on constructing a virtuous feminized private sphere. Rousseau is forging a delicate balance between what Pateman calls “the state of nature” and “civil society,” a balance that finds its ideal expression in the figures of marriage and the family.20 The desirability of Clarens lies in its capacity to make the public and private spheres equally transparent, which is also an implicit rejection of the aristocratic culture of spectacle and false appearances. Rousseau creates a world in which marriage must reflect the community and the community be reflected in the marriage. Yet this also comes at the cost of intimacy between the couple, so that for Henri Coulet, “the fulfillment of the community is not the fulfillment of the couple.”21 Indeed, this is borne out at the novel’s close, when Rousseau turns away from the utopia he has created by having Julie, the perfect wife, say to Saint-Preux: “All about me I see nothing but causes for contentment, and I am not content. A secret languor worms its way into my heart … My friend, I am too happy; I am weary of happiness.”22 This extraordinary confession undercuts much of the novel’s modeling of the perfect marriage, and suggests that for Rousseau, human relationships cannot ultimately be easily contained within the marital framework.

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The representation of virtuous wives anchors much of eighteenth-century literature on marriage, so that even if the marriage itself is not ideal, the wife becomes a redemptive figure within it. In Henry Fielding’s Amelia (1751), Amelia marries the dashing Captain William Booth, who becomes unjustly imprisoned in Newgate Prison and who is then seduced by a certain Miss Matthews. Later in the novel, Captain Booth accrues gambling debts and ends up in debtors’ prison. Throughout these challenges to his marriage, Amelia remains steadfast and faithful, and is ultimately rewarded with her mother’s inheritance, leading to Captain Booth’s release and enabling the reconciled couple’s eventual retirement to the countryside. In this often bawdy narrative, Amelia’s wifely virtue ensures the stability of the marriage. While the above examples focus on narratives of virtuous married life, virtuous marriage also enters the fiction of the period in indirect ways, such as struggles with adultery, as in Mme. de Lafayette’s Princesse de Clèves (1678), Mme. de Riccoboni’s Lettres d’Adelaïde de Dammartin, comtesse de Sancerre (1767), Sophie Cottin’s Claire d’Albe (1799), and Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther (1772), the experience of widowhood, as in Mme. de Riccoboni’s Histoire du Marquis de Cressy (1758), and the refusal of marriage, as in Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa (1747–8) and Mme. de Graffigny’s Lettres d’une Péruvienne (1747). As a genre that could reach a broader, less educated, audience in the eighteenth century, theater also played a prominent role in disseminating Enlightenment ideas concerning increased mutuality in marriage, often in the form of comedy. One of England’s most successful plays—with marriage as one of its key themes—was Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s School For Scandal (1777), a satirical critique of the era’s obsession with gossip and scandal. At its center are Lady Teazle and her husband, Sir Peter Teazle, who begin the play unhappily married and sniping at one another: Sir Peter Lady Teazle, Lady Teazle, I’ll not bear it! Lady Teazle Sir Peter, Sir Peter, you may bear it or not, as you please; but I ought to have my own way in everything, and what’s more, I will too. What! Though I was educated in the country, I know very well that women of fashion in London are accountable to nobody after they are married.23 However, as Lady Teazle gradually realizes her potential lover, Joseph Surface—who is thought to be a paragon of virtue—is in fact as duplicitous as the rest of London society, and she therefore asks her aging husband for forgiveness: “Sir Peter, I do not expect you to credit me … but I behold [Joseph Surface] now in a light so despicable, that I shall never again respect myself for having listened to him.”24 Both Sir Teazle and his wife therefore become educated in tolerance and sensibility, and Sheridan leaves his audience with the assurance of a companionable marriage. In Germany, the reformer Johann Christoph Gottsched argued for theater’s ability, according to Edward T. Potter, “to transform morality,” with new literary comedies of the 1740s “promoting the concept of marriage based on love, mutual compatibility, and free partner choice.”25 In his, Critische Dichtkunst, Gottsched developed a theory of drama that focused on one vice that could then be ridiculed, as a way of both amusing and edifying the spectator, leading to “self-reform through the fear of ridicule.”26 There was a move to reform German theater away from the influence of the Italian comedia dell’arte and grotesque figures such as Harlequin, toward a more effective moral message.27 Hinrich Borkenstein’s Der Bookesbeutel (The Book Bag, 1742), a popular play “performed at least eighty-eight times in Hamburg as well as throughout the German lands,” foregrounds

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the clash of generations with regard to marriage.28 Among the young generation are Susanna, wealthy but lacking in education due to her miserly father, Grobian, and her friend Charlotte, who is poor but well read. Grobian represents the older generation who only values money: “Whoever does not take delight in money must be mad and raving,” whereas the younger generation is invested in personality and individuality.29 The virtuous suitor, Ehrenwehrt, who is supposed to marry the wealthy Susanna, will in fact choose the penniless yet charming Charlotte. As another character, Carolina, says: “One marries the person, after all, not the money.”30 This shift toward choice and recognition of the value of the individual reflects the overall Enlightenment trend toward thinking about marriage as a sentimental, rather than as a financial, engagement. In Spain and Italy, in contrast, the bourgeois culture of sensibility does not appear to have had as early an influence on the aristocracy as in England, France, and Germany. Indeed, aristocratic marriage in both cultures is marked by the respective tradition of the cortejo in Spain and of the cicisbeo in Italy, male escorts who would befriend, accompany, and entertain aristocratic married women, often with the encouragement of their husbands. Assumed to be platonic, although not always the case, these relationships appear to have eased the burden of marriage for the husband and provided a modicum of freedom for wives whose lives were generally rigidly constrained, although more so in Spain than in Italy. One of the effects of this figure was to reveal aristocratic marriage to be merely an outward performance, as shown in the Spanish comedy A Madman Makes One Hundred (1801), in which a rejected male suitor tells his paramour: “And what has repugnance to do with the bagatelle that marriage is? … We are not going to see much of each other after the ceremony … We marry, but that does not matter at all. You will do as you please and so shall I.”31 Here, rather than reforming marriage, which is the goal of the sentimental tradition, marriage is instead being comically exposed as an institution emptied of meaning. Italy, like Spain, tended to remain on the margins of Enlightenment sentimental discourses on marriage. However, as the destination of the Grand Tour for many European travelers, Italy was much written about and had a reputation for laxer morals, which included the figure of the male companion, or cicisbeo. As Paula Findlen, Wendy Roworth, and Catherine Sama argue, “many plays of the mid-eighteenth century, most notably the work of Goldoni, feature the cicisbeo as a stock figure of Italian comedy.”32 However, while writers such as James Boswell saw the cicisbeo as a degradation of Italian masculinity, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu “instead saw cicisbeismo as the definition of a good, companionate marriage.”33 Nevertheless, the Italian male tended to be stereotyped as effeminate, and Italy became known as the country where men could be turned into women and vice versa, epitomized in Robert Hitchcock’s play, The Macaroni (1772), where Jack Epicene returns to England as an outlandish dandy. In contrast to other European countries, Italian culture possessed a broader range of masculine gender expressions—the pastorelle, the filosofesse, the cicisbei, the castrati, the ciceroni, and the macaroni—that actively challenged the conventional binary marital model.34

MARITAL SATIRE AND THE UNHAPPY SPOUSE As Horne has argued, there is a strong European tradition of representing marriage as both a heaven and a hell.35 However, while prior to the Enlightenment negative representations of marriage were largely based on assumptions concerning the inferiority of women, and hence of wives, by the 1700s the increasing economic and cultural ascendancy of the bourgeoisie

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was affecting how marriage was being represented, in both its positive and negative aspects. Critical representations of marriage became less bound up with the inherent inferiority of women and more concerned with either the husband’s or the wife’s failure to live up to the marital ideal. Indeed, it is also arguably through the institution of marriage that many of the shifts in power relations, between classes and between the sexes, were taking place. The investment in the ideal companionate marriage was therefore matched by various critiques of the institution, often in the form of satire or of sentimental melodrama.

FIGURE 8.4:  Anonymous, Three Weeks Before and Three Weeks After Marriage, 1789, etching, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.

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With the rise of journalism, the eighteenth century is a period known for its biting satire, with marriage offering fertile terrain. English visual culture in particular thrived in its representation of unhappily married couples, which tended to appeal to a broad audience. From the anonymous etching entitled Three Weeks Before and Three Weeks After Marriage (1789) (Figure 8.4), in which, by reversing the etching, the smiling courting couple become the frowning married couple, to William Hogarth’s famous satirical series of six paintings, Marriage A-la-Mode (1743–5) (Figure 8.5), marriage was often at the forefront of satire. The satirical edge became even more entrenched after the Prince of Wales’s secret marriage to Mrs. Fitzherbert in 1785, when print shops became filled with “before” and “after” plates such as Three Weeks Before and Three Weeks After Marriage. However, Hogarth is the painter who set the tone for condemning the practice of arranged marriages, performed for gain rather than for love. The first of his series, entitled The Marriage Contract, portrays an aristocratic and bourgeois father seated around a table, with a lawyer standing between them, about to sign their children’s marriage contract. This alliance will provide the bourgeois father with a title and the aristocratic one with the much-needed funds for his decadent lifestyle. The young couple in question are seated in the background, ignoring one another, as another lawyer attempts to flirt with the daughter. Satirical clues riddle the painting, such as a parchment showing Lord Squanderfield’s dubious family tree, various signs of his unfinished home, his bandaged leg suffering from gout, erotic paintings on the wall, including a head of Medusa, all of which reflect a general atmosphere of excess and decay. By the end of the series,

FIGURE 8.5:  William Hogarth (1697–1764), Marriage A-la-Mode: 1, The Marriage Settlement, c. 1743–5, oil on canvas, the National Gallery, London. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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the effects of this marriage of convenience will have resulted in adultery and suicide. Hogarth, known as a narrative painter, succinctly portrays the degree to which marriage for profit can contribute to overall social degeneration. As satire proved an effective way of bringing the problems of marriage to the public’s attention, it also became the tool of an increasingly literate and educated female population. As early as 1700, Lady Mary Chudleigh responds to John Sprint’s argument that “A good wife should be like a mirror,” by arguing that “by this rule, whenever ’tis a frowning, peevish, fretful, stormy Face, that looks into his Glass, the Mirrour must send back the very same agen, or else ’twill be a false Glass.”36 By the mid-century, Jane Collier’s An Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting (1753) provides a scathing critique of the power relations within marriage, offering tips on how wives can endlessly torment their husbands: “Be out of humour when your husband brings company home: be angry, if he goes abroad without you; and troublesome, if he takes you with him.”37 Collier’s satire exposes how the privileged autonomy of the domestic sphere can be corrupted and abused to produce untenable social and domestic relations. Although Richardson is considered the father of the sentimental novel, his works also include female characters who are mercilessly satirical in their analysis of marriage. In Clarissa (1747–8), Clarissa’s close friend, Anna Howe, summarizes courtship and marriage as follows: “But to be cajoled, wire-drawn, and ensnared, like silly birds, into a state of bondage or vile subordination: to be courted as princesses for a few weeks, in order to be treated as slaves for the rest of our lives.”38 Although the novel sides with Clarissa and virtuous resistance rather than with Anna and cynical refusal, Anna is the one who most succinctly foregrounds the stark contrast between the fantasy of courtship and the realities of marriage, echoing the anonymous Three Weeks Before and After Marriage etching. In Richardson’s Sir Charles Grandison (1753–4), Charlotte Grandison, Sir Charles’s sister, is allowed a sustained critique of marriage before she eventually succumbs to its terms. In an echo of Anna Howe, Charlotte is never defined by sentimental ideology and repeatedly torments her husband, a fact that caused controversy among Richardson’s readers.39 Charlotte reveals an acute awareness of the static quality of the married state, and satirically points to ways of making marriage “interesting”: “In what can men and women, who are much together, employ themselves, but in proving and defending, quarrelling and making-up?”40 Charlotte’s narrative of marriage, like Collier’s, becomes a parody of harmonious intimacy, thereby revealing some of the flaws in the companionate ideal. Although the above examples form part of a long tradition of the figure of the disruptive wife, in the eighteenth century this figure takes on increasing importance, to the extent that the weight and responsibility of marriage as remodeled by bourgeois values rests on her shoulders. The figure of the wife, in other words, has the power to implement a virtuous and harmonious domestic sphere, or to destroy it. In another of Greuze’s paintings, The Angry Wife (1785) (Figure 8.6), the orderliness of L’Accordée de village (1761) is reversed, as the wife stands alone brandishing a weapon, while the husband is cowering between his two daughters. The husband has become the incarnation of effeminate weakness, while the wife expresses pure rage, creating an inversion “wherein the betrayal of the ‘natural’ order of things is reinforced in every part of the picture.”41 Greuze’s painting shows how the rise of the discourse of sensibility also produced anxieties about masculinity and the role and place of the husband within the new marital model. In Samuel de Constant’s sentimental novel, Le Mari sentimental (The Sentimental

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FIGURE 8.6:  Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725–1805), The Angry Wife, c. 1785, oil on canvas, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Husband, 1783), M. de Bompré goes from contented bachelorhood to oppressed husband in a matter of months, as his new wife gradually destroys the comforts of his home with her newfangled urban tastes, her obsessive reading of romance novels, and her ongoing opposition to all that he cherishes. The novel highlights the failure of the discourse of sensibility, in that M. de Bompré’s refusal or inability to assert his masculine authority leads to the destruction of his happiness, ending with his suicide. In this novel, sexual difference produces incompatibility rather than complementarity, with M. de Bompré complaining that: “there’s always a difference between her ideas and mine … [the] tastes … she proclaims possess a kind of contradiction with what I own, with everything that surrounds me.”42 The following year, Isabelle de Charrière wrote a response to Constant’s novel entitled Letters of Mistriss Henley (1784), in which she duplicated Constant’s narrative, but expressed it from the wife’s point of view. In this case, the wife is the one who ends up contemplating suicide at the novel’s close. In this short novel, it is the husband’s attachment to logic and reason—he represents the ideal Enlightenment man—that precludes the possibility of intimacy. For Mr. Henley, marriage acquires its meaning through contract, lineage, and tradition, so that he only sees his wife in terms of how she performs her role rather than in terms of her individuality. For example, when Mistriss Henley attempts to educate Mr. Henley’s daughter from his former marriage with the

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tales of Jean de La Fontaine, Mr. Henley responds by saying: “She recites wonderfully … but does she understand what she is saying? Perhaps it were best to fill her head with truths before stuffing it with fictions: history, geography” (ellipsis in the original). As Mistriss Henley will later point out in a letter she pens to her husband, his critique of her pedagogical choice becomes a critique of her core self: “By opposing at the outset my designs for [your daughter], you did only what was fair and reasonable; but in so doing, you seemed to find fault with what had been done for me, to disdain all that I knew and was.”43 Rather than promoting the ideology of complementarity, this novel explores its weaknesses and critiques the Rousseauian privileging of absolute sexual difference as a model for domestic harmony. Between Hogarth, Richardson, and Charrière, we can glimpse the variety of ways in which the institution of marriage was being critiqued and rendered accountable.

PUSHING THE LIMITS OF MARRIAGE: CULTURAL RELATIVISM AND CROSSING BOUNDARIES While up to this point we have considered representations of marriage within the domestic confines of Europe, marriage cannot be considered as fully separate or distinct from the broader economic and political currents that defined the eighteenth century. The cultural and economic benefits of trade with Asia and the Americas, Europe’s relentless empire building, and the philosophical turn toward empirical science in the place of religion all contributed to a more global and relativist vision of human societies. A wealth of literature on cultural relativism began to appear, with the theme of marriage taking a central role. In France, thinkers such as Montesquieu and Diderot became interested in alternative social models, often focused on alternative kinship practices. In Montesquieu’s Persian Letters (1721), for example, the Persian Seraglio is compared to European marriage, with both ultimately found wanting. The French philosophes were also often responding to explorers’ reports of other cultures, as in Louis-Antoine de Bougainville’s accounts of Tahitian society, a location also visited by Captain Cook. In Supplément au voyage de Bougainville (1772), Diderot praises Tahitian society’s practice of fathers offering their daughters to different men: “They belong to me and I am offering them to you: they have their own desires, and they are giving themselves to you.”44 In contrast, as the European explains to the Tahitian, God made the two sexes, “to be united; but only according to certain conditions, after certain prior ceremonies, after which a man belongs to a woman, and only to her; a woman belongs to a man, and only to him.”45 Here, Diderot defamiliarizes the laws of marriage, showing how marriage, as with all other social practices, is human-made and not ordained by God. The fascination with different global matrimonial customs is highlighted in Louis de Gaya’s descriptive study, originally written in Italian and published in Paris in 1680. It was followed by an English translation in 1685, under the title Matrimonial Customs or the Various Ceremonies and Divers Ways of Celebrating Weddings, Practiced amongst All the Nations, in the Whole World. Gaya’s text continued to be read well into the eighteenth century and is organized by chapters according to religious affiliation, which include Jewish, Mahometan, Pagan, and a range of Christian religions. The Preface announces marriage to be a controversial subject, with some perceiving it as “a wise bargain, and an honourable Contract,” whereas others condemn it as “a name importing nothing but meer Slavery and Bondage, a Society of evils and troubles.”46 Nevertheless, Gaya argues

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that marriage is a universal institution and that “it is the foundation of all humane [sic] society.”47 Writing as a Roman Catholic and arguing that marriage “derives its institution from the Supream [sic] author of Nature,” Gaya is also able to relativize the various ways in which it is celebrated, arguing that “although Marriage be Common to all the Nations in the World, yet it is not regulated by the same Laws, nor celebrated in the same Forms and Ceremonies, they varying according to the diversity of Religions and Nations.”48 According to Gaya, Christians have “strict and severe” laws around marriage, “one man being allowed but one woman” yet this appears to be the exception, in that “amongst the greatest part of other Religions, Polygamy and Divorce are commonly approved and practised, too the end (as they say) that Marriage be less cumbersom [sic], more free and more fruitful.”49 Gaya’s detailed account of varied geographic and religious marital practices functions as an early ethnographical project, in that it is remarkably free of authorial prejudice. At the same time, the patriarchal nature of marriage is simply assumed and never challenged. Read together, it becomes apparent that the gesture of relativizing marital practices within a global context rarely leads to a questioning of conventional sexual ideology and of the fundamental purpose of marriage being the exchange of women as property. However, attempts to place European social practices within a broader cultural context arguably created a public discourse more open to change and transformation. Alongside dramatic political transformations at the end of the century, such as the American War of Independence (1775) and the French Revolution (1789), debates around and representations of marriage included calls for the right to divorce—briefly implemented in France between 1792 and 1816—and manifestos for the rights of women by figures such as Olympe de Gouges and Mary Wollstonecraft. Increasingly, there was a demand for women to be treated as fully rational beings, which, as Wollstonecraft argues, would make women proper companions for men: “Would men but generously snap our chains, and be content with rational fellowship instead of slavish obedience, they would find us more observant daughters, more affectionate sisters, more faithful wives, more reasonable mothers—in a word, better citizens.”50 Wollstonecraft was particularly critical of Rousseau’s model of sexual difference, arguing that women could never be productive citizens as long as men “consider[ed] females rather as women than human creatures,” and as incapable of rational thought.51 Yet these calls for increased rights and equality in marriage were also taking place alongside a colonial and imperialist model founded on slavery. This led some writers to compare—often problematically—the roles of slaves and masters with those of women and marriage. According to Moira Ferguson, in Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women, “the constituency Wollstonecraft champions—white, middle-class women—is constantly characterized as slaves,” with eighty references to the trope of slavery.52 However, Wollstonecraft never engaged directly with the reality of slavery in the colonies. Gouges, by contrast, actively fought for the emancipation of both women and slaves in her writings, with the anti-slavery play, Zamore and Mirza, produced in 1784 and published in 1792 under the title L’Esclavage des noirs. Furthermore, as much of Europe’s economy depended on a highly lucrative slave trade between Africa, Europe and the Americas, by the end of the century marriage and the anxiety around miscegenation had become a central concern. Europe’s imperial expansion produced a concomitant fear around the question of the other, a figure who always risked transforming the mother country as well as being transformed by it. Marriage and domestic space became key areas through which anxieties about boundaries and their transgression

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were being played out. The emergence of a mixed-race landowning Creole class in the Americas threatened European control over the colonies, as did the increasing number of slave rebellions. This period of turmoil is reflected in representations of marriage over the course of the century, as marriage was used as a boundary marker to demarcate racial difference and proper belonging. Miscegenation was seen as both unhealthy and threatening; for example, in Hogarth’s The Four Times of Day: Noon (1738), a mixed-race couple fondling one another are seen on the left of the painting, while their slovenly and neglected children play at their feet. Novels that touch on the contentious subject of mixed-race relationships tended to reinforce the ideology of racial purity. In Edgeworth’s Belinda (1801), the heroine ultimately has to choose between Mr. Vincent, a Creole from Jamaica who comes to England for his education, and the English member of Parliament, Clarence Harvey. Belinda’s scheming mother, Lady Delacour, makes explicit the fact that “an English member of parliament is, in the eyes of the world … a better connexion, than the son of a West Indian planter.”53 As Susan C. Greenfield argues, at stake is whether “the Creole born abroad [has] as much right to Belinda as does her countryman.”54 Belinda is ultimately turned off Mr. Vincent because of his gambling debts, intended to signal the irresponsibility of the Creole class. In spite of their relatively moneyed status, Creoles constituted a “threat to the English social order,” a fact reflected in Edgeworth’s novel.55 According to Felicity Nussbaum, there is also a direct relationship between the construction of domestic space and the building of empire, each of which served to define gendered and racial subjectivities. English women were considered to embody the height of civilized decorum, possessing “the ideals of reciprocal affection, refined sexuality, and private domesticity.”56 Anne McClintock also argues that “imperialism [was] coming into being through domesticity,” in that the goal was not only to transfer British values to colonized spaces but also to signal the superiority of white domestic subjects over colonized ones.57 In Sarah Scott’s Sir George Ellison (1766), a bad colonial marriage is followed by a good English one. The protagonist, Sir George Ellison, is a man of sensibility, but as with M. Bompré of the The Sentimental Husband, he makes a bad first marriage to a white Jamaican woman. His choice of wife is based on economics rather than on affection, as Mrs. Ellison is a widow, “possessed of ten thousand pounds in money, and a plantation of no less value.”58 Indeed, there is a clear parallel between Mrs. Ellison’s value and the value of her slaves. Sir George Ellison’s education will consist in recognizing that ultimately, neither Mrs. Ellison nor being a slave-owner are good investments, as they represent a faulty moral economy that does not reflect Sir George’s true nature. Indeed, the rift in his marriage will be based on the fact that Mrs. Ellison fails to treat her slaves well, since she “had from her infancy been so accustomed to see the most shocking cruelties exercised on the blacks,” whereas Sir George is determined to improve their condition.59 Although white, Mrs. Ellison is tainted by her colonial context and can never acquire the civility and sensibility of an English-born white woman. However, Mrs. Ellison is also a demanding wife, so that “If he expressed an inclination to spend an evening with a friend, she was inconsolable.”60 As a result, Sir George becomes a slave to his wife, even as he is working relentlessly to improve the conditions of his slaves. Paradoxically, in trying to address and ameliorate the problems of slavery, Scott has highlighted the problems of marriage. Ultimately, it is only by leaving Jamaica and returning to England that Sir George can become a fully virtuous subject, thereby literalizing the moral boundary between England and its colonies.

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The anxiety around making one’s fortune in the colonies reappears in Charrière’s Letters of Mistriss Henley (1784), in which, before agreeing to marry her “Enlightenment” husband, Mistriss Henley turns down a nabob—a term designating a European who has made his fortune in the Indies—who significantly remains without a name or title until he reappears later in the novel, newly returned from India. Mistriss Henley describes him as “a handsome man … noble in manner and expenditure; he liked fine food, the arts and pleasures.”61 The nabob also offers her “a considerable dowry, the ownership of a fine house he had just purchased in London, and three hundred guineas in pin money.”62 In contrast to the titled Mr. Henley, who represents the solid values of the British landowning class, the nabob appears to be defined by his wealth, while “shun[ning] [the] particulars” of how it was acquired.63 Although attracted to the nabob, Mrs. Henley turns away from “the baser part of [her] heart that preferred Oriental riches” and chooses the sensible Mr. Henley.64 Yet as we know, this leads to a profoundly unhappy marriage. In this case Mistriss Henley chooses the wrong husband, not because he is inadequate but because of the social prejudice against colonial adventurers. Once again, the question of boundaries is highlighted, with Mistriss Henley choosing Englishness and social conformity over her own happiness. While anxieties around miscegenation and the effects of the colonies on the mother country are reflected in later marriage narratives, concerns around marital boundaries in terms of ensuring proper heterosexuality also appear throughout the century. This is reflected in the relish with which newspapers tended to take up cross-dressing narratives and, in particular, the figure of the “female husband.” In 1746, Henry Fielding wrote The Female Husband, based on a real case of the marriage of a quack doctor, Charles Hamilton, to Mary Price. Charles Hamilton, however, turned out to be Mary Hamilton and, upon this discovery, was prosecuted by Mary Price and arrested at the Somerset quarter sessions for vagrancy. The tale became a sensation in the nation’s press, with its mix of “fraudulent marriage, gender transgression, and sexual deception.”65 Fielding transformed the story into a picaresque tale of travel, adventure, and sexual exploits, with Charles Hamilton close to being betrothed on several occasions, until he is ultimately exposed. According to Terry Castle, Fielding’s tale reveals a fascination with Charles’s simulated heterosexuality—which includes a dildo—whose use is referred to through an ironic accountancy metaphor, as “transactions not fit to be mentioned.”66 Upon his eventual arrest, Charles, now Mary, is punished by public whipping and six months’ hard labor, which reveals the final judgment of “this vexed and often hostile narrative.”67 Cross-dressing narratives would occasionally appear in the press to sensational effect, but always as a condemnation of those who chose to usurp both marriage and masculinity. In parallel to the anxiety around miscegenation, the crossing of gender boundaries, although often cast in comic terms, required proper resolution and punishment, revealing the extent to which marital boundaries needed to remain unassailable.

CONCLUSION To conclude, while representations of marriage in the long eighteenth century varied considerably, we can also witness a movement toward a new definition and modernization of the institution. While in the early part of the period, marriage still tended to be represented through a rhetoric of obedience—from advice literature through to poetry and drama—as the century progressed, the language of mutuality and complementarity increasingly became the norm within Enlightenment discourse, particularly by means of the novel. Yet, once again, it is important to remember that this in no way reflected the

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legal rights of women within marriage. Moreover, the emphasis on virtue and on the wife being a good companion to her husband placed on her an undue responsibility for the deployment of the new ideology of mutuality. Furthermore, the eighteenthcentury language of sensibility and the overall feminization of culture challenged models of masculinity in ways that, at times, produced a cultural backlash. The notion of the ideal marriage was therefore accompanied by varied representations of failed and abusive relations between husband and wife, as well as concerns around proper boundaries, whether they were those of class, race, or gender. As we have seen, marriage repeatedly appears as a central concern in cultural representations of empire and national identity during this period. Connected as it is to identity and subjectivity, marriage is often at the forefront of cultural moments of transformation and social change. As both a public and private institution, marriage reflects social policy and domestic life in equal measure, and whether treated dramatically or sentimentally, as parody or as satire, marriage always reveals society’s fault lines.

NOTES

Introduction   1. For a discussion of the historiography of the Enlightenment, see Outram 1995.   2. Coontz 2005.   3. Smith [1776] 1822: vol. 5, 15.   4. Wallace [1753] 1976: 4.   5. Montesquieu [1721] 2008: 149.   6. Ringrose 1998.   7. Hill 1989.   8. Ibid., 132.   9. Watt 1992. 10. Montesquieu [1721] 2008: 155. 11. Astell 1706: xi. 12. Behrend-Martiníz 2003. 13. Montesquieu [1721] 2008: 49. 14. Godwin 1798: 507. 15. Wollstonecraft [1792] 1996: 29. 16. Olympe de Gouges, Declaration of the Rights of Women (1791), quoted in Cole 2011: 142–143. 17. Cole 2011: 202.

Chapter 1   1.   2.   3.   4.   5.   6.   7.   8.   9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

Scheuermann 1993: 5. Delany 1862: 25. Habakkuk 1994: 162–163. Porter 1990: 52. Harth 1988: 148. Stone 1977: 278. Leslie Richardson 2005: 152–153. Samuel Richardson [1741] 2012: 354. Ibid., 352. Ibid., 356. Green 1991: 47. Davis 2011: 521. Congreve [1700] 1997: 256. Ibid., 281. Ibid., 292–293. Ibid., 258. Ibid., 274. Ibid., 275.

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19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50.

Notes

Ibid., 296. Ibid., 293. Ibid., 297. Ibid., 296–297. Ibid., 297–298. Harth 1988: 127. Ibid., 128. Probert and Brown 2008: 31. Bannet 2000: 95. Ibid., 96. Ibid. Richardson [1747] 1985: 43. Ibid., 143. Ibid., 86. Astell [1694] 2002: 102. Richardson [1747] 1985: 92. Ibid., 69. Ibid., 61. Ibid., 36. Backscheider 2000: 43. Ibid., 55. Staves 1990: 4. O’Connell 2011b: 386. Austen [1813] 2001: 73. Ibid., 73. Ibid., 73–74. Ibid., 75. Ibid., 77. Ibid., 86. Ibid., 85. Ibid., 232. Ibid.

Chapter 2   1.   2.   3.   4.   5.   6.   7.   8.   9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

García Márquez [1967] 1998: 163. Watt 1992; Witte 2012. Coontz 2005: 145–146. Gowing 1996: 177. Wunder 2016: 83. Desan 2006. Constitution of 1791: Title II, 7, in Anderson 1904: 63. Desan 2006: 51. Phillips 1988: 62. Cott 2001: 16. Duby 1983. Todd 2002. Bell 1999.

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14. Montesquieu [1721] 2008: 49. 15. Voltaire 1901: 147. 16. Regarding debates about the connection between nature, liberty, and marital consent see Desan 2006: 51, 65. 17. Dolan 2010. 18. Foyster 2005: 11. 19. Wunder 2016: 88. 20. Ozment 2009. 21. Spain’s Enlightenment seizure of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, for instance, began with Ferdinand VI’s Concordat in 1753. See Herr 1973: 14. 22. See Probert in this volume. 23. In the Spanish Empire, for instance, this secular usurpation of ecclesiastical power was called por via fuerza, literally, “by means of force.” 24. Wisnoski 2014. 25. Ibid. 26. Uribe-Uran 2015. 27. Ribadeneyra 1616: 345–348. 28. Ibid., 346. 29. Translation my own, ACDC Legajo 154/14, testimony by Lorenzo Fernandez, August 1. 30. Ibid., testimony by Joseph de Anguiano. 31. Ibid., testimony by Pedro Ojeda. 32. Haliczer 1996: 194–196. 33. Montecón Novellán 1997: 70. 34. Richard Boyer in his study of marriage in colonial Mexico does not see clerical intervention in marriages as significant after they performed the nuptial blessing (2001: 102). 35. Darmon 1985; Behrend-Martínez 2007. 36. Legajo 20/150/04, f. 2. 37. Ibid. 38. Hardwick 2009: 206. 39. ACDC Legajo 27/33/10, f. 3. 40. Socolow 1992: 210; Pinar 2002: 165. 41. Wunder 2016: 88. 42. Phillips 1988: 61. 43. See Probert in this volume. 44. Hardwick 2009: 219.

Chapter 3   1.   2.   3.   4.   5.   6.

Lindo v. Belisario 1795, 161 ER 530, 535. Ibid. Ibid., 536. Ibid., 530. Thier 2016. Locke [1689] 2003: Book II, ch. 7, 77–78. For discussion of Locke’s writings on marriage see Shanley 1979; Witte 2015.   7. Witte 2015; Antokolskaia 2006; Lobban 2016.   8. Blackstone [1765–9] 1979: v. 1, 44.   9. Cairns 1984: 324.

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10. See, for example, Porter 2000. 11. Rheinstein 1953; Witte 2012. 12. “An ordinance for taking away the Book of Common Prayer, and for establishing and putting in execution of the Directory for the publique worship of God, passed on 4th January 1644/45” (Firth and Rait 1911: 599). 13. Ibid., 601. 14. Rosman 2003: 102. 15. “An Act touching Marriages and the registering thereof; and also touching Births and Burials” (Firth and Rait 1911: 715–718). 16. “An Act touching several Acts and Ordinances made since the 20th of April 1653, and before the 3rd of September 1654, and other Acts” (Firth and Rait 1911: 1131). 17. See McLaren 1974. 18. Tate [1946] 1983: 63. 19. Loftis 1979: 84. 20. Ibid. 21. Ibid., 85. 22. See Crawford 1993; Cressy 1997. 23. 12 C II c. 33, s. 1. 24. (1661) 1 Sid 65; 82 E.R. 972. 25. Rosman 2003: 105. 26. Probert 2009. 27. Alleman 1942: 80. 28. See An act for granting to his Majesty certain rates and duties upon marriages, births and burials, and upon batchelors and widowers, for the term of five years, for carrying on the war against France with vigour: 6 & 7 W. III, c. 6, s. 52; An act for the enforcing the laws which restrain marriages without licence or banns, and for the better registering marriages, births and burials: 7 & 8 W. III, c. 35. 29. Brown 1982; Outhwaite 1995; Newton 2014. 30. Clandestine Marriages Act 1753, s 1. 31. Ibid., s. 8. 32. BL Add 35880, fol. 12, cl. 8. 33. Ibid., s. 16. 34. Gally 1750: 124. 35. Ibid. 36. Stebbing 1754: 15, 22. 37. Hansard’s Parliamentary History, vol. 25, col. 78. 38. O’Connell 2011a: 150. 39. Hay and Rogers 1997: 37 40. Stone 1990: 11. 41. Probert 2009, 2012. 42. Porter 2000. 43. An act to prevent and avoid dangers which grow by popish recusants, 3 Jac. I, c. 5. 44. 6 & 7 W. 3 c. 6, ss 202–03. See Probert 2009. 45. Scrimshire v. Scrimshire (1752) 2 Hag. Con. 395; 161 E.R. 782, at 401–402. 46. Bossy 1981. 47. Probert 2009. 48. Vigevena and Silveira v. Alvarez (1794) 1 Hag Con (App) 8n; 161 E.R. 636. 49. Ibid.

Notes

50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59.

60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80.

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Obelkevich 1990. Hoyle 1988: 15. 6 Anne c. 16 s. 6; 12 Geo I c. 3. 19 Geo 2 c. 13. Harding 2019. Thornton 2005: 62. Millar 1773: 5–6, 9. Malkin 1795: 4–5. Scrimshire v. Scrimshire (1752) 2 Hag Con 395; 161 E.R. 782, 788 Ibid. A Letter to the Public: Containing the Substance of what hath been offered in the late Debates upon the Subject of the Act of Parliament for the better preventing of Clandestine Marriages (London: Charles Marsh, 1753: 13). (1798) 1 Hag. Con. 324; 161 E.R. 568, 328. For the reality, see Gordon 2013. Scruton v. Gray (1772) Hailes’ Decisions 499. Home 1777: 29–30. Cairns 1984. Dubin 2007: 66. Harmat 2017. Rheinstein 1953: 12. Dubin 2007. Antokolskaia 2006; Rheinstein 1953. Rheinstein 1953. Tucker 2008. Derrett 1968; Newbigin 2013. Ipaye 1998: 34. Bien 1962: 409. Bien 1962. Constitution of 1791, Title II, Article 7. Phillips 1988. Desan 2006. Phillips 1988: 180. Novak 2000: 1070.

Chapter 4   1. For the purposes of this chapter, Europe is considered to include both the British Isles and European-held colonies.   2. Kirk 2000: 1130.   3. Asch 2005: 428.   4. Stuart 1899: 24–25.   5. Two of the daughters married men who became earls and two married younger sons of earls.   6. Berend 2000: 935.   7. Bloch 2003: 38.   8. This is shown in a letter dated December 28, 1715, written by Lady Katherine Pelham to May Somerset, Marchioness of Granby, in which she expressed her pleasure “that Lord Granby’s happiness is secured by his marriage” (Historical Manuscripts Commission 1894: 4).

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Notes

  9. Glover 2011: 89. 10. Hillman 2011: 246. 11. Eustace 2001: 536. 12. Simonton 2011: 28. 13. Cartwright 1883: 55–56. 14. Erickson 2005: 2. 15. Breslaw 2003: 658. 16. Fryer 1998: 216. 17. Howso 1979: 15; Kingsford 1892: 384; Lunt 1975: 12–13, 17. 18. Probert 2009: 176, 178, 180–181, 186, 189; Stone 1992b: 105. 19. Wilson 2009: 7. 20. Brunelle 1995: 80; Hanley 1997: 29. 21. Stone 1992b: 105. 22. Gill 2004: 61; Wilson 2009: 19. 23. Greig 1926: 76–77. 24. Erskine 1771: 7. 25. de Gouges 1791. 26. Coverture was practiced most widely in those areas that could be broadly described as British. Latin Europe tended to recognize married women’s property rights over their dowries and inheritances (though their husbands had administrative rights) (Wilson 2009: 7). 27. Ågren 2007: 78–79. 28. Barclay 2011: 18; Vickery 1998: 41. 29. Bulloch 1903: 66; Castiglione 2005: 693; Tague 2002: 171. 30. Gutierrez 1985: 88–89. 31. Paston 1907: 145. 32. Nechtman 2007: 73–75. 33. Jenkins 1983: 40; Langford 2002: 316. 34. Borsay 2000: 290. 35. Erickson 1990: 30–31. 36. Glover 2011: 290; Jenkins 1983: 37; Clay 1981: 19–20. 37. Agnani 2008: 141. 38. Castiglione 2005: 693; Eliasson and Shepheard 2012: 217. 39. Gutierrez 1985: 88. 40. Hitchcock 2012: 824; Vickery 1998: 17. 41. Amussen 1994: 83. 42. She adds somewhat cynically that it is likely that their hopes outstripped their experiences (Lewis 1986: 19). 43. Vickery 1998. 44. Bailey 2003. 45. Langford 1991; Lemmings 1996. 46. Coontz 2004: 978. 47. Breslaw 2003: 662; Gordon 2006: 235; Tague 2002: 73. 48. Simonton 2011: 27. 49. Coontz 2004: 978. 50. The Book of Common Prayer 1689. 51. Earle 2005: 17; Bloch 2003: 19–20. 52. Gutierrez 1985: 101; Earle 2005: 22. 53. Quoted in Hill 1989: 131.

Notes

139

54. Barker 2008: 19. 55. Hill 1989: 145. 56. Gordon 2006: 240. 57. Quoted in Barclay 2011: 46. 58. Bankton, quoted in Barclay 2011: 46. 59. Barclay 2011: 46. 60. Tague 2001: 77. 61. Ibid., 76, 80; Knott 2014: 429. 62. Barclay 2011: 61–62. 63. Bloch 2003: 19. 64. Vickery 1998: 44. 65. Earle 2005: 22. 66. Historical Manuscripts Commission 1904: 45. 67. Quoted in Vickery 1998: 39. 68. At least among the upper classes, this era was also renowned for its indulgence in extramarital sexual relations. The career of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, is perhaps the best known, but there are countless other cases as well. In 1762, the Duchess of Northumberland reported “Col. Montgomery expelle’d fr. Dumfries House for being behind window curtains with the Countess” (Greig 1926: 25–26n). 69. Montagu 1803: 437. 70. Barclay and Simonton 2013: 45. 71. Bloch 2003: 18–19; Godbeer 2004: 9. 72. Breslaw 2003: 659. 73. Vickery 1998: 55. 74. Harvey 2002: 900; Zwicker 2004: 674. 75. Barshack 2008: 53. 76. Denis 2001: 1–2. 77. Bloch 2003: 14. 78. Eustace 2001: 517–518. 79. Quoted in Bloch 2003: 37–38. 80. Wilms 2008: 338. 81. Stone 1977: 85–7. 82. Tadmor 2001: 27. 83. Knott 2014: 426. 84. Gill 2004: 61. 85. Gordon 2006: 238. 86. Legally, French women lost the right to enter into contracts after they entered into the contract to marry. In reality, they did undertake a range of contractual activities that belied this legal technicality (Hanley 1997: 31; Erickson 2005: 2). 87. Beher 1987: 35. 88. Gill 2004: 59; Tague 2001: 79. 89. Behar 1987: 43. 90. Gutierrez 1985: 89. 91. McBride 1992: 755. 92. Barclay 2011: 15. 93. Knox 1840: 89. 94. Ravenel 1967: 117. 95. Barclay 2011: 23.

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  96.   97.   98.   99. 100. 101. 102. 103. 104. 105. 106. 107. 108. 109. 110.

Notes

Bailey 2003: 10. Gordon 2006: 239. Sturkenboom 2000: 58. Barclay 2011: 41. Sturkenboom 2000: 58. Quoted in Barclay 2011: 45. Eustace 2001: 522. Barclay 2011:18. Earle 2005: 23–24. Gutierrez 1985: 81. Hanley 1997: 30–31. Quoted in Sturkenboom 2000: 56. Quoted in Reinhardt 2006: 33. Nechtman 2007: 71. Barker 2008: 12.

Chapter 5    1.    2.    3.    4.    5.    6.    7.    8.    9.   10.   11.   12.   13.   14.   15.   16.   17.   18.   19.   20.   21.   22.   23.   24.   25.   26.

Ehmer 2002: 297–300; Knotter 2001: 134; Medick 1976. Agarwal 1994. Eibach 2011. Ågren and Erickson 2005. Barbagli and Kertzer 2002: xviii, xxi. Tilly 1984: 33, 36. Frierson 2001: 149, 152; Hufton 1974: 23. Cited in Tilly 1984: 31f. Dyer 1989: 126–27; Tilly 1984: 28f. cf. Vries 1994. Abel 1980: 158–161, 197–215; Söderberg 2013; Whittle 1998: Tab. 5, 53. Shepard 2015: 248. Laurence 2009; Carlos, Maguire, and Neal 2009. Spicksley 2007; Dermineur 2014. Myking 2004; cf. Whittle 1998: 62–63. Dennison and Ogilvie 2007. Amussen 1988; Barbagli and Kertzer 2002: xxiv, 101; Shepard 2004; Roper 1989. Zucca Micheletto 2015: 753. Humphries and Weisdorf 2015. Schötz 2004: 6, 305. Heuvel and Ogilvie 2013; also, on Denmark, Dübeck 1978; on Lyons, Montenach 2013. Whittle 2014: 287–291. Schötz 2004: 311. Groppi 2002: 44, 48. Schötz 2004: 14. Ogilvie 2003: 140–205, particularly 172; Shepard 2015: 256, 259, 307; Humphries and Weisdorf 2015: 411; Ling 2016.   27. Shepard 2015: 203f; cf. Hardwick 2009: 103.   28. Wunder 1992: 94–98.   29. Zucca Micheletto 2015: 766f; Groppi 2002: quote 37; Shepard 2015: 193. See also Groppi 2006: 46–50; Schötz 2004: 16–22; Flather 2013: 359.

Notes

30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51.

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Ågren 2017. Pollock 1989; cf. Harris 2002; Schötz 2004; Schmidt-Voges 2015: 5, 15. Capp 1996: 127. Ludwig 2015: 196f; Droste 2011: 157. Droste 2011:165. Lennersand et al. 2017. Lindström 2008: 126f, 205. Sabean 1990: 41; Fertig 2003: 11f; for late medieval English parallels, see Whittle 2000: 90, 168. Lindström 2008: 208–211. Ros 2012. Erickson 1992. Hardwick 2009: 3; cf. Lord Smail 2003 and Hunt 2004. Hardwick 2009: 92, 108, 128–182. On courts, see also Hunt 2009: 38f; Montenach 2013: 30; Østhus 2013. Hunt 2009: 38; Erickson 1992: 223; Schötz 2004. Jiménez and Valverde 2002: 411. Humphries and Sarasúa 2012. Guldi n.d. Flather 2013: 349, 354f. Oja 2015. Flather 2013: 349, 354f. Bennett 1988. Eckert 2017: 305.

Chapter 6   1. Antoine Gaspard Boucher d’Argis 1756: 4.   2. For St. Paul’s views, see especially 1 Corinthians 7:1–9.   3. Bradstreet 1678: 240.   4. Ariès 1960.   5. Pollock (1983) questions the idea that parental love did not emerge until the eighteenth century.   6. Stone 1977.   7. See also Flandrin 1979; Shorter 1975; and Trumbach 1978. For a summary of the “sentiments approach” to family history, see Anderson 1980.   8. Davies 1981; Goody 1983; Houlbrooke 1984; Laslett 1977; Macfarlane 1986; Wrigley 1969.   9. Macfarlane 1987. 10. Ferraro 2008. 11. For analysis, see Capp 2012. 12. On Tametsi, see Denziger 1957: 300–301. 13. Daumas 2004: 29–31, 139, 144–146. 14. Delphino 1737. Nine editions of this collection of documents about the Sorlisi/Lichtwer marriage began appearing in 1685. For extended analysis, see Frandsen 2005. 15. Hufton 1981. 16. Flandrin 1979: 180–183. 17. For these plays and the German context, see Potter 2012.

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18. Holbach 1776: 3:1–41. 19. Forgeot 1794–5. 20. For the reception of Trent in France, see Martin 1919. For the 1556 edict, see Isambert (1831–3) 13: 469–471. See also 14: 391–392; 15: 307; 16: 324–336, 520–524; 20: 287– 295 for royal legislation in 1579, 1606, 1628, 1639, and 1697, respectively. 21. La Costume du duché de Bourgogne 1717: 387. 22. Saxe 1757: 2, 155–160. See also Linguet 1767: 1: 340–465. On divorce in Venice, see Ferraro 2008, which argues that women could use complaints of marital dissatisfaction to get out of unhappy unions. 23. Rousseau n.d.: 16. 24. Lavie 1764: 1: 66, 71–72. 25. Traer 1980: 25, 91–96. Quoted from the Doléances des femmes de Franche-Comté (Besançon, April 27, 1789). 26. Whether Hardwicke’s Act actually made a difference in practice has been challenged. See Probert 2009. Because Scottish law remained more leniant on marriage, clandestine marriage continued at Gretna Green. See Brown 1982. For details about how the Scottish marriages worked, see Gordon 2013. 27. Marinello 1610. 28. Guillemeau 1609. Translated as The Happy Deliverie of Women (London: Hatfield, 1612). 29. Crowther-Heyck 2002. 30. Porter 1994. 31. For context, see also Beall 1963. 32. Porter 1984. 33. For the sonnets in the original and translation, see Talvacchia 1999: 198–227. 34. L’école des filles was published initially under the title L’Eschole des Filles ou la Philosophie des dames. It was translated in 1680 as School of Venus. Samuel Pepys famously refers to buying a copy, which he called an “idle, rogueish book” and “a mighty lewd book” before burning it so that no one would know he bought it. See Pepys 2003: 253 (February 8–9, 1668). 35. Popularly known as Fanny Hill. 36. Toulalan 2007. See also Moulton 2005. For a broad view of pornography in early modernity, see Hunt 1993. 37. Eudes 1666: 286–289. 38. Sales [1609] 1986: 237. Walch 1988 lists and discusses 26 French marriage manuals. 39. Maillard 1643: 237. 40. Le Blanc 1664: 78. 41. Chaussé 1685: sig. A2v. 42. Pepys 2003: 230; 283–307. August 18, 1667, for the pin incident; October 25, 1668–May 7, 1669, for the crisis with Willet. After he wife died, Pepys returned to Willet. 43. Boswell [1761–3] 1950: 50, 83–84, 262–264, 272–273. There is a long gap while Boswell courted an actress he thought to be safe from venereal disease. He was mistaken, and after a lengthy treatment, his next encounter with a prostitute included the (unsatisfactory) resort to a condom. See p. 227. 44. Henderson 1999: 55, 345. 45. Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies: Or Man of Pleasure’s Kalendar 1773: 49–50. 46. The list was ostensibly updated and appeared most years between 1757 and 1793. 47. Ruggiero 1985: 127; Boes 2002: 27. 48. Puff 2003: 29–30.

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49. Dynes 1990: 2: 1268. In Sweden, legislation in 1563 was framed so that it could have included human sodomy, but it only explicitly referred to bestiality. 50. Ibid., 2: 1134–1135; 1: 311. 51. See also Crompton 1978. 52. Crompton 2003: 466–469. 53. See also Noordam 1989. 54. Van Der Meer 1994: 141. 55. Monter 1990: 289; Carrasco 1985: 38. For Spanish Sicily: about a hundred men were executed between 1567 and 1640. There were 259 trials in Valencia between 1566 and 1775. See also Perry (1989: 71) regarding approximately 1,600 cases in Seville between 1540 and 1700 (including bestiality). 56. Carrasco 1985: 119, 48, 134–135. 57. Mott 1992: 709. 58. Trevisan (1986: 55) notes cases of male sodomites cross-dressing in Brazil in the sixteenth century. 59. Bray 1982: 71–72. 60. Similar establishments in the Netherlands were called lolhysen. “Molly” is derived from the Latin mollis, meaning soft. See Jordan 1997: 100, 103–105. 61. Crompton 2003: 455. 62. Ward 1709: 284. 63. Norton 1992: 51–54; Peakman 2004:162–167. 64. Herrup 1999. 65. “The Wadhamites, A Burlesque Poem” 1739: 8. 66. Soman 1978: 36. 67. Lever 1985: 158–162. 68. Rey 1987; 1989. See also Merrick 1999, which discusses reports on forty men arrested in 1723. 69. Merrick 2002. 70. Sibalis 1996: 82, 92. 71. Sinistrari 1958: 37. 72. Eriksson 1981. 73. Traub 2002. 74. M.D.R.C.D. M. F. [Mirabeau] 1783: 22–24. 75. Donoghue 1993: 262–263. 76. English translation by Dr. Edward Sloane Wilmot, Nymphomania, or, a Dissertation concerning the Furor Uterinus (1775). The first German translation appeared in 1772. 77. The first edition (now lost) was 1708. 78. Tissot 1797. Originally in Latin in 1759; first French edition in 1760. 79. Laqueur 2003: 19, 190, 194, 210. 80. Shadwell 2005: Act 2, sc. 1, ll. 328–329. 81. Shadwell 2005: preface, ll. 14–16. While I make no claims to be able to trace influence from stage to street, the cultural context seems telling. Trumbach 1998 has argued that popular libertinism is visible in the historical records of crime in seventeenth-century London. See also Stone 1992a. 82. Peakman 2004: 103–113. 83. Harvey 2004: 63–69; Stevenson 2001. 84. Sade 1965: 283. 85. Mordaunt 1740; Originally 1724.

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86. 87. 88. 89. 90. 91.

Notes

Innes 1990. Foucault 1978: 43. Eisenbichler and Murray 1996; Frandenburg and Freccero 1996; Karras 2012. Carrasco 1985: 46. Van Der Meer 1994: 192, 200–201. Visconti 1908: 136.

Chapter 7   1. By the end of the sixteenth century, England was the only Protestant country without some form of legalized divorce. Lawrence Stone argues that “the reasons why England was the exception lie partly in the tortuous and zig-zag path by which it moved from the Catholic into the Protestant camp” (Stone 1990: 141, 183–210, 301–319).   2. In 1765, the population of Massachusetts was 250,000; the population of England and Wales was seven million. Cott 1976: 589–590; Norton 1996a: 89. The colony of Connecticut was perhaps the most open to divorce, granting petitions on the basis of adultery, bigamy, desertion, impotence, and excessive cruelty, and granting divorce a vinculo matrimonii, or a full divorce (Cohn 1970: 35–54; Kerber 1980: 160–163; Dayton 1995).   3. Riley 1991: 51–67. An explanation of English divorce law can be found in Blackstone 1777.   4. Riddell 1933: 175–180; Meehan 1968: 441–64; Cott 1976: 591; Smith 1991.   5. Declaration of Independence 1776; Basch 1999: 22.   6. Tackett 2003: 30–32. See also Hunt 1992; Jordan 1973; Yazawa 1985.   7. Basch 1999: 21; Cott 1976: 592–594, 602, 605; Lewis 1987: 689–721. For a discussion of French divorce law in this era, see Desan 2006: 1–5, 93–99.   8. South Carolina continued to be the only state which completely rejected divorce. This would last until after the Civil War (Basch 1999: 21–24).   9. Meehan 1968: 441–464. 10. Basch 1999: 21–24. American divorce law also reflected a greater gender-neutrality than laws elsewhere. While women still faced a battle to prove their husbands’ misdeeds, for the most part, American laws gave them greater access to divorce, and they took advantage of it more often than men. Conversely, of about 325 divorces granted by Parliament between 1670 and 1857, only four went to women. 11. Goodheart, Hanks, and Johnson 1985: 318–339. 12. Lewis 1985; Cott 2001: 16–17; Coontz 2005: 145–160. 13. This explicitly rejected political theorists like Jean Bodin and Jacques-Bénigne who “justified absolutism by posing a correlation between the patriarchal rule of the monarch over his kingdom and the father’s empire over his family” (Desan 2006: 2). 14. Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, March31–April 5, 1776. Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. 15. Berkin 2005; Branson 2001; Kerber 1980; Norton 1996b. 16. Wallenstein 2007: 68. By 1776, there were almost half a million people in the state. 17. First Virginia Constitution, June 29, 1776, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. 18. Heinemann et al. 2007: 126. 19. Wallenstein 2007: 67. 20. Heinemann et al. 2007: 134–135. 21. The Virginia Declaration of Rights, Holograph manuscript, May 1776, Library of Congress, Washington, DC. 22. According to Heinemann, Kolp, Parent, and Shade, “it was the most radical stance taken by any American state” (Heinemann et al. 2007: 135–136). Wallenstein argues that petitions

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revealed broad support for this change, as well. Nonetheless, many churches argued that the government should still play a role in creating moral laws and legislation (Wallenstein 2007: 84–86). 23. Statutes at Large of Virginia 1835: 130–132. 24. Buckley 2002: 1–10. 25. These circuit courts served as chancery or equity courts. When I refer broadly to the courts, I use the term chancery courts. 26. Petition of Francis Hill, November 12, 1782, Goochland County, #215622, Legislative Petitions, Records of the General Assembly, Record Group 78, Archives Division, Library of Virginia, Richmond (hereafter cited as VI). All legislative petitions can be found on the Library of Virginia’s Legislative Petitions Digital Collection. 27. Petition of Joseph Mettauer, November 14, 1796, Prince Edward County, #306998, Legislative Petitions, VI. See also Petition of John Bonnell, November 10, 1796, Harrison County, #214392, Legislative Petitions, VI; Petition of Ann Dantignac, November 13, 1789, Prince William County, #308491, Legislative Petitions, VI. 28. Robinson, Judith v. Robinson, Edward (1779), Cumberland County Court Records, Library of Virginia Online Chancery Court Index (hereafter LVA), no. 1779–015. 29. Smith, Fanny v. Smith, David (1779), Cumberland County Court Records, LVA, no. 1779– 009. 30. Schweninger 2012: 66. 31. Hawkins, Mary v. Hawkins, John (1802), Louisa County Court Records, LVA, no. 1802–016. 32. Petition of Polly Stone, December 9, 1806, Henry County, #215065, Legislative Petitions, VI. Zaeske 2003: 1–10, 105–144. 33. An unmarried woman was considered feme sole and had far fewer legal restrictions on her behavior. Married women were considered feme covert, or “covered” by their husband’s status. Muse, Elizabeth v. Muse, Edward (1801), Loudoun County Court Records, LVA, no. 1801–009. Hoff 1994; See also: Blackstone [1765–9] 1979. 34. Beaucocke, Abby v. Beaucocke, Peter (1793), Isle of Wight County Court Records, LVA, no. 1793–011. 35. Some historians have argued that the need to protect family wealth from dissipated or unworthy sons-in-law provided the impetus for the nation’s first married women’s property law in the mid-nineteenth century (Salmon 1986; Shammas 1994; Warbasse 1987). 36. Petition of Ann Dantignac, November 13, 1789, Prince William County, #308491, Legislative Petitions, VI. See also Tucker, Rebecca v. Tucker, John (1788), Loudoun County Court Records, LVA, no. 1788–001; Day, Sarah v. Day, Francis (1777), Montgomery County Court Records, LVA, no. 1777–001. 37. Mary Armstrong had a similar case, stating that anything she earned while still married would be liable to her husband’s debts. Susanna Smith’s husband took whatever she earned and spent it on alcohol. Petition of Polly Stone, December 9, 1806, Henry County, #215065, Legislative Petitions, VI; Petition of Mary Armstrong, December 11, 1797, Louisa County, #217074, Legislative Petitions, VI; Smith, Susanna v. Smith, Joseph (1791), Fauquier County Court Records, LVA, no. 1791–016. 38. McCown, Margaret v. McCown, Joseph (1798), Rockbridge County Court Records, LVA, no. 1781–003. Fanny Smith stated that she had brought into her marriage “a Portion valuable and adequate to any Thing from [her husband’s] Fortune.” Smith, Fanny v. Smith, David (1779), Cumberland County Court Records, LVA, no. 1779–009. 39. Cott 1976: 592–593.

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40. Petition of Samuel Ritchie, October 5, 1792, Russell County, #329252, Legislative Petitions, VI; Petition of Joseph Mettauer, December 12, 1804, Cumberland County, #147446, Legislative Petitions, VI; Petition of Francis Hill, November 12, 1782, Goochland County, #215622, Legislative Petitions, VI; Petition of Ann Burkey, November 25, 1795, Norfolk City, Legislative Petitions, VI. See also: Muse, Elizabeth v. Muse, Edward (1801), Loudoun County Court Records, LVA, no. 1801–009. 41. Petition of John Bonnell, November 10, 1796, Harrison County, #214392, Legislative Petitions, VI; Petition of Benjamin Butt, December 7, 1803, Norfolk County, #217496, Legislative Petitions, VI; Petition of Joseph Mettauer, December 12, 1804, Cumberland County, #147446, Legislative Petitions, VI; Dewey 1982: 216–217. See also Petition of Nathaniel Hart, December 8, 1806, Brooke County, #144997, Legislative Petitions, VI. 42. Two more cases in the county records pointed to a mutually agreed upon separation as the only cause. Petition of John Netherland, November 12, 1796, Powhatan County, #300592, Legislative Petitions, VI; Petition of Joseph Mettauer, November 14, 1796, Prince Edward County, #306998, Legislative Petitions, VI; Petition of Charles and Barbara Donovan, November 23, 1796, county unknown, #305624, Legislative Petitions, VI; Petition of Elizabeth and Thomas Helm, December 11, 1800, Fauquier County, #153040, Legislative Petitions, VI; Petition of Dabney Pettus, December 2, 1802, Fluvanna County, #153535, Legislative Petitions, VI; Petition of William Daws, December 20, 1802, Elizabeth City County, #331832, Legislative Petitions, VI; Petition of Benjamin Butt, December 7, 1803, Norfolk County, #217496, Legislative Petitions, VI; Petition of Joseph Mettauer, December 12, 1804, Cumberland County, #147446, Legislative Petitions, VI; Petition of Robert Campbell, December 13, 1804, Richmond City, #330242, Legislative Petitions, VI; Petition of Ayres Latham, December 13, 1805, Accomack County, #367281, Legislative Petitions, VI; Mettaur, Jamima v. Mettaur, Joseph (1793), Cumberland County Court Records, LVA, no. 1793–018; Day, Sarah v. Day, Francis (1777), Montgomery County Court Records, LVA, no. 1777–001; Dewey 1982: 216–217. 43. Kerber 1980: xxi–xxiv, 8–15. For works that explore the ways in which the Revolution did not improve women’s status, see: Hoff 1976; Kann 1998; Zagarri 2011. 44. Nash 2006; Holton 2008; Bouton 2009. The French Revolution followed a similar and more striking pattern (Desan 2006: 249–282). See also: Hufton 1999; Landes 1988. 45. Egerton 2011; Horne 2014; Jones 1986; Morgan 2003; Pybus 2007. 46. Buckley 2002: 3–7. 47. Bloch 2007: 225–226. 48. See Grossberg 2004. 49. Dewey 1982: 217. 50. Basch 1999; Desan 2006.

Chapter 8   1. Debates around whether marriage can be seen as a contractual relationship continue to this day, due to the asymmetrical status of the parties involved. See Pateman 1988. For an analysis of the culture of sensibility in England, see Barker-Benfield 1992.   2. See Coontz 2005.   3. Davies 1981: 63; ellipsis in the original; McKeon 1987: 372.   4. Sprint 1709: 7–8; ellipsis in the original.   5. Edgeworth 1793: 221; my ellipsis.   6. Knox 1779: 332.

Notes

  7.   8.   9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39.

40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52.

147

Armstrong 1987: 8. Milton [1674] 1966: IV. 1760–1, 292. Horne 1993: 27. Cotton [1751] 1810: 18, 39. Chatterton 1795: 15, 488. Diderot 1957: 141. “Review of Henry Fielding’s Amelia” 1751: 510; my ellipsis. Schellenberg 1991: 30. Richardson [1741] 1914: 228. Thompson 2005: 119. Rousseau [1762] 1979: 358. Laqueur 1990: 10. Rousseau [1761] 1997: 370; my ellipsis. Pateman 1988: 20. Coulet 1989: 79. Rousseau [1761] 1997: 570; ellipsis in the original. Sheridan [1777] 1980: II, 1, 334. Ibid., IV, 3, 389–390; my ellipsis. Potter 2012: 1. Ibid., 17. Ibid., 23. Ibid., 28. Borkenstein [1742] 1896: 29. Ibid., 30. Maria Rosa Galvez de Cabrera, quoted in Martin-Gaite 1991: 87; ellipsis in the original. Findlen, Roworth, and Sama 2009: 23. Ibid., 25. Ibid., 30–31. Horne 1993. Sprint 1709: 7; Chudleigh 1700: 32. Collier [1757] 1994: 126. Richardson [1747] 1985: 133. Richardson’s friend, Lady Bradshaigh, enjoys Charlotte, apart from “her contemptible usage of her Husband, that is, and must for ever remain unpardonable” (Lady Bradshaigh to Samuel Richardson, December 11, 1753). Richardson [1753–4] 1986: IV, 434. Rand 1996: 231. Constant [1783] 1928: 119; my ellipsis. Charrière [1784] 1993: 11. Diderot [1796] 1951: 976. Ibid., 978. Gaya 1687: 3. Ibid., 4. Ibid., 4–5. Ibid. Wollstonecraft [1792] 1996: 263. Ibid., 79. Ferguson 1992: 82.

148

53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67.

Notes

Edgeworth [1801] 1994: 358; ellipsis in the original. Greenfield 1997: 219. Ibid. Nussbaum 1995: 13. McClintock 1995: 32. Scott [1766] 1996: 9. Ibid., 10. Ibid., 20. Charrière [1784] 1993: 7; my ellipsis. Ibid., 8. Ibid. Ibid. Nicolazzo 2014: 335. Fielding [1746] 1960: 31; See also Castle 1982: 602–622. Nicolazzo 2014: 337.

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INDEX

absolutism 32, 42–3 abuse 37, 39, 41–2, 109, 110, 113 Acts of Union (1707) 47 Adams, Abigail 105, 112 Adams, John 112 adultery 88 advice literature 116 affection 10, 12, 13, 16, 27, 28, 29, 44, 88 Africa 4, 56 African Americans 112 Age of Enlightenment. See Enlightenment; Enlightenment ideals age of majority 90, 92 agency 80, 81, 115 agrarian labor 77 Ågren, Maria 12 Alfonso the Wise 31 Alleman, G. S. 49 America Constitution 107, 112 Declaration of Independence 104, 107, 114 Enlightenment ideals 12–13, 110, 112, 113, 114 Republican marriage 31, 70 Republican Mothers 105 slaves 110, 112, 113 War of Independence 129 American colonies 9, 56, 60, 61, 66, 69, 72 divorce 103–14 Mayflower Compact 105 American Revolution 105, 107, 112, 113, 114 Amsterdam 95 anarchists 9 anatomical texts 92 Anglican Church 43, 51, 52, 53, 61. See also Church of England Anguiano, Don Joseph de 39 annulment 41 anti-clericalism 29, 36, 39 Arbeitspaar 81 Aretino, Pietro 93 Ariès, Philip 88 Armstrong, Nancy 116

arranged marriages xiv, 15, 30, 115, 125 Astell, Mary 9, 24 Atherton, John 96 attraction 18, 29 Augsburg 81 Augustine (Saint) 37–8 Austen, Jane (Pride and Prejudice) 15, 18, 25–7, 28 Austria 56 Backscheider, Paula 25 bagnios 94 Bailey, Joanne 65 Bannet, Eve Tavor 22, 116 banns 22, 49, 50 Barberini, Cardinal Francesco 65 Barberini, Cornelia 65 Barker-Benfield, G. J. 116 battered women 37, 39, 41–2 bawdy-houses 94 Beaucocke, Abigail 109 “Beggar’s Benison” 99 Black, Ruth 113 Blackstone, William 46 Bohemia 79 bonds 78 Bonnell, John 111 Book of Common Prayer 48, 66 Borkenstein, Hinrich 122 Boswell, James 94, 123 Boucher d’Argis, Antoine Gaspard 87 boundary crossings 128–31 bourgeois marriage 115, 123 Bradstreet, Anne 87 British Empire 4, 130 brothels 88, 94, 100 Brueghel, Jan, the Younger 33 buggery 95, 96 “bullies” 94 Burgoyne, John 61 Burkey, Ann 110 Butt, Benjamin 112 Buys, Egbert 73

170

Campbell, John, second Duke of Argyll and Greenwich 59 canon law 42, 44, 45, 46, 49, 51, 56, 57 capital 78 capitalism 3, 4, 5 Capp, Bernard 81 Carrasco, Rafael 95 Casanova, Giacomo 99 casta paintings/caste system 6–8 Castle, Terry 131 Catalonia 83 Catherine of Aragon 32 Catholic Church 11, 32, 36, 56 attitude to women 38, 39 church-mediated separations 41–2 clergy 38–42 confessors 39, 40 Council of Trent 43, 88 England and Wales 52 Inquisition 95 institutional control 38–40, 44, 71 Ireland 53, 70 sacraments 30, 32, 35, 48, 92 celibacy 32, 33, 36 chancery courts 108 Chapone, Hester 23 Charles III of Spain 42, 68, 71 Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor 95 Charrière, Isabelle de 127, 131 chastity 16, 87 Chatterton, Thomas 117 Chaussé, Jacques 93 Childe, John 96 Chiniquy, Charles 39 choice 11, 15, 16–17, 18, 20, 24, 27, 28, 29, 88, 115 Christianity xii–xiii. See also Anglican Church; Catholic Church; Church of England; Protestantism; Quakers attitude to women 38, 39 cultural relativism and 128–9 institutional control 36–40, 44, 71 loss of influence 31–6 sacraments 30, 32, 35, 37, 48, 92 church courts 30, 36, 37, 42, 51, 107 Church of England 22, 32, 36, 49, 50, 52, 92, 107 cicisbeo 123 civil contracts 42, 45, 90 civilization 53–5 civil marriage 48, 51, 56–7 civil regulations 45. See also state regulation

Index

clandestine marriages 21, 22, 49, 61, 90, 91 Cleland, John 93 Coghlan, Margaret 66 Collier, Jane 126 colonies 5, 130–1 American 9, 56, 60, 61, 66, 69, 72 divorces 103–14 Mayflower Compact 105 Spanish 1, 4, 6–8, 37, 42, 56, 62, 71 Colonna di Sciarro, Giulio Cesare 65 comedy 18, 19, 21, 49, 122, 123 companionate marriage 18, 19, 59, 65–70, 88 Conally, Jane 110 conduct books 17, 18, 20, 23 confessors 39, 40, 41 Congreve, William (The Way of the World) 18, 19–22, 28 consent 49, 63, 88, 115 consistory courts 32 Constant, Samuel de 126–7 consummation 41 contract law 115 contracts 12, 13 civil contracts 42, 45, 90 marriage contracts 8, 33, 35, 45 Coontz, Stephanie 1, 29 cortejo 123 Cott, Nancy 105, 110 Cottin, Sophie 122 Cotton, Nathaniel 117 Coulet, Henri 121 Council of Trent 43, 88 courtship popularity as a literary theme 15, 18 Clarissa 15, 18, 22–5, 28 Pride and Prejudice 15, 18, 25–7, 28 The Way of the World 18, 19–22, 28 social context 15–18 coverture 62, 71, 108 Crawford, Katherine 12 credit 78, 84 Creole class 130 Crompton, Louis 95 Cromwell, Oliver 1 cross-class marriages 16, 64, 115 cross-cultural marriages 6–8 cross-dressing 115, 131 cultural expressions. See representations of marriage cultural relativism 128–31 cultural specificity 46, 54 Curll, Edmund 96

Index

Dalrymple, James, first Viscount Stair 66, 71 Damer, Anne 97 Dantignac, Ann 110 Dashwood, Sir Christopher 99 Dawson, Polly 110 deforestation 3 De La Calleja, Andres 68 Delany, Mary 15 demographic expansion 3–5, 77, 89 Denby, David J. 116 Denmark 95 Deschauffours, Benjamin 97 d’Holbach, Paul Henri Thiry, Baron d’Holbach 90 Diderot, Denis 90, 97, 118, 128 dildos 97, 131 Diot, Jean 97 dissenters 52 dissolution 49 divorce 4, 5, 10, 33, 35, 43, 90, 115 American colonists 103–14 Dolan, Frances 35 domestic violence 37, 39, 41–2 Don Juan 99 dowries 12, 16, 61, 64, 80, 89, 90, 118, 131 Dresden 88 Duby, Georges 31 Dutch literature 72, 73 Dwyer Asmussen, Susan 65 ecclesiastical courts 30, 36, 37, 42, 51, 107 ecological damage 3 ecological environments 84–5 economic security/insecurity 12, 15, 22, 26, 59, 60–2, 89, 94. See also family economy Edgeworth, Maria 130 egalitarianism 27, 28 elites 64–5, 107 elopement 17, 21, 61 emotional satisfaction 15, 18, 65, 66, 115 endogamy 16, 27, 53 England Church of England 22, 32, 36, 49, 50 Hardwick Act (1753) 12, 21–2, 27, 36, 50, 51, 54, 61 House of Lords 103 landholdings 78 Parliament 45, 48, 49, 61 public nature of marriage 70 Restoration 49, 96 visual culture 125 women’s economic activity 80–1, 85

171

English Civil War 1 English Enlightenment 47, 122 enlightened absolutism 42–3 Enlightenment xiv, 59, 88, 90 America 12–13, 110, 112, 113, 114 England 47, 122 liberal-conservative struggle 29 popular tropes 1, 3 Scotland 60 transitional era 73 Enlightenment ideals 115, 122, 131 civilization 53–5 individual liberty 12–13, 33 natural law/nature 32, 45, 46, 92 self-regulation 6 universalism 46, 47, 55–7 eroticism 93, 97 Erskine, Ralph 62 evictions 79 factories 89 familial approval 15, 92. See also parental authority family economy 12, 75–7 diversity 86 ecological environments and spatial arrangements 84–6 female heads of household 79 Industrial Revolution and 89 institutional environments 82–4 litigation cases 84 resources 77–9 two-supporter model 79–82 family names 65 female autonomy 18 “female husbands” 115, 131 feminine ideal 17–18, 24, 70, 73 feminization of culture 132 Ferguson, Moira 129 Fielding, Henry 120, 122, 131 filial duty 18 financial pressures 12, 15, 22, 26, 59, 60–2 Findlen, Paula 123 Fleet marriages 49, 50, 51, 61, 91 food production 4 Forgeot, Nicholas 90 Foucault, Michel 6, 100 Foyster, Elizabeth 35 Fragonard, Jean-Honoré 64 France 41, 43, 44, 56–7, 61, 65, 90, 96 Napoleonic Code 95 Penal Code 97 François de Sales (Saint) 88, 93

172

Frederick II of Prussia 56 Fredette, Allison 12 Freedom. See liberty French colonies 4 French Constitution (1791) 30 French Revolution 10–11, 56, 71, 88, 90, 129 Republican marriage 30–1, 57 Gainsborough, Thomas 118 Gally, Henry 50 García, Clemente 42 García Márquez, Gabriel 29 Gaya, Louis de 53, 128–9 Gellert, C. F. 90 gender roles 72, 80 Germain, Lady Elizabeth “Betty” 69 Germany 81, 82, 83, 92, 122 Gil, Josepha 42 Godwin, William 9, 10 Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von 122 Goldoni, Carlo 123 Gomez, Domingo 41 Gottsched, Johann Christoph 122 Gouges, Olympe de 10–11, 62, 63, 129 government 8–9, 10 Gowing, Laura 29 Graffigny, Françoise de 122 Grand Tour 123 Green, Katherine Sobba 18 Greenfield, Susan C. 130 Gretna Green 55 Greuze, Jean-Baptiste 117, 118, 126, 127 Griffin, William 96 Guillemeau, Jacques 92 Habakkuk, John 16 Hague, The 95 Haliczer, Stephen 39 Halifax, Charles Montagu, first Earl of Halifax 16, 69 Hamburg 122 Hamilton, Alexander 69 Hamilton, Mary 131 happiness 6, 8, 60 Harding, Maebh 53 Hardwick, Julie 41, 44 Hardwicke Act (1753) 12, 21–2, 27, 36, 50, 51, 54, 61, 92 Harth, Erica 21 Hay, Dougals 51 Hell-Fire Club 99

Index

Henry VIII of England 32, 95, 96 Highmore, Joseph 23 Hill, Bridget 5 Hill, Francis 108, 110 Hindus 56 historical records 84 Hitchcock, Robert 123 Hobbes, Thomas 116 Hogarth, William 125–6, 130 Holland 95 Holy Roman Empire 95 homosexuality 97, 100, 101. See also lesbian sex; sodomy Horne, William C. 117, 123 households 70, 73. See also family economy House of Lords 103 Huarte de San Juan, Juan 101 Huguenots 56 Hume, David 60 husbands xi, 38, 39, 66, 71, 72–3, 79–82, 108–10, 132 Hutcheson, Francis 70 ideal marriage 116–23 illegitimacy 89 impotence 41, 87, 98, 99 India 56 individual choice 11, 15, 16–17, 18, 20, 24, 27, 28, 29, 88, 91, 115 individualism 20–1, 30, 35, 115 individual liberty 12–13, 33, 71, 91 industrialization 64 Industrial Revolution 88, 89 inheritance systems 83 Inquisition 95 institutional environment church and state 36–40, 44, 71 family economy 82–4 interracial marriages 115, 130 investment opportunities 78 Ireland 1, 43, 47, 53, 70 Islam 56 Italy 95, 122, 123 Jefferson, Thomas 104, 107, 111 Jewish marriages 45, 50, 52, 54, 56–7, 92 jointures 16 Joseph II of Austria 42, 56 Jouett, Matthew Harris 104 journalism 125 journals 66 jurists 46

Index

Kames, Lord 55 Kant, Immanuel 69 Kennedy, Elizabeth 69 King, John 96 kinship groups 70 Knox, Vicesimus 116 Kucharski, Alexandre 63 Lafayette, Mme de 122 Lancret, Nicolas 117–18 landholdings 78, 79, 83 Langford, Paul 65 Laqueur, Thomas 99 Largillière, Nicolas de 34 Latin America 37. See also Spanish colonies laundry work 79, 85 Lavie, Jean-Charles de 90 law of nature 32, 45, 46 Lawrence, Gabriel 96 Le Blanc, Thomas 93 legal pluralism 84 legal settlements 16, 27 legal traditions 11–12 Leipzig 80, 81 Lemmings, David 65 Lenoir, Bruno 97 lesbian sex 93, 97, 98, 101 Lévi-Strauss, Claude 59 liberal-conservative struggle 29, 35 liberal ideals 11 libertines 99, 100–1 liberty 12–13, 33, 71 Lichtwer, Dorothea 89 Linck, Catherina Margaretha 97 Linnaeus, Carl 6 litigation cases 84 Locke, John 46, 116 London 4, 9, 49, 61, 85, 86, 91, 93, 94, 122 Longhi, Pietro 67, 76 Lorca 84–5 Louis-David, Jacques 115, 118 Louis XIV of France 96, 101 love xiv, 5, 12, 29, 30, 35, 43, 44, 59, 65–70, 87–92, 115 sex and 87, 92, 93 (see also sexuality) Luther, Martin 35, 36 Lyon 84 Macfarlane, Alan 88 Madison, James 107 Magdalene Hospital for Penitent Prostitutes 100 Maillard, Claude 93

173

Mallet, Jean-Baptiste 57 Manley, Delariviere 97 maricas 95, 101 Marinello, Giovanni 92 marital disputes 37 marital law 11–12 Hardwicke Act (1753) 12, 21–2, 27, 36, 50, 51, 54, 61, 92 marital satire 123–8 markets 85 marriage cultural expressions (see representations of marriage) dissolution 49 effect of colonial encounter 5–8 ideal marriage 116–23 material and demographic forces 3–5 passion and 10 political philosophy of 8–11 public nature 22, 35, 70, 92 Republican marriage 30–1, 43, 57, 70 sacramental quality 30, 32, 35, 37, 48, 92 marriage ceremonies 48–50, 54–5 marriage contracts 8, 33, 35, 45 marriage licences 22, 49, 50 marriage portraits 118–19 Marten, John 97 Martínez del Campo, Angela 41 Mason, George 107 Massachusetts 30, 103, 105, 110 masturbation 97, 99 Mayflower Compact 105 McClintock, Anne 130 medical theories 97, 99 mercantilist theory 75 Mettauer, Joseph 108, 110, 112 Mexico 71 Michelet, Jules 39 midwifery 92 migration 78 Millar, John 54 Milton, John 117 Mirabeau, Honoré Gabriel Riqueti 97 miscegenation 130, 131 misogyny 38, 39 mixed-race couples 115, 130 Molière, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin 99 Mollies 96, 101 Molly houses 96 monarchical authority 8 monarchy 42–3 money. See economic security/insecurity Monica (Saint) 37–8

174

monogamy 5, 71 Montagu, Charles, first Earl of Halifax 16, 69 Montagu, Edward Wortley 17, 63 Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley (née Pierrepoint) 17, 63, 69, 123 Montecón, Novellán Tomás 39 Montesquieu, Charles-Louis Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu 3, 10, 38 Esprit des Lois 46 Persian Letters 5, 9, 32, 128 Mother Clap 96 Mott, Luiz 95 Mozart, Wolfgang 69, 99 Mühlhahn, Catherine Margaretha 97 Mullins, Frederick 69 murderers 37, 39 Murray, Anne 48 Murray, William 51 Muse, Elizabeth 108 Napoleonic Code 95 Penal Code 97 national laws 46 nation states 55 natural law/nature 32, 45, 46, 92 Netherlands 80 New Hampshire 103 New Jersey 103 New Mexico 62, 65, 66, 71 Northumberland, Elizabeth Percy, first Duchess of Northumberland 62 Northwest Territory 105 novels 66 Nussbaum, Felicity 130 obedience 71, 73 O’Connell, Lisa 25, 51 Oxford 96 Palacio, Don Juan de 38, 41 parental authority 11, 22, 43, 49, 61, 62–3, 67, 69, 79, 88 Paris 4, 96, 97, 128 Parliament 45, 48, 49, 61 Pascal, Jacques-François 97 passion 10, 67 Pateman, Carole 121 patriarchal authority 8, 12, 30, 34, 39, 43, 72–3, 79, 85 Paul (Saint) 87 Peace of Westphalia (1648) 55 Peale, Charles Willson 111

Index

peasants 79, 83 Pendarves, Alexander 15 Pennysylvania 103, 105 Pepys, Samuel 93–4 Percy, Elizabeth, first Duchess of Northumberland 62 periodicals 66 personal choice 11, 15, 16–17, 18, 20, 24, 27, 28, 29, 88, 91, 115 philosophes 4, 9, 30 Pierrepoint, Lady Mary (later Montagu) 17, 63, 69, 123 Pinckney, Charles 61 Pinckney, Eliza Lucas 61, 71 plague 4 political philosophy 8–11, 46 population pressure 3–5, 77, 89 pornography 69, 93 Porter, Roy 16, 92 portions 16 portraits 118–19 Portuguese colonies 1, 4 Portuguese Inquisition 95 positive law 46 Potter, Edward T. 122 pregnancy 92 premarital sex xiv Price, Mary 131 private sphere 70 Probert, Rebecca 11 procreation 88–9, 93 proletarian households 77 promiscuity 99, 100–1 promised marriage 22 pronatalism 4 property rights 62, 77 prostitutes 94, 100, 101 Protestantism 32, 36, 48, 52, 56, 66, 71, 79, 88 Proud, W.: “The Pleasures of the Married State” 1, 2 prudential marriage 18, 19, 27 Prussia 35, 56, 97 public baths 94, 97 public commitment 22, 35, 70, 92 Punch and Judy 72 Puritans 69, 88, 103 Quakers 50, 52–3, 92 racial intermixing 6–8 racial purity 130

Index

radicals 10 Reformation xiii, 32, 35, 48, 88 registration 22 regulation of marriage 45, 47, 51, 57 religion xii–xiii, 11. See also Anglican Church; Catholic Church; Church of England; Islam; Jewish marriages; Protestantism; Quakers attitude to women 38, 39 cultural relativism and 128–9 institutional control 36–40, 44, 71 liberal-conservative struggle 29, 35 loss of influence 31–6 sacraments 30, 32, 35, 37, 48, 92 religious tolerance 46, 47, 52–3, 57 religious wars 1 representations of marriage cultural relativism and boundary crossings 128–31 ideal marriage 116–23 marital satire 123–8 Republican marriage 30–1, 43, 57, 70 Restoration comedies 49 Riccoboni, Marie-Jeanne 122 Richardson, Samuel 17 Clarissa 15, 18, 22–5, 28, 122, 126 Pamela 120 Sir Charles Grandison 126 Rigby, Edward 96 Ritchie, Samuel 110 Robinson, Judith 108, 110 Rochester, John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester 99 Rogers, Nicholas 51 Roman law 56 romantic love xiv, 5, 12, 29, 35, 59, 60, 65, 66, 68, 69, 70, 88 Rome 81 Roulston, Chris 13 Rousseau, Charles-Louis 90 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques 10, 30, 33, 36, 90, 129 La Nouvelle Héloise 120, 121 Roworth, Wendy 123 royal jurisdiction 31, 32 Royal Marriages Act (1772) 50 rural populations 77, 78 Russia 4, 56, 79, 95 Sackville, Lord George 69 sacraments 30, 32, 35, 37, 48, 92 Sade, Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de 36, 93, 99

175

Saenz Caluo, Francisco 41–2 Saenz Valladar, Ana 41–2 Sales, François de (Saint) 88, 93 Sama, Catherine 123 same-sex desire 93, 95, 101–2 “female husbands” 115, 131 lesbian sex 93, 97, 98, 101 sodomy 95–7, 101 Sánchez, Antonio Isabel 39 Sansay, Leonora 66 Sappho 97 satire 123–8 Schellenberg, Betty 120 Schlegel, Johann Elias 90 Schneid Lewis, Judith 65 Schutte, Kimberly 12 Scotland 54–5, 66, 70, 71, 72, 92, 99 Scott, Sarah 130 Scott, Sir William 45 Scottish Enlightenment 60 Secker, William 66 secret marriages. See clandestine marriages secularism xiii, xiv, 11, 29, 30, 43 secular jurisdiction 31–2, 35, 36 self-regulation 6 self-sufficient household 77, 78 sensibility 115, 116, 119, 123, 132 sentiment 5, 12, 13, 16, 19, 29, 43, 123, 124, 126, 132 separation 38, 41–2 sex manuals 92–3 sexuality 12, 69, 70 emergent meanings and identities 100–2 love and 87, 92, 93 marital and nonmarital 92–4, 97, 100, 102 same-sex desire lesbian sex 93, 97, 98, 101 sodomy 95–7, 101 sexual profligacy 99, 100–1 Shadwell, Thomas 99 shame 35, 36 shares 78 Sheridan, Richard Brinsley 122 sin 32, 36, 92 Sinistrari, Ludovico Maria 97 slaves 8, 9, 37, 42, 110, 112, 113, 130 slave trade 4, 116, 129 Smith, Adam 3 Smith-Stanley, Charlotte 61 Smith-Stanley, James 61 social contract 10, 33, 111–12 social mobility 78

176

social status 27, 59, 60, 62–5, 69, 71, 77 cross-class marriages 16, 64, 115 Society for the Reformation of Manners 96 sodomy 95–7, 101 Soran Zurbina, Juan Ximénez 42 Sorlisi, Bartolomeo de 88–9 Spain 31–2, 38, 39, 41, 42, 68, 84–5, 123 Spanish colonies 1, 4, 6–8, 37, 42, 56, 62, 71 Spanish Inquisition 95 spatial mobility 85–6 species extinction 3 spousal murderers 37, 39 Sprint, John 116 Staël, Germaine de 60 Stair, James Dalrymple, first Viscount Stair 66, 71 state regulation 45, 47, 51, 57 Stearns, Junius Brutus 113 Stebbing, Henry 51 Stephens, Samuel 96 Stone, Lawrence 1, 5, 16, 29, 65, 88 Stratford, Thomas, first Earl of Stratford 60 strict settlements 16, 27 subjectivity 19, 21, 115 Sweden 62, 81, 82–3, 95 Switzerland 94 Tametsi decree 88 taxation 79 Tennessee 105 Thesacq de Bienville, Jean Baptiste Louis de 97 Thirty Years’ War 1 Thistlethwayte, Robert 96 Thomason, Laura 11 Thompson, Helen 120 Tissot, Samuel 99 tolerance 46, 47, 52–3, 57 Tommies 97, 101 Toulalan, Sarah 93 trade 4, 80 Traub, Valerie 97 Tribades 97, 101 Tuchet, Mervin, Lord Audley, Earl of Castlehaven 96 Turin 80 United Kingdom 47 universalism 46, 47, 55–7

Index

urbanization 77, 94 Uribe-Urán, Victor 37 Utrecht 95 vagrancy 79 Valencia 95 van der Meer, Theo 95, 101 Venette, Nicolas 92 Venice 95 Vermandois, Louis, comte de Vermandois 96 Vickery, Amanda 65 Virginia 12–13, 103, 107–14 virginity 87 virtue 22, 24, 70, 132 Visconti, Giovanni Battista Primi 101 visual culture 125 Vizzani, Catharine 98 Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet) 33, 34, 36, 38 von Bora, Katharina 36 wage labor 5, 77, 89 Wallace, Robert 3 Ward, Ned 96 Washington, George 107, 113 Watkins, Isham 113 Watt, Jeffrey 5 Watteau, Antoine 117 wealth 5, 63–4, 69 Wentworth, Isabella, Lady Wentworth 60 Wilmot, John, Earl of Rochester 99 wives xi, 37, 41, 66, 72–3, 79–82, 84, 108–9, 113, 132 Wollstonecraft, Mary 10, 106, 129 women agency 80, 81 choice of marriage partner 15, 16–17, 18, 20, 24, 27, 28 economic activity 80–2, 84, 85, 89, 110 feminine ideal 17–18, 70, 73 gender roles 72, 80 importance of marriage 60 legal rights 71 Virginia 108 property rights 62 religious attitudes to 38, 39 Wright, Thomas 96 Wunder, Heide 29, 81