|I suppose the choice was
Written by JulieW
(10/23/2003 10:09 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Belinda (spoilers for that novel), penned by Barbara
If he chose the legal route, it meant almost certain financial ruin for the lover.Bewteen 1740 and 1820 the damages awarded were so very much beyond the defendants capacity to pay, that the end result of enforcing the judgement was that the lover would be incarcerated in debtors prison for life.
What did the husband do with the damages, if he ever got them? He covered his costs in the action that followed-either separation on teh grounds of adultery through the consistory courts,or divorce by private billl before Parliament( both methods expensive that only the super rich could afford them)
It is useful to bear in mind that a cuckolded husband could pursue the legal route for damages becasue in law his wife waas seen as part of his property.Her lover, having done damage to it, would have to recompsense the husband.And that as a married woman the wife had virtually no legal rights,a disgraceful situation that was not remedied until the late 19th cnetury.
It was thought peferctly acceptible for a husband to take this route.But after 1800 a recation againt this type of action set in and it was abolished in 1857.
Gentleman's Daughter Group Read is maintained by Laraine with WebBBS 3.21.