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Written by Emmeline
(2/17/2004 9:46 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, My Norton Critical Edition, penned by Ramya
]It was only available to the Aristrocracy, therefore indicative of status(Mrs. Bennet says that it is as good as marrying a Lord!)
In my book the note says 'For someone like Mrs Bennet, marriage by special licence (and therefore private) would be considered a sign of social status: it was universal practice among the aristocracy and therefore often adopted by the gentry and urban middle class.'
Another note: married privately: i.e., by securing a bishop's licence. After 'Hardwicke's' Marriage Act of 1753 marriages were valid only if performed with parental consent for those under the age of twenty-one, and by an ordained Anglican clergyman after the calling of banns or the purchase of a licence from a bishop or his surrogate. In both cases, at least one of the couple had to be resident for at least three weeks in the parish concerned.
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