Posted by The Mysterious H.C. on January 24, 1998 at 12:48:51:
In response to Settlements, written by Pearl/mr on January 24, 1998 at 09:30:58
Pearl -- Marriage settlements were legal documents drawn up as part of a general financial agreement, between the bride's family and the groom and/or his family, which had as its purpose to provide for the furture couple. Neither "dowry" or "bride-price" in the anthropological sense (i.e. a payment to the father of the bride or groom as the head of family, or to the bride or groom's extended family as a whole) really existed as such in Regency times, though insofar as money that the wife brought into the marriage would generally come into her husband's control, and then descend to her children, who were part of the groom's extended patrilineal family, it could be considered a "dowry".
The main purposes of a settlement were to ensure that the wife's money would not be dissipated, but would revert to her or to her children on the death of the husband (without such legal guarantees, the husband would be free to do whatever he wanted with the wife's money).
(I have some info towards the end of the second topics file...)
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