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The Twenty third Year of George II

A.D. 1749

CHAP. X


An Act for explaining and making more effectual an Act, intituled, An Act for the more effectual preventing clandestine Marriages; and another Act passed in the twelfth Year of his late Majesty's Reign, intituled, an Act to prevent Marriages by degraded Clergymen and Popish Priests, and for preventing Marriages consummated from being avoided by Pre-Contracts, and for the more effectual punishing of Bigamy





WHEREAS by an act of Parliament made in the ninth year of his present Majesty's reign, intituled, An act for the more effectual preventing of clandestine marriages; it is among other things enacted, 'That all marriages and matrimonial contracts, where either of the parties was under the age of twenty one years, had without such consent as is therein particularly mentioned, should be absolutely null and void, and should not be deemed or adjudged by any spiritual court as contracts or marriages, if either of the parties marrying or contracting marriages without such consent was under the age of twenty one years, and intitled to any real estate of the value of one hundred pounds per annum, or to any personal estate of the value of five hundred pounds, or if the father or mother of such party of marrying under age was in possession of any real estate of the value of one hundred pounds per annum or of any personal estate of the value of two thousand pounds:" and whereas since the making of the said act many persons intending to avoid the force and effect thereof, and to evade the same, have left this kingdom or absconded to avoid the service of process in a suit, to be instituted pursuant to the said act for annulling such marriage or matrimonial contract: be it enacted by the King's most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal and commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, That from and after the twenty ninth day of September one thousand seven hundred and fifty it shall and may be lawful to and for the father, guardians, or guardian of such infant, who shall marry without such consent as aforesaid, and the parties entering into the same, or either of them, shall leave this kingdom or abscond, by which means it may be difficult to serve process in a suit to be instituted for annulling such marriage or matrimonial contract, or in such case, if there be no father or guardian, for any person or persons to be appointed by the lord chancellor, the keeper or commissioners of the great seal, for that purpose



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within one year after such marriage or matrimonial contract to file an allegation in the ecclesiastical court of the diocese, where such infant was usually resident before his or her going out of this kingdom, or entering into such marriage or matrimonial contract in the same manner as if the necessary parties had appeared in a suit instituted in the said court to annul such marriage or matrimonial contract; which ecclesiastical court shall thereupon issue process to compel the persons so marrying, or entring into such matrimonial contract, to appear in the same court within a time therein to be limited, and shall have full power to proceed to hear and determine the said cause, in the same manner as if the parties thereto were resident and the said marriage or matrimonial contract entered into within the said dioceses, if it shall appear by affidavit that such process was served in the usual manner on the said parties, whether in this kingdom or in any parts out of this kingdom; and if it shall appear in the said suit by proper proof that the said marriage or matrimonial contract was contrary to the said recited act, such marriage or matrimonial contract shall be adjudged and declared by the ecclesiastical court, where such suit shall be commenced, to be absolutely null and void to all intents and purposes.

II. And whereas in case the father, guardians, or guardian of any infant, who shall marry or enter into a matrimonial contract without such consent as aforesaid, shall happen to die or be removed before the commencement of a suit to annul such marriage or matrimonial contract; or in case such father, guardians, or guardian, or such person as shall be appointed by the lord chancellor, or lord keeper, or commissioners of the great seal, to commence such suit, should die, before such suit shall be finally determined, a doubt may arise, in what manner such suit may be commenced or prosecuted: be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That in case the father, guardians or guardian of any infant, who shall marry or enter into such matrimonial contract without such consent as aforesaid shall happen to die or be removed before the commencement of a suit for dissolving such marriage or matrimonial contract pursuant to this and the said former act, it shall and may be lawful for such person or persons, as shall after become guardian or guardians to such infant, or for such person or persons, who shall be for that purpose appointed by the lord chancellor or lord keeper of the great seal, to commence and prosecute a suit for annulling such marriage or matrimonial contract in manner as herein before, and in the said former act, is directed and appointed; and in case after the commencement of any suit for annulling any marriage or matrimonial contract pursuant to this or said former act the father, guardians,

 

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or guardian, or person appointed to commence or prosecute such suit, shall happen to die or be removed, before the same shall be finally determined, that such suit shall not abate by such death or removal, but shall remain in the same plight and condition, as it was at the time of such death or removal, and shall be afterwards carried on in the name or names of such person or persons, as shall become guardian or guardians to such infant, or who shall be appointed by the lord chancellor, or lord keeper or commissioners of the great seal, to carry on and prosecute the same, in the same manner as it might have been carried on or prosecuted by the person or persons, who commenced such suit.


III. And whereas by an act made in the twelfth year of the reign of his late Majesty King George the first, intituled, An act to prevent marriages by degraded clergyman and popish priests, and for preventing marriages consummated from being avoided by precontracts, and for the more effectual punishment of bigamy, it is made felony in a popish priest to marry, or take upon him to marry, two persons, where either one or both of them are protestants: and whereas by an act made in the nineteenth year of his present Majesty, intituled, An Act for annulling all marriages, to be celebrated by any popish priest between protestant and protestant, and between protestant and papist; and to amend and make more effectual an act passed in this kingdom in the sixth year of the reign of her late Majesty Queen Anne, intituled , an Act for the more effectual preventing the taking away and marrying children against the wills of their parents or guardians, all marriages celebrated by popish priests, where one or both of the parties are protestants, are made and declared null and void; since which a doubt hath arisen, whether it is felony within the said first recited act for a popish priest to celebrate marriage, where one or both of the parties are protestants; by which such popish priests are encouraged to deceive and impose upon his Majesty's protestant subjects by taking upon them to celebrate marriage between them: for remedy whereof be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That every popish priest or reputed popish priest, who from and after the first day of May one thousand seven hundred and fifty shall celebrate any marriage contrary to the said first recited act, and be thereof convicted, such popish priest shall be guilty of felony without benefit of clergy or of the statute, and suffer death accordingly, although the marriage so celebrated by such popish priest, be declared null and void by the said last recited act.

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