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The sixth Year of Anne.

A.D. 1707

CHAP. XVI.

An Act for the more effectual preventing the taking away and marrying Children against the Wills of their Parents or guardians.


WHEREAS by a statute made in this kingdom in the tenth year of King Charles the first, intituled, An Act for the punishment of such as shall take away maidens that be inheritors, being within the age of sixteen years, or marry them without the consent of their parents; every person or persons above the age of fourteen years are thereby punished with fine and imprisonment, who shall take or convey away, or cause to be taken and conveyed away, any maid or woman-child unmarried, being within the age of sixteen years, out of or from the possession, custody, or governance, and against the will of the father of such maid or woman-child or of such person or persons to whom the father of such maid or woman-child by his last will, or by any other act in his life time, hath or shall appoint, and order the education of governance of such maid or woman-child, and shall contract matrimony with the said maid or woman-child, as by the said act more at large appeareth; which said punishment is not sufficient to deter wicked and covetous men from committing such heinous offences, but the same are daily perpetrated, to the great displeasure of Almighty God, and the great heaviness and grief of the relations and friends of such persons who are so unlawfully taken away; for reformation whereof, be it enacted by the Queen'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 if any person or persons above the age of fourteen years, from and after the first day of November one thousand seven hundred and seven, by fraud, flattery, fair promisses, or other indirect means, shall secretly allure, take, and convey away, or cause or procure to be taken or conveyed away, any maid or woman-child, having substance in lands, tenements, or goods, or being heiress to her ancestor, and within the age of eighteen years, out of or from the possession, custody, or governance of the father or mother of such maid or woman-child, or out of the custody or power of the guardian or guardians of such maid or woman-child, against the will of the father or mother of such maid or woman-child or of such person or persons who shall then have the guardianship of such maid or


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woman-child, or of such other person or persons as shall then lawfully have the order, keeping, education, or government, of any such maid or woman-child, and shall contract matrimony with such maid or woman-child, by and with the consent of such maid or woman-child, the said person or persons, so taking away or procuring to be taken away and marrying the said maid or woman-child without the consent of the parent or guardian, and in case there be no parent or guardian appointed, then and in such case of the lord chancellor, or lord-keeper, or commissioners of the great seal for the time being, and be thereof lawfully convicted, shall suffer imprisonment for the space of three years without bail or mainprize, and shall be adjudged and taken to be for ever incapable and disabled to have, receive, or take any manner of use, profit or benefit whatsoever, in law or equity, of all or any part of the estate real or personal, to which such maid or woman-child, or any person or persons in trust for such maid or woman-child at the time of such marriage, or at any time thereafter, are or shall be seized of, interested in, or intituled unto.

II. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the estate real or personal, which such maid or woman-child, or any other person or persons in trust for her, shall be interested in, or intituled unto, at the time of such marriage, or at any time afterwards, shall upon the conviction of such persons or persons, so taking away and marrying such maid or woman-child, be from the time of their marriage vested in such trustees as the said lord chancellor, lord keeper, or the commissioners of the great seal, shall think fit to nominate and appoint; subject nevertheless to such payments, charges, and demands, as the same was liable to at the time of such marriage: and upon this further trust and confidence that such trustees, and the survivor and survivors of them, shall and may receive the rents, issues and profits, of the said real and personal estate, and manage the same to the best profit and advantage during the joint lives of the person so marrying: and in case such woman happens to survive her said husband, then to the intent and purpose that the said trustees, and the survivor of them, shall pay unto such woman out of the rents, issues, and profits of the premises, such proportion thereof for and during her natural life for her maintenance, as the lord chancellor, lord keeper, or the lords commissioners of the great seal shall direct and appoint; and also such sum and sums of money for the maintenance and education of the children of such woman, as shall be appointed as aforesaid; and upon this further trust, and to the intent and purpose, that the said estate real and personal, and all the profits and produce thereof, other than what shall be


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disposed of as aforesaid, or in payment of such debts as the same was liable to before the said marriage, and other than what shall be necessarily expended by the said trustees in execution of the said trust, shall from or after the death of such woman so married as aforesaid descend, go and remain to such person and persons, as the same would have done in case this act had never been made.

III. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any person or persons shall at any time after the said first day of November one thousand seven hundred and seven, by any subtile means, or secret insinuations and delusions, threats or menaces perswade or procure the son and heir apparent, or other son, or any person or persons having lands, tenements, or hereditaments, of the yearly value of fifty pounds, or personal estate of the value of five hundred pounds, or shall in manner aforesaid perswade or procure the eldest son or any other son, of any person or persons deceased to contract matrimony without the privity or consent of the parents or guardians of such eldest or other son, and such matrimony be had as aforesaid before such son attain the age of twenty one years, every such person or persons contracting matrimony without the privity and consent of such parent or guardian, and in case there be no parent or guardian appointed, then and in such case of the lord chancellor and lord keeper, or commissioners of the great seal for the time being, shall be and is hereby rendered incapable and for ever disabled to sue for, recover, or demand any dowers, thirds, or any other part of the real or personal estate of such son or sons, or claim or demand any jointure or other provision out of the real or personal estate of such son or sons, made to or in trust for her, by any will, deed, or settlement whatsoever.

IV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all persons who shall be accessaries, aiders, abettors, or procurers, before the fact committed, in all and singular the several offences herein before mentioned, being lawfully convicted thereof, shall suffer three years imprisonment.

V. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any person shall after the first day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seven, celebrate, or take upon him to celebrate, any marriage of any such persons as aforesaid, without such consent as aforesaid, and be thereof lawfully convicted, every such person, being a beneficed clergyman within this kingdom, shall be immediately from and after such conviction ipso facto deprived of all his spiritual livings and ecclesiastical preferments, and the same are hereby declared to be from thenceforth void; nevertheless no lapse shall incur on any


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such avoidance; until the end of six months after notice given to the respective persons of such conviction as aforesaid; and such clergyman so convicted shall from and after such conviction be incapable of any spiritual preferment or promotion in this kingdom, or of receiving any benefit thereby; and every other person so offending and convicted as aforesaid shall be transported out of this kingdom in such manner and form as persons exercising foreign jurisdiction, and popish regulars, are by law appointed to be transported: and if such person shall after such transportation return into this kingdom, he shall suffer all such pains and penalties as persons exercising foreign jurisdiction, and popish regulars transported, and after returning into this kingdom, are by the laws of this realm subject unto.

VI. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any popish priest shall, after the first day of November one thousand seven hundred and seven, presume to celebrate the marriage of any the persons aforesaid, contrary to the true meaning of this act, or shall celebrate matrimony between any persons, knowing that at the time of such marriage they, or either of them, is of the protestant religion, every such popish priest so offending, and being thereof lawfully convicted, shall be deemed, judged, and reputed to be a popish regular, and shall suffer all the pains, penalties, and forfeitures of a popish regular; any thing contained in an act, intituled, An Act for the registering the popish clergy in this kingdom, to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.

VII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any maid or woman be taken or carried away by force against her consent, and after be married or defiled by such person or persons who carried her away, or by any other person, by his or their assent or procurement, whether such marriage or defilement be with or without the consent of such maid or woman, so carried away by force and against her will as aforesaid, every such person so marrying or defiling such maid or woman, and the aiders and procurers of such forcible taking away of such maid or woman, and all, as well principals as accessaries before such fact committed, shall lose the benefit of clergy, and shall be deemed and adjudged to be felons, and shall suffer pains of death without benefit of clergy; any former law to the contrary thereof notwithstanding.

VIII. And if any person or persons, being principal or accessary before such offences committed as aforesaid, shall be indicted and arraigned for the taking away of any such maid or woman by force, against her consent, and marrying or defiling such maid or woman as aforesaid, and upon his or their respective tryals shall stand mute, or make no direct answer, or challenge


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peremptorily above the number of twenty, he, or they, in every such case shall suffer the pains of death without the benefit of the clergy.

IX. And whereas John O Bryan, who was bred a papist, and is a person of no fortune, hath forcibly taken away Margaret Mac Namara, an infant of the age of thirteen years, out of the possession and custody of her mother Margaret Mac Namara, with intent to force the said minor to marry him the said John O Bryan, and to that end hath by force detained the said minor for some months past in his custody: be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if the said Margaret Mac Namara, junior hath since the eighteenth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seven, (on which day she was forced away as aforesaid) inter-married with the said John O Bryan, in such manner as that the said marriage may not be dissolved or declared void by the ecclesiastical laws of this kingdom, then the fortune, to which the said Margaret Mac Namara junior was intitled before such marriage by her father's will, or otherwise, being upwards of two thousand pounds sterl. shall be and is hereby vested in the said Margaret Mac Namara the mother, and Simon Purdon esquire, who were appointed guardians of the said minor by her said father's will, upon the following trusts: (that is to say)

That they the said Margaret Mac Namara the mother, and Simon Purdon, and the survivor of them, and the executors and administrators of such survivors, shall out of the annual interest or produce of the said fortune pay for and towards the separate provision and maintenance of the said Margaret Mac Namara junior the annual sum of fifty pounds sterl. to be received by her to and for her own separate use, and to be disposed of by any direction under her hand, without the intermedling of the said John O Bryan, during the joint-lives of the said John O Bryan and Margaret Mac Namara junior; and in case the said Margaret Mac Namara junior shall out-live the said John O Bryan, then in trust and to the intent that the said Margaret shall receive the full use and produce of the said fortune during her natural life, as well what shall become due above the said sum of fifty pounds per annum, appointed for her separate maintenance during the joint-lives of the said John O Bryan and Margaret Mac Namara junior, as what shall become due after his death, in case she survive him; and after her death, in trust as well the said principal sum as the interest thereof, to and for the use of such child or children, being protestants, as shall be begotten on the body of the said Margaret Mac Namara junior by the said John O Bryan, or any other husband she shall happen to marry; but if the said Margaret Mac Namara junior shall


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dye in the life time of the said John O Bryan, leaving one or more child or children, begotten on her body by the said John O Bryan, then in trust and to the use of such child or children if they be bred protestant: but if the said Margaret Mac Namara junior happen to dye in the life-time of the said John O Bryan, leaving no child or children by him begotten on her body, or if such child or children shall not be bred protestants, or if all such children shall dye before their ages of one and twenty years, and unmarried, then in trust and to the use of the said Margaret Mac Namara senior, her executors, administrators, or assigns.


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