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Mr . Bowring on Forms of Marriage % n France and Holland , and in reply to the Editor of the Gleaner .
To the Editor . Sir , The Hague , Sept . 12 , 1828 . Here , ho doubt , " the name of commonwealth is past and gone , " yet with it some of the excellent practices of the commouwealth are not departed . Mr . Rutt , whose vermiculean journeyings cover the whole field of historico-theological research , will not be displeased to learn ,
m answer to his Inquiries , p . 632 , that the Code Napoleon , with its iraportaut recognition of the civil character of the rite of marriage , is still in full vigour in France , where , though an ecclesiastical ceremony often follows the completion of the civil contract , that ceremony adds nothing to its validity or effect . The
devout Catholics who consider marriage as one of the sacraments , have always employed the priest to consecrate the union , after the magistrate has declared the act completed ; but the marriage service of the church is no more needful to confirm the marital rights than is the baptismal service necessary to establish those of citizenship ; opinions respecting the sacramental character of both or
either being wholly disregarded by the law . In this country marriage is celebrated in the following manner : —A fortnight before the intended event , notice must be given to the burgomaster , or to a commission which , in the larger towns ,
is specially charged to examine documents , and give publicity to the intentions of the betrothed . The middling and higher classes generally employ a bode , or domestic ageut , who arranges all the preliminary matters . To him are delivered certificates of the birth of the
parties ; and in case of the minority of either , the written consent of the parents , or of guardians , when the parents are dead ; and the intended husband must give evidence of his having done the military duties which are required by the state , from which duties matrimony exonerates him . The names are then suspended for a fortnight in the townhouse , or the banns are published in the parish church .
On a day arranged with the burgomaster , not less than a fortnight after notice given , the parties appear in the town-hall . The burgomaster asks the question—Do you consent to marry this woman ? A bending of the head is the reply . A similar inquiry is made of the
bride , and the burgomaster declares that the marriage has taken place , and reads those articles of the Code in which the marriage duties are recorded . Among some of the sects it is the custom td retire from the town-hall to their church * in order to add a religious to the civil ceremony . Others , the Mennonites for example , do nothing of the kind . The
Catholics do not consider the marriage rite completed until the parties have partaken of the mass together ; but the marriage becomes legally valid as soon as the parties have pledged themselves in the presence of the magistrate . The married pair sign the declaration of marriage , four persons testifying to their signatures ; aud they receive from the burgomaster a certificate of their legal
. One word , with your permission , on the subject of the extract you have published from the Hamburg Gleaner , pp . 602—605 . It would grieve me much if any thing I have said should leave an impression unfavourable to Professor Paulus , whose fearless love of truth , whose wonderful critical acumen , and
whose various and profound acquirements , have been to me equally a source of instruction ' and delight . But of the Catholic question he has , I conceive , formed strangely erroneous notions . I know from his own lips that he had been writing most urgently to the late Duke of York , and Archbishop of Canterbury , engaging them to continue their
exertions against " Catholic emancipation , *' and believing that they , like him , were inspired by a passion for truth and freedom of religious inquiry . I mention this fact as illustrative of what I said , and what I see no ground for doubting , namely , that the question is not understood by many continental writers who have taken an active part in the discussion . JOHN BOWRING .
The Deputies . To the Editor . Sir , Sept . 4 , 1828 . Give me leave to suggest to any of your readers who are Deputies , whether the time be not fully arrived to dissolve the deputation . It was expressly formed
to procure the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts , though I dare say it has given relief to the oppressed at various periods by pursuing other objects * now , however , such objects the Deputies can very Heldom contemplate . The Protestant Society , from its more
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OCCASIONAL CORRESPONDENCE .
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Oct. 2, 1828, page 712, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2565/page/56/