OCR Interpretation

The river press. [volume] (Fort Benton, Mont.) 1880-current, November 03, 1880, Image 2

Image and text provided by Montana Historical Society; Helena, MT

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85053157/1880-11-03/ed-1/seq-2/

What is OCR?

Thumbnail for 2

The Sacred Institution in its Legal Rela
tions.-Laws and Customs of Various
Nations in Various Ages,
[Chicago Times.]
The old law was lhat the husband and wife
were one, and the husband was that one; but
now, some writer has wittily observed, the
husband and wife are two, and the wife is
both of them. The question of the rights of
married woman has been discussed in a his
torical and philosophical manner by a writer
in the last number of Appleton's Journal, and
some of his facts and arguments are worthy
of thought.
The laws upon the relations of the husband
and wife which prevail in the United States
to-day were obtained from the English com
mon law, but the history of those relations is
interesting. Long before the Norman con
quest the Anglo-Saxons had marital customs
differing from the ones which now prevail
among us.
The woman was regarded with great res
pect, and not as an inferior creation. The
wife was allowed great personal liberty, and
accompanied and assisted her husband in
matters of daily life. The marriage tie was
wholly ethical in its nature, and had lost en
tirely all traces of the contract of sale. The
marriage gifts which bound the marriage
consisted of personal estate, and were purely
symbolical in character, and ndt given as
means of support. The marriage did not
merge the existence of the wife into that of
the husband, but made her a partner with
him. The wife appears, indeed, to have
been given up wholly to the husband, and
was not allowed a second marriage, and
there is even found a rite similar to the Hin
du suttee in the custom somewhat prevalent
that she should, on the death of her husband,
hang herself. But it was a legal unity where
both were acting parties, and the union was
one of mutual consent, and did not arise
from a legal or forcible suppression of the
wife. There is not to be found a trace, in
the Saxon law, of the early Roman custom
that the husband acquired a clear title to his
wife and to all her property owned at the
time of marriage or afterward acquired. As
guardian, the husband was co-possessor with
his wife of all her property, including the
marriage gift; neither could alienate proper
ty without the other's consent, and generally
the wife was the acting and the husband the
consenting party. The husband had, in
general, the free disposal of his property,
as far as concerned his wife, but where a
specific marriage gift had not been granted
the wife she had a right in law to an undi
vided portion of her husband's property.
The wife's property was not answerable for
the debts of the husband, nor his property
for her debts. Gifts and conveyances between
the two were common. If the husband sur
vived, the wife's property was inherited by her
heirs. The wife had full ownership of her
marriage gift, unless limited to her life by
its terms, and it was conditioned on her sur
vivorship. The husband had no rights as
survivor, except as guardian of the children.
These were, according to the writer refer
red to, and his statements are supported by
authority, the laws and customs of the An
authority, the laws and customs of the An
glo-Saxons. But with the Norman conquest
things were greatly changed. Feudalism
w~as introduced into England, and force, not
fairness, became the foundation of all law,
the marriage law included. Only those
who could fight were important in the state.
Under those circumstances woman was
forced -down from her position of equality
into one of utter insignificance, except as she
might be the mother of a man-child. This
idea has come even to our time, and a cele
brated woman-rights reformer appeared be
fore Congress, some years since, with the
words: "Because we need these reforms it is
that I, the mother' of men, appear before
you to demand them." The feudal system
enforced chastity in the wife, and from the
three ideas--the monogamous marriage, the
insignificance of woman, and the necessary
province given men under the feudal system
-arose, our author thinks, the legal princi
ple that the husband and wife are one, and
the husband is that one; and finally the prin
ciple which had its origin in a barbarous op
pression of the wife came to be boldly up
held as a protection to her honor. The op
pression began first in property rights. The
husband, as guardian, took all the rents and
profits of his wife's real estate, but only in
her right. Then it came to be proclaimed
that the man and the woman were one, and
the rule was established that the personal es
tate of the wife passed absolutely to the hus
band as a gift, at marriage. She never made
a will, never made contracts, and never own
ed any personal estate.
After a while .men began to realize the un
fairness of a law based upon a romance but
seldom realized in every-day life, and the law
began to relax, though slowly and but a little.
When the revolution of the American colo
nies occurred, the law upon marriage was
that the husband took all his wife's personal
property, absolutely, with full power to use
and dispose of it, and he took all the renis
and profits of her real estate, -but: could not
.make an absolute sale of it. If : issue were.
born alive ,during the, co: i uance oif the
marriage, he took a life estate in the wife's
estate of inheritancee. was liable for all
ber debts conated before her marriage,
and was liable for all er contrats miade
during' the dotinsbaneof the a age,
his 4agt auan them emitracto 0rocue
for herself the necessaries of life. He was
also held liable on all actions for damages
against his wife, whether the right accrued
before, or during the continuance of, the
marriage. She, on the other hand, became,
on marriage, entitled to a life interest in one
third of all the estates of inheritance of
which her husband was seized at any time
during the marriage, to be enjoyed in case
she survived him. She had a right to a rea
sonable share of the personal estate which
he owned at the time of his death. She was
not allowed to make a will, nor any contract
binding herself or her property, except in re
gard to her separate estate, which she might
bind in equity by a contract referring to it.
She could not release her right to dower ex
cept by a contract made before marriage by
way of settlement or jointure.
In the United States changes have occurred
in several States since that time, and now,
with few exceptions, there is no State which
does not secure the property of the wife
to her separate use, and protect it from her
husband's use. In almost all States and Ter
ritories the wife is forbidden to bind herself
by any personal contract, while she is allow
ed to bind her sole and separate estate in
equity as if unmarried. The old common
law liability of the husband for his wife's
antenuptial debts is generally retained, as
well as the right to curtesy in his wife's lands.
The wife's dower and personality rights re
main unchanged, but she can release them
by a simple deed. The husband is still liable
for his wife's wrongs, whether committed
before or after marriage. The wife is allow
ed to enter into trade to a limited extent, and
to make contracts binding on her as a trader.
The writer goes on to discuss what, in his
judgment, the direction of progress should
be. When education began to spread, he
says, among the more advanced nations, the
idea of female weakness of body had given
birth to a similar idea in regard to her mind,
and she was prevented from the opportunities
of the very training which was necessary to
demonstrate the falsity of the theory. Re
cent developments have been, he thinks,
against this view, and he finds in these argu
ments the basis of the errors in the feudal
idea of marriage:
1. To allow two supreme wills in the household
would tend to promote family dissensions and legal
complexities, which are to be discouraged; but to al
low the wife a legal position would allow of two wills,
and would therefore promote family dissensions.
2. To take away the wife's freedom of will is to
take away her capacity, in the eyes of the law, for in
dependent action ; bit she is deprived of this freedom
of will to discourage famly dissensions, and is there
fore incapable of independent action.
3. To take away the wife s capacity for independ
dent action is to destroy her legal existence, which,
for the convenience of society, must be represented
by her husband; but her capacity is taken away,
hence legal unity.
Now, if the major premise of the first ar
gument is denied, the whole structure falls,
and this is what the writer does. He denies
flatly that the existence of two independent
wills in the family would produce discord.
Freedom of will is required among the mem
bers of a firm, he says, in order that a har
monious decision may be ,reached and the
business be conducted profitably. No society
or partnership of two or more wills can be
made harmonious, it is true, without certain
mutual concessions and the recognition of
certain mutual restrictions, but he thinks
they should be mutual, and not confined to
one will exclusively. He denies that there is
any reason, in this argument, for placing the
wife in a different legal position from that
occupied by the husband, and the custom of
marriage ahould involve these three things:
i. A.married woman should haye the capacity to
hold, acquire, alien, devise,, and bequeath her real and
personal estate, and to contract, sue and be sued as if
she were a single woman.
2. No nersons manrri.d shf.ll hvpa .nv rio~ht. wlht.
2. No persons married shall have any rights what
soever in each other's property, either during or after
coverture, except such as should be created under the
provisions stated in the next paragraph, such as are
claimed by inheritance, and such as might be createdI
by special agreement or by devise or bequest.
3. On the death of either husband or wife intestate
the survivor should be entitled to share equally with
the heirs and representatives of the deceased in all the
real and personal property owned by the deceased at
The objections to this, he says, will be that
it is too radical, and tends to destroy that
community of interest which is so essential
to the harmony of the household, by making
the wife pull one way and the husband the
other; that the wife will be deprived of ev
ery means of support from the husband ; that
the ethical character will be lost to marriage;
and that it will increase the opportunities for
fraud, since each is not, as in other partner
ships, held liable as agent for the other's acts.
He defends his position against all these at
tacks, and argues in return that the measure
would be desirable in that the rules of cover
ture would be greatly simplified, and that the
moral and intellectual influences which the
proposed change would bring to bear upon
the social position of the woman would be
such as would greatly advantage her and the
society over which her influence is extended.
The Late Maharajah of Jeypore.
By the death of the Maharajah of Jeypore,
India has lost the most enlightened of her
native sovereigns, and England has lost a firm
friend, The position of the Maharajah
among the princes of India was unique. All
other Indian princes assume the air of war
riore; t e ~nce of Jeypore had the appear-a
ance and nners of student.
His small, slight figure, his spectacled face,
showed s g among the warlike figures
who assembled at Calcutta to do homage to
ie Prince of Wales on his arrival, but, much
,o rulr was more belovedby his people
than was the prince, to whom warlike shows
were abhorent. During the royal tour througl
india, the other rajahs visited by the Prince
of Wales-Scindia and Cashmere, and Holks
-exhibited with pride their armies, formed
upon British models; the rajah of Jeypore was
content to show a city with broad, regular
streets, scrupulously clean and well kept, and
a contented and prosperous people, and to
amuse his guests with a few hundred fighting
men of a type elsewhere extinct, armed with
strange and uncounth weapons, a mere parody
upon a military force. The rajah Jeypore wa:
more proud of the schools he had founded,
the institutions he had set on foot, the sani
tary, the magnificent enamel work his people
alone can produce, than of the pomp and
display in which other Indian princes delight.
And yet among the rajipootsof whom he was
the chief, there is as good fighting blood,
as high, if not higher, a sense of chivalry
than among any other natives of the Indian
race. But the prince appears to have had the
happy faculty of convincing as well as ruling
his subjects, and the fact that he should have
been immensely popular among allclasses, in
spite of a devotion to the arts of peace, and
a fondness for western innovations of a
kind generally most obnoxious to natives of
India, speaks volumes for his tact and wisdom
as well as his enlightment and intelligence
His death is a grevious loss to his subjects,
and a matter for sincere regret among Eng
lishmen in general.
44 4 -111>
History of its Introduction, and Hints
for its Use.
The first start toward a barbed wire fence
was made about nine years ago. A farmer
living a few miles west of Aurora, Kane
county, Ill., finding that his cattle pushed
their heads through the space between the
strands of a common plain wire fence,
studied on the problem of how to prevent
them. He drove short pieces of stout wire
into fencing split with a saw into pieces only
an inch and a half wide and hung them to
one or more of the wires that composed the
fence. The plan worked well, and he had
barbs manufactured in a factory that were
sharpened at both ends. He put these barbed
attachments on all the wire fence about his
place and they attracted considerable atten
Soon after he obtained a patent on his in
vention and commenced to sell farm, town
ship, and county rights. In the course of a
year miles of wire fence in the northern
part of that State were equipped with these
barbed attachments, the only objections to
which were their cost and their liability to
sag and warp unless they were secured to
the fence-wire with several pieces of cord or
small wire. His invention stimulated others
wherever it was introduced. At least a
dozen patents were issued for barbed fence
wire or barbed metallic fencing of some sort
in the course of the next year. In a short
time several suits for infringement were
brought by the proprietors of these patents,
that had become very valuable. In the mean
time a large number of machines were in
vented and patented for making barbs or se
curing them to wire. In 1874, it is stated
that ten thousand pounds of barbed fence
wire were manufactured in this country.
This year the total manufacture will proba
bly reach fifty million pounds. Almost all
railway companies have adopted it. It is
inding, its way into regions where rails,
boards, and stones had been employed as
materials for fencing since the first settlement
commenced. The advantages possessed by
barbed wire fences are many. The cost of
the material is comparatively small, while it
as easy to transport. Little labor is required
to put it up, and repairs are ordinarily un
necessary. It occuapies but little space, is
not injured by the wind, while it does not
block up the snow. It affords no shelter for
weeds or for small animals. The grass :hat
grows under it can be cut.
The great objections to its use are the
wounds that are likely to be inflicted on an
imals that run or are pushed against it.
When first put up about a pasture, cattle- and
horses, and more especially colts, are very
liable to be injured by the barbs. After bhey
have become accustomed to it they generally
avoid it. There is always danger, however,
of animals being injured that are pushed
against it, while many wounds are made on
animals that have defective sight. Various
means have been devised for rendering the
fence. visible. A patent bas been granted on
a "protector" composed of a small piece of
wood, plain or painted, with an attachment
for securing it to the wire. A veterinairy
surgeon in Wisconsin contributes the follow
ing to The Country Gentleman, which cer
tainly contains some valuable suggestions:
"In traveling over a large portion of the
country, I have made inquiry about the use
of this fence. I have also examined, quite
carefully, many different modes of construc
tion. I found the majority : of farmers op
posed to this fence most decidedly, all the
objections being in consequence of damage
in some form which they, had sustained.
Nearly all seem to agree on the point that
they would sooner put up with the incon
veniences of the old style of fencing than:
suffer the damiage from the wire fence. The
railroad people: are putting up in this neigh
borhood long sections of this fence, the re
sullvof which has already been so disastrous
tat many persons arej- already protesting
aainst its father contructin, or mainten
Iaee .of the piortionuspread ya, although tie
first portion was put up only a few weeks
'"I found some simple devices for prevent
ing damage to stock by this fence. 1 noticed
on one clean thrifty-looking farm, which
was nearly all fenced by the barbed wire,
that about six common laths were just tied
at regular distances, by a small piece of wire
to the barbed wire on each panel. This
served to make the fence plainly visible.
Another, and I think a much better plan,
that I observed was tying common laths to
the top wire. The best plan I saw was
swinging a six-inch board from the top wire.
This is substantial enough to be observed by
any animal having ordinary sight. All these
devices have more or less merit; all are good
and cheap, and quite durable, and all are
quite easily applied without the outlay of
much time or money. I think I have a plan
which will be more effective, and every way
cheaper. I would collect the brush that lies
rotting on many farms, and tie by a piece of
common wire to the top wire of fence. This
would hang down much lower, and be much
more easily seen, and cost nothing but the
time, which can be given when nothing else
requires the especial attention of the hands.
If a farmer has no brush on his own land,
he can generally get such worthless stuff
from his neighbor for going after it. In an
entirely timberless country, I would suggest
coarse slough grass, which will answer every
purpose except, perhaps, that it might be
eaten by the animals restrained. "
This popular Sample Room is stocked with the :finest
kinds of
Wines, Liquors & Cigars.
None but the Purest Whiskies sold over the Bar.
Will loatract for the Er.tion of
h 0n q
SOChie &nsT Bnd I.ciquzrs,
CO t a T -gT r
__1 H g
~t -~ U ~a 1o
m d -
-4-,0 0 0
· 1~9B~ l P~ lO'I i .r
Main Street, next door to I. G. Baker & Co.
Fort Benton, Montana.
Confect ioner
Of all kinds always on hand. We make a .specialty
turning out the BEST BREAD I :N BENTon .
customers can always rely upon gettinh
Fresh Bread at all times.
WYhlliii Cakes and Pastry .uc \
Will always receive prompt attention.
In Season.
Goods Delivered Promptly.
Main Street, Fort Benton.
Wines, Liquors & Cigar
All in full lines, and served in the very best styvl
Fruits of all Descriptions,
Perfumery and Fancy Soaps.
A Full L'ne of Smokers' Articles, Seaside IbM>
Novels of all descriptions, and all the
Illustrated Papers.
Overland Billiard Parli
Next to Overland Htel.
All D-rinks in Seasof: C
wm. PRES., -
Wines, Liquors ani .igas .W
We keep in stock and have now on hand a large
tity of the celebrated
Hermitage Sour Ead
And have also lust received a heavy shipmentl
In connection with the other features of this °'
Resort, We have instituted a
And will take extra pains to serve the public who:
call on us.
S .. H. EVANS & CO., Prop'r.
Break o' Day Saloo4
Just received, a choice stock of:

xml | txt