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1882. Zakon o vlasništvu udanih žena

1882. Zakon o vlasništvu udanih žena



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Nakon općih izbora 1880. William Gladstone postao je premijer vlade koja je obećala zakone koji će smanjiti pravne nejednakosti između muškaraca i žena. Jedan primjer za to bilo je donošenje Zakona o vlasništvu udanih žena iz 1882. godine. Prema odredbama zakona, udane žene imale su ista prava na svoju imovinu kao i neudane žene. Ovaj je čin stoga omogućio udanoj ženi da zadrži vlasništvo nad imovinom koju je mogla dobiti na dar od roditelja. Prije donošenja Zakona o vlasništvu udanih žena iz 1882. godine ova bi imovina automatski postala vlasništvo muža. Donošenjem Zakona o vlasništvu udanih žena 1893. dovršen je ovaj proces. Udate žene sada su imale potpunu pravnu kontrolu nad svom imovinom svih vrsta koju su posjedovale u braku ili koju su stekle nakon udaje nasljedstvom ili vlastitom zaradom.


Zakoni o vlasništvu udanih žena

Zakoni o vlasništvu udanih žena, 1870., 1882. Prije ovih nekretnina žena je nakon udaje postala vlasništvo njezina muža. Reformatori su tražili ista prava za udane žene nad njihovom imovinom kao i ona koja uživaju muškarci i neudate žene. Premda je priznalo načelo da bi, u određenim okolnostima, žene trebale zadržati i kontrolirati svoju vlastitu imovinu, Zakon iz 1870. smatran je ‘nemogućim kompromisom ’, a Odbor za imovinu udanih žena zahtijevao je veće reforme. Zakon iz 1882. koji je ženama dopuštao stjecanje, držanje, korištenje i raspolaganje svojom zasebnom imovinom, pribjegavajući istoj pravnoj zaštiti kao da su neudate, bila je velika pobjeda.

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Glavna svrha ove teze bila je analizirati i procijeniti razvoj Zakona o vlasništvu udanih žena iz 1882. Ovaj zakon je primjer nastojanja da se poboljšaju prava žena u Britaniji u devetnaestom stoljeću. Slično seriji zakona o reformi, niz zakona o vlasništvu udanih žena (1870., 1874., 1882. i 1893.) predstavljao je postupno proširenje načela viktorijanskog liberalizma na širi dio engleskog stanovništva. Jedinstvena značajka ovih djela bila je ta što su označavali transcendenciju liberalizma nad seksualnim preprekama.

Da bi se shvatio značaj ovih Djela, bilo je potrebno zabilježiti prihvaćenu sliku žene i žene. Tradicionalni viktorijanski ideal žene jamčio je njezinu podređenost obitelji i mužu. Međutim, William Thompson i Mary Wollstonecraft bili su rani zagovornici potrebe za ponovnom procjenom društvene i ekonomske uloge žene u društvu. Usporedba između "Of Queens 'Gardens" Johna Ruskina i Johna Stuarta Milla Podložnost žena otkrio je dva pristupa problemu pravog položaja žene u viktorijanskom društvu.

Prihvaćena društvena podređenost žene i žene dodatno je potkrijepljena zakonom. U osnovi, nakon udaje, žena je postala pravna osoba. Sav njezin imetak prešao je u ruke njenog muža. Stupanj muževe kontrole varirao je ovisno o vrsti imovine. U određenom slučaju, zahvaljujući odredbama ograničavanja iščekivanja razvijenim kroz zakone pravičnosti, suprugova imovina mogla bi biti osigurana od mogućeg zadiranja njezina supruga. Međutim, ova odredba nije uspostavila financijsku neovisnost supruge. Glavna prednost suzdržavanja u iščekivanju bila je zaštita obiteljskog imanja od ekstravagantnog muža.

Problem ekonomskog statusa supruge bio je upravo ono što su nastojale popraviti odredbe Zakona o vlasništvu udanih žena. O tom se pitanju prvi put raspravljalo u Parlamentu 1857. godine, međutim, strah od narušavanja domaćeg sklada spriječio je svaki uspješan prolaz do 1870. Zakon iz 1870. samo je ženi jamčio odvojeno korištenje zarade i nadnice. Tek 1882. Parlament je donio opsežnu reformu koja je ženi jamčila potpunu svetost privatnog vlasništva, oslobađajući je tako iz ekonomskog ropstva mužu.

Iako je rasprava o osnovanosti ovih zakona utihnula u vrlo kratkom vremenu, njihovu važnost ne treba minimizirati. Oni su dali važne temelje za cvjetajuću raspravu o konačnom pravu glasa za žene. Što je još važnije, zakoni o vlasništvu udanih žena označili su početak kraja viktorijanskog pogleda na pokornu ženu.

Discipline

Umjetnost i humanističke znanosti | Europska povijest | Povijest | Društvena povijest | Povijest žena


Čin

Nakon godina političkog lobiranja, Zakon o vlasništvu udanih žena rješavao je pritužbe koje su iznijele Engleskinje. Zakon je izmijenio doktrinu prikrivenog prava o prikrivanju tako da uključi pravo žene da posjeduje, kupuje i prodaje svoju zasebnu imovinu. [8] Pravni identitet supruga također je vraćen, jer su sudovi bili prisiljeni priznati muža i ženu kao dvije zasebne pravne osobe, na isti način kao da je žena samo ženska osoba. Zakonska prava udanih žena uključivala su pravo tužbe i tužbe. Bilo kakva šteta koju bi supruga mogla platiti bila bi njezina vlastita odgovornost, umjesto štete njezina muža. Udate žene tada su također bile odgovorne za vlastite dugove, a svaka vanjska trgovina koju su posjedovale bila je podložna zakonima o bankrotu. Nadalje, udane su žene mogle držati dionice na svoje ime. [9]


ZAKON O VLADANJI ŽENA 1882

Zakon o konsolidaciji i izmjeni zakona koji se odnose na imovinu udanih žena.

[POČETAK] [18. kolovoza 1882.]

Bilo da je to donijelo Kraljicino Najodličnije Veličanstvo, uz savjet i pristanak Lordova Duhovnog i Vremenskog i Zajednica, na ovom sadašnjem sazivu Parlamenta, i po ovlaštenju istog, kako slijedi:

1. Udata žena biti sposobna držati imovinu i sklapati ugovore kao ženski potplat

(1) Udata žena bit će, u skladu s odredbama ovoga Zakona, sposobna stjecati, držati i raspolagati oporukom ili na drugi način bilo koju stvarnu ili osobnu imovinu kao svoju zasebnu imovinu, na isti način kao da je ženski potplat, bez intervencije bilo kojeg povjerenika.

(2) Udata žena bit će sposobna stupiti u odgovornost i učiniti je odgovornom u pogledu i u mjeri svoje odvojene imovine prema bilo kojem ugovoru, te tužiti i biti tužena, bilo ugovorom ili deliktom, ili na drugi način, u svim poštuje kao da je žena ženskog spola i da se njezin suprug ne mora pridružiti njoj kao tužitelju ili tuženiku, niti biti stranka u bilo kojoj tužbi ili drugom sudskom postupku koji je protiv nje pokrenuo ili pokrenut i bilo kakvu štetu ili troškove koje je ona naplatila u svaka takva radnja ili postupak bit će njezino zasebno vlasništvo i svaka šteta ili troškovi koji joj se nadoknade u bilo kojoj takvoj radnji ili postupku bit će plaćeni iz njezine zasebne imovine, a ne drugačije.

(3) Svaki ugovor koji je sklopila udana žena smatrat će se ugovorom koji je sklopila s obzirom na svoju zasebnu imovinu i obvezuje je, osim ako se dokaže suprotno.

(4) Svaki ugovor koji je udata žena sklopila u pogledu i na koji se obvezuje njezina zasebna imovina obvezuje ne samo zasebnu imovinu koju posjeduje ili na koju ima pravo na dan sklapanja ugovora, već i svu zasebnu imovinu koju može nakon toga steći.

(5) Svaka udana žena koja se bavi trgovinom odvojeno od svog muža, u pogledu svoje zasebne imovine, podliježe zakonima o stečaju na isti način kao da je žena ženskog spola.


ZAKON O VLADANIM ŽENAMA 1882

Zakon o konsolidaciji i izmjeni zakona koji se odnose na imovinu udanih žena.

[POČETAK] [18. kolovoza 1882.]

Neka je to donijelo Kraljičino Najodličnije veličanstvo, uz savjet i pristanak Gospodina Duhovnog i Vremenskog, te Zajednice, na ovom sadašnjem sazivu Parlamenta, i po ovlaštenju istog, kako slijedi:

1. Udata žena biti sposobna držati imovinu i sklapati ugovore kao ženski potplat

(1) Udata žena bit će, u skladu s odredbama ovoga Zakona, sposobna stjecati, držati i raspolagati oporukom ili na drugi način bilo koju stvarnu ili osobnu imovinu kao svoju zasebnu imovinu, na isti način kao da je ženski potplat, bez intervencije bilo kojeg povjerenika.

(2) Udata žena bit će sposobna stupiti u odgovornost i učiniti je odgovornom u pogledu i u mjeri svoje odvojene imovine prema bilo kojem ugovoru, te tužiti i biti tužena, bilo ugovorom ili deliktom, ili na drugi način, u svim poštuje kao da je žena ženskog spola i da se njezin suprug ne mora pridružiti njoj kao tužitelju ili tuženiku, niti biti stranka u bilo kojoj tužbi ili drugom sudskom postupku koji je protiv nje pokrenuo ili pokrenut i bilo kakvu štetu ili troškove koje je ona naplatila u svaka takva radnja ili postupak bit će njezino zasebno vlasništvo i svaka šteta ili troškovi koji joj se nadoknade u bilo kojoj takvoj radnji ili postupku bit će plaćeni iz njezine zasebne imovine, a ne drugačije.

(3) Svaki ugovor koji je sklopila udana žena smatrat će se ugovorom koji je sklopila s obzirom na svoju zasebnu imovinu i obvezuje je, osim ako se dokaže suprotno.

(4) Svaki ugovor koji je udata žena sklopila u pogledu i na koji se obvezuje njezina zasebna imovina obvezuje ne samo zasebnu imovinu koju posjeduje ili na koju ima pravo na dan sklapanja ugovora, već i svu zasebnu imovinu koju može nakon toga steći.

(5) Svaka udana žena koja se bavi trgovinom odvojeno od svog supruga, u pogledu svoje zasebne imovine, podliježe zakonima o stečaju na isti način kao da je žena ženskog spola.

2. Imovina žene udane nakon Zakona koja će je držati kao ženski jedini

Svaka žena koja se udala nakon stupanja na snagu ovog zakona ima pravo imati i držati svoju zasebnu imovinu te raspolagati na gore spomenuti način stvarnom i osobnom imovinom koja će joj pripadati u trenutku sklapanja braka ili će biti stečena na nju ili na nju prenijeli nakon vjenčanja, uključujući sve plaće, zarade, novac i imovinu koju je stekla ili stekla u bilo kojem poslu, trgovini ili zanimanju kojim se bavi ili koje obavlja odvojeno od svog muža ili vježbanje bilo koje književne, umjetničke ili znanstvene vještine.

3. Zajmovi od žene suprugu

Svaki novac ili druga imovina supruge koju je posudila ili povjerila svom mužu u svrhu bilo koje trgovine ili poslovanja koje je vodio, ili na neki drugi način, tretirat će se kao imovina imovine njenog muža u slučaju njegovog bankrota, prema rezervacija zahtjeva supruge za isplatu dividende kao vjerovnika za iznos ili vrijednost takvog novca ili druge imovine nakon, ali ne prije, svih potraživanja drugih vjerovnika supruga za vrijednu naknadu u novcu ili novcu u vrijednosti#8217 bio zadovoljan.

4. Izvršenje opće ovlasti

Izvršenje opće ovlasti oporukom od strane udane žene učinit će da imovina koja je imenovana odgovara za njezine dugove i druge obveze na isti način na koji njezina zasebna ostavina postaje odgovorna prema ovom Zakonu.

5. Imovina koju je nakon Zakona stekla žena udana prije Zakona i ona će biti u vlasništvu žene

Svaka žena udana prije početka primjene ovog zakona ima pravo posjedovati i posjedovati i raspolagati na način na koji je prethodno navedeno kao njezino zasebno vlasništvo svu stvarnu i osobnu imovinu, na koju ima pravo, bilo da je stečeno ili uslovno, te ima li u posjedu, povrat , ili ostatak, nastat će nakon početka primjene ovog Zakona, uključujući sve plaće, zarade, novac i imovinu koju je ona stekla ili stekla na gore navedeni način.

6. Što se tiče dionica, na koje udana žena ima pravo

Svi depoziti u bilo kojem poštanskom uredu ili drugoj štedionici ili u bilo kojoj drugoj banci, svi anuiteti koje su odobrili povjerenici za smanjenje državnog duga ili bilo koja druga osoba, i svi iznosi koji su dio javnih dionica ili sredstava, ili sve druge dionice ili novčana sredstva koja se mogu prenijeti u knjige guvernera i tvrtke Banke Engleske ili bilo koje druge banke, koje na početku ovog zakona stoje u isključivo ime udane žene, i sve dionice, dionice, zadužnice, zadužnice ili drugi interesi ili u bilo kojoj korporaciji, tvrtki ili javnom tijelu, općinskom, trgovačkom ili na neki drugi način, ili u bilo kojem industrijskom, sigurnom, prijateljskom društvu, u korist, građevini ili zajmu, koje je na početku ovoga Zakona stoje na njeno ime, smatrat će se, osim ako i dok se ne dokaže suprotno, zasebno vlasništvo te udane žene i činjenica da je svaki takav depozit, renta, iznos koji čini dio javnih dionica ili sredstava, ili bilo kojih drugih dionica ili sredstava prenosiva u knjigama guvernera i tvrtke Banke Engleske ili bilo koje druge banke, dionica, dionica, zadužnica, zadužnica ili drugih kamata, kako je gore navedeno, stoji samo na ime udate žene, bit će dovoljna prima facie dokaz da ona ima pravo na to za svoju zasebnu upotrebu, kako bi je ovlastila i ovlastila da primi ili prenese istu, te da primi dividende, kamate i dobit od nje, bez pristanka njenog muža, i da obešteti Generalni upravitelj pošte, povjerenici za smanjenje nacionalnog duga, guverner i tvrtka Banke Engleske, guverner i tvrtka Banke Irske te svi direktori, menadžeri i povjerenici svake takve banke, korporacije, tvrtke, javno tijelo, ili društvo, kako je gore navedeno, u tom pogledu.

7. Što se tiče zaliha koje će se prenijeti na udatu ženu

Svi iznosi koji su dio javnih dionica ili fondova, ili bilo kojih drugih dionica ili sredstava prenosivih u knjigama Banke Engleske ili bilo koje druge banke, te svi takvi depoziti i anuiteti kako je navedeno u posljednjem prethodnom odjeljku, i sve dionice, dionice, zadužnice, zadužničke dionice i drugi interesi ili u bilo kojoj takvoj korporaciji, tvrtki, javnom tijelu ili društvu kako je gore navedeno, a koje će nakon početka primjene ovog zakona biti dodijeljene ili stavljene, registrirane ili prenesene u ili u ili će učiniti da stanuju samo u ime bilo koje udate žene, smatrat će se, osim ako i dok se ne dokaže suprotno, njezino zasebno vlasništvo, u odnosu na koje, ako postoji bilo kakva odgovornost, samo njezina zasebna ostavina bit će odgovorna, bez obzira na to hoće li ista biti iskazana u dokumentu kojim se stvara ili ovjerava njezin naslov na isto, ili u knjigama ili registru u koji je njezin naslov upisan ili zabilježen, ili ne. Uvijek pod uvjetom da ništa u ovom Zakonu ne zahtijeva niti ovlašćuje bilo koju korporaciju ili dioničko društvo da bilo koju udanu ženu primi u vlasništvo bilo kojih dionica ili dionica na kojima može nastati bilo kakva odgovornost, suprotno odredbama bilo kojeg zakona Parlamenta , povelju, podzakonski akt, statut ili akt o nagodbi koji regulira takvo društvo ili društvo.

8. Ulaganja u zajednička imena udanih žena i drugi

Sve ranije navedene odredbe sadržavale su depozite u bilo kojem poštanskom uredu ili drugoj štedionici ili bilo kojoj drugoj banci, rente koje su odobrili povjerenici za smanjenje državnog duga ili bilo koja druga osoba, iznosi koji su dio javnih dionica ili sredstava, ili bilo kojih drugih dionica ili sredstava prenosivih u knjigama Bank of England ili bilo koje druge banke, dionica, dionica, zadužnica, zadužnica ili drugih interesa ili u bilo kojoj takvoj korporaciji, tvrtki, javnom tijelu ili društvo naprijed navedeno, koje će na početku ovoga Zakona stajati samo u ime udane žene ili koje će nakon tog vremena biti dodijeljeno, ili stavljeno, registrirano, ili premješteno u ili u njega, ili učinjeno stand in, jedino ime udane žene, proširit će se i primjenjivati, ako se odnosi na ostavinu, pravo, vlasništvo ili interes udane žene, na bilo koji od prethodno navedenih podataka koji su, na početku ovog zakona , ili u bilo koje vrijeme nakon toga, sh svi stanuju u ili će im biti dodijeljeno, smješteno, registrirano ili premješteno u ili u njih ili prisiljeno stajati u imenu bilo koje udane žene zajedno s bilo kojom osobom ili osobom osim njenog muža.

9. Što se tiče dionica, stoji u zajedničkim imenima udane žene i drugih

Neće biti potrebno da se muž bilo koje udane žene, u pogledu njezinog interesa, pridruži prijenosu bilo koje takve rente ili depozita kao što je gore navedeno, ili bilo koje svote koja čini dio javnih dionica ili fondova, ili bilo kojih drugih dionica ili prenosiva sredstva na gore navedeni način, ili bilo koju dionicu, dionicu, zadužnicu, zadužnicu ili drugu korist, pravo, potraživanje ili drugi interes ili u bilo kojoj takvoj korporaciji, tvrtki, -javnom tijelu ili društvu, kao što je gore navedeno, što je sada ili će ubuduće u svakom trenutku stajati samo pod imenom bilo koje udate žene ili u zajednička imena te udate žene i bilo koje druge osobe ili osoba koje nisu njen muž.

10. Lažne investicije s novcem muža

Ako bilo koje ulaganje u bilo koji takav depozit ili anuitet kao što je gore navedeno, ili u bilo koju od javnih dionica ili fondova, ili u bilo koje druge dionice ili fondove koji se mogu prenijeti na gore navedeni način, ili u bilo koju dionicu, dionicu, zadužnicu ili zadužnicu bilo koje korporacije, tvrtke , ili javno tijelo, općinsko, trgovačko ili na drugi način, ili u bilo kojem udjelu, zadužnici, pogodnosti, pravu ili bilo kakvom potraživanju u, u ili na sredstva bilo kojeg industrijskog, sigurnog, prijateljskog, dobrotvornog, građevinskog ili zajmodavnog društva, ako ih je udata žena učinila novčanim sredstvima svog supruga, bez njegova pristanka, Sud može, na zahtjev u skladu s člankom sedamnaestom ovoga Zakona, narediti takvo ulaganje i njegove dividende, ili

bilo koji njegov dio, koji će se prenijeti i isplatiti mužu, a ništa u ovom Zakonu ne daje valjanost protiv muževih vjerovnika na bilo koji dar, od strane muža njegovoj ženi, bilo koje imovine, koja će se nakon takvog dara nastaviti biti u redoslijedu i raspoloženju ili slavnom vlasništvu muža, ili na bilo koji depozit ili drugo ulaganje novca muža koje je učinila ili u ime njegove supruge prijevara njegovih vjerovnika, ali svi novci tako položeni ili uloženi mogu se slijediti kao da ovaj Zakon nije donesen.

11. Novac koji se plaća prema politici osiguranja ne čini dio imovine osiguranika

Udata žena može, na temelju moći sklapanja ugovora ovdje-ranije sadržavala učinak politike na njezin vlastiti život ili život njenog muža za njezinu zasebnu uporabu, pa će se ista i sva korist od toga unositi u skladu s tim. Politika uvjeravanja svakog muškarca u njegov vlastiti život, izražena u korist njegove supruge, ili njegove djece, ili njegove žene i djece, ili bilo koje od njih, ili bilo koje žene u vlastitom životu, i izraženo u korist svog muža, ili njezine djece, ili njezina muža i djece, ili bilo kojeg od njih, stvorit će povjerenje u korist predmeta navedenih u njemu, a novci koji se plaćaju prema bilo kojoj takvoj politici neće , sve dok bilo koji objekt povjerenja ostane neizvršen, čini dio imovine osiguranika ili podliježe njegovim ili njezinim dugovima: Pod uvjetom da ako se dokaže da je polica izvršena i premije plaćene s namjerom prijevarom vjerovnika osiguranika, oni će imati pravo primiti, od novca koji se plaća prema polici, iznos jednak tako plaćenim premijama. Osiguranik može policom ili bilo kojim memorandumom pod svojom rukom imenovati povjerenika ili povjerenike novca koji se isplaćuje prema polisi, a s vremena na vrijeme imenovati novog povjerenika ili njegove nove povjerenike, te može predvidjeti imenovanje novog upravitelja ili njegovih novih povjerenika, te za ulaganje novca koji se plaća prema bilo kojoj takvoj politici. U slučaju bilo kakvog imenovanja povjerenika, takva će polisa, odmah nakon što je izvršena, povjeriti osiguraniku i njegovim ili njezinim pravnim osobnim zastupnicima, u povjerenje, u gore navedene svrhe. Ako u vrijeme smrti osiguranika, ili u bilo koje vrijeme nakon toga, neće biti povjerenika, ili će biti svrsishodno imenovati novog povjerenika ili nove povjerenike, povjerenika ili povjerenike ili novog povjerenika ili nove povjerenike mogu može imenovati bilo koji sud nadležan prema odredbama Zakona o povjereniku iz 1850. ili Zakona o izmjenama i dopunama istog. Potvrda povjerenika ili povjerenika koji su propisno imenovani, ili, zbog neispunjenja bilo kojeg takvog imenovanja, ili zbog zakašnjenja obavijesti uredu za osiguranje, primitak pravnog osobnog predstavnika osiguranika bit će otpuštanje ureda za osigurani iznos polisom ili za njezinu vrijednost, u cijelosti ili djelomično.

12. Pravni lijekovi udanih žena radi zaštite i sigurnosti zasebne imovine

Svaka žena, bila udana prije ili poslije ovog Zakona, imat će u svoje ime protiv svih osoba, uključujući i njezinog muža, iste građanske lijekove, a također (podložno, u smislu njenog muža, sadržanim odredbama u nastavku) isti pravni lijekovi i pravna pomoć u kaznenom postupku, radi zaštite i sigurnosti njezine zasebne imovine, kao da joj je ta imovina pripadala samo kao feme, ali, osim kako je gore navedeno, nijedan muž ili žena neće imati pravo tužiti drugoga za delikt. U bilo kojoj optužnici ili drugom postupku prema ovom odjeljku dovoljno je tvrditi da je ta imovina njezino vlasništvo, a u bilo kojem postupku po ovom odjeljku suprug ili žena bit će nadležni za davanje iskaza jedan protiv drugoga, bilo kojeg zakona ili vladavine prava bez obzira na sve: Uvijek pod uvjetom da nijedna supruga neće pokrenuti kazneni postupak protiv svog supruga na temelju ovoga Zakona dok žive zajedno, u vezi ili u vezi s bilo kojom imovinom koju ona traži, niti dok žive odvojeno, u pogledu ili ograničavajući bilo koji čin koji je suprug učinio dok su živjeli zajedno, a koji se odnosi na imovinu koju je zahtijevala supruga, osim ako je takvu imovinu suprug protupravno oduzeo pri odlasku ili napuštanju, ili pri odlasku ili napuštanju svoje žene.

13. Dugovi i obveze supružnika pred brakom

Žena nakon udaje i dalje će biti odgovorna za sve ugovorene dugove i do visine svoje odvojene imovine, za sve ugovore koje je sklopila ili učinila prije braka, uključujući sve iznose za koje bi mogla biti odgovorna kao doprinosa, prije ili nakon što je stavljena na popis doprinosa, tinder i na temelju zakona koji se odnose na dionička društva i može biti tužena za bilo koji takav dug i za bilo kakvu odgovornost u slučaju štete ili na drugi način prema bilo kojem takvom ugovoru, ili u vezi s bilo kojom takvom pogreškom i svi iznosi koji su joj nadomješteni u vezi s tim, ili za sve povezane troškove, bit će plaćeni iz njezine zasebne imovine, a između nje i njezina muža, osim ako između njih ne postoji nikakav ugovor naprotiv, njezina zasebna imovina smatrat će se prvenstveno odgovornom za sve takve dugove, ugovore ili nepravde, te za svu štetu ili troškove koji su u vezi s tim naplaćeni: Uvijek pod uvjetom da ništa u ovom Zakonu ne vrijedi svi djeluju na povećanju ili umanjivanju odgovornosti bilo koje žene udane prije početka primjene ovog Zakona za bilo koji takav dug, ugovor ili nepravdu, kako je gore navedeno, osim za bilo koju zasebnu imovinu na koju ona može steći pravo na temelju ovog zakona, i na koje ne bi imala pravo na svoju zasebnu upotrebu prema ovim zakonima koji su ovim stavljeni van snage ili na drugi način, da ovaj Zakon nije donesen.

14. Suprug će u određenoj mjeri odgovarati za dugove svoje žene ugovorene prije braka

Muž će odgovarati za ugovorene dugove svoje žene i za sve zaključene ugovore i nepravde koje je ona počinila prije braka, uključujući sve obaveze na koje ona može tako podlijegati prema gore navedenim zakonima koji se odnose na dionička društva, iznos cjelokupne imovine koja pripada njegovoj supruzi koju je stekao ili na koju će imati pravo od svoje supruge, nakon što je od toga oduzeo sve uplate koje je on izvršio, te sve iznose za koje je presuda mogla biti dobronamjerno naplaćena u bilo kojem pravnom postupku, u pogledu bilo kakvih dugova, ugovora ili nepravdi za koje je ili prema kojima je njegova supruga odgovorila prije svog braka, ali on za to neće odgovarati dalje ili na drugi način i pred bilo kojim sudom muž će biti tužen za bilo koji takav dug, ima ovlast voditi bilo kakav upit ili postupak za koji smatra da je prikladan u svrhu utvrđivanja prirode, iznosa ili vrijednosti takve imovine: pod uvjetom Da, ništa u ovom Zakonu ne smije utjecati na povećanje ili umanjivanje odgovornosti bilo kojeg supruga oženjenog prije početka primjene ovog Zakona za ili u pogledu bilo kojeg takvog duga ili druge odgovornosti njegove žene kako je gore navedeno.

15. Tužbe za predbračne obveze

Muž i žena mogu biti zajedno tuženi u vezi s bilo kojim takvim dugom ili drugom odgovornošću (bilo ugovorom ili zbog bilo koje pogreške) koju je žena ugovorila ili je nastala prije braka, kako je gore navedeno, ako tužitelj u tužbi nastoji dokazati svoju tražbinu , bilo u cijelosti ili djelomično, protiv obojice i ako je u bilo kojoj takvoj tužbi, ili u bilo kojoj tužbi koja se odnosi na takav dug ili odgovornost samo protiv muža, ne utvrđuje se da je muž odgovoran za bilo kakvu imovinu supruge koju je tako stekao ili na koju će on imati gore navedeno pravo, on će suditi o svojim troškovima obrane, bez obzira na to što može biti rezultat tužbe protiv supruge ako je zajedno s njim tužen i u bilo kojoj takvoj tužbi protiv supruga i supruge zajedno, ako se pokaže da je muž odgovoran za dug ili nadoknađenu štetu, ili bilo koji njegov dio, presuda u visini iznosa za koji muž odgovara bit će zajednička presuda protiv muža osobno i protiv supruge u pogledu njezine zasebne imovine i u pogledu ostatka, ako postoji, takvog duga i štete, presuda će biti zasebna presuda protiv supruge samo u pogledu njezine zasebne imovine.

16. Djelo supruge podložno je kaznenom postupku

Žena koja učini bilo koje djelo u vezi s bilo kojom imovinom svog muža, koja bi, ako je muž učinio s obzirom na imovinu supruge, učinila muža podložnim kaznenom postupku od strane žene prema ovom Zakonu, na sličan će način biti odgovorna i za kazneni postupak njenog supruga.

17. Pitanja između muža i žene u vezi imovine moraju se rješavati sažeto

U bilo kojem pitanju između muža i žene u pogledu vlasništva ili posjeda imovine, bilo koje strane, bilo koje banke, korporacije, tvrtke, javnog tijela ili društva kako je gore navedeno u čijim knjigama se nalaze dionice, fondovi ili dionice bilo koje strane stoji, može se pozvati pozivom ili na drugi način na skraćeni način bilo kojem sucu Visokog suda pravde u Engleskoj ili Irskoj, prema tome što se takva imovina nalazi u Engleskoj ili Irskoj, ili (po izboru podnositelja zahtjeva, neovisno o vrijednosti imovine u sporu) u Engleskoj sucu okružnog suda u okrugu ili u Irskoj predsjedniku suda za parnične račune odjeljenja u kojem boravi bilo koja od stranaka te sucu Visokog suda pravde ili županijski sud ili predsjedavajući građanskopravnog suda (ovisno o slučaju) može donijeti takav nalog u vezi sa spornom imovinom, te o troškovima i posljedičnoj prijavi po njegovom mišljenju, ili može uputiti takva aplikacija s vremena na vrijeme stajati vrijeme i sve istrage koje se tiču ​​dotičnih pitanja treba izvršiti na način koji on smatra prikladnim: Uvijek pod uvjetom da će svaki nalog suca Visokog suda pravde koji se donese prema odredbama ovog odjeljka podlijegati uložiti žalbu na isti način kao što bi bila naredba istog suca u tužbi koja je u tijeku ili po pravednoj tužbi pred spomenutim sudom, a bilo koji nalog županijskog ili građanskog suda prema odredbama ovog odjeljka podložan je žalbi u na isti način na koji bi bilo koji drugi nalog istog suda bio i svi postupci pred županijskim sudom ili sudom za parnične predmete prema ovom odjeljku u kojima, zbog vrijednosti imovine u sporu, takav sud ne bi bio nadležan ako ovaj Zakon ili Zakon o vlasništvu udanih žena iz#18217, 1870, nisu bili doneseni, mogu se, po izboru tuženice ili tuženice u takvom postupku, s pravom ukloniti pred Visoki sud pravde u Engleskoj ili Irskoj (kao slučaj može biti) pismom certiorari ili drukčije kako bi moglo biti propisano bilo kojim pravilom takvog Visokog suda, ali svaki nalog donijet ili učinjen u tijeku takvog postupka prije takvog uklanjanja bit će valjan, osim ako će takav Viši sud donijeti suprotno rješenje: Pod uvjetom da, sudac Visokog suda pravde ili županijskog suda ili predsjednik suda za parnične sporove, ako bilo koja od stranaka to zahtijeva, može saslušati svaku takvu prijavu u svojoj privatnoj sobi: Pod uvjetom da bilo koja takva banka, korporacija, tvrtka , javno tijelo ili društvo, kako je gore spomenuto, u slučaju svake takve prijave u svrhu troškova ili na drugi način, tretirat će se samo kao dionik.

18. Udata žena kao izvršiteljica ili povjerenica

Udata žena koja je izvršiteljica ili upraviteljica sama ili zajedno s bilo kojom drugom osobom ili osobama u ostavštini bilo koje umrle osobe, ili povjerenica sama ili zajedno u skladu s navedenim o imovini podložnom povjerenju, može tužiti ili biti tužena, a može i prenijeti ili se pridružiti prijenosu bilo kojeg gore navedenog renta ili depozita, ili bilo koje svote koja čini dio javnih dionica ili fondova, ili bilo kojih drugih dionica ili sredstava koja se mogu prenijeti na gore spomenuti način, ili bilo koje dionice, dionice, zadužnice, zadužnice ili drugu korist, pravo, potraživanje ili drugi interes ili u bilo kojoj takvoj korporaciji, tvrtki, javnom tijelu ili društvu u tom liku, bez svog supruga, kao da je žena ženskog spola.

19. Spašavanje postojećih naselja i moć stvaranja budućih naselja

Ništa sadržano u ovom Zakonu ne smije ometati niti utjecati na bilo kakvo nagodbu ili sporazum o nagodbi sklopljenoj ili sklopljenoj, bilo prije ili poslije vjenčanja, poštujući imovinu bilo koje udane žene, niti će ometati ili učiniti nedjelotvornim bilo kakvo ograničenje predviđanja pridružen ili će ubuduće biti vezan uz uživanje bilo koje imovine ili prihoda žene prema bilo kojoj nagodbi, sporazumu o nagodbi, oporuci ili drugom instrumentu, ali nema ograničenja protiv predviđanja sadržanih u bilo kojoj nagodbi ili sporazumu o nagodbi žene ’s vlastita imovina koju će sama sklopiti ili u nju imati bilo kakvu valjanost u odnosu na dugove koje je ugovorila prije braka, a nikakvo namirenje ili sporazum o nagodbi neće imati veću snagu ili valjanost protiv vjerovnika takve žene od slične nagodbe ili sporazuma za nagodbu koju je sklopio ili sklopio čovjek imao bi protiv svojih vjerovnika.

20. Udata žena odgovorna je župi za uzdržavanje svog muža

Where in England the husband of any woman having separate property becomes chargeable to any union or parish, the justices having jurisdiction in such union or parish may, in petty sessions assembled, upon application of the guardians of the poor, issue a summons against the wife, and make and enforce such order against her for the maintenance of her husband out of such separate property as by the thirty-third section of the Poor Law Amendment Act, 1868, they may now make and enforce against a husband for the maintenance of his wife if she becomes chargeable to any union or parish. Where in Ireland relief is given under the provisions of the Acts relating to the relief of the destitute poor to the husband of any woman having separate property, the cost price of such relief is hereby declared to be a loan from the guardians of the union in which the same shall be given, and shall be recoverable from such woman as if she were a feme sole by the same actions and proceedings as money lent.

21. Married woman to be liable to the parish for the maintenance of her children

A married woman having separate property shall be subject to all such liability for the maintenance of her children and grandchildren as the husband is now by law subject to for the maintenance of her children and grandchildren : Provided always, that nothing in this Act shall relieve her husband from any liability imposed upon him by law to maintain her children or grandchildren.

22. Repeal of 33 & 34 Vict. c.93 37 & 38 Vict. c.50

The Married Women’s Property Act, 1870, and the Married Women’s Property Act, 1870, Amendment Act, 1874, are hereby repealed: Provided that such repeal shall not affect any act done or right acquired while either of such Acts was in force, or any right or liability of any husband or wife, married before the commencement of this Act, to sue or be sued under the provisions of the said repealed Acts or either of them, for or in respect of any debt, contract, wrong, or other matter or thing whatsoever, for or in respect of which any such right or liability shall have accrued to or against such husband or wife before the commencement of this Act.

23. Legal representative of married woman

For the purposes of this Act the legal personal representative of any married woman shall in respect of her separate estate have the same rights and liabilities and be subject to the same jurisdiction as she would be if she were living.

24. Interpretation of terms

The word ” contract ” in this Act shall include the acceptance of any trust, or of the office of executrix or administratrix, and the provisions of this Act as to liabilities of married women shall extend to all liabilities by reason of any breach of trust or devastavit committed by any married woman being a trustee or executrix or administratrix either before or after her marriage, and her husband shall not be subject to such liabilities unless he has acted or intermeddled in the trust or administration. The word “property ” in this Act includes a thing in action.

25. Commencement of Act

The date of the commencement of this Act shall be the first of January one thousand eight hundred and eighty-three.


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Married Women’s Property Act 1882

Sections 1 and 2 of the Married Women’s Property Act 1882 contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0 (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3/)

While the Married Women’s Property Act 1882 is often lauded as a victory for all women … [perhaps its] greatest triumph was not the actual provisions of the Act but the strategizing of women lobbying for reform stretching back to the Langham Place Group [and Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon].
Andy Hayward

The Married Women’s Property Act 1882 provided for a married woman to hold all the property brought by her to the marriage or subsequently acquired thereafter as her ‘separate property’. A married woman possessed for the first time the ability to acquire and dispose of all kinds of property ‘as if she were a feme sole [single woman] without the intervention of any trustee’ (section 1). It removed many (though not all) of the legal disadvantages flowing from coverture (a common law doctrine conceptualised husband and wife as one person that person, unsurprisingly, being the husband).

It instigated a critical reappraisal of property holding within marriage, precipitating important debates in the 1940s onwards that questioned whether it should be accepted that marriage frequently generated economic disadvantage.

The full version of this landmark was written by Andy Hayward.


Today in Feminist History: Wives Granted Legal Right to Sue Their Husbands (April 10, 1882)

This bold and welcome departure from common law tradition is based on his interpretation of New York State&rsquos &ldquoMarried Women&rsquos Property Act,&rdquo passed in 1860 and revised in 1862. T

hough on the books for two decades, it has never before been cited as giving married women such independent&mdasheven equal&mdashstanding in a court of law.

The case was initiated by Theresa Schultz against her husband, Theodore. She obtained an order of arrest against him for assault and battery and also wished to sue him for her injuries.

He tried to have the arrest order vacated on the grounds that a wife cannot initiate legal actions against her husband. But his attempt failed in a lower court, and today the General Term of the State Supreme Court sustained the arrest order, and in the process made it clear that the rest of the suit can proceed.

According to Justice Brady, the New York State Legislature did intend to change the common law rule prohibiting wives from suing their husbands when in 1860 and 1862 it revised the laws that pertain to married women. Though there have been previous decisions by other judges rejecting this view, and who have claimed that to give wives a right to sue husbands would disturb the domestic tranquility of marriage, Brady noted:

&ldquoTo allow the right [to sue] in an action of this character, in accordance with the language of the statute, would be to promote greater harmony, by enlarging the rights of the married woman and increasing the obligations of husbands, by affording greater protection to the former and by enforcing greater restraint upon the latter in the indulgence of their evil passions.

&ldquoThe declaration of such a rule is not against the policy of the law. It is in harmony with it and calculated to preserve peace, and in a great measure, prevent barbarous acts, acts of cruelty, regarded by mankind as inexcusable, contemptible, detestable.

&ldquoIt is neither too early nor too late to promulgate the doctrine that if a husband commits an assault and battery upon his wife he may be held responsible civilly and criminally for the act, which is not only committed in violation of the laws of God and man, but in direct antagonism to the contract of marriage, its obligations, duties, responsibilities, and the very basis on which it rests.

&ldquoThe rules of common law on this subject have been dispelled, routed and justly so by the acts of 1860 and 1862. They are things of the past which have succumbed to more liberal and just views, like many other doctrines of common law which could not stand the scrutiny and analysis of modern civilization.&rdquo

Justice Daniels concurred in the opinion, but Justice Noah Davis dissented, writing:

&ldquoI heartily concur in the unbounded detestation of wife-beaters which my brother Brady has so forcibly expressed and I think the Legislature might well provide a carefully prepared statute giving direct personal remedies by suit in such cases but the courts have decided that this has not yet been done, and the doctrine of &lsquostare decisis&rsquo requires us to leave it to the Court of Appeals or the Legislature the gallant duty of setting the law free to redress by civil actions all the domestic disputes of husband and wife, whether committed by unbridled tongues or angry blows.&rdquo

Despite its name, the New York Supreme Court is not truly supreme, and the Court of Appeals, which is actually the highest court in New York State, could rule differently.

But simply the fact that such a prestigious jurist has written this strong and eloquent ruling means that the day when a married woman is considered a legally invisible appendage of her husband is either at an end, or at least drawing to a close


Jill Rappoport, “Wives and Sons: Coverture, Primogeniture, and Married Women’s Property”

Prior to political agitation for the reform of married women’s property laws, nineteenth-century fiction emphasized primogeniture (the common law doctrine of consolidating wealth in the hands of eldest sons) alongside coverture (the common law doctrine that marriage voided a wife’s separate legal identity) in order to show how both contributed to women’s economic marginalization. The reform movement, however, focused its attention on coverture, and by the time of the 1870 Act, fiction begins to divorce its sympathy for women’s subjugation in coverture from its treatment of women’s condition with respect to primogeniture. This case study of novels by Jane Austen and George Eliot suggests that, as coverture comes under closer scrutiny, primogeniture is no longer showcased as one of women’s most significant economic disadvantages. Instead, the claims of primogeniture begin to appear as an argument against women’s rights to property.

Women’s lack of educational and professional opportunities throughout much of the long nineteenth century prevented them from acquiring or controlling much wealth, but their marginal economic status was exacerbated by two common law doctrines: primogeniture i coverture. The first overwhelmingly passed over daughters’ rights of inheritance in favor of an eldest son’s, compelling many to secure their social status and subsistence through marriage the second denied wives economic agency within such marriages. A series of Married Women’s Property motions and Acts would attempt to redress the latter doctrine of coverture in practice by granting a married woman the legal status of a single woman (“feme sole”). These laws attempted to address the problems with coverture independently of any perceived problems with primogeniture, but throughout the century fictional treatments linked the two, to different ends.

Figure 1: Title page, _Sense and Sensibility_, 1811

Support for women’s rights to property comes, at this point in literary history, in relation to primogeniture as much as coverture, despite the emphasis on legal reform for the latter during the second half of the century.[4] In both of these novels, the daughters’ inheritance has direct bearing on the necessity of marriage and the difficulty of finding a suitable match, but if these daughters require “protection,” it would seem to be as much from their birth families as from any husbands Mr. Bennet and Mr. Dashwood fail to provide adequately for their daughters, not simply because the legal situation of entailed estates is out of their hands, but because they are not very good at saving. „Mr. Bennet had very often wished . . . that, instead of spending his whole income, he had laid by an annual sum, for the better provision of his children, and of his wife, if she survived him. He now wished it more than ever” (199-200). Mr. Dashwood, too, despite his best intentions of “living economically” in order to “lay by a considerable sum” for his wife and daughters, dies before managing to do so (6).[5]

Although, as historians and literary critics have demonstrated, primogeniture—particularly among the middle classes—was never absolute,[6] the general preference for endowing male lineage meant that marriage was an important source of financial security for women, even as women conscious of this financial motivation were depicted as selling themselves for an establishment.[7] Yet even the financial security of such women was incomplete.[8] Under the common law doctrine of coverture, a woman’s money and other property passed to her husband at marriage: wives could not inherit, bequeath, or earn separate property, nor could they enter into contracts without their husbands’ consent.[9] As Rachel Ablow’s BRANCH entry, “‘One Flesh,’ One Person, and the 1870 Married Women’s Property Act,” notes, coverture essentially entailed the disappearance of a wife’s separate legal identity in marriage, presumably making the couple “one flesh.” This doctrine “covered” her debt or legal infractions, yet, despite the dubious advantage of this legal “protection,” coverture also stripped a wife of economic agency. All earnings, inheritance, personal property, or land owned at the time of her marriage or acquired after that point became the property of her husband.[10]

Women and their supporters fought coverture on multiple fronts. The Petition for Reform of the Married Women’s Property Law, which was presented in 1856 and included twenty-six thousand signatures, began the joint effort by lawmakers and public women to grant married women legal control over their own wealth and earnings, finally achieved in part by the Married Women’s Property Acts of 1870 and 1882 (Shanley 33).[11] Other women benefited from the separate estates set up in trust for them in courts of equity (Shanley 15, 25). And, as Margot Finn and others have shown, still more women found degrees of economic agency through family businesses and legal practices such as the law of necessaries and strategic uses of credit.[12] Such strategies meant that, long before legal reforms were instituted, ways of securing property rights and economic agency for married women outside of the common law were being imagined. For the most part, however, these practical efforts to ameliorate women’s economic status ignored the interconnectedness of the two common law doctrines that fiction such as Austen’s united, one emphasizing the financial ramifications of marriage, the other emphasizing the financial ramifications of birth.

In addition to receiving his father’s inheritance, Razum i osjećaji’s John Dashwood benefits from his own mother’s property, apparently secured to her as her separate estate. He “was amply provided for by the fortune of his mother, which had been large, and half of which devolved on him on his coming of age” (5) the other half of his mother’s wealth would also be his because it “was also secured to her child, and [her husband, John’s father] had only a life interest in it” (6). On the one hand, John’s mother’s wealth is evidence of the safeguards already put into place for protecting (some) married women’s property even before the legal reforms of the later century. His father did not have access to the principle of his mother’s money, only its interest during his own lifetime. Despite the claims of coverture, her marriage did not merge her property with his—an example of the kind of trusts established for wealthy women outside of the court of common law, and, in its evasion of the common law, something of an argument against it.

Yet this protection of the late Mrs. Dashwood’s property ultimately seems less a triumph for the wife than for her son, whose father, we learn, would have been very pleased to ignore the custom of primogeniture and divide the wealth with his three less privileged female children instead. The narrative emphasis on those children—whose fortunes and marriage plots occupy the rest of the novel—also diminishes any sense that this episode reflects a feminist victory or even a real disruption of the common law. As Cheri Larsen Hoeckley has argued, “equity settlements often simply allowed a father to preserve family property . . . for future male heirs” (149).[13] Thus even a wife’s “separate estate” here ultimately serves the purpose of primogeniture. The novel’s discussion of inheritance reminds readers that the doctrines of primogeniture and coverture—the economics of birth and marriage—work hand in hand to limit women’s financial options and suggests that addressing one independently of the other will not effectively secure property to women.

Coverture and primogeniture again join hands as John Dashwood’s wife, Fanny, directs his interests in favor of their son. On the one hand, she appears to have a kind of economic agency through him, in keeping with the theory behind the “one-flesh” doctrine of coverture. She “did not at all approve” of her husband’s initial intention to provide for his half-sisters, and her “consent to this plan”—which she refuses to give—seems necessary to it. As she persuades him to reduce the gift from his initial thought of three thousand pounds to “sending presents of fish and game, and so forth, whenever they are in season” (12), she effectively manages both her husband and his finances and, as Elsie B. Michie’s study of rich women in fiction has shown, becomes the scapegoat for self-interested wealth as she “reveals the engrossment of her personality by incrementally teaching her husband to think of wealth as something that must be engrossed” (28).[14]

Fanny’s manipulation is painted as despicable not because she is able to influence her husband’s decision but because of the selfishness of her views. Coverture—that merging of economic and less-material interests alike—seems to affect both husband and wife here by shaping the spouses’ personalities. As the narrator informs us: “Had [John Dashwood] married a more amiable woman . . . he might even have been made amiable himself” (7). As Michie has shown, Austen invites us to demonize this wealthy woman.[15] Yet, in a “more amiable woman,” Fanny’s own narrow maternal anxiety for her child’s interests might actually have aligned her with the mother of her disinherited half-sisters-in-law, whose love of her own children similarly obscures her own vision of the world. Through coverture, Fanny has no more legal power over the situation than they do, resorting to “begg[ing],” “argu[ing],” and “point[ing] out” her perspective, because ultimately, “the question is, what [he] can afford to do” (10), not what she wishes him to do, nor what is in either her best financial interest or her son’s. Her desire to enrich her own son by consolidating various fortunes in his hands—“How could he answer it to himself to rob his child, and his only child too, of so large a sum?”(9)—is not so different from the general custom of enriching male heirs. Whereas her husband benefited from his mother’s “separate estate,” Fanny Dashwood cannot make any legal claim upon her husband’s recent inheritance, not even for the benefit of her son. Instead, she is forced to rely on her husband’s sense of honor and duty to prevent him from “rob[bing] his child.” She is the daughter “of a man who had died very rich” (14), and while we learn later that she received ten thousand pounds upon her marriage (264), her father also had an “eldest son,” who—at least at this early point in the story—seems likely to inherit the largest part of the family wealth. Despite her apparent greed, her unkindness to her half sisters stems from those same joined common law doctrines of primogeniture and coverture that shaped their fortunes. The implication is that both sympathetic and unsympathetic characters would be better off—and perhaps even more generous—under different legal conditions.

Later in the century, after the Divorce Act of 1857 placed coverture under increasing scrutiny, legislators emphasized their duty to protect women within marital relationships (thus ensuring the smooth functioning of coverture), rather than advocate for their equal rights (which would rupture the fiction of coverture altogether) (Shanley 71-4, 77-8). Along these lines, the Married Women’s Property Act of 1870, which gave wives control of their earnings and of legacies under £200, was seen as protecting women of the working or lower-middle classes rather than securing independent property rights for the wealthier classes described by Austen. Despite its limited reach, however, the cultural anxieties attending this law were as great as if it had done much more. (See again Rachel Ablow’s “‘One Flesh,’ One Person, and the 1870 Married Women’s Property Act” for a discussion of the law’s effect on ideas of marriage itself.) In fiction written after 1870, we find women whose marriages secure them great wealth but whose claims to that wealth appear to conflict with the claims of their husbands’ first-born sons. That is, problems of coverture and primogeniture again appear together, but to different effect: once wives can claim property as their own, primogeniture becomes as much a reason to withhold that property as a reason to grant it.

Wives’ claims to property in late-century writing are not all, strictly speaking, governed by coverture or its dissolution. Although that common law doctrine had previously ensured that a wife’s property would become her husband’s after marriage, it significantly did not ever ensure the opposite, that a husband’s property would become her own. On the contrary, only through a husband’s conscious legal action could it be so. Yet the new legal precedent of recognizing a wife’s claim to bilo koji property within marriage appears, for some writers, tantamount to a wife’s claiming svi property within marriage. That is, after the Married Women’s Property Act of 1870 weakened the doctrine of coverture as absolute, a wife’s independent possession of property begins to be represented as theft. Along these lines, mercenary marriage becomes problematic not simply for what it suggests about the gold-digging wife or the institution of marriage itself but because it enables a wife wrongfully to take what should be her husband’s or son’s wealth and make it her “own.” Fictional wives and widows are faulted for claiming as their “own” property that the novel assigns to their husbands’ sons.

Coverture itself, the fiction that marriage creates any real accord, continues to appear injurious in the wake of the 1870 Act. In George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda (1876), for instance, which will be the case study for the rest of my argument, Gwendolen’s marriage is characterized by her husband’s “imperiousness” (427), their “struggle” for dominance (426), and the absence of any of the marital unity presumed by the “one-flesh” doctrine: “How . . . could Grandcourt divine what was going on in Gwendolen’s breast?” (671). Eliot suggests that this sympathetic impasse—the realist novel’s counterpoint to coverture’s more ideal conditions—is matched by financial disparity. Gwendolen acknowledges that she “must leave . . . to Mr Grandcourt” all economic questions with no control over the family wealth herself, she is “very anxious to have some definite knowledge of what would be done for her mother” after her marriage, and experiences “a sense of obligation” when she learns, after the fact, that he has chosen to provide for her (428).

Još Daniel Deronda features the economic concerns of marriage alongside those of inheritance not simply to reveal the double-edged marginalization of women, which we saw earlier in the century, nor to express the mercenary side of matrimony,[16] but to stage a debate about the relative rights of a wife and a son. When Grandcourt’s former mistress confronts Gwendolen to prevent her marriage because “[Grandcourt] ought to make [their] boy his heir” (152), the novel takes seriously her chief objection to the marriage, that “my boy [not be] thrust out of sight for another” (152). Gwendolen, too, responds to the matter of the child’s inheritance with feelings of remorse and generosity: “Perhaps we shall have no children. I hope we shall not. And he might leave the estate to the pretty little boy” (314). Indeed, Gwendolen is “reduced to dread lest she should become a mother” (672-3) at least in part for this reason. At the same time, however, as soon as she has been married, she revels in the thought of personally acquiring new wealth, excited—despite the perceived injustice of it—at “having her own” luxury items (358).

The novel pits the wife’s right to property (however acquired) against that of a son, and the son wins out. Illegitimacy gives this son no more legal claim to the estate than Gwendolen.[17] But after Grandcourt’s death, when this son inherits nearly all of his father’s wealth, his illegitimacy is a nonissue. The reinstated heir looks like his father, acquires most of his wealth, and takes his name.[18] It’s a progressive treatment of illegitimacy not to punish the child for his parents’ actions, but by the time the affair has been settled, it’s hardly a treatment of illegitimacy at all. The issue of legitimacy (mistress versus wife, bastard versus bride) thus takes a backseat to the novel’s question of whether a wife’s or a son’s claim to property should take precedence. As an answer, it makes a wife’s wealth—Gwendolen’s initial idea that any property—even or especially her husband’s—could become her “own” after marriage (358)—appear as theft.[19] Even Gwendolen’s well-wishers support the son’s right of inheritance, remarking that “since the boy is there, this was really the best alternative for the disposal of the estates” (757). Deronda, the moral center of the novel, goes so far as to say that “[Grandcourt] did wrong when he married this wife—not in leaving his estates to the son” (716). And Gwendolen herself is “quite contented with it” (717), calling the decision “. . . all perfectly right” (759) and expressing relief that she is “saved from robbing others” (699). Nobody argues that a wife should have greater claim to property than a son. By representing Gwendolen’s marital wealth as illicit, the novel suggests that a wife’s property, whether accrued before, within, or after marriage, is less legitimate than property transmitted to even an illegitimate son.[20]

These arguments had serious stakes in 1876, when political agitation for wives’ rights to hold their “own” property had made some progress but was still underway. A fuller recognition of women’s economic rights within marriage would come shortly, with the Married Women’s Property Act of 1882. But at this time of intense debate about property rights, the novel’s putative “crime” and its resolution—representing a wife’s wealth as theft and then saving her from “robbing others” by restoring it to a male heir—suggests that when wives claim property as their “own” they do so at the expense of sons and with no real benefit to themselves. In contrast with Austen’s novels, where a son’s privileged inheritance is a fundamental cause of mercenary marriage and a contributing factor to women’s poor economic standing, here instead such inheritance is offered as the lesser evil in the face of women’s increasing claims to wealth within marriage.

At the same time, however, the fact that this son’s claim to his wealth depends upon the whim of an unlikeable man and the “absence of a legitimate heir” (757) rather than the common law doctrine of primogeniture, reminds us of little Grandcourt’s own problematic claims to ownership similarly, Gwendolen’s claims to her “own” property within marriage are supported neither by coverture nor by the Married Women’s Property Act of 1870. Each case reflects the inadequacy of contemporary law to allocate possession in a way that suits social feeling. The novel’s depiction of women’s stinted economic autonomy before, within, or without marriage—Gwendolen’s step-father having “carried off his wife’s jewellery and disposed of it” (274-5), for instance—similarly suggests greater sympathy for women’s restricted options and the need for other conceptions of marriage than “coverture,” a concept that repeatedly fails to veil the sharp differences between husbands and wives in the novel.[21] Unwilling to allow women to profit within marriage by claiming wealth as their “own,” the novel is nonetheless adamant that marriage itself is an institution in need of reform. When Grandcourt drowns, accidentally thrown overboard, Gwendolen’s guilty conscience at having wanted to “kill him in my thoughts” (695) and neglecting to toss him the rope (696) fails to incriminate her. Discovered in tears, on her knees, “Such grief seemed natural in a poor lady whose husband had been drowned in her presence” (702) the “cover” of marriage effectively absolves her of any wrongdoing.

Jill Rappoport is an associate professor of English at the University of Kentucky and author of Giving Women: Alliance and Exchange in Victorian Culture (2011). She is also co-editor (with Lana Dalley) of Economic Women: Essays on Desire and Dispossession in Nineteenth-Century British Culture (in progress).

HOW TO CITE THIS BRANCH ENTRY (MLA format)

Rappoport, Jill. “Wives and Sons: Coverture, Primogeniture, and Married Women’s Property.” BRANCH: Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History. Ed. Dino Franco Felluga. Extension of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net. Mreža. [Here, add your last date of access to BRANCH].

WORKS CITED

Ablow, Rachel. “‘One Flesh,’ One Person, and the 1870 Married Women’s Property Act.” BRANCH: Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History. Ed. Dino Franco Felluga. Extension of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net. Mreža. 28 Jun. 2012.

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Ed. Donald Gray. New York: Norton, 2001. Print.

—. Sense and Sensibility. Ed. Claudia L. Johnson. New York: Norton, 2002. Print.

Bailey, Joanne. “Favoured or Oppressed? Married Women, Property, and ‘Coverture’ in England, 1660-1800.” Kontinuitet i promjena 17.3 (2002): 351-72. Ispis.

Bodichon, Barbara Leigh Smith. “A Brief Summary, in plain language, of the most important laws concerning women: together with a few observations thereon.” 1854. Victorian Women Writer’s Project. Bloomington: Indiana U, 2012. Web. 29 Jun. 2012.

Eliot, George. Daniel Deronda. Ed. Terence Cave. London: Penguin Books, 1995. Print.

Erickson, Amy Louise. Women and Property in Early Modern England. London: Routledge, 1993. Print.

Finn, Margot. “Women, Consumption and Coverture in England, c. 1760-1860.” Povijesni časopis 39.3 (1996): 703-722. Ispis.

Hoeckley, Cheri Larsen. “Anomalous Ownership: Copyright, Coverture, and Aurora Leigh.” Victorian Poetry 35.2 (1998): 135-61. Ispis.

Holcombe, Lee. Wives And Property. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1983. Print.

Michie, Elsie B. The Vulgar Question of Money: Heiresses, Materialism, and the Novel of Manners from Jane Austen to Henry James. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2011. Print.

Osborne, Katherine Dunagan. “Inherited Emotions: George Eliot and the Politics of Heirlooms.” Nineteenth-Century Literature 64.4 (2010): 465-493. Ispis.

Owens, Alastair. “Property, Gender and the Life Course: Inheritance and Family Welfare Provision in Early Nineteenth-Century England.” Društvena povijest 2:3 (2011): 299-317. Ispis.

Perry, Ruth. Novel Relations: The Transformation of Kinship in English Literature and Culture 1748-1818. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004. Print.

Psomiades, Kathy. “Heterosexual Exchange and Other Victorian Fictions: The Eustace Diamonds and Victorian Anthropology.” NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction 3.1 (1999): 93-118. Ispis.

Rappaport, Erika Diane. Shopping for Pleasure: Women in the Making of London’s West End. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2000. Print.

Rappoport, Jill. Giving Women: Alliance and Exchange in Victorian Culture. New York: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.

Ruoff, Gene. “Wills.” 1992. godine. Razum i osjećaji. Ed. Claudia L. Johnson. New York: Norton, 2002. 348-359. Ispis.

Shanley, Mary Lyndon. Feminism, Marriage, and the Law in Victorian England. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1989. Print.

Staves, Susan. Married Women’s Separate Property in England, 1660-1833. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1990. Print.

Vickery, Amanda. “Golden Age to Separate Spheres? A Review of the Categories and Chronology of English Women’s History.” Povijesni časopis 36.2 (1993): 383-414. Ispis.

RELATED BRANCH ARTICLES

[1] Ruth Perry, Novel Relations (see esp. 64, 2, 24, 34, 40, 47, 212-3).

[2] See Alastair Owens, “Property, Gender and the Life Course” (313-4). Owens notes, however, that daughters’ inheritances should “not be overstated,” since wives and widows typically lacked control over property (307-10). Also writing against the bleak narrative of women’s diminished property ownership, Amanda Vickery finds “no systematic reduction in the range of employments available to laboring women” (405).

[3] As Elsie B. Michie has noted recently in The Vulgar Question of Money, Austen’s novels resist the notion that either inheritance or marriage should assist in one individual’s extreme accumulation of wealth (1-2, 28-9).

[4] Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s one moment of something like sympathy toward Elizabeth Bennet comes when she notes that “I see no occasion for entailing estates from the female line” (Ponos i predrasude 109).

[5] Their failure to provide legally for their children would have been seen as “‘culpable,’” according to findings by Owens, who has argued that early nineteenth-century “married male property owners were under an obligation to provide for their family” through wills (303-4) the cultural emphasis on “providing” for kin (rather than simply disposing of an estate) makes Mr. Bennet’s belated regret for his failure seem particularly weak.

[6] See, for example, Amy Louise Erickson, Women and Property in Early Modern England (26, 78, 224) Owens (313-4) Jill Rappoport, Giving Women (e.g. 46, 50).

[7] For Kathy Psomiades, “the great paradox of the idea of heterosexual exchange is that it describes with greater and greater clarity woman’s position as circulated sign and commodity at precisely the historical moment in the West in which middle-class women and men to a greater and greater extent are seen as having a claim to equal economic and political agency” (94).

[8] For a classic contemporary response to coverture, see Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon, “A Brief Summary, in plain language, of the most important laws concerning women: together with a few observations thereon” (1854).

[9] See Mary Lyndon Shanley, Feminism, Marriage, and the Law in Victorian England (passim, npr. 8, 26, 66) also Susan Staves, Married Women’s Separate Property in England, 1660-1833 (27-36, 129-30, 217) and Lee Holcombe, Wives And Property. As Owens notes, “even in widowhood married women’s rights to family property were largely determined by their dead husband” (312).

[10] Hence Mr. Darcy’s alarm that his sister’s inheritance could have become the property of the fortune hunter Mr. Wickham (133) had they eloped as planned, no marriage settlements could have been made to protect Miss Darcy’s wealth. The fact that Elizabeth helps her own sister (Lydia Wickham) “by the practice of what might be called economy in her own private expenses” (253)—that is, through sharing her pin money, rather than tapping the household expenses—again reiterates that, under coverture, his larger wealth is not precisely her own.

[11] For details on the two Acts, see chapters two (49-78) and four (103-30) Holcombe (237-38 for petition, 243-246 for the 1870 Married Women’s Property Act, and 247-252 for the 1882 Act).

[12] Margot Finn, “Women, Consumption and Coverture in England, c. 1760-1860” (706, 707) Erika Diane Rappaport, Shopping for Pleasure: Women in the Making of London’s West End (50-65) Joanne Bailey, “Favoured or Oppressed?” Erickson (150, 224).

[13] In a similar vein, Owens has noted that even widows “were rarely able to derive much financial benefit from family property,” since they were typically treated as custodians of their children’s future inheritance (310).

[14] See also Gene Ruoff’s discussion of Fanny’s own “will” with respect to the novel’s treatment of inheritance (esp. 350-353).

[15] Michie discusses the nineteenth-century history and legacy of this demonization. (For the specific example of Fanny Dashwood, see 27-29.)

[16] Along these lines, it seems significant that Gwendolen, unlike Austen’s Fanny Dashwood and the other wealthy women Michie discusses, is actually the “poor” woman when she marries Grandcourt her poverty does not entail any of the virtues that nineteenth-century novels of manners often afforded the poor heroines chosen by wealthy husbands.

[17] Even marriage to Lydia Glasher would not have legitimated her son post-facto. Grandcourt could choose to make him the heir—and his marriage to Lydia would ensure the absence of any subsequent legitimate heirs—but in the case of intestacy, illegitimate children would have been passed over.

[18] Gwendolen Grandcourt will even share her name with the reinstated heir. Katherine Osborne notes that this renaming “throws any kind of traditional lineage into confusion” (789) but, since this renaming also conceals the heir’s illegitimate birth, we can also see it as a more traditional mandate to favor a son’s claims to property.

[19] To a certain extent, this is part of the scapegoating of wealthy women that Michie has discussed in nineteenth-century fiction, but—as I’ve noted—Gwendolen’s position differs from the examples Michie considers because she is not an heiress accumulating additional wealth through marriage.

[20] This decision is striking in part because it bequeaths wealth to a child who is still a minor another option would have been for Grandcourt to establish a two-stage provision, allowing Gwendolen to benefit from the income of her late husband’s wealth until the heir was of an age to accept it. See Owens (305-7).

[21] In addition to the power struggles of Gwendolen’s marriage, the novel depicts other unhappy unions: Mirah’s mother, according to Mrs Meyrick, was “A good woman, you may depend: you may know it by the scoundrel the father is” (223) Deronda’s own mother describes herself as “forced into marrying your father” (626).


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