Early "mis[s]"(1652) as title?

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Aug 29 14:50:44 UTC 2009

OK--I checked a couple of sources and this assessment appears to be
correct. The punishment for fornication was 5 pounds to each party, but
the entire sum was often assessed to the admitted father of a "bastard"
child. Toward the end of the XVIIth century, confession was necessary
for a conviction for "fornication" and a corresponding fine, but child
support payments could have been assessed simply on mother's
declaration. Earlier laws encouraged "fornicators" to marry.

In contrast, punishment for adultery, with the discretion of the courts,
rose to capital level. So, the answer to the original question is no--an
UNmarried woman could not have been found guilty of adultery.


Victor Steinbok wrote:
> I don't know how early New England statutes listed such crimes, but I
> suspect they would have made the same scriptural distinction--given that
> the Puritans were literalists.

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