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

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Aug 29 16:25:19 UTC 2009

I quickly found a secondary source (via Google Books) that claimed that
paternity/child support were assigned (usually) irrespectively of the
putative father's claim, but the finding of actual guilt (and thus fine)
depended on confession or subsequent marriage (the assumption was, I
guess, that the wife did not procreate with someone else and
conveniently married afterward). The fine was statutory but there might
have been also additional flogging to both parties. Obviously, it was to
the man's benefit to deny involvement, unless the couple had already
married or was about to marry. An interesting twist is that the article
in question was based on a case where the claimed father was actually
found not responsible for the child. I'll be happy to find the source
again and forward it if anyone would like it.


Joel S. Berson wrote:
> At 8/29/2009 10:50 AM, Victor Steinbok wrote:
>> OK--I checked a couple of sources and this assessment appears to be
>> correct. The punishment for fornication was 5 pounds to each party,
> In the Plymouth Colony (from 1645), the fine was less if
> (1)  the couple married; and even less if
> (2)  the couple was under contract to marry.
> Paternity and financial responsibility were assignable in such cases,
> whereas there might be doubt (or a missing male) with unaffianced or
> unmarried persons.  (I have not researched the Massachusetts law for
> fornication.)
> Joel

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