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Source: Bell's Weekly Messenger, No.1770, Sunday, February 28, 1830


Breach of Promise of Marriage


This action was brought by Mary Ann Sinclair, against Wm. Rotheram, for a breach of promise of marriage.

Mr. Gurney addressed the Jury for the plaintiff, and gave in evidence the following facts:—The plaintiff, who was 20 years of age in November last, was the daughter of Mr. Sinclair, a publican, in the New-cut, Lambeth. The defendant, whose age was about 30, was a linen-draper, in partnership with a Mr. Brinsell, in Shoreditch. He first became acquainted with the plaintiff about four years ago, by her going to the shop, where he had then just commenced business, in company with her mother, to purchase articles of dress, &c. and for some time prior to last February it became known to the plaintiff's family that the defendant was paying his addresses to the young lady as her lover; and asked the consent of her father and mother to his marrying her. The father told him that he had no property to give to his daughter, and the defendant in reply said, he did not want money : all he wanted was the young lady. The plaintiff's father having given his consent to the union, proposed that the marriage should take place the first week in August. This being acceded to, the necessary arrangements were made by the family, but before the end of July the defendant's visits were less frequent; and some indication of a change in his sentiments being at length given, the plaintiff's brother had an interview with him, when he stated that his uncle who was possessed of considerable property, had discovered that he was paying his addresses to the plaintiff, and told him that if he ventured to marry her he would "clip his wings." A few days afterwards the defendant wrote to the plaintiff stating that it would be ridiculous to think of marrying without a settlement of 200l. a year upon her. The letter concluded by saying, "Let the result be as it may, I shall never forsake you, and I never will he married to any other woman as long as you live." Soon after the date of this letter the defendant discontinued his visits altogether, and told the plaintiff's brother that he would not marry any woman who had not a fortune of 200l. a year. The plaintiff became low-spirited, and was obliged to go into the country to recruit her health.

In addition to the above facts, it was proved by a young lady, of the name of Wrightson, that the defendant was paying his addresses to her sister, who resided with her father, a retired tradesman, in Bethnal-green; and that he commenced his attentions to her some time before Christmas—she believed in October last.

As part of the evidence, nine letters from the defendant to the plaintiff were put in. They all of them contained expressions of ardent affection for the plaintiff. Some of them were very prolix, and contained common place quotations — such as, "Doubt any thing, but never doubt I love."

The Attorney-General, for the defendant, submitted that very moderate damages would satisfy the justice of the case.

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