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A Victorian Scrapbook

A Scrapbook of Newspaper Articles Compiled by George Burgess (1829-1905)

Victorian Family, People and Relationships

Early Marriages

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Transcript from original newspaper article: -


Early MarriagesThis is a subject on which much is said and much written, but the opinions offered are so conflicting that little good is effected by its frequent discussion.

Aside from some few exceptions – the general law of Nature seem to decide that “too early” marriages are likely to be attended with more injurious effects than the opposite extreme; and also that there is a medium which all rational minds can easily determine.

It is admitted by all, that mutual love is an indispensable requisite in the matrimonial connection; and it is believed by some that the strongest attachments are formed in youth. This, however, admits of exceptions, too; and cannot be set down as a general rule.

Young love is like all the other fancies of youth, who are prone to over-reach the mark; they aspire to unattainable objects; their imperfect vision magnifies the joys which they picture to themselves in future, and nothing but experience in the school of life will convince them of their mistake. Until the faculties of mind are sufficiently developed to enable them to decide between love and romance, one would naturally suppose that the formation of an attachment for life was premature.

The physical constitution also, is a matter of great importance, and it too often disregarded. It is a well-known fact that the children of very young parents are generally sickly, and either die at an early age, or suffer with disease through life. Parents transmit both their mental and physical constitutions to their children’ and the well-being of the future generation depends, materially, upon the wisdom of the present.

It is got to be proverb that “the youngest children are the smartest;” and in proof of this, it is a fact that most of the “great men” of our own and other countries, are the youngest of their families – and children of middle aged parents. Franklin, for instance, was the fifteenth child of his father, and the eighth of his mother. Daniel Webster was the youngest son, by a second marriage. Lord Bacon’s father was fifty, and his mother thirty-two years of age, at his birth. Judge Story’s mother was forty-four at his birth; and Dr. Doddridge was the twentieth child of his parents.

Many similar cases might be quoted, while very few such men as these are to be found in the world, who were the offsprings of very young parents. – Make a note of this, young ladies and gentlemen, who are contemplating wedlock.