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in about the proportion of three to twothree
young subjects present themselves for Queen
Victoria, in place of every two that pass away.
"The number of marriages in a nation," says
the Registrar, " perhaps fluctuates independently
of external causes; but it is a fair
deduction from the facts, that the marriage
returns in England point to periods of
prosperity, little less distinctly than the funds
measure the hopes and fears of the money
market. If the one is the barometer of credit,
the other is the barometer of prosperitya
prosperity partly in possession, and still more
in hope." The year 1845 was a great
matrimonial year, the proportion of persons married
being more than had been known in England
for ninety years before. It was a season of
great speculation, activity, and temporary
prosperity. Three years before, in 1842, on
the contrary, there was a great diminution in
the number of weddings. It was a year of
difficulty and high prices. Rather more than
ten per cent. of the persons married in 1845,
had been married more than once. When
food is dear, as in 1839, marriages are few;
as food becomes cheap, as in 1845, marriages
are many. When a cheap food year indicates
a year of " marrying and giving in marriage,"
another sign is generally found; the price of
consols indicates a condition of national affairs
much more conducive to matrimonial arrangements,
than young ladies would imagine. In
what may be called the great English
matrimonial period, the three per cents. were about
par, instead of being about 88, as they were
in the unfavourable season a short time before.
When employment is plenty, trade active,
and money easy, Doctors Commons becomes
brisk, clergymen have long lists of banns to
declare, and the Registrar's column of
marriages fills up.

As an instance of the influence of the price
of food and want of employment upon the
number of marriages, let us take an illustration
from the Registrar as to the period from
1792 to 1798. The weather was bad, the
funds low, and bread excessively dear, and
upon particular districts a change of fashion
made the burthen fall with still additional
weight. The " Church and King " riots broke
out in July, 1791, in Birmingham; and the
mob burnt Dr. Priestley's library, several
houses, and some dissenting chapels; in May,
1792, they again rose, but the magistrates
this time evinced some vigour, and put a stop
to the outrages. A staple manufacture of
Birmingham had been subject to one of the
mutations of fashion, which caused great
distress; for it is recorded, that, on December
21st, 1791, "several respectable buckle-
manufacturers from Birmingham, Walsall, and
Wolverhampton, waited upon His Royal
Highness the Prince of Wales, with a petition
setting forth the distressed situation of
thousands in the different branches of the buckle
manufacture, from the fashion now, and for
some time back, so prevalent, of wearing shoe-
strings instead of buckles. His Royal Highness
graciously promised his utmost assistance
by his example and influence." After the
recovery of George III. from his first illness,
in 1789, an immense number of buckles were
manufactured about Birmingham; Walsall
among other places invested the greater part
of its available wealth in the speculation.
The king unfortunately went in the state
procession to St. Paul's without buckles: and
Walsall was nearly ruined. Shoe-strings
gradually supplied the place of straps. The
effect of this freak of fashion and speculation
on the marriages of Birmingham was to reduce
them most seriously; and it had probably
more to do with the licentious Birmingham,
riots, than the more patent political agitation
of the day. The disuse of wigs, buckles,
buttons, and leather breeches at the close of
the eighteenth century, is supposed to have
affected the business of a million of people.
In 1765, the peace of London had been
disturbed by the periwig-makers, who went in
procession to petition the young king,
"submitting to His Majesty's goodness and wisdom,
whether his own example was not the only
means of rescuing them from their distress,
as far as it was occasioned by so many people
wearing their own hair." When change of
fashions influence unfavourably the employment
of the people, and when, at the same
time, influenced or increased by lack of work,
their poverty increases, matrimony is at a
discount. It is not simply the poorer classes,
dependent on weekly wages for their support,
who feel the influence of times of business
activity, and allow it to impel them to matrimony.
When the workman is busy, the
trader makes profits, the landlord gets his
rents, and all sections of the community feel
the beneficial influence of a prosperous season.
The number of those persons entirely removed
from such social sympathies is very few;
indeed, as a great rule, when the workmen
are prosperous, all classes above them are
thriving too: and when the one section of the
great English family is influenced to matrimony
in an unusual degree, the others feel
the influence of the same law. When the
reaction, a period of depression, arrives, the
number of marriages declines, but they have
never fallen back to their original numbers.
A time of prosperity lifts up the total in a
remarkable manner, and when the happy time
ceases, the number fallsbut not equal to the
level from which it sprung. It is to a certain
degree a permanent increase.

As to the mode in which marriages are
performed, it appears that nine out of ten
take place according to the rites of the
established church. The marriages by banns are
about six times as numerous as those by
license. Upon these weddings, by aid of
Doctors Commons, there is, it seems, a vast
sum of money spent; but who are the lucky
men receiving it, does not appear very
clearly, and the services they render for