Promise of marriage

PROMISE OF MARRIAGE. A contract mutually entered into by a man and a woman capable of contracting matrimony, that they will marry each other.
     2. When one of the contracting parties violates his or her promise to the other, the latter may support an action against the former for damages, which are sometimes very liberally given. To entitle the plaintiff to recover damages, however, the defendant must not have been incapable of making the contract at, the time, and such incapacity must not have been known to the opposite party; as, if a married man were to promise to marry a woman, and he afterwards refused to do so.
     3. The canon law punished these breaches of promises by ecclesiastical censures.
     4. According to the ancient jurisprudence of France, damage's could have been recovered for the in execution of this engagement, and cases are reported which show a considerable liberality on this subject. M. Maynon, counsellor in the parliament of Paris, was condemned to sixty thousand livres damages; and a M. Hebert to fourteen thousand livres. D'Hericourt, Lois Ecclesiastiques, titre du Mariage, art. 1, n. 13. By the modern law of France, damages may be recovered for the violation of this contract.
     5. In Germany and Holland damages may also be recovered. Voet, in Pandectas, tit. de sponsalibus, n. 12; Huberus, in Pandectas, eod. tit. n. 19. And the Prussian code regulates the amount of damages to be paid under a variety of circumstances. Part 1, b. 2, tit. 2. Vide 2 Chit. Pr. 52; Rose, Civ. Ev. 193; 2 Car. & P. 631; 4 Esp. R. 258; 1 C. & P. 350; Holt, R. 151; S. C. 3 E. C. L. R. 57; 7 Cowen, 22; 1 John. Cas. 116; 6 Cowen, 254; 4 Cowen, 355; 7 Wend. 142.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in classic literature ?
Years ago the Company betrayed my sweetheart by promise of marriage. Under an assumed name I have wormed myself into its service for revenge; and as there is a heaven above us, I will have its heart's blood!"
She said, she could not help agreeing with her brother, that there was some merit in the sincerity of her confession, and in her integrity to her lover: that she had always thought her a very good girl, and doubted not but she had been seduced by some rascal, who had been infinitely more to blame than herself, and very probably had prevailed with her by a promise of marriage, or some other treacherous proceeding.
"No proposal or promise of marriage whatsoever," suggested Mr.
"No proposal or promise of marriage whatsoever," said I, "between this gentleman--"
Minguilla, Mingo Silvato's granddaughter, found it out, and has gone to law with him on the score of having given her promise of marriage. Evil tongues say she is with child by him, but he denies it stoutly.
It was the report of a trial for breach of promise of marriage, giving the testimony in full, with fervid extracts from both the gentleman's and lady's amatory correspondence.
He relates to us all the various steps by which his office-boy rose to be the "ruler of the queen's navee," and explains to us how the briefless barrister managed to become a great and good judge, "ready to try this breach of promise of marriage." It is in the petty details, not in the great results, that the interest of existence lies.
Martha Bardell to commence an action against you for a breach of promise of marriage, for which the plaintiff lays her damages at fifteen hundred pounds, we beg to inform you that a writ has been issued against you in this suit in the Court of Common Pleas; and request to know, by return of post, the name of your attorney in London, who will accept service thereof.
"The latest news in the Faubourg is that there is a promise of marriage between Mlle.
Miss Rugg was a lady of a little property which she had acquired, together with much distinction in the neighbourhood, by having her heart severely lacerated and her feelings mangled by a middle-aged baker resident in the vicinity, against whom she had, by the agency of Mr Rugg, found it necessary to proceed at law to recover damages for a breach of promise of marriage. The baker having been, by the counsel for Miss Rugg, witheringly denounced on that occasion up to the full amount of twenty guineas, at the rate of about eighteen- pence an epithet, and having been cast in corresponding damages, still suffered occasional persecution from the youth of Pentonville.
And that promise of marriage when her daughter, Natalya Yegorovna, was alive?