|1820 Wife Sale caricature - from A.H. Phillips Georgian Scrapbook (1949) - page 123|
"RECEIVED of Edward Salter the sum of four pounds ten shillings for goods received and chattels, a bay mare, and also Mrs. Smale, as parting man and wife.
Agreed before witnesses, October l7th, 1810.
Witness the mark of
Edward Snow X
James Worth X
Mary Salter X
Edward Salter X
Settled the whole concern by the mark of John Smale X
£4 l0s. 0d.
ON Thursday, May 15th, 1811, the buyer made application to the Plymouth magistrates, stating the circumstances of the case, and that John Smale wanted his wife back again, notwithstanding that he the said buyer liked her very much, and did not wish to part with her.
The magistrates told him he had no legal claim to the woman, and advised him to give her up to her husband, to which he very reluctantly consented. In these good old times when a man grew tired of his wife, it was not an unfrequent practice to put a halter round her neck and offer her in the nearest market place for sale, she tamely submitting to the indignity. Possibly she was glad to obtain release from an unamiable spouse by such easy means. The reader will smile, and say : "Ah ! perhaps so," but such things do not happen in this more enlightened age."
Map - Plymouth