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A JEWISH BREACH OF PROMISE. The case of "Meyer v. Gottinger" has been tried at the Court of Common Pleas, and was an action to recover da- mages for a breach of promise to marry, the plaintiff being 28 years old, and the defendant by admission 60, but perhaps, as was suggested, 70 years of age. Both parties were of the Jewish religion, and met in the first instance at the syna- gogue. The particulars are as under Mr. Huddleston said that the plaintiff, Miss Frances Meyer, was a young lady, 28 years of age, the daughter of a gentleman who carried on business as an importer of foreign goods in Houndsditcli. The defendant was of more mature ageâhe was GO years old, and having carried on a lucrative business as a merchant, he had retired to live in Noel-street, Islington. He had been for some time a widower, and in July of last year he became acquainted with some members of the plaintiff's family whom he had met at the synagogue, both parties to the suit being of the Hebrew persuasion. Mr. Meyer had ten children, of whom the plaintiff was the eldest. The defendant having seen the plaintiff, requested permission to be introduced to her, and he became in- timate with the plaintiff's family in the course of August and September. In October his attentions to Miss Meyer became very marked, and they continued through the remaining months of 1862. In May, 1863, the defendant spoke to the mother of Miss Meyer on the subject of marrying the young lady, and he mentioned to the mother hisposition in society. He said he was a widower that he was possessed of 6001. or 8007. a year, derived from property. He also said that he would be prepared to settle upon the plaintiff 5,0001., to be at her own disposal. Mrs. Meyer said that she could scarcely make any arrangement without first having the consent of the lady and of her father. It was, therefore, desired that the defendant should see the lady, make his proposal, and ascer- tain whether he would be accepted or not. He had an interview with the plaintiffâshe accepted him âand he came out of the room in a state of great exultation, saying that he had been accepted; and from that moment tli parties were treated as being affianced to each other. The defendant was very eager that the marriage should take place almost immediately indeed, he wanted to be married within a month after the proposal was made but the father suggested that this would he too soon. and the 5th of August was fixed for the wedding-day. After the proposal had been made, the defendant took a house in Noel-street, Islington, and began to furnishit. He visited the plaintifr continually, presented her with agold watch arid earrings, and said that he had been looking out for a diamond necklace, but could not find one that was sufficiently expensive. He was also taken down to Ramsgate and introduced to the plaintiff's relations in that town, and everything was done upon the faith that the marriage was to take place upon the 5tb of August. The defendant became ill, and during that illness he asked most tenderly after his intended bride, and said that, if anything should happen to him, he had taken precaution that she should not su fier. Having recovered, the parties went for a drive in Victoria Park, and on that occasion the defendant asked her to accom- pany him to Scarborough, and she said that she thought that this would not be quite right until after they were married. Whether from this cause or not, the defendant soon afterwards told plaintiff's brother that he had cbauged his mind, and he refused to marry the plaintiff. The plaintiff's mother went to the defend- ant to ask him what he meant by this, and the only answer she got was, "I do not intend to marry her, and you may do what you like." In conclusion the learned counsel said that he did not put this case before the jury as one in which any great affection or roman- tic sentiment was involved but still the fact remained that a lady of mature age had lost the chance of being settlrd in life, and there was no doubt that she was entitled to substantial damages. Mr. Serjeant Ballantine rose and said that his client was perfectly prepared to marry the lady. The Lord Chief Justice asked whether the defendant was ready to forfeit the 5,0001, which Mr. Huddleston said he had promised to settle on the plaintiff in case he did not marry her in a month. Mr. Serjeant Ballantine said that he was perfectly pre- pared to forfeit a reasonable sum in case he again broke his promise, and to make such provision for Miss Meyer when his wife as his means would admit of. No arrangement was made, and the trial went on.- The first witness called was Mr. Meyer, who deposed as follows:â I am the plaintiff's father, and an importer of fancy goods, in July, i&>2, 1 tbe plaintiff pty plwe j of worship. The defendant sat next me, and addressed himself tome. He said he was a widower, lonely, and in- dependent, and had been living in England for eight years. He asked me to let him call. He first called about October and continued to call from time to time up to May. In consequence of what my wife told me in that month, I spoke to him, and told him I must see to my daughter's interest, and that there was a disparity of age. He used the German word (ti-wU? (although it was said that there is no English equivalent to this word, we venture to translate it as" All right"), and added that he was strong and hearty, and should like to see my daughter in private. He saw her, and said he was quite satisfied. He would settle 5.0002. on her and to her own use, and he expected a family. I said I was perfectly satisfied. He said, I am the happiest man in the world; and he wanted to be mar- ried in a fortnight or three weeks. I objected, and we flxed the 5th of August. The defendant was introduced to mem- bers of my family as accepted suitor. I went with him to Dr. Adier, the chief rabbi. He told the doctor be was going to be married, and asked, Am I not right in getting married ?" He said, "Yes, certainly.' lie got a certificate in Hebrew. I spent 100?. in providing for the marriage. The defendant gave my daughter silk dresses and jewellery, and said he was looking out for It diamond necklace, but could find nothing to his fancy. I and my son went to a house taken by the defendant in consequence of something said by my wife. The bedroom was not furnished according to our English notions of comfort. He said be meant the rooms to be in the German style. I said he had promised to get other things. I pointed out various things as necessary, a washhandstand for instance. Chief Justice Erie: Was there not one? Witness: I saw none. He said he would see my daughter. The defendant told me he had originally 0002. or 700Z. a year. His securities were in a chest, which I saw. Cross-examined by Mr. Serjeant Ballantine:âI have three other daughters younger. It was arranged that 5,0001. should be settled. I think I should have allowed her to marry without settlement, for he said he had no family, and the property would have come to his wife. I think I should not have consented originally. I found no great fault with the furniture. I do not think there was anything I praised. The defendant said he had been German all his life, and he should like to continue to live like a German. I did not let him come to my house for months after he first spoke to me. Ile never said that he had neither the means nor the inclination to settle anything on her. He said he would make her com- fortable and happy and provide for her by his will. It was his offer to make a settlement. I did say, "If my daughter has no influence now, what would she after marriage?" but I never said it should be broken off. I do not know of any letters. I never asked my daughter, but she has no letters. Chief-Justice Erie: I do not wish to interfere, but have you not asked every question you can think of? Mr. Sergeant Ballantine: I take credit to myself for not occupying time unreasonably, but I can't call the defendant. Mr. Huddleston Nor I the plaintiff. Mr. Sergeant Ballantine: I wish you would; then they could settle It amicably. In answer to Mr. Henry James, who re-examined the plaintiff, he said that there was only a small bedstead and a few chairs in the bedroom; no washhandstand, no wardrobe, and no curtains. Mrs. Meyer, the plaintiff's mother, stated that the defen- dant first asked her if she had any objection to his recom- mending a partie; afterwards he proposed himself, said he had 7001. or 8001. a year, and would make my daughter as comfortable as a lady could desire, and settle 6,0002. upon her. He expected to have children, in which case his fortune would be divided; if he had no family, he would leave his wife all his^lroperty, except a legacy to his sister, an old lady at Berlin. Mrs. Meyer then shortly detailed the very pro- saic course of the defendant's courtship, until he broke his promise, refused to marry the plaintiff, and said that they might go to law or do whatever they liked. THe plaintiff's brother was called to confirm the evidence given by his father and brother. Notwithstanding the eloquent and indignant speech of Mr. Huddleston, and the sarcastic and energetic reply of Mr. Serjeant Ballantine, the question was really one of pounds, shillings, and pence, and the jury gave a verdict for the plaintiff.âDamages, 750h


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