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Polynesian Researches

XIV. Concerning Marriage

XIV. Concerning Marriage

Marriage is an agreement between two persons, one man and one woman, that they will be united in marriage. It must not be with a brother or a sister, but with a distant relation or a stranger, that a person may properly (lawfully) marry.

The marriage ceremony shall be performed by a Missionary, or magistrate. Those purposing to marry shall make the same known unto a Missionary, or to a magistrate; and the Missionary (or magistrate) shall cause it to be intimated to the people, that the propriety (of it) may be known. Perhaps there may be some cause that would render it improper for them to marry; if not, then they may marry. This is the evil (that would render if unlawful): perhaps the man may have forsaken his wife in some island or country, and may have travelled to another land, deceitfully to marry. So also it may be with the wife, and is also the regulation. Therefore shall the Missionary request the people, if they know of evil conduct page 182 in any other land, that would render it unlawful, to make it known to him; then shall the marriage not take place. But if there be no evil (that would render it unlawful) then they may marry. On the day of assembling for worship, the Missionary shall publish this word—he shall then say unto all the people, “Such an one, and such an one, desire or propose to be united in marriage. The people will then seek or inquire, if there be any just cause why they should not live together.

When the day arrives for the celebration of marriage, let persons also come as witnesses. The Missionary shall then direct the man to take the right hand of the woman, when he shall say unto him, “Will (or do) you take this woman to be your lawful wife, will you faithfully regard her alone (as your wife,) until death? Then shall the man answer, “Yes.” The Missiouary shall now direct the woman to take the man by the right hand, and shall ask her, “Will (or do) you take this man to be your lawful husband, will you be obedient unto him, will you faithfully regard him alone, (as your husband until death?) Then shall the woman answer, “Yes.”

After this, the Missionary shall declare unto all the people, “These two persons have become truly (or lawfully) man and wife, in the presence of God and man.” The register of the marriage shall be written by the Missionary in the marriage book, and signed by himself, the parties, and the witnesses. Thus shall marriage be solemnized. Let none become man and wife secretly, it is a crime.