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a member of the Medical Society, was called in, who returned a certificate with the cause of death as fever.” A coroner, after a post-mortem examination, gave the cause as "punctured uterus, followed by pyæmia,” leaving no doubt as to the nature of the cause. It is impossible to believe that the first return was honestly made, or that the physician alluded to was ignorant of what had been done to the poor victim, or of the character of the vile fellow who destroyed her life. It is easily understood how one respectable physician might be led to attempt to extricate another from some unfortunate difficulty, not involving intentional culpability ; but it is not so easy to comprehend why the same effort should be niade to screen the murderous work of an unprincipled abortionist. Such instances, and others less revolting, it is believed, are not infrequent, and serve to bring discredit on the registered causes of death. If physicians, recognized as respectable by their professional brethren, will for any purpose stoop to evade a manifest requirement of the law, or exhibit an utter indifference as to whether they assign the right or wrong cause of death ; or, indeed, if they will not trouble themselves about the matter at all, what can be expected from those who make no claims to respectability, and who are allowed to practise in as irregular a manner as they or their unlucky patients may desire ?
The law requiring certificates of death from attending physicians needs amendment in one particular at least. As the law now stands, burials may take place, or bodies removed from the State even, before the certificates of the causes of death have been received by the officer who issues the permit to bury, thus rendering it almost impossible to detect crimes such as are above alluded to. The change should forbid the issue of a permit to inter or to remove from the city, before a certificate is received by the recording officer. In cases where there was no physician in attendance at the time of death, or if through neglect the medical attendant had failed to make out a satisfactory certificate, it should be made the duty of the registrar to call on a coroner to furnish the desired document. Such a provision would soon ensure prompt returns, as few physicians would a second time run the risk of having others act as medical wet-nurses to their defunct patients.
N. A. APOLLONIO,
CITY REGISTRAR'S OFFICE,
Boston, May 13, 1872.
THE MARRIAGE LAW OF MASSACHUSETTS.
GENERAL STATUTES. CHAP. 106.
[Secs. 1-6 relate to certain prohibited marriages.]
SECTION 7. Persons intending to be joined in marriage shall, before their marriage, cause notice thereof to be entered in the office of the clerk or registrar of the city or town in which they respectively dwell, if within the State. If there is no such clerk or registrar in the place of their residence, the entry shall be made in an adjoining city or town.
SECT. 8. The clerk or registrar shall deliver to the parties a certificate under his hand, specifying the time when notice of the intention of marriage was entered with him, together with all facts in relation to the marriage required by law to be ascertained and recorded, except those respecting the person by whom the marriage is to be solemnized. Such certificate shall be delivered to the minister or magistrate in whose presence the marriage is to be contracted, before he proceeds to solemnize the same.
SECT. 9. If a clerk or registrar issues such certificate to a male under the age of twenty-one years, or a female under the age of eighteen years, having reasonable cause to suppose the person to be under such age, except upon the application or consent in writing of the parent, master, or guardian of such person, he shall forfeit a sum not exceeding one hundred dollars; but if there is no parent, master, or guardian in this State, competent to act, a certificate may be issued without such application or consent.
SECT. 10. The clerk or registrar may require of any person applying for such certificate, an affidavit sworn to before a justice of the peace for the county where the application is made, setting forth the age of the parties; which affidavit shall be sufficient proof of age to authorize the issuing of the certificate.
SECT. 11. Whoever applying for such certificate, wilfully makes a false statement in relation to the age or residence, parent, master, or guardian, of either of the parties intending marriage, shall forfeit a sum not exceeding two hundred dollars.
SECT. 12. When a marriage is solemnized in another State between parties living in this State, and they return to dwell here, they shall, within seven days after their return, file with the clerk or registrar of the city or town, where either of them lived at the time, a certificate or declaration of their marriage, including the facts concerning marriages by law; and for every neglect they shall forfeit ten dollars.
SECT. 13. No magistrate or minister shall solemnize a marriage, having reasonable cause to suppose either of the parties to be under the
age mentioned in section nine, without the consent of the parent or guardian having the custody of the minor, if there is any in the State competent to act.
SECT. 14. Marriages may be solemnized by a justice of the peace in the county for which he is appointed, when either of the parties resides in the same county; and throughout the State by any minister of the gospel ordained according to the usage of his denomination, who resides within the State and continues to perform the functions of his office; but all marriages shall be solemnized in the city or town in which the person solemnizing them resides, or in which one or both of the persons to be married reside.
SECT. 15. Marriages among the people called Friends or Quakers may be solemnized in the manner heretofore used and practised in their societies.
SECT. 16. Every justice of the peace, minister, and clerk, or keeper of the records of the meeting wherein any marriages among the Friends or: Quakers are solemnized, shall make a record of each marriage solemnized before him, together with all facts relating to the marriage required by law to be recorded. He shall also between the first and tenth days of each month return a copy of the record for the month next preceding, to the clerk or registrar of the city or town in which the marriage was solemnized, and shall, when neither of the parties to a marriage resides in the city or town in which the marriage is solemnized, return a copy of the record of such marriage to the clerk or registrar of the city or town in which one or both of said parties reside. All marriages so returned shall be recorded by the clerk or registrar.
SECT. 17. Every person neglecting to make the returns required by the preceding section shall forfeit for each neglect not less than twenty nor more than one hundred dollars.
SECT. 18. A justice of the peace or minister who joins persons in marriage contrary to the provision of this chapter, knowing that the marriage is not duly authorized, shall forfeit not less than fifty nor more than one hundred dollars.
SECT. 19. Whoever undertakes to join persons in marriage, knowing that he is not authorized so to do, shall be imprisoned in the jail or confined to hard labor for a term not exceeding six months, or pay a fine of not less than fifty nor more than two hundred dollars.
SECT. 20. [Unintentional informality does not invalidate marriages in other respects lawful.]
SECT. 21. The record of a marriage, made and kept as prescribed by law by the person before whom the marriage is solemnized, or by the clerk or registrar of any city or town, or a copy of such record duly certified, shall be received in all courts and places as presumptive evidence of such marriage.
SECT. 22. [Admission of respondent, general repute, etc., competent evidence to prove the fact of marriage.]
SECT. 23. [Marriage in foreign countries by a consul or diplomatic agent valid, and certificate of such consul or agent presumptive evidence thereof.]
[Statutes of 1867. Chapter 58.]
AN ACT RELATING TO THE MARRIAGE OF NON-RESIDENT PARTIES.
SECTION 1. Persons living without the Commonwealth and intending to be joined in marriage within the Commonwealth, shall, before their marriage, cause notice of their intention to be entered in the office of the clerk or registrar of the city or town in which they propose to have the marriage solemnized; and no marriage between such parties shall be solemnized until they have delivered to the justice of the peace, or minister in whose presence the marriage is to be contracted, a certificate from such clerk or registrar, specifying the time when notice of the intention of marriage was entered with him, together with all the facts in relation to the marriage required by law to be ascertained and recorded, except those respecting the person by whom the marriage is to be solemuized.
SECT. 2. Marriages may be solemnized by a justice of the peace in the county for which he is appointed.
SECT. 3. A justice of the peace or minister who joins persons in marriage contrary to the provisions of this act, shall forfeit not less than fifty nor more than one hundred dollars.
Approved March 11, 1867.