A wedding we are soon to have

Another marriage story, although I’m not sure who’s the more prudent in this situation. I’ll let Martin Madan tell the tale (punctuation as in the original!):

Since I came here, I have acted a part which I beleive will meet with but little approbation from the fair sex, I have been the means of breaking off a wedding. I’ll explain the matter to you. Cornet Carter, who you have seen at my house, had engag’d himself to a young lady of this country of a good family & £3,000 fortune, parents consents were obtain’d, the wedding day fix’t, & a settlement concluded upon… the young gentleman open’d himself to me & confessing many conflicts with himself upon this serious affair, that he consider’d he was of an extravagant disposition & was afraid he cou’d not curb his passions, & that their fortunes were too small to maintain them as they had been bred, I found him so uneasie that I undertook to break off the match, which he consented to. I presently wrote a letter to the young ladys father, as from him, in which I insisted upon a point that I know he wou’d not grant, the letter was sent, the father astonisht, Mama scolding & abusing the promis’d bridegroom, & poor Miss drownd in tears, in short the whole family is in an uproar, my pupil has just receiv’d a message to beg the favour of him to come to the house for Papa to speak to him, I was at first in doubt whether I shou’d let him go, but he seem’d so brave & resolute that I have trusted him, he had been gone there two hours which makes me suspect Misses tears & tender vows will melt my young mans heart once more, in my next I shall be able to tell you what this interview has produc’d, if the paramours re-engage they are for ever undone, this conduct of mine I fancy you’ll blame, you will not be able to get the better of your own sex so far as to judge impartially of this matter, but I am sure & very well satisfied within my self I have done a good thing.

Three days later, he continues:

In my last, I told you I had been endeavouring to separate an amorous couple, but alas! Love had too far engag’d himself on the fair ones side to permit my advice to have the wish’t for success. I thought my pupil was fortified against all the wiles of your sex, therefore permitted him to take, as I thought, a last interview, but the fair one confuted all his reasonings by her too powerful tears. Her declarations to him, of living for him alone, that being his, & his only, was what she prefer’d to all the world besides, that he was the object of her wishes & such kind of intoxicating language sunk my young man into his former lethargy, & he meanly gave up his once redeem’d liberty, and a wedding we are soon to have.

Measuringworth.com calculates that £3,000 in 1725 would be worth £384,000 using the retail price index or £4.89 million using average earnings, so whatever his ‘passions’ were, they must have been extravagant in the extreme. Whether they did get married and what happened afterwards is unfortunately not recorded.

Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c.284: 85, March 21 1725; 87, March 24, 1725

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