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with my own money, unless I went for more than twenty pounds."
The justices bound them over in sureties to be of good behaviour, and dismissed them.
In 1823, an army sergeant in residence in Devonport Dock tracked his faithless wife to Liskeard, and there engaged the bell-man to announce that it was his intention to dispose of her by sale to the highest bidder. Procuring a rope, he placed it round the neck of his spouse, and led her unresisting to the Higher Cross, opposite the Market, where the offers were taking a spirited turn when the police interfered. In the same year, William Hodge was indicted at Plymouth for putting his wife up to auction, and William Andrews for purchasing her. It was shown that Hodge had repeatedly threatened to sell his wife, that she had cheerfully welcomed the proposition, and that Andrews had anticipated the transaction of the sale by abducting her. At the Quarter Sessions "the auctioneer" was conspicuous by his absence; the wife pleaded that he had frequently assaulted her; and Andrews was condemned to prison "by way of warning."
The Rev. W. H. Thornton, vicar of North Bovey, in Devon Notes and Queries, Vol. IV, 1906, writes: "A sale may apparently be effected either by private arrangement or by public auction, and in neither case do the prices obtainable seem, as a rule, to run high. The husband naturally considers the result more satisfactory if a good sum can be obtained for his wife, but when the course of matrimony has arrived at a crisis, he commonly feels that it is better to accept the market price of the day than it is to lead her home again to resume conjugal life.
- Whitfeld, Plymouth and Devonport, in Times of War and Peace, 1890, pp. 296-7.