States to be a misdemeanour (U.S. Rev. Stat. § 5352). By statute in some states, upon absence of one spouse from the state for five years without being heard of, the other may marry again without committing bigamy, in other states the period is seven years. In most of the states, prosecutions for bigamy are barred after the lapse of a certain number of years. The marriage wherever solemnized must be a valid marriage according to the law of the place of solemnization; if void there, no prosecution for bigamy can be founded upon it. In some jurisdictions, an honest belief that a prior divorce of one of the parties was valid would be a defence to a prosecution for bigamy, in others the contrary is held.
On the continent of Europe, bigamy is punishable in most countries with varying terms of imprisonment, with or without hard labour, according to the circumstances of the case.
See Stephen, History of Criminal Law; Dicey, Conflict of Laws; Report of the Royal Commission on Marriage Laws (1868).
BIGELOW, JOHN (1817– ), American journalist and diplomat, was born at Malden, New York, on the 25th of November 1817. He graduated at Union College in 1835, practised law in New York for several years after 1839; took up journalistic work; was joint owner (with William Cullen Bryant) and managing editor of the New York Evening Post (1849–1861); was United States consul at Paris in 1861–1864, and was minister to France in 1864–1867. While consul, Bigelow wrote Les États-Unis d’Amérique en 1863 in order to counteract the apparent desire of the French people for a dissolution of the American Union, by showing them the relative importance of the commerce of the northern and southern states. On discovering in 1863 that a French shipbuilder, with the connivance of Napoleon III., was constructing two formidable iron-clads and two corvettes for the use of the Confederacy, he devoted his energies to thwarting this scheme, and succeeded in preventing the delivery of all but one of these vessels to the Confederate agents. In his work entitled France and the Confederate Navy (New York, 1888) he gives an account of this episode. In 1865-1866, it devolved upon Bigelow, as minister to France, to represent his government in its delicate negotiations concerning the French occupation of Mexico, and he discharged this difficult task with credit. From 1875 to 1877 he served as secretary of state of New York. He wrote books of travel, of popular biography, or of historical or political discussion, &c., from time to time; but his principal literary achievements were editions, between 1868 and 1888, of Franklin’s autobiography and autobiographical writings, copiously annotated; and of the complete works of Franklin, in ten octavo volumes (New York, 1887–1889). These editions were based in part upon the editor’s personal investigations of manuscript sources in France and elsewhere, and supplanted the well-known, long serviceable, but less accurate edition of Jared Sparks (Boston, 1836–1840); they have in turn been supplanted by the edition of A.H. Smythe (10 vols., 1905–1907). Mr Bigelow was a close friend of Samuel J. Tilden, and became his literary executor, editing his speeches and other political writings (1885), publishing a biography in 1895, and editing a two-volume collection of Tilden’s letters and literary memorials (1908). He also wrote a biography of William Cullen Bryant (1890). In 1897 he published a volume entitled The Mystery of Sleep (2nd ed., 1903). In 1909 he published Retrospections of an Active Life.
BIGGAR, a police burgh of Lanarkshire, Scotland. Pop. (1901) 1366. It is situated about 10 m. S.E. of Carstairs Junction (Caledonian railway), where the lines from Edinburgh and Glasgow connect. Lying on Biggar Water and near the Clyde, in a bracing, picturesque, upland country, Biggar enjoys great vogue as a health and holiday resort. It was the birthplace of Dr John Brown, author of Rab and his Friends, whose father was secession minister in the town. It was created a burgh of barony in 1451 and a police burgh in 1863. St Mary’s church was founded in 1545 by Lord Fleming, the head of the ruling family in the district, whose seat, Boghall Castle, however, is now a ruin. John Gledstanes, great-grandfather of W.E. Gladstone, was a burgess of Biggar, and lies in the churchyard. Easter Gledstanes, the seat of the family from the 13th to the 17th century, and the estate of Arthurshiels, occupied by them for nearly a hundred years more, are situated about 3½ m. to the north-west of the burgh. On the top of Quothquan Law (1097 ft.), about 3 m. west is a rock called Wallace’s Chair, from the tradition that he held a council there prior to the battle of Biggar in 1297. Lamington, nearly 6 m. south-west, is well situated on the Clyde. It is principally associated with the family of the Baillies, of whom the most notable were Cuthbert Baillie (d. 1514), lord high treasurer of Scotland, William Baillie, Lord Provand (d. 1593), the judge, and William Baillie (fl. 1648), the general whose strategy in opposition to the marquess of Montrose was so diligently stultified by the committee of estates. The ancient church of St Ninian’s has a fine Norman doorway. Lamington Tower was reduced to its present fragmentary condition in the time of Edward I., when William Heselrig, the sheriff, laid siege to it. The defenders, Hugh de Bradfute and his son, were slain, and his daughter Marion—the betrothed, or, as some say, the wife of William Wallace—was conveyed to Lanark, where she was barbarously executed because she refused to reveal the whereabouts of her lover. Wallace exacted swift vengeance. He burnt out the English garrison and killed the sheriff.
BIGGLESWADE, a market town in the Biggleswade parliamentary division of Bedfordshire, England, 41 m. N. by W. of London by the Great Northern railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 5120. It lies on the east bank of the Ivel, a tributary of the Ouse, in a flat plain in which vegetables are largely grown for the London markets. The town is a centre of this trade.
Biggleswade (Bichelswade, Beckeleswade, Bickleswade) is an ancient borough by prescription which has never returned representatives to parliament. The borough court was held by the lord of the manor. At the time of Edward the Confessor, Archbishop Stigand owned the manor, which according to Domesday passed to Ralf de Insula. Henry I. granted it to the bishop of Lincoln, under whose protection the borough evidently grew up. In 1547 the bishop surrendered his rights to the king, and in the 17th century Biggleswade formed part of the jointure of the queens of England. Owing to its important position on the Roman road to the north the town became an agricultural centre for the surrounding district. In 1335 Edward III. renewed the bishop’s licence to hold a Monday market, and annual fairs were held here from very early times. Those for horses are mentioned as famous by Camden. In addition to agriculture, Biggleswade was formerly engaged in straw-plaiting and lace manufacture.
BIGHT (O. Eng. bight, bend; cf. Ger. Bucht, a bay, and beugen, to bend), a nautical term for the loop or bent part of a rope, as distinguished from the ends; also a geographical term for a bay between two distant headlands, or with a shallow curve, e.g. the Bight of Benin, the Great Bight of Australia.
BIGNON, JÉRÔME (1589-1656), French lawyer, was born at Paris in 1589. He was uncommonly precocious, and under his father’s tuition had acquired an immense mass of knowledge before he was ten years of age. In 1600 was published a work by him entitled Chorographie, ou description de la Terre Sainte. The great reputation gained by this book introduced the author to Henry IV., who placed him for some time as a companion to the duc de Vendôme, and made him tutor to the dauphin, afterwards Louis XIII. In 1604 he wrote his Discours de la ville de Rome, and in the following year his Traité sommaire de l’élection du pape. He then devoted himself to the study of law, wrote in 1610 a treatise on the precedency of the kings of France, which gave great satisfaction to Henry IV., and in 1613 edited, with learned notes, the Formulae of the jurist Marculfe. In 1620 he was made advocate-general to the grand council, and shortly afterwards a councillor of state, and in 1626 he became advocate-general to the parlement of Paris. In 1641 he resigned his official dignity, and in 1642 was appointed by Richelieu to the charge of the royal library. He died in 1656.
BIGNON, LOUIS PIERRE ÉDOUARD, Baron (1771-1841), French diplomatist and historian, born on the 3rd of January 1771, was the son of a dyer at Rouen. Though he had received a good education, he served throughout the early part of the revolutionary wars without rising above the rank of private. In 1797, however, the attention of Talleyrand, then minister of foreign affairs, was called to his exceptional abilities by General