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Histories: At a court held in New Haven, May 1, 1660, Jacob Murline and Sarah Tuttle were prosecuted for "sinful dalliance.": conjunctions « Conjunctions

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At a court held in New Haven, May 1, 1660, Jacob Murline and Sarah Tuttle were prosecuted for "sinful dalliance."

The Court declared, "that we have heard in the publique ministry that it is a thing to be lamented that younge people should have their meetings, to the corrupting of themselves one another; as for Sarah Tuttle, her miscarriages are very great, that she should utter so corrupt a speech as she did concerning the persons to be married that she should carry it in such an imodest, uncivil, wanton, lascivious manner, as hath beene proved; for Jacob, his carriage hath beene verry corrupt sinfull, such as brings reproach upon the family place; the sentence therefore concerning them was, that they shall pay either of them as a fine 20 shillings to the Treasurer."

At a court held in New Haven, May 1, 1660, Jacob Murline and Sarah Tuttle were prosecuted for "sinful dalliance". They were accused of "sitting down on a chest together, his arm about her waist and her arm upon his should or about his neck, and continuing in this sinful position about half an hour, in which time he kissed her and she kissed him, and they kissed one another", as the witnesses testify. This complaint was made by Sarah's father under a law that whosoever should inveigle or draw away the affections of any maid or maid servant for himself or others, without first obtaining the consent of her parents or guardians, should pay, besides all the damages the parent might sustain, 40 shillings for the first offense, and for the second towards the same person, 4 pounds and for the third, fined, imprisoned and corporally punished, as the Plantation court may direct.The term "inveigling" appears to have had rather wide implications. There were cases in which the young man charged with this offense had done nothing more than to walk with the girl on a country road. Young women who consented to advances from the men were also looked upon with legal disfavor. Mr. Tuttle pleaded that Jacob had endeavored to steal away his daughter's affections. Additionally, the Governor declared that "the business for which they were warned to the Court he had heard in private at his house which he related to stand thus; on the day John Potter was married, Sarah Tuttle went to Mr. Murline's for some three hours. Mr. Murline bid her go to her daughters in the other room, where they fell into speech of John Potter his wife, that they were both lame, upon which Sarah Tuttle said that she wondered what they would do at night whereupon Jacob came in a tooke away or took up her gloves; Sarah desired him to give her the gloves, to which he answered he would do so, if she would give him a kiss, upon which they sate downe together, his arme being about her her arme upon his shoulder or about he necke he kissed her shee him, or they kissed one another, continuing in this posture about half an houre. Mrs. Murline now in Court said that she heard her say, she wondered what they would doe at night she replied they must sleep, but there was company with her in the roome, and she was in a strait; but it is matter of sorrow shame to her."Jacob was asked what he had to say to these things; to which he answered, "yes he was in the other roome when he heard Sarah speake those words he went in, where shee haveing let fall her gloves, he tooke them up she asked him for them; hee told her he would if shee would kisse him which she did; further said that he tooke her by her hand they both sate downe upon a chest, but whether his arme were about her her arme upon his shoulder or about his neck, he knowes not, but he never thought of it since, till Mr. Raymond told him of it; for which he was blamed told that it appeares that he hath not layd it to heart as he ought. But Sarah Tuttle replyed that shee did not kiss him; but Sarah being asked if Jacob had inveigled her, she said, no; tho Tuttle said that he came to their house two or three times before he went to Holland they two were together to what end he came he knowes not unless it were to inveigle her their mother warned Sarah not to keep company with him. Jacob denyed that he came to their house with any such intention nor did it appeare so to the Court. The Governor told Sarah that her miscarriage is the greatest that a virgin should be so bold in the presence of others, to carry it as she had done to speake such corrupt words, most of the things charged being acknowledged by her self, though that about kissing him is denyed, yet the thing is proved. Sarah professed that she was sorry that she had carried it so foolishly sinfully which she sees to be hateful; she hoped God would help her to carry it better for time to come. The Governor also told Jacob that his carriage hath beene very evil and sinfull, so to carry towards her; to make such a light matter of it as not to thinke of it (as he had exprest) doth greatly aggravate." Sarah was characterized by the court as a "bold virgin" who had better mend her ways. She said meekly that she would. Jacob was set free and told to shun such virgins as Sarah. The Court declared, "that we have heard in the publique ministry that it is a thing to be lamented that younge people should have their meetings, to the corrupting of themselves one another; as for Sarah Tuttle, her miscarriages are very great, that she should utter so corrupt a speech as she did concerning the persons to be married that she should carry it in such an imodest, uncivil, wanton, lascivious manner, as hath beene proved; for Jacob, his carriage hath beene verry corrupt sinfull, such as brings reproach upon the family place; the sentence therefore concerning them was, that they shall pay either of them as a fine 20 shillings to the Treasurer."


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