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The Ohio Legislature at its last session defined anew the rights and liabilities of husband and wife.[1] They are bound by “obligations of mutual respect, fidelity, and support.” The “mutual” does not apply to support, taken literally, since a subsequent section provides that the husband must support his family; but if he is unable to do so the obligation becomes “mutual.” In the event of the death of either, the other is “endowed” of a life interest in one-third of the real estate of the deceased, and succeeds to one-third of the personalty, except the first four hundred dollars, one-half of which descends to the “widow or widower.” They may contract with each other or with other persons as they might if single; but, in transactions with each other, are subject to the general rules applying to persons occupying fiduciary relations. They may “take, hold, and dispose of property, real or personal, the same as if unmarried.”

The Harvard Law School Association offers a prize of one hundred dollars for the best essay on any of the following subjects: —

1. The liability for negligence in the case of Heaven v. Pender, 9 Q.B.D. 302; 11 Q.B.D. 503.

2. What limitations, if any, are imposed by the Federal Constitution upon the rights of the States to enact quarantine laws?

3. The history of the law of business corporations prior to the year 1800.

The competition for the prize is open to members of the third-year class only. Essays must be sent to the secretary of the Association on or before the 1st of June, 1888. The prize will be awarded at the meeting of the Association which is to be held in Cambridge on the Tuesday before commencement.

Louis D. Brandeis,

A curious survival of an antiquated legal form is described in a letter to the New York “Sun” of November 13.

By the marriage laws of Delaware, every white couple about to marry must give a penal bond of $200, as a guaranty that there is no legal objection to their marriage, and must also take out a marriage license, unless the banns of marriage have been published in a prescribed manner. The cost of this license, including fee to the clerk, is $2.50.

As to the marriage of negroes, the law is a relic of the days of slavery, but is still in force, “mainly by the consent of the colored folks themselves, who save dollars by the law.”

The statute (Revised Code, sec. 4, chap. 74) reads as follows: —

“Negroes or mulattoes may be married without license or publication of banns, provided that each party (being free) shall produce the certificate of a justice of the county that such party has made before him satisfactory proof of freedom; or (being . . . servant) shall produce the written consent of his master or mistress to the marriage.”

This certificate or permit costs only 50 cents. On account of the $2.00 thus saved by not taking out a license, it is said that even at the present day most negroes when about to marry procure this certificate of freedom. No marriage, however, in which the provisions of the statute were not complied with has yet been questioned.

  1. 84 Ohio Laws, 132.