Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Those Dangerous Bachelors

From the 1786 Connecticut statutes, p. 142:

Yes, permission was required for a single man to live by himself.  I would love to know the theory behind this, other than what troublesome men bachelors are.


zOrv said...

Had this same problem on a box when I left a flash drive or iPod connected at boot. In BIOS I turned off legacy USB and worked fine after that.

AlanKH said...

Including married men on the list seems a contradiction in terms, unless "keep House of himself" also applies to travel away from home.

Note the bachelors that get exempted. Widowed fathers rear children. Officials engage in governance and other community affairs. Those with servants are men of means and accomplishment, at least at upper-middle-class level.

Family, civic involvement, significant commercial involvement. Society has a vested interest in all three. Perhaps Connecticut viewed that solitary living tends to discourage those pursuits, and that the law should disincentivize it.

SJ said...

@AlanKH, I think there was an assumed distinction between traveling and setting up a permanent dwelling. There's also a distinction between staying alone in a lodging-house and keeping house in a distinct building.

By my read of it, the people who can keep house are at least one of
1. Married
2. Have children
3. Employ servants
4. Public Officials

I don't see the contradictory portion of the law about Married men, even those who travel. If whatever living arrangements accompanying a long business trip could be considered 'Keeping House'.

Were there any noteworthy cases of the father of a family dying, and an bachelor son getting into trouble because he can't set up in his Dad's house?

I've heard tales of cities in Canada which used to have laws against large numbers of unrelated women living in the same house. (One of those "old law that is still technically on the Law-Books" things.) This law from CT sounds like the reverse.

I wonder how much experience the citizens of CT had with young bachelors living alone?

Was it common for unmarried sons to remain in his parent's house, or reside with some other relative, until he married?

Clayton Cramer said...

The town could give permission for a bachelor to live by himself. It would be an interesting project to see how often this permission was granted or rejected.

Concerning laws against unrelated women living in the same house: was this an attempt to prohibit brothels?

SJ said...


I think that's what those laws about 'too many women in one house' were for.