An interesting approach to say the least. Prizes 6-14 are indeed smart lot to blindly pick from! I wonder if any one actually followed thru?
Matrimonial Club Of Alabama—The Ways Of The South.
Mr. Editor—I beg leave to call your attention to the following advertisement which I clip from the "Tuscaloosa Monitor." Marriage has generally been considered a lottery, and this communication, if it has none other, certainly possesses the merit of presenting to the public a "grand scheme" for matrimony. The society, from what I can learn, was formed in good faith; for the rest, the advertisement must speak for itself.
Yours, &c, A Brick.
Certain gentlemen, fourteen in number, despairing of getting wives by any ordinary means, and weary of the vexations, doubts, and anxieties of courtship, have formed an organization for the purpose of marrying themselves off without any difficulty. The business of the club will be conducted as follows:—
Any lady who is desirous of marrying, and willing to take a husband from the club, is requested to make known the fact by letter, and upon its reception her merits will undergo an examination, whereupon the club will determine by ballot whether or not she may be accepted. A vote of two thirds will be required to carry the affirmative, and without the vote her application will be rejected. If accepted, however, the club will proceed to draw lots, and he upon whom the lot falls is bound to marry the lady or pay a heavy fine to the club, and subject himself to the chances of a suit, and each member is so bound by obligatory writings, that his refusal to take her will be in law a breach of promise, for which damages can be recovered in any of the courts of the country.
The advantage of this Matrimonial Lottery to the ladies is unquestionable. All the members of the club are educated gentlemen of unblemished reputation, and of good standing in society. The majority of them are considered handsome men, and in fact there is only one of them who is downright ugly and uninteresting, and he has some recommendations of a sterling nature. All of them are sober industrious men, and some of them are not only good looking, but intellectual, and amiable. It is plain, then, that no lady whose offer is favorably received by the club can draw a blank entirely, whereas there are in the club four capital prizes—one more than a hundred thousand; two over fifty thousand, and one of forty thousand dollars; nor, don't be alarmed ladies, is either of these prizes centered in the aforesaid ugly individual. Now, every accepted lady will have four chances in fourteen of winning one of these prizes. The subjoined scheme is accurate in the main:—
Prize No. 1.—$100,000. Plantation and negroes in possession.
Prize No. 2.—$50,000. Plantation and negroes in possession.
Prize No. 8.—$50,000. Plantation and negroes in possession.
Prize No. 4.—$40,000. Part in possession, part in expectancy.
Prize No. 5.—$10,000. All in expectancy and a long time off.
Prize No. 6.—One negro, a mule, and a forty acre tract of land.
Prizes Nos. 7, 8, 9, and 10.—An unknown quantity invested in merchandize.
Prize No. 11.—A briefless lawyer who never had a case.
Prize No. 12.—Briefly, a lawyer who never will have a case.
Prize No. 13.—A poor gentleman of a literary turn.
Prize No. 14.—A professed poet—the aforesaid ugly—penniless.
Note the following instructions. Any lady who chooses to make an offer, will please direct her letter as follows:—
"Matrimonial club, care of Editor of 'The Monitor,' Tuscaloosa."
The lady may write over a fictitious signature if she chooses with the understanding that if accepted, her real name must be disclosed immediately; after which the real names of the members of the club will be transmitted to her, but she will not know the name or description of the member who has fallen to her lot until he appears with his license and his parson ready far the ceremony. This rule is necessary, lest any lady failing to draw a capital may, in her disappointment, decline to fulfill the engagement.
Every correspondent must give her post office and address, genuine or fictitious, in order that the secretary of the club may direct all answers properly.
In her communication to the club, the lady must in good faith give an accurate account of herself—her personal appearance, her character and disposition, the manner of her raising, the characteristics of her parents, the educational advantages she has enjoyed, and her age, must all be carefully given. Any attempt at deception will of course, if discovered, put a stop at once to all proceedings, and in order to guard against fraud the club will, so soon as any lady is accepted, despatch a confidential and secret agent to her vicinity to ascertain the genuineness of her statements, and in case of suspicion, to report back to the club for further action.
It may be remarked in conclusion in regard to the members of the club, that all are over twenty-three and under thirty-five years of age.
Those interested will please apply early, as all the chances will be taken in a very
short time, whereupon all the weddings will take place simultaneously.
Published by order of the Club. Tuscaloosa, Ala. 1856.
The Wisconsin farmer and Northwestern Cultivator: Vol 8, pg 110, 1856