Of domesticall duties eight treatises. I. An exposition of that part of Scripture out of which domesticall duties are raised. ... VIII. Duties of masters. By William Gouge.
Gouge, William, 1578-1653.

§. 27. Of the inconueniences which may follow vpon a wiues disposing goods without or against her husbands con∣sent.

A fit reason may be taken from the mischiefes which would * fall out if this liberty were giuen vnto women: which are these that follow:

1. The estate of the family might be wasted before any re∣dresse could be thought of: for if the wife may dispose the goods without her husbands consent, it must also be granted without his knowledge: for it is to be supposed that if he knew of the disposing of that which he liketh not, he would hinder it: if without his knowledge, then may that which he thinketh to be remaining as a stocke for the family, be laid out by the wife, and nothing left: whereas if he knew of the spend∣ing of that stocke, it might be he would be more thrifty and sparing in other expences.

Obiect. This liberty is not granted to wiues beyond their husbands ability.

Answ. Wiues cannot alwaies know their husbands ability: for their husbands may be much indebted, and yet to main∣taine his credit, whereby he hopeth to raise his estate, may al∣low liberall maintenance for his house, if thereupon his wife shall gather that he is very rich, and accordingly be very boun∣tifull in her gifts, she may soone goe beyond his ability, and so increase his debt, as he shall neuer be able to recouer himselfe.

2. Persons of contrary religions and dispositions being * out of the family, might be maintained by the goods of the same family: for if the husband were of one religion, and the wife of another, he without her knowledge might maintaine those of his religion, and she without his knowledge might maintaine them of her religion.

Obiect. This liberty of disposing goods giuen to the wife is limited within the bounds of the houshold of faith.

Answ. If Diuines grant them this liberty, they will them∣selues iudge and determine who be of the houshold of faith: Page  298 Popish wiues will say (say we what we can to the contrary) that Iesuites, Priests, and Friers, are of the houshold of faith, principall members thereof.

3. Many iarres and contentions would thence arise betwixt * husband and wife: for if a wife shall persist to doe that which her husband will not consent vnto, assuredly one of a thousand will not well brooke it, but will rather seeke all the wayes he can to crosse her; thinking himselfe despised, if she, whether he will or no, haue her minde.

Obiect. Wiues must vse this libertie with all due respect vn∣to their husbands authoritie.

Answ. If the husband peremptorily stand vpon his au∣thoritie, and by all the faire meanes that can be vsed, will not yeeld this libertie, I know not what better respect she can shew to this authoritie, then to forbeare and abstaine from doing that which otherwise she would most gladly doe: But if when it commeth to the vttermost point, and she shall say it is her right, and if she cannot haue his consent, she will doe it with∣out his consent, she therein sheweth no great respect.

Many other inconueniences might be reckoned vp, but I will not longer insist on them, only from these let it be well con∣sidered, whether it were not better for a familie, that the hus∣band should be bard from disposing the goods without consent of his wife (so as there might be according to the prouerbe, but * one hand in the purse) then both husband and wife to haue libertie to dispose them without each others consent.