A promise to give or advance to a woman, or settle upon her, money or an estate, on her marriage is valid; because the marriage is regarded by the law as a sufficient consideration for it. But it must be made in writing and signed, under the English statute of frauds, and wherever that clause is reenacted in this country. A mere representation concerning the pecuniary condition of a party, if made in good faith, will not bind one to make his representations good. Letters from parents or relatives, when sufficiently specific, are held to bind them. - Contracts in fraud of marriage settlements, and intended to defeat them, are void; as a private bargain with the husband, or the husband and wife, that he shall pay back part of her fortune: or a promise to restore money lent to give the appearance of wealth, and so procure The marriage: and a note given only to be exhibited and used for the same purpose has been held valid against the promissor. A creditor who conceals or denies his claims, so that the debtor may obtain the consent of the woman or her guardians, is bound by bis denial or concealment as effectually as by a release. - As to the power of an infant, especially a female infant, to make a valid settlement of property in view of marriage, the law is not quite settled.
An infant of either sex may certainly receive property in such a way; but in an important case in England (18 Vesey, 259), Lord Chancellor Eldon held that a female infant was not bound by her settlement of her estate, but, when she came of age, might annul the settlement and return into possession of all her rights and interests. The opposite doctrine is now established by statute in England, and also by statute or decision in some of the United States.