perhaps even converting their husbands. Thus, although they often tolerated Catholicism in general, they required marriages between a Protestant and a Catholic to be celebrated in a Protestant church and demanded a promise from the spouses that the children would be raised Protestant.
The fate of children from inter-racial unions varied enormously. Some of them were legitimated by their fathers through adoption or the purchase of certificates of legitimacy, and could assume prominent positions in colonial society. For example, two of the sons of Francois Caron, who had worked for twenty years for the Dutch East India Company and had five children with a Japanese woman, later became well-known ministers in the Dutch church. Many more children did not get much support from their fathers, and survived by begging or petty crime.
Church policies regarding marriage and morality were often counterproductive. In Dutch colonies, for example, marriages could only be solemnized when a pastor visited, which in remote areas might be only every several years. This did not keep people from marrying, however, but instead encouraged them to maintain traditional patterns of marriage, in which cohabitation and sexual relations began with the exchange of gifts, rather than a church wedding. Protestant missionaries advocated frequent church attendance, viewing sermons as a key way to communicate Protestant doctrine. The Asian wives of European men took this very much to heart and attended church so frequently and in such great style that sumptuary laws were soon passed restricting extravagant clothing and expenditures for church ceremonies. In the Danish Lutheran colony of Tranquebar, children of European men and local women born out of wedlock were denied baptism, but they were simply baptized in Portuguese Catholic churches, clearly not the intent of the Danish political or religious authorities.
Because initially almost all Europeans in colonial areas were men, interracial sexual relations generally did not upset European's notions of their own superiority, for the gender and racial hierarchies involved reinforced one another. Relations between European women and indigenous men were another matter, however, which led to restrictions, both formal and informal, on European women's mobility and activities in many colonial areas. In addition, once more women began to immigrate, official encouragement and even toleration of mixed marriages involving European men and indigenous women generally ceased. Informal relations, including rape, prostitution, concubinage, and informal marriage, continued, of course, and few Catholic or Protestant clergy were much concerned about them. Half of all slave children in colonial Brazil, for example, were baptized with unknown fathers, often a
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