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Divorce in the United States.

It is not just to conclude (sayß the New York 'World'), as an eminent ecclesiost has recently done, that this country is "going to seed" because divorce ia more prevalent here than in some other lands. The morality, the home happiness, the education and care of children, and all the virtues and other beneficent results that now from the conjugal relation as enjoined by religion and established by law, are more fully exemplified in the American States wherein divorce is permitted for several reasons than in most of the countries where it is forbidden. A tree is known by its fruits, and a oustom should be judged by its general results, not by theoretical objections nor exceptional abuses. In the statistics of divorce for the paßt twenty years, just published by the Commissioner of Labor, it appears that 65 per cent, of the whole were granted to wives—largely for desertion, oruelty, and drunkenness, with unfaithfulness constituting only about 7 per cent, of the whole number. It is surely at least a fair question for discussion whether the welfare of society or the sacred institution of home requires that wives having such grounds of complaint should be bound for ever in iron chains to those who have forfeited their right to the sacred and protective title of husband. Merely frivolous grounds of divorce, or those based on Sckle selfishness, should not be allowed anywhere. But the public sentiment which sustains more than one cause of divorce in some of our most enlightened commonwealths is not to bo lightly condemned as corrupt or retrogressive. The report of Mr Carroll D. Wright, Commissioner of Labor (says the * Nashville

American'), on the statistics of marriage and divorce shows that 328,716 coupleß have during the last twenty years wearied of conjugal bonds and found relief therefrom in tho laxity of divorce laws and the complaisance of the Courts. We hardly think there can be anything very definite learned from an analysis of the causes assigned for the granting of divorces, because of the ease with which frauds are perpetrated in this character of oases. When both parties weary of an uncongenial union it is easy to make the proof necessary to bring the caso within the statute, with the assistance of a wellread and unscrupulous divorce lawyer. The husband frequently submits patiently to chargeß of cruelty, desertion, neglect, or anything else in order to end a relation mutually unsatisfactory, and the wife does the same. Divorces are also frequently obtained by fraud, when one of the parties I removes to another State and becomes a resident there, the other party being made defendant to a divorce suit by publication, trumped-up charges proven by suborned witnesses, a divorce granted, and the complainant married again without the defendant in this mockery of a law-suit even hearing of the case or having an opportunity to repel the charges. The facility with which divorces are obtained in the United States is the chief cause for the large number that are granted, and the ease with which matrimonial bonds may be severed is at least as much a cause as it is the result of unhappy marriages.

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Bibliographic details

Divorce in the United States., Issue 7917, 27 May 1889

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Divorce in the United States. Issue 7917, 27 May 1889

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