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'V~^^ •«• -/ *$> jt\ \ I tr^^s f — *v I — \ f — v ~s I , , I 1 **-, I I-I B>w Afoip&lhi&m lol o H^nnnnna®! IN* this br. >a<l land of ours — a presumably perfect union of nearly half a hun dred iadependent so vere i n tie c — time is no greater national s an 1.11 than the c<>-;i]nt between the laws relating to marriage and divorce. A kvromaa may have ooe legal husband under the laws of North Dak' >t a. v* >'. iu-r, per l'.ajis, BDdCf the laws of Ohio, hili- New-York Btatfl lodges nii^ht not peoognise the \ulidity of her relationship to either man. on the I ™ l that her ties to a New-Yorker had iiot been legally dis solved. Ponifuas are aiii:i,\-(] by the complica tions, and cannot reconcile them with our rmontod ]ii'>..'r.-» ;n the march of civilization Lender ordinary ■ ircum 6tances a marriage valid in the Slate or country when* celebrated i* valid elsewhere and everywhere. I-V>r instance, a woman is forbidden to marry her nephew in Arkansas, and if ]«crs"!is having tliat relationship and living i:i that State are wedd \ ' h<re they are lial<U- to criminal prose cution, and their marriage is void, whereas, they cr. ;ss the imaginary line dividing their State from Louisiana, which does not bar Bach marriages, have a c monjr performed, and on their return home the) are man tad arifie .i:,<] < umof !>»■ prosecuted. In the same way miscegenation — the union of whites with r.t^roes or Indian -is .1 crime in some States, though an intermarriage betweeu persons of different races, if performed elsewhere, would be recognized as valid, even though revolting and offensive to the community to which they returned. It is a CTjring shame that marriage, following a divorce by a competent tribunal, may be decided a bigamous or a . retricious relationship in another S"aTc, and th it tin- partis la it may be liable to arrest <>•. (MM side of a State line, though honorably united across the tMWitri There is only one remedy : a uniform law for marriage and dr. or. c in the United States, a law operative from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mcxi ■». From time to time this measure ha? I -en agitated, hills have been introduced in < iMgw»i as ■ preliminary to ■ change in the constitu tion HMMMSsmts have been appointed to confer with representatives of different States with a view of having ea. 'i oommonwealtti pass a law that would he aoceptabtt to all Little progress has been made tins far; bu' th« seed ha beei sown, and when the country has been proper!; awakened the uniformity may tome li eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, as prolonged agitation is essential to accomplish re form, even where the hideous results of existing evils are apparent to all who car-.' to examine them. It is always easy to accept conditions as they arc. and not to bather; but the conflict between the marriage and divorce laws constitutes a serious barrier to our national progress, and this is a most propitious time to attack it. At the outset the difficulty of effecting reform seems insurmountable. Each State is zealous to retain its rights over its own citizens, and there is a widespread sentiment again: 1 any further centrali zation of government in Washington. If the States are to unite upon a common law. which law shall be taken to the exclusion of all others? Shall it be tiiat of New- York, which gives divorce on one ground alone, infidelity on the part of the husband or wife* '. '. re would be a howl of protest from nearly every Lessons Drawn FVom EadsftsHnj* State Laws to Show toe Strong Need of Tlhieir Unification section ol the land. Thousands would come forward from other States to contend thai a good woman should not be kept tied to a brutal man -one who habitually beats her and who must degrade her if she remains with him. On the Other hand, what would leader^ of thought in New- York say to throw ing open the doors of the divorce court so that any grievance that might be mentioned would su bad temper on the part of the wife incompatibility, i' is termed — abandonment, insanity, or any othei reason, good or bad"' I can imagine the fierce ■■ from the pulpits, the ringing denunciation of the spellbinders during a campaign in the Empire State bringing on such a point. As the French say. "It is the first step that costs." and in the question of a uniform law the first oppo sition would be the most formidable. Let an agree ment Once be reached for uniformity either through constitutional amendment or otherwise, and the terms agreed upon by the representatives of the people will probably be acceptable to the nation at large. If not. other change* may be made later; but now uniformity is more important than the details of a proposed law. As all marriages are not made in heaven, divorce laws seem cttf ntial to the safety and prosperity of society Mere children may leap into matrimony before they are old enough to enter upon any Other Contract legally. They may see their folly before many months have passed after the first glamour has disappeared and the quarrels have arisen. Modern legislators do not believe that tin- mismated should be made to sutler to the end of their days, and con sequently have provided relief in the form of divorces. In the majority of States there is only one kind of divorce which severs absolutely the marriage tie, though one of the parties to such divorces may be enjoined by the court from contracting another marriage, a restraint which vanishes into thin air upon the crossing of a State line. It is well, however, for persons intending to reenter matrimony to make sure that a decree has been Signed, as in New- York decrees are entered only three months after a decision has IK-en enten-d in favor of one of the contending parties, and either one marrying before then would surely b<- guilty of bigamy. New-York, New-Jersey, Virginia and a few other States ha»-e another form of divorce, known variously as divorce from f>ed and board, (united divorce and legal separa tion. The parties to the decrees are sentenced to re main grass-widow ers and 1 "-'**- widows, absolute ly incapable of contracting ne w alliances. Such decrees Eances. Such decree* y be obtained when the parties think they cannot live together, and yet neither of them has been guilty >t an act that would Curve as basis for an absolute divorce The object of the limited divorce usually is to compel a husband to provide suitably for liis wife and children, where it can be shown that his conduct has made their life a bur den under 11l own r<«>f. In .i few States the ■ omplainant may apply for a divorce or for a separation upon the same grounds, the idea being to give relief to t host who have religious scruples against absolute divon c. Nothing thai could give rise to a family jar is omitted from the "omnibus clauses" in divorce laws (•! some States Perhaps the most sweeping clause of this kind ever passed in the United states once adorned the statutes ol Arizona. It read as follows "And, whereas, n. the development of future events, cases may be presented l>efore the courts r. tiling substantially within the limit > <>\ the Law i aftei stated, yet not within its terms, il is enacted thai wherever the Judge who hears a cause for li on c deems the case to 1"- within the reason ol the law, within the general mischief the law is intended to remedy, or within what may be presumed would have been pro ided against by the Legislature estab lishing the foregoing causes ol divorce had it foreseen the specific case, and found language to meet it, without including cases not within the same reason, he shall grant tin- divorce." This gem permitted the Judge to give free reign to his imagination so .is to determine how the spirits of the legislators who passed it were moving al the time when they sought a remedy for post-marital mischief. After a revision of the statutes eliminating tins "omnibus clause" Arizona settled Mown t<> the humdrum position <>t allowing di p orce only for these causes: i. Certain impediments existing at the time of marriage; 2. Excesses; .*. Cru?l treatment; j. Outrage, whether by personal violenci or other means, The husband there can claim divorce for infidelity or six month's abandonment; the wife may sue foe infidelity, six months' abandonment, habitual intem perance, six months' wilful neglect to provide, idle ness, profligacy or dissipation. Either may sue upon the conviction of a felony alter marriage. In order to enjoy these benefiits, one must be a botta fide resident of the territory for six months before starting the suit. Easy as it may seem to n°t a divorce in some sec tions, it is always far easier, quicker and cheaper to get married. In most States all that is necessary is to catch your bride or groom, and almost anything will constitute a marriage. If you wish a real cere mony, a kiss from the bride will often suffice for the fee. All sorts of persons are authorized to officiate at weddings in most States, justices of the peace and judges of the higher courts, aldermen and mayors, governors and clerg) of every stripe; for it is the