OCR Interpretation

The San Francisco call. (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, October 06, 1901, Image 2

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1901-10-06/ed-1/seq-2/

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Remedies are not usually provided un
less the evil to which they are directed la
in existence, and on the statutes of every
State and Territory are laws. which grant
relief to wives who have borne:
. "Violence attended with danger to life
or health."
"Cruel or barbarous treatment.',*
"Attempt on, life by poison showing:
malice.". * \u25a0 *
•In Missouri a conviction of felony pre
vious to marriage is ground for divorce
afterward if unknown to the innocent
party at the time of marriage. . •
Every State in the union except Virginia
and South Carolina either grants absolute
divorces or legal separations on the
ground of. cruelty, and.it.ia shameful .to
say that most divorces, whether granted
for that reason or not, have counts of
cruelty in them. - **
In every State and Territory of the
Lnion except seven of those which face
on the Atlantic Ocean conviction of a fel
ony is ground for a divorce for the free'
party, and in Maine sentence to imprison
ment for life does of itself dissolve the
marriage-, without legal proceedings for
that purpose. . ;. . : \u25a0' .
_ If. -however, a man living in such a
State have so great a f oneness for the
memory of a departed wife that nothing
will do him but another of the same kind,
then if sister-in-law is willing, they may
p\».ip across the border and marry, to re-;
turn and live happjy together ever after,
unless it happen that they were residents
of Virginia, where the suspicious law
is looking for just such attempts, and
says that if parties wno are affinities
leave that Stale for the purpose of mar
rying in another which has no iegal ob
jections to their union, in such event the
lex loci \u25a0contractu does not apply, and the
couple woyld find themselves wedded but
not married. - .
In some of the Centr.il Western States
particularly there is such a violent prej
udice on the part of the law against
unions with pretty eisters of deceased
wives that the marriage is declared to
te void and of no effect, without legal
proceedings by cither party. In other
words, the mere act of moving into such
a State and living there long enough to
become citizens would, dissolve the.mar
riage if it were not for tho general pro
vision of the law which , recognizes as
valid that which is lefcal where per
fomed. .
Consanguinity is the only ground which
all States agree upon as- ground for dis
solution of marriage, but while blood re
lationship is held by all as a bar, mere
affinity or connection by marriage, step
relatives, that is, or such as the sister of
a deceased wife, may be married in near
ly half of the different States. I In Cali
fornia no. unions are^prosqribedle^c.ept
such as* are within \u25a0 the third degree of
consanguinity, aunts, nephews, etc. The
wedding of those connected by affinity
being permitted :. in about half of the
States. It follows that a' man falling in
love with the sister of. a deceased wife
and marrying her in a State where it was
legal/ would find perhaps on going, to an
adjoining State that .their relations were
only reccgnizeci in obedience to that
courtesy of the lav/ which provides that
an act legal in the country, where per
formed shall be recognized everywhere.
West*. Virginia, all by* itself, takes the
palm for having enacted a statute which
puts men and women on an even footing
as far as purity is concerned. It requires
that men should have led exemplary lives
before marriage, or failing in that, they
must have confessed and received for
giveness from the woman whom they
would marry. - \u25a0 - \u25a0 .
the divorce laws of the different groups
of States, the New England, of course,
leading with the harshest measures, most
restrictions and "oldest age limit under
which it is lawful to marry. The Gulf
and Southwestern States place- less re
strictions upon marriage and less obsta
cles in the way cf its obliteration.
The laws of every State" and Territory
in the Union, excepting South Carolina,
agree upon the fact that infidelity \ is
ground for absolute divorce, and a single
offense is all that is necessary, except ln
North Carolina and Texas, where the hus
band's overt acta must be continued and
notorious to constitute a cause for action.
No such latitude Is allowed to woman
anywhere, and Maryland and West Vir
ginia insist furthermore that she shall
have led a perfect life before marriage
as well, else are the terrors of divorce
ever before her, if her past be discov
And there is perhaps a reason for both
customs, for masculine life is oft cut
short in the land where the bowie and
the derringer flourish, and feminine
charms fade fast beneath a vertical sun,
•while the emigration of young men from
bleak and rocky New England shores has
left there a plethora of maidens growing
more ancient as each year they sigh.
"He cometh not"; and It la not meet that
eweet sixteen should reap the field and
leave no gleanings.
It Is these variances of climates and
customs, the difference of races and con
ditions, which have caused the lack of
uniformity in the laws made to regulate
In the cold and nipping air of the vi
cinity of Boston, and especially in the
Blue Law region of the Nutmeg State
It is unlawful for the young men and'
maidens to marry until they have arrived
at the mellow age of twenty
one years each, for in the bleak
JCew England air the harvest is
late in ripening. At the other end of
the United States, down where the wa-m
breezes from the Gulf waft the song of
the mocking bird as he sings among the
magmolia blossoms. My Lord Romeo
needs to be but fourteen and Juliet has
but to see the change of a dozen years
when the law will declare that they are
not incontinently wed.
Divorce is purely a matter of the
State's concern, and each has made laws
to suit the taste and temperament of Its
own people.
He does not _ mention any names, but
cites statistics of Cupid and his enemy to
Bhow that in Lcs Angeles County for
every three marriages there is one di
vorce, and more coming in proportion
every year.
*y*r ROLITTOIC of Marriage" is what
f I the Rev. H. B. Kestariek of San
I I Difgo suggests will be the result
I of the present condition of the di-
X vorce iaws of some of the States
of the Union. *vhich by their lack of uni
formity make :t possible for the same
couple to be divorced or married at the
eame time, according to which State they
are in.
Why Does the Episcopal!
. " 'Church W,s3i to "Make- \u25a0
~ .-Its v Diyorcs ''Canons
,; \" ' viicreS^rict'?^
Jhe Right Rsverend j^cr.ry
; pQU:r;Zishcp cf Mew-
1 1 shcujd GGiisidcr' it higlily irri
propsrfor me; toay anything a!
alt about: it," ;
Jhs Right R^ersrd idiiiam
\ ford It chols. Bishop
v of California.
Th*. laws of the various States on
the subject of divorce are not in ac
cord with ths scriptures nor' with
each other. The _ pid increase in
the number cf d;.'orces calls for
fiction ' on the part of the church
which shall sst the best, example and
throw all possible safeguards around
the Christian home, for upon the
strength of that unit dapsnds the
strength of the nation.
Jhe Right S?>yaret ( d Arthur
Crawskay Allistcri JfaJ.
B'shop cf Vzrmcn*.
The efforts of the church will be
to bring its divorce canons into closer
record with the spirit of the script
No attempt will be made to influ
ence legislation in favor of a national
divorce law. ..',;\u25a0
It is better that by precept and ex
cmple the different States should be
brought to pass laws uniformly good.
Jhe Rght Reverend t&Miam
JtattMcntand. B'shop
of Sacramsn'.o.
The proposed divorce legislation is
in the line of greater strictness. Mar
riags is already guarded most care
fully in the law of the church. K"o
priest is permitted to marry a di
vorced person except the innocsnt
party in a divorce allowed on ths
ground of adultery. It is proposed
.to forbid remarriage even in this case
hereafter on the ground that a con
siderable number of clergy are found
to go behind the record of ths court
to' listen to private pleas alleging
adultery as the true cause of separa
tion, although not so named in the
decree, and so to produce confusion
and favoritism, practically making
the law of no effect in many cases.
It is a weakness of human nature
that in spite of the law there is a ten
dency to yield to sympathy with in
dividual cases of hardship, and thi3
will continue until we remove all am
biguity in the csnon law and state
distinctly that the church shall not
marry any divorced person whatever,
cr take equally clear and undisputed
I do not understand tint thg
greater strictness proposed is ths re
sult cf a lax:r morality among:
churchmen or of a desirs to evade the
church's discipline by its members.
The people everywhere glory in the
position taken on this grave subject
cf marriage end divorce by the Epis
copal church.
The Woman's SidQ of the
rivorce Question. •
By SSzabeih Cady Sianion,
in tfot th American Re view
FOB an" entire revision of the laws
on divcrce;tha stats proposes a
committee of learned judges, tho
church another \ of distinguished
Bishops, to ; frame a national la*'
which shall be indorsed by both
church and state. Though, -women are
as deeply interested v as men in . this
question there is no. 'suggestion, that
they shall be represented on either
committee. Hence the importance of
some expressions of their opinions
before any changes are made. . •
The States which have liberal di
vorce laws are to women what Canada
was to slaves before emancipation., .",
'Husbands ; can leave ';\u25a0-' the, country
end invest their property in* foreign
lands.' ;Laws /affect only those who
lespect and obey. them. Laws made
to restrain unprincipled men fall
with crushing weight on women..
Because an inexperienced girl has
made a mistake, shall she be denied
the right "to marry, again? . : J
We can trace the icy fingers of the
canon law through all our most
sacred relations. Through, the evil
influence of that law the church holds
the key to the situation and is de
termined to keep it.
the marriage relation or its discontinu
Then, too, the people of some States
are much more sensitive than others. In
New Hampshire it is necessary that a
man shall beat his wife almost to death,
cr at least until there Is danger of her
lot-ing her reason, before she can be
released frcm him by divorce. In Cali
fornia the law is so merciful that if cruel
man even puts upon his dainty partner
such slight affront as shall hurt her
tender feelings and cause grievous mental
suffering, then will the chivalrous law
give her freedom and besides that, in the
discretion of the court, take all of the un
feeling brute's property away from him
and bestow it upon her to soothe her
Down in the southeast corner of the
United States, where the palmetto waves
over the rice fields, there is a regular
lovers' paradise, or hades, whichever it
may prove to be. There the iron chains
of the law re-enforce the lacy links which
Hymen weaves, and only grim death has
power to part when hearts once beat in
There in South Carolina, not for the
love of money or for the lack of it
cither Is a divorce to be had. No divorce,
absolute or otherwise; no separation, no
alimony, none of those dreary funerals
of love when the divorce lawyer comes
In as Cupid's undertaker. Cupid may die
in the house,' but he cannot get a death
certificate nor permit for Christian burial
in South Carolina. It is against the law
of the, land.
Of course, where for any reason the
marriage 1 .was void ab initio, that is
where the partiep had not power to con
tract owing to existing Impediment such
as consanguinity, then the courts of
South Carolina will declare that a mar
riage never existed. But if once the
parties were properly joined, then no
subsequent misbehavior is ground for
either divorce or separation, it is an
ideal condition from a clerical point of
view and is, according to clerical be'ier
the only way to make a strong, sound
There is a general similarity between
Youth is no hindrance to marriage In
Colorado, Florida. Pennsylvania. -Rhode
Island and South Carolina, but in all
other States there is an age limit runnin"
from 12 to 21 years on the part of femaleS
and 14 to 21 year3 on the part of males
'Failure to provide for wife and familv
is not deemed a sufficient shortcoming tu
o"f V !he a Mate"s. r diV ° rCe ln ° Ver
Remarriage 13 permitted by all excerv
a few States. And so 13 the story tW*
same in the end as when it began fof
divorces usually end in marriages. *
. A marriage made while there is another
Husband or wife already in existence is
yciu ab initio, makes the offender liable
for bigamy and is an offense which, all
the country across, gets no sympathy
from either law or lady.
Insanity is not coi-sidered cause for
separation in Colorado. Connecticut or
Texas, although it is in every other State
and Territory.
The intermarriage of blacks, whites,
rectskina and yellow Mongols is generally
prevented by lav.- in the Western, South
and Southwestern" States, where tha
color line is drawn around Chinese.
Indians and negroes to prevent them,
from spoiling the color of the white race
Curiously enough this objection fade3
away as the East is reached, and in
European countries is almost unknown,
wherefrom result some, to us, apparently
strange misalliances, which are ther*
looked upon merely as bizarre and., inter
Of course it is soraeth-npr of an implied
compliment to be the subiect of larceny
a3 indicating value, but the wretch who
defrauds adds the insult of deception tK
the injury of Infliction of his compan/ ,
upon his victim. -J
Evidently girls are hard to get there,
for force ancl fraud in pcttlr.s a wife la
ground for divorce everywhere else in the
wide land, and as "he who takes what
isn t his'n whan he's caught goes straight
to prison," if it happens to 'be an inani
mate jewel or a living beast, why should
no te excused for stealing a living jewel?
Because of his good taste perhaps?
But what of the lady, if she did not
want to be stolen?
in Tennessee, where he Is excused if he
contracted the habit before marriage
In Colorado, Florida, Maine, Mississippi
and Rhcd9 Island the adage that all la
fair in love and war is recognized by
law, and the good eld way of getting a
wife by force--. or fraud still holds Its
sway and a wifo so obtained cannot seek
relief on the prouBd that she did not
In A ermont it is evident that men are
not the sole offenders in regard to cruel
and inhuman behavior, for there the law
says that "Cruel and inhuman conduct in
either of the parties" warrants it in open
ing the door of the matrimonial case and
letting out the henpecked party. Pennsyl
vania also pities the plight of" the victims
of ferocious fair ones and grants the re
lief, of freedom "where a wife by cruel
and barbarous treatment renders the con
dition of husband intolerable."
The horse which has gone to the water
does not have to drink, and despite the
strength of marriage ties they a-e onlv
morally binding, any who wish to leave
have but to "wink and walk awav" if
they choose, so desertion is ground for
either absolute divorce or legal se-i-ir
ation in every State except the always
excepted South Carolina. 13
Michigan puts a slight upon thf»
divorces granted in other States bv c-ill
ir.g it merely desertion on the p'nrt"of th*
absent party .who secured It and offarinS
to grant a nice home-made second
divorce to the one who stayed at hom«
thereby implying that they were not a?'
vorccd, enly deserted before
Beware, therefore, of "Over" the Gra**"
widows and widowers from Michigan lest
marrying them and returning the"? it
might be found that the other party hart
not secured the entitled separation
Habitual devotion to the E of
Bacchus is not considered ground for di
vorce in Arizona, Maryland, New Jers^V-
Vermont or Virginia;' but in 111 oTher
States,, if a gentleman goes on a spre
lasting more than a year, he is held »X
have fallen from Hymn's srlc^licept
California and a few of the "Western
States recognise- the fact that woman
have sufficient mental development to
render them capable of mental suffering
more acute than physical, and in accord
ance with that the infliction of grievous
mental suffering is gTound for reiie'' of
the afflicted party.
plain of. If her lord only subjects her to
inhuman treatment for five months she
should be able to grin and bear It, as the
divorce law does not take It worth while
to attend v to her case. 80, if Kentucky
gentlemen will only bsat their wives twice
a year ana not keep it up for more than
tive months at a time the divorce law,
with its attendant loss of property need
have no terrors for them.
In Iowa the cruelty must be such as
endangers the life of the wife before she
can demand her freedom. No wonder
that some writer has called the lives of
such women "the serfdom of the white
In Kentucky It is considered by the law
that "inhuman treatment for six months"
Is little enough time for a wife to com-

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