Benson John Lossing.

Harper's encyclopdia of United States history from 458 A.D. to 1905 (Volume 3) online

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its title to complete sovereignty often
menaced the Union with destruction, and
independence became, in the minds of
some, an idle dream. When, in August,
1781, envoys from Vermont were in Phila
delphia, entreating for the admission of
their State into the Union, the measure
was opposed by the Southern delegates,
because it would " destroy the balance of
pow r er " between the two sections of the
confederacy, and give the preponderance
to the North. The purchase of Louisiana
was deprecated and violently opposed by
the Federalist leaders, because it would
strengthen the Southern political influ
ence then controlling the national govern



ment. They professed to regard the meas
ure as inimical to the Northern and East
ern sections of the Union. The Southern
politicians had made them familiar with
the prescription of disunion as a remedy
for incurable political evils, and they re
solved to try its efficacy in the case in
question. All through the years 1803 and
1804 desires for and fears of a dissolu
tion of the Union were freely expressed in
what were free-labor States in 1861. East
of the Alleghanies, early in 1804, a select
convention of Federalists, to be held in
Boston, was contemplated, in the ensuing
autumn, to consider the question of dis
union. Alexander Hamilton was invited
to attend it, but his emphatic condemna
tion of the whole plan, only a short time
before his death, seems to have discon
certed the leaders and dissipated the
scheme. The Rev. Jedidiah Morse, then
very influential in the Church and in poli
tics in New England, advocated the sever
ance of the Eastern States from the Union,
so as to get rid of the evils of the slave
system ; and, later, Josiah Quincy, in a
debate in the House of Representatives,
expressed his opinion that it might be
come necessary to divide the Union as a
cure of evils that seemed to be already
chronic.



DIVORCE LAWS

Divorce Laws. Excepting in South part of husband ; conviction of felony.

Carolina, which has no divorce laws, a Residence required, six months; either

violation of the marriage vow is cause party may marry again,

for divorce in all the States and Ter- Arkansas. Permanent or incurable in-

ritories. Other legal causes are shown sanity; wilful desertion one year; convic-

below: tion of felony or other infamous crime;

cruel treatment as to endanger life; per-

Alabama. Voluntary abandonment for sonal indignities such as to render con-
two years; habitual drunkenness after dition intolerable; habitual drunkenness
marriage and incapacity; imprisonment one year. Residence required, one year;
in penitentiary for two years on a sen- either party may marry again,
tence of seven years or more. In making California, Habitual drunkenness, neg-
decree chancellor may decide whether de- lect, or wilful desertion one year; ex-
fendant may marry again or not. Resi- treme cruelty; conviction of felony. Resi
dence of one year in State required; but dence required, one year; either may re-
if the application is made on ground ot marry.

desertion, three years residence is re- Colorado. Habitual drunkenness; wil-

quired. ful desertion or failure on part of hus-

Ariffona. Excesses or cruel treatment; band to provide for wife, either continued
habitual intemperance; abandonment for for one year; conviction of felony; ex-
six months; wilful neglect to provide on treme cruelty, causing either mental or

124



DIVOBCE LAWS

physical suffering. Residence required, dence required, six mouths; either may

one year; neither can remarry within remarry.

one year. Illinois. Extreme and repeated cruel-

Connecticut. Habitual intemperance; ty; conviction of felony or other infamous

intolerable cruelty; sentence to imprison- crime; attempt by either party on life

ment for life; fraudulent contract; wil- of other; wilful desertion two years,

ful desertion and total neglect of duty Residence required, one year; no statute

for three years; absent and unheard of as to remarrying.

seven years; any infamous crime involv- Indiana. Habitual drunkenness; cruel

ing violation of conjugal duty, and pun- and inhuman treatment; abandonment

ishable by imprisonment in State prison, two years; failure on part of husband to

Residence required, three years; either support wife for two years. Residence

may remarry. required, two years; either may marry

Delaware. Married under age; force or again, except as limited in decree,
fraud in procuring marriage; extreme Kansas. Fraudulent contract; convic-
cruelty; habitual drunkenness; convic- tion of and imprisonment for felony;
tion of felony; desertion three years; wil- habitual drunkenness; extreme cruelty;
ful failure of husband to provide three gross neglect of duty; abandonment one
years. No statute as to residence; either year. Residence required, one year; par-
may remarry, but party guilty of infi- ties may remarry at once, unless appeal
delity must not marry party with whom i taken, and then thirty days after final
crime was committed. judgment on the appeal.

District of Columbia. Wilful desertion Kentucky. Uniting with religious so-

for two years; habitual drunkenness; ciety which forbids marriage of husband

cruelty and abuse endangering life or and wife; abandonment one year; living

health; insane at marriage. Divorces apart without cohabitation five years;

from bed and board may be granted for condemnation for felony; force, duress or

cruelty and reasonable apprehension of fraud in procuring marriage. Wife may

physical harm. Residence required, two obtain divorce for husband s neglect to

years; no statutory provision as to re- provide, and habitually treating her in

marrying. such cruel and inhuman manner as to de-

Florida. Wilful, obstinate, and contin- stroy her peace and happiness ; cruel beat-

ued desertion one year ; habitual intern- ing or injury indicating outrageous temper

perance for one year; extreme cruelty; and endangering her life; confirmed hab-

habitual indulgence in violent temper, its of intoxication. Residence required,

A person who has been a resident of Flor- one year; either may remarry,

ida for two years, and whose husband Louisiana. Desertion for five years,

or wife has procured a divorce in any having been summoned to return within

other State or country, may obtain a one year of filing claim; attempt on life

divorce. Residence required, two years; of other; fugitive from justice; habitual

either may marry again. intemperance to excess ; condemnation to

Georgia. Habitual drunkenness; cruel ignominious punishment; cruel treat-
treatment; wilful desertion three years; ment or outrages of such nature as to
mental incapacity at time of marriage; render living together insupportable. No
conviction of crime involving moral turpi- divorce, except for infidelity, shall be
tude under which party has been sen- granted, except decree of separation pre-
tenced to imprisonment for two years or viously had and parties lived apart one
longer; force, menaces, threats, duress, year. No statute as to previous resi-
and fraud in procuring marriage. In pro- dence; woman cannot marry for ten
curing divorce, concurrent verdict of two months after marriage is dissolved; on
juries at different terms of court are divorce for infidelity guilty party shall
necessary. Applicant must reside in State: not marry person with whom crime was
no statute as to marrying again. committed.

Idaho. Conviction of felony; extreme Maine. Sentence to imprisonment for

cruelty; habitual intemperance; wilful life; desertion for three years; failure

desertion and neglect one year. Resi- of husband to provide for wife; cruel and

125



DIVORCE LAWS



abusive treatment; gross and confirmed
habits of intoxication. Residence re
quired, one year; either may remarry.

Maryland. Abandonment three years ;
any cause which would render marriage
void ab initio. Residence required, two
years; in cases of divorce for infidelity,
court may decree that guilty party shall
not marry during life of other.

Massachusetts. Sentence to hard labor
for five years or longer; where either
party has joined religious society that
professes to believe relation of husband
and wife unlawful, and has continued
with such society three years, refusing
for that time to cohabit; husband cruelly
and wantonly refusing to provide; gross
and confirmed habits of intoxication with
liquors, by opium or other drugs; cruel
and abusive treatment; utter desertion
three years. Residence required, three
years where parties have resided together
in State, otherwise five years; guilty
party cannot marry for two years.

Michigan. Imprisonment for life or
three years or more; where either has
obtained divorce in another State; neglect
by husband to provide; habitual drunken
ness; desertion for two years. Resi
dence required, one year; court may or
der that guilty pa.rty shall not marry for
term not exceeding two years.

Minnesota. Wilful desertion, one year;
sentence to State prison; cruel and in
human treatment; habitual drunkenness
one year. Residence required, one year;
either party may marry again.

Mississippi. Insanity or idiocy at time
of marriage unknown to other; habitual
cruel and inhuman treatment; habitual
drunkenness; wilful desertion two years;
sentenced to penitentiary. Residence re
quired, one year; court may decree that
guilty party shall not remarry.

Missouri. Conviction of crime or felony
prior to marriage unknown to other; con
viction of felony or infamous crime; ab
sent without cause one year; habitual
drunkenness one year; husband guilty of
such conduct as to constitute him a va
grant; cruel or barbarous treatment as to
endanger life; indignities as to render
condition intolerable. Residence required,
one year; either may remarry.

Montana. Extreme cruelty; conviction
of felonv or infamous crime; habitual



drunkenness one year; desertion one year,
husband deserting wife and leaving State
without intention of returning. Resi
dence required, one year.

Nebraska. Extreme cruelty; utter de
sertion two years; sentenced to imprison
ment for life or for three years or more;
habitual drunkenness; wilful desertion for
five years. Divorce from bed and board
or from bonds of matrimony may be
granted for extreme cruelty by personal
violence or other means, utter desertion
two years, or failure of husband to pro
vide. Previous residence, six months;
neither can remarry within time allowed
for appeal, nor before final judgment if
appeal is taken.

Nevada. Neglect of husband to pro
vide for one year; extreme cruelty; wilful
desertion one year; conviction of felony
or infamous crime; habitual gross drunk
enness. Residence required, six months;
either may remarry.

Neto Hampshire. Conviction of crime
and imprisonment for one year; extreme
cruelty; where either party has treated
other as to injure health or endanger
reason; habitual drunkenness three years;
absent and unheard of three years; deser
tion for three years with refusal to co
habit; desertion for three years with re
fusal to support; where either party has
joined society professing to believe rela
tion of husband and wife unlawful, and
refusal to cohabit with other for six
months; where wife has resided out of
State ten years without husband s con
sent, without returning to claim her mari
tal rights; where wife of alien has resided
in State three years, and her husband has
left United States with intention of be
coming citizen of another country, not
having made suitable provision for her
support. One or the other must be resi
dent of State one year, unless both were
domiciled in State when action was com
menced, or defendant was served with pro
cess in State, the plaintiff being domiciled
therein; either con remarry.

New Jersey. Extreme cruelty; wilful,
continued arid obstinate desertion for
two years. Residence required, three
years; no statutory provision as to re
marriage.

New Mexico. Neglect of husband to
provide; habitual drunkenness; cruel or



121



DIVORCE LAWS

inhuman treatment; abandonment. Resi- viction of felony; personal indignities or

dence required, one year. cruel and inhuman treatment rendering

New York. Absolute divorce granted life burdensome. Residence required, one
only for adultery. Residence required, year; neither can marry until expira-
one year. When woman under age of six- tion of time for appeal, and in case of ap-
teen is married without consent of parent peal, until after judgment on the appeal,
or guardian, when consent was obtained Pennsylvania. Conviction of felony
by fraud, force or duress, or where either and sentence for two years or longer; wil-
party was insane or idiot, marriage may ful and malicious desertion for two years,
be annulled. In such cases either party or where husband by cruelty and abuse
may remarry, but in cases of absolute di- has endangered his wife s life, or offered
vorce guilty party shall not marry during such indignities to her person as to render
life of other, with the following excep- her condition intolerable and her life
tions: He may be permitted by court to burdensome, and thereby forced her to
remarry upon proving that the other party withdraw from his home and family;
has remarried, that five years have elapsed where wife, by cruel and barbarous treat-
since divorce was granted, and that his ment, renders husband s condition intoler-
conduct has been uniformly good. If the able; fraud, force or coercion in procuring
guilty party marries in another State in marriage. Residence required, one year;
accordance with laws of that State, the either may remarry,
marriage will be held good in New York. Rhode Island. Where marriage was

North Carolina. Divorce may be void or voidable by law; where either
granted to wife if husband is indicted for party is for crime deemed civilly dead, or
felony, and flees from the State and does from absence or other circumstances pre-
not return for one year; to the husband sumed to be dead; wilful desertion for
if wife refuses relations with him for one five years or for a shorter time, in discre-
year. Divorces from bed and board may tion of court; extreme cruelty; continued
be granted for habitual drunkenness, drunkenness; neglect or refusal of hus-
abandonment, cruel or barbarous treat- band to provide, or for any other gross
inent endangering life, indignities to per- misbehavior or wickedness in either party
son as to render condition intolerable, repugnant to or in violation of the mar-
maliciously turning other out - of - doors, riage covenant, and where parties have
Residence required, two years; on abso- lived apart for ten years. Residence re-
lute divorce either may remarry. quired, one year; no statute as to re-

North Dakota. Conviction of felony; marrying.

extreme cruelty, wilful desertion, wilful Tennessee. Habitual drunkenness; wil-
neglect and habitual intemperance, each ful or malicious desertion for two years;
continued for one year. Residence re- attempting life of other; conviction of in
quired, ninety days; guilty party cannot famous crime; conviction and sentence to
marry during life of other. South Dakota penitentiary for felony; refusal of wife to
same. move into this State, and wilfully absent-

Ohio. Imprisonment in penitentiary; ing herself from husband for two years,
gross neglect of duty; extreme cruelty; Divorces from bed and board may be
habitual drunkenness for three years; granted for cruel and inhuman treatment
fraudulent contract; divorce procured by to wife, indignities to her person render-
either in another State. Residence re- ing her condition intolerable, and forcing
quired, one year; either may remarry. her to withdraw, abandoning her or turn-

Oklahoma. Habitual intemperance; ex- ing her out-of-doors, and refusing or neg-
treme cruelty; abandonment one year; lecting to provide for her. Residence re-
fraudulent contract; gross neglect of quired, two years; on absolute divorce
duty; conviction of felony and imprison- either may remarry, but on divorce for in-
ment. Residence required, ninety days; fidelity guilty one shall not marry party
decree does not become absolute till six with whom crime was committed during
months after its date. life of other.

Oregon. Wilful desertion one year; Texas. Desertion for three years; ex-
habitual, gross drunkenness one year; con- cesses; conviction of felony and imprison-

127



DIVOBCE LAWS

ment in State prison; cruel treatment or ual drunkenness for one year; imprison-

outrages, if of nature to render living to- ment for life or for three years or more:

gether insupportable. Residence required, cruel and inhuman treatment by personal

six months; either may remarry. violence; where parties have voluntarily

Utah, Conviction of felony; habitual lived apart five years. Residence re-
drunkenness; wilful neglect to provide for quired, one year; either may remarry,
wife; wilful desertion more than one Wyoming. Conviction of felony or in-
year; cruel treatment as to cause bodily famous crime prior to marriage unknown
injuries or mental distress. Residence re- to other; conviction and sentence for f el-
quired, one year; either may remarry. ony; wilful desertion one year; neglect of

Vermont. Sentence to hard labor in husband to provide for one year; habitual
State prison for life or for three years or drunkenness; such indignities as to ren-
more; fraud or force in procuring mar- der condition intolerable. Residence re-
riage, or either under age of consent; hus- quired, six months; no statute as to re-
band grossly, wantonly, and cruelly neg- marrying.

lecting to provide; wilful desertion three Divorce Laws, UNIFORM. Upon the
years, or absence seven years unheard of; question of the desirability of a uniform
intolerable severity. Petitioner must re- divorce law in the United States, ELIZA-
side in the State at least one year ; guilty BETH CADY STANTON (q. v. ) , the well-
party shall not marry again for the term known advocate of woman s suffrage,
of three years. writes as follows:

Virginia. Wilful desertion five years;

fugitive from justice two years ; convic- There has been much discussion of late in
tion of infamous offence prior to mar- regard to the necessity for an entire re-
riage unknown to other ; sentenced to vision of the laws on divorce. For this pur-
confinement in penitentiary. Divorces pose, the State proposes a committee of
from bed and board may be granted for learned judges, the Church another of dis-
cruelty, reasonable apprehension of bodily tinguished bishops, to frame a national
harm, abandonment or desertion. Resi- law which shall be endorsed by both Church
dence required, one year; court may de- and State. Though women are as deeply
cree that guilty party may not remarry interested as men in this question, there
without the consent of court. is no suggestion that women shall be

Washington. Abandonment one year; represented on either committee. Hence,

habitual drunkenness or neglect or re- the importance of some expressions of

fusal to provide; consent to marriage ob- their opinions before any changes are

tained by force or fraud; cruel treatment made. As judges and bishops are pro-

or personal indignities rendering life bur- verbially conservative, their tendency

densome; chronic mania or dementia of would be to make the laws in the free

either party for ten years; imprisonment States more restrictive than they now

in penitentiary or any other cause deemed are, and thus render it more difficult for

sufficient by the court. Residence re- wives to escape from unhappy marriages,

quired, one year; neither party can marry The States which have liberal divorce

until time for repeal has elapsed, or if laws are to women what Canada was to

appeal is taken, not until after final judg- the slaves before the emancipation. The

ment. applicants for divorce are chiefly women,

West Virginia. Wilful desertion three as Naquet s bill, which passed the

years; husband notoriously immoral; wife Chamber of Deputies of France, abun-

immoral before marriage unknown to hus- dantly proves. In the first year there were

band; imprisonment in penitentiary. 3,000 applications, the greater number

Divorces from bed and board may be being women.

granted for habitual drunkenness, aban- Unhappy husbands have many ways of
donment, desertion, cruel and inhuman mitigating their miseries which are not
treatment, or reasonable apprehension of open to wives, who are financial depend-
bodily harm. Residence required, one ants and burdened with children. Hus-
year; no statute as to remarriage. bands can leave the country and invest

Wisconsin. Neglect to provide; habit- their property in foreign lands. Laws

128



DIVORCE LAWS, UNIFORM

affect only those who respect and obey necessary that a private act of Par-

them. Laws made to restrain unprin- liament should be passed in order that a

cipled men fall with crushing weight on divorce could be obtained. In 1857, the

women. A young woman with property State took action looking towards the

of her own can now easily free herself granting of divorces by the courts with-

from an unworthy husband by spending out the interposition of Parliament, but

a year in a free State, and in due time this action has not been sanctioned by

she can marry again. the Church of England. Hence has arisen

Because an inexperienced girl has a peculiar state of affairs in England,

made a mistake partly, in many cases, which has led to considerable confusion.

through the bad counsel of her advisers The Church forbids the marriage of either

shall she be denied the right to marry party, except of the innocent parties in

again? We can trace the icy fingers of cases where the cause is adultery. But as

the canon law in all our most sacred the State permits the marriage of divorced

relations. Through the evil influences of parties, the ministers of the Church of

that law, the Church holds the key to England were put in an awkward position.

the situation, and is determined to keep As ministers of the Church, they were

it. At a triennial Episcopal convention forbidden to marry these persons, but as

held in Washington, D. C., bishops, with the Church is allied to the State, and to

closed doors, discussed the question of a certain extent subject to it, a number

marriage and divorce ad libitum, a large of them believed it their civil duty to per-

majority of the bishops being in favor of form such marriages, and they performed

the most restrictive canons; and, though them in violation of the canonical law.

an auxiliary convention was held at the The agitation over this question has at-

same time, composed of 1,500 women, tracted a great deal of attention during

members of the Episcopal Church, they the last few years, and is looked upon as

had no part in the discussion, covering being one of the most powerful causes

a dozen or more canon laws. which may lead to the disestablishment of

A recent writer on this subject says: the Church of England.

Marriage should be regarded as a- civil

"There Is no doubt that the sentiment in contract, entirely under the jurisdiction



, .

setting its face firmly against divorce. An Church has in our temporal affairs, the

evidence of this is the circulation of a peti- better.

tlon to the convention requesting that it Lor d Brougham says: "Before woman

adopt some stringent rule for this purpose, , inv iimtiW bv thp Inw* of Fno-

which has already received the signatures of ca n liaye an y J us

about 2,000 of the clergy. The proposition to land, there must be a total reconstruction

adopt a stringent canon received the undivid- of the whole marriage system ; for any at-

ed support of the High Church ministers, tempt to amen d it would prove useless.

and finds many supporters in the Low mi * . , ,,! , . ,,

Church " The g rea t charter, in establishing the su

premacy of law over prerogative, provided

The question of marriage and divorce, only for justice between man and man ;

and the attitude the Church should take for woman nothing was left but common

towards divorced persons who wish to law, accumulations and modifications of

marry again, has been up before many original Gothic and Roman heathenism,

general conventions. r ihe attitude of the which no amount of filtration through ec-

Episcopal Church has always been strongly clesiastica-1 courts could change into

against divorce, and particularly against Christian laws. They are declared un-

the marriage of divorced persons. The worthy of a Christian people by great

Catholic Church takes a still narrower jurists; still, they remain unchanged."



Online LibraryBenson John LossingHarper's encyclopdia of United States history from 458 A.D. to 1905 (Volume 3) → online text (page 20 of 76)