HC Deb 14 June 1811 vol 20 cc639-40

On the third reading of Loveden's Divorce Bill.

Mr. Lockhart

, after a few observations en the legal nature of divorce, moved that some provision for Mrs. Loveden might be allotted out of her own portion. He conceived that he should not exceed moderate bounds, by naming 300l. a year. (A cry from all parts of the House of—Name 400l.)

Mr. Giddy

stated, that he had learned from the counsel in this case that Mr. Loveden objected to her having any annuity, as she had a jointure of 800l a year, which she might sell. (A cry of no, no.)

Sir J. Graham

thought 400l. a year extremely moderate, when it was considered that the party was a young woman. If no provision were given, it would be an inducement for old honourable members of that House to marry young wives. (A laugh, and Order.)

Mr. Wilson

hoped for the credit of the House, that they would not, with their eyes open, drive a young and very unfortunate woman into courses, if possible more vicious than those which had ruined her character already.

Mr. W. Smith

, in allusion to sir J. Graham's expressions) wished it not to be un- derstood as the idea of that House, that a young woman married to an older man was not as much bound to give him her whole attachment, as if their ages were equal. It was lord Thurlow's opinion, that a wife's bringing a large fortune, was no reason that an adultress should demand back a large provision. Two hundred pounds would probably have been the portion allotted by lord Thurlow.

Mr. Whitbread

said, if 200l. was enough in lord Thurlow's time, 400l. was not more than enough now.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

conceived the question an extremely serious one. He wished to have time to consider it. It was only mercy to the sex, to avoid making the road easy and profitable to a crime, most injurious to society, and ruinous to the character of females. Ha did not know yet, whether the House ought to sanction the giving so large a share of the interest of her portion to this unfortunate woman. It might be, too, that passing a clause to that effect might be introducing a precedent and interfering with proceedings already instituted by the other House. He wished to hear the opinions of legal men on that point.

Mr. Simeon

said, that he had known an instance of a clause of the nature of the present one inserted by the Commons and that it was not rejected by the Lords. The House went into a Committee, and the clause was brought up, and read a first and a second time.

Mr. P. Moore

answered, that Mrs. Loveden's portion was 12,000l. and (as far as we could understand) that the liberality of her family made it equal to 1,000 a year.

The Speaker

observed, that the clause was not without example. In 1793, a clause had been introduced into a bill from the Lords, and it was not thrown out by them on its return. The sum named was, however only 50l. But during the ten years in which he had been Speaker, no such measure had been brought forward; and when he saw the bill coming from the Lords without such a clause, and when the motion was made at so late a period of the session, he must recommend the House to take farther time to consider what they were doing.

After a few words from sir J. Graham, the Speaker moved that the Committee report progress, and ask leave to sit again which was agreed to.