HC Deb 03 May 1843 vol 68 cc1244-5
Mr. Elphinstone

moved the Order of the Day for the second reading of the Marriages and Divorces Bill.

Dr. Nicholl

said, the hon. and learned Member had not stated any reason to induce the House to agree to his motion.

Mr. Elphinstone

said, the House was aware that at present suits for divorce were carried on in the various provincial courts, subject to appeal to the courts at York and Canterbury. Now, with the exception of London, those courts were totally unsuited to the trial of such questions. The judges were wholly unqualified; they were unassisted by a bar, and consequently there was little chance of justice being obtained. Then the expense of the present mode of proceeding was enormous. In one case, which was first tried at the Court of Wells, and in which the suitor was poor, the expense was upwards of 1,500l., all of which ultimately fell on the suitor, in consequence of the adulterer becoming an outlaw and insolvent. Under the present law of divorce, three steps were necessary before a divorce was complete—first, a suit at common law; second, an appeal to the ecclesiastical tribunal; and third, a bill in Parliament. His object was to have a new court appointed with judges nominated by the Crown, which should be empowered to try the case, and grant a divorce a vinculo matrimonii, which was the law of every Protestant country but this. He concluded by moving that the bill be read a second time.

Mr. Ewart

seconded the motion with much pleasure; and did so because of the injustice and expense of the present system. The cost of a divorce à vinculo matrimonii was about 800l.; in Mr. Mit-ford's case, it had been upwards of 900l. Thus, a poor man had not the possibility of procuring a divorce. The Cost of a divorce in the Court of Session in Scotland was not more than 30l., and in some cases not more than 20l.; and the poor man was not, therefore, precluded from seeking it: and he did not see why they should not seek to assimilate the law. He thought the present bill founded in justice, and therefore cordially supported it.

Dr. Nicholl

said, the bill was in direct contradiction to the reports of the ecclesiastical commissioners. He had understood that the bill was not to extend to divorce a vinculo matrimonii, or he should not have consented to its introduction. The hon, and learned Member had quoted no authority whatever in support of the bill. The bill was at variance with every other bill which had been introduced on the subject, and proposed, "at one fell swoop, to destroy all the spiritual jurisdiction of the archbishops and bishops. He believed also that the bill had been prepared without consultation with any of the ecclesiastical or legal authorities. Besides, it was different in its provisions from the bills of Lords Campbell and Cottenham. Under all these circumstances, he felt bound to oppose its further progress, and he should therefore move that the bill be read a second time that day six months.

The House divided on the question that the word "now," stand part of the question.—Ayes 41; Noes 105: Majority 64.

List of the AYES.
Aglionby, H. A. Martin, J.
Aldam, W. Mitchell, T. A.
Barnard, E. G. Morris, D.
Barron, Sir H. W. Muntz, G. P.
Bernal, R. O'Brien, W. S.
Brotherton, J. Pechell, Capt.
Byng, rt. hon, G. S. Plumridge, Capt.
Childers, J. W. Ross, D. R.
Christie, W. D. Stanley, hon. W. O.
Clive, E. B. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Crawford, W. S. Strutt, E.
Divett, E. Thorneley, T.
Duncan, G. Trelawny, J. S.
Duncombe, T. Tufnel, H.
Dundas, Adm. Vivian, J. H.
Etwall, R. Wall, C. B.
Gibson, T. M. Wawn, J. T.
Hatton, Capt. V. Williams, W.
Hill, Lord M. Wood, B.
Langston, J. H. TELLERS.
Marjoribanks, S. Elphinstone, H.
Marsland, H. Ewart, W.
List of the NOES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Bailey, J. Jun.
Adderley, C. B. Baillie, H. J.
Allix, J. P. Baring, hn. W. B.
Arkwright, G Barrington, Visct.
Baskerville, T. B. M. Hodgson, R.
Blackburne, J. I. Hogg, J. W.
Blakemore, R. Hope, G. W.
Boldero, H. G. Houldsworth, T.
Borth wick, P. Hussey, T.
Brownrigg, J. S. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Bruce, Lord E. Jermyn, Earl
Back, L. W. Knatchbull, rt. hn. Sir E
Buller, Sir J. Y. Knight, H. G.
Colquhoun, J. C. Lawson, A.
Compton, H. C. Lefroy, A.
Copeland, Ald. Legh, G. C.
Corry, rt, hn. H. Lincoln, Earl of
Courtenay, Lord Lockhart, W.
Cripps, W. Lord Mayor of London
Damer, hon. Col.
Dick, Q. Maclean, D.
Dickinson, F. H. Mc. Geachy, F. A.
Dodd, G. Manners, Lord J.
Douglas, Sir H. Martin, C. W.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Master, T. W. C.
Douglas, J. D. S. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Duncombe, hon. O. Meynell, Capt.
Dungannon, Visct. Mordaunt, Sir J.
Du Pre, C. G. Mundy, E. M.
Egerton, W. T. Newdigate, C. N.
Estcourt, T. G. B. Nicholl, rt. hon. J.
Feilden, W. Pakington, J. S.
Fielden, J. Patten, J. W.
Flower, Sir J. Peel, rt. hn. Sir R.
Follett, Sir W. W. Pollock, Sir F.
Fuller, A. E. Pringle, A.
Gaskell, J. Milnes Rendlesham, Lord
Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E. Round, C. G.
Gladstone, Capt. Shirley, E. P.
Gordon, hon. Capt. Smith, rt. hn. T. B. C.
Gore, W. O. Somerset, Lord G.
Goring, C. Stanley, Lord
Goulburn, rt. hn. H. Stanton, W. H.
Graham, rt. hn. Sir J. Stuart, H.
Greene, T. Sturt, H. C.
Hamilton, W. J. Thesiger, F.
Hamilton, Lord C. Tollemache, J.
Hampden, R. Tomline, G.
Hardinge, rt. hn. Sir H. Trotter, J.
Heathcote, Sir W. Wyndham, Col. C.
Heneage, G. H. W. Young, J.
Henley, J. W.
Henniker, Lord TELLERS.
Herbert, hon. S. Fremantle, Sir T.
Hervey, Lord A. Baring, H.

Bill put off for six months.

House adjourned.