HL Deb 08 March 1809 vol 13 cc1-2

On the order of the day being read for the committal of sir George Brograve's Divorce Bill:

Lord Auckland

moved the postponement of it till Tuesday next, as he wished to look previously into one of the clauses respecting the settlements on the marriage. He took this occasion to say, that the frequency of Divorce Bills in the present session had been to him a subject of much pain and indignation. That frequency was an evil of the first magnitude, affecting the character of the higher ranks of society, and contaminating the morals of every class in the united kingdom. It was an evil which called loudly and imperiously for the intervention of parliament. Perhaps, the best remedy would be to make adultery an indictable crime to be punished by fine and imprisonment. It might also be useful to enact the provision which he had formerly proposed, and which their lordships had adopted, to prohibit the intermarriage of the offending parties. It would further be desirable, as had been suggested to him by the noble and learned lord on the woolsack, to put some checks and regulations on judgments by default, in actions of damages for criminal conversation. He would not pledge himself to the task of bringing forward a bill; but he would only repeat, that it had become a sacred duty incumbent on parliament, not to suffer the present session to elapse without taking some effectual measure.— The committee on the Bill was then postponed till Tuesday.