§ The Earl of Eldon
re-introduced the Bill to settle the law on (he subject of Scotch Divorces in cases of English marriages, which he had laid on the Table in the course of the last Parliament, in behalf of the Earl of Lauderdale. The two Bills were precisely the same. It was highly important, as he had before stated, that the law on this subject should be settled. At present, if a couple who had been married in England wanted to get divorced without delay, they went to Scotland, and on residing there for forty days, they became so far domiciled as to enable them to apply to the Scotch Commissary Court for a divorce; and the Scotch Court claimed the jurisdiction to grant a divorce a vinculo matrimonii. But it had been determined, in solemn argument, by all the Judges of England, that an English marriage could not be set aside except by Act of Parliament; and in one case where a man got a Scotch divorce in the way which he had mentioned, and then married again, he was indicted for bigamy, convicted, and 296 sentenced to seven years' transportation. It was highly desirable that such a conflicting state of law, on one of the most important of subjects, should not be allowed to exist any longer. He would enter more fully into the subject on the second reading of the Bill; and in the meantime he hoped their Lordships would allow it to be read a first time.
§ Bill read a first time.