HL Deb 04 July 1856 vol 143 cc308-9

Bill read 3a (according to Order),


said, he did not rise for the purpose of dividing their Lordships; but merely to move the omission of a proviso inserted in this Bill last evening, for the purpose of giving himself an opportunity of recording his opinion against that proviso. The proviso to which he alluded was the one providing that the party divorced should not marry the party with whom he or she had committed adultery. Now he thought that this clause was a mistake, and would encourage rather than discountenance adultery. It would be a great infliction on the guilty woman, but it would be very favourable to the guilty man. There had been in that House a standing order to the same effect as that proviso; but their Lordships seeing that its insertion in divorce Bills might lead to very injurious consequences to women, it had invariably been struck out. Such a clause would either encourage the adulterer to abandon the woman, marry some one else, and enter society, when probably he would be forgiven, and suffer nothing for his culpability; or it would lead to the guilty parties living together, not in a state of marriage. Guilty men might, in many instances, be glad of such a clause, as it would prevent them from doing that which, but for the legal enactment, feelings of honour might compel them to do. Under these circumstances he looked upon the proviso in question as calculated to work much mischief; but as their Lordships had already expressed their opinions upon it, he would not divide the House on his Motion to omit it.

Amendment negatived; an Amendment made; Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.