Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/242

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only. In Ohio and other States there are many; but in Connecticut, Indiana, Illinois, North Carolina, and Maine, there is any cause that a discontented and dishonest party may allege, or that a judge in his discretion, influenced by sympathy or corrupt motives, may approve. In these extremes of the law, we have the tyranny of bigotry and the liberty of license, this opening the gates of temptation to the licentiousness of man, and the other driving in the victims. Surely there is a happy medium sufficiently circumscribed to restrain the vicious and dishonest, and yet liberal enough to afford relief to the innocent and injured! Thus, it will be seen that uniformity in the operation of the divorce laws, as a part of the marriage contract, is made necessary by the facility with which divorces are now "made easy, and without publicity." The cases where a husband or wife has abandoned home and family, and gone into a neighboring State to procure a divorce that could not be obtained at home, are so frequent and notorious, that the public conscience has ceased to be more shocked over such an occurrence than over a bank-president's embezzlement, or a willful murder. And yet society should be shocked to the very depths of humiliation, for the histories of the majority of such cases show that they are instigated by the basest motives of the human heart. For some fancied or real grievance that could easily be explained by love, or remedied by law; for the slightest incompatibility that could exist between any two independent individuals, and which might be softened by intelligent forbearance, but which must be endured by all under any form of contract; or, from a sensual desire to form another marriage relation, or for apparent causes that have no deeper root of evil than fashionable folly, petty jealousy, and irritability of temper—the laws of many of the States offer a way for the dissolution of the marriage contract. It is, however, to the credit of our humanity that the noble and enduring men and women of our race—those upon whom the world must ever rely for the true advancement of man toward social perfection and individual happiness seldom or never resort to the courts, even of their own State, for release from a contract which may have become onerous or even disgraceful to bear. Under the present liberal laws, regulating the relation of husband and wife, in some of the more progressive States, the parties stand so nearly equal before the law as individuals, in their personal and property rights, that there can not be the same excuses for resorting to divorce as a remedy for a real or supposed wrong, and certainly not the necessity for the assignment of so many statutory causes, as in former years. And while there should be other causes than adultery assigned for divorce, there is no other cause by which the family and society can be so deeply injured; no other cause that might not be adjusted between the parties, or removed by law, the same as if the marriage relation did not exist, or for which the innocent party might not suffer just as severely in his or her relation to society as in the relation of husband or wife.