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of the American Revolution. Spiritual relationships and those gained in bap tism, as well as natural relationships, were resorted to when necessary. Coke tells of a marriage declared null and void because the husband stood godfather to a cousin of the wife. Margaret Tudor (daughter of Henry VII.) was divorced on the plea that her first husband, James IV. of Scotland, who had in fact been killed on the field of Flodden three years before, was alive at the time of the second marriage. It was not until Louis XII. met a young and wealthy widow that he found that his wife of twenty-two years was his fourth cousin, whose father had been his godfather; for this impediment he was divorced, then married the widow. When Henry VIII. wished to marry his brother's widow, he procured a papal dispensation permitting the marriage; but later, when fascinated by Ann Boleyn, the marriage was declared null and void because the Pope had no power to grant such dispensation. Napoleon found formal justification for his separation from Josephine in the fact that the nuptial blessing lacked a formality prescribed by canon. law-the presence of the parish priest and witnesses. Not content with this, the further ground was assigned that Napoleon himself did not consent to the marriage.
Divorce is but the outward manifestation of underlying social evils, a part of the movement for social liberation which has been gaining strength and volume since the days of the Reformation. Formerly woman was dependent upon her father and brothers until some man assumed the burden of her support. Spinsters were looked upon with commiseration, helpless, dependent creatures. The identity of the wife was merged in that of the husband. Milton had his Adam pray for an "equal inferior" to share the garden with him.
Since many women are economically independent before marriage, they are not of necessity dependent on their husbands for support after marriage. They will no longer accept conditions of life meekly endured by their mothers in the days when the husband exercised his common-law right to beat the wife with
a "stick no larger than his thumb." There is pathos in the belated awakening of the aged woman who for forty years had been knocked down and dragged about by her hair, over whose head chairs and other like objects had been broken, who finally prayed for divorce because she feared that, if longer compelled to live with the defendant, she might suffer some personal violence at his hands!
The divorce movement, in so far as it is influenced by woman's growing independence, is but the evidence of a healthy discontent with such conditions. We are now in the transition stage that shall ultimately lead to a higher and more permanent type of family, consisting of self-respecting and mutually respected equals, knit together by ties that shall be far more tenacious than any bond fashioned by an age of dependence and subjugation. The great majority of divorces in Wisconsin come from the walks of life where the wife is still economically dependent, where she has bartered herself for life support.
The husband, likewise, is less dependent on the wife. The boarding-house, the hotel, the club, are taking the place of the home.. The tailor, the Chinaman, and the button that may be sewed on with a hammer are factors in his liberation. The man who finishes a day's business in Chicago in time to catch a train that shall take him to New York to transact business on the morrow is not satisfied, in matters of marriage or divorce, with the ways of his ancestors who traveled with the ox team.
The man who toils all day in the shop and the woman who attempts to care for home and children in some crowded tenement have less of sweetness and light than their forbears on some fair New England farm. The tenement home ceases to attract; drink, cruelty, failure to support, infidelity, these and other ills follow in the wake of far too many lives passed under such conditions.
As we ascend the social scale we find the husband engrossed in his profession or business, the wife wrapped up in society or philanthropy and the home-each with interests that leave scarcely an hour for real family life. The tie that
binds becomes weaker and its dissolution easier.
Social discontent plays its part. Girls who dream of marriage with a peer of the realm or a captain in the army find life with a wage-earner rather irksome. The young married couple with an income of fifteen hundred dollars, but living as if it were five thousand, need not be far-sighted to see the divorce court at the other end of the path that leads from the church door. Lessened belief in the sacredness of marriage permits many to seek legal separation who otherwise would be restrained by religious convictions.
The chief cause for the flood of divorce is the great number of hasty, illconsidered, wholly bad marriages performed each year. Any genuine reform of our divorce system must commence at the beginning rather than at the end. of the marriage. The improper marriages each year greatly exceed in number the improper divorces. Outside certain limitations as to age, blood relationship, and mental capacity, people may marry from mere impulse or caprice, fleeting fancy, pique, or jealousy, without the slightest recognition of the earnestness or the seriousness of the step that is taken. Any county fair or street carnival can find some couple ready to be married in a balloon for notoriety's Sake. Every now and then the papers tell the story of a village dance where three couples out of four in a quadrille were married before the music began, or of some village justice who arose late at night, and, without change of clothing, through an open window, married some wandering twain by the light of a match dimly burning. The other day, as I left the court-house, four couples of young people passed the building. One girl said, "Let's go in and get married." Had some dare-devil responded, "All right," we might have had four more couples on the way to the divorce court. Recently the papers recorded the fact that a tramp, walking on a wager across the continent, had less difficulty in finding a maiden and a minister to make him a benedict on the way than he had in covering the required number of miles per day.
A Western paper of recognized standing (Portland Oregonian) recently said, with more zeal than justice, perhaps, that "a large share of this mischief is done by lazy and greedy preachers who ought to be sawing wood for fifty cents a cord, instead of marrying babies for a few dollars apiece.' Be this as it may, any man and woman, however unfit to assume this relationship, can always find some magistrate or minister to unite them for life or for the divorce court. We can never have a proper regulation of marriage while the State permits the magistrate or minister who is to receive the fee to determine whether the marriage shall be performed.
Most States still recognize the common-law marriage. Without the presence of magistrate or minister, with no witness present and no record made, the common-law marriage may be consummated in some dark and cozy corner long after the lawyer has laid aside his pen and left his briefs and his books; yet we do not think of transferring an acre of land or of taking security for a loan without the assistance of a lawyer.
When we in Wisconsin propose legislation that shall in some way regulate marriage, the bill is laughed out of the Legislature, and classed with legislation taxing old bachelors to provide for the support of old maids. In fact, there are more laws to tax bachelors than properly to regulate marriage. Texas some years ago imposed a penalty of fifty dollars a year on every unmarried man over thirty who did not exercise due diligence in an endeavor to marry. Due diligence under this law was shown by producing an affidavit of some respectable woman that he had offered himself in marriage during the year. Missouri adopted a
Single Tax Law" in 1897, which provided that any maiden or widow who rejected an offer of marriage should be sentenced to six months darning the socks and sewing on the buttons of the rejected suitor.
Society has established tribunals to pass on the right of the husband and wife to leave the married state; why should it not regulate their right to enter upon the same estate? Yet we must recognize that the most that legislation
can do is to so regulate marriage that it shall be surrounded by the most favorable legal environments. Legislation too far in advance of the thought of the people produces evil results. Bavaria prohibited the marriage of all persons who were not able to support themselves. As a result, one-fourth of the whole number of children were born out of wedlock, Immediately upon the repeal of the law the marriages increased fifty per cent., and there was a corresponding decrease in the number of illegitimate children. In Mexico, after the church lands were confiscated, the priests, in order to maintain their revenues, raised the marriage fee. The fee did not bring an increased revenue, but there was no decrease in the birth-rate or in the number of new homes established.
Our apathy and lack of care as to preparation for the responsibilities of married life are well-nigh incredible. We carefully instruct our children as to their behavior in the ball-room and at the dinner-table, in the office and at the shop; yet, through some sort of false modesty, we often leave them to work out their own salvation in this, the most important relationship of their lives-leave them to learn by sad experience, when too late, that which we should have taught them long before they yielded to some sudden impulse in selecting a mate for life.
If all parents could sit in the divorce court and listen to the tales of suffering undergone through these unfortunate marriages, they would awake to a realizing sense of their duty; our homes, our schools, our churches, would prepare young men and women for these responsibilities. Better marriages, happier homes, fewer divorces, would be the result. So long as we leave recklessly wide the door that leads to wedlock, there must of necessity be a broad way out. In the words of Milton, we must have tender pity for "those who have unwarily, in a thing they never practiced before, made themselves the bondmen of a luckless and helpless matrimony."
The physician usually learns of the ruined home and the broken health of its inmates before the lawyer. Four hundred leading physicians throughout the United States agree almost without
exception that the causes of divorce are improper marriages, or improper con-ditions after marriage; that the statutory grounds alleged are simply the methods whereby the parties comply with the law regulating their separation, not the real ground for the divorce. Ninety-seven per cent. of these physicians said that education in sexual matters would overcome the evils arising from these improper marriages.
Society protects itself from epidemics of smallpox and cholera; it should adopt some safeguard against marriages that shall burden it with generation after generation of physical weaklings, moral degenerates, and criminals. Experts tell us that one-half of the insane now confined in asylums have hereditary tendencies to insanity. Penologists have traced the history of such families as the Jukes, which have, through successive generations, preyed on society. We cannot tolerate the Spartan law of exposing weakly children, but we ought to protect ourselves by preventing improper marriages and by putting an end to such improper marriages as become a menace to society.
The success of the Jews as a race is largely due to their regulation of marriage. Some of the higher class in Brazil, by self-imposed rule, require the proposed spouse to present the certificate of a physician that he is not afflicted with certain diseases. Recently a women's congress at Paris voted to require such certificates as a protection to their daughters.
In America we need more of the English idea that marriage is a life settlement, in which parents and guardians should play a larger part. If this idea prevailed, we should have fewer homes in which such scenes are enacted as those that have been rehearsed under oath upon the witness-stand.
A wife testifies of her husband:
"He was drunk, and I was getting ready to leave. I got half-way down the stairs, and he pulled me down the stairs and choked me."
"What happened downstairs?"
"He struck me, and choked me, and struck me in the face with his foot." "Were you lying on the floor?"
"I was lying on the floor. And that continued for over an hour, and he struck me in the face until I was unconscious, and he struck me when I came to."
A witness testified as to the wife's condition:
"I didn't hardly know her. Her face was all black and blue, and all beat out of shape."
Another wife testifies :
"Has he ever beaten the children ?"
Well, yes. He was the cause of the
oldest one's nervousness. He used to take him down and kick him like a horse."
Still another wife :
"What did the defendant do when he came home, while your daughter Katherine was sick in your house?"
"He did the same he always did, he chased us out, and we had to carry her out of the house. A day or two after that he came home and chased us all out, and he drew a knife and told us that he was going to kill us all."
Because another wife told her little son to go in and warm himself, when at work, the father "kicked him all around the room; and I [the wife] began to keep him off, and he took me up against the door and choked me. And that was about three months before one of the little children was born."
A husband, after describing the drunken sprees of his wife, who was then the mother of a babe and a child two years old, testified:
"When I came home at night, she was so drunk she could not move away from the table. She wanted the baby to nurse, and because the child wouldn't she started to spank it. I got up and took the child away from her and she started to pound me and pull my hair, and of course I would shove her away; and every time I would shove her she would fall down."
We need quote no more.
These brief extracts were selected almost at random from the official records of the forty-one cases in which divorce was granted in the county that contains the capital city of Wisconsin, in 1905. The records of any other year in this county, the records of any other
county of Wisconsin, show parallel cases. In fact, the records disclose cases so much worse than these that we cannot present them.
No one can say that any child, any woman, any man, should continue for a day within the four walls of any building where such scenes are enacted. When
a man, day after day, week in and week out, beats his children, knocks his wife down, kicks her in the face and drags her about by the hair, spends his earnings on liquor, leaving his wife and children naked and starving but for the wife's feeble effort at the washtub and the charity of others; when a woman neglects her home and children and spends her days and nights in drunken debauches; when these things happen, and the wronged spouse has done all that can be done to reform the erring one, to no effect, then there is no remedy, no escape, from a relationship that has be come a hideous nightmare and a martyrdom, except divorce.
One who listens to divorce cases day after day almost concludes with Stevenson that "marriage is a field of battle and not a bed of roses. He will at least conclude that there is no purgatory in matrimony, it is either paradise or the inferno.
Divorce is a remedy, not a disease. Some sixteenth-century writer said that it was a medicine for the disease of marriage. It is at best pure surgery to which resort should be had in the extremity, but which should never be tolerated when milder remedies will suffice. But we may as well expect to cure tumors by ignoring them as to right blighted marriages and ruined homes by abolishing divorce.
We hear it said that divorce is immoral. Nothing can be more immoral than to doom sensitive women to a life worse than slavery, in constant fear of physical injury, if not death, at the hands of some brutal, drunken husbard; than to condemn innocent little children to the dominion of mothers not worthy of the name, of fathers brutal in the extreme; than to compel men to live with drunken, profligate wives.
Churches differ in their interpretation of the Gospels. Most churches so interpret divine law as to permit divorce
in case of unfaithfulness.
man put asunder." These writers say
Some writers arrive at the conclusion that modern divorce statutes, are not in conflict with the strict letter of the Scriptures by asserting that God does not join together those who are led to the union by lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, or pride of life; that therefore they do not come within the command, "What therefore God hath joined together, let not
Luther reasoned that the magistrate decreeing the separation was the representative of the Supreme Being, therefore it is not man who puts asunder that which God has joined together. Three centuries ago Milton reached the conclusion that the Creator's responsibility ceased when he ordained marriage, for every-day experience proves that he could not have determined what particular men and women should be united in wedlock. Certain it is, if the marriages that end in our divorce courts are made in heaven, the contracting parties soon become earthly examples of the fallen angels.
By some process of reasoning, the great mass of men conclude that there are cases in which legal separation must be decreed as long as existing conditions as to marriage prevail.
THE MAN UNDER THE THE YOKE AN EPISODE IN THE LIFE OF A LITERARY TRAMP
BY NICHOLAS VACHEL LINDSAY
T was Sunday morning, the middle of March. I was stranded in Jacksonville Florida. After breakfast I had five cents left. Joyously I purchased a sack of peanuts, then started northwest on the railway ties straight toward that part of Georgia marked swamp on the map.
Sunset found me in a pine forest. I decided to ask for a meal and lodging at the white house looming half a mile ahead, just by the track. I prepared a I prepared a speech to this effect:
As I approached the house I forgot the speech. All the turkeys gobbled at me. The two dogs almost tore down the fence trying to get a taste of me. went to the side gate to appeal to the proud old lady in the cap enthroned in the porch rocker. Her son, the proprietor, appeared. He shall ever be named the dog-man. His tone of voice was such that, to speak in metaphor, he bit me in the throat. He refused me a place in his white kennel. He would not share his dog-biscuit. The being on the porch assured me in a whanging yelp that they did not "take nobody in under no circumstances." Then the dog-man, mollified by my serene grin, pointed with his thumb into the woods, saying, "There is a man in there who will take you in sure." He said it as