By Caroline Sheridan Norton

Caroline Norton (1808-1877) used to be a Victorian writer and campaigner for social reform, specifically reform of women's felony rights. during this lucidly written account Norton describes how upon marriage in 1855 ladies turned legally 'non-existent': they can now not carry instances to court docket; they can no longer input right into a agreement; they can no longer instigate a divorce and their possessions, profits and any bequests made to them instantly turned their husband's estate. Norton explains how this loss of felony autonomy affected girls in the event that they turned estranged from their husbands, utilizing her personal reports for representation and recommending alterations which might enhance women's criminal place. released in 1855 whilst Parliament was once debating the topic of divorce reform, this quantity exhibits the criminal place of girls at the present. It presents the reviews of up to date legislators in aid and competition at the problems with women's felony rights and reform of divorce legislation.

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Additional resources for A Letter to the Queen on Lord Chancellor Cranworth’s Marriage and Divorce Bill

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And a third to four weeks' hard labour for stealing to the amount of \d. Nor had he reason to believe that there were any aggravating circumstances 46 in their cases. He knew, indeed, of another case, in a different county, in which a man in his 70th year, was sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment with hard labour for stealing to the amount of 3d. But he assumed that in that case there must have been aggravating circumstances. No " aggravating circumstances/' however, on the part of a husband, can bring the law to bear upon him; and while the poor man lies in prison a year, for theft to the value of three pence;— while the gamekeeper, hitherto respected and respectable in his station of life, is consigned, for a briefer term, to the same abode of guilt, for sending two rabbits to a tradesman's kitchen, —the " gentleman," who spends on his mistress the income of his wife, or openly defrauds her on a signed contract,—laughs in the face of justice, and mocks the power of the law.

What the law would have decided in that wonderful case, of a man coming to claim under the law, a child born out of the law, from the hapless mother 41 who had already suffered irreparable wrong and degradation on account of its birth,—I do not know; but this I do know, that this claimant of his illegitimate child has the same right, under the English law, to the guardianship of his legitimate children, as any other husband would have: a right to interfere with their possession by his wife,—though his legitimate children are girls; and his open claim of his illegitimate child, and his having been the public cause of the divorce of its mother, gives his wife no right whatever to divorce him " a vinculo"; nor is there the remotest possibility, under the English law, of breaking her marriage.

In the upper classes, a young peer deserted his young wife (then near her confinement of her first child), informing her as his reason for doing so, that he had always preferred his mistress, to whom he should now return, and bid his wife farewell for ever. In that case, whether by the interference of friends, or the generosity and discretion of the " condoning" wife, a reconciliation was effected: but had this desirable event not taken place, the law of England is as follows:— This young deserted wife, not yet a mother, would remain as much the wife of her deserting husband, as if they were the happiest couple that ever honey-mooned under one roof.

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