Section 2: Domestic Law

Chapter 1: Husband and Wife

We come now to consider man as a member of a family, and in doing this we must consider the threefold relation which subsists in a family.

First of these we shall consider husband and wife.

In countries, however, where Christianity is not established, the husband possesses an unlimited power of divorce, and is not accountable for his conduct.

On this subject it is proposed to consider the duties of each of the two parties during their union, how this union should [be] begun and ended, and what are the particular rights and privileges of each.  


In Rome three kinds of marriages took place:

  1. By confarreation, a religious ceremony;
  2. By coemption3, when the husband bought his wife;
  3. By use. If he had lived with her a year and day, she was his by prescription, and he could divorce her.

The power of divorce extended to the wife after female succession took place.

This form of marriage is pretty similar to the present, with this material difference however, that it did not legitimate the children nor preserve the honour of the women.

An act of parliament only makes a divorce in England, the infidelity of the wife will not do it. In Scotland it is much more easily done.

Next: Chapter 1b: Polygamy