20 FEBRUARY 1886, Page 2

This snit brought into strong relief a dangerous peculiarity in

the English law of divorce. It is intended to be strict, and a special officer is appointed to make certain that no divorce is

granted without proof of adultery ; but it really appears as if any unscrupulous woman could divorce herself at will, and certainly any unscrupulous couple could. Any wife ready to stain her reputation to secure release has only to make a statement to her husband about a dead man, or a man beyond the jurisdiction of the Court, and if the husband will repeat it to the Judge, she is divorced. She cannot be cross-examined without her own consent, and any modicum of corroboration appears to be sufficient, her confession being, in fact, treated like a confession before death. We do not-for a moment question either Mr. Justice Butt's law or his acumen ; but such a state of the law is simply monstrous. It is equivalent to a right of free divorce for all who are audacious enough to avail themselves of it. It ought at least to be open to the Judge in such cases to question the respondent for himself, and we cannot see why he should not insist on corroboration, and call the witnesses himself. The notion is, of course, that no woman will accuse herself wrongfully ; but divorce laws are not made for good women, but for bad.