23 JUNE 1894, Page 1

In the House of Lords yesterday week, Lord D =raven

moved the second reading of the Bill for legalising marriage with a deceased wife's sister, urging that it is a marriage which could be legally contracted in almost any country except this, and especially that the Roman Church grants dispensatona !or these marriages very freely, seeing that the late Cardinal Wiseman considered such dispensations almost essential to the family life of the poor. Lord Dunraven did not propose in the Bill to compel any clergyman to solemnise such marriages, if he had any conscientious scruple on the subject. In that case the only course would be to go to the Registrar, who would be required to marry the parties. Nine-tenths of the marriages within the prohibited degrees since the Act of 1835 had been contracted with a deceased wife's sister, and therefore he did not think it necessary to legalise any particular marriage of affinity except that individual class of marriages. Lord Selborne and the Arch- bishop of Canterbury both resisted the Bill, the former on the ground that it would render it much less easy for the wife's sister to assist her brother-in-law in taking care of the children after her sister's death [there Lord Selborne was evidently thinking of the middle or richer classes, not of the poor], and the Archbishop, on the ground that this sort of marriage is instinctively disapproved by all classes,—in which case, how- ever, the Bill would become a dead letter, as it does not propose to make any one marry his wife's sister, or to make any wife's sister marry her brother-in-law. On a division, the Bill was lost by a majority of 9 (129 to 120).