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action of French and German criticism ; for that criticism has delivered it from the intellectualism which compromised it, by making intellectual certainty entirely subordinate to moral certainty. We have not felt ourselves obliged with the critics to admit a contradiction between metaphysical and practical reason. We bave established: first, that they both require for their accomplishment the action of the will; and, secondly, that since, the categories of reason are the object of experience in the activity of the Ego, practical reason implies the reality of a world where its imperative finds accomplishment. The principle of causality, which naturally stands as an element of pure as well as of practical reason, or, better still, of the human mind in its totality, leads us by a most irresistible deduction to God, who is at once the Infinite Being and the Absolute Good; and thus introduces us into that domain which is par excellence moral, and into which we can only enter by putting ourselves into harmony with Him. Thence comes the function of the will in moral certainty. It might be said that if we confine our discussion merely to the problem of knowledge, the problem of spiritual life is already solved. But we have no right to stop satisfied here. We ought to go out of the realm of the ego and investigate the realms of nature and history (=experience) to see whether they corroborate or contradict the results already obtained. Thanks to that great principle of causality, which we have endeavored to put beyond doubt or dispute, we now know how to question these new witnesses. We have concluded with Descartes, that there should be at least as much character ascribed to the efficient cause as to the effect; that the effect can only draw its reality from the cause; that deny. ing this fact accomplishes nothing, since that which is more perfect can never be the result of nor dependent upon the less perfect ;* to sum up all in one word, the greater cannot proceed from the smaller.

* Descartes, Third Meditation.



SOCIAL changes go on slowly. Society starts on a tendency which is subtle and obscure, and the effect is not observed at first. It is only after years, perhaps generations, of unquestioned movement in the given direction, that it is discovered at length that the tendency was a bad one, and that society has been fostering within its own bosom a fatal principle.

One of the tendencies of our times, wherever the influence of modern thought is felt, is towards greater freedom of divorce. This is the most noticeable in the freest countries. It is very marked in America. In earlier times divorce was comparatively rare in this country. Forty years ago persons who lived in any of the older States seldom heard of an instance, and a divorce suit caused about as much sensation as a murder trial. Recent statistics, however, on this subject are startling.

I. THE Facts. According to statistics* gathered by Rev. S. W. Dike, of Royalton, Vt., of which I have made free use, it appears that there has been a great increase of the frequency of divorce during the last quarter of a century in our country, except in four or five States, where within five years a more restrictive legis. lation has been adopted. In 1849, Connecticut grantei 91 divorces. During the next fifteen years the number suddenly rose to an average of 445 each year, giving a ratio of one divorce to 10.4 marriages. Then, after the repeal of what was called the “Omnibus bill,” the number of divorces fell in 1879, to 316, and in 1880, to 382. Massachusetts, in 1860, sundered 243 marriage bonds, and then acquired such facility in the use of the legal shears that in 1878 she clipped 600 ties, the ratio of divorces to marriages in 1860 being as 1 to 51, and in 1878, as 1 to 21.4. Maine cut the knot 478 times in 1878, and 587 times in 1880, being, as estimated, 1 divorce to 9 marriages. In Vermont, in 1860, 94 couples walked apart from wedlock with the sanction of the courts; in 1878, 197 couples ;—being in the former year, in the ratio of 1 to 23.2, and in the latter, of 1 to 14, marriages. Rhode Island, in 1869, released from wedlock 1 to every 14:1 she bound in it; and in 1881, 1 to every 10.4. In Ohio, the ratio of divorces to marriages in 1865, was 1 to 26; in 1881, 1 to 17. In Michigan in 1881, there was 1 divorce to 13.25 marriages, in 24 counties. In one populous county in Minnesota, the ratio of divorces to marriages, in 1871, was as 1 to 29, and, in 1881, as 1 to 23. Louisville had a ratio of one divorce suit to 13.31 marriages, in 1881; and during the same year, St. Louis granted 263 divorces; and Cook County, the county of Chicago, had one divorce to 13.4 marriages.

* Furnished to the New York Evening Post.

· Dark as these statistics are in the States east of us, the records of our courts in California disclose even a worse social condition. From inquiries addressed to the county clerks of the several counties of this State, I have gained the following facts: In 1882, Yolo County granted 77 licenses for marriages, and 4 divorces, -one divorce to 19.25 marriages; Nevada County, 121 licenses, 9 divorces,—1 to 13.44; Santa Clara, 283 licenses, 27 divorces, 1 to 10.48; San Francisco,* 2,605 licenses, 309 divorces,-1 to 8.41; El Dorado, 55 licenses, 7 divorces, --1 to 7.85; Placer, 86 licenses, 12 divorces,-1 to 7.15; Alameda, 598 licenses, 87 divorces, --1 to 6.87; Los Angeles, 348 licenses, 60 divorces,–1 to 5.6; Sacramento, 374 licenses, 81 divorces, 1 to 4.61; Butte, 112 licenses and 19 divorces,-1 to 5.89. Nineteen other counties have responded to the call, and sent in their divorce statistics for 1882. The two banner counties are, so far as reported, Marin and Sutter. Marin, having as its county seat, San Rafæl, a snug and acceptable retreat, under the shadow of great cities, easy to flee to for the concealment or dispatch of the unseemly business, reports 57 licenses, and 27 divorces, one divorce to 2.11 marriages! Sutter County reports 25 licenses, and no divorces. Trinity County also granted no divorces, but issued only 13 licenses. The result in these 29 counties, out of the 52 in the State, is 5,849 licenses and 789

* The figures in San Francisco County cover the fiscal year, from July 1, 1881, to June 30, 1882, inclusive. VOL. VU.


divorces, or one divorce to 7.41 liceuses. It is possible that the number of marriages may have been even less than the number of marriage licenses, as there may have been some licenses issued without marriage, but no marriages without a license. This condition of things, in or near the larger and more accessible cities, whither these disturbed elements of the population are likely to congregate to hide or cure their domestic grievances, shows as great eagerness in portions of California to escape the bonds of marriage, as existed in Paris during the revolution. According to Burke, * "in the first three months of 1793, there were 562 divorces in that city alone, being about one to every three marriages, and the same ratio continued for several months." Nor is the evil abating. According to the San Francisco Post, ten applications were made on one day this year—July 25thfor a legal termination of the marriage tie-a larger number than ever before made in one day in that city.

In Europe the proportion of divorces is very much lower, but a rising tendency is observable there. In Papal countries the divorce is not absolute, but in the form of a legal separation, for the most part, without the privilege of subsequent marriage. In Denmark, in 1871, there was one divorce to 27.51 marriages; in 1879, 1 to 24.4. In France, in 1871, the ratio was as 1 to 222.21; in 1879, as 1 to 109 4. In Holland, in 1871, as 1 to 192.5; in 1880, as 1 to 122.46. In Sweden, in 1871, as 1 to 201.61; in 1880, as 1 to 134.66. In Belgium, in 1871, as 1 to 350.87; in 1880, as 1 to 135.12. In England and Wales, in 1871, as 1 to 1020.4; in 1879, as 1 to 460.83. In Russia, in 1871, as 1 to 751.87; in 1877, as 1 to 487.8. In Norway, in 1875, as 1 to 2857.14; in 1880, as 1 to 1428.57. And in Scotland, in 1871, as 1 to 9090.9, and in 1880, as 1 to 3448.27.+

From these facts, then, reported both from the New World and the Old, it is apparent that there is a rising tide of divorce among the progressive nations, though the main swell and crest of this dark tidal wave is in America, and this is nowhere higher than where it breaks into the Pacific. It is a singular phenomenon. Do the facts indicate easy

Quoted by Judge Jameson, North American Review, Ap. 1883, p. 320. + These ratios I have calculated from facts collected by Rev. S. W. Dike, and published in the New York Evening Post.

divorce, or necessary divorce? We cannot suppose that society has suddenly become so much more corrupt in all the elements of moral character, and that the marriage tie rots off in all these cases. Certainly this is not the explanation of the greater frequency of divorce in America than in Europe. It is well known that in many European countries—e. g. in Francewhere divorce is infrequent, the marriage estate is often a very corrupt one, and there is much less virtue generally, than in portions of this country, as in New England for instance, where divorce is much more common. The facts clearly indicate easy divorce rather than necessary divorce, which implies an absolute dissolution of the moral tie between the parties before the law seals the separation.


When we meet such a social tendency, we naturally inquire what are the underlying causes of it, the influences at work in society to make such a condition of things possible.

1. A fundamental reason is a loss of the popular discernment of the divine elements of marriage. Marriage, as God intended it, is a divinely constituted estate, altogether unique in kind and quality-two in one and one in two-each of the parties retaining his or her individuality, but raising it to a higher plane, while freely giving heart, will, self, to the other--the estate not made up of the sum of the two individualities, but a higher unity, differing from the two in kind. This high estate may not exist at the moment of marriage. It may be slowly brought about afterwards. God has so constituted our social natures-man's and woman's--that the natural experience of wedlock, where there is no natural barrier or wrong in the marriage itself, no false conceptions of its nature, and where the parties are faithful to each other and try to do their duty, gradually leads the married pair, if they have not reached it before marriage, up from the position of mere social addition, or marital neighborhood, in which the marriage ceremony placed them, to the high estate of mutual love and devotion and self-sacrifice for which God designed them. In many cases, beyond doubt, the true union only takes place after the

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