Id all Protestant countries divorce, for one cause or another, is allowed.
Adultery is, of course, a statutory ground everywhere; but to this are added such other causes of a minor character as different standards of civilization and moral life may dictate. According to the Prussian " Landrecht," the list includes drunkenness, disorderly life, insanity lasting longer than a year, and the mutual consent of both husband and wife if they are childless.1
In Norway and Denmark, if the parties have been judicially separated for three continuous years, divorce may be granted by mutual consent.' In Austria, in addition to the statutory grounds, if aversion prove invincible between the parties for a number of years, and is evidenced by frequent applications for divorce, the latter may be granted;* and the existing French law recognizes as causes,—excès, sévices, injures graves, and also condamnation à une peine afflictive et infamante, in addition to the universally accepted statutory offences.4
In ancient Mexico the wife, as well as the husband, could sue for separation.5 In Guatemala she could leave him on grounds as slight as those on which he could leave her;" while in China, no woman, so far as I am aware, can even now obtain legal separation. The same law existed in Japan until 1873; or until that ancient empire began to emerge socially, as well as politically and educationally, from the darkness of paganism.
By the Talmudic Law the wife could claim judicial separation if her husband declined to perform the sexual duty, led a disorderly life after marriage, suffered from an incurable disease, or left the country forever;7 and in Mohammedan countries divorce may take place at the instance of the wife for habitual cruel neglect, either in the matter of sustenance or the sexual relation.*
The Hindus, and ancient Teutons, permitted separation only in exceptional cases;9 but among the Saxons and Danes, in Britain, marriage might be abrogated at the pleasure of either party.10 In those Christian countries where absolute divorce is allowed, the conditions are intended to be the same for both men and women; but in England, the husband must be convicted of other offences beside that of adultery. In Spain and Portugal judicial separation may be decreed on the ground of adultery by the wife; but not when the same crime is committed by the husband, unless it be under " aggravating circumstances." 1
The fact that in the United States, as well as most other civilized nations, statistics show that women are by far the more frequent petitioners for divorce, may be taken as presumptive evidence that the cause more frequently lies with the man than the woman; since, in the vast majority of cases, the latter suffers most through the remedial act. She is deprived at once, not only of her proper means of support, but, whatever her innocence, of no small portion of her reputation as well. That the latter is unfair and unjust, in most instances, is only another proof of the fallacy of human judgments; but in nowise alters the fact, nor ameliorates the hardships attending it; not to mention the equally obtrusive circumstance that a divorced woman, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, not only exposes herself to much mischievous gossip, but puts herself directly in the pathway of temptation.
Indeed, as Churcher says of the Moors, and Katscher of the Chinese and Arabs, in any Bociety "the divorced woman too often goes to swell the ranks of the prostitutes."