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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 399 pages of information about Eighty Years and More; Reminiscences 1815-1897.
relations, by the parties themselves; neither the State nor the Church having any right to intermeddle therein.  As to property and children, it must be viewed and regulated as a civil contract.  Then the union should be dissolved with at least as much deliberation and publicity as it was formed.  There might be some ceremony and witnesses to add to the dignity and solemnity of the occasion.  Like the Quaker marriage, which the parties conduct themselves, so, in this case, without any statement of their disagreements, the parties might simply declare that, after living together for several years, they found themselves unsuited to each other, and incapable of making a happy home.
“If divorce were made respectable, and recognized by society as a duty, as well as a right, reasonable men and women could arrange all the preliminaries, often, even, the division of property and guardianship of children, quite as satisfactorily as it could be done in the courts.  Where the mother is capable of training the children, a sensible father would leave them to her care rather than place them in the hands of a stranger.
“But, where divorce is not respectable, men who have no paternal feeling will often hold the child, not so much for its good or his own affection, as to punish the wife for disgracing him.  The love of children is not strong in most men, and they feel but little responsibility in regard to them.  See how readily they turn off young sons to shift for themselves, and, unless the law compelled them to support their illegitimate children, they would never give them a second thought.  But on the mother-soul rest forever the care and responsibility of human life.  Her love for the child born out of wedlock is often intensified by the infinite pity she feels through its disgrace.  Even among the lower animals we find the female ever brooding over the young and helpless.
“Limiting the causes of divorce to physical defects or delinquencies; making the proceedings public; prying into all the personal affairs of unhappy men and women; regarding the step as quasi criminal; punishing the guilty party in the suit; all this will not strengthen frail human nature, will not insure happy homes, will not banish scandals and purge society of prostitution.
“No, no; the enemy of marriage, of the State, of society is not liberal divorce laws, but the unhealthy atmosphere that exists in the home itself.  A legislative act cannot make a unit of a divided family.”

CHAPTER XV.

WOMEN AS PATRIOTS.

On April 15, 1861, the President of the United States called out seventy-five thousand militia, and summoned Congress to meet July 4, when four hundred thousand men were called for, and four hundred millions of dollars were voted to suppress the Rebellion.

These startling events roused the entire people, and turned the current of their thoughts in new directions.  While the nation’s life hung in the balance, and the dread artillery of war drowned, alike, the voices of commerce, politics, religion, and reform, all hearts were filled with anxious forebodings, all hands were busy in solemn preparations for the awful tragedies to come.

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