View single post by Joe Kelley
 Posted: Tue Jun 25th, 2019 08:14 pm
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Joe Kelley

 

Joined: Mon Nov 21st, 2005
Location: California USA
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“Why – if the maintenance of the unswerving constancy of husband and wife can be safely intrusted to the guardianship of “their reciprocal inward sweetness or humanity,” with no “base legal bondage” superadded – why may not the care and maintenance of the offspring be, with equal safety, intrusted likewise to that same “inward sweetness or humanity,” without the superaddition of a “base legal bondage,” or “outward force?” If the first of these social relations may with safety, not only, but with positive advantage, be discharged of accountability to the police office, why not the second? Why, indeed, be at the trouble and expense of maintaining a police office at all? Indeed, if I understand Mr. J. rightly, after imposing this limitation upon the absolute freedom of divorce, or, in other words, upon the extinction of legal marriage – ex gratia modestiae [Online editor’s note: “for modesty’s sake” – RTL], perhaps, lest the whole truth might be fitting to be spoken openly – he again dispenses with the limitation itself, and delivers the parental relation over to the same securities to which he has previously consigned the conjugal; for, I find in a subsequent paragraph of the same article the following sentence: “It is obvious to every honest mind that if our conjugal, parental, and social ties generally can be safely discharged of the purely diabolic element of outward force, they must instantly become transfigured by their own inward divine and irresistible loveliness.” Here it is not Marriage only, but the maintenance of offspring also, which is to be intrusted to the “inward sweetness or humanity” of the individuals to whom the relation appeals, which seems to me much the more consistent view of the matter, inasmuch as, if the principle is good for any thing in one case, it is certainly equally applicable in the other. But here, again, we come back to the point I have made above – the query whether Marriage, discharged of all law, custom, or necessary perpetuity, remains Marriage at all? and if so, what is the essential and characteristic element of such Marriage? – upon which point I crave further information. ”
Love, Marriage, and Divorce (1853/1889)
by Henry James, Sr. (1811-1882), Horace Greeley (1811-1872)
and Stephen Pearl Andrews (1812-1886)