An old-timey legislator (Rep. Pierce of Porter County) waxes poetic on the subject of marriage. And he’s doing it in support of a divorce law in 1869. No real point to my post except that it struck me as much more eloquent than anything we’d hear on the floor of the House today.
I hope I am not one of those, sir, who look too lightly upon the sacred relation of husband and wife; sacred in its name, sacred in its origin, sacred in its duties, sacred in its confidences and associations, and sacred in these and for these alone. Indeed, sir, there is no holier sight to me than that of the loving and confiding wife, and the proud and faithful husband walking hand in hand together through the journey of life, suffering together, enduring together, rejoicing together as one. The sight brings tears of penitence to the eyes of the harlot, and crimsons the brazen face of the professional roue and debauchee. And, as they grow older, as the autumn of life approaches, and then brown locks are tinged with silver and the winter comes on with its crowning glory of white, typical of the purity of those faithful hearts, the sight ‘ grows even more beautiful, for we then see that time does not always lay his hand unkindly upon his victims, but sometimes only touches to bless them, and that “every wrinkle which puts on their brows, is only another notch in the quiet calendar of a well-spent life!” The grain is ripe and ready for the sick and death to them is nought but being garnered home. They’ve climbed the hill together, and together they will sleep, peace fully, quietly, lovingly at its foot. I never hear a Scotchman repeat those beautiful lines of Burns’, with all the advantages the quaint old fashioned dialect, which none but a Scotchman can properly render, that I can not almost see good old John Andersen as he sits, smiling through his tears at the plain and homely but tender and loving words of his faithful wife.”
John Anderson, my Joe John, when we were
Your locks were like the raven, your bonnie
brow was brent;
But now your getting auld, John, your locks are
like the snow,
Yet blessings on your frosty powa, John Ander-
son my Joe.
John Anderson, my Joe John, we clam the hill
And mony a canty time, John, we had we ane
Now, we maun totter down, John, but hand in
hand we’ll go,
And we’ll sleep thegither at the foot, John Ander
son, my Joe.”
Ah! John Anderson, there was no neglect no cruelty, no abandonment there. It was union where mutual love and confident prevailed ; a man and woman whom God had indeed joined together, and whom man should not and could not separate.
I hope the House will pardon me for this digression, but the subject naturally led me into it. Such marriages are made in heaven, and whether they be the results of the first or the second love, I would do all that in me lies to multiply their number, and thereby bless the parties, bless their offspring, and bless the State. One word regarding the particular provisions of the substitute I have offered, and I am through. It provides against fraud in the service of process, it provides against hardship in the matter of property like that which has just occurred in Lagrange, and gives relief in that case. It provides against the disgraceful custom which now permits residents to gain a technical residence here for the notorious and avowed purpose of securing a divorce. I venture to say that there can be no valid objection raised to the bill, and I hope it will pass. Some members say that we have not time to pass this bill now, and send it to the Senate. I hope the effort will be made, but if it should not, I can only say that I have done what I deem to be my duty in the matter, and represented so far as I have been able what I understand to be the wishes of my constituents.