Alexander Hamilton Papers

New York Assembly. Remarks on an Act Directing a Mode of Trial and Allowing of Divorces in Cases of Adultery, [28 March 1787]

New York Assembly. Remarks on an
Act Directing a Mode of Trial and Allowing of Divorces in Cases of Adultery

[New York, March 28, 1787]

The house then went into the consideration of the objections of the council of revision to the divorce bill.1

The said objections being read.

Col. Hamilton moved that, the bill pass into a law, notwithstanding the objections of the council.

He did not he said like the clause which had been introduced by the senate, and on which the objections of the council were founded, but he would remedy that defect, by a bill he would move for leave to bring in, for that purpose. He thought it would be extremely hard, that by reason of one small defect in the law, relief should be denied to many who are real objects of distress.2

The [New York] Daily Advertiser, April 6, 1787.

1“An act directing, a mode of trial, and allowing of Divorces in cases of Adultery,” was passed by the legislature and sent to the Council of Revision on March 12, 1787. On March 20 the council’s veto of the bill was submitted to the Assembly; consideration of the veto was postponed until March 28. The Council of Revision objected to the second clause of the bill which prohibited the remarriage of any person convicted of adultery. The Council stated: “It might not, perhaps, be an improper punishment, to confine offenders of this class, to a state of perpetual celibacy and mortification within the walls of a cloyster; but to suffer them to remain in society, without a possibility of remarrying, is, in a degree, to compel them by law, to live in the open violation of the rules of chastity and decency; and will, it is to be apprehended, have a pernicious influence on the public morals” (New York Assembly Journal description begins Journal of the Assembly of the State of New York (Publisher and place vary, 1782–1788). description ends , 1787, 125).

2The Assembly voted to override the objections of the Council of Revision, and the bill became law on March 30 (Laws of the State of New York, I description begins Laws of the State of New York Passed at the Sessions of the Legislature Held in the Years 1777, 1778, 1779, 1780, 1781, 1782, 1783 and 1784 Inclusive, being the First Seven Sessions (Albany, 1886). description ends I, 494–95).

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