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. A CURIOUS PLF. A. FOR DIVORCE.

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A CURIOUS PLF. A. FOR DIVORCE. In the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, tbe cause of Hanoock v. Peaty, has been heard, and was a suit for nullity of marriage on the ground of the insanity of the alleged wife. It was instituted by the brother of the wife, as her guardian ad litem, against the hnsband. The respondent denied that his wife wa8 of ungound mtod at the time of the marriage. The respondent and his wife are first consinB. She oneof the daughters of Mr. Hancock, a manu- facturer, 0 died m 1835, and she and her brother w b,een bought up by tl^ir uncle, Mr. a gentleman in affluent circum- TIT T> U ? h7ed Stoke Newington. The respondent, TUntfT? Augustus Peaty, who is a clerk in the j ,0' ^ngland, was on intimate terms with them, • m 1859 he made an offer of marriage to Miss A £ «y Ann Coleman Hancock. The uncle had a great objection to the match, and the offer was refused. It Va?_ renewed in 1863, and Miss Mary Ann Han- cock then accepted it, contrary to the advice and the wishes of her uncle and the other members of her family. The marriage took place on the 19th of August, 1863, at the church of St. Mat. thias, at Paddington, two of her sisters, Miss Harriet Hancock and Mrs. James, and some friends being pre- sent at it. Mr. and Mrs. Peaty went to Scarborough after the marriage, and after a short stay there re- turned to London, Mrs. Peaty then showed decided symptoms of unsoundness of mind, and in the begin- ning of October, 1863, a medical certificate was obtained, and she was placed under the care of Dr. Sutherland at Hammersmith. She has since been under the care of a number of different medical men, and in February, 1866, her husband placed her in St. Luke's Hospital, where she remained until last week. She is now living with her husband at Twickenham, and it appeared from a letter wntten by her a few days ago that she was assisting him to oppose this petition. Last year Mr. T. Hancock, the uncle, died, leaving a will and codicils making provision for his nephews and nieces. By a codicil made since Mrs. Peaty's marriage he revoked a legacy of 5,0001. to her, and gave 3,000?. to trustees to be applied according to their discretion for her use and benefit during her life, and at her death to fall into the residue. A great deal of evidence was given on the part of the petitioner for the purpose of showing the insanity of Mrs. Peaty previous to the marriage. Her sister, Miss Harriet Hancock, said that she used to fancy her. self a person of great political importance, and she was sometimes under the delusion that her food was poisoned; that her dress was eccentric, particularly her mode of wearing her hair and her bonnet; and that some of her habits were inconsistent with sound- ness of mind. Even on the day of the marriage her behaviour, Miss Hancock said, was extravagant and wild. Her usual medical attendant, Dr. Cumming; Dr. Cork, who had attended her for a few days in 1862, when she fancied that some one was persecuting her, and she wished to be shut up in Middlesex Hospital, in order to evade him; and Dr. John Taylor, of Queen's-road, Bayswater, at whose house she had been staying for several months previous to the marriage, were among the witnesses examined. It appeared from Dr. Taylor's evidenoe, that there were certain times, with regular intervals between them, at which she was in a state of great excitement and irritability, and it was suggested, on the part of the respondent, that if her mind was ever affected before the marriage it arose from physical causes, and the aberration was merely temporary, ceasing when the physical cause had been removed. She had been taken by Dr. Taylor to consult Dr. Robert Lee, who had advised that she should get married if an eligible offer was made. The case of the petitioner was that she was subject to delusions, and that her mind was permanently deranged. Dr. Ellis and Dr. Wood, of St. Luke's Hospital, proved that Mis. Peaty had been insane during her residence there from February, 1866, until the 17th inst., when she was discharged. A servant in the employment of Dr. Taylor, at whose house Mrs. Peaty ? f°r some months previous to the mar- v f'f' that she was very eccentric in her be- jPeculiar in her dress; that on one occasion T™e?e11 > Dr- Taylor's clothes; that she d waa poisoned, and that this ielDX S np Kthe d*y of the marriage. For the two or three nights preceding the marriage she was more excited than usual, and she sat up tUl three or four 1D the morning washing some of her clothes which had been sent home by the laundress and some new gloves in a washhand basin, giving as a reason that nothing was pure that had not passed through her handa. One of Dr. Taylor's pupils was also called and gave similar evidence as to her conduct. He added that she had made him an offer of marriage, after she had been advised that marriage would pro- bably be a remedy for her illness, but he had declined it. She behaved properly at church during tbe oere- mony but at the breakfast she was restless, and told 4-vfr PUP^ that it was his own fault that he was no the bridegroom. Mrs. James, a married sister, tn v.JI*8 Pr?8ent at the wedding, also gave evidence as f-i-j f^0? ,011 that occasion, and said she had foarpH ber from the marriage becaune she although »>, ,?•*? ^gbt be some unsoundness of mind, Dr g^tdld.^ot think her insane at the time. believing that his and that the marri^ewas *vZ of/be carriage, and that the marriage was a valid one felt it is duty to was entirely one of affection, for she was^ntirefv dependent on her uncle, who was strongly opposed to it upholding it, for the money left her by her uncle was «Ition°f<^Tv? l!' aPPlied according to their dis- Wf»ar>d wa8 ^uite out of bis control, f e evidence did not establish such ]jTO caP«5lt7 as to invalidate the marriage, had J"? °n Was b1 favour of marriage. If she h« J capacity to eonsent, the marriage must a. even although she might not have had tncient capacity to make a will. Consent was of the very essence of marriage, and if a continuing consent could be proved before the marriage, at the tune of the marriage, and after the marriage, evidence of some unsoundness of mind would not render it void. He read a letter written by Mrs. Peaty to the respondent on the 17th of July, 1863, informing him that marriage had been reooinmendedtoher, and asking him if be was willing to renew their old engagement several other letters written by her from fk a I to the 17th of August, 1863, ti0dLXf^th ° UP riage, in which she spoke of the neo^i? mar" going on for the purpose of 8°tiationsthat were her family, and btwniB8 the «m8ent of wedding. Theselettew k- u6 arrangements for the and the advice of Dr Lei • Dtly rational» tracting the marriLa V v Mr* Peaty m con" not, unfortunat J' .from which his wife had expected. y' derxved the benefit that waa eminent physician, proved that not th J fflned lady in 1863> an<* that she was i ? 8uffering from any organic disease, but from ent hysteria, and he advised that if an opportunity M marriage offered it should not be refused. Dr. Lee liad examined her on the previous day, and said that in his opinion she is now perfectly Bane, and that she told him she was living happily with her husband and did not wish to be separated from him. Dr Lee emphatically denied the suggestion that he had ever advised an operation which was said to have been per- formed while she was under the care of Dr. Baker Brown, some time after the marriage, and of which the respondent very much disapproved. In the course of his cross-examination a question was put to him by the Queen's Advocate respecting his theory." He replied, "I have no theory, Sir, I never had a theory in my life since I was born." He went on to Jay that he held certain doctrines, the truth of which had been demonstrated by facts, and those doctrines Were now accepted by the great mass of the profession. Before the adjournment, the Judge-Ordinary asked Whether it was desirable for any one that the suit Bhould go on. The object of both parties seemed to be the protection of the lady while she was in her Unfortunate condition, and neither party could have any pecuniary object. He suggested that it would be uesirable to consider whether some arrangement could be made for placing the lady under the care of some .'J1™1 the consent of both parties, until her health B~?uld be restored, as some of the evidence was to the enect that she might recover in the course of a few years. The learned counsel on both sides expressed their entire concurrence in this suggestion. The hearing was then adjourned until a future day.

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