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myself very weak, and I am ordered not to go out at all. You will, I am sure, be glad to know that the children are quite well; they are rejoiced to hear of your wedding, and desire their best love to you and Mrs. Vincent [In French, with respects from the good Margaret, who thinks that you have not fulfilled the wishes she expressed, in as far as relates to her desire of having some wedding cake for herself; I expect that she will have some dreams on this subject [In English.] Your little friend, Lowther, is growing a very fine boy. Fortune still smiles on captain Grant; you will be glad to hear that he is connected with some of the highest people in England in the way of business. I hope that my young friend, E. Vincent, is well, and that our separation will not make him forget me; as you are better acquainted with his mother than myself, I trust you will prevail on her to allow him to pass a fortnight here, as Brighton is a very healthy place, and I think he would be happy with my children and his sincerest friend. With my best wishes for yourself, and kind love to Mrs. Vincent, I remain, my dear captain Vincent, yours very sincerely, - MARIA GRANT.”
Captain Grant proceeded with his solicitor and a friend to his house at Brighton, and searched for other letters, but without effect. Whilst he was engaged in the search, Mrs. Grant, in a conversation with Mr. Bolton, the solicitor, vehemently denied having written more than one letter to captain Vincent, and of which captain Grant was cognizant; and declared that if there were any others, they were forgeries, and there was a conspiracy against her; that she never committed adultery with captain Vincent; saying, that “no person ever saw her in his arms.” On the letters being produced, she exclaimed, “Ah! I thought they had all been received ;” and added to this effect: “my mind may be contaminated—my body is pure.” An action at law had been brought by captain Grant against captain Vincent, which went by default, and damages were assessed before a special jury, to the extent of £500 and costs.
Addams, D. and Curleis, D. for the husband ; Phillimore, D. and Haggard, D. for the wife, contending that there was nothing whereon to found a sentence of separation.
Sir H. JENNER.—The facts of this case lie within a narrow compass; the question is as to the sufficiency of the proof. The result of the evidence of the witnesses from on board the Lord Lowther, I think, clearly shows, that an intimacy between these parties had grown up, and acquired considerable strength, which was of a nature totally inconsistent with propriety, considering their relative situation ; Mrs. Grant being a married woman, with her husband, children, and servants on board; though it does not certainly go to the extent of proving the commission of the crime of adultery; and if the case had stopped here, although there are circumstances entitled to considerable weight, I do not think them, standing alone, sufficient to justify a conclusion of adultery. But it does not terminate here. The arrangement, by which captain Vincent was to write to Mrs. Grant, under cover to Jamieson, on their arrival in England, considering what had been the conduct of the parties during the voyage, is calculated to excite a considerable degree of jealousy, and a suspicion that it was not so much with a view of hearing of captain Vincent's bride, as for some other object, that Mrs. Grant adopted this contrivance for a secret correspondence. There is proof that one letter passed ; there is no proof that Mrs. Grant wrote to captain Vincent, though that might have been done without any machinery.
There is nothing to show that Mrs. Grant had informed captain Vincent of the absence of her husband, when he called on the 20th December; nor are there any means of ascertaining for what purpose the visit was paid. On the forenoon of that day, the parties were for some time, at least, alone together in the drawing room ; what passed between them on that occasion, the court has no opportunity of knowing. Between three and four o'clock, captain Vincent, Mrs. Grant and the children, went out for a drive and returned about five, when it was almost dark, and on their return, the parties were observed sitting on the sofa, without a fire and without a light, his arm being round her waist. This is said to be a trifling circumstance; I am of opinion, however, that it is not a slight circumstance, considering the conduct of the parties on board the vessel. And the case does not rest here ; for (captain Grant being absent) captain Vincent is to sleep in the house and there is some machinery set in motion for this purpose. The circumstance itself of captain Vincent (who had slept the preceding night at the Albion hotel) sleeping in the house, is something extraordinary; but a bed is hired for the occasion; the charge is paid by Mrs. Grant, in order that it should not come under the observation of the husband, and the fact of captain Vincent's sleeping in the house is concealed from him. In conjunction with the occurrences on board the vessel, these circumstances afford strong grounds for believing that an improper intimacy subsisted between the parties. During the night of the 20th December, it does not appear that any person heard Mrs. Grant go from her room, or captain Vincent go from his ; the circumstances, therefore, attending this visit, suspicious as the conduct of the parties is, are not sufficient to render it certain that an act of adultery took place, so as to found a sentence of separation. As far, then, as the parol evidence goes, there is quite sufficient to satisfy the mind of the court, that there was an intimacy and attachment between Mrs. Grant and captain Vincent entirely inconsistent with the character and duty of a virtuous married woman, and the principle applicable to cases where there is no direct and positive evidence of an act of adultery at any particular time or place is, that all the circumstances must be looked at together, and thence a conclusion must be drawn whether an act of adultery may not have taken place at some time or other. In this case, however, there are other circumstances which appear to me to leave no doubt that an act of adultery has been committed, though it is difficult to come to a certain conclusion as to the particular time or place : I allude to the letters which have been produced in the cause. Though Mrs. Grant, on being shown these letters, denied an act of adultery, (as she had denied the writing of those letters as long as she could persist in that averment) she showed her sense of their character by admitting that her mind and affections had been given up to captain Vincent; that, though “her body was pure, her mind was contaminated.” Taken in conjunction with all the preceding circumstances, those letters lead to the inference that adultery had been committed between the parties. The sentiments contained in the first letter express a great deal more than could have been excited in the mind of this lady by a mere visit of civility on the part of captain Vincent (as suggested), to take leave of the children ; I should have been glad to have had an explanation of some passages in this letter consistent with such a suggestion. Is the expression “I cannot contemplate without extreme emotion the state in which you bade me adieu,” consistent with the supposition that captain Vincent's visit had been one of mere civility! “Now I consider myself in the silence of this night, lonely as the solitary dove, of which our love is the emblem, in the fidelity of our hearts, inflamed with a delicious sentiment, which has made us experience that which the crowns of sovereigns cannot in an equal degree possess.” I should like to have a construction of this passage consistent with perfect innocence ; because it has been contended, not only that the proof is not sufficient to establish the guilt of Mrs. Grant, but that it is sufficient to prove her innocence ; and I should like to know how to reconcile this letter with an opinion of the innocence not of a young person of sixteen or seventeen, but of a lady of mature years, who had been married twelve years and was the mother of six children. “Have patience and with prudence we shall, in spite of the jealous, be favored.” Favored in what It is quite idle to suppose that these passages are consistent with innocence and purity. It is utterly impossible for the court to bring its mind to believe that Mrs. Grant would have written in these terms to captain Vincent, unless there had been a consummation of the offence imputed to her at some time or other. The letter No. 4, is quite a different subject; that was written with the assistance of the lady who attended the children as governness, (Mrs. Grant not having a perfect command over the English language,) and with the full concurrence of captain Giant; and it is a letter which might, with great propriety, be addressed by a passenger to the captain of the ship ; and this is the letter which, for a long time, Mrs. Grant insisted had been the only
letter she had written to captain Vincent. It has been stated in the argument, that this is the first case in which the court has been asked to come to the conclusion of an act of adultery on letters which do not contain an express avowal and admission of the fact. But these letters are not to be taken as proofs independently of other circumstances; they are to be taken in conjunction with all the other circumstances—the conduct of the parties during the voyage, and on the 20th and 21st of December, and the unwilling admission drawn from Mrs. Grant that these letters were evidence of contamination of mind; and, so considered, they can lead but to one conclusion. The letters in the case of Hamerton v. Hamerton were of a different description, and under different circumstances. The parties in that case were never seen in a situation where adultery could be inferred, and the letters were written by a person seeking to seduce the lady ; and the character of the seducer was such, that, had her ruin been completed, the letters would have left no doubt of the fact.
On the whole of the case, therefore, I am of opinion, founding that opinion upon the facts disclosed by the witnesses, as well as upon the letters;–and reluctant as I am to pronounce a sentence that shall consign this lady to infamy—that she has committed the offence imputed to her, and that captain Grant is entitled to the separation he has prayed.
In the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, December 11, 1840.
IN THE Goods of ANN Jolly, otherwise SMITH, wife of THoMAs Jolly.
In the case of a will of a married woman, under a feigned name, administration of the wife's effects, in that name, was refused to the husband.
The deceased, Ann Jolly, was the wife of Thomas Jolly, an orange merchant in Farringdon-street, London. She had no separate property, but on the 1st of November, 1840, four days before her death, she called her son and only child (T. H. Jolly), who went to her bedside, when she told him to take from her stays, where it was sewn up, a parcel, which he accordingly did, and she