The Arthur Conan Doyle EncyclopediaThe Arthur Conan Doyle EncyclopediaThe Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, KStJ, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

Betrothal Service Before Marriage

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Betrothal Service Before Marriage is an article published in The Daily Mirror on 21 march 1918.

The article is a report of the conferences "Marriage and Parenthood: Their Ideals and Dangers" held by the "National Council of Public Morals" at the Caxton Hall, Westminster (London) where Arthur Conan Doyle was invited as a speaker.

Betrothal Service Before Marriage

The Daily Mirror (21 march 1918, p. 2)

Bishop's Plan to Deepen Sanctity of Wedded Life

'Problems of Divorce

A number of well known took part in a discussion on marriage and the marriage laws at yesterday's National Council of Public Morals.

The Bishop of Birmingham made an interesting suggestion.

"I am old-fashioned enough to wish," he said, "that there could be still some solemn service of betrothal before the actual marriage takes place, in order that the solemnity of the whole surroundings of marriage shall deepened to the hearts of those proposing to come together.

"The two sexes," the Bishop added, "must be treated with absolute equality in regard to divorce, and its great cost to the poor must be swept away.

"More than once during my hospital visiting since the war began have soldiers told me that it seemed impossible to get rid of an unfaithful wife by legal means that they were tempted to find the gallows."


Bishop criticising the extreme view of the indissolubility of marriage, said:

"It was once my fortune to live in a narrow official society, of which two leading numbers had both been deserted, through no fault of their own, by their wives. They had both remarried.

"Their second wives were earnest Christian women, one of them my most devoted helper in all Christian work. Was I to treat those ladies as living in sin? (Voices: "No." Other voices: "Yes.") I say I would not treat them so."

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle declared that in cases of extreme cruelty and continued drunkenness, where the home was made a living hell, no law of God or man was meant to say that women and children should endure such martyrdom.

"If we have got 200,000 graves in France, as we have got, what we want is 200,000 cradles in England," he added, amid applause.

"I am out to get a large number of people married who cannot at present marry on account of our preposterous law." (Hear, hear.)

"Again and again in the past the Church had taken the literal meaning of the Bible. The Mosaic law of divorce was a scandalously weak law."

The conference adjourned.