Info 3b2, Richard redmond Caton , Plea for divorce Close info Window

Caton v. Caton.
This was a suit for a Divorce by reason of Adultery,
promoted by Mr. Richard Redmond Caton against
Anna Maria Caton his wife. The Libel pleaded as follows;

1. The marriage of the parties on the 23rd June, 1831 ;

2. Sufficienry of cohabitation until December, 1843, and

3. The birth of children, legal evidence,

That, at the time of the marriage, Mr. Caton was assistant- surgeon in the Grenadier Guards, but in about six months after he retired from the army, and with his wife went to reside with her parents at Woodmancote, in Sussex, until the death of Mr. Rideout, the father of Mrs. Caton, in 1838, when they went, with her mother, to Brighton, where they resided together until June, 1841.

That, whilst residing at Brighton, they had a large circle of acquaintance, and amongst their visitors were the officers of the regiment quartered there; that early in March, 1841, a change was observed in the manner and conduct of Mrs. Caton towards her husband and children ; she became unkind to him and negligent of them, and that, about this time, unknown to Mr. Caton, she formed an attachment to, and carried on an adulterous intercourse with, B. H., a cornet in the 11th regiment of Hussars, then stationed at Brighton, who, with other officers of the regiment, was in the habit of visiting at the house.

That Mr. Caton, having had reason to suspect that his wife had written a letter to B. H., went to the post-office, and found the letter had been put in there, whereupon he informed Messrs. Rideout, two brothers of Mrs. Caton (then on a visit to Mrs. Rideout, their mother), who went to the barracks and demanded the letter from B. H., who gave them an order (the letter not having reached him) to the sergeant who was returning from the post-office with the letter-bag, to deliver the letter, which they obtained, so that it was never received by B. H.

That Messrs. Rideout refused to deliver the letter to Mr. Caton, or to permit him to see it, and he was ignorant of the contents until after the final separation, they, having assured him, on their honour, that there was nothing in the letter to criminate his wife, who had been guilty of indiscretion only, and Mrs. Caton having, upon her knees, before her mother and children, solemnly protested her innocence. Mr Colony Caton solicitations, for the sake of her children, consented to reside with her.

Exhibits the letter, which is to the following effect : " My dearest Broadley, My dreadful tyrant will not let me see you alone, he suspects our attachment, but know nothing ; he does not even know that I have ever written to you except the verses, which he found out by some means or other He has dismissed my maid, as he thought I have conversation with her about you. We have had such scenes since he returned I am so ill-used and so miserable. He knocked me down, almost tore my arm from the shoulder, and all but strangled me in his rage ; they locked me up, and watch me in every possible manner. Pity me. Darling, for having to live with such a Brute, I dare not write to you again, and do not you write to me, or we shall be found out. I wrote this by stealth in my dressing-room I am so anxious for you to know how matters stand. Pray if you see me in the street, come and shake hands with me. You know my love for you, which never shall change. Pity me am love me. Heaven bless you, Dearest Broadley, ever believe me most affect'T yours, A. M."

That Mrs. Caton had subsequently confessed to Madam Mary Ann St. Rose, wife of Maj. Edmond St. Rose, that she loved B. H. more than her husband and that, in the absence of the latter from home, she used to let B. H. into the house at Brighton at sight, by leaving the door open.

That, soon after their reconciliation, Mrs. Caton began to quarrel with her husband, and her conduct became so disagree able, that he left her with her mother, and went himself with his children to reside in lodgings at Henfield, Sussex, in June, 1841 but in about a fortnight, at the entreaty of his wife and her family for the sake of the children, he was induced to return to cohabitation, and in July, 1841, they went to reside, with Mrs. Rideout at Tunbridge Wells, where they remained until August, 1843 when, for the sake of educating his children, Mr. Caton went with his wife and family to reside at Paris.

That in August, 1843 Mr. Caton engaged a suite of apartments, in Paris, in the house of Mad. D. St. Rose, whose daughter was married to Mr. T. B Caton, a brother of Mr. Caton ; that, on the 20th October, Mr Caton was obliged to come to England, where he was detained until the 19th November ; that, during his absence from Paris, Mrs Caton formed and carried on a criminal intercourse with Major Edmond St. Rose, who with his wife also occupied apartments in the house of Mad. D. St. Rose, and many indecent familiarities were observed to pass between them ; that Mr. Caton returned to Paris on the 19th November, 1843 and on the 2nd December, he and his wife. Major St. Rose, Mr. T. B. Caton, and others, dined together at the house of Mad. D. St. Rose, during which dinner the conduct of Mrs. Caton towards Major St. Rose was very indecorous ; that the suspicions of Mr. Caton had been previously acted by the fact of a letter having been written clandestinely by Mrs. Caton and of which she refused to give any account ; flat, at a later period of that evening, a violent altercation took place between Mr. Caton, Mr. T. B. Caton, and Major St. Rose, Mrs. Caton having appealed to Major St. Rose against her hus- band's endeavours to get her out of the room ; that, after the altercation, and in consequence of it, Mr. Caton and his brother left the house and removed to an hotel, and next day he took away from his wife all the children, and on the following day (the 5th) came with them to England ; that, at the time of removing diem, he required his wife to leave the house of Mad. D. St. Rose, and accompany him to England, where he informed her he would provide her a proper residence, which she refused to do.

That Mrs. Caton continued to reside after the departure of her husband in the house of Mad. D. St. Rose until the end of February or ginning of March, 1845.
That, shortly before this time, on an occasion when the ladies and gentlemen had left the dining-room, and gone to the drawing-room. Major St. Rose left the room, saying that he was going to attend to his military duties (as major in the National Guard) ; that Mrs. Caton having also previously retired to her bed-room. Mad. St. Rose, the wife of Major St. Rose, suspecting that her husband had gone to the bed-room of Mrs. Caton, secreted herself in the water-closet on the staircase to the door of the room, and she observed Mrs. Caton and Major St. Rose come out of the bed-room and look carefully about; that, as they were descending the stairs. Mad. St. Rose emerged from the closet, and taxed them with having committed adultery together ; that Major St. Rose professed great regret for his conduct, and vowed that he would have nothing more to do with Mrs. Caton, who did not deny her guilt ; and it pleads that they committed adultery on that occasion.

That Mrs. Caton continued to reside at the house of Mad. D. St. Rose until February or the beginning of March, 1845, when she went to live in lodgings, where she was joined by her mother, and after- towards removed to other apartments, finally at No. 15, Rue Godot de Mauroy, where they resided at the commencement of the suit ; that, at all these places, she carried on an adulterous intercourse with Major St. Rose.

That, after Mrs. Caton left the house of Mad. D. St. Rose, Major St. Rose hired the lodgings for her, paid the rent, put in furniture, and paid for necessaries supplied, and during the time she was resident in various parts of Paris he was her constant companion, accompanying her in her walks and drives, taking his meals with her, remaining with her sometimes till twelve or one o'clock at night, and in many respects acting as master of the house.

That on one occasion, in September, 1845, Mad. St. Rose was walking in the Boulevards des Capucins, when she observed a carriage stop at the door of the house where Mrs. Caton was residing, from which her husband (Major St. Rose) alighted, and handed Mrs. Caton ; that Mad. St. Rose, suspecting that Mrs. Caton was with child by her husband, ran up and placed her hand upon her stomach, exclaiming that she would be satisfied as to her being in the family-way, as the fact was, and which Mrs. Caton did not deny.

16. That, in consequence of such adulterous intercourse, Mrs. Caton, on the 15th October, 1845, was delivered of a male child.

That, in 1846, Mrs. Caton, whilst residing in the Place de la Madeleine, represented Major St. Rose to be her brother-in-law, and gave to the concierge of the apartments and his wife a description of her husband, desiring them that, if he ever came to the house, not to admit him ; that while at the said apartments, she frequently gave the child mentioned in the l6th article the breast while Major St. Rose was present, who frequently, on such occasions, would fondle the child while at the breast, and amuse and play with it, and behave towards it as its father, and was taken for its father ; and that on many occasions, when Mrs. Caton has been in her bed and alone. Major St. Rose has gone into her bed-room, and remained there for a considerable time.

That Mr. Caton, with the view of watching his wife's conduct, and of obtaining proof of her guilt, on the I5th August, 1844, left London and went to Paris on a visit to his brother, residing there in a house adjoining that of Madame. D. St Rose, where he remained until the 19th November, when he left Paris to return to England, without obtaining any evidence upon which he could rely ; that, on the 24th February, 1845, he again went to Paris, accompanied by his solicitor, to obtain the requisite evidence, and being again unsuccessful, he applied to the French Courts, and obtained an order for the compulsory inspection, in the presence of a Commissary of Police, of the writing-desk and other repositories of Mrs. Caton ; that Mr. Caton, accompanied by his solicitor and a Commissary of Police, accordingly visited her apartments, but did not discover any evidence to criminate her ; that he left Paris on the 1st March, 1845, and returned to England, and that through his brother, Mr. T. B. Caton, and agents whom he had employed, he endeavoured to obtain evidence of her criminality, but was unable to do so until shortly before the commencement of this suit.

That the parties have never cohabited together since 3rd December, 1843.

No plea was given in on the part of the wife.

Sir J. Dodson, Q.A., and Dr. R. Phillimore, for the husband, cited Hamerton v. Hamerton.

Dr. Haggard and Dr. Deane for the wife, cited in addition- Grant v. grantt and Morris v. Davies
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