Info 3b3, Richard redmonds Caton , divorce Close info Window

Note: The following account describes Mrs.Caton's family as Ryder, however from the brothers names it is clearly Rideout(or Ridout) family of Woodmancote, Sussex as evidence in later reports of the divorce.
THE DAILY NEWS, 23& 24 June 1854

House of Lords, yesterday,
Caton Divorce

This was a petition presented by a Mr. Caton, praying that a bill might be passed for the purpose of Divorcing him from his wife.
On the case being called on, The Lord Chancellor said that there was a petition from the wife praying for an allowance to enable her to appear by council.
Mr. Sergeant Wrangham, who was with Mr. Venabies appeared for the petitioner, said the petition was presented by the wife merely for the purpose of delay; for Mrs. Caton had been living for many years apart from her husband with her mother, who was in good circumstance. At the same time on the part of the petitioner he was ready to accede at once to any direction their Lordships should make.

Mr. Selwyn said he appeared, instructed by a solicitor solely on his own responsibility, to watch the case for Mrs. Caton, and Submitted that the circumstance were the same as those in Llewellyn's, and that the wife was entitled to the allowance.

After some discussion,
The Lord Chancellor said that the case might go on now, and if in the course of the evidence it should appear that anything rendered expenses necessary which the wife ought to be reimbursed, they might be allowed.

Mr. Serjeant Wrangham then stated that the petitioner, Mr. Caton, at that time holding the situation of assistant Surgeon in the Grenadier Guards, and being 27 years of age, was, on the 20th of June,1831, married to Miss Anna Maria Ryder, she being of the age 18.
His Circumstances were these: His pay was about 150 a year, and he had an annuity from his father for a similar sum, making an income 300 a year.

Mrs. Caton's fortune in possession was made equal to his by means of the dividends of certain stock, which was settled upon her. Mr. Caton was also heir of entail to an estate which his father held for life , of 900 a year, and it was with reference to the Estate, and certain steps which had been taken with regard to it, that he was enabled now, after some lapse of time, to seek the remedy at their Lordships' hands, which, though effectual, was most costly.

The parties cohabited for a length of time on the most amicable footing, and up to 1841 they were happy as married people usually were, but using that term in its most favourable sense.

In 1841 suspicions were excited in the husband's mind with regard to the conduct of his wife with a gentleman of the name of Harrison, an officer in the army who were quartered at Brighton, where the parties were residing in the house of Mrs. Ryder, the mother of the wife. Previously to this the husband had been induced to sell his commission, and reside with his wife's father and mother, and the father having died in 1838, they still continued to reside with the mother, Mr. Caton contributing his share of the expences.

Serious suspicions having been excited in Mr. Caton's mind with regard to the conduct of his wife, which had been reported to him, and that she had been guilty of at least great levity with respect to Mr. Broadley Harrison, in the March of 1841 he acertained that a letter had been clandestinely sent by his wife to Mr. Broadley Harrison.

sheet 2
After that it was only at her most ernest intercession as well as that of her mother, and, father, on the positive assurance which he recieved from her brothers who had seen the letter in question, which he had not himself seen, that though it contents proved Mrs. Caton to have been guilty of indescretion, and not to have been free from blame, yet was far from an admission of criminality with Mr. Harrison, that Mr. Caton was over persuaded for the sake of his three young daughters and his son to forgive what had taken place.

Up to that time they had lived on the best of terms together. It should have been said, moreover that Mr. Caton's father, a clergyman, had come to Brighton, and the letter having been shown to him, he repeated the assurance which had been given by her brothers.

Lord St. Leonards:- Do I understand that the letter was not shown to the husband?
Mr. Sergeant Wrangham:- The letter was not shown to the husband for judicious reasons, as it contained observations not very favourable to her husband. However, he consented to receive her again as his wife; but it would be wrong to state that after such an occurrence, though persuaded that it would be not be dishonourable in him to recieve her as his wife, that his confidence in her was not shaken. His confidence was shaken, and he looked on any repetition of levity on her part with more suspicion than he would otherwise have done. In the course of that year (1841) Mrs. Ryder and Mr, and Mrs. Caton removed from Brighton to Tunbridge Wells, and in December of that year their fifth child was born.

They continued to reside at Tunbridge Wells, certainly not living on the same terms as they did before the affair of Mr. Harrison, and disputes and quarrels took place between them, and they did not live in harmony together.

In August 1843 they left Tunbridge wells with their family and established themselves in Paris, for the purpose of cheaply educating those of their children who had come to the age when young ladies, at least, were supposed to be more economically educated in Paris. Mrs. Ryder then left them; and they took apartments in the boarding house of a Madame Durand St. Rose, in the Rue Louis le Grand, and resided until December 1843.
There was residing at that house at the same time, a son of Madame St. Rose, a Major in the National Guard, who was himself married to an English lady, who was residing with him in the house of his mother.

In October Mr. Caton was obliged to leave Paris for London on business, and returned on 19th November, and on his return he at once detected familiarities passing between his wife and Major St Rose, which excited his indignation and rekindled the suspicions which had been caused by her conduct at Brighton some years before. Lord Brougham here made an inquiry as to the family to which Mr. Caton belonged.

Mr. Sergeant Wrangham said it was a Lincolnshire family Mr. Caton's father, though now a clergyman, had formerly been in the army, and was one of the last, if not the last survivors of the Ralf Abercrombie's expedition to Egypt. On 3rd December 1843 Mr. Caton had reason to believe that his wife had written a letter which had been sent to and received by Major St. Rose, and he directed his brother, Mr. Thurston Caton, to apply to the major and require him to deliver it up. This took place between Mr. Caton and his brother in the dinning room, after the rest of the party had left for the drawing room, but Mrs. Caton over heard the direction given by her husband to his brother, and when Major St. Rose came into the dinning room, he was followed by Mrs. Caton . The Major said he had received no letter, but if he had he should not have delivered it up.
An altercation followed between Mr. Caton and Major St. Rose in which Mrs. Caton violently interfered, siding with the Major against her husband, thus confirming into moral certainty that which had only before been suspicion on his part. Accordingly Mr. Caton and his brother quitted the house that night, and he had never since cohabitated with his wife.

On 4th December, accompanied by his professional advisor, Mr. Okley, he returned to the house and required Mrs. Caton to go back to her husband and children to England. After some hesitation she consented to produce the children, and they were taken by Mr. Caton; but Mrs. Caton positively refused to quit the house and accompany her husband to his hotel, or go back to England.
sheet 3
Mr. Caton took the children, and on the following day 5th December brought them to London, sent the elder ones to school, and the others were dispersed among relation of his. On 9th December Mr. Caton wrote to his wife, repeating his command to join him in England, and to quit the house where Major St Rose was.
He recieved no answer from her, but from a relation of hers, acknowledged the receipt of this letter, and intimating that she refused to return; but urging that the youngest child being only two years old, might be returned to her, it being alleged that it was too young to have its morals corrupted even by such a mother.
Mr. Caton having doubts whether he had any other than a legal right to call that child his, for it was born just 9 months after the affair with Mr. Harrison, and he that there could be no great risk to it's Morals.

Lord St. Leonards:- Was it written in the letter that there was no risk to the morals of the child by its being returned to the mother?

Mr. Sergeant Wrangham:- No; that was urged in an interview between Mr. Caton and the cousin of his wife, which this letter was written to appoint. That interview took place, and in it was stated what Mrs. Caton had said on the subject. That, however, was agreed to, and the child was sent back in January, 1844, with the nurse under whose charge it had previously been in Paris.

On the 16th January Mr. Caton wrote to Mr. Okey in Paris, directing him to wait on Mrs. Caton and repeat the summons he had already made, and to express to her his commands that she should quit the house of Madame St. Rose and return to London to him. This was done, and with the same want of success as was met the two former applications - she positivly refused to leave, especially as she had got the child,

The reason Mr. Caton had for writing this letter on that particular day was that he had made arrangements to pay for the board of his family at Madame St, Rose's up to the 16th January, and he thought when that period was closed he gave his wife another opportunity of returning to his house. The learned council here read the letter to Mr. Okey, which was in substance that he offered a house and a home to his wife if she would return, and directing him to repeat his desire that she should leave the house of Madame St. Rose.

Matters continued in this state until the 4th of August in that year, when Mr. Caton had occasion to go to Paris himself, to put the boy to school, and also to endeavour to colleng his wife's conduct, and collecting information with respect to it. He failed, however, in this object of his visit.

He saw his wife four more times in the street, but they never met on more intimate terms on three of those occasions than a mere recognition of him by his wife; but on the fourth occasion a violent altercation took place between them; she came up and addressed him, and he reproached her with her conduct. he men- tioned this for the purpose of showing that there was no probability of access on the part of the husband to his wife at that time.
In order to show the feeling of the wife towards the husband, and the improbability of her admitting him to intercourse with her while he was in Paris, he would read a letter which she wrote in November 1844, to Mr. Caton's father.
The learned council read part of the letter, which was to the effect "that she addressed him in order to show the terms on which his son Mr. Caton, and herself stood, thinking that he might give his son some good advice; that he was aware that since Mr. Caton's conduct last December they they had lived separately and had no personal connection since , and that it was her deterrmination, which nothing could alter, never to live with him again, and that she, acting by the advice of her friends, amongst who were Major and Mdme. St. Rose, and, for the sake of her children, she had had an interview with him in public, but found that his dreadful character was unchanged, that no advantage could follow her living with him, ad midst scenes of strife and quarrelling;" and she added, " I despise and detest him, and those feelings of detestation prevail in her mind.
sheet 4
Mr.Caton left Paris on the 17th November, and did not return there until Feb 24th 1845 when he again went to Paris to collect information with regard to his wife, and, in the course of his proceedings, he applied to the French courts for an order enabling him to break open his wife's desk, and any other depository of her correspondence, and he was on that occasion accompanied by a Commissory of police. He (Mr. Sergeant Wrangham) mentioned this not because he was praising Mr. Caton for taking such strong steps to obtain evidence, but only to show that he was not likely to have access to his wife in a different character.

On 15th October 1845 Mrs. Caton was delivered of another child in a house in the Rue d'Algiers . All cohabitation between herself and her husband had ceases since 1843, and if their Lordships were satisfied that Mr. Caton was not the father of that child it was a matter of little importance to the remedy he now sought to prove that Major St. Rose was the father, although there was every moral proof of that being the case. Mrs. Caton had removed from the house of Madame St. Rose, were the major was living with his wife, to other apartments, which had been taken for her by Major St, Rose. He attended there, was constantly there at all times, and not accompanied by his wife, she having only come there on occasions, when she endeavoured to force her husband away.

Mr. Caton left Paris on the 1st of March 1845, and shortly after that it was that Mrs. Caton left Madm. St. Rose's and went to the Rue d'Algiers; and, strange to say she was joined there by her mother, Mrs Ryder, the widow of a clergyman, who saw all that was going on, the Major visiting Mrs. Caton at all times and hours, being left sitting up alone with her, being treated by the domestics as the master of the family.

The child was born on the 15th Oct. whose was it? Not Mr. Caton's But Major St. Rose was with her at the time of her confinement; he fondled the child constantly, as no one but a father would have done Mrs. Caton gave the child the breast in his presence, and he had free access to her bed-room at all times as he pleased.
In the mean time, what was her conduct towards her real husband, Mr. Caton? Why she gave directions to the servants ( describing his appearance to those who did not know him) that is he sought admittance into her apartment he was on no account to be allowed to enter, thus ridgely excluding him from the house where Major St. Rose was allowed to range in perfect freedom.

Lord St. Leonards:- How long was the husband in Paris during his last visit before the birth of the child?

Mr. Sergeant Wrangham:- He went there on the 24th Feruary, and left on 1st March, and the child was born in October. He went there to collect information with respect to his wife, and it would be shown that he passed every moment in the society of his solicitor and his brother, he and his solicitor sleeping in adjacent rooms at Maurice's; and it was on that occasion that he found his way, at seven o'clock in the morning, into his wife's apartment, accompanied by a commissioner of police. But she, it appeared, was aware of his intention, was up and dresses, and expressed her fealings towards him in no measured terms; so that there could be no suspicion of his being the parent of the child which was born in the month of October following. There was excessive irritation and hostility against him on the part of his wife then and afterwards, which rendered it impossible that he could have had access to her.

The Lord Chancellor:- Is there any medical testimony as th the child's being born prematurely?

Mr. Sergeant Wrangham:- It was not suggested that it had been born otherwise than in the course of nature. Mrs. Caton then having thus been shown to have been guilty of adultery, their Lordships would naturally inquire why no steps had been taken earlier in the proceedings

Every means had been used to collect evidence, and the evidence collected was that of servants, and principally French ser- vants. all servants had peculiar notions in these matters, but those of the French servants in this case were rather odd, for one of them, a cook, said that she knew of no Impro- priety on the part of Mrs. Caton, but if she did it was con- tary to her principles to give information to husbands on such points.
sheet 5
Lord St. Leonards;- What difficulty was there if there had been no access by the husband and a child was born?
Mr. Sergeant Wrangham:- In 1846 the evidence was laid before Dr. Adams, and he advised that it would be neces- sary to get further evidence, it not being safe to go into the Ecclesiastical Court till further evidence was obtained. Additional evidence was obtained, and Dr. Lushington pronounced sentence of divorce a "mensa et thoro" on the 1st May 1849. It was now 1854, and their Lordships would of course inquire why, after that sentence was pronounced, no further step was taken. The fact was, that Mr. Caton's means did not enable him to do so, unless he succeeded in prevailing on his father to cut off the entail on the property in Lincolnshire of 900 a year, so as to enable his son to raise money on it, and he objected to do so for a long period, At the close of last year, in October, the father consented, steps were taken, money raised, and on the funds coming into the possession of Mr. Caton, not a week was lost before steps were taken for appealing to their Lordships.

Those were the circumstances of the case. He did not know what was the nature of the opposition, or whether there would be any opposition. Up to a late period the lady had expressed no intention of opposing these proceedings, and when notice of his bill was served on her she said Mr. Caton had a right so to proceed, and if the case could be kept out of the papers she had no objections to it.
The further proceeding with the case, and hearing the witnesses, was then postponed till to-morrow (this day)
[Owing to the length of our parliamentary debates we are compelled to omit a portion of our law reports]

HOUSE OF LORDS: yesterday CATON DIVORCE. This case, a statement of the facts of which was given in the Daily News of yesterday, was resumed, and the evidence taken
Mr. John Ellis produced the registry of the marriage of the parties
Mr. George Ryder, half brother of Mrs. Caton, stated that he was present at the marriage, was acquainted with the parties for some time after the marriage, and they lived happily up to 1841. In that year they were residing at Brighton with Mrs. Ryder. He knew Mr. Broadley Harrison, of the 11th Hussars. Observed something unusual between him and Mrs. Caton. He remembered it being stated to him that a letter had been posted for Mr. Harrison, by Mrs. Caton. Mr. Goring Ryder, Mrs. Caton's full brother ( since dead ), was then residing at Brighton, with Mrs. Ryder. He and witness went to the barracks, and spoke to Mr. Harrison, telling him that a letter was in the post, and procured from him an authority to receive it before it reached him, and on that authority got it from the orderly sergeant, who was brining the officers' letters. He and Mr. Goring Ryder read it, but did not show it to Mr. Caton. Was not present when a statement was made to Mr. Caton about the letter, but when he returned he told him that the letter contained indiscreet observations, but nothing to indicated criminality, and that he thought it advisable that Mr. Caton should not see it

Mr. Goring Ryder concurred in that opinion. he believed the letter was never to be seen by Mr. Caton, but was ultimately given to Mr. Caton's father. Mr Caton felt strongly on the subject. Witness concurred in a reconciliation which took place. Mrs. Ryder urged the reconciliation.
After that Mr. and Mrs Caton left Mrs. Ryder's at Brighton. Since then witness had continued his acquaintance with the parties up to a certain period. They afterwards removed to Tunbridge Wells, after which he entirely lost sight of them. During that time they did not seem to live so happily as before. He saw the letter himself and said Mr. Caton had done right in forgiving his wife, as, in his opinion, it did not contain any criminality. The letter was given up eventually to Mr. Caton's father. He discontinued his acquaintance with the parties, as he thought it expedient. There was quarrelling, which was disagreeable. The conduct of Mr. Caton was not violent, there was only ill temper and quarrelling. He saw nothing of it after they were in Tunbridge-wells. He thought it better to have nothing more to do with them. Mrs. Caton's conduct in society was not different from other persons; formerly she was very retiring.
Was aware that neither Mr. Caton nor his father made any settlement on Mrs. Caton, though there was an allowance to Mrs. Caton . Her property was settled on her. A sum to Mrs. Caton was proposed by Mr. Caton. Mrs. Caton had a sum of 1,500 on the death of her grandmother which was received by her husband. What she would have after the death of her mother would go to her under her marriage settlement.

sheet 6
Mr. Selwyn said that the husband had received some 4,000 by Mrs. Caton; and it was admitted on the other side; and he also had a life interest in a sum of money in the Court of Chancery, and there was another some of 20,000 to which Mrs. Caton was entitled to after the death of her mother, Mrs. Ryder. Rev. Richard Caton, Of Blanford Square, stated that:-
He was in his 81st year. Was formerly in the army, and was now a clergyman. Was the father of Mr. Caton. Was present at the marriage of the parties. Their respective ages were 25 and 18. He saw them afterwards from time to time They lived happily. Mr. Caton was kind to his wife. Went to Brighton in 1841, in consequence of a letter from Mrs. Ryder. Saw the mother first, and afterwards Mr. George and Mr. Goring Ryder, who showed him a letter written by Mrs. Caton to Mr. Harrison. He found that it had been agreed that the parties should not separate. Understood his son had not seen the letter, and therefore he acquiesced in the arrangement. The Letter was never shown to his son; and, on being told of the manner in which the letter had been obtained, he on the whole concurred in the arrangement that Mrs. and Mr. Caton should live together on condition that the letter was delivered to him, and it was so delivered, and kept by him sealed up. His son never saw it. After they left Brighton they visited him. Perceiving no difference in their manner of living together.
In 1843 Mr. Caton went with his wife and children to Paris, having left Tunbridge Wells, In December 1843 his son came from Paris. After his return he was in the habit of seeing him constantly , and receiving letters from him

Knew Mr. Caton went to Paris again in the following year. Mr. Caton returned from Paris in the autumn of 1844, and remained in England for some time. Remembered Mr. Caton's going to Paris in 1845, with Mr. Warr, the solicitor. The income of his son at the marriage was his pay in the Grenadier Guards and a sum of 150 for which witness gave his bond. Mr. Caton left the army after his marriage. He was first heir in tail male to one of witness's landed estates. For some years he had allowed his son 100 a year. He had four children. Was informed he was in debt. He had often applied to witness to cut off the entail of the estate, to which witness objected for some time but he yielded in last year, when he came to know of his son's circumstances, and considering the sums already raised on the estate under unfavourable circumstances . His son was in embarrassing circumstances.
The entail was cut off in October, and a large sum raised on the estate. The money was raised to pay off debts; but his son did not mention that part of it would be applied to these proceedings, though he though it probable. Knew Mrs. Caton's writing Believed the letter shown to him to be her hand, and another shown to him he had received from her.

The following letters were then tendered in evidence; the first was dated July 2, 1841 and was written by Mrs. Caton to her husband, then staying at No. 75 Seymour Street, Bryanston square. It ran as follows:-
"Redmond will you , oh, will you forgive me? I know I have wronged you. I freely acknowledge I have behaved very ill. Save me, dear save me, from destruction. Your pardon will heap coal of fire on my head. I will most faithfully promise to cease writing to Mr. Harrison and every other person . I will do every thing in my power for the remainder of my life to endeavour to make amends for my past bad conduct. My dear, dear children! I look at their little beds and reflect with deepest remorse that I have been the cause of depriving their innocent heads of the shelter of my mothers roof"
Lord St. Leonards- Is there any complaint of the husband's conduct in that letter?
Mr. Venables.- No, my Lord; it is written as if she sought his forgiveness for having written a letter to Mr. Harrison. It is entirely deprecatory. Here is another paragraph:-
" Write to me, Redmond, by return of post, and do, I beseech you, come home. Bend a favourable ear to my entreaties. I cannot defend my own conduct, but throw myself on your mercy. You will be my only real friend if you pardon me. I will be to you a wife again, as I was untill last October"
sheet 7
Lord St. Leonards.- It appears from this letter that the husband was in town - that he had left Brighton without a reconcilliation having taken place, whereas it had been opened that the reconcilliation had been immediate.

Mr.Venables was instructed that the reconcilliation at Brighton was but partial; that Mr. Caton had agreed to live with his wife, but not to forgive her. The next extract he would read was from a letter written by Mrs Caton to her husband , on the 7th July ,1841, in which she used the following language:-
12 Brunswick Square, Wednesday morning. "Words, Redmond, cannot express my gratitude for the mercy you have extended towards me. Never shall you repent having done so. I feel the deepest sorrow and the most heartfelt contrition for all that has passed. I look back with remorse and horror upon my ill conduct of the last few months. Most faithfully do i promise to curb my temper and tounge, to fulfill stricktly ever command of yours and to comply with every wish you may express. I will stren- ously devote my time to the fullfilment of my duties as wife, mother, and daughter. I will convince you that my repen- tance in sincere. My dreadful errors come upon me night and day, but I pray to Almightly God for Pardon, and I enestly solicit Him, from whom alone we can recieve strength to fulfil our intentions, that He will mercifully grant me life, that I may be enabled to return to my duties in this world, and by doing so, may I hope to enter His pre- sence justified not comdemned.

Redmond, you have a heart, and such a heart as few men possess. Never again will I make it ache. You shall for ever have reason to say that I have seen and repented of my error, and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that through your mercy and charity I have been save from destruction. Happy will you be in the last day; such an act wil be rewarded both hear and hereafter"

sheet 8
The only other letter which he would put in, was written by Mrs Caton to her husband's father in 1844. It was as follows:-
Paris 8 louis Le Grand, 14th November 1844

Sir, It is many months since I had occasion to adress you. I now intend to lay before you an exact statment as to how matters stand between your son, Mr. Caton, and myelf, thinking you will give him good advice, which as a parent, and a man of your years and experiance, you have a right to do. You are, of course, aware that since Mr.R. Caton's disgraceful, and most unjustifiable conduct here last December, that I have seperated from him, having had no personal connextion with him whatever from that time to this day, and it is my fixed determination, which nothing will alter, to remain seperated from him as long asI live.

In the month of June last he came to Paris to try to induce me to return to him for my children's sake; and by the advice of some of my friends here, amongst whom were Major and Mrs. St. Rose, I at first had an idea of trying to do so once more. I had several meetings with your son, always in public, cautiously advoiding any private interviews. In twenty four hours I found you son diviated from all he had agreed to on the proceeding day. I ,therefor, feel convinced that his dreadful character had undergone no change - that no advantage could accrue from my living with him again. The dreadful scenes of quarreling which would have ensued, and the certitude that I should have left him again in less than a week, made me at once decide never to live with him more. The example of dissenting would have been disgracful to the children, and as he took them forcably from my care, without any proof of ill conduct on my part ( as the falsehoods he stated relative to last winter are fresh calummies which I defy any one to substantiate,) he shall for ever bear the expence and trouble of their maintenance and education. The child of which he asserts to you and all his aquaintences and my own family was not his but Captain Harrison's is with me, and my blood alone will I resign her to Mr. Caton. I am in no way anxious to spare his fealings, as he never consulted mine. He blasted my reputation at Brighton, and tried to do so here, in which latter instance he fortunatly did not suceed. He considers the child is not his; be it so. I only wish he would divorce me, as the proudest day of my life would be that on which I could drop his hated name for ever, and take back my own. I also despise and detest him. These are fealings which will never leave me, and my hatred for him will exist even beyond the tomb.

He has caused everything that has happened himself, and he deserves everything he may have suffeered, I regret nothing I have done. I have no respeect for him, but hold him in the most utter contempt. I am quite aware that he never mentions his affairs to you, but I will tell you the whole truth. In August he took up his rsidence in the most ill judged manner at the house adjoining my residence. For some time he remained quiet. He then took to following me when I walked out putting himself in menacing attitudes, and insulting and holding out threats to those with whom I walked. I was compelled one day to walk with him from the Tuileries to my house, accompanied by Bewley, to aviod a scene of violence in the public gardens. This conduct I was determined of course not to put up with. I accordinly wrote to England to that effect.
sheet 9
My mother seeing the perfect improbability of our ever living together again, and in the impropriety there would be in our doing so, as an example of violence would be so very disgracefull to the children, who have already witnessed too much - has decided upon withdrawing from Mr. R Caton the sum of 150 per annum, which he has been in the habit of recieving, unless he consents to sign a proper legal seperation. The priciple of that interest, amounting to 3,500 , he will also be deprived of by his obstanacy. He has nothing to gain, and everything to lose, by refusing to sign a deed of seperation quietly as I shall certainly begin a public trial against him to free my self from his interference and molestation. I will never again become the victim of his ill temperand jealous violence.

I have been a cruel sufferer from his ill treatment even bodily ill usage which I endured for 3 years, but which I will never submit to again; therefor; I repeat that for my whole life I will remain seperated from Mr. R Caton, if he chooses quietly to sign a proper deed of seperation I have empowered my Lawyer Mr. Lewis, to offer Mr. Caton the 3,500 to y affairs before a public court of Justice, and nothing will prevent my doing so, but before I commence proceedings.

I think it right to make you,sir, aquainted with every thing that you may advise your son to agree to reason, and not to be carried away by his ungovernable fury and bad judgement. By refusing to sign a seperation, he will deprive his four children and himself of 3,500, and will also be exposed to a public trial, when I shall not screen him. I am now perfectly aware that he married me entirely for mercanery motives, and hastoned the marriage , so that he might the sooner get possession of my money. The people from whom he raises money are perhaps not aware that my fortune is settled to my sole and seperate use, and that, untill my death, he has no right to even a penny of it.
I hear that it is on my credit he raises sums of money, and that is the reason why he wishes it to be supposed he is not seperated from me; but I take care to undecieve every one, as I would nothave a creature imagine I was living with a man I so hate and despise. I consider your son, Sir, without honour, without principle, and with out one spark of manly pride about him. He would never have lived w money I have stated,which perhaps you sence and judgement will induce you to see the propriety of doing. Your son will of course listen to your advice, and I am determined you shall know all.

As your daughter-in-law , I have the right to address you, and will not proceed to a public trial without letting you know my intentions. Finally, telling you that my mind is made up to carry into effect all I have stated.
I remain,Sir, yours &c &c
    Anna Maria Caton

Mr. Thurston Caton, brother of the petitioner, stated that he lived in Paris in 1843, at the house of Madame St. Rose, who was his mother inlaw. She had a son, Major St. Rose, a married man, living in the house. Mr. Caton was there in December, 1846, having been there some time. Shortley after that time, he had a conversation with his brother on the subject of Mrs. Caton's conduct with M. St. Rose. He asked witness to get a letter written by Mrs. Caton from M. St. Rose. During the conversation mrs. Caton came in, and followed him into the room, where he demanded the letter from M. St Rose, who refused to give it up. There was a violent altercation, in which Mrs. Caton took the part of M. St. Rose. Mr. Caton charged her with having sent a letter to M. St. Rose. She denied it. They parted in dessention. His brother left the house and went to Meurice's. He went with his brother next day, with Mr. Okey, to Madame St. Rose's, and his brother demanded his children of his wife, and desired her to leave the house. She refused to leave the house, but a length gave up the children; and his brother left Paris for England next day with the five children.
Mrs. Caton remained at Madame St. Rose's till March 1844. Witness was residing next door. One of the children, the youngest, a girl a year and a half old came back to Paris in the June following, and lived with witness. His brother was never went into Madame St. Rose's. Witness was never present at any interview there between Mr. and Mrs. Caton. His brother came to accertain what his wife was doing, and to get up evidence against her. They did not succeed in getting positive evidence. His brother was always writting to him to obtain evidence. His brother did not return to Paris before the following feb- ruary, when he came there on the 24th, accompanied by Mr. Ward.. He constantly saw his brother. His brother's room was next to that of Mr. Ward's at Meurice's . His brother left for England on the 1st March. He never was with his brother at Madame St Rose's on that occasion. He went to the door of the house with his brother and a commsionary of the police. His brother did not return to Paris in between March and the following autumn. Witness constantly tried to get evidence up to 1849, when he left Paris. He made inquiries of the servants. Mrs. Caton left Madame St. Rose in March 1844, and went to the Rue d'Algier. Mrs. Ryder, her mother , joined her there on the 5th of the present month, he accompanied the solicitor to serve the notice of this bill on Mrs. Caton, and found her residing in the Rue de Lorrequer with her mother and Major St. Rose. There was a portrait of M. St. Rose in the room. Mrs. Caton said she could not blame her husband for the steps he was taking. She only hoped for the sake of the children, the matter would be carried on with as little notoriety as possible.

A letter from Mr. Caton, of the date of 1843, to Mrs. Caton offering her a home, was put in and read.
Mr. Okey, council to the Embassy at Paris, remembered being consulted by Mr. Caton in december 1843 and .......
The Times 11th June 1854
At a later period of the day their Lorships sat to pronounce judgment on "Caton Divorce Bill" upon the evidence which had occupied the attention of the House on two previous occasions.

THE LORD CHANCELLOR now, in moving the judgment of their Lordships, entered into an outline of the detail of the circumstances of the case, from which it appeared that the petitioner, Mr Richard redmond Caton, of Bryanstone Square, prayed for a divorce a vinculo matrimonii from his wife, Anna Maria. The petitioner was some years since assistant surgeon in the Grenadier Guards, and on the 23rd of June 1831 , was married to miss Anna Maria Ridout, in the parish Church of Woodmancote, in the county of Sussex. At the period of marriage the petitioner was 27 years of age; the age of the lady was 18.
The pecuniary means of the petitioner at the time of his union with this lady consisted of his pay, ammounting to about 150 a year, and an annuity from his father of the same ammount, making his own income 200 per annum. The fortune of the lady was equal to that of her husband, and was derived from an annuity and dividends. The petitioner, independant of this, was the entailer of an estate of which his father was tennant for life, worth about 90 a year, and it was in reference to that estate and certain proceedings which had been taken in respect of it that the petitioner had been now enabled to apply to the House for that remedy which all gentlemen similarly circustanced were compelled to adopt.

The parties cohabited for a lenght of time, and lived upon the most affectionate and ammicable terms. This state of things continued during the first 10 years of thier married life, and it was not untill some time in the years 1841 that the petitioner, who had lived during that period as a happy a life as a married life usualy was, had any cause for suspicion of the improper conduct of his wife.
However , in the year 1841, the petitioners suspicions had been excited by the conduct of his wife with a gentleman of the name of Harrison, an officer in the 11th Hussars, quatered with his regiment at Brighton. Certain levity of conduct on the part of the wife tpwards Mr. Harrison caused the petitioner much uneasiness, and in the month of march in that year the petitioner having accertained that his wife had sent a letter to Mr. Harrison confirmed his already excited suspicions; and it was only at the entreaties of his wife and her mother, backed up by the assurances of the wife's brother, that they had seen the letter, and that it was not of a nature either to prove adultery or of any criminal act with Mr. Harrison that he consented to live upon the accoustomned terms with her.
The petitioner had three daughters growing up, and that was an additional inducment for him to over look the levity of conduct which his wife haad displayed. The petitioner, however, under the influence of many reasons, family reasons, upon the assurance of the brother that Mrs. Caton's conduct had mearly ammounted to levity, had recieved his wife back. Now, doubtless, there were many grounds to induce the petitioner to adopt this course, and among them this one- that there was no proof of any criminal act on her part. Then for the sake of his children a husband would be inclined to overlook that which, so far as had come to his knowledge, ammounted only to an act of levity. It was difficult, then, under the circumstances , to say that any man so placed had by recieving his wife back again thereby been guilty of any condonation as to disentitle him to the relief, by way of divorce, which their Lordships usually gave. He was perfectly of the opinion that there was nothing - no evidence - before their Lordships to show that the petitioner had any knowledge of an act of adultery, if, inddeed, there had been any, having been conmmited with Mr. Harrison, at Brighton, in the year 1841.

But two or three years afterwards the lady went to Paris, and there there were proofs afforded of her having committed adultery with an officer in the French army. That was beyond all doubt, and, if any more decisive proof were demanded that adultery had been committed, it was to be found in the fact of her having given birth to a child, of which the petittioner clearly cound not have been the father. The case could admit of no doubt , and therefore he had no hesitation in advising thier Lordships that this bill should be read a second time.

LORD BROUGHAM most fully concurred in what had fallen from his noble and learned friend. There was not the slightest reason for supposing that Mr. Caton had had any knowledge of any adultery prior to that which was the foundation of the present procceddings. As to the latter case,there could be no doubt that the child of which Mrs. Caton was delivered inParis was not the child of her husband. The Bill, looking at all circumstances, ought, as his noble and learned friend has said, to be read a second time.

The Bill was then read a second time, and ordered to be committed.

Back to TOP
Close info Window
© JCC Glass
updated 16rd February 2009
Use portrait to print