"I resist."Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton. English Laws for Women in the Nineteenth Century. London: Printed for Private Circulation, 1854.
First edition. Octavo. 188 pages.
Modern three-quarter brown calf with gilt spine titles on a black leather title plate, gilt rules, five raised bands, and marbled boards. Marbled endpapers. Moderate wear and rubbing to the binding, mostly at the edges and corners. Spine very clean. Bumping to the fore-edge of the boards. Previous owner's presentation inscription on the front flyleaf and signature on the title page. A poem by Norton, clipped from a periodical or newspaper and entitled "The Careless Word" pasted to the verso of the second flyleaf, facing the title page. Light marginal dampstaining at the endpapers not affecting any text. Internal contents slightly toned but clean. An excellent copy of a scarce treatise on women's rights.
The present work is Ms. Norton's impassioned reaction to the abuses laid down by her ex-husband, who beat her and their children long after their divorce. She writes on page 2: "A few years ago, a French nobleman, the Duc de Praslin, assassinated his wife in the midst of her slumbering household. When morning broke, she was dead; but many a proof remained of the desperate resistance, and agonized efforts to escape, made by that wretched woman before her doom was completed. Do the advocates of the doctrine of non-resistance consider that her duty would have been to submit tranquilly to the fate pre-determined for her? If not, let them waive judgment in my case; for if choice were allowed me, I would rather be murdered and remembered by friends and children with love and regret, than have the slanders believed, which my husband has invented of me. It is he, who has made silence impossible...I resist."
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