London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1854. First edition. Rubbing to corners and cracking to joints. Publisher’s stamp on front free endpaper and title-page. Pencil signature dated 1891 on front free endpaper and a bit of light pencil marginalia on a few pages. A bit of foxing and toning but pages are very clean overall. A good copy of an uncommon book. Publisher’s brown cloth stamped in blind and lettered in gilt on cover and spine. Octavo. xvi, 247 pp. Item #16719
The preface to this book explains that the Associate Institution for Improving and Enforcing the Laws for the Protection of Women awarded James Edward Davis one hundred guineas (£105, which is equivalent to about £12,500 now) for his Essay, which details the history of laws surrounding rape, kidnapping, and prostitution. He discusses ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, and Anglo-Saxon civilization, and then explains the contemporary state of the law in the United Kingdom, France, the United States, Brazil, and other countries.
James Edward Davis (1817-1887) was a lawyer and legal scholar who wrote primarily on labor laws and local government. This Essay seems to be his most influential work, along with The Practice and Evidence in Actions in the County Courts (1857) and The Labour Laws (1875). Though we could not find much information on the Associate Institution for Improving and Enforcing the Laws for the Protection of Women, the list of members included in the present book notes the Archbishop of Canterbury, John Bird Sumner (1780-1862), as well as the Archbishop of York. There do not seem to be any women listed among the members.