The Hardships of the English Laws in Relation to Wives by Sarah Chapone: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Hardships of the English Laws in Relation to Wives by Sarah Chapone

1st Edition

Edited by Susan Paterson Glover


128 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2018-02-12
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Susan Paterson Glover here presents, in modern type, a critical edition of the first printed work by an English woman writer, Sarah Chapone, on the inequity of the common law regime for married women. Glover's extended, original introduction provides an account of Chapone's life; a discussion of the influence of Mary Astell's work on Chapone's thought and work; and a review of the legal status of women in England's eighteenth century, with particular attention to marriage and the doctrine of coverture and the relations of women, law, and property. It concludes by acknowledging the importance of this text to any consideration of the evolution of a discourse of "rights" for women in the Anglo–American legal tradition, and its contribution to a movement for property rights and women's equality whose genesis is generally located in the legislative changes of the nineteenth century. The edition contains valuable appendices including, among other writings, excerpts from Chapone's correspondence with Samuel Richardson; excerpts of responses to Chapone's work from the Weekly Miscellany; and excerpts from contemporary legal literature. Also included is an annotated text of Chapone's pamphlet on the Muilman controversy, Remarks on Mrs. Muilman's Letter to the Right Honourable The Earl of Chesterfield (London, 1750).

Table of Contents




A Note on the Texts

A Note on the Spelling of Chapone

Facsimile title-page


The Hardships of the English Laws in Relation to Wives. With an Explanation of the Original Curse of Subjection passed upon the Woman. In an Humble Address to the Legislature.

Appendix One: Responses from the Weekly Miscellany (1736, 1737)

Appendix Two: Excerpts from The Lawes Resolutions of Womens Rights (1632), Baron and Feme: A Treatise of the Common Law. Concerning Husbands and Wives (1700), and The Treatise of Feme Coverts; or, The Lady’s Law (1732)

Appendix Three: Excerpts from the Sarah Chapone-Samuel Richardson correspondence

Appendix Four: Remarks on Mrs. Muilman’s Letter to the Right Honourable The Earl of Chesterfield (1750) [by Sarah Chapone]


About the Editor

Susan Paterson Glover is Associate Professor of English at Laurentian University, Canada.

About the Series

The Early Modern Englishwoman, 1500-1750: Contemporary Editions

The Early Modern Englishwoman, 1500-1750: Contemporary Editions
Designed to complement The Early Modern Englishwoman: A Facsimile Library of Essential Works, Contemporary Editions presents both modernized and old-spelling editions of texts not only by women but also for and about women. Contents of a volume can range from a single text to an anthology depending on the subject and the audience. Introductions to the editions are written with the general reader as well as the specialist in mind. They are designed to provide an introduction not only to the edited text itself but also to the larger historical discourses expressed through the text.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 18th Century