English Laws for Women.
BY C. NORTON.
["It won't do to have TRUTH AND JUSTICE on our side;
We must have LAW and LAWYERS."]
CHARLES DICKENS. *
I take those words as my text. In consequence of the imperfect state of the law, I have suffered bitterly, and for a number of years: I have lately been insulted, defrauded, and libelled: and as the law is constituted I find redress impossible.
To publish comments on my own case for the sake of obtaining sympathy; to prove merely that my husband has been unjust, and my fate a hard one, would be a very poor and barren ambition. I aspire to a different object. I desire to prove, not my suffering or his injustice, but that the present law of England cannot prevent any such suffering, or control any such injustice. I write in the hope that the law may be amended; and that those who are at present so ill-provided as to have only "Truth and Justice" on their side, may hereafter have the benefit of "Law and Lawyers."
I know all that can be said on my interference with such a subject; all the prejudice and contempt with which men will receive arguments from a woman, and a woman personally interested. But it is of more importance that the law should be altered, than that I should be approved. Many a woman may [Page 2] live to thank Heaven that I had courage and energy left, to attempt the task: and, since no one can foretel the future, even men may pause ere they fling down my pamphlet with masculine scorn; for a day may come,–however improbable,–to some one of my readers, when he would give his right hand, for the sake of sister, daughter, or friend, that the law were in such a condition as to afford a chance of justice; without the pain of a protracted struggle, or the disgrace of a public brawl. What I write, is written in no spirit of rebellion; it puts forward no absurd claim of equality; it is simply an appeal for protection. Such protection, in degree, as is accorded to servants, to apprentices, to the sailor on the high seas, to all whom the law admits to be in a subordinate and helpless position. Such protection, in degree, as has lately been extended to women in the lower classes, by the more stringent laws enacted in their behalf