Early 1856 Pair of Letters Gathering Legal Support for the UK Married Woman's Property Act
ALS : Autograph Letter Signed[Women's Property Rights] Perry, Sir Thomas Erskine. Pair of Autograph Letters Signed circa 1856 to an unnamed female correspondent about married women's property equality. Totaling 8 handwritten pages, both signed "E Perry," both in good condition with only mild age related toning to paper.
Perry, a liberal politician and proponent of women's property rights, actively petitioned in the House of Commons for the extension of legal and financial autonomy to women. In the first 4 page letter, dated 14 March 1856, Perry writes that his female correspondent's "petition in the House was I think well received…get up as many petitions as possible from different places to be presented on or before that day in favor of a change of the law…[and] have it signed by men as well as women." Notably, Perry recognized the need for alliance and collaboration among men and women, and he positioned gender equality as a human rights issue.
By the time of his second 4 page letter [n.d., missing the opening pages], Perry writes his correspondent with points of argument for changes in women's property law. These include "Rights and Responsibilities of Husbands and Wives," "Obligations to Support Children," and "Liability to be sued on her own contracts." While Perry acknowledges that he will need to "study the provisions of the law of this & other countries on the subject," he also asks his correspondent if she and her friends can provide him concrete "examples of the evils sustained under the present law," thus providing him a "cloud of witnesses" against the law as it currently stands.
An important set of letters documenting men and women's collaborative pursuit of equality.
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