Thelyphthora; or, A Treatise on Female Ruin
... in its Causes, Effects, Consequences, Prevention, and Remedy; considered on the Basis of the Divine Law: under the following Heads, viz. Marriage, Whoredom and Fornication, Adultery, Polygamy, Divorce. Volume II.
London: J. Dodsley, 1780. First Edition. The second of two volumes originally published in this edition (a third was deemed necessary after the controversial reception of the first two). Half speckled calf with marbled boards, 8vo; 432, (20). Rubbing to extremities, shallow loss at spine ends, hairline crack along the leather joints but binding still firm and contents particularly bright. Armorial bookplate of Frederick Keppel with the motto 'ne cede malis' to the pastedown, presumed son of Frederick Keppel (1728-1777), Bishop of Exeter. Additional bookplate of British Stanhope Shelton on the flyleaf, with a penciled note that Shelton resided from 1953-'9 at Woodcote End House in Epsom, where Madan retreated in the wake of controversy and lived out his days in seclusion. Very Good; this volume only.
Though published without attribution, the work was widely known to be authored by Martin Madan, a Church of England Clergyman who had ministered to poor women and prostitutes, and whose views stemmed from a point of compassion, aware of the gravely unequal consequences for women and men: "As our laws are at present framed, women are exposed to seduction, prostitution, and ruin almost without control; -they seem to be looked upon as lawful prey to the lust, treachery, cruelty, and mean artifices of licentious and profligate men who can seduce and then abandon them at their will…. A system of laws which leaves the horrid crime of adultery not only out of the list of its capital punishments, but even exempts it, as a public offence, from any animadversion whatsoever in our courts of criminal judicature, must be attended with all those mischiefs that arise from the encouragement which impunity affords to vice. The same may also be observed with respect to the defenceless state in which the weaker sex in general is left against the stronger so that any man may seduce and abandon at his pleasure the unhappy and deluded objects of his brutal appetite. To exhibit a system far different from this-to set forth the divine law as the contrivance of infinite wisdom for the security, peace, preservation, and protection of the female sex, is the purpose of the following pages." (Vol. 1 preface)