London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orne, Brown, et al, 1825. First edition. Original green drab boards rebacked with the original brown cloth spine; original printed label on spine with some rubbing; library number on spine; surface wear to boards. Octavo, 217 pages. Title page repaired at head and gutter; text block tight; some leaves opened roughly with small loss to margins; slight foxing and marginal dampstaining. Very Good copy of this extremely rare book that does not appear in modern auction records.
Considered one of the most important works in the history of feminism, alongside Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman and John Stuart Mill’s The Subjection of Women. An Appeal was notably a collaborative effort. The named author, economist William Thompson, wished to write on behalf of women’s rights but explains in his introductory letter that collaboration with Anna Wheeler opened the door to the book’s publication. “ I wish to give every right thing to its owner. Anxious that you should take up the cause of your proscribed sex, and state to the world in writing, in your own name, what you have so often and so well states in conversation, and under feigned names in such of the periodical publications of the day as would tolerate such a theme, I long hesitated to arrange our common ideas.… Anxious that the hand of a woman should have the honor of raising from the dust that neglected banner which a woman’s hand [Wollstonecraft] nearly thirty years ago unfolded boldly, in the face of prejudices of thousands of years, and for which a woman’s heart bled…It is with you I would equally elevate both sexes….The remainder are our joint property, I being your interpreter and the scribe of your sentiments.” An Appeal sets out legal, social, and philosophical arguments for women’s innate equality with men, and justifying the cultural changes necessary to move the concept of equal citizenship from theory to practice. (Item #1986)