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“Essays must be sent in to the offices of the Associate Institution, 5. Upper Charles Street, Parliament Street, Westminster, undercover addressed to the Committee, on or before July 15th, 1851.

“Each Essay must be distinguished by a motto, and accompanied by a sealed envelope endorsed with a similar motto, and containing the name and address of the writer. None of the envelopes will be opened before the prize shall have been awarded.”

The Lord Bishop of Oxford, Vice-Chancellor Sir William Page Wood, and Roundell Palmer, Esq., Q. C., M.P., accordingly acted as adjudicators. Several Essays were sent in, and the following is the adjudicators' Report, dated May 30th, 1853: —

“At a meeting of the arbitrators of the prize offered by the Associate Institution, for the purpose of deciding on the successful Essay, it was unanimously agreed that, in their judgment, the Essay bearing the title • Ne corrumpere et corrumpi sæculum vocetur,' deserves the prize.

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The sum of one hundred guineas has been paid to the successful competitor, James Edward Davis, Esq., of the Middle Temple, Barrister-at-Law; and the Essay is now published by the Society.

Offices of the Associate Institution, 5. Upper Charles Street,

Parliament Street, Westminster.

November, 1853.

ESS A Y

&c.

I. ANCIENT LAWS AND INSTITUTIONS.

In all countries and at all times, from the earliest dawn of civilisation to the most recently constituted state, where anything worthy the name of a system or code of laws has been attempted or established, we meet with some provisions peculiarly affecting the position and well-being of woman, distinct from those general rules which relate to both sexes alike.

Taken in their most extended signification, these provisions include not only such as relate to her personal protection, but those also which refer to her in the various capacities of child, wife, and mother, in some instances conferring privileges, in others creating disabilities. It is not, however, into such a wide field of inquiry that I am about to enter, but simply to investigate the operation of those laws which, independently of the ties and consequences of marriage, regulate and

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