London debates
1786

Sponsor

London Record Society

Publication

Author

Donna T. Andrew (compiled and introduced by)

Year published

1994

Pages

176-193

Citation Show another format:

'London debates: 1786', London debating societies 1776-1799 (1994), pp. 176-193. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=38850 Date accessed: 29 July 2014.


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1060. January 2, 1786 Free Debating Society, Lyceum

'Which is more Happy, the Person possessed of Sensibility, or he who is a Stranger to it?'

Morning Herald

1061. January 5, 1786 Coach-Makers-Hall Debating Society

'Would it not be for the interest of the community, to impose a tax on Old Batchelors, and give the produce thereof, as marriage portions, to Young Maidens?

It was almost unanimously carried in favour of the tax.'

General Advertiser January 4

1062. January 5, 1786 Mitre Tavern Society for Free Debate

'Can that Wife be truly said to love a Husband, who frequently disobeys him?

It was at length determined by a small majority, that a wife might disobey her husband and still love him.'

General Advertiser January 4

1063. January 12, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Do not the principles of methodism tend to blind the judgment and contract the heart?'

Morning Herald

1064. January 12, 1786 Mitre Tavern Society for Free Debate

'Which bids fair to make the best member of Society, the youth who is early introduced to the follies and vices of the age, or he who is carefully kept from them till he has arrived to years of maturity?'

Morning Herald

1065. January 19, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Do not the principles of methodism tend to blind the judgment and contract the heart?'

Question 'was decided in favour of the persons under that denomination. The speakers on both sides, having proved themselves able and ingenious debaters, received from a most numerous and genteel audience (excepting a few zealots) those tributes of applause which are ever attendant on the effusions of manly eloquence, and true genius, joined to knowledge.'

Morning Herald January 26

1066. January 19, 1786 Free Debating Society, Mitre Tavern

'Whether it was not false Delicacy which forbid the fair sex making the first advances to the man they love?

It was determined at the close, by a great majority, against the ladies making the first advances.'

Morning Herald January 26

1067. January 26, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Is not the conduct of those parents who abandon their daughters, for the loss of honour, a principal cause of the increase of prostitution?

After a debate replete with the most salutary lessons of moral instruction, strength, and precision of reasoning, elegance of language, and chastity of sentiment, [the question was] by a considerable majority of a most respectable auditory, decided in the affirmative.'

Morning Herald

1068. January 26, 1786 Free Debating Society, Mitre Tavern

'Which of the two characters in the course of his political Conduct has given the better proof of his being a real Friend to his Country, Mr. Fox or Mr. Pitt?

On the chairman's giving his opinion on the shew of hands, a great part of the company objected to it: in consequence of the exceeding crowded state of the room, and neither party being disposed to yield, we decline saying anything farther as to the decision.'

Morning Herald

1069. February 2, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Have the people more reason to believe that the present opposition to Government proceeds from a sincere regard for the interest of the nation, or a desire only to get into power?'

Morning Herald

1070. February 2, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Is that maxim founded on truth which says, a reformed rake makes the best husband?'

Question was determined in the negative.

Morning Herald

1071. February 6, 1786 New Westminster Forum or School for Elocution, King St. St. James

'Do Ladies by going to India, for the purpose of obtaining Husbands, deviate from their characteristic delicacy?'

The Question was 'almost unanimously decided in the affirmative'.

Morning Herald

1072. February 9, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Have the people more reason to believe that the present opposition to Government proceeds from a sincere regard for the interest of the nation, or a desire only to get into power?'

The Question 'was decided against the Opposition'.

Morning Herald

1073. February 9, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Which of the three virtues is most easy to be found, Honesty in a Lawyer, Disinterestedness in a Physician, or Practical Piety in a Divine?'

Question 'determined in favour of the Divine'.

Morning Herald

1074. February 13, 1786 New Westminster Forum

'Does the present state of Parliamentary Eloquence, tend to retard or promote the Public Welfare?'

Morning Herald

1075. February 16, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Is Jealousy a Proof of Love?

The adjournment of this subject was, by desire of the majority of one of the most crouded and brilliant audiences that ever honoured a Society for National Entertainment with their presence, in order to afford an opportunity to several Gentlemen distinguished for their oratorical abilities, who were desirous to, but could not for want of time . . . take part in the debate . . .'

Morning Herald

1076. February 16, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Is it not the aim of the present Minister rather to please the Sovereign than the People?

It was determined, that the Minister's aim was to please both King and People.'

Morning Herald

1077. February 20, 1786 New Westminster Forum or School for Elocution, King Street, St. James's Square

'Which is more painful to a Woman of Sensibility - to be obliged to marry a man she disliked, or not allowed to marry the man she loved?'

Times

1078. February 23, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Is Jealousy a Proof of Love?'

Question was 'decided in the affirmative'.

Morning Herald

1079. February 23, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Which bids fair to make the best Husband, a Knave or a Fool?'

The Question was 'determined in favour of the Fool'.

Morning Herald

1080. February 27, 1786 New Westminster Forum

'Is Suicide an Act of Courage?'

Morning Herald

1081. March 2, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Which is to be preferred for a Wife, an Old Maid or a Widow?

The debate being instructive as it was entertaining, and the advocates for the two female characters having equally distinguished themselves for strength and precision of reasoning, and that chastity of sentiment which is the companion of good sense, drew from a very crouded and brilliant assembly of Ladies and Gentlemen those tributes of applause which a liberal audience never denies to genius and ability.'

Question determined in favour of the widow.

Morning Herald

1082. March 2, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Are not Newspapers, as they are at present conducted, of greater Injury than Benefit to Society?'

The Question was determined in favour of the Newspapers.

Morning Herald

1083. March 6, 1786 New Westminster Forum

'Which is the most ridiculous Character, a Man Milliner or a Military Fop?

The two characters were pourtrayed, and commented on, by the different Speakers in a style far superior to that which usually characterises public assemblies of this description. - The question being put, there appeared a very small majority against the Man Milliner.'

Morning Herald

1084. March 9, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Are not the Pleasures of Imagination superior to those of Possession?'

The question was, 'by a small majority of a brilliant assemblage of Ladies and Gentlemen, decided in favour of possession. The debate was distinguished for much sound argumentation, true philosophical reasoning, and pleasantry of wit . . .'

Morning Herald

1085. March 9, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Is it not an Instance of great Partiality and Injustice, to exclude the Ladies from the Knowledge of Free Masonry?

It was determined against the Ladies being made acquainted with the secret.'

Morning Herald

1086. March 13, 1786 New Westminster Forum

'Are personal Charms more likely to obtain a Woman a Husband, than Mental Accomplishments?'

Morning Herald

1087. March 16, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Which is the most exceptionable Character, the Trading Justice, the Quack Doctor, or the Methodist Teacher?'

Morning Herald

1088. March 16, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Which is the happier State, Marriage, or a single Life?

But so far will a judicious audience be prejudiced in favour of wedded love, that though much merit was due to the great ingenuity of the Speakers, on the other side, they gave it in favour of Matrimony by a great majority.'

Morning Herald

1089. March 20, 1786 New Westminster Forum moved to Squibb's Auction Room, Saville Row

'Is that proverb founded in truth, which describes Adversity to be the School for Wisdom?'

The Society has moved 'in order to accommodate its truly polite supporters; for which purpose they have engaged the above room, as being more central, elegant, convenient, and in every respect better adapted for the display of public elocution . . .'

Morning Herald

1090. March 23, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Which is the most unexceptionable Character, the Trading Justice, the Quack Doctor, or the Methodist Teacher?

From the crouded state of the hall, and other concomitant circumstances, it could not be ascertained whether the Trading Justice or Methodist Teacher was the character against whom the majority decided.'

April 13; a note acknowledges a mistake on the outcome: 'there was an evident majority against the Methodist Teacher.'

Morning Herald

1091. March 23, 1786 Society of Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Which stands the best chance to get a Husband, a Prude or a Coquet? Less criminality, or hypocrisy appearing in the Coquet than the Prude, it was carried in her favour.'

Morning Herald

1092. March 27, 1786 New Westminster Forum

'Is it just, in this enlightened age, to preclude Ladies from voting in Elections, or sitting in the Senate?

It is utterly impossible, for the limits of an advertisement in a due degree to express, the exquisite entertainment the debate on the above question afforded; serious argument, sterling wit, and genuine humour, powerfully contended for the approbation of a splendid and numerous assemblage of persons, by whom the question was decided in the affirmative'.

Morning Herald April 3

1093. March 30, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Is that Opinion founded in Truth, which says, That the First Impression of Love on the Heart is the strongest, and seldom or never erased?'

The Question 'was, by a considerable majority, decided in the Affirmative'.

Morning Herald

1094. March 30, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Are the boasted Liberties of England Real or Imaginary?

The company in general appeared not willing to think their liberties were imaginary, (though many striking observations were made use of to prove them so) therefore determined in favour of their being real.'

Morning Herald

1095. April 3, 1786 New Westminster Forum

'Can a Woman expect to find Sincerity in a Man who has proved inconstant to the first object of his Love?'

Morning Herald

1096. April 6, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Has the Publication of Mrs. Bellamy's Apology for her Life been friendly or injurious to the Cause of Virtue?'

It was decided that Publication 'was more injurious than friendly to the cause of virtue'.

Morning Herald

1097. April 6, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Do the laws of nature give any Privileges to the Husband, that may not equally be claimed by the Wife?'

Question was determined in the affirmative.

Morning Herald

1098. April 10, 1786 New Westminster Forum

'Notice was last Monday given, in the presence of an exceedingly numerous and elegant auditory, by a gentlemen who frequently displays his abilities in this institution, that he would this day open his Budget of Taxes; has authorized the proprietors to lay them before the public the following objects which he intends to propose for taxation; manmilliners; walking jockies, male and female; geese vended in the Metropolis on Michaelmasday; dull sermons; old maids; pinns and needles; corks; music-paper; engravings; transplanted teeth; cradles; wigs; nightcaps; walking-canes; umbrellas; rings; silentees of both Houses of Parliament; the wit of aldermen and common council; female false protuberance; clerical charity; wet nurses, &c.'

Morning Herald

1099. April 13, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Is the Decrease of Mr. Pitt's Popularity to be imputed more to the Misconduct of his Administration, or to the Inconsistency of the People?

It was determined, by a great majority, that the decrease of that Gentleman's popularity was to be attributed to the inconsistency of the people, and not to any misconduct in his administration.'

Morning Herald

1100. April 13, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Which contributes most to impoverish the lower class of people, the Publican, the Pawnbroker, or the Trading Justice?

The company appeared to view them all as objects beneath the notice of either wit or ridicule; but, on the shew of hands, a majority appeared against the Trading Justice.'

Morning Herald

1101. April 17, 1786 New Westminster Forum

'Continued discussion of the Budget of Taxes . . . the remaining contents are,

Cradles, Walking Jockies, both Male and Female, Wigs, Night Caps, Clerical Charity, Hobby Horses, Beards, Female false Protuberances, Wit of Aldermen and Common Council, Silentees of both Houses of Parliament.'

Morning Herald

1102. April 20, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Which is the more blameable Character, the Parent who exacts too rigid an Obedience from his Children, or he who leaves it altogether to the Child for a Return of Duty and Affection?'

It was determined 'that the parent exacting too rigid an obedience from his children, is less blameable than he who leaves his offspring for a return of duty and affection'.

Morning Herald

1103. April 20, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Which recommends a Man most to the Fair Sex, Wit, Courage or Politeness?'

The Question was determined in favour of Politeness.

Morning Herald

1104. April 24, 1786 New Westminster Forum

'In which consists the greater pleasure, conferring or receiving a Benefit?'

The Question 'was, by a small majority, decided in favour of the person who confers the benefit'.

Morning Herald

1105. April 27, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Which is the most injurious to Society, a knavish Attorney, an illiterate Schoolmaster, or the keeper of a Register Office?

A considerable majority declared the knavish Attorney to be the most injurious to society.'

Morning Herald

1106. April 27, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Is more happiness to be expected from the marriage of a Young Man with an Old Woman, or from that of a Young Woman with an Old Man?

Many Gentlemen of distinguished abilities declining speaking, who were present, thinking neither had any claim to happiness where a reciprocal state of affection must be wanting; but, on the shew of hands, a majority appeared in favour of the old Man with the Young Woman.'

Morning Herald

1107. May 1, 1786 New Westminster Forum

'Which is the more disagreeable, a jealous or a scolding Wife?'

Morning Herald

1108. May 4, 1786 Coachmakers' Hall, Debating Society

'Is not the deliberate Seduction of the Fair, with an intention to desert, under all circumstances, equal to murder?

After a debate, in which several learned and highly respected characters took a part, and which afforded equal pleasure and improvement to a very respectable audience, was decided in the negative.'

Morning Herald

1109. May 4, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Is Learning a desirable Accomplishment in a Wife?'

The Question 'produced a debate explete with sound argument, solid reasoning, and in the person of some gentlemen, an elegance of stile, which would have done honour to the first assembly in the nation, but it was out of the power of those collected excellences themselves to convince the company that learning was requisite for happiness in the marriage state, therefore they determined against it.'

Morning Herald

1110. May 8, 1786 New Westminster Forum

'Is the recent proposed plan for discharging the National Debt, compatible with the true spirit of Taxation, and the future safety of the Empire?

The Members of the above Institution deem it incumbent at this important political crisis to bring forward that question, which has already engaged the attention of the senate, and called forth different opinions from men of high rank, enlightened learning, and political penetration; the subject that involves the prosperity of the present race, and their succeeding generations. . .

After it had undergone the most profound and unprejudiced discussion, it was, by a respectable majority, decided against the Minister's scheme of National Redemption.'

Morning Herald

1111. May 11, 1786 Coachmakers' Hall, Debating Society

'Are not the Restraints contained in the Marriage Act, and every other Restriction on the Matrimonial Contract, contrary to the natural Rights of Mankind, and injurious to Conjugal Felicity?'

It was 'decided by a considerable majority, that the restraints contained in the marriage act are neither contrary to the natural rights of mankind, nor injurious to conjugal felicity'.

Morning Herald

1112. May 11, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Would not the Marriage State be much happier, if Divorces could be obtained when the Parties are tired of each other?

The question relative to divorces being granted, where the parties were tired of each other, was, after a most ingenious and entertaining debate, determined in the negative.'

Morning Herald

1113. May 15, 1786 New Westminster Forum

'Whether Incontinence in a Wife ought to be a Reproach to her Husband?'

Morning Herald

1114. May 18, 1786 Coachmaker's Hall, Debating Society

'Is either of the following assertions of the two Poets founded in truth and experience: - Mr. Otway's, - "That man is, by nature, false, cruel, and inconstant;" or Pope's, - "That every woman is at heart a rake".'

The debate found that the assertions of both Otway and Pope were 'contrary to truth and experience.'

Morning Herald

1115. May 18, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Which is more culpable, the man who attempts to seduce the Wife of his Friend, or the Woman whose levity of manners encourages and affords him the strongest assurances of success?'

The debate found the seducer of the wife more culpable than the woman.

Morning Herald

1116. May 25, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Which has reflected more disgrace on human nature, Slavery in Foreign Countries, or the frequency of Public Executions in our own?

N.B. As this debate will comprehend the most important enquiry, why the punishment of women for certain offences should be severer than that of men, Ladies are particularly requested to attend early. . .'

Morning Herald

1117. May 25, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Which has been the greater disgrace to humanity, the perpetual slavery of foreign countries, or the frequent executions of our own?'

Morning Herald

1118. May 29, 1786 New Westminster Forum

'Which is likely to make the better Wife, an Old Maid or a Widow?

The Conductors of this Institution, sensibly impressed with the strenuous support which has constantly accompanied their exertions, take leave to thank a polite, candid, and liberal public, for that peculiar patronage; and as the motives which formed this institution were infinitely remote from those of a mean or mercenary nature, the proprietors presume they have a superior claim to the countenance of a nation famed for patronizing every laudable effort, capable of contributing to the instruction and amusement of mankind.'

Morning Herald

1119. June 1, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Which has reflected more disgrace on human nature, Slavery in Foreign Countries, or the frequency of Public Executions in our own?

It was almost unanimously decided . . . that the frequency of public executions in this country, is more disagreeable. . .'

Morning Herald, June 8

1120. June 8, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Whether it would not be consistent with justice, and for the good of society, to admit the solemn affirmation of the people called Quakers, to able of equal testimony, in all ways, with an oath?'

Morning Herald

1121. August 31, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Would it not be highly necessary in the Legislature to pass an act for the perpetual confinement of all Lunatics who have either attempted or committed murder?'

Debated decided in negative, by a considerable majority.

General Advertiser

1122. September 7, 1786 Coach-Makers-Hall Debating Society 'Whether Virtue is its own reward?'

The Question 'after a very ingenious, profitable, and entertaining debate, determined almost unanimously in the affirmative'.

Daily Advertiser September 13

1123. September 7, 1786 Mitre Tavern Society for Free Debate

'Is it proper for the British Parliament to permit the Heir Apparent's going into a state of retirement unworthy of his rank?'

The Question 'produced one of the most spirited debates ever heard in any society of a like nature. A great number of Gentlemen of the first ability came forward on the occasion, and repeatedly received the warmest tribute of applause from a crowded and brilliant audience. It was at length determined, at a late hour of the evening, that the Parliament were no ways censurable for that transaction.'

General Advertiser September 14

1124. September 13, 1786 Coach-makers-Hall, Debating Society

'Which is more injurious to the real happiness of society, the want of Piety in the Divine, the want of Integrity in the Lawyer, or the want of Patriotism in the Ministry?'

Daily Advertiser

1125. September 14, 1786 Mitre Tavern Society for Free Debate

'Which is more powerful in the human breast, Interest or Pleasure?'

General Advertiser

1126. September 20, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Does the Misconduct of Husbands or the negligent Behaviour of Wives lead to conjugal infidelity?'

Decided against the husband.

Gazetteer

1127. September 21, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Whether a great disproportion of years, or a total contrariety of disposition, ought to be most avoided?'

The Question 'afforded much wit, humour and keen satire, and was attended by a crowded audience of Ladies and Gentlemen. It was determined that a great disproportion of years ought to be more avoided, than a total contrariety of disposition.'

General Advertiser September 28

1128. September 28, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Does the late frantic attempt at Regicide furnish sufficient reason for the numerous Addresses to the Throne?'

General Advertiser

1129. September 28, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Would it be consistent with the safety of the British Constitution to grant to the Roman Catholics and Dissenters all the privileges civil and religious that are enjoyed by members of the established Church?'

The decision was against granting such privileges to Roman Catholics, and in favour, by a very large majority, of granting them to Dissenters.

Daily Advertiser

1130. October 2, 1786 Westminster Forum, Spring Garden

'Is the intended Transportation of Convicts to Botany Bay disgraceful to a civilized Community?'

Times

1131. October 5, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Would it be a wise law to compell every unmarried Man to marry the woman he had seduced and every married Seducer to allow that female maintenance for life?'

A very large majority of the audience voted against the proposal.

Daily Advertiser October 4/General Advertiser October 11

1132. October 5, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Whether a woman of sensibility would feel more pain on the loss of a lover by Death, Banishment or Marriage?'

Audience decided on death.

General Advertiser October 12

1133. October 9, 1786 Westminster Forum, late Coxe's Museum, Spring-Gardens

SORROWS OF WERTER

'Was the conduct of Charlotte, in admitting the visits of Werter, after her Marriage, consistent with female delicacy?

This subject is particularly interesting to the Fair Sex.'

Five hundred people were present; the vote went against the conduct of Charlotte.

Times

1134. October 12, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Which has a greater claim to our compassion; the Man reduced to a state of distress by unavoidable misfortunes in trade; or the Man in a similar situation, by the exercise of his humanity?'

The debate was decided in favour of the charitable man.

General Advertiser October 11

1135. October 12, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Which has threatened the Constitution of England with greater danger, the attack of Prerogative in and before the reign of James the Second; or the power of Secret Influence since the Revolution?'

The audience voted that the former was the greater threat.

General Advertiser

1136. October 14, 1786 Morning Herald

'We experienced infinite satisfaction last Monday evening at the Westminster Forum, during the discussion of Charlotte's conduct in admitting the visits of Werter after her marriage; the splendour of the company, we may assert, without having recourse to the illusive and notorious shift of puffing, merited the approbation of La Belle Assemblee, and with equal truth it may be remarked, that the debate throughout was animated, shrewdly argumentative, humourous and satirical; the behaviour of Charlotte subsequent to the hymeneal consummation was finally reprobated by a decided majority. The question which was given out to be investigated next Monday evening is, we understand, postponed; and the subject substituted is taken from the celebrated Tragedy of Jane Shore, suggested and to be introduced by a gentleman whose oratorical powers have ever deservedly met the marked approbation of this very popular assembly - Is the sentiment contained in the following lines unjustly severe on the fair sex?

If poor weak woman swerves from Virtue's rules,
If strongly charm'd she leave the thorny way,
And in the softer paths of pleasure stray,
Ruin ensues, reproach and endless shame.
In vain with tears the loss she may deplore,
In vain look back to what she was before,
She sets, like stars, that fall to rise no more.'

1137. October 18, 1786 Coachmaker's Hall, Debating Society

'Is the love of power more predominant in the Male or Female Breast?' Question determined 'That the love of power of more predominant in the Female Breast.'

Daily Advertiser October 25

1138. October 19, 1786 Mitre

'Whether Beauty or Fortune was the best recommendation in a Woman to a Husband?'

General Advertiser

1139. October 23, 1786 Westminster Forum, Spring Gardens 'Was Charlotte correct, in admitting the visits of Werter, after her marriage?'

The Question was 're-investigated in the presence of five hundred persons, amongst whom were several of rank and fashion . . . on the question being put, it was almost unanimously decided against Charlotte.' Morning Herald October 30

1140. October 26, 1786 Coachmaker's Hall, Debating Society

'Are the sentiments of the late Dr. Johnson founded in truth, that contained in his Rambler, "That the married are generally unhappy," and that in his Prince of Abyssinia, "That celibacy has no pleasure"?' Decided that Dr. Johnson's sentiments 'are not founded in truth'.

Daily Advertiser October 25

1141. October 26, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Which is more likely to recommend a woman to a husband, beauty without fortune, or fortune without beauty?'

Four hundred were present, yet many were turned away.

'By a show of hands, at a very late hour, it was determined in favour of Fortune.'

General Advertiser/Morning Herald November 2

1142. October 30, 1786 Westminster Forum

'Which has the greater claim on our Compassion, the distressed Divine, the discouraged Mechanic, or the needy Poet?'

Declared in favour of the distressed Divine.

Morning Herald

1143. November 2, 1786 Coachmaker's-Hall Society for Free Debate

'Is it justifiable for a Man to fight a Duel, in vindication of the honour of the Lady he loves; to resent the injury done to his seduced Wife or Sister, or under any provocation whatsoever?

The fashionable Custom of determining Disputes by duelling, has given birth to many letters directed to the managers of this Society, requesting a public discussion of the subject . . . The doctrines laid down by an eminent and learned Counsel, on a recent and popular transaction, occupies a considerable part of public attention, and will probably excite a desire in many Gentlemen of abilities, anxious for the good order and happiness of society, to take a part in a debate in which those great objects are involved.

A considerable majority decided, that no provocation will justify that practice.'

Daily Advertiser November 1

1144. November 2, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Can the African Slave Trade be justified on the principles of Equity, the policy of Nations, or Christianity?

It was at length determined against the Slave Trade, almost unanimously; the Policy of nations only had a few hands in its favour.'

Morning Herald

1145. November 3, 1786 Westminster Forum, Spring Garden

'Is the Maxim of the celebrated Moralist, Monsieur de la Rouchfaucault, that "Marriage is sometimes convenient but never delightful" true?'

The Question 'underwent a very elaborate and entertaining discussion . . . in the presence of Six Hundred Persons, whose liberal approbation of the different Speakers proved the pleasure and satisfaction they experienced at the investigation of the above Maxim, which they finally adjudged was not founded in truth.'

Times November 10

1146. November 6, 1786 Westminster Forum

'The truth of the moral reflection of Rochefaucault that "Il y a de bons marriages, mais il n'y'en a point de delicieuse." Marriage is sometimes convenient, but never delightful.'

Morning Herald

1147. November 9, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Which is the most injurious to Society, a Quack Doctor, a Trading Justice, or a Methodist Teacher?'

Question 'carried against the Methodist Teacher by a great majority'. Morning Herald

1148. November 10, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Which of the two married ladies has the greater claim to our pity, she who, by the ill treatment of her husband has been induced to separate from him, and is obliged to live on a scanty pittance, or she who braves her misfortune and continues with him?'

It was decided 'that the Married Lady who continues with her Husband, notwithstanding his ill treatment, is more to be pitied'.

Morning Herald

1149. November 10, 1786 Westminster Forum, Spring Gardens

'Whether the Prime Minister ought to enter the connubial state in order to set a good Example to the Batchelors of Great Britain?'

Morning Herald November 9

1150. November 13, 1786 Westminster Forum

'Which is a more dangerous Seminary for female Education, an English Boarding School, or a French Convent?

It was by a small majority decided in favour of the French Convent.' Five hundred people present.

Morning Herald November 20

1151. November 16, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Which of the three public characters in the present situation of this Country, is most qualified by his abilities and integrity to fill the office of Prime Minister, Lord North, Mr. Fox, or Mr. Pitt?

It is the constant endeavour of the Managers to render this Society extensively useful to Gentlemen designed for the bar, and others whose future prospects may render the habit of public speaking indispensably necessary. Young speakers, therefore, who may demand an indulgent attention on the above or any other subsequent Question, may rest assured of having their claims allowed.'

Morning Herald

1152. November 16, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Which of the three passions has done most injury to mankind, Love, Avarice or Ambition?

Determined, that Ambition has done more harm than Love or Avarice.'

Morning Herald

1153. November 20, 1786 Westminster Forum

'Which is most injurious to Society, the Quack Doctor, the Trading Justice, or the Methodist Preacher?'

Morning Herald

1154. November 23, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Does the Commercial Treaty with France, reflect Credit or Disgrace upon our present Minister?

This being a subject in which the commercial interest of this country is concerned, hope every gentleman capable of speaking to it, will come forward on the occasion. . .'

The debate 'attracted the attention of a numerous and elegant company of both sexes; a few Gentlemen distinguished themselves on the occasion, but the greater part acknowledged themselves to wish for information, rather than express their opinion on the subject; the company seemed rather to hope than to feel themselves by any means on a certainty, and determined by a small majority in favour of the Treaty.'

Morning Herald

1155. November 23, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Which of the three public characters in the present situation of this Country, is most qualified by his abilities and integrity to fill the office of Prime Minister, Lord North, Mr. Fox or Mr. Pitt?

Decided in favour of Mr. Pitt.'

Morning Herald

1156. November 27, 1786 Westminster Forum, Spring Gardens

'Which is most injurious to Society, the Quack Doctor, the Trading Justice, or the Methodist Preacher?'

Determined against the Trading Justice.

Morning Herald

1157. November 30, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Which is the most injurious to the interest of Religion and Virtue, Hypocrisy, Bigotry, or avowed Infidelity?'

The Question 'was decided against the hypocrite'.

Morning Herald

1158. November 30, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Do the Comforts of Matrimony counterbalance its Cares?

It was at length determined in favour of the comforts of wedlock, by a great majority.'

Morning Herald

1159. December 4, 1786 Westminster Forum

'Who is best qualified to be Prime Minister, Lord North, Mr. Fox, or Mr. Pitt?

It was decided by a considerable majority, that Mr. Fox was best qualified to be Prime Minister of this Country.'

Morning Herald

1160. December 7, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Can true Love subsist without Jealousy?

It was the opinion . . . of a majority of a very crowded and brilliant audience, that true Love may subsist without Jealousy.'

Morning Herald

1161. December 7, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Which is the greatest Proof of Courage, to accept or refuse a Challenge?

N.B. 'Tis with concern, the Managers hear that more than a hundred persons were disappointed the last evening for want of room. . . By a shew of hands, the company were almost unanimous in favour of its being a greater proof of Courage, to refuse than to accept a Challenge.'

Morning Herald

1162. December 11, 1786 Westminster Forum

'Which contributes most to the unhappiness of Married Life: - Obstinacy in the Parents, Caprice in the Wife, or Arrogance on the part of the Husband?'

Morning Herald

1163. December 14, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Is the common saying true, that there is no medium in the Marriage State, but that it must be either extremely Happy, or extremely Miserable?'

Debate voted in the negative.

Gazetteer December 13/Daily Advertiser December 20

1164. December 14, 1786 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Which is to be preferred, the lasting comforts of Friendship, or the captivating joys of Love?'

Morning Herald

1165. December 18, 1786 Westminster Forum

'Is the recent Treaty of Navigation and Commerce with France, likely to benefit the Trading and Political Interests of the British Empire?

It being the earnest Desire of several Persons of eminence, both in the political and mercantile world, that the subject of the French Treaty, which has so much excited the remarks and speculations of the public, should undergo an impartial and dispassionate investigation. . .'

A very large majority voted in the negative.

Morning Herald

1166. December 21, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Would it be a wise Law to annex the Punishment of Death in all Cases to wilful and corrupt Perjury?'

Debate decided in the negative.

Daily Advertiser December 20

1167. December 25, 1786 Westminster Forum, Spring Gardens

'Is the sentiment of Mr. Pope's, that "Every Woman is at heart a Rake" founded on truth?

Decided by a great majority . . . that the sentiment of Mr. Pope['s] . . . was founded in truth.'

Morning Herald January 1, 1787

1168. December 27, 1786 Society of Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Whether the spirited girl who elope[s] for love, or the dull insipid female who marries for money, was most blameable?'

The Question 'was after a most animated debate, replete with wit, humour, and sound argument, determined in favour of the spirited girl.' Gazetteer January 3, 1787

1169. December 27, 1786 Coachmakers Hall

'Which is the more exceptionable character, the Man Milliner, the Libertine or the Miser?

It was observed by one of the speakers at Coachmaker's hall ". . . that one of the characteristics of the present times was, for the sexes to exchange situations with each other, and that notwithstanding the numerous tribe of man milliners, mantua-makers, &c. the women seemed to be more remarkable for the adoption of the masculine characters. We had not only female jockeys, but female shavers, and that they had gone so far as even to take our soldiers by the nose, and give them a lathering."

Question determined that Man Milliner was most exceptionable.' Gazetteer January 3,4, 1787