London debates
1787

Sponsor

London Record Society

Publication

Author

Donna T. Andrew (compiled and introduced by)

Year published

1994

Pages

193-216

Citation Show another format:

'London debates: 1787', London debating societies 1776-1799 (1994), pp. 193-216. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=38851 Date accessed: 23 August 2014.


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1170. January 1, 1787 Westminster Forum, Spring Gardens

'Which is more painful to a Woman of Sensibility, to be obliged to marry the Man she dislikes, or debarred the man she loves?'

Morning Herald

1171. January 4, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Which has been productive of more real injury to Society, Political or Religious Prejudice?

The above subject opened so extensive a field for historical information, it is hoped those Gentlemen who have stored their minds with this useful science will avail themselves of this opportunity.'

The Question 'produced a most animated debate, replete with historical information, which afforded much entertainment to a numerous and polite audience of both sexes, particularly of ladies, which reflected the highest credit on their taste: the question was determined against the effects of religious prejudice almost unanimously.'

Gazetteer January 3

1172. January 4, 1787 Coachmakers Hall

'Which is more blameable, the man who deliberately seduces a female, and then deserts her - or, the father who abandons his child so seduced?'

Gazetteer

1173. January 8, 1787 Westminster Forum, Spring-Gardens

'Would not a resistance to the Measure of removing the Incumbrances of the Heir Apparent, be a disgrace to Ministers, and an impeachment of the characteristic liberality of the British Empire?'

Question, 'after a very animated debate, [was] unanimously decided in the affirmative'.

Morning Herald

1174. January 11, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Which is the more contemptible character, the surly old Batchelor, or the peevish old Maid?'

The Question, 'after a most animated debate, before a crowded audience of both sexes, determined in favour of the old Maid'.

Gazetteer January 10

1175. January 11, 1787 Coach-Makers Hall Debating Society

'Which is more blameable, the man who deliberately seduces a female, and then deserts her, or the father who abandons his daughter so seduced?'

The discussion of the Question contained 'persuasive eloquence [which] was laudably employed in the cause of virtue. Several young speakers distinguished themselves on the occasion, proving their claims to the flattering plaudits they received from a very numerous, polite, and liberal auditory. A majority fixed the greater blame on the Parent.

The managers trust, that every Gentleman who enters this assembly, will perceive the propriety of submitting to the sense of the majority of it, remembering that true liberty is to act as we ought, and that decorum is the companion of good sense.

Upon these principles young speakers may rest assured of receiving the most encouraging indulgence, from that disinterested candour and liberality, which the audience at this society have ever manifested.' Morning Herald

1176. January 15, 1787 Westminster Forum, Spring Gardens

'Which quality in a husband is most disagreeable, ill-founded jealousy, stupidity, or neglect?'

Morning Herald

1177. January 18, 1787 Coach-makers Hall Debating Society

'Which more deserves our censure, the Divine, who for the sake of a good Living, preaches a Doctrine he does not believe; or the Counsel, who for a Fee, pleads a Cause he knows to be repugnant to Justice?'

Audience voted that the Divine was the most censurable.

Morning Herald

1178. January 18, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Which is the most dangerous to the possessor, Wit in the Male, or Beauty in the Female Sex?

The above question being of an interesting nature, it is expected much entertainment will be derived from its discussion.'

The Question 'produced a most animated debate, replete with sound argument, wit, and humour, and was attended by a numerous and polite audience of both sexes; it was determined, that Beauty was more dangerous, by a considerable majority'.

Gazetteer January 24

1179. January 22, 1787 Surry Debating Society, Three Tuns Tavern, St. Margaret Hill

'Which will more probably become a great Character in Society, the Youth early introduced into Public Life, or he who is secluded from it till the years of maturity?

As this Society will be conducted under the inspection of Gentlemen of literary ability, to whom some of the most popular Speakers, both of the Mitre and Coach-makers-hall Societies, have promised their assistance; the Managers hope it will not be deemed unworthy the attention of those Ladies and Gentlemen who reside in, or near the Borough: And beg leave to assure those who may honour it with their support, that no subjects, either immoral, irreligious, indelicate, or trivial, shall be introduced for discussion; but that their utmost efforts shall be exerted in the selection of those questions, which may tend to enlighten the understanding, and amend the heart, while they expand the imagination and exercise the fancy.

A great majority determined, that the youth secluded from public life till the years of maturity was the more likely to become a great character. . .'

Gazetteer

1180. January 22, 1787 Westminster Forum

'Can the practice of DUELLING be justified by any circumstance in Civilized Society?'

The World

1181. January 22, 1787 Theological Society, Brownlow Street, Drury Lane

'Was universal redemption, by one act, intended by St. Paul?' 2 Thn. ii, 6. 'Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.'

The World

1182. January 23, 1787 Mitre Tavern Society for Free Debate

'Is the Distress into which Men of Genius too often fall, more owing to their own impudence, or a want of Patronage in the Public?

The above Meeting will be for the purpose of relieving a distressed individual, formerly a member of the Robinhood and Queens-arms Societies; the Gentlemen who support the Three Public Debating Societies have promised their assistance on this occasion. . . As the sum generally paid for admission is only designed to defray the necessary expence, tis thought expedient to make the admission for that evening (only) ONE SHILLING, otherwise the distressed objected would reap little advantage from it.'

Gazetteer January 22

1183. January 25, 1787 Mitre Tavern Society for Free Debate

'Which is more deserving censure, the Assassin who . . . the just punishment of the Law, or the Wretch who, from the motives of self-interest, secretly ruins his Friend?'

The Question was 'after a most animated debate, replete with many good arguments, determined against the false Friend'.

Gazetteer January 24

1184. January 25, 1787 Coachmakers Hall

'Do the vices and follies of mankind mostly proceed from too much indulgence in early life, from an improper education afterwards, or from the native temper and disposition of the mind?'

Debate decided that vices most from improper education.

Gazetteer

1185. January 29, 1787 Surry Debating Society

'Are the calamities of the present reign more to be attributed to the mal-administration of his Majesty's servants, or to the opposition made to their measures in the House of Commons?

It was determined that the present calamities of the reign were more attributable to his Majesty's Ministers than to the Opposition in the House of Commons.'

Gazetteer

1186. January 29, 1787 Westminster Forum, Spring Gardens

'Ought the practice of duelling to be totally abolished, or permitted within certain restrictions?'

The Question 'attracted a crowded house, and a polite assembly, when, after the most argumentative and entertaining debate, that has ever been witnessed in this institution, it was by a great majority given in favour of the practice of duelling'.

Morning Herald February 5

1187. February 1, 1787 Mitre Tavern Society for Free Debate

'Which is the more disagreeable situation to a man of sensibility, to be subject to the caprice of a Coquet before marriage, or to be obliged to live with a Scold afterwards?

The above subject being of an interesting nature to the feeling of mankind, it is expected much entertainment will be given by the Chair to young speakers, to make this institution a school for their improvement, as well as for public entertainment.'

The Question 'after a most animated debate, before a numerous and polite audience determined in favour of the Coquet'.

Gazetteer January 31

1188. February 1, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'Are the Male or Female Sex more constant in Love?'

It was determined 'that the Female Sex are more constant in Love than the Male'.

Morning Herald February 8

1189. February 5, 1787 Westminster Forum, Spring Gardens

'Whether absolute power in the hands of a wise Monarch be preferable to the British system of Government, under the perversion of a corrupt Parliament?

This question has been communicated to the conductors of this institution by a Member of Parliament. . .'

The Question was, 'after an ingenious and truly entertaining debate, decided in favour' of the British system.

Morning Herald

1190. February 5, 1787 Surrey Debating Society

'Which is the greater domestic evil, a drunken husband or a scolding wife?'

It was determined that the scolding wife was the greater evil.

Gazetteer

1191. February 8, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'Is the opinion of Mr. Fox, that the jealousies and prejudices which animated and directed the Councils of our Ancestors ought still to exist, and continue to be cherished against France, consistent with the Political and Commercial Interest of this Country?

This popular Society, universally allowed to be a most rational entertainment, as well as a school of eloquence for young Gentlemen, will, it is hoped, be attended by the real friends of their country, in which its interest is materially concerned.'

Morning Herald

1192. February 8, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Does that Infamy which follows a Female's first deviation from Chastity, operate more to keep the sex Virtuous; or to render the Seduced more desperate in Vice?

The above subject having for its object the cause which too fatally leads to female ruin, it will of course be considered highly deserving public attention.

The Question was, after a most animated debate, before a crowded audience, determined that it made them more desperate in vice.'

Morning Herald

1193. February 12, 1787 Westminster Forum

'Whether the British system of Government under the perversion of a corrupt Parliament, be preferable to absolute Power, in the hands of a wise Sovereign?'

Question decided in favour of the former.

Morning Herald February 19

1194. February 12, 1787 Surrey Debating Society

'Have the Doctrines of Christianity been enlightened, or the Morals of the People amended, by the introduction of Methodism into this Country?

As it has been a matter of complaint from several respectable characters among the Methodists, that they are seldom brought forward fairly in public debates, but generally yoked with the most detestable characters, whereby their opponents take the advantage of criminating them by comparison, the Managers of this Society have, at the request of a gentlemen of well-known public abilities among that sect, instigated this enquiry; and hope they have thereby steered clear of enthusiasm on the one hand, or illiberality on the other.'

Gazetteer February 10

1195. February 15, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Which by their Conduct have discovered the greater share of Ability and public Spirit, the Persons at present in Power, or those in Opposition?'

The Question 'was debated before a large and respectable audience, of both sexes; - when, after a most spirited and animated debate, wherein many striking errors on the part of Administration were pointed out, it was determined, by a very great majority, in favour of the Opposition'.

Morning Herald

1196. February 15, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'Which is more censurable, the Female who is vain of her Beauty, or the Man who is proud of his Learning?'

The Question was decided 'by a great majority, that the man' was more censurable.

Morning Herald

1197. February 19, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Large Room, Three Tuns Tavern, St. Margaret's Hill

'Have the Doctrines of Christianity been enlightened, or the Morals of the people amended by the introduction of METHODISM into this country?'

Question 'was decided in favour of the Methodists'.

Gazetteer February 17

1198. February 19, 1787 Westminster Forum, Spring Garden

'Which is the more reprehensible in a seduced Female, deserted by her Lover and Friends, Suicide or Prostitution?

The rising eminence of this Society is an unequivocal proof of the entertainment it constantly affords; graced on all occasions by the presence of an amiable and elegant part of the fair sex, and honoured by the frequent attendance of persons of rank and fashion, it has become as much an object of public patronage, as of private conversation.'

At this debate 'every person present testified their approbation to the several arguments adduced, and after hearing a considerable display of ingenuity on both sides of the question, they decided, that Prostitution is the more to be condemned.'

Morning Herald

1199. February 22, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'Is an English Boarding School, or a French Convent, the more eligible for the education of young Ladies?

The education of the female sex is acknowledged to be an object of the greatest importance to their future happiness in life. A public discussion, therefore, of a subject of such magnitude, will doubtless meet the approbation of the numerous friends of this liberal institution.'

Morning Herald

1200. February 22, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Which is the most desirable in a Wife, - Wit, Beauty, or Good-nature?' The Question 'produced a most spirited debate, and was attended by a crowded and polite audience of Ladies and Gentlemen. Several Speakers distinguished themselves much, particularly a young Gentleman, who declared it his first essay, who delivered a speech of considerable length, replete with sound argument, and an excellent flow of reasoning; though some of the first talents were employed in behalf of wit (and little or nothing said in favour of beauty) such were the strong prepossessions in behalf of good-nature, that it was carried in its favour by a great majority.'

Gazetteer February 28

1201. February 26, 1787 Westminster Forum

'Whether Dramatic Entertainments tend to improve or dissipate the Morals of Youth: - and is the licensing Mr. Palmer's Theatre, to be applauded or censured?

By the particular Desire of several Gentlemen of eminence in the literary world, the above question stands for discussion This Evening; - and it is requested, that young Gentlemen will not suffer themselves to be intimidated in the delivery of their sentiments, as the liberality which has continually appeared in the persons who have composed this Assembly, has always removed the scruples which young speakers are apt to entertain.'

Morning Herald

1202. February 26, 1787 Surry Debating Society

'Which it to be preferred for a Wife, an old Maid, or a Widow?' Majority decided that a widow was preferable.

Gazetteer

1203. March 1, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Whether the decrease of Mr. Pitt's popularity was owing to his maladministration, or the caprice of the people?'

The Question 'was determined against him by a great majority'.

Morning Herald March 8

1204. March 1, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'Is an English Boarding School, or a French Convent, the more eligible for the education of young Ladies?

It was decided . . . by a considerable majority that the English boarding school is more eligible.'

Gazetteer March 8

1205. March 5, 1787 Surry Debating Society

'Which is the most injurious character to Society, a knavish attorney, an illiterate school-master, or the keeper of an insurance lottery-office?' It was determined against the knavish attorney.

Gazetteer March 3

1206. March 8, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Ought not the word OBEY to be struck out of the Marriage ceremony?'

The Question 'was debated before a most crowded and brilliant audience of both sexes, who testified the highest satisfaction at the entertainment it produced. Many Gentlemen distinguished themselves on the occasion; a sound argument, wit, and humour, were successfully blended throughout the whole - when, after all parties had exerted themselves with much honour and credit to themselves, the audience, by a shew of hands, determined that the word OBEY ought to continue in the Marriage Ceremony.'

Gazetteer March 14

1207. March 8, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'Which would be more disagreeable to a lady of fine sensibility, to be compelled to marry the most aukward rustick, or the compleat modern fop?

The managers feel themselves highly honoured by the numerous questions of a political, moral and sentimental nature, they have received from the public, accompanied with the warmest eulogiums on the liberality and utility of this institution. No pains will be spared to secure a continuance of this approbation by the maintenance of good order, and the selection of such questions only as lead to mental improvement, mingled with entertainment.'

It was decided that a complete fop is most repugnant.

Gazetteer

1208. March 12, 1787 Surry Debating Society

'Has Love or Money most influence in forming the Matrimonial Connection?'

It was determined 'by a crouded and polite assembly, that love is a greater inducement to marriage than riches'.

Gazetteer March 10

1209. March 12, 1787 The Ancient London Society for Free Debate, lately the Theological, held at the Queen's Arms Tavern, Newgate Street

'Was the opposition of Lord George Gordon to the Mandate of the Ecclesiastical Court consistent with the Character of a Christian, or a Patriot?

The Managers of this Society, at the repeated solicitations of many respectable characters, have now agreed to resume their Weekly Deliberations. The utility and importance of such an institution, conduced on liberal principles, is so apparent, that they flatter themselves it is unnecessary here to enumerate its various advantages.'

Gazetteer

1210. March 15, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Which by his public conduct has most deserved censure, Lord North, Mr. Fox, or Mr. Pitt?

The Managers hear, with concern, that above a hundred Ladies and Gentlemen were prevented getting in last Thursday evening for want of room. . .'

In the debate 'several warm advocates stood forward for all three of the characters; but the chief of the arguments were directed against Lord North and Mr. Pitt; and on the shew of hands it was determined against the former by a considerable majority.'

Gazetteer March 14

1211. March 15, 1787 Coachmakers Hall

'Is the sentiment of Dr. Johnson founded in truth, That neither education nor reason secures the female sex against the influence of example, but that they are for the most part good or bad, as they fall among those who practice vice or virtue?'

It was decided that Dr. Johnson's opinion is founded in truth.

Gazetteer

1212. March 19, 1787 Westminster Forum

WAYS AND MEANS

'Budget of Taxes, to be brought forward by the Chancellor of the Utopian Exchequer, at the Westminster Forum, Spring Gardens, this present evening . . . pursuant to his intimation on a former night, resolve the House into a Committee, for the purpose of taking into consideration the present state of the Utopian Revenue; when, to make good its deficiencies, the following taxes will be submitted for general investigation:

Courting Licences Second Marriages

Snuff-takers Smoakers

Smoak Beautiful Women

Men Milliners Female false Protuberances

The proceedings of the Forum will be conduced on this occasion according to the usage of a great assembly, but they hope to claim a distinction, from their superior politeness and decorum.'

Morning Herald

1213. March 19, 1787 Surry Debating Society

'Would it be consistent with the safety of the British constitution to allow the Roman Catholics and Dissenters of every denomination the same privileges enjoyed by the members of the Church of England?

The above question is brought forward at the request of a dignitary in the Catholic communion.'

The Question was 'determined in favour of Dissenters of every denomination; but carried against the Roman Catholics.'

Gazetteer

1214. March 22, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Which must be the more dreadful reflection to a Father, to have a seduced Daughter exist by Prostitution, or commit an act of Suicide?'

Gazetteer March 21

1215. March 22, 1787 Coachmakers Hall

'Which is more injurious to Family Prosperity, a Careless Indolent Husband, or a Wasteful Extravagant Wife?

Flattered by the very polite and numerous assemblage of Ladies, with whose presence this Society is constantly honoured, and by whom many questions of a moral and sentimental nature have been proposed, the Managers take permission to assure them, that the most respectful attention will be taken to every subject Female Generosity can suggest; and that no exertions will be wanting to secure a continuance of that strict order and decorum, which it is hoped will never be absent in an audience, of which Females compose a part.'

Audience decided that an indolent husband was worse.

Gazetteer

1216. March 26, 1787 Surry Debating Society

'Which is the greater affliction to a man of sensibility, the loss of a good wife, or the plague of a bad one?'

Determined that the plague of a bad wife was the greater affliction.

Gazetteer March 24

1217. March 26, 1787 Ancient London Debating Society

'Which is most injurious to the possessor, forwardness in the female, or bashfulness in the male sex?'

It was thought forwardness is more injurious in the female sex.

Gazetteer April 2

1218. March 26, 1787 Westminster Forum

WAYS AND MEANS

'The Chancellor, of the Utopian Exchequer, in the presence of a very crowded House . . . brought forward his budget of taxes, and having taken his seat at the Treasury Bench, the Chairman of the Committee read the order of the day, when the Utopian Chancellor rose, and began by lamenting the necessity of serving fresh burthens on the people, but assured the House at the same time, that the exigency of the state still rendered extraordinary exertion necessary, in order to renovate to its former splendour and prosperity the Utopian Empire. The taxes which were negatived, were Courting Licenses and Smoak; and those carried in the affirmative, were Men-milliners and Snuff-takers. The House broke up at ten o'clock, and agreed to take the remainder of the budget into consideration this evening, viz.

Musical Amateurs Beautiful Women

Dancers Second Marriages

Smokers Female False Protuberances'

Morning Herald

1219. March 29, 1787 Coachmakers Hall

'Whether is the Husband or the Wife more disgraced, when the Wife assumes the government over her Husband?'

Wife more blameable.

Morning Herald April 5

1220. April 2, 1787 Surry Debating Society

'Do Theatrical Entertainments tend more to improve or deprave the Morals of Mankind?'

Question determined in favour of the theatres.

Gazetteer March 31

1221. April 2, 1787 Ancient London Debating Society, Queen's Arms Tavern, Newgate Street

'Have Administration by instituting the Board of Controul, and abolishing Trials by Jury, proved themselves enemies to British Liberty?'

Gazetteer

1222. April 5, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'With whom would a woman of sense be likely to be most happy with; married to the man that loved her, but that she disliked, or the man she loved, but who disliked her?'

Decided that 'woman of sense was more likely to be happy with the man that loved her.'

Morning Herald April 12

1223. April 5, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'Whether it is not a duty the Dissenters owe themselves as subjects of a free Country, to renew their application to Parliament, for the repeal of the Sacramental clauses in the Corporation and Test Acts?

It is the wish of several respectable Gentlemen in the dissenting interest, that the above question should undergo a liberal discussion . . . they throw down the gauntlet to the enemies of the Repeal of the Sacramental test, and meet them in the fair field of argumentation: impartiality, order and decorum therefore it is hoped will characterize every person who may attend on this occasion.

The most respectable characters both in the Dissenting interest and of the establishment, honoured this Society with their presence. . . The audience, sensible of the importance of the subject, expressed their desire of its being adjourned till this evening, when it is hoped that every Gentleman of abilities, animated with a desire to promote the real interest of society, will avail himself of the liberty this institution affords, freely to deliver his opinion.'

Morning Herald

1224. April 9, 1787 Surry Debating Society

'Is there any Probability of Happiness by a Marriage between an Old Maid and an Old Batchelor?'

The Question was decided in the affirmative.

Gazetteer April 7

1225. April 9, 1787 [Ancient London Debating Society] Queen's Arms Tavern, Newgate Street

'Which is the stronger basis of friendship, similarity of disposition, or reciprocity of interest?'

The Question 'was determined by a great majority in favour of the former. The Society take this opportunity of acknowledging their obligation for the great information they received upon the subject from the ingenious visitors who spoke in the course of the debate.'

Gazetteer April 16

1226. April 12, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Do the measures at present carried on against Mr. Hastings in the House of Commons, originate in private pique or public justice?'

The Question 'after affording a most animated debate, in which several distinguished characters took a part, was determined that the persons who have preferred the prosecution against Mr. Hastings are actuated by public justice and not private pique.'

Gazetteer April 18

1227. April 12, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'Is it not a duty the Dissenters owe to themselves as subjects of a free Country, to renew their applications to Parliament, for the repeal of the Sacramental clauses in the Corporation and Test Acts?' Debate decided in the affirmative.

Morning Herald

1228. April 16, 1787 Surry Debating Society

'Which Character is to be preferred by a Lady for a Husband, the Man of Wit, Courage or Politeness?'

Gazetteer April 14

1229. April 16, 1787 [Ancient London Debating Society] Queen's Arms Tavern, Newgate Street

'Is the present alarming increase of divorces to be attributed more to neglect in the male, or levity in the female sex?'

Gazetteer

1230. April 16, 1787 Theological Society, Holborn Hill

'Are the Torments of Hell Eternal?

The Proprietors having nothing in view, but to promote religious knowledge, piety and virtue among themselves and others, and not any pecuniary advantage.

Admission is only two-pence.'

Gazetteer

1231. April 19, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Which is the more blameable conduct in parents towards their children, severity or indulgence?

As the manners in which parents conduct themselves towards their children contribute to make them in a great measure the characters they afterwards fill in life, it is expected much entertainment, as well as moral improvement, will be derived from its discussion.

Every encouragement will be given to those gentlemen who are not in the habit of public speaking, as this society is intended for their practice and improvement.'

Gazetteer April 18

1232. April 19, 1787 Coachmakers hall

'Are the letters of the late Lord Chesterfield to his Son more injurious to the Morals of the Youth of the Male Sex, or the Reading of Novels to the Female Sex?'

Determined that reading Lord Chesterfield most injurious.

Morning Post

1233. April 23, 1787 Surry Debating Society

'Is it not a Duty the Dissenters owe to themselves, as subjects of a free country to renew their application to Parliament for a repeal of the sacramental clauses in the Corporation and Test Acts?

It is hoped the necessity of accompanying candour, order, and decorum, with the freedom of debate, on a question of material concern to every British subject, will be felt by Gentlemen on both sides.'

Gazetteer April 21

1234. April 26, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Ought a Husband to be despised for the infidelity of his Wife?' The Question was 'determined that the Husband ought not to be despised. . .'

Morning Herald May 3

1235. April 26, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'Is it expedient to imprison people for Debt?'

The Question 'was productive of a very instructive debate, in which several young Law Students took a part, whose speeches afforded the most flattering prospects of their future eminence in that learned profession. The decision was doubtful, but it appeared to the President, to be in favour of Imprisonment for Debt.'

Morning Herald May 3

1236. April 30, 1787 Surry Debating Society

'Which is more injurious to domestic felicity, jealousy on the part of the husband, or inconstancy on the part of the wife?'

Gazetteer

1237. May 3, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Would it reflect Credit, or Disgrace on the Minister to oppose the present Motion in the House of Commons, for Relief of the Heir Apparent?'

The Question led 'to a most spirited debate which continued 'till near Eleven o'Clock, before a crowded and brilliant audience'. Decided that Minister would deserve censure if he opposed motion.

Morning Herald

1238. May 3, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'Whether it is more dangerous to Female Virtue, for the Fair Sex to repose too much confidence in their own, or the Male Sex?

As several of the most celebrated writers have made the above question a subject of their deliberations, it is presumed it will meet the approbation of the polite and respectable assembly, with whose presence this institution is constantly honoured.'

It was decided 'that the Fair Sex ought to repose less confidence in the male than in their own sex'.

Morning Herald

1239. May 10, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Would it have been consistent with the safety of the British constitution, for the Legislature to have complied with the late Petition of the Dissenters for the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts?'

The debate 'determined that the Test Act ought not to be repealed'.

Morning Herald

1240. May 10, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'Whether it is a greater crime for a man to seduce the wife or unmarried daughter of his friend?'

It was decided '(almost unanimously) that it is a greater crime to seduce the wife of a friend, than his unmarried daughter'.

Morning Herald

1241. May 17, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Is it not necessary for the preservation of the constitution of this country, that a reform should take place in the representation of the people, and the duration of Parliament?

It was at length determined, by a small majority, against any alteration, at present, taking place in Parliament.'

Morning Herald

1242. May 17, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

(Messrs. FOX and BURKE)

'Is it more desirable that Messrs. Fox and Burke should be entrusted with a share of the government of this country - or continue out of office, as a check upon administration?'

Morning Herald

1243. May 24, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Is the Opinion of Lord Chesterfield true, that the Reputation of Veracity is more necessary in a Man, than that of Chastity in a Woman?'

Morning Herald May 23

1244. May 24, 1787 Coachmakers Hall

'Is it more desirable that Messrs. Fox and Burke should be entrusted with a share of the government of this country - or continue out of office, as a check upon administration?'

The debate decided against the admission of Fox and Burke to government.

Gazetteer

1245. May 31, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'Which is more likely to produce conjugal unhappiness, too early or too late Marriages?'

Morning Herald June 14

1246. June 7, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'Which is more likely to produce conjugal unhappiness, too early or too late Marriages?

So immediately concerned have a number of Gentlemen considered themselves in the discussion of the above question, that the time alloted for debate in two evenings, has been found too short to hear many, in whose minds the cacoethes loquendi has been excited.'

Morning Herald June 14

1247. June 14, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'Which is more likely to produce conjugal unhappiness, too early or too late Marriages?'

Morning Herald

1248. September 3, 1787 Westminster Forum

'Have the Managers of the Theatres Royal forfeited their claim to Public Patronage, by their Opposition to the Royalty Theatre? The opposition to Mr. Palmer is by some considered as replete with the illiberal spirit of monopoly, while others consider it as only a justifiable and necessary restraint, and a proper vindication of a prudent law. This is a public cause, and should be publicly decided. . .

The Question, after a display of spirited eloquence, was almost unanimously decided in the affirmative.'

The World September 1

1249. September 6, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'Does the conduct of the licensed Managers towards the Royalty theatre, merit the censure of the public?'

The Question was decided in the affirmative.

This Society is 'an Institution calculated to prevent the Loss and Misapplication of Time, by providing for the leisure hours of both Sexes an entertainment calculated to instruct and lead the Mind to Reflection.'

Morning Herald September 13

1250. September 6, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Who has done most political injury to the cause of liberty?'

It was decided 'that the reputed patriots of the present reign, had done more injury than service to the cause of liberty'.

Morning Herald September 13

1251. September 10, 1787 Westminster Forum

'Is the Law which prevents the ROYAL FAMILY from MARRYING without the consent of PARLIAMENT, founded in Justice and sound Policy?'

The World September 8

1252. September 10, 1787 Westminster School of Eloquence, Panton Street, Haymarket

'Which of the three characters has rendered the most essential service to his country, Lord Heathfield [General Elliot] as a Warrior, Mr. Pitt as a Minister, or Mr. Fox as a Patriotic Senator?

The liberty of Public Debate is the envied privilege of this distinguished nation; the bulwark of a free people. Those who feel the laudable ambition of acquiring the art of public speaking, will find this Society calculated to facilitate that useful and admired accomplishment. A free enquiry after truth, naturally tends to liberate the mind from pernicious prejudices; to expand and warm the heart with benevolence. In the variety of subjects that meet discussion, the treasured wisdom of departed Philosophers, Divines and Moralists, is explored and brought to public view, while the thoughtless imperceptibly receive instruction mingled with entertainment.

It was determined by a small majority that Mr. Fox had rendered the most essential services to his country.'

The World

1253. September 13, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'Is it not dangerous to the constitutional Liberties of the Subject to preclude a Jury from judging of the Law in Cases of Libel?

The above question concerns the life, liberty and property of every British subject. Its importance will doubtless animate the friends of the constitution to speak their sentiments upon it with that freedom which this Society, designed to cherish the laudable ambition of public speaking, affords to every man.'

The question was decided in the affirmative.

Morning Herald

1254. September 13, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Is it probable that the shutting up every place of public entertainment on the Sunday, will produce the good effects designed by his Majesty's late Proclamation?'

Morning Herald

1255. September 17, 1787 Westminster Forum

'Are not the ROMAN CATHOLICS, in consequence of their behaviour since the last Act of Parliament passed in their favour, entitled to the same privileges as the PROTESTANT DISSENTERS?'

The World September 15

1256. September 17, 1787 Westminster School of Eloquence

'Is not the assertion of the late Lord Chesterfield, that every Woman, who is not absolutely ugly, thinks herself handsome, a libel upon the Sex?

It was decided . . . that Lord Chesterfield's opinion of the Fair Sex, is fallacious.'

The World

1257. September 20, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'Which has greater Influence upon the Actions of Mankind, the Hope of Good, or the Fear of Evil?'

Debate decided mankind more moved by hope of good.

Gazetteer September 19

1258. September 24, 1787 Westminster Forum

'Are not the ROMAN CATHOLICS, in consequence of their behaviour since the last Act of Parliament passed in their favour, entitled to the same privileges as the PROTESTANT DISSENTERS?

By a very small majority, determined in favour of the Roman Catholics.'

The World September 22

1259. September 24, 1787 Westminster School of Eloquence

'Which are more deserving Public Censure, Messrs. Palmer and Bannister, by withdrawing themselves from Drury-lane; or the Licenced Managers, in their opposition to the Royalty Theatre?'

Decided almost unanimously in favour of Palmer and Bannister.

The World

1260. September 27, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'Have Messrs. Palmer and Banister acted with Propriety in withdrawing themselves from the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane?'

Question answered in the affirmative.

Gazetteer September 26

1261. October 1, 1787 Westminster Forum

'Can the Necessity of the State, at the approach of War, justify the issuing of Press-Warrants?

It is but just to declare the discussion was doubtful.'

The World September 29

1262. October 3, 1787 Westminster School of Eloquence

'Which has proved himself the most firm and constant friend to the civil and religious liberties of this country, Alderman Wilkes or Mr. Fox?

Men of the public prints having pointedly accused Mr. Wilkes of deserting those patriotic principles, which raised him to the summit of popularity, the friends of that once celebrated character will have a fair opportunity of vindicating his public conduct: - at the same time those Gentlemen, who are advocates for the consistency of Mr. Fox, may obviate the charges of inconsistency, so frequently brought against that great statesman.'

The World

1263. October 4, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'Can Friendship subsist among Young Persons of the Two Sexes, without being accompanied by the Passion of Love?'

Question answered in the affirmative.

Gazetteer October 11

1264. October 8, 1787 Westminster Forum

'Would it increase the happiness of the Marriage State, if Divorces were more easily obtained?

The preference given to the above Question is presumed to be a satisfactory answer to the letter lately sent by a Lady accusing the Managers with negligence to the interest of the Fair Sex.'

The World October 6

1265. October 11, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

(FOX against FRANCE)

'Has not the conduct of France afforded sufficient proof of the truth of Mr. Fox's assertion in the House of Commons, that Great Britain ought ever to cherish a jealousy and distrust against that Country?

Every question with which the Managers have been favoured, which is correspondent with their plan of rendering this Society a mingled source of refined entertainment, and intellectual improvement, will receive due respect - to young speakers, who may be desirous to address a British audience on the above question, every encouraging support will be given.'

Gazetteer

1266. October 18, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'Has not the conduct of France afforded sufficient proof of the truth of Mr. Fox's assertion in the House of Commons, that Great Britain ought ever to cherish a jealousy and distrust against that Country?'

Mr. Fox's assertion was declared justified almost unanimously.

Gazetteer October 17

1267. October 25, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'In which Cause is it most noble for a man to Die? In saving the life of an affectionate Mother, A friend who has saved him from Ruin, or in the Defense of the Liberties of his Country?'

A considerable majority voted that it was most noble to die for one's country.

Gazetteer October 24

1268. October 29, 1787 Westminster Forum

'Was it worthy of Admiration in the Romans to sacrifice Social Duties and Family Affection to Patriotism and Public Spirit?

It was decided by a great majority in favour of the Romans.'

The World

1269. November 1, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Has Lord George Gordon . . . created more confusion in London and its environs?'

It was 'determined unanimously' that Lord George Gordon had created most confusion.

Morning Herald November 8

1270. November 1, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'May the encrease of Female Prostitution be imputed more to the treachery and falsehood of the Male Sex; or the misconduct of Parents in giving their Daughters an improper Education?

The audience considered this Question as it really is, a subject of infinite importance to the well-being of the community, and expressed the highest satisfaction, at the very able and becoming manner in which it was argued by the speakers on both sides.' It was adjourned.

Morning Herald November 8

1271. November 5, 1787 Westminster Forum

'Admitting the characters of Charles and Joseph Surface in the School for Scandal to be real, would not Charles be the more dangerous Member of Society?

The Comedy from which the above Question is taken, stands first upon the list of modern dramatic writings. The characters of Charles and Joseph are happily drawn. Heedless extravagance and inattention, almost utterly subversive of morality and inattention, are the leading features of the one; consummate hypocrisy, and a determined contempt of all social feelings, eminently distinguish the other. Notwithstanding the favour with which Charles is generally received, it has ever remained a doubt with the discerning few, whether the hypocrite is not less dangerous to society.'

The World

1272. November 8, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

(CATO, WERTER, or EUGENE ARAM)

'In which situation is an act of Suicide, most entitled to our compassion; the deserted Patriot, the despairing Lover, or the condemned Criminal?'

Morning Herald

1273. November 8, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'May the encrease of Female Prostitution be imputed more to the treachery and falsehood of the Male Sex; or the misconduct of Parents in giving their Daughters an improper Education?'

Debate found prostitution due to improper education.

Gazetteer November 7

1274. November 12, 1787 Westminster Forum

'Admitting the characters of Charles and Joseph Surface in the School for Scandal to be real, would not Charles be the more dangerous Member of Society?'

The World

1275. November 15, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'Has the conduct of Mr. Pitt as a minister been more consistent with the patriotic spirit and principles of the late Earl of Chatham or the Politics of the Earl of Bute?'

Gazetteer November 14

1276. November 19, 1787 Westminster Forum

'Would it not reflect honour on Mr. Pitt, to impose an additional Tax upon every Batchelor above the age of forty, and apply the produce thereof as marriage portions to poor young maidens?

The above Question was conveyed to the Managers of this Society in a letter, signed by a considerable number of married men, stating, that as Old Batchelors do not sustain an equal share with them of the burthen of the State, and as their celibacy is a principal cause of the misery and incontinence of many of the female sex, it is fit that the sense of the public should be taken upon the expediency of the above Tax.'

The World

1277. November 22, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Is Jealousy a Proof of Love, or of an ignoble Mind?'

Determined that Jealousy proof of ignoble mind.

Gazetteer November 29

1278. November 22, 1787 Coachmakers Hall

'Has the conduct of Mr. Pitt as a minister been more consistent with the patriotic spirit and principles of the late Earl of Chatham or the Politics of the Earl of Bute?'

Decided in favour of Administration.

Gazetteer November 29

1279. November 29, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Is that opinion founded in Truth, which says, a Minister of this Country ought to have Influence sufficient to secure a Majority in the House of Commons?'

Question determined in the negative.

Morning Herald December 6

1280. November 29, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'Is the virtue of the Fair Sex more endangered by the influence of Vanity, Love, or Avarice?'

Decided in favour of Vanity.

Morning Herald December 6

1281. December 4, 1787 Westminster Forum

'Is Jealousy a Proof of Love?'

The 'decision was almost unanimously in the negative.'

Morning Herald December 10

1282. December 6, 1787 Society for Free Debate, Mitre Tavern

'Is it a Duty incumbent on all Mankind, to enter into the State of Wedlock?

This subject was sent to the Managers, in a Letter, from three Ladies and a Gentleman, who are particularly interested in its discussion. . .'

Society moving to Capel-court, Bartholemew-lane, and to be called the London Debating Society.

Morning Herald

1283. December 6, 1787 Coachmakers Hall Debating Society

'Which has the greater Claim to our pity, the Female who has lost an affectionate Husband, or she who is married to one who is cruel and perfidious?'

Question sent by 'a Lady, signing herself "A Disconsolate Widow" . . . Whatever concerns the Female Sex must be allowed to have a serious claim to public attention; and the discussion of the above Questions may be productive of arguments tending to alleviate misfortune on the one hand, and of Sentiments of Prudence and Morality, that may in some measure prevent the Female Sex from falling into a painful situation on the other.'

Decided that 'to be united in wedlock to a husband cruel and perfidious is a greater misfortune than the loss of one kind and affectionate.'

Gazetteer December 13

1284. December 10, 1787 Westminster Forum

'Has the parliamentary conduct of Mr. Fox, in admonishing Administration against the treachery and infidelity of France, or the measures lately adopted by Mr. Pitt, in consequence of the politics of that country, exhibited the greater proof of their wisdom as Statesmen?

The political situation of Great Britain, at the present important period, must render this subject highly interesting, and well worthy the inquiry of every well-wisher to his country; the managers of this institution therefore have every reason to suppose that some distinguished abilities will be exerted on the occasion; and they hope that no persons will decline, from diffidence or intimidation, to deliver their opinions, as that candour and indulgence which youth and inexperience have a claim to, are always liberally shewn, and constant attention is paid to the preservation of good order and decorum.'

Morning Herald

1285. December 12, 1787 Westminster School of Eloquence

A question on which quality most recommends a lady to a husband.

'Determined that Riches will more probably recommend a Lady to a Husband.'

The World December 19

1286. December 13, 1787 Free Debate, The Original London Society, removed from the Mitre Tavern, Fleet Street, to a commodious Room, in Capel-court, Bartholemew-lane

'Which is a more disagreeable companion, a Peevish Old Maid or a Crusty Old Batchelor?'

Determined that Old Maid was more disagreeable.

Gazetteer December 19

1287. December 13, 1787 Coachmakers Hall

'Is the present alarming increase of Perjury mostly to be imputed to the neglect of moral instruction and example in the Clergy, to the artifices of bad Lawyers, or the careless manner in which Oaths are administered?'

Debate decided that perjury due to bad lawyers.

Gazetteer

1288. December 19, 1787 Westminster School of Eloquence

'Do the Comforts of Matrimony counterbalance its Cares?

The Recital of this Evening will be Mr. Pope's Elegy upon an Unfortunate Young Lady.'

The World

1289. December 20, 1787 Free Debate, Capel Court

'Would it not increase the popularity of Mr. Pitt to repeal the Shop Tax, and supply the deficiencies it might occasion, by a Stamp Duty upon Tickets for Conventicles, and an obligation for Methodist Teachers to take out Annual Licenses?'

The Question 'was determined unanimously against Ministers laying any restrictions upon the Sectaries'.

Gazetteer December 19

1290. December 20, 1787 Coachmakers Hall

'May a Man, consistent with justice, though destitute of Family and Fortune, marry a Lady in possession of both?'

Answer in the affirmative.

Gazetteer December 27

1291. December 24, 1787 Westminster Forum

'Is it consistent with Female Delicacy, for an ACTRESS to appear on the STAGE in the DRESS of a Man?'

It was decided, 'that an Actress may, consistently with Female delicacy, appear on the Stage in the dress of a man'.

The World December 22

1292. December 26, 1787 Westminster School of Eloquence

'Which is the greater Criminal, the Villain who robs an innocent Man of his Reputation - or the Seducer who deprives an unsuspecting Female of her Virtue?

Prior to the Debate, Collin's Ode on the Passions will be recited.

N.B. In answer to the letter signed "One who wishes to attend the School of Eloquence", the Managers only request his attendance to satisfy his scruples, and he will then be convinced that the species of double entendre, of which he complains, is banished at the School of Eloquence.'

The World

1293. December 27, 1787 Free Debate, Capel Court

'Would making the education of youth a national concern, be to the rising generation productive of the glorious consequence attributed to that plan by the late Dr. Goldsmith?

As education alone constitutes the distinctions in our riper years, and as the affection of parents too frequently counteracts the best precepts of tuition; several gentlemen of distinguished abilities have requested the above subject being brought forward, and as it is of a national importance much entertainment may be expected from its discussion.'

Gazetteer December 26

1294. December 27, 1787 Coachmakers Hall

BY DESIRE OF AN UNFORTUNATE YOUNG LADY

'Does not the Man who abandons an amiable Wife and Family to Poverty and Distress deserve the punishment of Death equally with him who has violated the Laws of his Country?'

It was decided 'that the husband abandoning his wife and family to poverty, is equally criminal with him who has violated the municipal laws'.