London Debating Societies: 1776-1799. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1994.
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707. January 1, 1781 Robin Hood
'Whether enquiry into the state of the nation ought not to have preceded the commencement of the Dutch war? and, Whether accused culprits should be put into irons?'
Morning Chronicle January 8
708. January 2, 1781 Athenian Society, High Holbora, near Little Queen Street
'Is the Spy, who acts through principle for the good of his Country, to be considered a contemptible character?'
Boxes 1s., Pit 6d.
709. January 4, 1781 Coachmakers Hall
'Has not the conduct of the Dutch justified the steps taken by Administration?'
Morning Chronicle January 3
710. January 4, 1781 King's Arms Society
'Are Administration justifiable, at this crisis, in their conduct towards the Dutch?'
711. January 4, 1781 Carlisle House The School of Eloquence
'In case the Dutch should offer to renew their former treaty with this country, would it be for its interest, at this crisis, to accept such a proposal?
The great object of the Proprietors of this House being the introduction of the arts and sciences in entertainment of the Public, as a specimen of an infant school of Music, established on a new system and principle, a child of five years old will play several solos, and other pieces on the violin previous to the Debate, for the Public's approbation of the undertaking.'
The Question 'was debated with great spirit, vigour of argument, and compliment to the present Ministry for their animated resentment of the perfidy of so treacherous an ally; and carried in the negative.
A very interesting observation was thrown out that by the present quarrel with the Dutch, it were to be hoped Great Britain would reassume her native rights of Fishery upon her own coasts, which is a mine of wealth encircling her shores, besides being so natural a nursery for our seamen and navy.'
Question decided in the negative.
Morning Herald January 9
712. January 7, 1781 Christian Society, Haymarket
James, chap. v. ver. 16 'Confess your faults to one another.' 'Intended to enquire into the utility, or necessity of auricular confession.'
Morning Chronicle January 6
713. January 7, 1781 Religious Society, for Theological Enquiry, Coachmakers Hall
Epistle to the Hebrews, chap. 2, vers 14 'Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them, who shall be heirs of salvation.'
Morning Chronicle, January 6
714. January 7, 1781 Theological Society, High Holborn
Revelation Chap xix ver 10, 'And I fell at his Feet to worship him. And he said unto me, see thou do it not: I am thy Fellow-Servant, and of thy Brethren that have the Testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the Testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy.'
Morning Herald January 2
715. January 7, 1781 School for Theology Spring Gardens
'And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help-mate for him.' Genesis chap 11, ver. 10.
'N.B. Previous to the investigation, by particular desire, will be delivered a MORAL LECTURE.
Admission One Shilling.'
Morning Herald January 6
716. January 8, 1781 Robin Hood
'Would it not be proper and becoming in the belligerent powers to proclaim a temporary suspension of hostilities in the West India Islands?'
717. January 8, 1780 Westminster Forum
'Whether the practice of examining persons accused of crimes publicly before Magistrates, and afterwards publishing the examinations and evidence before trial, ought to be discontinued?'
718. January 9, 1781 Athenian Society
'Is it the business of a soldier to be convinced of the justice of a war, before he consents to take an active part in it?'
Lecture on Elocution, by a Lady.
Morning Herald January 5
719. January 11, 1781 Carlisle School of Eloquence
'Which object of pursuit is most advantageous to an infant State, the Culture of its Natural Productions, or the Establishing of Manufactures?'
Morning Herald January 9
720. January 11, 1781 Coachmakers Hall
'Supposing a parent, or a guardian will, to cross the wishes of the lover, which ought to resign their pretentions?'
721. January 12, 1781 La Belle Assemblee
'Whether the recent legal Decision in the Court of Chancery, that "Without an Equality of fortune there can be no just Basis for Wedlock" is consistent with the Laws of Nature, Reason, and Equity?'
Morning Herald January 10
722. January 14, 1781 Christian Society, Haymarket
Ecclesiastes, Chap. xl. ver. 9 'Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth; and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things, God will bring thee unto judgement.'
Morning Herald January 13
723. January 15, 1781 Westminster Forum
'Whether the present rupture with the Dutch, can be defended, either in point of policy or practice?'
724. January 15, 1781 Morning Chronicle
'A correspondent earnestly requests of the managers of La Belle Assemblee that the following important question may be proposed for discussion on Friday, the 26th current. Five Gentlemen, three of whom with cockades, and the other two with gold loops and buttons in their hats, (from which it is inferred, they are either in a military or naval capacity) being seated in the boxes, and also one person in the pit, on Friday evening, at La Belle Assemblee, after a very polite remonstrance from the President in the chair, and a general disapprobation of their conduct being signified by the audience, were all so void of good manners, as to wear their hats during the entertainment for that evening. The question therefore offered for discussion will be - "Is it consistent with the principles of politeness, or either laws of good breeding for the Gentlemen to wear their hats in the presence of the Ladies?" As the question seems proper to be handled by those to whom this small share of respect is generally thought due, it is hoped the managers will be so kind as [to] allow it to be ascertained by the voice of the impartial fair.'
725. January 16, 1781 Athenian Society, High Holborn
St. Luke, chap xii, ver 4,5 'Suppose ye, those Eighteen, upon whom the Tower of Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were Sinners above all men, that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell ye, nay, but except you repent, ye shall all perish likewise.'
The Proprietor of the Room is the more forward to hope for the appearance of a numerous assembly on the above night, as he is to derive no advantage from the emoluments, which are to be deposited in the bank of Messrs. Drummond, for the humane and pious purpose of relieving our unfortunate fellow subjects, whose distresses, in consequence of the late hurricane in the West Indies call loudly upon the opulent and humane, for relief. If he can be instrumental in any measure in alleviating their suffering, and supplying their wants, the sacrifice he makes of his own interest on the above night, can bear no comparison with the luxuriant pleasure, which the motives that produced that sacrifice, must afford him, if they meet with the hoped for success.
ADMITTANCE TWO SHILLINGS AND SIXPENCE.'
Morning Herald January 15
726. January 18, 1781 Coachmakers Hall
'Is that part of our criminal law just, which prevents a prisoner from making a full defence, as well to matters of fact, as to matters of law by Council?'
Morning Chronicle, January 17
727. January 18, 1781 Carlisle House School of Eloquence
Her Majesty's Birth day
'Is Royalty, in the female line, more highly ornamented by a display of the domestic Virtues, or an exertion of political accomplishments?'
Following 'will be recited an Ode, interspersed with Airs and Duettos, and accompanied with a complete Band of Wind Instruments, the Vocal parts by a GENTLEMAN and LADY, (being their first performance in Public). The Music to the Ode entirely new, and composed for the occasion by Dr. ARNOLD.
Admittance 3 shillings.'
Morning Herald January 16
728. January 21, 1781 Christian Society, Haymarket
Exodus chap. xxii. vers. 18. 'Thou shaft not suffer a witch to live.'
Morning Chronicle January 20
729. January 21, 1781 Religious Society, for Theological Enquiry, Coachmakers Hall
1st Cor. chap. xiv. ver. 34 'Let your women keep silence in the churches, for it is not permitted unto them to speak, but they are commanded to be under obedience. As also saith the law.'
Morning Chronicle January 20
730. January 21, 1781 School for Theology Spring Gardens
'But some man will say, How are the dead raised up, and with what body do they come?' St. Paul's 1st Epist. to the Corinthians, chap. xv. ver. 35.
'N.B. The intention of this text is a scriptural and philosophical enquiry into the Resurrection of the dead.'
Morning Herald January 19
731. January 22, 1781 Westminster Forum
'Is self-love the universal motive of human action?'
732. January 25, 1781 Carlisle House School of Eloquence
'Is the prevailing custom in the fair sex, of rigidly precluding from their company (and consequently from every opportunity of reformation) such persons who have deviated from the strict path of virtue, more favourable or prejudicial to virtue itself?'
Morning Herald January 24
733. January 25, 1781 King's Arms Society
'Does that infamy annexed to female deviations from Chastity, operate more in keeping the sex virtuous, or in rendering them desperately vicious?'
734. January 25, 1781 Coachmakers Hall
'Whether in cases of Trial for High Treason, the Sheriffs, by returning an extraordinary number to serve on Juries, may not deprive the prisoner of the advantage of his challenge?'
735. January 28, 1781 School for Theology Spring Gardens
'What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works; can faith save him?'
Morning Herald January 26
736. January 28, 1781 Religious Society for Theological Inquiry, Coachmakers Hall
'For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially those that believe.' 1st Tim. chap. iv ver. 10
Morning Chronicle January 27
737. January 28, 1781 Christian Society, Haymarket
Ecclesiastes, chap. ix, ver. 11 'I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill, but time and chance happeneth to them all.'
Morning Chronicle January 27
738. January 29, 1781 Westminster Forum
'Have the frequent acts of parliament made for the relief of Insolvent Debtors been more productive of good or evil?'
739. February 1, 1781 Coachmakers Hall Society
'Which of the two characters are more likely to make the best husband, the Rake, or the Sot?'
740. February 1, 1781 King's Arms Society
'Which is the greater enemy to society, the crafty Hypocrite, or the open Debauchee?'
741. February 4, 1781 Religious Society for Theological Inquiry, Coach Makers Hall
Text: 1 Cor. chap. vii ver. 27 'Art thou bound unto a wife, seek not to be loosed; art thou loosed from a wife, seek not a wife?'
Morning Chronicle February 3
742. February 4, 1781 Theological Academy, Spring Gardens
Ad Dei gloriam, & salutem Animarum.
'The School introduces the following System: Metaphysics, Ethics, Pulpit Oratory, Church History, School Divinity and Cannon Law 'As you have heard that Anti-Christ is come' 1 John, II. 18. Query, Is not the Pope the man of sin? Also, was there not a Pope Joan?
N.B. The Proprietor of this elegant Room (desirous to make those mental improvements as extensive as possible to the public) has divided it into seats at Is each, and seats at 6d. each.'
Morning Herald February 3
743. February 5, 1781 Westminster Forum
'Have the frequent Acts of Parliament made for the relief of insolvent debtors been more productive of good or evil? and, Can oppression in rulers justify resistance in the ruled?'
744. February 7, 1781 Carlisle House School of Eloquence
'The Proprietors to the Public.
The original Plan of the institution of a School of Genius, to be formed into several classes, under a Scientific Society, was adopted by a Proprietor of this House, so long ago as the year 1777: which was to have been supported by such public entertainments, as the House was peculiarly capable of exhibiting. A School of eloquence is one branch running from that original stem, which opened last year, for the candid discussion of such questions, as might be therein proposed, for the improvement of young orators, and the entertainment of the public, both which ends were fully answered; but from the natural warmth of the temper and mind of man, when raised into debate by the powers of oratory, most of the questions relative to the policy of the state, were thought by the more serious class of people to have been treated with a freedom, that proves the danger of such assemblies in any form of government whatever. For this reason, and lest other assemblies now constituting themselves into such power of state disquisition, or examination of religious or theological subjects, to the hazarding that respect to religion amongst the populace which is due to it; - should think themselves screened under the umbrage of the School of Eloquence, the proprietors have resolved, that the mode of debate in the said school should be changed into a more correct display of eloquence for the entertainment of the public in delivering orations of either sex, as the subject may require.'
745. February 8, 1781 Coachmakers Hall
'Will a revision by the House of Commons, of certain late Courts Martial, upon two of its Members be productive of real advantage to the nation?'
746. February 11, 1781 Theological Academy Spring Gardens
'"La Theologie est elle la plus solide de toutes des Sciences, comme elle est la plus parfait." St. Augustine
1st John, chap ii, ver 18 "As you have heard that Antichrist cometh, now there are become may Antichrists." Query, Is not the Pope a man of sin?
Ecclesiast. chap. ii "If the tree shall fall to the North, or to the South; in what place soever it shall fall, there it shall be." Query, What proof hath the Papists of Purgatory?'
Morning Herald February 10
747. February 11, 1781 Christian Society, Haymarket
St. Matthew, chap. vii, vers. 20 'By their fruits ye shall know them.'
Morning Herald February 10
748. February 11, 1781 Religious Society for Theological Inquiry, Coachmakers Hall
Rev. xx and 6th verse 'Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: On such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.'
Morning Chronicle February 10
749. February 12, 1781 Westminster Forum
'Can Oppression in Rulers justify Resistance in the Ruled?'
Tea Rooms open at Six.
750. February 15, 1781 King's Arms Society
'Does travelling into foreign countries tend more generally to improve or corrupt the traveller?'
751. February 15, 1781 Coachmakers Hall
'Which is the more difficult to obtain in Marriage, an old Maid, or a Widow?'
Morning Chronicle January 14
752. February 16, 1781 La Belle Assemblee
'Whether the preference, that is now given, at the Opera House, to dancing over music, and the infatuation in favour of Vestris, is the result of refined, or of vitiated taste?
Amidst the decline of political Debate, the institution known by the name of La Belle Assemblee, stands distinguished by public patronage and fashion. Their debates are uncontaminated with epithetical abuse, and with personal invective. They leave these to higher assemblies, where the privileges of the gentlemen, may justify the intemperance of the orator. The Ladies, knowing nothing of the affairs of state, do not interfere with them; but while the debating societies, appropriated to gentlemen, are lamenting ever the disasters, or boasting of the successes of the empire, content themselves with subjects of a lighter nature, arising from the morals, or the character of the age. In this harmless, at least, if not valuable entertainment, they trust in the continuance of that approbation, with which they have so long been honoured.'
Previous to the Debate, Collin's celebrated Ode on the Passions, will be recited by a Lady.
Morning Herald February 13
753. February 18, 1781 Theological Academy Spring Gardens
'Ecclesiast. chap. xi. "If the tree shall fall to the North, or to the South; in what place soever it shall fall, there it shall be." Query, What proof hath the Papists of Purgatory?'
Morning Herald February 17
754. February 18, 1781 Religious Society for Theological Inquiry, Coachmakers Hall
1st Cor. 14th-ch. 31 'For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.'
Morning Chronicle February 17
755. February 19, 1781 Westminster Forum
'Whether the late-advanced Doctrines of having two or more Wives, and the Legitimation of Bastards, will tend to promote or discourage Matrimony?'
756. February 22, 1781 King's Arms Society, Cornhill
'Is the woman of superior beauty, or of ample fortune in more danger from flattery?
The room is conveniently adapted for the accommodation of the ladies.' Morning Chronicle
757. February 22, 1781 Coachmakers Hall Society, Foster lane, Cheapside
'Which is to be preferred for Youth - a Public or Private Education?' Morning Chronicle
758. February 23, 1781 La Belle Assemblee
'Is that part of the Turkish faith true, which declares "That Women have no souls"?
After the Debate a lady will (for the second time) Recite Collin's celebrated Ode on the Passions.
Admittance 3s., 2s. and 1s. The Room will be lighted with Wax. Places for Boxes may be taken.'
Morning Herald February 21
759. February 25, 1781 Theological Academy Spring Gardens
'Romans, viii. 29 "To whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate." Doth the present Church of England maintain her seventeenth Article of Unconditional Predestination?'
Morning Herald February 24
760. February 25, 1781 Religious Society for Theological Inquiry, Coachmakers Hall
Isaiah, 58 ch. v. 6 'Is not this the fact that I have chosen, to lose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke.'
Morning Chronicle February 24
761. February 26, 1781 Westminster Forum
'Which is most praiseworthy, Fortitude in Adversity, or Benevolence in Prosperity? and, if time will permit, the following: Is Sense, Beauty, or Wealth, the most desirable Quality in a wife?'
762. March 1, 1781 Coachmakers Hall Society
'Are Laws made for restraining Minors from marrying without the consent of Parents or Guardians, founded in Reason and public Convenience?'
763. March 1, 1781 King's Arms Society
'Would it not be more for the honour and interest of this Nation, to admit the Independence of America, than to adopt the sanguinary mode recommended by Mr. Wraxall, to involve the empire of Germany in war?'
764. March 2, 1781 La Belle Assemblee
'The Ladies intend to open the BUDGET for the Service of the Current Year, in humble Anticipation of that of the Premier. And will conclude with COLLINS's beautiful ODE on the PASSIONS. By a LADY.'
Morning Herald March 1
765. March 4, 1781 Theological Academy, Spring Garden '1st chap. of 2nd Epistle to Timothy, ver. 6 "Therefore I put thee in remembrance, that thou fill up the gift of God, which is in thee, by the putting on of my hands." Query, Is Ordination essential to the Ministerial Office? And is the Ordination in the Church of England valid?'
Morning Herald March 2
766. March 5, 1781 Westminster Forum
'Are the present Laws in force, for restraining Minors from Marriage without the consent of Parents or Guardians, founded on Reason or public Utility?'
767. March 8, 1781 King's Arms Society
'Is not that custom founded on false delicacy, which forbids the ladies making the first overtures for a matrimonial union with the man they love?'
768. March 8, 1781 Coach-Makers Hall
'Which is the more blameable character, a tyrannical husband, or a perverse wife?'
769. March 9, 1781 La Belle Assemblee
'The Opening of the BUDGET, and the Debate that ensued upon the taxes that were proposed by the female Premier, afforded such high and uncommon entertainment to the numerous and splendid Company in the Rooms, that a general request was made, that on the subsequent Friday the Ladies should resume the consideration of the Budget, in preference to the Question given out from the Chair.
In obedience therefore to the desire of the Public, the Ladies mean,
This Evening, to resume the Debate on the following taxes:
1. On all Old Maids and Batchelors above a certain age.
2. On Men-milliners, Men-mantua-makers, Men-marriage-brokers, &c.
3. On female Fox-hunters, female Dragoons, female Playwrights, and Females of all descriptions who usurp the occupations of the men.
4. On Monkies, Lap-dogs, Butterflies, Parrots, and Puppies, including those of the human species.
5. On made-up Complections.
6. On French Dancers, French Frizeurs, French Cooks, French Milliners, and French Fashion-mongers.
7. On Quacks and Empirics, including those of the State, the Church, and the Bar.
8. On Intrigues, Elopements, and Divorces of Quality and Fashion. And,
9. On a Weekly Fast to be observed by the Bishops and Aldermen.'
770. March 12, 1781 Westminster Forum
'Have the News Papers been of greater Service or hurt to Society?'
771. March 13, 1781 Coach-Maker's-Hall Society
The Managers of the Society for free debate, assembling at CoachMaker's-Hall, Foster-lane, Cheapside,' will change date of weekly meeting.
'If a tax was to be laid on Old Batchelors, and the produce was to be given as a marriage portion to young Maidens, would it not tend to the advantage of the community?'
772. March 16, 1781 La Belle Assemblee
'Whether it would not be for the benefit of both Countries, if a Law was established to prevent TRIPS TO SCOTLAND, and also to prevent TRIPS FROM SCOTLAND?'
Morning Herald March 14
773. March 18, 1781 Christian Society, Haymarket
St. Matthew, chap. x, vers 19 'But when they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or what you shall speak, for it shall be given you in that same hour, what ye shall speak.'
Morning Herald March 17
774. March 18, 1781 Religious Society for Theological Inquiry, Spring Garden
'For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God, whom I see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another, though my reins be consumed within me.' Job 19 chap., 25, 26, 27 vers.
'N.B. With a view to enquire concerning the surviving of the material body, and whether the proofs are not equal to those respecting the comfortable doctrine of eternity.'
Morning Chronicle March 17
775. March 19, 1781 Westminster Forum
'Is it consistent with propriety that women should perform men's characters on the stage?'
776. March 20, 1781 Coach-Makers Hall Society
'Which is the more useful character, the Divine, the Physician, or the Lawyer?'
777. March 23, 1781 La Belle Assemblee
'Whether it would not be for the benefit of this Country, if Females had a Voice in the Elections of Representatives, and were eligible to sit in Parliament, as well as the Men?'
Morning Herald March 20
778. March 24, 1781 London Courant
LA BELLE ASSEMBLEE
'By various arts the love of fame's confess'd,
In various shapes, by ruling passions dress'd:
To various objects levell'd is its aim,
Now 'tis the love of fun, and now of fame.
Sportsmen have oft with wonder gaping stood,
Aeneas like, at Venus in a wood;
With modern instruments of death pourtray'd,
O'er hedge, thro' copse, will dash the sporting Maid;
Some, thro' the thirst of fame, love nobler deeds,
Proud o'er high bars to urge the flying steeds.
Such sports as these, to rural maids confin'd,
By city dames, of glory more refin'd,
Are heard with pit, or with scorn proclaim'd,
Who boast themselves with nobler thirst inflam'd.
Aid me, thou spirit of satyric Young!
New whims declare how well he whilom sung;
The beauteous sex how well did he display,
Their peccadillos, and their modes outre.
Where Frenchmen and Italians dance the Hayes,
Hence the Haymarket call'd in modern days,
There stands a Dome, where auctioneers have roar'd,
Loud hammers rapp'd, and puffers have encor'd -
No more the spendthrift's all, to sight brought forth,
Shall trust to Christie to proclaim its worth;
A female senate now with pleasure see
Flowing alike with eloquence and tea:
The hammer now yon President shall hold,
By whom the ardent orators are told
How far, with reason, and with wit, the theme
Runs glibly o'er the tongue; and when they dream -
Hard task indeed! restraining female wit;
What clown so rough, what beau would judge it fit?
But hark! yon President his hammer rears,
And, with sonorous hem, the theme declares -
A theme, replies the critic, with a sneer,
Just suited to the judgment of the fair:
No doubt some fashionable whim will seem
The justest object for a female theme;
No doubt, some new amendment on their dress,
Some new punctilio, or politesse -
These themes will suit the orators and place,
Which gay Flirtilla shall with joy embrace.
Cease, barb'rous critic! cease thy taunts profane;
Wrong thy conjectures, and thy sneers are vain;
Patriots and demagogues, with spirits bold,
There in Night's empire shall their converse hold,
From themes most trifling noble thoughts shall rise,
Whilst Burke would wonder, Fox would stare surprise:
The Muse with pleasure the debate shall sing,
And shew, from trifles what vast things can spring.'
779. March 25, 1781 Christian Society, Haymarket
'A Man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it; this is vanity, and is an evil disease.' Ecclesiastes, chap. vi, ver. 2.
Morning Herald March 24
780. March 25, 1781 Religious Society for Theological Inquiry, Coachmakers Hall
1st Tim. chap. 2 ver. 5 'For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men. The Man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time.'
'N.B. With a view to inquire into the divinity, humanity and office of Jesus Christ. Particularly to shew, that Deism is not consistent with true religion?'
Morning Chronicle March 24
781. March 26, 1781 Westminster Forum
'Will the taking of St. Eustatia be more likely to continue the War with Holland and America, or produce a Peace?'
782. March 27, 1781 Morning Herald
'ORATORY. Gentlemen, whose views are directed to the Bar, the Pulpit, the Senate, or any other condition of life, in which early and confirmed habits of eloquent delivery are so essentially necessary, are respectfully acquainted, That a select and respectable Society for Instituting ORATORICAL EXERCISES, upon Subjects of LAW, POLICY, and LEGISLATION, is now forming under the immediate direction of several Gentlemen of the Temple, and other Inns of Court, at the superb Edifice lately built by the Incorporated Society of Artists of Great Britain, between Catherine-street and Exeter 'Change, in the Strand; where a NEW GRAND AMPHITHEATRE is just now completed for the purpose, laid out in the most commodious manner for public Speaking, and ornamented in the highest taste.
And, as it is a principal object in this plan, that it should bear the nearest resemblance to the House of Commons, as well with respect to the accommodations for SPEAKING, HEARING, and SEEING to the greatest advantage, as to the rules and orders observed in the debates and proceedings of that august assembly, none but Subscribers are to be admitted into the lower part of the Amphitheatre; and no money is on any account to be accepted for admission into the gallery, which is raised upon a most elegant construction, and appropriated for ladies only, and the Subscribers by whom they are introduced.
The chair to be elective, the election in the Subscribers at large, and every other method adopted, that can secure an authority in the Chairman, a regularity in the proceedings, a respect in the company, and a dignity in the debates, suitable to so liberal an institution, and the elegant style of the place, which is prepared for so genteel an assembly. Subscriptions for this Society are taken in at the Office of the Amphitheatre, No. 350 Strand, at ONE GUINEA each, for the first Hundred and Fifty members, and at TWO GUINEAS for each who shall subscribe after that number is completed.
The Society are to meet every Saturday evening, or oftener, as may be determined at their first meeting, which will be on Saturday the 7th of April next; when their first business will be to elect a Chairman, and then to consider of the Rules and Orders, to be prepared by a Committee, consisting of those who subscribe before Saturday the 31st March; when such as shall have then subscribed, are to meet at the Amphitheatre for that purpose, at eleven o'clock in the forenoon.'
783. March 27, 1781 Society for free debate, Coach-makers Hall
'Whether the Court of Common Council acted properly in rescinding at their late meeting, the resolutions which had formerly passed, relative to the Delegates from the petitioning Counties?'
784. March 29, 1781 King's Arms Society
'Is it more probable, that our late successes against the Dutch will produce a peace, or tend to the continuance of the war?'
785. March 30, 1781 Morning Herald
To the Students of law, and others zealous of Improvement in Eloquence. As many classes in life are justly emulous of acquiring an easy Elocution, which is principally the result of habit, and as the several places, which have been opened with a view to improvement in Eloquence, were too remote from the seminaries, to which they ought to be subordinate - the Inns of Court: It is proposed to open a Room contiguous to the Temple for the purpose of public debate, upon principles the most reasonable; the admittance only One Shilling, as it is intended to reap no pecuniary advantage by it, but barely the expence of the room, lights, &c. Yet as some expence must be incurred in the first instance, it is proposed to admit subscribers to this plan, paying Half-a-Crown to the Fund for carrying on this Society, and Six-pence each and every night.
It is designed to open it experimentally this Evening at the Mitre Tavern, in Fleet Street, and continue it eighteen nights by adjournment.
"Have the Associations or their delegates any right to demand a restoration of triennial parliaments?
Is it agreeable to the maxims of sound policy, to tolerate Popery in a Protestant government?"'
786. April 1, 1781 Christian Society, Haymarket
St. Luke, 24 chap. ver 37 'But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.'
Morning Herald March 31
787. April 1, 1781 Religious Society for Theological Inquiry, Coachmakers Hall
1st Tim. chap. ii, ver. 9 'In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety, not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.'
Morning Chronicle March 31
788. April 3, 1781 Society for free Debate Coach-Makers Hall
'Is the wife who usurps the husband's authority; or the husband, who permits it, the more blameable?'
789. April 5, 1781 King's Arms Society
'Is it possible to foretell future events, which is commonly call'd fortunetelling, by the position of the stars?'
790. April 6, 1781 Students of Law, and others, zealous of IMPROVEMENT IN ELOQUENCE Mitre Tavern Fleet-street
'Some gentlemen met on Friday last, and with learning and precision debated, on legal and constitutional ground, the following adjourned and amended question: "Have the Associations or their Delegates, an unlimited right to apply to their representatives for a restoration of triennial Parliaments? And the following, if time will permit, Is it consistent with the principles of sound policy to tolerate Popery in a Protestant Government?"
Every Gentleman may introduce a lady, free from additional Expence.'
791. April 6, 1781 (For ONE NIGHT ONLY) by Particular Desire
'This Evening at Greenwood's Rooms, Hay-market, THE FEMALE DELEGATES will meet to consider on a Petition to Parliament for a redress of Female Grievances.'
792. April 8, 1781 Religious Society for Theological Inquiry, Coachmakers Hall
'But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was broiled for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.' Isaiah, 53 chap. ver 5.
Morning Chronicle April 7
793. April 10, 1781 Society for free debate, Coach-makers hall
'Which would more promote the interest of Religion - A Clergy supported by voluntary contributions, or by compulsive tythes?'
794. April 12, 1781 King's Arms Society
'Is it possible to foretell future events (which is commonly called fortune-telling) by the position of the stars?'
795. April 15, 1781 Christian Society, Mr. Greenwood's Rooms, Haymarket
'Investigation of] the following text, Ephesians, chap.iv, ver. 5, "One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism"; intended to enquire whether it would not be more for the happiness of society, if every person was obliged to subscribe to the established religion of the country.'
Morning Chronicle April 14
796. April 15, 1781 Religious Society for Theological Inquiry, Coachmakers Hall
'Investigation of] the following text, St. Matthew chap xxvii, ver. 521 "And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the Saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared to many."
Admittance to Gentlemen and Ladies Sixpence.'
Morning Chronicle April 14
797. April 22, 1781 Christian Society
Text, Joshua chap. vii, ver. 19 "And Joshua said unto Achau, my son give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him, and tell me now what though hast done; hide it not from me." Designed to enquire into the possibility of the salvation of a convicted criminal, who falsely proclaims his innocence at his execution.'
Morning Chronicle April 21
798. April 24, 1781 Society for free debate, Coach-Makers hall
'Whether the doubts that have been suggested on the case of the late Capt. Donellan, are well founded?'
799. April 28, 1781 Students of Law, and other Gentlemen, associated in order to institute, upon a Plan hitherto unattempted, a SELECT SCHOOL OF ELOQUENCE, Law, Policy and Legislation [hereafter called the Lyceum]
To-morrow Evening's Debate will be grounded on a Subject lately mentioned by a Member, to a certain August Assembly, relative to the Grant of a Bounty from Parliament on Scotch Linens; which will of Course introduce an enquiry into the relative legal and constitutional rights of the three Nations, as well as the Policy of the British Government.'
Morning Herald April 27
800. April 29, 1781 Christian Society
Text, Malachi, chap. 3, ver. 8, 9 "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me, but ye say, wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse, for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation." Intended to enquire into the rights of giving tithes.'
Morning Chronicle April 27
801. May 1, 1781 Coach-Makers Hall
'Whether the doubts that have been suggested on the case of the late Capt. Donellan are well founded?'
802. May 3, 1781 LYCEUM INTELLIGENCE
'After what we have seen of the numerous places opened for public debate, we should not have thought it of sufficient importance to take notice of any new institution of that nature, if the annunciation of a plan upon an new and select principle, for students and literary gentlemen; by subscription only, at the late exhibition room in the Strand, had not given a fresh edge to an almost blunted curiosity; and it is but justice to confess, that the experiment afforded us very ample gratification.
From the first features of this infant institution, it is not easy to pronounce upon the probability of its success; but there certainly appears no small degree of merit in the design of the undertaking, which appears to be intended as a school for the Senate as well as the bar; and in the debates of last Saturday evening, when the society met, for the first time, an attention was paid to parliamentary forms, which would have done credit to a much more matured institution; but what appeared most to claim our attention, was the striking symmetry and convenient construction of the amphitheatre, the elegance of the throne for the president, and the beautiful simplicity with which the whole was fitted up, which gave it an air of dignity superior to the bare appearance of either house of Parliament.
We can say but little for the arguments made by the different speakers, as the disputation was engrossed early in the evening by a few long-winded orators, who did not seem to know when they ought to leave off; but we must acknowledge that the young gentleman who officiated as chairman, displayed the greatest abilities in that situation (into which it appeared he was surprised by an unexpected election) and gave evident proofs of an early genius directed by the most mature judgment.'
803. May 6, 1781 Christian Society
'Text Heb. chap. 13, v. 18 "We trust we have a good conscience." Intended to enquire whether what is termed conscience is natural or acquired.'
Morning Chronicle May 4
804. May 8, 1781 For One Night only, This Evening ... at the Assembly Room, King's arms, Cornhill, the Ladies of the Belle Assemblee will join the Ladies of the Female Congress
'Can the Rev. Mr. Madan's doctrine of a plurality of wives be reconciled to reason, religion, or policy?'
Admittance One Shilling.
805. May 8, 1781 Coachmakers-Hall Society
'Whether the doubts that have been suggested on the case of the late Captain Donnellan are well founded?'
806. May 9, 1781 King's Arms Society
'If the Evidence contained in the Defence of Mr. Donellan, as published by Mr. Webb, had been produced on the Trial, is it probable that he would have been convicted?'
807. May 16, 1781 King's Arms Society
'Whether the preventing the public investigations of religious subjects, is not a breach of civil and religious liberty?'
808. May 19, 1781 Lyceum
'This Evening, pursuant to Notice given on Saturday last, certain Propositions will be moved by a Member, upon the following prize subject given out this Year by the Academy of Lyons, viz. Whether the Discovery of America has been productive of Benefit or Injury to Europe? If, of benefit; what are the best means to preserve and encrease it? if, of injury, What are the best means to remedy it?
In order to associate Genius, and give every Encouragement to an Institution founded on the most liberal Principles, that ever gave rise to any Society in this Country, the Select Committee have resolved, that those who may wish to subscribe for the remaining Nights of this Season, shall not be obliged to pay the full subscription, as if they had been Members from the Beginning. - But, to preserve a proper Degree of Respect in the Company, the Subscription will never be lower than HALF A GUINEA.'
809. May 29, 1781 La Belle Assemblee and the Female Congress, united for one evening at Coachmakers Hall
For the Benefit of a Family in Distress
'Is the Turkish article of faith true, that says women have no souls? and, Is the man of learning, courage, fortune, or politeness, most acceptable to the ladies?'
810. September 6, 1781 The Societies for Free Debate, lately held at Coach-maker's hall, and at the King's Arms, Cornhill, being united, will commence their Debates at Coach-maker's Hall
'Can any circumstances render the character of a Spy honourable?'
Gazetteer August 29
811. September 13, 1781 Coach-maker's Hall
'Is the encouragement given to the present mode of performing the Beggar's Opera, a proof of refined or vitiated taste?'
Gazetteer September 11
812. September 20, 1781 Coach-maker's Hall
'Which of the present candidates to represent the city of London in Parliament, has from his public character and conduct, the best claim to that honour?'
Question 'was carried in favour of the Lord Mayor.'
Gazetteer September 19
813. September 27, 1781 Coach-maker's Hall
'Can the Ministry be justified in not having furnished Admiral Parker with a greater force when he went against the Dutch?'
Gazetteer September 26
814. October 4, 1781 Coachmakers Hall
'Is the boasted superiority of the male over the female sex founded in justice?'
Gazetteer October 2
815. October 11, 1781 Coachmakers Hall
'Which is the more ridiculous character, a crusty old bachelor or a peevish old maid?'
Morning Chronicle October 10
816. October 12, 1781 Morning Chronicle
'In a large and elegant Room, at the THREE TURKS, Fleet Street, near St. Dunstan's Church, THIS PRESENT EVENING, at Eight o'clock, will be delivered,
By the Reverend E.B. M.D.
A LECTURE on Dr. GRAHAM'S Efforts to improve the Works of Nature; with a few remarks on the CELESTIAL BED.
After which the subject will be continued, by the following question, 'Whether the Works of Nature be not superior to the Works of Art?'
N.B. The Lecture and Debate will be conducted with the utmost decorum and decency; particularly since Ladies, as well as Gentlemen, are most respectfully invited.'
Admission One Shilling.'
817. October 18, 1781 Coachmakers Hall
'Is it probable, that if rewards were given for the encouragement of matrimony, it would tend to the general good?'
Gazetteer October 16
818. October 19, 1781 Three Tuns
'Which is the greatest incitement to Virtue, the dread of punishment, or hope of Reward?'
Preceded by 'a Lecture ... by the Reverend E.B ... on the alarming and dangerous VICES of the present TIMES; with seasonable and pathetic Remarks on the dreadful execution of yesterday.'
819. October 25, 1781 Coachmakers Hall
'Is there any reality in the Doctrine of Apparitions?'
Morning Chronicle October 24
820. October 26, 1781 Morning Chronicle
'Being at Coachmaker's Hall last Thursday night, I was sorry such a numerous auditory found so little entertainment there, from the discussion of a subject so interesting, as, How far a reward for the encouragement of matrimony would operate for the benefit of the State, or some such words: wanting the confidence of delivering my sentiments there, and thinking that a few hints on that head will be much more diffused coming through the channel of your paper, Mr. Printer, I submit them to your candour.
Mankind in general have it much more in their own favour to encourage matrimony than any interference of Government can possibly effect. Would they, in the same manner as the freeman of a city, have the alternative of being employed in that city, in preference to aliens, more especially married masters, should not engage single while married men are to be had; their business likewise would not suffer from the frequent changing of servants, the tie being much greater on the married man to continue in his place; instead of this, at present it is an insuperable objection to a man's getting a place; and what can be a greater discouragement to the married state among dependent men, than its incapacitating him to procure employment. If it is true that the gentlemen orators at Coachmaker's Hall are paid for opening their mouths; the idea makes some keep theirs shut, if sounded, their interest would be better answered, to improve, than to bandy their wit from each other so much.'
821. October 31, 1781 Coachmakers Hall
'Are there any circumstances which would render the expulsion of an Alderman by his brother justifiable?'
822. November 8, 1781 Coach-makers-hall
'Does the passion of Love operate more for its happiness, or that of its objects, from the age of 15 to 25, or from 25 to 50?'
Gazetteer November 6
823. November 15, 1781 Coachmakers-hall Society
'Which of the extremes is likely to be attended with the more injurious consequences, a severe restraint over all the actions of youth, or an unlimited indulgence of every wish and inclination?'
Gazetteer November 13
824. November 22, 1781 Coachmakers Hall
'Would it not be for the benefit of both sexes, if the law were made to prohibit marriage, where a great disproportion of years subsists?'
Morning Chronicle November 21
825. November 29, 1781 Coachmakers-hall
'Do dreams foretell future events?'
Gazetteer November 27
826. December 6, 1781 Coachmakers-hall
'Is the capture of Lord Cornwallis more likely to accelerate a peace, or prolong the war?'
Gazetteer December 4
827. December 13, 1781 Coachmakers-hall
'Is the residence of Jews in this country of advantage or detriment to the state?'
Gazetteer December 11
828. December 20, 1781 Coachmakers Hall
'Which is more likely to die a Maid, the Coquet or the Prude?'
Morning Chronicle December 19
829. December 27, 1781 Coachmakers Hall
'Are the fair Sex more generally ruined by their own folly, or the treachery of the men?'
Morning Chronicle December 26