London debates
1788

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London Record Society

Publication

Author

Donna T. Andrew (compiled and introduced by)

Year published

1994

Pages

216-246

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'London debates: 1788', London debating societies 1776-1799 (1994), pp. 216-246. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=38852 Date accessed: 26 November 2014.


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Contents

Morning Post January 2, 1788

1295. December 31, 1787 Westminster Forum

'Is the virtue of the female sex most in danger from their own natural frailty, parental restraint, or the defects of modern education?'

Debate decided that female sex most in danger from the defects of modern education.

Morning Post January 7, 1788

1296. January 3, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Is it probable that a reformed rake will make as good a husband, as the man whose life has been uniformly consistent with prudence and morality?

The fair Sex, from a native softness and generosity of mind, being often led to give credit to maxims laid down by the other sex, upon the truth of which their happiness or misery in wedlock may depend; a Gentleman, no less respected for his abilities, than beloved for his philanthropy, has proposed the above question, as a subject of sufficient importance to recommend to the attention of a liberal and enlightened audience.

It was almost unanimously decided . . . that a reformed rake would not prove so good a husband, as the man whose life has been uniformly moral.'

Morning Chronicle January 2

1297. January 7, 1788 Westminster Forum

'Was the Belief of the Existence of Apparitions by the late Doctor Johnson, an Impeachment of his Understanding?

The decision of the audience, by a small majority, justified Doctor Johnson's belief in the existence of apparitions.'

Morning Post

1298. January 10, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Does the confidence reposed by the people in Mr. Pitt proceed more from his wisdom and integrity as a Minister, or from an opinion that Mr. Fox and his party have acted inconsistently and forfeited the support of a free people?

A popular character, zealous in his attachment to Mr. Pitt, having declared that the people are now convinced that they are indebted to the Minister for the salvation of the Constitution, and a gentleman equally animated in the cause of Mr. Fox, insisting that this distinguished Senator still possesses the confidence of the friends to freedom, it has been agreed to refer the question to a public audience.'

Morning Chronicle January 9

1299. January 14, 1788 Westminster Forum

'Is the assertion of the Marchioness de Lambert true, that love improves a virtuous soul?

Agreeable to the request of a celebrated poetical character, whose publications have lately been the subject of much panegyric in various prints [the question is debated.] He has pledged himself on the present occasion, to make a public display of his talents in poetry, by opening and arguing the above question, with a composition in verse; and afterwards to close the debate of the evening, with a legendary tale, explanatory of his opinion on the enquiry for investigation.

The Managers of this Institution are happy to be able to say, that the poetical Composition of the Gentleman who opened the debate . . . met with the unanimous applause of a numerous and splendid audience. - The humourous versified Essay which followed, afforded the highest diversion; and the recitals of a gentleman belonging to the Bath Theatre, added to the subsequent spirit with which the whole debate proceeded, drew from the audience incessant marks of approbation.'

Morning Post

1300. January 16, 1788 School of Eloquence, Panton Street Haymarket

'Does not the amiable philanthropy of Mr. Howard, and the general conduct of the Dissenters, incontestably prove their loyalty, and demand a repeal of the corporation and test acts?'

Morning Post January 23

1301. January 17, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Does the confidence reposed by the people in Mr. Pitt proceed more from his wisdom and integrity as a Minister, or from an opinion that Mr. Fox and his party have acted inconsistently and forfeited the support of a free people?

The honest zeal which ever marks the character of Englishmen in support of the man they hold to be the greatest friend to freedom, was manifest during the whole of the debate. . . The friends of MR. PITT seem confident that the decision will be in his favour, while the advocates of MR. FOX declare they are not afraid to trust his cause to a British audience.'

Morning Chronicle January 16

1302. January 21, 1788 Westminster Forum

'Is it consistent with the principles of justice, or with the nature of the British Constitution, and real interests of the Community, to punish with death [any] crime except Murder?

The last Question . . . produced a debate, which gave a convincing proof of the liberal support with which this society is honoured. . . It was decided, that there are crimes besides murder which deserve the punishment of death.'

Morning Post

1303. January 23, 1788 School of Eloquence, Panton Street Haymarket

'Does not the amiable philanthropy of Mr. Howard, and the general conduct of the Dissenters, incontestably prove their loyalty, and demand a repeal of the corporation and test acts?'

Morning Post

1304. January 24, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Does the confidence reposed by the people in Mr. Pitt proceed more from his wisdom and integrity as a Minister, or from an opinion that Mr. Fox and his party have acted inconsistently and forfeited the support of a free people?

The audience . . . was almost unanimous in pronouncing the confidence reposed in Mr. Pitt, to be the effect of his wisdom and integrity as a Minister.'

Morning Chronicle January 23

1305. January 28, 1788 Westminster Forum

'Which is most likely to stimulate a man to great and worthy actions; the passion of love, the sentiment of friendship, or the principle of public spirit?

The managers of the Westminster Forum are happy to be able to speak of the increasing reputation of this institution.'

Morning Post

1306. January 30, 1788 [School of Eloquence] Panton Street, Haymarket

Question on the propriety of boxing.

'In a debate equally replete with severe irony and strong reasoning, Boxing was pointedly reprobated by almost every speaker. A numerous audience decided against the brutality of the practice.'

Morning Post February 6

1307. January 31, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Which is most dangerous to its possessor, Jealousy in a Lover, Profligacy in a Merchant, or Ambition in a Statesman?

A Lady, whose mental accomplishments can only be equalled by her personal beauty, is the proposer of the above question. A recent circumstance announced in the public prints, as one among the fatal train of consequences of which the passion of Jealousy has been the cruel parent, is the reason assigned by the fair querist for uniting that passion with the two other important branches of which the question is composed.'

The audience decided that profligacy in a merchant was most dangerous.

Morning Chronicle January 30

1308. February 6, 1788 [School of Eloquence] Panton Street, Haymarket

'Are the understandings of the fair sex inferior to those of the male, or does education alone constitute the difference?'

Morning Post

1309. February 7, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Would it be consistent with the political and commercial interests of Great Britain for the legislature to pass an Act for the total Abolition of the Slave Trade?

The above interesting subject drew to this Hall . . . a very numerous assembly of Citizens the most respectable, and much to the honour of the fair sex, a considerable number of them forsook the places of trifling and uninstructive amusement, to attend the grave investigation of a Question in which one of the most important branches of the Trade and Commerce of this country is involved.'

Morning Chronicle February 6

1310. February 11, 1788 Westminster Forum

'Are the assertions of Dr. Johnson true, That the married are seldom happy, and that celibacy has no pleasures?'

The discussion disproved the assertions of Dr. Johnson.

Morning Post

1311. February 12, 1788 Original London

'Is Disappointment in Love a sufficient Excuse for a Man remaining a Batchelor?'

The Question decided in the negative.

Daily Advertiser February 19

1312. February 13, 1788 School of Eloquence

'Can the Slave Trade be justified on the principles of Justice, Christianity, Policy or Humanity?

Many ingenious arguments were adduced in favour of the Slave Trade - many powerful appeals to the feelings were urged against it. - Among the foremost were those of an ingenious African. He contributed much information on the subject (being the result of his own experience).'

Morning Post February 19

1313. February 14, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Would it be consistent with the political and commercial interests of Great Britain for the legislature to pass an Act for the total Abolition of the Slave Trade?'

Although vote adjourned, most speakers seemed in favour of abolition.

Morning Chronicle February 13

1314. February 18, 1788 Westminster Forum

'Can any abuse of the LIBERTY of the PRESS, justify a limitation of that constitutional privilege?

As no subject is more interesting to an Englishman than that which relates to his rights and privileges, the managers of the Westminster Forum trust, that the above question will be particularly welcome to an English audience; and the more so in the present period, as some recent events of a public nature have given rise to much disputation on this important topic.'

Morning Post

1315. February 19, 1788 Original London Society, Capel Court

'Which stands the better chance for Happiness, an Old Woman who marries a young Husband, or an old Man who marries a young Wife?' Determined that old Man married to young Wife has best chance.

Daily Advertiser

1316. February 20, 1788 School of Eloquence

'Can the Slave Trade be justified on the principles of Justice, Christianity, Policy or Humanity?

Upon the adjourned question of the Slave Trade, besides several most animated speeches, [the Society was] honoured by a circumstance never before witnessed in a Debating Society. A lady spoke to the subject with that dignity, energy, and information, which astonished every one present, and justly merited what she obtained, repeated and uncommon bursts of applause from an intelligent and enraptured auditory. The question was carried against the Slave Trade.'

Morning Post February 19

1317. February 21, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Would it be consistent with the political and commercial interests of Great Britain for the legislature to pass an Act for the total Abolition of the Slave Trade?'

Morning Chronicle February 27

1318. February 25, 1788 Westminster Forum

'Can any political or commercial advantages justify a free people in continuing the Slave Trade?

A NATIVE OF AFRICA, many years a Slave in the West-Indies, will attend . . . and communicate to the audience a number of very remarkable circumstances respecting the treatment of the Negroe Slaves, and particularly of his being forcibly taken from his family and friends, on the coast of Africa, and sold as a Slave - of the manner in which he was treated while in captivity, and the means by which he obtained his emancipation; together with several interesting circumstances relative to the conduct of the Slave-holders towards the African women. Several popular Gentlemen, who have interested themselves in the petitions presented to Parliament, will also be present; and a LADY, whose intellectual accomplishments, and wonderful powers of eloquence, delighted a public audience on Wednesday last, and procured her the highest respect and admiration, is expected to honour the Society with her sentiments.

The advocates for the abolition argued, that no policy was well founded. No commercial advantages could be permanent that were gained by a departure from the indispensible obligations of justice, and that virtue alone was the true foundation of national honour, the source of harmony, order and happiness in society. These arguments were ably answered by the speakers on the other side.' Question adjourned.

Morning Post February 23

1319. February 26 Original London Society, Capel Court

'Which is most predominant in the Breast of Man, the Love of Life, the Love of Liberty, or the Love of the Fair Sex?'

Daily Advertiser

1320. February 27, 1788 School of Eloquence

'Which is more blameable, the Lady that condescends to be mistress to the man she loves, or marries the man she hates?'

Morning Post February 26

1321. February 28, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Would it be consistent with the political and commercial interests of Great Britain for the legislature to pass an Act for the total Abolition of the Slave Trade?

The friends to the abolition employed many ingenious arguments in favour of the extension of freedom to a race of beings hitherto wandering in ignorance, and groaning under despotism, while the cautious politician, professing equal love of humanity contended against an innovation that might lead to the ruin of the trade and commerce of his country, without any real benefit to the objects of emancipation.'

Morning Chronicle February 27

1322. March 3, 1788 Westminster Forum

'Can any political or commercial advantages justify a free people in continuing the Slave Trade?'

Morning Post March 1

1323. March 4, 1788 Original London Society, removed from the Mitre Tavern to Capel Court

'Which is most predominant in the Breast of Man, the Love of Life, the Love of Liberty, or the Love of the Fair Sex?'

Determined that Love of Life most powerful in the human breast.

Daily Advertiser

1324. March 5, 1788 School of Eloquence, Panton Street

'Which is the greater Calamity - the Loss of a good Wife, or the Plague of a bad One?

The audience decided . . . by a considerable majority' that the plague of a bad wife was the greater calamity.

Morning Post March 4

1325. March 6, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Would it be consistent with the political and commercial interests of Great Britain for the legislature to pass an Act for the total Abolition of the Slave Trade?

The majority [of the audience] . . . declared that a total abolition of the Slave Trade, would be inconsistent with the political and commercial interests of this country.'

Morning Chronicle March 5

1326. March 10, 1788 Westminster Forum, Spring Gardens

'Can any political or commercial advantages justify a free people in continuing the Slave Trade?'

Morning Post

1327. March 11, 1788 Original London Society

'Which has contributed most to the Disgrace of this Country, the Cruelty and Peculation practiced by Servants of the India Company in the East, or the Encouragement given to the African Slave Trade in our West-India Possessions?

As the Attention of the whole Nation appears to be at present engrossed by these two grand Objects, the Managers of this Institution have, at the Request of a Number of Respectable Characters, brought them forward in Contrast for this Evening's Entertainment.'

Daily Advertiser

1328. March 12, 1788 School of Eloquence

'Which must be more disagreeable to a Lady of delicacy, to be compelled to marry the most ignorant clown, or a complete modern fop?'

Morning Post March 11

1329. March 13, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Has the conduct of Mr. Pitt, respecting the affairs of India, merited the praise or censure of the Publick?

There appeared to be a small majority against the Minister's conduct in relation to the affairs of India.'

Morning Chronicle March 12

1330. March 17, 1788 Westminster Forum, Spring Garden

'Has Mr. PITT forfeited his claim to popularity by the introduction of the depending INDIA BILL?

The dangerous precedent which an infringement of chartered rights must afford, and the questionable propriety of placing unlimited power in a Board of Controul were topics which call for the serious attention of the Patriot and the Politician.'

The question was resolved, by a considerable majority, in favour of Mr. Pitt.

Morning Post

1331. March 17, 1788 La Belle Assemblee, Brewer Street, Golden Square

'(Under the Patronage of several Ladies of Distinction)

Do not the extraordinary abilities of the Ladies in the present age demand Academical honours from the Universities - a right to vote at elections, and to be returned Members of Parliament?

The refined nature of La Belle Assemblee being in itself an exclusion of any indiscriminate assemblage of mixed company; the Nobility and Gentry who may honour it by their presence, are humbly assured no attention shall be omitted to render its order and regularity equal to its elegance and entertainment.

The audience . . . was numerous and polite - the debate a brilliant assemblage of wit, elegance, and pleasantry - the decision terminated in favour of the affirmative of the question.'

Admission Half-a-Crown - Ladies permitted to speak in veils.

Morning Post March 15, 1788

1332. March 20, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Is it justifiable for a man to fight a duel to vindicate the honour of the lady he loves, or under any provocation whatsoever?'

Morning Chronicle March 19

1333. March 24, 1788 La Belle Assemblee

'Which was more culpable in eating the forbidden Fruit, ADAM or EVE?

The Lady who honoured the Managers by a letter subscribed CAUTION, is respectfully entreated to dismiss her apprehensions on the present question - Indelicacy, and much more infidelity, will ever be carefully banished.'

Morning Post March 21

1334. March 24, 1788 Westminster Forum, Spring Gardens, Charing Cross

'Can a Lady seduced, and deserted by her seducer, be justified in intermarrying with a man of honour, without previously acquainting him of her misfortune?

As it is no uncommon event for the female sex to form matrimonial connections under the circumstances mentioned in the question, and as the propriety of such marriages is a matter of much dispute, a sentimental Lady, well known to the literary world, has presented the above inquiry.'

Morning Post

1335. March 26, 1788 Westminster School of Eloquence

'Is the Male or Female Character more distinguished by Constancy in Love?'

Morning Post

1336. March 27, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Which is the more eligible for a wife, a lady of fortune without education, or a lady of education without fortune?

To obtain happiness in the marriage state has long been the study of mankind, but though a science with which every person would wish to be acquainted, but few comparatively have obtained it. A Question therefore that may lead the mind to avoid the steps of juvenile imprudence, and to pursue the paths of wisdom, as far as respects matrimonial felicity, is highly worthy the attention of a rational audience.

The decision was almost unanimous, that a Lady of Education, though destitute of Fortune, ought to be elected for a Wife, in preference to the Lady of Fortune, without the benefit of Education.'

Morning Chronicle March 26

1337. March 31, 1788 Westminster Forum

'Can a Lady seduced, and deserted by her seducer, be justified in intermarrying with a man of honour, without previously acquainting him of her misfortune?'

Determined that such a lady ought not to marry a man of honour, without previously informing him of her misfortune.

Morning Post April 7

1338. March 31, 1788 La Belle Assemblee, Brewer Street, Golden Square

'Which is the greatest calamity to a female of sensibility, the loss of a lover by banishment, death, or marriage?'

Morning Post March 29

1339. April 2, 1788 School of Eloquence, Panton Street

'Which is the most injurious member of society - a Quack Doctor - a Trading Justice - or a Methodist Preacher?'

Morning Post

1340. April 3, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Is the great Increase of Methodists more to be attributed to the great Zeal and Abilities of their Preachers, or to the Want of a proper Spirit and Exertion in the Clergy of the established Church?

A learned Divine, warmly attached to the Freedom of publick Debate, and particularly friendly to this Society as an Institution which encourages aspiring Genius, producing mental improvement and rational Entertainment, thus diverting the minds of Youth from the pursuit of licentious Pleasure, has proposed the above Question as a Subject calculated to call forth the Powers of Eloquence in the Discovery and Maintenance of Truth.'

Morning Chronicle April 2

1341. April 7, 1788 Westminster Forum

'Which are more likely to be productive of happiness to the possessor, the gifts of nature, or the gifts of fortune?'

Morning Post

1342. April 8, 1788 La Belle Assemblee, Rice's Rooms, Brewer Street, Golden Square

'Ought not those Ladies whose husbands are Peers, and Members of Parliament, to exert their influence over them for an abolition of the Slave Trade?

At a time when the eyes of all Europe are fixed on this country to observe the part she may take in diffusing that liberty to others, which for so many centuries has been her peculiar boast, the importance of this inquiry must be obvious.'

Admission half a Crown.

Morning Post April 7

1343. April 10, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Is the great Increase of Methodists more to be attributed to the great Zeal and Abilities of their Preachers, or to the Want of a proper Spirit and Exertion in the Clergy of the established Church?

In proportion as mankind discover and act consistently with truth, they pursue the path of wisdom. Freedom in debate serves to promote this desirable purpose. The clouds of prejudice must be dispelled, and the principles of angry bigotry removed before the mind will be expanded, and the heart warmed with benevolence.'

The vote was almost unanimous in favour of the great zeal and abilities of the Methodist ministers.

Morning Chronicle April 9

1344. April 16, 1788 School of Eloquence

'Which is most worthy the admiration of this country, Mr. Fox, for his opposition to the American war - Mr. Pitt for retrieving our declining finances, or Mr. Burke, for bringing to public investigation the cruelties and peculations practised in the East-Indies?

Now the spirit of party virulence seems nearly evaporated, it is presumed an enquiry into the three grand political characteristics of these illustrious statesmen may neither be unworthy of the abilities of the gentlemen who speak in the School of Eloquence, nor devoid of entertainment to the public, who now seem peculiarly interested in the affairs of the East-Indies.'

Morning Post April 15

1345. April 17, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Is Jealousy in a Husband, or Inconstancy in a Wife, more destructive to matrimonial happiness?

Jealousy and Inconstancy in Wedlock never prevailed more than at the present period. A young lady of extraordinary abilities has proposed the [above] question. . . . The lady, it is said, has lately finished an elegant novel, intitled "The Fair Inconstant" which is mentioned in terms of the highest panegyrick, but whether she has confidence enough in her talents to address a large assembly on so singular a question as the above is, time only can discover.

It was the opinion of the audience . . . that inconstancy in a Wife is more destructive to conjugal felicity than jealousy in a Husband.'

Morning Chronicle April 16

1346. April 21, 1788 Westminster Forum

COURTSHIP

'Which of the Two Maxims is more likely to prove successful to a Lover, that of Lord Chesterfield, which recommends us to consider every word before we speak it; or that of Ovid, which says,

"Speak boldly on, and trust the following word;

It will be witty of its own accord."

In answer to the Letter of the Lady who honoured this Society with the above Question, the Managers beg leave to observe, that though it is not strictly conformable to their rules to permit Ladies to speak in this assembly; yet, as this seems a subject on which the Fair Sex are peculiarly qualified to decide, they are willing to indulge her, if she still retains a wish to open the debate.'

The audience 'were of opinion, that the boldness recommended by Ovid is more likely to prove successful to a Lover, than the caution suggested by the late Earl of Chesterfield'.

Morning Post

1347. April 23, 1788 Westminster School of Eloquence, Panton Street, Haymarket

'Which is more eligible for a Wife, an Old Maid, or a Widow?

It has been an invariable maxim with the Proprietors of the School of Eloquence to avoid as much as possible those questions which have been debated in other Societies; however, at the united request of several Ladies, they have in this instance relaxed their laws, trusting the eccentricity of the question - and the fund of risibility it must naturally occasion, will plead their apology.

A widow was almost unanimously declared to be more eligible for a wife than an old maid.'

Morning Post April 22

1348. April 24, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Is the following opinion of Lord Peterborough founded in truth, viz.- That the Fair Sex are so envious of each other if you praise two of them at once, though you give to each the beauty of Venus and the wisdom of Minerva, they would neither of them be pleased?

The audience . . . were of opinion that Lord Peterborough's description of female envy, was consonant with truth.'

Morning Chronicle April 23

1349. April 28, 1788 Westminster Forum

'Is the Assertion of Mr. Pope well founded, That every Woman is at Heart a Rake?

A Lady of distinguished abilities, an admirer of the celebrated Poet, from whose works the above Question is taken, has solicited the Managers to introduce it for public debate, in order that the true meaning of the Poet may be discovered, and the fair sex publicly vindicated from a charge, in which their moral character is materially concerned, if unjustly accused.'

Morning Post

1350. April 30, 1788 Westminster School of Eloquence

'Is it not contrary to justice and propriety, to compel Women to serve [as] Church-Wardens, Constables, Overseers of the Poor, and other Parish Offices?

The novelty of the present question joined to its temporary nature (it being evidently founded on an affair that has lately been much canvassed, of a Woman being declared eligible to the office of Constable) induced a numerous and polite audience . . . to vote its immediate discussion.'

Morning Post April 29

1351. May 1, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Is the assertion of the late Mr. Fielding in his novel of Tom Jones, founded in truth, viz. That if Libertinism was more severely censured by the FAIR SEX, a Libertine would be a rare Character?

As nature, for the wisest purposes, has adorned the Female Sex with the most attractive graces of personal beauty, and mental affability, so their influence upon the manners of the opposite Sex, has been in various respects felt, and evinced by a studied deference and complaisance towards female opinion. How far the behaviour of the Fair Sex has justified the sentiment contained in the above question is well worth an attentive examination.'

It was decided that Mr. Fielding was correct.

Morning Chronicle April 30

1352. May 7, 1788 Westminster School of Eloquence

'Is the common saying true, that there is no medium in the marriage state, but that it must always be extremely happy, or very miserable?

As this Society will close, for the summer season . . . the Proprietors wish to impress on the Public that sense they entertain of the patronage with which it has been honoured. The number of important questions communicated to them by correspondents, best speak the estimation in which the School of Eloquence is held by the learned and judicious.'

Morning Post

1353. May 8, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Is it not disgraceful to a free and enlightened nation, to exclude the Roman Catholicks from any Civil or Religious Liberties, which are exercised by Methodists, Arians and Socinians?

A celebrated Romish Priest, has informed the Managers that he has challenged a venerable and learned Gentleman of the Methodist persuasion, to meet him in the Fair Field of Public Debate, on the above Question, and that Coachmakers Hall has been mutually agreed on as the most respectable and popular assembly for free discussion of a subject, in the decision of which, every man who feels a respect for the majesty of truth, will acknowledge himself immediately concerned.'

Morning Chronicle May 7

1354. May 14, 1788 Westminster School of Eloquence

'Which is the more disagreeable Character - a surly Old Bachelor or a peevish Old Maid?

The various expences attendant on the School of Eloquence (for this Evening) being presented as a gift to an indigent Widow, its entire receipts will be appropriated to her relief. On this occasion, a Lady, who has honoured this Society with her sentiments, has graciously promised either to open or close the debate, or to speak in the course of it. Previous to the entertainment, a Gentleman will (for that night only) recite Collin's Ode on the Passions.'

Morning Post May 13

1355. May 16, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Is it not disgraceful to a free and enlightened nation, to exclude the Roman Catholicks from any Civil or Religious Liberties, which are exercised by Methodists, Arians and Socinians?'

Morning Chronicle

1356. May 22, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Is it not disgraceful to a free and enlightened nation, to exclude the Roman Catholicks from any Civil or Religious Liberties, which are exercised by Methodists, Arians and Socinians?'

The debate was marked by 'much pleasant but allowable sarcasm'. The affirmative 'appeared to be the sense of the majority'.

Morning Chronicle

1357. May 29, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Are the Ladies of this country most distinguished for their Virtues, Beauty or Mental Accomplishments?

An English Lady of Distinction, educated in France, but lately arrived from that country, has acquainted the Managers of this institution, that she has heard various opinions respecting the most prominent feature in the character of her fair country-women, and it therefore desirous to hear the above question publicly debated before a British audience.'

Times May 26

1358. July 2, 1788 Society for Free Debate, Great Room, Capel-court, Bartholemew lane

'Does that Wife who assumes a Domination over her Husband, render him or herself more conspicuously ridiculous?'

The World

1359. July 7, 1788 Society for Free Debate, Capel Court

'Is the Rev. Mr. Wesley censurable for publicly maintaining the Existence of Witches, the Doctrine of Apparitions, and Demoniac Possessions?

The report of a Man possessed by Seven Devils, at Bristol, caused this enquiry. The public will now have the opportunity of hearing, (at his own desire) an aged, venerable, and learned Methodist, defend his opinions concerning, and deliver a succinct account of these strange appearances. Several Gentlemen of the first ability have promised to attend. The Lady who spoke at the Mitre Society, and declared she had frequently conversed with an Apparition, may depend on a candid hearing.'

The World

1360. July 14, 1788 Capel Court Debating Society

'Is the Rev. Mr. Wesley censurable for publicly maintaining the Existence of Witches - the Doctrine of Apparitions, and Demoniac Possessions?'

The World

1361. July 21, 1788 Capel Court Debating Society

'Is the Rev. Mr. Wesley censurable for publicly maintaining the Existence of Witches, the Doctrine of Apparitions, and Demoniac Possessions?'

The debate 'after three evenings' investigation, terminated in Mr. Wesley's favour'.

The World

1362. July 28, 1788 Capel Court Debates

'Which is the strongest obligation in the Marriage Covenant, Love, Honour or Obedience?

Love was determined the most powerful obligation.'

The World

1363. August 4, 1788 Capel Court Debating Society

'Between which Characters is the resemblance most striking - Sir Robert Walpole and Mr. Pitt, or Mr. Fox and Oliver Cromwell?'

The World

1364. August 11, 1788 Capel Court Debating Society

'Between which Characters is the resemblance most striking - Sir Robert Walpole and Mr. Pitt, or Mr. Fox and Oliver Cromwell?'

The World

1365. August 18, 1788 Capel Court Debates

'Which is the greater Domestic Evil, a Drunken Husband or a Scolding Wife?'

The World

1366. August 25, 1788 Capel Court Debates

'Is the desire of an Husband generally more powerful and commendable in an Old Maid or a Widow?

A violent contest having taken place between a Maiden Lady and a Widow, upon their adverse claims to Matrimony, they agreed to determine it by the decision of this Society. . . As in this institution Ladies have the privilege of speaking, there will be nothing indecorous in either, or both, supporting their own opinions.'

The World

1367. August 28, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Has the conduct of MR. FOX, in the part he has taken relative to the late Westminster Election, reflected honour or disgrace upon him as a British Senator?'

The World September 4

1368. September 1, 1788 Capel Court Debates

'Is the Passion of Love more powerful from the Age of 15 to 30 - or from 30 to 50?'

The World

1369. September 3, 1788 Westminster School of Eloquence, Panton Street Haymarket

'Do the Electors of Westminster deserve the Praise, or Censure of the Real Friends of this Country, in rejecting Lord Hood, and chusing Lord John Townshend, for their Representative in Parliament?'

The audience decided that praise was deserved.

The World September 10

1370. September 4, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Has the conduct of MR. FOX, in the part he has taken relative to the late Westminster Election, reflected honour or disgrace upon him as a British Senator?

As the constitutional liberty of this country is the pride of its own subjects, and the envy of surrounding nations, every man will acknowledge the importance of the above question, the immediate object of which is to refer the conduct of a British Senator touching the right of election, the foundation upon which all our civil and religious privileges are built, to the decision of the publick.'

Small majority favoured Fox.

Morning Chronicle September 3

1371. September 8, 1788 Capel Court Debating Society

'Which is the most dangerous Member of Society, a Quack Doctor, a trading Justice, or a Methodist Preacher?'

Daily Advertiser September 20

1372. September 10, 1788 Westminster School of Eloquence, Panton Street Haymarket

'Is it not a reflection on the Female Character, for Ladies to interfere in Elections for Members of Parliament?

As several illustrious Females have the last two Elections for Westminster, taken a very active part in behalf of their favourite Candidate, it has been requested, that the propriety of such conduct be submitted to a fair and candid discussion, in order to determine, whether it should subject them to praise or censure.

It was determined . . . that the Fair Sex deserved praise rather than censure, for their interference in Elections.'

The World

1373. September 11, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Has the conduct of MR. FOX, in the part he has taken relative to the late Westminster Election, reflected honour or disgrace upon him as a British Senator?

In answer to the Card of the Lady, who says "she feels herself peculiarly interested in the above question as a female canvasser for Lord John Townshend" the Managers respectfully inform her, that the gallery has a commanding view over every part of the Assembly Room.'

The Question was decided, 'by a small majority' in the negative.

Morning Chronicle September 10

1374. September 15, 1788 Capel Court Debating Society

'Which is the most dangerous Member of Society, a Quack Doctor, a trading Justice, or a Methodist Teacher?

Most of the Speakers, however, seemed rather too pointed to reprobate the Conduct of the Methodist Preacher.'

Daily Advertiser September 20

1375. September 17, 1788 Westminster School of Eloquence

'Is the Virtue of the Fair Sex most in Danger, from the Influence of Love, Vanity or Avarice?'

It was determined 'that Vanity more frequently contributes to Female Ruin, than either Love or Avarice'.

The World

1376. September 18, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Is it possible for a Lady who has lost the Husband that was the object of her first Love, to entertain as strong an affection for the second as the first?

As a number of ladies constantly honour this Society with their presence, the managers are happy in compliance with their requests, to introduce occasionally, such questions as more immediately interest the female heart. At the same time they embrace the hope that by a judicious treatment of these questions much rational entertainment will be produced, and the audience inspired with a right sense of social virtues-

"And Marriage be no more the jest of fools"

Audience voted a second love could not be as strong.'

Times/Gazetteer September 17

1377. September 22, 1788 Capel Court Debating Society

'Which is the most dangerous Member of Society, a Quack Doctor, a trading Justice, or a Methodist Preacher?'

Daily Advertiser September 20

1378. September 24, 1788 Westminster School of Eloquence, Panton street Haymarket

'Which is the greatest Object of Pity, the Man who is deceived by the Lady he loves, or he who is reduced to poverty by the treachery of a false Friend, or the Debtor deprived of his liberty by a merciless Creditor?'

The audience decided that the debtor was most to be pitied.

The World

1379. September 25, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Can an Advocate for the Slave Trade be justly deemed a real Friend to the Constitutional Liberties of this Country?

As the Exercise of Reason is the distinguishing characteristic of Man from the Brute Creation, so it is the duty of Rational Beings to lend an attentive ear to those who complain of "Man's Cruelty to Man". - In this Inquiry the Philosopher, the Orator and Politician have a theme on which their abilities may be honourably employed. It is to be hoped that gentlemen will speak with freedom, remembering that the invariable object of this Institution, is to cherish Genius, enlarge the Understanding, and

"To spread the Truth from Pole to Pole"

Question answered in the negative.'

The World

1380. September 29, 1788 Capel Court Debating Society

'Is it not a Duty incumbent on all Mankind to enter into the State of Wedlock?

The Importance of the above Subject does not cynically preclude the Sallies of Wit or Humour; elegant and forcible Reasoning, Jollity and Mirth, are equally deducible upon it. In short, its engaging Wit, as the handmaid to Virtue, inclined the Managers to give it that early Investigation.'

Daily Advertiser September 27

1381. October 1, 1788 Westminster School of Eloquence, Panton Street, Haymarket

'Is it possible for a Lady who has lost the Husband that was the object of her first Love, to entertain as strong an affection for the second as the first?

Several Ladies of great respectability have heard that the above question was debated at Coachmaker's Hall, being prevented from indulging their inclinations to be present at the Debate, solicited the Managers of this Institution to introduce it for public discussion.'

It was determined 'that the first impressions of Love were stronger'.

The World

1382. October 2, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'But every woman is at heart a Rake'

'Whether the above Sentiment of Mr. Pope's ought to be considered as a compliment to, or censure of the Female Sex?

Various are the opinions of the true meaning of the celebrated Poet, from whose works the above remarkable lines are selected; and as the moral character of the female sex is of the greatest importance, not only to their own happiness and honour, but to society at large, the above question will doubtless be considered by the public to merit a fair and free discussion.'

It was decided that Pope meant to censure the fair sex.

Times/Gazetteer October 1

1383. October 6, 1788 Capel Court Debates

'Whether a Lady, entertaining no tender Affection for a Lover (who attempted an Act of Suicide on her Refusal) would be justifiable in marrying him?

To make the Woes of others our own is the Duty of every intelligent Being. To determine the Line of Conduct to be pursued in such a critical Situation is an Employment worthy the Man of Sense and the Female of Susceptibility. As the Fair Sex are undoubtedly the most competent to investigate a Subject of this Nature, the Managers have prevailed with the Lady, to whose Exertions this Institution owes much of its Popularity to begin and conclude the Debate, a Debate which must interest every sympathetic feeling to bestow a Sigh on the Fate of an Hackman, a Werter, or an Elliott.'

Daily Advertiser October 4

1384. October 7, 1788 Daily Advertiser

'Religious Discourse. . . The Subject for this Week is "How are we to understand the Doctrine of the blessed Millennium, will it be before the general Conflagration, or upon the System of Dr. Burnet and others in the new Heavens and the new Earth?" A full description of this scriptural, rational and highly profitable Entertainment, containing the Rules. . . To the discerning and religious Part of Mankind it can be no unpleasing Intelligence that a Society is forming of liberal, learned and sensible Christians, whose sole view is to glorify God, disseminate divine Knowledge, and reconcile those seeming Differences among the Parties. This being their plan, they do not permit any Atheist, Deist, nor Socinian, nor any Wit disposed to ridicule Internal Religion and Christian Experience to confer among them, lest a greater Crop of Errors than of Bible Truths should be reaped in their Association. The long complained evil tendency of religious debating Societies being thus remedied, we hope our Conference will be of real utility. Ladies and Gentlemen having any intention to become Members will apply soon, as the Number is limited to 72.' Strangers, however, will be admitted.

1385. October 8, 1788 Westminster School of Eloquence

'Is it a duty incumbent on Children always to consult their Parents previous to Marriage?'

It was determined that 'children ought at all times to consult their Parents previous to Marriage.'

The World

1386. October 9, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Is the encrease of bankruptcies more to be imputed to luxury and extravagance, or to the decline of trade?'

Audience thought due more to luxury and extravagance.

Morning Chronicle October 16

1387. October 13, 1788 Capel Court Debates

'Is the Practice of foretelling future Events (commonly called Fortune-Telling) founded on Truth, or authorized by Religion?

At the desire of several Professors of the Art, who have promised to vindicate and explain its Principles' the above Question is proposed. 'If we may venture to predict on this Subject, we perceive much Mirth and Entertainment in a Conjunction; Wit will be the Lord of the Ascendant; Reason may afford a benign Aspect, and several Luminaries of the first Magnitude will rise to the Occasion.'

Daily Advertiser October 11

1388. October 13, 1788 A CARD To the Conductors of the Westminster Forum

'Several Friends to rational Entertainment having called at Spring Gardens to know when this institution would open for the season, were informed that it is to be removed to the Great Room (late Patterson's) King-Street, Covent-Garden, and to be opened for public debate next Wednesday Evening. This is certainly a more central part of the city of Westminster, and consequently an accommodation to many who make this Society their favourite place of amusement. They beg to hint also, that as the melancholy encrease of female prostitution, must interest the feelings of every compassionate bosom, a question, enquiring into the cause of so much beauty being consigned to infamy and public contamination, would be a subject on which the orator might speak with laudable animation, as it involves an evil, which it is the duty and interest of every community to attempt to remedy, in order to which, it is necessary to explore the cause from whence it proceeds.'

The World

1389. October 15,1788 Westminster Forum for Free Debate (Removed from Spring Gardens, Charing Cross, to the Great Room, King-street, Covent Garden)

'Is the Prevalence of Female Prostitution more to be imputed to the Treachery and Falsehood of the Male Sex; or to the Misconduct of Parents, in giving their Daughters an improper Education?

Encouraged by the flattering approbation of numerous respectable friends, the Conductors are determined to spare no pains to render this Institution the most rational and instructive of any that can engage the attention of an enlightened public. Care will be taken to preserve the strictest order; and every Gentleman desirous of cultivating the art of Public Speaking, may rest assured of meeting in this Society with the most liberal support. The subjects for debate will be miscellaneous; but none will be admitted, which have not a probable tendency to inspire a love of our country; to represent Virtue in the most engaging dress, and Vice in the most odious colours; to delight while they reform; eradicate pernicious errors, and warm the heart with benevolence.'

Morning Post

1390. October 15, 1788 Westminster School of Eloquence

'Do Mankind in general exercise their Fancy or Judgment most, in the Choice of a Wife?

The Managers beg leave to inform the Public, that the disturbance which took place last Wednesday Evening, was intirely owing to the malevolence and illiberality of an individual, who will never in future be permitted to have any connexion with any Society to which they belong.'

It was decided 'that Mankind consult their judgment rather than their fancy, in choice of a Wife'.

The World

1391. October 16, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Whether the great number of Old Maids may be mostly imputed to a disappointment in love, to the treachery of the male sex, or to any peculiarity in their own temper and disposition?

The Lady who favoured the Managers with the above question has informed them she belongs to a Club of female literatae, some of the Members of which constantly attend Coachmakers Hall on all questions of a moral, sentimental or philosophical nature. She adds, that as the banishment of prejudice, and the improvement of the mind, are the sole objects of the sisterhood, they are desirous of receiving some information on the above question, being one which for some time has engaged their attention.'

The audience attributed the generality of old maids to a disappointment in Love.

Morning Chronicle October 16/Daily Advertiser October 23

1392. October 20, 1788 Capel Court Debates

'Can a Man who really loves a Female deliberately seduce her?

Were the Ladies convinced of this important Truth, That the Seducer cannot really love, "So many of the Sex would not in vain, of broken Vows, and faithless Men complain." The philanthropist, the Moralist, and the Man of Genius will on this Subject have the happy Opportunity of affixing an indelible Impression of Virtue on the female Mind, which Accident can never impair, nor Artifice obliterate.'

Daily Advertiser October 18

1393. October 21, 1788 Christian Areopagus

'Whether the Rev. Mr. Huntington in preaching the rigid Decrees of Election, or the Rev. Mr. Winchester in insisting on the Doctrine of Universal Salvation, approaches nearer the true Character of a Gospel Minister?

The above Question will undergo a fair and free Debate. . . The Doctrines of these popular Preachers being considered by their respective Followers as unanswerable, though totally contradictory to each other, several Gentlemen who profess themselves sincere Enquirers after Truth have requested the Managers to bring forward the Question, it being a subject in which every Christian is immediately concerned.'

Daily Advertiser October 20

1394. October 22, 1788 Christian Conference

'What are we to think of particular and universal Redemption, which is most scriptural and rational, or are both so?'

Daily Advertiser October 21

1395. October 22, 1788 Westminster Forum

'Were a General Election to take place, would the Independent Electors of Westminster prove themselves Friends to the Constitutional Liberties of this Country, by re-electing Mr. FOX, and rejecting LORD HOOD?

An eminent Political Character, a Patron of Liberty, and of this Institution, is the author of the above Question. Its importance must unquestionably be felt. Mr. Fox is charged by many with having, in several instances, and particularly in the late Westminster Election, made an attack on the essence of the Constitution, of which he has professed himself the zealous Guardian; while on the other hand his conduct is said by others to entitle him to live in the warmest applause of every Friend to Freedom and Britain.'

The World

1396. October 22, 1788 Westminster School of Eloquence

'Is it justifiable for a Man to fight a Duel with the Seducer of his Daughter, or Sister, or in vindication of the honour of the Lady he loves?'

The World

1397. October 23, 1788 Coachmakers hall

'Does it not reflect Disgrace upon a People who boast of being free to preclude any of their Fellow Subjects from an equal Participation of Liberty on Account of their religious Principles?

The celebrated Dr. Price has maintained, that all Civil Establishments of Religion ought to be considered as "Boundaries placed by human Folly to human Investigation"; and that no free Country can without the Imputation of Injustice deprive a Subject of any part of his Liberty on Account of his religious Sentiments. Several other Learned Divines and Politicians having on the contrary contended, that the Roman Catholicks and some other Sectaries cannot, consistently with the Safety of a free State, be allowed an equal Share of Liberty with others.'

Daily Advertiser

1398. October 27, 1788 Free Debate, Capel Court

'Which is the greater Virtue, Sincerity in Friendship or Constancy in Love?

Impressed with a grateful Sense of that publick Patronage with which the Capel Court Debates have been honoured, the Conductors pledge themselves to select such Questions as join publick Utility and moral Improvement to rational Delight; no Indulgence will be withheld from young Gentlemen who wish to acquire the Habit of publick Speaking, and every Effort will be . . . to render the Utility of the Society equal to it Popularity.'

Times October 25

1399. October 28, 1788 Christian Areopagus

'Whether the Rev. Mr. Huntington in preaching the rigid Decrees of Election, or the Rev. Mr. Winchester in insisting on the Doctrine of Universal Salvation, approaches nearer the true Character of a Gospel Minister?'

Daily Advertiser October 27

1400. October 29, 1788 Christian Conference

'What are we to think of particular and universal Redemption, which is most scriptural and rational, or are both so?'

Daily Advertiser October 28

1401. October 29, 1788 Times

'It is a disgrace to the modesty of the sex, to see a woman debating a question among a parcel of idle apprentice boys, at a Sixpenny Assemblage, in so well regulated a city as that of London. The Lord Mayor should look to this matter, which certainly ought not to have permission, and thus under his very eye set his authority at defiance. The debating ladies would be much better employed at their needle and thread, a good sempstress being a more amiable character than a female orator. A dissertation on Mantua-Making, if the ladies are to speak in public, must be of greater benefit than a dispute about Sincerity in Friendship, Constancy in Love - Charlotte's ideal grief, Werter's romancing tomb - Albert's mock matrimony.

1402. October 29, 1788 Westminster Forum

'Were a General Election to take place, would the Independent Electors of Westminster prove themselves Friends to the Constitutional Liberties of this Country, by re-electing Mr. FOX, and rejecting LORD HOOD?

An eminent Political Character, a Patron of Liberty, and of this Institution, is the author of the above Question. Its importance must unquestionably be felt. Mr. Fox is charged by many with having, in several instances, and particularly in the late Westminster Election, made an attack on the essence of the Constitution, of which he has professed himself the zealous Guardian; while on the other hand his conduct is said by others to entitle him to live in the warmest applause of every Friend to Freedom and Britain.'

The World

1403. October 29, 1788 Westminster School of Eloquence

'Is it justifiable for a Man to fight a Duel with the Seducer of his Daughter, or Sister, or in vindication of the honour of the Lady he loves?'

Decided that a man was justified in fighting such a duel.

The World

1404. October 30, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Does it not reflect Disgrace upon a People who boast of being free to preclude any of their Fellow Subjects from an equal Participation of Liberty on Account of their religious Sentiments?

The Mind of Man cannot be better employed than in the Discovery of Truth; free Debate tends to this noble Purpose, and is one of the Privileges of the British Nation.'

Daily Advertiser October 29

1405. November 3, 1788 Capel Court Debates

'Which is the greater Virtue, Sincerity in Friendship or Constancy in Love?'

Daily Advertiser November 1

1406. November 4, 1788 Christian Areopagus, Kings Arms Tavern, Grafton Street Soho

'Whether the Rev. Mr. Huntington in preaching the rigid Decrees of Election, or the Rev. Mr. Winchester in insisting on the Doctrine of Universal Salvation, approaches nearer the true Character of a Gospel Ministry?'

Debate terminated in favour of Mr. Huntington.

Daily Advertiser November 3

1407. November 5, 1788 Westminster Forum for Free Debate, King Street Covent Garden

'Does the Conduct of the Administration or the Opposition approach nearer to Revolutionary Principles?'

Decision favoured Administration.

Morning Post November 11

1408. November 5, 1788 Christian Conference, Blossom Street Chapel, Norton Falgate

'Is it possible to reconcile our Calvinist and Arminian Brethren? or may Election and the Perseverance of the Saints be made scripturally and reasonably to harmonize with the freedom of the Will and general Redemption?'

Admission in the Body of the chapel 6d. Outside the bars 2d.

Daily Advertiser November 4

1409. November 5, 1788 Westminster School of Eloquence

'Are we more indebted for our Liberties to the Revolution or to the Barons for obtaining Magna Carta?'

More indebted for our liberties to the Revolution.

Daily Advertiser November 11

1410. November 6, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Does it not reflect Disgrace upon a People who boast of being free to preclude any of their Fellow Subjects from an equal Participation of Liberty on Account of their Religious Sentiments?'

Audience decided 'against the policy of granting every denomination of Christian an equal participation of Civil Liberty'.

Daily Advertiser November 5/The World

1411. November 10, 1788 Capel Court Debates

'Is Mr. Pope's Assertion true, That Every Woman is at Heart a Rake?

It is the Aim of the Conductors of these Debates to present the Publick with original Questions; but at the Solicitation of many Ladies, who wished to hear one of their own Sex defend them against the Sarcasm of the above celebrated Writer, they have dispensed with the Observance of their usual Custom.'

Daily Advertiser November 8

1412. November 11, 1788 Christian Areopagus

'Does Reason or Revelation countenance a Belief in the Appearance of Ghosts and Apparitions?'

Daily Advertiser November 10

1413. November 12, 1788 Christian Conference

'Is it possible to reconcile our Calvinist and Arminian Brethren, or may Election and the Perseverance of the Saints be made scripturally and reasonably to harmonize with the Freedom of the Will and universal Redemption?'

Daily Advertiser November 11

1414. November 12, 1788 Westminster Forum

SEDUCTION - ROWE'S FAIR PENITENT

'I swear I could not see the lovely false betrayer
Kneel at my feet, and sigh to be forgiven,
But my relenting heart would pardon all,
And quite forget 'twas he that had undone me.'

'Are the above lines expressive of the real feelings of the Female Heart under the misfortune of Seduction?

This question was received from a lady no less celebrated for her exalted rank, than her splendid abilities and distinguished patriotism.'

Morning Post November 11

1415. November 12, 1788 Westminster School of Eloquence

'Which is the greater Cause of Matrimonial Infelicity, the Neglect of Dress and Behaviour in the Wife, or the Want of Respect and Attention in the Husband?'

Daily Advertiser November 11

1416. November 13, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Is it not a Principal Cause of Conjugal Unhappiness that Gentlemen pay more Respect to the Ladies when in Courtship than after Marriage? Whatever has a tendency to explore the sources of matrimonial infelicity must be of concern to the public in general. To a cause of conjugal misery, the late death of an amiable young Lady has been attributed, to whom the words of an elegant Poet are justly applicable:

Soft as the Balm the gentle gale distills,
Sweet as the fragrance of the new mown Hills,
Her opening Mind a thousand charms reveal'd,
Proof of those thousand that were still conceal'd.'

Question determined in the negative.

The World

1417. November 17, 1788 Times

'To the Editor of the TIMES

Sir,

The following question being advertised in to-day's Paper, to be debated to-morrow evening in Capel-Court, Bartholomew Lane, I have suggested a few thoughts upon it, which, if you think worthy notice, you will please to insert, "Which is the most calculated to promote licentiousness, the desperate doctrine of predestination, propagated by the Calvinistic Methodists; the sale of indulgencies in the Church of Rome; or the system of universal salvation, maintained by the Rev. Mr. Winchester?"

I consider the question as founded on three different principles, calculated to establish an assurance of future happiness, or certain eventual fate; but as they operate differently, our present enquiry is, which has the greatest tendency to promote licentiousness. Admitting mankind to be equally well informed, I can perceive no difference in the consequences of the positions; for the ultimatum of each, being irrevocably fixed, gives the fullest latitude to the gratification of vicious propensities: but to view their operations on the minds of the ignorant, who are seldom disposed to think; that, which strikes them in the most plain, easy, and forcible manner, will certainly have the greatest influence. As being told therefore, in plain terms, they shall be saved, is evidently calculated to make the strongest impression: the doctrine of "general salvation", appears to be the most fertile soil for licentiousness.

I cannot help expressing my concern to find clergymen interesting themselves in the disquisition of religious topics, in these debating societies, for of all the dangerous systems that may be adopted, none can be more truly calculated to promote licentiousness and irreligion.

R.'

1418. November 17, 1788 Capel Court Debates

'Which is most calculated to promote Licentiousness, the desperate Doctrine of Predestination, propagated by the Calvinistic Methodists, the sale of Indulgencies in the Church of Rome, or the System of Universal Salvation maintained by the Rev. Mr. Winchester?

To ascertain the truth or fallacy of the novel Doctrine of the above popular Preacher is an Office which must deeply interest every Believer in the Christian Religion. The Pious and well-disposed of all Persuasions are hereby invited to decide upon a Subject the most awfully important ever submitted to public consideration.'

Daily Advertiser November 15

1419. November 18, 1788 Christian Areopagus

'Do Reason or Revelation countenance a Belief in the Appearance of Ghosts and Apparitions?'

Daily Advertiser November 17

1420. November 19, 1788 Westminster School of Eloquence

'Is not the present State of this Country an incontestible Proof that Mr. Pitt better deserves the Support and Confidence of the People than any of his Competitors or Predecessors in Office?'

Daily Advertiser November 18

1421. November 19, 1788 Westminster Forum

'Would it not reflect honour on the Bench of Bishops, to use their efforts for the suppression of Field Preaching, and limit the number of Methodistical Chapels?

The Managers agree with the learned proposer . . . that a public investigation of subjects like these, may tend to tear in pieces the mask of hypocrisy; elucidate truths the most important; and display true Religion in its nature, grandeur and Divine Majesty.'

The World

1422. November 20, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Which is the most predominant in the mind of man, the Love of Life, the Love of Liberty, or the Love of the Fair Sex?'

Morning Chronicle November 27

1423. November 24, 1788 Capel Court Society

'Which is most calculated to promote Licentiousness, the desperate Doctrine of Predestination, propagated by the Calvinistic Methodists, the sale of Indulgencies in the Church of Rome, or the System of Universal Salvation maintained by the Rev. Mr. Winchester?'

Daily Advertiser November 22

1424. November 25, 1788 Christian Areopagus, Great Room, King's Arms Tavern, Grafton Street, Soho

'Whether the Rev. Mr. Lindsey, and the other Ministers who deny the Divinity of Christ, have not departed more from genuine Christianity than either the Roman Catholicks or Antinomians?'

Daily Advertiser November 17

1425. November 26, 1788 Christian Conference

'Amongst the different sects of Christians which has most truth and least errors?'

Daily Advertiser November 25

1426. November 27, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Which is the most predominant in the mind of man, the Love of Life, the Love of Liberty, or the Love of the Fair Sex?'

Audience determined in favour of the love of the fair sex.

Morning Chronicle November 27

1427. November 27, 1788 Times

'The Debating Societies will shortly undergo the same interdiction as the Sunday sacred music six-penny meetings - to the great grief or idle apprentices and industrious pickpockets - a new room is opened, contrary to an express act of Parliament, near Soho Square, for disputing on religion, and inculcating atheistical principles, against the true establishment of christianity. This practice it is trusted will be immediately stopped, and the hearers as well as the speakers, committed by the Magistrates in that division of Westminster. Indeed the Ecclesiastical Court should take up this matter, as religion is now the question at most of these societies of debate.'

1428. November 28, 1788 Capel Court Society

'Would a Plurality of Wives, as allowed by the Rev. Mr. Madan in his Thelyphtora, be more productive of Confusion or real Advantage to Society?'

Daily Advertiser November 22

1429. November 28, 1788 Times

'We must again notice, that, of all matters, religion is a subject which should not be made the sport of idle prentice boys and scripture madmen in a debating society. The Magistrates are therefore reminded, it is their duty to put a total stop to those nuisances by a public notice, interdicting such idle assemblages.'

1430. December 1, 1788 Capel Court Society

'Was not Charlotte censurable for admitting the Visits of Werter after she was the Wife of Albert?'

Daily Advertiser November 22

1431. December 2, 1788 Christian Areopagus

'Whether the Rev. Mr. Lindsey, and the other Ministers who deny the Divinity of Christ, have not departed more from genuine Christianity than either the Roman Catholicks or Antinomians?'

Daily Advertiser

1432. December 3, 1788 Christian Conference

'If none can be Saved without the Knowledge of the Truth, what will become of those who never heard of the Truth?'

Daily Advertiser December 2

1433. December 3, 1788 Westminster Forum, King Street Covent Garden

'Should any event displace the present Administration, and fix the leaders of opposition in the seat of power, would it be advantageous or injurious to the welfare of this country?

Were the managers permitted publicly to announce the name of the author of this question (who is expected to speak on it), public curiosity would indeed be highly stimulated. They, however, should hold themselves inexcusable not to throw out some hint, that the lovers of debate may not, through a want of information be disappointed of hearing perhaps one of the first orations ever expected in a society of this nature.'

Morning Post.

1434. December 4, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Are the Fair Sex capable of acquiring as much Wisdom and Knowledge as the Male?

As it is the object of this Society to mingle entertainment with mental improvement, and to draw the minds of both sexes from fashionable follies and pernicious pleasures to the salutary pursuit of wisdom and the chaste delights of virtue. Questions are proposed to suit the various tastes of the multitude, in order that they may be induced by degrees, to prefer, and at length reap the benefits of a rational place of amusement.'

The audience decided that the female sex were not as capable of acquiring so much wisdom and knowledge as the male.

Morning Chronicle December 3

1435 December 8, 1788 Capel Court Society

'Is it not a Violation of the boasted Liberties of Great Britain to tolerate Slaving in any part of her Dominions?'

Advertisement talks of 'the Arcana of this inhuman Traffick'.

Daily Advertiser December 6

1436. December 8, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Whether the Doctrine maintained by Mr. Fox in the House of Commons, respecting the Regency, justified Mr. Pitt in charging him with speaking little less than Treason against the Constitution of this Country?

In the Decision of this Question, every Man who has a Regard for the Constitution, to which he owes the Privileges of a Briton, must feel himself intimately concerned. A fair and free Debate upon Subjects which involve the dearest Rights of a free People cannot be held in a Place more eligible than a popular Institution, situated in the Heart of the Capital, in the Presence of an Assembly of Citizens, whose Judgment, and whose Interest upon the Event of every political Discussion, plead the Propriety of introducing the above Question at the Present important Crisis.'

Daily Advertiser

1437. December 10, 1788 Christian Conference

'What is the true Characteristick of a Christian?

Admission Inside the Bar 6d. where each Gentleman may introduce a Wife, Daughter, or Sister gratis.'

Daily Advertiser December 9

1438. December 10, 1788 Westminster Forum, Removed from Spring Gardens to King Street, Covent Garden

'Which would have the greater tendency to maintain the honour and advantage of this Country - a conjunct, or individual Regency?'

Morning Post

1439December 11, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Whether the great Extent and Grandeur of the Metropolis is not a Proof of the Increase of Luxury, and injurious to the national Prosperity?

A Petition has been presented to the Managers by a Number of Poor but intelligent Peasants, complaining of the Injury to Agriculture by the Number of new Buildings about every Part of this Capital, and praying that the above Question may be publickly debated. . . As some of the brightest Ornaments of the Law and the Senate have acknowledged their Obligations to this popular Institution, many Gentlemen of distinguished Rank and Abilities are expected to attend on this Occasion.'

The majority declared 'that the increase of the Metropolis was not injurious to national prosperity'.

Times December 10/The World December 12

1440. December 15, 1788 Capel Court Debates

'Which manifested himself the true Friend of the Constitution, Mr. Fox in asserting, That the Prince of Wales has a positive Claim to the Executive Power, as a Regent; or Mr. Pitt in maintaining, That his Royal Highness possesses no more Right to that Office than any other Subject?'

Daily Advertiser December 13

1441. December 17, 1788 Westminster Forum

'Which is more constitutional, the assertion of Mr. Fox, The Prince of Wales has the same right to the exercise of regal power as if his Majesty were really dead; or that of Mr. Pitt - His Royal Highness has no more right to such power than any subject within the realm?

Free Debate is one of the valuable privileges of the British constitution. To collect the public opinion upon subjects of the last importance, is the duty of those who conduct societies of this nature, the Managers have, therefore, in this crisis, submitted the above enquiry to the consideration of that Public, whose dearest interests are connected with its discussion.'

Morning Post

1442. December 18, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Whether the Doctrine maintained by Mr. Fox in the House of Commons, respecting the Regency, justified Mr. Pitt in charging him with speaking little less than Treason against the Constitution of this Country?'

Daily Advertiser December 17

1443. December 22, 1788 Capel Court Debates

'Should the Prince of Wales be appointed Regent, would his Royal Highness more essentially promote the Interests of this Nation by retaining Mr. Pitt as Prime Minister, or dismissing him from the Public Service?'

Daily Advertiser December 20

1444. December 23, 1788 Coachmakers Hall

'Whether the Doctrine maintained by Mr. Fox in the House of Commons, respecting the Regency, justified Mr. Pitt in charging him with little less than Treason to the Constitution of this Country?'

Question determined in favour of Mr. Pitt.

Daily Advertiser

1445. December 24, 1788 Westminster Forum

'In the present critical situation of affairs, would Mr. Pitt, by forming a junction with Mr. Fox, attach to his character any of that particular odium which the enemies of Mr. Fox attribute to him for his coalition with Lord North?

From the well-known powers of humour possessed by some gentlemen who have promised to attend the debate, much keen satire and ironical remarks may be expected; at the same time the subject by no means precludes the Patriot, the Orator, and the Man of Genius from displaying the advantages that may probably result to this country from so conciliatory a measure.'

Morning Post

1446. December 29, 1788 Capel Court Debates

'Is it not an Instance of great Partiality, inconsistency, and Injustice, in the Free Masons, to exclude the Fair Sex from a Knowledge of their Secret?'

Question decided in favour of Free Masonry.

Daily Advertiser December 27

1447 December 31, 1788 Westminster Forum

'Which is the wiser Man - he who marries, or he who remains single? The alarming situation of public affairs having lately engrossed the attention of this Society, the Managers trust any apology for deferring questions of a more entertaining, though less important nature, is altogether unnecessary.'

Morning Post