London debates: 1797

London Debating Societies: 1776-1799. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1994.

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'London debates: 1797', in London Debating Societies: 1776-1799, ed. Donna T Andrew( London, 1994), British History Online [accessed 16 July 2024].

'London debates: 1797', in London Debating Societies: 1776-1799. Edited by Donna T Andrew( London, 1994), British History Online, accessed July 16, 2024,

"London debates: 1797". London Debating Societies: 1776-1799. Ed. Donna T Andrew(London, 1994), , British History Online. Web. 16 July 2024.

2018. January 3, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Is there any real Foundation for a Belief in the Devil?'

Several gentlemen have promised to support 'the opinion of the great and pious Dr. Fleming, in his "Discourse on the non-entity of Satan"

To these we must subjoin a communication indeed of an extraordinary measure: An elderly Lady, in an Epistle dated from "Walnut-tree Walk" declares she has frequently seen, conversed with, and been tempted by the Devil.

Nothing impious, nothing prophane, a reverence to Deity, and a proper regard to his constituted authorities pervaded the whole discussion.'

Morning Chronicle

2019. January 5, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Is there a real foundation for a belief in the Devil?'

Question went in the affirmative.

Morning Herald January 12

2020. January 9, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Do the Shakespearean Manuscripts, the Play of Vortigern and Rowena, and the Apology of Mr. Ireland, Jun., exhibit stronger Proofs of Authenticity, flagrant Imposition, or the Credulity of Persons of Genius?'

Morning Chronicle

2021. January 12, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Ought not the generous conduct of the Emperor of Russia towards the Polish General Kosciusko to serve as an incitement to the Emperor of Germany to liberate the unfortunate LA FAYETTE?

Impressed with the vast importance of this Question, the Managers commit it to the public discretion and the abilities of the Gentlemen who support the Westminster Forum, with the following simple remark:

This being one of the few public themes which the Society can with safety discuss, it is hoped no Gentlemen will attempt to advert to the Government of this country, but argue the subject on the broad base of universal benevolence and individual justice.'

Morning Herald

2022. January 16, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Is it probable that any departed Spirit ever visited, or conversed with a Mortal?

The above Question arises out of a subject on which the Religious and Philosophical World have long been alike divided. In this Society it must receive the most ample investigation, from the number of Clerical and Literary Gentlemen by whom the institution is patronized. Many strange stories have been propagated concerning Apparitions, the Managers thus publicly declare, that they shall feel themselves gratified by the attendance of any person who can positively declare to the Audience, that they have either seen or conversed with a departed Spirit. Indeed this theme, of all others, comes nearest to the human feelings; the state of Man, after death, opens the most rational and important enquiry to which we can devote our time and attention.'

Morning Chronicle

2023. January 19, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Is there any real foundation for a belief in the Devil?

The Managers of this Society thought, after the Debate which ensued on the above subject, they had dismissed it with credit to themselves, and honour to the various Reverend, Literary, and respectable characters who took part in the contest: But the decision having been much arraigned, they have (to evince their impartiality) once more appointed it for Public Debate. . . No Political Remarks permitted.'

Morning Herald

2024. January 23, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Ought not every Seducer of Virgin Innocence to be compelled to marry the unfortunate victim of his Treachery?

The Debate will, doubtless, be an affecting lesson of moral instruction; we were forcibly struck with the Gentleman's melancholy Epistle in which the Question was enclosed: Three Daughters, and each the unfortunate Victim of Seduction! - Well might the Gentleman conceive the remedy offered in the above enquiry; parental anguish is visible in every line of the letter; of the efficacy, however, of the remedy, the Debate must be the Criterion.'

Morning Chronicle

2025. January 26, 1797 Westminster Forum

'Ought not every Seducer of Virgin Innocence to be compelled to marry the unfortunate victim of his Treachery?'

Morning Chronicle

2026. January 30, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Does not Mr. Paine deserve the reprobation of every Friend of Liberty and Humanity, for his recent attack on the Character of General Washington?

The Adjournment of this most important Question was moved . . . by Mr. J. Gale Jones. . . It was carried with universal approbation, by an audience consisting of upwards of five hundred persons, among whom the Managers had the honour of perceiving several Noblemen, Magistrates, and Gentlemen of the first respectability in the Country. . . No political remarks pertaining to this Country permitted.'

Morning Herald February 2

2027. January 30, 1797 London Forum, Fleet Street, near Fetter lane A Lady's Question concerning Love and Apparitions.

'Is the assertion of a celebrated author true, - That mutual love between man and wife is like apparitions, talked of by all, but perceived and felt by none?'

Morning Chronicle

2028. February 2, 1797 Westminster Forum

'Does not Mr. Paine deserve the Reprobation of every Friend of Liberty and Humanity, for his recent attack on the Character of General Washington?'

Morning Herald

2029. February 6, 1797 Westminster Forum

'Does not Mr. Paine deserve the Censure of every Friend of Liberty and Humanity, for his recent Attack on the Character of General Washington?

At the particular request of Mr. J. Jones (whose splendid exertions last Thursday Evening in the defence of General Washington will be remembered as long as the Westminster Forum shall remain a Literary Institution) an Amendment was moved on the terms of the question.

That Gentleman submitted the word "Censure" for "Reprobation".

It was decided that Mr. Paine deserves censure for his attacks on General Washington.'

Morning Chronicle

2030. February 9, 1797 Westminster Forum

Another of Robespierre's Murders

'Supposing a Mariner ship-wrecked, with his Mother, Wife, and Child; having Time and Power to save only one of the three, which ought to be the object of his protection?

A French Emigrant of distinction was lately in the company of several Ladies, relating the circumstance of one of his countrymen (whose father was guillotined under the Tyranny of Robespierre) escaping to sea in an open boat, with his Mother, Wife and Child; the melancholy result of which was, that he saved only the Child, and lost the Mother and Wife in the devouring element. - The conversation turned on which of these tender ties ought the unhappy man to have bestowed his Protection? - The dispute was ultimately submitted by the Ladies to the Managers of the Westminster Forum. - Proud to oblige . . . in reviving an enquiry penned by so great a man as Mr. Toplady.'

Morning Chronicle

2031. February 13, 1797 Westminster Forum

'On an Impartial Review of the Public Conduct and Writings of Thomas Paine, ought he to be considered the Friend and Reformer of Mankind or the artful Incendiary, bent on disturbing the Peace of Nations?

For further particulars the Public are referred to the Bills of the Society, posted about various parts in this Metropolis.'

Morning Chronicle

2032 February 13, 1797 London Forum

'Which is the greatest Nuisance to Society - Knavish Attornies, Quack Doctors, or Insurance Lottery-Office-Keepers?'

Morning Chronicle

2033 February 16, 1797 Westminster Forum


'On an Impartial Review of the Public Conduct and Writings of Thomas Paine, ought he to be considered the Friend and Reformer of Mankind or the artful Incendiary, bent on disturbing the Peace of Nations?' Morning Chronicle

2034. February 20, 1797 London Forum


'Is Hell to be considered as a Place of Eternal Corporal Punishment a Purgatory to Expiate Sin - or the Remorse of a Guilty Conscience?

N.B. In this Society may be had a new Publication, called A Defence of Itinerant Preachers.'

Morning Chronicle February 18

2035 February 20, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Which Qualification most effectually secures to a man the approbation and love of the Fair Sex, Wit, Courage, or Politeness?'

Morning Chronicle

2036 February 23, 1797 Westminster Forum


The Publication announced this Day, under the title of "A General and Introductory View of Professor KANT'S Principles concerning Man, the World, and the Deity" has occasioned the following Question. . .

"Was Man originally created a free and accountable Agent; or the Child of an inevitable Necessity?"

Mr. Nitsch, the Author of the above Work, who has lectured on Kant's principles several times in London, and whose party maintains the Freedom of Human Volition, is expected to be present.'

Morning Herald February 21

2037. February 27, 1797 London Forum


'Which of the following Characters is likely to be most admired by posterity for genius, talents, and virtue, Mr. Fox, Mr. Burke, or Mr. Erskine, the English Barrister?'

Morning Chronicle February 25

2038. February 27, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Was Jephta a justifiable or condemnable character, for sacrificing his Daughter according to his rash vow?'

Morning Chronicle

2039. March 2, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Which of the three prevailing Follies of the Human Mind is most deserving Censure, the Pride of Ancestry; the Arrogance of Wealth; or the Ostentation of Learning?'

Morning Chronicle

2040. March 6, 1797 Westminster Forum

His Holiness the POPE

'Does not the present situation of affairs in Italy confirm the opinions of the late Rev. Mr. Romaine, Archbishop Tillotson, Messrs. Whitfield, Wesley, and the numerous Protestant Divines, who have asserted that the Pope is Anti-Christ, and that the destruction of his power would be accomplished in the 18th Century?

Perhaps at this very moment, the Republican General is thundering at the gates of Rome. - Perhaps the mortal, whose long train of predecessors have impiously assumed the attributes of the most high - cantoned out the Kingdoms of the Globe - formally pronounced the curse of God on every Protestant Prince in Europe, and laid every inch of ground in this our Island, under the malediction of Heaven - may (with all his infallibility) be reduced to seek an asylum, even in this "Land of Heretics!!!" '

Morning Chronicle

2041. March 9, 1797 School of Eloquence, Old Change, Cheapside

'Which is most commendable, Industry in the Poor, or Benevolence in the Rich?'

Produce of the sale of tickets, one shilling each, to be applied to the Society for the Relief and Discharge of Persons imprisoned for Small Debts.

T.C. Andrews, secretary.

Morning Chronicle March 3

2042. March 9, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Is not the Seducer of a Married Lady's Affections from her Husband as great a Criminal as the Common Robber; and were not those States justifiable which punished the crime with Death?'

Morning Chronicle

2043. March 13, 1797 Westminster Forum

'Mr. PAINE'S NEW PAMPHLET - How to make all the POOR happy without injuring the RICH'

'Would not the plan proposed by Mr. Paine to the French Nation in his last new pamphlet called "Agrarian Justice" effectually eradicate the evils of Poverty - prevent, in a great measure, the Commission of Crimes - and alleviate the Distress of Old Age and Infirmity?

The following is the general outline of Mr. Paine's Plan: - To create a National Fund, by a levy of 10 per cent, on all property, at the death of its possessor. - To pay every person now living of the age of 21 years the sum of 15l. sterling, to enable him or her to begin the world - And also 10l. sterling per annum, during life, to every person now living, of the age of 50 years, and to all others when they shall arrive at that age, to enable them to live in Old Age without Wretchedness and to go decently out of the world.'

Morning Chronicle

2044. March 15, 1797 Westminster Forum

'Is virtue (in this World) its own reward, and vice its own punishment?

The Managers have deviated from their usual evening, to accommodate Mr. Jones with the Room for his Oration on Thursday.'

Morning Chronicle

2045. March 20, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Is it probable, that any departed Spirit ever appeared to, or conversed with, a Mortal?'

Morning Chronicle

2046. March 23, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Is the Argument on which the Deists deny the Christian Religion founded on rational and solid grounds, because, for the Transgression of Adam, they cannot, by the principles of common justice, account for the propriety of the atonement of an innocent being, whose whole life was one continued exercise of piety, humility, and universal benevolence?'

Morning Chronicle

2047. March 27, 1797 Westminster Forum

FARO LADIES - St. James's and St. Giles's

'Which is the greater plague to her Husband, and disgrace of her Sex, the untamed Scold of St. Giles, or the fashionable Female Gamester of St. James's?'

Morning Chronicle

2048. March 30, 1797 Westminster Forum

'Is it probable, that any departed Spirit ever appeared to, or conversed with, a Mortal?'

Morning Herald

2049. April 3, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Which will, in the present times, most effectually secure an Husband to the Lady who wants one, the Possession of Beauty, Riches, or Understanding?'

Morning Chronicle

2050. April 6, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Which of the following Royal Sufferers is more entitled to the Pity of Mankind, Mary of Scotland, or Antoinette Queen of France?

An attempt has been made by certain individuals of this parish to stop the meetings of the Westminster Forum, by sueing for penalties under the Sedition Acts. For this purpose (and that in more than one instance!) no less than FOUR actions have been served on the same person. We suppose the number of Writs issued and intended to be issued will amount to upwards of FORTY!!! Under these circumstances (so VERY HONOURABLE to those who have produced them!) the Managers are not deterred by the contrived weight of expence from asserting their legal and constitutional Rights: - they will appeal to the Laws of their Country for protection; and they trust to the magnanimity of Englishmen to support them in that application. Obedience to laws, but a steady, a determined assertion of Rights has been the uniform course of Direction which they have pursued, and by which they intend to abide.'

Morning Chronicle

2051. April 10, 1797 London Forum


'Which is more Repugnant to Truth and Experience, the Doctrine of Mahomet, that Women have no Souls, or the Opinion of Mrs. Woolstonecraft, that they possess Mental Endowments equal, if not superior, to Men?

A Young Lady, who declares she will give her hand to no man who will not declare he believes the Understandings of Women to be equal to those of Men, sent the above Question to the Managers.'

Morning Chronicle April 8

2052. April 10, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Ought not the Interference of the Select Vestry of St. James Parish with the Moral, Literary, and Philosophical Discussions of the Westminster Forum (which are in no case restricted by the late Acts of Parliament) together with the general Conduct of Select Vestries, to operate as a warning to all open Parishes how they permit Select Vestries to be established among them?

With a thorough Conviction of the legality of their Institution, and firm reliance on the support of their Countrymen, the Managers of the Westminster Forum make a most solemn Appeal to the Public. - Their reverence of the British Constitution has been evinced by their uniform obedience to all its Laws. - Venerating, as they do the person of the Sovereign, there is no sedition in publicly expressing their abhorrence and contempt of the Petty Tyrants of a Parish. They will expose them to the utmost of their power. - To preserve the Peace, and protect the Constitution, they would hazard their lives; but there certainly can be no crime in "stirring up hatred and contempt" of gluttony, gormandizing, and oppression. - The Independent Inhabitants of every Parish (and St. James's in particular) are requested to attend.'

Morning Herald

2053. April 13, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Which Character is more injurious to Society, the Spendthrift or the Miser?

An "History of the enormities of Select Vestries" is preparing for the Press, and will shortly be published.'

Morning Chronicle

2054. April 15, 1797 London Forum

WOMAN - What is she?

'Which is more repugnant to truth and experience, the doctrine of Mahomet, that Women have no Souls - or the Opinion of Mrs. Woolstonecraft, That they possess mental endowments equal, if not superior, to men?'

Morning Chronicle

2055. April 17, 1797 London Forum

'Can Jealousy exist without true Love?'

Morning Chronicle April 15

2056. April 17, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Ought not the interference of the Select Vestry of St. James's Parish with the Moral, Literary, and Philosophical Discussions of the Westminster Forum (which are in no case restricted by the late Acts of Parliament) together with the general Conduct of Select Vestries, to operate as a warning to all open Parishes how they permit Select Vestries to be established among them?

At the conclusion of the . . . debate, not one hand, out of a numerous audience, was held up in favour of Select Vestries.'

Morning Chronicle

2057. April 24, 1797 London Forum


'Is it true that a departed spirit ever appeared to any person in this world, and can future events be foretold by the science of astrology? A Gentleman of unquestionable veracity will, in the course of the evening's debate, relate a remarkable discovery he made in his own family, in consequence of having consulted an astrologer. Any professor of astrology, who may wish to speak in defence of the science, will be heard with candid attention.'

Morning Chronicle

2058. April 24, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Ought the People called Methodists to be considered as artful Hypocrites, gloomy Enthusiasts, and contracted Bigots; or Men of genuine Piety, who have revived the great Work of Religion among Mankind?'

Morning Chronicle

2059. April 27, 1797 Westminster Forum

'Ought the People called Methodists to be considered as artful Hypocrites, gloomy Enthusiasts, and contracted Bigots; or Men of genuine Piety, who have revived the great Work of Religion among Mankind?'

Morning Chronicle

2060. May 4, 1797 Westminster Forum


'What is the true Condition of Woman, the Equal, the Inferior, or the Superior of Man?'

Morning Chronicle

2061. May 8, 1797 London Forum


'Did a departed Spirit ever appear to any Person, and can future Events be foretold by the Science of Astrology?

An Astrologer last Monday evening pledged himself to cast the nativity of a Gentleman who spoke against the Science, and to announce his destiny this evening.

W. Adam's Defence of Methodist Preachers may be had in this Society.'

Morning Chronicle

2062. May 8, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Which ought a prudent Man to choose for a Wife (supposing he could have either) a Woman with a Fortune, who does not love him, and for whom he entertains no Affection; or a Woman with no Fortune, that loves him, and whom he tenderly regards, admitting their mental, personal, and acquired accomplishments to be nearly alike?

This Question was transmitted to the Managers by a Gentleman . . . from a party of Ladies and Gentlemen who will sail in the next Packet to India.'

Morning Chronicle

2063. May 11, 1797 Westminster Forum

'Do the Powers, Capabilities, and Mental Perfections of Woman prove her the Equal, the Inferior, or the Superior of Man?'

Morning Chronicle

2064. May 15, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Is the Devil a mere Phantom of the Imagination; a Scriptural Figure, typical of the Principle of Evil; or a fallen infernal Spirit, the personal Agent of the Almighty to punish the Wicked?'

Morning Chronicle

2065. May 18, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Does not the late elevation of Miss Farren to the rank of a Countess (when contrasted with the many Examples of Female Frailty on the Stage) demonstrate this striking Truth to the British Fair - "That Female Virtue is the only certain Road to Honour and Happiness"?'

Morning Chronicle

2066 May 22, 1797 Westminster Forum

'Is there any Truth in Dreams?'

Morning Chronicle May 18

2067. June 1, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Does the following observation of CATO to his Son (taken from Addison's celebrated Tragedy) exhibit stronger Proofs of stoical Pride - a cowardly Desertion of Public Duty - or the indignant Emotions of genuine Patriotism?

When Vice prevails, and impious Men bear Sway,

The Post of Honour is a private Station?'

Morning Chronicle

2068. June 5, 1797 Westminster Forum

'Which is the more inhuman Character - the Man who artfully and deliberately seduces the Daughter of his Friend - or the wretched and rigorous Father who abandons his Child to Infamy in Consequence of that Seduction?'

Morning Chronicle June 1

2069. June 15, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Which was more criminal in eating the forbidden Fruit, Adam or Eve? There are many original ideas which emanate from the enquiry - the powers of Man prior to the Fall - how far the tender passion prevailed, even in the days of innocence - what would have been the state of Nature, if Adam had resisted the Apple after Eve had eaten, &c &c.'

Morning Chronicle

2070. June 19, 1797 Westminster Forum

'Can any circumstances justify a Man for selling his Wife?'

Morning Chronicle June 15

2071. June 29, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Is it probable the Man can be a worthy Member of Society, or safely admitted to public Trusts, whose Principles lead him to a Disbelief in a Providence in this Life and a Denial of his own Immortality in the next?'

Morning Chronicle

2072. July 3, 1797 Westminster Forum

'Is it probable that man can be a worthy member of society, or safely admitted to public trusts, whose principles lead him to a disbelief in a Providence in this life and a denial of his own immortality in the next?'

Morning Chronicle

2073. July 6, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Is it probable the Man can be a worthy Member of Society, or safely admitted to public Trusts, whose Principles lead him to a Disbelief of a Providence in this Life and a Denial of his own Immortality in the next?'

Decided that such a man cannot be a worthy Member of Society 'by a decided majority'.

Morning Chronicle

2074. July 10, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Can any possible circumstances justify the conduct of the Lady who encourages the serious addresses of more than one man at the same time?'

Morning Chronicle

2075 July 13, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Have the Enemies of Religion any rational grounds in arraigning the consistency of Mr. Erskine for his late energetic defence of Christianity against Paine's Age of Reason?'

Morning Chronicle

2076. July 17, 1797 Westminster Forum

'Ought not the death of that distinguished literary and political genius Mr. Edmund Burke to be universally lamented as a national calamity?'

Morning Chronicle July 13

2077. August 21, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Which practice is more disgraceful to a civilized State, a Man selling his Wife at Smithfield; or Fathers sending out their Daughters Adventurers for Husbands to an Indian Market?

If Satire is the proper last of Vice - if those Practices which disgrace a Nation demand public reprobation, the above Question must be interesting - we had almost said important . . . has lately occurred (to the disgrace of our Police, and the dishonour of the Sex) of Husbands publicly selling their Wives at Smithfield - The practice of sending the most beautiful young Females as Matrimonial Adventurers to a Foreign Land, unprotected and exposed to every danger, appears to us at least as criminal.

Mr. Erskine's Speech on the Age of Reason may be had as above, price 2d.'

Morning Chronicle

2078. August 24, 1797 Westminster Forum

'Is it possible for a Lawyer to be an honest Man?'

Morning Chronicle August 21

2079 August 28, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Is it possible for a Lawyer to be an honest Man?'

Question 'carried in the affirmative'.

Morning Chronicle

2080 August 31, 1797 Westminster Forum


'In which Situation of Life is most Happiness to be found: the elevated Walks of Wealth and Grandeur, the busy Scenes of Trade and Commerce, or the humble Shades of Domestic Ease and Retirement?'

Morning Chronicle

2081. September 4, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Has a Man, possessed of rational Faculties, any just grounds for a denial of the Soul's Immortality?

As the usual time of the year for the commencement of Debating Societies, the Managers of the Westminster Forum behold their institution patronised by the learned, the noble, and the respectable among mankind, their doors still open from the last season, their popularity undiminished, and the late iniquitous attempt to wrest the Laws to the destruction of Free Debate, (not political) thereby rendered publicly ridiculous. - Under these highly flattering circumstances a public avowal of principles becomes indispensible. - Order and impartiality shall be invariably observed. - The Managers of this Society disclaim all party influence. A regular obedience to existing laws, devoid of any fulsome or servile adulation of their dispensers, is the line of public rectitude which they intend to pursue; and by which they wish their reverence to the British Constitution to be estimated. On the glorious independent principles of the WHIG CLUB OF ENGLAND they erect their claim for public approbation - those principles maintained by Mr. Fox and his illustrious coadjutors, which form at once the barrier of the People's Liberties, the sacred guards of the Protestant Faith, and the Sovereign's most effectual security.'

Morning Chronicle

2082. September 7, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Is it probable that Comets are, as maintained by Astrologers, and many eminent religious characters, awful presages of the fate of Nations, and the probable means of the last grand conflagration; or a part of the system of nature, yet unexplored by the discoveries of science?

Burnet ascribes the deluge to the approach of a Comet; Sir Isaac Newton was of opinion, that the burning of the world, and the final dissolution of all things would be caused by the fiery contact of a Comet with the earth.

Mr. Erskine's Speech on the Age of Reason may be had as above; price two pence.'

Morning Chronicle

2083. September 11, 1797 London Forum


'On a fair comparison of the privileges and enjoyments of both Sexes, is it better to be a Man or Woman?

Wit and ingenuity, countenanced by delicacy, will lend their aid to enliven the enquiry, expand the reflective powers, and invigorate the imagination. Morality and decorum must always retain the ascendancy in this Institution, and any infringement upon their prerogative will meet with merited rebuke.'

Morning Chronicle

2084. September 11, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Has a Man, possessed of rational Faculties, any just grounds for a denial of the Soul's Immortality?

The Immortality of the Human Soul was . . . voted by a decided majority.'

Morning Chronicle

2085. September 14, 1797 Westminster Forum

'Is not that Man guilty of a Breach of the Laws of Nature, and Moral Virtue, who during Life makes any distinction between, and does not at his death as effectually provide for his Illegitimate as his Legitimate Offspring?'

Morning Chronicle September 11

2086. September 18, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Does not the Transportation of the celebrated General Pichegru and his Colleagues (without any form of trial) prove the French Government to be actuated by that very Spirit of Despotism which they have so long and loudly condemned in other Nations?'

Morning Chronicle

2087. September 18, 1797 London Forum

'Does not the fate of General Pichegru and the 64 Representatives of the People of France, prove that independence of opinion does not exist in the Legislature, and that virtue and integrity are no securities against the jealousy and tyranny of the French Directory?

The late conduct of the Directory has exhibited to the World an act of unparalleled tyranny, which they justify by the state pretext of the public weal; if Democracy justifies such proceedings, and can reconcile them with liberty, Mankind are indebted to those who collectively or individually endeavour to protect them from a system fascinating only to theory, but in the practice, hostile to every principle of justice, morals and law.'

Morning Chronicle

2088. September 21, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Ought the Transportation of General Pichegru and the Sixty-four Members of the Two Councils to be considered as an Act essential to the Safety and Preservation of the French Republic; or an arbitrary and unjustifiable Exertion of Lawless and Despotic Power?

The Question, as it now stands, was suggested to the Managers by a distinguished Gentlemen of the Irish Bar.

Mr. J. Gale Jones and several other Speakers of eminence delivered their sentiments most pointedly against the Tyranny of the Directory.

Mr. Jones in a most animated Oration, drew a line of distinction between the Proof of Guilt and the Tyranny of condemning Men without a public Trial; and the Audience sanctioned his opinion by their decision.'

Morning Chronicle

2089. September 25, 1797 London Forum



'Does not the Confession made by Mr. Cooper, at Sion Chapel - that his Faith was staggered by reading Mr. Winchester's Book, afford reason to believe that the Doctrine of Universal Restoration is founded on Scripture, and harmonizes with the Attributes of the Supreme Being?'

Morning Chronicle

2090. September 25, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Does the Evidence laid before the Legislative Assembly, together with the recent Events which have agitated the French Republic, more strongly establish the Guilt or Innocence of PICHEGRU and the Sixtyfour Deputies?

The present Question will be most impartially discussed, and that fair Trial instituted at the Westminster Forum, which was denied Pichegru and his Associates at Paris . . .

The probability of Pichgru's Innocence, was . . . voted by a decided majority.'

Morning Chronicle

2091. September 28, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Are the numerous and recent instances of Conjugal infidelity more ascribeable to the inattention of Husbands, the levity of Wives, the villainous artifice of Seducers, or the flattery and adulation bestowed on the British Fair, anterior to Marriage?'

The above Question 'was presented to this Society by a respectable Clergyman of the Church of England. . . The concluding sentence of that Gentleman's letter places the moral tendency of such subjects in a striking point of view: "To you, Gentlemen, it belongs, in no inconsiderable degree, to influence the public taste, and to improve or vitiate public morals; how many of our enjoyments depend on the softer Sex! and what lamentable instances of female degeneracy have lately appeared! Sirs, in exploring the sources of this evil, you perform a duty which you owe Society, and by thus seconding the moral effort of the Pulpit, you will render your institution a school of virtue".'

Morning Chronicle

2092. October 2, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Upon an impartial Review of the Life and Actions of the celebrated French General LA FAYETTE, ought he to be considered as the firm and intrepid Patriot; or the artful and temporising Supporter of privileged Despotism?

This question was presented to the Society by Mr. John Gale Jones. . . It is true, Tories and Republicans have alike assailed [Lafayette's] character. Burke, and a French Writer of eminence, have both meanly calumniated him during his captivity! but, like our own Fox, he appears to have been actuated by the love of social order, erected on the unalienable rights of human nature.'

Morning Chronicle

2093 October 5, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Can any circumstances justify that Brother who punishes with Death the Seducer of his Sister?

Appeals to the sword are dreadful; but if any circumstances can justify duelling (that point on which honour and morals have, through every age, been at variance) it must, in the bosom of a man of honour, be the attempt to violate a Sister's Virtue.'

Morning Chronicle

2094 October 9, 1797 Westminster Forum



'Can any circumstances justify that Brother who punishes with Death the Seducer of his Sister?

How nearly allied, we had almost said incorporated, the Honour of a Sister with a Brother's happiness! How necessary, even to our existence as a State, is the preservation of Female Virtue!

The decision of a numerous and polite Audience . . . was against Duelling in any case whatever.'

Morning Chronicle

2095. October 12, 1797 School of Eloquence, Coachmakers Hall

'Is Knowledge necessary to Happiness?'

Tickets, one shilling each; T. C. Andrews, Sec. 'for the benefit of the Literary Fund'.

Morning Herald

2096 October 12, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Which of the following Characters most deserves the Reprobation of Mankind - the Military Man, who under the Tie of Consanguinity, and in defiance of the Laws of Hospitality, seduces the Innocent entrusted to his honour; or the artful Ecclesiastic, who, under the pretence of preserving Female Chastity, betrays the helpless Orphan committed to his care?'

Morning Chronicle

2097. October 16, 1797 Westminster Forum

'Which of the following Characters most deserves the Reprobation of Mankind - the Military Man, who under the Tie of Consanguinity, and in defiance of the Laws of Hospitality, seduces the Innocent entrusted to his honour; or the artful Ecclesiastic, who, under the pretence of preserving Female Chastity, betrays the helpless Orphan committed to his care?'

Morning Chronicle

2098. October 19, 1797 Westminster Forum

'Which of the following distinguished men has been the greatest sufferer in the cause of Freedom: La Fayette - Dumourier - or Pichegru?'

Morning Chronicle October 16

2099. October 25, 1797 School of Genius, Haymarket


'Can the Man who lives Unmarried till the Age of Thirty be considered as a good Member of Society?

A young unmarried Lady favoured the Managers with this singular Question. It involves the important consideration of the propriety of early Marriage, and calls upon every old Batchelor to defend himself. In the course of the Debate, several curious Anecdotes are expected to be related concerning some old Bachelors in High Life.

A new and interesting Pamphlet, called 'The Republican Minister' is sold at Symond's, Paternoster-row.'

Admittance 6d.

Morning Chronicle

2100. October 26, 1797 Westminster Forum


'In what does the chief Security of a State consist, the vigour of its Laws; the strength of its Fortifications; or the love and confidence of its People?'

Morning Chronicle

2101. October 30, 1797 Westminster Forum



'Ought the conduct of THOMAS HARDY, in refusing to illuminate his house on account of the late Naval Victory, to be considered as a mark of obstinate singularity: or as a public example well worthy of imitation of every friend to Order and Humanity?

The . . . Question concerning Illuminations (after being ably argued on both sides) was decided against the Practice.'

Morning Chronicle

2102. November 2, 1797 Westminster Forum



'Which is the wiser man - he who marries, or he who remains single?'

Morning Chronicle

2103. November 6, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Has the Emperor of Germany acted consistently with the dignity and safety of his Crown, and the general welfare of Europe, in concluding a separate Peace with the French Republic?'

Morning Chronicle

2104. November 9, 1797 Westminster Forum

'Has the Emperor of Germany acted consistently with the dignity and safety of his Crown, and the general welfare of Europe, in concluding a separate Peace with the French Republic?

The Managers have the honour of announcing . . . the total overthrow yesterday, in the Court of King's Bench, of the SIXTEEN Actions brought by the junto of St. James's Parish, against four Gentlemen for Speaking in this Society; an event at which every lover of Liberty must rejoice, and in which every advocate for Liberty feel himself deeply interested.'

Morning Chronicle

2105. November 13, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Does not the recent wasteful expenditures of Parish Money, squandered in Sixteen groundless Actions against the Westminster Forum, together with similar instances of unprincipled profusion, call loudly for the Abolition of the Select Vestry?

The remainder of the Sixteen Actions, (brought in the name of one Chadwell, a beadle of St. James's Parish) . . . were - on an humiliating motion of the Plaintiffs - ordered by the Court of King's Bench to be discontinued!!! On a moderate computation, upwards of two hundred pounds must have been expended in this quixotic scheme of folly and wickedness! - An enormous sum to be discharged by a Parish Beadle! - To the good sense of the parishioners of St. James's Parish the above question is therefore addressed: It concerns likewise every man who has felt the lash of petty tyrants in other parishes. . .

In thus publicly presenting their acknowledgements to the great and independent characters, who have generously given their assistance on this trying occasion, the Managers but discharge a debt of public gratitude.'

Morning Chronicle

2106. November 16, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Ought two Persons, possessed of mutual Attachment, but devoid of Fortune, to separate from Motives of Prudence; or to Marry, trusting to Providence and Industry for Support?'

Morning Chronicle

2107. November 20, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Has the Progress of the French Revolution justified the Opinions of the late Mr. Burke?'

Morning Chronicle

2108. November 23, 1797 Westminster Forum

'Is the Love of Liberty - the Love of Life - or the Love of the Fair Sex, the most predominant principle in human nature?'

Morning Chronicle November 20

2109. November 30, 1797 Ciceronian School, Haymarket

'Ought Eloquence to be encouraged in an enlightened and civilized state?

If in this Address we profess but little, it is not because we are destitute of resources, but that we are unwilling to imitate the conduct of those, who have too frequently roused the public curiosity to an improper height of expectation, only to render them the more sensible of a severe disappointment. Admission 6d.

It was decided by a large majority, that Eloquence ought to be encouraged.'

Morning Chronicle

2110. November 30, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Can the man, who really Loves a Woman, deliberately Seduce her?

No circumstance can be more grateful to the Managers of this Institution than its present celebrity - a celebrity they conceive to have arisen from their establishing, in a legal contest, the Right of Free Debate, and from never publishing in their advertisements any circumstance that was not literally fulfilled. From this line of conduct no consideration shall ever tempt them to depart; they will to the utmost of their power, defend the one, and studiously avoid deceiving the other.'

Morning Chronicle

2111. December 4, 1797 Ciceronian School


'Is the Belief of Miracles, an essential part of the Christian Religion?

While the Christian Religion is universally acknowledged to be in itself a pure and amiable system of Morality, many even of its most strenuous supporters have been of opinion, that the adoption of mysterious Tenets, tended rather to weaken its influence, than to strengthen the conviction, or encrease the number of its Proselytes.'

Morning Chronicle

2112. December 4, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Is the Doctrine of the Calvinist Methodists - or the Doctrine preached by the Followers of Mr. Winchester - the Doctrine contained in the Bible?'

Morning Chronicle

2113. December 7, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Is the following assertion of Mons. Necker true or false, Fools are the happiest of Mankind; since it is impossible to be at once happy and wise?'

Morning Chronicle

2114 December 7, 1797 Ciceronian School

'Is the violation of a Promise, a breach of Morality?'

Morning Chronicle December 4

2115. December 11, 1797 Westminster Forum

'Has not the French Government, in ceding Venice to the German Despot, violated the Faith of Nations, and departed from their avowed principle of restoring the Liberty of Mankind?'

Morning Chronicle December 7

2116. December 11, 1797 Ciceronian School


'Is the Violation of a Promise a Breach of Morality?'

A Speaker asserted that 'all Promises, Obligations, Appointments, &c. which tend to restrict the future opinions of men, or bind them to any particular plan of conduct, are inimical to the welfare and happiness of society, and repugnant to the principles of morality and justice.' He will defend this position.

Morning Chronicle

2117. December 11, 1797 London Forum

A new BUDGET of TAXES will be opened THIS EVENING

'Would it be proper to adopt the following taxes as some relief to the middle class of Housekeepers from double and treble rates, viz. A tax of 50l. per annum on every old maid and batchelor (not being housekeepers) whose incomes amount to 200l. a year each. A License of 50l. for every Player, Opera Dancer, and Singer, engaged at a salary of 16l. per week. A Stamp duty of sixpence on every Admission to places of public entertainment. A duty of one shilling on every sheet of a Counsel's Brief, with which a fee of ten guineas is given; and a duty of one pound upon the registry of every marriage that is not by public banns.'

Morning Chronicle

2118 December 18, 1797 London Forum


'Does not Divine Revelation prove that the Pope is Antichrist; that his total destruction is at hand, and that the present extraordinary events that agitate all Europe, are signs of the speedy fulfillment of the Prophesies?

Let not the People murmur, but direct their attention to the fulfillment of the Prophesies. The arm of the Almighty (according to the opinion of the most learned divines) is visible in the grand movements that now agitate Europe.'

Morning Chronicle

2119. December 21, 1797 Westminster Forum


'Ought the Death of Col. Fitzgerald to be approved, as a just punishment for Seduction, and prevention of mediated Violence; or reprobated as an act of merciless Revenge?'

Morning Chronicle

2120. December 26, 1797 Westminster Forum

'Are the Methodists, as asserted by Deists, artful Hypocrites - are they gloomy Enthusiasts and contracted Bigots, as maintained by many Divines, both of the establishment and among the Dissenters - or Men of genuine Piety, who have revived the great work of Religion among Mankind?'

Morning Chronicle December 21

2121. December 28, 1797 Westminster Forum


'In the present Association of the Sexes, is not Man a Tyrant and Woman a Slave?'

Morning Chronicle