Report on radical and reform societies, 1794
HLRO Main Papers (19 May 1794)


The Committee to whom the several Papers referred to in Her Majesty's Message of the 12th. of May 1794 and which were presented (sealed up) to the House by Mr. Secretary Dundas upon the 12th. and 13th. days of the said Month, by His Majesty's Command, were referred, and who were directed to examine the Matters thereof and report the same as they should appear to them to the House, have proceeded in Obedience to the Orders of the House, to the Consideration of the Matters referred to them.
They find, on the first Inspection, that the Books and Papers which they are directed to examine contain a full and authentic Account of certain Proceedings of two Societies calling themselves The Society for Constitutional Information, and The London Corresponding Society, who appear to be closely connected with other Societies in many parts of Great Britain, and in Ireland; and the Committee also observe from recent Circumstances which have already come under their Observation, that these Proceedings appear to become every Day more and more likely to affect the Internal Peace and Security of these Kingdoms, and to require, in the most urgent manner, the immediate and Vigilant Attention of Parliament.
The Committee have therefore thought it their indispensible duty, in the first Instance, to submit to the House the general view which they have been enabled to form of these Transactions, reserving a more particular Statement for a subsequent Report.
In the Book containing the Proceedings of the Society for Constitutional Information, which was found in the

Custody


Custody of the Person acting as Secretary to the Society, There are Regular Entries of what passed on each Day of Meeting, from the End of the Year 1791 to the 9th. of May in the present Year.
From these it appears that during almost the whole of that period, and with hardly any considerable Interval, except during part of the Summer in 1792 and 1793, This Society has by a Series of Resolutions, Publications and Correspondence, been uniformly and systematically pursuing a settled Design which appears to Your Committee, to lend to the Subversion of the established Constitution, and which has of late been more openly avowed, and attempted to be carried into full Execution.
The Principles on which this Design, is founded, are strongly and unequivocally proved from Resolutions formed as early as the 18th. of May 1792 in which the Society applaud the Intention of publishing a cheap Edition of the first and second parts of the Rights of Man; and resolve "That a Copy of Mr. Paine's Letter (informing them of this Intention) together with these Resolutions be transmitted to all the associated Societies in Town and Country And that this Society do congratulate them on the firm as well as orderly Spirit and tranquil Perseverance manifested in all their Proceedings and exhort them to a steady Continuance therein" and also, "That 3,000 Copies of the Letter and Resolution should be printed for the rise of the Society." This single Circumstance would, in the Judgment of Your Committee, leave little Doubt of the real Nature of the Designs entertained by this Society. Their Conduct in other respects has
corresponded

 


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