Clubs and Societies
Source 2 : Extract from the Select Society question book
Manuscript (NLS reference: Adv MS.23.1.1)
Each member of the Select Society was able to propose a subject for debate which was then accepted or rejected by a system of voting. The accepted topics for debate were listed ‘in a book to be kept for that purpose’ – the question book shown here.
The Select Society was established in Edinburgh on 22 May 1754 by the painter Allan Ramsay. Weekly meetings were held in the Advocates’ Library, the forerunner of the National Library of Scotland. The aims of the society were ‘the pursuit of philosophical enquiry and the improvement of the members in the art of speaking’.
The society’s minute book, held in the National Library of Scotland, is a record of the weekly meetings and the topics that were debated.
to be debated in the Select Society.
Whether or not the practice of duelling be ad-
vantagious? – Debated.
Whether divorces by mutual consent should
be allowed? – Debated.
Whether the institution of slavery be ad-
vantagious to the free? – Debated.
Whether bounties on the exportation
of corn be advantagious to trade and ma-
nufactures as well as to agriculture?
Whether corporations and exclusive
companies for trade are advantagious
to the members of these corporations and
Whether moderate taxes are a dis-
couragement to trade, industry and
Whether a general naturalization of
foreign Protestants would be advantagi-
ous to Britain? – Debated.
How useful is this source for providing information about the range of interests of the Select Society?