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Corresponding Societies and Lecture Rooms
Bill (in Favour) (S1b: 1846)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: An early letter co-authored by Wallace printed on page 319 of the Appendix to the Reports of the Select Committee of the House of Commons on Public Petitions. Session 1846. To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S001B.htm

App. 630. Mr. John Henry Vivian. Sig. 16.

     6753. The humble Petition of the undersigned Proprietors and Members of the Public Library at Neath, in Glamorganshire.

     That the institution of which your Petitioners are proprietors and members was established in the year 1818.

     That your Petitioners have learned with much satisfaction that a Bill is now before your honourable House, intituled, "Corresponding Societies and Lecture Rooms Bill," which has for its object the repeal of certain parts of an old statute, 39 Geo. III. c. 79, by which heavy pecuniary penalties are imposed upon all persons connected with rooms used for lectures, discussion, news rooms, or libraries, unless licensed in every year by two justices of the peace, and by which statute powers are also given to revoke such licence at any time.

     That this Act, which by its title professes to apply only to societies established for seditious and treasonable purpose, has in recent cases been held to apply to ordinary lecture rooms.

     That the only plea for the continuance of such statute could be the dangers to be apprehended from seditious and treasonable meetings,--dangers which from the enlightened and liberal policy of Government happily now no longer exist.

     Your Petitioners consider that the formalities required by this statute are a hinderance, vexatious and uncalled for, to societies established for the advancement of knowledge and the progressive improvement of mankind.

     And your Petitioners therefore would pray your honourable House to pass the proposed Bill into a law, by which the objectionable statute, as above, may be repealed.

     And your Petitioners will ever pray, &c.

John Rowland, President.
Willm. Llewellyn.
Alfred R. Wallace.
&c. &c. &c.

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