William Godwin's Diary


A dinner of the Revolution Society took place at the Crown and Anchor public house with about a thousand people assembling to mark the second anniversary of the French Revolution. In the days preceding the dinner, it had been a subject of controversy and speculation in the newspapers, and a number of commentators expressed anxiety that it might inflame the populace. George Rous chaired the dinner, which involved numerous toasts. During the course of the dinner, an ode specially written by Robert Merry and 'consecrated to FREEDOM, as being the ANNIVERSARY of the REVOLUTION in FRANCE' was recited, set to music by Storace and sung by Mr Sedgwick. After further toasts, including one thanking Edmund Burke for the discussion he had stimulated, M. Amand du Courdic, a 'member of the late Parlement of Brittany and the of the present Society of the Friends of the Constitution at Nartz' gave an address celebrating the benefits of the Revolution.

Rous felt that 'as great pains had been taken to misrepresent the object of the meeting....the best means of refuting the calumnies of their detractors was 'after a moderate repast, an early return to their homes'. The rooms emptied by 8.30pm and the event passed off without major disturbance, to the disappointment of an assembled group of spectators.

There was a minor conflict as one mob demanded the display of lights in the windows of houses in the Strand whilst another opposed this, and windows at the London Coffee House and a silversmith on Ludgate Hill were broken.

See the Whitehall Evening Post, 12 July 1791; Lloyd's Evening Post, 13 July 1791 and the General Evening Post, 14 July 1791.