1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cogers Hall

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COGERS HALL, a London tavern debating society. It was instituted in 1755 at the White Bear Inn (now St Bride’s Tavern), Fleet Street, moved about 1850 to Discussion Hall, Shoe Lane, and in 1871 finally migrated to the Barley Mow Inn, Salisbury Square, E.C., its present quarters. The name is often wrongly spelt Codgers and Coggers; the “o” is really long, the accepted derivation being from Descartes’ Cogito, ergo sum, and thus meaning “The society of thinkers.” The aims of the Cogers were “the promotion of the liberty of the subject and the freedom of the Press, the maintenance of loyalty to the laws, the rights and claims of humanity and the practice of public and private virtue.” Among its early members Cogers Hall reckoned John Wilkes, one of its first presidents, and Curran, who in 1773 writes to a friend that he spent a couple of hours every night at the Hall. Later Dickens was a prominent member.

See Peter Rayleigh, History of Ye Antient Society of Cogers (London, 1904).