Lead: The wave of anti-Catholic riots that ripped apart the City of London in 1780, also gave a unique snapshot of life for blacks in the eighteenth century England.
Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.
Content: The passage of the Catholic Relief Bill in 1778 aroused in many parts of English society lingering and ugly vestiges of religious bigotry. Lord George Gordon, an eccentric anti-papist, established the Protestant Association, organized street demonstrations and passed petitions urging Parliament to repeal the Relief Bill. Apparently, he did realize the monster he had unleashed. On July 2, 1780 Gordon led a crowd of nearly 50,000 people to the House of Commons to demand repeal. The demonstration morphed into a riot that lasted five days. Buildings including the Bank of England and many jails were damaged, known Catholic businesses were destroyed and life in the vibrant metropolis ground to a halt. Only after King George III ordered troops out and 285 rioters were killed did the disturbances fade and die out.