The Priestley Riots took place from 14 July to 17 July 1791 in
Birmingham, England; the rioters' main targets were religious
Dissenters, most notably the religious and political controversialist,
Joseph Priestley. The riots started with an attack on a hotel that was
the site of a banquet organized in sympathy with the French
Revolution. Then, beginning with Priestley's church and home, the
rioters attacked or burned four Dissenting chapels, twenty-seven
houses, and several businesses. Many of them became intoxicated by
liquor that they found while looting, or with which they were bribed
to stop burning homes. A small core could not be bribed, however, and
remained sober. They burned not only the homes and chapels of
Dissenters, but also the homes of people they associated with
Dissenters, such as members of the scientific Lunar Society. While the
riots were not initiated by Prime Minister William Pitt's
administration, the national government was slow to respond to the
Dissenters' pleas for help. Local Birmingham officials seem to have
been involved in the planning of the riots, and they were later
reluctant to prosecute any ringleaders. Those who had been attacked
gradually left, leaving Birmingham a more conservative city than it
had been throughout the eighteenth century.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Martin Luther married Katharina von Bora, against the celibacy
discipline decreed by the Roman Catholic Church on priests.
King Ludwig II of Bavaria was found dead in Lake Starnberg near
Munich under mysterious circumstances.
The Yukon Territory was formed in Canada, with Dawson chosen as its
The Miranda v. Arizona landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court
established the Miranda warning, requiring law enforcement officials
to advise a suspect in custody of his rights to remain silent and to
obtain an attorney.
The New York Times began to publish the Pentagon Papers, a
7,000-page top-secret United States Department of Defense history of
the United States' political and military involvement in the Vietnam
Wiktionary's Word of the day:
razzmatazz: Ambiguous or meaningless language.
Wikiquote of the day:
So long as all is ordered for attack, and that alone, leaders will
instinctively increase the number of enemies that they may give their
followers something to do.
-- William Butler Yeats