A Letter from Timothy Sobersides, Extinguisher-Maker, at Wolverhampton, to Jonathan Blast, Bellows-Makers, at Birmingham. PRIESTLEY RIOTS, Timothy SOBERSIDES, pseud.

A Letter from Timothy Sobersides, Extinguisher-Maker, at Wolverhampton, to Jonathan Blast, Bellows-Makers, at Birmingham

London: J. Johnson, 1792. First Edition. Fictitious letter highly critical of the recent Priestley Riots that took place from July 14 to 17, 1791, in Birmingham, during which religious Dissenters, led by Joseph Priestley, were attacked and their homes and churches burned with slow government response to their pleas for aide. The author of the letter describes his conversations with neighbors Spark, the tallow maker, and Obadiah Gape, the parish clerk, who describe "how Dr. Priestley had stood at the [Royal] Hotel-windows, preaching rebellion to the people, and many other strange tales. But how suprized was I, when the riots were all over, to hear that nobody knew any thing of the horrible plot; that not a single plotter was taken hold of; that all the talk about the toasts was found to be a lie" (p. 7). In the aftermath of the riots, Priestley removed to America, blaming Anglican religious bigotry for the attacks, though one scholar maintains a broader view that "The balance of the evidence suggests that the disorder was not a calculated instrument of political warfare. Rather, it was an explosion of latent class hatred and personal lawlessness, triggered-off by the fortuitous coming together of old religious animosities and new social and political grievances" (R.B. Rose, "The Priestley Riots of 1791," "Past & Present," No. 28, Nov. 1960, p. 84). ESTC T37982. Octavo (20cm.); removed, spine neatly rebacked with cream stock; 29pp. Lacking half title, extremities rather toned, else Very Good and sound.

Price: $350.00

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