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Lord George Gordon
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Politician
    (December 26, 1751-November 1, 1793)
    Born in London, United Kingdom
    Member of Parliament for Ludgershall (1774-80)
    Founded the Protestant Association (1779)
    Instigated the anti-Catholic Gordon Riots (June 2-7, 1780)
    He had little influence in Parliament, due to his tendency to insult all other factions equally.
    As head of the Protestant Association, he attempted to roll back the limited rights granted to Roman Catholics under the Papist Act of 1778.
    He delivered an anti-Catholic harangue to a crowd of 60,000 people (June 2, 1780), triggering a week of rioting in which some 300 people were killed.
    He was excommunicated by the Archbishop of Canterbury (1786)
    He was convicted of defaming Marie Antoinette, the French ambassador to England, and the English justice system, and was sentenced to five years in prison (1788).
    His initial career in the navy stalled when his attempts to improve living conditions for his sailors led to his being mistrusted by his fellow officers.
    He was a supporter of American independence and often spoke in Parliament in favor of the colonists.
    Although he was tried for treason after the Gordon Riots, he was acquitted on the grounds that he lacked a treasonous intent.
    He converted to Judaism shortly before his imprisonment.
    While in jail, he give what little money he had to other prisoners in need.
    When his defamation sentence expired, he had to appear in court to give assurance of his future good behavior; when he refused, as an Orthodox Jew, to remove his hat, the court ordered him returned to prison.
    He died in prison during a typhoid fever epidemic.

Credit: C. Fishel


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