Wednesday, August 17, 2011 Ignatius Sancho, Black Grocer, Wrote During 1780 Riots: ʻThank heaven, it rains; may it increase'

[TOP: Ignatius Sancho: An African Man of Letters; Reyahn King et al.; National Portrait Gallery of the U.K. (1997) BOTTOM: Photo of illustration of 1780 Gordon Riots in London, published by The Spectator, Wednesday, 17 August 2011]

The composer and author Ignatius Sancho (1729-1780) made the transition from slave to grocer, author, abolitionist and composer. Sancho, Britain's first Black voter, is featured at The Spectator, a newspaper in the U.K., today quotes Lucy Inglis, a historian who blogs at

Wednesday 17 August 2011
London riots in history
Lucy Inglis
“As London burned and property was destroyed in the streets, there were calls to bring in the Army. But this is not 2011, this is the summer of 1780 when London was gripped by a violent and drunken mob during The Gordon Riots. It was a difficult time to be in London: the King was unpopular, the American rebellion was worrying, the Navy was losing to the French. In addition to all this gloom prices were rising out of all proportion and wages were static.”

“As damage to private property spread, rather than just chapels and politicians’ homes, Londonʼs small, well-organised vigilante groups, the neighbourhood militias, came out in force. The city was now divided into the Mob, the spectators, the ruling classes and ordinary people trying to protect their families and property. Then, when all out chaos seemed impossible to avoid, Ignatius Sancho, a black grocer in Westminster wrote, ʻThank heaven, it rains; may it increase, so as to send these deluded wretches safe to their homes, their families, and wives!ʼ”

1 comment:

msladyDeborah said...

What a great historical reference this is. Thanks for sharing it with us. I continue to enjoy reading and learning from AfriClassical