Remember, Remember

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The idiotic anti-Catholic celebration of Guy Fawkes Day , observed each November fifth, was effectively ended in America during the Revolution, in large part due to George Washington.  Here is his order on November 5, 1775:

As the Commander in Chief has been apprized of a design form’d for the observance of that ridiculous and childish custom of burning the Effigy of the pope–He cannot help expressing his surprise that there should be Officers and Soldiers in this army so void of common sense, as not to see the impropriety of such a step at this Juncture; at a Time when we are solliciting, and have really obtain’d, the friendship and alliance of the people of Canada, whom we ought to consider as Brethren embarked in the same Cause. The defence of the general Liberty of America: At such a juncture, and in such Circumstances, to be insulting their Religion, is so monstrous, as not to be suffered or excused; indeed instead of offering the most remote insult, it is our duty to address public thanks to these our Brethren, as to them we are so much indebted for every late happy Success over the common Enemy in Canada.

Catholics always had a friend in the Father of Our Country.

11 Responses to Remember, Remember

  • Ivan says:

    I’m beginning to think that Communist propaganda has nothing on the older Protestant variety. Apparently its all harmless fun; burning Guy Fawkes in effigy, taunting Catholics as Papists until one realises that Cromwell was a murderous maniac and the Tudor Settlement of Ireland was nothing but a massive land grab by the genocidal Puritans.

  • solly gratia says:

    If only people remembered it for that, at least it would be something outside the 5 minute attention span of modern British people. Outside of Lewes, which burns the Pope, and various other infamous dignitaries in effigy, there is more concentration of having an excuse to let off fireworks for over a month, and have a night out, weather permitting.
    Since encountering the Libertarian movement online, I have been confused at the fact that Guido is hailed as some sort of freedom fighter – probably to be played by Mel Gibson in any film version – rather than a monarchist who wanted to reinstate what he and others saw as the legitimate monarch of Britain. Sadly, the Papacy’s earlier fatwa – sorry, encyclical – against Elizabeth didn’t really set the tone for future relations, as it really became a life or death matter, especially for young Catholics, who subsequently went to Europe and got radicalised. Gosh, I’m sorry, how the language of today slips in ;)
    I am reading through Rothbard’s Conceived in Liberty, and of course Catholics didn’t have it much better in the colonies, outside of Rhode Island (for a while).

    I’m not sure there is right or wrong fully on either side. Nationalism was rising and clashing with the Empire of yesterday, and people could be forgiven for not adapting sooner to the changes, or for thinking the new social movement was actually about liberty, rather than a redistribution of power from one clerical power to another.

  • “I am reading through Rothbard’s Conceived in Liberty, and of course Catholics didn’t have it much better in the colonies, outside of Rhode Island (for a while).”
    Pennsylavania was tolerant of Catholics, and in Maryland Catholics could worship although they could not participate in government. Our glorious Revolution of 1776 began to change all that with lightning speed.

    “Sadly, the Papacy’s earlier fatwa – sorry, encyclical – against Elizabeth”

    No need for ahistorical childishness. Elizabeth treated Catholics as a criminal class that the government could imprison, dispossess and execute as it so pleased. Guy Fawkes and his compatriots had the amazing thought that Catholics should not be treated as criminals for wishing to follow the religion of their forefathers.

  • Foxfier says:

    Ivan-
    I’m actually kind of glad that my public school history classes were so horribly bad; I didn’t have a lot of the “known” stuff to overcome when I found out it was, shocker, just anti-Catholic and/or anti-Religious mythology.

    People always see reason for ahistorical childishness when they don’t have anything better to support their views. It’s like being funny, without having to actually be witty.

  • solly gratia says:

    You’re right of course Donald, although I have seen both sides, having been Baptist until recently when I began my conversion. The Tudors persecuted Baptists as well as Catholics. However, the resistance to Elizabeth from Rome was not because of her treatment of individual catholics (after all, Protestants met the same fate in Europe, under Mary, and even under Henry VIII if they weren’t the right kind), but her survival of an uprising by catholics who sought to use force to unthrone her, much as the later 1605 plot hoped.

    Guido Fawkes was engaged in actions designed to reinstate a Catholic monarch, but if the plot had succeeded then persecution of Protestants would have been just as virulent. No one has clean hands from that time, except probably the Quakers.

    I’m sorry, i didn’t realise I needed my sense of humour removed once I became a catholic.

    Btw Pennsylvania as an English colony came later. Maryland ended up with a Protestant majority, and catholicism was outlawed after 1688 by the otherwise much vaunted William of Orange. There was also persecution of catholics in Maryland in the 1650s during the Commonwealth.

  • “However, the resistance to Elizabeth from Rome was not because of her treatment of individual catholics (after all, Protestants met the same fate in Europe, under Mary, and even under Henry VIII if they weren’t the right kind), but her survival of an uprising by catholics who sought to use force to unthrone her, much as the later 1605 plot hoped.”

    After her accession Elizabeth played a clever game for some years in which it could be hoped by the Church that she would eventually restore Catholicism or at least tolerate it. Elizabeth came to the throne in 1558 and the bull Regnans in Excelsis of 1570 could be regarded as a tardy recognition of the fact that Elizabeth was an enemy of the Church. In the crushing of the Howard rebellion in 1569 she had some 750 of the rebels excuted, a fairly bloody action even for those sanguinary times. In the face of such an action I do not see what any Pope could do other than to recognize reality.

    Your assumption about what Guy Fawkes and his compatriots would have done in regard to persecuting Protestants is just that, an assumption. Considering the power of Protestants in England I rather think they would have called for toleration, if only as a means of survival.

    “Btw Pennsylvania as an English colony came later. Maryland ended up with a Protestant majority, and catholicism was outlawed after 1688 by the otherwise much vaunted William of Orange. There was also persecution of catholics in Maryland in the 1650s during the Commonwealth.”

    Yes, I have a passing familiarity with American history, as several hundred posts on this blog can attest, along with several hundred additional posts on my American history blog Almost Chosen People. The Catholics in Maryland passed the Edict of Toleration in 1649, would that their example had been followed by their Protestant brethren after they came to power.

  • T. Shaw says:

    Food for thought:

    Betsy Newmark (a teacher, I think) quoted at Instapundit: “Given that Guy Fawkes [Gunpowder Conspiracy] was part of a Catholic conspiracy against Protestants, here is an interesting observation that occurred to me if Romney should win and the Democrats maintain control of the Senate: in that scenario, there would be no Protestants at the top levels of any of our three branches of government. Romney and Reid are Mormons; Ryan, Boehner, and Durbin (Majority Whip) are Catholics, and Eric Cantor, the Majority Leader of the House is Jewish. And the Supreme Court has three Jews and six Catholics. Think about that in the context of the history of prejudice against Catholics, Mormons, and Jews in our nation’s history. Having just talked about nativism in 19th century U.S. history, I find this factoid simply amazing – in some ways, just as eye-opening as the first African-American president.”

  • Ivan says:

    Foxfier,

    Its easy to figure out that there is a pattern to the vilification of Catholics. Guy Fawkes conspired to return the Pope’s authority, that of a foreigner over England and thus should be abhorred by all true Englishmen, but when Protestant schemers some eighty years invited another foreigner William of Orange to overthrow a lawful king, James II, that should count as a patriotic act to thwart Catholic autocracy. Living under autocracy sounds terrible until one realises that for the ordinary Briton it would have made little difference whether he was leveed by the King or by some usurping earls or thieves such as Raleigh or some other pirate. Limitless greed for the Church’s wealth fired much of the reforming zeal of the Protestants.

  • Foxfier says:

    Ivan-
    you have to realize it’s a possibility before you can see the pattern, and even if you know it’s possible, you have to have more information than we were offered.

    Even in American history, we never got into what religion this or that official type person was; Fawks would’ve been mentioned as Catholic, just to tie him to the Catholic Irish Terrorists (no mention of anyone being Protestant, just not-Catholic) and the myths about “the Crusade and Inquisition” were pretty much assumed.

    Folk history.

  • Foxfier says:

    Heck, I didn’t even know until some guy over on Ricochet tried to defend the then-King Fawks was going to attack by demanding to know how many folks had been harassed between James becoming king and the plot being caught. Three known martyrs in the two years, for things like “being a priest.” I knew that property could be taken, and similar things, but didn’t realized being caught as a priest was automatic death– and that helping one was likewise, unless you recanted. (and that’s before one gets into the theory that it was all a setup to make James hate Catholics, in part because they used gun powder, which was supposedly a state monopoly.)

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