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November 5, 1775: Washington Ends Guy Fawkes Day

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The idiotic anti-Catholic celebration of Guy Fawkes Day , observed each November fifth, was effectively ended two hundred and forty years ago 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.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

14 Comments

  1. There would not be a United States of America if not for the assistance received from the (then Catholic) nations of France and Spain. Kosciuszko and Pulaski had roles as well – their Catholicism is open to questtion, but – no Catholic help, no country. Had the New Englanders not been so anti Catholic, Quebec might have joined in and Great Britain would have been expelled from the Western Hemisphere.
    A consequence is that Great Britain assisted the South Americans in their wars for Independence from Spain (mostly naval battles).

  2. In Scotland, Guy Fawkes’s Day is a double celebration, commemorating not only the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, but the landing of “King Billy” (William of Orange) at Brixham on that day in 1689, marking the beginning of the Glorious Revolution and “delivering us from wooden shoes and brass money” (believed to be the concomitants of Popery.)

  3. MPS….
    The Scot celebration of this “day” is one big reason I emphasize my Polish ancestry over my Scot ancestry……though Clan Lamont, of which the McLuckie family is related to as a Sept family, has as its Chief an Australian Catholic priest…so those Campbells and other Calvinist clans can take a hike.
    In my reading of history, I have noticed that the Scots usually fought the English…or each other.
    The Poles have fought Mongols, Tatars, Ottoman Turks, Swedes, Germans, Russians, or to put it another way, fought pagans, Muslims, heretical Protestants, schismatic Orthodox, Nazis and atheist Communists.
    I wonder if there are any video games that let one match ancient armies against each other. The Campbells against the Polish Husaria would be fun.

  4. Believe it or not, Guy Fawkes Day is still celebrated in certain locations in Rhode Island, one of the places in the U.S. that has a high Catholic population. Go figure. It’s probably just another excuse to drink.

  5. Penguin Fan wrote, “In my reading of history, I have noticed that the Scots usually fought the English…or each other.”
    I frequently attend the Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, near my little pied-à-terre in Paris and, when I do so, I visit the tombs of William Douglas, 11th Earl of Angus, who went into exile rather than renounce the Old Religion and died in 1611 and of his gallant grandson, James, who died aged 20 in the French service in 1637. He was Colonel of the Scottish regiment, renamed « Régiment Écossois de Douglas » in his honour. On their arms is the heart of King Robert the Bruce that their ancestor, Sir James Douglas, flung into the Moorish ranks at the battle of Teba, knowing that the Scottish knights would press on and recover it at all hazards.
    Indeed, the Scottish “free companies” regularly took service with the French Crown, throughout the Middle Ages and right up to the Revolution. Many also saw service in the Northern Crusades on the Baltic.
    One rather charming story concerns my neighbours in Ayrshire, the Kennedys. After the Maid had raised the siege of Orléans, the parsimonious Dauphin was unwilling to fund her proposed Loire campaign and she told the Scottish Free Companies that she could no longer pay them. One of their leaders, Anthony Kennedy laughed and demand of his his comrades, “Since when did we need paying to fight the English” – Now, that was a miracle, if you like. He never was paid, but received a grant of arms from Charles VII that the family still bear, the noblest of any private family in Europe.
    http://tinyurl.com/o29m4tv

  6. MPS, I knew you would find exceptions. Clan Lamont suffered greatly due to remaining with the One True Faith…as did my German ancestors who left Frankfurt rather than submit to Bismarck.
    Back to the subject…due to that lousy movie with Natalie Portman, many have become aware of Guy Fawkes, but know nothing of him.

  7. (Campbell and Catholic here. Thank God for ancestors who went against the grain.) George Washington’s portrait is certainly not out of place in the Catholic home!

  8. Suz, according to the Clan Lamont website, Lamonts and Campbells often married each other. We may be distantly related.

  9. I’m a Canadian of Scottish-Irish heritage. Both my maternal grandparents, from the province of Prince Edward Island, are of Clan Campbell and both were Catholic. I have a Campbell ancestor who fought with General Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham at Quebec City in 1759. The Canadian maritime provinces (particularly P.E.I. and Nova Scotia) are full of Catholic Scots who were transported to Canada during the Highland clearances. The Protestant clan chiefs preferred sheep to Papist tenant farmers it seems. Canada’s gain, Scotland’s loss. Och aye!

    Can’t say I share Washington’s well intentioned idea that Canada should have joined the American union, as I’m a proud Canuck, though I very much like the US and Americans. I was proud to hold a Queen’s commission in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a ally of US forces.

    I mean no disrespect but Washington’s portrait would be a wee bit out of place in my parlour, … though that great British patriot General Benedict Arnold might be considered a candidate.

    Cheers,

  10. Ah, John, if Arnold had succeeded in his Christmas assault on Quebec in 1775, imagine how much history would have been changed! My mother was a Newf, who later became an American citizen. My great Uncle Bill, who joined the British Army in 1939 because, as he said, someone had to show the Limies how to fight, used to call me a Dirty Yank when I was a toddler and I would respond by calling him a Dirty Newf, to the vast amusement of all!

  11. John the mad- great comments. – i’m with you. sort of. Washington hangs in my home office den. The Sacred Heart hangs in my parlour.
    Washington the Great was a Mason and i recall reading incite on his decision not to antagonize the catholics with a Guy Fawkes celebration during the war – was a move more astute as a commander short of good men than conciliatorygesture to a religious group – but bishop Carroll’s own tribute to George the Great is a masterpiece to be found elsewhere and I will not 2nd guess the first Bishop of these United States on this item . further……Bishop Carroll directed all pastors to offer a homily or eulogy tribute to Washington and for ALL catholics to grieve and observe the funeral day of George in a fitting manner – allow me to quote a part – ” the executive of the state of maryland has appointed the 22nd of next february as a day of general mourning of the death of Gen’l Washington , and for a solemn tribute of respect to his memory, I likewise recommend too and direct my reverend brethren to give notice to their respective congregations, to observe the day with a reverence expressive of their veneration for the deceased Father of his Country and the founder of its independence, to beseech almighty God to inspire into those who are now or here after may be invested with authority , to pursue his wise, firm,just and peaceable maxims of government…. we are chiefly indebted to his unwearied perseverance,temperate valor exemplary disinterestedness and consummate prudence……. my reverend brethren are advised not to form their discourses on the model of a funeral service, reduced from a text of scripture, rather to compose a narration such as might be delivered in an academy and on a plan bearing some resemblance to that of St Ambrose on the death of the young emperor Valentinian who had discovered in an early age a gem of those extraordinary qualities which expanded themselves in Washington and flourished with so much lustre during a life of unremitting exertions and eminent usefulness. The bishops’ directive honoring Washington goes on. The very last line is a reminder to all pastors and calls out a reverence which has significantly lessened among Catholic hierarchy “if these discourses should be delivered in churches where the Holy Sacrament is usually kept, it will be proper to remove it[sic] with due honor to some decent place ”

    the historic story of st. mary’s church albany n.y. by rev john j dillon,pastor 1933 p.j. kennedy and sons 12 barclay st ny, ny. pg.80-81
    thanks Don!

  12. John the Mad: Why are you mad? As a subject to a monarch, you could appreciate the freedom of the sovereign person, created equal, and for whose individual freedom Gen. George Washington fought and understood and for whom Washington rallied. Freedom from religious prejudice is precious since prejudice is detrimental to the entire community. Religious prejudice prevents the common good and the general welfare. from The Preamble .

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