Friday, November 5, 2010
Remember, Remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Anyone who lives in or around England probably knows that today is Gunpowder Plot Day. This commemorates the day in 1606 when Guy Fawkes was foiled in his plan to blow up Parliament and King James I (and VI of Scots.) I have always found this a somewhat fantastic story. Guy Fawkes and his conspirators were Catholics while James was a Protestant and so there was that age old rivalry. It was just enough to make Guy Fawkes and his friends to decide they were going to blow up Parliament and King James with it. (I always feel sorry for poor James. He seemed to have no end of bad luck!) They plotted and conspired and Fawkes assumed the pseudonym "John Johnson". They rented a house in London that had a cellar that went under the houses of Parliament and piled barrels and barrels of gunpowder into it, waiting for the time when they would get to use it.
However, Guy Fawkes, who was to light the fuse while all the others got out of there, was caught in the act and was foiled in his plan. He was drug to the Tower of London where he was tortured for information. What ever he might have done, you cannot deny the fact that Guy Fawkes was a very brave man. He withstood the torture and refused to give any names but his own. His friends were captured as well, but it was not because of him.
As soon as Guy Fawkes confessed to what he had done they took him and his friends to Westminster where they were tried for treason and hung, drawn and quartered. The story goes that Guy Fawkes leapt from the scaffold while he was being hung, thus breaking his neck and disappointing the executioners.
So happy Guy Fawkes Day to any of you English out there!