This Day in History: George Washington squashes anti-Catholic demonstrations

On this day in 1775, Washington issues a stern rebuke to his soldiers. They were planning to celebrate an anti-Catholic holiday known as Guy Fawkes Night.

It’s a celebration that most Americans don’t know too much about! Perhaps Washington can take the credit for that? After all, Guy Fawkes Night is STILL celebrated in Great Britain.

Etching of Guy Fawkes Night in England, outside Windsor Castle. The etching was published in 1776.

Today, the English are celebrating the anniversary of the failed Gunpowder Plot (1605). On that day, a group of Catholic activists planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament, killing the Protestant King so he could be replaced with his Catholic daughter. The plot was foiled, and celebratory bonfires were lit all over town. Thereafter, each anniversary of the foiled plot has been celebrated with bonfires or fireworks. Early celebrations tended to be a bit anti-Catholic in nature.