The  Book  of  Guy Fawkes  Day And its Bonfire Night

Volume IV To Fawkes or not to Fawkes

That is the Question.

Commentary- What shall we do with him? and

Drama- What did they do with him?

347 Pages, Many Illustrations ISBN: 978-0-9854486-5-3 ©2013 Conrad Bladey, Hutman Productions
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A complete collection of Secular Sermons (commentary) and Plays relating to the Great Deliverance of 1605, (Gunpowder Plot) and its celebration. Includes an innovative analysis of the relationships between these works and celebration.

From the Book:

Commentary, Lectures,Essays


What shall we do with him?


“Shall we forget the immortal Fifth, dear to urchins, a small part  whose associations to them is made up of treasons and plots, and a large part of fun and fireworks? Surely the poor fanatic Guy would have kept his principles in his pocket, and his tinder-box out of it, if he had known that his very name was to become a source of annual and perennial delight to yet unborn generations of heretics; or the most he would have done would have been to turn Irish agitator, and “blow up” the three estates at monster meetings, or meetings of monsters


-"Peace and War Dialogue the Second  1854,” 'In:Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine ,Vol. 76 (470) .Vol. Lxxvi.-No. CCClXX 3A.,Dec 1854,  p. 712.


If the Gunpowder Plot religious sermons are the glue that holds nationalism and the sense of purpose  together maintaining  the proper relationship with God, the secular sermons, commentaries, opinions and editorials surely are the glue which holds the pieces of the artifact of celebration  together but with a subtle difference– they also represent the solvent that can be used to dissolve that same adhesive.  Like religious sermons, commentaries, secular sermons, tracts and editorials  project the spirit of the times. The difference is that secular sermons project debates and conflicts rather than the  legal pronouncements and status quo statements of the received views of the sermons. Sermons and secular sermons influence each other.  While the secular sermons play an important role, when all is said and done there are a multitude of views and opinions which can be held by individuals in the crowd of participants who may not be attending to the debate at all, and if they are free to make their own decisions may not take part in the celebration either. At times readers might note that some of these secular sermons might possibly have been crafted to provide entertainment alone.  None the less,  secular sermons help us to illuminate important dimensions and variables in which the annual  celebration is created.


Within moments of the event itself in 1605 the analysis started. The forum was created. People talked even as the theologians were preparing their first sermons and the politicians circled their wagons.



Should you celebrate or not?  What should be celebrated?


.Was Guy Fawkes good or bad? Should we celebrate more fervently or perhaps not at all? Isn’t it too dangerous? Fireworks are after all miniature bombs! Or maybe Guy Fawkes got it right and Parliament should have been blown up! It might be easy to do away with the celebration but what would it mean for the nation and future progress?  Would God still protect us if we deviated from the original theological mandates? 


The complex artifact of celebration is created in a noisy forum and is cast from a mold composed of pieces designed, created and maintained by special interest groups. Each piece of the mold is formed in a crucible of a variable which might be called an issue. Issues form on variables where there is equilibrium or balance: consensus.  The focus of discussion falls upon the midpoint between one extreme and the other. On each side of the issue,special interests groups struggle to get the variable to tilt in their favor so that they might gain control of the crucible and cast a part of the celebration in their image.  As we read the secular sermons we can discover the variables which map out the forum or fighting ring in which the pieces of the mold are cast, maintained or destroyed. When we identify the variables and issues we will see that some are universal others come and go while others are never accepted.  Some issues will hold the interest of thousands whereas others may capture the attention of but a few individuals or perhaps only one celebrant. By understanding this process we can better navigate the stormy seas of the celebration and more efficiently create the mold from which the celebration emerges each fifth of November. 


These secular sermons, commentaries and debates are the winds of forces within society that bring the tempests of reassessment, re-organization, deletion, creation and re-creation of the individual component parts of the artifact of  celebration. The forces come from a diverse set of groups within society: The Religious, the social classes, the governments- national, regional and local- groups of businessmen and organizations made up of ordinary citizens or isolated individuals writing in letters to editors, all may take part as they choose.  They lobby and struggle for the creation of a new mold or mold component from which the celebration would emerge each fifth of November or perhaps for the destruction of the process itself.


The secular sermons describe issues. The issues in turn attract supporters, detractors and the judgments of governments and the religious. Rallying behind one side of an issue or another celebrants and detractors alike bring to the celebration distinct paradigms which they will mount like scaffolding to transform the mold  that gives the celebration shape.



Once the dust settles and the celebration emerges from the mold those celebrants and detractors who were responsible for the process may know very well how the battle over issues shaped the mold, but at the time of the celebration itself there can be as many reasons for a celebrant taking part or staying away as there are individual participants. . This is why interviewers of participants are so surprised to find a lack of knowledge of history or of the formal traditions or the contemporary issues. This is because they are asking question concerning documented or standard, traditional issues and purposes rather than those personal concerns which may bring any given individual to the celebration. The question of the participant should not be: “Why should you take part?” it should be: “Why are you takng part” There can be an infinite number of correct answers for that question, and the participant will generally know much more about why they are present than about a specific event or issue in history which may not concern them.  The secular sermons therefore are the banners waved to rally the participants, detractors and celebrants alike. They are designed to transform individuals into groups. Some will join, others will not.  As opposed to sermons which tend to dictate obligations, secular sermons are more political. They tug at your ear for support,  belonging and assistance. They take on all dimensions of society and all institutions.  The drama of this forum of commentary, editorial and tract is the true theatre of celebration.


Issues and the activities of the forum of the secular sermons seem  to be most important for the creation of the mold and not for the un-molding or execution of the event. This is the dynamic of the realm of the secular sermon.  Suddenly at the appointed hour some form of celebration seems to just "happen". One is left with two artifacts, the mold and its many parts and the celebration. Both remain dynamic. The mold may be taken appart and re-assembled and the celebration like a Christmas pudding may stand or fall.


No sooner is the celebration over than the forum is re-convenend,  issues once again take the stage and the battle over the next year's mold begins. Reports come in as to the status of the celebration pudding. How many were injured? Was pollution caused? Were citizens free? and did pets and hedgehogs pull through? are among a host of questions that are immediately asked by special interest groups. Individuals come home warm or cold, entertained or bored and in their own personal ways begin to inform their plans for next year.


Although many issues come and go, some appearing to last only an instant, other issues are so resilient as to be considered constants. .One of the constants is the issue of public safety which has been present from the earliest period and continues to exert a force and attract a following today. One can almost hear the mother in 1605 scolding her child "don't go near the bonfire- you'll get burned!."  An example of an issue that comes and goes is that of begging for firework money and fuel for the bonfires. Should children not really "in need" beg? One year the issue is much discussed. Later it is no longer as much a concern. Yet, the force of even this type of  issue can change the shape of celebration just  as begging, for example,  was replaced by the fund raising of societies and the adopted customs of demanding candy rather than money on Halloween.


This process is only responsible for producing a celebration. It does not ensure tranquility and agreement, it just informs it; once again issues tend to often be universal and immortal.  This is not a fight to the death but rather a battle to dominate. Sometimes polarity at each end of the scale for a variable or issue will at times produce a balance, indecision, rather than an agreed-upon value on one side or the other. In this case the only agreement can be agreement to disagree and a splintering of the effort as a whole which often ends in a division of the celebration.  This is most clearly demonstrated by the history of the Lewes, Sussex. bonfire societies whose disagreement over routes, bonfire sites, traditions, and signage (in particular the "No Popery" banner) has kept them from total unity and has resulted in the formation of rival groups. 


Unity of participants can be imposed from without.  One way this is accomplished is when issues are born which are international, national or that carry more intense energy. These powerful issues force the participants to put their personal views behind them. Examples of these issues are those of war and peace, basic patriotism, and perceived tyranny of religion or of domination by an outside group. They push all other issues into the background. This is best seen in the revival of "Bonfire" in the wake of the re-imposition of the Catholic administrative hierarchy in Britain under Cardinal Weisman in 1850, but targets were also found in Parnell, The Tsar, Kaiser and others. The practical necessity of canceling bonfire to maintain the blackout during the Second World War brought agreement to all concerned.   These issues reflect a special form of energy that holds the "Bonfire" community as a diverse whole together.


As in politics the generation of high levels of energy created by the arrival of these super issues tends to swell the ranks of participants bringing in new blood, new groups and new variables reflected in new issues. In this way they are the antidotes to the entrenchment of polarity and division.


The net effect of the super issue is the tamping down of the fires of internal polarity and hostility generated by the divisions which threaten the celebration from within. In the case of the bonfire societies of Lewes, Sussex, extreme anti-Catholicism was tempered by cultural realities of the battle of Inkerman in the Crimean war which took place on the Fifth of November 1854. The battle would never have been a victory for Britain without the cooperation of the followers of many religions, even including the perpetual enemy: the French. With this event "bonfire" absorbed a greater energy and began to adopt a more tolerant image which is an important key to its continued success.


Secular sermons do not always remain secular in content. They may also provide us with updates for the state and nature of God. They push back at all aspects of society. They reflect the many cultural realities of the people back at the sermonizers.


At times God is propped up while at other times he is declared dead or irrelevant. Occasionally new Gods are offered up for our consideration. No matter what side of the debate these sermons take they provide the friction, the heat and the pent-up energy of society that generates the power that has kept the lights of our celebration on for 400 years. The result in Lewes has been the development of new gods to serve. Protection of the Environment and the prosperity of community businesses and local economy (often via reform as much as by development) are two which stand out.


 Lest we forget what the religious are saying I have added excerpts from religious sermons so that the reader can place the secular contributions into proper context.


The works cited below are only highlights in the evolution of bonfire.


Enough Anthropology and Sociology. What shall YOU do with HIM?


Whatever you choose to do you will do it within the environment of the  energies which reflect issues as shadows on a wall.   If you pay attention to the issues and the timeless mysteries which celebration is constructed to disclose you will find success. Failure to work in harmony with them will bring about disaster.


Just try lighting a fire or shooting off a firework or having the ritual chants and effigies in a modern suburban backyard and you will see what I mean. Neighbors, authorities, environmentalists, friends of the animals, basically every group on earth will be waiting for the un-molding to see what they can lobby to change.  As you construct your mold from which to reveal the fully formed celebration on the fifth you should be aware that you will be creating music on the strings of the variables. You will be selecting values on the issues and the notes you select will be heard not just within the community of celebrants but by the entire society in which you live and act. Your music will be interpreted in relation to issues on clearly defined scales of values.


If you are aware of the issues and the variables they represent you can set your notes accordingly. You must find middle ground and avoid the dithering and conflict that balancing on the extremes causes. Where is the energy? It is reflected by the issue. Where is the issue? It is reflected by the secular sermons. Read them carefully and then select your own non-polarizing values through the maze of points of view on the scales of the variables and your event will have success!


What secular sermon will you write?


What issue will you discover to act on? Human life is a constant process of decision making; for or against. Discrimination of taste is how life is written. What should or should not be a part of celebration? Is it worth the risk? As you read these secular sermons you will find that the wonder of debate itself might well be the reason for it all. You should be tempted to follow the pathways of Lamb and Carlyle. Stir up a lively debate. Help us to formulate new and helpful concerns or alternatively open doors to excitement and risk-taking. Remember that issues do not divide but link others of the same mind together as teams. Get out the scaffolding and create a Fawkes in your own image. The wonderful thing about him and the plot is that he seems to be adaptable, independent of time and place. What sort of Guy is present today? Is he weak or strong? What will his “dark lanthorn” illuminate? Maybe he can just be a clown or maybe be left out entirely.

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Table of Contents

Commentary, Lectures,Essays. 11

What shall we do with him?. 11

Should you celebrate or not?  What should be celebrated?. 12

Enough Anthropology and Sociology. What shall YOU do with HIM?  15

What secular sermon will you write?. 16

1606. 16

John Rhodes wrote: 16

1607. 17

From: Lucta Jacobi: or, A bonefire for His Majesties Double deliuerie, from the    deluge in Perth the 5. of August, 1600.  And the doomesday of Britaine, the 5. of Nouember, 1605. Seene and Allowed.-"Univoce-catholicus". 17

1608. 18

Daniel Dyke. 18

1608. 18

Robert Tynley. 18

1610. 18

Francis Herring. 18

1613. 19

Lewis Bayly, Meditations of Martyrdom. 19

1613-1620. 21


Thomas Campion. 21

1618. 26

Great Brittans little Calendar;  or, Triple Diarie, in remembrance of three dates, Samuel Garey  26

1626 +. 27

John Milton. 27

In proditionem Bombardicam.. 27

On the Gunpowder Plot, Translation. 27

In eandem.. 27

On The Same, Translation. 27

In eandem.. 28

Translation. 28

In eandem. 28

On the same. Translation. 28

In inventorem bombardae. 29

On the Inventor of Gunpowder, Translation. 29



1667. 38

John Milton, Paradise Lost Book VI. 38

1619. 40

Thomas Taylor 40

1633. 40

Thomas Vicars. 40

1635. 41

Henry Burton. 41

1640. 41

John Goodwin. 41

1641. 42

Cornelius Burgess. 42

1642. 42

1644. 43

William Spurstoe. 43

1644. 43

The Fifth of November, or The Popish and Schismatical Rebels. With their Horrid Plots, Fair Pretences, and Bloudy Practices, Weighte One Against Another 43

1644. 44

John Strickland. 44

1645. 44

On the Gun-Powder Treason. 44

Matthew Stevenson. 44

1647. 45

In:  Mercurius Elencticus. 45

1654. 46

Thomas Horton. 46

1654. 46

A commemoration or a Calling to Minde of the Great and Eminent Deliverance from the Powder-Plot, John Turner 46

1656. 47

Ralph Venning. 47

1657. 47

England’s  Remembrancer, Containing a True and Full Narative of those Two Never to be Forgotten Deliverances: The One from the Spanish Invasion in Eighty Eight; the Other from the Hellish Powder Plot: November 5,  1605.  Samuel Clarke. 47

1658. 48

Thomas Spencer 48

England’s Warning-Peece; or the History of the Gun-powder Treason. 48

1659. 48

Ralph Brownrigg. 48

A sermon on the 5th of November 48

c.1608-1666. 49

Edmond Gayton, A Meditation upon the 29th of May, being His Majesty's Birthday, and Day of Restauration, and upon the Fifth of November, being the day of the General Deliverance of the King and Parliament from the Gunpowder-treason. 49

1665. 50

John Booker 50

1670. 50

Philip Henry London. 50

1670. 50

"Cecil’s Scheme". 50

1674. 51

Edward Stephens. 51

1678. 51

Anon., The horrid Popish PLOT, HAPPILY Discover’d or, 51

The English Protestants Remembrancer. A Poem on the Never to be-forgotten. POWDER-TREASON, And late Burning of several Cart-loads of Popish Books at the Royal Exchange. 51

1678. 53

Thomas Barlow.. 53

1679. 54

Thomas Lord Bishop of Lincoln. Preface from, The King's Book. 54

1680. 69

Anon: Emblem VII. The Powder-Plot.  from Emblem Books Epigrams and Formal Satires, 1500-1850: The Protestants Vade Mecum 1680. 69

1689. 71

Gilbert Burnet 71

1695. 72

Poor Robin. 72

1752. 72

Boston. 72

1774. 73

Matthew Robinson-Morris Morris, Rokeby, 73

Considerations on the Measures Carrying on with respect to the British colonies in North America. 73

1775. 74

George Washington , November 5, 1775, General Orders. 74

1786. 75

Anniversary of the Gunpowder Treason. 75

1788. 77

Times of London. 77

1788. 79

Times of London. 79

1788. 80

Times of London. 80

1845. 80

Thomas Hood, From: To Joseph Hume. 80

1804. 81

The Democrat 81

1821. 82

Guy Faux, William Hazlitt 82

1823. 96


Lamb as Fawkes 1848. 101

1826. 102


1826. 103

On the Pleasure of Hating ,William Hazlitt 103

1826. 103

The Ecclesiastical Observation of the Fifth of November 103

1829. 109

The Removal of the Services for the 5th of November Issue. 109

Times of London. 109

1831. 110

Carlyle's Portraits of His Contemporaries ,THOMAS  CARLYLE.. 110

1832. 111

Samuel Wilderspin. 111

1835. 111

To the Editor of the Bath Chronicle. 111

1838. 112


1838. 113

Times of London. 113

1839. 114

Times of London. 114

1840. 124

Times of London. 124

1842. 125

Recollections of Guy Fawkes, Douglas Jerrold. 125

1843. 129

Poor Guy Faux. 129

1844. 131

Guy Faux and the Gunpowder Plot, Chapter VI .(1605), Thomas Carlyle. 131

In: Carlyle, Thomas, Historical Sketches of Notable Persons and Events in the Reigns of James I and Charles I.,Chapman and Hall, 1899. (1844), p.66-71. 131

1851-1853. 134

A Child's History of England, Charles Dickens. 134

1853. 139

1854. 140

Peace and war Dialogue the Second, Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. 140

1855. 140

Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. 140

1856. 141

Times of London. 141

1858. 144

ENGLAND'S TREASURE, November  5, Thomas Hornblower Gill 144

1860. 147

Cooper Institute Address, Abraham Lincoln. 147

1864. 147

Frank Fowler, VI , Guy FAUX, Guy. 147

1870. 150

Looking For Guy Fawkes, Charles Dickens. 150

. 150

1877. 155

NOVEMBER EFFIGIES, Adolphe Smith Headingly. 155

1880. 159

National Festivals, The London News. 159

1881. 159

Punch Magazine. 159

1882. 160

Thomas Parkinson. 160

1884. 161

Times of London. 161

1889. 162

Times  Of London. 162

1892. 162

Times of London. 162

188?. 163

Anon., The Fifth of November 163

1895. 178

Laurence Hutton. 178

1896. 181

Gunpowder Treason, Oswald Abbott 181

1899. 181

GUY FAWKES AND PRESIDENT KRUGER.  An Inquiry Into An Alleged Analogy. 181

1909–14. 185

Machiavelli,  Thomas Babington Macaulay. 185

1912. 186

Guy Fawkes Day, G.K.Chesterton. 186

1914. 186

The Bed-Book of Happiness,  Harold Begbie. 186

1917. 187

National Activity and Aspiration, J. Dover Wilson, "Muezzin". 187

1920. 188

The Gunpowder Plot, B. Reeve. 188

1921. 190

A Meditation in Broadway, G.K. Chesterton. 190

1932. 191

In Praise of Guy Fawkes, George Bernard Shaw.. 191

1938. 199

Times of London. 199

1948. 199

Times of London. 199

1968. 200

Times of London. 200

1986. 201

Doc Brief, Robert Buckman. 201

Conclusion. 203

Theatre. 204

Introduction. 204

1604. 205

Measure for Measure,  Act 2 Scene 2 Shakespeare. 205

1606. 206

Macbeth,  William Shakespeare,  First performed for KingJames I in 1606, II iii 9. 206

1619. 209

The Tragedy of John Van Olden Barnavelt, John Fletcher and Philip Massinger 209

1631. 212

Punch and Judy Fawkes, From: Bartholomew Fair, Ben Jonson. 212

1678. 213

The manner of the Burning of the Pope in Effigies in London On the 5th of November, 1678. With the manner of carrying him through several Streets, in progression to Temple-Bar, where at length he was decently burned.An addition to this work was: “A particular of several Bloody Massacres done by the Papists upon the bodies of English, Irish and French Protestants”. 213

1825. 214

Guy Fawkes; or The Gunpowder Treason. 214

1835. 215

Harlequin Guy Fawkes; or, the Fifth of November 215

1840. 216

English Opera House. 216

1855. 217

Guy Fawkes or a Match for a King. 217

1859. 222

Alfred the Great. Robert B Brough (Robert Barnabas),  and William Brough. 222

1864. 222

The “Burlesque” of Guy Fawkes. 222

1870. 223

Guy Fawkes or A New Way to Blow Up  a King, John T.  Douglass. 223

1870. 268

Review Of An Original Opéra Bouffe Entitled Guy Fawkes; or, A New Way to Blow up a King, bu John T. Douglas. 268

1871. 269

Albert Smith and Play from the Man in the Moon. 269

1879. 269

The Invisible Prince, James Robinson Planché. 269

1890. 270

Guy Fawkes Esq. 270

1969. 273

Review: The Exploding Dream, Times Of London. 273

2005. 273

5/11, Edward Kemp, August,  2005. 273

2005. 273

Speaking Like Magpies, Frank McGuinness. 273

2010. 274

Bonfire Night, Justin Levine. 274

2012. 274

Equivocation, Bill Cain. 274

19th Century Performances of Plays relating to Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot in the United States. 275

1904 Plays Listed In: A Dictionary of the Drama. 275

Plays Cited in:  History of English Drama, 1660-1900,  Allardyce Nicoll 276

Other Plays. 279

1702. 279

TAMERLANE. Nicholas Rowe,  A TRAGEDY.. 279

Tamerlane, the Opera. 279

Tamerlane. A Tragedy. 279

Conclusion. 357




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