It’s good to see we’re getting all reconciliatory with our history books. Revisionists we ain’t, but in the last couple of weeks it has warmed the cockles to see two of the darker episodes from our island’s murky annals tinged with a new light. Firstly it was calls for witches to be pardoned, and now, topically for 5/11, there is a call to pardon the Gunpowder Plotter that never was.
Studies by Manchester historian Glyn Redworth indicate that at least one of those convicted, hanged, drawn and quartered was in all likelihood innocent. Henry Garnet was a Jesuit priest, who seems to have been damned by his equivocation and association with the terrorist cell led by Catesby, and put up as a scapegoat by a government determined to rout the Catholics. Even at the time of his execution there seem to have been doubts as to his guilt. Rings a few bells, doesn’t it? Shame we never really learn.
Anyway pardon and forgiveness we like. Makes it seem better that we have the most fun on a day of the year which effectively celebrates a bunch of miscreants, albeit that they failed in their plans.
Have a safe bonfire night.
Guy Fawkes from Ed.Ward’s Londonist flickr stream.