An Elimination Thought Experiment, Courtesy of Guy Fawkes

 

Welcome to that most British of holidays–Bonfire Night–Guy Fawkes Night–the Fifth of November. The holiday that, when I was a kid, was exponentially bigger than Halloween, as for a few days before, children would push around a wheelbarrow laden with a straw-stuffed effigy of Guido Fawkes, usually dressed in their father’s cast-offs or scrapings from the bottom of the charity clothes-barrel, shouting “penny for the guy!” collecting their small change, buying a few fireworks with it, and then, dizzy with excitement, setting a bonfire ablaze, throwing the “traitor” onto it and watching him crackle and dance, before setting off their Roman candles, Catherine wheels, and sparklers in a gluttony and excess of high spirits.

Why do I call it the most British of holidays? Because, in the best tradition of my countrymen and our spirit of inestimably fair play, it celebrates the underdog. The failure. The one who couldn’t. The one who didn’t. The one who wasn’t even really the leader of the plot, just an also-ran who got caught in the crossfire. We’re really serious about that sort of thing. As with so many failures, human and otherwise, we embrace Guy Fawkes and clutch him to our bosoms, refusing to let go. We write books about him.  We make television programs about him. We love him. (Stay tuned. Wouldn’t surprise me if, in another 413 years, the UK will be celebrating “Brexit Night” every June 23, carting around dummies dressed like Theresa May (kitten heels and all), and setting fire to them with the most ecologically-sound fossil-fuel alternatives they can find, to celebrate the day that Britain voted to leave the EU, and then, you know, didn’t.)

The “Gunpowder Plot” to blow up the House of Lords on the opening day of Parliament, to assassinate the newly-crowned Protestant King James I (the first Stuart king, and the uniter of the monarchies of England and Scotland), and to replace him with the Catholic Philip III of Spain, was conceived by Robert Catesby, a British noble who’d already tried to overthrow the government once, a few years before, and had, foolishly as it turned out, been pardoned for his efforts. Frustrated by several low-level and unsuccessful attempts to bring about change, Catesby recruited a dozen or so similarly-minded rebels to his cause.  One of them was Guido Fawkes, a tall, handsome Yorkshireman with a thick mane of red hair and a red beard, a zealous Catholic faith, and an extensive knowledge of explosives.

From the start, though, things did not go the plotters’ way. Attempts to tunnel their way under Parliament proved too much for them, and they had to fall back on a plan to rent several cellars under the House of Lords in which they could place their explosives. Leaks abounded (of the political sort, not the watery sort, despite the nearby presences of the Thames), and anonymous letters were passed into the hands of suspicious House members, warning of a “terrible blow” about to come and of treason afoot. Finally, the drumbeat of suspicion found its way to the King’s inner circle, and on November 4, 1605, Guy Fawkes himself was arrested in the cellars under the House of Lords, as he stood guard over 36 barrels of explosives, and the fuses and matches needed to set them off.

His brave swaggering before the King, during which he promised to “blow you Scotch beggars back to your native mountains,” notwithstanding, Guy Fawkes crumbled under torture (in those days when government-sponsored torture usually meant torture to the death), and signed a full confession naming and shaming his fellow conspirators, who had fled London, but were tracked down and arrested. Those who survived the encounters (not many) were brought back to London and hanged, drawn, and quartered in Westminster’s Old Palace Yard along with Guy Fawkes himself.

Unsurprisingly, anti-Catholic sentiment in England increased after the Plot. Parliament ordered an annual observance of the Fifth of November, complete with the ringing of church bells to commemorate the treasonous affair. The “Popish Recusants Act” was made even harsher, and additional fines were imposed on Catholics who refused to attend Church of England services at least annually, or those who acknowledged the authority of the Pope in any sphere at all. Catholics were also barred from the legal and military professions and were disallowed from voting.

My own memories of Guy Fawkes night are few as most of my childhood wasn’t spend in England. But, as with special childhood memories, those few are indelibly inked on my brain: My dad’s childlike joy at organizing a fireworks extravaganza, and in setting off things that go “BANG!”  Massive, and beautiful explosive displays, the likes of which I’ve never seen since (suspect there might be a bit of affection, and a bit of false memory at play there). Sparklers. The warmth of the bonfire on the chilly November night.  Potatoes baking. Hot chocolate.

And, always, the memory of the poor little crow, minding her own business under the porch roof, and so terrified by a particularly loud rocket that she vacated her nest with a screech, flew straight through the open door into the house, parting my mother’s hair with her beak as she went, and causing hours of frustration and mirth as we sought to remove her. Eventually, my mother rounded her up in the bread bin, clapped the lid on, and took her back outside. But the magic of that particular night was gone, and it was just dark and cold by then.

I know you’re thinking, Good Lord, this time She’s really lost the plot. Even She can never bring this home. And, you’re about to ask me, before you lose your mind with frustration, what this little post could possibly have to do with the subject of this month’s group writing challenge, elimination?

Simple.

What if the Plot had succeeded in its plan to eliminate most of Parliament, and assassinate the King?  (Studies of the explosives discovered, their amount, and their strength, indicate that had they gone off, they’d have completely destroyed everything within a 500-foot radius of the epicenter. Parliament would have been gone. Hundreds would have been dead. The country would have been plunged into chaos.)  Perhaps even (shock, horror!) England would have become a remote territory of Spain (had that happened, the food would probably have been better by now, I’ll give you that).

But, suppose it had worked? Britain, and the fledgling United Kingdom, essentially, gone, eliminated in one inglorious revolution, and with a loud bang? How would world history have been changed? What would the United States, as we know it today, be instead? The British Empire? The language, even? Where would we be? Where would the world be, and more importantly, where would I be?

As one might expect, alternative history discussions abound on the web. Wikis, conspiracy nuts (not to put too fine a point on it; yes, there are 511 truthers out there), folks who haven’t got their facts quite straight, or who are peddling their own brand of nonsense. I haven’t really found a convincing counterfactual history explanation anywhere yet that satisfies me.

So, I’m asking you to come up with one. England, to all intents and purposes, is eliminated as a significant force in the world on 5 November, 1605. What happens next?

h/t @vectorman for the image

There are 34 comments.

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  1. OldDanRhody Inactive
    OldDanRhody
    @OldDanRhody

    She: Welcome to that most British of holidays–Bonfire Night–Guy Fawkes Night–the Fifth of November. The holiday that, when I was a kid, was exponentially bigger than Halloween, as for a few days before, children would push around a wheelbarrow laden with a straw-stuffed effigy of Guido Fawkes, usually dressed in their father’s cast-offs or scrapings from the bottom of the charity clothes-barrel, shouting “penny for the guy!” collecting their small change, buying a few fireworks with it, and then, dizzy with excitement, setting a bonfire ablaze, throwing the “traitor” onto it and watching him crackle and dance, before setting off their Roman candles, Catherine wheels, and sparklers in a gluttony and excess of high spirits.

    Sounds like fun!  It’s too late to make proper preparations now but, if the rain holds off, I may have a bonfire tonight – and next year…

    • #1
  2. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    There would have been an enormous civil war had the plot to blow up Parliament and the King succeeded. It would have brought forward the English Civil War by a few decades. All the elements were pretty much in place and would have been triggered by a Catholic monarchy just as they were a few decades later. The French and Spanish would have tried to stir the pot, but they would never have gone all in just as they didn’t later. 

    • #2
  3. DonG Coolidge
    DonG
    @DonG

    I think it is unlikely that killing all MOP would topple a country.  But assuming it did, I would expect that most British colonies would not have happened.  No Hong Kong and no English speakers/influence in India or Africa.  Perhaps they would have become Spanish colonies and the sun would never have set upon the Spanish empire.  I assume that more English would go to North America, but they would have to align with France and Germany to survive.  The southern half of the US would be part of Mexico and the northern half would be part of Canada.  Democrats would still be calling for open borders.

     

    • #3
  4. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    She:

    But, suppose it had worked? Britain, and the fledgling United Kingdom, essentially, gone, eliminated in one inglorious revolution, and with a loud bang? How would world history have been changed? What would the United States, as we know it today, be instead? The British Empire? The language, even? Where would we be? Where would the world be, and more importantly, where would I be?

     

    Had it worked, I guess I’m not around to respond to this post which is not here. My Thompson American colonial ancestor, James (Jimmie) Thompson, came and settled in Carlisle, Pa. in the 1720’s after returning to Scotland from Ulster. His great-grandfather was Captain Alexander Thompson, who had been deployed to serve the Crown in defending the Plantation of Ulster earlier in the 17th century. My understanding of this history is  that the Scots and the English in Ulster resulted very directly from King James anti-Catholic policies. Life in Ulster for the Scots under English landlords was not satisfying and resulted in much Scotch-Irish emigration to the American colonies in the 18th century.

    • #4
  5. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    She:

    … to celebrate the day that Britain voted to leave the EU, and then, you know, didn’t.)

    Excellent! We have a cat, too.  

     

    • #5
  6. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    She:

    But, suppose it had worked? Britain, and the fledgling United Kingdom, essentially, gone, eliminated in one inglorious revolution, and with a loud bang? How would world history have been changed? What would the United States, as we know it today, be instead? The British Empire? The language, even? Where would we be? Where would the world be, and more importantly, where would I be?

     

    Had it worked, I guess I’m not around to respond to this post which is not here. My Thompson American colonial ancestor, James (Jimmie) Thompson, came and settled in Carlisle, Pa. in the 1720’s after returning to Scotland from Ulster. His great-grandfather was Captain Alexander Thompson, who had been deployed to serve the Crown in defending the Plantation of Ulster earlier in the 17th century. My understanding of this history is that the Scots and the English in Ulster resulted very directly from King James anti-Catholic policies. Life in Ulster for the Scots under English landlords was not satisfying and resulted in much Scotch-Irish emigration to the American colonies in the 18th century.

    Similar family story here. What would have happened, nobody knows. What did happen, well the antics of the Brits contributed to our founding and to adding more new arrivals in time to fight the Revolution! My own Scottish ancestor did that, and was given 305 acres in Virginia for his service, so thanks England! You didn’t allow us to wear our tartans so neener neener to you!

    • #6
  7. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    That cat meme hahaha!

    • #7
  8. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    Great post.  As a Catholic cyber-friend in England says, “It’s ambivalent, at best – and slowly being supplanted by Hallowe’en – due to widespread historical ignorance.  Either occasion is a boon to dentists everywhere, though.” :-) 

    • #8
  9. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    That cat meme hahaha!

    Love that picture and the cat’s facial expression, I think it’s almost all with the eyes.

    Little story: About 5 years ago, at my place in Utah, a mother cat showed up on my front steps nursing 3 kittens. We fed them, I trapped each and had them neutered, and they all stayed around our house but not inside. The mother attached herself to me and would approach as soon as I would go outside and she would follow me around the grounds of my property and my daughter’s next door, and I could pet her and pick her up and hold her. But the others were more feral and didn’t come too close, but they stayed around.

    Anyway, the mother is a grey tabby like the one in the pic, and when she approaches me when I go outside, she looks at me with that expression that says, ‘so what are we doing now or where are we going?.

    • #9
  10. She Member
    She
    @She

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    That cat meme hahaha!

    Love that picture and the cat’s facial expression, I think it’s almost all with the eyes.

    Little story: About 5 years ago, at my place in Utah, a mother cat showed up on my front steps nursing 3 kittens. We fed them, I trapped each and had them neutered, and they all stayed around our house but not inside. The mother attached herself to me and would approach as soon as I would go outside and she would follow me around the grounds of my property and my daughter’s next door, and I could pet her and pick her up and hold her. But the others were more feral and didn’t come too close, but they stayed around.

    Anyway, the mother is a grey tabby like the one in the pic, and when she approaches me when I go outside, she looks at me with that expression that says, ‘so what are we doing now or where are we going?.

    Bless you.  I’ve spent, I think, thousands of dollars over the past 30 years spaying, and neutering the cats around here.  Any cat who makes it into my barn for dinner is likely to be scooped up and taken to the clinic, no matter who he or she belongs to, and no matter his or her pedigree (which isn’t usually very sound, this is farm country).  Whereas, 25 years or so, there were dozens of cats that would turn up looking for food, there are now exactly four, and I’m sorta proud of that.

    The most unique (know that’s a solecism, sorry) character I ever “adopted” in this regard was Pookie, a tiny, almost hairless kitten I heard mewling in the field one day.  He couldn’t have been more than a day old, and his umbilical cord had gotten wrapped around a blade of grass, so he was stuck (not that he could have gone anywhere under his own power anyway).  No idea where “Mom” went.  He’s one of the very, very few kittens I’ve raised from such a young age.  I brought him inside, put him in a shoebox with some fleece I’d shorn off one of my sheep, gave him a CC of Laphroaig to warm him up, and went up the road to get some kitten milk replacer.  He lived about 15 years, and was an extraordinarily beautiful, Persian-looking, smoky-grey beast with deep reserves of ingratitude and spite.  Oh, he and I have some stories.

    • #10
  11. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    She (View Comment):
    He lived about 15 years, and was an extraordinarily beautiful, Persian-looking, smoky-grey beast with deep reserves of ingratitude and spite. Oh, he and I have some stories.

    I’ve noticed they are not as friendly as the grey tabby, at least the ones I’ve come in contact with. I sense that the mother cat who attached to me considers me her benefactor and defender.

    • #11
  12. She Member
    She
    @She

    Thanks, those of you who’ve commented and shared your family “what if” stories.  I don’t know where I’d have ended up.  My mother’s ancestors were coal miners from Yorkshire (Guy Fawkes country), and I expect that, no matter who’d been running the country, they’d have been underground, working to keep their fellow citizens warm.  My dad’s family, about which we know more, seems to have been largely craftsmen and tradesmen (carpenters, joiners, butchers, hatmakers) from Kent (coastal county SE of London).  Perhaps, had the Spanish taken over, some of them would have been co-opted into the shipbuilding trade.

    Somehow, both sides of the family found their way to Birmingham, a center for silver, jewelry, and steel, early in the 19th century.  All of those  are closely identified with Spanish arts, crafts and industry, so perhaps they would have thrived even if the Spanish had asserted themselves and taken over.  Had that not happened, my Dad’s side of the family, at least, have always been self starters and with an eye on the main chance, so I think they’d have prospered no matter what.  Maybe I’d have spent my childhood in the Spanish East Indies, or South America somewhere.  Who knows?

    • #12
  13. She Member
    She
    @She

    She (View Comment):
    Bless you. I’ve spent, I think, thousands of dollars over the past 30 years spaying, and neutering the cats around here. Any cat who makes it into my barn for dinner is likely to be scooped up and taken to the clinic, no matter who he or she belongs to, and no matter his or her pedigree (which isn’t usually very sound, this is farm country).

    Funny story (or so I think) about my endeavors in this regard.  I’ve only ever had one real “issue” in rounding up one of these cats.  A lovely orange guy, who decided to sink his teeth into my leg, when I reached down to pick him up.  And I ended up with cat scratch fever, a massive infection, and a leg that looked as if it belonged to David Merrick, the ‘Elephant Man.”

    I was prescribed a very potent antibiotic I’d never taken to that point, called “doxycycline.”  So, of course, I looked it up online (this was in the early days of the web).  I noticed that it’s regularly used for STD’s such as Chlamydia and Syphilis, and then, as we say where I’m from, “the penny dropped.”  A “doxy” is an eighteenth-century term for a woman of easy virtue.

    Bet there’s a connection.  And that the guy who discovered/named the stuff had (what passes for, if you’re a boffin) a sense of humor.

    • #13
  14. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Well, it probably explains the Beefeater’s response to my Order of Malta medal in the Tower of London. Some “memories” never fade.

    • #14
  15. She Member
    She
    @She

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Well, it probably explains the Beefeater’s response to my Order of Malta medal in the Tower of London. Some “memories” never fade.

    Very likely.  The Yeomen of the Guard (AKA the Beefeaters) conduct a top-to-bottom search of the Houses of Parliament prior to Opening Day every year, in honor of the failed plot to blow them up.

     

    • #15
  16. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Three posts this week tempted me to renew my membership, but She, you did it :p

    Its fascinating, this plot, and the reasoning for it.

    The first attempt to get a catholic on the throne was Mary Stuart during Elizabeth’s reign. Edward I hardly counts as it was more an attempt to control the king than depose the sickly, young monarch.

    That Guy Fawkes is cursing protestant James (son of Mary) for his Scots ancestry is strange, as the Scots remained the biggest catholic allies for at least the next 200 years (Scottish independence relied on catholic benefactors, didn’t it?) on the British isle.

    Also, its surprising how swiftly the religious alignments shifted. I’m guessing Mary abdicated at behest of protestant ministers, leaving her young child to be raised by protestants? The shifts in the Tudor family are less surprising.

    • #16
  17. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    My first impression is that I doubt that the success of the Gunpowder Plot would have made much difference in the long run.  If anything, I would have expected it to have inspired an even more aggressive anti-Catholic retaliation in Britain, in the short term.  In the longer term, it would have been hard for the British to be much more anti-Catholic than they were.  By the way, I don’t blame the British for their anti-Catholic sentiment, as many Catholics were trying to overthrow the Protestant British monarchy and government, as demonstrated by the Plot itself.

    Perhaps Maryland would not have been established as a separate colony.  The Gunpowder Plot was in 1605, while the charter of Maryland was granted in 1632, with religious liberty granted to Catholics in the colony.  You might carry this out to — no Maryland, so no Baltimore, so no Ft. McHenry, so no Star-Spangled Banner.  But this seems a stretch, as I suspect that the location of Baltimore had geographic advantages, so a major city would likely have grown there even under a different administration.

     

     

    • #17
  18. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Well, we did not get a page from the (fictional) diary of a hitman today, instead we got a wonderful explanation of the history behind a British holiday, and an account of how the observation of that holiday has changed, reflecting changing British society. 

    Now we know more than the fiction of V for Vendetta.

    And the meme—spot on!


    This conversation is part of our Group Writing Series under November’s theme of Elimination. There are plenty of dates still available. Perhaps someone will even offer a page from the diary of a hitman, purely fictional of course. Or maybe we will read about eliminating excess inventory. Hmm, inventory control specialist by day, hitman by night? Sounds like a TV drama? What about those ads? You know what I’m talking about—even the Charmin bears! The possibilities are endless, Ricochet cool cats! Why not tell us about it and start a conversation. Our schedule and sign-up sheet awaitsCaveat: Given the theme, please keep in mind the basic rules of R>. As you polish your little masterpiece, do ensure that it stays within the refined edge of tacky. As a heads’ up, our December theme will be Veneration. I’ll post the sign-up sheet mid-month.

    • #18
  19. Gaius Inactive
    Gaius
    @Gaius

    It depends on exactly how much weight you assign to the great forces of history. If France was a caldron waiting to over-boil regardless of events over in the Anglosphere then a Post-Gundower timeline starts looking at least arguably better from the perspective of liberalism and western civ. Everyone’s favorite Corsican artilleryman would still have reigned in the excess of the French Revolution and set about spreading its better elements to the rest of Europe. Without the great British navy standing in his way he probably would have succeeded in making Paris into a new Rome and sparing us the horrors of the 20th century. As others have said, I’m not sure the American revolution would go much differently, just with the English colonials revolting against a foreign crown rather than their own.

    • #19
  20. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    She (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    Bless you. I’ve spent, I think, thousands of dollars over the past 30 years spaying, and neutering the cats around here. Any cat who makes it into my barn for dinner is likely to be scooped up and taken to the clinic, no matter who he or she belongs to, and no matter his or her pedigree (which isn’t usually very sound, this is farm country).

    Funny story (or so I think) about my endeavors in this regard. I’ve only ever had one real “issue” in rounding up one of these cats. A lovely orange guy, who decided to sink his teeth into my leg, when I reached down to pick him up. And I ended up with cat scratch fever, a massive infection, and a leg that looked as if it belonged to David Merrick, the ‘Elephant Man.”

    I got cat-scratch fever once from trying to help a feral kitten. My right hand turned brilliant red and swelled up to the size of a catcher’s mitt.

    • #20
  21. She Member
    She
    @She

    Stina (View Comment):

    Three posts this week tempted me to renew my membership, but She, you did it :p

    Thanks, @cm That just might be the nicest thing anybody’s said to me all year!

    Its fascinating, this plot, and the reasoning for it.

    The first attempt to get a catholic on the throne was Mary Stuart during Elizabeth’s reign. Edward I hardly counts as it was more an attempt to control the king than depose the sickly, young monarch.

    Actually, there were two “Marys.”  Elizabeth’s older half-sister Mary (Queen Mary I) was “Bloody Mary,” who reigned before Elizabeth.  She was the daughter of Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII, and she was a Catholic.  She (Mary) was married to Philip of Spain, but died childless, possibly of ovarian cancer.  Elizabeth, who reigned next, was, in terms of religious tolerance, relatively benign.

    Mary Stuart (Queen of Scots) was the next one, and subject of many plots to get her on the throne during Elizabeth’s reign.  Elizabeth did, eventually, and somewhat reluctantly, if you believe contemporary accounts, have her beheaded.

    That Guy Fawkes is cursing protestant James (son of Mary) for his Scots ancestry is strange, as the Scots remained the biggest catholic allies for at least the next 200 years (Scottish independence relied on catholic benefactors, didn’t it?) on the British isle.

    Most of the Highlanders were Catholic, that’s for sure.

    Also, its surprising how swiftly the religious alignments shifted. I’m guessing Mary abdicated at behest of protestant ministers, leaving her young child to be raised by protestants? The shifts in the Tudor family are less surprising.

    Yes, they turned on a dime.  There’s a song, “The Vicar of Bray” which we learned as kids which goes through all the iterations of a clergyman’s “coat-turning” as the monarchs and their religious affiliations changed, from the Stuarts (Charles I) to the Hanoverians (the Georges).  Lyrics are here, but here’s the video.  I don’t even need much in the way of adult beverages to do a party turn, myself.

    • #21
  22. Rōnin Coolidge
    Rōnin
    @Ronin

    My family was implicated in the plot, and those not hanged, settled in Virginia  after 1620.  The Gunpowder Plot was the second strike for the family as they had in 1552 backed Mary I “Bloody Mary” to take the English Throne.  The family had supported and helped smuggle Mary to Framlingham Castle were Mary rallied her troops there to fight for the throne after Edward VI dies. 

    • #22
  23. She Member
    She
    @She

    Rōnin (View Comment):

    My family was implicated in the plot, and those not hanged, settled in Virginia after 1620. The Gunpowder Plot was the second strike for the family as they had in 1552 backed Mary I “Bloody Mary” to take the English Throne. The family had supported and helped smuggle Mary to Framlingham Castle were Mary rallied her troops there to fight for the throne after Edward VI dies.

    Wow, fascinating.  Thanks for sharing this.

    • #23
  24. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    My first impression is that I doubt that the success of the Gunpowder Plot would have made much difference in the long run. If anything, I would have expected it to have inspired an even more aggressive anti-Catholic retaliation in Britain, in the short term. In the longer term, it would have been hard for the British to be much more anti-Catholic than they were. By the way, I don’t blame the British for their anti-Catholic sentiment, as many Catholics were trying to overthrow the Protestant British monarchy and government, as demonstrated by the Plot itself.

    Perhaps Maryland would not have been established as a separate colony. The Gunpowder Plot was in 1605, while the charter of Maryland was granted in 1632, with religious liberty granted to Catholics in the colony. You might carry this out to — no Maryland, so no Baltimore, so no Ft. McHenry, so no Star-Spangled Banner. But this seems a stretch, as I suspect that the location of Baltimore had geographic advantages, so a major city would likely have grown there even under a different administration.

    It could have gone bad sooner than that.

    At the Battle of Long Island in August of 1776,  the Maryland militia were among the most highly trained units in Washington’s army. One group, known as the Maryland 400 (there were actually less than 300) repeatedly attacked a British force that outnumbered them by six to one. This gave the rest of the army time to retreat to the defensive works of Ft. Sterling, but at the cost of nearly the entire unit killed or captured. Lord Stirling (in command of the Marylanders) never made it back to his namesake. He was surrounded, but bulled his way through the British in order to surrender to the Hessians, because No True Scotsman should ever turn his sword over to the English. The British had the Rebels bottled up in the fort and decided that was enough for one day. But the next day, the rebels were gone.

    No Marylanders, no retreat to Ft. Sterling. No retreat to Ft. Sterling, no evacuation of Long Island. The Revolution ends.

    • #24
  25. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    On this day in 1775, Washington issued the following to his troops:

    As the Commander in Chief has been apprized [sic] 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 [sic], 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.

    It didn’t work out that way though. That’s probably for the best. I mean we could have ended up stuck with Quebec.

    • #25
  26. DonG Coolidge
    DonG
    @DonG

    Percival (View Comment):

    It could have gone bad sooner than that.

    At the Battle of Long Island in August of 1776, the Maryland militia were among the most highly trained units in Washington’s army.

    Let me quibble for the fun of it.  Why assume the British had any influence in North America?  Wouldn’t Spain have colonized North America the same way they did in South America?  A combined British and Spanish navy under the Spanish flag would have conquered  the world and been unrivaled.  The Protestant reformation would have been crushed.  There would be no treaty of Westphalia and we be typing in Spanish now.

    • #26
  27. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    DonG (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    It could have gone bad sooner than that.

    At the Battle of Long Island in August of 1776, the Maryland militia were among the most highly trained units in Washington’s army.

    Let me quibble for the fun of it. Why assume the British had any influence in North America? Wouldn’t Spain have colonized North America the same way they did in South America? A combined British and Spanish navy under the Spanish flag would have conquered the world and been unrivaled. The Protestant reformation would have been crushed. There would be no treaty of Westphalia and we be typing in Spanish now.

    And the Pope doesn’t believe in capitalism, right?

    • #27
  28. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    November 5th is fine, but the Easter Uprising in 1916 was bloody, but sublime.

    • #28
  29. She Member
    She
    @She

    Percival (View Comment):

    I mean we could have ended up stuck with Quebec.

    Quelle horreur (vraiment)!

    • #29
  30. She Member
    She
    @She

    DonG (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    It could have gone bad sooner than that.

    At the Battle of Long Island in August of 1776, the Maryland militia were among the most highly trained units in Washington’s army.

    Let me quibble for the fun of it. Why assume the British had any influence in North America? Wouldn’t Spain have colonized North America the same way they did in South America? A combined British and Spanish navy under the Spanish flag would have conquered the world and been unrivaled. The Protestant reformation would have been crushed. There would be no treaty of Westphalia and we be typing in Spanish now.

    The Spanish colonialists were very different from the British.  Not sure what the end result would have been in your scenario.

    • #30
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