The gunpowder plot is an unsuccessful attempt by a group of British Catholics to blow up the parliament building with the aim of killing King James I. country authorities.
Initially, the cell of the organizers of the criminal intent consisted of five people: Guy Fox, Robert Catesby, Thomas Winter, Thomas Percy and John Wright. Later they were joined by at least eight more people. They were all from the wealthy and influential Catholic families of England. The purpose of the conspiracy was to prepare the population of the Catholic regions for the uprising after the murder of James I and all possible heirs.
King Jacob I Stewart
Many say that the idea to get rid of the objectionable monarch, who violated his promises to the Catholics, arose from aristocrat Robert Catsby. For participation in the rebellion of Essex, he was awarded a huge monetary fine. This religious fanatic considered the Pope himself and the Jesuits indecisive in bringing England back to the fold of Catholicism and dreamed with one blow to achieve this goal.
The conspirators managed to first rent a room in the house next to the House of Lords, from where it was planned to dig a tunnel. However, then Thomas Percy was able to rent the room, which was directly under the hall of the House of Lords.
The conspirators managed to smuggle more than 2.5 tons of gunpowder there — that would be enough to destroy the entire parliament building. Although Guy Fawkes, who had experience handling explosives, was not the head of this conspiracy, it was he who became more famous in history than his other comrades, as he was instructed to light the fuse and then escape along the Thames and leave notify associates that the time for disembarking to England has come.
Fox was left in London to carry out the main part of the conspiracy, while the rest took refuge in Warwickshire, where the positions of Catholics were strong. It was from there that they planned to then begin a popular uprising in support of the coup d'état.
Preparing for the conspiracy required more money, and Catsby began to recruit his rich friends to raise capital. Every day more and more people were dedicated to the plot, which made information leakage inevitable. Finally, the plot was revealed, according to the official version, thanks to an anonymous letter dated October 26, 1605, addressed to Catholic Montiglu. In it, the lord was advised not to attend the meeting of the parliament, since God and the people decided to punish wickedness with a "terrible blow." Montiglu without delay reported all members of the Privy Council to the king.
On the night of November 4-5, the parliament building was searched, and around midnight, Fox was found in the basement along with the prepared gunpowder. Fox, who identified himself as John Johnson, also found watches and matches.
Fox was taken to the king's bedroom around one in the morning on November 5th. When asked by the monarch about the purpose of his enterprise, Guy Fox did not deny it and stated that he intended to kill the king and destroy parliament. In this case, the conspirator referred to the alleged prescription of the Pope that "a dangerous disease requires immediate treatment."
After that, Fox was taken to the Tower of London, where his interrogations continued, and under the King’s sanction, they began to use torture. On November 8, Fox managed to get an oral confession; on November 9, he named the names of his accomplices and revealed all the details of the plot; on November 10, he personally signed the text of the confession statement. This document with illegible and uneven (due to torture) signature of Guy Fawkes is now stored in the National Archives of Great Britain. An indicative trial of a group of conspirators was held in the Westminster Hall of the Parliament building on January 27, 1606. All of them were convicted of treason.
The execution of the defendants took place on January 30 and 31, 1606 in central London in the courtyard of St. Paul's Cathedral. The conspirators were subjected to the most brutal execution practiced at that time: the convict was first hanged, but not allowed to die in a loop, but was removed from the gallows, and then ripped open and released into the inside, and then quartered. The chief conspirator - Guy Fox - managed, however, to escape this terrible fate by jumping from the scaffold so that the rope broke his neck.
Soon after the discovery of the Powder Conspiracy, Parliament passed a special law ordering it to be celebrated on November 5 as “joyful thanksgiving for salvation.” The law was valid until 1859. However, after this the tradition of celebrating November 5th has been preserved. Now this holiday is known as “Guy Fawkes Night” or “Fireworks Night” (Bonfire Night). In all cities of the country, on November 5, a straw effigy in old clothes, symbolizing Guy Fawkes, is burned and fireworks are launched. Also, tradition requires that the beginning of the parliamentary session be preceded by a symbolic scene: the bailiff of the House of Lords - the “black carrier” - accompanied by guards from the Tower, dressed in colorful medieval uniforms, must bypass the basements of Westminster, checking if there are no barrels of gunpowder in them.
The memory of the Powder Conspiracy was captured in a ballad poem, which is still read during the celebration of Guy Fawkes Day:
Remember for ages
the events of the fifth of November.
Gunpowder, treason and collusion. After all, there is no reason to forget
how could riot sway.
Guy Fox, Guy Fox - he started it all.
Blow up the parliament and the king - his idea.
Three barrels of powder filled -
and old England could be broken.
God had mercy, Guy caught.
With a match in their hands, they caught me in a black cloak.
Scream guys, the bells will ring.
Scream, guys, God saved the king!