The Illustrated Guide to Terrorism
Chapter 2: A History of Terrorism
Page 5: The Plot Begins
Young James VI of Scotland closeup.
Autumn 1602. Elizabeth’s dying. Next in line is Scotland’s king James VI. James firmly believes that a king has absolute power, and the “divine right” to rule.
And we kings have to protect our power — at all costs!
Thomas Percy meeting with James IV and a member of his court.
Catesby’s buddy THOMAS PERCY has ridden all the way to Edinburgh to find out whether James plans to ease up on the official persecution of Catholics.
James was a master of letting people hear what they WANTED to hear, without actually SAYING it.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we all just got along?
Indeed, your highness.
That’s just what we wanted to hear! Wait’ll I tell the Catholics back in England!
King James I speaking with a courtier.
A few months later, Elizabeth died, and James was crowned King James I of England. At first, things were looking hopeful indeed.
All these laws punishing Catholics for their faith… we don’t see any need to enforce them, do we?
If you want my opinion-
Who asked you? We are telling you how it’s gonna be.
James I looking dubious.
But by mid-1604, it was clear that the king had no intention of making tolerance OFFICIAL.
Abolish laws against treason?
Legalize opposition to my own legitimacy?
I’m “Defender of the Faith” for a reason, you know.
Upset cavalier-looking dude
Catholics felt disappointed…
UPSET CAVALIER-LOOKING DUDE
“Disappointed?” You mean betrayed!
Thomas Percy and Robert Catesby looking agitated.
But most weren’t what you’d call “angry.” For 70 YEARS they’d been living with a Protestant England. Fighting back was the furthest thing from their minds… except for a few like Percy and young Catesby.
Let’s face it, Robin: The world’s not gonna change itself.
We were fools to hope.
We must force the world to change!
Percy and Catesby stick figures
Sure, we wear capes (and how cool is that) but — no offense — we’re not exactly fighting men.
Maybe not. But I know someone who is.
Map showing Flanders across the Channel from England.
Catesby sent word to Flanders (northern Belgium, today), where many Catholic men had escaped English persecution by joining the Spanish army.
Is there a guy named Fox here?
Got a message for an Englishman named Fox!
You mean good old Gunpowder Guido?
One of the finest soldiers I know!
You’ll have to wait. He’s over yonder right now, mining to blow up the enemy’s fort.
Group of plotters drinking at a bar. Names captioned: Robert Catesby, Thomas Percy, Guido Fawkes, Thomas Winter, Jack Wright.
Guido dropped everything to come back and help his friends. Soon, in May 1604, some angry young Catholic men gathered at the ‘Duck & Drake’ (the most popular pub in London.)
[SUGGESTED EDIT: Move the period to the outside of the parentheses.]
I said, spies can’t eavesdrop if they can’t hear us over the noise!
I can barely hear us over the noise!
So your plan is… I blow up… everyone?
That’s right! Then we can get a new government.
A Catholic government!
(Maybe persecute the bleedin’ C. of E. for a change!)
Set us up another, Bill. My round.
Robert Cecil lounging in a heavy wooden armchair.
Now would be a good time to introduce ROBERT CECIL.
Brilliant man. Manipulates money almost as well as he manipulates people.
Previously Elizabeth’s royal counselor, he’s so good at his job that James has kept him around.
If there’s anything in England worth knowing, you can bet Cecil knows it.
For example, I know ale’s not the only thing brewing down at the Duck & Drake.
I do believe I detect an opportunity.
James VI of Scotland, not IV. Also I believe the failed Bye Plot and Main Plot may have helped James reconsider his attitude towards Catholic toleration.
You believe right!
And dammit, of course he was James the Sixth, and of course I typed it backwards and didn’t catch it on any of my re-reads. Because I’m stupid like that! Good eye and thanks!
(You want to know what makes that error extra worse? My senior thesis as a History major back in undergrad was on… get this… the persecution of Catholics under the STUARTS. This guy? Bloody James bloody Charles Bloody STUART. God DAMN it!)
What exactly was the connection between capes and war?
I believe that it was more of a superhero reference. (Quite often they are fighting men)