At the Court at Whitehall, by GWYN, Francis (1648-1734).

Bonfires and Fireworks
GWYN, Francis (1648-1734).

At the Court at Whitehall, this Tenth of November, 1682... For the preventing tumultuous disorders which may happen thereafter upon pretence of assembling to make bonfires, and publick fire-works, and disappointing the evil designs of persons disaffected to the government, who commonly make use of such occasions to turn those meetings into riots and tumults. London, Henry Hills, 1682.

Folio broadside (375 x 285), text (but not title or imprint) printed in black letter, large royal arms at the head, uncut, single fold.

A scarce broadside proclamation forbidding the use of fireworks or the lighting of bonfires on public holidays. Issued during the reign of Charles II when the November celebrations of the Gunpowder plot had become rather out of hand. Effigies of the Pope were regularly paraded and burnt at Temple Bar and anti-Catholic feeling in the capital was high, but the demonstrations were unscructured and increasingly violent.
‘By 1682 the November activities had lost their theatricality and flaunting mockery, and degenerated into rowdy confrontations. Gunpowder Treason day took on a sullen, festering mood with an air more of grievance than celebration. The Popish Plot had unravelled. No parliament was sitting, and the legislative road to exclusion was blocked. In terms of high politics the Whigs had lost their advantage, but anti-Catholic sentiment ran hotter than ever in the streets of London. Popular protest tied to Protestant anniversaries reached fever pitch in November 1682. There were no formal processions, now that the Whigs had crumpled and had their patronage withdrawn, but gunpowder Treason bonfires abounded. Energies that had been channelled towards ritual performance were now free to spill over into uncontrolled violence. Orchestration gave way to anarchy. In London the trained bands were readied and their numbers strengthened. Orders were issued ‘for preventing tumultuous disorders’ but with little effect’ (David Cressy, Bonfires and Bells, California 1989, p. 182).

ESTC r27325, listing nine copies in the UK and Harvard, Huntington, Clark, Penn and Yale.

Wing E798; Steele I, 3734; Goldsmiths 2485.

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