King James Ii


King James Ii Essay, Research Paper


‘ “The monarchy I thank God, yet had had no dependency on Parliament nor on nothing but god.”‘(1) James’s like his brother Charles, was determined to rule without the consent of Parliament and to reintroduce Roman Catholicism, which made King James Stuart II the cause of the Glorious Revolution. The Revolution of 1688 was also known as the Glorious Revolution because it was achieved without war. From-1685 -1688, James ruled England, Scotland, and Ireland. (2) James being the last Stuart and Catholic Monarch granted religious minorities the right to worship. James was treated as the would- be- tyrant because he attempted to subvert and extirpate the Protestant Religion and the laws and liberties of the kingdom he ruled. James II ignorance towards the Parliament caused an upheaval with the people.

Life as Duke of York

James Stuart the second was born on October 14, 1633. He was the middle child between Charles I and Elizabeth who was born in 1635. He also had another younger brother Henry who was born in 1660.(3) James learned Anglicanism of Archbishop Laud because the queen was not allowed to influence his religious education.(4) In the winter of 1647- 48 there was an attempt to send James to Holland so he could escape the beleaguered Britain and he did it successfully. James was being held captive because he was influenced by the Catholic religion. In 1649, Queen Henrietta Maria summoned James to Paris where he heard of his father’s execution . After James’s father Charles I died James’s brother became king much to the dislike of James. James did not want to spend anymore time in the French Court so he asked permission to volunteer for the king of France’s Army.(5) James wandered into foreign military service during the Commonwealth period (1649-1660). James fought many battles against the Spanish while he was a naval officer for Charles II. Within the Stuart Dynasty he served his brother as lord high admiral , administered colonies in Africa and New York and fought at sea in two battles against Holland in 1665 and 1672.(6) In 1659 James promised Anne Hyde marriage and their love was secretly consummated and then on September 3, 1660 they were married at the Worchester House. Then on April 30, 1662 James’s eldest surviving had born and christened Mary.

In 1669, James’s made his crucial conversion as well as his wife Anne. James had publicly been a Roman Catholic. James’s religion, his pro- French policies, and antiparlimentarian sentiments attracted the hostilities of the emerging Whig party. They created the Test Act of 1673 which deprived Catholics of government office was aimed largely at James.(7) In May 1661, the Duke of York (James II) took his seat in the reconstructed House of Lords which was more powerful in theory than the House of Commons. He went into the house with the Tories in agreement while the Whigs disapproved of him. Then he resigned from the Admiralty, the Whigs handled him between 1679, and 1681 with the Exclusion Bill designed to remove James II totally from the succession to the throne. (8)The Exclusion Bill stated that Catholic Kings would not be permitted to rule Great Britain. Charles wanted to continue the Stuart Dynasty so he opposed and reinstated James in admiralty and the Council in 1682.(9)

Life as the King

Finally in February 1685 James became King upon his brother Charles II’s death.(10) This was the beginning of a troubled reign of nearly four years. James had married Mary of Modena a Catholic princess. The Monmouth Rebellion led by his illegitimate nephew was put down so severely by Judge Jeffery’s that James popularity was impaired.(11) He attempted to master opposition by controlling local elections, expelling Protestant university officials and replacing them with Catholics, reviving the Anglican Church ’s High Commission, which removed the critical Bishop of London and maintain a standing army outside London and maintaining a standing army outside London, while granting toleration to Catholics and to Protestant Dissenters.(12) He did all this by decree and not by Parliamentary statute. When the archbishop of Canterbury refused to promulgate the decree, he and six other bishops were arrested in June 1688. By this time, even passive observers resented James’s autocracy.(13)

Glorious Revolution

In 1688 James’s queen gave birth to a male heir, seeming to assure the continuation of a Catholic monarchy, sentiment in the army and among the nobility and landed gentry turned quickly against James, and by the time he was willing to make compromises it was already too late. The leaders of the Parliament invited William of Orange and his Wife Mary to become King and Queen of England. (14)Once William III ruled the Glorious revolution had occurred with three outcomes, The Bill of Rights, The Toleration Act, and The Act of Settlement . The Bill of Rights established the rights of the nobility and great landowners in relation to the King. It did not transfer power from the king to the Parliament, it only made the legislation a partner in many aspects of government. The Toleration Act permitted everyone except Catholics, Jews, and Unitarians to worship as they please. The Act of Settlement required all future monarchs to be members to the Church of England. (15)

James fled England in December 1688 to France. King Louis XIV gave asylum to James. Until July 1690, French military and naval units aided the efforts of James. His English supporters the Jacobites helped until the Battle of Boyne River on July 1, William and Mary of Orange defeated 1690.(16) James. Upon his return to France James withdrew from active leadership. He was demoralized by Louis XIV’s recognition of William and Mary’s legitimate rule in the Treaty of Ryswick (1697). James died a lonely peaceful death in September 1701.(17)

By alienating every important segment of the political nation James, himself was the prime inspiration of the Glorious Revolution. The fear of Catholic power was so strong in England that is doubtful whether the any Catholic king who lacked the skill and cynicism of Charles II could have managed to keep the throne . James did not show proper regard for the laws and institutions of his kingdom or any respect for the social order. James was usually obtuse and generally stupid because he assumed the power to suspend laws and execute laws without consent. In anywise the men of 1688 solved the problem for all time by statute.

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