James II of England

James II of England

Overview
James II & VII was King of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 and King of Ireland
Kingdom of Ireland
The Kingdom of Ireland refers to the country of Ireland in the period between the proclamation of Henry VIII as King of Ireland by the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 and the Act of Union in 1800. It replaced the Lordship of Ireland, which had been created in 1171...

 as James II and King of Scotland
Kingdom of Scotland
The Kingdom of Scotland was a Sovereign state in North-West Europe that existed from 843 until 1707. It occupied the northern third of the island of Great Britain and shared a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England...

 as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

, Scotland
Kingdom of Scotland
The Kingdom of Scotland was a Sovereign state in North-West Europe that existed from 843 until 1707. It occupied the northern third of the island of Great Britain and shared a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England...

, and Ireland
Kingdom of Ireland
The Kingdom of Ireland refers to the country of Ireland in the period between the proclamation of Henry VIII as King of Ireland by the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 and the Act of Union in 1800. It replaced the Lordship of Ireland, which had been created in 1171...

. Members of Britain's political and religious elite increasingly opposed him for being pro-French and pro-Catholic, and for his designs on becoming an absolute monarch.
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Timeline

1660   James II of England is named Duke of Normandy by Louis XIV of France.

1665   James Stuart, Duke of York (later to become King James II of England) defeats the Dutch fleet off the coast of Lowestoft.

1689   The Convention Parliament convenes and declares that the flight to France in 1688 by James II, the last Roman Catholic British monarch, constitutes an abdication.

1689   The former King James II of England, now deposed, lays siege to Derry.

1690   Battle of the Boyne (Gregorian calendar) – The armies of William III defeat those of the former James II.

 
Encyclopedia
James II & VII was King of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 and King of Ireland
Kingdom of Ireland
The Kingdom of Ireland refers to the country of Ireland in the period between the proclamation of Henry VIII as King of Ireland by the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 and the Act of Union in 1800. It replaced the Lordship of Ireland, which had been created in 1171...

 as James II and King of Scotland
Kingdom of Scotland
The Kingdom of Scotland was a Sovereign state in North-West Europe that existed from 843 until 1707. It occupied the northern third of the island of Great Britain and shared a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England...

 as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

, Scotland
Kingdom of Scotland
The Kingdom of Scotland was a Sovereign state in North-West Europe that existed from 843 until 1707. It occupied the northern third of the island of Great Britain and shared a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England...

, and Ireland
Kingdom of Ireland
The Kingdom of Ireland refers to the country of Ireland in the period between the proclamation of Henry VIII as King of Ireland by the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 and the Act of Union in 1800. It replaced the Lordship of Ireland, which had been created in 1171...

. Members of Britain's political and religious elite increasingly opposed him for being pro-French and pro-Catholic, and for his designs on becoming an absolute monarch. When he produced a Catholic heir
James Francis Edward Stuart
James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales was the son of the deposed James II of England...

, the tension exploded, and leading nobles called on William III of Orange
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

 (his son-in-law and nephew) to land an invasion army from the Netherlands, which he did. James fled England (and thus was held to have abdicated) in the Glorious Revolution
Glorious Revolution
The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, is the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau...

 of 1688. He was replaced by William of Orange who became king as William III
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

, ruling jointly with his wife (James's daughter) Mary II
Mary II of England
Mary II was joint Sovereign of England, Scotland, and Ireland with her husband and first cousin, William III and II, from 1689 until her death. William and Mary, both Protestants, became king and queen regnant, respectively, following the Glorious Revolution, which resulted in the deposition of...

. Thus William and Mary
William and Mary
The phrase William and Mary usually refers to the coregency over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland, of King William III & II and Queen Mary II...

, both Protestants, became joint rulers in 1689. James made one serious attempt to recover his crowns, when he landed in Ireland in 1689 but, after the defeat of the Jacobite forces
Jacobitism
Jacobitism was the political movement in Britain dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, later the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Ireland...

 by the Williamite forces
Williamite
Williamite refers to the followers of King William III of England who deposed King James II in the Glorious Revolution. William, the Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, replaced James with the support of English Whigs....

 at the Battle of the Boyne
Battle of the Boyne
The Battle of the Boyne was fought in 1690 between two rival claimants of the English, Scottish and Irish thronesthe Catholic King James and the Protestant King William across the River Boyne near Drogheda on the east coast of Ireland...

 in the summer of 1690, James returned to France. He lived out the rest of his life as a pretender
Pretender
A pretender is one who claims entitlement to an unavailable position of honour or rank. Most often it refers to a former monarch, or descendant thereof, whose throne is occupied or claimed by a rival, or has been abolished....

 at a court sponsored by his cousin and ally, King Louis XIV
Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV , known as Louis the Great or the Sun King , was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days...

.

James is best known for his belief in the Divine Right of Kings
Absolute monarchy
Absolute monarchy is a monarchical form of government in which the monarch exercises ultimate governing authority as head of state and head of government, his or her power not being limited by a constitution or by the law. An absolute monarch thus wields unrestricted political power over the...

 and his attempts to create religious liberty
Freedom of religion
Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any...

 for English Roman Catholics against the wishes of the English Parliament
Parliament of England
The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England. In 1066, William of Normandy introduced a feudal system, by which he sought the advice of a council of tenants-in-chief and ecclesiastics before making laws...

. Parliament, opposed to the growth of absolutism that was occurring in other European countries, as well as to the loss of legal supremacy for the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

, saw their opposition as a way to preserve what they regarded as traditional English liberties. This tension made James's four-year reign a struggle for supremacy between the English Parliament and the Crown, resulting in his deposition, the passage of the English Bill of Rights
Bill of Rights 1689
The Bill of Rights or the Bill of Rights 1688 is an Act of the Parliament of England.The Bill of Rights was passed by Parliament on 16 December 1689. It was a re-statement in statutory form of the Declaration of Right presented by the Convention Parliament to William and Mary in March 1689 ,...

, and the Hanoverian succession
Act of Settlement 1701
The Act of Settlement is an act of the Parliament of England that was passed in 1701 to settle the succession to the English throne on the Electress Sophia of Hanover and her Protestant heirs. The act was later extended to Scotland, as a result of the Treaty of Union , enacted in the Acts of Union...

.

Birth and early life


James, the second surviving son of Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

 and Henrietta Maria of France
Henrietta Maria of France
Henrietta Maria of France ; was the Queen consort of England, Scotland and Ireland as the wife of King Charles I...

, was born at St. James's Palace
St. James's Palace
St. James's Palace is one of London's oldest palaces. It is situated in Pall Mall, just north of St. James's Park. Although no sovereign has resided there for almost two centuries, it has remained the official residence of the Sovereign and the most senior royal palace in the UK...

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 on 14 October 1633. Later that same year, James was baptized by William Laud
William Laud
William Laud was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633 to 1645. One of the High Church Caroline divines, he opposed radical forms of Puritanism...

, the Anglican
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

. James was educated by tutors, along with his brother, the future King Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

, and the two sons of the Duke of Buckingham
George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham
George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham KG was the favourite, claimed by some to be the lover, of King James I of England. Despite a very patchy political and military record, he remained at the height of royal favour for the first two years of the reign of Charles I, until he was assassinated...

, George
George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham
George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, 20th Baron de Ros of Helmsley, KG, PC, FRS was an English statesman and poet.- Upbringing and education :...

 and Francis Villiers. At the age of three, James was appointed Lord High Admiral
Admiralty
The Admiralty was formerly the authority in the Kingdom of England, and later in the United Kingdom, responsible for the command of the Royal Navy...

; the position was initially honorary, but would become a substantive office after the Restoration, when James was an adult.

Civil War


James was invested with the Order of the Garter
Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. The order is dedicated to the image and arms of St...

 in 1642, and created Duke of York
Duke of York
The Duke of York is a title of nobility in the British peerage. Since the 15th century, it has, when granted, usually been given to the second son of the British monarch. The title has been created a remarkable eleven times, eight as "Duke of York" and three as the double-barreled "Duke of York and...

 on 22 January 1644. As the King's disputes with the English Parliament grew into the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

 James stayed in Oxford
Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

, a Royalist stronghold. When the city surrendered after the siege of Oxford
Siege of Oxford
The Siege of Oxford was a Parliamentarian victory late in the First English Civil War. Whereas the title of the event may suggest a single siege, there were in fact three individual engagements that took place over a period of three years....

 in 1646, Parliamentary leaders ordered the Duke of York to be confined in St. James's Palace
St. James's Palace
St. James's Palace is one of London's oldest palaces. It is situated in Pall Mall, just north of St. James's Park. Although no sovereign has resided there for almost two centuries, it has remained the official residence of the Sovereign and the most senior royal palace in the UK...

. In 1648, he escaped from the Palace, aided by Joseph Bampfield
Joseph Bampfield
Joseph Bampfield , was a royalist colonel greatly involved in the turbulence of the English Civil War period.-Life:Bampfield was, according to Clarendon, an Irishman, his real name being Bamford; but the assertion is not corroborated by any other authority...

 and from there he went to The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

 in disguise. When Charles I was executed by the rebels in 1649, monarchists proclaimed James's older brother Charles II of England
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

. Charles II was recognized by the Parliament of Scotland
Parliament of Scotland
The Parliament of Scotland, officially the Estates of Parliament, was the legislature of the Kingdom of Scotland. The unicameral parliament of Scotland is first found on record during the early 13th century, with the first meeting for which a primary source survives at...

 and the Parliament of Ireland
Parliament of Ireland
The Parliament of Ireland was a legislature that existed in Dublin from 1297 until 1800. In its early mediaeval period during the Lordship of Ireland it consisted of either two or three chambers: the House of Commons, elected by a very restricted suffrage, the House of Lords in which the lords...

 and was crowned King of Scotland at Scone in Scotland in 1651. Although he was proclaimed King at Jersey
Jersey
Jersey, officially the Bailiwick of Jersey is a British Crown Dependency off the coast of Normandy, France. As well as the island of Jersey itself, the bailiwick includes two groups of small islands that are no longer permanently inhabited, the Minquiers and Écréhous, and the Pierres de Lecq and...

 Charles was unable to secure the crown of England and consequently fled to France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and exile.

Exile in France



Like his brother, James sought refuge in France, serving in the French army under Turenne
Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne
Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne,often called simply Turenne was the most illustrious member of the La Tour d'Auvergne family. He achieved military fame and became a Marshal of France...

 against the Fronde
Fronde
The Fronde was a civil war in France, occurring in the midst of the Franco-Spanish War, which had begun in 1635. The word fronde means sling, which Parisian mobs used to smash the windows of supporters of Cardinal Mazarin....

, and later against their Spanish allies. In the French army, James had his first true experience of battle where, according to one observer, he "ventures himself and chargeth gallantly where anything is to be done". In 1656, when his brother, Charles, entered into an alliance with Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

—an enemy of France—James was expelled from France and forced to leave Turenne's army. James quarrelled with his brother over the diplomatic choice of Spain over France. Exiled and poor, there was little that either Charles or James could do about the larger diplomatic situation, and James ultimately travelled to Bruges
Bruges
Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country....

 and (along with his younger brother, Henry
Henry Stuart, Duke of Gloucester
Henry Stuart, 1st Duke of Gloucester was the third adult son of Charles I and his queen, Henrietta Maria of France...

) joined the Spanish army under Louis, Prince of Condé
Louis II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé
Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Condé was a French general and the most famous representative of the Condé branch of the House of Bourbon. Prior to his father's death in 1646, he was styled the Duc d'Enghien...

, fighting against his former French comrades at the Battle of the Dunes
Battle of the Dunes (1658)
The Battle of the Dunes, fought on 14 June , 1658, is also known as the Battle of Dunkirk. It was a victory of the French army, under Turenne, against the Spanish army, led by John of Austria the Younger and Louis II de Condé...

. During his term of service in the Spanish army, James became friendly with two Irish Catholic brothers in the Royalist entourage, Peter
Archbishop Peter Talbot
Peter Talbot was the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin from 1669 to his death.- Early life :Talbot was born at Malahide, County Dublin, Ireland, in 1620. At an early age he entered the Society of Jesus in Portugal. He was ordained a priest at Rome, and for some years thereafter held the chair...

 and Richard Talbot, and began to be somewhat estranged from his brother's Anglican advisers. In 1659, the French and Spanish made peace
Treaty of the Pyrenees
The Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed to end the 1635 to 1659 war between France and Spain, a war that was initially a part of the wider Thirty Years' War. It was signed on Pheasant Island, a river island on the border between the two countries...

. James, doubtful of his brother's chances of regaining the throne, considered taking a Spanish offer to be an admiral in their navy. Ultimately, he declined the position; by the next year the situation in England had sufficiently changed, and Charles II was proclaimed King.

First marriage



After Oliver Cromwell's
Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland....

 death in 1658 and the subsequent collapse of the Commonwealth
Commonwealth of England
The Commonwealth of England was the republic which ruled first England, and then Ireland and Scotland from 1649 to 1660. Between 1653–1659 it was known as the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland...

 in 1660, Charles II was restored to the English throne. Although James was the heir-presumptive, it seemed unlikely that he would inherit the Crown, as Charles was still a young man capable of fathering children. Upon his brother's restoration, James was created Duke of Albany
Duke of Albany
Duke of Albany is a peerage title that has occasionally been bestowed on the younger sons in the Scottish, and later the British, royal family, particularly in the Houses of Stuart and Hanover....

 in Scotland, to go along with his English title, Duke of York. Upon his return to England, James produced an immediate controversy by announcing his engagement to Anne Hyde
Anne Hyde
Anne Hyde was the first wife of James, Duke of York , and the mother of two monarchs, Mary II of England and Scotland and Anne of Great Britain....

, the daughter of Charles's chief minister, Edward Hyde
Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon
Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon was an English historian and statesman, and grandfather of two English monarchs, Mary II and Queen Anne.-Early life:...

. In 1659, while attempting to seduce her, James promised he would marry Anne. Anne became pregnant in 1660, but following the Restoration
English Restoration
The Restoration of the English monarchy began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II after the Interregnum that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms...

 and James's return to power, no one at the royal court expected a prince to marry a commoner
Commoner
In British law, a commoner is someone who is neither the Sovereign nor a peer. Therefore, any member of the Royal Family who is not a peer, such as Prince Harry of Wales or Anne, Princess Royal, is a commoner, as is any member of a peer's family, including someone who holds only a courtesy title,...

, no matter what he had pledged beforehand. Although nearly everyone, including Anne's father, urged the two not to marry, they did so. The couple was married secretly, then went through an official marriage ceremony on 3 September 1660, in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. Their first child, Charles, was born less than two months later, but died in infancy, as did five further sons and daughters. Only two daughters survived: Mary
Mary II of England
Mary II was joint Sovereign of England, Scotland, and Ireland with her husband and first cousin, William III and II, from 1689 until her death. William and Mary, both Protestants, became king and queen regnant, respectively, following the Glorious Revolution, which resulted in the deposition of...

 (born 30 April 1662) and Anne
Anne of Great Britain
Anne ascended the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland on 8 March 1702. On 1 May 1707, under the Act of Union, two of her realms, England and Scotland, were united as a single sovereign state, the Kingdom of Great Britain.Anne's Catholic father, James II and VII, was deposed during the...

 (born 6 February 1665). Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys FRS, MP, JP, was an English naval administrator and Member of Parliament who is now most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man...

 wrote that James was fond of his children and his role as a father, writing that he played with them "like an ordinary father", a contrast to the distant parenting common to royals at the time. James's wife was devoted to him and influenced many of his decisions. Even so, he kept a variety of mistresses, including Arabella Churchill
Arabella Churchill (royal mistress)
Arabella Churchill was the mistress of King James II, and the mother of four of his children...

 and Catherine Sedley, and was reputed to be "the most unguarded ogler of his time." With Catherine Sedley, James II had a daughter, Catherine Darnley (so named because James II was a descendant of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
Henry Stewart or Stuart, 1st Duke of Albany , styled Lord Darnley before 1565, was king consort of Scotland and murdered at Kirk o'Field...

). Anne Hyde died in 1671.

Military and political offices


After the Restoration, James was confirmed as Lord High Admiral
Admiralty
The Admiralty was formerly the authority in the Kingdom of England, and later in the United Kingdom, responsible for the command of the Royal Navy...

, an office that carried with it the subsidiary appointments of Governor of Portsmouth
Portsmouth
Portsmouth is the second largest city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire on the south coast of England. Portsmouth is notable for being the United Kingdom's only island city; it is located mainly on Portsea Island...

 and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports
Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports
The Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports is a ceremonial official in the United Kingdom. The post dates from at least the 12th century but may be older. The Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports was originally in charge of the Cinque Ports, a group of five port towns on the southeast coast of England...

. James commanded the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 during the Second
Second Anglo-Dutch War
The Second Anglo–Dutch War was part of a series of four Anglo–Dutch Wars fought between the English and the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries for control over the seas and trade routes....

 (1665–1667) and Third Anglo-Dutch War
Third Anglo-Dutch War
The Third Anglo–Dutch War or Third Dutch War was a military conflict between England and the Dutch Republic lasting from 1672 to 1674. It was part of the larger Franco-Dutch War...

s (1672–1674). Following the raid on the Medway
Raid on the Medway
The Raid on the Medway, sometimes called the Battle of the Medway, Raid on Chatham or the Battle of Chatham, was a successful Dutch attack on the largest English naval ships, laid up in the dockyards of their main naval base Chatham, that took place in June 1667 during the Second Anglo-Dutch War...

 in 1667, James oversaw the survey and re-fortification of the southern coast. The office of Lord High Admiral, combined with his revenue from post office and wine tariffs (granted him by Charles upon his restoration) gave James a sufficient salary to keep a sizeable court household.

In 1664, Charles granted American territory between the Delaware and Connecticut Rivers to James. Following its capture by the English the former Dutch territory of New Netherland
New Netherland
New Netherland, or Nieuw-Nederland in Dutch, was the 17th-century colonial province of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands on the East Coast of North America. The claimed territories were the lands from the Delmarva Peninsula to extreme southwestern Cape Cod...

 and its principal port, New Amsterdam
New Amsterdam
New Amsterdam was a 17th-century Dutch colonial settlement that served as the capital of New Netherland. It later became New York City....

, were named the Province
Province of New York
The Province of New York was an English and later British crown territory that originally included all of the present U.S. states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Vermont, along with inland portions of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine, as well as eastern Pennsylvania...

 and City of New York
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 in James's honour. After the founding, the duke gave part of the colony to proprietors George Carteret
George Carteret
Vice Admiral Sir George Carteret, 1st Baronet , son of Elias de Carteret, was a royalist statesman in Jersey and England, who served in the Clarendon Ministry as Treasurer of the Navy...

 and John Berkeley
John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton
John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton was an English royalist soldier. From 1648 he was closely associated with James, Duke of York, and rose to prominence, fortune and fame.-First English Civil War:...

. Fort Orange
Fort Orange
Fort Orange was the first permanent Dutch settlement in New Netherland and was on the site of the present-day city of Albany, New York. It was a replacement for Fort Nassau, which had been built on nearby Castle Island in the Hudson River, and which served as a trading post until 1617 or 1618,...

, 240 kilometres (149.1 mi) north on the Hudson River
Hudson River
The Hudson is a river that flows from north to south through eastern New York. The highest official source is at Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains. The river itself officially begins in Henderson Lake in Newcomb, New York...

, was renamed Albany
Albany, New York
Albany is the capital city of the U.S. state of New York, the seat of Albany County, and the central city of New York's Capital District. Roughly north of New York City, Albany sits on the west bank of the Hudson River, about south of its confluence with the Mohawk River...

 after James's Scottish title. In 1683, he became the governor of the Hudson's Bay Company
Hudson's Bay Company
The Hudson's Bay Company , abbreviated HBC, or "The Bay" is the oldest commercial corporation in North America and one of the oldest in the world. A fur trading business for much of its existence, today Hudson's Bay Company owns and operates retail stores throughout Canada...

, but did not take an active role in its governance. James also headed the Royal African Company
Royal African Company
The Royal African Company was a slaving company set up by the Stuart family and London merchants once the former retook the English throne in the English Restoration of 1660...

, a slave trading company.

In September 1666, his brother Charles put him in charge of firefighting operations for the Great Fire of London
Great Fire of London
The Great Fire of London was a major conflagration that swept through the central parts of the English city of London, from Sunday, 2 September to Wednesday, 5 September 1666. The fire gutted the medieval City of London inside the old Roman City Wall...

, in the absence of action by Mayor Thomas Bloodworth
Thomas Bloodworth
Sir Thomas Bloodworth was Lord Mayor of London from October 1665 to October 1666. His inaction during the early stages of the Great Fire of London was widely criticized as one of the causes for the great extent of the damage to the city.Prior to his time as mayor, Bloodworth was a wealthy...

. While this was not strictly a political office, his actions and leadership were noteworthy. "The Duke of York hath won the hearts of the people with his continual and indefatigable pains day and night in helping to quench the Fire", wrote a witness in a letter on 8 September.

Conversion to Roman Catholicism and second marriage


James's time in France had exposed him to the beliefs and ceremonies of Catholicism
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

; he and his wife, Anne, became drawn to that faith. James took Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

 in the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 in 1668 or 1669, although his conversion was kept secret for some time and he continued to attend Anglican services until 1676. In spite of his conversion, James continued to associate primarily with Anglicans, including John Churchill
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, Prince of Mindelheim, KG, PC , was an English soldier and statesman whose career spanned the reigns of five monarchs through the late 17th and early 18th centuries...

 and George Legge
George Legge, 1st Baron Dartmouth
Admiral George Legge, 1st Baron Dartmouth PC was an English naval commander who gave distinguished service to both Charles II and James II.-Biography:...

, as well as French Protestants
Huguenot
The Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France during the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the 17th century, people who formerly would have been called Huguenots have instead simply been called French Protestants, a title suggested by their German co-religionists, the...

, such as Louis de Duras
Louis de Duras, 2nd Earl of Feversham
Louis de Duras, 2nd Earl of Feversham KG was a French nobleman who became Earl of Feversham in Stuart England.Born in France, he was marquis de Blanquefort and sixth son of Guy Aldonce , Marquis of Duras and Count of Rozan, from the noble Durfort family...

, the Earl of Feversham.

Growing fears of Catholic influence at court led the English Parliament to introduce a new Test Act
Test Act
The Test Acts were a series of English penal laws that served as a religious test for public office and imposed various civil disabilities on Roman Catholics and Nonconformists...

 in 1673. Under this Act, all civil and military officials were required to take an oath (in which they were required not only to disavow the doctrine of transubstantiation
Transubstantiation
In Roman Catholic theology, transubstantiation means the change, in the Eucharist, of the substance of wheat bread and grape wine into the substance of the Body and Blood, respectively, of Jesus, while all that is accessible to the senses remains as before.The Eastern Orthodox...

, but also denounce certain practices of the Catholic Church as superstitious and idolatrous) and to receive the Eucharist under the auspices of the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

. James refused to perform either action, instead choosing to relinquish the post of Lord High Admiral. His conversion to Catholicism was thereby made public.

Charles II opposed the conversion, ordering that James's daughters, Mary and Anne, be raised as Protestants. Nevertheless, he allowed James to marry the Catholic Mary of Modena
Mary of Modena
Mary of Modena was Queen consort of England, Scotland and Ireland as the second wife of King James II and VII. A devout Catholic, Mary became, in 1673, the second wife of James, Duke of York, who later succeeded his older brother Charles II as King James II...

, a fifteen-year-old Italian princess. James and Mary were married by proxy
Proxy marriage
A proxy wedding or is a wedding in which the bride or groom is not physically present, usually being represented instead by another person...

 in a Catholic ceremony on 20 September 1673. On 21 November, Mary arrived in England and Nathaniel Crew
Nathaniel Crew, 3rd Baron Crew
Nathanial Crew, 3rd Baron Crew was Bishop of Oxford from 1671 to 1674, then Bishop of Durham from 1674 to 1721. As such he was one of the longest serving bishops of the Church of England....

, Bishop of Oxford
Bishop of Oxford
The Bishop of Oxford is the diocesan bishop of the Church of England Diocese of Oxford in the Province of Canterbury; his seat is at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford...

, performed a brief Anglican service that did little more than recognise the Catholic marriage. Many of the British people, distrustful of Catholicism, regarded the new Duchess of York as an agent of the Pope
Pope Clement X
Pope Clement X , born Emilio Bonaventura Altieri, was Pope from 29 April 1670 to 22 July 1676.-Early life:Emilio Altieri was born in Rome, the son of Lorenzo Altieri and Victoria Delphini, a Venetian lady...

.

Exclusion Crisis


In 1677, James reluctantly consented to his daughter Mary's marriage to the Protestant William of Orange
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

 (who was also James's nephew), acquiescing after his brother Charles and William had agreed upon the marriage. Despite the Protestant marriage, fears of a potential Catholic monarch persisted, intensified by the failure of Charles II and his wife, Catherine of Braganza
Catherine of Braganza
Catherine of Braganza was a Portuguese infanta and queen consort of England, Scotland and Ireland as the wife of King Charles II.She married the king in 1662...

, to produce any children. A defrocked Anglican clergyman, Titus Oates
Titus Oates
Titus Oates was an English perjurer who fabricated the "Popish Plot", a supposed Catholic conspiracy to kill King Charles II.-Early life:...

, spoke of a "Popish Plot
Popish Plot
The Popish Plot was a fictitious conspiracy concocted by Titus Oates that gripped England, Wales and Scotland in Anti-Catholic hysteria between 1678 and 1681. Oates alleged that there existed an extensive Catholic conspiracy to assassinate Charles II, accusations that led to the execution of at...

" to kill Charles and to put the Duke of York on the throne. The fabricated plot caused a wave of anti-Catholic hysteria to sweep across the nation.

In England, the Earl of Shaftesbury, a former government minister and now a leading opponent of Catholicism, attempted to have James excluded from the line of succession. Some members of Parliament even proposed that the crown go to Charles's illegitimate son, James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth
James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth
James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, 1st Duke of Buccleuch, KG, PC , was an English nobleman. Originally called James Crofts or James Fitzroy, he was born in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, the eldest illegitimate son of Charles II and his mistress, Lucy Walter...

. In 1679, with the Exclusion Bill
Exclusion Bill
The Exclusion Crisis ran from 1678 through 1681 in the reign of Charles II of England. The Exclusion Bill sought to exclude the king's brother and heir presumptive, James, Duke of York, from the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland because he was Roman Catholic...

 in danger of passing, Charles II dissolved Parliament. Two further Parliaments were elected in 1680 and 1681, but were dissolved for the same reason. The Exclusion Crisis contributed to the development of the English two-party system: the Whigs
British Whig Party
The Whigs were a party in the Parliament of England, Parliament of Great Britain, and Parliament of the United Kingdom, who contested power with the rival Tories from the 1680s to the 1850s. The Whigs' origin lay in constitutional monarchism and opposition to absolute rule...

 were those who supported the Bill, while the Tories
Tory
Toryism is a traditionalist and conservative political philosophy which grew out of the Cavalier faction in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. It is a prominent ideology in the politics of the United Kingdom, but also features in parts of The Commonwealth, particularly in Canada...

 were those who opposed it. Ultimately, the succession was not altered, but James was convinced to withdraw from all policy-making bodies and to accept a lesser role in his brother's government.

On the orders of the King, James left England for Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

. In 1680, he was appointed Lord High Commissioner of Scotland and took up residence at the Palace of Holyroodhouse
Holyrood Palace
The Palace of Holyroodhouse, commonly referred to as Holyrood Palace, is the official residence of the monarch in Scotland. The palace stands at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, at the opposite end to Edinburgh Castle...

 in Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

 in order to suppress an uprising and oversee royal government. James returned to England for a time when Charles was stricken ill and appeared to be near death. The hysteria of the accusations eventually faded, but James's relations with many in the English Parliament, including the Earl of Danby
Thomas Osborne, 1st Duke of Leeds
Thomas Osborne, 1st Duke of Leeds, KG , English statesman , served in a variety of offices under Kings Charles II and William III of England.-Early life, 1632–1674:The son of Sir Edward Osborne, Bart., of Kiveton, Yorkshire, Thomas Osborne...

, a former ally, were forever strained and a solid segment turned against him.

Return to favour


In 1683, a plot was uncovered to assassinate Charles and James and spark a republican
Republicanism
Republicanism is the ideology of governing a nation as a republic, where the head of state is appointed by means other than heredity, often elections. The exact meaning of republicanism varies depending on the cultural and historical context...

 revolution to re-establish a government of the Cromwellian style
Commonwealth of England
The Commonwealth of England was the republic which ruled first England, and then Ireland and Scotland from 1649 to 1660. Between 1653–1659 it was known as the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland...

. The conspiracy, known as the Rye House Plot
Rye House Plot
The Rye House Plot of 1683 was a plan to assassinate King Charles II of England and his brother James, Duke of York. Historians vary in their assessment of the degree to which details of the conspiracy were finalized....

, backfired upon its conspirators and provoked a wave of sympathy for the King and James. Several notable Whigs
British Whig Party
The Whigs were a party in the Parliament of England, Parliament of Great Britain, and Parliament of the United Kingdom, who contested power with the rival Tories from the 1680s to the 1850s. The Whigs' origin lay in constitutional monarchism and opposition to absolute rule...

, including the Earl of Essex
Arthur Capell, 1st Earl of Essex
Arthur Capell, 1st Earl of Essex PC , whose surname is sometimes spelled Capel, was an English statesman.-Early life:...

 and the King's illegitimate son, the Duke of Monmouth
James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth
James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, 1st Duke of Buccleuch, KG, PC , was an English nobleman. Originally called James Crofts or James Fitzroy, he was born in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, the eldest illegitimate son of Charles II and his mistress, Lucy Walter...

, were implicated. Monmouth initially confessed to complicity in the plot, implicating fellow-plotters, but later recanted. Essex committed suicide and Monmouth, along with several others, was obliged to flee into Continental exile. Charles reacted to the plot by increasing repression of Whigs and dissenters. Taking advantage of James's rebounding popularity, Charles invited him back onto the privy council in 1684. While some in the English Parliament remained wary of the possibility of a Catholic king, the threat of excluding James from the throne had passed.

Ascension to the throne


Charles died in 1685 after converting to Catholicism on his deathbed. Having no legitimate children, Charles was succeeded by his brother James, who reigned in England and Ireland as James II, and in Scotland as James VII. There was little initial opposition to his succession, and there were widespread reports of public rejoicing at the orderly succession. James wanted to proceed quickly to the coronation, and was crowned at Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

 on 23 April 1685. The new Parliament that assembled in May 1685, which gained the name of "Loyal Parliament
Loyal Parliament
The Loyal Parliament was the first and only Parliament of England of King James II, in theory continuing from May 1685 to July 1688, but in practice sitting during 1685 only. It gained its name because at the outset most of its members were loyal to the new king...

", was initially favourable to James, and the new King sent word that even most of the former exclusionists would be forgiven if they acquiesced to his rule. Most of Charles's officers continued in office, the exceptions being the promotion of James's brothers-in-law, the Earls of Clarendon
Henry Hyde, 2nd Earl of Clarendon
Henry Hyde 2nd Earl of Clarendon PC was an English aristocrat and politician. He held high office at the beginning of the reign of James II of England, who had married his sister.-Early life:...

 and Rochester
Laurence Hyde, 1st Earl of Rochester
Laurence Hyde, 1st Earl of Rochester KG PC was an English statesman and writer. He was originally a supporter of James II but later supported the Glorious Revolution in 1688.-Early life:...

, and the demotion of Halifax
George Savile, 1st Marquess of Halifax
George Savile, 1st Marquess of Halifax PC was an English statesman, writer, and politician.-Family and early life, 1633–1667:...

. Parliament granted James a generous life income, including all of the proceeds of tonnage and poundage
Tonnage and Poundage
Tonnage and Poundage were certain duties and taxes first levied in Edward II's reign on every tun of imported wine, which came mostly from Spain and Portugal, and on every pound weight of merchandise exported or imported. Traditionally tonnage and poundage was granted by Parliament to the king...

 and the customs
Customs
Customs is an authority or agency in a country responsible for collecting and safeguarding customs duties and for controlling the flow of goods including animals, transports, personal effects and hazardous items in and out of a country...

 duties. James worked harder as king than his brother had, but was less willing to compromise when his advisers disagreed.

Two rebellions



Soon after becoming king, James faced a rebellion
Monmouth Rebellion
The Monmouth Rebellion,The Revolt of the West or The West Country rebellion of 1685, was an attempt to overthrow James II, who had become King of England, King of Scots and King of Ireland at the death of his elder brother Charles II on 6 February 1685. James II was a Roman Catholic, and some...

 in southern England led by his nephew, the Duke of Monmouth
James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth
James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, 1st Duke of Buccleuch, KG, PC , was an English nobleman. Originally called James Crofts or James Fitzroy, he was born in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, the eldest illegitimate son of Charles II and his mistress, Lucy Walter...

, and another rebellion in Scotland led by Archibald Campbell
Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll
Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll was a Scottish peer.He was born in 1629 in Dalkeith, Scotland, the son of Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquess of Argyll....

, the Earl of Argyll. Argyll and Monmouth both began their expeditions from Holland
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

, where James's nephew and son-in-law, William of Orange
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

, had neglected to detain them or put a stop to their recruitment efforts. Argyll sailed to Scotland and, on arriving there, raised recruits mainly from amongst his own clan, the Campbells
Clan Campbell
Clan Campbell is a Highland Scottish clan. Historically one of the largest, most powerful and most successful of the Highland clans, their lands were in Argyll and the chief of the clan became the Earl and later Duke of Argyll.-Origins:...

. The rebellion was quickly crushed, and Argyll himself was captured at Inchinnan
Inchinnan
Inchinnan is a small village in Renfrewshire, Scotland. The village is located on the main A8 road between Renfrew and Greenock, just southeast of the town of Erskine.-History:...

 on 18 June 1685. Having arrived with fewer than 300 men and unable to convince many more to flock to his standard, Argyll never posed a credible threat to James. Argyll was taken as a prisoner to Edinburgh. A new trial was not commenced because Argyll had previously been tried and sentenced to death. The King confirmed the earlier death sentence and ordered that it be carried out within three days of receiving the confirmation.

Monmouth's rebellion was coordinated with Argyll's, but the former was more dangerous to James. Monmouth had proclaimed himself King at Lyme Regis
Lyme Regis
Lyme Regis is a coastal town in West Dorset, England, situated 25 miles west of Dorchester and east of Exeter. The town lies in Lyme Bay, on the English Channel coast at the Dorset-Devon border...

 on 11 June. He attempted to raise recruits but was unable to gather enough rebels to defeat even James's small standing army. Monmouth's rebellion attacked the King's forces at night, in an attempt at surprise, but was defeated at the Battle of Sedgemoor
Battle of Sedgemoor
The Battle of Sedgemoor was fought on 6 July 1685 and took place at Westonzoyland near Bridgwater in Somerset, England.It was the final battle of the Monmouth Rebellion and followed a series of skirmishes around south west England between the forces of James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth and the...

. The King's forces, led by Feversham and Churchill, quickly dispersed the ill-prepared rebels. Monmouth himself was captured and executed at the Tower of London
Tower of London
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space...

 on 15 July. The King's judges—most notably, George Jeffreys
George Jeffreys, 1st Baron Jeffreys
George Jeffreys, 1st Baron Jeffreys of Wem, PC , also known as "The Hanging Judge", was an English judge. He became notable during the reign of King James II, rising to the position of Lord Chancellor .- Early years and education :Jeffreys was born at the family estate of Acton Hall, near Wrexham,...

—condemned many of the rebels to transportation
Penal transportation
Transportation or penal transportation is the deporting of convicted criminals to a penal colony. Examples include transportation by France to Devil's Island and by the UK to its colonies in the Americas, from the 1610s through the American Revolution in the 1770s, and then to Australia between...

 and indentured servitude in the West Indies in a series of trials that came to be known as the Bloody Assizes
Bloody Assizes
The Bloody Assizes were a series of trials started at Winchester on 25 August 1685 in the aftermath of the Battle of Sedgemoor, which ended the Monmouth Rebellion in England....

. Some 250 of the rebels were executed. While both rebellions were defeated easily enough, they hardened James's resolve against his enemies and increased his suspicion of the Dutch.

Absolutism and religious liberty


To protect himself from further rebellions, James sought safety in an enlarged standing army
Standing army
A standing army is a professional permanent army. It is composed of full-time career soldiers and is not disbanded during times of peace. It differs from army reserves, who are activated only during wars or natural disasters...

. This alarmed his subjects, not only because of the trouble soldiers caused in the towns, but because it was against the English tradition to keep a professional army in peacetime. Even more alarming to Parliament was James's use of his dispensing power
Royal Prerogative
The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege, and immunity, recognized in common law and, sometimes, in civil law jurisdictions possessing a monarchy as belonging to the sovereign alone. It is the means by which some of the executive powers of government, possessed by and...

 to allow Roman Catholics to command several regiments without having to take the oath mandated by the Test Act. When even the previously supportive Parliament objected to these measures, James ordered Parliament prorogued
Parliamentary session
A legislative session is the period of time in which a legislature, in both parliamentary and presidential systems, is convened for purpose of lawmaking, usually being one of two or more smaller divisions of the entire time between two elections...

 in November 1685, never to meet again in his reign. In the beginning of 1686 two papers were found in Charles II's strong box and his closet, in his own hand, stating the arguments for Catholicism over Protestantism. James published these papers with a declaration signed by his sign manual and challenged the Archbishop of Canterbury and the whole Anglican episcopal bench to refute Charles's arguments: "Let me have a solid answer, and in a gentlemanlike style; and it may have the effect which you so much desire of bringing me over to your church". The Archbishop refused on the grounds of respect for the late king.

James advocated repeal of the penal law
Penal law
In the most general sense, penal is the body of laws that are enforced by the State in its own name and impose penalties for their violation, as opposed to civil law that seeks to redress private wrongs...

s in all three of his kingdoms, but refused to allow those dissenters who did not petition for relief to receive it. In his own words, James expressed indignation that men had the impudence to advocate repeal of the penal laws against Protestants. James sent a letter to the Scottish Parliament at its opening in 1685, declaring his wish for new penal laws against refractory Presbyterians and lamented that he was not there in person to promote such a law. In response, the Parliament passed an Act that stated, "whoever should preach in a conventicle under a roof, or should attend, either as preacher or as a hearer, a conventicle in the open air, should be punished with death and confiscation of property". In March 1686, James sent a letter to the Scottish Privy Council advocating toleration for Catholics but that the persecution of the Presbyterian Covenanters should continue, calling them to London when they refused to acquiesce his wishes. The Privy Councillors explained that they would grant relief to Catholics only if a similar relief was provided for the Covenanters and if James promised not to attempt anything that would harm the Protestant religion. James agreed to a degree of relief to Presbyterians, but not to the full toleration he wanted for Catholics, declaring that the Protestant religion was false and he would not promise not to prejudice a false religion.

James allowed Roman Catholics to occupy the highest offices of the Kingdoms, and received at his court the papal nuncio, Ferdinando d'Adda
Ferdinando d'Adda
Ferdinando d'Adda was a Roman Catholic Cardinal, bishop and diplomat.D'Adda was born in Milan. He served as Prefect of the Congregation of Rites...

, the first representative from Rome to London since the reign of Mary I
Mary I of England
Mary I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death.She was the only surviving child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded Henry in 1547...

. James's Jesuit
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

 confessor, Edward Petre
Edward Petre
Sir Edward Petre, 3rd baronet SJ was an English Jesuit who became a close adviser to King James II and was appointed a privy councillor.-Early life:...

, was a particular object of Protestant ire. When the King's Secretary of State, the Earl of Sunderland
Robert Spencer, 2nd Earl of Sunderland
Robert Spencer, 2nd Earl of Sunderland KG, PC was an English statesman and nobleman.-Life:Born in Paris, son of Henry Spencer, 1st Earl of Sunderland, Spencer inherited his father's peerage dignities at the age of three, becoming Baron Spencer of Wormleighton and Earl of Sunderland...

, began replacing office-holders at court with Catholic favourites, James began to lose the confidence of many of his Anglican supporters. Sunderland's purge of office-holders even extended to the King's Anglican brothers-in-law and their supporters. Catholics made up no more than one fiftieth of the English population. In May 1686, James sought to obtain a ruling from the English common-law courts that showed his power to dispense with Acts of Parliament was legal. He dismissed judges who disagreed with him on this matter, as well as the Solicitor General Heneage Finch
Heneage Finch, 1st Earl of Aylesford
Heneage Finch, 1st Earl of Aylesford, PC, KC was an English lawyer and statesman.-Early life:Second son of Heneage Finch, 1st Earl of Nottingham, he was educated at Westminster School and at Christ Church, Oxford, where he matriculated on November 18, 1664...

. The case, Godden v. Hales, affirmed his dispensing power, with eleven out of the twelve judges in Godden ruling in favour of the dispensing power.

In 1687, James issued the Declaration of Indulgence
Declaration of Indulgence
The Declaration of Indulgence was two proclamations made by James II of England and VII of Scotland in 1687. The Indulgence was first issued for Scotland on 12 February, and then for England on 4 April 1687...

, also known as the Declaration for Liberty of Conscience, in which he used his dispensing power to negate the effect of laws punishing Catholics and Protestant Dissenters
English Dissenters
English Dissenters were Christians who separated from the Church of England in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.They originally agitated for a wide reaching Protestant Reformation of the Established Church, and triumphed briefly under Oliver Cromwell....

. He attempted to garner support for his tolerationist policy by giving a speaking tour in the West of England in the summer of 1687. As part of this tour, he gave a speech at Chester where he said, "suppose... there should be a law made that all black men should be imprisoned, it would be unreasonable and we had as little reason to quarrel with other men for being of different [religious] opinions as for being of different complexions." At the same time, James provided partial toleration in Scotland, using his dispensing power to grant relief to Catholics and partial relief to Presbyterians.


In 1688, James ordered the Declaration read from the pulpits of every Anglican church, further alienating the Anglican bishops against the Catholic governor of their church. While the Declaration elicited some thanks from Catholics and dissenters, it left the Established Church, the traditional ally of the monarchy, in the difficult position of being forced to erode its own privileges. James provoked further opposition by attempting to reduce the Anglican monopoly on education. At the University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

, James offended Anglicans by allowing Catholics to hold important positions in Christ Church
Christ Church, Oxford
Christ Church or house of Christ, and thus sometimes known as The House), is one of the largest constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England...

 and University College
University College, Oxford
.University College , is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. As of 2009 the college had an estimated financial endowment of £110m...

, two of Oxford's largest colleges. He also attempted to force the Protestant Fellows of Magdalen College
Magdalen College, Oxford
Magdalen College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. As of 2006 the college had an estimated financial endowment of £153 million. Magdalen is currently top of the Norrington Table after over half of its 2010 finalists received first-class degrees, a record...

 to elect Anthony Farmer
Anthony Farmer
Anthony Farmer was an Englishman nominated by King James II to the office of President of Magdalen College, Oxford in 1687.-Life:Farmer was admitted to St John's College, Cambridge in 1672, and migrated to Trinity College, Cambridge in 1675...

, a man of generally ill repute who was believed to be secretly Catholic, as their president when the Protestant incumbent died, a violation of the Fellows' right to elect a candidate of their own choosing.

In 1687 James prepared to pack Parliament with his supporters so that it would repeal the Test Act and the penal laws. James was convinced by addresses from Dissenters that he had their support and so could dispense with relying on Tories and Anglicans. James instituted a wholesale purge of those in offices under the crown opposed to James's plan, appointing new lords-lieutenant and remodeling the corporations governing towns and livery companies. In October James gave orders for the lords-lieutenant in the provinces to provide three standard questions to all members of the Commission of the Peace: would they consent to the repeal of the Test Act and the penal laws; would they assist candidates who would do so; and would they accept the Declaration of Indulgence. During the first three months of 1688, hundreds of those asked the three questions who gave hostile replies were dismissed. Corporations were purged by agents given wide discretionary powers in an attempt to create a permanent royal electoral machine. Finally, on 24 August 1688, James ordered the issue of writs for a general election. However, upon realising in October that William of Orange was going to land in England, James withdrew the writs and wrote to the lords-lieutenant to inquire over allegations of abuses committed during the regulations and election preparations as part of the concessions James made to win support.

Glorious Revolution




In April 1688, James re-issued the Declaration of Indulgence, subsequently ordering Anglican clergymen to read it in their churches. When seven Bishops
Seven Bishops
thumb|200px|A portrait of the Seven Bishops.The Seven Bishops of the Church of England were those imprisoned and tried for seditious libel over their opposition to the second Declaration of Indulgence issued by James II in 1688...

, including the Archbishop of Canterbury
William Sancroft
William Sancroft was the 79th Archbishop of Canterbury.- Life :Sancroft was born at Ufford Hall in Fressingfield, Suffolk, son of Francis Sandcroft and Margaret Sandcroft née Butcher...

, submitted a petition requesting the reconsideration of the King's religious policies, they were arrested and tried for seditious libel
Seditious libel
Seditious libel was a criminal offence under English common law. Sedition is the offence of speaking seditious words with seditious intent: if the statement is in writing or some other permanent form it is seditious libel...

. Public alarm increased when Queen Mary gave birth to a Catholic son and heir, James Francis Edward
James Francis Edward Stuart
James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales was the son of the deposed James II of England...

 on 10 June of that year. When James's only possible successors were his two Protestant daughters, Anglicans could see his pro-Catholic policies as a temporary phenomenon, but when the Prince's birth opened the possibility of a permanent Catholic dynasty, such men had to reconsider their position. Threatened by a Catholic dynasty, several influential Protestants claimed the child was "supposititious" and had been smuggled into the Queen's bedchamber in a warming pan. They had already entered into negotiations with William, Prince of Orange, when it became known the Queen was pregnant, and the birth of James's son reinforced their convictions.

On 30 June 1688, a group of seven Protestant nobles invited the Prince of Orange to come to England with an army. By September, it had become clear that William sought to invade. Believing that his own army would be adequate, James refused the assistance of Louis XIV, fearing that the English would oppose French intervention. When William arrived on 5 November 1688, many Protestant officers, including Churchill
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, Prince of Mindelheim, KG, PC , was an English soldier and statesman whose career spanned the reigns of five monarchs through the late 17th and early 18th centuries...

, defected and joined William, as did James's own daughter, Princess Anne
Anne of Great Britain
Anne ascended the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland on 8 March 1702. On 1 May 1707, under the Act of Union, two of her realms, England and Scotland, were united as a single sovereign state, the Kingdom of Great Britain.Anne's Catholic father, James II and VII, was deposed during the...

. James lost his nerve and declined to attack the invading army, despite his army's numerical superiority. On 11 December, James tried to flee to France, allegedly first throwing the Great Seal of the Realm
Great Seal of the Realm
The Great Seal of the Realm or Great Seal of the United Kingdom is a seal that is used to symbolise the Sovereign's approval of important state documents...

 into the River Thames
River Thames
The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom. While it is best known because its lower reaches flow through central London, the river flows alongside several other towns and cities, including Oxford,...

. He was captured in Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

; later, he was released and placed under Dutch protective guard. Having no desire to make James a martyr, the Prince of Orange let him escape on 23 December. James was received by his cousin and ally, Louis XIV, who offered him a palace and a pension.

William convened a Convention Parliament
Convention Parliament (1689)
The English Convention was an irregular assembly of the Parliament of England which transferred the Crowns of England and Ireland from James II to William III...

 to decide how to handle James's flight. While the Parliament refused to depose him, they declared that James, having fled to France and dropped the Great Seal into the Thames, had effectively abdicated
Abdication
Abdication occurs when a monarch, such as a king or emperor, renounces his office.-Terminology:The word abdication comes derives from the Latin abdicatio. meaning to disown or renounce...

 the throne, and that the throne had thereby become vacant. To fill this vacancy, James's daughter Mary was declared Queen; she was to rule jointly with her husband William, who would be King. The Parliament of Scotland
Parliament of Scotland
The Parliament of Scotland, officially the Estates of Parliament, was the legislature of the Kingdom of Scotland. The unicameral parliament of Scotland is first found on record during the early 13th century, with the first meeting for which a primary source survives at...

 on 11 April 1689, declared James to have forfeited the throne. The English Parliament passed a Bill of Rights that denounced James for abusing his power. The abuses charged to James included the suspension of the Test Acts, the prosecution of the Seven Bishops for merely petitioning the crown, the establishment of a standing army, and the imposition of cruel punishments. The Bill also declared that henceforth, no Catholic was permitted to ascend to the English throne, nor could any English monarch marry a Catholic.

War in Ireland



With the assistance of French troops, James landed in Ireland in March 1689. The Irish Parliament
Patriot Parliament
The Patriot Parliament is the name given to the session of the Irish Parliament called by King James II of Ireland during the War of the Two Kings in 1689. The parliament met in one session, from 7 May 1689 to 20 July 1689, and was the only session of the Irish Parliament under King James II.The...

 did not follow the example of the English Parliament; it declared that James remained King and passed a massive bill of attainder against those who had rebelled against him. At James's urging, the Irish Parliament passed an Act for Liberty of Conscience that granted religious freedom to all Catholics and Protestants in Ireland. James worked to build an army in Ireland, but was ultimately defeated at the Battle of the Boyne
Battle of the Boyne
The Battle of the Boyne was fought in 1690 between two rival claimants of the English, Scottish and Irish thronesthe Catholic King James and the Protestant King William across the River Boyne near Drogheda on the east coast of Ireland...

 on 1 July 1690 when William arrived, personally leading an army to defeat James and reassert English control. James fled to France once more, departing from Kinsale
Kinsale
Kinsale is a town in County Cork, Ireland. Located some 25 km south of Cork City on the coast near the Old Head of Kinsale, it sits at the mouth of the River Bandon and has a population of 2,257 which increases substantially during the summer months when the tourist season is at its peak and...

, never to return to any of his former kingdoms. Because he deserted his Irish supporters, James became known in Ireland as Séamus an Chaca or 'James the be-shitten'.

Return to exile and death



In France, James was allowed to live in the royal château of Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Saint-Germain-en-Laye is a commune in the Yvelines department in the Île-de-France in north-central France. It is located in the western suburbs of Paris from the centre.Inhabitants are called Saint-Germanois...

. James's wife and some of his supporters fled with him, including the Earl of Melfort
John Drummond, 1st Earl of Melfort
John Drummond, 1st Earl and titular 1st Duke of Melfort KG KT PC was a Scottish nobleman.He joined the army and was captain of the Scottish Footguards in 1673. He secured the post of deputy governor of Edinburgh Castle in 1679, followed by Lieutenant-General and Master of the Ordnance in 1680...

; most, but not all, were Catholic. In 1692, James's last child, Louisa Maria Teresa
Louisa Maria Teresa Stuart
Louisa Maria Teresa Stuart , known to Jacobites as The Princess Royal, was the last child of James II and VII , the deposed king of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and of his queen, Mary of Modena...

, was born. Some supporters in England attempted to restore James to the throne by assassinating William III in 1696, but the plot failed and the backlash made James's cause less popular. Louis XIV's offer to have James elected King of Poland
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was a dualistic state of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch. It was the largest and one of the most populous countries of 16th- and 17th‑century Europe with some and a multi-ethnic population of 11 million at its peak in the early 17th century...

 in the same year was rejected, for James feared that acceptance of the Polish crown might (in the minds of the English people) render him incapable of being King of England. After Louis concluded peace with William in 1697, he ceased to offer much in the way of assistance to James.

During his last years, James lived as an austere penitent. He wrote a memorandum for his son advising him on how to govern England, specifying that Catholics should possess one Secretary of State, one Commissioner of the Treasury, the Secretary at War, with the majority of the officers in the army.

He died of a brain hemorrhage on 16 September 1701 at Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Saint-Germain-en-Laye is a commune in the Yvelines department in the Île-de-France in north-central France. It is located in the western suburbs of Paris from the centre.Inhabitants are called Saint-Germanois...

. His body was laid to rest in a coffin at the Chapel of Saint Edmund in the Church of the English Benedictine
Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...

s in the Rue St. Jacques in Paris, with a funeral oration by Henri-Emmanuel de Roquette
Henri-Emmanuel de Roquette
-Life:A doctor at the Sorbonne and a preacher, he became abbot of the abbey of Saint-Gildas-de-Rhuys in 1681 and attended the Paris salon of the marquise de Lambert. In 1702 he spoke the funeral oration for James II of England and he served as secretary to the 1705 general assembly of the French...

. James was not buried, but put in one of the side chapels. Lights were kept burning round his coffin until the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

. In 1734, the Archbishop of Paris
Archbishop of Paris
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Paris is one of twenty-three archdioceses of the Roman Catholic Church in France. The original diocese is traditionally thought to have been created in the 3rd century by St. Denis and corresponded with the Civitas Parisiorum; it was elevated to an archdiocese on...

 heard evidence to support James's canonization, but nothing came of it. During the French Revolution, James's tomb was raided.

Succession



James's younger daughter Anne
Anne of Great Britain
Anne ascended the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland on 8 March 1702. On 1 May 1707, under the Act of Union, two of her realms, England and Scotland, were united as a single sovereign state, the Kingdom of Great Britain.Anne's Catholic father, James II and VII, was deposed during the...

 succeeded to the throne when William III died in 1702. The Act of Settlement
Act of Settlement 1701
The Act of Settlement is an act of the Parliament of England that was passed in 1701 to settle the succession to the English throne on the Electress Sophia of Hanover and her Protestant heirs. The act was later extended to Scotland, as a result of the Treaty of Union , enacted in the Acts of Union...

 provided that, if the line of succession established in the Bill of Rights were extinguished, the crown would go to a German cousin, Sophia, Electress of Hanover
Sophia of Hanover
Sophia of the Palatinate was an heiress to the crowns of England and Ireland and later the crown of Great Britain. She was declared heiress presumptive by the Act of Settlement 1701...

, and to her Protestant heirs. Sophia was a granddaughter of James VI and I
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

 through his eldest daughter, Elizabeth Stuart
Elizabeth of Bohemia
Elizabeth of Bohemia was the eldest daughter of King James VI and I, King of Scotland, England, Ireland, and Anne of Denmark. As the wife of Frederick V, Elector Palatine, she was Electress Palatine and briefly Queen of Bohemia...

, the sister of King Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

. Thus, when Anne died in 1714 (fewer than two months after the death of Sophia), the crown was inherited by George I
George I of Great Britain
George I was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1 August 1714 until his death, and ruler of the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg in the Holy Roman Empire from 1698....

, Sophia's son, the Elector of Hanover and Anne's second cousin.

James's son James Francis Edward
James Francis Edward Stuart
James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales was the son of the deposed James II of England...

 was recognised as King at his father's death by Louis XIV of France and James's remaining supporters (later known as Jacobite
Jacobitism
Jacobitism was the political movement in Britain dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, later the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Ireland...

s) as "James III and VIII." He led a rising in Scotland in 1715 shortly after George I's accession, but was defeated. Jacobites rose again in 1745 led by Charles Edward Stuart
Charles Edward Stuart
Prince Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart commonly known as Bonnie Prince Charlie or The Young Pretender was the second Jacobite pretender to the thrones of Great Britain , and Ireland...

, James II's grandson, and were again defeated. Since then, no serious attempt to restore the Stuart heir has been made. Charles's claims passed to his younger brother Henry Benedict Stuart
Henry Benedict Stuart
Henry Benedict Stuart was a Roman Catholic Cardinal, as well as the fourth and final Jacobite heir to publicly claim the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Unlike his father, James Francis Edward Stuart, and brother, Charles Edward Stuart, Henry made no effort to seize the throne...

, the Dean of the College of Cardinals
Dean of the College of Cardinals
The Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals is the president of the College of Cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church, and as such always holds the rank of Cardinal Bishop. The Dean is not necessarily the longest-serving member of the whole College...

 of the Catholic Church. Henry was the last of James II's legitimate descendants, and no relative has publicly acknowledged the Jacobite claim
Jacobite succession
The Jacobite succession is the line through which the crown in pretence of England and Scotland has descended since the flight of James II & VII from London at the time of the Glorious Revolution...

 since then.

Historiography




Historical analysis of James II has gone through considerable change since he was overthrown. Initially, Whig
Whig history
Whig history is the approach to historiography which presents the past as an inevitable progression towards ever greater liberty and enlightenment, culminating in modern forms of liberal democracy and constitutional monarchy. In general, Whig historians stress the rise of constitutional government,...

 historians, led by Lord Macaulay, cast James as a cruel absolutist and his reign as "tyranny which approached to insanity". Subsequent scholars, such as G. M. Trevelyan
G. M. Trevelyan
George Macaulay Trevelyan, OM, CBE, FRS, FBA , was a British historian. Trevelyan was the third son of Sir George Otto Trevelyan, 2nd Baronet, and great-nephew of Thomas Babington Macaulay, whose staunch liberal Whig principles he espoused in accessible works of literate narrative avoiding a...

 (Macaulay's great-nephew) and David Ogg, while more balanced than Macaulay, continued Macaulay's tradition into the twentieth century, characterizing James as a tyrant, his attempts at religious tolerance as a fraud, and his reign as an aberration in the course of British history. In 1892, A. W. Ward wrote for the Dictionary of National Biography
Dictionary of National Biography
The Dictionary of National Biography is a standard work of reference on notable figures from British history, published from 1885...

 that James was "obviously a political and religious bigot", although never devoid of "a vein of patriotic sentiment"; "his conversion to the church of Rome made the emancipation of his fellow-catholics in the first instance, and the recovery of England for catholicism in the second, the governing objects of his policy."

Hilaire Belloc
Hilaire Belloc
Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc was an Anglo-French writer and historian who became a naturalised British subject in 1902. He was one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century. He was known as a writer, orator, poet, satirist, man of letters and political activist...

 broke with this tradition in 1928. Belloc (himself a Catholic) cast James as an honorable man and a true advocate for freedom of conscience, and his enemies as "men in the small clique of great fortunes ... which destroyed the ancient monarchy of the English." Belloc's thesis failed to alter the course of historical opinion at the time, but by the 1960s and 1970s, Maurice Ashley and Stuart Prall began to reconsider James's motives in granting religious toleration, while still taking note of James's autocratic rule. These modern authors moved away from the school of thought that preached inevitability of the Glorious Revolution
Glorious Revolution
The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, is the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau...

 and the continuous march of progress and democracy. "[H]istory is," Ashley wrote, "after all, the story of human beings and individuals, as well as of the classes and the masses." He cast James II and William III as "men of ideals as well as human weaknesses." John Miller, writing in 2000, accepted the claims of James's absolutism, but argued that "his main concern was to secure religious liberty and civil equality for Catholics. Any 'absolutist' methods ... were essentially means to that end." In 2004, W. A. Speck
W. A. Speck
William Arthur Speck is a British historian specialising in late 17th and 18th-century British and American history.He was educated at Bradford Grammar School and The Queen's College, Oxford, gaining a BA in 1960 and a D.Phil in 1966...

 wrote in the new Oxford Dictionary of National Biography that "James was genuinely committed to religious toleration, but also sought to increase the power of the crown." He added that, unlike the government of the Netherlands, "James was too autocratic to combine freedom of conscience with popular government. He resisted any check on the monarch's power. That is why his heart was not in the concessions he had to make in 1688. He would rather live in exile with his principles intact than continue to reign as a limited monarch."

Tim Harris's conclusions from his 2006 book summarize the crossroads of modern scholarship on James II:

Titles and styles


  • 14 October 1633 – 27 January 1644: styled The Duke of York
  • 27 January 1644 – 6 February 1685: The Duke of York
  • 10 May 1659 – 6 February 1685: The Earl of Ulster
  • 31 December 1660 – 6 February 1685: The Duke of Albany
  • before 6 February 1685: His Royal Highness
  • 6 February 1685 – 16 September 1701: His Majesty The King


The official style of James in England was "James the Second, by the Grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland
Kingdom of Ireland
The Kingdom of Ireland refers to the country of Ireland in the period between the proclamation of Henry VIII as King of Ireland by the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 and the Act of Union in 1800. It replaced the Lordship of Ireland, which had been created in 1171...

, Defender of the Faith
Fidei defensor
Fidei defensor is a Latin title which translates to Defender of the Faith in English and Défenseur de la Foi in French...

, etc." The claim to France
English claims to the French throne
The English claims to the French throne have a long and complex history between the 1340s and the 19th century.From 1340 to 1801, with only brief intervals in 1360-1369 and 1420–1422, the kings and queens of England, and after the Acts of Union in 1707 the kings and queens of Great Britain, also...

 was only nominal, and was asserted by every English King from Edward III
Edward III of England
Edward III was King of England from 1327 until his death and is noted for his military success. Restoring royal authority after the disastrous reign of his father, Edward II, Edward III went on to transform the Kingdom of England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe...

 to George III
George III of the United Kingdom
George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death...

, regardless of the amount of French territory actually controlled. In Scotland, he was "James the Seventh, by the Grace of God, King of Scotland, England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc."

James was created "Duke of Normandy
Duke of Normandy
The Duke of Normandy is the title of the reigning monarch of the British Crown Dependancies of the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey. The title traces its roots to the Duchy of Normandy . Whether the reigning sovereign is a male or female, they are always titled as the "Duke of...

" by King Louis XIV of France on 31 December 1660.

Arms



Prior to his accession, James's coat of arms was the royal arms
Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom
The Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom is the official coat of arms of the British monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II. These arms are used by the Queen in her official capacity as monarch of the United Kingdom, and are officially known as her Arms of Dominion...

 (which he later inherited), differenced by a label
Label (heraldry)
In heraldry, a label is a charge resembling the strap crossing the horse’s chest from which pendants are hung. It is usually a mark of difference, but has sometimes been borne simply as a charge in its own right....

 of three points Ermine
Ermine (heraldry)
Ermine is a heraldic fur representing the winter coat of the stoat . Many skins would be sewn together to make a luxurious garment, producing a pattern of small black spots on a white field...

. His arms as King were: Quarterly
Quartering (heraldry)
Quartering in heraldry is a method of joining several different coats of arms together in one shield by dividing the shield into equal parts and placing different coats of arms in each division....

, I and IV Grandquarterly, Azure
Azure
In heraldry, azure is the tincture with the colour blue, and belongs to the class of tinctures called "colours". In engraving, it is sometimes depicted as a region of horizontal lines or else marked with either az. or b. as an abbreviation....

 three fleurs-de-lis Or
Or (heraldry)
In heraldry, Or is the tincture of gold and, together with argent , belongs to the class of light tinctures called "metals". In engravings and line drawings, it may be represented using a field of evenly spaced dots...

 (for France) and Gules
Gules
In heraldry, gules is the tincture with the colour red, and belongs to the class of dark tinctures called "colours". In engraving, it is sometimes depicted as a region of vertical lines or else marked with gu. as an abbreviation....

 three lions passant guardant in pale
Pale (heraldry)
A pale is a term used in heraldic blazon and vexillology to describe a charge on a coat of arms , that takes the form of a band running vertically down the center of the shield. Writers broadly agree that the width of the pale ranges from about one-fifth to about one-third of the width of the...

 Or (for England
Coat of arms of England
In heraldry, the Royal Arms of England is a coat of arms symbolising England and its monarchs. Its blazon is Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed and langued Azure, meaning three identical gold lions with blue tongues and claws, walking and facing the observer, arranged in a column...

); II Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory Gules (for Scotland
Royal coat of arms of Scotland
The royal coat of arms of Scotland was the official coat of arms of the monarchs of Scotland, and was used as the official coat of arms of the Kingdom of Scotland until the Acts of Union of 1707...

); III Azure a harp Or stringed Argent
Argent
In heraldry, argent is the tincture of silver, and belongs to the class of light tinctures, called "metals". It is very frequently depicted as white and usually considered interchangeable with it...

 (for Ireland
Coat of arms of Ireland
The arms of Ireland is blazoned as Azure a harp Or, stringed Argent . These arms have long been Ireland's heraldic emblem. References to them as being the arms of the king of Ireland can be found as early as the 13th century...

).




In popular culture


James is a character in the novel The Man Who Laughs
The Man Who Laughs
The Man Who Laughs is a novel by Victor Hugo, originally published in April 1869 under the French title L'Homme qui rit. Also published under the title By Order of the King...

by Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo
Victor-Marie Hugo was a Frenchpoet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights activist and exponent of the Romantic movement in France....

. He was portrayed by Josef Moser in the 1921 Austrian silent film Das grinsende Gesicht and by Sam De Grasse
Sam De Grasse
Samuel Alfred De Grasse was a Canadian actor. Born in Bathurst, New Brunswick, he trained to be a dentist....

 in the 1928 silent film The Man Who Laughs
The Man Who Laughs (1928 film)
The Man Who Laughs is an American silent film directed by the German Expressionist filmmaker Paul Leni. The film is an adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel of the same name and stars Conrad Veidt as Gwynplaine and Mary Philbin as the blind Dea...

.

He has also been portrayed by Gibb McLaughlin
Gibb McLaughlin
Gibb McLaughlin was an English film actor. He appeared in 118 films between 1921 and 1959. He was born in Sunderland, England and died in London, England.-Selected filmography:* The Road to London...

 in the 1926 silent film Nell Gwynne, based on a novel by Joseph Shearing, Lawrence Anderson in the 1934 film Nell Gwyn, Vernon Steele in the 1935 film Captain Blood, based on the novel
Captain Blood (novel)
Captain Blood: His Odyssey is an adventure novel by Rafael Sabatini, originally published in 1922.- Synopsis :The protagonist is the sharp-witted Dr...

 by Rafael Sabatini
Rafael Sabatini
Rafael Sabatini was an Italian/British writer of novels of romance and adventure.-Life:Rafael Sabatini was born in Iesi, Italy, to an English mother and Italian father...

, Douglas Matthews in the 1938 BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 TV drama Thank You, Mr. Pepys, Henry Oscar
Henry Oscar
Henry Oscar was an English stage and film actor.Born as Henry Wale, he changed his name and began acting in 1911 and appeared in a wide range of films, including Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much , Fire Over England , The Four Feathers , Hatter's Castle ,...

 in the 1948 film Bonnie Prince Charlie, John Westbrook
John Westbrook (actor)
John Westbrook was an English actor.Born in Teignmouth, Devon, John Westbrook worked mainly in theatre and in radio. He also made occasional film and television appearances. His most famous role was as Christopher Gough in Roger Corman's The Tomb of Ligeia...

 in the 1969 BBC TV series The First Churchills
The First Churchills
The First Churchills was a BBC serial from 1969 about the life of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough and his wife, Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough...

, Guy Henry in the 1995 film England, My England
England, My England
England, My England is a 1995 British historical film directed by Tony Palmer and starring Michael Ball, Simon Callow and Robert Stephens. It depicts the life of the composer Henry Purcell, seen through the eyes of a playwright in the 1960s who is trying to write a play about him. It was written by...

, the story of the composer Henry Purcell
Henry Purcell
Henry Purcell – 21 November 1695), was an English organist and Baroque composer of secular and sacred music. Although Purcell incorporated Italian and French stylistic elements into his compositions, his legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music...

, and Charlie Creed-Miles
Charlie Creed-Miles
Charlie Creed-Miles is an English actor and musician. He had a daughter with Samantha Morton in 2000.- Filmography :* You And I .... Ian* Harry Brown .... Hickock* King Arthur .... Ganis...

 in the 2003 BBC TV miniseries Charles II: The Power & the Passion.

The squabbling surrounding James's kingship, the Monmouth Rebellion, the Glorious Revolution, James's abdication, and William of Orange's subsequent ascension to the throne are themes in Neal Stephenson
Neal Stephenson
Neal Town Stephenson is an American writer known for his works of speculative fiction.Difficult to categorize, his novels have been variously referred to as science fiction, historical fiction, cyberpunk, and postcyberpunk...

's 2003 novel Quicksilver
Quicksilver (novel)
Quicksilver is a historical novel by Neal Stephenson, published in 2003. It is the first volume of The Baroque Cycle, his late Baroque historical fiction series, succeeded by The Confusion and The System of the World . Quicksilver won the Arthur C. Clarke Award and was nominated for the Locus...

.

Ancestors


Further reading

  • Clarke, James S. (Editor), The Life of James II, London, 1816
  • Dekrey, Gary S. "Between Revolutions: Re-appraising the Restoration in Britain," History Compass 2008 6(3): 738–773
  • Glassey, Lionel, ed. The Reigns of Charles II and James VII and II (1997)
  • Goodlad, Graham. " Before the Glorious Revolution: The Making of Absolute Monarchy?," History Review. Issue: 58; 2007. pp 10+. Examines the Controversies Surrounding the Development of Royal Power under Charles II and James II. in Questia
  • Hallam, Henry
    Henry Hallam
    Henry Hallam was an English historian.-Life:The only son of John Hallam, canon of Windsor and dean of Bristol, Henry Hallam was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, graduating in 1799...

    , The Constitutional History of England from the Accession of Henry VII to the Death of George II, W. Clowes & Sons, London, 1855.
  • Miller, John. The Stuarts (2004), 320pp; standard scholarly survey
  • Miller, John. The Glorious Revolution, (2nd ed. 1997) ISBN 0-582-29222-0
  • Mullett, M. James II and English Politics 1678–1688 (1993) ISBN 0-415-09042-3
  • Pincus, Steve. 1688: The First Modern Revolution (2009) ISBN 0-300-11547-4, influential new interpretation

External links