Loyal Parliament

Loyal Parliament

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The Loyal Parliament was the first and only Parliament of England
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...

 of King James II
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

, 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. The Whigs, who had previously resisted James's inheriting the throne, were outnumbered both in the Commons
House of Commons of England
The House of Commons of England was the lower house of the Parliament of England from its development in the 14th century to the union of England and Scotland in 1707, when it was replaced by the House of Commons of Great Britain...

 and in the Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

.

In May 1685 the Parliament treated James generously in financial matters, but by November of the same year it had developed concerns about the direction he was taking, so he prevented it from meeting again.

No other parliament was summoned by James before he fled the country on 18 December 1688 as a result 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...

.

Background


James's greatest political problem was his known
Roman Catholicism
Roman Catholic (term)
The term Roman Catholic appeared in the English language at the beginning of the 17th century, to differentiate specific groups of Christians in communion with the Pope from others; comparable terms in other languages already existed...

, which left him alienated from both political parties in England, but most of all from the Whigs. Between 1679 and 1681 the Whigs had failed in their attempts to pass 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...

 to exclude James from the throne, but his brother 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...

 had had great trouble in defeating this campaign.

James's supporters were the High
High church
The term "High Church" refers to beliefs and practices of ecclesiology, liturgy and theology, generally with an emphasis on formality, and resistance to "modernization." Although used in connection with various Christian traditions, the term has traditionally been principally associated with the...

 Anglican
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

 Tories. The origins of the Tories as a political faction were in the Abhorrers
Abhorrers
Abhorrers, the name given in 1679 to the persons who expressed their abhorrence at the action of those who had signed petitions urging King Charles II of England to assemble Parliament....

, those who had opposed the Exclusion Bill.

Elections


Elections to the House of Commons
House of Commons of England
The House of Commons of England was the lower house of the Parliament of England from its development in the 14th century to the union of England and Scotland in 1707, when it was replaced by the House of Commons of Great Britain...

, especially in the boroughs, were heavily influenced by the king. Following the Exclusion crisis, ninety-nine boroughs had received new charter
Charter
A charter is the grant of authority or rights, stating that the granter formally recognizes the prerogative of the recipient to exercise the rights specified...

s, the aim being to eliminate the influence of the Whigs. Largely as a result, there were only fifty-seven Whigs in the new House of Commons, in which only four years before they had held a majority. In the new parliament, the Tories now had their own majority in both houses, Commons and Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

.

Events



The king had summoned parliament for 19 May, when it first met, and on 22 May John Trevor
John Trevor (speaker)
Sir John Trevor was a Welsh lawyer and politician. He was Speaker of the English House of Commons from 1685 to 1687 and from 1689 to 1695. Trevor also served as Master of the Rolls from 1685 to 1689 and from 1693 to 1717...

, a Tory and a supporter of James, was confirmed as Speaker of the Commons. The king had appointed Lord 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,...

 as Lord Chancellor
Lord Chancellor
The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

.
The first session of the parliament lasted from 19 May until 2 July 1685.

From 1414 until 1625, it had been customary at the beginning of each new monarch's reign for parliament to grant him or her the duties 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...

 for life. The parliament of 1625
Useless Parliament
The Useless Parliament was the first Parliament of England of the reign of King Charles I, sitting only from June until August 1625. It gained its name because it transacted no significant business, making it 'useless' from the king's point of view...

, the first 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...

's reign, had broken with tradition by granting them for one year only. At the outset of the 1685 debate in the Commons on this matter, Sir Edward Seymour
Sir Edward Seymour, 4th Baronet
Sir Edward Seymour, of Berry Pomeroy, 4th Baronet, MP was a British nobleman, and a Royalist and Tory politician.-Life:...

, a Tory, moved that the House conduct an investigation into irregularities about the election of some of its members before granting any revenues to the king, but no-one seconded this motion. The parliament proceeded to give James tonnage and poundage for life and it also gave him high impositions on sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

 and tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

, in defiance of the protests from producers and traders in those commodities.

A historian of the period has called the Parliament "the most loyal Parliament a Stewart
House of Stuart
The House of Stuart is a European royal house. Founded by Robert II of Scotland, the Stewarts first became monarchs of the Kingdom of Scotland during the late 14th century, and subsequently held the position of the Kings of Great Britain and Ireland...

 ever had".

The unsuccessful Monmouth 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 the south-west of England of June and July, 1685, and a smaller simultaneous rebellion in Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 led by the Earl of Argyll
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....

, demonstrated that the country was divided over accepting James as King, but the rebels acted without parliamentary support. In November 1685, Lord Delamere
Henry Booth, 1st Earl of Warrington
Henry Booth, 1st Earl of Warrington was a Member of Parliament, Privy Councillor, Protestant protagonist in the Revolution of 1688, Mayor of Chester and author.-Life:...

 was tried in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 for treason
Treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

 for his complicity in the Rebellion. James appointed Judge 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,...

 to preside as Lord High Steward
Lord High Steward
The position of Lord High Steward of England is the first of the Great Officers of State. The office has generally remained vacant since 1421, except at coronations and during the trials of peers in the House of Lords, when the Lord High Steward presides. In general, but not invariably, the Lord...

, and Jeffreys chose thirty peers
Peerage of England
The Peerage of England comprises all peerages created in the Kingdom of England before the Act of Union in 1707. In that year, the Peerages of England and Scotland were replaced by one Peerage of Great Britain....

 as Triers to sit with him. As Macaulay
Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay
Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay PC was a British poet, historian and Whig politician. He wrote extensively as an essayist and reviewer, and on British history...

 later pointed out, the thirty men chosen were all "in politics vehemently opposed to the prisoner", and fifteen were colonel
Colonel
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

s of regiment
Regiment
A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

s, appointments from which the king could remove them. Nevertheless, to James's anger all thirty voted for acquittal
Acquittal
In the common law tradition, an acquittal formally certifies the accused is free from the charge of an offense, as far as the criminal law is concerned. This is so even where the prosecution is abandoned nolle prosequi...

, and this marked the end of the period of vengeance upon the rebels.

During the Rebellion, James raised substantial forces to oppose it and also commissioned many Roman Catholics to command them. Following the Rebellion, it became clear that unlike his brother, Charles, James had no intention of letting go of the extra forces he had raised and planned to maintain a much larger 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...

 than before. He was able to do this because parliament had put him in a strong financial position. This raised fears that the country would in future not only be governed by a Popish king but that he would be supported by an army of the same persuasion.

On 9 November 1685, James made a speech to Parliament in which he announced that he proposed to do away with the 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...

s which prohibited Roman Catholics from holding public offices, and in particular that he intended to keep many as army officers. This met strong opposition from Tories as well as Whigs, and James's response was to prorogue
Prorogation
Prorogation is the time between legislative sessions.*For general information on the procedure see Legislative session.*For prorogation in the constitution of ancient Rome, see Prorogatio.*For the use of the mechanism in Canada, see Prorogation in Canada....

 Parliament on 20 November 1685. It did not meet again, with James choosing to silence the opposition of his parliament by a series of prorogations. The first was from 20 November until 15 February 1685/6, the next to 28 April, and the third to 22 November 1686. There were two more prorogations in 1687, and the parliament was finally dissolved by proclamation
Proclamation
A proclamation is an official declaration.-England and Wales:In English law, a proclamation is a formal announcement , made under the great seal, of some matter which the King in Council or Queen in Council desires to make known to his or her subjects: e.g., the declaration of war, or state of...

 on 2 July 1687.

Aftermath


James II summoned no further parliaments before he was overthrown 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. During the intervening years he was able to get from his judges "what he could not get from the most loyal Parliament on record".

After a disastrous campaign against the forces of 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...

, James retreated to London and fled the country on 18 December, 1688. An irregular 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...

 met on 22 January 1688/9, summoned by William. It consisted of the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 and what remained of the Commons
House of Commons of England
The House of Commons of England was the lower house of the Parliament of England from its development in the 14th century to the union of England and Scotland in 1707, when it was replaced by the House of Commons of Great Britain...

 from the Parliament of 1681
Oxford Parliament (1681)
An English Parliament assembled in the city of Oxford for one week from 21 March 1681 until 28 March 1681 during the reign of Charles II of England.Succeeding the Exclusion Bill Parliament, this was the fifth and last parliament of the King's reign. Both Houses of Parliament met and the King...

, the last of Charles II's reign. This assembly invited 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...

 to take what it considered to be the vacant throne.

See also

  • List of Parliaments of England
  • Duration of English, British and United Kingdom Parliaments from 1660
    Duration of English, British and United Kingdom Parliaments from 1660
    This article augments the lists of Parliaments to be found elsewhere with additional information which could not be conveniently incorporated in them....

  • 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...