James II | Biography, Religion, Accomplishments, & Facts | rhein-main-verzeichnis.info
James II acceded to the throne in because the support of the Tories had A new Parliament assembled, declared that James had effectively abdicated. Succession overruled by English and Scots Parliament, Succeeded by: James III. * NOT REIGNING * Jacobite King of Ireland. Despite his conversion, James II succeeded to the throne peacefully at the Within days of his succession, James announced the summoning of Parliament in.
He commanded the fleet in the opening campaigns of the Second and Third Dutch wars. This was to be his last taste of active military command until In politics he was a strong supporter of the earl of Clarendonwhose daughter Anne he married in September Both before and after marriage he had the reputation of being as great a libertine as his brother.
James, in fact, was always more favourable to the Anglican church than was his Protestant brother. James resigned all of his offices in rather than take an anti-Catholic oath imposed by the so-called Test Act and thus made his position known publicly.
Later that year, his first wife having died, he gave further offense by marrying a Roman Catholic princess, Mary of Modena.
From to three successive Parliaments strove to exclude James from the succession by statute. During this crisis James spent long periods in exile at Brussels and Edinburgh. But owing largely to his own tenacious defense of his rights, the exclusionists were defeated. The new royalist Parliament that assembled in May voted James a large income, and there seemed to be no reason why he should not in time secure adequate toleration for his coreligionists.
But unsuccessful rebellions led by the duke of Monmouth in England and the duke of Argyll in Scotland, in the summer ofmarked a turning point in his attitude. The rebellions were put down with great ferocity, the army was considerably increased, and the new regiments were granted to Roman Catholic officers who had had military experience abroad and whose loyalty was undoubted.
This last act of policy provoked a quarrel between king and Parliament, which was prorogued in Novembernever to meet again. In the division between the king and his former allies, the Anglican Tories, deepened.
James II of England
In James intensified his Roman Catholic policy and dismissed his Anglican brothers-in-law the earl of Clarendon and the earl of Rochester. Magdalen College, Oxfordwas given over for the use of Roman Catholics, and a papal nuncio was officially accredited to St. In April James issued the so-called Declaration of Indulgencesuspending the laws against Roman Catholics and Protestant dissenters alike; in July he dissolved Parliament, and in September he launched an intensive campaign to win over the Protestant dissenters and with their aid secure a new Parliament more amenable to his wishes.
What those wishes were is still not clear: Ever since the spring of many English leaders had been in touch with William of Orangethe husband of the heiress presumptive Mary and the champion of Protestant Europe against Louis XIV of France. The spark was touched off by James himself, when he reissued his Declaration of Indulgence on April 27,and on May 4 ordered it to be read in the churches.
James II of England - New World Encyclopedia
The affair was discovered when Anne became pregnant, and created a great deal of trouble and embarrassment for the Chancellor, who was accused of prostituting his daughter in order to ally his family to royalty. Despite some reluctance, James agreed to marry Anne. The marriage was to result in two children, Mary and Anne, both future queens of England. James personally commanded the English fleet against the Dutch at the Battle of Lowestoft in June ofand acquitted himself well, presenting England with a modest, but important, naval victory.
Trouble, however, was brewing unseen: James converted to Roman Catholicism inbut this remained a secret until when, in retaliation for Charles II's attempt to issue a Declaration of Indulgence, Parliament passed the Test Act, requiring all office holders to swear an oath against the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation. James resigned his post as Lord High Admiral rather than take the oath, thereby confirming what was already widely suspected. James' faith was fast to become a major political issue: Alarm at this prospect grew with the lengthening of the decade.
Memories of the Marian persecutions of the s returned with new force: Unfortunately, James' pronouncements, in public and in private, were not reassuring: His marriage to Mary of Modena, an Italian Catholic, following the death of his first wife inseemed again to confirm his intention of becoming a forthright champion of popery. In this context, it is perhaps not difficult to understand why the fabricated Popish Plot crisis, which broke in August ofhad the kind of impact that it did.
Invented by the unscrupulous opportunist Titus Oates and his co-conspirator Isaac Tonge, the "Plot" purportedly represented an attempt by Jesuit conspirators to assassinate the King, and elevate the Duke of York in his place. Next to no proof existed that such a plot had ever actually existed, but a search of the private papers of James' former secretary, Edward Coleman, did reveal that this incautious young functionary had been engaged in a rather dangerous correspondence with Jesuits, and had voiced his own view that the time was ripe for the suppression of the Protestant heresy in England.
It was, of course, a matter of guilt by association: Coleman was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn in December ofthe first of a number of largely innocent victims of the anti-Catholic hysteria that Oates had stirred up.
The crisis very soon took on a strongly political nature, and the efforts to deal with the Catholic "threat" to England focussed upon the danger of James succeeding to the throne. Thus, the Popish Plot shaded imperceptibly into the Exclusion Crisis, as the Parliamentary opposition, led by Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury Dryden's "Achitophel" attempted to block James' right to succession; their favoured candidate to succeed was the King's eldest illegitimate son, James Stuart, Duke of Monmouth.
Parliament proposed removing James from the King's presence and councils, and the election of a new and even more intransigent Parliament in actually forced Charles to send James into temporary exile at Brussels. James reluctantly acquiesced, but not before he had convinced the King to send a formal declaration of Monmouth's illegitimacy to Privy Council.
Still the crisis lurched on: Charles proposed introducing restrictions to the powers of his brother, should he succeed, but in May of the Commons brought in a bill formally excluding James from the succession. In reply, Charles dissolved Parliament.
Although Charles did not allow Parliament to sit for another year, the opposition found other ways of harassing the Duke of York. In June ofShaftesbury had James indicted as a Catholic recusant, but the case was thrown out.
A new Parliament, summoned in October, again introduced an Exclusion Bill, which was defeated in the House of Lords; the Commons retaliated by threatening to charge James with treason should he return to England.
Frustrated by the defeat of two Exclusion Bills, the Commons informed Charles that they would vote him no more money unless he agreed to exclude James. Charles again responded by dissolving Parliament. A last Parliament was summoned to the staunchly Royalist city of Oxford in March of ; Charles, having received a new secret subsidy from France, allowed it to propose yet another Exclusion Bill before dissolving it.
It was the last Parliament of Charles' reign. Now Charles and his allies went on the offensive: Shaftesbury was arrested for treason in July of ; although he was acquitted by a sympathetic London jury, the tide was clearly turning. James, who had been serving as High Commissioner in Scotland from November of to Marchreturned to England, and Charles and he busied themselves counterattacking the increasingly desperate opposition.
- James II (1633 - 1701)
He and his brother spent and persecuting what was left of the opposition, especially in London, and establishing what very nearly amounted to an absolute monarchy. In February ofCharles II suffered a stroke and died; so thoroughly had the opposition been silenced that James acceded to the throne with scarcely a murmur from the populace.
Protestant England's greatest fear had come to pass: Yet Charles and James had so effectively crushed the opposition in the two years previous that there was little anyone could do to oppose it. James also possessed a standing army of some 20, men, and a much fuller treasury than Charles had ever been able to boast.
Life and Character of James II
His first Parliament proved extremely compliant, and granted him a large revenue unconditionally, and for life. When, in June ofthe Duke of Monmouth landed at Lyme Regis with a tiny force of volunteers determined to raise a rebellion, James had little to fear: Monmouth's ill-equipped force was easily cut to pieces by James' forces at Sedgemoor, and Monmouth himself captured, tried, and beheaded. The surviving rebels were soon rounded up, and there began the wholesale executions and transportations of the "Bloody Assizes," ably administered by the brutally efficient Lord Chief Justice Jeffries.
Monmouth's ragtag rebels had attracted very little support from those in positions of power, wealth, or influence; nonetheless, anxieties were growing. It was, in particular, noticed that James had been quietly but steadily commissioning and placing loyal Catholic officers into positions of importance in the army; when Parliament began hesitantly to voice its doubts, one of its spokesmen was sent to the Tower, and the session prorogued.
James now began to quicken the pace of his "reforms": He also turned his attention to the universities, forcing upon colleges in both Oxford and Cambridge Catholic Masters of his choosing. When, in August ofthe Lord Lieutenants of the counties effectively in control of administering the law were asked if they would support a lifting of the penal laws from Catholics, those who refused were removed. James also placed Catholics in command of Scotland, of Ireland, and of the all-important Channel Fleet.
The signs were all ominous, especially given that Louis XIV had, in August ofcommenced his own heavy-handed persecution of the French Protestants. It did begin to appear as though James intended the forcible conversion of England to Popery. InJames' own daughter, Princess Anne the future Queen Anne expressed these very fears in a letter to her sister Mary. Even staunch royalists were shocked: John Evelyn, witnessing a Catholic ceremony at Whitehall inwas deeply dismayed: I could not have believed I should ever have seen such things in the King of England's palace, after it had pleased God to enlighten this nation; but our great sin has, for the present, eclipsed the blessing, which I hope he will in mercy and his good time restore to its purity.