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Lecture 55 – The Reign of James II

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Western University
History 2405E
Barbara Murison

Lecture 55 – The Reign of James II I) Introduction  Heir of his brother, Charles o Strange that Charles did not have a legitimate child by his wife Catherine of Braganza; had a large number of illegitimate children II) James’ background and accession  James a Roman Catholic, became Roman Catholic while in exile in France with his brother  Great military and political experience o Long apprenticeship for a monarch, longer than any other monarch o 1650s: had served in the French army under Louis XIV’s greatest general, Turenne o Admiral of the Fleet under his brother, successful  Seized New Amsterdam from the Dutch, renamed New York (James was the Duke of York at the time)  Charles II made James the Governor of Scotland  Accedes calmly and peacefully in 1685 o Surprising o Guards upped on the streets, thought of closing the ports because they thought there may be violence o Very joyous, bonfires, etc.  Surprisingly peaceful because of his religion o Impossible to keep his conversion to Roman Catholicism a secret  First wife: Anne Hyde, daughter of Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon o Not a great marriage  Second marriage to Mary of Modena (Italian) o Good Catholic, raises red flags in protestant minds o Not popular among the people  According to the Duke of Lauderdale, James had “all the weakness of his father without the strength”  1685: appears to be set fare for a good reign o Stubborn and unimaginative o Calls Parliament, appear cooperative and supportive  James promises to uphold the state and religion by law established o Wont tamper with the constitution, also includes Anglican Church  James gathers a group of solid advisors, several are Anglicans o All are Tories  Tells the French ambassador that all religious changes that are made will be made slowly and with consent of the protestants III) The Monmouth Rebellion, June 1685  James, Duke of Monmouth o Illegitimate son of Charles II o Lands in Dorset to make a bit for the throne o Seen as a spoiled brat, born in the Netherlands o Brought to court at age 5, becomes a great favourite of his father; treated very charmingly and spoils him o Thinks he should be king instead of his uncle o Argyll Rebellion in Scotland happening at the same time  Duke of Argyll  Led rebellion from Scotland  Landed before Monmouth  Easily puts together an army in western Scotland, but does find he cannot persuade people in southern and central Scotland to support him  Forced to back down, doesn’t convince Monmouth to back down o Monmouth received well in the western countries  Played up the fact that he is Protestant, claimed that his parents were married  Thought London would be a useful place for him  At the time of the Exclusion Crisis, Monmouth was often who they wanted on the throne o Army of under 10,000 men  Scattered in garrisons  Has an effective leader of the army, John Churchill  Defeated at Battle of Sedgemoor, flees a few days later o Taken to court and has an interview with his uncle, begs for his life  No mercy from his uncle  Act of Attainder passed by Parliament  Executed at Tower Hill  Judge Jefferys and the Bloody Assize o Rebels treated harshly, ends the cycle of rebellion o James wants an example made of them, brutally killed o Jefferys in charge of the treason trials, sentenced over 300 people to death o Trials called the Bloody Assize o Other option for execution is indentured servitude in the British colonies, likely they would die there anyways o To tell the people what had happened to the people who had committed treason, executions were public and body parts were hung up as a deterrent  “West of England looked like a butcher’s shop” IV) Catholicizing Policies  Dispensing Power, Suspending Power o James maintains the large army that he built during the Monmouth Rebellion  Appoints Roman Catholic officers  But is contravening the Test Act in particular cases  Claims his dispensing power is part of his royal prerogative allows for him to do this o Tense time in Parliament  Louis XIV is persecuting French Huguenots at the time  Some emigrate to England  Fear that James would start t
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