James II (b.1633 r.1685-1688 d.1701)
© 2007 Armchair Travel Co. Ltd. - This page may be used for non-commercial purposes ONLY!

James II (b.1633 r.1685-1688 d.1701)

[ Play Narrated and Animated Movie ! ]
[ Virtual Tour ] [ Main Topics Index ]

Our dear King James is good and honest, but the most incompetent man I have ever seen in my life. A child of seven years would not make such silly mistakes as he does.
Charlotte Elizabeth, Duchess of Orleans, letter to the Electress Sophia, 1692.

Additional Information on
James II (b.1633 r.1685-1688 d.1701)

James was the second son of Charles I and the brother of Charles II. Although Charles I had no less than 14 children, all were illegitimate, and so on his death the throne passed to James. At the same point, Charles' eldest son, the Duke of Monmouth had been proclaimed king by a group of Protestant rebels. However, James successfully defeated the uprising at the Battle of Sedgemoor (1685) and Monmouth was executed.

James was a tall good looking man. He was very loyal to his elder brother whom he loved dearly but had very little respect for. In many ways it seems James was of a finer quality; he was more gentle, honest, well mannered and most especially - far more courageous. James had converted to Catholicism in the late 1660's and this led to an attempt by Parliament to exclude him from the succession. So, when he actually did ascend the throne he made it quite clear that he intended to restore Catholicism - i.e. a direct conflict with Church and Parliament. James was wilful and tactless in his declaration of belief in the Divine Right of Kings. He dismissed Parliament, cancelled many of the anti-Catholic laws and persecuted the Protestants. The English Protestant public were obviously very disconcerted and were worried about another civil war, so they pinned their hopes on James' Protestant daughter and heiress Mary, wife of the Protestant William of Orange.

However, in 1688 James' second wife the Catholic Mary of Modena produced a male heir. This horrified the English public, not least because they had not forgotten the atrocities of Bloody Mary's reign. At this time the Protestant religion was fairly established in England and the people refused to accept another line of Catholic rulers. As a result, Parliament invited Mary and her husband William of Orange to rule England - 'To rescue the nation and the religion'. James' supporters deserted him and he fled into exile in France.


James was naturally candid and sincere and a firm friend, till his affairs and his religion wore out all his first principles and inclinations.
- Gilbert Burnet, History of His Own Times, 1734.

One of the strangest catastrophes that is in any history. A great king with strong armies and mighty fleets, a great treasure and powerful allies., fell all at once and his whole strength, like a spider's web, was irrecoverably broken at a touch.
- Gilbert Burnet, History of His Own Times, 1734.

The best that I can wish is that we never see each other again.
- Louis XIV of France to James on his departure for Ireland, 1689.

Had James ruled in Spain, or even in seventeenth century France, history might now be resounding with his praises, voiced not only by Spaniards or Frenchmen, but by Englishmen. But as he ruled in England, he still waits his apologist.
- David Ogg, England in the Reigns of James II and William III.

King James was not the first prince who loved justice, hated iniquity and died in exile; yet there never was, perhaps, any ruler of any country, who in his lifetime suffered so much from the disloyalty of his own family, and the injustice of posterity.
- Malcolm V. Hay, Enigma of James II.

Under the morose face there seemed to be a heart of stone.
- Alexander Smellie, Men of the Covenant.

Explore-Parliament.net: Advanced Category Search

Keyword Categories: