The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, was the
overthrow of King
James II of England
James II of England (James VII of Scotland) by a
union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William
III, Prince of Orange, who was James's nephew and son-in-law.
William's successful invasion of England with a Dutch fleet and army
led to his ascension to the throne as
William III of England
William III of England jointly
with his wife, Mary II, James's daughter, after the Declaration of
Right, leading to the Bill of Rights 1689.
King James's policies of religious tolerance after 1685 met with
increasing opposition from members of leading political circles, who
were troubled by the King's
Catholicism and his close ties with
France. The crisis facing the King came to a head in 1688, with the
birth of his son, James, on 10 June (Julian calendar).[a] This changed
the existing line of succession by displacing the heir presumptive
(his 26-year-old daughter Mary, a Protestant and the wife of William
of Orange) with young James as heir apparent. The establishment of a
Roman Catholic dynasty in the kingdoms now seemed likely. Some Tory
members of parliament worked with members of the opposition Whigs in
an attempt to resolve the crisis by secretly initiating dialogue with
William of Orange to come to England, outside the jurisdiction of the
Stadtholder William, the de facto head of state
of the Dutch United Provinces, feared a Catholic Anglo–French
alliance and had already been planning a military intervention in
After consolidating political and financial support, William crossed
North Sea and
English Channel with a large invasion fleet in
November 1688, landing at Torbay. After only two minor clashes between
the two opposing armies in England, and anti-Catholic riots in several
towns, James's regime collapsed, largely because of a lack of resolve
shown by the king. However, this was followed by the protracted
Williamite War in Ireland
Williamite War in Ireland and
Dundee's rising in Scotland.[b] In
England's distant American colonies, the revolution led to the
collapse of the
Dominion of New England
Dominion of New England and the overthrow of the
Province of Maryland's government. Following a defeat of his forces at
the Battle of Reading on 9 December, James and his wife Mary fled
England; James, however, returned to London for a two-week period that
culminated in his final departure for France on 23 December. By
threatening to withdraw his troops, William in February 1689 (New
Style Julian calendar)[a] convinced a newly chosen Convention
Parliament to make him and his wife joint monarchs.
The Revolution permanently ended any chance of
re-established in England. For British Catholics its effects were
disastrous both socially and politically: Catholics were denied the
right to vote and sit in the Westminster Parliament for over a
century; they were also denied commissions in the army, and the
monarch was forbidden to be Catholic or to marry a Catholic, this
latter prohibition remaining in force until 2015. The Revolution led
to limited tolerance for
Nonconformist Protestants, although it would
be some time before they had full political rights. It has been
argued, mainly by Whig historians, that James's overthrow began modern
English parliamentary democracy: the
Bill of Rights 1689
Bill of Rights 1689 has become
one of the most important documents in the political history of
Britain and never since has the monarch held absolute power.
Internationally, the Revolution was related to the War of the Grand
Alliance on mainland Europe. It has been seen as the last successful
invasion of England. It ended all attempts by England in the
Anglo-Dutch Wars of the 17th century to subdue the Dutch Republic
by military force. However, the resulting economic integration and
military co-operation between the English and Dutch navies shifted the
dominance in world trade from the
Dutch Republic to England and later
to Great Britain.
The expression "Glorious Revolution" was first used by John Hampden in
late 1689, and is an expression that is still used by the British
Glorious Revolution is also occasionally termed the
Bloodless Revolution, albeit inaccurately. The
English Civil War
English Civil War (also
known as the Great Rebellion) was still within living memory for most
of the major English participants in the events of 1688, and for them,
in comparison to that war (or even the
Monmouth Rebellion of 1685) the
deaths in the conflict of 1688 were mercifully few.
2.1 William seeks English commitment to an invasion
2.2 Military and financial support
2.3 The final decision to invade is taken
3.1 Embarkation of the army and the Declaration of The Hague
3.2 English naval strategy
3.3 Crossing and landing
3.4 William consolidates his position
4 The collapse of James's rule
4.1 Departure of King and Queen
5 William and Mary made joint monarchs
5.1 The Bill of Rights
5.2 The other kingdoms
6 Jacobite uprisings
7 Anglo-Dutch alliance
7.1 The decline of the Dutch Republic
8 "Dutch invasion" hypothesis
11 See also
14 Further reading
15 External links
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James II & VII, King of England,
Scotland and Ireland
During his three-year reign,
King James II became directly involved in
the political battles in England between
Protestantism, and between the concept of the divine right of kings
and the political rights of the Parliament of England. James's
greatest political problem was his Catholicism, which left him
alienated from both parties in England. The low church Whigs had
failed in their attempt to pass the
Exclusion Bill to exclude James
from the throne between 1679 and 1681, and James's supporters were the
high church Anglican Tories. In Scotland, his supporters in the
Scotland stepped up attempts to force the Covenanters to
renounce their faith and accept episcopalian rule of the church by the
When James inherited the English throne in 1685, he had much support
in the 'Loyal Parliament', which was composed mostly of Tories. His
Catholicism was of concern to many, but the fact that he had no son,
and his daughters, Mary and Anne, were Protestants, was a "saving
grace". James's attempt to relax the Penal Laws alienated his natural
supporters, however, because the Tories viewed this as tantamount to
disestablishment of the Church of England. Abandoning the Tories,
James looked to form a 'King's party' as a counterweight to the
Anglican Tories, so in 1687 James supported the policy of religious
toleration and issued the Declaration of Indulgence. The majority of
Irish people backed James II for this reason and also because of his
promise to the Irish Parliament of a greater future autonomy. By
allying himself with the Catholics, Dissenters, and Nonconformists,
James hoped to build a coalition that would advance Catholic
In May 1686, James decided to obtain from the English courts of the
common law a ruling that affirmed his power to dispense with Acts of
Parliament. He dismissed judges who disagreed with him on this matter
as well as the Solicitor General Heneage Finch. Eleven out of the
twelve judges ruled in favour of dispensing power. When Henry
Compton, the Bishop of London, did not ban John Sharp from preaching
after he gave an anti-Catholic sermon, James ordered his removal.
In April 1687, James ordered the fellows of Magdalen College, Oxford
to elect a Catholic, Anthony Farmer, as their president. The fellows
believed Farmer ineligible under the college's statutes and so elected
John Hough instead. The college statutes required them to fill the
vacancy within a certain time and so could not wait for a further
royal nomination. James refused to view Hough's election as valid and
told the fellows to elect the Bishop of Oxford. James responded by
sending some ecclesiastical commissioners to hold a visitation and
install him as president. The fellows then agreed to the Bishop of
Oxford as their president but James required that they admit they had
been in the wrong and ask for his pardon. When they refused most of
the fellows were ejected and replaced by Catholics.
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. In August the lieutenancy was remodelled and in September
over one thousand members of the city livery companies were ejected.
In October James gave orders for the lords lieutenants 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 they were requested to accept the Declaration of Indulgence. In
December it was announced that all the offices of deputy lieutenants
and Justices of the Peace would be revised. Therefore, during the
first three months of 1688, hundreds of those who gave hostile replies
to the three questions asked were dismissed. More far-reaching purges
were applied to the towns: in November a regulating committee was
founded to operate the purges. Corporations were purged by agents
given wide discretionary powers in an attempt to create a permanent
royal electoral machine. Finally, on 24 August 1688,[a] James
ordered writs to be issued for a general election.
Group portrait of the
Seven Bishops whom James ordered imprisoned in
Tower of London
Tower of London in 1688, but who were acquitted of charges of
James also created a large standing army and employed Catholics in
positions of power within it. To his opponents in Parliament this
seemed like a prelude to arbitrary rule, so James prorogued Parliament
without gaining Parliament's consent. At this time, the English
regiments of the army were encamped at Hounslow, near the capital. It
was feared that the location was intended to overawe the City. The
army in Ireland was purged of Protestants, who were replaced with
Catholics, and by 1688 James had more than 34,000 men under arms in
his three kingdoms.
In April 1688, James re-issued the
Declaration of Indulgence and
ordered all clergymen to read it in their churches. When the
Archbishop of Canterbury, William Sancroft, and six other bishops (the
Seven Bishops) wrote to James asking him to reconsider his policies,
they were arrested on charges of seditious libel, but at trial they
were acquitted to the cheers of the London crowd.
Matters came to a head in June 1688, when the King had a son, James;
until then, the throne would have passed to his Protestant daughter,
Mary. The prospect of a Catholic dynasty in the kingdoms of England,
Scotland and Ireland was now likely.
Mary had a husband, her cousin William Henry of Orange. Both were
Protestants and grandchildren of Charles I of England. Before the
birth of James's son on 10 June,[a] William had been third in the line
of succession.[c] However, there was a strong faction at the English
court, headed by Robert Spencer, 2nd Earl of Sunderland, proposing
that Mary and William, because of their anti-Catholic position, should
be replaced by some Catholic French heir.
William was also stadtholder of the main provinces of the Dutch
Republic, then in the preliminary stages of joining the War of the
Grand Alliance against France, in a context of international tensions
caused by the revocation by
Louis XIV of the
Edict of Nantes
Edict of Nantes and the
disputed succession of Cologne and the Electorate of the Palatinate.
William had already acquired the reputation of being the main champion
in Europe of the Protestant cause against
Catholicism and French
absolutism; in the developing English crisis he saw an opportunity to
prevent an Anglo-French alliance and bring England to the anti-French
side, by carrying out a military intervention directed against James.
This suited the desires of several English politicians who intended to
depose James. It is still a matter of debate whether the initiative
for the conspiracy was taken by the English or by the stadtholder and
his wife. William had been trying to influence English politics for
well over a year, letting
Gaspar Fagel publish an
open letter to the
English people in November 1687 deploring the
religious policy of James, which action had generally been interpreted
as a covert bid for kingship.
William III, King of England,
Scotland and Ireland, stadtholder of
Guelders, Holland, Zealand, Utrecht and Overijssel
Since he had become king the relationship between James and his nephew
and son-in-law had gradually deteriorated. Initially William welcomed
the promise of a less pro-French policy. In 1685 he sent the Scottish
and English mercenary regiments of his army to England to assist in
putting down the Monmouth Rebellion. Soon James's policy of
religious tolerance caused tensions to rise between them. William
assumed it was but the first step towards a total re-Catholicisation
of England and was unable to explain how James could hope to achieve
this goal unless he had concluded a secret alliance with France.
James's refusal to enter any anti-French coalition and his efforts to
Royal Navy increased William's suspicions. In the
previous years the French navy had grown significantly in strength and
Dutch Republic would no longer be able to resist a combined
Anglo-French attack. William feared that even English neutrality
would not suffice and that control over the
Royal Navy was a
prerequisite for a successful naval campaign against France.
In November 1686 James had wished to gain William's support for the
repeal of the Test Acts, as this would have delivered a blow to the
English opposition. The Quaker
William Penn was sent to
The Hague but
William opposed repeal. William's envoy Everhard van Weede
Dijkvelt visited England between February and May 1687 (N.S.),
instructed to persuade James to help contain French aggression.
William also instructed Dijkvelt to let it be known that he would
support the Church of England; that he was not a Presbyterian; to
persuade the Dissenters not to support James and to reassure moderate
Catholics. After having been assured by James that all rumours
about a French alliance were malevolent fabrications, Dijkvelt
returned to the Republic, with letters of varying importance from
leading English statesmen. James tried again to gain William's support
but William responded by advising James to keep to the law and not try
to extend his prerogative powers. In August 1687 Count William
Nassau de Zuylestein was sent to England, ostensibly to send
condolences due to the death of the queen's mother. Zuylestein was
sent in part to see how successful, or amenable, James's packed
Parliament would be, and have discussions with English statesmen, with
Zuylestein sending letters from them back to William.
The correspondence between William and the English politicians was, at
first, sent by ordinary post to genuine addresses in either country
and then distributed. Devices were used such as ending a postscript
with "etc.", which meant spaces were actually written in white or
invisible ink. However, as the conspiracy neared completion in 1688,
the English government sometimes disrupted this correspondence by
holding up the whole mail delivery system. In another method to keep
this clandestine correspondence flowing, letters were sent in merchant
ships between London and
Amsterdam or Rotterdam, with outward bound
letters often put on board below Gravesend, after the final customs
clearance. Also, couriers for the purpose were sometimes used, and all
Dutch diplomats travelling to and from either country carried the
correspondence. Shortly before the invasion, when rapid delivery and
secrecy were essential, fast yachts and small vessels were used for
special courier services. The English government intercepted very few
of these means of communication.
It has been suggested that the crisis caused by the prospect of a new
Catholic heir made William decide to invade the next summer as early
as November 1687, but this is disputed. It is certain however that
in April 1688, when France and England concluded a naval agreement
stipulating that the French would finance an English squadron in The
Channel, which seemed to be the beginning of a formal alliance, he
seriously began to prepare for a military intervention and seek
political and financial support for such an undertaking.
William seeks English commitment to an invasion
William laid careful plans over a number of months for an invasion,
which he hoped to execute in September 1688. William would not invade
England without assurances of English support, and so in April, he
asked for a formal invitation to be issued by a group of leading
Gilbert Burnet recorded a conversation at the end
of April between William and Admiral Edward Russell:
So Russell put the Prince to explain himself what he intended to do.
The Prince answered, that, if he was invited by some men of the best
interest, and the most valued in the nation, who should both in their
own name, and in the name of others who trusted them, invite him to
come and rescue the nation and the religion, he believed he could be
ready by the end of September to come over.
— Gilbert Burnet.
Henry Sydney, author of the Invitation to William, which was signed by
six noblemen (both Whigs and Tories) and one bishop. He has been
described as "the great wheel on which the Revolution rolled".
In May, Russell told William that the English opposition to James
would not wait any longer for help and they would rise against James
in any event. William feared that if he did not now head the
conspiracy the English would set up a republic, even more inimical to
the Dutch state. In June, William sent Count Zuylestein to
England, ostensibly to congratulate James on the birth of the Prince
of Wales but in reality to communicate with William's associates.
Only after the Prince of Wales had been born in June, however, and
many suspected he was supposititious,[d] did the Immortal Seven (who
consisted of one bishop and six nobles) decide to comply, with the
letter to William dated 18 June (Julian calendar),[a] reaching him in
The Hague on 30 June, and dispatched by Rear Admiral Herbert,
disguised as a common sailor. The Seven consisted of Lord Shrewsbury,
Lord Devonshire, Lord Danby, Lord Lumley, Henry Compton, Edward
Russell, and Henry Sydney. The invitation declared:
We have great reason to believe, we shall be every day in a worse
condition than we are, and less able to defend ourselves, and
therefore we do earnestly wish we might be so happy as to find a
remedy before it be too late for us to contribute to our own
deliverance ... the people are so generally dissatisfied with the
present conduct of the government, in relation to their religion,
liberties and properties (all which have been greatly invaded), and
they are in such expectation of their prospects being daily worse,
that your Highness may be assured, there are nineteen parts of twenty
of the people throughout the kingdom, who are desirous of a change;
and who, we believe, would willingly contribute to it, if they had
such a protection to countenance their rising, as would secure them
from being destroyed.
— invitation by The Seven.
The Seven went on to claim that "much the greatest part of the
nobility and gentry" were dissatisfied and would rally to William, and
that James's army "would be very much divided among themselves; many
of the officers being so discontented that they continue in their
service only for a subsistence ... and very many of the common
soldiers do daily shew such an aversion to the Popish religion, that
there is the greatest probability imaginable of great numbers of
deserters ... and amongst the seamen, it is almost certain, there
is not one in ten who would do them any service in such a war".
The Seven believed that the situation would be much worse before
another year due to James's plans to remodel the army by the means of
a packed Parliament or, should the parliamentary route fail, through
violent means which would "prevent all possible means of relieving
ourselves". The Seven also promised to rally to William upon his
landing in England and would "do all that lies in our power to prepare
others to be in as much readiness as such an action is capable
Meanwhile, William's confidante Willem Bentinck launched a propaganda
campaign in England. In the numerous pamphlets distributed, William
was presented in the best possible light; as a true Stuart yet
blessedly free from the usual Stuart vices of crypto-Catholicism,
absolutism, and debauchery. Much of the later "spontaneous" support
for William had been carefully organised by Bentinck and his
In August, it became clear that William had surprisingly strong
support within the English army, a situation brought about by James
himself. In January 1688 he had forbidden any of his subjects to serve
the Dutch and had demanded that the Republic dissolve its six
mercenary Scottish and English regiments. When this was refused, he
asked that at least those willing would be released from their martial
oath to be free to return to Britain. To this William consented as it
would purify his army of Jacobite elements. In total 104 officers
and 44 soldiers returned. The officers were enlisted within the
British armies and so favoured that the established officer corps
began to fear for its position. On 14 August Lord Churchill wrote to
William: "I owe it to God and my country to put my honour into the
hands of Your Highness". Nothing comparable happened within the Royal
Navy, however; claims after the event by certain captains that they
had somehow prevented the English fleet from engaging seem to have
been little more than attempts at self-aggrandisement.
Military and financial support
For William the English problem was inextricably intertwined with the
situation in Germany. Only if the attention of Louis XIV was
directed to the east could William hope to intervene in England
without French interference. For this it was essential that Austria
continued opposing the French demands regarding Cologne and the
Palatinate. In May, William sent an envoy, Johann von Görtz, privy
councillor of Hesse-Cassel, to
Vienna to ensure secretly the support
of the Holy Roman Emperor, Leopold I. Learning that William promised
not to persecute the Catholics in England, the emperor approved of the
expedition, promising in turn to try making peace with the Ottoman
Empire to free his forces for a campaign in the West; on 4 September
1688 he would join an alliance with the Republic against France. The
Duke of Hanover, Ernest Augustus, and the Elector of Saxony, John
George III, assured William that they would remain neutral, though it
had been feared they would take the French side.
Francisco Lopes Suasso, who partly financed the invasion
The next concern was to assemble a powerful invasion force –
contrary to the wishes of the English conspirators, who predicted that
a token force would be sufficient. For this William needed funding by
the city of Amsterdam, then the world's main financial centre. In
Amsterdam had been strongly pro-French, often forcing
William to moderate his policies, but a tariff war waged by Louis from
1687 against the Republic and French import limitations on herring, a
major Dutch export, had outraged the wealthy merchants. Nevertheless,
only after secret and difficult negotiations by Bentinck with the
Amsterdam burgomasters during June could 260 transports be
hired. Additionally, the burghers were uneasy about the prospect of
denuding their homeland of its defences by sending the field army –
roughly half of the total peace-time strength of the Dutch States Army
of about 30,000 – overseas. Bentinck, who had already been sent in
Brandenburg to recruit, but without much result, therefore
negotiated contracts from 20 July (Gregorian calendar) for 13,616
German mercenaries from Brandenburg, Württemberg, Hesse-Cassel, and
Celle to man Dutch border fortresses in order to free an equal number
of Dutch elite mercenary troops for use against England. As the
Dutch would typically double or triple their total army strength in
wartime, the numbers were low enough to be explained as a limited
precaution against French aggression. Shortly afterwards, Marshal
Frederick Schomberg was instructed by William to prepare for a Western
Further financial support was obtained from the most disparate
sources: the Jewish banker
Francisco Lopes Suasso
Francisco Lopes Suasso lent two million
guilders; when asked what security he desired, Suasso answered:
"If you are victorious, you will surely repay me; if not, the loss is
mine." Even Pope Innocent XI, an inveterate enemy of
Louis XIV of
France, provided a loan to William, though a relation with the
invasion has been denied. Total costs were seven million guilders,
four million of which would ultimately be paid for by a state loan. In
the summer the Dutch navy was expanded to 9000 sailors on the
pretext of fighting the Dunkirkers. The standard summer equipment of
twenty warships was secretly doubled. On 13 July 1688 (Gregorian
calendar) it was decided to build 21 new warships.
The final decision to invade is taken
Despite all the preparations, William had great trouble convincing the
Dutch class of city and provincial rulers, the regents, that such an
expensive expedition was really necessary. Also, he personally feared
that the French might attack the Republic through
Flanders when its
army was tied up in England. One of the "Seven", Lord Danby, suggested
postponing the invasion until the following year. By early September,
William was on the brink of cancelling the entire expedition when
French policy played into his hand.
In Germany, matters had come to a head. The Pope had refused to
confirm Louis's favourite candidate for the bishopric of Cologne,
William Egon of Fürstenberg. Enraged, the French king decided to
execute a lightning campaign into Germany before the emperor could
shift his troops to the West. Louis also hoped to keep his Turkish
ally in the war this way. For the immediate future James had to hold
his own, something Louis expected him to be quite capable of,
especially if the Dutch were intimidated. On 9 September (Gregorian
calendar) the French envoy Jean Antoine de Mesmes, the Comte d'Avaux,
handed two letters from the French king, who had known of the invasion
plans since May, to the States General of the Netherlands. In the
first they were warned not to attack James. In the second they were
advised not to interfere with the French policy in Germany. James
hurriedly distanced himself from the first message, trying to convince
the States General that there was no secret Anglo-French alliance
against them.[e] This had precisely the opposite effect: many members
became extremely suspicious. The second message proved that the main
French effort was directed to the east, not the north, so there was no
immediate danger of a French invasion for the Republic itself.
From 22 September,[a]
Louis XIV seized all Dutch ships present in
French ports, totalling about a hundred vessels, apparently
proving that real war with France was imminent, though Louis had meant
it to be a mere warning. On 26 September the powerful city council of
Amsterdam decided to officially support the invasion. On 27 September
Louis crossed the Rhine into Germany to attack
William began to move the Dutch field army from the eastern borders,
where it had trained on the Mookerheide, to the coast, even though
most of the new mercenaries had not yet arrived.
On 29 September the States of Holland, the government of the most
important Dutch province, fearing a French-English alliance, gathered
in secret session and approved the operation, agreeing to make the
English "King and Nation live in a good relation, and useful to their
friends and allies, and especially to this State". They accepted
William's argument that a preventive strike was necessary to avoid a
repeat of the events of 1672, when England and France had jointly
attacked the Republic, "an attempt to bring this state to its ultimate
ruin and subjugation, as soon as they find the occasion". William
denied any intention "to remove the King from the throne or become
master of England". The States ordered a Dutch fleet of 53 warships to
escort the troop transports. This fleet was in fact commanded by
Cornelis Evertsen the Youngest
Cornelis Evertsen the Youngest on the Cortgene and
Philips van Almonde
Philips van Almonde on the Provincie Utrecht but in
consideration of English sensitivities placed, on 6 October, under the
nominal command of Rear-Admiral Herbert, who for the occasion was
appointed Lieutenant-Admiral-General, i.e. acting supreme commander,
of the Dutch navy. He sailed on the Leyden, accompanied by
Lieutenant-Admiral Willem Bastiaensz Schepers, the Rotterdam shipping
magnate who had organised the transport fleet. Though William was
himself Admiral-General of the Republic, he, as was usual, abstained
from operational command, sailing conspicuously on the new frigate Den
Briel. The States General allowed the core regiments of the Dutch
field army to participate under command of Marshall Schomberg. Despite
being assisted in it by the regular Dutch fleet and field army, his
attempt to change the situation in England was, as the States General
made explicit, officially a private family affair of William, merely
acting in his capacity of concerned nephew and son-in-law to James,
not an undertaking of the
Dutch Republic as such.
Embarkation of the army and the Declaration of The Hague
Equestrian portrait of William III by Jan Wyck, commemorating the
landing at Brixham, Torbay, 5 November 1688
The Dutch preparations, though carried out with great speed, could not
remain secret. The English envoy Ignatius White, the Marquess
d'Albeville, warned his country: "an absolute conquest is intended
under the specious and ordinary pretences of religion, liberty,
property and a free Parliament ...".
Louis XIV threatened the
Dutch with an immediate declaration of war, should they carry out
their plans. Embarkations, started on 22 September (Gregorian
calendar), had been completed on 8 October, and the expedition was
that day openly approved by the States of Holland; the same day James
issued a proclamation to the English nation that it should prepare for
a Dutch invasion to ward off conquest. On 30 September/10 October
(Julian/Gregorian calendars) William issued the Declaration of The
Hague (actually written by Fagel), of which 60,000 copies of the
English translation by
Gilbert Burnet were distributed after the
landing in England, in which he assured that his only aim was
to maintain the Protestant religion, install a free parliament and
investigate the legitimacy of the Prince of Wales. He would respect
the position of James. William declared:
It is both certain and evident to all men, that the public peace and
happiness of any state or kingdom cannot be preserved, where the Laws,
Liberties, and Customs, established by the lawful authority in it, are
openly transgressed and annulled; more especially where the alteration
of Religion is endeavoured, and that a religion, which is contrary to
law, is endeavoured to be introduced; upon which those who are most
immediately concerned in it are indispensably bound to endeavour to
preserve and maintain the established Laws, Liberties and customs,
and, above all, the Religion and Worship of God, that is established
among them; and to take such an effectual care, that the inhabitants
of the said state or kingdom may neither be deprived of their
Religion, nor of their Civil Rights.
— William of Orange.
William went on to condemn James's advisers for overturning the
religion, laws, and liberties of England, Scotland, and Ireland by the
use of the suspending and dispensing power; the establishment of the
"manifestly illegal" commission for ecclesiastical causes and its use
to suspend the
Bishop of London
Bishop of London and to remove the Fellows of Magdalen
College, Oxford. William also condemned James's attempt to repeal the
Test Acts and the penal laws through pressuring individuals and waging
an assault on parliamentary boroughs, as well as his purging of the
judiciary. James's attempt to pack Parliament was in danger of
removing "the last and great remedy for all those evils". "Therefore",
William continued, "we have thought fit to go over to England, and to
carry over with us a force sufficient, by the blessing of God, to
defend us from the violence of those evil Counsellors ... this
our Expedition is intended for no other design, but to have, a free
and lawful Parliament assembled as soon as is possible".
On 4/14 October William responded to the allegations by James in a
second declaration, denying any intention to become king or conquer
England. Whether he had any at that moment is still controversial.
The swiftness of the embarkations surprised all foreign observers.
Louis had in fact delayed his threats against the Dutch until early
September because he assumed it then would be too late in the season
to set the expedition in motion anyway, if their reaction proved
negative; typically such an enterprise would take at least some
months. Being ready after the last week of September / first week
of October would normally have meant that the Dutch could have
profited from the last spell of good weather, as the autumn storms
tend to begin in the third week of that month. This year they came
early however. For three weeks the invasion fleet was prevented by
adverse south-westerly gales from departing from the naval port of
Hellevoetsluis and Catholics all over the Netherlands and the British
kingdoms held prayer sessions that this "popish wind" might endure.
However, on 14/24 October it became the famous "Protestant Wind"
by turning to the east.
English naval strategy
James only in late August seriously began to consider the possibility
of a Dutch invasion and then overestimated the size of the naval force
the Dutch would bring against him. He assumed they would equip their
full battle fleet, which he himself would be unable to match for
financial reasons: in October about thirty English ships-of-the-line
had been assembled, all third rates or fourth rates, while heavier
vessels remained laid up. Fearing a surprise attack, he declined to
position this fleet at The Downs, for striking into the southern North
Sea or the Channel the most convenient location, but also a very
vulnerable one. When Admiral
George Legge, 1st Baron Dartmouth
George Legge, 1st Baron Dartmouth decided
to place his fleet at the Gunfleet near the Medway, in a rather
withdrawn location, James therefore merely suggested to bring the
fleet farther out, though he well understood it otherwise risked
becoming locked up in the
Thames estuary by the same easterly wind
that would allow the Dutch to cross. This was influenced by his belief
the Dutch might well attack France instead and his expectation that
they would first seek a naval victory before daring to invade – and
that it thus would be advantageous to refuse battle. Indeed, it
had originally been the Dutch intention to defeat the English first to
free the way for the transport fleet – though they too, to lower the
cost of the invasion, had not activated any heavier ships – but
because it was now so late in the season and conditions on board
deteriorated rapidly, they decided to sail in convoy and, if possible,
Crossing and landing
William boarding the Brill
On 16/26 October William boarded his ship, the Den Briel (Brill in
English). His standard was hoisted, displaying the arms of Nassau
quartered with those of England. The words Pro Religione et Libertate
("For Liberty and [the Protestant] Religion"), the slogan of William's
William the Silent
William the Silent while leading the
Dutch Revolt against
Catholic Spain, were shown next to the House of Orange's motto,
Je maintiendrai ("I will maintain"). William's fleet,
which with about 40,000 men aboard was roughly twice the size of
Spanish Armada – and assembled in a tenth of the time –
consisted of 463 ships. Among these were 49 warships of
more than twenty cannon (eight could count as third rates of
60–68 cannon, nine were frigates), 28 galliots,
nine fireships, 76 fluyts to carry the soldiers, 120 small
transports to carry five thousand horses, about seventy supply
vessels and sixty fishing vessels serving as landing craft.
Most of the warships had been provided by the Admiralty of Amsterdam.
On 19/29 October William's fleet departed from Hellevoetsluis. The
fleet was approximately halfway between the Republic and England when
the wind changed to the northwest and a gale scattered the fleet, with
the Brill returning to
Hellevoetsluis on 21/31 October. Despite
suffering from sea-sickness William refused to go ashore and the fleet
reassembled, having lost only one ship that grounded, though about
a thousand crippled horses had been thrown into the sea. Press
reports were released that deliberately exaggerated the damage and
claimed the expedition would be postponed till the spring. English
naval command now considered to try blockading
decided against it because it was feared that the English fleet would
founder on the Dutch coast, a dangerous lee shore for a blocking
force, by the stormy weather.
Taking advantage of a wind again turned to the east, resupplied and
re-equipped with new horses, the invasion fleet departed again on
1/11 November and sailed north in the direction of
Bentinck had a landing site prepared. The fleet changed course to the
south however when the wind turned more to the north; it has been
suggested that the initial move to the north was a feint and indeed
James diverted some of his forces in that direction. Thus they
passed twice in sight of the English fleet, which was unable to
intercept because of the adverse wind and an unfavourable tide. On
3/13 November the invasion fleet entered the
English Channel through
Strait of Dover
Strait of Dover in an enormous square formation, 25 ships
deep, the right and left of the fleet saluting Dover and Calais
simultaneously, to show off its size. The troops were lined up on
deck, firing musket volleys, with full colours flying and the military
bands playing. Rapin de Thoyras, who was on board one of the ships,
described it as the most magnificent and affecting spectacle that was
ever seen by human eyes. William intended to land at
Torbay but due to
fog the fleet sailed past it by mistake. The wind made a return
Plymouth was unsuitable as it had a garrison. At this
point, with the English fleet in pursuit, Russell told Burnet: "You
may go to prayers, Doctor. All is over". At that moment however the
wind changed and the fog lifted, enabling the fleet to sail into
Torbay, near Brixham, Devon. William came ashore on
5/15 November. When Burnet was ashore he hastened to William
and eagerly enquired what William now intended to do. William regarded
the interference in military matters by non-military personnel with
disgust but he was in good humour at this moment and responded with a
delicate reproof: "Well, Doctor, what do you think of predestination
now?" The English squadron under Lord Dartmouth was forced by the
same change in wind to shelter in Portsmouth harbour. During the
next two days William's army disembarked in calm weather.
William brought over 11,212 horse and foot. William's cavalry and
dragoons amounted to 3,660. His artillery train contained
21 24-pounder cannon. Including the supply train, his force
consisted of about 15,000 men, compared to James's total
forces of about 30,000. He also brought 20,000 stand of
arms to equip his English supporters. The Dutch army was composed
mostly of foreign mercenaries; there were Dutch, Scots, English,
German, Swiss, and Swedish regiments, even Laplanders as well as
"200 Blacks brought from the Plantations of the Netherlands in
America", thus from the colony of Surinam. Many of the mercenaries
were Catholic. William had his personal guard regiment with him,
the Dutch Blue Guards. In response to the threat James had raised five
new regiments of foot and five of horse, as well as bringing in
Scottish and Irish soldiers. Louis XIV also sent James
The French fleet remained at the time concentrated in the
Mediterranean, to assist a possible attack on the Papal State.
Louis delayed his declaration of war until 16/26 November hoping at
first that their involvement in a protracted
English civil war
English civil war would
keep the Dutch from interfering with his German campaign. The same day
a second attempt by Legge to attack the landing site again failed by
an adverse southwestern gale. The Dutch call their fleet action
the Glorieuze Overtocht, the "Glorious Crossing".
William consolidates his position
William considered his veteran army to be sufficient in size to defeat
any forces (all rather inexperienced) that James could throw against
him, but it had been decided to avoid the hazards of battle and
maintain a defensive attitude in the hope James's position might
collapse by itself. Thus he landed far away from James's army,
expecting that his English allies would take the initiative in acting
against James while he ensured his own protection against potential
attacks. William was prepared to wait; he had paid his troops in
advance for a three-month campaign. A slow advance, apart from being
necessitated by heavy rainfall anyway, had the added benefit of not
over-extending the supply lines; the Dutch troops were under strict
orders not even to forage, for fear that this would degenerate into
plundering, which would alienate the population.
On 9 November (Julian calendar) William took
Exeter after the
magistrates had fled the city, entering on a white palfrey, with the
two hundred black men forming a guard of honour, dressed in white,
with turbans and feathers. In the South support from the local
gentry was disappointingly limited, but from 12 November, in the
North, many nobles began to declare for William, as they had promised,
often by a public reading of the Declaration. In Yorkshire,
printer John White started to print the same document for a more
widespread distribution. However, in the first weeks most people
carefully avoided taking sides; as a whole the nation neither rallied
behind its king, nor welcomed William, but passively awaited the
outcome of events. In general, the mood was one of confusion, mutual
distrust and depression.
The collapse of James's rule
James refused a French offer to send an expeditionary force, fearing
that it would cost him domestic support. He tried to bring the Tories
to his side by making concessions but failed because he still refused
to endorse the Test Act. His forward forces had gathered at Salisbury,
and James went to join them on 19 November with his main force, having
a total strength of about 19,000. Amid anti-Catholic rioting in
London, it rapidly became apparent that the troops were not eager to
fight, and the loyalty of many of James' commanders was doubtful; he
had been informed of the conspiracy within the army as early as
September, but for unknown reasons had refused to arrest the officers
involved. Some have argued, however, that if James had been more
resolute, the army would have fought and fought well.
The first blood was shed at about this time in a skirmish at
Wincanton, Somerset, where
Royalist troops under Patrick Sarsfield
retreated after defeating a small party of scouts; the total body
count on both sides came to about fifteen. In Salisbury, after hearing
that some officers had deserted, among them Lord Cornbury, a worried
James was overcome by a serious nose-bleed that he interpreted as an
evil omen indicating that he should order his army to retreat, which
the supreme army commander, the Earl of Feversham, also advised on 23
November. The next day, Lord Churchill, one of James' chief
commanders, deserted to William.[f] On 26 November, James's younger
daughter, Anne, who doubted the authenticity of her new brother,
and who was greatly influenced by Churchill's wife Sarah Churchill,
did the same. Both were serious losses. James returned to London that
same day. On 27 November he met with all the
Lords Spiritual and
Temporal who were then in London.
Meanwhile, on 18 November
Plymouth had surrendered to William, and on
21 November he began to advance. By 24 November, William's forces
Sherborne and on 1 December at Hindon. On 4 December he was at
Amesbury, and was received by the mayor of Salisbury; three days
later they had reached Hungerford, where the following day they met
with the King's Commissioners to negotiate. James offered free
elections and a general amnesty for the rebels. In reality, by that
point James was simply playing for time, having already decided to
flee the country. He feared that his English enemies would insist on
his execution and that William would give in to their demands.
Convinced that his army was unreliable, he sent orders to disband it.
On 9 December, the two sides fought a second engagement with the
Battle of Reading, a defeat for the King's men.
In December, there was anti-Catholic rioting in Bristol, Bury St.
Edmunds, Hereford, York, Cambridge, and Shropshire. On 9 December a
Protestant mob stormed Dover Castle, where the Catholic Sir Edward
Hales was governor, and seized it. On 8 December William met at last
with James's representatives; he agreed to James's proposals but also
demanded that all Catholics be immediately dismissed from state
functions and that England pay for the Dutch military expenses. He
received no reply, however.
Departure of King and Queen
In the night of 9/10 December, the Queen and the Prince of Wales fled
for France. The next day saw James's attempt to escape, the King
dropping the Great Seal in the
Thames along the way, as no lawful
Parliament could be summoned without it. However, he was captured
on 11 December by fishermen in
Faversham opposite Sheerness, the town
on the Isle of Sheppey. On the same day, 27
Lords Spiritual and
Temporal, forming a provisional government, decided to ask William to
restore order but at the same time asked the king to return to London
to reach an agreement with his son-in-law. It was presided over
initially by William Sancroft,
Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury and, after it
was learned that James was still in England, by George Savile, 1st
Marquess of Halifax. On the night of 11 December there were
riots and lootings of the houses of Catholics and several foreign
embassies of Catholic countries in London. The following night a mass
panic gripped London during what was later termed the Irish night.
False rumours of an impending Irish army attack on London circulated
in the capital, and a mob of over 100,000 assembled ready to defend
Upon returning to London on 16 December, James was welcomed by
cheering crowds. He took heart at this and attempted to recommence
government, even presiding over a meeting of the Privy Council.[g]
He sent the Earl of Feversham to William to arrange for a personal
meeting to continue negotiations. Now it became evident that William
had no longer any desire to keep James in power in England. He was
extremely dismayed by the arrival of Lord Feversham. He refused the
suggestion that he simply arrest James because this would violate his
own declarations and burden his relationship with his wife. In the end
it was decided that he should exploit James's fears; the three
original commissioners were sent back to James with the message that
William felt he could no longer guarantee the king's well-being and
that James for his own safety had better leave London for Ham.
William at the same time ordered all English troops to depart from the
capital, while his forces entered on 17 December; no local forces were
allowed within a twenty-mile radius until the spring of 1690. Already
the English navy had declared for William. James, by his own choice,
went under Dutch protective guard to Rochester in Kent on 18 December,
just as William entered London, cheered by crowds dressed in orange
ribbons or waving, lavishly distributed, oranges. The Dutch
officers had been ordered that "if he [James] wanted to leave, they
should not prevent him, but allow him to gently slip through".
James then left for France on 23 December after having received a
request from his wife to join her, even though his followers urged him
to stay. The lax guard on James and the decision to allow him so near
the coast indicate that William may have hoped that a successful
flight would avoid the difficulty of deciding what to do with him,
especially with the memory of the execution of Charles I still strong.
By fleeing, James ultimately helped resolve the awkward question of
whether he was still the legal king or not, having created according
to many a situation of interregnum.
William and Mary made joint monarchs
William III and
Mary II reigned together for five years. William
reigned on his own following Mary's death in 1694.
On 28 December, William took over the provisional government by
appointment of the peers of the realm, as was the legal right of the
latter in circumstances when the king was incapacitated, and, on the
advice of his Whig allies, summoned an assembly of all the surviving
members of parliament of Charles II's reign, thus sidelining the
Tories of the
Loyal Parliament of 1685. This assembly called for a
chosen English Convention Parliament, elected on 5 January 1689 NS,[a]
which convened on 22 January. William did not intervene in the
election that followed. This elected body consisted of
513 members, 341 of whom had been elected before, 238 having been
members of at least one
Exclusion Bill Parliament, but only 193 having
been elected in 1685. The name "Convention" was chosen because
only the king could call a Parliament, although as William had been
appointed de facto regent by the peers the Convention could be argued
to be, strictly speaking, a lawful Parliament.
Although James had fled the country, he still had many followers, and
William feared that the king might return, relegating William to the
role of a mere regent, an outcome which was unacceptable to him. On 30
December, William, speaking to the Marquess of Halifax, threatened to
leave England "if King James came again" and determined to go back to
the Netherlands "if they went about to make him Regent".
The English Convention Parliament was very divided on the issue. The
radical Whigs in the Lower House proposed to elect William as a king
(meaning that his power would be derived from the people); the
moderates wanted an acclamation of William and Mary together; the
Tories wanted to make him regent or only acclaim Mary as queen. On 28
January a committee of the whole House of Commons promptly decided by
acclamation that James had broken "the original contract"; had
"abdicated the government"; and had left the throne "vacant". The
House of Lords wished to amend this, however, as many were still loyal
to James and believed in the Anglican doctrine of non-resistance. The
Lords rejected the proposal for a regency in James's name by 51 to 48
on 2 February. The Lords also substituted the word "abdicated" for
"deserted" and removed the "vacancy" clause. The Lords voted against
proclaiming William and Mary monarchs by 52 to 47. On 4 February the
Lords reaffirmed their amendments to the Commons's resolution by 55 to
51 and 54 to 53. On 5 February the Commons voted 282 to 151 for
maintaining the original wording of the resolution. The next day, the
two Houses entered into a conference but failed to resolve the matter.
William in private conversation (with Halifax, Danby, Shrewsbury, Lord
Winchester and Lord Mordaunt) made it clear that they could either
accept him as king or deal with the Whigs without his military
presence, for then he would leave for the Republic. But he let it be
known that he was happy for Mary to be nominal monarch and preference
in the succession given to Anne's children over his by a subsequent
marriage. Anne declared that she would temporarily waive her right to
the crown should Mary die before William, and Mary refused to be made
queen without William as king. The Lords on 6 February now accepted
the words "abdication" and "vacancy" and Lord Winchester's motion to
appoint William and Mary monarchs. Generally there was a great
fear that the situation might deteriorate into a civil war.
The Bill of Rights
Main article: Bill of Rights 1689
The proposal to draw up a statement of rights and liberties and
James's invasion of them was first made on 29 January in the Commons,
with members arguing that the House "can not answer it to the nation
Prince of Orange
Prince of Orange till we declare what are the rights invaded" and
that William "cannot take it ill if we make conditions to secure
ourselves for the future" to "do justice to those who sent us hither".
On 2 February a committee specially convened reported to the Commons
23 Heads of Grievances, which the Commons approved and added some
of their own. However, on 4 February the Commons decided to instruct
the committee to differentiate between "such of the general heads, as
are introductory of new laws, from those that are declaratory of
ancient rights". On 7 February the Commons approved this revised
Declaration of Right, and on 8 February instructed the committee to
put into a single text the Declaration (with the heads which were
"introductory of new laws" removed), the resolution of 28 January and
the Lords' proposal for a revised oath of allegiance. It passed the
Commons without division.
Declaration of Right
Declaration of Right was in December 1689 enacted in an Act of
Parliament, the Bill of Rights 1689. It listed twelve of James's
policies by which James designed to "endeavour to subvert and
extirpate the protestant religion, and the laws and liberties of this
kingdom". These were:
by assuming and exercising a power of dispensing with and suspending
by prosecuting the Seven Bishops;
by establishing of the court of commissioners for ecclesiastical
by levying money for the crown by pretence of prerogative than the
same was granted by Parliament;
by raising and maintaining a standing army in peacetime without the
consent of Parliament;
by disarming Protestants and arming Catholics contrary to law;
by violating the election of members to serve in Parliament;
by prosecuting in the King's Bench for matters cognisable only in
Parliament and "divers other arbitrary and illegal courses";
by employing unqualified persons to serve on juries;
by requiring an excessive bail for persons committed in criminal
by imposing excessive fines and "illegal and cruel punishments
by making "several grants and promises made of fines and forfeitures
before any conviction or judgment against the person, upon whom the
same were to be levied".
The Bill of Rights also vindicated and asserted the nation's "ancient
rights and liberties" by declaring:
the pretended power to dispense with or suspend Acts of Parliament is
the commission for ecclesiastical causes is illegal;
levying money without the consent of Parliament is illegal;
it is the right of the subject to petition the king and prosecutions
for petitioning are illegal;
maintaining a standing army in peacetime without the consent of
Parliament is illegal;
Protestant subjects "may have arms for their defence suitable to their
conditions, and allowed by law";
the election of members of Parliament ought to be free;
that freedom of speech and debates in Parliament "ought not to be
impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament";
excessive bail and fines not required and "cruel and unusual
punishments" not to be inflicted;
jurors in high treason trials ought to be freeholders;
that promises of fines and forfeitures before conviction are illegal;
that Parliament ought to be held frequently.
On 13 February the clerk of the House of Lords read the Declaration of
Right, and Halifax, in the name of all the estates of the realm, asked
William and Mary to accept the throne. William replied for his wife
and himself: "We thankfully accept what you have offered us". They
then went in procession to the great gate at Whitehall. The Garter
King at Arms proclaimed them King and Queen of England, France and
Ireland, whereupon they adjourned to the Chapel Royal, with Compton
preaching the sermon. They were crowned on 11 April, swearing an
oath to uphold the laws made by Parliament. The Coronation Oath Act
1688 had provided a new coronation oath, whereby the monarchs were to
"solemnly promise and swear to govern the people of this kingdom of
England, and the dominions thereunto belonging, according to the
statutes in parliament agreed on, and the laws and customs of the
same". They were also to maintain the laws of God, the true profession
of the Gospel, and the Protestant Reformed faith established by
The other kingdoms
Glorious Revolution in Scotland
Although their succession to the English throne was relatively
peaceful, much blood would be shed before William's authority was
accepted in Ireland and Scotland. In
Scotland there had been no
serious support for the rebellion; but, when James fled for France,
most members of the Scottish
Privy Council went to London to offer
their services to William. On 7 January they asked William to take
over the responsibilities of government. On 14 March a Scottish
Convention convened in Edinburgh, dominated by the Presbyterians
because the Episcopalians continued to support James. There was
nevertheless a Jacobite faction, but a letter by James received on 16
March, in which he threatened to punish all who rebelled against him,
resulted in his followers leaving the Convention, which then on 4
April decided that the throne of
Scotland was vacant. The Convention
formulated the Claim of Right and the Articles of Grievances. On 11
May William and Mary accepted the Crown of Scotland; after their
acceptance, the Claim and the Articles were read aloud, leading to an
immediate debate over whether or not an endorsement of these documents
was implicit in that acceptance.
In Ireland there was no equivalent of the English or Scottish
Convention and William had to conquer Ireland by force. The English
Convention presumed to legislate for Ireland as well, and the
Declaration of Right
Declaration of Right deemed William to be King of Ireland as well as
Williamite War in Ireland
Williamite War in Ireland and Jacobite rising of 1689
James had cultivated support on the fringes of his Three Kingdoms –
in Catholic Ireland and the Highlands of Scotland. Supporters of
James, known as Jacobites, were prepared to resist what they saw as an
illegal coup by force of arms. The first Jacobite rebellion, an
uprising in support of James in Scotland, took place in 1689. It was
led by John Graham, 1st Viscount Dundee, also known as Graham of
Claverhouse or Bonnie Dundee, who raised an army from Highland clans.
Richard Talbot, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell
Richard Talbot, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell led local
Catholics, who had been discriminated against by previous English
monarchs, in the conquest of all the fortified places in the kingdom
except Derry, and so held the Kingdom for James. James himself landed
in Ireland with 6,000 French troops to try to regain the throne
Williamite War in Ireland. The war raged from 1689 to 1691.
James fled Ireland following his defeat at the
Battle of the Boyne
Battle of the Boyne in
1690, but Jacobite resistance was not ended until after the battle of
Aughrim in 1691, when over half of their army was killed or taken
prisoner. The Irish Jacobites surrendered under the conditions of the
Treaty of Limerick
Treaty of Limerick on 3 October 1691. England stayed relatively calm
throughout, although some English Jacobites fought on James's side in
Ireland. Despite the Jacobite victory at the Battle of Killiecrankie,
the uprising in the
Scottish Highlands was quelled due to the death of
its leader, Dundee, and
Williamite victories at Dunkeld and Cromdale,
as well as the Glencoe massacre in early 1692. Many, particularly in
Ireland and Scotland, continued to see the
Stuarts as the legitimate
monarchs of the Three Kingdoms, and there were further Jacobite
Scotland during the years 1715, 1719 and 1745.
Though he had carefully avoided making it public, William's main
motive in organising the expedition had been the opportunity to bring
England into an alliance against France. On 9 December 1688 he
had already asked the States General to send a delegation of three to
negotiate the conditions. On 18 February (Julian calendar) he asked
the Convention to support the Republic in its war against France; but
it refused, only consenting to pay £600,000 for the continued
presence of the Dutch army in England. On 9 March (Gregorian calendar)
the States General responded to Louis's earlier declaration of war by
declaring war on France in return. On 19 April (Julian calendar)
the Dutch delegation signed a naval treaty with England. It stipulated
that the combined Anglo-Dutch fleet would always be commanded by an
Englishman, even when of lower rank; also it specified that the two
parties would contribute in the ratio of five English vessels against
three Dutch vessels, meaning in practice that the Dutch navy in the
future would be smaller than the English. The
Navigation Acts were not
repealed. On 18 May the new Parliament allowed William to declare war
on France. On 9 September 1689 (Gregorian calendar), William as King
of England joined the
League of Augsburg
League of Augsburg against France.
The decline of the Dutch Republic
Having England as an ally meant that the military situation of the
Republic was strongly improved, but this very fact induced William to
be uncompromising in his position towards France. This policy led to a
large number of very expensive campaigns which were largely paid for
with Dutch funds. In 1712 the Republic was financially exhausted; it
withdrew from international politics and was forced to let its fleet
deteriorate, making what was by then the
Kingdom of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain the
dominant maritime power of the world. The Dutch economy, already
burdened by the high national debt and concomitant high taxation,
suffered from the other European states' protectionist policies, which
its weakened fleet was no longer able to resist. To make matters
worse, the main Dutch trading and banking houses moved much of their
Amsterdam to London after 1688. Between 1688 and 1720,
world trade dominance shifted from the Republic to Britain.
"Dutch invasion" hypothesis
After being revisited by historians in 1988—the third centennial of
the event—several researchers have argued that the "revolution" was
actually a successful Dutch invasion of Britain. The events were
unusual because the establishment of a constitutional monarchy (a
de facto republic, see Coronation Oath Act 1688) and Bill of
Rights meant that the apparently invading monarchs, legitimate heirs
to the throne, were prepared to govern with the English Parliament. It
is difficult to classify the entire proceedings of 1687–89 but it
can be seen that the events occurred in three phases: conspiracy,
invasion by Dutch forces and "Glorious Revolution". It has been argued
that the invasion aspect had been downplayed as a result of a
combination of British pride and successful Dutch propaganda, trying
to depict the course of events as a largely internal English
As the invitation was initiated by figures who had little influence
themselves, the legacy of the
Glorious Revolution has been described
as a successful propaganda act by William to cover up and justify his
successful invasion. The claim that William was fighting for the
Protestant cause in England was used to great effect to disguise the
military, cultural and political impact that the Dutch regime had on
England at the time.
The overthrow of James was hailed at the time and ever since, as the
Edmund Burke set the tone for over two
centuries of historiographical analysis when he proclaimed that:
The Revolution was made to preserve our ancient indisputable laws and
liberties, and that ancient constitution of government which is our
only security for law and liberty.
Many historians have endorsed Burke's view, including Macaulay (1848)
and more recently John Morrill, who captured the consensus of
contemporary historiography well when he declared that "the Sensible
Revolution of 1688–89 was a conservative Revolution". On the other
Steven Pincus (2009) argues that it was momentous especially
when looking at the alternative that James was trying to enact – a
powerful centralised autocratic state, using French-style
"state-building". England's role in Europe and the country's political
economy in the 17th century refutes the view of many
late-20th-century historians that nothing revolutionary occurred
Glorious Revolution of 1688–89. Pincus says it was not a
placid turn of events. In diplomacy and economics William III
transformed the English state's ideology and policies. This occurred
not because William III was an outsider who inflicted foreign notions
on England but because foreign affairs and political economy were at
the core of the English revolutionaries' agenda. The revolution of
1688–89 cannot be fathomed in isolation. It would have been
inconceivable without the changes resulting from the events of the
1640s and 1650s. Indeed, the ideas accompanying the Glorious
Revolution were rooted in the mid-century upheavals. Thus, the
17th century was a century of revolution in England, deserving of
the same scholarly attention that 'modern' revolutions attract.
James II tried building a powerful militarised state on the
mercantilist assumption that the world's wealth was necessarily finite
and empires were created by taking land from other states. The East
India Company was thus an ideal tool to create a vast new English
imperial dominion by warring with the Dutch and the Mogul Empire in
India. After 1689 came an alternative understanding of economics,
which saw Britain as a commercial rather than an agrarian society. The
proponents of this view, most famously
Adam Smith in 1776, argued that
wealth was created by human endeavour and was thus potentially
Part of a series of articles on
Divine right of kings
Mandate of Heaven
Birth of the Roman Empire
Foundation of the Ottoman Empire
First French Empire
Second French Empire
5 October 1910 Revolution
Proclamation of the Republic in Brazil
Siamese revolution of 1932
Birth of the Italian Republic
Spanish transition to democracy
Nepalese Civil War
Glorious Revolution of 1688 is considered by some as being one of
the most important events in the long evolution of the respective
powers of Parliament and the Crown in England. With the passage of the
Bill of Rights, it stamped out once and for all any possibility of a
Catholic monarchy, and ended moves towards absolute monarchy in the
British kingdoms by circumscribing the monarch's powers. These powers
were greatly restricted; he or she could no longer suspend laws, levy
taxes, make royal appointments, or maintain a standing army during
peacetime without Parliament's permission – to this day the Army is
known as the "British Army" not the "Royal Army" as it is, in some
sense, Parliament's Army and not that of the King. (This is, however,
a complex issue, as the Crown remains the source of all executive
authority in the British army, with legal implications for unlawful
orders etc.). Since 1689, government under a system of
constitutional monarchy in England, and later the United Kingdom, has
been uninterrupted. Since then, Parliament's power has steadily
increased while the Crown's has steadily declined. Unlike in the
English civil war
English civil war of the mid-seventeenth century, the "Glorious
Revolution" did not involve the masses of ordinary people in England
(the majority of the bloodshed occurred in Ireland). This fact has led
many historians, including Stephen Webb, to suggest that, in
England at least, the events more closely resemble a coup d'état than
a social revolution.[h] This view of events does not contradict what
was originally meant by "revolution": the coming round of an old
system of values in a circular motion, back to its original position,
as Britain's constitution was reasserted, rather than formed
Prior to his arrival in England, the new king William III of England
was not Anglican, but rather was a member of the Dutch Reformed
Church. Consequently, as a Calvinist and Presbyterian he was now in
the unenviable position of being the head of the Church of England,
while technically being a Nonconformist. This was, however, not his
main motive for promoting religious toleration. More important in that
respect was the need to keep happy his Catholic allies[i] in the
coming struggle with Louis XIV. Though he had promised legal
toleration for Catholics in his Declaration of October 1688, he was
ultimately unsuccessful in this respect, due to opposition by the
Tories in the new Parliament. The Revolution led to the Act of
Toleration of 1689, which granted toleration to Nonconformist
Protestants, but not to Catholics.
Catholic emancipation would be
delayed for 140 years.
Williamite War in Ireland
Williamite War in Ireland can be seen as the source of later
The Troubles of recent times. The Williamite
victory in Ireland is still commemorated by the
Orange Order for
preserving British and Protestant dominance in the country.
In North America, the
Glorious Revolution precipitated the 1689 Boston
revolt in which a well-organised "mob" of provincial militia and
citizens successfully deposed the hated governor Edmund Andros, which
has been seen as a precedent for the
American War of Independence
American War of Independence a
century later. In New York,
Leisler's Rebellion caused the colonial
administrator, Francis Nicholson, to flee to England. A third event,
Maryland's Protestant Rebellion was directed against the proprietary
government, seen as Catholic-dominated.
Lord Macaulay's account of the Revolution in The History of England
from the Accession of James the Second exemplifies its semi-mystical
significance to later generations.
Civil liberties in the United Kingdom
History of liberalism
List of deserters from James II to William of Orange
London, Quo Warranto Judgment Reversed Act 1689
^ a b c d e f g In this article "New Style" means the start of year is
adjusted to 1 January. Events on the European mainland are usually
given using the Gregorian calendar, while events in Great Britain and
Ireland are usually given using the
Julian calendar with the year
adjusted to 1 January. Dates with no explicit Julian or Gregorian
postscript will be using the same calendar as the last date with an
explicit postscript. For an explanation of these changes in calendar
and dating styles, see Old Style and
New Style dates.
^ England, Scotland, and Ireland at the time shared a king but were
still theoretically separate realms with their own parliaments. In
Parliament of Ireland
Parliament of Ireland had been completely under the
control of Westminster since
Poynings' Law of 1494, but
had a degree of independence.
^ After Mary's sister Anne. This line of succession was overturned by
the Bill of Rights; see Succession to the British throne
^ It was rumoured that he was a baby who had been smuggled into the
royal bedchamber in a warming pan, but this is not now taken
^ As there had been in 1672 with the concerted attack by France and
England on the Republic on the basis of the Secret treaty of Dover.
^ John Churchill, later the 1st Duke of Marlborough, was the
pre-eminent British general of his generation.
I once heard the
Duke of Wellington
Duke of Wellington asked whether he thought Napoleon
or Marlborough the greater general. "It is difficult to answer that",
he replied. "I used always to say that the presence of Napoleon at a
battle was equal to a reinforcement of 40,000 men. But I can conceive
nothing greater than Marlborough at the head of an English army".
— Philip Stanhope, 5th Earl Stanhope.
^ Those in attendance were William Hamilton, Duke of Hamilton, William
Craven, 1st Earl of Craven, George Berkeley, 1st Earl of Berkeley,
Charles Middleton, 2nd Earl of Middleton
Charles Middleton, 2nd Earl of Middleton (Southern Secretary), Richard
Graham, 1st Viscount Preston (
Lord President of the Council
Lord President of the Council and
Northern Secretary), Sidney Godolphin, 1st Earl of Godolphin
(Chamberlain to the Queen and Treasury Commissioner), John Trevor,
Master of the Rolls and Silius Titus
^ The importance of the event has divided historians ever since
Friedrich Engels judged it "a relatively puny event" (Engels 1997,
^ i.e. Spain and the German Emperor
^ Coward 1980, pp. 298–302.
^ See e.g. Israel & 199its preejdj1, p. 105; see also Israel
& Parker 1991, pp. 335–64
^ In testimony before a House of Lords committee in the autumn of 1689
(Schwoerer 2004, p. 3).
^ "The Glorious Revolution". www.parliament.uk. Retrieved 3 February
^ Harris, Tim (2006). Revolution: The Great Crisis of the British
Monarchy, 1685–1720. London: Allen Lane. p. 440.
^ Magennis, Eoin (1998). "A 'Beleaguered Protestant'?: Walter Harris
and the Writing of Fiction Unmasked in Mid-18th-Century Ireland".
Eighteenth-Century Ireland. 13: 6–111. Retrieved 16 March
^ Macaulay 1889, pp. 368–69.
^ Carpenter 1956, pp. 96–98.
^ Western 1972, p. 201.
^ Jones 1988, p. 132.
^ Jones 1988, pp. 132–33.
^ Jones 1988, p. 146.
^ Jones 1988, p. 150.
^ Childs 1980, pp. 96–97.
^ Troost 2001, pp. 182–83.
^ Troost 2001, p. 176.
^ Troost 2001, p. 182.
^ Troost 2001, p. 187.
^ Jones 1988, pp. 218–19.
^ Jones 1988, pp. 219–20.
^ Jones 1988, pp. 221–22.
^ a b Jones 1988, p. 222.
^ Jones 1988, pp. 223–24.
^ Hoak 1996, p. 24
^ Troost 2001, p. 191.
^ Baxter 1966, p. 225.
^ Baxter 1966, p. 231.
^ Jones 1988, pp. 238–39.
^ Dalrymple 1790, appendix to book v, pp. 107–10.
^ Dalrymple 1790, appendix to book v, p. 108.
^ Dalrymple 1790, appendix to book v, pp. 108–09.
^ Dalrymple 1790, appendix to book v, p. 109.
^ a b c d Rodger 2004, p. 139.
^ a b Troost 2001, p. 198.
^ Jardine 2008, p. 38.
^ Baxter 1966, pp. 232–33.
^ Jardine 2008, p. 52.
^ Swetschinsky & Schönduve 1988, p. 53.
^ Kelly, 288[verification needed]
^ Prud'homme van Reine 2009, p. 287.
^ Jardine 2008, p. 41.
^ Jardine 2008, p. 39.
^ Jardine 2008, p. 37.
^ Prud'homme van Reine 2009, p. 288.
^ Jardine 2008, p. 29.
^ Williams 1960, pp. 10–16.
^ Speck 1989, p. 74.
^ Speck 1989, pp. 74–75.
^ Troost 2001, p. 199.
^ a b c d Rodger 2004, p. 137.
^ Jones 1973, pp. 201–21.
^ Rodger 2004, p. 138.
^ Prud'homme van Reine 2009, p. 291.
^ Jardine 2008, pp. 10–11.
^ a b Western 1972, p. 260.
^ Prud'homme van Reine 2009, p. 289.
^ Macaulay 1889, p. 561.
^ Prud'homme van Reine 2009, p. 290.
^ a b Prud'homme van Reine 2009, pp. 290–91.
^ Davies 1989[page needed]
^ Macaulay 1889, pp. 563–64.
^ a b Macaulay 1889, p. 565.
^ Childs 1980, pp. 175.
^ Harris 2006, p. 204; Sowerby 2013, pp. 347–48; Speck
2002, p. 76.
^ Marquess of Cambridge 1966, pp. 152–53.
^ Childs 1980, p. 4.
^ Beddard 1988, p. 19.
^ Schuchard 2002, p. 762.
^ Western 1972, p. 259.
^ Van der Kuijl 1988[page needed]
^ Jardine 2008, p. 16.
^ a b Jardine 2008, p. 15.
^ Jardine 2008, p. 32.
^ Jardine 2008, p. 31.
^ Childs 1980[page needed]
^ Stanhope 2011, footnote 90.
^ Jardine 2008, p. 56.
^ Lord Macaulay, History of England, Volume 3, P262
^ a b Information Services.
^ a b Jardine 2008, p. 17.
^ "No. 2409". The London Gazette. 13 December 1688. p. 1.
^ Lord Macaulay, History of England, Volume 3, PP 312-3
^ "No. 2410". The London Gazette. 17 December 1688. p. 2.
^ Jardine 2008, p. 19.
^ Journaal van Constantijn Huygens, i, 62
^ Horwitz 1977, p. 9.
^ Beddard 1988, p. 65 cites: Foxcroft, H. C. (1898), The Life and
Letters of Sir George Savile, Marquis of Halifax, II, London,
^ Horwitz 1977, pp. 9–10.
^ Horwitz 1977, p. 10.
^ Horwitz 1977, p. 11.
^ Jardine 2008, p. 26.
^ Horwitz 1977, p. 12.
^ Williams 1960, p. 26.
^ Williams 1960, p. 27.
^ Williams 1960, pp. 28–29.
^ Carpenter 1956, pp. 145–46.
^ Williams 1960, pp. 37–39.
^ Vries & Woude 1997, pp. 673–87.
^ Vallance 2007
^ Jardine 2008, p. 27.
^ L. Schwoerer, "Propaganda in the Revolution of 1688-89" The American
Historical Review, vol 82 no 4, 1977
^ Goodlad 2007.
^ Dekrey 2008, pp. 738–73.
^ a b Pincus 2009[page needed]
^ Windeyer 1938[page needed]
^ Webb 1995, p. 166.
^ Mitchell 2009, xvi, xviii, xix.
^ Black & MacRaid 2000, pp. 7, 8.
^ Israel 2003, pp. 137–38.
^ Israel 2003, pp. 20.
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