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rule till his death with an almost absolute degree of authority. The duke of York, without taking the test, resumed his office of high-admiral, and was now tacitly acknowledged by the nation as the successor to the throne. Charles died in the year 1685, in the fifty-fifth year of his age, and twenty-fifth of his reign; and the duke of York, accordingly, succeeded by the title of James II.

This short and inglorious reign, distinguished by nothing but a series of the most absurd and blind efforts of intemperate zeal, and arbitrary exertions for establishing a despotic authority in the crown, does not merit a long detail.* James was the instrument of his own misfortunes, and ran headlong to destruction. In a government where the people have a determined share of power, and a capacity of legally resisting every measure which they apprehend to be to their disadvantage, every attempt to change, in opposition to their general desire, the religion or civil constitution of the country, must be impracticable. The Roman catholics in England

* At the beginning of this reign an excellent address was presented to James by the Quakers.

"These are to testify to thee our sorrow for our friend Charles, whom we hope thou wilt follow in every thing that is good. We hear that thou art not of the religion of the land any more than we; and, therefore, may reasonably expect that thou wilt give us the same liberty that thou takest thyself.

"We hope that in this and all things else thou wilt promote the good of thy people, which will oblige us to pray that thy reign over us may be long and prosperous."

It had been happy for the new sovereign had he attended to the equity of this requisition, and to the wisdom of the advice which it conveyed.

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were not at this time one-hundredth part of the nation. How absurd, then, (as Sir William Temple told his sovereign)-how contrary to common sense was it, to imagine that one part should govern ninety-nine who were of opposite sentiments and opinions! Yet James was weak enough to make that absurd and desperate attempt. The nobility of the kingdom, by natural right the counsellors of the sovereign, were obliged to give place to a set of Romish priests, who directed all his measures; and James, as if he was determined to neglect nothing which might tend to his own destruction, began his reign by levying, without the authority of parliament, all the taxes which had been raised by his predecessor; he showed a further contempt of the constitution and of all national feeling by going openly to mass; and though, in his first parliament, he solemnly promised to observe the laws and to maintain the protestant religion, he, at the same time, hinted in pretty strong terms, that if he found them at all refractory or backward in granting such supplies as he should require, he could easily dispense with calling any more such assemblies. It was not a little surprising that he found this parliament disposed to receive meekly this first specimen of his despotic disposition, and to grant him all that he required of them.

The duke of Monmouth having entered into a new rebellion, the parliament declared him guilty of high treason, and voted a large sum of money for quelling this insurrection. Monmouth was defeated, made prisoner, and beheaded, and the nation now discovered one particular of the king's

disposition with which they had hitherto been unacquainted-a great degree of cruelty and inhumanity. Vast numbers of those unhappy prisoners, who were taken after the defeat of Monmouth, were hanged without any form of trial; and the execrable Judge Jeffries filled the kingdom with daily executions, under the sanction of justice. Many of these trials were attended with the most iniquitous procedure; but all applications to the king for pardon were checked by a declaration, that he had promised to forgive none who should be legally condemned. "When the bench is under the direction of the cabinet, trials are conspiracies, and executions are murders."*

The Commons seemed possessed with a spirit of the most abject slavery; the king was proceeding fast to invade every branch of the constitution, and met from them with no resistance; the House of Peers, however, taking upon them to examine the dispensation given from taking the test-oath, James, who could no longer bear even the shadow of opposition, immediately prorogued the parlia


This intemperate procedure raised a general alarm; but the king's imprudence knew no bounds, and went on from one exasperating measure to another. The bishop of London was suspended from his ecclesiastical function, for refusing to censure a clergyman who had preached against the doctrines of the church of Rome. Six other bishops, having refused to publish the king's equally fraudulent as illegal declaration for liberty

* Ralph's History of England, Pref.


of conscience, were immediately committed to prison. James sent an ambassador to the pope, though all correspondence with Rome was by law treasonable, and he received the pope's nuncio in London, who published pastoral injunctions, and consecrated several Romish bishops. catholic president was appointed by the king to Magdalen college, Oxford, and on its refusal to admit him, the whole members were expelled except two who complied. In short, the king's intentions were not at all disguised; and the Roman catholics began openly to boast that a very little time would see their religion fully established.

James had three children, the princess Mary, who was married to William, prince of Orange, the stadtholder of the United Provinces; Anne, married to prince George of Denmark; and James, an infant, born in the year 1687. The prince of Orange, who, from the time of his father-in-law's accession, began to look towards the crown of England, had kept on good terms with James till the event of the prince of Wales's birth, which was a disappointment to his hopes of succession. He now began to think of securing it by force of arms; to which the misconduct of the king and the discontents of the people gave him the most flattering invitation. While he was employed on the continent in secretly making vigorous preparations for war, his agents and emissaries secured him a great number of adherents in England. The king had disgusted all parties. The whigs, who lamented the loss of the national liberty, and the tories, who trembled for the danger of the

established church, all joined in a hearty detestation of the measures of the crown.

One singular circumstance was the infatuation of the king, and his total blindness to the progress of those measures, both at home and on the continent, which were preparing his immediate downfall. When Louis XIV. apprised him of his danger, and offered to send him the aid of a fleet, and to make a diversion in his favour by invading the United Provinces, he refused the offer, and would not give credit to the information.

At length the prince of Orange set sail with a fleet of five hundred ships and fourteen thousand men. He landed in England on the 15th of November, 1688, having sent before him a manifesto, in which he declared his intentions of saving the kingdom from destruction, vindicating the national liberty, and procuring the election of a free parliament. He was received with general satisfaction. The chief of the nobility and officers hastened to join him. James found himself abandoned by his people, by his ministers, his favourites, and even by his children. In a state of despair and distraction, he formed the dastardly resolution of escaping into France, and he sent off beforehand the queen and the infant prince. Following them himself, he was taken by the populace at Feversham, and brought back to London. But the prince of Orange, to facilitate his escape, sent him under a slight guard to Rochester, from whence he soon found an opportunity of conveying himself to the continent.

The parliament was now summoned, but met simply as a Convention, not having the authority

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