Glorious Revolution begins
Discontent with King James II predated his accession to the throne, indeed vigorous political efforts had been made to exclude him as a Catholic from that throne. Once king James, rather than building bridges with potential domestic allies proceeded to knock them down, having senior churchmen arrested and tried – unsuccessfully – for seditious libel; annoying the Tories by seemingly loosening the bonds between Church and State; creating a standing army with many of its higher ranking officers known Catholics.
James like his father Charles I believed in the Divine Right of Kings, and like his father he lost his throne partly because of adherence to that belief. Parliament just a few decades before had seized power through revolutionary action when its rights were threatened; this time various conspiracies sprang up in reaction to James’ activities. His daughter Mary – a Protestant - had married William of Orange , Europe’s great Protestant hero, and the couple were the obvious choice to replace James. They were duly invited – at their request as they hoped to avoid their arrival in Britain seeming to be an invasion – to seize the throne by the so-called Immortal Seven, some of the great and good of the land (two Tory, five Whig).
William gathered a considerable force – debate still rages about whether this was an invasion or not – and sailed from the Netherlands on October 28 1688. The winds that had delayed the expedition changed, and in fact made it impossible to land at the planned point, Harwich . The fleet – larger than the Armada – was driven further south, and landed at the second chosen port, Brixham in Devon. William’s Protestant credentials were underlined by delaying his personal arrival until November 5, the anniversary of the country’s great escape from Catholic violence. Strangely his troops, perhaps 20,000 or more in number, included large sections of Catholic mercenaries.
Luck was with William: the loyal fleet that could have made his landing difficult encountered contrary winds; the French were otherwise engaged; and James who had served his brother Charles II so well militarily proved incapable of decisive action on his own account. Before the end of the year William would be in control of the land, and James beginning his exile, his departure seen as giving legal authority to the new regime.
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