King of England and Scotland (as James VII
) from 1685. The second son of Charles I, he succeeded his brother, Charles II. In 1660 James married Anne Hyde (16371671; mother of Mary II and Anne) and in 1673 Mary of Modena
(mother of James Edward Stuart). He became a Catholic in 1669, which led first to attempts to exclude him from the succession, then to the rebellions of Monmouth
and Argyll, and finally to the Whig and Tory leaders' invitation to William of Orange to take the throne in 1688. James fled to France, then led an uprising in Ireland in 1689, but after defeat at the Battle of the Boyne
(1690) remained in exile in France.
At the Restoration in 1660 he had been appointed lord high admiral and warden of the Cinque Ports, but after the passing of the Test Act in 1673 (which excluded Catholics from public office) he was forced to give up his offices.
Events of his reign and unpopularity
On his accession to the throne he promised to defend the Church of England, and his reign began peacefully enough. However, the unnecessarily savage repression of the Monmouth rising in 1685 by Judge Jeffreys' Bloody Assizes alienated many supporters. James began to build up a standing army and to re-establish Catholicism. He issued a Declaration of Indulgence (1687) allowing freedom of worship, and appointed Catholics as commanders in the army, which he stationed just outside London. When seven bishops refused to read a second Declaration of Indulgence (1688) from the pulpit, he imprisoned them. People were convinced that James intended to establish an absolutist, Catholic state.
James had no male heir by his marriage to Anne Hyde, but in June 1688 Mary of Modena gave birth to a son. Rumours circulated that the child was not the king's son, but a baby smuggled into the room in a warming pan. The arrival of a male heir, destined to be raised as a Catholic, destroyed English hopes of a Protestant succession and prompted seven leading politicians to invite William of Orange the husband of James's daughter Mary to claim the throne in the Glorious Revolution
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