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James ii., 1633-1671

King of England; born in St. James's Palace, London, Oct. 14, 1633; son of Charles I. and Henrietta Maria. During the civil war, in which his father lost his head, James and his brother Gloucester and sister Elizabeth were under the guardianship of the Duke of Northumberland, and lived in the palace. When the overthrow of monarchy appeared inevitable, in 1648, he fled to the Netherlands, with his mother and family, and he was in Paris when Charles I. was beheaded. He entered the French service (1651), and then the Spanish (1655), and was treated with much consideration by the Spaniards. His brother ascended the British throne in 1660 as Charles ii., and the same year James married Anne Hyde, daughter of the Earl of Clarendon. She died in 1671, and two years afterwards, James married Maria Beatrice Eleanor, a princess of the House of Este, of Modena, twenty-five years younger than himself. While in exile James had become a Roman Catholic, but did not acknowledge it until 1671. He had become a commander in the British navy, but the test-act of 1673 caused him to leave all public employments. Being sent to Scotland as head of the administration there, he treated the Covenanters with great cruelty. When Charles died, James became King (Feb. 6, 1685). The prime object of his administration was to overthrow the constitution of England and give the control of the nation to Roman Catholics. His rule was vigorous—oftentimes tyrannous—and in less than three years almost the whole of his subjects detested him. The foreign policy of the government was made subservient to that of France. Finally, the announcement that the Queen had given birth to a son brought on a political crisis. The people had been restrained from revolution by the belief that the government would soon fall into the hands of his eldest daughter, who had married the Protestant Prince William of Orange. Now that event seemed remote, and William was invited by leading men of the realm to invade England. He did so in November, 1688, when the King was abandoned by every one but the Roman Catholics— even by his daughter Anne, who was afterwards Queen of England. James fled to France, where he was received by Louis XIV. with open arms. He made efforts to regain his kingdom, but failed, and died in St. Germain, France, Sept. 6, 1701.

James ii.

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