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English Revolution, the.

When James II. attempted to establish despotism in England by destroying the constitution in Church and State, he arrayed against himself the united Church, the aristocracy, and the intelligent people of the realm. He also resolved to make the Roman Catholic the religious system of the kingdom, and sought to destroy all forms of Protestantism. He prorogued Parliament, and ruled despotically as an autocrat without it. So universal were the alarm and indignation caused by his conduct that there was a general longing for relief; and the fires of revolution burned intensely in the hearts of the people before they burst into a flame. The King's daughter Mary, who had married her cousin William, Prince of Orange, was heir to the throne of England in the absence of a male heir. When the people were ripe for revolution it was announced that James's second wife had given birth to a son (June 10, 1688). The hopes of the nation, which were centred on Mary, were grievously disappointed. The opinion was general that the alleged heir just born was a supposititious one, and not the child of the Queen. The volcano was instantly uncapped, and on June 30 (1688) leading men of the kingdom sent an invitation to William of Orange to invade England and place his wife on its throne. He went, landed at Torbay (Nov. 5) with 15,000 men, and penetrated the country. The people flocked to his standard, King James fled to France, and all England was speedily in the hands of the welcome invader.

On Feb. 13, the Convention Parliament conferred the crown of England on [247] William and Mary as joint sovereigns. Bancroft says of the political theory of the revolution: “The old idea of a Christian monarchy resting on the law of God was exploded, and political power sought its origin in compact. Absolute monarchy was denied to be a form of civil government. Nothing, it was held, can bind freemen to obey any government save their own agreement. Political power is a trust, and a breach of the trust dissolves the obligation to allegiance. The supreme power is the legislature, to whose guardianship it has been sacredly and unalterably delegated. By the fundamental law of property no taxes may be levied on the people but by its own consent or that of its authorized agents. These were the doctrines of the revolution, dangerous to European institutions and dear to the colonies; menacing the Old World with convulsive struggles and reforms, and establishing for America the sanctity of its own legislative bodies. Throughout the English world the right to representation could never again be separated from the power of taxation. The theory gave to vested rights in England a bulwark against the monarch; it encouraged the

The McCall medal.

colonists to assert their privileges, as possessing a sanctity which tyranny only could disregard, and which could perish only by destroying allegiance itself.”

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