Thursday, April 29, 2010

We Don't Need No Steenking Papists!

The Catholic Duke of York was now James II, King of England.  Peeps muttered about him being a papist, but the transition from bro Charles to him went smoothly at first & James was crowned at Westminster Abbey a cpl mos after Charles had the demises.  Parliament eyed him warily, but since he wasn't attempting to shove any religious tripe at em, they shrugged & dealt w/ him fairly enough.  James & Mary Beatrice had entombed their last surviving child, Charlotte, 3 yrs ago, & the new queen's waistline showed no further signs of expansion, so peeps figured meh a few yrs of him & then we'll get a nice Protestant queen again.

James II

There natch was a disaffected minority round James, Duke of Monmouth, the eldest of Charles's acknowledged bastards. 

James Scott, Duke of Monmouth

For yonks peeps had been urging Charles to legitimicize Jamie & make him the nice Protestant heir.  Mayhap Charles didn't do so b/c those rumors about Lucy Walter's promiscuity were true & he wasn't sure if the kid was really his, just like w/ some of Barbara's brats.  Anyhow, the muttering led to Monmouth's Rebellion.  Jamie got into bed w/ the Scots so as to launch a 2-pronged attack.  The Scots peeps were trounced b4 they ever got started b/c the leader of the rebellion, Archibald Campbell, Earl of Argyll, managed to get himself captured & executed.  Jamie, however, went & declared himself as King James II & launched a sneaky nighttime attack on the royal troops, getting soundly whupped at the battle of Sedgemoor & handed a Tower Fun Pass.  Unks was all OFF WITH HIS HEAD & twas accomplished within a month.  Jamie was just 36.  Tis the chance ya take when ya try to shove peeps off their thrones.

contemporary drawing of Monmouth's execution;
Scarlet is wondering if mayhap this 7 of spades
ain't part of a whole deck of Tower Fun Pass cards LOL

Then followed what was known as the Bloody Assizes, presided over by Judge George Jeffreys, to deal w/ the multitude of captured rebels.  250 more executions took place b/c Judge Jeffreys was worse than Judge Judy LOL & took no prisoners & gave no quarter.

James decided in order to protect his royal arse, he required a standing army.  No more of this pesky running round trying to raise troops thing kings had to do when there was trouble.  Natch peeps looked at him sideways b/c armed Catholics yadda yadda.  Jeez, ya'd think they'd have gotten over this religious nonsense by now, huh?  Nope.  Back in Charles's reign the Test Act had been shoved through Parliament, which said Catholics couldn't hold public office; at the time James had to resign as Lord High Admiral b/c of that stuff.  I reckon "king" didn't count as public office b/c they let him do that.  Anyway, James waived that so that some Catholic peeps could be in charge in his army & muttering commenced.  James said pffft & decided to send Parliament home, never to be called back.  Did he learn nuffin from Pops's debacle?

James as a lad w/ Charles I

James's longtime mistress, Arabella Churchill, the elder sister of the Duke of Marlborough (who was said to have fathered Barbara's youngest), had been retired after 4 royal Fitzjames bastards, Henrietta, James, Henry, & Arabella, & married off to some peep who didn't mind royal leavings.

Lady Arabella Churchill

Even though James had a hot young trophy wife in the person of Mary Beatrice, his new mistress was Catherine Sedley, whom he created Countess of Dorchester, to more muttering.  They had one daughter, called Lady Catherine Darnley, a nod to Great-Grandpa.

Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester

The queen hadn't conceived in yonks after spawning 5 doomed royal brats in 7 yrs & that was how peeps liked it, esp after James decided to dip his toe into religious matters.  He thunk those radical Presbyterians of the Scots Kirk were getting out of control & wanted em to play nicely or get arrested.  The Scots were all o yeah?  What about those mouthy Catholics we got up here?  How come you don't wanna arrest them, King Papist, huh?  The official state religion was Anglican since the time of Elizabeth, so anyone who wasn't should be equally persecuted for their beliefs.  James sighed & backed off some, as natch he wasn't gonna start rounding up rosaries, & decided to violate the Test Act some more by appting Catholics to plum govt positions.  Ya gotta wonder if he was TRYING to get shoved off his throne at this pt, b/c of course the Anglican bishops & such were unamused w/ his whole religious stance to begin w/ & this was like rubbing Protestant noses in holy water LOL

James II

James hmmm'd some & thunk meh, I'll just see if I can't pack Parliament w/ lots of my own peeps & get that whole pesky Test Act thing repealed entirely.  Whilst he was busy attempting to drum up support for that, he was also getting busy w/ the queen, & for the 1st time in over 5 yrs Mary Beatrice had to let out her gowns again.  Peeps were all w/ meh, w/ her track record, we got nuffin to worry about.

Weren't they all shocked when Mary Beatrice managed to produce another lad!  Stories began to circulate that after that lengthy breeding pause she either hadn't been pregnant at all, or that the latest legit royal Stuart had been stillborn & this male infant had somehow been smuggled into the queen's lying-in chambers.  Little James Francis Edward Stuart started life known as "the baby in the warming pan" b/c that was the rumor of just how he'd been smuggled into St James's Palace.

Mary of Modena & her young son James

Had he eventually succeeded his father as James III, he would've been king for a good long time as he didn't demise until the reign of George III & mayhap all you Brits would've been Catholics again.  His birth was no cause for celebration in England, as after 6 yrs they were used to thinking James II was only going to be a temporary Catholic annoyance until he was succeeded by his elder legit Protestant daughter, Mary of Orange.  Unlike the other unfortunate little Yorks, this one was plump & thriving & would undoubtedly be raised in the Roman Catholic Church by his doting parents & grow up to be another annoying Catholic king, cutting his half-sisters neatly out of the succession by virtue of gender.

Meanwhile, James was irking the Anglicans, b/c he had 7 bishops arrested for submitting a protest to him about his alarming Catholic-slanted religious policies.  What w/ all this Catholic nonsense & now a male heir, peeps began sneaking across the Channel to Orange, whispering into the ears of Mary & her DH William.

Mary II

William & Mary, as they're commonly termed, had already been wed 11 yrs by this time & Mary at age 26 had suffered 3 miscarriages, so she wasn't exactly whatcha'd call a good breeder, either.  Despite the lack of little Protestant heirs appearing, peeps were beckoning just the same.  Hey, guys, c'mon over!  Yeah, you!  We don't need no steenking papists in England!  We need nice Protestants.  Sure, we'll give Willie the Crown Matrimonial, even!  Equal powers & all that.  Whatcha say, kids?  Are ya gonna let this brat smuggled into the palace in a warming pan steal the throne right out from under ya?

Um NO was the stern reply.  Mary had been regarded as heir presumptive since the day she was born & her DH considered her crown potential as part of her dowry, plus as the son of that other Mary of Orange, Charles Is daughter, he had a splendid claim himself, right after his DW & her sis Anne. 

Anne of York, aged 17

William gleefully prepared an invasion force like it was 1066 & he was a bastard, cruising up the Strait of Dover & landing in England on Guy Fawkes' Day (remember remember the 5th of November).  This is known as the Glorious Revolution.

William III
commemoration portrait of his invasion

James was all he didn't see this coming I'm sure I dunno....& all come over unnecessary when peeps started declaring for William & Mary.  There were violent anti-Catholic riots in several major English cities.  Anne went over to her sister's side, as did one of James's BFFs, John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough.  Mayhap he was unamused w/ James's dalliance w/ sis Arabella & her 4 resulting bastards?

John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough

Natch James was afeared that if William's peeps caught him, he'd be up on a scaffold just like Dad w/ his head falling off into a basket.  William began advancing on London & trounced the royal army at the battle of Reading.  O SHITE, James groaned, this ain't good at all, & sent Mary Beatrice & the infant Prince of Wales off to safety in France.  The next day he deliberately dropped the Great Seal into the Thames, sneering HA!  TAKE THAT, WILLIE! b/c sans such, Parliament couldn't be summoned.  Like they just couldn't make a new one LOL  He tried escaping his good self but was captured & brought back to London to treat w/ his SIL.

Willie was all jeez, I dunno as if I can guarantee your safety, old man MUWHAHAHA  By now the English Navy had come over to his side as well & he could pretty much do as he pleased, but he was reluctant to arrest his DWs daddy, let alone holler OFF WITH HIS HEAD!  He didn't think Mary would be amenable to attempting to create little Protestant heirs if he did that.  Twas a touchy situtation but James was sufficiently scared out of his wits feeling the executioner's cold kiss on the back of his neck, so he gulped & agreed to leave town under Dutch guard.  Willie had him sent to Rochester on the coast of Kent, tempting James w/ the broad expanse of the English Channel & prolly hoping like hell the old man would take the bait & decide twas time to RUN AWAY!  RUN AWAY!, thereby solving the issue of what to do w/ him.

Rochester Castle

Scamper off to France posthaste for Christmas is what James did.  The fact that he was able to so quickly & EZ-ily give his guards the slip means twas likely he played right into his SILs hands.  To Willie's disappointment, a sparkly crown was not immediately hurled at him by what was called the Convention Parliament.  He got all huffy & said, well, if my FIL pops back over, I'm outta here & you peeps are stuck w/ a Catholic king, & dontcha come crying to me about it anymore.  I didn't go to all this trouble just to be made a steenking Lord Protector of the Realm, yknow.  Y'all best make my DW the queen & me the king or we're on the next boat to Orange!

So Parliament hmmm'd & decided that by running off to France, James had essentially left the throne vacant, requiring it be filled w/ a new occupant posthaste.  The House of Commons put it to a vote & said OK William & Mary tis, but the House of Lords said um NO.  Willie stamped his foot & said I AM TAKING MY TOY SOLDIERS HERE & GOING HOME IF I DON'T GET WHAT I WANT & Y'ALL KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS!  If he departed, the field was clear for James to return & go nay, nay, my bad, didn't mean to abdicate, so sorry, now where were we about repealing that Test Act nonsense again & o yeah, don't forget to do homage to my Catholic son & heir on the way out.

Mary insisted she'd not be the queen if her DH was not also the king, & she poked Anne to pipe up & temporarily waive her own right to the throne should her sis pre-demise her BIL, since Willie had a decent claim of his own.  There was more hmmm'ing & wheeler-dealing & the English Bill of Rights, sometimes called the Declaration of Right, was composed & passed thru Parliament whilst Willie tapped his spurs impatiently.  Finally in February the English crown was offered to W & M by Parliament (tho it took till May for the Scots to do the same whilst the Irish thumbed their noses at the whole thing & stayed steadfast for James), who accepted & began planning a nice coronation.....

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