Transcript for HoS 75

Hello Gracious and honourable again, and welcome to the History of Scotland…

Right then, new reign new me, all that sort of thing, fresh start. James VII of Scotland, and II of England and Wales, and Ireland. This is an interesting reign of course, deeply embedded into British History as ending with the Glorious Revolution. Now, given that I am being a Scot for the moment, proudly wearing my Crowther tartan as I write, I can tell you that it is almost impossible for a historian or indeed historically oriented podcaster to write about the events of 1685 to 1690 without having a pop at the title Glorious Revolution, or at very least putting it within inverted commas. Which, it has to be said, makes the phrase so tempting to use with the most celebratory and whiggish tone possible in a childishly provocative way, which should be beneath me. But strangely isn’t.

Glorious Revolution then, why so many snide comments directed at its head? Well, there’s the anti Whig history one; it is difficult to find a single event in history so utterly core to the whig idea of history than the Glorious revolution. Not only is this a key moment in the bridling of the monarchy and rise of democracy, and the critical fork in the road away from continental absolutism; it was also done bloodlessly. So – Glorious. Now no one really believes in Whig history any more – well they do, but no one’s allowed to say it – the idea of a steady linear progression to the glorious present. Folks realise that history goes forward, backwards and sideways, and that the British Constitution is not perfect, which does come as a bit of a shock I have to say. So there’s a bit of digging at how unglorious it is. One sure fire sign of an anti whigger – the opposite of whig in this context is most definitely not tory  – is to refer to the Glorious revolution as a Dutch invasion. Which it sort of was really.

More relevant to us, though, is that the revolution of 1688-9 has been viewed quite differently from Ireland and Scotland. In Ireland in particular here is nothing whatsoever glorious about an event which led to bloodshed, broken promises and the inauguration of the Protestant Ascendency and a fundamental division which is with us still. Scotland now, Scotland; there the case is much more difficult to decide. Was it a good thing, bad thing or just a thing? Was it about Scotland at all? After all it happened a long way away and was initiated by a bunch of English Whigs; although fair do’s, William had to go through a beauty parade and was actively chosen by the Scottish parliament over the Stuart version. It led to Union and a tradition of Jacobitism which was more fundamental and enduring in Scotland than in any other of the nations. On the other hand it led to Union, and the triumph of a protestant king, a religion with which 98% of Scots identified. You’ll note I put Union on both sides of the profit and loss there.

I have been reading a book from episode one of this podcast, called Scotland: A New History by Michael Lynch; it’s not so new any more, since it was written in 1991, but that’s not bad after all it’s not so old as to be written in Pictish symbols. This is what he has to say about said revolution

‘that was an English crisis, with its roots there, and it is hard to find any trace of the same in Scotland’.

Well I think we might argue with that, but onward for the moment. Also, the historical judgement of James has changed very much from the days of yore when women were women and small furry creatures I needn’t tell you the rest. The James that sought to impose Catholicism on a reluctant nation, and at the same time destroy a nascent democracy with cruel tyranny and absolutism has sort of been question. I mean not completely banished it has to be said, but far more nuance these days. And there is a very positive story to tell in some minds; because in some ways Jimmy is very attractive to modern eye. So your Jacobite in the pub may say ‘I mean look, he was pursuing religious toleration you dolt what’s to object about that?’ And that is surely sustainable – after all in England in particular he offered non conformists toleration with the same hand as he offered it to Catholics. Indeed to push it to the limit one more time, your Jacobite might say that James only used prerogative powers and absolutism because there was no other way to make people accept the light of toleration. In doing so, said Jacobite is spookily drawing a parallel between James and Cromwell, given Cromwell’s increasing inability to find a parliament that would accept the toleration he favoured. That would be an unpopular parallel, I imagine.

Anyway, the argumentative opponent in the local might shoot back ‘pah and pshaw Mrs Jacobite, your argument is worth less than the rough end of a pineapple. James was never a sincere believer in full toleration, and offering the same to non-conformists was but a political tactic – it was all but a step on the way to re-imposing Catholicism. And James was an absolutist just like his brother and his dad. Remember the ’41!’

Let’s drop the chat in the pub approach. I might say that the way I was taught at school kept the door open on that question – and simply noted that the idea of toleration for Catholics wasn’t to the liking of James’ kingdom, and instead rather emphasised that the reason for his sticky end was mainly due to political inflexibility and incompetence. Again there are curious comparisons to be made in a sort of chequer board of monarchs – James I and Charles II go together because they shared absolutist desires but were politically adroit enough to avoid disaster; Charles I and James II are paired because they were  – not. Spooky. Anyway, basically, historians are divided about James and his ultimate objectives; and spookily the answer may lie not in England, but in Scotland

So that is what we are going to talk about today. Was James VII proceeding to reign with the happy consent of the Scottish people when the English rudely toppled the Stuart king from his rightful inheritance and enforced a different future on them? Well, let us see.

So what’s the state of play? We can see in the rear view mirror that Charles II had been astonishingly successful in re-establishing royal rule in Scotland. Initially at least, this was helped by a reaction to the Revolution and Commonwealth. The magnates, traditional rulers of Scottish society since time immemoral wanted the shirts back that the lairds and ministers had taken from their back. Plus, the fact that the magnates were all skint and in debt, in both lowlands and Highlands, upped the importance that order and stability must be restored and trade and prosperity therefore enabled.

The Commonwealth had given the Covenant a bad name too, so the Covenant must be banished – and duly was. As Charles’ reign progressed, he was increasingly successful in extending the rights of the crown as a bulwark against chaos – as society began to be buffeted by a Presbyterian reaction that often looked mighty indistinguishable from rebellion; and against the perceived violence of Highland society – perceived more than actually  it must be stressed.

James could look at this with satisfaction, and he could also look back happily at a pretty successful tour of duty in Scotland. As the Killing Times piled the pressure on Presbyterians, the tiny Catholic minority practiced their religion without interruption or bother. He had established a strong relationship with some of the Highland clans in replacing the over mighty subject, the Earls of Argyll. The 1681 parliament had enunciated in law the most extraordinarily positive view of a monarchs absolute power, and the Argyll rebellion had been crushed with ease. There was widespread goodwill for James, since he had re-established Holyrood as the centre of royal court for a while, and blown aside the stultifying control of patronage, by Lauderdale, a man based for the most part in England.

As he sat in his closet late at night in his smalls, doing his pros and cons list, with quill and pen, and the wig put to one side for the moment, Jimmy with some justice would have concluded that if toleration for Catholicism was a runner, Scotland was the obvious place to start; and just like big brother, Scotland might be used as an example for England and Ireland to follow. He had, as far as he could see built a relationship and contract with his northern kingdom which was based on the maintenance of order by the king and the unconditional loyalty of the subject. As the historian Laura Stewart wrote, James’ rule looked virtually unassailable, as solid, as solid a rock. But as Laura Stewart also points out, James may well have misunderstood the basis of that contract; maybe that contract was in fact conditional, and rested on the maintenance of a protestant state & a protestant national church.





Well, if James did have any doubts about what a popular chap he was, they were swept away in a cascade of wine on his birthday in October 1685; the streets, said one, were hardly passable with people celebrating. But then to be fair, if I had free wine running down the conduits in central Edinburgh I reckon most people would have a bit of a party on 28th February.

Now, as we mentioned last time, the end of Charles’ reign had been marked by factional infighting; and after the blows had been given and taken, the men left standing were the Drummond brothers – The earl of Perth in Scotland, Lord Melfort in London. In 1686, both converted to Catholicism; there were other appointments of Catholics to big jobs – the Earl of Dumbarton became commander of all forces in Scotland, the Duke of Gordon was made Lord Lieutenant of the north. In what was to become something of a refrain, the appointments were made in the name of the royal prerogative. Some mid level jobs were also made to Catholics, in tax collecting. And Perth was not shy of public celebration of his faith – James sent him a body of 12 priests to stay in Holyrood house, there was a catholic chapel there also where mass was celebrated – although, point of fact, by law attendance at a mass was punishable by death in Scotland. Just saying. Perth in particular became known for slightly potty over the top ceremonies of which one observer wrote

This ceremony is not even used by the French Romanists

Symbols are important, and these were important symbols; and it might have been a warning to James and Perth that all of this did not go unnoticed by the citizens of Edinburgh. The pulpit became something of a battleground, with a furious stream of anti popish sermons. Perth tied to shut the valve as he could, forbidding the printing or selling of books spreading anti popery. There was a political angle as well as religion, or at least the two intersected. So one of the government’s more vocal critics was a preacher called James Canaries, who was something of a supporter of the king himself, and said he believed the king when he promised to protect the protestant church. But the high profile defections to Catholicism had rattled even him.

A king in a popish country must either live at his Holiness’s beck or else on the confidence of an army.

Canaries words reflect what was prevalent throughout Scottish and English society; a belief that Catholicism went hand in hand with political repression and absolutism – with tyranny in the other word they used. I think, in my innocence, that this is mighty important in thinking about James’ near future. It’s not just whether you were worried abut secular constitutional issues, or had religious worries; the one led to the other. Canaries was a royalist – actually he was thinking of James, he was warning him – he thought these conversions threatened the king’s independence from the Pope.

There was a deal of violence to boot; at the end of January some students found out that Lady Perth was going to a mass at Canongate in Edinburgh; a huge crowd gathered, and the celebration became the focus of anger for citizens across a range – tradesmen, Apprentices, students. They attacked the house and proceeded to ransack it and it must have been terrifying for all the people inside as the altar was smashed, ornaments thrown into the street, clothes torn off the celebrants; the priests were forced to their knees and made to swear the Test oath. Might be good to remind you that the Test Oath required the taker to specifically reject key tenets of the Catholic faith, and to recognise the king as head of the church – something no Catholic could do, for that was the pope.


In the streets afterwards as the Council tried to re-establish order, there were hordes of people throwing stones at government forces.

Now James of course was in London, and therefore the flow of information to him was controlled by the Drummond Boys; nonetheless enough reached him to give him worries and he wrote to Perth telling him he’d been too open too early about celebrating mass, and to be more ‘cautious and private’ in future. But the riots were also used as an excuse by Perth to remove the strongly protestant Queensferry from the Council. And anyway, James’ thoughts had moved on – to parliament and the liberation of Catholics.

Once again, it’s important to stress the British dimension of James’ parliament of 1686. Just as it had been under Charles II, Scotland’s loyalty to the Stuart dynasty was to set an example to the English.  To make sure the message wasn’t lost, he prorogued the English parliament so that everything could be achieved in Scotland before the English met. So parliament in Scotland was called for 29th April 1686.

James called the secret Scottish inner committee down to Whitehall to plan; in his letter, he told them of his aim to put in place through parliament

the entire abrogation of the sanguinary laws against papists

He would replace the test oath with a simple oath of allegiance, which would allow Catholics to take office. Here’s the really interesting bit though; in place would remain

All laws against phanaticism

That means that there was to be no corresponding liberty for Covenanters, aka Phanatic. Now it could be that, like his father and grandfather, James equated puritanism and Covenanters with rebellion; he had rather more justification to do so that those gentlemen, or those gents before 1640 anyway, given the actions of the Cameronian radicals. And it is a feature of religious persecution across Britain that the constant message was that the only repression carried out for both Catholics and Protestantism was not for religion – but for rebellion and disorder against the law and state. Or it could be, as many would suspect, that James was not really interested in religious toleration per se – simply to revive the Catholic faith and restore Catholics to political power.

Maybe a bit of further light was shed when at the meeting in Whitehall folks such as Hamilton argued that relief could only be delivered if done across the board to both Catholics and all protestants. James gave some way but not to the same extent as he planned for Catholics; and the reason he gave was that he could not refuse to use his power against what he considered a false religion – protestantism.

In fact, James believed he didn’t need parliament anyway; he could just do all of this from the Prerogative. But his strategy was to use parliament, to establish Catholic toleration as a fundamental right; he explained his reluctance to do the same for protestants by telling Melfort that

Because an act of parliament gives some shadow of right to the parties concerned

So; any toleration to protestant radicals would be given by his hand and his hand only by him given, and by him could therefore be taken away, so presbyterians would always be dependent on keeping the goodwill of the king; whereas Catholics would have toleration by right, even if a protestant came to the throne.







James, Perth and Melfort meticulously prepared the ground for the parliament – this had to go well. To potential opponents like Hamilton they made the point that look, the king had the right to do all of this through his prerogative anyway, he was doing it through parliament as a favour; so it was their duty to support him or they would be denying his power. Spookily, a number of pamphlets appeared which all supported James’ plans for toleration; meanwhile the censorship laws Perth had put in place prevented printing any papers

‘against the King’s favourite design or in Defence of the present standing laws’

which doesn’t seem fair, hardly a full and frank exchange of views, but then hopefully all parents had already explained their children that life wasn’t fair. If they had done so, however, their children had ignored them, which is pretty standard behaviour – because manuscripts appeared objecting to the policy and so a pamphlet war happened anyway.

There were many other attempts made to ensure a compliant parliament; you might remember that a Scottish parliament only got to review bills which had been first discussed and agreed by the Lords of the Articles, a rule re-established by the Restoration; just  by chance 3 of the members died before the session, and could be replaced by James’ yes men. As matters progressed, some burgh representatives whose faces didn’t fit had their right to attend challenged; opponents like the Earl of Mar were ordered to return to the militias they commanded to get them out of the way. In point of fact, they refused. Instead they resigned their commissions so that they could still go to parliament when the shouting started, an indication of how important this coming debate was to everyone. In Mid May James sacked some of those opponents who held judicial positions, and dumped two from the Privy Council.  It’s even suggested that James kept parliament in session in the hope that some members would run out of money and be forced to leave to make life easier for the government.

The runes were not good. James had appointed the earl of Moray to be his commissioner for parliament – so essentially the man responsible for running the event. That set alarm bells ringing for some – because Moray was widely rumoured to be a Catholic, and indeed announced his conversion next year. There were other omens – the heavens opened and the weather was rubbish for all the summer, never a good sign – and so the 1686 parliament acquired the name the Black Rainy Parliament’. Which is not what you want as a parliament really – Good Parliament, Sunny parliament , or thoroughly productive Parliament maybe – those would what your average parliament would go for.

OK, so Moray opened the bidding in the Black Rainy parliament – the first bill proposed would be that Catholics be given

The protection of our laws and that security under government

Alongside the new simplified oath of allegiance. He sugared the pill on James’ behalf by offering free trade with England. He sat back and waited for the applause to roll in.

What actually rolled in were not the droids he was looking for. First of all a bunch tried to sink Moray by requiring him to take the test act first, which as a catholic of course he would not do; Moray only managed to head that off by the most unparliamentary approach of sending any who voted for the idea to the tollbooth – the prison bit rather than the parliament bits. That was a bad sign; what followed was worse. Parliament tried to be nice about it, by reassuring Moray that of course, they absolutely believed him when he said he’d protect the protestant religion – although the halls were full of people saying they believed no such thing. Despite this slightly feeble attempt to soften the blow, they rounded rejected the proposal to repeal the laws against Catholics.  And convincingly so, 10:1.

Back to the Lords of the Articles went the proposal, for some horse trading. Most of the Bishops were strongly opposed to repeal, though there were 3 who supported the king. There were currents and different opinions; some fully supported the king on the basis of his prerogative, others advised just giving in to the king’s wishes and biding their time – it could all be undone when a protestant came to the throne.  Others were happy with a measure of toleration – as long as there were limitations and that safeguards there to protect protestants. Hamilton, a firm protestant of course but moderate, took the clever approach that toleration should be given to both Catholics and protestant dissenters. The proposal had the desired effect, since the heads of the Catholics and King’s supporters exploded at the thought of toleration for protestant dissenters, so that one didn’t get through.

Moray went round doing his best to work people into line with offers and threats, arm twists and sugared coatings, as is the way of politics, especially in the 17th and 18th century. And in the end a proposal did get through from the Lords of the Articles back to parliament; it proposed that Catholics could practice their religion in private but that the test acts would remain in force. Effectively this meant that all the Catholics James had appointed to public office were in violation of the law. It was so completely not what James was looking for that Moray refused to allow the bill to be presented. The flush that was the 1686 parliament was officially busted.

James was a little gobsmacked at the way things had gone. He was Mr Popular, what was going on? He admitted to the French Ambassador that

The affairs of Scotland had not taken the turn he at first expected

But he was not to be discouraged; OK, nul point for plan A, plan B it shall be. Now – where did I put that Yah boo sucks royal prerogative form…

He wrote to the Council expressing his distress at what had happened, and musing that it can only have been because

Our enemies misled well-meaning men

His purpose for writing was to announce Plan B – that parliament schmarliament, they’ll get what’s good for them and like it, because the Royal prerogative is perfectly sufficient for all this stuff. There was some debate in the Council, but in the end they wrote back and agreed to ‘humbly acquiesce’.  Interestingly though, when one of them proposed the wording to give Catholics a ‘legal security’ through parliament Hamilton headed it off.  If indulgence was to be given, then it would be from the monarch, not by parliamentary law.







It took some months for James to make his proclamation, for further ground laying was needed here. More Catholics were appointed to the Council – the Duke of Gordon, earl of Seaforth, and Laird of Niddry – all were personally dispensed from taking the test by the king. James gave a very public signal that people who supported him would be rewarded – he established a new order, the Knights of the Thistle for those who supported the Catholic cause; he established a college for Jesuits at Holyrood. Further proclamations were made against public dissent from this policies – in particular he tried to muzzle the pulpit. In this particular proclamation against dissent to his policies, there was an interesting twist; because he turned his fire on the established, Episcopalian church as well as dissenters, or elements within it, accusing them of ‘seditious designs to alarm the people’. Now that’s new, by and large Charles and James had been able to reply on the episcopalians. It probably reflected that the atmosphere had been changed by James’ attempt to force toleration through parliament; the refusal of the Bishops in the Lords of the Articles to toe the line showed James he needed to force them into line too. But it was unwise to threaten them; if James couldn’t persuade the Episcopalians, then most other protestants would be beyond the pale.

By February 1687, James was ready, and on 12th he issued his Declaration of Indulgence for Scotland. here is a process or series of stages here which is significant, but his starting place was to announce that he’d decided to ‘suspend, stop and disable all  aws and acts of Parliament’ against Catholics, clarifying that they could ‘enjoy all the offices, benefices and others’ just like members of the established church. The test oath was made history – all that would now be required was a simple oath of non-resistance recognising James as the ‘rightful king and supreme governor’. The people he called ‘Moderate Presbyterians’ would be allowed to hold private meetings, but not to build places of worship; and he included Quakers in this, which was a step forward.

Well the significance of the framing was not lost on his kingdoms; in Scotland Catholics and Episcopalians were to be equal in all ways. Moderate Presbyterians and Quakers were to have some rights – Covenanters and radicals were out in the cold, rebellious as they were considered to be. And the king’s royal prerogative overrode any laws parliament might make; assumed as part of absolutism really, but here very much planted in the national face.

In England, the runes were read; Bishop Gilbert Burnet wrote ‘we here in England see what we must look for’. We can argue that not only was there significant resistance to James, rather than it simply being an English affair; but also that once again, what happened in Scotland affected what went on with their southern neighbours.

For the already rebellious, like Robert Ferguson, who had been involved in Argyll’s rebellion, the indulgence was

An unprecedented exercise of Despoticalness, as hardly any of the oriental tyrants or even the French Leviathan would have ventured upon

His majestie’s servants, he thundered required Scots

to swear themselves his majestie’s most obedient slaves and vassals

The Council publicly accepted the indulgence, but despite James’ purges and appointments there was still some opposition; Hamilton and the earls of DunDonald and Panmure withdrew from the Council, although Hamilton was not officially fired; three others made themselves scarce and went into retirement from public affairs.

The Presbyterians were where the action took place; they refused this indulgence, objecting to the limitations placed on their worship, and condemning the tyranny of it; the radical Covenanters just went right on with their illegal conventicles of course; as far as they were concerned James had basically showed his pretentions to ‘absolute power’ to ‘make way for the introduction of popery’ – they had none of the doubts that have troubled modern historians – James was a bad egg, full of secret designs and totally untrustworthy and they would be irreconcilable.

The Episcopalians were split beyond repair. At one end, the likes of Archbishop Rose were right behind the king, as the possessor of absolute authority, but few ministers welcomed the indulgence. Many simply refused to recognise it, and kept insisting that congregations swear to the old Confession of Faith, and many universities took the same approach with their students.

In the burghs there was a patchy response; but mainly objecting to the low level of toleration given to Presbyterians; in Autumn 1686, James had already purged the burgh authorities suspending elections and appointing provosts, magistrates and councillors in direct contravention of their rights.

The Moderate Presbyterians though… well in there lay potential to James to give this indulgence a chance. If he could persuade enough presbyterians to accept the new world, he would gain an ally in the struggle to get Scotland to accept this change. James and Perth recognised that the most indigestible element for Presbyterians problems was thepart of the oath which recognised James’ supremacy over church and state; remember their absolute belief in two kingdoms, religious and secular And there was also that differential in status between them and Catholics, that Catholics were privileged over them – that really rubbed salt in the open, raw wound.

And so on 31st March James tried to win support for his policy, and revised the Indulgence to allow Presbyterians not to take the oath of supremacy. Sadly, it made no noticeable difference. So on 5th July James caved in completely, and removed all laws against dissenters, allowing them to build their own conventicles and houses of worship. James had finally arrived at a policy of pretty much general toleration. In July 1687, Presbyterians met together, and agreed that they would live with this and agreed a vote of thanks for the king – all except the most radical, the Cameronians, who according to their idiom, kept right on objecting. But there’s no satisfying some people.

In fact for the Presbyterians, the there was now a year of so where the repression was lifted and the plant once more could breathe and grow. And all over the west and south west, congregations came out into the light, blinking and clapping each other on the back, while meeting houses and chapels sprang up around them. Crawling out from the heavy stone of repression, congregations wrote to their ministers who had fled the country and many came home to be re-united with their communities. A presbyterian structure was re-established with monthly meetings of Presbyters and support for other congregations. Within a remarkably short time, the movement revived much of it’s organisational strength. This would make it a significant force when trouble and change came along again, which it will, gentle listeners, which it will.





In May 1688, James issued his third official proclamation of indulgence confirming the final position and requiring every office holder to be re-appointed to their jobs, so that by accepting their commissions they would by their action signal their acceptance of the new world, their acceptance of the king’s exercise of his prerogative and of religious toleration and the job was done.

Now, what do we think? I am mixing up the present and future here when I say that it does rather look as though James has arrived at a state of religious toleration, to a rather remarkable degree for the age. Hurray.

But we must also consider instead what his contemporaries in Scotland thought of it. From the Catholics side – well, in law their situation was transformed. In practice Catholics now predominated at the senior end of government, way beyond their presence in the general population, on both the Council but in the two pivotal leadership roles – Perth in Edinburgh and Melfort in Whitehall. In terms of practicing their religion, Catholics had not suffered since the Restoration; and actually Catholics were very disappointed in the short term that there was no fresh wave of conversions which they expected, of people coming back to the old faith. Indeed one Thomas Nicholson, a Catholic who came back at this time, wrote

As to the advancement of the catholic faith, it fell far short of my expectations…there were but few converts…and a greater aversion in the people than there was five years ago

It’s an interesting comment; I might on the one hand say that the problem might well be mainly with Thomas’s expectation; after all we’ve had over a century of Protestantism becoming deeply embedded in every part of Scottish life – what did he expect after just a year, for crying aloud? On the other hand it does also mention a ‘greater aversion to Catholics’ – which points to one of the consequences of James’ actions – a fundamental cracking of the unity of opinion that had welcomed him in 1685. This is particularly notable in the Episcopalian church where opinion was now deeply divided about the king’s policy. And to look at the situation over the last 25 years; prodigious effort, money, blood, political capital had been spent trying to enforce the Episcopal Church of Scotland as the established church, responsible for maintaining the uniformity of religion in Scotland. Much Presbyterian blood had been spilt. That objective was now fundamentally shattered. What now was the role of an established church, if uniformity was no longer the requirement?

And crucially there is the manner in which James had implemented the policy – a progressive, seemingly politically rolling series of concessions which overrode parliament and suggested that it was not toleration that was James’s aim; it was rather more the promotion of Catholicism and royal absolutism. He had originally specifically aimed to continue the repression of dissenters, and only back tracked on that when it appeared their resistance might fatally weaken his position. And where things ended up could look to the episcopalian church, almost like an alliance of dissenters and Catholics against the established church.

All of this did not help the stability of James’ government at all, or indeed as Thomas noted, the attitude towards Catholics and James’ Catholicism. Now, having a Catholic monarch did seem to threaten the protestant church, despite James’ formal protestations. From the pulpit, the volume of Church ministers preaching against Catholics rose; the returning ministers to Presbyterian congregations didn’t come back suddenly embued with love for Catholicism and toleration  quite the reverse, once more the volume of anti Catholic rhetoric waxed loud.

Along with the unity of the Episcopalian church, James had broken the unity of the political elite who had welcomed him in 1685. There remained many dyed in the wool royalists who would support the king whatever he did. But his actions had provoked an ultra loyal parliament into opposition. That turn around from enthusiastic support to obdurate refusal had shocked James; and yet he’d ridden over their objections and by-passed them; rendering them – what? What was the role of parliament in the new world?  Many of his councillors had been forced out or left, effectively withdrawing their support and involvement in James’ rule. Others like Hamilton remained in office, but was now set to use his position on the Council to obstruct rather than support James’ policy.

Some councillors had fled abroad, made contact with other exiles, and had ended up at the court of William Orange at The Hague. James Dalrymple of Stair had left Scotland to go to the low countries to study and write, but by 1687 he was clearly working with William and other exiles. The Presbyterian minister William Carstares had been interrogated and tortured when suspected of being involved in the Rye House plot, calmly watched by the Earl of Perth. He left Scotland and travelled with his wife, having refused to reveal any of the contacts he’d held with rebels, a loyalty for which William of Orange would reward him. He became William’s chaplain in 1687, a vigorous and politically experienced critic of James’ rule.

And then there is yet another Archibald Campbell would you believe – will the world ever run out of Archibald Campbells? Anyway there he was at The Hague, a fervent supporter of William  and of course of a return to his inheritance.

Even in the Highlands much of the goodwill created by James’ earlier policies had been unwound. With James’s coronation had come a return to much of the official violence from the centre in the Highlands, particularly in the repression of Argyll in the wake of the Campbell rebellion. The commission of Peace and Security which had involved highland clan chiefs was no more, government troops once more encouraged rivalries between clansmen to enforce order – which in fact meant more disorder in the process.

In summary then, James had put a wrecking ball through the house that had seemingly welcomed him back in 1685; he had fundamentally misunderstood the basis that lay behind his welcome and the expressions of loyalty. The unwritten contract he had with the Scottish people was not based simply on enthusiasm for the royal house of Stuart – although that was certainly part of it; nor simply enthusiasm for royal absolutism in the search for social order and stability – although again, there were was that element. The unwritten contract had been based on the maintenance and security of a protestant state & national church. And James had broken that contract. It only remained to be seen whether he would have time to establish loyalty behind his new, Absolutist contract.

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