William III, king of England, Scotland, and Ireland: The Glorious Revolution

The Glorious Revolution

In 1677, William had married the English Princess Mary (see Mary II), Protestant daughter of the Roman Catholic James, duke of York (later James II). After James's succession (1685) to the English throne, the Protestant William kept in close contact with the opposition to the king. Finally, after the birth of a son to James in 1688, he was invited to England by seven important nobles.

William landed in Devon with an army of 15,000 and advanced to London, meeting virtually no opposition. James was allowed to escape to France. Early in 1689, William summoned a Convention Parliament and accepted its offer of the crown jointly with his wife. The Glorious Revolution was thus accomplished in England without bloodshed, and it proved a decisive victory for Parliament in its long struggle with the crown; William was forced to accept the Bill of Rights (1689), which greatly limited the royal power and prescribed the line of succession, and to give Parliament control of finances and of the army.

In Scotland, the Jacobites resisted violently, but after their defeat at Killiecrankie (1689) William was able to make Scottish Presbyterianism secure. He blackened his reputation, however, by apparently condoning the bloody massacre of Glencoe (1692). In Ireland, after William's victory over the exiled James at the battle of the Boyne (1690) and the conclusion of the Treaty of Limerick (1691), the Penal Laws against Roman Catholics were increased in severity.

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