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The Twelfth - the reason for the season!

The legacy of the Glorious Revolution continues to shape our lives today. Its principles are the bedrock on which modern constitutional democracy is based. The American and French Revolutions both owe their motivation, in part, to the changes that occurred in the British Isles between 1688 and 1691. Central to these changes was William, Prince of Orange, who became King William III. 
Not only was the Revolution a triumph of liberty over arbitrary power but it embedded freedom.  A Bill of Rights, and associated legislation, has ensured that the Revolution became both an enduring and evolving settlement. 
Crucially the Glorious Revolution was not just a revolution by, or for, the elite, but a popular rising in favour of something new. The consequence was significant constitutional change, change that continues to shape the free World to this day. 
The Loyal Orange Institution sees itself as an heir and custodian of the Revolution and is the only organisation that publicly celebrates the achievements of one of our greatest Monarchies. It was after all, on the battlefields of Ireland that the legacy of Liberty was initially secured. For those who took part the evolution was more than an Act of Parliament, it was an act of sacrifice that has left a legacy of liberty for all. 
The events of this period (1688-1691), and the ideas they embedded, are the reason why we celebrate the Twelfth of July. 
Dr. Jonathan Mattison

The Glorious Revolution - Background  

The term Glorious Revolution was given to the political and Royal change that took place in the British Isles in 1688 and 1689. The Seventeenth Century was a turbulent time in British Politics. The English Civil War had given way to a period of republican-style government which at times verged on dictatorship. It was against this backdrop of uncertainty that the seeds of the Glorious Revolution were sown.  
In 1660 the Stuart family were restored to the throne of the British Isles, with Charles II as King. It was hoped that memories of the Civil War, and the brief period of republican government under Oliver Cromwell and the Commonwealth, would pass. However, stability came to an end with the death of King Charles II on 6 February 1685. Charles died with no legitimate male heir. The Crown would now pass to his brother, James, Duke of York. This posed a problem. James was a Roman Catholic and under the restoration settlement the King or Queen could only be Protestant. Anxious to avoid another civil war, the politicians came up with a compromise. James was allowed to succeed his brother and become King. Many in the establishment, although opposed to James, were prepared to tolerate his accession as his existing heirs were all Protestant. 

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The ill-fated three-year reign of James II was characterized by struggles over the balance of power between King and Parliament, and a debate over freedom of religious belief. Perhaps haunted by the childhood memory of his own father’s execution, James tried to cement the power of the monarchy at the expense of parliament. He tried to copy his cousin, King Louis XIV of France. This greatly annoyed the political establishment. He further alienated Church and Military leaders when he attempted to introduce a new book of Common Prayer and remove some of the restrictions on Roman Catholic life. They resolved to replace the King. Representatives of the two main parties met secretly and decided to invite William, Prince of
Orange, the Protestant champion of Europe, to take the throne of the British Isles. 
James’s supporters melted away and Parliament declared that, by his actions, he had broken the contract between Government and the People. They argued that he had thus vacated the throne. William, Prince of Orange, and his wife, Mary Stuart, were invited to take the throne as Joint Monarchs. New restrictions were placed on the power of the Monarch and a Bill of Rights introduced. Seven key principles would form the bedrock of this new administration – Religious Toleration, Liberty of the Subject, Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Speech, Trial by Jury,
Parliamentary Democracy and Constitutional Monarchy. 
One of the most interesting things about this new arrangement was the fact that it was a Joint Monarchy. This was the result of a political compromise to gain the support of the majority of politicians. The Whigs were keen supporters of William of Orange. Meanwhile the Tories were content that making Mary Queen would keep a Stuart on the throne. In this way they would not be interfering with the Divine Right of Kings. This is the only period in British History that there has been a Joint Monarchy in power.  
It was the birth of a male heir to King James II and his second wife, Mary of Modena, that forced the conspirators to act. Elements of the Protestant Press poked fun at the arrival of the new heir. Some even suggested that he was not legitimate and had been smuggled into the Royal Bedchamber in a ‘warming pan’ - the Seventeenth Century version of a hot water bottle! Nevertheless, the arrival of young James Francis Edward Stuart would be the final straw. 
The prospect of a Roman Catholic dynasty on the British throne forced the conspirators to put their plans into action – the Glorious Revolution was underway. 
The birth of James Francis Edward Stuart on 10 June 1688 may also be the origin of the nursery rhyme ‘Rock-A-By-Baby’. James is the heir to the throne, and the baby in the cradle. The strong wind represents the favourable weather conditions that allowed William, Prince of Orange, to land on the south coast and kept James II’s loyal Navy in port. The branch that breaks is the Roman Catholic branch of the House of Stuart on the British Throne. 
The Glorious Revolution, and the political changes it heralded, would become incredibly important to the Loyal Orange Institution when it was formed just over 100 years later. 

Key events of the Glorious Revolution  

As the actions of King James II alienated the political, military and religious establishment, so an invitation was issued to William, Prince of Orange, and his wife Mary, to take the throne of the British Isles. Plans were drawn up for an invasion. 
At the beginning of November 1688, weather favoured the Prince of Orange. A strong easterly wind prevented James’s loyal navy from leaving port and allowed the Prince of Orange to land unopposed. Brixham became the focal point of William’s landing. One of those who waded ashore with his army was a Presbyterian Minister from Scotland. William Carstares was both a spymaster and Chaplain to the court of William, Prince of Orange. 
As the waves lapped against the shore, men gathered round him as he recited Psalm 118 and assured the assembled soldiers and sailors that God would be with them in their cause. 

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The diarist, John Evelyn, described how the landing of the William of Orange was greeted in the capital. “I went to London; heard the news of the Prince having landed at Torbay, coming with a fleet of near 700 sail, passing through the channel with so favourable a wind that our navy could not intercept or molest them. This put the King and Court into great consternation, they were now employed in forming an army to stop their further progress, for they were got into Exeter, and the season and ways very improper for His Majesty’s forces to march so great a distance…”
James raised his standard and tried to muster an army to defend his cause, but key leaders such as John Churchill, future Duke of Marlborough, joined William instead. Any threatened confrontation melted away and James was imprisoned briefly in the Tower of London. For political reasons, and the fact William wanted to quickly turn his attention back to Europe, James was allowed to escape, and quickly hurried to France. 
William launched a major propaganda campaign, with one of his slogans being “The liberties of England and the Protestant religion I will maintain.” Even before he landed in England, William had prepared the ground by launching a massive propaganda campaign. Printed ballads, and pamphlets filled the streets praising the Prince of Orange and the Protestant cause. This had helped pave the wave for the peaceful transition of power. William and Mary were thus seen as liberators by the majority of the population. 
In 1689 a new Parliament introduced a Bill of Rights for the Kingdom and this was followed by the coronation of William and Mary at Westminster Abbey on 11 April 1689. This model of Constitutional Monarchy would help lay the foundations of modern democracy in the western world. 
The creation of a Joint Monarchy, in which both King and Queen would have the same power, was a new departure. This settlement was necessary to ensure that the majority of both Tory and Whig politicians embraced the new arrangements and a political solution would prevent a possible civil war. 
Not only was the Glorious Revolution part of a wider European power struggle but it also involved a family dispute. William was both James’s son-in-law and his nephew! This may also have explained why the recently deposed King was ‘allowed’ to escape. Not only was he a potential focus for the remaining Jacobite sympathisers in the kingdom, but he was also Mary’s father. William felt it prudent to let him go – hoping he would never return. 
Allowing James to escape was a mistake. In France, he was able to secure financial and military backing from Louis XIV and launched a campaign to try and regain his throne. There followed a bitter period of war in Ireland and Scotland as the Jacobites attempted to dislodge the newly crowned William III and Mary II.

Events in Ireland 

During his short reign, James II had encouraged the promotion of a Roman Catholic ascendancy in Ireland. 
This is not to say that he wanted the complete removal of the existing Protestant Establishment, but the sudden elevation of a large number of Roman Catholic families caused disquiet in the Protestant community.  
Richard Talbot, Earl of Tyrconnell, was Lord Lieutenant in Ireland under King James II. He had watched developments in Britain with interest and was determined to hold Ireland for the Jacobite cause. He continually tried to extend Roman Catholic control and influence. 
For over two years Tyrconnell, the first Roman Catholic to be in charge of Ireland since the Reformation, set about extending Roman Catholic control. Protestants were dismissed from Town Corporations. 
Protestant magistrates were replaced and an army of 20,000 men was raised. A significant number of the senior officers, in this new army, were Roman Catholic. Under Tyrconnell the levers of political and administrative power in Ireland were transferred from Protestant to Roman Catholic control. Such was the dramatic nature of the changes that even some of James’s English Roman Catholic advisors urged caution. 
Some leading Protestant merchants sold their businesses and moved to Britain, while some Protestant Army officers quietly departed and offered their services to the Prince of Orange in Holland. 
Tyrconnell set about trying to make Ireland an island fortress for the ousted James II. Consequently, when James landed, it appeared, at least on the surface, that he was in a commanding position. James believed Ireland offered him a secure base from which he could launch a campaign to retake his throne. 
Despite protestations to the contrary, Irish Protestants feared a new 1641-type massacre. This view appeared to be validated when a mysterious letter was found in Comber, County Down, warning of a planned massacre of Protestants. The letter was probably a hoax, but it had an undeniable impact. Those families who could afford to leave fled to Britain. Many sought sanctuary in places like Londonderry and Enniskillen, while others prepared to fight.  
The Jacobite aim was to push through Ireland as quickly as possible. They would knock out any pockets of Williamite support, especially in parts of Ulster, and capture a deep-water port. This would enable James to send his army to Britain, especially Scotland, where a Jacobite force was building under James Graham of Claverhouse. Bonnie Dundee, as Graham was affectionately known by his supporters, had organised a considerable Jacobite following in Scotland and some even feared he might capture Edinburgh. James hoped that a demonstration of power in Ireland and Scotland might also encourage Jacobite resistance in England. 
Protestants prepared to resist. In Ulster they formed themselves into a Council of the North and made plans to defend as many strong-points as possible, appealing to the new Williamite administration for swift assistance. The country was braced for war.  
The first major clash took place at Dromore in County Down in March 1689. A Jacobite army led by Richard Hamilton routed a hastily assembled Protestant force sent to delay it. The Break of Dromore, as it became known, ensured that eastern Ulster fell into Jacobite hands. Those that could fled to England or hurried north and west to Coleraine and Enniskillen. The Protestant garrisons of Coleraine, Londonderry and Enniskillen made plans to hold out against the Jacobite army.  
It was in Ireland and Scotland that the fate of the Glorious Revolution would be decided. This is the reason that the Siege of Londonderry, and the battles of Newtownbutler, the Boyne and Aughrim, have been seared into the very psyche of the Orange Family in Ulster and beyond. The major battle of the war in Scotland took place at Killicrankie, where the Jacobites won an impressive victory but their charismatic leader, James Graham of Claverhouse was killed. 

Above: Lochiel’s charge at Killycrankie.

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Above:  Image of Siege of Limerick.

 

Left: Postcard the Mountjoy Breaking the Boom.

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