Act of Succession of 1701, Glorious Revolution, Holyrood Abbey, King James II-VII of England and Scotland, Mary II, Pope Innocent XI, the Bill of Rights of 1689, The Scottish Privy Council, William III and Mary II, William III of England and Scotland, William of Orange
Where I left off in this series was with William III and Mary II having granted joint rule by Parliament after James II was forcecd to leave the country. Although the English Parliament gave the throne jointly to William and Mary, their rule in Scotland also needed to be legalized for at this time in history the governments of England and Scotland were still separate.
When William landed in England there was also trouble brewing in Scotland. Rumors of plots against the Scots wer rampent. Riots broke out and as rioters approached Holyrood Abbey soldiers responded with gun fire making the Glorious Revolution not so bloodless in Scotland. The Abbey was stormed by a large mob and Catholic furnishings were torn down and the tombs of the Stuart kings there desecrated. Students even burned an efficgy of Pope Innocent XI and the heads of executed Covenanters that were hanging above the city gates. The crisis was soothed after James VII officially fled from England that December. Although there was not any Scottish involvement in bringing William of Orange over to England the majority members of the Scottish Privy Council did go to London to offer their services to William. The Scottish Privy Council asked William to take over the responsibilities of government as they were certain William would be the next King of England as well as Scotland.
This makes the succession of William III and Mary II legal. In the next section I want to examine the Bill of Rights of 1689 and the Act of Succession of 1701 and how the impacted the legal succession to the crown.
The question I asked when examining the Glorious Revolution was can William III and Mary II be classified as usrpers? The dictionary definition of a usrper is: to seize and hold (a position, office, power, etc.) by force or without legal right: The pretender tried to usurp the throne. Persoanlly I do not see William III as a usurper by that definition. I have always seen it as an unpopular king, James II-VII, being deposed. Unlike Henry IV who took it upon himself to depose Richard II, William III was part of a larger revolution than the stealing of the throne by one individual. William was welcomed with open arms by many people, subjects and the government including, in getting rid of an unpopular king. James fleeing the country does give the sign that he abdicated and aboandoned the throne leaving it vacant. Had William taken the throne by force and then, by force, had Parliament sanction his taking of the throne then I could see calling him a usurper. However, since this was a bloodless revolution and William was practically invited to invade and take the throne, he doesn’t deserve the label of usurper.