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James II
of England

was dismissed from the secretaryship of state, and Preston appointed in his place.

Meanwhile active preparations of defence went on. French aid was disdained (Life, ii. 186); but thirty ships of the line, with sixteen fireships, were collected under the command of Dartmouth; and the king, with the aid of Pepys, was active in remedying shortcomings (Dartmouth MSS. pp. 152, 154, 178). The army was augmented so as to amount, according to the king's computation, to forty thousand men (cf. Reresby, p. 409; see History of Desertion, pp. 59–61).

The news of William's landing at Torbay reached James 6 Nov., on which date he had an unsatisfactory interview with the bishops. On 9 Nov. he acquitted Dartmouth of any shortcoming in letting the Dutch fleet pass, and on the 12th sent him some seamanlike suggestions for the future (Dartmouth MSS. pp. 198, 202–3, 206, 230). For about a week no person of consequence joined the prince's army, but desertions began as the armies approached one another. James assembled the principal officers still in London before leaving for the field, and was warmly received. About the same time he ungraciously promised a deputation of peers, headed by the primate, to call a parliament so soon as the invasion and rebellion were over (Life, ii. 212; cf. History of Desertion, p. 44; Macaulay, ii. 502; Les derniers Stuarts, ii. 331 seqq.). Before leaving for Salisbury he sent the Prince of Wales under the guard of Irish dragoons to Portsmouth, where Berwick was in command; the queen seemed safe in London under the protection of six thousand troops. He committed the government to a council of five, Jeffreys, Godolphin, and three catholics; Father Petre, however, left for France (Life, ii. 222). James resolved to strike a crushing blow against the enemy in the west. He was detained at Salisbury, where he arrived 19 Nov., by a violent bleeding at the nose. He had to relinquish his intention of visiting his advanced posts at Warminster, and thus in his own belief escaped falling a victim to a plot laid by Churchill and others to seize him and deliver him up to the enemy (Clarendon Correspondence, ii. 211; Life, ii. 222–3; Macpherson, Original Papers, i. 280 seqq.; cf. Berwick, i. 330). The delay facilitated treason. Churchill's and Grafton's desertion, and Kirke's recalcitrance, induced him to fall back as far as Andover (23 Nov.). On the same evening Prince George of Denmark, Ormonde, and Drumlanrig, Queensberry's eldest son, rode off into the enemy's camp. There was no longer doubt of a conspiracy in the army, and on his return to London at 5 P.M. on 26 Nov. James heard of the flight of the Princess Anne in Lady Churchill's company (Dartmouth MSS. pp. 214–15). Next day a council of between forty and fifty peers, including nine bishops, met in Whitehall at the king's summons chiefly to discuss the question of summoning a parliament. The king assented to the issuing on the following day of writs for a meeting of parliament on 13 Jan., but demanded a night to consider the other proposals made to him. He would not, he said, see himself deposed like Richard II (Clarendon Correspondence, ii. 208–11). During the next few days all Halifax's suggestions were agreed to, a general amnesty was proclaimed, and Halifax himself, Nottingham, and Godolphin were named commissioners to treat with the prince. James meanwhile assured Barillon that his promises were merely feigned in order to insure the safety of the queen and prince, when he would withdraw to Ireland or Scotland, or, if necessary, to France (Mazure, iv. 46; Dartmouth MSS. pp. 228, 283–6; cf. Les derniers Stuarts, ii. 413). The removal of the queen and her son was managed by Lauzun and other foreign helpers (ib. pp. 381 seqq.).

Meanwhile the spirit of defection spread, and London was full of confusion. On 8 Dec. William met the royal commissioners at Hungerford. He accepted terms which recognised him as a victorious belligerent, and, while referring the points in dispute to parliament, imposed upon James the dismissal of all papists. James could hardly meet parliament with any advantage to himself after accepting the Hungerford terms, and was inclining towards flight. On 10 Dec., assured that his wife and son were fairly on their way to safety, he addressed two letters to Dartmouth, announcing his imminent withdrawal. He directed that faithful sailors should repair to Ireland, and there take orders from Tyrconnel (Dartmouth MSS. p. 234). In the same spirit he wrote a letter to Feversham, which left the latter little choice but to disband his forces (Kennett, iii. 500; cf. Burnet, iii. 345). James took many precautions to conceal his plan, and assured the city authorities of his intention to remain (Macaulay, ii. 546). At the same time he confided nine volumes of manuscript memoirs to Terriesi, the Tuscan ambassador, together with three thousand guineas (Life, ii. 242–4; cf. Les derniers Stuarts, ii. 377). On the morning of 11 Dec., between two and three o'clock, the king left Whitehall by a secret passage. A hackney coach, in which Sir Edward Hales was waiting, carried him to Millbank, whence he crossed to Vauxhall. From the place where it was afterwards found the great seal was