King James II's Speech from the Throne, May 7, 1689

This speech was delivered to the Irish Parliament. A printed version of the text can be found on pages 391 and 392 of volume 8 (N.S.) of Calendar of the Manuscripts of the Marquess of Ormonde, K.P., Preserved at Kilkenny Castle. Reports of the Historical Manuscripts Commission [36] (London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1920).

My Lords and Gentlemen,

The exemplary loyalty which this nation expressed to me at a time when others of my subjects so undutifully misbehaved themselves to me, or so basely betrayed me, and your seconding my Deputy as you did in his bold and resolute attesting my right in preserving this kingdom for me, and putting it in a posture of defence, made me resolve to come to you, and to venture my life with you in defence of your liberties and my own right, and to my great satisfaction I have not only found you ready to serve me, but that your courage has equalled your zeal.

I have also really been for liberty of conscience, and against invading any man's property, having still in my mind that saying in Holy Writ, "do as you would be done to" for that is the law and the prophets.

It was this liberty of conscience I gave which my enemies both abroad and at home dreaded, especially when they saw I was resolved to have it established by law in all my dominions, and made them set themselves up against me, though for different reasons, seeing that if I had once settled it my people, in the opinion of the one, would have been too happy, and I, in the opinion of the other, too great.

This argument was made use of to persuade their own people to join with them, and to many of my subjects to use me as they have done. But nothing shall ever persuade me to change my mind as to that, and whensoever now I am the master, I design, God willing, to establish it my law, and have no other test or distinction but that of loyalty.

I expect your concurrence in so Christian a work, and in making [laws] against profaneness and all sorts of debauchery.

I shall also most readily consent to the making such good and wholesome laws as may be for your and the general good of the nation, and the improvement of trade, and relieving such as have been injured by the late Acts of Settlement, as far forth as may be consistent with reason, justice, and the public good of my people.

And as I have done my part to make you happy and rich, I make no doubt of your assistance by enabling me to oppose the unjust designs of my enemies, and to make this nation flourish.

And to encourage you the more to it, you know with how great generosity and kindness the most Christian King gave a secure retreat to the Queen, my son and myself, when we were forced out of England, and came to look for protection and safety in his dominions, how he embraced my interest and gave me such supplies of all sorts as enabled me to come to you, which, without his obliging assistance, I could not have done. This he did at a time when he had so many and so considerable enemies to deal with, and you see, still continues to do.

I shall conclude as I have begun, and assure you I am as sensible as you desire of the signal loyalty you have expressed to me, and shall make it my chief study, as it always has been, to make you and all my subjects happy.

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