Declaration of King James II, April 17, 1693
The text was anonomously printed presumably at London in 1693 (Wing, 2nd ed., J217A).
Whereas we are most sensible that nothing has contributed so much to our misfortunes, and our people's miseries, as the false and malitious calumnies of our enemies, therefore we have always been, and still are most willing to condescend to such things as, after mature deliberation, we have thought most proper for removing thereof, and most likely to give the fullest satisfaction and clearest prospect of the greatest security to all ranks and degrees of our people. And because we desire rather to be beholding to our subjects' love to us, than to any other expedient whatever, for our restoration, we have thought fit to let them know beforehand our royal and sincere intentions, and that whenever our people's united desires and our circumstances give us the opportunity to come and assert our right, we will come with the declaration that follows.
When we reflect upon the calamities of our kingdoms, we are not willing to leave anything unattempted whereby we may reconcile our subjects to their duty. And though we cannot enter into all the particulars of grace and goodness which we shall be willing to grant, yet we do hereby assure all our loving subjects that they may depend upon everything that their own representatives shall offer to make our kingdoms happy. For we have set it before our eyes as our noblest aim to do yet more for their constitution than the most renowned of our ancestors, and, as our chiefest interest, to leave no umbrage for jealousy in relation to religion, liberty, and property.
And to encourage all our loving subjects of what degree of quality soever to set their hearts and hands to the perfecting of so good a work, and to unite themselves in this only means of establishing the future peace and prosperity of these kingdoms, we have thought fit to publish and declare that on our part we are ready and willing wholly to lay aside all thoughts of animosity or resentment for what is past, desiring nothing more than that it should be buried in perpetual oblivion; and do therefore by this our declaration, under our great seal, solemnly promise our free pardon and indemnity to all our loving subjects of what degree or quality soever who shall not be land or sea oppose us and those we shall think necessary to accompany our own person in this just attempt to recover our right; or (in such a number of days after our landing as we shall hereafter express) shall not resist them who in amy part of our dominions shall according to their duty assert and maintain the justice of our cause, beseeching God to incline the hearts of our people that all effusion of blood may be prevented, and righteousness and mercy take place. And for that end, we further promise to all such as shall come to and assist us, that we will reward them according to their respective degrees and merits.
We do further declare that we will with all speed call together the representative body of our kingdom, and therein will inform ourselves what are the united interests and inclinations of our people, and with their concurrence will be ready to redress all their grievances and give all those securities of which they shall stand in need.
We likewise declare upon our royal word that we will protect and defend the Church of England as it is now established by law, and secure to the members of it, all the churches, universities, colleges, and schools, together with their immunities, rights, and privileges.
We also declare, we will with all earnestness recommend to that Parliament such an impartial liberty of conscience as they shall think necessary for the happiness of these nations.
We further declare, we will not dispense with or violate the Test. And, as for the dispensing power in other matters, we leave it to be explained and limited by that Parliament.
We declare also that we will give our royal assent to all such bills as are necessary to secure the frequent calling and holding of parliaments, the free elections and fair returns of members, and provide for impartial trials; and that we will ratify and confirm all such laws made under the present usurpation as shall be tendered to us by that parliament.
And in that parliament we will also consent to everything they shall think necessary to re-establish the late Act of Settlement of Ireland made in the reign of our dearest brother; and will advise with them how to recompense such of that nation as have followed us to the last and who may suffer by the said re-establishment according to the degree of their sufferings thereby, yet so as that the said Act of Settlement may always remain entire.
And, if chimney money or any other part of the revenue of the Crown has been burdensome to our subjects, we shall be ready to exchange it for any other assessment that shall be thought more easy.
Thus we have sincerely declared our royal intentions in terms we think necessary for settling our subjects' minds, and according to the advice and intimations we have received from great numbers of our loving subjects of all ranks and degrees, who have adjusted the manner of our coming to regain our own right, and to relieve our people from oppression and slavery.
After this, we suppose it will not be necessary to enumerate the tyrannical violations and burdens with which our kingdoms have been oppressed and are now like to be destroyed.
And whereas our enemies endeavour to affright our subjects with the apprehensions of great sums which must be repaid to France, we positively assure them that our dearest brother the Most Christian King expects no other compensation for what he has done for us than merely the glory of having succoured an injured prince.
We only add that we come to vindicate our own right and to establish the liberties of our people. And may God give us success in the prosecution of the one, as we sincerely intend the confirmation of the other.
Given at St. Germains en Laye, April 17, 1693, N.S., and in the ninth year of our reign.
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