Protest of King James III and VIII to the Congress of Utrecht, April 25, 1712

In 1712 King James III and VIII sent a solemn protestation in Latin to the chief ministers assembled at Utrecht.

The following English translation is taken from Protest of the Chevalier St. George; with a poem concerning hereditary right, anexed (Edinburgh: Printed by John Moncur, 1713), pages 1-4 (English Short-Title Catalogue T147438).

James III, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith; to all kings, princes, republics, etc.

Since that, after a war so long and pernicious to all Christendom all sides seem ready to come to a peace and are speedily about to sign it without any regard to us, we thought it fit and necessary by this following protestation to assert our undoubted right against everything that may be done to the demunition of it and our loss.

It is not to our purpose to insist at large upon the seiries of what has formerly been unjustly done against us, since these things having been transacted in the face of the world are by consequence so well known that they need not to be told, therefore I cannot think that anyone can doubt of the justice of our cause.

We indeed are not only moved with the consideration of our own affairs, but being incapable of changing of our affection towards our subjects, we cannot without the most sensible grief behold that neither their blood nor wealth has hitherto been spared to support the injustice done us, and that they are at last reduced so far, they must necessarily become a prey to foreigners, and at last to be subject to the Empire.

And since we understand that the confederate princes have no regard to our right, we thought ourselves most indispensably obliged to ourselves, posterity, and subjects, to endeavour so much as in us lies that we might not seem by our silence to consent to what may be transacted to the prejudice of us and the lawful heirs of our kingdom.

Therefore, we solemnly and in the best form we can protest against all that may be agreed or stipulated to the prejudice of us, as being void by all the laws of the world for want of lawful authority.

We therefore protest and declare that if there be any defect of form in this protestation, it shall not be anyway to the prejudice of us, our lawful heirs, kingdom or subjects, and these letters signed with our Great Seal, we preserve entire to ourselves all our rights and claims, and declare that they are and shall be safe and entire.

In the last place, we protest before God and men, that we shall be free of all blame, and that the cause of those calamities, which the injury already done us or that may be done hereafter, may bring upon our kingdoms and all Christendom cannot be imputed to us.

Given at St. Germains, April 25, A.D. 1712, and of our reign the eleventh year.

By the King himself with his own hand.

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