Declaration of King James III, January 3/14, 1715
A printed version of the text can be found on pages 343 through 345 of volume 1 of Calendar of the Stuart Papers, Historical Manuscripts Commission (London: 1902).
The King having impartially considered both the sufferings of the Royal Family and the troubles and dismal prospects of these kingdoms, and being fully resolved, by the help of God, to recover his own right, and restore the peace and prosperity of these unhappy nations, he is most heartily willing to remove all objections, and to give the utmost satisfaction that is in his power, not only to the just expectation, but even to the wishes of all his people.
Time and the visible hand of Providence have fully baffled and exposed some hellish and absurd calumnies, and many of his most eminent opposers have been obliged (at last) to acknowledge his right of blood and hereditary title.
As to the chief objection that remains, the difference of religion, His Majesty hopes that all good men will consider that he was driven out of his own country in his cradle, and that everybody's education being the choice and business of their parents, he was educated by his parents in their religion, and in that Church they themselves thought to be best. And now since he has been thus educated and never seen any other Church, if he should declare himself a Protestant, very few even of his friends would believe him, and his enemies would be sure to turn it against him not only as a mean and dishonourable but dangerous dissimulation.
It is not possible for him in his present circumstances to enter into dispute in matters of religion; and public and formal disputes are rarely attended with any real advantage. But as soon as it pleases God to give him the full and free opportunity of conversation with his own subjects, he promises upon his honour, that he will fairly hear and examine whatsoever churchmen or laymen shall represent to him in these matters. And whatsoever shall be the result as to his private opinion, his administration shall be according to the laws and constitution, without giving the least ground of offence or making the least encroachment.
The Ch[urch] of E[ngland] has reason to be assured of his particular favour as well as his protection, considering the early assurances he gave in his instructions bearing date in 1703, to which he adheres, and will faithfully make them good.
He thinks the interest of the Ch[urch] of E[ngland] and that of the Crown to be the same: they have always stood and fallen together; and the one has always been struck at through the other; her former loyalty has justly shined in the esteem of all the world; nor ought her principles to be reproached for the faults of those who have unhappily departed from them in their practice.
As the K[ing] will put it out of his power to do any hurt in matters of religion, so he gives all possible assurances to the security of all other things, the rights and liberties and even the satisfaction of his people, being fully resolved from the most solid and impartial considerations, to make the law of the land the rule of his government, and to conform himself to the advice of Parliaments, which he considers to be the security and happiness of the King as well as of the people.
All ranks and conditions of men will find their account in doing their duty.
The experience he hath got in suffering abroad by the misfortunes of the R[oyal] F[amily] he will improve for the good of his people, and for settling the government in the affection of his subjects.
And as none but he can be capable of curing the calamities and divisions of these nations, so he will use his utmost endeavour for that end, as the true and impartial father of his country.
And as he designs to do all that is possible on his part for the happiness and satisfaction of his people, so he hopes that all wise Protestants whatsoever, laying aside all groundless prejudices, will fairly meet his good intentions, and give him one of the best arguments in the world in favour of Protestants, which is, doing him justice, the essential part of religion.
He is resolved never to abandon what is his right by the laws of God and man. The consequences of a disputed succession which have excluded so many others of the best families in Europe as well as himself, must be fatal to this and after-generations. For his own part, whatsoever shall happen at any time to be the situation of the affairs of Europe, he hopes always to have friends to espouse so just a cause. And there can be no imaginable way to cure or prevent the calamities and confusion of these unsettled nations, but by restoring of right and establishing of government upon just, loyal, and ancient foundations.
For these and many other undeniable reasons, His Majesty hopes that those who have any regard to their own posterity's happiness will in cool blood open their eyes and consider how inconsistent it is with wisdom and interest as well as Christianity to continue an injustice which has already cost so many millions of men and money, and to run on further in the labyrinth, when the only remedy is not only just and honourable, but natural easy, and certainly the interest of every man who is not his own enemy.
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