Glorious Revolution - William and Mary Made Joint Monarchs

William and Mary Made Joint Monarchs

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On 28 December, William took over the provisional government by appointment of the peers of the realm, as was the legal right of the latter in circumstances when the King was incapacitated, and, on the advice of his Whig allies, summoned an assembly of all the surviving members of parliament of Charles II's reign, thus sidelining the Tories of the Loyal Parliament of 1685. This assembly called for a chosen English Convention Parliament, elected on 5 January 1689 NS, which convened on 22 January. William did not intervene in the election that followed. This elected body consisted of 513 members, 341 of whom had been elected before, 238 having been members of at least one Exclusion Bill Parliament, but only 193 having been elected in 1685. The name "Convention" was chosen because only the King could call a Parliament, although as William had been appointed de facto regent by the peers the Convention could be argued to be, strictly speaking, a lawful Parliament.

Although James had fled the country, he still had many followers, and William feared that the king might return, relegating William to the role of a mere regent, an outcome which was unacceptable to him. On 30 December, William, speaking to the Marquess of Halifax, threatened to leave England "if King James came again" and determined to go back to the Netherlands "if they went about to make him Regent".

The English Convention Parliament was very divided on the issue. The radical Whigs in the Lower House proposed to elect William as a king (meaning that his power would be derived from the people); the moderates wanted an acclamation of William and Mary together; the Tories wanted to make him regent or only acclaim Mary as Queen. On 28 January a committee of the whole House of Commons promptly decided by acclamation that James had broken "the original contract"; had "abdicated the government"; and had left the throne "vacant". The House of Lords wished to amend this, however, as many were still loyal to James and believed in the Anglican doctrine of non-resistance. The Lords rejected the proposal for a regency in James's name by 51 to 48 on 2 February. The Lords also substituted the word "abdicated" for "deserted" and removed the "vacancy" clause. The Lords voted against proclaiming William and Mary monarchs by 52 to 47. On 4 February the Lords reaffirmed their amendments to the Commons's resolution by 55 to 51 and 54 to 53. On 5 February the Commons voted 282 to 151 for maintaining the original wording of the resolution. The next day, the two Houses entered into a conference but failed to resolve the matter. William in private conversation (with Halifax, Danby, Shrewsbury, Lord Winchester and Lord Mordaunt) made it clear that they could either accept him as king or deal with the Whigs without his military presence, for then he would leave for the Republic. But he let it be known that he was happy for Mary to be queen in name and preference in the succession given to Princess Anne's children over any of William's. Anne declared that she would temporarily waive her right to the crown should Mary die before William, and Mary refused to be made queen without William as king. The Lords on 6 February now accepted the words "abdication" and "vacancy" and Lord Winchester's motion to appoint William and Mary monarchs. Generally there was a great fear that the situation might deteriorate into a civil war.

Read more about this topic:  Glorious Revolution

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