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c. 1686-1688 Superb Vellum "Foot of the Fine" Document
(JAMES, II) (1633-1701). King of England From 1685 to 1688.
January 31, (c. 1686-1688), Manuscript Document Signed, "J Rex" secretarially by a Court Officer, 1 page, Vellum, measuring 27.5" x 20.75", Choice Very Fine. This Document is regarding a land sale. It reads, in part: "James Second by the grace of God King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith & to All to whom our presents letters may come, Greeting. Know Ye that among the records and Feet of Fines with the Proclamations thereof made according to the form of the Statute in that case lately enacted and provided. ... This is the Final Concord made in the court of our Lord the King at Westminster..."
A portrait of King James II appears in the upper left, adorned with elaborate swirls. His name in Latin in Old English lettering is across the top: "Jacobus Secundus Dei gra" ("James Second by the grace of God"). Above his name is a 19.5" x 5" ornate border of foliage and animals, including a lion, unicorn, dragon and serpents, beneath which is penned, "Sold in Cliffords Inne lane," the printing establishment which produced the document. Simpler foliage adorns the left and right sides of the text. Documents of this type were said to have been penned in "old law-Latin flavoed with Norman French." At the bottom is a 1.5" x 1.25" portion of vellum, which had been attached to the royal seal (no longer present), bearing a handwritten ornate "J Rex" signature, placed by a court officer.
James II and VII (1633 - 1701) was King of England and Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685 until he was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. He was the last Roman Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland.
The second surviving son of Charles I, he ascended the throne upon the death of his brother, Charles II. Members of Britain's Protestant political elite increasingly suspected him of being pro-French and pro-Catholic and of having designs on becoming an absolute monarch. When he produced a Catholic heir, leading nobles called on his Protestant son-in-law and nephew William of Orange to land an invasion army from the Netherlands, which he did in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. James fled England (and thus was held to have abdicated).
He was replaced by his eldest, Protestant daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange. James made one serious attempt to recover his crowns from William and Mary when he landed in Ireland in 1689. After the defeat of the Jacobite forces by the Williamites at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690, James returned to France. He lived out the rest of his life as a pretender at a court sponsored by his cousin and ally, King Louis XIV.
James is best known for his struggles with the English Parliament and his attempts to create religious liberty for English Roman Catholics and Protestant nonconformists, against the wishes of the Anglican establishment. However, he also continued the persecution of the Presbyterian Covenanters in Scotland.
Parliament, opposed to the growth of absolutism that was occurring in other European countries, as well as to the loss of legal supremacy of the Church of England, saw their opposition as a way to preserve what they regarded as traditional English liberties. This tension made James's four-year reign a struggle for supremacy between the English Parliament and the Crown, resulting in his deposition, the passage of the Bill of Rights, and the accession of his daughter and her husband as king and queen.