Page 7 - History 2020
P. 7

*The loss of so many educated and hard-working Huguenots, famed in the textile industry, was an
            economic disaster for France and a corresponding boon for countries like Britain who took them in
            as refugees. It is seen as one reason why Britain had the first Industrial Revolution a century later
            rather than France.

                   3.  Was it a “bloodless revolution”?
            This depends how you look at it. The popular impression is that William crossed over

            from Holland and landed at Brixham in Torbay, making it sound like a couple of ships
            on a day trip. In fact William’s fleet was four times bigger than the Spanish Armada of
            1588 and the biggest in northern Europe until D-Day in 1944. William was confident
            that his landing would be unopposed; the landing place was not carefully chosen; the
            wind took his ships to Brixham which was as good as anywhere (though it helped that
            the West country had seen the anti-James Monmouth rising).  From Brixham William
            advanced cautiously towards London. Support for James II steadily melted away as

            his officers and men quietly withdrew their loyalty. There were a few local skirmishes
            – fifty were killed at Reading - but casualties were few.

            However Vallance makes the point that the idea of a “bloodless revolution” is a
            narrowly English perspective. Once he was king, William III embarked on bloody
            military campaigns against both the Irish Catholics (Battle of the Boyne, 1690) to
            impose loyalty and establish a Protestant ascendancy, and the Highland Scottish
            clansmen (Glencoe massacre, 1692) who were brutally suppressed for their

            “Jacobite” loyalties to James II and his heirs (Jacob is Latin for James). These were
            ruthless victories and were landmarks in the imposition of English dominance over
            the British Isles. Thus from a wider British perspective 1688 was far from bloodless in
            its repercussions. In both Ireland and Scotland the names “King Billy” and “Orange”
            are still remembered today with either pride or bitterness by communities on
            different sides of the Protestant-Catholic divide.

                   4.  Did James II jump or was he pushed?
            James’ resistance to the coup was not a doughty one. He was devastated by what he
            saw as the betrayal of his daughters Mary and Anne and suffered nose-bleeds. His
            loyal followers melted away. He was taken prisoner by forces loyal to William but
            escaped – with William’s connivance – and fled, throwing the Great Seal of
            government into the Thames (see “Alice Lisle and Judge Jeffreys” below). William’s
            supporters could now argue that James had abandoned his kingdom, which was

            crucial since this meant he was no longer legitimately king. A special parliament
            called the Convention met to make it all official. Some argue that what had really
            happened was “an invasion by invitation”. Is this a fair summary?
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