Thursday, August 6, 2015

James II's Response to the League of Augsburg

The Duke of Berwick was a son of King James II of England and, after his father was dethroned by William of Orange (later William III), became a famous general in French service.  Berwick wrote out his Memoirs, and included this interesting exchange between the league of Augsburg (supporting William of Orange) and his father James II (then King of England).

"Pope Innocent XI, the Emperor, and the King of Spain, were in the secret of the Prince of Orange's intended invasion; and connived at it in the view of obliging the King of England to renounce the alliance he had with France, and to unite with the league lately made at Augsburg against that nation.  But they never had an intention of dethroning the King of England; as a proof of which, Don Pedro Ronquillo, the Spanish ambassador at London, in private audience which he demanded for that purpose, made the King clearly see that the storm threatened him; but at the same time assured him, in the name of the House of Austria, that if he would enter into the league, he would have nothing more to fear for himself, and that all the effort would turn against France."  

"The King's answer, though not very consonant with what policy might perhaps have required of him in his present situation, was dictated by the uprightness of his heart and of his conscience.  He assured the ambassador that it was his intention to live upon good terms with everybody, and never to depart from the laws of equity and justice; and that by these very laws, he was bound not to break with a Prince, who was his relation and ally, and from whom he had always received marks of friendship.  Ronquillo pressing him strongly, and representing to him the misfortunes to which he was going to expose himself, if he persisted in his resolution, the King replied, that he would rather lose his crown, than be guilty of an unjust action."--Berwick's Memoirs vol. 1 pp. 22-26, as cited on pg. 41 of The Marshal Duke of Berwick by Charles Petrie 

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