Colonial New England
King James II in Colonial New England
James II (1633-1701) was king of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1685-88. Significantly, James converted to Roman Catholicism around 1668. He consented to the marriage of his daughter Mary (later Mary II) to the Protestant prince of Orange (later William III) in 1677.
After ascending to the throne, James adopted many autocratic methods and often interfered with the courts and local government. He appointed Roman Catholics to powerful positions and became ever more unpopular. In 1686 he moved to reduce colonial autonomy and his own dependence on Parliament by combining the colonies of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Plymouth, Rhode Island, New York, New Hampshire, East Jersey and West Jersey into a single colony: The Dominion of New England. Then he appointed Sir Edmund Andros be the governor of New England; Andros quickly became despised by the colonists for his overbearing methods. The prominent Puritan ministers, father and son Increase and Cotton Mather, resisted Andros's rule as well as James's call for a declaration of absolute loyalty from the colonists. James was forced to flee the throne when his daughter and son-in-law took power during the Glorious Revolution in 1688. Mary and her husband allowed James to seek refuge in France.