An extract from a letter sent to the Prince of Orange inviting him to become King of England, 30 June 1688, (Catalogue ref: SP 8/1/224)
This letter was signed by seven English noblemen known as the ‘Immortal Seven’ who invited William of Orange to be King of England to depose King James II (1685-88). In the letter, ‘35’ was a secret code for Edward Russell, Admiral of the Fleet and leading politician. James II was unpopular because of his support of the Catholic religion. William of Orange was married to Mary, eldest daughter of James II by his first marriage to Anne Hyde. Mary had been brought up as a Protestant. When James married again, and his wife Mary of Modena gave birth to a son, James Francis Edward Stuart, or the ‘Old Pretender’, fears grew for the creation of a Catholic monarchy. William of Orange arrived in England in November 1688 and faced little opposition, the event became known as the Glorious Revolution.
June the 30th 1688
We have great satisfaction to find by 35, and since by M. Zulestein, that your Highness is so ready and willing to give us such assistances as they have related to us. We have great reason to believe that we shall be every day in a worse condition than we are and less able to defend ourselves, and therefore we do earnestly wish we might be so happy as to find a remedy before it be too late for us to contribute to our own deliverance; but although these be our wishes yet we will by no means put your Highness into any expectations which may misguide your own counsels in this matter, so that the best advice we can give is to inform your Highness truly both of the state of things here at this time and of the difficulties which appear to us. As to the first, the people are so generally dissatisfied with the present conduct of the Government in relation to their religion, liberties, and properties (all which have been greatly invaded), and they are in such expectation of their prospects being daily worse that your Highness may be assured there are nineteen parts of twenty of the people throughout the Kingdom who are desirous of a change;
We are so pleased to hear that your Highness is willing to help us. We strongly believe that England gets worse by the day and we need to protect ourselves before it is too late. We don’t want to give the wrong picture about things and think it is best to explain what is happening. First of all, the people are very unhappy with the present Government which threatens their religion, freedom and property daily. You can believe that 19 out of 20 people want a change of king…