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CHAPTER THE SECOND.
HARLES the Second expired on the sixth of Fe- CHAPTER bruary 1684-5, and on the same day his successour was proclaimed King in London, with the usual formalities, Accession of by the title of James the Second. The great influence Feb. oth. which this prince was supposed to have possessed in the government, during the latter years of his brother's reign, and the expectation which was entertained, in consequence, that his measures, when monarch, would be of the same character and complexion with those which he was known to have highly approved, and of which he was thought by many to have been the principal author, when a subject, left little room for that spirit of speculation, which generally attends a demise of the Crown. And thus an event, which, when apprehended a few years before, had, according to a strong expression of Sir William Temple, been looked upon as
CHAPTER the end of the world, was now deemed to be of small
First steps of his
Its tendency, indeed, was rather to ensure perseverancé than to effect any change in the system which had been of late years pursued. As there are, however, some steps indispensably necessary on the accession of a new prince to the throne, to these the publick attention was directed, and, though the character of James had been long so generally understood, as to leave little doubt respecting the political maxims and principles by which his reign would be governed, there was probably much curiosity, as upon such occasions there always is, with regard to the conduct he would pursue in matters of less importance, and to the general language and behaviour which he would adopt in his new situation. His first step was, of course, to assemble the privy council, to whom he spoke as follows:
“ Before I enter upon any other business, I think fit “ to say something to you. Since it hath pleased Almighty God to place me in this situation, and I
I am now. to succeed so good and gracious a king, as well as so very kind a brother, I think it fit to declare to you,
that I will endeavour to follow his example, and most especially in that of his great clemency and “ tenderness to his people. I have been reported to be