Convention of Estates (1689)

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The Convention of Estates of 1689 was a Convention of Estates of Scotland that sat between 16 March 1689 and 5 June 1689 to determine the settlement of the Scottish throne following the invasion of England by William, Prince of Orange. Whilst comparable to the English Convention of that time it was far more revolutionary, and sought to undo most of Scotland's Restoration Settlement.

Presbyterians through the means of "rabblings" and other means of intimidation and violence against Episcopalians ensured that the Convention was dominated by the view of the south-west[1] and by Williamites, and was not representative of Scotland as a whole.[citation needed]

The Convention declared the throne vacant, but did not accept the English theory that King James VII had abdicated (who had also been King of England as James II). James VII was deemed to have lost the throne by forfaulture[2] (a feudal term similar to forfeit), because of alleged misgovernment. The throne was offered to William and Mary, with regal power residing with William II (by now William III of England), by reason that William held the throne de facto by right of conquest.[3] Not all members of the Convention were for replacing James VII with William II, and the proceedings of the Convention were challenged by figures such as John Paterson, the Archbishop of Glasgow.[4]

The Convention sought the extirpation of episcopacy and the reduction of the Scottish monarchy from an absolute monarchy to a limited monarchy as part of the revolutionary constitutional change. The Convention considered Union with England[5] but the Presbyterians were wary of English episcopacy, and the matter was deferred.

The Convention drew up two documents, the Claim of Right, which listed the alleged misdoings of James VII and indicated what they expected from William II, and the Article of Grievances, which sought to reduce the powers of the monarchy. It is not clear if the offer of the crown to William and Mary was conditional upon acceptances of the Claim of Right and Articles of Grievances. The coronation oath was changed to accept the new position of a Presbyterian Kirk. William was reluctant to consider the Grievances but accepted both documents at his admission to power in Scotland on 11 May 1689.

William turned the Convention into a parliament on 5 June. James VII declared all those assembled in the parliament to be rebels. The Established Church was then overthrown and replaced by the Presbyterian Kirk. The Lords of the Articles were also abolished.[6] The first estate was abolished and the barons were divided into two estates.[7] The divisive nature of the Convention and its changes to the Scottish constitution left many disaffected. A significant number would become Jacobites.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Harris, Tim Revolution: The Great Crisis of the British Monarchy 1685-1720 Allen Lane (2006) pp. 389-390
  2. ^ Harris, Tim Revolution: The Great Crisis of the British Monarchy 1685-1720 Allen Lane (2006) pp. 392-394
  3. ^ Jackson, Clare Restoration Scotland, 1660-1690: royalist politics, religion and ideas Boydell Press (2003) pp. 202-203
  4. ^ Jackson, Clare Restoration Scotland, 1660-1690: royalist politics, religion and ideas Boydell Press (2003) pp. 210-211
  5. ^ Ferguson, William Scotland's relations with England: a survey to 1707 Saltire Society; New edition (1994) pp. 170-172
  6. ^ Ferguson, William Scotland's relations with England: a survey to 1707 Saltire Society; New edition (1994) p. 173
  7. ^ Kidd, Colin Subverting Scotland's Past: Scottish Whig Historians and the Creation of an Anglo-British Identity 1689-1830 Cambridge University Press (2003) p. 133

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • R. S. Rait, The Parliaments of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1920).
  • K. M. Brown, R. J. Tanner and A. J. Mann (eds), The History of the Scottish Parliament, volumes 1 and 2 (Edinburgh, 2004-6)