Reaction to the Glorious Revolution
James's mental collapse and the speed of William's success had prevented open conflict in 1688, but by the following spring James's supporters were recovering from their shock and were beginning to organise themselves.
The Stuarts had been Kings of Scotland long before they were Kings of England. Many Scots, particularly in the remoter areas, where Catholicism and belief in divine right remained strong, were now willing to fight for James. Equally, in Ireland most of the population were Catholic and had seen James's reign as bringing in a new relationship between the two islands.
In England support for James was much more muted, with few noblemen openly expressing support. A few followed him into exile, but most simply kept their sympathies hidden and were not harassed by the new Government, keen to establish national unity. James's attempts to create armed risings in Scotland and Ireland, and French threats to invade England, only embarrassed and alienated his English supporters. The majority of Englishmen, whether Whigs or Tories, could find good reasons to ally themselves to the new regime. Every attempt was made to create a facade of legitimacy for William, the new Parliament insisting that James had abdicated. The major achievement of national acceptance of constitutional monarchy over hereditary right was achieved without bloodshed in England.
Many continued to uphold the doctrine of passive resistance to the new regime, and many more struggled with the difference between a de facto king appointed by Parliament and a de jure king appointed by God. But, contrary to almost every other nation in Europe, the propertied classes in England had turned their backs on the rise of absolutism and placed themselves firmly at the centre of rule in England. In future the agreement of the 'people' (i.e. the propertied class), more than the blessing of royal birth, would determine both the person and the role of the monarch. And William and Mary were of the royal blood, next in line to the throne after James's young son. Those who were unable to accept this compromise had no strong leaders and little support in the corridors of power, though in Northumberland Jacobite plots continued almost continuously, as we shall see.