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This is a portrait of King James II by Nicolas de Largillière, c. 1686.
James II was King of England and Ireland, and also doubled under the name James VII as King of Scotland. His reign began on February 6, 1685.
He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland. After he produced a Catholic heir, the English gentry invited his son in law William of Orange from the Netherlands to invade their country. James II abdicated in a hurry in 1688 and fled to France. He was replaced by William of Orange who became William III, ruling jointly with his wife, who was James’s daughter, Mary II (both Protestants) and together they were the William and Mary team.
James made one half-hearted attempt to take back his country in 1689, but gave up again and Lived out his life sponsored by his cousin, King Louis XIV.
James II, like Louis, was a believer in the absolute monarchy, kings ruling by the grace of God, etc. He also believed, strangely enough, in religious liberty for all his subjects. The first belief made him an enemy of the aristocracy, the second angered the Curch of England. So there you go.
Today, November 13, back in 1685, when he was still very much the king—for another three years or so—King James II of England ordered his Attorney General to stop any proceedings against the Jews because “they should not be troubled upon the King’s account but they should quietly enjoy the free exercise of their religion whilst they behaved dutifully and obediently to his government.”
I’m a great believer in gratitude to those who have done right by us. I often think of King James II when I get into debates with my friends both on the left and on the right over my deep admiration for the late President Richard Nixon. Like James II, he was despised by the powers that be across the board (even though he won by a landslide in 1972). But in October, 1973, by about the tenth day of the Yom Kippur war, Israel had run out of practically everything, and it was Richard Nixon who saved our hide, with a fleet of Galaxy cargo planes the size of spaceships, that brought in ammunition and supplies.
So, my word for today is Gratitude. To James II and Millhouse I and all the misunderstood rulers and despots who did right by us.
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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