Invitation to Queen Mary Beatrice's Confinement, April 2, 1692

The following document was printed in London in 1692 (Wing J204). It was reprinted (with slight alterations) on pages 474 and 475 of volume 2 of The Life of James the Second, edited by James Stanier Clarke (London, 1816).

The document was sent to members of the Privy Council. A similarly worded document was also sent to twelve peeresses (the Duchess of Somerset; the Duchess of Beaufort; the Marchioness of Halifax; Lady Darby; Lady Mulgrave; Lady Rutland; Lady Brooks; Lady Nottingham; Lady Lumley; Lady Danby; Lady Fretchvile; Lady Fitzharding), to the wives of several commoners (Sir John Trevor, Speaker of the House of Commons; Sir Edward Seymour, Speaker of the House of Commons in 1678; Sir Christopher Musgrave; Sir Thomas Pope; Sir John (?) Guise; Thomas Foley, Esquire), and to several others. A number of these people had been very active supporters of the Prince of Orange in 1688.

James R.

Right trusty and well-beloved cousin and counsellor, we greet you well.

Whereas our royal predecessors used to call such of their Privy Council as could conveniently be had to be present at the labour of their queens and witnesses to the birth of their children; and whereas we have followed their example at the birth of our dearest son James, Prince of Wales, though even that precaution was not enough to hinder us from the malicious aspersions of such as were resolved to deprive us of our royal right; that we may not be wanting to ourselves now that it has pleased Almighty God, the supporter of truth, to give us the hopes of further issue, our dearest consort the Queen being big and drawing near her time, we have thought fit to require such of our Privy Council as possibly can come to attend us here at St. Germains, to be witnesses of our said dearest consort the Queen her labour.

We do therefore hereby signify our royal pleasure to you, that you may use all possible means to come with what convenient haste you can, the Queen looking about the middle of May next, English account. And that you may have no scruple on our side, our dearest brother the Most Christian King has given his consent to promise you, as we hereby do, that you shall have leave to come, and (the Queen's labour over) to return with safety.

Though the iniquity of the times, the tyranny of strangers, and a misled party of our own subjects, have brought us under a necessity of using this unusual way, yet we hope it will convince the world of the truth and candour of our proceedings, to the confusion of our enemies; so not doubting of your compliance herewith, we bid you heartily farewell.

Given at our Court at the Castle of St. Germains, the second day of April, 1692, and in the eighth year of our reign.

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