By John Callow
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Extra info for James II: King in Exile
On the Strand, a drunken Irish soldier – no one could agree, or remember afterwards, if he was an officer or one of the discharged soldiers – rode up to him, presented his pistol and gave fire. Though the bullet missed its mark, and the reckless Irishman was instantly shot down from his saddle by the men of the First Foot Guards, the notion that the assassination attempt had been born out of a deliberate plot rather than out of the sudden rage and murderous folly of one individual gained wide currency, and it was used by the Prince of Orange to justify both his refusal to go to St James’s and his rejection of a meeting with the King in person.
It was not long, however, before James’s slumbers and Ailesbury’s peace of mind were both further disturbed, by the unexpected appearance of the King’s Secretary of State, the Earl of Middleton, in the early hours of the morning. By torchlight, James was awakened and told that three rebel lords, who had followed in the wake of Solms’s troops, were asking for an urgent audience with him. Having duly given his consent, James propped himself up on his pillows and listened as Halifax, Shrewsbury and Delamere delivered, albeit in respectful tones, an apology for coming at such an ‘unseasonable’ hour that was closely followed by a fresh ultimatum.
S. F. Duclaux (ed. ), Letters of the Marchioness de Sévigné, 10 vols (London, 1927) INTRODUCTION TO THE SECOND EDITION THE KING OVERTHE WATER In 1999, a great storm rolled across the Sperrin Mountains. Along the banks of the River Foyle, power lines were felled, slates blown down and an old Sycamore tree, which had stood in the gardens of Cavanacor House for more than 350 years, was uprooted and dashed to the ground. At its end, as in its beginnings, its life was both noteworthy and emblematic.