James VII became king in February 1685 following the death of his brother, Charles II. James was a Roman Catholic, and he issued indulgences in favour of ‘moderate Presbyterians’, and especially Catholics. However, under his rule the Covenanters were persecuted more than ever, and the years from 1685-88 became known as the ‘Killing Times’
The Covenanters weren’t the only ones who weren’t happy with King James however. His policy of giving power to Dissenters (Protestants who weren’t part of the Church of England) and Catholics upset the Church of England. Things came to a climax when James’ wife gave birth to a son in June 1688, as this meant that when James died, the next king would be a Roman Catholic as well.
Seven important politicians therefore wrote a letter to William of Orange, a Dutch prince, inviting him to come and invade England. William, who had already been preparing to invade, did so, and James fled to France without a battle being fought. These events became known as the ‘Glorious Revolution’.
J. G. Vos, The Scottish Covenanters (Edinburgh, 1998 ), pp 97-101, 138-9.
UK Parliament: Glorious Revolution
DSCHT: James VII (II)
W. A. Speck, ‘James II and VII (1633–1701)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Oct 2009