James's View of the Events of 1688


Activity One: Understanding the language of James's account

In this document, James II writes his version of the events of his downfall. He felt he had been badly treated. It's your job to understand why:

  • Compare the facsimile copy of 'His majesties reasons for with-drawing himself from Rochester' with the transcript.
  • Can you find any words that are written differently to how we might write them today? Look out for at least 3 words and record how they are written in 17th century print as well as how we would write them today.
  • What do you notice about the style of the language in the document? How do you think the fact that it was written by the King affects its style?
  • How do you think the language here would differ from the language found in a diary, a play, poem, or recipe book?
  • How does your understanding of the document differ when you read it aloud?

Activity Two: What are James II's reasons?

Explain these key sentences from James's account. Don't try to translate exactly but put it in your own words what the following old phrases mean. How would we express its meanings in a similar document written today?

Print or save the table and fill in the spaces with your answers.