The Provincial Council of Pennsylvania proclaims James, Duke of York, King

The Council of Pennsylvania at this early date was dominated by Quakers who were once severely persecuted by Royalists, back in England; however, sometimes the king treated them kindly when it suited his purpose.

Normally Quakers late in the seventeenth century did not get involved in politics back in England, but maybe they thought it prudent to honor the new king, who was so far away.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

11th of the 3rd month, 1685 (May 11, 1685)

The President [Thomas Lloyd], having acquainted the Council from York of the death of our late Sovereign, King CHARLES the Second, and of the proclaiming of James, Duke of York & Albany, JAMES the Second of England, Scotland, France & Ireland, King; and having read a copy to this board of the printed account of King Charles the Second’s death, with the declaration of the Lord’s spiritual and temporal realm of England, with those of the Privy Council, the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and citizens of London, with the present King’s Speech, thought it their duty, and unanimously agreed that the said papers be solemnly read in the presence of the Representatives of the freemen of this province & territories, before the Governor’s Gate, in the town of Philadelphia, and that the paper be drawn in the Council for the publication of King JAMES the Second, with the approbation of the Assembly-men, be read accordingly, by such a person as the Council shall appoint.

The Council thought fit not to proceed upon any affair in a legislative capacity, until such as the publication of King James the Second be over.

12th of the 3rd month, 1685 (May 12, 1685)

The next day the Council and magistrates and Assemblymen made the proclamation official. Remember, America was nowhere near becoming the United States, so the colonists referred to their jurisdictions as provinces.


We the President [Thomas Lloyd] and the Provincial Council accompanied with the Representatives of the Freemen in Assembly & divers magistrates, officers and other persons of note, do in duty and in concurrence with our neighboring Provinces, solemnly publish and declare that James, Duke of York and Albany, by the decease of our late sovereign Charles the Second, is now become our lawful liege Lord and King, James the Second of England, Scotland, France, & Ireland; and (amongst others of his Dominion in America) of this province of Pennsylvania and its territories KING; to whom we acknowledge faithful and constant obedience, heartily wishing him a happy reign, in health, peace and prosperity


Application for Today

Our very original forefathers, a hundred years before the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, kept up with the politics of the day. I started this website to do the same in my own times. I hope readers will get involved too.

Minutes of the Provincial Council, vol. 1, 1683-1700, Jo. Severns and Co. 1852, pp. 132-33

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