English Monarch. He reigned as King of England, Scotland and Ireland from 1689 to 1702, and helped form the Grand Alliance and led England in its Glorious Revolution. Born in The Hague, Holland, he was the posthumous son of William II, prince of Orange and stadtholder of the Netherlands, and Mary, eldest daughter of the English king Charles I. In 1672, after the invasion of the Netherlands by the French king Louis XIV, the leadership of Jan De Witt, grand pensionary of Holland, was repudiated, and William was elected stadtholder, captain-general, and admiral. William fought the French with great resolution, even cutting (1673) dikes around Amsterdam to flood the surrounding countryside and halt the advancing French armies. The Dutch suffered severe reverses in subsequent battles. As a result of William's superior diplomacy, however, which also included the strengthening of ties with England by his marriage (1677) to the English princess Mary (eldest daughter of his uncle, James, duke of York, later King James II), Louis XIV agreed to terminate the war on terms favorable to the Dutch. After the accession (1685) of James II there was fear in England that the king's policies were directed toward restoring the power of the Roman Catholic church. In July 1688, James's principal opponents secretly invited William, who was Europe's leading Protestant statesman, to bring an army of liberation to England. William and a force totaling about 15,000 men landed at Torbay on November 5, 1688. Most of the English nobility declared for William, and James fled to France. William accepted the Declaration of Rights passed by the Convention Parliament, which met on January 22, 1689, and on February 13, William and Mary were proclaimed joint sovereigns of England. Shortly after the conclusion of this Glorious Revolution, the Scottish parliament accepted the new rulers. Predominantly Roman Catholic Ireland, however, remained loyal to the deposed king and had to be taken by force. In 1690 William led the army that defeated James and his Irish partisans at the Battle of the Boyne. William's reign continued to be marked by abortive Jacobite plots to restore James to the throne. After the death of Mary in 1694, William ruled alone. In 1689, in pursuit of containing France, William had brought England into the League of Augsburg, thereafter known as the Grand Alliance. For the next eight years he was embroiled in wars on the Continent. He managed by skillful diplomacy to hold the alliance together and, under the terms of the Peace of Ryswick, Louis XIV of France surrendered (1697) much of the territory he had won and recognized William as England's rightful king. At home William manifested virtually none of the acumen he displayed in foreign affairs. Although he was liberal in some things, it was not he but Parliament, to which he was often opposed, that brought about the reforms effected during his reign, such as the passing of the Bill of Rights, the establishment of the Bank of England, the introduction of ministerial responsibility in government, and the encouragement of a free press. In 1701 William headed the second Grand Alliance, which became involved in the so-called War of the Spanish Succession. He died on March 19, 1702, before he could take an active part in the struggle. His wife's sister, Queen Anne, succeeded to the throne. (bio by M. Pymm).
William Henry Lipsett