Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss


BOWER, George: England, 1685, Lead (cast), 54 mm
Rev: Inscription O DIVINI AMBO SI QVID MEA CARMINA POSSVNT NVLLA DIES VNQVAM ME MORI VOS EXIMET AEVO. DVM TVA BANCHO DOMVS CAPITOLI IMMOBILE SAXVM EDINI, IMPERIVMQVE PATER STVARTVS HABEBIT.  A. P.               (O Pair Divine! for If My Verse Can Give                                                                Immortal Life, Your Fame Shall Ever Live                                                                  While Banquo's Line on Edin's Rocky Tower                                                                  Shall Dwell, or Stuart Sway Britannnia's Power).
   (Archibald Pitcairn).

Signed: GB
Ref: Weiss BW061;  M.I. i, 612/21 where it is stated that this medal, which is composed of two pieces of lead, both cast, may be unique.  Unlisted in Eimer.

James II, King of England, Scotland and Ireland (1633 - 1701) was the third son to Charles I and Henrietta Maria. During the Civil War he fled to safety in France. He returned to England and became king after the death of his brother Charles II, who had been restored to the throne after Cromwell's Commonwealth collapsed. Unlike his brother, James maintained a strong adherence to the Roman Catholic faith. His zealous piety and his determination to impress Catholicism on his subjects was to prove his nemesis.
Within days of James' accession, Protestants were rallying around Charles' son, James, Duke of Monmouth, whom they believed should be king. The rebellion was easily quashed and Monmouth was beheaded. Continuing his religious campaign, James had Catholics promoted to high-status positions while he appointed the 'Bloody Assizes' to execute, torture or enslave Protestant rebels. The Declaration of Indulgence (1687) granted tolerance of Catholics and non-conformists. In response, both Tories and Whigs turned against the king. The Protestant Parliament allied themselves with James' Protestant daughter Mary (Mary was the daughter of James' first wife Anne Hyde, a Protestant who raised her daughter in the same faith), and her husband William of Orange, who eventually took the throne of England as William and Mary. James died an exile in Saint-Germain. (from BBC History)
Mary (of Modena) Beatrice (1658-1718), the second wife and queen consort of James II of England, was the only daughter of Alfonso IV, Duke of Modena. In 1673 she married James, then duke of York, later James II of England, the marriage having been brought about through the influence of Louis XIV of France. Mary was a devout Roman Catholic, who supported her husband's pro-Catholic policies and dedicated herself to the conversion of England to Catholicism, thereby making her unpopular in Protestant England. When she bore a son in 1688, James Francis Edward Stuart (the Elder Pretender), it was widely rumored that this Catholic heir to the throne was a changeling, and fear of a Catholic succession precipitated the so-called Glorious Revolution that overthrew James II and led to the invitation of William of Orange to England. Mary fled to France with her son and worked tirelessly to advance his claims to the English throne. (from The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition 2001)

The inscription on the reverse of the medal is a parody of Virgil (Aen.ix. 446-9) and is a poem written by Archibald Pitcairn, a physician, who was a loyal adherent of the Stuarts, and with whom he joined in exile.

LINK to Portrait of James II (from Wikipedia)

LINK to Mary of Modena (from Wikipedia)

Link to the Declaration of Indulgence of King James II (from the Jacobite Heritage by Noel S. McFerran)

LINK to the Glorious Revolution (from Wikipedia)