navy. Without the help of the French the duke gained a victory in Southwold Bay over De Ruyter's superior numbers (28 May). James, who had been obliged to change his ship during the battle, next morning ordered the fleet home for refitting. De Ruyter's attempt to renew the fight ended in his withdrawal in a fog, and the duke's hopes of prolonging the campaign were destroyed by the revolution in Holland (ib. i. 457–81; cf. Burnet, i. 612).
The breakdown of the attempt to crush the Dutch republic was followed by the revocation of the Declaration of Indulgence and the passing of the Test Act (March 1673). In consequence of the Test Act, the duke, who at Christmas 1672 had refused to receive the sacrament with the king according to the anglican rite (Life, i. 482–3; cf. Evelyn, ii. 290), resigned the admiralty (Reresby, p. 88). In the same year (1673) he married again (cf. Burnet, ii. 16; cf. Jesse, iii. 297–300). Negotiations for a marriage between him and the Archduchess Claudia Felicitas, begun in the summer of 1672 by the Emperor Leopold I, were crossed by Louis XIV, who, after other suggestions, urged a match with one of two princesses of Modena, Eleanor, aunt of the reigning duke, Francis II, or his sister, Mary Beatrice. Early in 1673 the Austrian negotiation was broken off, the emperor having resolved to marry the lady himself. About the end of July, Peterborough, who had inspected several other candidates, was ordered to Modena to ask for the hand of Mary Beatrice. She was married to him as the duke's proxy, 30 Sept. [see Mary Beatrice]. Soon afterwards she was received by her husband at Dover, and their marriage was ‘declared’ lawful by Crew, bishop of Oxford (21 Nov.; Life, i. 486). This marriage finally bound James to the policy of Louis XIV. Violent addresses were passed against it by the House of Commons (cf. Burnet, ii. 17). The fall of the cabal, the accession to office of an anti-French and church of England administration, and the conclusion of peace with the United Provinces (January–February 1674), were followed by a dead-set against the Duke of York (see Klopp, i. 350–8; Supplement to the Life of James, 3rd edit. 1705, pp. 11–41; also Les derniers Stuarts, i. 1–134).
James was advised to retire with his wife to the country (Life, i. 487). But he courageously refused (Macpherson, i. 81). The attempt of Burnet and Stillingfleet to reconvert him (ib. pp. 24–30) was repeated by Archbishop Sancroft in February 1678, with the help of Bishop Morley of Winchester and with the cognisance of the king (Clarendon Correspondence, ii. 465–71; cf. Life, i. 539–40). James did not yield, but allowed both his daughters to be brought up as members of the church of England, and assented reluctantly to the marriage of the elder to the Prince of Orange (November 1677). Both before and after the secret treaty with France of May 1678 he was in constant correspondence with the prince (Dalrymple, ii. 175 seqq., 208 seqq.).
James's right of succession was now endangered by the pretensions of the Duke of Monmouth [see Scott, James, Duke of Monmouth]. James (cf. Life, i. 499–500) displayed on the whole a judicious moderation, and preserved an attitude of submissive loyalty. Occasionally he received in return tokens of goodwill, such as the title of generalissimo, after a commission as general of the forces had been bestowed upon Monmouth (ib. p. 497). Closer observers, like Halifax, perceived that James remained true to the French interest, and to the cause of Rome, which he sought to strengthen by advocating toleration for dissenters in general (Reresby, p. 116). His position became perilous as the unpopularity of his cause increased. In March 1678 he warned his friends in the commons of ‘a design to fall upon him and the lord treasurer’ (ib. p. 130); and soon after Oates's first informations the duke prudently handed to the king certain letters which had been addressed to his confessor, Bedingfield (Burnet, ii. 149–50). Oates seems at first to have wavered about bringing charges against the duke (Bramston, p. 179). But papers discovered in the house of Edward Coleman [q. v.], secretary to the duchess, showed that a correspondence with Louis's jesuit confessor, La Chaise, had been carried on with the duke's cognisance (notwithstanding his attempted denial, Reresby, p. 146). It treated of the scheme for the conversion of England agreed upon at Dover, though it did not confirm the existence of the plot ‘revealed’ by Oates (ib. p. 169). The letter from the duke himself, discovered with the rest, and printed by order of the House of Commons, was dated 1675 (State Papers of Charles II, pp. 137 seqq.). Soon after the meeting of parliament (October 1678) Shaftesbury demanded the removal of the Duke of York from the king's counsels and from public affairs. James perceived his peril (Les derniers Stuarts, i. 229). He consented, at the king's request, to absent himself from the council; but the commons voted another and more stringent address against him. A conciliatory speech from the king in person delayed the passing of this address and secured the duke's exemption from the operation of a bill disabling papists from sitting in parliament.