The History Of Scotland - Volume 6: From Bothwell To James VI.
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Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders. Similar ebooks. See more. Andrew Lang. Mary was overthrown by the Scots and forced to abdicate in July She was executed at Fotheringhay Castle on 8 February at the age of However, Catholics opposed this betrothal and the match was eventually broken off. In , the Scots decided to resume their traditional alliance with the French by betrothing Mary to the four-year-old Dauphin of France, Francis.
Mary was sent to the French court, where she was brought up among the daughters and wives of French nobles. At the age of 15 Mary was married to Francis, who became king of France just a year later. The marriage created an alliance between the crowns of Scotland and France, but it was cut short when Francis unexpectedly died just a year later, in As an year-old widow who had spent most of her youth in France Mary returned to her home country of Scotland. The Catholic Mary found a country that had changed significantly over the years.
It was now predominately Protestant, following religious reforms implemented under the guidance of Presbyterian theologian John Knox. His position called on him to continue the policy of Morton—on the one hand, to reduce to submission both the nobles and the clergy; and on the other, to cultivate friendship with England, which might lead to the maintenance of his claim to the English throne after Elizabeth's death.
If he had attempted to carry out this policy with a strong hand he would probably have failed ignominiously. As it was, he succeeded far better than a greater man would have done. He was, it is true, inordinately vain of his own intellectual acquirements and intolerant of opposition, but he was possessed of considerable shrewdness and of a desire to act reasonably.
Moreover, in seeking to build up the royal authority he had more than personal objects in view.
He regarded it as a moderating influence exercised for the good of his subjects, and employed to keep at bay both the holders of extreme and exclusive theories like the presbyterian clergy, and the heads of armed factions like the Scottish nobles. The love of peace which was so characteristic of him thus attached itself in his mind to his natural tendency to magnify his office.
His life, though his language was sometimes coarse, was decidedly pure, so that he did not come into conflict with the presbyterian clergy on that field of morality on which they had obtained their final victory over his mother. On the other hand, there was a want of dignity about him. If he had not that extreme timidity with which he has often been charged, he certainly shrank from facing dangers; and this shrinking was allied in early life with a habit of cautious fencing with questioners, without much regard for truth, which was the natural outcome of his position among hostile parties.
Add to this that he was to the end of his life impatient of the intellectual labour needed for the mastery of details, and therefore never stepped forward with a complete policy of his own, and it can be easily understood how, though he was never the directing force in politics, he was able by throwing himself on one side or the other to contribute not a little to his special object, the establishment of peace under the monarchy.
James in the custody of the raiders professed to have discovered the enormity of Lennox's conduct, and the obvious explanation is that he spoke otherwise than he thought. It is not, however, quite impossible that explanations given to him on one point may have changed his feelings towards Lennox. Lennox had been the channel through which he had received a proposal for associating his mother with himself in the sovereignty over Scotland, and some progress had been made in the affair.
Objections made to the scheme by his new guardians, on the ground that by accepting it he would derogate from the sufficiency of his own title to the crown, would be likely to sink into his mind; and it is certain that when Bowes, the English ambassador, attempted to gain a sight of the papers relating to the proposed association, the young king baffled all his inquiries. For a harsher view of James's conduct, see Burton , Hist. James I in any case did not like being under the control of his captors, and this dislike was quickened by an equally natural dislike of the presbyterian clergy, who under the guidance of Andrew Melville put forward extreme pretensions to meddle with all affairs which could in any way be brought into connection with religion.
The Duke of Guise, who wanted to draw James back to an alliance with France, sent him six horses as a present. An alliance with France meant hostility to protestantism. The horses, therefore, in the eyes of the ministers, covered an attack on religion, and two of their number were sent to remonstrate with the king. James promised submission, but kept the horses. On 27 June he slipped away from Falkland and threw himself into St.
Andrews, where he was supported by Huntly and Argyll, together with other noblemen hostile to Gowrie and to the other raiders. There were always personal quarrels enough among Scottish nobles to account for any divisions among them; but the leading difference was hostility to the rising power of royalty on the one side, and hostility to the clergy on the other. James had now placed himself in the hands of those who were hostile to the clergy. James soon recalled Arran to favour. Gowrie and his allies, anticipating evil, made a dash at Stirling Castle.
They were anticipated by Arran, and most of them fled to England. Arran was made chancellor. Melville was ordered into confinement in the castle of Blackness; but he too succeeded in escaping to England. In February James made fresh overtures to the Duke of Guise, and even wrote to the pope, holding out no expectation that he intended to change his religion, but asking the pope to support his mother and himself against Elizabeth ib.
James was himself always in favour of a middle course in politics and religion. He had no love for either papal or presbyterian despotism. Before long Arran took advantage of James's greatest moral weakness, his love of pleasure and his dislike of business. He persuaded James to amuse himself with hunting instead of attending the meetings of the council, and to receive information of affairs of state from Arran alone.
It was not that James weakly took his views of men and things from his favourites. He thought very badly of Gowrie, and was glad that Arran should assail him; but he took no pains to investigate the points at issue for himself, or to understand the character and motives of those with whom he had to deal. Owing to the terrorism under which he has been brought up, he is timid with the great lords, and seldom ventures to contradict them; yet his especial anxiety is to be thought hardy and a man of courage.
He is never still for a moment, but walks perpetually up and down the room, and his gait is sprawling and awkward; his voice is loud and his words sententious. He prefers hunting to all other amusements, and will be six hours together on horseback. He irritates his subjects by indiscreet and violent attachments. He is idle and careless, too easy, and too much given to pleasure, particularly to the chase, leaving his affairs to be managed by Arran, Montrose, and his secretary.
It was not in James's power to maintain Arran in authority long. The nobles and the clergy were alike hostile to the favourite. Circumstances soon involved James in a policy which drew him in another direction. A crisis was approaching in the struggle between the two great forces into which Europe was divided, and of these forces the representatives in Britain were Elizabeth and Mary.
Mary hoped to make her son an instrument in her designs, and had for that object favoured the rise successively of Lennox and Arran. James thought far too much of himself and of his crown to accept the subordinate position which was assigned to him, and of filial affection there could be no question, as he had never seen his mother since he was an infant.
James VI and I (1566–1625)
He entered into communication, through a rising favourite, the Master of Gray, with Queen Elizabeth, and though Arran took part in these negotiations, their tendency was manifestly hostile to himself. He was to have a pension of 5, l. Then there was a disturbance on the border, in which Lord Russell was killed. Wotton declared that Arran was implicated in the affair, and demanded and obtained his arrest. James had to choose between an alliance with England and Elizabeth and an alliance with the Guises and the catholic powers.
Not heroically, but with some consideration for the interests of his country, as well as his own, he preferred the former. Before the end of July the estates agreed to a protestant league between England and Scotland. On this Elizabeth let loose upon him the banished lords of the party of the Ruthven raiders. At the head of eight thousand men they, with loyalty on their lips, secured, on 4 Nov.
Arran fled, and disappeared from public life. James soon recovered his equanimity. A treaty with England, which had been authorised by the estates in July , and again by the estates which met in December of the same year, after the fall of Arran, was pushed on, and a treaty between the crowns was at last signed at Berwick on 2 July James was to have a pension of 4, l. James's alliance with Elizabeth and protestantism necessarily brought with it a complete breach with his mother and her catholic allies. Mary, foreseeing what was coming, had disinherited her son in May, as far as any word of hers could disinherit him, and had bequeathed her dominions to Philip II of Spain ib.
The discovery of the Babington conspiracy followed. The bequest to Philip having come to light, Elizabeth took care that James should be informed of it.
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The English authorities gathered from this letter that he would not interfere even if his mother were put to death. Sentence of death having been pronounced on Mary on 25 Oct. On 8 Feb. Still, there were people about him who wanted him to throw in his lot with his mother and the Catholic League, and, though he does not seem deliberately to have bargained for the recognition of his title to the English succession as the price of his surrender of his mother's life, his pressing the matter at such a time showed how little chivalry or even respect for decency there was in his nature Letters of the Master of Gray, Murdin , pp.
Andrews, to make the prayers; but when Adamson appeared in the church he found his place occupied by one of the hostile ministers, John Cowper, who only gave way at the express order of the king. Mary was executed on 8 Feb. The Master of Gray was condemned to death, partly on the charge that he had urged the English ministers to put the queen to death, though he had been sent to prevent that catastrophe. His sentence was, however, changed to that of banishment [see Gray, Patrick , sixth Lord Gray]. On 19 June James reached the age of twenty-one.
He celebrated the event by an attempt to reconcile the feuds between the nobility by making the bitterest enemies walk through the streets of Edinburgh hand in hand. In July the estates passed an act revoking all grants made to the injury of the crown during the king's nonage. In the approach of the Spanish Armada threw Scotland as well as England into consternation.
In opposition to the Earl of Huntly in the north and to Lord Maxwell on the western borders, James took his stand against Spain. He rejected the demand of Huntly that he should change his officers, and when Maxwell attempted resistance he marched against him and reduced him to submission ib. The Armada was ruined before Scotland could be affected by its proceedings. The bequest of the Scottish crown by Mary to Philip II had probably done more than anything else to wean James from his reliance on favourites like Lennox and Arran, who had been in the confidence of the catholic powers of the continent; and his knowledge that his chance of succession to the English crown would be endangered if he placed himself in opposition to Elizabeth, drew him in the same direction.
These negotiations had been hampered by the objections of Elizabeth; but James resolved to persevere, and the marriage was celebrated by proxy at Copenhagen on 20 Aug. The young queen was, however, driven by a storm to Norway, and James, impatient of delay, set sail from Leith on 22 Oct. He found her at Opslo, near the site of the modern Christiania, where the pair were married on 23 Nov.
The old problem of dealing at the same time with the nobles and the clergy awaited James on his return, and it was perhaps the success with which he had tided over the danger from the Armada which threw him this time, to some extent, on the side of the clergy. In August he delivered a speech in the general assembly in which he praised the Scottish at the expense of other protestant churches ib. James was at this time thoroughly in accord with the clergy in matters of doctrine, but he was constantly bickering with them on account of their interference with his personal actions.
Yet in he consented to an act of parliament, said to have been promoted by his chancellor, Maitland of Thirlestane, annulling the jurisdiction of bishops and establishing the presbyterian system of discipline in all its fulness. The lawyers, of whom Maitland was a fair representative, gave warm support to James's notions of establishing order through the royal authority, just as the French lawyers did when the French monarchy was struggling with feudal anarchy in the middle ages. From the end of James suffered from personal attacks directed against him by Francis Stewart, a nephew of his mother's third husband, to whom he had given the title of Earl of Bothwell [see Hepburn, Francis Stewart ].
James had no armed force at his disposal, and was at the mercy of any nobleman who could gather his followers, unless he could rouse other noblemen to take his part. How much unruliness this implied was seen when letters of fire and sword were given to the Earl of Huntly to suppress Bothwell after his attack on Holyrood House. He did not suppress Bothwell, but he used his powers to attack and slay the Earl of Moray, a personal enemy of his own.
James had to send for some of the ministers, and to protest that he had no more to do with Moray's death than David had to do with the slaughter of Abner by Joab ib. James was doubtless wise in refusing to levy war, as the clergy wished him to do, against Huntly and the other powerful Roman catholic nobles, whose strength was too great to be easily shaken, and who might, if pushed hard, throw themselves into the hands of foreign states; but he could hardly conceal the truth that he looked on these very Roman catholic nobles as useful allies against the clergy themselves.
As to foreign affairs, James held, in opposition to the clergy, the opinion that it was wise to cultivate the civil friendship of Roman catholic governments; but partly because this opinion was obnoxious to the clergy, partly because he thought much more of his own private interest in the English succession than of any avowable broad course of policy, he had to carry out his ideas in this respect by secret intrigues, which whenever they came to light increased the general distrust of his character.
Moreover, James himself in published certain letters of a dangerous tendency, addressed for the most part to the Duke of Parma Pitcairn , Criminal Trials , i. James's difficulty with the clergy about the northern earls remained a cause of irritation. In he again marched against Huntly, and had pressed him so hard that on 19 March Huntly and other lords left Scotland [see Gordon, George , sixth Earl and first Marquis of Huntly ]; but James did not proceed to declare the lands of Huntly and his allies forfeited, which was what the ministers wanted.
The Octavians pursued their work for about a year and a half, but they failed to increase the revenue of the crown to any appreciable extent. The position of the kirk became more difficult to defend when, on 19 Oct. But the ministers' sermons increased in bitterness, and on 16 Dec. Consequently, there was on 17 Dec.
Log in to My Virginia.
On the 18th James went off to Linlithgow, leaving behind him a proclamation announcing that in consequence of the tumult he had removed the courts of justice from Edinburgh, which was no longer a fit place for their peaceful labours. The announcement cooled the ardour of the townsmen in defence of the clergy. During the king's absence the ministers, especially Robert Bruce, had been violent in their invectives; after which Bruce and the more outspoken of his colleagues, hearing that the magistrates had orders to commit them to prison to await their trial, took refuge in England.
On 1 Jan. In the course of the year he obtained the restoration of Huntly and the northern earls, on condition of their complete submission to the kirk, and their hypocritical acceptance of its religion and discipline. With a view to reconciling the pretensions of the church and state, James astutely summoned an assembly to meet at Perth on 29 Feb. The Scottish clergy were poor, and as travelling was expensive, assemblies were always most fully attended by those ministers who lived in the neighbourhood of the place of meeting.
The northern clergy would therefore be in a majority at Perth, and they would be unwilling to displease the powerful Roman catholic northern earls, or were themselves less inclined to high presbyterian views than were the ministers of Fife and the Lothians. James having obtained a decision in his favour on the question whether the assembly, having been convened by royal authority, was lawfully convened, proposed thirteen queries, to which he obtained satisfactory replies.
The answers limited the claim of the clergy to denounce persons by name from the pulpit, and forbade them to find fault with the king's proceedings unless they had first sought a remedy in vain. Moreover, the king was to have the right of proposing to future assemblies any changes he thought desirable in the external government of the church. Of course Melville and his allies denounced the meeting at Perth as no true and free assembly of the kirk Calderwood , v.
James, having thus felt his way, gathered another assembly at Dundee in May, and accepted a proposal for the appointment of certain ministers as commissioners of the church, authorised to confer from time to time with the king on church affairs. During the remainder of the year everything seemed settling down into peace: the Edinburgh clergy were allowed to reoccupy their pulpits; the northern earls were restored; nothing was heard of foreign intrigue or domestic disorder. The next step was to bring the church into constitutional relations with parliament.
Doubtless by agreement between James and the new commissioners of the church, a petition was presented to the parliament which met on 13 Dec. Parliament, however, was very much under the control of the nobles, and replied with a counter-proposition—which it embodied in an act Acts of Parl. For some months James seems to have hoped to follow the latter course.
On 7 March an assembly met at Dundee. The assembly agreed, though only by a small majority, that fifty-one representatives of the church should sit in parliament, and that a convention of a select number of ministers and doctors should decide on the mode of their election, the decision of the members only to be binding in case of unanimity. The convention met at Falkland on 25 July , and decided that each representative should be nominated by the king out of a list of six; but the convention was not unanimous, and the question was thus relegated to the next general assembly Calderwood , vi.
In the autumn of James adopted the opposite idea of keeping the clergy in order by nominees of his own. This book, which, though not published till , was in existence in manuscript in October Nicholson's Advices , October ; State Papers , Scotl.
Kings were appointed by God to govern, and their subjects to obey; but it was the duty of a king, though he was himself above the law, to conform his own actions to the law for example's sake, unless for some beneficial reason. Further, though subjects might not rebel against a wicked king, God would find means to punish him, and it might be that the punishment would take the form of a rebellion. The chief resistance to the crown at this time came from the clerical zealots.
In November James held a conference of ministers at Holyrood, urging them to consent to the appointment of representatives of the church, to hold seats in parliament for life, and to give to their representatives the name of bishops. James's proposal was, however, rejected ib. In the course of the year James was once more brought into violent collision with the clergy.
The Earl of Gowrie and Alexander Ruthven were the sons of the Earl of Gowrie who had been executed early in the reign, and bore a deep grudge against James on account of their father's death. On 5 Aug. It is probable that the intention of the brothers was to keep the king there, and then, after persuading his followers to disperse by telling them that he had ridden off, to put him in a boat on the Tay and to carry him off by water to the gloomy and isolated Fast Castle, on the south shore of the Firth of Forth, where they might murder him or dispose of him at their pleasure.
The whole story is discussed in Burton's Hist. The plan was, however, frustrated by the king's struggles, in the course of which he contrived to reach a window and to call his followers to his help. The arrival of a few of them on the scene was followed by a fray, in which Gowrie and his brother were both slain by a young courtier, James Ramsay. The 5th of August was appointed to be held as a day of annual thanksgiving for James's escape.
After trying his best to convince them of their error, he threatened them with punishment, and finally drove the most persistent of them, Robert Bruce, into exile. This conflict with the ministers, by whom the Gowrie family was regarded as specially devoted to the defence of the presbyterian system, seems to have strengthened James in his resolution to meet the resolutions of the assembly of Montrose by the direct appointment of three bishops in November These bishops had seats in parliament, but they in no way represented the church, as the representatives whose appointment had been suggested at Montrose would certainly have done.
More regrettable was the king's settled hostility to Gowrie's brothers and sisters. Two of the sisters were at once turned out of the queen's service, and two Ruthven boys, brothers of Gowrie, had to take refuge in England, where they did not venture to appear in public. James's eye had for some time been fixed on the English succession. His hereditary right, combined with his protestantism, gave to his claim a weight which left him the only competitor with any chance of acceptance.
Under these circumstances a man of common sense in James's position would have patiently waited till the succession was open. But James, unable to restrain himself, engaged in a succession of intrigues to secure what was virtually already his own. He had many counsellors who were anxious to bring about an understanding between him and the pope, thereby to secure the assistance of the Roman catholics in England as well as in Scotland. James also entered into secret negotiations with prominent English statesmen and courtiers, among them, fortunately for his prospects, Sir Robert Cecil, Elizabeth's secretary of state, who did his best to keep him patient Bruce , Correspondence of James VI , Camden Soc.
At last, on 24 March , Elizabeth died, and James was at once proclaimed in England by the title of James I, king of England, though he subsequently styled himself, without parliamentary authority, king of Great Britain.
James VI and I (DNB00) - Wikisource, the free online library
He left Edinburgh for his new kingdom on 5 April. Coming from a poor country, he fancied that the wealth and power of an English king was far greater than it really was, and before long he scattered titles and grants of money and land with unjustifiable profusion. As he passed through Newark he ordered a cutpurse to be hanged without trial, fancying that the royal authority, so hampered in Scotland, must be without limit in England.
As a matter of fact, the tide of public opinion in the two countries was making in opposite directions. In Scotland it was favourable to the creation of a monarchy somewhat after the French type, in opposition to the nobles and clergy. In England, all that a strong monarchy could do had been accomplished, and opinion was therefore in favour of imposing restrictions upon the existing royal authority. The first test of James's statesmanship lay in the selection of his councillors.
Elizabeth had filled her council with representatives of all parties. James kept those whose opinions agreed with his own. He was himself for peace, and he consequently dismissed Raleigh as a partisan of war, and kept Cecil, who was ready to promote peace. He ordered the cessation of hostilities with Spain, though peace was not actually concluded till Cecil remained to the day of his death James's trusted councillor [see Cecil, Robert, Earl of Salisbury ]. Raleigh was charged with high treason, and condemned to death, but his sentence was commuted by James to that of imprisonment [see Raleigh, Sir Walter ].
The first purely political question which confronted James was that of toleration. He had led the English catholics to expect better treatment from him than they had had from Elizabeth; and though James does not seem to have given any express promise of setting aside the recusancy laws, he had used language in writing to the Earl of Northumberland which implied a disposition to show them reasonable favour Degli Effetti to Del Bufalo, July 16—26, Roman Transcripts , Record Office.
Cecil, however, was in favour of the old system, and for some time after James's accession the recusancy fines were still collected. James's language continued favourable, but the action of his government did not respond to his words, and in June a plot for his capture and an enforced change of his system of government was discovered to have been formed by a catholic priest named Watson, and other catholics.
It was not, however, till 17 July, when a catholic deputation waited on him, that James openly announced that the fines were to be remitted. In August he received assurances from the nuncio in Paris that the pope would do all in his power to keep the catholics obedient subjects of the king, and on this James despatched Sir James Lindsay to Rome, to ask Pope Clement VIII to send to England a layman to confer with him on the subject of obtaining the excommunication of turbulent catholics. Unfortunately, James was liable to be led away from a great policy by personal considerations.
The queen, much to his annoyance, was secretly a Roman catholic, and in January Sir Anthony Standen arrived from Rome with objects of devotion for her. Shortly afterwards James learnt that the pope refused to agree to allow sentence of excommunication to be passed on catholics at the instance of a heretic king, and James, irritated at the failure of his plan, and at the domestic discord, which he attributed to Standen's mission, was at the same time alarmed by the discovery that the number of priests and of catholic converts had greatly increased since the removal of the fines.
Though he did not at once reimpose the fines, he issued on 22 Feb. The condition of the puritans was forced on James's attention as much as that of the catholics. On his progress from Scotland the so-called Millenary Petition was presented to him, asking, not for permission to hold separate worship, but for such a permissive modification in the services of the church as might enable puritan ministers to comply with their obligations without offending their consciences.
Bacon pleaded in favour of the change, and on 14 Jan. James was quite ready to agree to changes, and he signified as much in his conversation with the bishops on the first day.