Imágenes de páginas






JAMES I.-The history of the Scottish sovereigns who bore this name will be found in a subsequent page, and it may be enough to state that he was the sixth monarch of that name who swayed the sceptre in the northern part of our island, before he was called to the English throne. He was the son of Mary queen of Scotland, by her cousin Henry Lord Darnley, and was born at Edinburgh castle, in June 1566, at the unfortunate period when his mother was at variance with her husband, and had begun to fix her affections on the earl of Bothwell. In the stormy and disgraceful times which followed, the infant prince was committed to the charge of the earl of Mar; and in the following year, Mary being forced to resign the throne, he was solemnly crowned at Stirling, and from that time all public acts ran in his name. His childhood was passed in civil wars under the regencies of Murray, Marr, and Morton, during which time he resided in Stirling castle under the tuition of the celebrated Buchanan. His progress in schoollearning was rapid; but as his character opened, an instability and weakness of temper became manifest, which indicated, what in the sequel proved to be the case, that he would become an easy prey to flatterers, and his reign be marked by injudicious favouritism. From the first too, he seems to have imbibed those arbitrary notions of the royal authority and divine right which proved so injurious to his posterity. Some injudicious measures, in the spirit of these opinions, early produced a conspiracy of his nobles against him, who in 1582 took possession of his person at Ruthven castle. A new confederacy, however, effected his liberation, and he again put himself under the direction of his favourite, the earl of Arran.

gaging in actual war by the inadequacy of his resources.

One of the first acts of his majority was to reconcile the feuds of his nobility, whom for that purpose he invited to a grand festival at Holyrood house. On the threatened invasion of England by Philip II., he judiciously resolved to assist Elizabeth against the Spaniards, and was zealously supported by his people for the preservation of protestantism, who entered into a national covenant to maintain it. In 1589 James married Anne, daughter of Frederic, king of Denmark. On his return home, after passing the winter at Copenhagen, he was in some danger from conspiracies against his life; and for several succeeding years of his reign the history of Scotland displays much turbulence and party contest.


The policy of Queen Elizabeth, whose apprehensions from the catholic party in favour of Mary led her to employ every art to keep up a dissatisfied party in Scotland, was greatly assisted by the violent and unprincipled measures of Arran against the connexions of the late conspirators, many of whom fled In 1600, while the country was in a state of unusual to England. When, however, it became apparent tranquillity, a very extraordinary event took place, that the life of his mother was in danger from the the causes of which were never discovered. While sentence of an English judicature, James, who had the king was upon a hunting excursion, he was inhitherto treated her very irreverently, felt himself vited by the brother of Ruthven, earl of Gowrie, to called upon to interfere. He accordingly wrote a ride with a small train to the earl's house at Perth. menacing letter to Elizabeth on the subject, appealed Here he was led to a remote chamber, on pretence of to other courts for assistance, and assembled his a secret to be communicated to him, where he found nobles, who promised to assist him either to prevent a man in complete armour, and a dagger was put to or revenge that queen's injustice. When the news his breast by Ruthven, with threats of immediate of the catastrophe arrived, he rejected with proper death. His attendants, being alarmed, came to his spirit the excuses of Elizabeth, and prepared for aid. Gowrie and his brother were slain, and the hostilities; but he was finally prevented from en-king escaped unhurt.



[blocks in formation]

In 1603 James succeeded to the crown of England | to accept the crown of Bohemia, and to head the on the death of Elizabeth, and proceeded, amidst the protestant interest in Germany, was stripped of all acclamations of his new subjects, to London. One his dominions by the emperor. Urged by the naof his first acts was to bestow a profusion of honours tional feelings for the protestant cause, he was at and titles on the inhabitants of both countries, in length in 1624 induced to declare war against Spain which, as in many other points, he displayed a con- and the emperor; and troops were sent over to Holtrast to the maxims of the late reign. A conference land to act in conjunction with Prince Maurice. The held at Hampton court between the divines of the defeat of this enterprise, through sickness and misestablished church and the puritans, afforded James management, it is thought, produced the king so an opportunity of exhibiting his skill in theological much uneasiness as to cause the intermittent fever controversy, and the ill-will he bore to popular by which he was soon after attacked, and of which schemes of church government. The meeting of he died in March 1625, in the fifty-ninth year of his parliament also enabled him to assert those principles age. of absolute power in the crown which he could never practically maintain, but the theoretical claim of which provided the increasing spirit of freedom in the house of commons with constant matter of alarm and contention. Although James had behaved with great lenity to the catholics in Scotland, those in England were so disappointed in their expectations of favour, that the celebrated gunpowder plot was concerted in 1605, the object of which was to blow up the king and parliament. His cares for reducing and improving Ireland do him honour. In 1612 he lost his eldest son Henry, a prince of great promise, then of the age of nineteen; and in the following year, the eventful marriage of his daughter Elizabeth with the elector palatine took place. About this time the object of the weak passion of James for handsome favourites was Robert Carr, a youth from Scotland, who in a short time was raised from a court page to be earl of Somerset, and was loaded with honours and riches. The scandalous murder of Sir Thomas Overbury, by the machinations of this minion and his infamous countess, put an end to the king's partiality, although he disgracefully pardoned the principals in the murder, while he allowed their agents to be executed.

The fate of Somerset paved the way for the rise of George Villiers, duke of Buckingham. No circumstance in the reign of James was more unpopular than his treatment of the celebrated Sir Walter Raleigh. Soon after the king's accession, that statesman, who had been opposed to the Scottish succession, engaged in a plot to set aside James in favour of the Lady Arabella Stuart, for which he was tried and capitally convicted, but, being reprieved, was kept thirteen years in prison. In 1615 he obtained his release by dint of money, and was allowed to set out upon an expedition to the South Seas in search of gold, with the sentence of death hanging over his head. He was unsuccessful in his objects, and James, instigated, as it is supposed, by his desire of an alliance between Prince Charles and the infanta of Spain, listened to the suggestions of the latter power, and, to the great scandal of the whole nation, Sir Walter was executed upon his former sentence. The match with the infanta, notwithstanding, failed, and Charles married Henrietta Maria, daughter of Henry IV. of France, with the disgraceful stipulation, that the children should be brought up by their mother until thirteen years of age; to which arrangement the future religious opinions of Charles II. and James II. may perhaps be attributed.

The close of the life of James was marked by violent contests with his parliament, which prepared dreadful consequences for his successor. He was also much disquieted by the misfortune of his sonin-law, the elector palatine, who having been induced

James was not destitute of abilities nor of good intentions, but the former were not those of a ruler, and the latter were defeated by pliability and unmanly attachments. His reign, although not unprosperous to his subjects, was inglorious in character and loss of influence, and he was neither beloved at home nor esteemed abroad. Upon the whole the good qualities of James were unstatesmanlike, and his bad ones unmanly and puerile. It would be difficult, says Hume, to find a reign less illustrious, yet more unspotted and unblemished, than that of James in both kingdoms. James possessed many virtues, but scarcely any of them pure or free from the contagion of neighbouring vices. His learning degenerating into pedantry and prejudice, his generosity into profusion, his good nature into pliability and unmanly fondness, his love of peace into pusillanimity, and his wisdom into cunning. His intentions were just, but more adapted to the conduct of private life than to the government of kingdoms. He was an encourager of learning, and was himself an author of no mean genius, considering the times in which he lived. His chief works were, "Basilicon Doron," and "The True Law of Free Monarchies," but he is more known for his adherence to witchcraft and demoniacal possessions in his "Demonology," and for his "Counterblast to Tobacco." He was also a poet, and specimens of his talent, such as it was, are to be found in many of our miscellanies. He also wrote some rules and cautels for the use of professors of the art, which, says Mr. Ellis, have been long, and perhaps deservedly disregarded. The best specimen of his poetical powers is his "Basilicon Doron," which Bishop Percy has reprinted in his "Reliques," and declares that it would not dishonour any writer of that time. We subjoin a fac-simile of his autograph shortly after he came to the English throne.


JAMES II., king of England, second son of Charles I. and of Henrietta of France, was born in October 1633 and immediately declared duke of York. After the capture of Oxford by the parliamentary army, he escaped in 1648 at the age of fifteen, and was conducted to his sister, the princess of Orange. He soon after joined his mother at Paris, and, when he had reached his twentieth year, served in the French army under Turenne, and subsequently entered the Spanish army in Flanders, under Don John of Austria and the prince of Condé. In these campaigns he

[blocks in formation]

obtained reputation and experience although with | moted to an ecclesiastical office in the household of the display of no very great or shining qualities. a prince, who still exercised all the power of the suAt the restoration he took the command of the fleet preme head of a protestant church. Corker, an Engas lord high admiral. He had previously married lish Benedictine, the superior of a monastery of that Anne, daughter of Chancellor Hyde, afterwards Lord order in London, had an audience of the king in his Clarendon, and ungenerously attempted to free him- ecclesiastical habit, as envoy from the elector of Coself from the union; but the marriage being satis-logne, doubtless by a secret understanding between factorily established, he could not succeed. In 1664 James and that prince; an act which Louis XIV. he took a leading part in promoting a Dutch war, himself condemned as unexampled in catholic counfor the alleged interests of trade, and June 3, 1665, tries, and likely to provoke heretics, whose prejudices with a powerful fleet under his command, engaged ought not to be wantonly irritated. As the animothat of the Dutch under Opdam, who, with his ship, sity of the people towards the catholic religion inwas blown up in the action, and nineteen of his creased, the designs of James for its re-establishment squadron were sunk or taken, with the loss of only became bolder and more open. The monastic orders, one on the part of the English. clad in garments long strange, and now alarming to the people, filled the streets of London, and the king prematurely exulted that his capital had the appearance of a catholic city, little aware of the indignation with which that obnoxious appearance inspired the body of his protestant subjects. He must now have felt that his contests with the church of England had reached that point in which neither party would submit without a total defeat. The language used or acquiesced in by him in the most confidential intercourse does not leave his intention to be gathered by inference, for though the words 'to establish the catholic religion' may denote no more than to secure its free exercise, another expression is employed on this subject for a long time, and by different persons in correspondence with him, which has no equivocal sense and allows no such limitation. On the 12th of May, 1687, Barillon assured him that the most Christian King had nothing so much at heart as to see the success of his exertions to re-establish the catholic religion.' Far from limiting this important term, James adopted it in its full extent, answering, You see that I omit nothing in my power.' Not content with thus accepting the congratulation in its utmost latitude, James continued, I hope the king your master will aid me, and that we shall, in concert, do great things for religion;' proclaiming his reliance. for aid in his designs on a monarch who at that moment supported the religious establishment by persecution. In a few months afterwards, when imitating another part of the policy of Louis XIV. he had established a fund for rewarding converts to his re

In 1671 the duchess of York died, leaving her husband two daughters, who became successively queens of England. Before her death she declared herself a convert to the Roman catholic faith, which had been secretly that of the duke for many years, and was now openly avowed by him. This declaration produced a great impression on the people, and laid the foundation of the opposition which finally drove him from the throne. In the Dutch war of 1672 he was again placed at the head of the fleet, and being attacked by De Ruyter, a furious engagement ensued. The Dutch fleet at length retired. A test act being soon after passed to prevent Roman catholies from holding public employments, the duke was obliged to resign his command-a result which induced him to join in the plot of the king and certain of his counsellors, to restore the Roman catholic religion. In 1671 he married Mary Beatrice of Este, daughter of the duke of Modena, and in 1677 his eldest daughter, Mary, was united to William prince of Orange.

[ocr errors]

During the violent proceedings on account of the supposed popish plot in 1679, by the advice of the king he retired to Brussels, and a bill passed the commons for his exclusion from the throne, which was, however, rejected by the lords. When the royal party again prevailed, the duke in 1681 was sent into Scotland, where he acted with great rigour, not to say cruelty, to the remnant of the covenanters. It is even said that he sometimes personally assisted at the torture of criminals, and altogether exhibited himself as a man of a severe and unrelenting temper.ligion, he solicited pecuniary aid from the pope for During the whole of the remaining reign of Charles that very ambiguous purpose. The nuncio in answer II. indeed, during which he possessed great influence declared the sorrow of his holiness at being disabled in the government, he was forward in promoting all by the impoverished state of his treasury to contrithe severe measures that disgraced it. On the death bute money, notwithstanding 'his paternal zeal for of Charles II., in February 1685, the duke succeeded the promoting in every way the re-establishment of under the title of James II., and from the time of his the catholic religion in these kingdoms;' as he had ascending the throne, seems to have acted with a shortly before expressed his hope that the queen's steady determination to render himself absolute, and pregnancy would ensure the re-establishment of the to restore the Roman catholic religion. This part true religion in these kingdoms: another term was of the king's designs is so admirably portrayed by in familiar use at court for the final object of the royal Sir James Macintosh, that we gladly avail ourselves pursuit; it was called 'the great work,' a phrase borof his view of James' intentions :-"While these rowed from the supposed transmutation of metals hopes and fears [the expected birth of the prince] by the alchemists, which naturally signified a total agitated the multitude of both parties, the ultimate change, and which never could have been applied to objects of the king became gradually more definite, mere toleration by those who were in system, if not while he at the same time deliberated, or perhaps, in practice, the most intolerant men of an intolerant rather decided about the choice of his means. His age. The king told the nuncio that Holland was the open policy assumed a more decisive tone; Castle- main obstacle to the establishment of the catholic remaine, who in his embassy had acted with the most ligion in these kingdoms; and D'Albyville, minister ostentatious defiance of the laws, and Petre, the most at the Hague, declared that without humbling the obnoxious clergyman of the church of Rome, were pride of that republic there could be no hope of the sworn of the privy council. The latter was even pro-success of the great work.' Two years afterwards,

[ocr errors]




These innovations, in regard both to the religion and government, gradually united opposing interests, and a large body of nobility and gentry concurred in an application to the prince of Orange, who had been secretly preparing a fleet and an army for the invasion of the country. James, who was long kept in ignorance of these transactions, when informed of them by his minister at the Hague, was struck with terror equal to his former infatuation; and, immediately repealing all his obnoxious acts, he practised every method to gain popularity. All confidence was, however, destroyed between the king and the people.

James, after reviewing his whole policy and its con- | proceeded to a direct attack on the established church sequences, deliberately and decisively avows the ex- by the formation of an ecclesiastical commission, tent of his own designs. 'Our subjects opposed our which cited before it all clergymen who had done government from the fear that we should introduce any thing to displease the court. A declaration of the orthodox faith, which we were indeed labouring indulgence in matters of religion was ordered to be to accomplish when the storm began, and which we read by the clergy in all the churches of the kinghave done in our kingdom of Ireland.' Mary of Este, dom. Seven bishops met, and drew up a loyal and during the absence of her husband in Ireland, exhorts humble petition against this ordinance, which step the papal minister to earn the glorious title of re- being considered as an act of disloyalty, they were storer of the faith in the British kingdoms, and de- sent to the Tower. clares that she hopes much from his administration for the re-establishment both of religion and the royal family.' Finally, the term 're-establish,' which can refer to no time subsequent to the accession of Elizabeth, had so much become the appropriate term, that Louis XIV. assured the pope of his determination to aid the king of England, and to re-establish the catholic religion in that island.' None of the most discerning friends or opponents of the king seem at this time to have doubted that he meditated no less than to transfer to his own religion the privileges of an established church. Gourville, one of the most sagacious men of his age, being asked by the duchess of Tyrconnel, when about to make a journey to London, what she should say to the king if he enquired about the opinion of his old friend Gourville, of his measures for the re-establishment' of the catholic religion in England, begged her to answer, 'If I were pope I should have excommunicated him for exposing all the English catholics to the risk of being hanged. I have do doubt that what he sees done in France is his model, but the circumstances are very different. In my opinion he ought to be content with favouring the catholics on every occasion, in order to augment their number; and he should leave to his successors the care of gradually subjecting England altogether to the authority of the pope.' Bossuet, the most learned, vigorous, and eloquent of controversialists in the great work on the variations of the protestant churches, which he published at this critical time, ventured to foretel that the pious efforts of James would speedily be rewarded by the reconciliation of the British islands with the universal church, and their filial submission to the apostolic see."

After disgusting the great majority of his subjects, by attending mass with all the ensigns of his dignity, he proceeded to levy the customs and excise without the authority of parliament. He even sent an agent to Rome, to pave the way for a solemn re-admission of England into the bosom of that church, and received advice, on the score of moderation, from the pope himself. This conduct encouraged the rebellion of the duke of Monmouth. The unrelenting temper of James was again exhibited in the executions on this account. The legal proceedings under Jeffreys were brutal in the extreme; and it is estimated that no fewer than 251 persons suffered death in the west of England by the cruel proceedings of that infamous judge, which it was the custom of the king to gibe upon, under the name of "Jeffreys' Campaign." The temporary awe, produced by this severity, even in parliament, was so great, that James was encouraged to throw off almost all disguise, both in regard to religion and government. By virtue of his assumed dispensing power, he rendered tests of no avail, and filled his army and council with Roman catholics. He put Ireland entirely into their hands, and governed Scotland by a few noblemen who had become converts to the same faith. He gradually

William arrived with his fleet in Torbay, November 4, 1688, and landed his forces; but the remembrance of Monmouth's rebellion for some time prevented the people in the west from joining him, until, at length, several men of rank went over, and the royal army began to desert by entire regiments. Incapable of any vigorous resolution, and finding his overtures of accommodations disregarded, he resolved to quit the country. He repaired to St. Germain, where he was received with great kindness and hospitality by Louis XIV. In the meantime the throne of Great Britain was declared abdicated, and was filled, with the national and parliamentary consent, by his eldest daughter, Mary, and her husband William, conjointly; Anne, who had, equally with her sister, been educated a strict protestant, being declared next in succession to the exclusion of the infant prince. Assisted by Louis XIV. James was enabled, in March, 1689, to make an attempt for the recovery of Ireland. The battle of Boyne, fought June 1690, compelled him to return to France. All succeeding projects for his restoration proved equally abortive, and he spent the last years of his life in acts of ascetic devotion.

James R

JAMES I., of Scotland.-This distinguished monarch was one of the most learned as well as the most unfortunate of sovereigns. He stood forth a bright and shining light in the turbulent times in which he was placed, and ultimately fell a sacrifice to the powerful brigands who then formed the Scottish aristocracy. He was born in 1394, and became a prisoner to the English monarch when but a child. He was for some time closely confined in London, and in 1407 he was removed to the castle of Nottingham, from whence he was brought back to the Tower in March 1414, and there confined till August in the same year, when he was conveyed to the castle of Windsor, where he was detained till the summer of

« AnteriorContinuar »