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of Leicester, probably by Elizabeth's directions, addressed a letter to James, in which, though clothed in the most Jesuitical language, he points out the worldly advantages which would accrue to him by submitting quietly to his mother's execution, and even indirectly asks his concur rence. To any other monarch but James, the insolence and bad taste of such an epistle would have been intolerable. "She is the person and prince in this world," says the earl, speaking of Elizabeth," that may do you most good or most harm; let no persuasion or desire let you think otherwise." And again Lord Hudson writes to him after the fatal blow had been struck, offering to procure a declaration, signed by all the judges in England, that the execution of his mother could in no way interfere with his legitimate claims.

We are informed, though the authority is questionable, that when Henry the Fourth sent his ambassador, Sully to James, inviting him to join with him against Elizabeth, by which means he might satisfy his revenge, the young king an-" swered, that he was unwilling to fall out with the Queen of England, for his mother's death had left him more secure on the throne than ever. The Scottish nobles were greatly disgusted at the indifference of their young prince. Instead of appearing in mourning, as had been ordered by the king, Lord Sinclair presented himself at court in full armour, as the garb best suited to the occasion.

It has been already remarked, that in his mother's extremity, James had applied to the principal ministers of religion to remember her in their prayers. This order, with the exception of his own chaplains, and a Mr. David Lindsay, the minister at Leith, was universally disobeyed. James, indeed, was treated quite as cavalierly by the Scottish clergy (and stood just as much in awe of them) as by his nobility. The following anecdote is highly characteristic of his subserviency to the Puritan priesthood, and of the pulpit familiarity which was permitted at the time. James had fixed on a particular day, on which prayers were to be offered up for his unfortunate mother in the several churches, and had selected the Bishop of St. Andrew's to officiate in his own presence on the occasion. As soon as this order became known to the principal oppositionists, they induced a young man, a Mr. John Cowper, to ascend the pulpit, and to forestall the bishop in the performance of the service of the day. The king, says Archbishop Spotswood, seeing Cowper in the place, called to him from his seat, and said, "Mr. John, that seat was destined for another; yet since you are there, if you will obey the charge that is given, and remember my mother in your prayers, you shall go on." Cowper replying that he would do as the Spirit of God should direct him, was commanded to leave the place. This order he showed no inclination to obey accordingly the captain of the guard proceeded to pull him out; on which he burst forth as follows; "This day shall be a witness against the king, in the great day of the Lord," and then denouncing a wo to the inhabitants of Edinburgh, he went down, and the Bishop of St. Andrews performed the duty.§

James was, to a certain degree, indebted for these insults to the discussion of familiar subjects,

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and the personal allusions which he himself en-
couraged in the pulpit. This taste continued to
the last period of his life; nor was he ever known
to be displeased as long as the preacher hit his
courtiers somewhat harder than himself. Even
when seated on the English throne, a conscien-
tious, or perhaps discontented, clergyman would
occasionally proceed to such lengths as to keep
the courtiers in continual alarm, lest any thing
disagreeable to the king, or injurious to their own
interests, should transpire. On these occasions
they distracted his majesty's attention by the best
means in their power. A jest well introduced, or
a facetious remark, seldom failed in such an emer-
gency. Among those who were best acquainted
with James's character, and who thus pandered
to his amusement, was Neile, Bishop of Lincoln,
and afterwards Archbishop of York.* This pre-
late was constantly at James's side, and when-
ever any thing was uttered, especially from the
pulpit, which he was unwilling should meet the
royal year, diverted the king's attention by some
'merry tale."
Arthur Wilson was himself
present at a sermon which was preached before
James at Greenwich, when the following re-
markable scene took place. The preacher, one
of the royal chaplains, selected for his text, Matt.
iv. 8. "And the devil took Jesus to the top of
a mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms
of the world, saying, 'All these will I give,'
&c. He first proceeded to demonstrate the
power of the devil at that period; he then brought
his kingdom down to the present time, express-
ing his belief that, as the devil was in possession
of such large dominions, there could be no doubt
but that he had his viceroys, councillors of state,
treasurers, secretaries, &c. This gave him an
opportunity of attributing the several vices, of
which James's advisers were accused, to the
ministers of his Satanic majesty, and portraying
their characters accordingly. At last he came to
the devil's treasurer, when he fixed his eyes on
the Earl of Cranfield, a man notorious for his
exactions, and lord treasurer at the time, and
pointing at him with his hand, exclaimed in an
emphatic manner, "That man," (repeating the
words,)" that man, who makes himself rich and
his master poor, is a fit treasurer for the devil."
Cranfield all this time sat with his hat over his
eyes, ashamed to look up; while James, who
was placed above him, sat smiling, like a mis-
chievous schoolboy, at his minister's discom-

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A treaty of marriage between James and Anne, daughter of Frederick, King of Denmark, had been set on foot as early as the year 1585, though not fully concluded till 1587. The death of the Danish king in this latter year still further delayed the completion of the marriage. When the match with Denmark was first proposed to James, he is said to have displayed the grossest ignorance as to the history and respectability of

Richard Neile, the son of a tallow-chandler, was
born in King Street, Westminster. He rose, by a
rapid gradation of preferment, to be master of the Sa-
voy, Dean of Westminster, and successively, Bishop
of Rochester, Litchfield and Coventry, Lincoln, Dur-
ham, Winchester, and Archbishop of York. Both
Pryne and Wilson accuse him of Arminianism, but
says Anthony Wood," as full of years as he was of
his orthodoxy is defended by Laud. “He died,"
honours, an affectionate subject to his prince, an in-
dulgent father to his clergy, a bountiful patron to his
chaplains, and a true friend to all who relied upon
He was buried in Westminster Abbey.-
Fasti Oxoniensis, vol. i. P. 159.

that country, and to have objected to the alliance on the ground of the unworthiness of that kingdom to furnish him with a consort.* Every thing, however, was at length settled. The marriage ceremony had been performed in Denmark, by proxy, in August, 1589, and James was anxiously expecting the arrival of his bride, when he received the news that she had been driven on the coast of Norway, and had determined to defer her voyage till the spring. It is amusing to discover a solemn historian of the period gravely attributing these delays to the machinations of witches. One Agnes Simson, "a matron of a grave and settled behaviour," actually confessed, that, at the instigation of the Earl of Bothwell, she had applied to her familiar spirit, (whom she was in the habit of invoking by the words holla, Master,) to take away the king's life. The demon, she said, had informed her, that on this occasion his powers had failed him; giving her his reasons in French, a language of which she was ignorant, though she was able to repeat the actual words of the spirit-il est homme de Dieu;t a compliment to James, which he, no doubt, fully appreciated.

Notwithstanding the powers of witchcraft, and the terrors of the sea, of which latter James stood greatly in awe, he was so eager to behold his future consort as to determine on proceeding in person to Norway for the purpose of conducting her home; the only act of gallantry on his part which history has been able to record.

James set sail, October 22, 1589, and after a prosperous voyage arrived at Norway, not far from Upslo, where the Princess of Denmark had taken refuge; and where the marriage was eventually solemnized. His dread of the sea is mentioned by more than one writer, and in his farewell manifesto he himself alludes to his anxiety on the subject: "As for my part, what moved me, ye may judge by that which I have already said,

* Melvil, p. 164. It is possible that James's objections might have arisen from the crown of Denmark being elective.

Sanderson, p. 159.

The interest which he took in the approaching ceremony is discoverable by a letter which he addressed to Lord Burghley, and which is still preserved among the Lansdown MSS. In this epistle he particularly recommends to his lordship's favour some merchants whom he has sent to London, to purchase dresses for the interesting occasion,

Right Trusty and Well-Beloved,

We greet you heartily well. Having directed the bearers, Robert Jowsie and Thomas Fenlis, merchants of Edinburgh, toward London for buying and provision of certain abulzementis and other ornaments requisite for decoration of our marriage, we have taken occasion to recommend them to your great terpose your good will and mind to their expedition courtesy, heartily requesting and desiring you to inand furtherance in that concern, so that they be in no wise interrupted nor hindered in the performance and execution thereof, but may receive quick and hasty despatch; as ye will report our right special and hearty thanks and do us acceptable pleasure. Thus we commit you to God's good protection. From the Canonry of Ros, the 19th day of July, 1589. Your loving friend,

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read; it is

Ellis, Orig. Letters, vol. iii. 29.

besides the shortness of the way, the surety of the passage being clear of all sands, forelands, or such like dangers; the harbours in these parts so sure, and no foreign fleets resorting upon these seas."

Shortly after the marriage ceremony, James proceeded with his bride to pay a visit to the court of Denmark, where he remained during the winter, and did not return to his dominions till May 20, 1590.* During his stay in Denmark, he constantly attended the courts of law, with the object of obtaining an insight into the legislature of that country; he afterwards, according to Daines Barrington, added to the Scottish law three statutes for the punishment of criminals, which he had borrowed from the Danish Code.† The day following the arrival of the royal party in Edinburgh, the Council met for the purpose of fixing a day for the queen's coronation. There happened to be no bishop in Edinburgh at the time, and the clergyman, whom James had honoured by selecting him to perform the office, positively refused to officiate, unless the cercmony of unction, which he asserted to be papistical and of Jewish origin, were omitted. James was obstinate on the subject, and so was the clergyman, who, moreover, was supported in his opposition by the principal puritan ministers. The consequence was, that a very learned discussion was carried on between James and the church, in which, as regarded controversial skill and theological knowledge, the king certainly proved his superiority. It was only, however, by threatening that he would wait the arrival of a bishop, that a divine, Andrew Melvil, rather than that the ceremony should be Episcopalian, consented to perform it as the king wished. The court put forth its rude splendour on this occasion. There was a succession of banquets and masks; and the rejoicings lasted for two months.


The Gowrie conspiracy, by which we are to understand the real or pretended attempt on the life of James, by the Earl of Gowrie and his brother, Alexander Ruthven, is too memorable and too mysterious an event to be passed over in silence. We must recollect, that it has not to this day been clearly ascertained, whether there were really a treasonable intention on the part of Gowrie, or whether the plot were not altogether a specious contrivance of the king, in order to get rid of a dangerous subject.


The suspected conspirators were the sons of that Earl of Gowrie who had been executed some years previously for seizing James's son at Ruthven. Soon after his father's death, the young earl had permission to travel abroad, and it is said that, at Padua, he adopted an heraldic device on which were a hand and a

sword aiming at a crown. There is another story, that, when at Orleans, a fortune-teller predicted to him that he should become melancholy from the effect of love, that he should be possessed of great power, and that he should die by the sword. On his way home he paid a visit to the court of Elizabeth, on which occasion he is said to have fixed his affections on the unfor

tunate Arabella Stuart.

James, who had previously restored him to

*Sanderson, p. 253. D'Israeli's Enquiry into the Literary and Political 216. p.

Character of James I.

his father's honours and estates, received him with much kindness on his return; his brother Alexander he made a gentleman of the bedchamber, and on his sister he conferred one of the principal posts about the queen.* The character of the earl, at this period, appears to have been drawn according to the political prejudices of the different writers. By one party he is described as proud, insolent, and ambitious; by the other, as amiable, kind-hearted, and strictly disposed to the duties of religion. At the time of the plot, he had only just completed his twenty-first year, while his brother was but nineteen.

Previous to fixing a crime on a suspected person, the first step is to investigate the motive which he might have had in view. In the present instance, two inducements have been mentioned the desire to revenge the death of a father, and the hope of supplanting James on the throne. The first of these suppositions clearly loses its weight from the fact, that the earl was put to death during the minority of the king, who could therefore have had no voice on the occasion. With regard to the second deduction, it appears, to say the least, extremely improbable, that so very young a man, without any adequate force, without the remotest probability of ultimate success, should have been rash enough to embark in so hazardous an enterprise. The circumstances, as regards the supposed attempt on James's person, are commonly related as follows:

The king was residing at Falkland for the purpose of indulging in his favourite sport of hunting, and on the morning of 5th August, 1600, was sallying forth with his hounds, when Alexander Ruthven, looking pale and agitated, rode up to his majesty, with the information that a person, supposed to be a Jesuit, and having a large amount of foreign gold about him, had been intercepted by his brother, Lord Gowrie. To this intelligence he added a request, that the king would ride to his brother's residence at Perth, by which means he expressed his belief that some important secrets might be extracted from the suspected person. From what we know of James's character, this part of the story certainly carries with it an air of truth. an investigation was exactly suitable to the king's tastes, for he peculiarly prided himself on his talent for cross-examination and power of eliciting the truth; besides, the thoughts of the gold was probably not without its consideration. He accordingly expressed his intention of honouring Gowrie with his presence at dinner.

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are here to answer for his death." James, greatly alarmed, insisted that, being a minor at the time, he was entirely innocent of the execu tion of the late earl, and used every argument and entreaty to avert the threatened danger. Ruthven's compassion was so far moved, as to undertake, on condition that the king should remain quiet, to endeavour to soften his brother. However, he soon returned, and informed James that there was no remedy, and that he must make up his mind to die; at the same time for cibly laying his hands upon the king, and endeavouring to bind his hands with a garter-s remarkable expedient, when we consider that pistol or a dagger (if Ruthven had, indeed, any intention on the king's life) would have been much more effective. Besides, according to James's own account of the transaction, which he afterwards published, it appears that during Ruthven's temporary absence, the man in armour not only expressed his intention not to injure the king, but asserted with an oath that he would sooner die first. For what reason, therefore, this person was placed there, or why he did not assist James to escape, or why he did not interfere when he beheld his sovereign struggling in the gripe of Ruthven, appears not only unaccountable, but has occasionally induced a disbelief of the whole affair.


The king, according to his own narrative, managed during the struggle to drag his adversary towards a window which looked into the street, and perceiving the Earl of Mar below, called out to him lustily for assistance. earl, followed by a considerable number of persons, rushed up the staircase, and finding the door fastened within, burst it open.* Previously, however, to the arrival of the earl on the spot, John Ramsey,† a page, happening to come up a back staircase, through which the assassins meant to have escaped, discovered the king struggling with Ruthven. James instantly called to him to strike his antagonist, desiring him to thrust low, for he wore a coat of mail. His words were, "Fy! strik him laich, becaus

*The Duke of Lennox, in his deposition, gives an amusing description of the stirring scene in which Such he bore a share. "As they wer standing [below the window] advyseing quhair to seik the king, incontinent, and in this mentyme, this deponar hard ane voce, and said to the Erie of Mar, 'This is the kingis voce that cryis; be quhair he will! And sua they lukand furth at the window wantand his hat, his face all lukand up to the ludgeing; they saw his majestie being reid [red], and ane hand gripand his cheik and mouth; and the king cryit, I am murtherit! Teassoun! My Lord of Mar, help! help!' And incontinent, this deponar, the Erle of Mar, and their cumpany, ran up the stair to the galry chalmer, quhair his majesty wes, to have relevit him; and as they passed up, they fand the dure of the chalmer fast; and seeing ane ledder standing besyd, they raschit at the dure with the ledder, and the stoippis meris; and nochtwithstanding lang forceing with of the ledder brak. And syne they send for hamquhill eftir the Erle of Gowrie and his brother wes hammeris, they gat nocht entrie at the said chalmer, baith slane."-Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, vol. ii. p.

After continuing the sport for a short time, and having killed a buck, James, accompanied by the Duke of Lennox and the Earl of Mar, rode to the residence of the Gowries. No sooner had he finished his repast, and the attendant noble. men had been seated for a similar purpose, than that now was the most favourable moment for Alexander Ruthven approached him; intimating followed Ruthven to an upper room, on entering examining the stranger. The king rose and which the latter closed the door, and James sudpresence of a person denly found himself in the in complete armour. His natural inquiry was whether this was the person he had come to "No," said Ruthven, (at the same time snatching a dagger from the girdle of the man in armour,) "you have been brought hither for another purpose; you killed my father, and



For this service, Ramsey was created Viscount England in 1620, was raised to be Baron of Kingston and Earl of Holderness. The elevation was attended by a particular proviso, that on the 5th of August, the day on which he had delivered his sovereign, he and his heirs should for ever carry the sword of state before the king, in commemoration of

Hadington, and, having accompanied the king to

he hes ane pyne-dowlit upon him."* Ramsey that the king's published relation of what ocinstantly obeyed, forcing his dagger into Ruth-curred, is in singular opposition to the evidence ven's stomach two or three times. According of the witnesses.* to Spotswood, the man whom the king found in the apartment endeavoured to make his escape, but was run through the body by Sir Thomas Erskine, and killed on the spot. It seems, however, by every other account of the affair, that this mysterious individual took advantage of the commotion, and retired unnoticed from the apart


Soon after this, the Earl of Gowrie, who really seems to have been completely ignorant of what was going forward, rushed into the apart ment in which James had been placed by Sir Thomas Erskine, accompanied by three or four of his retainers, and having a sword in each hand. He made a most gallant attack, or rather defence, and was on the point of routing his opponents, when one of them cried out that the king was killed. Gowrie, in natural astonishment, dropped the points of his swords to the ground, when Ramsey, the page, seized the opportunity, and ran his rapier through the earl's heart.t

Thomas Cranstoun, George Craigengelt, and John Baron, retainers of Gowrie's, were executed for having connived at this conspiracy; they all declared with their dying breath that they were ignorant of any treasonable intent, and that they had only drawn their swords in defence of the earl, their master. "I have been taken," said Cranstoun, "for a traitor, but I thank God I am not one. I was stabbed through with a sword at this last tumult, and now I am to be hanged." Andrew Henderson, another follower of that unfortunate nobleman, deposed, on the other hand, that he was the person in armour already mentioned; though it seems that the king had been previously well acquainted with Henderson's person; and yet, notwithstanding a protracted conversation, had hitherto entertained not the least suspicion of his identity. The evidence, indeed, of Henderson is so full of contradictions, as to render the fact of his being the person extremely improbable. It appears far more likely that he volunteered the testimony which he gave, in order to save his life; if, indeed, he had not been tampered with by the court, who were naturally anxious to corroborate the king's statement, on which hitherto had alone rested the suspicions of Gowrie's guilt. Besides, James describes the man in armour as "a black, grim man," while Henderson is stated by his cotemporaries to have been a person of "low stature, ruddy complexion, and brown bearded." In addition to these inconsistencies is the fact,

The further we investigate this complicated affair, the greater difficulties we meet with at every step. On the one hand, it appears highly improbable that James should have entered into such a plot against his own subjects-that he should have allowed the earl and his brother to return from abroad, and have loaded them with favours, when all the time he fully intended their destruction-that he should have been guilty of the solemn mockery of appointing an annual day of thanksgiving for a deliverance which was merely ideal ;t and, what is perhaps the most weighty argument, that so notorious a coward should have voluntarily implicated himself in so perilous an adventure.

On the other hand, the arguments in favour of the Gowries' innocence are still more staggering. Besides the absence of a sufficient motive, it was proved that the only weapon found on Alexander Ruthven after his death, was a sword rusted in its sheath and undrawn; and he was, besides, a mere boy at the time. The earl and his brother were both slain on the spot, instead of being taken prisoners, which might easily have been effected. The king, without any apparent motive, had assembled an unusual force of armed men at the time, and as many as five hundred gentlemen are said to have composed his suite in the neighbourhood. The reality of the conspiracy was not only generally canvassed at the period, but appears to have been commonly disbelieved. The ministers of the church in Edinburgh positively refused to return thanks for the king's delivery, and preferred encountering his utmost vengeance to implicating themselves in what they conscientiously believed to be an infamous and mountebank cheat. The Bishop of Ross alone had complaisance enough to address the people at the Market Cross, at Edinburgh; but even he contented himself with a narrative relation of what was supposed to have taken place. For many years afterwards, Gowrie was spoken of in Perth and its neighbourhood as an innocent and injured person, and James's conduct invariably mentioned with abhorrence.

It has been asserted that a criminal intercourse had been carried on between the queen and Alexander Ruthven, and that the king's jealous sensibility induced him to adopt this means of revenge: this supposition, however, can be mentioned as little more than a surmise.

An attempt has been made to prove that the Earl of Gowrie was not only nearly allied, but, after James, was actually the next heir to the Eng

* See Life and Death of John Earl of Gowrie, p. 324. It is there affirmed, on the authority of an Edinburgh MS., that at the very time when Gowrie was killed, Henderson was seen walking on the Tay Bridge of Perth; and again, "That he was the man said to be in armour, was known to be a falsehood, for he was seen that day coming from Scoon to Perth, on foot; and having heard that the king was in Gowrie's house, and the gate shut, walked on the bridge till all was over."

Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, vol. ii. p. 158. † Spotswood, p. 457; Sanderson, p. 226. Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, vol. ii. p. 155. § See a very ingenious treatise, "The History of he Life and Death of John Earl of Gowrie, by the Rev. James Scott," p. 327, Edinburgh, 1818. This work, which is one of considerable labour and reearch, contains some curious references and extracts rom unpublished MSS. the parochial records of Perth, as also a summary of the various tracts, and ther printed works, which treat on the subject of A thanksgiving for the king's deliverance was he "Gowries' Conspiracy." The object of the continued on the 5th of August throughout his everend author is confessedly to exculpate his reign. Bishop Andrews is said to have fallen on avourites, the Gowries; and if he has fallen short his knees to James, beseeching his majesty to enf effecting his purpose, he has at least deduced lighten him as to the reality of the treason, in me very staggering facts, and opened an interest-order that he might be released from mocking the ng and wider field for discussion. The reader is Almighty, should the story be a mere fiction. so referred to the detailed, and more popular ac- James, however, assured the bishop, on the faith of a ount of Robertson.-Hist. of Scotland, Works, vol. Christian and the word of a king, that there was no · P. 205. deception in the case.-Biog. Brit. vol. iv. p. 2455.

lish crown; and, strange as it may appear, notwithstanding the proverbial industry and perseverance of the genealogists, this important doubt has never been cleared up. The supposition of Gowrie's affinity to the throne rests as follows: At the death of Elizabeth, the crown would naturally revert to the descendants of Henry the Seventh; Margaret Tudor, eldest daughter of that monarch, and grandmother of James the First, after the death of her husband, James the Fourth of Scotland, had married Henry Stuart, Lord Ruthven; who again married Lady Janet Stewart, daughter of the Earl of Athol. Lord Gowrie's mother was certainly granddaughter of Lord Ruthven, but whether descended from his first wife, the queen dowager, or from Lady Janet Stewart, remains yet to be proved: if from the former, after the failure of issue from James the First, the earl was certainly the natural successor to the throne; if from the latter, though in some degree it allied him to the royal family, it placed his hopes of succession at a very considerable distance.

Ingenious as are the attempts to prove this relationship on the part of the Gowries, and some of the arguments are staggering, we must ever bear in mind the important fact, that not a single contemporary historian has alluded to the subject; and we can hardly believe that, had such claims really existed, we should have been left so entirely in the dark. There are innumerable instances which clearly demonstrate that both Elizabeth and James regarded Lady Arabella Stuart as the subject most nearly allied to the throne. "Quiet as that young creature looks," said Queen Elizabeth to the French ambassadress," she may one day sit on this throne!" Now, if the Earl of Gowrie were really the grandson of Queen Margaret, the claims of Arabella Stuart as great granddaughter are thrown altogether in the background. Supposing, however, as a matter of argument, that Gowrie really stood in the position in which it has been attempted to place him, the fact, however satisfactorily proved, would throw but little additional light on the identity of the guilty party. The same inducement which might have led Gowrie to get rid of James, in order to his own succession, might have actuated James in getting rid of Gowrie; for James was undoubtedly as jealous of his successor, or of any person who might interfere with his rights, as was Elizabeth herself; a fact sufficiently proved by his treatment of Arabella Stuart. It is improbable, also, that the proximity of the Gowries to the blood royal should have been an inducement with James; for, after the death of the earl and his brother, there remained two younger brothers, William and Patrick, who naturally inherited the claims of their elder brother. James, whatever was the motive, certainly persecuted that gallant and unhappy family to the last: William died in exile, and Patrick remained a prisoner in the Tower of London till liberated at

the accession of Charles the First. The boon of freedom would have been valueless without the means of subsistence, and Charles considerately settled a small pension on the victim of his father's gross injustice. During his incarceration, Patrick Ruthven had occupied his time and attention in literary and scientific pursuits. When the royal bounty, the last of the Ruthvens apthe troubles of the revolution deprived him of pears to have wandered an impoverished scholar in the streets of London; if he had not actually to struggle with the horrors of starvation.

It is but fair on the part of James to record the following anecdote:-Mr. William Cowper, the minister of Perth, informed Archbishop Spotswood, that, visiting the Earl of Gowrie some days previous to the supposed conspiracy, he found him intent on a book entitled, "Conspiracies against Princes."* The earl remarked that former plotters had invariably failed in their object through mismanagement, and that entire secresy was the only basis of success.

To enable the crown to confiscate the estates of the deceased earl, it was necessary that there should be a legal inquiry into the proofs of his guilt. This ceremony may be rather called a trial of the dead, for, in accordance with an ancient custom, the massacred remains of the brothers were deposited in court during the process of investigation. The parliament decreed that their names, dignities, and memories should be blotted from the books of the nobility; that their property should be at the disposal of the king; that they should be hung, drawn, and quartered at the cross of Edinburgh; and that the several portions of their bodies should be affixed to the most public buildings of the principal towns in the kingdom. The sentence was fulfilled almost to the letter; their heads were placed on the Tolbooth at Edinburgh, and their legs and arms on the gates of Perth.

Such are the circumstances connected with the famous Gowrie conspiracy. It must be admitted that the generality of our historians have decided in favour of James; indeed, the curious evidence recently brought forward by Pitcairn, in the Criminal Trials, is supposed by many to have set the question at rest. Whatever, therefore, is now adduced, has been intended rather to display the merits of a perplexing controversy, than as throwing any additional light on a subject which has been so often and so ably discussed.


The crown of England, at the death of Elizabeth, was transferred tranquilly and undisputedly to the brows of her successor. The deceased queen, as is well known, partly, perhaps, from superstitious, and partly from political motives, had ever shrunk from naming the person whom she wished to succeed her, and had invariably met any importunities on the subject with the utmost indignation. In the last moments of her glorious career, while in extreme sickness of mind and body, the lord admiral, the lord keeper, and Secretary Cecil, for the last time intruded upon her the hateful subject. The queen, says Camden,† replied faintly, that as she held a regal sceptre, so she desired no other than a royal successor. When Cecil requested her to explain herself more fully: I would, she added, have a king to succeed me, and who should that be but my nearest kinsman the King of Scots? Such is Camden's account, from which our principal historians appear to have borrowed their relation of this important passage.‡ There is, however, another writer,

* De Conjurationibus adversus Principes. † Camden, History of Queen Elizabeth, in Kennett, vol. ii. p. 653.

Rapin, vol. ii. p. 155; Echard, vol. i. p. 902; Hume, vol. v. p. 385. Sanderson, who may almost be considered as a contemporary, gives a similar account (p. 261.) This historian, however, notwithstanding his constant professions to have been behind the scenes, is well known to have been a mere


Robert Carey, afterwards Earl of Monmouth, who was constantly in the queen's sick chamber, who relates the story in a somewhat different manner. Elizabeth, he says distinctly, was speechless at the time; adding, that, when the name of the King of Scotland was mentioned to her, she put her hand to her head, by which they all knew that he was the man she desired should reign after her."* The council, and especially Cecil, were naturally anxious, in order to the quiet establishment of James, that they should be enabled to add the authority of the queen's express wishes to the claims of hereditary descent; we can therefore readily imagine that any circumstance, however slight, would have been brought to bear on the occasion. It is just as probable that the movement of the queen's hand should have been caused by a pain in her head, as that it should have been intended to denote the disposition of a kingdom. No sooner was the breath departed from the queen's body, than Sir Robert Carey,† who had been anxiously hovering about the death-bed of his kinswoman and benefactress, set off, with the lamentations of her women still ringing in his ears, to announce the important tidings to James: an act quite as indelicate as it was unauthorised. It appears, by Carey's own statement, that he must have ridden the distance between London and Edinburgh (about 400 miles) within the space of sixty hours, notwithstanding he received a dangerous fall from his horse, which retarded him on the road.‡

James received the news of his accession with proper decency. Rapin states, on the indifferent authority of a French historian,§ that he could not forbear lifting up his eyes to heaven, as if to thank God for the boon which he had so long and anxiously expected. Carey, on his part, mentions nothing of this discomposure, slight as it was, in the manner of James. The king had just gone to bed when he arrived, and therefore received him in his bed-chamber. "I kneeled by him," adds this true courtier, "and saluted him by his title of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland. He gave me his hand to kiss, and bade me welcome. After he had long discoursed of the manner of the queen's sickness, and of her death, he asked me what letters I had from

borrower from other writers. See Oldey's Life of Raleigh, p. 163; and Kennett's History, vol. i. p. 662.

* Memoirs of Carey, Earl of Monmouth, p. 140. Fourth son of Henry, first Lord Hunsdon, creat ed by James I. 5th February, 1625, Baron Carey and Earl of Monmouth. Horace Walpole has given him a place among the Noble Authors, observing, that "he was a near relation to Queen Elizabeth, but appears to have owed his preferment to the despatch he used in informing her successor of her death." He was indeed a true courtier. His memoirs were first

published by John, Earl of Cork and Orrery, in 1759. He died at an advanced age in 1639. Walpole's Works; Burke's Extinct Peerage; Memoirs

of Himself.

Memoirs of Carey, Earl of Monmouth, p. 149. More than one instance might be mentioned of our ancestors having performed considerable distances in an incredibly short space of time. On the 17th of July, 1620, one Bernard Calvert, of Andover, rode from St. George's Church, Southwark, to Dover, crossed the channel in an open boat to Calais, and from thence returned to St. George's Church in the same day; having performed the whole distance between three o'clock in the morning and eight in the afternoon. Medulla Hist. Anglicanæ, p. 185; Stow,

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the council? I told him none; and acquainted him how narrowly I escaped from them. And yet I had brought him a blue ring from a fair lady, that I hoped would give him assurance of the truth that I had reported. He took it and looked upon it, and said, 'It is enough; I know by this you are a true messenger.'

Birch has thrown a partial light over the his tory of the blue ring."Lady Elizabeth Spelman," he says, "used to relate, that the Lady Scroope, who waited upon the queen in her last moments, as soon as her majesty expired, threw this ring out of the window to her brother, which appears to have been a token agreed upon be tween her and the King of Scots as the notice of the queen's death." A window was recently pointed out on Richmond Green, the site of the old palace, from which legend reported that the ring had been thrown.

Nothing could exceed the joy of the Scots, when the tardy accession of James to the throne of England was at length announced. The protracted reign of Elizabeth had been universally regarded as a national calamity; and we are even assured that a belief existed among the lower classes in Scotland, that the Queen of England had been long since dead, and that the English had been in the habit of substituting a series of old women in her room. Weldon says that the wisest heads in Scotland could scarcely be induced to believe, that as long as there was an "old wife" in England, their king would be called on to succeed.

The person selected by James to communicate his intended proceedings to the English council was Sir Roger Aston, who is reported to have served the king for many years as his barber, though he eventually rose to be a gentleman of the bed-chamber and master of the wardrobe. He seems to have been a plain and straight-forward man, and quite as overjoyed as his master at entering upon the splendours and luxuries for which they had so long waited. This rough Scotsman being admitted into the council-chamber, the lords received him with much courtesy, and asked him how he did? "Even, my lords," he replied, "like a poor man wandering about forty years in a wilderness and barren soil, and now arrived at the land of promise."§ Such was the general feeling of the Scottish nation. Shortly before James's departure from Edinburgh, happening to attend divine worship at St. Giles's church, the preacher thought proper to remind him of God's mercies, exhorting him to be duly grateful for the favour which had been shown him, and not to forget his countrymen! The king actually rose from his seat, and,“ promising to have a care of them and their good, gave them a most loving and kind farewell."||

The progress of James, from his old to his new capital, was every where attended with a magnificence to which he had scarcely been accustomed in his own impoverished realm. The

* Memoirs of Carey, Earl of Monmouth, p. 151. View of the Negotiations between England, France, and Brussels.

He was natural son of John Aston, second son of Richard Aston, of Aston, in Cheshire; and though born an Englishman, had been brought up in Scotland. He had occasionally been employed to carry letters between James and Elizabeth. Sir Roger died 23d May, 1612, having accumulated a large fortune at court. Athenæ Oxon. vol. i. col. 173. § Weldon, p. 6. Spotswood, p. 476.

¶ See Nichols's Progresses and Processions of King James I., vol. i. p. 53.


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houses of the nobility and principal gentry were prepared for his reception on the way, and he was every where entertained with the most splendid hospitality. "These people," said a blunt Scotsman,would spoil a good king." With the exception of a fall from his horse in hunting, and a remarkable circumstance of his having hung a footpad without even the form of a trial, no event of any importance occurred in his progress through his new dominions.

The grief for a departed monarch is commonly of short duration. The joy of the people was not less ardent, nor their acclamations less loud, when they beheld the foreign successor, (of whose character they knew about as little as they did of his folios,) than when they had crowded round the chariot of the great princess over whose remains the grave was just closing. James, however, did his utmost to damp the ardour of his new subjects. He had always disliked a crowd, and on the pretence that such a concourse of admirers would produce a scarcity of provisions, he issued an order for their dispersion. The higher ranks were not better pleased with the manner in which he prostituted all titles of honour. Besides his promiscuous additions to the peerage, it is reported that with in six weeks after he left Scotland, he conferred knighthood on no less than two hundred and thirty-seven persons. A pasquinade was affixed to St. Paul's, purporting to be a method to enable weak memories to retain the names of the new nobility."*

James's notions of the royal prerogative appear to have increased with his addition of territory. At Newark, as has been already related, he took upon himself to hang a highwayman without the least pretence of a trial-a sort of orientalism which was afterwards canvassed in such a manner as to prevent the probability of its recurrence.t


was four brawny pigs, piping hot, bitted and harnessed, with ropes of sausages, all tied to a monstrous pudding.*

The Scots, who accompanied James to his new dominions, are said to have brought with The king's love of buffoonery never deserted them their dirt as well as their poverty. The Countess of Dorset informs us, that when she paid her visit of congratulation to the royal fa- him, even when age and vexation were pressing mily at Theobald's, she was surprised at the hard upon him. But what he most delighted in great change which had taken place, in regard to was any burlesque, however caricatured, on the the want of cleanliness, since the preceding reign.incidents of real life: the more ridiculous they Soon after quitting the palace she found herself were, says Arthur Wilson, the more they pleased infested with those insects, the name of which it him. A story is told by this writer, of a profane expedient, adopted by Buckingham and his mois scarcely considered delicate to mention. It is to be regretted, that Sully, in his account ther, to divert the royal melancholy at the most A young lady was He men- introduced, carrying in her arms a pig, in the of his embassy to England, enters so little into dismal period of his reign. the fashions and manners of the court. tions, however, an occasion of his dining with dress of an infant, which the countess presented James at Greenwich, when he was "not a little to the king in a rich mantle : one Turpin, dressed surprised to behold that the king was always like a bishop, in a satin gown, lawn sleeves, and served on the knee. A surtout," he adds, " in the usual pontifical ornaments, commenced readthe form of a pyramid, was placed in the middle ing the ceremony of baptism from the book of Let us with a silver ewer filled with water. The king, of the table, which contained most costly vessels, Common Prayer, while an assistant stood ready and was even enriched with diamonds." pleasing surprise, hearing the pig suddenly return, however, to the private tastes and pur- to whom the joke was intended to convey a suits of James. squeak, looked more closely about him, and recognised the face of Buckingham, who was intended to personify the god-father. "Away, for shame," he cried:" what blasphemy is this?". him.t extremely indignant at the trick which had been imposed upon


There were a set of persons about the king, who were ever ready to pander to his gross ideas of amusement. Sir Anthony Weldon gives us the following account of the popular entertainments at court, about the period that Buckingham Then," he says, "the first came into favour. king began to eat abroad, who formerly used to eat in his bed-chamber, and after supper would come forth to see pastimes and fooleries, in which Sir Edward Zouch, Sir George Goring,† and Sir John Finett, were the chief and masterfools: and surely this fooling got them more than any other's wisdom, far above them in desert. Zouch's part was to sing bawdy songs and tell bawdy tales: Finett to compose these songs. Then were a set of fiddlers brought up on purpose for this fooling; and Goring was master of the game for fooleries, sometimes presenting David Droman and Archie Armstrong on the back of the other fools, to tilt one at the other, till they fell together by the ears; sometimes the property was presented by them in antic dances. But Sir Jo. Millisent, who was never known before, was commended for notable fooling; and so was The tastes and habits which were introduced indeed the best extemporary fool of them all." Sir George Goring, who afterwards rose to by James into the English court differed widely from the stately pastimes and chivalrous amuse- military celebrity in the civil troubles, appears ments of the past reign. There was no want of to have well merited his title of "Master-fool." what may perhaps be called magnificence; in- In a letter to the Earl of Arundel, dated 22d Nodeed, the expense of supporting the royal plea-vember, 1618, another of his follies is described. sures occasionally amounted to extravagance,~ but at this period of his reign there was not only little elegance, but the taste of the court, and especially of the king himself, appears constantly tinctured with grossness and vulgarity. The nice perceptions of Prince Charles and Buckingham eventually introduced those intellectual refinements which, in the succeeding reign, distinguished the court of England as the politest in Europe.

In James's progress to London celerity seems to have been considered as of the least importance. The greater part of the days were passed in hunting, and the nights in feasting. He arrived in London on the 7th of May, 1603, having consumed five weeks in his journey.‡


Wilson, in Kennett, vol. i. p. James entertained to the last the most dangerous notions as to the extent to which the royal prerogative should be carried: this is the more singular since his tutor, the illustrious Buchanan, endeavoured by every means in his power to instil very different ideas into the mind of his sovereign pupil, and, indeed, published his work, De jure Regni apud Scotos, with this object.

The coronation of James took place on the 25th of July, 1603; the ceremony, owing to the plague which raged fearfully in the metropolis, being performed hurriedly, and without ostentation, by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The occasion was a kind of al fresco party, in
commemoration of the prince's birth-day, when
the principal courtiers had agreed to meet to-
gether, each contributing his own share of the
Sir George
repast, some striving to be substantial, some
curious, and some extravagant.
Goring's invention bore away the bell; and that

*Probably the same Sir Edward Zouch who was Knight Marshal of England in the reign of James I., and consequently related to Edward Lord Zouch of Haringworth. The identity, however, is equally uncertain and immaterial.

† Sir George Goring, afterwards so distinguished for the services which he rendered to his sovereign during the civil troubles, was created, 14th April, 1632. by Charles I., Baron Goring of Hurst Pierpont, and 8th November, 1644, Earl of Norwich. He married Mary, daughter of Edward Lord Bergavenny, and died in 1662.

Sir John Finett, master of the ceremonies to James I. and Charles I., and author of Finetti Philoxenis, containing some curious anecdotes and treatises on points of precedence and court etiquette. It was first published in London, 1656.

We must not, however, attribute his displeasure, on this occasion, to any other cause than the accidental melancholy which happened to have mastered him at the time. It is extremely improbable that such artful politicians as Buckingham and his mother should have ventured on such "blasphemies," unless persuaded, by the success of former puerilities, that their impious buffoonery would not be unpleasing to the weakminded monarch. It may be proper, too, to mention, that a pig was an animal of which James had a more than Judaical abhorrence; he tells us, in his "Counterblast to Tobacco," that were he to invite the Devil to dinner, he would place three dishes before him ;-first, a pig; secondly, a poll of ling and mustard; and thirdly, a pipe of tobacco to assist digestion. His dislike to tobacco was only equaled by his horror of the pig; a fact well known by the fame of the celebrated There was an order tirade above alluded to. issued during his reign, prohibiting the members of the University of Cambridge from smoking tobacco in St. Mary's church. Considering how frequently references are made by contemporary writers to the king's dislike to pigs, we are surprised to find his favourite Buckingham more than once addressing him in his letters, by the familiar appellation of "Sow;" but the following curious Edward Zouch, is even more startling. letter, addressed by the Earl of Pembroke to Sir "Honest Ned,


"I know you love your master dearly, and his pleasures, which makes me put you in trust with this business, myself not being able to stay

in the town so late.

"I pray you, therefore, as soon as it grows dark fail not to send the close cart to Basingborn for the speckled sow ye saw the king take such liking unto this day; and let her be brought privately to the man of the wardrobe, by the same token, that I chid him for letting the other beasts go carelessly into the garden while it was day,

* Lodge's Illustrations of English Hist. vol. iii. P. 403. † Wilson, in Kennett, vol. ii. p. 764. Witty Apopthegms of James I.

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