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James I

James I., king of England (James VI. of Scotland), was born in 1566, the son of Darnley and Mary Queen of Scots. He was carefully educated by George Buchanan and other tutors, but his youth was passed in troublous times. From the year 1578, when the Regency was taken from Morton, he was nominally king of Scotland. His mother was still alive, but was a prisoner in England. In 1585 he consented to receive a pension from Elizabeth, and though he made a formal protest against the execution of Mary, his resentment did not prevent his co-operating with England against Spain. The chief events of James's reign in Scotland were the abolition of Episcopacy in 1581, and the subsequent seizure of the king, who had opposed it, by the conspirators who carried out what was called the Raid of Ruthven; the rescue of the king next year by Gowrie, Mar, and Glencairn; the revolt of the king against his rescuers, and his defeat of them in 1584; the compulsory pardon of the remnant of these at Stirling (1585) and dismissal of the obnoxious Arran; the rebellions of Bothwell (nephew of Mary Stuart's husband) in 1592, 1593, and 1594; the final defeat of Huntly and Errol, the Catholic malcontents, at Glenlivat in the latter year; and the Gowrie Conspiracy (q.v.). James had been for some time in secret correspondence with Robert Cecil, who prepared the way for his general acceptance as King of England on the death of Elizabeth in 1603. Here he was able to carry out his Arminian views with more freedom than had been possible in Scotland. But while the Puritans were dealt with firmly at the Hampton Court Conference, the Romanists were also offended by the expulsion of the Jesuits, and the result was the Gunpowder Plot. Disputes with Parliament on the subject of money grants were frequent; and after the death of Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, power fell into the hands of favourites, first of Carr (Earl of Somerset) and then of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (q.v.). Under the latter illegal or vexatious ways of obtaining money were resorted to, and no Parliament sat between 1614 and 1621. That of 1621 impeached Bacon and refused to support James's foreign policy, and was therefore dissolved after a very short session. The king had married his daughter Elizabeth to the Elector Palatine, but refused to give the Protestant kinglet anything but moral support, till in 1624 the chagrin of Buckingham at the failure of the Spanish match led at last to a declaration of war against Spain. Parliament was reassembled for this purpose, and a French match for Prince Charles was being negotiated when the king died on March 27, 1625. James I. was a very diligent writer. The Basilicon Doron, and treatises against witches and tobacco, were his best-known productions.

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