Page images

Indeed, Elizabeth and her ministers managed James as they pleased; they fully understanding his temper, councils, and designs:

there \t no laying obligations upon them ; and after you have done all to please and oblige them, to serve a turn, or even gratify a present humour, they will discard or ruin you: for they think their subjects made for them j that 'tis a favour to employ them; and that they are of no worth, any farther than they promote their designs. If people therefore knew when they were well, they would be thanksul for a peaceable retreat, and strive not to mix in counsels with those whose aim it is to outwit and mischief each other; nor would they be desirous of climbing up so high, as that a fall is fatal. But the ambitious in vain are cautioned to check their career. Nothing but some fad miscarriage, difappointment or disgrace, will teach them the needsul lesions of humility and moderation, or cause them to enjoy contentedly the blessings of private lise. Before I take my leave of this affair, I will observe that from the proceedings against: Mary, it appears, that the queen and her parliament had no notion of such a facredness in the persons of princes, as to render them unaccountable to any earthly tribunal. For here is a sovereign princess, tried, condemned, and executed, with the approbation, yea in pursuance of the request of the parliament; and though Elizabeth, to fave appearances, seigned sorrow and indignation at the execution, yet no one has been so hardy as to put into her mouth a sentence tending to condemn the lawsulness of it. For she was too wife and understanding to have done it; nor could any who knew her character suppose her capable of it. This doctrine was left to her successor, who had weakness enough to declare expressly, "that kings were, ao d) Kin "counta^le t0 God only." (b) A doctrine big with Jam«'s mischief, and fit for nothing but to make tyrants. But wotks, p. 0f this I {hall have occasion to speak more hereafter.

signs (H): so that they acted as they thought fit, without any regard to him, any farther


(H) Elizabeth and her ministers managed James as they pleased, and understood his temper, councils and designs.] It appears from Melvil, that the English were thoroughly acquainted with the temper and behaviour of the king, and had those about him who took every insinuate those notions into him, whjch were most acceptable to Elizabeth. '* IVootton the am"bassador became one of his most familiar minions, "waiting upon him at all fixed pastimes." (a) And Sir W Metal, Richard Wigmore " was particularly instructed by Wal- p' * *' "fmgbam, in all the proper methods to gain upon the "king's confidence, and to observe and give an ac"count of all he faw in him; which he did very faith"sully." (b) And though James little thought it, his (A) Burnet, njost secret actions were known to the English ministry, }£j£ s' and all his transactions abroad, how privately soever rood's nie~ they were carried. For Elizabeth's ambassadors had a moits, p. 9. very watchsul eye over the Scotch; and what by ad- 8TM- Lon<1, dress, what by considerations of religion, but chiefly * by money, they became acquainted with every thing James was negotiating every where. Thus for instance, Sir Henry Neville, though at Paris, had a watchsul eye over the tranfactions of the Scotch king at Rome, and made himself master of them, though they were managed with the greatest caution: [c) and he was appriz- (<) Wined also of the negotiation of baron Ogilby in Spain, who TM°£***te offered in the name of "'James to be reconciled to the 145/145. "apostolic fee, and to enter into a consederacy with the letters "that crown, in order to rescue himself from the dan- "^"ad"gers he was exposed to from Elizabeth, on whom he ing at Urge. "offered, (upon condition of being assisted with twelve "thoufand men armed and paid all the time the war "should last, and five hundred thoufand ducats to be> "gin it) to make war immediately, and declare him"self her enemy." (d). So that from hence it appears (^Winthat Elizabeth had him fast, and could have exposed «°°d.V*<»-'•

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

than mere compliments. For the fear of

, losing the succession to the English crown,

and the pension he enjoyed from Elizabeths


him to the resentments of the English and Scottish nations whenever she pleased. For as Walsingham, Burnet fays, " thought the kiiig was either inclined to turn (e) Burnet, " papist, or to be of no religion ;" (e) so these negoti0 •'• p-6, ations, had they been published, would have brought over multitudes of others to the fame opinion; the eonsequence of which to him might have been fatal. No wonder then James's threatnings were little heeded: he was well known by the English court, and to know him was to stand in no awe of him; for big as he would talk on occalion, fighting was his known aversion. Indeed, after he came into England, he was weak enough to pretend that he had the direction of the English affairs during his predecessor's reign: had this been so, they would have been managed like his own in Scotland, and as matters afterwards were by him in England. Whereas every body knows, never councils were better conducted, never more glory by any administra* tion acquired, than by Elizabeth's, and therefore he could have had no hand in the direction. That in the latter part of that queen's reign, he cultivated a correspondence with some of her courtiers, and endeavoured by means of them to secure the succession, is true: and he was successsul in his applications. But stiH he guided not, but was guided, and as caresully watched as could be; and, perhaps, a knowledge of his weaknese, love of ease, and aversion to business, did not a little contribute to engage some of the great ones in his favour; who hoped that under him they might acquire honours, power, and wealth, in which they were not much mistaken. For a prince of great abilities, how valuable soever to a nation, is not the delight of self-interested statesmen. He will see with his own eyes, will judge of men as they deserve, and reward only the wise and good; and therefore under such an one littk is to be hoped for by them.

made him in all things obedient to her will (I).


(I) The sear of losing the succession to .the English crown, and the pension he enjoyed from Elizabeth, made him in all things obedient to her will.] James loved not Elizabeth, for she kept him under restraint; protected his nobility against him; fomented divisions in his kingdom; and had caused his mother to be put to death. In short, he looked on her as, the cause of all his troubles.. These things he strongly complains of in his reasons for his reconcilement with Rome, and consederacy with Spain (a). But yet notwithstanding the grudge^) w,B. he bore her, he resused her nothing, nor dared to con-wood, Vol. tradict her. For he had a yearly pension from the queen, • p* 2' 1 think, ten thoufand pounds, the loss of which he could not well bear; which was increased in the year 1601, two thoufand more, upon his request. "Her "majesty (fays Cecyll) promising to continue it, as long "as he shall make it appear to the world, that he is "willing to deserve her extraordinary care and kind"ness towards him." (6) This was a good round sum W H. p. at that time of day in Scotland, and therefore it behoved3»^ James to make it appear that he deserved it, by complying with her, whose bounty he so largely shared in. But that which kept James most in awe was the sear of losing the succession to the English crown. His being next in blood (though afterwards much talked of by him) was no security; had he behaved displeasingly to Elizabeth, and once made her heartily angry, 'tis more than probable he would have died in his own country. For by a statute of the 13th year of her reign, it was made high treason for any person to affirm, " that the '•' reigning prince with the authority of the parliament, "is not able to limit and bind the crown, and the de"scent and inheritance thereof." This was the rod which was held over James, and made him sear and tremble. For he could never get himself declared by Elizabeth her successor, and. he knew sull well what she

C 3 was

He was not much regarded in Scotland by hisnobnity,whichwasowing,perhaps,asmuch to their restless temper, as his weakness (K);


was capable of doing when provoked. He therefore stifled his anger, dissembled his resentments, and did not publickly do any thing disobliging to Elizabeth. His private behaviour in his negotiations with Rome and Spain-, could not but be unacceptable. But she probably despised them, and took care to frustrate them, and contented herself with letting the whole world see that she was mistress of the Scotch king, and stood in no sear of what he might do. So that the passion with which he received the news of his mother's death, and the threats he ut-* tered were but mere words, and he was cooled down presently by IValsmgbam's letter, «* representing how '' much his pretending to revenge it, would prejudice "him in the eyes of the antient nobility, by the greatest 'f part of whom she was condemned, and of principal "part of the gentlemen of the realm, who confirmed '' the fame in parliament; who would never submit to '* his government, if he shewed so vindictive a mind." (e) Spotfl- (c) Those Scotch and English therefore were in the wood, p. right, who assured the English council, it would soon 3 °* be forgot; and " that the blood was already fallen from

(</)Melvil, " his majesty's heart." (d) For he was afraid of cons' *73* sequences, and therefore durst not attempt to sulfil his threats.

(K) He was not much regarded by his nobility, &c] He makes it a reason for his joining with Spain, that "queen Elizabeth had always protected his enemies and "rebels, and that by their means she had caused him (a) Win- s* to be three or four times taken into custody." («) wood»Vol.1. Whether or no Elizabeth was at the bottom of all the attempts of the nobility against James, is not my business to determine. But 'tis very certain they paid him but little regard, and scrupled not to bring him to terms, «yen by rough methods. The affair of Ruthven has


« PreviousContinue »