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AN

Historical and Critical

ACCOUNT

O F T H E

LIFE and WRITINGS

OF x

JAMES L

King of Great Britain.

AMES STUART, the sixth of that name in Scotland, and sirst in England, was born June 19, 1566. He was the son of Henry Lord Darnky (son to Matthew earl of Lennox, by Margaret Dowghs daughter to the widow of James the fourth, who was the eldest daughter to Henry the seventh of England) and Mary queen B of of Scots, the only child of James'the sifth, king of Scots, who was son of "James the fourth and Margaret his queen, the faid eldest daughter of Henry the seventh of England. The murther of a favourite secretary (A) when (he was great with child, in

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her

(A) A favourite secretary, &c.] This was the famous *' David Rixio, or Rifcio, an Italian, a merry "fellow and good musician, who was taken notice of *' sirst of all on account of his voice. He was drawn *c in (fays Melvil) to sing sometimes with the rest, and "afterwards, when the queen's French secretary re"tired himself to France, he obtained the faid office. "And as he thereby entered in greater credit, so he "had not the prudence bow to manage the fame rightly. "For frequently, in presence of the nobility, he would "be publickly speaking to her, even when there were "the greatest conventions of the states. Which made "him to be much envied and hated, especially when "he became so great, that he presented all signatours "to be subscribed by her majesty. So that some of "the nobility would frown upon him, others would "shoulder him and shut him by, when they entered the "queen's chamber, and found him always speaking ,c with her. For those who had great actions of law, 'e new infestments to be taken, or who desired to pre"vail against their enemies at court, or in law-suits "before the session, addressed themselves to him, and "depended upon him, whereby in short time he be- •

ralMemoirs" came verv Iic^" (a\ Here was great familiarity we of Sir jame, fee, and such as could not be much to the credit of a Melvil, p. sovereign princess. For 'tis expected that such a one Lond°i68 ^loul^ maintain her rank, and scorn to sloop to those See likewise who have neither birth nqr breedingi But Mary gave the history herself up to David, and was advised by him in things of acodmef' o^ tne utmost importance. This appears from Melvil, byatchbp. who knew them well, and likewise from Sfotswud.

For *

her presence, had such an effect on this her
son, that even through his life he could not
bear the fight of a drawn sword. He was
placed in the throne after his mother's forced
resignation, July 25, 1567, being but little
above a year old. He had the famous George

Buchanan

For both these assure us, he was the person, the only Spotswood,
person who prevailed on the queen to marry Henry lord p. 189,193.
Darnhy. She at first disrelished the proposal, but thro' edit.3d Fol.
means or Rixto, " lhe took ay the longer the better
"liking of him, and at length determined to marry
"him." (b.) No wonder then common fame was not (&) Mtlvil,
favourable in her reports of Mary, and that the envious P- 55- "n"1
and ill-natured hinted things reproachsul to her virtue, pP»j,T00'
I pretend not to fay any thing criminal passed between
the queen and her secretary (though her affair,after her
hi;sb..nd's death, with Boibwell, would induce one to
suspect her not incapable of a familiarity so dishonour-
able); but I think, all men must allow that things were
not so decently managed between them as they ought.
Persons of an elevated rank, should strive not only to
be good, but to appear so; and caresul to act in so pure
and unexceptionable a manner, that envy itself may not

be able to blast their reputation. However Mary had

little regard to what the world faid. She continued her
favour to her fiddling secretary, 'till a violent death put
an end to it, to her great horror and amazement. Rixh,
though.he had procured the queen for DurnLy, cquld
not long continue in his favour j suspicions being put
into his head, he consented to his murther, which was
perpetrated in the following manner: "At fix o'clock
"at night, when the queen was at supper in her closet,
"a number of armed men entered within the court,
"and going up into the closet (where the king was
cc leaning on the queen's chair) overthrew the table,
"tandles, meat and dishes. Rixh took the queen a-
"buu: the -.vuste, cryina; for mercy, bu: George Dowg-
, B 2 "Aw,

Buchanan for his tutor, by whom he seems to have prosited little, and towards whose memory he had a great aversion (B).. During

las plucked out the king's dagger, and struck Rixio "siistwiihit, leaving it sticking in him. He making "great sbiieks and cries, was tudely snatched from the "queen, who could not prevail either with threats or "entreaties to fave him. But he was forcibly drawn "forth of the closet, and slain in the outer hall, and

(<,) Melvil, * ' her majcsty kept as a captive." (c} But they had

p" *' no commandment from the contrivers so to kill him, but to bring him to public execution. "And good it "had been for them so to have done, or then to have "taken him in another place, and at another time '"than in the queen's presence. For besides the great "peril of abortion whic,h her fear might have caused, "the false aspersions cast upon her fame and honour ." by that occasion, were such as she could never di"gest, and drew on all the pitiful accidents that afters-Z) Spots- * ' wards ensued." (d) The fright and terror the queen p* was in at the sight of the drawn sword, so far influenced the child in her womb, that, " Sir Kenelm Digby as"sures us, he had such an aversion to a naked sword "all his life-time, that he could not fee one without a "great emotion of spirits; and though otherwise couragious enough, he could not over-master his passions "in this particular. I remember, adds he, when he "dub'd me knight, in the ceremony of putting a na"ked sword upon my shoulder, he could not endure "to look upon it, but turned his face another way; "insomuch that in lieu of touching my shoulder, he theDcwerof" ^ almost thrust the point into my eyes, had not sympathy'" " tne duke of Buckingham guided his hand aright." (e)

p. 188. at

hisdiscourse (B) The famwus George Buchanan for his tutor, by on bodies, whom he seems to have prosited little, and towards 4to. Load, whose memory he had a great aversion. J Buchanan's l669' merit needs not to be celebrated by me His fame as a j polite ring his minority the kingdom had several regents, viz. his uncle the earl of Murray, his grandfather the earl of Lennox, and the earls of Mar and Morton; with the latter of whom the nobility being dissatissied, he

was

polite writer, and a man of deep learning and solid judgment, is established on the most lasting foundations (a). Even those who dislike most of all his prin- (a) See ciples, refuse not to give him his due praise. And I Jhuan"S'' need not be afraid to assert that his writings will be read hlmTn"1 and admired as long as learning in this part of the world Bayie's shall live. Melvil, fays he, " was a man of notable en- Dictionary, "dowments for his learning and knowledge in Latin Buchanan "poesie, much honoured in other countries, pleafantnote (H).' "in converfation, rehearsing at all occasions moralities "short and instructive, whereof he had abundance, "inventing where he wanted." (b) A tutor this, wor-> MeWil thy a great prince, and sit to. form the mind to virtue p. 1*5. and politeness! for I doubt not but he discharged with j'*^"^ honour the duty of his trust, and did what in him lay p. 315. * to inspire his pupil with just opinions, and elegant sentiments. But his labour was in- vain. For it does not appear that James improved any thing by his master, or studied at all to copy after him, for his writings are wholly pedantic; his style low and mean; his arguments' taken from those barbarians the schoolmen; and his method of treating his adverfaries was after the manner of your country controvertists, inspired with the most fervent zeal. Abundant proof of these assertions will be found in the extracts I shall give of some of his writings in the ensuing notes. However, not contented to disgrace his tutor by his want of improvement, he treated him wiih contempt also and reproach. Thus for instance, when the authority of Buchanan, for resisting kings, was alleged by cardinal Perron, James replies, " Buchanan I reckon and rank among poets, M not among divines, classical or common. If the man B 3 * * hath

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