« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
conséquent bloodshed of which this equipoise was the occasion, be mentioned without censure. Her treatment of Mary was inhospitable, unjust, ungenerous, and inhuman.
Sir Robert Carey, lord Hunsdon's youngest son, brought the first intelligence of the queen of England's death to James. After being five years warden of the middle march, he paid a visit to court in the last winter of the queen's life, and perceiving her declining health, formed the resolution of being the first messenger of the tidings. He set out from London on the day she died, and travelling without intermission, arrived in Edinburgh on Saturday at night, just as the king had gone to bed. He was immediately admitted to his majesty, and kneeling by his bedside, informed him of Elizabeth's death, and was the first person in his dominions, who had the honour of saluting him king of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland. He confirmed his despatches, by presenting his new sovereign with a ring, that his sister, lady Scroop, had taken from the finger of the deceased queen. James received the news of his elevation with a composure, which his preparatory expectation enabled him, without much exertion, to preserve, but as Carey was only a private messenger, he did not make it public, till the arrival of a regular notification.
All England was prepared for the accession of the Scottish king, and their sorrow at the loss of their queen, was swallowed up in the high expectations they formed of their new monarch. The privy council, as soon as they possibly could, despatched Sir Charles Percy, brother to the earl of Northumberland, and Thomas Somerset, earl of Worcester's son, with a letter to the Scottish king, signed by all the peers and privy counsellors then in London, containing an official account of the queen's death, and of the joy which the proclamation of his accession had occasioned in London. They arrived three days after Carey, and the king's titles were then solemnly proclaimed. James immediately prepared to take possession of his new kingdom; he intrusted the government of Scotland to the privy council, and the care of his children to several noblemen, the Prince to the earl of Marr, Charles, duke of Albany, to the president of the session, and Elizabeth to the earl of Linlithgow, and appointed
the queen to follow in about a month. On the Sabbath fol lowing, he attended in the church of St. Giles, where a sermon was delivered by Mr. John Hall, in which he recounted the numerous mercies his majesty had received, and as none of the smallest, he noticed his peaceable succession to the crown of England, evidently the work of God's own hand, who had directed the hearts of so numerous a people to exhibit such unanimity in his righteous cause, and therefore exhorted him to thankfulness, and a steadfast adherence to maintain God's truth. After sermon, the king rose, and addressed the congregation in a long valedictory oration, made many professions of unalterable affection for his people, and promised frequently to revisit them, once in the three years at least, to take an account personally of the proper execution of justice among them, to gratify them with a sight of his royal person, and afford them an opportunity, from the meanest to the highest, of pouring their complaints into his paternal bosom, and even when absent, he would never forget he was their native prince, assured them he would not change their ecclesiastical polity, and promised, as God had promot ed him to greater power, so he would use it in endeavouring to remove corruption.
At such a time, amid the exultation of all ranks on his great fortune, it was expected that the king would have passed a general act of oblivion, and forgotten for ever the of fences which had occurred during his encroachments on the church, but he carried his animosities with him, and left not one token of forgiveness behind him. Robert Bruce, after the Scottish parliament had found Gowrie guilty of the treason, declared his willingness to acquiesce in their sentence, and had been allowed to return to his native country, but not restored to his office. By the advice of his friends, he now came to Edinburgh, and by the king's own invitation, had a an interview with him, yet he obtained no mitigation of his sentence. Andrew Melville was left in ward at St. Andrews, and John Davidson in Edinburgh.
On Tuesday, the 5th of April, he set out on his journey, accompanied by the duke of Lennox, the earls of Marr, Moray, Argyle, and a number of other noblemen, the bishops
of Ross, Dunkeld, and several of the ministers, besides many barons, and gentlemen of inferior rank. At Haddington, he was met by a deputation from the synod of Lothian, to whom he renewed his assertions, that he did not intend to make any further innovations in the church, and desired them to tell their brethren, that it was his anxious desire to promote peace, and he hoped they would live together in unity. On the first day he lodged at Dunglas, the house of lord Hume, and next day, his train swelling as he went along, proceeded towards Berwick. On the boundary he was received by the marshal, Sir John Carey, accompanied by the garrison, who saluted him with several vollies of musquetry, which were answered by the cannon on the walls, while the shouts of an immense multitude, mingled with, and almost equalled the thundering welcome. As the king entered the gates, the keys of the town were delivered to him by William Selby, the gentleman porter, whom he knighted on the occasion. He was received at the market-place by the mayor, who presented him with the town's charter, and a purse of gold. From the marketplace he went to the church, to give God thanks for granting him a peaceable entrance into his new kingdom. Next day he visited the fortifications, port, and magazines, and reviewed the military. While here he was called upon to exercise his authority, intelligence being brought of some serious disturbances, created by a formidable banditti, about three hundred strong, in the western marches, who extended their ravages as far as Penrith. To repress these outrages, he despatched Sir William Selby, with two hundred foot, and fifty horse of the garrison, empowering him to require assistance from all the troops on his line of march, English and Scottish, by which means, Selby soon found himself at the head of a formidable force, at whose approach the plunderers fled, and the chiefs being taken, were sent to Carlisle, and executed.
During the rest of the king's progress, all ranks vied in their demonstrations of joy, and the nobility of the counties through which he passed, entertained him with the most splendid magnificence. From Berwick to London occupied a month, and on his arrival in the capital, so delighted had he been
with his reception on the road, that he compared it to a continued hunting excursion. On the 7th of May he entered the metropolis, amid the acclamations of immense multitudes. Thus were the two rival nations, whose deadly quarrels had so long deluged the island with blood, united under one monarch. Yet was not the union accompanied immediately by those advantages, which at first sight, and to a superficial view, it seemed so well adapted to promote. It had been confidently anticipated, that the subjects of one monarch would forget all mutual animosity, and the king himself was highly charmed with a quibble he delighted to repeat, that his accession had turned the borders of hostile nations, into the heart of one loving people.
Inhabiting the same island, sprung from a kindred root, and speaking a similar language, it did not appear being too sanguine, to reckon upon a speedy and cordial coalescence between the English and the Scots, especially as during the whole reign of Elizabeth, there had been constant peace between the two countries, and both, during the last years of her life, had looked forward to the event with expectation, while a concurrence of fortunate circumstances had smoothed the way to its accomplishment, without any of those irritating incidents, which frequently attend less important transfers of property or power. Yet, by a little attention to the relative situation of the countries, it will be easily perceived, that there were a sufficient number of opposing points, to render it a matter of no surprise, that a century should elapse, ere the component parts of this homogeneous mass, should amalga mate into one solid indestructible body.
Inured to rapine and licentiousness, the spirit of the borderers could not at once be suppressed, or their habits altered, and having been more accustomed to observe the movements of their neighbours, than consult the regulations of their rulers, they were inclined in general to disturbance, by rapacity of disposition, or mutual provocation, without reference to the friendship or hostility of the two governments. Time, therefore, was requisite to introduce a sense of common honesty, among men who were wont to consider force as right, to habituate them to a regular distribution of justice, and re
concile them to the pursuits of honest industry. Nor are the antipathies which spring up among nations, who, for centuries have been in use to consider themselves as natural enemies, which are incorporated with the education, and handed down in the sports of the children, easily eradicated from the minds even of the well informed part of the community, nor are they at once to be rooted out, by the mere accident of being united under one prince. The English had been taught to look upon the Scots as their vassals, over whom they had a right of superiority, and the pride of national independence, which the Scots had so long struggled for, induced them to eye all the advances of the English with suspicion. The nobles, partaking of these feelings, became more envious, and their rivalry more rancorous, than is common among the polished hypocrites, who alternately flatter and betray each other in the courts of their native princes. The English, who had hitherto solely filled the highest offices in the state, looked with jealousy upon the Scots, who were admitted to places of honour and trust, and the Scots, who, in the exaltation of their king to the throne of England, had considered that kingdom as an acquisition which would enable him to gratify their ambition, imagined themselves to have the first claim on the royal munificence, and viewed with chagrin, every drop of the current that flowed past them. The English were accustomed to despise the Scots as a poor, and the Scots to envy the English as a rich people, and the intercourse between the middling and lower ranks of both countries had been so circumscribed, that an interchange of good offices, or a knowledge of each other, had not weakened the mutual prejudices of either. At that time, trade and commerce too, were becoming of importance, and as in their infancy, the advantages are always attempted to be secured to one party by restrictions, and the free interchange of commodities between nations for their mutual advantage, which, even in this self-styled enlightened age, is but partially practised, was not then understood. The narrow views, and selfish policy of the merchants and legislatures, loaded with restrictions, the imports and exports of the two nations, and Scotland and England, standing then in the position of stran