Scotland under Charles I

Scotland under Charles I

Scotland under Charles I

Scotland under Charles I

Excerpt

The reign of Charles I in Scotland bore little resemblance to the same sovereign's rule in the southern kingdom. Politically it was the aftermath of the long and successful epoch of James VI, who had been King of Scotland as long as any one living could remember. The accession of Charles I had marked the coming of a stranger in place of the most native of all the rulers of the Stewart dynasty since that House had first attained the Scottish Crown. The framework of the State belonged to an old model and was deep-rooted in the past. The magnates who stood about the throne had always stood there, they and their ancestors as far back as the reign of James I of Scotland two centuries previously. The ties with France were enduring and had only partially been transformed by the Reformation. The alignment of the forces of the great lords around James VI had borne a recognisable resemblance to that which the emissaries of Charles VII would discern at the court of the Dauphin's father-in-law the King of Scotland.

The sixteenth century had left a legacy of religious strife and of political neutrality. There had been no external enemy save England and peace had been maintained with that kingdom since the Treaty of Edinburgh in 1560. The Spanish Armada meant no more to Scotland than the periodic interest of the House of Argyll in the salving of the Tobermory galleon. Philip II had never been an enemy and Scotland was immune from the Elizabethan legend. Her former subjects did not like to think back to the Queen of Scots and to her death at Fotheringhay on foreign soil.

On the side of social life there was no artificial barrier to prevent the transforming effects of foreign contacts. Admittedly these only affected the few; the lords; the members of the chief legal families; certain ministers. These, however, formed the climate of opinion in the ruling groupings. France was a background for all that world and especially for those who followed Calvin's teaching. Buchanan had come from there and Andrew Melville had sought refuge in that country with the Duke of Bouillon at Sedan. Throughout the Presbyterian circles Saumur was a household name. On the other hand James VI had owed much to his half- French cousin Esmé Stuart of Aubigny.

It is true that in the early stages of the Reformation period the influence of France in Scotland had been at least politically Catholic. Mary of Guise, widow of James V, had introduced . . .

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