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security of his kingdom. This confidence on his part met with the proper return of duty and affec tion on theirs ; moved by ambitious motives more than expediency, he invaded England. In the rash and unfortunate battle of Floudon, a brave nobility chose rather to die than to desert their so vereign. The greater part of the nobles fell with the king.
UCCEEDED his father when an infant of an year old. The office of Regent was conferred on the Duke of Albany, a man of genius and enterprise, but a native of France, and a stranger to the manners, the laws, and language of the people whom he was called to rule: after several unsuccessful struggles, he voluntarily retired to France. At the age of thirteen, James assumed the government, with eight of the nobles to aid his councils.
In a short time James had not only the name, but, though extremely young, the full authority of a king. He was inferior to no prince of that age in gracefulness of person, or in vigour of mind; his understanding was good, and his heart warm ; the former capable of great improvement, and the latter susceptible of the best impressions. But according to the usual fate of princes, who are called to the throne in their infancy, his education had been neglected; his private preceptors were more ready to flatter than to instruct him: accordingly we discover in James all the features of a great but uncultivated spirit. On the one hand violent passions, implacable resentment, and immoderate desire of power, and the utmost rage at disappointment. On the other hand, love to his people, zeal for the punishment of private oppress
sors, confidence in his favourites, and the most engaging openness of behaviour.
Dr. Stuart, in his history of the Reformation, gives the following character of James V. "He, with a vigorous constitution, and great advantages of person, had a mind turned for affairs and ingenious; he had studied the laws of his nation, and he distributed justice with a strict impartiality. He promoted new manufactures, and invited foreign artificers to reside in his kingdom: none of his subjects were refused access to him, and he was able to maintain a familiarity with them without losing his dignity: his munificence and liberality were exerted with a proper attention to his revenues. Though his education had been neglected, he was an encourager of learning: fond of pleasure, and prodigal of his love, many women of rank were seduced by him to admit his addresses. Of his nobility he was jealous without sufficient grounds, and when they offended him, his revenge was cruel and impolitic; but his greatest fault was the respect he entertained for Cardinal Beatoun and the clergy. Though moderate, and even careless in his religious principles, he adopted their intolerant spirit, and forgot that a good sovereign will not persevere in supporting ancient systems of theology, when they have become too gross and absurd for the understanding of his people."
Dr. Robertson continues to observe, concerning James, that the plan which he formed to humble the nobles, was more profound, more systematic, and pursued with greater constancy than that of any of his ancestors. He had penetration to discover those defects in the schemes adopted by former kings, which occasioned their miscarriage: the example of James I. had taught him, that wise laws operate slowly on a rude people, and that the
fierce spirit of the feudal nobles was not to be sub dued by those alone. The effects of the violent measures of James II. convinced him, that the oppression of one great family is apt either to ex cite the suspicion and resentment of the other nobles, or to enrich with its spoils some new family, which would soon adopt the same sentiments, and become equally formidable to the crown. He saw from the fatal end of James III. that neglect was still more intolerable to the nobles than oppression, and that the ministry of new men and favourites was both dishonourable and dangerous to a prince. At the same time, he felt that the authority of the crown was not sufficient to counterbalance the power of the nobles. He applied himself to the clergy, hoping that they would both relish his plan, and concur with all their influence. The superstition of an ignorant age had bestowed upon them a great proportion of the national wealth, and the authority which they acquired by the reverence of the people, was superior even to that which they derived from their riches. The nobles either despised their character, or envied their power. To gratify their king, to avenge themselves on those who were their sole rivals, the clergy eagerly embraced the proposal, and James deeming himself secure by so powerful a concurrence, proceeded with greater boldness. James no longer concealed his contempt of the nobles, and suffered no opportunity of mortifying them to escape. Slight offences were aggravated into real crimes, and punished with severity; their patience increased his contempt, and added to the ardour and boldness with which he pursued his plan.
At length, James, by a false step, presented to them an advantage, which they did not fail to improve. Henry VIII. had disclaimed the authority of the Pope, and desirous to induce James to a
similar conduct, he requested a personal interview with him at York. Convinced of the importance of such an ally, and of the consequences which would attend a refusal, James consented. Alarmed with the danger which threatened their religion, they successfully employed their influence to divert the king from this conference, and offered an annual donative of 50,000 crowns upon the event of a war with England. The haughty Henry resented the affront by declaring war against Scotland. James was obliged to have recourse to his nobles; they assembled their followers with the same dispositions which animated their ancestors in the reign of James III. and had not a discord among themselves prevented, the camp of Fala would have been as tragical as that of Lauder. Famine, and an inclement season, forced the English to retire; but the nobles, with a sullen contempt, refused to advance a step beyond the limits of their own country. Provoked at this insult, and suspicious of a new conspiracy, he disbanded the army, and returned into the heart of the kingdom.
An ambitious and high-spirited prince could not brook such an affront; his hopes of success had been rash, and his despair upon a disappointment was excessive. Impatience, resentment, indignation, filled his bosom in turns. The violence of these passions altered his temper, and perhaps impaired his reason; he became pensive, sullen, and retired. He seemed through the day to be swallowed up in profound meditation; and through the night he was disturbed with those visionary terrors which make impression upon a weak understanding only, or a disordered fancy.
To rouse the mind of James, another invasion was planned. Distrust in his nobles, however, induced him to give the command to one of his
own favourites. Hatred to the king, and contempt of the general, induced an army of ten thousand men to surrender, without a single blow, to five hundred of the English. Incapable of bearing these repeated insults, and unable to revenge them, his spirit sunk altogether. The deepest melancholy and despair succeeded to the furious transports of rage and indignation. All the violent passions, which are the enemies of life, preyed upon his mind, and wasted a youthful and vigo rous constitution: these proved fatal to James, "His death," says Drummond, "proves his mind to have been raised to an high strain, and above mediocrity; he could die, but he could not digest a disaster."
THE undue partiality of King James V. for this Cardinal, was one of the chief blemishes in his character. For many years he had been considered as prime minister, and he retained the same character at his death. The situation in which James left the throne, was alarming and inauspicious: a war with England had been undertaken without necessity, and carried on without success: many of the nobles were made prisoners, and still retained in London. The violence of religious dispute which then reigned among the nobles at home, rendered them disaffected and disunited. Mary Queen of Scots was only an infant of a few days old. The government of an infant queen was not calculated to imprint much reverence in the minds of a martial people. Overcome with the pressure of misfortune, James neglected to appoint a Regent who might protect his daughter and support his throne. Taking advantages of these dis