From Agepedia

Jump to: navigation , search

JAMES I, king of Scotland, of the house of Stuart, born in 1394, was the son of Robert III, by Annabella Drummond. In 1405, his father sent him to France, in order that he might escape the danger to which he was exposed by the ambition of his uncle, the duke of Albany ; but, being taken by an English squadron, he and his suite were carried prisoners'to the Tower of London. Here he received an excellent education from Henry IV of England, and, to relieve the tedium of captivity, ap plied himself to those poetical and literary pursuits, the existing evidences of which do him honor. Robert III died the following year, and James was proclaimed king ; but, during the remainder of the reign of Henry IV, and the whole of that of Henry V, he was ungenerously detained in England, with a view to prevent the alliance of Scotland with France. This did not, however, prevent the apprehended result. At length, under the regency of the duke of Bedford, he was restored to his kingdom, after a detention of 18 years, at which time he was in his 30th year, and highly accomplished, both mentally and in the manly exercises. He married Joanna Beaufort, a lady of distinguished beauty, of the blood royal of England, who is thought to be the fair dame alluded to in his pleasing poem of the King's Quhair, of whom he became enamored, from beholding her in the royal ' gardens from the windows of his apartments, while a captive in Windsor castle. On his return to Scotland,"finding that the duke of Albany and his son had alienated many of the most valuable possessions of the crown, he caused them to be convicted and executed as traitors, and their estates to be confiscated. These and some other strong measures in the resumption of improvident grants, under the regency of the dukes of Albany, were atoned for by the enactment of many good laws in his arliaments ; and, as far as a lawless noility would allow thern to be put in practice, they much improved the state of society in Scotland. In 1436, he renewed the Scottish alliance with France, giving his daughter Margaret in marriage to the dauphin, and sending with her a splendid train and a large body of troops. A fruitless endeavor of the English to prevent this marriage, by intercepting the Scottish fleet in its passage, so exasperated James, that he declared war against England. He was, however, on such bad terms with his nobility, in consequence of his endeavors to curb their ambiticrn and improve his revenue, that he was obliged to disband his army, under the apprehension of a tonspiracy. He then retired to the Carthusian monastery of Perth, which he /lad himself founded, where he lived in a state of privacy, which facilitated the success of a plot formed against his life. The chief actors in this tragedy were Robert Graham, and Walter, earl ofAthol, the king's uncle, the former of whom was actuated by revenge for the resumption of some lands improperly granted to his family, and the latter by the hopes of sueI A St ceeding to the crown. By means of bribery, the assassins gained admission to the king's apartment; and an alarm being raised, the queen's ladies attempted to secure the chamber door. One of them, Catharine Douglas, thrust her arm through the staple, in which state she remained until it was dreadfully broken by the assailants. The instant the assassins got into the apartments, they dragged the king from his concealment, and, in spite of the cries and remonstrances of the queen, who in vain threw herself between them and the object of their resentment, put him to death by multiplied wounds. He perished in the 44th year of his age, and 13th of his reign, Feb. 20, 1437, leaving one son and five daughters ; and his murder was punished by the deaths of the conspirators in exquisite tortures. The king, who may be said to have fallen a martyr to his attempts to abolish the anarchy and disorder which prevailed throughout his kingdom, holds no inconsiderable place in the catalogue of royal authors, by his poems of the King's Quhair, already mentioned, Christ's Kirk o' the Green, &c, the latter of which is humorously descriptive of the manners and pastimes of the age. James is also said to have been a skilful musician, and some attribute to him the composition of several of the most admired of the Scottish melodies; but of this doctor Burney is much inclined to doubt. An accurate list of the works of James I will be found in Park's edition of Walpole's Royal and Noble Authors.