Young Folks' History of England HTML version

32. James I, A.D. 1602—1625
After Queen Elizabeth's death, the next heir was James, the son of Mary of
Scotland, and had reigned there ever since his mother had been driven away.
He had been brought up very strictly by the Scottish Reformers, who had
made him very learned, and kept him under great restraint; and all that he
had undergone had tended to make him awkward and strange in his
manners. He was timid, and could not bear to see a drawn sword; and he
was so much afraid of being murdered, that he used to wear a dress padded
and stuffed out all over with wool, which made him look even more clumsy
than he was by nature.
The English did not much admire their new king, though it really was a great
blessing that England and Scotland should be under the same king at last, so
as to end all the long and bloody wars that had gone on for so many years.
Still, the Puritans thought that, as James had been brought up in their way of
thinking, they would be allowed to make all the changes that Queen Elizabeth
had stopped; and the Roman Catholics recollected that he was Queen Mary's
son, and that his Reformed tutors had not made his life very pleasant to him
as a boy, so they had hopes from him.
But they both were wrong. James had really read and thought much, and was
a much wiser man at the bottom than anyone would have thought who had
seen his disagreeable ways, and heard his silly way of talking. He thought the
English Church was much more in the right than either of them, and he only
wished that things should go on the same in England, and that the Scots
should be brought to have bishops, and to use the prayers that Christians had
used from the very old times, instead of each minister praying out of his own
head, as had become the custom. But though he could not change the ways
of the Scots at once, he caused all the best scholars and clergymen in his
kingdom to go to work to make the translation of the Bible as right and good
as it could be.
Long before this was finished, however, some of the Roman Catholics had
formed a conspiracy for getting rid of all the chief people in the kingdom; and
so, as they hoped, bringing the rest back to the pope. There were good men
among the Roman Catholics who knew such an act would be horrible; but
there were some among them who had learnt to hate everyone that they did
not reckon as of the right religion, and to believe that everything was right
that was done for the cause of their Church. So these men agreed that on the
day of the meeting of Parliament, when the king, with the queen and Prince
of Wales, would all be meeting the lords and commons, they would blow the
whole of them up with gunpowder; and, while the country was all in
confusion, the king dead, and almost all his lords and the chief country
squires, they would take the king's younger children—Elizabeth or Charles,