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James I
of England

sonally attached to Arran, and, releasing him from confinement, refused Elizabeth's demand for his surrender. On this Elizabeth let loose upon him the banished lords of the party of the Ruthven raiders. At the head of eight thousand men they, with loyalty on their lips, secured, on 4 Nov., the person of the king at Stirling. Arran fled, and disappeared from public life.

James soon recovered his equanimity. A treaty with England, which had been authorised by the estates in July 1585, and again by the estates which met in December of the same year, after the fall of Arran, was pushed on, and a treaty between the crowns was at last signed at Berwick on 2 July 1586. James was to have a pension of 4,000l. a year from Elizabeth, and Elizabeth engaged, in terms intentionally vague, to do nothing or allow anything to be done to derogate from ‘any greatness that might be due to him, unless provoked on his part by manifest ingratitude.’

James's alliance with Elizabeth and protestantism necessarily brought with it a complete breach with his mother and her catholic allies. Mary, foreseeing what was coming, had disinherited her son in May, as far as any word of hers could disinherit him, and had bequeathed her dominions to Philip II of Spain (ib. xii. 233, 234). The discovery of the Babington conspiracy followed. The bequest to Philip having come to light, Elizabeth took care that James should be informed of it. On this James declared that, though ‘it cannot stand with his honour to be a consenter to take his mother's life,’ he would not otherwise interfere in her favour (the Master of Gray to Archibald Douglas, 8 Sept. 1586, Murdin, p. 568). The English authorities gathered from this letter that he would not interfere even if his mother were put to death.

Sentence of death having been pronounced on Mary on 25 Oct. 1586, James thought it time to protest, and authorised his ambassadors in England to intercede with Elizabeth. On 8 Feb. 1587 he despatched the Master of Gray and Sir Robert Melville to England with the same object; but he took care not to instruct them to use anything like a threat, which, indeed, he was hardly in a position to carry into effect. Still, there were people about him who wanted him to throw in his lot with his mother and the Catholic League, and, though he does not seem deliberately to have bargained for the recognition of his title to the English succession as the price of his surrender of his mother's life, his pressing the matter at such a time showed how little chivalry or even respect for decency there was in his nature (Letters of the Master of Gray, Murdin, pp. 569, 571, 573). In Scotland itself the clergy were bitterly opposed to any intervention on Mary's behalf, and when James ordered the ministers to pray for his mother, ‘they refused to do it in the manner he would have it to be done—that is, by condemning directly or indirectly the proceedings of the queen of England and their estates against her, as of one innocent of the crimes laid to her charge.’ James then ordered Adamson, archbishop of St. Andrews, to make the prayers; but when Adamson appeared in the church he found his place occupied by one of the hostile ministers, John Cowper, who only gave way at the express order of the king. James afterwards had to explain that he had only bidden the ministers to pray for the enlightenment of his mother, and ‘that the sentence pronounced against her might not take place’ (Calderwood, iv. 606, 607).

Mary was executed on 8 Feb. 1586–7, and James had no difficulty in reconciling himself to the event. The Master of Gray was condemned to death, partly on the charge that he had urged the English ministers to put the queen to death, though he had been sent to prevent that catastrophe. His sentence was, however, changed to that of banishment [see Gray, Patrick, sixth Lord Gray].

On 19 June 1587 James reached the age of twenty-one. He celebrated the event by an attempt to reconcile the feuds between the nobility by making the bitterest enemies walk through the streets of Edinburgh hand in hand. In July the estates passed an act revoking all grants made to the injury of the crown during the king's nonage.

In 1588 the approach of the Spanish Armada threw Scotland as well as England into consternation. In opposition to the Earl of Huntly in the north and to Lord Maxwell on the western borders, James took his stand against Spain. He rejected the demand of Huntly that he should change his officers, and when Maxwell attempted resistance he marched against him and reduced him to submission (ib. iv. 677, 678). The Armada was ruined before Scotland could be affected by its proceedings.

The bequest of the Scottish crown by Mary to Philip II had probably done more than anything else to wean James from his reliance on favourites like Lennox and Arran, who had been in the confidence of the catholic powers of the continent; and his knowledge that his chance of succession to the English crown would be endangered if he placed himself in opposition to Elizabeth, drew him in the same direction.