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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

The Privy Council besought King James


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trained bands of the town were called out to meet the danger, and they consisted entirely of Protestants. But they also were agitated by uncertainty about the intentions of their new sovereign. What the Catholics wished and demanded, the free exercise of their religion, the Protestants just as strongly held to be inadmissible and dangerous.

Meanwhile the Privy Council had met at Richmond, where they were joined by the lords who were in town. Some points of great importance were mooted--whether the Privy Council had still any authority, even after the death of the sovereign from whom their commission proceeded--whether this authority was not entirely transferred to the lords as the hereditary councillors of the crown. The question was probably raised whether conditions should not be prescribed beforehand to the King of Scotland with regard to his government. But the prevailing ferment did not allow time for the discussion of these questions. On the same day (March 24) the heralds proclaimed James king under the combined titles of King of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland.

It could not be perceived that the pomp of this proclamation produced any extraordinary impression. No mourning for the death of the Queen was exhibited; still less joy at the accession of James: all other interests were absorbed by the anticipation of coming events. The tone of feeling first became decided some days afterwards, when a

declaration from the new King was published, wherein he promised the maintenance of religion on its present footing, and the exclusion of every other form of it.[314] On this the Protestants were quieted; the Catholics shewed themselves discouraged and exasperated. Yet the heads of the party who were held in custody were released on bail, and assured by the King's agents, that if even they were not permitted to worship in public, they should not have to fear either compulsion or persecution.

No movement was made against the acknowledgment of King James, although this was contrary to the old arrangements recognised by Parliament. But no one was forthcoming who could have enforced rights based upon these. The aged Hertford came forward to sign the proclamation of the lords both for himself, and in the name of his son who represented the Suffolks. The Lady Arabella made a declaration that she desired no other position than that which the present King might allow her. The Privy Council besought King James,--according to its own expression 'falling at his feet with deep humility,'--to come and breathe new life into the kingdom of England that had been bereaved of its head.

We must not stay to discuss incidental questions, e.g. how the first news reached James, and how he received it. He remained quiet until he had obtained sure intelligence, and then without delay prepared to take possession of the throne, to which his mother's ambition and his own had for so many years been directed. Once more he addressed the people of Edinburgh assembled in the great church after the sermon. He would not admit the statement which had occurred in the discourse, that Scotland would mourn for his departure; for he was going, as he said, only from one part of the island to the other: from Edinburgh it was hardly further to London than to Inverness. He intended to return often; to remove pernicious abuses in both countries; to provide for peace and prosperity; to unite the two countries to one another. One of them had wealth, the other had a superabundance of men: the one country could help the other. He added in conclusion that he had expected to need their weapons: that he now required only their hearts.


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