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birth; and the haughty vanity of that nation, which he displayed without a veil, yet further disgusted the Scots, a people then, from remote situation, and want of intercourse, inimical to foreigners, when they beheld their regent surrounded with French officers and confidents, and heard him submit to term the king of France his master, an epithet he frequently used even in his dispatches; nor was the very signature of his name in French regarded as a trifle. Even his private faults contributed to disgrace him. Surrey, in a letter to Wolsey, mentions upon the authority of Dacre, that the regent was so opinionative that no counsel but his own was followed even when among his familiar friends; and his wilfulness was such that, upon the slightest contradiction, he would throw his bonnet into the fire, in which mode of argument he had consumed near a dozen of those missive syllogisms. Surrey adds, with the prophetic eye of skill, " if he be such a man, with God's grace, we shall speed the better;" a prediction soon fulfilled. Of Albany's person little is remarked: even his age is unknown; though he appears to have exceeded his thirtieth year. His mother was the daughter of the Earl of Bologne, his father's second wife; but by the first, a daughter of the Earl of Orkney, a son was alive, Alexander Stuart, educated to the church, commendater of Inchaffray, afterwards abbot of Scone, and bishop of Moray. The regent had himself been married, in 1505, to Anne de la Tour, sole heiress of the countess d'Auvergne, the maternal aunt of the future Catherine de Medici; his wife's estate in France was great, and secured his allegiance to that country, while his connexion with the house of Medici gave him great influence with the Popes Leo X. and Clement VII. sprung of that illustrious family.
JAMES V. OF SCOTLAND.
Of this monarch all our early historians present one uniform character; and their general voice proclaims his excellence. His education, as usual with princes who ascend the throne in infancy, had been neglected or erroneous; corrupted by flattery; rendered deficient in its tasks from the preceptor's fear of displeasing. Yet his mind was great, his affections warm, his discernment acute. His vices were few, and never interrupted the happiness of his people. His propensity to vague amour was palliated by his general affability; his sternness to the nobles, by his favour to the common people, which was so eminent that he received from his affectionate subjects the glorious appellation of King of the Poor. To the voice of poverty, to the prayer of distress, the gates of his palace stood ever open: with one hand he raised the indigent, while with the other he crushed the proud oppressor. In the knowledge of the laws and customs of his kingdom he was so completely versed that his decisions were as exact as they were expeditious; and from horseback he often pronounced decrees worthy of the sagest seat of justice. Of indubitable valour, of remarkable strength of constitution, he exposed his life and health, without hesitation, at any season when it became necessary to curb the marauding borderers, or highlanders, rendered lawless during the disorders of a long minority. The dangers of the wilderness, the gloom of night, the tempests of winter, could not prevent his patient exertions to protect the helpless, to punish the guilty, to enforce the observance of the laws. A stranger to pride, he despised it in others; and his speech was ever sprinkled with humanity.
The faults of his government, though not minute, are more to be ascribed to the times than to the character of the monarch. His avarice naturally arose from the penury of his education, the dissipation of his finances, and even of the furniture of his palaces, by the unprincipled duke of Albany. But his amassed treasure was employed in the construction of magnificent works of architecture, and of a navy; and in other plans of general utility and glory. His political designs were long studied; yet as he died in his thirtieth year, he could not have acquired the experience of age: and the period of his reign presented combinations too intricate for the most skilful prudence to foresee or define. The progress of the protestant religion was dubious; and dangerous it is for a prince to embrace a new system before it be approved by a great majority of his subjects. Untaught by the glorious concord between his father and the nobles, James entertained a fixed enmity against the aristocracy, which had effected great usurpations during his minority; and his attachment to the eminent clergy, who alone could balance their power, was unavoidable.
Of the person, and domestic life, of James V. the features are well known. His frame was of the middle size, and robust, capable of every exertion of agility or fatigue. In elegance of form and countenance he equalled any prince of his time. His oval face, blue eyes of piercing splendour, aquiline nose, yellow hair, and small beard forked in the fashion of that period, impressed the beholders with ideas of sweetness joined with majesty. In dress he was rather elegant than magnificent: yet his palaces were replete with decoration. The repast of a peasant he would share; and, even from a sumptuous board, the royal meal was plain and frugal; nor did he entrust his dignity to the intemperance of wine. Eminently patient he was of labour, of hunger and thirst, of heat and cold. His attachment to the arts was decided : he reared palaces of good architecture; and composed some fugitive pieces of poetry, though it be doubtful if any have reached our times. He replenished his country with artillery and military weapons; and the beauty of his gold coins bespeaks his attention even to the minutest improvements, to be gained by the employment of foreign artists. The Scottish navy, ruined by Albany, began to resume some importance: and the subsequent voyage of James to the Orkneys and Hebrides, accompanied by men of skill, in order to examine the dangers and advantages of the circumjacent seas, will ever deserve the applause of the philosopher, as an enterprise equally rare and meritorious.
MARY OF GUISE, WIDOW OF JAMES V.
Amidst this distress and inquietude, the queen dowager wasted with a lingering distemper, and with grief, expired in the castle of Edinburgh. Religious persecution, and a settled scheme to overturn the liberties of Scotland, while they rendered her administration odious and detestable, have obscured the lustre of her virtues. The treacherous views and policy of France serve to explain, but cannot excuse, the wickedness of the counsels she embraced, and heruniform practices of dissimulation. She allowed herself to be overcome and directed by the obstinacy of the duke of Guise, the unprincipled refinements of the cardinal of Lorraine, and the imperiousness of both. Misfortunes to herself and to Scotland were the cruel consequences of her facility and submission. If she had trusted to her own abilities, her government, it is probable, would have been distinguished by its popularity, and her name have been transmitted to posterity with unsullied honours. Humane and affectionate in her temper, it was naturally her wish to rule with a woman's gentleness. Her judgment was extensive, her mind vigorous. She could comprehend a system, and act upon it with un- deviating exactness and unshaken fortitude. The inclination, character, and humours of her people were fully known to her. She could accommodate herself with ease to the Scottish manners; and the winning grace of her demeanour gave an aid and assistance to her address and penetration. In distributing justice she was impartial and