King James I Of England Essay, Research Paper
This is a paper over King James I of England that I wrote for my honors
english class. I received
an A on the the assignment.
King James I
On June 19, 1566 in Theobalds, Hertfordshire, England, Mary Queen
of Scots gave birth
to her only child, a boy whom she named James. James’ father was Henry
Stewart, also known
as Lord Darnley. Darnley was killed in an unexplained explosion at his
house when James was
eight months old. Only seven months later, Mary Queen of Scots had to
give up her throne
because she was defeated by rebels. Mary left the country and James
never saw her again.
James took the throne of Scotland when he was only 15 months old and
became King James
VI of Scotland (”James I” 481).
James got most of his culture and education before he was 14
years old. During his
early life, the boy king spent most of his time with Scottish lords and
his tutors, especially
George Buchanan, his favorite tutor (”James I, King of England” 1). He
received a superior
education and was known for his great knowledge. He always had a great
respect for the
Scottish lords that were around him as he grew up (”James I” 481).
James enjoyed writing. He wrote and published many poems and translated many long
French works. Later in life he also wrote many books on topics such as kingship, theology,
withcraft, and tobacco. He also ordered the translation of acient Greek and Hebrew versions of
the Bible into English in the Authorized King James Version of the Bible (”James I, King of
He also enjoyed riding horses and hunting. This may be due to the fact that he was very
frail and sometimes needed help walking. When he was on a horse, he was able to function
normally. Despite his physical hinderances, King James was regarded as being very confident
in his decisions. At the age of 15, James ordered the execution of a man suspected to have
been involved with the death of Henry Stewart, James’ father (”James I” 481).
James wanted to follow Queen Elizabeth I of England to the throne so badly that he
would have done anything to keep peaceful relations with her. When his mother was beheaded
in 1587, he merely made a formal protest and let the incident blow over (”James I, King of
In 1589, James was married with Anne of Denmark, the daughter of Fredrick II of
Denmark. They had there first child, Prince Henry, in 1594 (”James I” 481). Prince Henry was
an ideal prince and won the love of the people. Following Henry were Princess Elizabeth and
Prince Charles. Prince Henry and Princess Elizabeth were both very beautiful children, but
Prince Charles was a different story. Charles, like his parents, was a sickly child and had to
have help walking when he was young (Chute 260). Apparently James was not very fond of
women and never had a mistress (”James I” 481). The only time he ever paid a great deal of
attention to his wife was when she converted to Roman Catholicism (”James I, King of England”
King James was a very giving man. He liked to gain support from people by buying
them gifts. In 1605, he spent 2530 pounds at two jewellers (Levi 4). Although he spent a lot of
money, he was not very good at budgeting it (”James I” 481).
In 1603, King James VI got his wish. As Stanford E. Lehmberg states in the Grolier
Electronic Encyclopedia, “Since Elizabeth had no children and there were no other descendants
Guy 3 of Henry VIII, the Tudor line was extinguished upon her death. Throughout her reign
Elizabeth refused to designate a successor, but it is clear that she expected King James VI of
Scotland to follow her. When Elizabeth died on Mar. 24, 1603, James, the son of Mary Queen
of Scots, but a Protestant, succeeded without incident as King James I of England” (1). King
James I was also the first Stuart king of England. Many people came to see the new king’s
coronation in London. The town was bustling with people and unfortunately the plague. At the
time the king was crowned, over 1100 people a week were dying from the plague (Chute 258).
There were two things that James loved even more than giving or receiving money; and
those were peace and expansion. He tried his hardest to keep the peace. One of his men
stated that he would “rather spend 100,000 pounds on embassies, to keep or procure peace
with dishonor, than 10,000 pounds of an army that would have forced peace with honor” (Chute
261-2). King James greatly supported the expansion in America. He chartered the London
Company in 1606. By doing this, he hoped to start a colony in North America. The London
Company founded Jamestown in Virginia in 1607 (”London Company” 1).
King James I made many great contributions to the theater. Shortly after he became
king, he made the Chamberlain’s Men, a group of travelling actors who made their living
preforming plays, royal servants. The Chamberlain’s Men were changed to the King’s Men.
There were nine actors named to the elite group. Among them was none other than William
Shakespeare. The King’s Men were sponsered by James, which was a great relief for thier
pocket books. They were issued scarlet cloth to make uniforms that represented the king. The
royal family saw five times as many plays a year as Queen Elizabeth had (Reese 155).
Shakespeare made references to events surrounding King James in many of his plays.
In 1605, the Gunpowder Plot was discovered. Someone planted several barrels of gunpowder
under the Parliament. If their plan would have worked, King James, his family, and all of the
Lords and Commons would have been killed. Shakespeare was thought to have based his play
Macbeth on those events (Rowse 379). In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet made a speech
against Danish drunkenness. Once, when Christian of Denmark payed a visit to his son in law,
King James I, he did not stay sober past dinner. His daughter, the Queen of England, passed
out while dancing, three other women were too drunk to appear in masque, someone else was
sick, and another woman spilt custard on the King. It quite an embaressment for James, but it
made Shakespeare a great anecdote (Levi 219).
Although it appeared the King James I of England was a great ruler, it was said that the
fall of English politics and religion that led to the English Civil War can be traced back to him.
On March 27, 1625, after warning his heir, Charles I, of future dangers to the monarchy from the
Parliament, King James I breathed his last breath (”James I, King of England” 2).
Chute, Marchette. Shakespeare of London. New York: Penguin Books,
“James I.” The New Encylopedia Britannica. Chicago: Encylopedia
Britannica, Inc., 1992.
“James I, King of England.” Multimedia Encyclopedia Version 1.5.
CD-ROM. Grolier Electronic
Lehmberg, Standford E. “Queen Elizabeth I.” Multimedia Encyclopedia
Version 1.5. CD-ROM.
Grolier Electronic Publishing. 1992.
Levi, Peter. The Life and Times of William Shakespeare. New York: Henry Holt and Company,
“London Company.” Multimedia Encyclopedia Version 1.5. CD-ROM Grolier Electronic
Reese, M. M. Shakespeare: His World and His Work. New York: St.
Martin’s Press, 1980.
Rowse, A. L. William Shakespeare: A Biography. New York: Harper and