There was a great thanksgiving all over the country, and it became the custom that, on the 5th of November—the day when the gunpowder plot was to have taken effect—there should be bonfires and fireworks, and Guy Fawkes’ figure burnt, but people are getting wiser now, and think it better not to keep up the memory old crimes and hatreds.
Henry, Prince of Wales, was a fine lad, fond of all that was good, but a little too apt to talk of wars, and of being like Henry V. He was very fond of ships and sailors, and delighted in watching the building of a grand vessel that was to take his sister Elizabeth across the sea, when she was to marry the Count Palatine of the Rhine. Before the wedding, however, Prince Henry fell suddenly ill and died.
King James was a fond of favorites as ever Elizabeth had been, though not of the same persons. One of the worst things he ever did was the keeping Sir Walter Raleigh in the Tower for many years, and a last cutting off his head. It was asserted that Sir Walter had tried, when first James came, to set up a lady named Arabella Stuart to be queen; but if he was to be punished for that, it ought to have been directly, instead of keeping the sentence hanging over his head for years. The truth was that Sir Walter had been a great enemy to the Spaniards, and James wanted to please them, for he wished his son Charles to marry the daughter of the King of Spain. Charles wanted to see her first, and set off for Spain, in disguise, with the Duke of Buckingham, who was his friend, and his father’s greatest favorite. But when reached he Madrid, he found that the princesses were not allowed to speak to any gentleman, nor to show their faces; and though he climbed over a wall to speak to her when she was walking in the garden, an attendant begged him to go away, or all her train would be punished. Charles went back disappointed, and, on his way through Paris, saw Henrietta Maria, the bright-eyed sister of the King of France, and set his heart on marrying her.
Before this was settled, however, King James was seized with an ague and died, in the year 1625. He was the first king of the family of Stuart, and a very strange person he was—wonderfully learned and exceedingly conceited; indeed, he like nothing better than to be called the English Solomon. The worst of him was that, like Elizabeth, he thought kings and rulers might tell falsehoods and deceive. He called this kingcraft, and took this very bad sort of cunning for wisdom.
Charles I. A.D. 1625—1649.