How Significant were the problems that Elizabeth bequeathed to James I? Essay
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During Elizabeth I’s reign as queen, she revolved England in many different ways. She converted England into a protestant country from being a catholic country. The level of tolerance that she held was explicable. The citizens of England had no choice in what religion they were allowed to follow. They were either protestant or dead. Elizabeth was very true to the Anglican Church / Church of England.
Elizabeth changed everything to do with religion into the significance that she wanted. She changed the language of the services from Latin into English.
In 1559, church services were taught in Latin until she changed to English. As matter of fact, she converted everything into English. Education in schools was now English. This was a masterstroke for Elizabeth because:-
1. English was an easier language to understand for the English people as they all spoke English and Latin was a very difficult and discipline subject to understand.
2. It also took power away from the Catholic hierarchy of the church.
Also, the dress code for the congregation and the priest had to be very formal and elegant. The churches at this point had to follow a certain church system; they would only be allowed to preach certain readings in English. Also, only certain hymns would be sung. In the parish churches, a priest would have to become a vicar. This was established in 1559. They would live in the second biggest estate, which would be right next to the manor house, which was owned by the richest land owner. The vicars had patronage. They got finance aid off the collection on Sundays in church; also they were sponsored by wealthy people in the district. Sometimes, if the vicar lived in a poor area were the people were very poor and could not give much as a donation on a Sunday in collection, the vicar would take up pluralism (a second job), such as preaching in other parishes or they would become a teacher in the local school or even become a tutor for the wealthy families.
This was all a problem for James I even though he was a protestant himself. This was a problem because he was coming into a new country and he would only be used to the Scottish system of the church, he had to come in a learn a whole new system and also he had to make sure that he made a withdrawal of all the respect of the country as he was coming in as a foreigner.
Another problem that Elizabeth had bequeathed James I was Succession. This was a problem because since Elizabeth had never married and had never had children, she had to leave England to James I. At this time, England was very proud to be English and did not appreciate a Scotsman coming onto the English throne. This would create a massive problem for James I because as he is Scottish he will need to try to win over the English as I said in a previous sentence, they were very proud to be English. His popularity in England was not too high and it was his primary goal to get their respect. Elizabeth’s negotiations had fallen through on numerous occasions by different people, Archduke Charles of Austria was ‘the most suitable candidate, and in the autumn of 1593 Cecil had been instructed to revive the suit.
Far from being romance, this type of marriage was stagecraft, subject to the cautions and interminable ways of diplomacy, bedevilled by factional intrigues at home, by religion, and complicated always by the intimate feelings of a woman of personality’ according to J.E. Neale – Elizabeth I and her Parliaments 1559-1581 (published first in 1953). This shows that Elizabeth did have the chance to get married and have children but she wanted to marry for love but because she was so ugly no man would have her and this followed on to the problem of having no children to be the heir of the throne and because she had Mary Queen of Scots beheaded it went to James I, Mary’s son, and the problem was that James I was Scottish and people by this time had been manufactured into proud, English civilians and they were not happy about a foreigner coming onto the throne to govern them.
Elizabeth also bequeathed to James I a comprehensive system of laws forbidding enclosure and ordering the parishes to care for the poor and aged. Unfortunately, these laws had to be enforced by the Justices of the Peace – men from the very class which had most to gain from ignoring them.
England was thus a country of serious social tensions at the end of the Tudor period. The old nobles resented the power of the ‘new’ men. Those unsuccessful in the scramble for the crown patronage were likely to become embittered rivals of those more fortunate. This was especially so when the patronage took the form of grants of monopoly, for the lucky man gained directly at the expense of the remainder. The Tudors had overworked the J.P.s, who received no credit or reward for their part in administration. James was to find it difficult to coerce or bribe if you will, the J.P.s into carrying out their duties. However, the prerogative courts and the government supervised the whole system; this caused it to come to a steady, slow grinding halt.
As you can see this would cause a problem for James after Elizabeth’s reign.
Elizabeth also bequeathed the problem of war and policy to James. This all became a problem when Henry VIII divided with Rome but Elizabeth managed to maintain level of peace as she prevented a civil or religious war in then country.
Elizabeth had left a war with Spain for James I, and a whole complex of national and religious prejudices against foreigners and Catholics. The war had dragged on since 1585. England and France had formed an alliance that was soon weakened in 1598 when France made peace with Spain at Vervins, but Spain was not able to exploit this advantage as she was near bankruptcy.
“James never understood the extent of this national bigotry against Spain and the religion she championed” – Foreign affairs – Elizabeth’s Legacy – Background – To the Stuarts. This shows that James was totally confused on what was going on between them and Spain, and problems Elizabeth had stirred up with other countries regarding religion. England’s relations with the United Provinces or Holland as it was commonly known as, was quite good at the end of Elizabeth’s reign, but the people had more enthusiasm for the Dutch than Elizabeth did, for she still distrusted them.
Trade between England and France was vital for Elizabeth and it was increasing very steeply. France wanted wool and cloth from England and England wanted French corn and wine. As yet, France had not tried to take over England’s naval power.
“James managed to restrain the ambition of merchants and the prejudices of Protestant Zealots, he might have justified in full his claim to be Rex Pacificus. It was unfortunate that he tried to swim to shore by swimming in the tide of public opinion” – Foreign Policy – Elizabeth’s Legacy – Background: To the Stuarts. This could say that James was that bothered by what people will think of him, he had to do quite a lot of what the people of England had suggested.
But after all, most people thought that James I was a good king, especially according to Roger Lockyear, who was a revisionist historian, in ‘Tudor and Stuart Britain, he says “there was great popularity with the People”, this shows that most people did like James I but G.M. Travelyen, who was a wig historian, thought differently and said in his book ‘Shortened history of England’, “His popularity was such; that a group of gentlemen attempted to blow him up” (this is referring to the Gun Powder Plot on the 5th November 1605). This quote shows that not everyone liked James and that some disliked him that much that they tried to commit regicide, E.G. Guido Fawkes, Thomas Winter, Thomas Percy etc.
This was a problem for James I because he was new to the trading system of England and ‘James disliked war’ according to G.M. Travelyen. So this was all a problem for James I that Elizabeth had left him. In addition, English Foreign Policy effects the Spanish and the French Foreign Policy and all this caused a feud between the three countries.
Therefore, I think that there are many different historians that have their own opinions on whether Elizabeth had done a good job with England before James I came as king. Malcolm Gaskill wrote a book called ‘Witchfinders’ and he wrote and I quote “Elizabethan settlement was a fudged compromise, with many catholic traditions preserved and codified’, this is a bad view because Gaskill thinks that what Elizabeth did not do a good job of ruling over England, I think that he thinks that she had changed that much she had made a mess of society. However, G.R. Elton disagrees that Elizabeth had not ruled sufficiently enough, in his book ‘England under the Tudors’, he says, ” The Church of England in the 1590’s was a time of consolidation and mounting triumph, 1590’s, the Queen’s difficulties with parliament continued, The main problem was money.
The Tudor age was over 2nd March 1603, there was no more Tudors, it was a new reign about to open, problems arose, in 1607 Stuart incompetence, wonderful family with achievements helped by others significantly”. This shows that he really admires Elizabeth because he describes her family as ‘wonderful family and achievements’ and her reign was ‘mounting triumph’.
I think that the problems that Elizabeth had bequeathed to James I were significant because the problem with succession was that he had to earn respect from England as he was a Scottish King and a foreigner, he had to get used to how the trading system worked and try and make peace with Spain and France. In addition, he also had to try and get used to the way the parliament was run and try to make himself heard as local MP’s were becoming over powering. In addition, he had to try to maintain the level of religion that had been produced by Elizabeth and make sure that everything was running smoothly. Therefore, James I had many significant problems to deal with as the new king of England.