JAMES VI.—NEW SCOTLAND
For many years, daring sailors had been making voyages
into unknown seas, and many new lands had been dis
covered. When these sailors came home with their
wonderful tales of unknown countries, those who listened
to them longed to sail away to see these strange places for
themselves. People who were discontented or unhappy,
people who were poor, people who were restless and
longed for adventures, people who were hardly treated
because of their religion, all went over the seas hoping to
find happiness or wealth, peace or excitement. So there
arose in the New World, as it was called, a New England,
a new France, a new Spain.
Scotland was a small country, and for many years
brave Scotsmen had been in the habit of leaving their
own land, to look for fame in other lands. In every
country of Europe, they were to be found fighting other
people‘s quarrels. But now that the New World had
been discovered, there seemed to be no reason why there
should not be a New Scotland, as well as a New England,
where Scotsmen, instead of fighting for other countries,
might work for their own.
So in 1621 a.d., James gave a large piece of land in
America to a Scotsman called Sir William Alexander.
He also said, that to encourage people to go to this new
colony (as a new country which is peopled by an old
334 SCOTLAND’S STORY
country is called) he would make every one who would
go there, and who would take with him a certain number
of others, a baronet. That is, he would give the title of
‘ Sir ‘ to him, and to his sons after him.
Sir William Alexander was a poet as well as a states
man, and some people laughed at him. He was not con
tent to be King among poets, they said, he must make
himself King of some Newfoundland, and, like another
King Arthur, he must have his knights.
In spite of much laughter, Sir William went on with
his plans. He called the land Nova Scotia, which is
Latin, and means New Scotland. After a good deal of
delay, he got a ship fitted out and sent off to New Scot
land with colonists. But it was now so late in the year,
and the storms were so bad, that when they arrived at
Nova Scotia, they could not land, but were driven back to
Newfoundland, which lies not far off. There they landed,
and the ship in which they had come went home, leaving
them in that far-off country.
During the winter they had many hardships. Their
minister died, and so did their blacksmith, and most of
the others scattered among the people of Newfoundland,
trying to earn a living by fishing.
In the spring, the ship came back with more people,
and a colony was really started. They built a fort and a
little town of wooden houses round it But misfortune
after misfortune came upon them, and after struggling for
some years, Sir William gave up all his claim to the land
to a Frenchman called de la Tour, who had married an
English lady. But de la Tour promised that the colony
should still belong to the King of Scotland.
The French had also colonies in America, and after
this, Nova Scotia changed hands many times. Sometimes
it belonged to the French, sometimes to the British, until
NEW SCOTLAND 335
at last, in 1713 a.d., it was given back to Britain, and has
belonged to Britain ever since.
Long ago, perhaps, it has been forgotten that this was
ever a Scottish colony. But the place where the first
colonists built was for many years called the Scottish Fort,
and the place where it stood is still pointed out. The
name too of Nova Scotia remains to remind us of it. If
you look on the map of Canada you will see it.
In 1625 a.d. James VI. died. He had reigned for
fifty-seven years, during nineteen of which his mother,
Queen Mary, still lived.
He was not in the least like any of the gallant Jameses
who had gone before him. He was something of a
coward, and he could not bear even to see a drawn sword.
He was ugly and dirty, and it is said never washed his
hands. He was clever without being truly wise, so that
he has been called the ‘ British Solomon,’ and ‘ the wisest
fool in Christendom.’
Like James I. and James V., James VI. wrote books.
In one of these books he set down his ideas of how
kings ought to rule, in another, he wrote against smoking.
Sir Walter Raleigh, one of Queen Elizabeth’s courtiers,
had made voyages into far countries and had brought
back tobacco with him. It soon became the fashion to
smoke. Many people thought it a strange fashion. James
thought it a disgusting one, and did all he could to stop
it ‘ It was,’ he said, ‘ A custom loathsome to the eye,
hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, and dangerous
to the lungs.’
I am afraid that people did not pay much attention
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