James I Stuart, King of England
He became King of Scots as James VI on 24 July 1567, when he was just thirteen months old, succeeding his mother Mary, Queen of Scots. Regents governed during his minority, which ended officially in 1578, though he did not gain full control of his government until 1581.
Under James, the "Golden Age" of Elizabethan literature and drama continued, with writers such as William Shakespeare, John Donne, Ben Jonson, and Sir Francis Bacon contributing to a flourishing literary culture. James himself was a talented scholar, the author of works such as Daemonologie (1597), True Law of Free Monarchies (1598), and Basilikon Doron (1599). Sir Anthony Weldon claimed that James had been termed "the wisest fool in Christendom", an epithet associated with his character ever since.
- Stewart, p 47; He then ruled the Kingdom of England, Scotland, and Ireland for 22 years, often using the title King of Great Britain, until his death at the age of 58. After the Union of the Crowns James was the first to style himself "King of Great Britain", but the title was rejected by both the English Parliament and the Parliament of Scotland, and its legal basis was open to question. Croft, p 67; Willson, pp 249–52. See also: the early history of the Union Flag.
- Milling, p 155.
- James I, king of England (1597). "[[Daemonologie]], in forme of a dialogue". at Folger Shakespeare Library web site. Retrieved 2007-05-12. URL–wikilink conflict (help)
- "James VI and I was the most writerly of British monarchs. He produced original poetry, as well as translation and a treatise on poetics; works on witchcraft and tobacco; meditations and commentaries on the Scriptures; a manual on kingship; works of political theory; and, of course, speeches to parliament...He was the patron of Shakespeare, Jonson, Donne, and the translators of the "Authorized version" of the Bible, surely the greatest concentration of literary talent ever to enjoy royal sponsorship in England." Rhodes et al., p 1.
- "A very wise man was wont to say that he believed him the wisest fool in Christendom, meaning him wise in small things, but a fool in weighty affairs." Sir Anthony Weldon (1651), The Court and Character of King James I, quoted by Stroud, p 27; "The label 'the wisest fool in Christendom', often attributed to Henry IV of France but possibly coined by Anthony Weldon, catches James’s paradoxical qualities very neatly." Smith, p 238.