Scotland's Story Chapter LXXIII. James VI - New Scotland
FOR many years, daring sailors had been making voyages
into unknown seas, and many new lands had been discovered. 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 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
statesman, and some people laughed at him. He was not content to be King
among poets, they said, he must make himself King of some New-found-land,
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 Scotland 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 oft 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
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 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
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
lie 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 to
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