This is the complete biography of the third James Stewart, who was unfortunate from his birth. The slander that he was not really the son of James II. and Mary of Modena persisted long after its absolute falsity had been proved. William of Orange, whose hopes of succeeding quietly to the throne for which he had long intrigued were blasted by the event, and all the enemies of the rightful king did their utmost for years to keep it alive. Sent with his mother to France before his father was forced to abdicate, the young prince was in perpetual peril; the usurper who sanctioned the Massacre of Glencoe would not have hesitated to connive at his assassination. He was a delicate boy, and, indeed, all through his life he suffered from ill-health. There were times when he wearied of the task to which he was in honour bound; but his strong sense of duty held him. We search the chronicles in vain for any justification of the accusations brought against him by Thackeray. He was sincerely religious, scrupulously moral in an immoral age, intelligent, conscientious and faithful to every obligation. He had, of course, the defects of his virtues. He sometimes hesitated where a bold course was essential; he shrank from bringing misfortune to his adherents or shedding the blood of his adversaries; he had not the buoyant temperament and the personal magnetism with which Bonnie Prince Charlie set the heather on fire. Yet he was loved by those who knew him best; and for years Scotland watched in vain for "Jamie" to "come hame." Probably he might have regained his lost throne had he consented to forswear his faith. There is nothing to indicate that he contemplated any subversive designs upon the Anglican Church. But hatred of Romanism was deep rooted among the English people; and however much they might despise the first two Georges they would not consent to be ruled over by a "Papist." James III. had promised the fullest protection to the established faith, and he was one who kept his promises; he was no propagandist, like his father, but rather inclined to Quietism; and yet the dread of Papal aggression inherited from the days of Elizabeth stood in his path. This book is annotated with a rare extensive biographical sketch of the author, Andrew Lang, written by Sir Edmund Gosse, CB, a contemporary poet and writer.
|Author||Andrew Lang, Alice Shields|