Here is some excellent information from a book by Stephen Coston, “King James Unjustly Accused?” This is the best stuff I’ve ever read defending the character of King James.
It turns out that the younger man (George Villiers) that James is accused of having a homosexual relationship with, was taken as a “son” by James, after his father died at an early age. Not only that, but James’ oldest son died young, and Villiers filled the void. Not only that, but James’ own father died in his infancy (James ascended to the throne of Scotland at only One year of age) and he knew the hardships of growing up without a father. The terms of endearment toward Villiers were as from a father to a son. The terms were common speech of the day, and Coston gives countless examples of that. He also gave many quotes of thankfulness to James from Villiers’ mother for helping raise him, and from Villiers’ wife for remaining a close friend. They would’ve not been likely to commend a queer. Three generations of the Villiers family lived in the palace with the ruling Stuart family. The families remained close long after James was dead and gone.
King James condemned homosexuality numerous times, he advised his own son to “Guard against corrupt leide … and last of all, mignard and EFFEMINATE ones.”
He also penned the advice, “But especially eschew to be EFFEMINATE in your clothes, in perfuming, preining, or such like, and make not a FOOL of yourself in disguising or wearing LONG your hair or nails, which are but EXCRETEMENTS of nature.”
I’ve never heard a homosexual castigate homosexuality like that!
James had many enemies. The Catholics hated him passionately. Many Brits disliked him because he was the first King of England of Scottish descent. The United Kingdom was first united under James’ reign. He was the first to call the kingdom “Great Britain”. His enemies are the ones who made the accusations. Enemies of God’s word perpetuate the attacks. Nobody then thought James was a homo, the first accusations were not leveled until 25 years after he was dead.
James also was a saved man with a desire to spread the Gospel. Due to having the aforementioned enemies, there were many attempts to assault and assassinate James. He told one attacker, “Are you after my life? You can get it, but you will not get my soul”. King James authorized the first charters establishing settlements that would become States in America, as well as the Mayflower Compact. All of these had evangelism of the heathen as their primary purpose. James also wrote against the masculinization of women in their apparel, and against the dangers of smoking.
He may have had faults like anyone, he may have made mistakes as King, but in general, we don’t have to apologize for King James’ character.
Follow up information:
Here is the promised documentation of defenders of King James’ character. Some of them are from people of his own day.
First, evidences of James’ salvation (and security):
James’ comment to a sword-armed assailant (James had several attempts on his life. Four conspiratorial plots were uncovered, several individual attempts, and a number of James’ associates were captured or murdered.) “Are you after my life? You can get it, but you will NOT get my SOUL.” (Letters of King James by G.P.V. Akrigg)
Sanderson (referenced below) gives another account of James’ similar response to a knife-wielding attacker, “Sir if you want my life you may have it, but you will NOT have my SOUL.”
In his own work “Basilicon Doron” James wrote “I am no papist, as I have said before…”, “Now FAITH is the free gift of God (as Paul sayeth).” “…white garments washen the blood of the Lamb (as St. John sayeth)…”. “All that is necessary for salvation is contained in the scripture.”
Maurice Lee said in “Great Britain’s Solomon – James VI & I” , “Historians can and should, ignore the VENOMOUS charicature of the King’s person and behavior drawn by Anthony Weldon…”
Robert Ashton in “James I, By His Contemporaries” said, “the treatises of writers such as Sir Anthony Weldon and Francis Osborne are characterized chiefly by their author’s SPITEFUL and indiscriminate ANIMUS against the king. They are represented here not because of their value as accurate accounts of events which is negligible…”
Sir Edmund Coke wrote that, “Buggery (homosexuality) is a detestable and abominable sin amongst Christians…”. He also wrote directly to Viscount Villiers, “And I, knowing the sincerity of his Majesty’s justice, (for the which he is the most renowned King in the Christian world)…” (cited by Roger Magnuson in “Are Gay Rights Right? Multnomah, 1990 p. 111)
Peter Heylyn (1600-1662) was a historian and contemporary of James. He wrote “Examen Historicum A Discovery and Examination of the Mistakes, Falsities, and Defects in Some Modern Histories (1659). In it he denounced Weldon’s book as an infamous libel.
The “Dictionary of National Biography” states that James was “decidedly pure” and did not “come into conflict with the Presbyterian clergy” in the field of “morality”.
Anthony Wood (1632-1695) was a contemporary historian of James’ era. He wrote “Athenas Oxonienses”. he called Peyton’s accusations “a most desperate and LIBELOUS book.” “full of LIES, mistakes, and nonsense.”
Sir William Sanderson (1586-1676) was another historian of the era who defended King James against his accusers. He penned “A Complete History of the Lives and Reigns of Mary … and … James. Reconciling Several Opinions … in Vindication of Him, against two Scandalous Authors:” (Weldon and Wilson) He commented, “Their but infection hath poisoned others, who wilfully and maliciously, have now, very lately SPIT their VENOM in print as if the world had been more than since half hundred years last past abused, with a FALSE and FEIGNED story.” he calls Weldon’s work “his traitorous intention” and him a “pamphleteer of fables”. Sanderson further defended James in “Aulicus Coquinariae”, calling Weldon’s diatribe a “FALSE story”.
Other sources to look into for defense of King James include “The Literary Character” and an “Inquiry into the Character of James I” by Isaac Disraeli [also later works of his son, Benjamin] (1859) and “Curiosities of Literature” (1863). “The Life of King James the First” by Robert Chambers (1830). “Monarchs of Scotland” by Stewart Ross. The “Stuart Tracts” (1603-1693) put out by Cooper Square Publishers, NY.
One last quote, from F.A. Inderwick’s “Side-Lights on the Stuarts”, “James…language, however, both written and oral, partook too much of the grossness and RUDENESS of the age.” Oh, no, King James was a “RUCKMANITE”! 🙂