A Description of Scotland
. The comments in extract I come from
The Court and Character of King James I
, published in 1650, which is also famous for the description of James as “the wisest fool in
Christendom”. The assessment made of James in this work was accepted by historians for the next several hundred years. There is now doubt that either work was actually written by Weldon. 1. What is the purpose of the author in each extract?
The purpose of each author's extract is to attempt to voice an individual opinion about
James and try to depict and enhance some of his personal attributes to a wider audience. The first reader has a firm and damning description of James where he basically calls James a coward with his use of vocabulary and persuasion.
The second extract is more examining of James’ physical appearance and attitude towards his passion or lack there of over the matter of running the country, stating that he would rather go hunting and leave the duties to his council to deal with.
The final extract is a more mellow however vague description but does still confess that one of James’ major downfalls was his inability to judge character and their suitability to positions of importance. First author → Ridiculing james, making him appear foolish.
Second author → Overview of his assessment of James as a King.
Third author (Revisionist Historian) → Revisiting traditional viewpoints of James and reevaluating them. 2. How does this impact on the reliability of each source?
The reliability of this source is questionable as they are all opinions or different views of
James from various historians throughout different time periods, although they seem to have relatively consistent ideas through the years. Some historians opinions could also be influenced by historians who have written descriptions from previous historians and draw their opinions from there, which is not the most valid or accurate use of judgement.
Sir Anthony Weldon could still be a valid representation of James. The fact that the resource has survived for such a long time it could suggest that it was relevant to how some people viewed James. However just because something has survived over time doesn't mean that it is correct or valid. Published after the revolution where people's opinions of James could have changed as he made some controversial decisions during this time period. England was a republic when it was published, Monarchy got rid of it.
Alot of animosity towards Scots at the time, Weldon made comments in court about the
Scots, and James being a Scot, was not a fan.
Second author Venetian Ambassador personal claims about James, not necessarily about how he was as a ruler but how he held himself and conducted himself. May have left some things out to make James appear a certain way. Selective viewpoint. See
James as heretic.
Revisionists Historian could be more accurate and plausible as his piece is more balanced. 3. How would each extract be useful to a historian studying James I?
These extracts could be useful to a historian in the sense that they can gather a number of different opinions about James and from the variety of opinions be able to create one of their own. However I do believe that this is not the best source for forming an opinion