James V.king of Scotland, son of the preceding and of Margaret Tudor, born in Linlithgow, April 10, 1512, died in Falkland, Dec. 13, 1542. He was crowned at Scone, and his mother became regent. His minority was a period of great trouble, owing to the weakness of his mother, the rivalry of parties, the venality and violence of the aristocracy, and the attempts of the English to obtain ascendancy. In his 17th year he escaped from the Douglases, who then had possession of his person, and became king in fact. He showed much energy in repressing the troubles on the borders, where he sent several chiefs to the gallows, among them the famous John Arm-, strong. A rebellion in the Orkneys was promptly quelled; and the chiefs of the Western isles were induced to submit to the king's authority by his firm but conciliatory action. Other measures to promote tranquillity were adopted; but the nobles had become lawless and licentious during the regency, so that James met with great difficulties in his endeavors to restore peace at home, and some of their leaders were treated with severity. The clergy were much esteemed by him, and held the principal offices of state; facts of not a little consequence, as the reformation was then going forward, and Scotland was affected by it.
The college of justice was established in 1532, supposed to have been modelled on the parliament of Paris, and suggested by the advice of Gavin Dunbar, archbishop of Glasgow, who had been the king's preceptor, and was now chancellor; its object was to remove the means of oppression from the hands of the nobles. James was courted by foreign powers. Henry VIII. wished him to marry his daughter Mary. Charles V. offered him his sister, the late queen of Hungary, or his niece, a princess of Denmark. Francis I. favored the English alliance, as he and Henry were at that time friends. Border hostilities made it difficult for England and Scotland to be allies. Henry encouraged Scotch rebels, and James aided the disaffected Irish. In 1533, under French mediation, a truce was made, which was converted into a treaty of peace the next year. Henry made James a knight of the garter, Francis conferred upon him the order of St. Michael, and the emperor that of the golden fleece. Charles made another futile effort to marry him to one of his nieces, though James avowed his attachment to the cause of which the emperor was chief. He persecuted the reformers, burning some, while others were compelled to fly.
Henry VIII. urged his nephew to side with him in his contest with Rome, and again offered him the hand of the princess Mary; but he failed, and the pope's attentions and exertions bound James to the papal cause. Paul III. addressed him as "defender of the faith," against which Henry remonstrated. James visited France in 1536, where he married Madeleine, only daughter of Francis I. She died soon after, whereupon James married the duchess of Longue-ville, a daughter of the duke of Guise, who had been sought by Henry VIII. These marriages caused the king to become still more attached to the party in Europe that was hostile to the reformation, and under the influence of Cardinal Beaton persecution raged, while Henry VIII. exerted himself to change the policy of Scotland. In 1540 James led a successful expedition to the Western isles. The Hebrides, the Orkney and Shetland isles, and portions of territory in Scotland that had belonged to rebellious barons, were annexed to the crown. The king paid much attention to industrial development, inviting skilful foreign artisans to settle in Scotland. Henry VIII. sought an interview with his nephew in 1541, going for that purpose to York; but James would not visit him.
War followed, and James made great preparations to meet the English; but his feudal array could not be relied upon, the nobility being thoroughly discontented. At Fala Muir and Solway Moss they openly defied his commands, and would not resist the enemy. James fell into despair, and died in a few days. When the birth of his daughter Mary was announced to him, he said: "It [the crown] came with a lass, and it will go with a lass." These were among his last words.