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St. John Ogilvie: London to Paris

Saint John did get across the channel to France, presumably with some kind of passport or safe conduct document, without which there was always the risk of being discovered as a priest with the consequences attached to that. King James would not have wanted his emissary to run into trouble. He had a warmer welcome in London than he got in Paris. His superiors were furious with him and ordered him back to Scotland. What had he done wrong? Did they consider him too young or inexperienced to be playing high politics? Did John Ogilvie’s move get in the way of other plans afoot? Or were they simply jealous at him managing to do what he had done? Suffice it to say that John Ogilvie’s mission on behalf of James was dead in the water, and he was ordered back to Scotland. When King James heard later that he had been arrested in Glasgow, one might imagine his fury like King Herod when he was outwitted by the wise men who went home by a different route. James might, understandably, feel that he had been made a fool of. Indeed one can imagine English courtiers telling him: “We told you so”. Certainly, King James took an inordinate interest in a trial away to the far north in Glasgow. How do we explain it? His interest normally in Scotland was minimal. After leaving it in 1603, he returned once, reluctantly, in 1617. He left it to his agents to do his work there.

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