Consider the mood that must have prevailed at the time of Queen Elizabeth's death. Her rule had provided a great sense of security and stability for her country.
The Nonconformists and Separatists, some of whom would later become America's Pilgrims, wanted the state out of church affairs altogether. They were not seen as a potent force at the time, but their movement was slowly developing.
As James prepared to take the throne, strong stirrings of discontent caused him grave concern. Elizabeth died on March 24, 1603, after ruling 45 years. James received word of his cousin Elizabeth's death and his appointment to the throne, and on April 5, he began his journey from Edinburgh to London for his coronation.
The participants in the conference were the king, his Privy Council of advisors, nine bishops and deans. There were also four moderate representatives of the Puritan cause, the most prominent being Dr. John Reynolds, head of Corpus Christi College. It was clear the deck was stacked against the Puritans, but at least they were given a voice.
Like Constantine at the opening of the Council of Nicea, James delivered the opening address. He immediately set the tone and gave clear cues of what to expect. The doctrine and polity of the state church was not up for evaluation and reconsideration.
So James ordered a new translation. It was to be accurate and true to the originals. He appointed fifty of the nation's finest language scholars and approved rules for carefully checking the results.
He decreed that special pains be "taken for an uniform translation, which should be done by the best learned men in both Universities, then reviewed by the Bishops, presented to the Privy Council, lastly ratified by the Royal authority...."