Page images

the rear, he placed the baggage of the army, with all the nume rous and useless attendants on the camp.

Eight hundred horsemen, commanded by Sir Robert Clifford, were detached from the English army, to reinforce the garrison of Stirling castle. Robert, perceiving their movement, rode up to Randolph, and angrily reproved him for his inattention. “Thoughtless man," said he, “you have suffered the enemy to pass!" Randolph hastened to repair his fault, or perish. As he advanced, the English cavalry wheeled to attack him; but he instantly drew up his troops in a circular form, with their spears resting on the ground and protruding on every side. In a moment, the enemy, who were far superior in number, surrounded and pushed hard on the gallant Scots. The bravery and perseverance of Randolph prevailed; the English fell into disorder and retired.


When the English vanguard appeared in sight, Robert was in the front of his army, meanly mounted, with a battle-axe in his hand, and distinguished by a crown above his helmet. Henry de Bohun, an English knight, armed at all points, rushed forward to encounter him; the King instantly cleft the skull of Bohun, who fell dead at his feet. The English vanguard retired in confusion. The memorable battle of Bannockburn was fought on 1314. Monday the 24th of June. At break of day, the English moved on to the attack. The van, consisting of the archers and lancemen, was commanded by the Earl of Gloucester, Edward's nephew, and the Earl of Hereford, Constable of England. The ground was so narrow that the rest of the English army could not be brought into action: It appeared to the Scots as composing one vast compact body. Edward, assisted by Aymer de Valloins and the renowned Giles de Argentine, brought up the main body.

The Abbot of Inchaffray celebrated mass in sight of the Scottish army: He then passed along the front barefooted, bearing a crucifix, and exhorted the Scots to combat for their rights and their liberty. The Scots kneeled. "They yield!” cried Edward, "See, they implore mercy!" "They implore not ours,” replied one of his attendants; on that field they will be victorious or perish."

[ocr errors]

The armies engaged. Exasperated by mutual animosities, they maintained an ardent and sanguinary conflict. Perceiving that his

troops were greatly annoyed by the English archers, Robert ordered Sir Robert Keith, the Marshal, to make a circuit by the right, and, with a few armed horsemen, to attack the archers in flank. These, having no weapons, were instantly overthrown, and, falling back, spread disorder throughout the army. This movement was decisive of the battle. The gallant Earl of Gloucester, attempting to rally the fugitives, was hewn in pieces. A general confusion ensued. King Robert advanced with the reserve. At the same moment the camp attendants issued from their concealment, prompted by curiosity or eager for plunder, and seemed as if a fresh army had arrived in aid of the Scots. The English fled with precipitation: Many endeavoured to obtain shelter among the rocks in the neighbourhood of Stirling castle, and others rushed into the river and perished.

When Pembroke, who had attended on King Edward during the action, saw that the battle was irretrievably lost, he constrained him to quit the field: But d'Argentine, renowned for his prowess in the Saracen wars, said, "It is not my wont to fly;" and, putting spurs to his horse, he cried out "an Argentine !" rushed into the battle, and was slain. Edward, pursued by Douglas with sixty horsemen, rode to Linlithgow without halting. Scarcely had he refreshed himself there, when the alarm came that the Scots were approaching: He again fled; nor was he allowed a moment's respite until he reached Dunbar, full sixty miles from the field of battle. He was there received and protected by the Earl of March, who conveyed him by sea into England.

No Scotsmen of note were slain in this battle, except Sir William Vipent and Sir Walter Ross. The loss of the English was immense. Of barons and bannerets, twenty-seven were slain and twenty-two made prisoners; of knights, forty-two were slain and sixty made prisoners; of esquires, seven hundred fell. The Welshmen who served in the English army were dispersed over the country, and massacred by the peasantry. The English fugitives who had concealed themselves among the rocks surrendered at discretion. Stirling castle immediately surrendered; and Mowbray, the governor, entered into the service of Robert.

The Scots were enriched by the spoils of the English camp and the ransoms of many noble prisoners. The privy seal of the English Robert, by his humanity and

King was found among the spoil.

courtesy, alleviated the misery of his captives, and won their af

fections. Basten, a Carmelite friar, accompanied the English army, to record their achievements and celebrate their triumphs. He was made prisoner; and paid a poet's ransom, by writing a poem on the victory of the Scots at Bannockburn.

Such was the event of this memorable battle, in which one hundred thousand English were routed by thirty thousand, Scots,—an action glorious in its circumstances, and of decisive moment. So, strong an impression did the valour and good fortune of the Scots make on the English, that for a considerable time a hundred of that nation would flee from two or three Scotsmen.



Settlement of the suc

Proceedings of Parliament in favour of Robert. The Scots invad: Ireland. - Attempts of the English upon Scotland. Interference of Pope John. The Scots capture Berwick-their disasters in cession. The English attack Berwick. pal bull. Remonstrance of the Scots. and English. Exploits of Douglas and Randolph. Death of Robert.

The Scots invade England. Pa
Alternate incursions of the Scots'

THE Scots were now in a condition to retaliate upon their ene mies the miseries they had so long endured. They repeatedly invaded and plundered the Northern counties of England with impunity. Being firmly seated on the throne of Scotland, and possessing the confidence and affections of his subjects, Robert conceived the opportunity favourable for settling the succession to the crown.

A. D.


For this purpose, a Parliament assembled at Ayr, con1315. sisting of all the prelates and nobility, who unanimously: resolved that the King's legitimate male issue should succeed to the crown agreeably to the laws of succession; that, in the event of that issue becoming extinct, the succession should devolve on his brother Edward, and descend to his legitimate male issue; that, failing these, the King's daughter Marjory, and failing her, the nearest heir lineally descended of the body of Robert, should succeed to the crown. Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray, was appointed to be guardian of the kingdom, and of the heir, should he be a minor, until the States should consider him of sufficient age to administer the government in his own person. The bishops and prelates of the kingdom, and their successors, were intrusted

with the power of compelling all parties concerned, by all spiritual censures, to observe and fulfil the premises.

Soon after, Walter the Steward of Scotland espoused Marjory the King's daughter.

The Irish of Ulster, dissatisfied with the English government, implored the aid of the Scots, and offered to acknowledge his brother Edward as their sovereign. Of this proposal Robert unwisely accepted. His brother was sent to that country with an army of six thousand men. John of Lorn, whom the King had formerly chastised, still maintained himself in the Western Islands. Robert invaded these islands, and reduced the refractory chief.

The arms of Edward Bruce were attended with little success in Ireland, though he was solemnly crowned King. His allies were faithless; famine and disease wasted his army. His brother the King of Scots resolved to conduct in person a reinforcement to his aid; and, during his absence, he intrusted the kingdom to the Steward and Douglas. The Scots traversed the provinces of Ulster and Munster. They ravaged the country; plundered and burnt religious houses and churches; and even violated the sepulchres of the dead in quest of treasures: Yet their expedition was eventually fruitless: The Irish chiefs who submitted on their approach, revolted upon their retreat; and Robert returned home with the glory of having overrun Ireland at the expense of the lives of many of his most faithful subjects.

During his absence, the English had made various attempts upon Scotland. The Earl of Arundel, with an army of English, invaded the forest of Jedburgh. They were drawn into an ambush, and defeated by Douglas. An English fleet appeared in the Frith of Forth, whence a body of troops were disembarked. The Earl of Fife, with five hundred men, attempted to oppose their landing; but, intimidated by the numbers of the English, they made a precipitate retreat. William Sinclair, Bishop of Dunkeld, meeting the fugitives, said to their leaders, "Wherefore do you fly? You deserve to have your gilt spurs hacked off." Immediately throwing aside his ecclesiastical vestment, he seized a spear, and cried, "Who loves Scotland, follow me!" The fugitives instantly ralA.D. Į lied, charged the enemy, and pursued them to their ships. The King was highly pleased with the intrepidity of the prelate. "Sinclair shall be my bishop," said he. He was long


remembered by his countrymen under the appellation of the King's bishop.

Pope John the Twenty-second issued a bull, commanding a truce for two years between England and Scotland; and he despatched two cardinals into the latter country to make known his commands, with the power of inflicting the highest spiritual censures on Robert, in case of disobedience. Their credentials were addressed to "Robert Bruce, Governor of Scotland." The King declined receiving them under that title. The cardinals, however, resolved to proclaim the Papal truce in Scotland, and sent a monk with letters to the clergy, and official instruments to the King. He was denied access to the royal presence. "I will listen to no bulls," said Robert, " until I am addressed as King of Scotland, and have made myself master of Berwick." The monk, who was guardian of the Minorites in that town, was terrified at this intimation. On his return to Berwick, he was waylaid, stripped, and robbed of all his parchments and letters. The robbers tore the bull of his Holi


Berwick was soon after taken by a stratagem. The castle surrendered after a short siege. Walter the Steward of Scotland was appointed governor. Having acquired this important place, the Scots made successive incursions into England, penetrated into Yorkshire, and returned home with great booty and a multitude of prisoners.

With the view of intimidating the Scots, the Pope ordered his legates in England to excommunicate Bruce and his adherents. The latter treated the Pontiff's mandate with contumacy.


The ambitious project of establishing a new kingdom in Ireland on the ruins of the English power, was annihilated by the total defeat of Edward Bruce, who was slain near Dundalk, 1318. Many of his brave companions shared his fate. In consequence of his death, it became necessary to make some new regulations with respect to the royal succession. For this purpose, a Parliament assembled at Scone; the whole clergy and laity renewed their engagements of obedience to the King, and promised to assist him in the defence of the rights and liberties of Scotland, against all persons, however eminent in power, authority, and dignity. The Pope was understood to be referred to, as well as the English King, in this declaration. It was likewise declared, that whoever violated this engagement should be guilty of high treason

« PreviousContinue »