« AnteriorContinuar »
whole Scottish army was broken and dispersed with great slaughter.
Wallace's military skill and presence of mind enabled him to keep his troops entire, and retreating behind the Carron, he marched in safety along its banks.
Young Bruce then serving in the English army, desired a conference with hin from the opposite side of the river. He represented to him the folly of continuing so bloody and fruitless a contest with a powerful monarch, and endeavoured to bend the inflexible spirit of Wallace to submission, insinuating that nothing but ambition could prompt him to continue in arms.
The hero disclaimed any ambitious views, but reproached Bruce for bis degeneracy and indolence. “ To you," said he, “ are owing the miseries of your country. You left her overwhelined with woes, and I undertook the cause you betrayed a cause which I shall maintain as long as I breathe; while you live with ignominy, and court the chains of a foreign tyrant."
These sentiments sunk deep into the mind of Bruce, and at last produced that heroism which made him a worthy successor of Wallace, in the deliverance of his country.
After this we find no trace of Wallace in Scottish historians for two years. Some pretend that he went over to France; others, that he stiil ranged among the hills : be that as it may, Edward with much ado completed at last the conquest of Scotland, without being able either seize or subdue the patriotic knight. Disappointed in all his schemes for that pure pose, he did not disdain to stoop to treachery. Sir William was basely betrayed by a traitor in whom he trusted, and was sent in chains to London; here he was tried as a rebel against a sovereign whom he had never acknowledged, and whose power was founded on tyranny and injustice.
All this and more was urged by Wallace in his defence : his remonstrances were disregarded, and he was condemned to suffer the death of a traitor, which sentence was put in execution, to the indeliable disgrace of Edward's memory. This was the unworthy fate of a hero who, through a course of many years, had with signal conduct, intrepidity, and perseverance, defended the liberties of his native country against a public and oppressive enemy.
We have been more particular in the history of this remarkable character than our limits would admit of in general.
A person of no less illustrious fame now claims our attention. Robert, the Bruce, the restorer of the Scottish throne, and father of a new race of kings, was the grandson of the competitor for the crown.
He was in the bloom of life, when he resolved to quit Edward's court to make good his family's claims. His motions were watchedwith a jealous eye ; yet he contrived to escape, and to join the Scots patriots at Lochmaben,
Among these was Cumyn, a man of great power, but in whom Bruce could put no trust. Historians do not agree as to the causes of this diffidence: but the first act of Bruce was to murder Cumyn, which he did in a church at Dumfries, by stabbing him with a dagger. This violation of the sanctuary, and at least of the forms of justice, was what afterwards drew down on his head the anathemas of the church. Obliged now to have recourse to arms, he bastened to collect what forces he Robert
could, attacked the English, who were
unprepared, and having got possession Bruce,
of several castles, he was solemely crowned at Scone.
King Edward lost no time to check this new insurrection. He dispatched immediately Ayıner de Valence into Scotland, who falling in with Bruce at Methven, attacked hint, and notwithstanding a most vigorous resistance, totally defeated the Scottish army.
Bruce fied, almost unattended, to the westera isles, where he wandered about for some time in great distress.
Opportunely for bis cause, Edward died on his way to Scotland, whither he was again conducting a numerous army. Thus delivered from a powerful enemy, Bruce's party daily encreased. He soon was master of the western highlands, and after a continued tiain of success, forced Edw. Il. to a truce.
On the renewal of the war, Edward marched into Scotland with an army so powerful, that Bruce found it prudent to retire to the m:untains. The English were, however, obliged to retreat, A. D. partly for want of provisions, and partly 1313,
on account of discontents at home. The
year following Edward assembled his whole forces, amounting, say the Scottish historians, to 100,000 men.
Robert's army did not exceed 30,000, but they
were men of tried valour. He encamped beside a rivulet called Bannock burn, near Stirling.
The castle being in the hands of the English, bad been long besieged by the Scots. Edward was determined to relieve it. He arrived in sight in the evening, and immediately an engagement commenced between the two bodies of cavalry.
In this action Robert encountered Henry de Bobun, and with one stroke of his battle-ax cleft bis adversary to the chin. From this favourable event the Scots prognosticated a happy issue to the battle of the ensuing day.
All night the troops rested on their arms. early dawn the English advanced to the attack, the earl of Gloucester led the van, and impetuously rushed on the fue: the cavalry, which he commanded, fell among covered pits which Bruce had prepared, and were put into disorder. Gloucester himself was overthrown and slain. Randolph on the lefi wing of the Scots, and Douglas and Walter Stewart in the centre, soon brought into action the corps under their command. The English archers greatly over-matched the Scots.
But 500 light horsemen, detached under sir Robert Keith, armed with battle-axes, dispersed them or hewed them to pieces. All this while a great part of the English forces were prevented by the disadvantages of the ground from sharing in the engagement. Bruce, with the Scottish reserve, now appeared in the front of the battle, and at the same moment the English beheld on the heights what they took to be a fresh reinforcer:ent arriving to the aid of the Scots. These were the attendants of the camp, whom Bruce had ordered to appear in battle array with colours flying.
Panic struck at this sight, the English gave way, and soon betook themselves to flight. The Scots pursued and made a great slaughter. King Edward with difficulty escaped to Dunbar: but the flower of his nobility fell on that day, and the liberty of Scotland triumphed.
This memorable day did not however restore peace. Continual inroads were made on Eng. land, and even an attempt on Ireland by the warlike followers of Bruce.
But first a parliament was convened at Ayr, where the rights of that hero to the crown were fully acknowledged, and the succession established. The princess Marjory, presumptive heir of Robert, was given in marriage to Walter Stuart; and their son Robert was afterwards king, and the first of the Stuart race,
Edward Bruce, chosen chief of the expedition into Ireland, was received as king by the Irish. Reinforced repeatedly by his brother, he had penetrated to the walls of Dublin; famine alone constrained him to retreat, and to risk his all on the fate of one day; he fell a victim to his ardent valour, and was found among the dead at the battle of Dundalk.
Hostilities were still carried on between A. D.
the Scots and English with unremitting 1348.
ardour. The pope thought himself called upon to put a stop to the effusion of human blood : he therefore proclaimed a truce, but his proclamation was not attended to. Nor was any truce agreed on till 1319.
Then the papat legates were admitted into Scotland, where they pronounced sentence of excommu.