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Bruce
Bruce
120

the representatives, but other Scotch nobles were specially summoned, and he is assumed to have been of their number. An ordinance, on the model of similar ordinances for Wales and Ireland, was drawn up for the government of Scotland, by which John de Bretagne, the kings nephew, was named his lieutenant in Scotland; Sir William de Beacote, chancellor; and Sir John de Landale, chamberlain. Two justices were appointed for Lothian, Galloway, the district between the Forth and the mountains, and the district beyond the mountains respectively. Sheriffs-either Scotchmen or Englishmen—removable at the discretion of the lieutenant and chamberlain, were named for the counties. Coroners were to be also appointed, unless those who held the otiice were deemed sufficient. The custody of the castles was committed to certain persons, and as regards the castle of Kildrummy in Aberdeenshire, he was to place it in charge of a person for whom he should answer. This shows, it has been said, how much Bruce was favoured; but it is perhaps rather a proof of the attitude of half confidence, half distrust in Edward's dealings with him during the earlier period of his career, and for which the wannnt was soon to appear. The provision of the ordinance as regards the laws was to prohibit the use of the customs of the Scots and of the Britons (Brets), the Celts of the highlands and Galloway. It is not known how long Bruce remained in London. On 10 Feb. 1306 he suddenly appeared in Dumfries, and in the church of the Friars Minor slew John Comyn, the late regent, and his uncle Robert. The English contempqorary writers and the Scotch, the earliest of whom (Barbour) wrote at least half a century later, assign a different train of incidents as leading to this act of violence. They agree that its proximate cause was the refusal of Comyn to join Bruce in opposing Edward, but the former ascribe the treachery to Bruce, who, concealing his designs, had lured Comyn to a place where he could fear no danger, while the latter relate that Comyn had revealed to Edward the scheme of Bruce to which he had been privy-having formed a similar bond with him to that of Lumberton-and so palliate the act of Bruce by the plea of self-defence. Records fail us, and both classes of historians wrote with a bias which has descended to most modern writers, according to the side of the border to which they belong. The hereditary enmity of the families of Bruce and Comyn, and the place of the deed, support the English view, which, in the absence of further evidence, must be accepted as more probable. Hailes suggests that the death of Comyn was due to hot words and a chance medley, but Bruce‘s subsequent conduct proves a design which can scarcely have been devised on the spot, though its execution may have been hastened by the death of Comyn, his possible rival for the crown. Bruce had now abandoned his former indecision, and acted with a promptness which proved he knew his opponent and the hazards on which he staked his life. He had seen the head of Wallace on London Bridge, and at Westminster the stone of destiny, on which the Scottish kings had been crowned at Scene. Which was to be his fate? It was in his favour that he numbered only about half the years of the greatest of the Plantagenets, but against him that the Scottish nobles were still divided into factions, though the popular feeling created by Wallace was gaining ground, while the church, in the persons of its two chiefs-the Bishops of St. Andrews und Glasgow-was on his side. What determined the issue was that in Scotland a great noble now placed himself at the head of the people, while in England the sccptre and the sword, to which Edward clung with the tenacity of a dying man, were about to pass into the hands of a son incapable of wielding them, After the death of Comyn, Bruce, collecting his adherents chiefly in the south-west of Scotland, passed from Lochmaben to Glasgow and thence to Soone, where, on 27 March 1306, he was crowned by the Bishop of St, Andrews, the Bishops of Glasgow and Moray being also present, and the Earls of Lennox, Athole, and Errol. Two days later Isabelle, countess of Buchan, sister of Duncan, earl of Fife, claimed the right of her family, the Macdull's, Celtic chiefs office, to place the king upon the throne, and the ceremony was repeated with a circumstance likely to conciliate the Celtic highlanders. Though crowned Bruce had still to win his kingdom, and his first efforts were failures. On 19 June he was defeated at Methven near Perth by the Earl of Pembroke, and forced to seek safety in the mountains, first of Athole and then of Breadalbane, where on ll Aug., at Dalry in Strathfillan, Lord Lorne, the husband of an aunt of Comyn, surprised and dispersed his followers, notwithstanding his personal prowess. His wife and other ladies of his family were sent to Kildrummy for safety, and her saying, whether historical or not, proved true, that he had been a summer but would not be a winter king. It is a curious circumstance that this lady, the sister of De Burgh, earl of Ulster, whom he married after the death of his first wife, Isabella, daughter of Donald, earl of Mar,