Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 07.djvu/134

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

bone was found sawn through to permit of the removal of the heart.

Some interesting particulars as to the last years of Bruce are furnished by the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland. Enfeebled by disease he had to trust the chief conduct of the war to the young leaders he had trained, Randolph and Douglas, and he spent most of his time at Cardross, which he had acquired in 1326. He employed it in enlarging the castle, repairing the park walls, and ornamenting the garden, in the amusement of hawking, and the exercise of the royal virtues of hospitality and charity. Like other kings he kept a fool. A lion was his favourite pet, shipbuilding his favourite diversion. His foresight had discerned the importance of this art to the future strength and wealth of Scotland. Before his death he made preparations for his tomb, and commissioned in Paris the marble monument, afterwards erected at Dunfermline, which was surrounded with an iron-gilt railing, covered by a painted chapel of Baltic timber. The offerings to the abbot of Dunfermline and the rector of Cardross, as well as the annual payment to the chaplains at Ayr for masses for his soul, appear also to have been by his orders.

By his first marriage with Isabella of Mar he had an only daughter, Marjory, the wife of the Steward and ancestor of the last line of Scottish kings. By his second marriage with Elizabeth de Burgh, which he contracted about 1304, he had two daughters—Matilda, who married Thomas Ysaak, a simple esquire, and Margaret, the wife of William, earl of Sutherland—as well as his late-born son and successor, David II, and another, John, who died in infancy. Of several children not born in wedlock, Sir Robert, who fell at Dupplin, Walter, who died before him, Nigel Stewart of Carrick, Margaret, wife of Robert Glen, Elizabeth, wife of Walter Oliphant, and Christian are traced in the records.

[If the character of Bruce is not understood from his acts, of which a singularly complete narrative, here condensed, has descended from so distant a time, no words could avail. Any such attempt, which might become easily mere panegyric, is better omitted, and the space left devoted to a notice of the authorities upon which this life has been based. Barbour's Bruce, the Scottish epic, is a poetical, but in the main a true, account of his whole career. Wyntoun's and Fordun's chronicles are not so full as might have been anticipated; and the former confines himself, in many important facts of the reign, to giving a reference to the Archdeacon Barbour. The English chroniclers and the Chronicle of Lanercost may be referred to with advantage. The success of Bruce and the weakness of Edward II were too conspicuous to be hidden by any national bias. The slender historical materials for the life of Wallace leant themselves on the one side to the legendary narrative of Blind Harry, and on the other to the fictions of the English writers, such as Hemingford and Rishanger, as to the real character of Wallace and the policy of Edward; but the acts of Bruce are too fully contained in authentic records and permanent results to leave room for misinterpretation. He was not originally a Scottish patriot, and may be described, as Wallace cannot, as an English rebel; but after he once assumed the leadership of the Scottish cause he never faltered under any danger or made a false step in policy until he secured its success. The records chiefly to be consulted are in Rymer's Fœdera, Riley's Placita, the Documents illustrative of Scottish History, published by Mr. Joseph Stevenson and Mr. Bain for the Record Series; the Scottish Exchequer Rolls; and the Acts of the Scottish Parliament. Kerr's Life and Reign of Robert the Bruce and Lord Hailes's Annals are both very accurate and full collections of the facts. The History of England down to the death of Edward I, by Mr. Pearson, and Longman's Reign of Edward II are the most trustworthy modern authorities as to the war with England written by Englishmen. Tytler's and Hill Burton's Histories of Scotland require both to be read. As an independent historian Pauli's Geschichte Englands is of great value, and probably the best single account of the war of independence.]

Æ. M.

BRUCE, ROBERT (1554–1631), theological writer, second son of Sir Alexander Bruce of Airth, who claimed descent from the royal family of Bruce, studied jurisprudence at Paris, and on his return practised law, and was on the way to becoming a judge. But a very remarkable inward experience oonstrained him to give himself to the church. He went to St. Andrews to study, and on becoming a preacher (1587) was forthwith called to be a minister in Edinburgh. On 6 Feb. 1587-8 he was chosen moderator of the general assembly-a rare and singular testimony to the wisdom, the stability, and the business capacity of one so young. In 1589, when the king went to Norway to fetch his bride, and parties in Edinburgh were somewhat excited, the king appointed Bruce an extraordinary privy-councillor, and such was his influence that he kept all quiet, and on the king's return received from his majesty a cordial letter of thanks (19 Feb. 1589-90). The queen was crowned at Holyrood and anointed by Bruce on 17 March following. He again became moderator of the general assembly 22 May 1592. His power and success as a preacher were very remarkable; and he continued to enjoy the king's favour till 1596, when, giving offence to his majesty by his opposition to certain arbitrary proceedings, he, with