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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 07.djvu/97

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Bruce
Bruce
91

Edward were arrayed in three divisions, in all about 44,000. The French had the same number of divisions, but in each 15,000 men-at-arms and 20,000 foot. Though Edward was supported by the nobles of Germany, Brabant, and Flanders, besides his English vassals, Philip surpassed him in the rank as well as numbers of his followers; for besides the full array of France, dukes, earls, and viscounts, too long a list for even Froissart to rehearse, he was supported by three kings—John of Bohemia, the king of Navarre, and David king of Scotland. 'It was a great beauty to behold the banners and standards waving in the wynde, and horses barded, and knightes and squyres richly armed.' But no blood was shed in this first act of the war of a hundred years, which was to make the French and English, as it appeared, eternal enemies, and the French and Scots perpetual allies. Philip's counsellors were divided, but the view prevailed that it was better to allow the English king to waste his means in the maintenance of so great an army in a foreign country. The advice of Robert of Sicily, derived from astrology, that the French would be beaten in any engagement if Edward was present, also operated on the superstitious monarch. A feint of an attack caused by the starting of a hare between the camps, which led the Earl of Haynault to make fourteen knights, called in ridicule the Knights of the Hare, was an incident whose memory was perpetuated by those who thought it cowardly on the part of Philip with superior forces to decline battle on his own soil. The recollection of this scene and the victories of Crecy and Poictiers were inducements to David in later years to cast in his lot with the English king instead of with his national and natural allies.

In 1341 the brilliant successes in Scotland of Sir Andrew Murray of Bothwell, Robert the Steward of Scotland, and Sir William Douglas the Knight of Liddesdale, who in the preceding year had recovered one by one the castles north of and including Edinburgh, made it safe for David to return, and on 4 May he landed with his wife at Inverbervie near Montrose. Charters were issued under his name and seal at a council held at Aberdeen in February 1342, and though only thirteen, he assumed the personal government, which he retained until his capture at Neville's Cross in 1346. During the first two years after his return David was much at Aberdeen and Kildrummy, where his aunt, sister of Robert Bruce, who had married successively Gratney, earl of Mar, Sir Christopher Seton, and Sir Andrew Murray, lived. In the course of 1342 he passed through Fife, attending the justice-eyres at Cupar and Edinburgh, to the Marches, and joined the Earl of Moray in a descent on the English border, during which Penrith was burnt, but nothing of consequence was accomplished. On his return north he visited Haddington, Ayr, and Kilwinning, Kirkintilloch, Inverkeithing, and Scone, and stopped at Banff before his return to Kildrummy in August. It was important that he should show himself in different parts of the kingdom. Hawking and hunting and the jousts or tournaments, the favourite amusements of the age, were fully shared in by the young king, but he did not prove himself an adept in the art of war, for which these were the appropriate training.

Two deaths, for one of which he was indirectly, and for the other directly, responsible, showed that he could not attract to his throne, as his father had done, the leading men of the country.

Sir James Ramsay of Dalwolsie, having taken the castle of Roxburgh, was imprudently rewarded by the gift of the sheriffdom of Teviotdale, then held by Douglas the Knight of Liddesdale, and Douglas having treacherously got Ramsay into his power starved him to death in the castle of the Hermitage. The other victim was William Bullock, an ecclesiastic who had distinguished himself in the service of Baliol, but changing sides received the office of chamberlain from David. Suspected of treason he was by the king's order sent prisoner to the castle of Lochindorb in Moray, where he also was starved to death. Other acts of lawlessness, as the rape of a lady of the Seton family by Alan of beton, the execution without trial of an impostor calling himself Alexander Bruce, the son of Edward Bruce, and the state of the ordinary royal revenue, which fell from 3,774l. in 1331 to 1,198l. in 1342, and had to be increased by special parliamentary grants distributed with too lavish a hand, were signs of his incapacity as an administrator. 'Tristia felicibus succedunt' is the brief comment of Fordun. The restoration of the king had not benefited the kingdom. A murrain which specially attacked the fowls, a forerunner of the black death, added to the general distress and feeling of impending calamity. A truce with England, which followed one between Edward and Philip of France in 1343, saved Scotland for a short time from war, but the treasonable correspondence of the Knight of Liddesdale with the English king was a bad omen for its continuance. It was terminated early in 1346, when Philip, his own truce having closed, exhorted David to