Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/145

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1305 A.D.]
The Death of Wallace.

off!" The answer went back, ratified by a hundred seals of English earls, barons, and knights. Voluminous arguments, drawn from sources so remote as Brutus the Trojan, were addressed to his Holiness, to prove the inalienable right of the Kings of England in the Scottish sovereignty. The Pope was informed that he had been deceived by certain "enemies of peace and sons of rebellion, then resident at his Court," wherein the reference to Wallace and his companions is not obscure. The letter concluded that "upon a due consideration and treating of the contents of your memorable letter, the common and unanimous consent of all and singular was, is, and will be, God willing, for ever: that our lord the King ought not to answer judicially before you, nor submit his rights over the realm of Scotland, nor any other of his temporal rights whatsoever, to your doubtful judgment." Whatever opinion may be held of the justice of Edward's claim over Scotland, it must be admitted that he, entertaining no doubts on the matter, played a noble part in its defence, and never did the English Parliament act with greater courage and dignity than they did in supporting their monarch through this controversy.

Preparations for resuming the war on the expiry of the truce were pushed on with energy. King Edward himself took command of 12,000 men at Berwick, assigning to the Prince of Wales, then sixteen years old, the chance of winning his spurs with another army mustered at Carlisle.

Neither force encountered much fighting. Except