Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/154

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Robert the Bruce.

[1299 A.D.

he was doing no more than his plain duty as King Edward's officer.

The trial, for which the commission was issued on August 18th, was hurried through with indecent haste. The prisoner arrived in London on August 22, 1305, and was lodged in the house of one William de Leyre, in Fenchurch parish. Next day he was taken on horseback to Westminster, accompanied by the mayor, sheriffs, aldermen, and others, and brought before his judges in the great hall. There he was set on the south bench, crowned with laurel in mockery, "forasmuch as it was commonly reported that he had said in times past that he ought to wear a crown in that hall."[1] On being arraigned as a traitor by Sir Peter Malory, the King's Justiciary, he protested that he was no traitor to the King of England, in that he had never sworn fealty to him. True as this plea undoubtedly was, it could hardly be considered relevant by those who admitted and supported Edward's claim as rightful King of Scotland by conquest; inasmuch as Wallace, they argued, was none the less a rebel because, being a Scotchman, he had refused to swear fealty. He was, therefore, convicted of treason, as well as sacrilege, homicide, robbery, and arson, and sentenced to be drawn from Westminster to the Tower, from the Tower to Aldgate, and so to Smithfield, where he should be hanged. All this was carried out on the same day. As a homicide and robber he was hanged; as an outlaw he was beheaded; for his "enormous villany, done to God and Holy Church

  1. Stow's Chronicle.