Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/162

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[1304 A.D.-
Robert the Bruce.

land; and England was to receive no indemnity for her expenditure of money and lives. Edward had vindicated the authority which he believed to be his "by the grace of God," by the frightful massacre at Berwick, by the exile or imprisonment of rebellious barons, and by the execution of Wallace. He was now going to try the effect of clemency, and no doubt he felt that the Scottish question was at length laid to rest. The lands of de Umfraville, de Seton, William de Balliol, and other lords, lately insurgent, were restored to them on their doing fresh fealty and homage.[1] Orders were issued to the sheriffs of English counties, to the effect that, whereas the King desired that Scottish prelates, nobles, and others should be honourably and courteously treated on their journeys to and fro, any one using threats or contumelious words towards them, or refusing to sell victuals to them, should be forthwith imprisoned.[2] Everything possible was done to let bygones be bygones, and to unite the kingdoms in sentiment, as well as by law.

But the fair prospect was shattered early in 1306 by terrible news from the north. John Comyn—the Red Comyn, as he was familiarly called—had fallen by the hand of the Earl of Carrick, and Scotland was once more ablaze.

Unfortunately, in endeavouring to trace the causes which led to this event, we are thrown back on conflicting and untrustworthy information. According to Fordun, the Earl of Carrick had returned from

  1. Bain, ii., 460.
  2. Ibid.