Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/163

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1306 A. D.]
The Revolt of Robert de Brus.

Scotland and was at King Edward's Court in December or January, 1306. When John Balliol abdicated, and renounced all claim to the throne of Scotland, John Comyn, the Competitor, a son of ex-King John's sister, became nearest heir of the line which Edward's award had declared to be the royal one of Scotland. Comyn the Competitor was dead, but his rights were continued in the person of his son John, the Red. But the Earl of Carrick, in secret connivance with the Bishop of St. Andrews, had resolved to revive his claim as grandson of another competitor; and thus the dispute between the houses of de Balliol and de Brus, which had been laid to rest by the award of Berwick in 1292, broke out afresh, notwithstanding that in the interval Carrick and John Comyn had been colleagues in the guardianship of the realm in name of King John.

Still following Fordun's version, we are told that Carrick made an alternative offer to Comyn: "Support my title to the crown, and you shall have my estates; or give me your estates, and I will support your claim." Comyn, preferring the certainty of solid landed property to the chance of wresting a throne from the iron grasp of the King of England, accepted the lands of de Brus and bound himself to promote his cause. A mutual oath of secrecy was taken; conditions were drawn out and sealed by both knights. But Comyn, setting no more store by the sanctity of an oath than did others whose names are written large in history, informed King Edward of the whole matter; whereupon the King sent for