Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/182

This page has been validated.
142
[1306 A.D.-
Robert the Bruce.

forcibly the peculiar social and political relations of the Church and State at this time. Here were these feudal prelates, as much at home in mail and salade as in cope and mitre—in the knightly saddle as in the episcopal chair. As swift to shed blood as to administer the sacraments, they were almost as well practised in the firing of homesteads as in the swinging of censers. Their immunities were shared by no lay subjects. The ægis of St. Peter protected them from civil process; not the monarch himself could impeach them for high treason: they bowed only to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome; and it is part of the irony of history that a fuller record remains of their violence and intrigue, than of the peaceful discharge of their pastoral work.

Still, Edward panted to have all the Scottish bishops in his power, and wrote impatiently from Lancaster on August 11th, asking why de Valence could not send him word of the Bishop of Moray's taking. That prelate had fled betimes to the Court of King Haco of Norway, from whom Edward tried in vain to obtain his surrender. Bruce's nephew, Thomas Randolph, of whom we are to hear much in years to come, was pardoned on doing fresh fealty to Edward; and the nephew of Bruce's first wife, the young Earl of Mar, though kept in prison, was not put in irons because of his tender years. James the Steward did homage to the King of England at Lanercost on October 23d.

To follow the fortunes of King Robert, now embarked on the most perilous and adventurous period of his life, we may safely entrust ourselves to the