Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/193

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1307 A.D.]

Adventures of the King of Scots.


In spite of these successful exploits at Turnberry and Douglas, the cause of Bruce was never so desperate as it was in the early months of 1307. He had not an acre of land he could call his own; three of his four brothers, and most of his trusty friends, had perished on the gibbet; of his other supporters, nearly all had given up his service as hopeless, and re-entered that of King Edward; his wife, his daughter, and his sisters were in English prisons.[1]

On every side his foes were closing round his hiding-place in Glentrool. Four thousand foot from Cumberland, Westmorland, and Lancashire mustered at Carlisle in February and March,[2] and Edward committed the pursuit to his most famous generals.

Aymer de Valence, Viceroy of Scotland, smarting under reiterated reproaches for want of success and apparent inaction,[3] was concentrating his forces from the north; Sir Henry de Percy guarded the sea-ports on the west; Sir Dougal Macdouall had all his men under arms in Wigtownshire; while on the east Sir John de Botetourte, the Warden, watched the passes of Nithsdale with 70 horse and 200 archers. Sir Robert de Clifford, with Sir John de Wigtoun,

  1. Edward I. has been so often and so justly charged with cruelty in the Scottish war, that it is but fair to remark that, fierce as he was to offenders of his own sex, he never, with the single exception of the sack of Berwick, permitted violence to be done to women. But for his chivalrous scruples, he might easily have forced the King of Scots to surrender, by threatening the lives of Queen Elizabeth and Princess Marjorie.
  2. Bain, ii., 506, 508.
  3. Ibid., 504.