Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/216

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[1307 A.D.-
Robert the Bruce.

this narrative. From an English point of view, he was an ideal ruler for those times—a puissant knight, an experienced general, a kingly lawgiver. After his crusading fervour had cooled, all his great energy was concentrated on strengthening and consolidating his dominions. He was the first really English king, for though he still held Aquitaine and Gascony as the vassal of the King of France, Normandy had been given up by his father, and the realm of his heart was England. He believed that he was as rightfully Over-lord of Scotland as Philip of France was his Over-lord in Aquitaine. True, Richard Cœur-de-lion, in his anxiety to raise funds for a crusade, had sold back to the Scots the independence they had forfeited as a condition of the release of William the Lion. But the reckless Richard was far more knight-errant than King of England, and far more Norman than English. Even if he had been acting within the constitution in surrendering the suzerainty of Scotland, he had done so in the belief that he was only revoking the act of his father, Henry II., to whom he had been a rebellious son. But Edward seems to have believed honestly that the suzerainty was of far older date than the treaty of Falaise. The diligence with which, at the time of the Balliol controversy, he caused the ancient records to be ransacked, may be taken as evidence of his desire to act constitutionally. He reigned for nineteen years before the question of the Scottish succession was raised. He was on the best of terms with his kinsman, Alexander III., the best king that had ever sat on the throne of Scotland; nor would the question