Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/219

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1313 A.D.]

Death of Edward I.


and who shall say that the old King did not well to be wroth thereat? He ordered that all who were present at or consenting to the deed, should be put to death. The prisoners taken at Kildrummie and elsewhere were hanged without trial, while, on the Scottish side, those taken in the "Douglas Larder" were butchered in cold blood. The treatment was as savage on one side as on the other. Still, it cannot be claimed for Edward that he did anything to mitigate the horrors of mediæval warfare; the utmost that can be said is that he did not wantonly intensify them. At this distance of time, Scotsmen may well afford to acknowledge that, if they had a splendid champion in Robert de Brus, they had a noble enemy in the first Edward.

The effect of Edward's death on the fortunes of Robert de Brus was neither tardy nor doubtful. For several weeks before and after that event, de Valence tarried in the west, endeavouring with all his might to take the King of Scots. On June 1st he was at Bothwell, ordering 800 men to reinforce the garrison of Ayr, besides masons and carpenters to repair the castle.[1] On the 11th, he had moved his headquarters to Ayr, and early in August was leading a fresh raid into Carrick and Glentrool. He was at Dalmellington on July 17th to 19th, and by the 24th had scoured the hill country as far as the Glenkens.[2] At the end of the month he returned empty-handed to Ayr, whence

  1. Bain, ii., 515.
  2. Ibid., 520.