Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/250

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198
[1314 A.D.
Robert the Bruce.

issued for the muster at Wark, on June 11, 1314, of 21,540 foot, drawn from twelve of the midland and northern counties of England. Eth O'Connor, Celtic chief of Connaught, was invoked as an auxiliary, and King Edward's subjects in Ireland and Wales were summoned to his standard. Besides these there were contingents of Gascons and other foreign troops. The English bishops offered an indulgence of forty days to all who would offer prayer for the success of the expedition.

Lord Hailes sharply takes exception to Hume's opinion that the alleged total of 100,000 as the strength of the English army was an over-estimate; but there is, in truth, nothing to show that it approached that figure. Barbour, indeed, asserts that the host exceeded 100,000, but he puts the cavalry alone at the exorbitant cypher of 40,000, a number which it would have been utterly impossible to maintain in a country where agriculture had suffered from years of desolating war. It is true that the English fleet co-operated with the army, but it would have plenty to do in landing supplies for 50,000, which is the most liberal estimate of the total strength of all arms that can be founded on the evidence of the Patent Rolls.[1] Even this would be a very powerful army, far outnumbering any that the King of Scots could put in the field against it.

The official evidence still extant of the force of the English in this campaign, is wholly wanting as

  1. Bain, iii., Introduction, xxi.