Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/285

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1317 A.D.]
England and Ireland Invaded.

Besides, a crown was a crown in those days. Great must have been the temptation to provide so fitting a reward for his brother's priceless services. Bruce had accomplished already, in securing the Scottish crown, a far heavier piece of work than seemed to lie between him and the conquest of Ireland; while, from a strategic point of view, it would be no trifling advantage thus to plant on the flank of England a power friendly to Scotland.

The expedition went forward. The Earl of Carrick landed at Carrickfergus on May 25, 1315, with 6000 men and some of the best knights in Scotland. Among these were the King's two nephews, Randolph, Earl of Moray, and John, son of Sir Nigel Campbell of Lochow, Sir Philip de Moubray, lately King Edward's governor at Stirling, Sir John de Soulis, and Sir John de Menteith.

Before they started King Robert assembled a Parliament at Ayr on Sunday, April 25, 1315. The chief business before it was urgent enough, being the settlement of the succession to the throne, for the King had at this time only one child, the Princess Marjorie, and his own mode of life during the last nine years had been the reverse of conducive to longevity.

It was enacted that, should the King die without heirs male, the succession should devolve on Edward, Earl of Carrick, and his heirs male; whom failing, on Princess Marjorie. In the event of a minor succeeding under this disposition, the Earl of Moray was to be guardian of the heir and the kingdom. Should all these heirs fail, then Moray was to be