Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/307

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1319 A.D.]

Continued Success.


may have John de Moray and Robert Bard (olph), whom he took at Carlisle, in aid of his own ransom. He adds that his valet,[1] John de Beauchamp, will explain to the King how he had fallen into the hands of the Scots; and thus the lover of Border chivalry is baulked again of information about this episode.

The first business claiming the attention of the King of Scots on his return from Ireland was very different to any that he had been engaged in for a long time. King Edward, having been beaten all along the line in military operations, now sought to enlist on his side the influence of spiritual powers. He had appealed to Pope John XXII., who, at Edward's instance, issued a bull, commanding a truce for two years between England and Scotland, under pain of excommunication. Two cardinals, Guacelin, of SS. Marcellinus and Peter, and Luke, of S. Maria in the Via Lata, were sent with plenary powers to enforce this decree, and to excommunicate Robert de Brus, "self-styled King of Scotland," and any others who, in their opinion, deserved it. They also had power to absolve Robert's subjects from their oath of fealty.

Lord Hailes was of opinion that the letter of the cardinals to the Pope, giving an account of the negotiations which ensued, as preserved in Rymer's Fœdera, contained the most authentic description of the Bruce's presence which had come down to modern times. That writer has given a summary of this letter in language so vivid, and

  1. The term "valet" did not mean a domestic servant, but a gentleman-attendant.