Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/317

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
1319 A.D.]
261
Continued Success.

on pain of death; restraining the clergy from sending money to the Pope for the purchase of Bulls, and constituting as an offence "lease-making," or the invention of rumours calculated to disturb the relations between the sovereign and his people. It is amusing to find that, even at such a critical time, Parliament was as ready in the 14th century to legislate about salmon fishing as it remains in the 19th.

The inefficiency which crippled the military projects of England, was not apparent in her continental diplomacy. The trade between Scotland and the Low Countries had endured since the days of William the Lion and probably from earlier times.[1] Wool, fish, hides, and a few other native commodities, were exported in exchange for wine, arms, cloth, and other goods. It was now the policy of the English Government to persuade the Count of Flanders to close his ports to Scotsmen. The Count's reply was firm and statesmanlike. He said that his country was open to all men, and he declined to injure his own people by excluding any merchants who had been in the custom of trading there. A similar answer was returned by the town council of Bruges.[2]

King Edward was busy also at this time intriguing, under the Pope's sanction, with certain barons

    net (helmet), a plate glove, sword, and spear, or, failing these, a good habergeon (mail shirt), an iron cuirass, with an iron helmet and plate gloves. Every man owning the value of a cow in goods to have a bow and 24 arrows, or a spear.

  1. About 1182, Philip, Count of Flanders, granted a charter to the monk of Melrose, exempting their traders from any toll or duty on land or sea.
  2. Bain, iii., 130.