Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/329

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1322 A.D.]
273
Invasion and Counter-Invasion.

peril, to rescue his people and inheritance out of the hands of the enemy. The divine Providence, that legal succession which we will constantly maintain, and our due and unanimous consent, have made him our Chief and King. To him, in defence of our liberty, we are bound to adhere, as well of right as by reason of his deserts; and to him we will in all things adhere, for through him salvation has been wrought to all our people. Should he abandon our cause, or aim at reducing us or our kingdom under the dominion of the English, we will instantly strive to expel him as a common enemy, the subverter of our rights and his own, and we will choose another king to rule and protect us: for, while there exists a hundred of us, we will never submit to England. We fight not for glory, wealth, or honour, but for that liberty which no virtuous man shall survive.

"Wherefore we most earnestly beseech your Holiness, as the Vicegerent of Him who giveth equal measure unto all, and with whom there is no distinction, either of persons or of nations, that you would behold with a fatherly eye the tribulations and distresses brought upon us by the English, and that you would admonish Edward to content himself with his own dominions, esteemed in former times enough for seven kings, and allow us Scotsmen, who dwell in a poor and remote corner, and who seek for nought but our own, to remain in peace. In order to procure that peace, we are ready to do anything that is consistent with our national interests.

"Herein it behoves you, Holy Father, to interpose. You behold with what cruelty the Heathen rages against the Christians for the chastisement of their sins, and that the boundaries of Christendom are daily contracted. How must your memory suffer in after ages should the Church be diminished in glory, or receive reproach under your administration.

"Rouse, therefore, the Christian princes, and call them to the rescue of Palestine. They pretend that wars with their neighbours hinder that enterprise, but the true cause of hindrance is that, in subduing their weaker neighbours, they look for less opposition and more immediate profit. Every one knows and we now declare it unto you and to all Christendom, that our King and we are willing to undertake the holy expedition, if Edward will permit us to depart in peace.

"Should you, however, give too credulous ear to the reports of our enemies, distrust the sincerity of our professions and persist in favouring the English, to our destruction, we hold you guilty in the sight of