Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/330

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274
[1319 A.D.
Robert the Bruce.

the Most High, of the loss of lives, the perdition of souls and all the other miserable consequences which may ensue from war between the two contending nations.

"Ever ready, like dutiful children, to yield all fit obedience to you, as God's Vicegerent, we commit our cause to the protection of the Supreme King and Judge: we cast our cares on Him, and we steadily trust that He will inspire us with valour and bring our enemies to nought."

The absence of all reference in this memorable document to the church and clergy of Scotland is perfectly intelligible. For ecclesiastics to have any hand in such plain speaking would have been to proclaim a schism within the Church of Rome and thus greatly to strengthen the position of England in the standing dispute.

Advantage was taken of the truce to negotiate the exchange or ransom of prisoners on both sides. Mention may be made of a bargain for the release of one Peter Warde as being rather out of the common, and showing what a long start the Northumbrian coal fields had obtained over those of Scotland. On May 19th, King Edward issued his warrant to the mayor and bailiffs of Newcastle, empowering them to ship 1000 chalders of sea-coal for the ransom of the said Peter, but not one chalder more under any pretext.[1]

The Scottish Parliament met again at Scone in August 1320, for the despatch of business of a very pressing and painful kind. King Edward's agents had succeeded in sapping the loyalty of some of King Robert's trusted barons, and a serious conspiracy had been discovered, having, as is supposed, the

  1. Bain, iii., 132.