Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/334

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Robert the Bruce.

[1319 A.D.-

15th, ordered them to proceed to Carlisle for that purpose.[1] But the English Court was far from resigning hopes of creating disaffection among the subjects of King Robert. On November 17th, King Edward gave authority to the Earl of Athol, Sir Andrew de Harcla, and others, to receive to his peace, as secretly as possible, those Scots who felt their consciences troubled by the Papal excommunication,[2] and on December 11th he empowered the Archbishop of York to release all such persons from excommunication. Nothing could prove more distinctly the unscrupulous use of spiritual powers by the highest authorities in the Church for purely temporal and political ends.

The proffered indulgence had but a limited effect. On May 11, 1321, five persons were proclaimed so absolved; on February 27th Sir Alexander de Moubray, with 12 "gentifs" (gentry) and 17 servants were received to King Edward's peace,[3] and Sir William de Mohaut and a few others followed later. We know that in this course de Moubray was acting out of resentment for the fate of his kinsman who had been implicated in the de Soulis conspiracy; personal motives may have prompted others to do the like; while there were sure to be a few timid spirits who shrank from encountering the wrath of the Church, and embraced the first chance of reconciliation with her. But as a whole the Scottish nation did not waver in loyalty to their King.

  1. Bain., iii, 133
  2. Ibid., 134.
  3. Ibid., 137.