Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/364

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[1322-26 A.D.]
Robert the Bruce.

of the tenth penny out of all rents, in consideration of the depreciation of the royal lands in consequence of the long war. The fragmentary records of the subsequent Parliaments of this reign and the next do not make it clear that the burgesses were summoned to them also; nevertheless, the precedent had been set, and it was a far-reaching one. The presence of the burgesses in this Parliament was of the greater moment, because they were admitted thereby to the discussion and settlement of the succession to the Crown—a question reopened by the birth of Prince David. An Act of Settlement was passed, but unfortunately it has not been preserved. It was lost before the middle of the 17th century, but having been found on the Continent by Sir James Balfour of Kinnaird, Lord Lyon King-at-arms, it was laid before Charles II.'s Parliament at Perth on Christmas Day, 1650. It was ordered that the "old monument" should be recorded in the books of Parliament and carefully preserved; but before this could be done, Cromwell had become ruler of Scotland, and ordered all the Scottish Records to be taken to London. After the Restoration they were sent back to Edinburgh, but, as the Lords of Session reported to the House of Lords in 1740, the frigate Eagle, in which they had been placed for transport, was overtaken by a storm. From the Eagle, eighty-five hogsheads of papers were transferred to another vessel which sank; and thus these priceless records were lost for ever. As the Act of Settlement of 1326 was not among those documents which ultimately reached Edinburgh, the presumption is that it perished with the rest.