Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/382

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[1327 A.D.-
Robert the Bruce.

resolved to make overtures for a renewal of the truce.

It has been mentioned above that the Scots have been generally accused of having been the first to break the last truce concluded with Edward II., and that there is good reason to suppose that they actually did so. But the Lincoln Parliament must have been satisfied that they had not done so without justification, else it would have been folly to attempt another treaty with a monarch and a people so little to be trusted. For King Robert's action in re-opening hostilities there must have been grounds, unknown to us, but recognised as valid by the English council. A lawyer called John de Denoun was sent to King Robert, then busy at the siege of Norham Castle, with proposals for the marriage of Princess Johanna, sister of Edward III., to Prince David, the heir of Scotland. This was a dramatic interruption of the labours of war. Of course it meant peace—such peace as King Robert had always been ready to accept—peace with honour. It meant that for which torrents of blood had flowed, for which tens of thousands of homesteads had been given to the flames, for which the industry and commerce of both countries had been squandered for more than a generation. It meant that, at the moment when it was least looked for, the independence of Scotland was to be admitted by the only ruler who questioned it, and that she was to gain at length the management of her own affairs without foreign interference. The whole weary controversy, which, but for the resolution and devotion of the slaughtered Wallace, might