Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/412

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Robert the Bruce.

[1329 A.D.

Douglas on Lyne Water. Violently opposed as was Randolph to the Scottish cause, rudely as he spoke to his uncle when brought before him, he soon became the rival of Douglas in affection for the King, as he remained to the last his rival in knightly service. To this personal influence of the King must be attributed in great measure, not only the fidelity with which he was served, for although many English knights came over to his side, there is not a single authentic instance of one deserting him in favour of King Edward.

During the long warfare he waged, from 1306 to 1327, very few chroniclers attempt to fix the charge of cruelty upon King Robert. It has been shown above that, judged according to the custom of war and the civil code prevailing in the 13th and 14th centuries, Edward I. was far from deserving the outrageous character given him by certain Scottish historians. A similar dispassionate view will reveal Robert de Brus as not only negatively, but actively, humane. In all his many raids in England, it is testified, by English writers of the time, that he never permitted people to be slain, except when they stood on their defence. To prisoners of war he was always indulgent, and sometimes very generous, as in the case of Sir Marmaduke de Twenge, on the morrow of Bannockburn. The nature of the warfare King Robert had to wage was inevitably cruel. The repeated raids on English soil, the destruction of buildings and growing crops and the ruin of private owners, were the only means at his hand of enforcing his will against a foe far more powerful than himself.