Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/419

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1329 A.D.]

Death of Robert de Brus.


patriotic one of protecting home industries, but, as is set forth in the preamble, the far less worthy one of enabling King James, as the "free prince of a soverane power," to acquire the means "for the enterteyning of his princely port." Allusion is made in the same preamble to the immemorial exemption from duty of all imports into Scotland, which is shown to be contrary to the practice of all other nations. The Convention of Royal Burghs remonstrated strongly against this measure, which, they declared, imposed "ane new and intollerabill custome."

Less intelligible than this free trade policy was that under which, under Robert I., a duty was exacted on the exportation of wool and hides. The tax on wool so exported was half a mark (6s. 8d.) a sack; on wool felts 3s. 4d. a hundred, and on hides one mark (13s. 4d.) on the last.

An Act of great importance to Galloway, a district where disaffection to Bruce lingered more obstinately than in any other part of his realm, was passed at Glasgow on June 13, 1324. It was thereby enacted that every Galloway man charged with an offence should be entitled to choose good and faithful trial by jury, instead of being bound to the old code of trial by battle. Notwithstanding this, as late as 1385, Archibald Douglas, Lord of Galloway, protested for the liberty of the old laws of Galloway at all points.

It is well known that the Scottish coinage, before the union of the two countries, had been debased out of all proportion to that of England, so that in