Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/439

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1332 A.D.]
Death of Moray.

not only the rule in the politics of the fourteenth century; it extended to arbitrary dislocation of the course of civil justice. It is said that a certain man, who had murdered a priest, went to the Papal court, purchased his absolution, and returned confidently to Scotland. Moray ordered him to be arrested and tried. The assassin was convicted, and notwithstanding the Pope's absolution, was hanged. "For," said the Regent, "though his Holiness may free a man from his guilt, he cannot interfere with punishment for the offence."

Wyntown, in recording this incident, says that by this strict administration of law, and by making local magistrates responsible for crimes committed within their jurisdiction, Moray caused the whole country to become as secure as a man's own house.

But beyond the limits of the realm fresh trouble was brewing.

The treaty of Northampton had been the work of Mortimer, the husband of the Queen-Mother of England. The article under which Henry de Percy, Lord Wake of Liddel, and Henry de Beaumont, Earl of Buchan, were guaranteed the restoration of their ancient possessions in Scotland, to the exclusion of the other lords who had been dispossessed, had been fulfilled only in the case of Percy. The delay in the cases of Wake and de Beaumont does not admit of easy explanation.

Meanwhile, de Beaumont, who had been among the foremost in action against the Despensers in the reign of Edward II., had suffered imprisonment and exile for his share in the events of that period, and