Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/64

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Robert the Bruce.

[844 A.D.-

hostile races inhabiting it. It was by indefatigable attention to the affairs of government—by cultivating friendly relations with stronger powers, and especially with England—by incessant personal visitation of all parts of his realm—that he led his people to look to the throne as the fountain of power and protection. The degree to which the ruling class had become alien—Norman—was shown at the coronation of Alexander III. in 1249, when the coronation oath was first read in Latin, and then expounded in Norman-French.[1] But by his attention to the development of commerce and native industry, he taught the industrial and commercial classes that the government was something more than a contrivance for collecting taxes or for exacting onerous military service. Thus he prepared the only soil in which the plant of patriotism will ever take root and flourish. Men will never be got to make sacrifices for that which it is not their private interest to preserve and defend. Wallace and Bruce would have toiled in vain, but for the sentiment of common nationality which King Alexander called into being.

But the Scottish King's ardour for Scottish nationality betrayed him into no jealousy of, or rivalry with his powerful neighbour. On the contrary, throughout his long reign he sought and maintained friendly relations, first with Henry III. and then with Edward I. On December 26, 1251, King Alexander married Princess Margaret, daughter of

  1. Hailes, i., 195.