Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/90

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[1286 A.D.-
Robert the Bruce.

The Scottish nobles and prelates, on June 11th, presented Alan, Bishop of Caithness, as a fit Chancellor, and Edward appointed him, with his own clerk, Sir Walter de Amundesham, as colleague. He also, on June 13th, appointed Brian fitz Alan as an associate with the four Guardians, who now held their commission as regents from him as Overlord. These regents, with twenty-seven other earls and barons of Scotland, then swore fealty to Edward on the Holy Evangels, and proceedings were adjourned till August 2d.

Nothing could be more formal and complete than the absolute renunciation of Scottish independence which had now been performed. Upon Balliol and Bishop Fraser has been laid, by common consent of all Scottish historians, the odium, not only of being foremost in obsequious compliance with Edward's pretensions, but in subsequently resisting the national effort to regain independence. But in truth the records admit of no difference in this respect between the competitors at this period. They and the Guardians were unanimous in acknowledging Edward's superiority, and if there was any party in Scotland of a contrary view, no trace remains of any protest having been made at this time. If the proceedings at Norham and Upsettlington were, as Lord Hailes maintains, chapters in a disgraceful history, then the disgrace must be shared by all Scotsmen who took part in them. Their acts were the acts of the nation, as far as the constitution of the kingdom admitted of any act being national; nor is it easy to point out how they could have acted differently. Dissensions