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194                                 HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                   [Chap. VI.




Upon the part of England, the policy
of Edward the Third towards Scotland
was different from that of his prede­
cessor. There was now no talk of con­
ferring the crown upon Baliol. The
persuasion in England seems to have
been that the battle of Durham, and
the acquisition of the Border provinces,
had decided its fate as a conquered
country. A conference upon the sub­
ject was appointed to be held at West­
minster, to which were summoned the
prelates and barons of the northern
provinces ; an English justiciary was
appointed for the new kingdom; and
the Barons Lucy, Dacre, and Umfra-
ville were directed to accept the fealty
of a people whom, with premature
triumph, they believed ready to sub­
mit to the yoke of England.1

Whilst such was the course of events
in Scotland, the English king endea­
voured to strike a panic into the few
barons who remained to defend their
country, by the trial of the Earls of
Menteith and Fife, made prisoners at
the battle of Durham. Both were
found guilty of treason, on the ground
of their having risen in arms against
their liege lord, Edward the Third.
Menteith was executed, and his quar­
ters, in the savage spirit of the times,
parcelled over the kingdom ? The Earl
of Fife, after condemnation, had his
life spared, from his relationship to
Edward the First. These trials were
followed by the seizure of all ecclesi­
astical lands belonging to Churchmen
who were unfavourably disposed to
England, by the resumption into the
hands of the crown of all the estates
in that country which had been given

1  Rotuli Scotić, 10th Dec. 20 Ed. III. vol.
i. p. 679. Ibid. vol. i. p. 684, 21 Ed. III.,
14th Feb. 1346. Ibid. vol. i. p. 687.

2  Rotuli Scotić, vol. i. p. 689, 6th March
1346-7 ; Ayloffe, p. 203.

to English subjects, and by the im­
position of additional duties on the
commodities exported from Berwick.
Edward’s object in all this was, in the
impoverished state of his exchequer,
to collect funds for payment of the
army which it was intended to lead
against Scotland. But, fortunately for
that country, a new war proved, at this
conjuncture, highly unpopular amongst
the English barons.3 Their sovereign,
notwithstanding all his efforts, was dis­
tressed for money, and engrossed with
his ambitious schemes in France. It
was at this time, when all looked so
dark and hopeless, that William, lord
Douglas, nephew of the Good Sir
James, who had been bred to arms in
the wars of France, returned to Scot­
land. In him the Steward soon found
an able assistant. Possessing the mili­
tary talents which seem to have been
then hereditary in the family, he soon
expelled the English from Douglasdale,
took possession of Ettrick Forest, and,
raising the men of Teviotdale, cleared
that district from the invaders.4

Edward’s desire of recruiting his
coffers, by the high ransom which he
knew must be paid for the Scottish
king, and the many noble prisoners
taken at Durham, induced him to post­
pone his projected invasion of Scot­
land,5 and to enter into negotiations,
which concluded in a truce.6 This
cessation of hostilities continued, by
means of successive prolongations, for
six years. But the liberty of the king
was a matter of more difficult arrange­
ment. After many conferences, which
were protracted from year to year, the
conditions demanded by Edward were

3 Rotuli Scotić, vol. i. p. 687.

4  Winton, vol. ii. pp. 269, 270.

5  Rymer’s Fśdera, vol. v. pp. 646, 647.

6 Rotuli Scotić, 15th April, 21 Edward III.,
p. 694.

1862.1                                               DAVID II.                                                   195

refused; and David revisited his do­
minions only upon his parole, having
left seven youths, of the noblest fami­
lies in the country, as hostages for his

During his captivity, a dreadful visi­
tant had appeared in his dominions,
in the shape of a pestilence, more
rapidly destructive than any hitherto
known in modern times. This scourge
had already, for many years, been
carrying its ravages through Europe,
and it now at last reached Scotland.2
It is a remarkable fact that when
the great European pestilence of the
seventh century was at its height, the
Picts and Scots of Britain were the
only nations who did not suffer from
its ravages. But the exemption was
now at an end; and, owing to what­
ever causes, the calamity fell with as
deadly force on Scotland as on any
other part of Europe.3

Not long after David’s return, a
commissioner arrived from Edward,
who appears to have been intrusted
with a secret and important communi­
cation to the King of Scotland and
Lord William Douglas.4 Although,
from the brief and unsatisfactory
document which notices this transac­
tion, much mystery hangs over it,
yet enough is discoverable to throw a
deep shade upon the character of the
Scottish king. Worn out by the pros­
pect of a long captivity, rendered
doubly bitter by his recent taste of
the sweets of liberty, he had agreed
to sacrifice the independence of his
kingdom to his desire of freedom;
and there yet remain in the chapter­
house at Westminster two instru­
ments, in which David recognises the
King of England as his Lord Para­
mount, and consents to take the oaths
of homage.5

When the country was thus betrayed
by its king, we can scarcely wonder
that the fidelity of some of the nobles
began to waver. Many of the inferior
barons and prisoners who were taken

1 Rymer, vol. v. pp. 724, 727.

2 Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 347.

3 Macpherson’s Notes on Winton, vol. ii. p.
512. Fordun a Hearne, p. 1039.

4 Rymer’s Fśdera, vol. v. pp. 737, 738.

5 Ayloffe’s Calendars of Charters, p. 299.

at the battle of Durham by this time
had paid their ransom and returned
to Scotland, where they joined the
Steward and his friends in their oppo­
sition to Edward. But the prisoners
of highest rank and importance were
kept in durance, and amongst these
the Knight of Liddesdale. This leader,
deservedly illustrious by his military
talents and success, but cruel, selfish,
and ambitious, was a second time
seduced from his allegiance, and agreed
to purchase his liberty, at the expense
of becoming a retainer of Edward.
He consented to allow the English to
pass unmolested through his lands,
and neither openly nor secretly to
give assistance to his own country, or
to any other nation, against the King
of England; from whom, in return
for this desertion, he received a grant
of the territory of Liddesdale, besides
other lands in the interior of Annan-
dale.6 There seems to be strong pre­
sumptive ground to conclude, that the
secret intercourse, lately carried on
with England, related to these base
transactions, and that David had ex­
pected to procure the consent of his
people to his humiliating acknowledg­
ment of fealty to Edward. But the
nation would not listen to the proposal
for a moment. They longed, indeed,
for the presence of their king, and
were willing to make every sacrifice
for the payment of his ransom; but
they declared, with one voice, that
no consideration whatever should in­
duce them to renounce their independ­
ence, and David was reluctantly com­
pelled to return to his captivity in Eng­

The Scottish king and the Knight
of Liddesdale had expected to find in
Lord William Douglas a willing assist­
ant in their secret intrigues and nego­
tiations; but they were disappointed.
Douglas proved the steady enemy of
England, and aware of the base game
which had been played by Liddesdale,
he defeated it by breaking into Gallo­
way at the head of a powerful force,
and compelling the wavering barons

6 Rymer’s Fśdera, vol. v. p. 739. Rotuli
Scotić, 18th July, 26 Ed. III., vol. i. p. 753.

7  Knighton, p. 2603.

193                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                      [Chap. VI.

of that wild and unsettled district to
renounce the English alliance, and to
swear fealty to the Scottish king.1
At the same time, Roger Kirkpatrick
wrested from the English the import­
ant castles of Caerlaverock and Dal-
swinton, and preserved in its alle­
giance the territory of Niddesdale;
whilst the regent of the kingdom,
assisted by his son, afterwards king,
collected an army, and making his
head­quarters in Annandale, where
disaffection had chiefly spread, con­
trived to keep that district in tran­
quillity. The intrigues of the Knight
of Liddesdale were thus entirely
defeated. He had hoped to make
Annandale the central point from
which he was to commence his attack,
and to reduce the country under his
new master Edward ; but on his re­
turn from captivity, he found his
treachery discovered, and his schemes
entirely defeated.

Since the death of the Good Sir
James, the Douglases had looked to
the Knight of Liddesdale as their
head, and the chief power of that
family had centred in this baron.
But the murder of Ramsay, his loose
and fierce habits, and the stain thrown
upon him by consenting to become the
vassal of England, all contributed to
render him odious to his countrymen,
and to raise, in bright opposition to
his, the character of William, earl of
Douglas, his near kinsman. This seems
to have excited a deadly enmity be­
tween them, and other circumstances
contributed to increase the feeling.
The Earl of Douglas had expelled the
English from Liddesdale and Annan-
dale, and was in possession of the large
feudal estates of the family. On the
other hand, the Knight of Liddesdale,
during his treasonable intercourse with
England, obtained a grant of Hermi­
tage castle and the whole of Liddes-
dale from Edward; nor was he of a
temper to consent tamely to their
occupation. These causes, increased,
it is said, by a jealousy on the part
of the earl, who suspected his countess
of a partiality for his rival, led to an
atrocious murder. As Liddesdale was
Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 356.

hunting in Ettrick Forest, he was
beset and cruelly slain by his kinsman,
at a spot called Galford.2 The body
was carried to Lindin Kirk, a chapel in
the Forest, not far from Selkirk, where
it lay for some time. It was then
transported to Melrose, and buried
in that ancient abbey.3 The deed was
a dark and atrocious one, and conveys
a melancholy picture of the fierce and
lawless state of Scotland. But Lid-
desdale met with little sympathy : to
gratify his own private revenge, he
had been guilty of repeated murders;
and his late treaty with Edward had
cancelled all his former services to his

Since the commencement of his
captivity, David had now made three
unsuccessful attempts to negotiate for
his liberty; 4 but many circumstances
stood between him and freedom. The
English king continued to confer on
Baliol, who lived under his protection,
the style of King of Scotland, and
refused to David his royal titles; 5 and
although it was evident that Edward’s
real intentions were to subdue Scot­
land for himself, while this nominal
monarch was merely employed as a
tool to be thrown aside at pleasure,
yet so long as his avowed purpose was
the restoration of Baliol, there was a
consistency in keeping his rival in
durance. On the other hand, what­
ever disposition there might be on the
part of the Scots to shut their eyes to
the failings of the son of Bruce, his
character had sunk in their estimation,
and he had deservedly become an
object of suspicion and distrust. The
brilliant and commanding talents of
Edward the Third had acquired a
strong influence over his mind ; he
had become attached to the country
and manners of his enemies, and, in
the absence of his queen, had formed

2 Fordun a Hearne, p. 1041.

3  Hume’s Douglas and Angus, vol. i. p. 143.
Hume has quoted a single stanza of an old
ballad, made on this mournful occasion.

“ The Countess of Douglas out of her bower
And loudly there did she call, [she came,
It is for the Lord of Liddesdale
That I let the tears down fall.”
In 1348, 1350, and 1353.
Rymer. vol. v. pp. 788, 791.

1353-5.]                                            DAVID II.                                                   197

an unworthy connexion with a lady of
the name of Mortimer. The return,
therefore, of David was an event
rather to be deprecated than desired
by the country. The Steward, with
the barons of his party, dreaded not
only the loss of his own personal con­
sequence, and the establishment on
the throne of a sovereign whom he
knew to be his enemy; but, what was
still more intolerable, they saw in it
the establishment of the superiority
of England, and the vassalage of their
own land. It is to this cause, as­
suredly, that we are to attribute the
coldness and reluctance with which
the negotiations proceeded. They
were, however, at length concluded
at Newcastle, in the month of July
1354, by a treaty, in which David’s
ransom was fixed at ninety thousand
marks,—an enormous sum for that
period; and it was stipulated that
this money was to be paid in nine
years, at the rate of ten thousand
marks annually.1

The commissioners who conducted
the negotiations for this treaty were
the Bishops of St Andrews and
Brechin, along with Patrick Dunbar,
earl of March, one of the few Scottish
earls who had escaped captivity at the
battle of Durham; but, previous to
its ratification, Eugene de Garencieres,
who had already served in the Scottish
wars, arrived upon a mission from the
court of France, at the head of a body
of sixty knights, and bringing with
him a seasonable subsidy of French
gold, in the shape of forty thousand
moutons d’or, which were distributed
by him amongst the Scottish nobles.2

The coming of this ambassador pro­
duced a great change. The treaty of
ransom had been especially unpopular
with the patriotic party in Scotland,
as the sum stipulated was far too
heavy a drain upon the country. It
had not yet received the consent of
the regent, or the final ratification of
the states of the realm ; and Garen-
cieres found little difficulty in per­
suading them to give up all thoughts

1 Rymer’s Fśdera, vol. v. p. 791.
Winton, vol. ii. p. 271. Macpherson’s
Notes, p. 512. Leland’s Coll. vol. i. p. 004.

of peace, and to seize the earliest
opportunity of recommencing hostili­
ties. For the present, therefore, the
King of Scotland, who had seen him­
self on the point of regaining his
liberty, was remanded to the Tower;
and an invasion of England resolved
on as soon as the truce expired.3 Yet
the English themselves were the first
aggressors in a Border inroad, in which
they laid waste the extensive posses­
sions of the Earl of March.4

To revenge the insult, this noble­
man, along with the Earl of Douglas,
and a large body of men-at-arms, who
were reinforced by the French knights
and soldiers under the command of
Garencieres, marched towards the
Borders, and occupied a strong pass
near Nesbit Moor; where the hilly
country, and the tortuous nature of
the road, allowed them to form an
ambuscade. They then despatched
Sir William Ramsay of Dalhousie,
having four hundred men under his
banner, to cross the Tweed, and
plunder the village of Norham and
the adjacent country. It was the
constant policy of Edward to keep a
strong garrison in Norham castle.
Its vicinity to the Borders made it
one of the keys to England on the
East Marches; it was exposed to per­
petual attacks, and, in consequence,
became the general rendezvous of the
bravest and most stirring spirits in the
English service. Ramsay executed his
task of destruction with unsparing
fidelity; and, in his retreat, took care
to drive his booty past under the walls
of the castle. The insult, as was ex­
pected, brought out the whole English
garrison upon them, led by the con­
stable, Sir Thomas Grey and Sir James
Dacre. After a short resistance, Ram­
say fled to where the Scottish army lay
concealed; and the English pursuing,
suddenly found themselves, on turning
round the shoulder of a mountain, in
presence of the well-known banners of
Douglas. Retreat was now impossible
and resistance almost equally fruit­
less, for Douglas greatly outnumbered
the English; but it was the age of

3 Rotuli Scotić, vol. i. p. 779.
4 Fordun a Hearne, p. 1043.

198                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                         [Chap. V.

chivalry, and the Constable of Norham
was a true disciple of the order.1 Form­
ing his little band around him, he called
for his son, and made him a knight on
the field; he then commanded his
men-at-arms to dismount, and fight on
foot with the archers ; after which he
and his brother knights attacked the
Scots with the greatest courage, and
performed what, in the language of
those times, were denominated “ many
fair passes of arms.” In the end,
however, he was compelled to sur­
render to Douglas, along with his
son Dacre and the whole garrison.
After the fight there occurred a fierce
trait of feudal vengeance. One of the
French knights purchased from the
Scots some of their prisoners, and,
leading them to a remote spot on the
mountain, murdered them in cold
blood, declaring that he did this to
revenge the death of his father, who
had been slain by the English in their
wars in France.2

The city of Berwick, at this time
in the hands of Edward, and which
had long been the emporium of the
commerce of both kingdoms, became
the next object of attack. It was too
well fortified, however, to hold out the
least chance of success to an open as­
sault; but the Earls of Angus and
March having collected a strong naval
force, and favoured by a dark Novem­
ber night, ran their ships up the river
as far as the tide permitted, where,
disembarking, they proceeded silently
to the foot of the walls, and, in the
first dawn of the morning, stormed
the town by escalade, slew the captain,
Sir Alexander Ogle, with some Eng­
lish knights, and drove before them
multitudes of the defenceless citizens,
who, on the first alarm, had fled from
their beds and escaped, half naked and
in crowds, over the ramparts.3

The city, of which the Scots were
thus masters, communicated with the
castle of Berwick through a strong
fortalice, called the Douglas Tower;
and, by a desperate sally from this

1 Winton, vol. ii. p. 276.

2  Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 350. Fordun
a Hearne, pp. 1043, 1044.

3  Fordun a Hearne, pp. 1044, 1045. Scala
Chron. in Leland’s Coll. p. 565.

outwork, Copland, the governor of
Northumberland, attempted to wrest
their conquest from the Scots; but he
was repulsed, and with such gallantly,
that the tower itself was carried and
garrisoned. Flushed with their suc­
cess, and enriched with an immense
booty, the Scots next attacked the
castle; its strength, however, resisted
all their efforts; and the Steward ar­
riving to inspect his conquest, found
that it would be impossible to keep
the town if, as was to be anticipated,
the garrison should be supported by
an English army. In such circum­
stances, to have dismantled the forti­
fications, and abandoned the city, would
have been the most politic course; but,
unwilling at once to renounce so high
a prize, he left in Berwick what troops
he could spare, and retired. Little
time, indeed, was given for the execu­
tion of any plan; for Edward, hearing
of the successes of the Scots, hastened
from Calais, stayed only three days in
his capital, and, attended by those
veteran and experienced officers who
had so well served him in his French
wars, laid siege to Berwick at the head
of a great army.4 At the same time,
the English fleet entered the river, and
the town was strictly invested on all
sides. Edward and his guards imme­
diately took possession of the castle;
and while Sir Walter Manny, a name
which the siege of Calais has made
famous, began a mine below the walls,
the king determined to storm the town
over the drawbridge which was thrown
from the castle to the Douglas Tower.
Against these formidable preparations
the small force left by the Steward
could not possibly contend; and the
garrison having capitulated, with safety
of life and limb, abandoned the town
to the enemy, and returned to Scot­

That fated country now lay open to
an army of eighty thousand men, com-

4 Rymer’s Fśdera, vol. v. p. 828. Robert
of Avesbury, p. 210. Fordun a Hearne, p.

5 Dr Lingard, vol. iv. p. 97, says, “ Berwick
was recovered by the sole terror of his ap­
proach.” This expression seems to me
unsupported either by the English or Scot­
tish historians. See Robert of Avesbury, p.

1355-6.]                                           DAVID II. ’                                                  199

manded by the victor of Cressy. The
English fleet was ordered, without
delay, to sail round the coast, and
await him in the Forth; and the
king, breathing threats and vengeance
against his enemies, and irritated that
his career in France was perpetually
checked by his dangers at home, in­
vaded Scotland, with a determination
to subdue or utterly destroy the coun­
try.1 At first everything seemed to
favour his project. Fatal and virulent
dissensions again broke out amongst
the Scottish nobles, excited, no doubt,
by the terror of confiscation and im­
prisonment, to which an unsuccessful
resistance to England necessarily sub­
jected them; and in addition to this,
an extraordinary event, which seemed
ominous of success, occurred upon the
arrival of Edward and his army at
Roxburgh. It had undoubtedly been
long in preparation; and one branch
of those secret negotiations which led
to it is probably to be seen in the
mysterious treaty, already noticed, be­
tween Prince Lionel and Henry Percy,
for the assistance of Edward Baliol.
That weak and unfortunate person
now presented himself before Edward;
and, with all the feudal ceremonies be­
coming so grave a transaction, for ever
resigned his kingdom of Scotland into
the hands of the English king, divest­
ing himself of his regalia, and laying
his crown at the feet of the monarch.2
His declared motives for this pusil­
lanimous conduct are enumerated in
the various deeds and instruments
which passed upon the occasion; but
the real causes of the transaction are
not difficult to be discovered. It
needed little penetration to discern
that the retention of the royal name
and title by Baliol stood in the way of
the pacification of Scotland and the
negotiations for the ransom of the
king, and gave to the regent and the
barons of his party a power of work­
ing upon the popular feelings of the
nation; while the total resignation of

1 Fordun a Goodal, p. 354.

2 The English historian Knighton asserts
that Baliol delivered all right which he pos­
sessed in the crown of Scotland to Lionel, the
kins’s son. Knighton, p. 2611. Rymer, vol.
v. pp. 832, 843, inclusive.

the kingdom into the hands of Edward
afforded this prince some appearance
of justice in his present war ; and, in
case of a failure, a fairer prospect of
concluding a peace. Baliol himself
was a mere dependant of Edward’s :
for the last sixteen years he had been
supported by the money, and had lived
under the protection, of England ;3 he
was now an old man ; and he could not
entertain the slightest hope of subduing
the country, which he still affected to
consider as his own. In return for
this surrender of his crown, Edward
now agreed to settle upon him an an­
nuity of two thousand pounds; and,
when commanded to strip himself of
his unsubstantial honours, he at once
obeyed his master, and sunk into the
rank of a private baron. During one
part of his life, when he fought at
Dupplin, and took part with the dis­
inherited barons, he had shewn a con­
siderable talent for war; but this last
base act proved that he was unworthy
of the throne, from which he had
almost expelled the descendants of
Bruce. He died, not many years after
this event, in obscurity, and fortu­
nately for Scotland, without children.

Meanwhile Edward, who had thus
procured the donation of the kingdom
from Baliol, and extorted the acknow­
ledgment of homage from David, per­
suading himself that he had a just
quarrel, hastened his warlike prepara­
tions, and determined to invade the
country with a force against which all
resistance would be unavailing. The
present leaders of the Scots had not for­
gotten the lessons taught them by the
rashness of David; and they wisely
resolved to meet this invasion in the
manner pointed out by the wisdom of
Wallace, and the dying directions of

Orders were accordingly issued for
the inhabitants to drive away their
flocks and herds, and to convey all
their valuable property beyond the
Firth of Forth, into the castles, caverns,
and strongholds frequently used for
such purposes; to destroy and burn
the hay and forage which was not
readily transportable ; and to retreat
Rotuli scotić, vol. i. pp. 544, 546.

200                                   HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                        [Chap. VI

themselves, fully armed and equipped,
and ready for immediate action, into
the various well-known fastnesses,
wooded valleys, and mountain-passes,
from which they could watch the ope­
rations of the invading army.1 It was
indispensable, however, to procure
time to carry these measures into exe­
cution ; and, for this purpose, the Earl
of Douglas sought the army of Edward,
which he found on its march from Rox­
burgh, and making a splendid appear­
ance. It was led by the king in person.
Before him, pre-eminently amid other
banners and pennons, was borne the
royal standard of Scotland.2 The king’s
sons, John and Lionel, Dukes of Rich­
mond and Ulster, accompanied their
father; and on the arrival of Douglas,
when the army halted and encamped,
it covered an extent of twenty leagues.3
Douglas fortunately succeeded in pro­
curing a ten-days’ truce; during which
time he pretended to communicate
with the Steward and the nobles; and
amused Edward with hopes that his
title to the throne would be univer­
sally recognised. The messages, how­
ever, which passed between Douglas
and his friends related to designs the
very opposite of submission; and when
the trace was almost expired, the Scot­
tish earl, who had completely gained
his object, withdrew, and joined his

Enraged at being the dupe of so able
a negotiator, Edward, in extreme fury,
advanced through Berwickshire into
Lothian ; and, with a cruel and short-
sighted policy, gave orders for the
total devastation of the country.4
Every town, village, or hamlet, which
lay within the reach of his soldiers,
was given to the flames; and the march
of this prince, who has commonly
been reputed the model of a generous
and chivalrous conqueror, was to be
traced by the thick clouds of smoke
which hung over his army, and the
black desert which he left behind him.
In this indiscriminate vengeance, even

1 Robert de Avesbury, p. 236.

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid. Leland’s Coll. vol. i. p. 566.
4 “
Velut ursa raptis fśtibus in saltu
sśviens.”—Fordun a Hearne, p. 1047.

the churches and religious houses were
sacrilegiously plundered and cast down.
A noble abbey church at Haddington,
whose choir, lighted by the long-
shaped lantern windows, of graceful
proportion, went by the name of the
Lamp of Lothians, was entirely de­
stroyed ; and the adjoining monastery
of the Minorites, with the town itself,
razed to the ground.5

The severity which Edward had
exercised upon his march began now
to recoil upon himself; no forage was
to be had for the horses, and the mo­
ment a foraging party attempted to
leave the main army it was cut off by
the Scots, who rushed from their con­
cealment in the mountains and woods,
and gave no quarter. It was now the
month of January, and the winter
storms increased the distress of the
troops. Bread began to fail; for fif­
teen days the soldiers had drunk
nothing but water;6 and, instead of
being able to supply their wants by
plunder, the English found nothing
but empty stalls and deserted houses ;
not a hoof was to be seen, so well had
the orders of Douglas been obeyed.
It may be imagined how dreadfully
these privations were felt by an army
which included three thousand men-
at-arms, splendidly accoutred, both
man and horse, besides ten thousand
light-armed horse.7 The king, who
saw famine nearer every hour, now
looked impatiently for his fleet. It
was known that it had sailed from
Berwick, but no further intelligence
had arrived; and, after an anxious
halt of ten days at Haddington, Ed­
ward pushed on to Edinburgh with
the hope of meeting his victualling

5 Fordun a Hearne, p. 1048. Fordun a
Goodal, vol. ii. p. 354.
Knighton, p. 2611.

7 According to Robert of Avesbury, pp. 235,
236, the numbers of Edward’s army were as
follows :—

3,000 homines armati, or men-at-arms,
that is, fully armed in steel, both
man and horse:
10,000 light-armed horse;
10,000 mounted archers ;
10,000 on foot;


The Scottish historians make the numbers
eighty thousand.

1356-7.]                                           DAVID II.                                                    201

ships at Leith. Instead, however, of
the long-expected supplies, certain
news arrived that the whole of the
English fleet, in its attempt to make
the Firth, had been dispersed and de­
stroyed ;1 so that it was judged abso­
lutely necessary to retreat as speedily
as possible, in order to save the army
from absolute destruction. This order
for retreat became, as was to be ex­
pected, the signal for discipline to
cease and disorder to begin. Every
wood or mountain pass swarmed with
Scottish soldiers, who harassed the
rear with perpetual attacks; and, in
passing through the Forest of Melrose,
the king himself was nearly taken or
slain in an ambuscade which had been
laid for him.2 He at length, however,
reached Carlisle in safety, dismissed
his barons, and returned to his capital;
from which he issued a pompous pro­
clamation, declaring it to be his will
to preserve untouched and inviolate
the ancient laws of Scotland : a singu­
lar declaration with regard to a coun­
try in which he could scarcely call a
single foot of ground his own.3 So
cruel in its execution, and so inglori­
ous in its result, was an expedition in
which Edward, at the head of an army
far greater than that which fought at
Cressy, had, for the fifth time, invaded
Scotland, declaring it to be his deter­
mined resolution to reduce it for ever
under his dominion. The expedition
of Edward, from the season in which
it took place, and the wasting of the
country by fire, was long afterwards
remembered by the name of the
“ Burnt Candlemas.”

So long as Scotland remained un-
conquered, it was evident that the
English monarch must be content to
have his ambitious efforts against
France perpetually crippled and im­
peded. He felt, accordingly, the para­
mount importance of concluding the
war in that country; and seems to have
imagined that, by an overwhelming
invasion, he could at once effect this
object, and be enabled to concentrate

1 Fordun a Hearne, p. 1048. Robert of
Avesbury, p. 237.

2 Knighton, p. 2611. Fordun a Hearne,
p. 1048.

3 Rotuli Scotić, p. 700.

his whole force against Philip. But
the result convinced him that the
Scots were further than ever from
being subdued; and that policy and
intrigue were at the present conjunc­
ture more likely to be successful. He
willingly, therefore, consented to a
truce, and resumed the negotiations
for the ransom of the king, and the
conclusion of a lasting peace between
the two countries.4

The Earl of Douglas, to whose exer­
tions the success of the last campaign
was mainly to be ascribed, seems to
have been one of those restless and
ardent spirits who languish unless in
actual service; and, accordingly, in­
stead of employing the breathing time
which was afforded him in healing the
wounds and recruiting the exhausted
strength of his country, he concluded
a Border truce with the English war­
den,5 and, accompanied by a numerous
body of knights and squires, passed
over to France, and fought in the me­
morable battle of Poictiers. Douglas
was received with high honour, and
knighted on the field by the King of
France. Amid the carnage of that
dreadful day he had the good fortune
to escape death or captivity; and,
cooled in his passion for foreign dis­
tinction, returned to Scotland,6 where
he resumed, along with the Stewards
and the rest of the nobility, his more
useful labours for his country.

Hitherto the negotiations for the
ransom and delivery of David had been
entirely abortive : they were now re­
newed, and proved successful. After
some preliminary conferences at Lon­
don, between the council of the King of
England and the Scottish commission­
ers, the final settlement of the treaty
was appointed to take place at Ber-
wick-upon-Tweed7 In the meantime

4  Rotuli Scotić, p. 791.

5  Rymer, vol. v. p. 809.

6 Fordun a Hearne, p. 1052.

7 Rymer, vol. v. p. 831. These conferences
for the ransom and liberation of David extend
through a period of ten years. They began
in January 1347-8, and were resumed almost
every year without success till the final treaty
in 1357. There are only three treaties noticed
by our historians; but the reader, by referring
to the following pages of the Rotuli Scotić,
vol. i., will find all the attempts at negotiation

202                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                      [Chap. VI.

a parliament was held by the Steward,
as Governor of Scotland, at Edinburgh
on the 26th of September. Its consti­
tution and proceedings, as shewn in
authentic instruments preserved in the
Fśdera, are important. It appears
that, before the meeting of the three
estates, the prelates of Scotland assem­
bled their chapters, and appointed de­
legates to represent them in parlia­
ment, with full powers to deliberate
upon the ransom of the king, and to
bind them as fully as if they them­
selves had attended.1 Afterwards,
however, it was judged more expe­
dient that the prelates should attend
in person; and accordingly we find
that, on the 26th of September, all
the bishops of Scotland assembled at
Edinburgh, and there met in parlia­
ment the lords and barons of the
realm, and the representatives of the
royal burghs. Each of the estates
then proceeded to elect certain com­
missioners of their own body to ap­
pear at Berwick and deliberate with
the delegates of the King of England
upon the ransom and liberation of
their sovereign. For this purpose the
clergy chose the Bishops of St An­
drews, Caithness, and Brechin.2 To
these ecclesiastical delegates were
added the Earls of March, Angus, and
Sutherland, Sir Thomas de Moravia,
Sir William Livingston, and Sir Robert
Erskine, appointed by the regent and
the barons; and, lastly, the seven­
teen royal burghs chose eleven dele­
gates of their own number, and in­
trusted them with the most ample
powers.3 Such elections having taken
place, the commissioners of both coun­
tries repaired to Berwick-upon-Tweed
on the day appointed with great state.
Upon the part of England there came
the Primate of England, with the
Bishops of Durham and Carlisle, and
the Lords Percy, Neville, Scrope, and
Musgrave. The Scottish delegates
brought with them a numerous suite
of attendants. The train of the Bishop

minutely described in the original instru­
ments, pp. 709, 721, 722, 727, 740, 741, 745,
759, 766, 768, 773, 791, and 809, 811.
Rymer’s Fśdera, vol. vi. pp. 39, 40.

2  Ibid. vol. vi. pp. 42, 43.

3  Ibid. vol. vi. pp. 44. 45.

of St Andrews alone consisted of thirty
knights, with their squires; that of
the other bishops and barons was
scarcely less splendid;4 and the arri­
val of the captive monarch himself,
escorted by the whole military army
of Northumberland, gave additional
solemnity to the scene of negotiation.5

The result of these conferences at
Berwick was the restoration of David
to his kingdom, after a captivity of
eleven years. The ransom finally
agreed on was a hundred thousand
pounds, equivalent to the sum of
twelve hundred thousand pounds of
modern money, to be paid by annual
instalments of four thousand pounds;
and, in security of this, twenty Scot­
tish youths, heirs of the first families
in the country, were delivered as host­
ages into the hands of the English
monarch.6 It was stipulated besides
that, from the principal nobles of the
kingdom, these should resort by turns
to England, there to remain until the
whole ransom was discharged; and, in
the event of failure at any of the
terms, the King of Scotland became
bound to return to his captivity. It
was also declared that, until payment
of the ransom, there should be a ten-
years’ truce between the kingdoms,
during which free commercial inter­
course by land and by sea was to take
place between both countries; no hos­
tile attempt of any nature was to be
made against the possessions of either,
and no subject of the one to be re­
ceived into the allegiance of the other:
a condition which Edward, when it
suited his own interests, made no
scruple of infringing.7 The stipula-

4 Rymer’s Fśdera, vol. vi. pp. 32, 33.

5 Rotuli Scotić, vol. i. p. 810.

6 Rymer, vol. vi. pp. 47, 48. The sum of
the ransom originally agreed on was 100,000
marks. Rotuli Scotić, vol. i. p. 812; but this
was altered by subsequent treaties. Mac-
pherson’s Notes to Winton, vol. ii. p. 512.

7 Rotuli Scotić, 3d March 1362-3. 37 Ed.
III. vol. i. p. 871. Bower, in his additions
to Fordun, has asserted that David agreed
to dismantle certain castles in Niddesdale,
which greatly annoyed the English; and that,
on his return to his dominions, he accordingly
destroyed the castles of Dalswinton, Dum­
fries, Morton, and Durisdeer, with nine others.
No such stipulation is to be found in the
treaty, (Rymer, vol. vi. p. 46,) and Fordun
himself makes no mention of it.

1357.]                                              DAVID II.                                                    203

tions of this famous treaty were un­
commonly favourable to England, and
reflect little credit on the diplomatic
talents of the Scottish commissioners.
The sum agreed on was oppressively
high; and it fell upon the country at
a period when it was in a low and ex­
hausted condition.

But the ransom itself was not the
only drain on the resources of the
country. The numerous unsuccessful
attempts at negotiation which pre­
ceded this final settlement had occa­
sioned many journeys of the Scottish
nobility to England, and such expedi­
tions brought along with them a heavy
expenditure. Besides this, the ransom
of the Scottish prisoners, taken in the
battle of Durham; their support, and
that of the king their master, for many
years in England; with the expense
occasioned by the residence of three
great nobles, and twenty young men
of the first rank, for so long a time in
another country, occasioned an exces­
sive expenditure. The possession, too,
of the hostages by England tended
greatly to cripple the power, and
neutralise the independent efforts of
her enemy; and the frequent inter­
course between the nobles of the
poorer and those of the richer
country gave Edward opportunities
of intrigue, which he by no means

Meanwhile, the representatives of the
nobility, the bishops, and the burghs
of Scotland ratified the treaty;1 and
David, released from captivity, re­
turned to Scotland, to receive the
enthusiastic welcome of his people.
But it was soon discovered that the
character and manners of the king had
been deteriorated by his residence in
England. His first public act was to
summon a parliament, to meet at
Scone, regarding which there is a little
anecdote preserved by a contemporary
historian, which throws a strong and
painful light upon his harsh disposi­
tion. In the progress to the hall
where the estates were to meet, crowds
of his people, who had not beheld
their king for eleven years, pressed
upon him, with rude, but flattering
Rymer, vol. vi. pp. 52 to 56 inclusive.

ardour. The monarch, whose march
was thus affectionately interrupted,
became incensed, instead of being
gratified ; and, wresting a mace from
one of his attendants, threatened to
beat to the ground any who dared to
annoy him : a churlish action, which
shews how little cordiality could sub­
sist between such a prince and his
subjects, and prepares us for the un­
happy transactions that afterwards
made so deadly a breach between him
and his people.2

The proceedings of the parliament
itself may be imperfectly gathered
from a fragment which has been pre­
served; but the record of the names
of the clergy, nobility, and other mem­
bers who were present, which might
have thrown some light upon the
state of parties at the return of the
king, is unfortunately lost. The enor­
mous sum of the ransom, and the
mode in which the annual instalment
should be collected, appears to have
been the first subject which occupied
the attention of the great couucil.
The provisions upon this were impor­
tant, and illustrated the state of com­
merce in the country. It was resolved
that all the wool and wool-fells of the
kingdom should be given to the king,
at the rate of four marks for the sack
of wool, and the same sum for every
parcel of two hundred fleeces; and
it is probable that the king afterwards
exported these sacks and fleeces, at a
high profit, to foreign parts, or dis­
posed of them to foreign merchants
who resorted to Scotland.3 In the
next place, a minute and accurate
account of the rents and produce of
the lands of the realm, and a list of
the names of the proprietors, was ap­
pointed to be taken by certain sworn
commissioners appointed for the pur­
pose. From this account were specially
excepted white sheep, domestic horses,
oxen, and household furniture; but
so minute was the scrutiny, that the
names of all mechanics, tradesmen, and
artificers were directed to be taken,
with the purpose of ascertaining what

2 Winton, vol. ii. p. 283.
Robertson’s Parliamentary Records of
Scotland, pp. 96, 97.

204                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                      [Chap. VI.

tax should be paid on the real value of
their property, and what sum each
person, of his own free will, might be
expected to contribute towards the
ransom of the king. Proclamation
was directed to be made throughout
the kingdom, that, during the term
within which such an account was to
be taken, no one should sell or export
any sheep or lambs. Officers were to
be stationed on the marches to pre­
vent such an occurrence; every hoof
or fleece which was carried off was to
be seized and forfeited to the king;
while the sheriffs of the counties, and
the barons and gentry, were directed
to use their utmost endeavour that
none should dare to refuse such taxa­
tion, or fraudulently attempt to escape,
by transferring themselves from one
part of the country to another. If any
of the sheriffs, tax-gatherers or their
officers, were found guilty of any
fraud, or unfaithful conduct; or, if
any individuals were discovered con­
cealing their property; all such de­
linquents were ordered to stand their
trial at the next Justice Ayre ; which,
it was appointed, should be held by
the king in person, that the royal pre­
sence might insure a more solemn
distribution of justice, and strike
terror into offenders. A provision was
next made that in each county there
should be good and sufficient sheriffs,
coroners, bailies, and inferior officers;
it was ordered that all lands, rents, or
customs, belonging originally to the
king, should be resumed, to whatever
persons they might have been granted,
in order that the whole royal lands
should continue untouched; and that
the kingdom, already burdened by the
king’s ransom, might be freed from
any additional tax for the mainte­
nance of the throne. The king was
required to renew that part of his
coronation oath by which he had
promised that he should not alienate
the crown lands, or dispose, without
mature advice, of any rents, wards,
or escheats belonging to the crown ;
and there was a prohibition against
exporting the sterling money out of
the realm, by any person whatever,
unless upon the payment to the ex­

chequer of half a mark for each

During the captivity of the sove­
reign, it appears that they who, at
various times, were at the head of
affairs had either appropriated to
themselves, or made donations to
their dependants, of various portions
of the crown lands; and it was there­
fore enacted, that all who had thus
rashly and presumptuously entered
into possession of any lands or ward­
ships belonging to the crown should,
under pain of imprisonment, be com­
pelled to restore them to the king.
The next article in the provisions of
this parliament is extremely obscure.
It was resolved “ that all the lands,
possessions, and goods of the homi­
cides, after the battle of Durham, who
have not yet bound themselves to
obey the law of the land, should be
placed in the hands of the king, until
they come under sufficient security to
obey the law; and that all pardons or
remissions granted to persons of this
description, by the governors of the
kingdom, during the absence of the
king, should not be ratified, unless at
the royal pleasure.” And it was also
provided that, if any person, after the
captivity of the sovereign, had resigned
to the regent any tenement which he
held of the crown in capite, which pro­
perty had been bestowed upon another
who had alienated it in whole or in
part without the royal permission, all
such tenements should again revert to
the crown.

The names of the nobles and barons
who sat in this parliament being lost,
we can only conjecture that some in­
dividuals had absented themselves,
from the idea that the disturbances
which they had excited during the
captivity of the king would be visited
with punishment. It is stated in the
Scala Chronicle, that soon after the
conflict at Durham the private feuds
amongst the nobility were carried to
a grievous height; and that the king­
dom was torn by homicides, rapine,
and private war, for which Fordun does
not hesitate indirectly to criminate the

1 Robertson’s Parliamentary Records, pp.
93. 97.

1358.]                                               DAVID II.                                                    205

Steward.1 It is certain, at least, from
the record of this parliament, that the
remissions or pardons granted to these
defaulters by the Steward, and those
in office under him, were recalled; and
that the king resented his conduct, in
interfering with the royal prerogative,
and bestowing lands held of the
crown upon his own creatures and

For the present, however, there was
the appearance of tranquillity. The
treaty which had settled the ransom
received the approbation of the parlia­
ment; and Edward not only gave
orders for its strict fulfilment, but
sought by every method to ingratiate
himself with the prelates and the no­
bility of Scotland. His object in all
this became soon apparent. Aware,
from repeated experience, of the diffi­
culty of reducing this country by open
force, a deeper policy was adopted.
He had already gained an extraordi­
nary influence over the weak character
of the king, and had secretly prevailed
upon him to acknowledge the feudal
superiority of England. David being
without children, there existed a jea­
lousy between him and the Steward,
who had been nominated next heir to
the crown; and we may date from
this period the rise of a dark faction,
to which the Scottish king meanly
lent himself a party, and the object of
which was to intrude a son of Edward
the Third into the Scottish throne.
For some time, however, this conspir­
acy against the independence of the
nation was concealed, so that it is diffi­
cult to discover the details or the
principal agents ; but from the fre­
quent journeys of some of the Scottish
prelates and barons to the court of
En gland, from the secret and mysteri­
ous instructions under which they
acted, and the readiness with which
they were welcomed,2 there arises a
strong presumption that this monarch
had gained them over to his interest.
The Earl of Angus, one of David’s
hostages, had private meetings with

1 Fordun a Hearne, p. 1039. Leland’s
Coll. vol. i. p. 562.

2 Rotuli Scotić, vol. i. pp. 814, 815, 31 Ed.
III. m. 4.

the King of England, and was de­
spatched to Scotland that he might
confer with his own sovereign upon
matters which shunned the light, and
did not appear as usual in the instru­
ments and passports.3 Within a short
period the Scottish queen, a sister of
Edward, made two visits to London,
for the purpose of treating with her
brother on certain matters which are
not specified in her safe-conduct. The
King of Scotland next sought the
English court in his own person; and
after his return, the Bishop of St
Andrews, the Earl of March, along
with the Earl of Douglas, Sir Robert
Erskine, and Sir William Livingstone,
were repeatedly employed in these
secret missions which at this period
took place between the two monarchs.4
These barons generally travelled with
a numerous suite of knights or
squires;5 and while their masters
were engaged in negotiation, the young
knights enjoyed their residence at a
court then the most chivalrous in
Europe, and were welcome guests in
the fetes and amusements which occu­
pied its warlike leisure. Large sums
of money were required for such em­
bassies; and the probability is, that
they were chiefly defrayed by the
English monarch, who looked for a
return in the feelings of gratitude and
obligation which he thus hoped to
create in the breasts of the Scottish
nobility. Nor were other methods of
conciliation neglected by this politic
prince. He encouraged the merchants
of Scotland to trade with England by
grants of protection and immunity,
which formed a striking contrast to
the spirit of jealousy and exclusion
with which they had lately been

From the moment of David’s re­
turn, a complete change took place in

3 Rotuli Scotić, 31 Ed. III. m. 2, 25 Dec.
1357, vol. i. p. 818.

4  Ibid. 32 Ed. III. pp. 819, 821, 822.

5  Ibid. 32 Ed. III. p. 821. Willelmus de
Levyngeston. “Cum octo Equitibus de
Comitiva sua.” Sir Robert Erskine, with the
same number, p. 822. The Earl of March
travels to England, “ Cum viginti Equitibus
et eorum garcionibus,” p. 823.

6 Rotuli Scotić, vol. i. 32 Ed. III. pp. 822,

206                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                       [Chap. VI.

the commercial policy of England, and
the Scottish merchants were welcomed
with a liberality which, could we for­
get its probable object, was as generous
as it was beneficial to both countries.
At the same time the youth of Scot­
land were induced to frequent the
universities of Oxford and Cambridge,
by the ready kindness with which
the king gave them letters of protec­
tion;1 and the religious, who wished
to make pilgrimages to the most cele­
brated shrines in England, found
none of those impediments to their
pious expeditions which had lately

At this moment, when designs ex­
isted against the independence of
Scotland, so dangerous in their nature,
and so artfully pursued, it was unfor­
tunate that a spirit of military adven­
ture carried many of its best soldiers
to the continental wars. Sir Thomas
Bisset and Sir Walter Moigne, with
Norman and Walter Lesley, previous
to David’s return, had left the coun­
try on an expedition to Prussia,2 in
all probability to join the Teutonic
knights, who were engaged in a species
of crusade against the infidel Prus­
sians.3 Not long after, Sir William
Keith, marshal of Scotland, Sir Wil­
liam Sinclair, lord of Roslin, Sir Alex­
ander de Lindesay, Sir Robert Gilford,
and Sir Alexander Montgomery, each
with a train of sixty horse, and a
strong body of foot soldiers, passed
through England to the continent,
eager for distinction in foreign wars,
with which they had no concern, and
foolishly deserting their country when
it most required their services.4 Yet
this conduct was more pardonable than
that of the Earl of Mar, who entered
into the service of England, and with
a retinue of twenty-four knights and
their squires, passed over to France in
company with the English monarch
and his army.5 The example was in­
fectious ; and the love of enterprise,

1 Rotuli Scotić, 32 Ed. III. vol. i. pp. 822,
825, 828.

2  Rymer, vol. v. p. 866.

3  Barnes’ Edward III. p. 669.

4 Rotuli Scotić, vol. i. 32 Ed. III. p. 830.
Ibid. 33 Ed. III. p. 842. Rymer, vol. vi.
p. 119.

the renown of fighting under so illus­
trious a leader, and the hopes of
plunder, induced other soldiers to imi­
tate his example. Edward, therefore,
whose attempts to conquer Scotland
by force of arms had utterly failed,
seemed now to have fallen upon a
more fatal and successful mode of at­
tack. Many of the barons were
secretly in his interest; some had ac­
tually embraced his service; the king
himself was wholly at his devotion ;
the constant intercourse which he had
encouraged had softened, as he hoped,
and diluted, the bitterness of national
animosity; and the possession of his
twenty hostages had tied up the hands
of the principal barons of the land,
who in other circumstances would
have been at liberty to have acted
strenuously against him. Nothing
now remained but to develop the great
plan which all this artful preparation
was intended to foster and facilitate ;
but for this matters were not yet con­
sidered far enough advanced.

Meanwhile, David anxiously adopted
every method to collect the sums ne­
cessary for his ransom: nor can we
wonder at his activity when we re­
member that his liberty or his return
to the Tower depended on his success.
He had already paid the first ten thou­
sand marks ;6 and the Pope, at his ear­
nest request, consented that, for the
term of three years, he should levy a
tenth of all the ecclesiastical benefices
in Scotland, under the express condi­
tion that the clergy were, after this,
to be exempted from all further con­
tribution. Yet this stipulated immu­
nity was soon forgotten or disregarded
by the king; and in addition to the
tenth, the lands and temporalities of
all ecclesiastics, whether they held of
the king or of a subject, were com­
pelled to contribute in the same pro­
portion as the barons and free tenants
of the crown,—a measure violently
opposed by the Church, and which
must have lost to the king much of
his popularity with this important

6 Rotuli Scotić, 32 Ed. III. p. 827. 23d
June 1358.
Fordun a Hearae, p. 1054.

1358-61.1                                DAVID II.                                        207

The period for the payment of the
second instalment of the ransom-money
to England now rapidly approached.
In Scotland, the difficulty of raising
money, owing to the exhausted and
disorganised state of the kingdom, was
excessive; and the king in despair, and
compelled by the influence of the party
of the Steward, which supported the
independence of the country, forgot
for a moment the intimate relations
which now bound him to Edward, and
opened a negotiation with the Regent
of France, in which he agreed to renew
the war with England, provided that
prince and his kingdom would assist
him with the money which he now
imperiously required. To these de­
mands the French plenipotentiaries
replied,1 that in the present conjunc­
tion of affairs, when France was ex­
hausted with war, and the king and
many of the highest nobility in cap­
tivity, it was impossible to assist her
ancient ally so speedily or so effec­
tually as could be desired. They
agreed, however, to contribute the sum
of fifty thousand marks 2 towards de­
fraying the ransom, under the condi­
tion that the Scots should renew the
war with England, and that there
should be a ratification of the former
treaty of alliance between France and

These stipulations upon the part of
the French were never fulfilled. An
army of a hundred thousand men, led
by Edward in person, passed over to
Calais a few months after the negotia­
tion,3 and France saw in the ranks of
her invaders many of the Scottish
barons who had become the tools of
England. Amongst those whom the
English king had seduced, was Tho­
mas, earl of Angus, one of the hostages
for David, a daring adventurer, who
had commissioned from the Flemings
four ships of war, with which he pro­
mised to meet Edward at Calais. But
on procuring his liberty, Angus forgot
his engagement; and, remaining in

1 Traittez entre les Roys de France et les
Roys d’Escosse. MS. in Ad. Library, A. 3. 9.

2 “ Cinquante mil marcs d’Esterhns, on la
valleur en or si comme il vault en Angleterre.”

3 Rotuli Scotić, 34 Ed. III. m. 4, pp.
840, 847.

Scotland, acted a principal part in the
commotions which then distracted the
country.4 Sir Thomas Bisset, Sir Wil­
liam of Tours, and Sir John Boron-
don, and probably many other Scottish
knights, accompanied Edward,5 but
had little opportunity of signalising
themselves; and after an inglorious
campaign, hostilities were concluded
by the celebrated treaty of Bretigny,
in which the two belligerent powers
consented to a mutual sacrifice of
allies. The French, naturally irritated,
agreed to renounce all alliances which
they had already formed with Scot­
land, and engaged, for the time to
come, to enter into no treaties with
that nation against the realm of Eng­
land ; and England, on her part, was
equally accommodating in her renun­
ciation of her Flemish allies.6 Such
conduct upon the part of the French
regent must have been highly mortify­
ing to the Steward and his friends, who
considered the continuance of a war
with England as the only certain
pledge for the preservation of the na­
tional liberty. On the other hand, the
confederacy, which had been gradually
gaining ground in favour of England,
and now included amongst its support­
ers the Scottish king himself and many
of his nobles, could not fail to be grati­
fied by a result which rendered a com­
plete reconciliation with Edward more
likely to occur, and thus paved the way
for the nearer development of their
secret designs, by which the Steward
would ultimately be prevented from
ascending the throne.

Whilst such was the course of events
in France, Scotland at home presented
a scene of complicated distress and
suffering. A dreadful inundation laid
the whole of the rich country of Lo­
thian under water. The clouds poured
down torrents such as had never before
been seen by the oldest inhabitants ;
and the rivers, breaking over their
banks with irresistible violence, de­
stroyed ramparts and bridges, tore up
the strongest oaks and forest trees by

4 Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 365.
Rotuli Scotić, p. 840.
Rymer, Fśdera, vol. vi. p. 192, Art. 31,
32, 33.

208                                     HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                      [Chap. VI.

the roots, and carried houses, barns,
and implements of husbandry, in one
undistinguished mass to the sea­shore.
The lighter wooden habitations of the
working-classes were swept from their
foundations; and the castles, churches,
and monasteries entirely surrounded
by water.1 At length, it is said, a
nun, terror-struck by the anger of the
elements, snatched a small image of
the Virgin from a shrine in the church
of her monastery, and threatened aloud
to cast her into the stream, unless she
averted the impending calamity. The
flood had already touched the threshold
of the building, when it was suddenly
checked; and Bower assures us that
from that moment the obedient waters
returned within their accustomed

Not long after this inundation, the
country was visited by another dread­
ful guest: the great pestilence, which
had carried away such multitudes in
1349,3 again broke out in Scotland,
with symptoms of equal virulence and
fatality. In one respect the present
calamity was different from the for­
mer. That of 1349 had fallen with
most severity upon the poorer classes,
but in this the rich and noble in the
land, equally with the meanest labour­
ers, were seized by the disease, and in
most instances fell victims to its ra­
vages. The deaths at last became so
numerous, and the crowds of the dead
and the dying so appalling, that David,
with his court, retreated to the north,
and at Kinross, in Moray, sought a
purer air and less lugubrious exhi­

On his return, a domestic tragedy
of a shocking nature awaited him.
His favourite mistress, Catherine Mor­
timer, whom he had loved during his
captivity, had afterwards accompanied
him into Scotland, and from some
causes not now discoverable, became
an object of jealousy and hatred to
the Earl of Angus and others of the
Scottish nobles. At their instigation,
two villains, named Hulle and Dewar,

1  Fordun a Hearne, p. 1053.

2  Fordun a Goodal, vol ii. p. 362.

3 Winton, book viii. chap. xlv. vol. ii. p. 202.
Fordun a Goodal, p. 365.

undertook to murder her ; and having
sought her residence under a pretence
that they came from the king with
instructions to bring her to court,
prevailed upon the unsuspecting vic­
tim to intrust herself to their guidance.
They travelled on horseback; and on
the desolate moor between Melrose
and Soutra, where her cries could
bring none to her assistance, Hulle
stabbed her with his dagger and de­
spatched her in an instant.5 David
instantly imprisoned the Earl of Angus
in Dumbarton castle, where he fell a
victim to the plague, and commanded
his unfortunate favourite to be buried
with all honour in the Abbey of New-

Towards the conclusion of the year
which was marked by this base mur­
der, a secret negotiation, regarding
the subject of which the public records
give us no certain information, took
place between Edward and the Scot­
tish king. The Bishops of St Andrews
and Breehin, with the Archdeacon of
Lothian, the Earls of March and Dou­
glas, Sir Robert Erskine, and Sir John
Preston, repaired, with a numerous
retinue, to the English court; but the
object of their mission is studiously
concealed. It is indeed exceedingly
difficult to understand or to unravel
the complicated intrigues and the
various factions which divided the
country at this period. The king him­
self was wholly in the interest and
under the government of Edward.
The Steward, on the other hand, to
whom the people affectionately looked
as his successor, and whose title to
the throne had been recognised by a
solemn act of the three estates of the
kingdom, was at the head of the party
which opposed the designs of England,
and strenuously defended the independ­
ence of the country. Many of the
nobles, seduced by the example of
their sovereign, and by the wealth of
England, had deserted to Edward;
many others, indignant at such treach­
ery, leagued themselves in the strictest
ties with the Steward : and between
these two parties there existed, we

5 Scala Chronicle, p. 196. Fordun a Goodal.
vol. ii. p. 365.

1361-3.]                                           DAVID II.                                                    209

may believe, the most deadly ani­
mosity. But we may, I think, trace
in the records of the times—for our
ancient historians give us no light on
the subject—another and more mode­
rate party, to whom Edward and David
did not discover their ultimate inten­
tions for the destruction of the inde­
pendence of Scotland as a separate
kingdom, but who hailed with joy,
and encouraged with patriotic eager­
ness, those pacific measures which were
employed to pave the way for their
darker designs. Nor is it difficult to
understand the feelings which gave
rise to such a party. A war of almost
unexampled length and animosity had
weakened and desolated the country.
Every branch of national prosperity
had been withered or destroyed by its
endurance; and it is easy to conceive
how welcome must have been the
breathing time of peace, and how
grateful those measures of free trade
and unfettered intercourse between
the two countries which Edward
adopted, from the moment of David’s
liberation till the period of his death.1
It is quite possible to believe that
such men as the Earl of Douglas and
Sir Robert Erskine, the Bishops of St
Andrews and Brechin, with other pre­
lates and nobles, who were engaged in
perpetual secret negotiations with Ed­
ward, should have been amused with
propositions for a complete union and
a perpetual peace between the two
countries; while David himself, and
those traitors who were admitted into
the deeper parts of the plot, assisted
at their negotiations, sheltered them­
selves under their upright character,
and thus disarmed suspicion.

Meanwhile, under this change of mea­
sures, Scotland gradually improved;
and the people, unconscious of the
designs which threatened to bring
her down to the level of a province of
England, enjoyed the benefits and
blessings of peace. The country pre­
sented a stirring and busy scene. Mer­
chants from Perth, Aberdeen, Kirk-
caldy, Edinburgh, and the various
towns and royal burghs, commenced a
lucrative trade with England, and
Rotuli Scotić, vol. i. pp. 859, 862.

through that country with Flanders,
Zealand, France, and other parts of
the continent; wool, hides, sheep, and
lamb skins, cargoes of fish, herds of
cattle, horses, dogs of the chase, and
falcons, were exported; and in return,
grain, wine, salt, and spices of all
kinds ; mustard, peas, potashes, earth­
enware, woollen cloth; silver and gold
in bars, cups, vases, and spoons of the
same precious metals; swords, hel­
mets, cuirasses, bows and arrows, horse
furniture, and all sorts of warlike
accoutrements, were imported from
England, and from the French and
Flemish ports, into Scotland.2

Frequent and numerous parties of
rich merchants, with caravans laden
with their goods, and attended by com­
panies of horsemen and squires, for
the purposes of defence and security,
travelled from all parts of Scotland
into England and the continent.3 Ed­
ward furnished them with passports,
or safe-conducts ; and the preservation
of these instruments, amongst the
Scottish rolls in the Tower, furnishes
us with an authentic and curious
picture of the commerce of the times.
We find these passports granted to
bodies of fifty and sixty at a time;
each of the merchants being men of
such wealth and substance as to be
accompanied by a suite of four, five,
or six horsemen. In the year 1363,
passports were granted to forty-nine
Scottish merchants, who are accom­
panied by a body of eighty-seven
horsemen, and eighteen squires or
garcons; and the following year was
crowded with expeditions of the same
nature. - On one memorable occasion,
in the space of a single month, a party
of sixty-five merchants obtained safe-
conducts to travel through England,
for the purposes of trade; and their
warlike suite amounted to no less
than two hundred and thirty horse­

Besides this, the Scottish youth,
and many scholars of more advanced
years, crowded to the colleges of Eng-

2 Rotuli Scotić, vol. i. pp. 760, 881, 891, 911,
925. Rymer, vol. vi. p 575.

3 Rotuli Scotić, vol. i. p. 876.
4Ibid. vol. i,pp, 885, 886.


210                                      HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                     [Chap. VI.

land;1 numerous parties of pilgrims
travelled to the various shrines of
saints and martyrs, and were liberally
welcomed and protected; 2 whilst, in
those Scottish districts which were
still in the hands of the English, Ed­
ward, by preserving to the inhabitants
their ancient customs and privileges,
endeavoured to overcome the national
antipathy, and conciliate the affections
of the people. Commissions were
granted to his various officers in Scot­
land, empowering them to receive the
homage and adherence of the Scots
who had hitherto refused to acknow­
ledge his authority; passports, and all
other means of indulgence and protec­
tion were withdrawn from such as
resisted, or became objects of suspi­
cion ; and every means was taken
to strengthen the few castles which
he possessed, and to give security to
the inhabitants of the extensive dis­
trict of Annandale, with other parts
of the country which were in the
hands of English subjects.3

During the course of the year 1362,
the Bishops of St Andrews and of
Brechin, Wardlaw, archdeacon of
Lothian, with Sir Robert Erskine and
Sir Norman Lesley, were engaged in
a secret mission to the court of Eng­
land; and a public negotiation was
commenced for a final peace between
the two countries, which appears not
to have led to any satisfactory result.4
The truce, however, was still strictly
preserved; the fears of an invasion of
England by the party opposed to
Edward had entirely subsided; and
the pacific intercourse between both
countries, by the constant resort of
those whom the purposes of trade,
or devotion, or pleasure, or business
carried from their homes, continued
as constant and uninterrupted as be­
fore.5 Meanwhile Joanna, queen of
Scotland, who had resided for some
time past at her brother’s court, was
seized with a mortal illness, and died
in Hertford castle.6 In the course of

1 Rotuli Scotić, pp. 886, 891.

2 Ibid. pp. 878-880.

3 Ibid. pp. 861, 872, 873, 875, 894.

4 Ibid. vol. i. pp. 862, 864.
Ibid. pp. 859, 860, 865.

6 Walsingham, p. 179.

the former year, the only son of the
Earl of Sutherland, who was nephew
to the Scottish king, had been cut off
by the plague at Lincoln.7 Edward
Baliol lay also on his deathbed; and
these events were seized upon as a
proper opportunity to bring forward
that great plan which had been so long
maturing, and by which Edward the
Third persuaded himself that, in re­
turn for his flattering and indulgent
policy, he was to gain a kingdom.

Although the ramifications of the
conspiracy by which Edward and Da­
vid attempted to destroy the indepen­
dence of Scotland are exceedingly ob­
scure, enough, I think, has been point­
ed out to prove that it had been going
on for many years. We have seen that
the English king purchased from Baliol
the whole kingdom ; that David had
completely thrown himself into the
arms of England, and even actually
acknowledged the superiority of the
one crown over the other; and now
when, as was imagined, all obstacles
were removed, we are to witnegs the
open development and the utter dis­
comfiture of this extraordinary plot.
A parliament was summoned at Scone
in the month of March 1363 ;8 and
the king, after alluding to the late
negotiation for a final peace which had
taken place between the commissioners
of both countries, proceeded to explain
to the three estates the conditions
upon which Edward had agreed to
concede this inestimable blessing to
the country. He proposed, in the
event of his death, that the states of
the realm should choose one of the
sons of the King of England to fill
the Scottish throne; and he recom­
mended in the strongest manner that
such choice should fall upon Lionel,
the third son of that monarch,—a
prince in every respect well qualified,
he affirmed, to defend the liberty of
the kingdom. If this election was
agreed to, he was empowered, he said,
to disclaim, upon the part of the King
of England and his heirs, all future

7 Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 366. Edward
Baliol also died in 1363, at Doncaster.
Knighton, p. 2627.

8 4th March 1363-4. Robertson’s Parlia­
mentary Records, p. 100.

1363.]                                              DAVID II.                                                   211

attempts to establish a right to the
kingdom of Scotland under any pre­
tence whatever; that grievous load of
ransom, which pressed so heavily upon
all classes of the country, would be
from that moment discharged;1 and
he concluded by expressing his con­
viction that in no other way could a
safe and permanent peace be estab­
lished between the two nations.2

The estates of parliament stood
aghast at this base proposal, which
was received by an instantaneous burst
of deep and undissembled indignation.
It required, indeed, no little personal
intrepidity to name such terms to an
assembly of armed Scottish barons.
Their fathers and themselves had, for
more than sixty years, been engaged
in almost uninterrupted war against
the intolerable aggressions of England.
It was for the stability of the kingdom,
whose liberties were now attempted
to be so wantonly sacrificed, that Wal­
lace, and Douglas, and Randolph, and
Bruce had laboured and bled. By the
most solemn acts of the legislature,
and the oaths of the three estates,
taken with their hands on the holy
gospels, they were bound to keep the
throne for the descendants of their
deliverer; and it is not difficult to
imagine with what bitter feelings of
sorrow and mortification they must
have reflected that the first proposal
for the alteration of the succession
came from the only son of Robert
Bruce. In such circumstances, it re-
quired neither time nor deliberation
to give their answer. It was brief,
and perfectly unanimous, on the part
of the three estates, clergy, nobles,
and burgesses : “ We never,” said they,
“ will allow an Englishman to rule over
the proposition of the king is
foolish and improvident, for he ought
to have recollected that there exists
heirs to the throne, whose age and
virtues render them worthy of that
high station; and to whom the three

1 Although this is not mentioned by Fordun
or Winton, I have inferred that the discharge
of the ransom was stipulated, from the terms
of the Parliamentary Record, and from the
sixth article of the subsequent secret treaty
at Westminster. Rymer, vol. vi. p. 426.

2 Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 366.

estates are bound to adhere, by the
deeds of settlement, which have been
ratified by their own solemn oath.
Yet,” they added, “ they earnestly de­
sired peace; and, provided the royal
state, liberty, and separate independ­
ence of the kingdom were not infringed
upon, would willingly make every sacri­
fice to attain it.” 3

With this resolute answer the king
was deeply moved. His eyes flashed
with rage, and his gestures for a mo­
ment betrayed the conflict of anger
and disappointment which was passing
in his mind; but he repressed his feel­
ings, and, affecting to be satisfied,
passed on to other matters. It was
determined to open an immediate
negotiation with England, preparatory
to a final treaty of peace; and for this
purpose, Sir Robert Erskine, along
with Walter Wardlaw, the archdeacon
of Lothian, and Gilbert Armstrong,
were appointed commissioners by the
parliament. With regard to the ran­
som, the nobles declared that they
were ready cheerfully to suffer every
privation, for the payment of the whole
sum; and that they would use their
utmost exertion to prevent the truce
from being broken, as well as to
answer for the penalties already due
for its infringement, by that party
which was adverse to England.4 These

3 “ Cui breviter, et sine ulteriori delibera-
tione aut retractatione responsum fuit per uni-
versaliter singulos, et singulariter universos
de tribus statibus, Nunquam se velle consen-


a Goodal, vol. ii. pp. 366, 367. Winton, vol.
ii. p. 294. Robertson’s Parl, Records, p. 100.

4 In the record of this important parlia­
ment, which is unfortunately in an extremely
mutilated state, there is some obscurity as to
the meaning of the words, “ Si que per partera
adversam pro commissis hactenus possent in-
fligi vel obiici.” I understand the “pars
adversa” to be the party of the Steward,
which was decidedly hostile to England, and
eager to break the truce. The whole “Re­
cord” of this famous parliament has been
printed by the late Mr Robertson, in that first
and interesting volume of the Records of the
Scottish Parliament, which, on account of
some defects in its arrangement, was can­
celled and withdrawn. A copy of this rare
work, which has been already quoted fre­
quently in the course of this volume, was,
many years ago, presented by Mr Thomson,
the present Deputy-Clerk-Register, to my
late father, Lord Woodhouselee; and to this

212                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                      [Chap. VI.

expressions alluded, no doubt, to the
Steward and his friends, who, for some
time before this, must have been aware
of the practices of David against the
independence of the country, and his
secret intrigues with Edward.

The object of this daring plan,
which, there is reason to believe, had
been maturing during the whole course
of David’s captivity, was now avowed
in open parliament; and, if carried
into execution, it would have excluded
for ever from the throne of Scotland
the Steward, and all descendants of
Robert the Bruce. We are not, there­
fore, to wonder that the bare proposal
of such a scheme alarmed and agitated
the whole kingdom. It was instantly,
indeed, repelled and put down by the
strong hand of parliament, and appar­
ently given up by the king; but all
confidence between David and his
nobles was destroyed from this mo­
ment, and the effects of this mutual
suspicion became soon apparent.

The Steward, who had good reason
to suspect the sincerity of the king,
assembled his friends to deliberate
upon the course of proceedings which
it was deemed necessary to adopt; and
a very formidable league or conspiracy
was soon formed, which included
amongst its supporters a great majority
of the nobility. According to a com­
mon practice in that age, the lords
and barons who stood forward to sup­
port the succession entered into bonds
or agreements of mutual defence, which
were ratified by their oath and seal.1
The Steward himself, with the Earl
of March, the Earl of Douglas, the
Steward’s two sons, John, Steward of
Kyle, Robert, Steward of Menteith, and
others of the most powerful nobility
in the country, openly proclaimed that
they would either compel the king to
renounce for ever his designs, and ad­
here to the succession, or would at
once banish him from the throne.2 To
shew that these were not empty men­
aces, they instantly assembled their re­
tainers, and in great force traversed

unpublished record I am indebted for valu-
able assistance, in an attempt to explain one
of the darkest periods of Scottish history.
Fordun a Hearne, p. 1057.
          2 Ibid.

the country. The nobles who sup­
ported David were cast into prison,
their lands ravaged, their wealth, or
rather the wealth of their unfortunate
vassals and labourers, seized as legiti­
mate spoil; and the towns and trading
burghs, where those industrious mer­
cantile classes resided, who had no
wish to engage in political revolution,
were cruelly invaded and plundered.

The violence of these proceedings
gave to the cause of the king a tempo­
rary colour of justice; and of this his
personal courage, the only quality
which he inherited from his great
father, enabled him to take advantage.
He instantly issued a proclamation, in
which he commanded the rebels to lay
down their arms and return to their
allegiance as peaceable and faithful
subjects ; and summoned his barons
to arm themselves and their vassals in
defence of the insulted majesty of the
throne.3 To the body of the disin­
herited barons in England, whose
strength had, not long before, achieved
so rapid a revolution, in placing Baliol
on the throne, David confidently looked
for assistance. This party included
the Earl of Athole, the Lords Percy,
Beaumont, Talbot, and Ferrers, with
Godfrey de Ross, and a few other
powerful nobles. From them, and
from Edward himself, there is reason
to believe that the king received
prompt support both in men and
money; for it is certain that he was
able to collect a numerous army, and
to distribute amongst the soldiers far
larger sums for their pay and equip­
ment than the exhausted state of the
country and of his own coffers could
have afforded.4 The strong castles of
Roxburgh, Jedburgh, and Lochmaben,
with the Border districts around them,
comprehending Annandale, part of
Teviotdale, and the Merse,5 were in
the hands of the English, who com­
pelled their warlike population to
serve against the Steward; so that
David was enabled to advance instantly
against his enemies, with a force which

3 Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 367.
Fordun a Hearne, p. 1058. Robertson’s
Parliamentary Records, p. 101.
Rymer’s Fśdera, vol. vi. p. 426.

1363.]                                              DAVID II.                                                    213

it would have been folly in them to
attempt to resist. It was fortunate
that the two parties thus ranged in
deadly opposition against each other
were yet mutually afraid of pushing
matters into the extremities of a war.
The king knew that he was generally
unpopular, and that his attempt to
change the succession was regarded with
bitter hostility, not only by the nobles,
but by the whole body of the nation;
and he naturally dreaded to call these
feelings into more prominent action.1
On the other hand, the Steward was
anxious, under such threatening cir­
cumstances, when his title to the crown
was proposed to be set aside, to con­
ciliate the affections of the people by
a pacific settlement of the differences
between himself and the sovereign.
These mutual feelings led to a treaty
which saved the country from a civil
war. On the approach of the royal
army, the Steward and the barons who
supported him agreed to lay down
their arms and submit to the clemency
of the king. The bonds and engage­
ments by which their party was
cemented were renounced and can­
celled in an assembly of the whole
nobility of Scotland, which was con­
voked on the 14th of May, at Inch-
murdach, a palace of the Bishop of St
Andrews,2 where the Steward again
renewed his oath to David. He swore
upon the holy gospels that he would
henceforth continue faithful to the
king as his sovereign and liege lord ;
that to the utmost of his power he
would defend him from his enemies,
and support his servants and ministers
against every opposition; and this he
promised under the penalty of losing
all title to the throne of Scotland, of
forfeiting his lands and possessions for
ever, and of being accounted a perjured
and dishonoured knight.3

In return for this prompt submis­
sion, the Steward’s title in the succes­
sion was distinctly recognised, and the
earldom of Carrick conferred upon his
eldest son, afterwards Robert the

1 Fordun a Hearne, p. 1058.

2  Macpherson’s Geographical Illustrations
of Scottish History, voce Inchmurdach.

3 Fordun a Goodal. vol. ii, p. 369.

Third. The Earls of March and Doug­
las, the sons of the Steward, and the
rest of the barons who had joined his
party, renewed their fealty at the same
time; and David had the satisfaction
to see a dangerous civil commotion
extinguished by his energetic prompti­
tude and decision. But this was only
a temporary ebullition of activity;
and, as if worn out by the exertion,
the king relapsed into his usual indo­
lence and love of pleasure.

It was at this critical time that he
met with Margaret Logy,4 a woman of
inferior birth but extraordinary beauty.
She was the daughter of one of the
lower barons, and related, in all pro­
bability, to that John de Logy who
had been executed for treason during
the latter part of the reign of Robert
Bruce. Of this lady David, ever the
slave of his passions, became deeply
enamoured; and, heedless of the con­
sequences, determined to possess him­
self of the object of his affection.
Overlooking, accordingly, in the ardour
of his pursuit, all difference of rank,
and despising the resentment of his
proud nobility, the king married this
fair unknown, and raised her to the
throne which had been filled by the
sister of Edward the Third. No step
could be more imprudent. The Stew­
ard, who, in the event of a son being
born of this alliance, would be ex­
cluded from the throne by a boy of
almost plebeian origin—the powerful
Earl of March, the haughty Douglas,
and the other grandees of the realm,
whose feudal power and territories
were almost kingly, felt themselves
aggrieved by this rash and unequal
alliance. Disgust and jealousy soon
arose between the queen and the no­
bility ; and such was the influence
which she at first possessed over the
fickle and impetuous monarch, that he
cast the Steward, with his son, Alex­
ander, lord of Badenoch, into prison;
and soon after, weary of his own king­
dom, and aware of his unpopularity,
obtained a safe conduct to travel into
England on a pilgrimage to the shrine

4 Fordun a Hearne, pp. 1059. 1010. Bower
(Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 370) says she
was the daughter of John Logy.

•214                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                        [Chap. VI.

of the Virgin at Walsingham.1 His
fair queen, at the same time on the
like errand, accompanied by a train of
thirty knights, sought the shrine of St
Thomas of Canterbury; and Scotland,
deserted by her sovereign, and with
the nearest heir to the crown in a
dungeon, regarded with deep appre­
hension a state of things which, to the
most superficial eye, was full of danger.

It was not to be expected that a
prince of the talents and ambition of
Edward the Third should fail to take
advantage of these complicated diffi­
culties. A large part of the ransom
due by the King of Scotland was still
unpaid; and as the regular terms of
settlement had long been neglected,
the penalties incurred by such a fail­
ure increased the principal sum to an
overwhelming amount. The king’s
increasing unpopularity in Scotland
rendered it impossible for him to col­
lect the money which was required.
It was only by the kindness and suf­
ferance of Edward that he had not
been repeatedly remanded to his pri­
son in the Tower; and in a few years,
if this state of things continued, he
felt that he must lay down his royal
pomp, and, deserted by a people who
bore him neither love nor respect,
return to the condition of a captive.2
These reflections embittered his re­
pose : he determined to consent to
every sacrifice to get rid of a ransom
which made him a slave to Edward
and an abject suitor to his subjects;
and, under the influence of such feel­
ings, again engaged in a secret treaty
with England against the independ­
ence of his country.3

It will be recollected that the estates
of Scotland had already despatched the
Bishops of St Andrews and Brechin,
along with Sir Robert Erskine, the
Chamberlain of Scotland, to negotiate
a peace between the two countries ;4

1 Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 380. This
author asserts that the Steward and his three
sons were kept in separate prisons. From
the Chamberlain’s Accounts, pp. 498, 524, the
fact seems to be as stated in the text.

2 Rymer’s Fśdera, vol. vi. p. 48.

3 Ibid. p. 426.

4 Robertson’s Parliamentary Records, p.
100. Rotuli Scotić, 38 Ed. III. m. 6. 18th
July, vol. i. p. 884.

and to the result of this public em­
bassy we shall soon advert. In the
meantime, whilst these deliberations
proceeded, a secret conference was
held between the privy councillors of
David and Edward, and in presence of
both monarchs, at Westminster, on
the 26th of November 1363. The
names of the privy councillors are stu­
diously concealed ; but the real object
of this meeting was an attempt, upon
the part of Edward, to renew his de­
signs for the entire subjugation of
Scotland; but this was done with a
caution strongly indicating his sense
of the flame which the bare suspicion
of such a renewal would kindle in that
country. It was premised, in the first
passage of the record of this conference,
that everything now done was to be
regarded solely in the light of an ex­
periment ; and that the various stipu­
lations and conditions which it con­
tained were not to be considered as
finally agreed to either by one party
or the other, but simply as attempts
to bring about, under the blessing of
God, a lasting peace between the two
nations. The King of Scotland, who,
along with Edward, was personally pre­
sent whilst the various articles were
made the subject of debate, consented
that, in the event of his death without
heirs-male of his body, the King of Eng­
land and his heirs should succeed to the
throne of Scotland; upon which event
the town and castle of Berwick, with
the castles of Roxburgh, Jedburgh, and
Lochmaben, and all the lands occupied
by Robert the First at the time of his
death, and now in the hands of the
King of England, were to be delivered
up to Scotland; whilst the arrears of
the ransom, as well as all penalties
and obligations incurred by its non-
payment, were to be cancelled for ever.
These were the two principal arti­
cles in the conference; but a variety
of inferior stipulations were added, the
object of which was evidently to in­
duce the people of Scotland to sacrifice
the independent throne of their coun­
try, by the solemn manner in which
Edward agreed to preserve unimpaired
its ancient constitution, and the laws
and usages of the kingdom. It was

1363-4.]                                           DAVID II.                                                    215

agreed that the name and title of the
kingdom of Scotland should be pre­
served distinct and entire, and should
never be sunk in a union with Eng­
land; whilst, at the same time, it was
to remain, not in name only, but in
reality, entire, without injury by gift,
alienation, or division to any mortal,
such as it was in the days of Robert
the First. The kings of England were
henceforth to be crowned kings of
Scotland at Scone, upon the regal and
sacred stone-seat, which was to be im­
mediately conveyed thither from Eng­
land; and the ceremony was to be
performed by those Scottish prelates
who were deputed by the Church of
Rome to that office. All parliaments
regarding Scottish affairs were to be
held within that kingdom; and a
solemn oath was to be taken by the
English monarch that, as king of
Scotland, he would preserve inviolate
the rights and immunities of the holy
Scottish Church, and consent that she
should be subject neither to bishop
nor archbishop, but solely to the Pope.
In addition to all this, Edward engaged
faithfully that the subjects of Scotland
should never be called upon to answer
to any suit, except within the courts
of their own kingdom, and according
to their own laws. He promised that
no ecclesiastical benefices or dignities,
and no civil or military office, such as
that of chancellor, chamberlain, jus­
tice, sheriff, provost, bailie, governor
of town or castle, or other officer,
should be conferred on any, except
the true subjects of the kingdom of
Scotland; and that, in affairs touching
the weal of that realm, he would select
his councillors from the peers and lords
of Scotland alone. He engaged, also,
to maintain the prelates, earls, barons,
and free tenants of that country, in
their franchises and seignories, in their
estates, rents, possessions, and offices,
according to the terms of their charter;
and pledged his royal word to make no
revocation of any of the grants made
or confirmed by Robert Bruce, or his
son the present king.1

With regard to an important branch
in the national prosperity—the com-
Rymer’s Fśdera, vol. vi. p. 427.

merce of Scotland—it was declared
that the merchants of that realm
should fully and freely enjoy their
own privileges, without being com­
pelled to repair, for the sale of their
commodities, to Calais, or any other
staple, except at their own option; and
that they should pay half a mark to
the great custom upon each sack of
wool which they exported. The duty
on the exportation of English wool was
higher; and this article formed one of
those many devices by which Edward,
in his present projects, artfully endea­
voured to secure the good­will of the
rich burghers of Scotland,—a class of
men now rising into influence and con­
sideration. Nor were other baits for
popularity neglected by those who
framed this insidious treaty. To the
powerful Earl of Douglas it was held
out that he should be restored to the
estates in England which had been
possessed by his father and his uncle ;
—to the disinherited lords, the Earl
of Athole, the Barons Percy, Beau­
mont, and Ferrers, with the heirs of
Talbot, and all who claimed lands in
Scotland, either by the gift of David
when a prisoner, or on any other
ground, there was promised a full re­
storation to their estates, without
further trouble or challenge, The
clergy were attempted to be propi­
tiated by an article which promised
to every religious house or abbey the
restoration of the lands which had
been torn from them during the ex­
cesses and calamities of war; and to
the numerous and powerful body of
vassals, or military tenants, who formed
the strength of the nation, it was dis­
tinctly announced that, under the
change which was to give them a new
king, they were only to be bound by the
ancient and acknowledged laws of mili­
tary service, which compelled them to
serve under the banner of their lord
for forty days at their own expense;
but that afterwards, any further con­
tinuance with the host should entitle
them to receive pay according to their
state and quality. A general indem­
nity was offered to all Scottish sub­
jects, in the declaration that no chal­
lenge or action whatever should be

216                                   HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                       [Chap. VI.

used against those who had departed
from the oaths of homage which they
had formerly sworn to England; and
as to any additional conditions or arti­
cles which the three estates of Scot­
land might judge it right to demand,
for the profit or good of their kingdom,
the King of England declared that
these points should be duly weighed
by his council, and determined accord­
ing to their advice.

This extraordinary conference, which
was not known to the ancient Scottish
historians Fordun or Winton, concluded
by a promise upon the part of David
that he would immediately sound the
inclinations of his people, and inform
the King of England and his privy
council of their feelings regarding the
propositions it involved, fifteen days
after Easter.2

There remains no record by which
we can discover whether this treaty
was ever made the subject of delibera­
tion in the Scottish parliament, or even
in the privy council; but, fortunately
for the peace of the country, it was
unknown to the people for many hun­
dred years after. Meanwhile, David
and his queen remained at the court
of Edward, rendered at this time espe­
cially brilliant by the presence of the
Kings of France, Cyprus, and Den­
mark.2 Amid the splendid entertain­
ments in which this weak prince en­
deavoured to forget his kingdom, and
to silence and drown reflection, one is
worthy of notice. Sir Henry Picard,
a wine merchant, gave a feast in his
mansion to his royal master, Edward
the Third. He invited, at the same
time, the Kings of France, Scotland,
Cyprus, and Denmark, with the per­
sonal suites of these monarchs, the
sons of Edward, and the principal
barons of England, who were all wel­
comed with princely magnificence.
Whilst these guests were feasting in
the hall, his wife, the Lady Margaret,
received, in her apartments, the prin­
cesses and ladies of the court. A
simple citizen of London entertaining
five kings in his own house affords a

1  Fśdera, vol. vi. p. 427.

2  Barnes’s Ed. III. p. 633. Rotuli Scotić,
vol. i. p. 884, 38 Ed. III.

remarkable picture of the wealth of
the capital.

Amid such secret treachery and
public rejoicings, the Scottish commis­
sioners continued their negotiations
for peace; and, after long debate and
delay, returned to Scotland, David
also repaired to his kingdom; and a
parliament was summoned to meet at
Perth, for the purpose of reporting to
the three estates the result of the
conferences on the projected treaty
between the two countries.3 This
great council met accordingly on the
13th of January 1364, and nothing
could be more wise and independent
than their conduct. The embarrass­
ment of the nation, from the immense
expenditure of public money, and the
increasing anxiety caused by the great
portion of the king’s ransom which
was yet unpaid, were uppermost in
their thoughts; and they were willing
to make every sacrifice to extricate
the country from its difficulties, to be
freed from the payment of the ran­
som, and to obtain an honourable
peace. For the accomplishment of
this end, they declared themselves
ready to restore the disinherited lords,
meaning by this the Earl of Athole,
the Lords Percy, Beaumont, Talbot,
Ferrers, Godfrey de Ross, and a few
others of inferior note, to the estates
which they claimed in Scotland;4
and to settle upon the youngest son
of the King of England the lands in
Galloway which were the inheritance
of Edward Baliol, and the Isle of
Man. The annual income of this
island was rated at a thousand marks ;
and it was stipulated that if the Earl
of Salisbury should claim the pro­
perty of the island, an annuity of one
thousand marks sterling should be
paid to the prince, until lands of the
same value were settled upon him,
provided always that he held the
same as the sworn vassal of the King
of Scotland. In the event of such
conditions being accepted by England
as an equivalent for the ransom, they
declared themselves ready to shew

3  Robertson’s Parliamentary Records, p.

4  Ibid.

1364-5.]                                           DAVID II.                                                    217

their sincerity as allies by an invasion
of Ireland, conducted by the king in
person, and directed against that part
of the coast where the landing was
likely to be most successful.

The anxiety of the parliament for
peace was strongly marked in the
next article in their deliberations. If,
said they, these conditions, which we
are ready to make the basis of our
negotiation, are not accepted by Eng­
land, still, rather than renounce all
hopes of a just and lasting peace, we
have unanimously agreed that the
ransom shall be paid, provided that
moderate intervals between each term
of payment are allowed; and in the
understanding that a perpetual union
and alliance shall take place between
the two nations, if not on terms of
a perfect equality of power, at least on
such conditions as shall in no degree
compromise the freedom and inde­
pendence of Scotland.1 In these con­
ditions the estates declared them­
selves willing to include the articles
regarding the disinherited lords ; the
provision to the son of the King of
England; and the invasion of Ireland,
provided the talents and industry of
those to whom the negotiation had
been intrusted were unsuccessful in
obtaining a mitigation of the same.
A proportional deduction from the
large sum of the ransom was of course
to be made, if such conditions were
accepted by England.

It became, in the next place, a sub­
ject of grave consideration with the
parliament what conduct ought to be
pursued if, by such sacrifices, they
were yet unable to procure the bless­
ing of peace ; and in their delibera­
tions upon this subject a view is
given of the great efforts which the
country was ready to make, and of
the mode in which the three estates
proposed to raise money for the pay­
ment of the ransom, which is impor­
tant and instructive.

Of the original sum stipulated—
namely, one hundred thousand pounds
sterling—twenty thousand marks had
been already paid; although, owing
to the instalments not having been
1 Robertson’s Parl. Records, p. 101.

regularly transmitted at the appointed
periods, there had been an accumu­
lation to a considerable amount in the
form of penalty for non-payment. It
was accordingly proposed by the par­
liament that England should agree to
a truce for twenty-four years, upon
which they were ready to pay down
annually, during the continuance of
that period, five thousand marks ster­
ling, till the sum of a hundred and
twenty thousand marks was com­
pleted, being the whole accumulated
ransom and penalty. Should the
English council refuse a cessation on
such terms, two other schemes were
suggested. The first was the payment
of a hundred thousand pounds, at the
rate of five thousand marks yearly,
exclusive of the twenty thousand
marks already received by Eng­
land; and if this should not be ac­
cepted, they declared their readiness,
rather than renounce the hopes of a
truce, to pay down in ten years, at
the rate of ten thousand marks an­
nually, the full sum of a hundred
thousand marks, as stipulated in the
first treaty regarding the ransom of
the king.

The manner in which this enor­
mous sum was to be raised became
next the subject of consideration. It
was determined that an annual tax,
or custom, of eight thousand marks
was to be levied upon the whole wool
of the kingdom, and that certain
faithful burgesses should be appointed
to receive it in Flanders in English
money; but the precaution was added,
that some experienced person should
attend in the weighing-house upon
the part of the king, to superintend
the annual payments, and watch over
the interests of his master. In this
manner, eight thousand marks were
to be paid annually, according to the
conditions of the first treaty.

In addition to this, it was enacted
in the same parliament that a gene
ral annual tax should be levied,
throughout the kingdom, of six pen­
nies in the pound, upon every per­
son, without exception. Out of this
sum, two thousand marks were to be
yearly appropriated to make up the

218                               HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                    [Chap VI.

ten thousand marks of the redemp­
tion money; and the residue was to
remain in the hands of the chamber­
lain for the necessary expenses of the

The lords and barons assembled in
parliament solemnly engaged to ratify
and approve of any treaty of peace or
truce which the plenipotentiaries who
managed the negotiation might con­
clude with the King of England and
his council, and to adhere to, and
carry into effect, the above-mentioned
ordinance for the payment of the ran­
som. They agreed, also, that they
would not, secretly or openly, for
themselves or for their dependants,
demand the restoration of any lands
which, during the time stipulated for
the payment of the ransom, should
happen to fall into the king’s hands by
ward, relief, marriage, fine, or escheat,
but allow the same to remain entire,
in the custody of the chamberlain, for
the use of the king; and it was added,
that they adopted this resolution be­
cause the non-fulfilment of these con­
ditions might lead to an utter abroga­
tion of the treaty already in the course
of negotiation; an event which could
not fail to bring both disgrace and
loss upon the king, the prelates, and
the nobility, and destruction upon the
rest of the kingdom.

The proceedings of this important
parliament concluded by an oath,
taken by the prelates, lords, and com­
mons who composed it, with their
hands upon the holy gospels, that they
would with their whole power pursue
and put down any person whatsoever
who should infringe any of the reso­
lutions above mentioned ; that they
would regard such person as a public
enemy, and a rebel against the crown;
and, under the penalty of being them­
selves accounted perjured and traitor­
ous persons, would compel him or
them to the due observance of the
stipulated agreement.1 The Steward
of Scotland, with his eldest son, John,

1 Robertson’s Parliamentary Records, pp.
101,102. The original record, which has
never been published, will be found in the
Illustrations, letters HH. It is dated 13th
January 1364.

lord of Kyle, afterwards Robert the
Third, the Earl of Ross, and Keith,
lord mareschal, were the chief of the
higher barons who sat in this parlia­
ment. A pilgrimage to the shrine of
St Thomas ŕ Becket2 detained the
powerful Earls of March and Douglas
in England; but the attendance of
the bishops and abbots, of the minor
barons and the representatives of the
royal burghs, was full, and the resolu­
tions may be regarded as a fair criter­
ion of the feelings and wishes of the

In consequence of these delibera­
tions, a further negotiation took place
at London between the English and
Scottish commissioners, in which the
heads of a new treaty of peace were
debated and drawn out.3 Of this
treaty, the principal articles consisted
in a proposed truce, for twenty-five
years, between the two kingdoms, and
an engagement, upon the part of Scot­
land, to pay into the English treasury
a hundred thousand pounds sterling,
in full of all demand for ransom, and
of all penalties for non-payment at the
stated period. In the meantime, until
this long truce should be finally settled,
a short one of four years was certainly
to take place, during which the nego­
tiations for a final peace were to pro­
ceed, and if, after the lapse of this
probationary period, either country
preferred war to peace, in that event,
half a year’s warning was to be given,
previous to the commencement of
hostilities, by letters under the great
seal.4 It was stipulated, also, upon
the part of the King of Scotland, that,
in the event of a declaration of war by
Edward after the four-years’ truce, all
the sums already paid, during this
interval of peace, were to be deducted
from the sum of eighty thousand
marks of ransom-money, which the
king had bound himself to pay by
letters under his great seal. On these
conditions, Edward prorogued the

2 Rotuli Scotić, vol. i. pp. 878, 879.

3 Rymer’s Fśdera, vol. vi. p. 464.

4 Robertson’s Parliamentary Records, p.
102. The letter of David upon this projected
treaty is dated at the castle of Edinburgh,
12th June 1365.

1365.]                                               DAVID II.                                                   219

truce from the 20th of May 1365, for
the space of four years,1—anxious to
employ this interval of peace in re­
newed intrigues for the subjugation of
the country.

In less than a month after this
prorogation, a parliament was held at
Perth, in the hall of the Dominican
convent, in presence of the king,
where the result of the latest confer­
ences between the Scottish and Eng­
lish commissioners regarding an ulti­
mate peace was anxiously debated.2
It was attended by the Bishops of St
Andrews, Dunkeld, Moray, Brechin,
and Whithern, the Steward of Scot­
land, the Earls of Dunbar, Moray, and
Douglas, John de Yle. Keith the mar­
shal, Sir Robert Erskine, Sir Henry
de Eglinton, Sir William de Halibur-
ton, Sir Roger Mortimer, Sir David
Fleming, John of Argyle, lord of Lorn,
and Gillespic Campbell. In this par­
liament many of the nobility and
lesser barons do not appear to have
sat; and the circumstance of sixty-
five of the principal Scottish merchants
having received safe-conducts for
travelling into England during the
course of the preceding year,3 may
probably account for the absence of
the representatives of the burghs
from the same assembly. It would
appear from the fragment of an ancient
record of its proceedings, which is all
now left us, that Edward, as one of
the basis of a final peace between the
two countries, had insisted that Scot­
land, in the event of England being
invaded, should assist him with a
subsidy of forty men-at-arms and
sixty archers, to serve within England,
and to be paid by that country. This
obligation was to be binding upon
Scotland for ever; or, in the event of
its not being accepted by England, it
was proposed, as an alternative, that
David should assist Edward in his
Irish war with a body of Scottish
troops, who were to serve in Ireland
for five years, but only for the space

1 Robertson’s Parliamentary Records, p.
103. 20th June 1365.

2  Ibid. p. 104. 24th July 1365.

3  Rotuli Scotić, p. 885. The safe-conducts
are dated the 4th November 1364, and lasted
for a year.

of three months each year. If, on
the other hand, Scotland should be
invaded by foreigners, an English
auxiliary force of two hundred men-
at-arms, and three hundred archers,
was promised by Edward for the as­
sistance of his ally, to be supported by
Scotland. A reference was finally
made to the resolutions drawn up in
the parliament, which was held at
Perth in the preceding year; and it
was unanimously determined that
rather than renounce the hope of a
lasting peace, every article contained
in these resolutions should be con­
ceded to England, provided their
commissioners did not succeed in ob­
taining some mitigation of the condi­

The extraordinary sacrifices which
the Scottish parliament were ready to
consent to for the sake of peace en­
couraged Edward in the hope that the
country was at length exhausted by
its long struggle for freedom, and that
its ultimate reduction under the
power of England was not far distant;
and the political measures which he
adopted to secure this great end of
his ambition were far more likely to
succeed than open force or invasion.
The nation had been reduced to the
lowest pitch of impoverishment in
every branch of public wealth; and in
this condition, by the encouragement
which he extended to its merchants; 5
the security and protection which
were given to the vassals and labourers,
who lived upon the lands in Scotland
subject to himself or to his nobles,
and the privileges bestowed on the
religious houses which had come under
his peace,6 he contrived to make them
feel, in the most lively manner, the
blessings of repose as contrasted with
the complicated miseries of war. The
minutest methods of engaging the
affections and good wishes of the
people were not neglected; and the
conqueror at Cressy did not disdain
to grant his royal letters to a Scottish

4  Robertson’s Parliamentary Records, p.

5 Rotuli Scotić, vol. i. p. 897. 16th Oct.
1365. Ibid. vol. i. p. 891.

6  Ibid. vol. i. p. 894. 26th May 1365. Ibid,
pp. 887, 906.

220                                     HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                      [Chap. VI.

tile-maker, that he might improve him­
self in his mystery by a residence in

It is impossible now to discover the
secret practices by which he succeeded
in corrupting or neutralising the
patriotic principles of the higher
classes of the nobility; but the fact is
certain, that not only an almost unin­
terrupted but secret correspondence
took place between the English and
Scottish kings,2 but that several of the
greater barons embraced his interests;
and that numbers of the knights and
gentry of Scotland were detached from
their country, either by entering into
the service of foreign powers, by en­
gaging in pilgrimages to England, or
by permitting themselves to be se­
duced from their severer duties at
home by the chivalrous attractions of
the splendid court of Edward.

David and his queen paid repeated
visits to the shrine of St Thomas of
Canterbury; the powerful Earl of
March repaired to England upon the
same pretence;3 John Barbour, arch­
deacon of Aberdeen, a name famous
as the metrical historian of Bruce, ob­
tained a safe ­conduct to proceed with
six knights upon a foreign pilgrimage ;4
and we may form some idea of the ex­
tent to which these religious expedi­
tions were carried, and the important
advantage they gave to Edward in
crippling the power of Scotland, from
the fact that, in the end of the year
1365, a band of twenty-two Scottish
pilgrims, most of them knights and
soldiers, having in their company a
body of a hundred horsemen, left
their own country upon pilgrimages
to different shrines in England, Eu­
rope, and Asia.5 Another hold of Ed-

1 Rotuli Scotić, vol. i p. 905.

2 Ibid. vol. i. p. 896. 15th August 1365.
Dillon’s History of Peter the Cruel, vol. ii.
p. 50.

3 From the extreme frequency of these
pilgrimages, and the abruptness with which
the rage for them seems to have seized the
Scots, I suspect they sometimes were political
missions under the cloak of religion. The
first of them is in 1357, 12th March. Rotuli
Scotić, p. 882. In the year 1363, the Earls
of March, Douglas, and Mar successively
visited the shrine of St Thomas ŕ Becket.

4  Rotuli Scotić, p. 897. l6th Oct. 1365.

5  Ibid. vol. i. p. 901.

ward over the Scottish barons was
their needy circumstances, and their
debts in England. David himself and
his queen did not venture to come
into that country without a special
protection from arrest for his person
and his whole establishment; and from
the sums expended during their cap­
tivity, or in their ransom, and in sup­
port of the hostages, many of his
barons were undoubtedly in the same
situation:6 exposed to the annoyance
of an arrest if they thwarted the views
of Edward, or treated with indulgence
and lenity if they promoted the ob­
jects of his ambition.

At this time, the English king car­
ried his arrogance so far as to desig­
nate Robert Bruce as the person who
had pretended to be King of Scotland;
nor did he deign, in his various letters
of protection, to give David the royal
title, calling him his dear brother and
prisoner, and affecting to consider
Scotland as part of his own dominions.7
This was not altogether a vain boast:
various parts of that country, and
some of its strongest castles, were in
his hands, or in the occupation of his
subjects; he possessed large tracts on
the Marches, in Annandale, Tynedale.
Teviotdale, and Liddesdale ; whilst the
religious houses of Kelso and Melrose,
and in all probability other abbeys or
monasteries, whose names do not ap­
pear, had submitted to his authority,
and enjoyed his protection.8 Yet al­
though the secret negotiations be­
tween the two countries continued,
and David and his queen, from the
frequency of their visits, seemed almost
to have taken up their residence in
England, the spirit of the country was
in no degree subdued; and about this
time Edward found himself compelled
to issue orders to Henry Percy, with
the Barons Lucy, Clifford, Dacres, and
Musgrave, to keep themselves in readi-

6 Rotuli Scotić, vol. i. p. 900. 18th March
1365-6. Salvi conductus, cum protectione
ab arresto, pro Rege et Regina Scotiś, et pro
comite Marchić limina Sancti Thomć visi-
taturis. See also Rotuli Scotić, vol. i. p. 882.

7  Rotuli Scotić, vol. i. p 901. 18th March

8  Ibid. vol. i. pp. 794, 875, 877, 880, 887,
896, 902, 908. Rymer’s Fśdera, vol. vi. p.

1366.]                                               DAVID II.                                                    221

ness to repel a meditated invasion of
the Scots.1

The Scottish parliament which met
at Perth in the summer of the pre­
ceding year had expressed a hope that
the commissioners to whom they in­
trusted the negotiation of a peace
might succeed in obtaining some miti­
gation of the rigorous conditions pro­
posed by Edward. In this expecta­
tion they were disappointed. That
monarch, as was to be expected, in­
creased in the insolence of his de­
mands ; and in an assembly of the
Scottish council, which took place at
the monastery of Holyrood on the 8th
of May, when David was, as usual,
absent in England,2 the spirit of the
nobles who remained true to their
country seems to have gathered cour­
age from despair. They announced, in
the strongest possible language, that
the propositions of Edward with re­
gard to the homage, the succession,
and the demembration of the king­
dom could not for a moment be enter­
tained; that they involved a submis­
sion which was altogether intolerable ;
and that, in the event of the probable
rejection of all overtures of peace, the
Scottish people, rather than consent
to such degrading terms, were willing
to make still greater sacrifices in order
to pay off the ransom of their king. For
this purpose, they declared themselves
ready to submit to an additional tax
upon all the lands in the kingdom,
both lay and ecclesiastical. It was di­
rected that the sheriff of each county
should appoint certain days for the
appearance of the richest proprietors
within his jurisdiction ; at which time
they were to mark the precise sum
which each was willing to contribute
within three years towards defraying
the ransom, and afterwards to collect the
amount. If this were done, it was calcu­
lated that at the end of the four-years’
truce the whole ransom money would
be ready to be delivered to England.3

1  Rotuli Scotić, p. 896. 20th Aug. 1365.

2 Roberrtson’s Parliamentary Records, p.
104. Rotuli Scotić, vol. i. pp. 900, 901.

3 Robertson’s Parliamentary Records, p.
104. The fragment of the Order of Council
will be found in the Illustrations, letters II.
Its date is the 8th of May 1366.

The Order of Council, from which
these facts are extracted, is a muti­
lated document, and unfortunately
contains no further information ; but
enough of it remains to evince the
temper of the Scottish people; and
any further attempts at negotiation
only served to shew the vanity of all
expectations of a final peace, and to
widen the breach between England
and the well-affected part of the nation.
In that country preparations for war ;
orders to the lords marchers to put
the Borders in a state of defence; to
command an array of all fighting men
between sixteen and sixty; and to
strengthen and victual the castles and
the marches,4 succeeded to these abor­
tive attempts at negotiation : and it
seems to have been confidently expected
in England that the Scots would break
or renounce the truce, and attack the
Border counties. Meanwhile, a par­
liament was convoked at Scone on the
20th of July,5 which was fully attended
by the bishops, abbots, and priors; by
the high lords and lesser barons, as
well as by the representatives of the
royal burghs. The expenses which
had been contracted by the incessant
and wasteful visits of David and his
queen to the court of Edward ; the
heavy sums due by the Scottish com­
missioners, who had been so long and
so fruitlessly engaged in negotiations
for peace; and the large balance of
the ransom which still remained un­
paid, formed altogether a load of debt,
the payment of which became to this
assembly a subject of ceaseless anxiety,
and called for new sacrifices.

Three years of the short truce had
expired ; yet peace appeared now even
more distant than before, and war and
bankruptcy were fast approaching. In
these circumstances, it was resolved to
make a last attempt at negotiation ;
and to intrust its management to the
same commissioners, the Bishop of St
Andrews, Sir Robert Erskine, Ward-
law, archdeacon of Lothian, and Gil-

4 Rotuli Scotić, 906, 908, 909, vol. i. The
castles of Berwick, Lochmaben, and Rox­
burgh were then in the hands of Edward.

5 Robertson’s Parliamentary Records, p.
105. 20th July 1366.

222                                     HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                     [Chap. VI.

bert Armstrong; with directions that
the articles, already drawn up in the
former parliament at Perth,1 should
be the basis of their negotiation. If
their efforts failed to procure a final
peace, they were directed by the par­
liament to obtain, if possible, a pro­
longation of the truce for twenty-five
years, on condition that Scotland
should pay annually four thousand
pounds in extinction of the remainder
of the ransom. An exact estimate of
the actual value of all the lands in the
kingdom, as distinguished from that
denominated the ancient extent, was
appointed to be taken. In this census
were included the lands belonging to
the Church; the estates of the nobles
and lesser barons; the property of the
burghers and merchants; and even
the goods of the husbandmen or
labourers. From this estimate of
property a special exception is made
as before in favour of the “white
sheep,” which were to pay nothing to
the general contribution; and it was
directed that, on a certain day,2 the
returns should be given in at Edin­
burgh to the council; after which, on
summing up the whole, a contribution
of eight thousand marks was to be
levied upon the gross rental of the
kingdom, to defray the expenses of
the king’s visits; to pay off the debts
which he had contracted in his own
kingdom ; and to cover the charges of
the commissioners. As to the Ł4000
annually due as ransom money, it
was agreed that, until the return of
the commissioners, this should be paid
out of the great custom which had
been set apart for that purpose in a
former parliament. After their re­
turn, it was deemed advisable by the
parliament that this sum of Ł4000
should be taken out of the produce of
the general tax upon the property of
the kingdom; and that Ł2000 out of
the same fund should be employed to
relieve the king from debt, to pay his
expenses, and the charges of the com­
missioners. This last sum was re-

1 Held on the 13th January 1364.

2 “ Infra festum nativitatis beatć virginis,
proximo futurum apud Edinburgh,'’ viz. 8th
September. Robertson’s Parliamentary Re­
cords, p. 105.

quired without delay. It was, there­
fore, borrowed from the barons, clergy,
and burgesses, in the proportions of
one thousand from the first, six hun­
dred from the second, and four hun­
dred marks from the last order ; Sir
Robert Erskine, and Waiter Biggar,
the chamberlain, becoming surety to
the burgesses that the debt should be
duly paid as soon as the general tax
was levied upon the property of the

Such being the unexampled sacrifices
which were cheerfully made by the
nation, for the relief of the king, and
the support of the crown, it was
natural and just that some reciprocal
favours should be granted for the pro­
tection of the people. Accordingly,
at the request of the three estates, it
was expressly proclaimed that justice
should be administered to every sub­
ject of the realm without favour or
partiality; and that whatever writs or
letters had been directed from the
Chancellary or other court, in the
course of the prosecution of any cause,
should not be liable to be recalled by
the sealed writ of any other officer;
but that the ministers to whom such
were addressed be bound to give them
full effect, and to return them endorsed
to the parties. It was also solemnly
stipulated that no part of the sums
collected for the ransom and the ex­
penses of the king, or of his commis­
sioners, should be applied to any other
use ; that the Church should be pro­
tected in the full enjoyment of her
immunities; and that all opponents
to the regular levying of the tithes
should be compelled to submit peace­
ably to their exaction, under the
penalty of excommunication, and a
fine of ten pounds to the king. No­
thing was to be taken from the lieges
for the use of the king, unless upon
prompt payment; and, even when paid
for, the royal officers and purveyors
were directed to exact only what was
due by use and custom, and not to
make the necessity of the king or their
own will the rule of their proceeding.
The parliament resolved, in the next
place, that the rebels in Argyle,
Athole, Badenoch, Lochaber, and

1366.]                                               DAVID 11.                                                   223

Ross, and all who had defied the royal
authority in the northern parts of the
kingdom, should be seized, and com­
pelled to submit to the laws, and to
pay their share in the general con­
tribution ; besides being otherwise
punished, as appeared best for secur­
ing the peace of the community. This
brief notice in the Parliamentary Re­
cord is the only account which remains
of what appears to have been a serious
rebellion of the northern lords, who,
encouraged by the present calamities,
had thrown off their allegiance, at all
times precarious, and refused to pay
their proportion of the contribution
for the relief of the kingdom. The
principal leaders in this commotion
were the Earl of Ross, Hugh de Ross,
John of the Isles, John of Lorn, and
John de Haye, who declined to attend
the parliament, and remained in stern
independence upon their own estates.1
All sheriffs and inferior magistrates,
as well within as without burgh, were
commanded to obey the chamberlain
and other superior authorities, under
the penalty of a removal from their
offices. It was directed that no barons
or knights, travelling through the
country with horse or attendants,
should permit their followers to insist
upon quarters with the inferior clergy,
or the farmers and husbandmen, so as
to destroy the crops and meadows and
consume the grain; that they should
duly pay their expenses to the inns
where they baited or took up their
residence; and that the chamberlain
should take care that, in every burgh,
such inns be erected and maintained
according to the wealth of the place.
No prelate, earl, baron, knight, or other
person, lay or clerical, was to be per­
mitted to ride through the country
with a greater suite than became their
rank; and, under pain of imprison­
ment, such persons were enjoined to
dismiss their bodies of spearmen and
archers, unless cause for the attendance
of such a force was shewn to the kings
officers. All remissions for offences
granted by the king were declared can­
celled, unless the fine was paid within

1 Robertsons Parliamentary Records, p.

the year from the date of the pardon;
and it was finally directed that these
regulations for the good of the state
should be reduced to writing under
the royal seal, and publicly proclaimed
by the sheriffs in their respective

In consequence of the resolutions in
this parliament, an attempt appears to
have been made to procure a peace,
which, as usual, concluded in disap­
pointment, and only entailed addi­
tional expense upon the country.3 It
was followed by warlike indications
upon the part of England. Orders
were issued to the Bishop of Durham
to fortify Norham, and hold himself
in readiness to resist an invasion of
the Scots; Gilbert Umfraville was
commanded to reside upon his lands
in Northumberland; an array was
ordered of all fighting men between
the ages of sixteen and sixty;4 and
Henry Percy was enjoined to inspect
the state of the castles upon the
marches, and in the Anglicised part of

It happened, unfortunately for that
country, at a time when a combination
of their utmost strength was abso­
lutely necessary, that petty feuds and
jealousies again broke out amongst
the Scottish nobles. During the long
captivity of David, and the consequent
disorganised state of his dominions,
the pride and power of these feudal
barons had risen to a pitch destruc­
tive of all regular subordination : they
travelled through the country with
the pomp and military array of sove­
reigns ; affected the style and title of
princes; and, at their pleasure, refused
to attend the parliament,5 or to con­
tribute their share to the relief of the
king and the people. If offended, they
retired to their own estates and castles,
where, surrounded by their vassals,
they could easily bid defiance to the

2  Robertson’s Parliamentary Records, pp.
105, 106. The whole record of this parlia­
ment, which has never been published, will
be found in the Illustrations, letters KK.

3  Rotuli Scotić, vol. i. p. 909. 8th Feb­
ruary 1366.

4  Ibid. vol. i. pp. 909, 910, 911.

5 Robertson’s Parliamentary Records, p.

224                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                       [Chap. VI.

authority of the laws; or they retreated
into England, to occupy their time in
tournaments, visiting holy shrines, or
travelling, with an array of knights
and squires, to various parts of Europe,
where they lavishly wasted, in the
service of foreign powers, the blood
and treasures which ought to have
been spent in securing the inde­
pendence of their country.1 Of this
idle and unworthy conduct of the
Scottish nobility, the rolls of the Tower
furnish us with repeated examples.
The Earl of Douglas, one of the most
powerful Subjects in Scotland, along
with the Earl of March, who held the
keys of the kingdom on the Borders,
and the Earl of Ross, a baron of for­
midable strength in the north, proudly
absented themselves from Parliament;
and soon after, Douglas, with a retinue
of four-and-twenty horse, obtained a
safe­ conduct from Edward to travel
into England, and beyond seas; whilst
his example in deserting his country
was imitated by a body of thirteen
Scottish clerks and barons, attended
by a body of seventy-five horse.2 In
the battle of Nagera in Spain, fought,
a short time before this, between Ed­
ward the Black Prince and Peter the
Cruel, against Henry of Transtamarre,
many Scots were in the army of Henry;
and we have already seen that, some
time before the same period, there
appear to have been frequent emigra­
tions of Scottish adventurers to join
the Teutonic knights in Prussia.3

These, however, were not the only
distressing consequences attendant on
the long captivity of the king. The
patrimony of the crown had been seri­
ously dilapidated during the period of
confusion which, notwithstanding all
the efforts of the Steward, succeeded
the battle of Durham. It was no
longer what it had once been. Its
rents and customs; its duties and its
fines; its perquisites and privileges,
had been gradually disused, or silently
encroached upon; and in some in-

1 Rotuli Scotić, vol. i. p. 924. 16th Octo­
ber 1368.

2 Ibid. vol. i. pp. 915, 916. 16th and 26th
October 1367.

3 Dillon’a History of Peter the Cruel, vol.
ii. p. 50.

stances its lands had probably been
seized, or made the subject of sale or
gift: so that, from the actual want of
funds, the king found it difficult to
live in Scotland, or to support, as it
became him, the expenses of his royal
establishment, without a constant and
oppressive taxation ; and this, perhaps,
is the best excuse, although an insuf­
ficient one, for his frequent visits to
England, and long residences in that
country. As far back as 1362, we
find that David’s first queen had been
under the necessity of pawning her
jewels for debt; and, only four years
after, her royal consort was compelled
to adopt the same painful expedient.4
This defalcation in the royal revenue
amounted at length to a serious griev­
ance ; and a parliament was summoned
at Scone, on the 27th of September
1367,5 for the purpose of taking the
subject into consideration. It was
determined that, to defray the ex­
penses of the royal establishment, and
to enable the king to live without
oppressing the people, the patrimony
of the crown must be restored to the
condition in which it stood in the time
of Robert Bruce and Alexander the
Third; and that all the rents, duties,
customs, perquisites and emoluments
which, having accrued to it in the
interval between the death of these
monarchs and the present day, had
been grievously dilapidated, should be
reclaimed. It was declared, with that
short-sighted and sweeping spirit of
legislation which marked a rude age,
and a contempt of the rights of third
parties, that if these rents or duties
belonging to the crown had been dis­
posed of ; or, under certain conditions,
entirely abolished; or, if the crown
lands had been let, either by the king
or his chamberlain; still, such was the
urgency of the case, that everything
was, by the speediest possible process,
to be restored to it, as if no such trans­
action had ever taken place : all such
leases, gifts, or private contracts, were
pronounced null and void, and the

4 Compotum Camerarii Scotić, pp. 395, 464.

5 Robertson’s Parliamentary Records, p.

108. 27th September 1367. The record of

this parliament will be found printed in the

Illustrations, letter LL.

1366-8.]                                          DAVID II.                                                    225

whole patrimony was to be restored,
with its ancient privileges, into the
hands of the king. All lands in ward,
all the feudal casualties, due upon the
marriage of crown vassals, with the
fines or perquisites of courts, were to
remain in the hands of the chamber­
lain for the king’s use; and if the
sovereign was anxious to promote or
reward any individual, this was directed
to be done out of the movable pro­
perty of the crown, and with the ad­
vice of the privy council. All deeds
or charters, by which such dilapida­
tions of the property of the crown had
been made, either in the time of Ro­
bert Bruce, or of the present king,
were ordered by the parliament to be
delivered into the exchequer at Perth,
to remain in the hands of the chan­
cellor and the chamberlain; and any
such deeds not so delivered upon the
appointed day were abrogated, and
declared to be of no force or effect in
all time coming.1

In the same parliament, a wise regu­
lation was introduced with regard to
those lands, which, as has been already
mentioned, were at this time in the
hands of the enemy. It was declared
that, as several large districts in the
different counties of the kingdom had
long been, and still were, “ under the
peace " of the King of England, in
which there were estates holding of
the king, and whose heirs had remained
in Scotland his faithful subjects, it was
deemed expedient by the parliament,
as soon as all regular forms had been
complied with, and such persons found
by a jury to be the true heirs, that
they should receive letters of sasine
addressed to the sheriffs of the coun­
ties where the lands lay, which officers
were commanded to give sasine to the
true proprietors in their respective
courts. This legal ceremony was pro­
nounced to be as valid as if the feudal
solemnity had taken place upon the
lands themselves; nor was their pos­
session by the enemy, for however
long a period, to operate to the pre­
judice of their true proprietors.2
Still clinging eagerly to the hopes

1 Robertson’s Parl. Records, p. 108.
Ibid. p. 109.

of peace, and well aware, from experi­
ence, of the evils of a protracted war,
the parliament recommended a re­
newal of the negotiations on this sub­
ject, and empowered the king and his
privy council to choose commissioners,
and to impose a tax for the payment of
their expenses, without the necessity of
calling a new parliament, and obtaining
its sanction to their proceedings.3 The
greater the anxiety, however, which
was manifested by the Scots, the less
likely was Edward to listen to their
representations, or to indulge them, so
long as they asserted their independ­
ence, with any hopes of a permanent
peace. Two attempts at negotiation,
which were made within the space of
a few months, by the same commis­
sioners who had hitherto been so
unsuccessful in all their diplomatic
undertakings, ended in new and more
intolerable demands upon the part of
Edward, and a determined refusal by
the Scottish parliament to entertain
them.4 This, however, did not pre­
vent the king and his consort from
setting out on their usual visit to Eng­
land. With a retinue of a hundred
knights, and a numerous body of at­
tendants, they travelled to the shrine
of St Thomas of Canterbury; and, in
this foolish parade of pleasure and
devotion, incurred a deeper load of
debt, at the very time that their
poverty had become the subject of
parliamentary inquiry, and when they
could not venture to visit the English
court without a royal protection from
arrest. The sums thus idly thrown
away, on their return had to be wrung
out of the hard-earned profits of the
commercial and labouring classes of
the community, in a country already
impoverished by a long war ; and it
is difficult to find terms sufficiently
strong to reprobate such unworthy
conduct upon the part of a sovereign
who already owed so much to his

The state of Scotland, and the rela­
tions between that country and Eng-

3  Robertson’s Parl. Records, p. 109.

4  Rotuli Scotić, vol. i. p. 916, 28th Oct.
1367; and p. 917, 22d Jan. 1367-8, Robert­
son's Parliamentary Records, p. 112.


226                                      HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                     [Chap. VI.

land, at the present period, were of a
singular kind. There was a constant
amicable correspondence between the
merchants of both countries; and a
commercial intercourse of unexampled
activity, especially upon the part of
Scotland, encouraged and protected by
Edward; pilgrimages to holy shrines,
emigrations of Scottish students, with
almost perpetual negotiations regard­
ing a final peace, appeared to indi­
cate the utmost anxiety to preserve
the truce, and an earnest desire that
the amity should continue. But much
of this was hollow. Orders to the
English wardens to strengthen the
castles on the marches; to summon
the vassals who were bound to give
suit and service; to call out the array
of all able to bear arms; and repeated
commands to the lords marchers to be
ready to repel the enemy at a mo-
ment’s warning, occurred in the midst
of these pacific and commercial regu­
lations, and gave ample proof that a
spirit of determined hostility still
lurked under the fairest appearances.
Yet Edward, from the calamitous cir­
cumstances in which the country was
placed, had a strong hold over Scot­
land. The king’s extreme unpopu­
larity with the people, the load of
personal debt contracted by himself
and his queen, and the constant irri­
tation and jealousy with which he
continued to regard the High Stew­
ard, whom he had imprisoned,1 ren­
dered any lengthened residence in his
own dominions unpleasant; and in
this manner not only did the breach
between the sovereign and the barons
who supported the cause of indepen-
dence become every day wider, but
David’s anxiety to reside in England,
and his unnatural desire to favour the
intrigues of Edward, grew into a con­
firmed passion, which threatened the
most fatal effects.

The nation had already been weighed
down by a load of taxation which it

1 Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 380. Cham­
berlains’ Accounts, vol. i. p. 498. From these
curious and authentic documents we learn
that the expenses of the Steward’s mainte­
nance in prison for three weeks were 5 lb. 13
sh., and of his son Alexander, 21 sh. Ibid,
p, 524.

was little able to bear; some of the
strongest castles and most extensive
districts on the marches were pos­
sessed by English soldiers; the nor­
thern parts of the kingdom were in
actual rebellion; many of the islands
in the western seas were occupied and
garrisoned by the English;2 and Ed­
ward possessed the power of cutting
off the only source of Scottish wealth,
by prohibiting the commercial inter­
course between the two countries.
We are not to wonder, then, at the
sanguine hopes which this able mon­
arch appears to have entertained of
finally completing the reduction of
Scotland, but rather to admire the
unshaken perseverance with which,
under every disadvantage, this country
continued to resist, and finally to de­
feat, his efforts.

In a parliament held at Scone in
the summer of the year 1368,3 whose
spirited rejection of the conditions of
subjection and dependence proposed
by Edward has been already alluded
to, the rebellion of the northern parts
of the kingdom, and the most effectual
methods of reducing these wild dis­
tricts to obedience, were anxiously
considered. John of the Isles, one of
the most powerful of the refractory
chiefs, had married a daughter of the
Steward of Scotland,4 who was con­
sidered, therefore, as in some measure
responsible for his son-in-law; and
David, probably not unwilling to im­
plicate this high officer as a disturber
of the peace of the kingdom, addressed
him in person, and charged him, with
his sons the Lords of Kyle and Men-
teith, to defend his subjects within the
territories over which their authority
extended. It was his duty, he said,
to put down the rebellion which had
arisen, that in the event of war the
estates of the kingdom might there
have a safe place of retreat; an allu­
sion strongly descriptive of the despe­
rate conjuncture to which the affairs
of the country were reduced.5 John
of the Isles, Gillespic Campbell, and

2  Robertson’s Parl. Records, p. 116.

3  Ibid. p. 112.

4  Ibid. p. 115.

5  Ibid. p. 112.

1368-9.]                                           DAVID II.                                                   227

John of Lorn, were at the same time
commanded to present themselves be­
fore the king, and to give security for
their future pacific conduct, so that
they and their vassals should no longer
alarm and plunder the land; but, with
their equals and neighbours, submit to
the labours and the burdens imposed
upon them by the laws.

There is something striking and
melancholy in the tone of this parlia­
ment, where mention is made of the
feuds amongst the nobility; and a
hopelessness of relief appears in the
expressions employed, evincing how
far above the reach of parliamentary
remonstrance or command these petty
sovereigns had raised themselves. They
were addressed in the language of
advice and entreaty, not of command;
the absolute necessity of providing for
the defence of the kingdom was in­
sisted on; and they were earnestly
and somewhat quaintly admonished to
compose their feuds and dissensions,
or at least to satisfy themselves by
disquieting each other in the common
way of a process at law. The king
was recommended to hold a council
with the Earls of March and Douglas,
the wardens of the east marches;
although, it was added, these barons
seemed little disposed to labour for
the common weal. The chamberlain,
assisted by a committee of four knights
of soldierly talent and experience, was
directed to visit, in the first place, the
royal castles of Lochleven, Edinburgh,
Stirling, and Dumbarton, and to give
orders for their being completely re­
paired, garrisoned, victualled, and pro­
vided with warlike engines and other
necessaries for defence; after which,
the remaining castles in the kingdom
were to be carefully surveyed, and put
into a state of effectual resistance.1

But the strength and activity in the
royal authority which was requisite
to carry these wise regulations into
effect were at this time pre-eminently
wanting in Scotland; and, nine months
after this, when the great council of

1 Robertson’s Parliamentary Records, pp.
112, 113. The record of this parliament,
which met at Scone on the 12th June 1368.
will be found in the Illustrations, letters MM.

the nation again assembled,2 the re­
bellion in the north was still only
partially extinguished. John of Lorn
and Gillespic Campbell had indeed
submitted, and again made their ap­
pearance among the higher nobility;
whilst the Earls of Mar and of Ross,
with other northern barons, alarmed
at last by a sense of the public danger,
joined in the deliberations for the
national security, and engaged, within
their territories, to administer justice,
put down oppression, and assist the
royal officers to the utmost of their
power and ability. The Steward of
Scotland, also, who attended the par­
liament in person with his two sons,
came under the same obligation for
the divisions of Athole, Strathern,
Menteith, and other lands in the
northern parts of the kingdom; but
John of the Isles haughtily refused to
submit; and, in the wild and inacces­
sible domains over which his authority
extended­ defied the royal power, and
insisted that his islanders were not
bound to contribute their portion to
the public burdens.

The truce was now within a single
year of its expiry; and many districts
of the country, by the ravages of
Border war, and long neglect of cul­
ture, were unable to pay the contribu­
tions, upon which its continuance
could alone be secured. To prevent
the misery of a famine in some places,
Edward permitted the distressed in­
habitants to purchase the common
necessaries of life in England; and,
to such a height had the dearth pro­
ceeded, that it was found necessary to
import from that country, under a royal
licence, the most ordinary supplies
which were required for the use of
David’s household.3 Yet, in the
midst of this unexampled distress, it
was resolved by parliament to make a
last effort to discharge the remaining
sum of the ransom, by imposing a tax
of three pennies in the pound, to be
levied generally over the kingdom;
and, at the same time the Bishop of
Glasgow and Sir Robert Erskine were

2  Robertson’s Parliamentary Records, p.
113. 6th March 1368.

3  Rotuli Scotić. vol. i. pp. 024, 930.

228                                HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                   [Chap. VI.

despatched upon a mission to England,
for the purpose of negotiating a proro­
gation of the truce.1

It was at this moment, when Scot­
land seemed to be rapidly sinking under
her accumulated distresses, that one
of those events which are sent by God
to alter the destiny of nations, again
inspired life and hope into the coun­
try. Edward, irritated at the con­
tempt evinced by Charles the Fifth
for the treaty of Bretigny, again
plunged into a war with France, in
which the successes of Du Guesclin
soon convinced him that a concentra­
tion of his whole strength would be
absolutely required to restore his
affairs on the continent to anything
like their former prosperity. Peace
to him became now as necessary as to
the Scots; and the imperiousness of
his demands experienced an immediate
relaxation. There was now no longer
any mention of those degrading terms
of subjection and dismemberment
which had been so indignantly re­
pelled by the Scottish parliament;
and the English monarch at last con­
sented to a treaty, by which the truce
between the kingdoms was renewed
for the space of fourteen years.2 Fifty-
six thousand marks of the king’s ran­
som remained still unpaid; and it was
agreed that the country should annu­
ally transmit to England the sum of
four thousand marks till the whole
was defrayed. As to the estates in
the county of Roxburgh, then in pos­
session of English subjects, and whose
inhabitants had come under the peace
of the English king, it was agreed that
one-half of their rents should be re­
ceived by the Scottish proprietors, who
had been dispossessed by the superior
power of England; while the lands,
with their tenantry, were to remain in
the same state of fealty to Edward
and his heirs in which they now were,
and to be governed by the advice and
consent of a council of English and
Scottish subjects.3

1 Robertson’s Parl. Records, p. 114. Rotuli
Scotić, vol. i. p. 928. 6th April 1369.

2  Robertson’s Parl. Records, p. 116. From
Feb. 2 to Aug. 24, or Purification of the Virgin,
1369 ; and from that date for fourteen years.

3  Ibid. p. 116. The letter of the prelates

Some time before affairs took this
favourable turn, the condition of the
northern districts, and the conduct of
John of the Isles, again called for
the interference of government. The
Steward had engaged to reduce the
disaffected districts; but, either from
want of power or inclination, had
failed in his attempt; and David, in­
censed at the continued refusal of the
Islands to contribute their - share in
the general taxation, and assuming an
unwonted energy, commanded the at­
tendance of the Steward, with the
prelates and barons of the realm ; and
surrounded by a formidable force,
proceeded against the rebels in person.
The expedition was completely suc­
cessful. The rebel prince, John of the
Isles, with a numerous train of those
wild Highland chieftains who followed
his banner, and had supported him in
his attempt to throw off his depend­
ence, met the king at Inverness, and
Submitted to his authority. He en­
gaged for himself and his vassals that
they should become faithful subjects
to David, their liege lord; and not
only give obedience to the ministers
and officers of the king in suit and
service, as well as in the payment of
taxes and public burdens, but that
they would put down all others, of
whatever rank, who dared to resist
the royal authority, and would either
compel them to submit, or would
pursue and banish them from their
territories. For the fulfilment of this
obligation, the Lord of the Isles not
only gave his oath, under the penalty
of forfeiting his whole principality if
it was broken, but offered the High
Steward, his father-in-law, as his se­
curity ; and delivered his son Donald,
his grandson Angus, and his natural
son, also named Donald, as hostages
for the performance of the articles of
the treaty.4

and barons of Scotland containing the con­
dition of the truce is not dated ; but it seems
to have been written a few days before the
1st of August 1369. See Rotuli Scotić, vol. i.
p. 934.

4 Robertson’s Parl. Records, p. 115. The
submission of John of the Isles, dated the
15th of November 1369, will be found printed
in the Illustrations, letters NN.

1369.]                                               DAVID II.                                                  229

It is stated by an ancient historian,
that in reducing within the pale of
regular government the wild Scots
and the islanders, who had long re­
sisted all authority, David employed
artifice, as well as force, by holding
out high premiums to all those who
succeeded either in slaying or making
captive their brother chiefs. In a
short time, the expectation of reward
and the thirst for power implanted
the seeds of disunion amongst these
rebel chiefs, and they gradually
wrought out their own destruction ;
so that, the leaders of the rebellion
being cut off, their dominions were
easily reduced into a state of quiet
and subjection.1

Soon after the king’s return from
an expedition which he had under­
taken in the depth of winter, and con­
ducted with great ability and success,
a parliament was assembled at Perth
for the purpose of taking into con­
sideration the state of the kingdom,
the expenses of the royal household,
and the administration of justice. In
the parliament which had been held
at Scone in the preceding year,2 an
expedient had been adopted, appa­
rently for the first time, by which part
of the community of estates were al­
lowed to absent themselves, after they
had chosen certain persons amongst
the prelates and barons, who might
deliver judgment in the pleas of law,
and consult upon the general busi­
ness of the nation. In this parlia­
ment the same measure was repeated
with greater formality and distinct­
ness. A committee, consisting of six
of the clergy, amongst whom were the
Bishop of Brechin, the Chancellor,
and the Chamberlain John de Carrie,
fourteen of the barons, and seven of
the burgesses, was appointed to deli­
berate, and gave their judgment, upon
all such judicial questions and com­
plaints as necessarily came before the
parliament. To a second committee,
including in its numbers the clergy
and the barons alone, was intrusted
the management of some special and
secret matters regarding the king and

1 Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 380.

2 Robertson’s Parliamentary Records, p. 113.

the nation, which it was not deemed
expedient, in the first instance, to
communicate to the parliament at
large. This was a dangerous and
somewhat despotic innovation upon
the freedom of the great council of
the nation; and had the change been
introduced earlier in the present reign
it would have placed an instrument in
the hands of the king, and the cor­
rupted part of the nobility, which
might have been directed with fatal
success against the independence of
the country. This second committee
consisted of six of the clergy and
eleven of the barons, with such other
members as the king chose to select;
and it was ordained that no person
whatever, however high his rank,
should be permitted to introduce into
the council of parliament, or the privy
council, any member as his adviser
or assessor, unless such as had been
chosen by the general vote of the par­

The necessity of this secrecy as to
the affairs which came before the com­
mittee intrusted with the considera­
tion of the king’s debts was soon ap­
parent; and the object of excluding
the representatives of the royal burghs
could not be mistaken. It was de­
clared that all the debts of the king,
throughout the realm, which had been
contracted up to the period of the
Exchequer Court, held at Perth, at
the Epiphany, in the year 1368, were
remitted and cancelled; that from this
date, whatever was borrowed for the
ransom or the royal expenses should
be promptly paid, and that no cus­
toms should be levied by the king’s
officers for the aid of the crown but
according to the ancient and estab­
lished practice of the realm. In this
manner, by the very first public act
of this partial and unconstitutional
committee, were the great principles
of good faith wantonly sacrificed; and
the rights of the mercantile classes,
who had advanced their money or
sold their goods for the royal use,
trampled upon and outraged by an act
which was as mean as it was unjust.

In the next place, an attempt was
made, in consequence of the northern

230                                     HISTORY OF SCOTLAND:                     [Chap. VI.

parts of the kingdom having been re­
duced, under the king’s authority, to
equalise the taxation over the whole
country. To pacify the dangerous
murmurs of the Lowland districts,
which produced wool, and paid on
every sack a heavy tax to the crown,
it was determined that in those upper
comities where this tax was not col­
lected sheep not having been intro­
duced,1 but which abounded in agricul­
tural produce, the chamberlain should
either levy an annual tax upon the
crops and farm-stocking, for support
of the king’s household, or that the
king, at certain seasons, should remove
his court to these Highland districts,
and, during his residence there, assess
them for his support. The extensive
estates, or rather dominions, of John
of Lorn, John of the Isles, and Gilles­
pic Campbell, with the territories of
Kantire, Knapdale, and Arran, were
the lands where the new regulation
was enforced.

It was ordained in the same par­
liament that no native subject or
foreigner, of whatever rank he might
be, should export money, either of
gold or silver, out of the country, al­
ways excepting such sums as were
necessary for the travelling expenses
of those who had been permitted to
leave the realm, unless he paid forty
pennies upon every pound to the ex­
chequer; and with regard to those
who made a trade of purchasing
horses, cows, or other animals for ex­
portation, they were commanded to
pay a duty of forty pence upon every
pound of the price of the horse, and
twelve pence upon the price of all
other animals. In the event of any
contravention of the regulations as to
the export of the coin, the delinquent
was to be fined twenty shillings upon
every penny of the duty which he had
eluded ; a strict investigation was or­
dained to be made of all such offenders,
in order that the quantity of coin car­

1 Robertson’s Parliamentary Records, pp.
109,113. The exemption in favour of “ white
sheep “ in the taxation by the parliament of
20th July 1366 (Robertson’s Parliamentary
Records, p. 105,) was intended, probably, as
an encouragement to the introduction of a
new breed.

ried out of the kingdom might be
accurately determined; and they were
directed to be tried by indictment be­
fore the Justiciar.

As grievous complaints had pro­
ceeded from every county in the
kingdom against the extortion of the
mairs, sergeants, and other officers of
the crown, and such accusations had
even been made to the king in person,
it was judged expedient to adopt
some decided measures against this
evil. Accordingly, orders were given
to the justiciars and chamberlains, in
their several counties, to cause all per­
sons who, since the period of the king's
captivity, had enjoyed these offices, to
appear before them on a certain day,
previous to the conclusion of the pre­
sent parliament, when an investiga­
tion was to be made, before the three
estates, of the exact amount of the
loss which the king had sustained by
their malversation. All who were in
this manner detected were ordered to
be imprisoned, and to lose their offices
for the whole period of their lives.2
The justiciars, sheriffs, and other in­
ferior judges were strictly commanded
not to give execution to any mandate
under any seal whatever, not except­
ing the great or the privy seal, if such
mandate were contrary to the law of
the realm; and the merchants and
burgesses were enjoined not to leave
the kingdom without licence from the
king or the chamberlain.

Such were the only important regu­
lations which were passed in this par­
liament, the last held by David the
Second.3 The same year was rendered
remarkable by the divorce of the
queen; an incident of which the pri­
vate history is involved in much ob­
scurity. She was beautiful, and appa­
rently fond of admiration. The little
we know of her private life proves her
to have been expensive, and addicted
to costly pilgrimages, in which she was
accompanied with a retinue of knights
and attendants; expeditions, in those
times, sometimes undertaken for the
purposes of pleasure rather than devo-

2 Robertson’s Parliamentary Records, pp.
117, 118.
18th February 1369.

1369-70.]                                        DAVID II.                                                    231

tion. She appears, also, to have been
ambitious to interfere in the public
affairs of the kingdom ; and we have
seen that, not long before this, her in­
fluence persuaded the king to cast the
Steward and his sons into prison. No­
thing, however, can be more dark or
unsatisfactory than the only notice of
this singular event which remains to
us; and, unfortunately, the public re­
cords throw no light upon the transac­
tion. The sentence of divorce was
pronounced in Lent; but the queen,
collecting all her wealth, found means
to convey herself and her treasure,
with great privacy, on board a vessel
in the Forth, in which she sailed for
France; and carried her appeal in per­
son to the Papal Court then at Avignon.
She there obtained a favourable hear­
ing; nor was the king, who sent his
envoys for the purpose to the court of
the Pope, able to counteract the im­
pression in her favour. The cause
disturbed the kingdom; and was so
bitterly contested, that an interdict
began to be threatened; when the fair
appellant died herself, on her journey
to Rome.1 What became of the pro­
cess, or what judgment was ultimately
pronounced, cannot now be discovered;
but, so late as the year 1374, Robert
the Second considered the cause of
such moment that he despatched an
embassy to Charles the Fifth of France,
soliciting that prince to use his influ­
ence with the Pope and cardinals to
obtain a judgment.2

Immediately after the divorce, the
High Steward and his sons were libe­
rated from prison, and restored to
favour; while the king, whose life had
been devoted to pleasure, began to
think of his sins, and, in the spirit of
the age, to meditate an expedition to
the Holy Land. For this purpose, he
assembled at his court the bravest

1 Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 380.

2 Robertson’s Index to the Charters, p. 100,
No. 4. When at Avignon, Margaret Logy
borrowed 500 marks from three English mer­
chants, one of whom was William of Wal-
worth : in all probability the same person
who afterwards became Mayor of London, and
stabbed Wat Tyler. Fśdera, vol. vi. p. 727.
She is mentioned as the quondam Queen of
Scotland in the Chamberlains’ Accounts, vol.
i. p, 521,

knights of his time, declaring it to be
his intention to appoint a regency, and
depart for Palestine, with the purpose
of spending the remainder of his life
in war against the infidels. But, in
the midst of these dreams of chivalrous
devotion a mortal illness seized upon
him, which baffled all human skill; and
he died in the castle of Edinburgh, on
the 22d of February 1370, in the forty-
seventh year of his age, and the forty-
first of his reign.

It is painful to dwell on the charac
ter of this prince, who was, in every
respect, unworthy of his illustrious
father. It happened, indeed, unfor­
tunately for him, that he was pro­
moted to the throne when almost an
infant; and not only lost the advantage
of paternal instruction and example,
but, by the early death of Douglas and
Randolph, was deprived of the only
persons who might have supplied the
want; whilst his long exile in France,
and a captivity of eleven years, ren­
dered him almost a stranger to his
people. Had there, however, been any­
thing great or excellent in David Bruce,
he would have surmounted these dis­
advantages : yet we look in vain for a
noble, or even a commendable, quality;
whilst the darker parts of his disposi­
tion are prominently marked. He was
uniformly actuated by a regard to his
own selfish pleasures, and a reckless
forgetfulness of all those sacred and
important duties which a king owes to
his people. His understanding was
one of limited and moderate power;
and, while he formed his opinions upon
hasty and superficial views, he was
both obstinate in adhering to them
when evidently erroneous, and capri­
cious in abandoning them before they
were proved to be ill-founded. The
battle of Durham, his captivity, and
the long train of calamities which it
entailed upon the nation till the con­
clusion of his reign, were the fruits of
his obstinacy : the inconsistent waver­
ing and contradictory line of policy,
which is so strikingly discernible in
his mode of government after his re­
turn, was the effect of his passion and
caprice. Personal courage he undoubt­
edly possessed. It was the solitary

232                                   HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.

quality which he inherited from his
father; and of this he gave a memo­
rable proof, in his proposal to alter
the order of succession in favour of an
English prince,—a measure of singular
baseness and audacity.

It is this that forms the darkest blot
upon his memory. His love of plea­
sure, and devotion to beauty, will find
an excuse in many hearts; his extra­
vagance some may call kingly, even
when supported by borrowed money :
but it can never be palliated or for­
gotten that he was ready to sacrifice
the independence of the kingdom to

the love of his personal liberty, and
his animosity against the Steward; that
the most solemn oaths, by which he was
bound to his people, were lightly re­
garded, when brought in competition
with these selfish and sordid passions.
Such a monarch as this, who, at the
mature age of forty-seven, evinced no
real symptoms of amendment, was
little likely to improve in his latter
years; and it is humiliating to think
that the early death of the only son of
Robert the Bruce must have been
regarded as a blessing, rather than a
calamity, by his country.

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