James Bryce Bryce.

The book of history. A history of all nations from the earliest times to the present, with over 8,000 illustrations (Volume 9) online

. (page 54 of 55)
Online LibraryJames Bryce BryceThe book of history. A history of all nations from the earliest times to the present, with over 8,000 illustrations (Volume 9) → online text (page 54 of 55)
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of the great defeat at Northallerton, known
as the Battle of the Standard, David was
able to strengthen his position greatly,
and his reign was marked by great advance
in the organisation of his kingdom.

David was followed by two successive
grandsons Malcolm IV., called the
" Maiden," and William the Lion. William
took the opportunity of invading England

when the sons of Henry II. were in revolt
against their father ; but he was taken
prisoner by an accident, with the result
that he was forced to sign the Treaty of
Falaise, which definitely converted the
Scots kingdom into a fief of the English
crown. The rights thus acquired, how-
ever, were sold back a few years later on
the accession of Cceur-de-Lion to the
English throne : Richard was prepared
to sell anything to get money for the

Crusades, so the period of un-
Independencc questioned legal subjection of
of the Church Scotland to the piantagenets

was brief. Even during that
period William managed to secure the
Scottish Church from English domination
by appealing to the Pope, with whom
Henry II. could not afford to quarrel after
the murder of Becket.

Under William's son and grandson,
Alexander II. and III., Scotland prospered
and acquired an unprecedented unity.
Both kings followed, in the main, the
policy of avoiding collisions with England.
The father established a much more
pronounced lordship over the Western


THE TRIAL OF THE. IrKtA 1 scu i i isn ne..<j, sin. wii-i-inivi vvn.i^^n.^^.
On the roll of Scottish heroes there is no name dearer to the national heart than that of Sir William Wall
i u.. u:_ i ,,,< ,,.,t,-,, ,* ., ^rifi^nl r>rir>H in hpr historv andfoiic-ht the Enerlish witli courage and deter

39 r 3


Highlands and over Caithness. The son, made the development of a highly organ -

" The Tamer of the Ravens," finally put an ised body politic a sheer impossibility,

end to the claims of King Haakon of Norway Yet the anarchical forces failed to break

at the battle of Largs. At an earlier stage, the state in pieces, partly at least, we

he had successfully evaded an attempt of cannot doubt, because the strenuous

the English king, Henry III., to beguile him independence of the national character,

into doing homage for Scotland. His death vaunting the thistle as its appropriate

by accident in 1286 heralded a new era.

"Alexander had thirteen successors be-
fore the crowns of England and Scotland
were united in 1603. The first was his
grand- daughter Mar-
garet, a little girl who
died before she had
well reached her
kingdom, on the
voyage from Nor-
way. The next was
the puppet John
Balliol, set up and
knocked down again
by Edward I. of Eng-
land. Then, in 1306,
Robert Bruce got
himself crowned, and
gradually won back
the independence of
Scotland. When he
died, in 1329, his heir
was six years old.
From that time till
Queen Mary fled from
her rebellious sub-
jects to an English
prison, leaving an
infant son as King
James VI., only two
grown men succeeded
to the throne ; the
rest were all under
twelve except one,
and five died by

national emblem, never had the chance of

being enervated by luxury.

The death of the Maid of Norway gave

Edward his opportunity. Alexander had
- no other descendants.
j The law was not clear
I as to the inheritance
of the crown. The
barons, with the
higher clergy, ap-
pealed to the King
of England to arbi-
trate. Edward was
willing, if barons and
claimants would ac-
knowledge the Eng-
lish suzerainty. The
claimants and many
other barons were
already barons of
England as well as
of Scotland ; they
accepted the terms.
In the practice of
English feudal law
John Balliol's claim
was the best, and
judgment was given
in his favour. But
when it was realised
that Edward meant
his suzerainty to be
very thoroughly re-
cognised in fact as
well as in form,
uneasy acquiescence

violence. That bare

statement is enough THE WALLACE MONUMENT AT STIRLING was

tn cVirm/ tint iln.ri. This imposing memorial to Scotland's national hero oncrrw

6 stands in a district teeming with historic associations. It an sjy

Was never any Chance consists of a Scottish baronial tower, two hundred feet Balliol

nf pctahlicViintr a higrh< The heraldic arms of Sir William Wallace are .

ing d. above the gateway, and his famous sword may also be seen. U P LU

strong central

government. A desperate struggle for
independence against a country incom-
parably wealthier and more populous,
and in political organisation the fore-
most state in the world, was followed by a
long period of internecine rivalries be-
tween great houses, emulated by their
lesser neighbours, all of whom had a
common determination to resist control,
and were ready to unite only in defying
English aggression. Such conditions


changed into

was stirred

photo the pricks. Edward

promptly declared his fief of Scotland
forfeited under feudal law, and took
possession. His consummate military skill
and his superior forces were not to be gain-
said. But no hand less mighty than his
own could hold down the defiance of an
angry people, though the barons played
fast and loose.

Whenever Edward's back was turned
there were successful insurrections ; for
a time, William Wallace almost cleared


the English out of the land. Edward
returned and struck hard so hard that
he expected no more resistance. Yet
Robert Bruce, grandson of Balliol's old
rival claimant, resolved to strike for a,
crown. Having seized it,
he became the champion
of national independence.
Once more Edward
marched north, but death
took him before he could
set foot on Scottish soil.

Year by year, while his
son Edward II. quarrelled
with his barons in Eng-
land, Bruce and his pala-
dins, Douglas and Ran-
dolph, wrested Scotland,
fortress by fortress, from
the grip of the English.
At last Edward II.
marched north at the
head of the most splendid
English armament that
had ever taken the field,
to redeem his dominion
and his honour, and lost
both irretrievably in the
overwhelming rout of
Bannockburn. For the
rest of his reign the
Scots, not the English,
were the aggressors,
ravaging the north of
England in perpetual
raids. A year after his
death the independence
of Scotland was formally
acknowledged at the
Peace of Northampton.
King Robert passed
away in 1329, his great
work accomplished.

The able regency of
Randolph, Earl of Moray,
on behalf of the six-year
old King David II. was
all too brief. Then came
an attempt at restoring
the Balliols, with two
notable battles at Dup-


from this time Scotland and France
remained in close alliance. Whenever
England was at war with France she had
to reckon on Scottish invasions, and some-
times on Scottish contingent^ in French
- . armies. A Scots invasion
was repulsed at Neville's
Cross in the same year as
; Crecy. Seventy-five years
; later the English met
their shrewdest defeat
j on French soil at the
! hands of a force mostly
of Scots, at Beauge.
When Henry VIII. in-
vaded Picardy, James IV.
- led an army of invading
Scots to its own destruc-
tion on Flodden Field.
Until Queen Mary, the
eighteen-year-old widow
of a French king, returned
from France to Scotland
in the reign of Elizabeth,
the " Auld Alliance " was
an eternal clog on Eng-
land in her dealings with
France and in her designs
on Scotland. Similarly,
English rebels and pre-
tenders, from the time of
Henry IV. to the days of
Perkin Warbeck, found
frequent refuge and en-
couragement in Scotland.
When David II. died
he was succeeded by the
Fitzalan Robert II., the
Steward or Stewart,
David's nephew ; and so
began the line of Stewart
kings. Neither in his
reign, nor in that of his
son John, re - named
Robert III. for luck, did
Scotland enjoy strong
rule. When Robert III.
died, his son James I.
was a boy of eleven, a
prisoner in the hands of
the King of England,

plin Moor and Halidon This coioVsai bVonze'statue o? Wallace in the Henry IV. Some years

Mill "Hariri wzc cViint-iorl act of wielding his sword stands in a niche ]*.. v,~ ii^nf tn Franrp
111. IJaVldWaS SHI 1 of the tower shown on the prece ding page. later e wen

vaienne photo with Henry V., but was

released by the regency which followed that
king's death, and returned to Scotland with
Jane Beaufort as his queen. He is dis-
tinguished as one of the few kings who have
earned an indubitable title to the name of


off to France. The Scots
would not submit to Balliol. Then
Edward III. became absorbed in his
great French war, and after that no
serious attempt at an English conquest
of Scotland was made again. . But


poet. Meanwhile, Scotland had suffered
under the regency of his uncle and cousin,
successive Dukes of Albany, whose rule,
however, was signalised by the overthrow
at the battle of Harlaw in 1411 of an attempt
on the part of the Lord of the Isles to
throw off., if not himself to usurp, the
" Saxon" domination. James had a hard
task in the struggle to reduce the turbulent
baronage to order and introduce the
elements of a stable system of rule. A
measure of success attended his efforts,
but irritated members of the baronage
accomplished his murder.

The accession of the child James II.
meant another regency, with a normal

age treated him much as Edward II. had
been treated, hanged his favourites, took
the field against him, and killed him at
Sauchie Burn.

His son, James IV., was nearer his
majority than most of the Stewart kings
of Scotland. Possessed of many of the
royal qualities which his father lacked, and
of brilliant accomplishments, he enjoyed
also in a high degree the gift of popularity.
Moreover, he was ambitious to raise the
whole status of his kingdom. Notably,
he devoted much attention to increasing
the naval strength of Scotland. The newly
established Tudor dynasty in England was
(Widedlv anxious to establish a new era



After the battle near Methven, in Perthshire, in the early days of Bruce's struggles against England, many Scottish
nobles were executed. Bruce's wife and daughter Marjory were seized in the sanctuary of St. Duthac at Tain, and
were held prisoners in England for eight years, while the knights who were in attendance upon them were put to death.

accompaniment of murders, with varying
degress of pretence at a judicial character.
James gave promise of vigour and capacity,
if also of violence, but was killed at the
age of twenty-nine by the explosion of a
cannon. The reign of James III. began,
as usual, with a long minority. When the
king came of age matters were hardly
bettered by the reign of favourites. As
prince of a well-ordered state, James III.
might have left a fair record as a patron
of art and literature ; but he was wholly
unfitted for a position in which a clear
head, a strong hand, and a resolute will
were imperatively demanded. His baron-


of friendly relations, and in spite of his
active support of Perkin Warbeck, the
diplomacy of Henry VII. secured James
as the husband of his eldest daughter
Margaret, whereby, when the offspring of
Henry VIII. failed, a hundred years later,
the King of Scotland became the legitimate
successor of Elizabeth on the English
throne. But capable though James IV.
was and it seemed during his reign that
there was far better prospect than there had
been before, except in the reign of James I.,
since Bruce's day, of the Scots kingdom
being consolidated into a powerful state
he was still too prone to yield his better


39 1 ?

After his long captivity in England, King James I. was permitted to return to Scotland with his bride, and for thirteen
years he proved an able and wise ruler. In this illustration the artist depicts his unhappy end. On February 20th,
1437, he fell a victim to the plots of his kinsman, the Duke of Athole, being murdered at Perth. There were, it is said,
sixteen wounds on his breast alone, while the queen received two wounds in endeavouring to shield her husband.

From the picture by John Opie. R.A., in the Art Gallery of the Corporation of London

Scots, and in the illustration we see James holding a council of war, to the advice of which he turned a deaf ear.

From the picti)re by J. Fald, R.S-A-

The great fortress of Dunbar was attacked by the English, under the Earl of Salisbury, in 1339. In the absence of
the governor, the Earl of March, his wife, known as Black Agnes, defended the castle and drove back its assailants.

judgment to the impulse or caprice of the
moment. And so, when Henry VIII.
invaded France, and he, on behalf of the
Auld Alliance, invaded England, he flung
away almost certain victory, descended
from a nearly unassailable position on
Flodden Ridge to fight the English on
even terms, and lost his life in the most
disastrous of Scottish battles, in which the

tremendous death-roll robbed Scotland of
the best material on which her hopes
depended. And Scotland was left once
more with a baby king, and to the miseries
of a prolonged and incompetent regency,
complicated by the fact that the queen-
mother was a sister of the King of England,
with all her brother's passion for matri-
monial variety. ARTHUR D. INNES







EMARKABLE in many things, there was this almost peculiar
to Robert Bruce, that his life was divided into three distinct
parts, which could scarcely be considered as belonging to
the same individual. His youth was thoughtless, hasty,
and fickle, and from the moment he began to appear in
public life until the slaughter of the Red Comyn and his
final assumption of the crown, he appeared to have entertained no
certain purpose beyond that of shifting with the shifting tide, like the
other barons around him, ready, like them, to enter into hasty plans for
the liberation of Scotland from the English yoke ; but equally prompt
to submit to the overwhelming power of Edward. Again, in a short but
very active period of his life, he displayed the utmost steadiness, firmness,
and constancy, sustaining, with unabated patience and determination,
the loss of battles, the death of friends, the disappointment of hopes, and
an uninterrupted series of disasters, on which scarce a ray of hope
appeared to brighten. This term of suffering extended from the field of
Methven-wood till his return to Scotland from the island of Rathlin,
after which time his career, whenever he was himself personally engaged,
was almost uniformly successful, even till he obtained the object of his
wishes the secure possession of an independent throne.

When these things are considered, we shall find reason to conclude
that the misfortunes of the second or suffering period of Bruce's life had
taught him lessons of constancy, of prudence, and of moderation, which
were unknown to his early years, and tamed the hot and impetuous fire
which his temper, like that of his brother Edward, naturally possessed.
He never permitted the injuries of Edward I. (although three brothers
had been cruelly executed by that monarch's orders) to provoke him to
measures of retaliation ; and his generous conduct to the prisoners at
Bannockburn, as well as elsewhere, reflected equal honour on his sagacity
and humanity. His manly spirit of chivalry was best evinced by a
circumstance which happened in Ireland, where, when pursued by a
superior force of English, he halted and offered battle at disadvantage,
rather than abandon a poor washerwoman, who had been taken with the
pains of labour.

Robert Bruce's personal accomplishments in war stood so high that he
was universally esteemed one of the three best knights of Europe during
that martial age, and gave many proofs of personal prowess. His
achievements seem amply to vindicate this high estimation, since the
three Highlanders slain in the retreat from Dairy, and Sir Henry de
Bohun, killed by his hand in front of the English army, evince the
valorous knight, as the. plans of his campaigns exhibit the prudent and
sagacious leader. The Bruce's skill in the military art was of the
highest order ; and in his " testament," as it is called, he bequeathed a
legacy to his countrymen, which, had they known how to avail them-
selves of it, would have saved them the loss of many a bloody day.

If, however, his precepts could not save the Scottish nation from
military losses, his example taught them to support the consequences
with unshaken constancy. It is, indeed, to the example of this prince,
and to the events of a reign so dear to Scotland, that we can distinctly



trace that animated love of country which has been ever since so strong
a characteristic of North Britons that it has been sometimes supposed to
limit their affect'ons and services so exclusively within the limits of
their countrymen as to render tliat partiality a reproach which liberally
exercised is subject for praise. In the day of Alexander III. and his
predecessors the various tribes whom these kings commanded were
divided from each other by language and manners ; it was only by
residing within the same common country that they were forced into
some sort of connection : but after Bruce's death we find little more
mention of Scots, Galwegians, Picts, Saxons, or Strathclyde Britons.
They had all, with the exception of the Highlanders, merged into the
single denomination of Scots, and spoke generally the Anglo-Scottish

This great change had been produced by the melting down of all petty
distinctions and domestic differences in the crucible of necessity. In the
wars with England all districts of the country had been equally
oppressed, and almost all had been equally distinguished in combating
and repelling the common enemy. There was scarce a district of
Scotland that had not seen Bruce's banner displayed, and had not sent
forth brave men to support it ; and so extensive were the king's
wanderings, so numerous his travels, so strongly were felt the calls on
which men were summoned from all quarters to support him, that petty
distinctions were abolished ; and the state which, consisting of a variety
of half-independent tribes, resembled an ill-constructed faggot, was now
consolidated into one strong and inseparable stem, and deserved the
name of a kingdom.

It is true that the great distinction between the Saxon and Gaelic
races in dress, speech, and manner still separated the Highlander from
his Lowland neighbour, but even this leading kne of separation was
considerably softened and broken in upon during the civil wars and the
reign of Robert Bruce.

But the principal consolidating effect of this long struggle lay in the
union which it had a tendency to accomplish between the higher and
inferior orders. The barons and knights had, as we have before
remarked, lost in a great measure the habit of considering themselves
as members of any particular kingdom, or subjects of any particular
king, longer than while they held fiefs within his jurisdiction.
These loose relations between the nobles and their followers were
altered and drawn more tight when the effect of long-continued war,
repeated defeats, undaunted renewal of efforts, and final attainment of
success, bound such leaders as Douglas, Randolph, and Stewart to their
warriors, and their warriors to them. The faithful brotherhood which
mutual dangers and mutual conquests created between the leader and
the followers on the one hand, betwixt the king and the barons on the
other the consciousness of a mutual object which overcame all othet
considerations, and caused them to look upon themselves as men united
in one common interest taught them at the same time the universal
duty of all ranks to their common country, and the sentiments so
spiritedly expressed by Barbour, the venerable biographer of Bruce
himself :

Ah, freedom is a noble thing ;
Freedom makes men to have liking
To man all solace freedom cives ;
He lives at ease who freely lives ;
And he that aye has lived free
May not well know the misery,
The wrath, the hate, the spite, and all
That's compass'd in the name of thrall.

Scott's History of Scotland.



This memorial of Scotland's great king, Robert the Bruce, which was erected in 1877 by public subscription, stands
on the Castle Esplanade at Stirling. The famous warrior king is represented as a knight of the highest rank, clad
in the fighting armour of the period, and in the act of sheathing his sword after victory. The figure is nearly eleven
feet high and is looking in the direction of Bannockburn, the scene of Bruce's great triumph over the English in 1 :i 1 t.


Standing on a rocky eminence that rises 220 feet above the plain, Stirling Castle is one of the most picturesque and
historic buildings in all Scotland. It is believed that even before the dawn of national history a stronghold stood on
this commanding position. In the ninth and tenth centuries Stirling Castle figured in the semi-mythical battles between
north and south, while it played an important part in subsequent history, and within its walls kings lived and died.

Photuctirome photos,


On this and the following pages we reproduce a selection of scenes from
the tine series of mural paintings by Mr. William Hole, R.S.A.,
which adorn the walls of the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh
Scottish history has never been represented with greater spirit or studied
accuracy of detail than we find in this admirable and instructive series




39 2 5


Conferring a charter upon the citizens of Edinburgh


39 2 7

















IN Ireland the Keltic population remained
* free from any kind of foreign dominiori
far longer than in the sister island. There
the Roman made no attempt to establish
his sway ; Saxons and Angles found enough
to attract them in the territory which
they converted into England. The early
" history " of Hibernia is too palpably
imaginative, her heroes too legendary, to
permit the extraction of much solid fact.
But this much is clear, that when Christ-
ianity had been spread through the island by
St. Patrick, she became a great missionary
centre. From Ireland St. Columba and his
disciples went forth to convert the Kelts
and Picts of Alban and the Angles of
Northumbria ; although, when the Roman
and Keltic Churches collided, it was to
Rome that the victory fell.

When the Northmen began those piratical
expeditions, which presently assumed a
T n colonising character, they went
j n he s further afield than their Saxon

predecessors, took possession of
Ireland ,

harbours on the east coast of

Ireland, and set up petty kingdoms. The
Kelts were divided into septs or clans.
How far they all owed allegiance to one
king is not clear ; but each sept held by
its own chief, the Tanist or successor to
the chieftainship, who was elected from
the same family. The septs were, at any
rate, not sufficiently united to offer orga-
nised resistance to the Danes till Brian
Boroimhe combined them, forced the North-
men to restrict themselves to their coastal
settlements, won recognition as king of all
Ireland, and broke up the last Danish inva-
sion at the battle of Clontarf in 1014. After
that the Danish settlers showed their cha-
racteristic capacity for assimilating them-
selves with the surrounding population.

But the great deeds of Brian Boroimhe
failed to secure permanent unity. The
land fell apart into separate kingdoms,
alternately exercising a precarious supre-
macy over their neighbours much as the

Online LibraryJames Bryce BryceThe book of history. A history of all nations from the earliest times to the present, with over 8,000 illustrations (Volume 9) → online text (page 54 of 55)