M. (Paul) Rapin de Thoyras.

The history of England : written in French (Volume 1) online

. (page 157 of 360)
Online LibraryM. (Paul) Rapin de ThoyrasThe history of England : written in French (Volume 1) → online text (page 157 of 360)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


return now to the decifion of the affair of the fucceffion,
from whence I made this digreffion ( 1 ).

The day appointed by Edward being come, all the
candidates, with the fourlcore examiners, repaired to Ber-
wick, where Edward was preterit. At the firft meeting,
the King of Norway's amballadors appeared, and demand-
ed the crown for the King their mafter, Father of the
late Queen. Their petition being received, alter a recog-
nition of the King of England's direct dominion over
Scotland, thofe of the other competitors were read, each
in its turn, and the commimoners began to examine them.
But Edward, fays the Journal, eonfidering this examina-
tion would be very tedious, and eonfequently prejudicial
to Scotland, took another courfe. He moved, and his
motion was approved, that the rights and titles of J elm
B'diol and Robert Bruce fhould be firft examined, without
prejudice 01 the others, which fhould be afterwards difcuf-
fcd.

The firft queftion which was put, was, By what
laws and cuitoms Judgment was to be given ? And
upon this Edward would have the previous advice of the
examining commiffion;rs. It was not poffihle for them
to agree in deciding this point. After long debates, they
told the King, they could not give bim their advice,
without farther deliberation, and defired him to add to
them the four and twenty Englifl), according to the agree-
ment. This expedient did not promote the decilion.
The Engiijh commiffioners reported to the King, that the
Scots were fo divided in opinion, concerning their own
Laws, that it was very difficult to fettle fo difputable a point.
Adding, they durft not themfelves, for that reafon, give
him any advice upon fo nice a queftion. Thefe difficul-
ties determined Edward to give a longer time, and ap-
point the 14th of Oilober following, for tiie day of the
firft afiembly (2).

The commimoners being met at the time appointed,
Edward asked them thefe three queftions: 1. By what
Laws and Cuftoms Judgment was to be given? 2. How
he was to proceed, in cafe the Cuftoms of England and
Scotland fhould be uncertain, or oppofitc ? 3. Whether
Judgment was to be given concerning the kingdom of
Scotland, otherwife than concerning Earldoms, Baronies,
and other Fees of the crown of England ? The delay
granted by Edward, had given the examiners new light.
They who could not agree upon the firft queftion in Aw
gujl, were unanimous in Oilober. To the firft they
made anfwer ; That in cafe there were any certain Laws
or Cuftoms in the King's dominions, by them he ought
to proceed. To the fecond, That if in his territories
there was no certain law, he might eltablifh a new one.
To the third, That the kingdom of Scotland was to be
judged in the fame manner as other indivifible Fees. It
is no hard matter to fee, that thefe preliminary queftions
tended only, as is plain from the anfwers, to eftablifh
Edward's right of fovereignty ; a right which he con-
ftantly fuppol'ed, without allowing it to be contradicted.

Edward, upon thefe decifions, ordered Bruce and Baliol
to be called, and asked, Whether they had any thing to
fay, to ltrengthen the reafons alledged in their petitions ?
They replied, they defired to add fomething farther by
word of mouth, and Bruce began firft. His reafons
were confined to thefe four. 1 . That the fucceffion of a
crown ought to be fettled by the natural right by which
Kings reign, and not by the Laws common to Subjects ;



and, according to natural right, the ncare:- 6ughl I 1 Gi<
ceed. 2. That for the fame reafon, though private inl 1
ritances were divisible, and the eldeft had fo'meririvi]

by the laws obferved among fubject., it waj not fo with
regard to a kingdom, to which the next heir ought to
fucceed without any divifion. 3. He maintained, tliat in
Scotland, the crown had been adjudged for the collateral
branch, preferably to the direct, and the fucceffion in the
f imily of the eldeft, was not fo cftablifhcd, as to be juftly
prejudicial to him, fince in that very kingdom, Brother;
had feveral times been preferred to Sons. 4. He took it
for granted, that though he was in the fame degree a;
Deverguld, he ought however to fucceed, becaufe be \\\:
the next Male-bcir.

John Baliol anfwering in his turn, founded his right on ;
the genealogy of the Royal Family, and (hewed hew |
defcended from the eldeft of the daughters of David I
of Huntington, whereas Bruce fprung only from the fe-
cond. He replied to the reafons of bis competitor, and
maintained, That the cuftom, as well of England's S 1-
land, was, that the defcehdant of the eldeft daughter, thof
more remote, was preferable to the nearer coining from
the younger. As to what Bruce alledged concerning
natural ri.ht, and the right of Kings, he aiiiwi red, it
belonged to the King of England to decide That, as im-
memorial Sovereign, at:J direct Lord of Scotland. As lor
the inflanccs, produced by Robert, of Brothers preferred
to Sons, he affirmed, it was never done in Scotland, but
by way of ufurpation and violence. That, when fuch a
thing happened, the Kings of England, as Sover
rectified it, by placing the Son on the throne. Tor
his aflertion, he alledged the example of Edgar, v, horn
iVilliam Rufus put in pdflefjion ol Die ck.wii, u!iirp L e! by
Donald. Laftly, he maintained, that, lupptofini what
Robert advanced was incontestable, it could be no ad-
vantage to him. Indeed, it appeared from thence, that
fbmctimes the nearer was excluded, to make room for
the more remote, a Brother being undeniably farther re-
moved than a Son. I fhould be too tedious if I recited
all the arguments, anfwers, and replies of bcth i
This will fuffice, I hope, to fhew the grounds of their
pretentions.

This affair being thus cleared, and the reafons of the Q ;r n,cn pn-
two candidates examined, the King put the queftion \np-jrdioibe
this manner : JVhcther the more remote by one degree in f'Tp 'f'
fuece/fu, coming from the eldeft Sijlcr, ought, according to t. II.;- 86.
the Laws and Cttftoms of both kingdoms, to exclude the
nearer, by a degree coming from the fecond Sijhr r The Decided in
commiffioners unanimoully anfwered, That, according/'" :ur °f
to the Laws and Cuftoms of both kingdoms, the defcen- Ba "
dants of the eideft daughter were to be preferred. It
might be juitly demanded, to what purpofe then was the
difcuffion of the preliminary queftions, fince the laws of
both kingdoms were fo exprefs in favour of the principal,
if it had not been already remarked, that they were fub-
fervient to the private intercfts of Edward ? Notwith-
standing the formal decifion of the commiffioners, the
King, willing to fhew that he acted without paffion and
partiality, caufed tiie fame queftion to be again long de-
bated in his prefence, and appointed the 6th of November
folic wing, to pronounce the final fenter.ee.

On- that day, Edward folemnly pronounced, that Ro- Edward
bert Bruce's pretenfions were Ill-grounded, and the Laws"' 1 '
allowed him no right to the crown of Scotland. Butasg"^t
the exclufion of Bruce did not nccefTarily import the ad- Nov. 6.
miffion of Baliol, fince there were other competitors, the
King Ordered the examiners to hear the reft of the parties.
Robert Bruce finding himfelf excluded by this fentence, ,„ ■, _
declared, he had another right which he would profecute, Petiiim,
and jufrify, in another form, his pretenfions to part of
the kingdom. Then he prefented his petition, which was
admitted.

The affair between Baliol and Bruce being ended, Dema-def
"John Ha/lings flood up and maintained, That Scotland J ohn Ha "
being a fee of England, had no more privileges than ' mt>: '
other fees, which were all partible. He inferre-1 from
thence, that the kingdom of Scotland ought to be divi-
ded among the defendants of the daughters of Da-
vid Earl of Huntington, tiie youngefl of whom was* his
mother. He was immediately feconded by Robert Bruce,
who appeared again, and fai'd, He claimed a third part
of the kingdom, as Son and Heir to David's fl-conu



(1) This Year, tmjunezq., or, according to others, theicth, died Eleanor, King Edward's Mother, in the Nunnery of Ambrefbary ; and was bu-
ried September S , in the Church belonging to the laid Nunnery. An, Waverl. p. 24.2. T. IVikes, p. 123. IValjing. p. 57. Whilft Edward was in

trance, in 1287, he made a vow to go to the Holy Land, and accordingly received the Crofs from the hands of the Pope's Legate at Bourdeaux. In con-
fequenceof this, Pope Nicholas IV granted him this Year, by a Bull, dated at Oruieto, Match iS, 1291, the Tenths cf Englcxd, Scotland, If'al.-s, and
Ireland, for fix Years. See Rymer's Exd. T. II. p. 509. An.V/averl. p. 240. The Bifllops of Winchejllr and Lincoln were appointed Heaa-CoRettqrs
of thefe Tenths. 'T.tVikei, p. ig,*,

(2) Or Parliament, Perliamento, as it is in the Original. Rymer's Feed. T. II. p. c8r. The King promifed, that he would fummon fome of the
greateft and difcreeteft Perfons ot his Kingdom to be then prcfent ; and would in the mean time difpatch Mellcnger? to the moft learned Men abroad tor
their Advice upon this Point. lb:d.

Daughter:



7%e HISTORY of ENGLAND.



lio;. Daughter. Whereupon Edward put thefe two queftions :
i . Whether the kingdom of Scotland was a Partible Fee ?
-. Or whether, not hcing fo, the Efcheats and Acquifi-
tions, made by the Kings of Scotland, were to follow the
Law of common inheritances? The unanimous advice of
the King's council, and the commiffioners, was, That
the kingdom o( Scotland was an Indivifible Fee, and that
the King's acquilitions in the kingdom itfclf, ceafed to be
partible, the moment they came into his hands. After
this decifion, Edward appointed the 1 7th of November,
to pais fentence.
All the uber The commifjioners being met (1) on the day appointed,
candidates t j- e King ordered all the candidates to be asked, What
prtt'nji'orts. tne >' na d t0 ' a y m defence of their rights. The ambaf-
tfov. 17. fadors of Norway, Florence Earl of Holland, IVilliam de
Vcfcy, Patric de Dunbar, JVilliam de Ros, Robert de Pyn-
keny, Nicholas de Soules, and Patric Galythly, declared,
They did not intend any further to profecute their claims,
and withdrew their petitions. Upon this declaration the
King pronounced, they had no pretenfion to the crown
of Scotland. John Comyn, and Roger de Mandeville, not
appearing to maintain their claims, they were likewifc re-
jected. After which the King pronounced, That John
Ha/lings, and Robert Bruce, had no right to the third
part claimed by each, becaufe the kingdom of Scotland
could not be divided.
Edward «V- None remained but Baliol, who being without a com-
tlarn BalicI p e titor, fince the others were rejected, was acknowledged
Scotland. & tnc on ty P er f° n tnat had a right to pretend to the
crown. Accordingly, Edward adjudged, that he fhould
be put in pofteffion of the kingdom, faving however to
himfelf and fucceflbrs, the right of profecuting their pre-
tentions to the fame kingdom, whenever they thought pro-
per (2). Then he addrelled himfelf to the new King, and
laid, He fhould take care to govern his people with equity,
in fuch a manner, that for want of juftice, or any other
reafon whatever, he fhould not oblige his fovereign to
make ufe of his right to redrefs the grievances. Then
he appointed him the Thurfday following to fwear fealty,
and Chrijlmafs day next, to do his homage at New-
cajlle.
Baiiol/uvan The procefs being thus ended, Edward difpatched all
Fealty o ncceflary orders to put Baliol in poffeffion of the king-

Idward ; , ] , , 1} ■ r c 1 t_ • 1 1

Nov. 20. dom, and the new King (wore tealty to him on the 20th
Aa. Pub. of November (3). In the oath, he acknowledged the fo-
m w P ft 9 '' vere 'g nt y °f tnc King of England over Scotland in very
Walfingh. exprefs and fubmiffive terms, and caufed an authentick
T. Wikcs. adt of the fame to be drawn up. His inftallation was per-
formed at Scone (4) with the ufual formalities, and all the
Scotch Lords took the oath to him, except Robert Bruce,
and dues w j 10 was a bfent. Which done, he came to Newcajlle
"""•£'• upon Tyne, where he did homage to the King, in fuch
expreffions as it was not pomble to add any thing to denote
more fully his dependence (5).
Complaints of After feeing in what manner the Journal, made by
the Scots Edward's order, relates what palled in the judgment of
Edward. tn ' s f amous procefs, it is but reasonable to hear the Scots in
their turn, and to lay before the reader what they fay
upon this matter. They pretend, Edward acted very un-
juftly in the whole courfe of this affair, and that his con-
duct throughout was a continued feries of artifice, cor-
ruption, and violence: That indeed, he had before fome
pretenfion to the fovereignty of Scotland, but it was fo ill-
grounded, that he would never have thought of profecu-
ting it, if the ftate of the kingdom had not furnifhed him
with an opportunity : That being chofen Judge, or rather
Umpire of the difference between the two candidates, he
abufed that trull to ferve his own interefts, at the expence
of the liberty of the Scots. They agree to the facts rela-
ted in the Journal ; but affirm, that by promifes and
threats, he privately engaged the commiffioners blindly to
follow his directions. They add, That his chief aim be-
ing to make the perfon who fhould be declared King of
Scot/and, Vaffal of the crown of England, he intimated
to the two competitors, that they had nothing to hope
for, unlefs they would firft own him for Sovereign of the
kingdom. To engage them, fay they, to this acknow-
ledgment, he himfelf railed up all the other candidates,
who entirely depended upon him, on purpofe to breed dif-



Vol. I.



Acuities, which might convince Bruce and Baliol, how 1292,
much they needed his favour. It is not to be thought
ftrange that the competitors fhould be ready to do what-
ever he defired. The two principal were afraid, their
oppofition would deprive them of the crown, and the reft
put in their claims only in obedience to his orders, or for
his pleafure. 'Tis further affirmed, That before the pre-
tenfions of the parties came to be examined, Edward had
refolved to give the crown to Baliol, who was of an in-
ferior genius to Bruce, and of lefs credit in the kingdom.
Buchanan fays upon this occafion, that Edward offered
the crown firft to Bruce, if he would promife to do him
homage ; and upon his refuting it on that condition, Ed-
Ward turned to Baliol, who immediately accepted his
offer. And to the invincible argument, which the Englijh
pretend to infer from Robert's content and hand, to the
acts and declarations made by the candidates before they
prefented their petitions, the Scots reply, It was not pofli-
ble, but Robert might at firft refufe the crown on the con-
dition required, and afterwards perceiving how detrimen-
tal his refufal might be to him, was induced to comply.
It is true, he did not much promote his caufe by that
means, fince his refufal made a deeper impreffion on Ed-
ward, than his compliance could afterwards do. They
add, It is impoffible to help feeing, in the Journal itfelf
made by Edward's order, that, notwithftanding the great
fhew of impartiality throughout, that Prince favoured the
caufe of Baliol. In the firft place, the arguments of
Robert Bruce are very much abridged, and may be faid
to be difadvantagioufly fet forth. In the next place, im-
mediately after Robert's exclufion, all the reft of the com-
petitors, except Baliol, relinquifhed their pretentions, even
to the ambafladors of Norway, who, very likely, had pri-
vate orders to act as directed by Edward. Indeed, one
cannot fee, why the exclufion of Bruce fhould fo affect
the other candidates, as to oblige them to withdraw their
petitions. But, it is eafily perceived, they were no lon-
ger neceffary to the King's defigns, after the judgment
againft Bruce. This plainly dilcovers the reafon, why
Edward would have the examiners begin with difcuffing
the rights of Bruce and Baliol ; becauie, when that bufi-
nefs fhould be decided, he had no farther need of the
others. The affected abfence of Baliol is likewife obfer-
ved, on the day that the other competitors acknowledged
the fovereignty of the King of England, that he might
not be afterwards reproached, when he fhould be on the
throne, for being the firft to introduce that innovation,
intending to create a belief, that he only followed thole
that went before him. It is affirmed, Edward was
more apprehenfive of Bruce than of Baliol, and in the
whole courfe of this procedure, had ever a view to his
own intereft. The fole end of all his proceedings, fay
they, was to eftablifh a right which he could never
have fupported at any other juncture, and which be-
longed not to him. If this right had bsen incontefta-
ble, to what purpofe did he take fo many precautions
to eftablifh it ? To what end fo many acknowledg-
ments and oaths, required from fome private perfons,
when the States of Scotland, if the Journal may be
credited, alledged not the leaft objection to his preten-
fions ? Why fuch a heap of arguments, molt of which
proofs are fo weak, to caufe a fovereignty (according to
him not difputed) to be acknowledged ? If the States of
Scotland made no reply to Edward's firft propofition, it
is eafy to fee, it mutt have been from a motive of Fear.
Befides, it could not be inferred from their filence, that
they acknowledged this fovereignty, fince they had never
before made the like recognition. If by their filence
they intended to give their approbation to Edward's
pretenfions, whence is it, that he required not from tliem
an authentick declaration, as well as from the candi-
dates? Was it their bufinefs to decide fo important a
queftion, and not rather the States then actually afl'em-
bled ? In fhort, it fufficiently appeared afterwards, that
the fentiments of the people of Scotland were not agree-
able to the declaration of the candidates, fince they
embraced the firft opportunity to fhake off the yoke im-
pofed upon them. I fhall add here in favour of the Scots,
that the Colleclion of the Publick Acls affords a ftrong



(1) In full Parliament. Rymer's Feed. p. 5S8.

(2) Salvo jure ejufdem Domini Regis Anglia:, & Hajredum fuorum cum voluerint inde loqui. Rymer's Tad. T. II. p. 5S9.

(3) The Form ot it was thus: Ego Johannes de Ealliolo, Rex Scottorum, fidus & fidclis ero vobis Domino Eduardo, Dti gratia, Regi Anglia;,
5: (uperiori Domino Regni Scotia ; & vobis fidelitatem facio de eodem Regno Scotije, qucd de vobis tcneo, & clamo tcnerc : & fidem & tidtlitatem
vobis portabo de vita & membro, & terreno honorc, contra omnes homines: & fidcliter recognofcam, & vobis faciam lervitia, vobis debita de
regno Scotia antcdi£to ; fie me Deus adjuvet & haec fanfla Evangclia. Rymer's Feed. T. II. p- 59L

(4) The Bufinefs of the Earls of Fife at Coronations, was to place the King of Satlcmd upon his Throne, as appears from Kama's Feedera,
T. II. p. 600.

(5) The Form of the Homage was thus. Mon Seignieur, Mon Sire Edward, Rey d'Engletcrre, Sovereign Seigneur du Reaume de Efcccc, ie
Johan de Baillol, Rey de Efcoce, devien voftre homme lige de tot le Reaume de Efcoce ove les Aportenances, e a quant qe il y apent; 1c quej
je tieng e dei de dreit, e cleim, por moi, e mes hcyrs, Reys dc Elcocc, tenir heritablement de vous e de voz heyrs , Revs d'Engletcrre: E ley
e leaute porterai a vous, e a voz heyrs, Reys d'Engletcrre, de vie. e de Meaibre, e, de tcrrien honeur, tontre tote tent qe porunt vivac e morir.
Rymer's Fad. T. II. p. 595.



proof.



Book IX.



9. EDWARD 1.



I202. proof,' that the Kings of Scotland never did homage for
le whole kingdom, if we except That of IVilliam to
ia. p Henry II. We find in the Colie, n, that Edwa rd's High-
li. p. 000. chamberlain demanding of Ball I, the fees due from the
Valials when they did noma e, there was no precedent to
be found. So that Edward was forced to fix them him-
felf (1) to twenty pounds fterling, winch was double the
Sum paid by an Earl on the like occalion. What likeli-
hood is there, that the lees lhould not he fettled before, in
cafe this Homage had been done lb often as Edward pre-
tended I

I have hitherto related the manner wherein the Englijli
and Scot s talk, of what paffed in the judgment of this fa-
mous pr 1 e s, as well concerning the crown illllf, as the
fovereignty claimed by Edward. But for the entire clear-
ing this matter, it will not be needlefs to make forfle far-
ther remarks. In the firfl place, it appears by Edward's
whole conduct, that his intent at firfl was not to become
mailer of Scotland (2), as Buchanan charges him, but
only to render that kingdom dependent on England. In
this he did but follow the fteps of molt of his piedeceflbrs.
Not to mention the Saxon and firfl Norman Kings,
Henry 11 had no fooner King William in his power, but
he took advantage of thai Prince's misfortune, to oblige
him to do homage for his kingdom. Henry IJI, Father
of Edward, would fain have e\torted the fame thing
from Alexander III, but could not pollibly fucceed. It
cannot therefore be inferred, from Edward's firfl proceed-
ings, that he had formed the project of making himfelf
matter of Scotland ; fince he required only the direct do-
minion, without ever infilling on the poiieffion, concern-
ing which he was fatiitied with making a bare declaration.
It he had defigned any fuch thing, he might ealily have
found plaufible pretences, to place Englijh garrifbns and
governors at his devotion, in the places that were put into
his hands. He might have aliedged, That all the Scots
being engaged to fome one of the candidates, the cultody
of the Caitles could not be truited to perfons of their na-
tion, without expnfing the kingdom to the darger of a
civil war. Bur, inflead of leaning by that means the
\ pollefiion of the kingdom, he conhmied all the gover-

nors, and contented himfelf with receiving their oath ; a
precaution which a Prince of his abilities, would doubtlefs
have thought infufficient, had he had ill deiigns. To
this may be added, that if he had formed the project he is
charged with, he would have found a fair opportunity to
put it in practice, by dividing the kingdom between the
defendants of David's three daughters. By that divifion
lie would have weakened the forces of the Scots, whereas
he kept them united, in adjudging the crown to a fingle
perr..n.

But on the other hand, it can hardly be denied, that
he meant to take advantage of tiiis favourable juncture, to
eltabliih his fovereignty over Scotland; and fo to accom-
pliih the project formed, but never fully executed, by his
anceftors. It is difficult to judge, whether he himfelf be-
lieved he had a lawful right ; or, confidering the circum-
ftances of Scotland, was willing to embrace the opportu-
nity to eftabiiili a new one. The laft teems molt likely,
though Men but too frequently futFer themfelves to be
prepollehcd, in favour of what is for their intereft. And
indeed, to fetch proofs from hiftories compiled by Englijh-
tnen, to fnew that Scotland was dependent on England,
was a plain confeifion he had no better to produce. Cer-
tainly a homage like this ought to have been evinced by
more authentick proofs. One can hardly believe, if the
kingdom ot Scotland had been immemorially dependent on
England, without any interruption, as he pretended to
prove, there could be found in the Sovereign's archives but
one fingle homage in form, done by the King6 of Scot-
land. Probably therefore, without being thoroughly con-
vinced of his right, he had a mind, in order to eltablifti it
fully, to improve the advantage which the prefent cir-
cumflances of Scotland afforded him, well knowing there
could be no oppofition, fince the two leading Men had fo
much reafon to cultivate his triendfliip. But I queftion,
whether the acquicfcer.ee of the Scots was fufficient to ac-
quire him a new right. I leave this to be determined by
thofe, who are verfed in thefe matters. However, me-
thinks there is no justifying this Prince, who, by an ill-
grounded ambition, kindled between the two nations of
Great-Britain a war, which caufed torrents of blood to



373

be fpilt on both fides. And if the event is of any account uoz.
in affairs of this nature, the fequcl of this hiltory will
(hew, that though at firfl God favoured Edward's defigns,
he permitted the projects of the Englijlt to come to nothing
at laft. Perhaps I fhall draw upon me the cenfure of
Ibme people, fond of this ancient fovereignty of England
oi er Scotland, or of the perfections of Edward I. They



Online LibraryM. (Paul) Rapin de ThoyrasThe history of England : written in French (Volume 1) → online text (page 157 of 360)