Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/137

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1305 A.D.]
103
The Death of Wallace.

Bartholomew's Day.[1] His journey abroad, of which the prospect had so profoundly disturbed the harmony of the conclave at Selkirk, was undertaken in the early summer of 1299, with the object of securing the active assistance of King Philip of France and, what was of even greater importance, the favour of the Pope to the Scottish cause. In both of these objects he succeeded eventually ; though at first it seemed as though he had run his head into a noose. Philip, being at the time anxious to gain Edward's good-will, put Wallace in prison, and wrote to inform Edward of what he had done, asking if he would accept the custody of the late governor of Scotland. Edward, as may be supposed, accepted the offer eagerly, for the subjugation of Scotland had come to be much nearer his heart than any questions of Continental territory. But something induced Philip to change his mind. He not only set Wallace free, but wrote a letter to Pope Boniface VIII., commending "our beloved William de Walois knight of Scotland" to the favour of his Holiness.[2] The Pope, in turn, wrote to Edward on June 27th, commanding him to desist from his attempts to conquer Scotland, which he claimed as the property of the Holy See, and to release the Bishop of Glasgow and other ecclesiastics.[3]

King Philip had already, in the previous summer, attempted to include the Scots, as his allies, in the truce concluded with Edward at the treaty of Provins,

  1. Bain, ii., 518.
  2. National MSS., vol. i., p. lxv.
  3. Fœdera.