Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/144

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108
[1299 A.D.-
Robert the Bruce.

show that he was scrupulous to pay for all supplies delivered for the use of his army.

But there remained a more potent influence for him to conciliate than the chiefs of the south-west. Pope Boniface's claim to the kingdom of Scotland had been delivered to him during the siege of Caerlaverock. It cannot have been agreeable reading for the proud King, but even the most puissant monarch of Europe had to weigh his thoughts well before incurring the frown of the Vice-gerent of God. So Edward began by releasing Wishart, Bishop of Glasgow, who thereupon took the oath of fealty to the King of England for the fourth time, swearing on the consecrated host, the gospels, the cross of St. Neot, and the Black Rood of Scotland. Nothing is more remarkable in the political history of this period than the freedom with which great men perjured themselves, except, indeed, the value which men continued to attach to the security of an oath.

On October 30th, at the instance of the King of France, a truce was concluded at Dumfries, to endure between England and Scotland till the following Pentecost. This truce Philip exerted himself to get prolonged, but in vain.

England was in no mood at the moment to brook further foreign interference, for Edward and his Parliament were busy at Lincoln drawing up a spirited reply to the Pope's claim to Scotland as a fief of the See of Rome. In matters spiritual, England, her King and people, were the dutiful servants of Holy Church ; but in temporal affairs — "Hands