Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/71

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1291 A.D.]
41
The Disputed Succession.

John Comyn, Earl of Buchan, with the further note that the war was raised by the Earl of Carrick.[1] Again, the breaking out of war is given as the reason for increased expenditure on the castles of Dumfries, Edinburgh, Jedburgh, and Ayr, in the year 1286.[2] There can be no doubt that an attempt was made at this time to seize the kingdom for Robert de Brus, whom Alexander II. had designated as his heir in 1238. On September 20, 1286, certain nobles Patrick, Earl of March, and his three sons, Walter Comyn, Earl of Menteith, and his two sons, Robert de Brus, Lordof Annandale, and his two sons (Robert, Earl of Carrick, and Richard), James the Steward and his brother Sir John of Bonkil, Angus Macdonald and his son assembled at Turnberry and entered upon a bond of mutual defence, in order to secure the royal succession according to the ancient customs hitherto observed in Scotland.[3] There was not the slightest reference in this treaty (which is still in existence) to the child-queen Margaret, no doubt because the "ancient customs" did not permit of a female sovereign.

It must be left matter for speculation how the civil war was brought to a close. We have to resume the course of events in 1288, when the number of Guardians was reduced from six to four, by the assassination of the Earl of Fife by Sir Patrick Abercrombie and Sir Walter de Percy, and the death of the Earl of Buchan about the same time. Meanwhile, the far-sighted sagacity of King Edward had

  1. Exchequer Rolls, i., 39.
  2. Ibid., 37, 38, 42, 44.
  3. Stevenson, i., 22.