Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/105

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

1296 A.D.]

The Reign of John de Balliol.


against England; but their commander, Sir William de Douglas, surnamed "le Hardi," was kept a prisoner.

If Edward intended to strike terror among those whom he regarded as his rebellious subjects, and to crush the resistance to his rule by a display of inhuman severity, never did a ruler more hugely miscalculate a result. He was to learn the same lesson which many of his successors had to lay to heart—that Scotsmen may be led, but they will never be driven.

But the Scots had not yet found a leader whom they could follow. The cause of de Balliol was lost at the battle of Dunbar, where, on April 28th, the Earl of Warenne won a complete victory. King Edward then began a progress through Scotland, exacting fealty from the nobles, and receiving their renunciation of homage to de Balliol and of the French alliance.

James the Steward of Scotland surrendered Roxburgh Castle on May 13th, and swore on the Gospels to aid King Edward against "John de Balliol, late King of Scotland."[1] For Edward understood well how to play off the Bruce party against the Balliol.

  1. Palgrave, 152. From James the Steward afterwards came the royal house of Stuart, by the marriage of his son Walter the Steward with Marjorie, daughter of Robert I. The title of the office became hereditary as a surname; but it is curious to remember its early etymology, i.e., the Anglo-Saxon stige ward—sty ward, master of the hogs. An important office in primitive times, the term became applied to the seneschal, or head of the royal household, and thence to the chief officer of State.