Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/222

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Robert the Bruce.

[1307 A.D.-

quence of the raid, the Earl of Richmond was directed to march thither with all the force at his disposal. It did not suit King Robert's tactics to meet the new Viceroy in the open. He harboured among the hills he knew so well, levying tribute and enrolling recruits. These southern uplands are hallowed in the remembrance of the people of our day, chiefly by reason of the sufferings of the Covenanters; but that should not obliterate their earlier glory as the scene of the adventures of the Bruce—the true birthplace of Scottish independence.

According to the Chronicle of Lanercost, Richmond drove the King of Scots from the district, but there is no evidence of any encounter having taken place, and it must have been in accordance with his deliberate strategy that Bruce avoided one, and moved northwards in the early winter of 1307, in order to raise the people in the national cause. With him went his brother Edward, the Earl of Lennox, Sir Gilbert de la Haye, and Sir Robert Boyd, but he left a formidable lieutenant in the person of Sir James de Douglas, to carry on hostilities in the south.

Douglas began by retaking his own castle of that name, which the English had been busy rebuilding since its destruction in the "Douglas Larder." He had already made a second attempt upon it, though without success; but this time his plans were laid with greater care.

It was on the morning of Lanark fair, in September or October, 1307, that Douglas, having laid a strong ambush near the castle, caused fourteen of