Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/282

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Robert the Bruce.

[1314 A.D.-

Fordun exults over the vast sums obtained for the ransom of other nobles and knights taken prisoners.

"The whole land of Scotland," he says, "overflowed with boundless wealth."

His crushing defeat, the loss of all his stores, the capture or death of many of his best generals, and, above all, the terrible loss of English prestige, might have disposed Edward, had he been a wiser monarch or surrounded by wiser counsellers, to begin negotiations for peace as soon as he was safe at York. But there is nothing to show that he entertained the idea. His borders were left without defence, and King Robert, having at command such active lieutenants as his brother Edward, on whom he had bestowed his own earldom of Carrick, and the Black Douglas, was not likely to neglect his opportunity. He sent Carrick, Douglas, and de Soulis to invade Northumberland in the beginning of August. They wasted the whole of that county; the unhappy farmers being doomed to see their ripening crops trodden to mire or burned, and all their live-stock driven away. The ecclesiastical registers of Carlisle, Durham, and York contain letters presenting a piteous memorial of the terrors of this and the succeeding years. The bishoprick of Durham bought immunity from fire, at least, by paying a heavy indemnity; but the Scots penetrated Yorkshire as far as Teesdale, and returned by Appleby and Coupland, which they burnt.

On September 9th, King Edward assembled his Parliament at York. The Earl of Pembroke was appointed Guardian of the country between Trent and Tweed. Letters were considered, brought by