Desultory negotiations for a durable peace were carried on through the summer of 1321, the last formal attempt being the mission of John of Brittany, Earl of Richmond, to treat with the Scots at Newcastle-on-Tyne. But Edward's terms were inconsistent with the absolute independence of Scotland, and proceedings, often renewed, were as often broken off. Christmastide drew near, when the truce would come to an end, and a permanent settlement was as far off as ever, when the rebellion of the Earl of Lancaster plunged England into civil war and withdrew the unhappy Edward's attention from Scottish affairs. A secret treaty between Douglas and Lancaster had been drafted, of which the terms were fully set forth in a paper afterwards found on the person of the Earl of Hereford, who was slain at the battle of Boroughbridge, March 15, 1322. This treaty bound the King of Scots, Moray, and Douglas to assist Lancaster, who is referred to in the document as King Arthur, at all times in England, Wales, or Scotland, without claiming any share in his conquests. Lancaster, on his part, engaged never to fight against the Scots, and to do all in his power to secure a durable peace on the basis of Scottish independence, so soon as his own work should be accomplished.
The agreement never was ratified. Lancaster wrote to Douglas, requesting him to fix a meeting at which "we may adjust all the points of our alliance, and agree to live and die together." The letter, which Douglas ought to have received on
- Fædera, ii., 479.