Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/354

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298
[1322 A.D.-
Robert the Bruce.

salmon, deerskins, and lard from Scottish ports, and brought back corn in exchange from the south of England.[1] But the evil teaching of a generation of warfare had encouraged the growth of piracy in British waters. Record remains of a gruesome affair which took place off Whitby, wherein a Scottish merchant-vessel, la Pelarym (pelerin), was seized, all on board slain, consisting of her master, nine Scottish merchants, sixteen Scottish pilgrims, and thirteen women passengers—thirty-nine souls in all. The cargo, valued at £2000, was stolen, and the ship set adrift.[2]

King Robert was still of an age when life may be enjoyed by men of good health, for he was no more than fifty-one; but his constitution had been strained by the excessive exertions of the last twenty years, and he began to suffer from a disease which the historians of the fourteenth century describe as leprosy, the seeds of which had been sown amid the exposure and privation of the early years of his reign. In spite, however, of frequent attacks of suffering, he diligently employed the comparative leisure attained by the prevailing truce in conducting the internal affairs of his kingdom. In March, 1325, he held a Parliament at Scone, where special attention was given to the needs of Melrose Abbey, which had been utterly wrecked by the English in their retreat from Edinburgh. To enable them to rebuild their monastery and church, the abbot and convent received a grant of all the dues leviable by the judiciary of Roxburgh, to the extent of £2000 sterling.

  1. Bain, iii., 156.
  2. Ibid., 162.