Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/77

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1291 A.D.]

The Disputed Succession.


in Orkney, and be received there by the Scottish commissioners. Immediately Edward appointed the Bishop of Durham, the Earl of Warenne, and the Dean of York to repair to meet her on landing.

Meanwhile the Bishop of St. Andrews wrote a letter to King Edward on October 7th, so remarkable in the light which it throws on the attitude of de Brus and de Balliol, and on the general state of Scotland at this juncture that, although it has often been printed, it is given here in full once more.

"To the most excellent Prince and most revered Lord, Sir Edward, by the grace of God most illustrious King of England, Lord of Ireland, and Duke of Guienne, his devoted chaplain William, by divine permission humble minister of the Church of St. Andrew in Scotland, wisheth health and fortunes prosperous to his wishes, with increase of glory and honour. As it was ordained lately in your presence, your ambassadors and the ambassadors of Scotland who had been sent to you, and also some nobles of the kingdom of Scotland, met at Perth on the Sunday next after the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, to hear your answer upon those things which were asked and treated by the ambassadors in your presence. Which answer of yours being heard and understood, the faithful nobles and a certain part of the community of Scotland returned infinite thanks to your Highness. And your foresaid ambassadors and we set ourselves to hasten our steps towards the parts of Orkney to confer with the ambassadors of Norway for receiving our Lady the Queen, and for this we had prepared our journey. But there sounded through the people a sorrowful rumour that our said Lady was dead, on which account the kingdom of Scotland is disturbed. And the said rumour being heard and published, Sir Robert de Brus, who before did not intend to come to the said meeting, came with great power to confer with some who were there; but what he intends to do, or how to act, as yet we know not. But the Earls of Mar and Athol are collecting their army, and some other nobles of the land are drawing to their party; and on that account there is fear of a general war and a great slaughter of men, unless the Highest, by means of your industry and good