Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/91

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1291 A.D.]
61
The Disputed Succession.

among themselves rendered war against Edward, who was the liege lord of most of them for their English possessions, a hopeless enterprise; in yielding voluntary submission they were anticipating the submission which must have been forced from them after a bloody contest. It is a bitter thing for a Scotsman, even at this distance of time, to have to admit that his country was helpless before the King of England's pretensions, but so it was. The fierce detestation of Edward of England, which generations of Scotsmen have learned to cherish, had no existence at the time of the proceedings of Upsettlington; it arose out of subsequent events. Hitherto he had been regarded, not as an aggressive tyrant, but as a powerful friend of Scotland, nearly related in blood to the lost line of Malcolm Canmore, and the most likely authority to deliver the realm from the evils of a disputed succession. That he should exact a substantial fee for his services as arbitrator, might be regretted, but there was no power to resist the demand. If this state of things be lost sight of, no clear view can be obtained of the momentous events of these years.


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