Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/94

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Robert the Bruce.

[1291 A.D.-

moned a Parliament to meet at Berwick on October 15, 1292. Three questions were submitted for its decision on behalf of the King of England, to all of which Parliament returned unanimous answers. The tenour of these answers threw upon the King the responsibility of decision in the matter under dispute, according to the laws and usages of his kingdoms. If no such laws and usages existed, or if they differed in England and Scotland, then he should create new ones, with the advice of Parliament. The succession to the Crown should be regulated in the same way as succession to earldoms, baronies, and other indivisible inheritances.

Next, on November 6th, the two claimants-in-chief were heard at great length and in great detail; after which, all the other competitors, except de Hastings, having finally withdrawn their claims, King Edward proceeded to deliver judgment on November 17th.

"As it is admitted that the kingdom of Scotland is indivisible, and as the King of England must judge the right of his subjects according to the laws and usages of the kingdoms over which he reigns; and as by the laws and usages of England and Scotland in the succession to indivisible heritage, the more remote in degree of the first line of descent is preferable to the nearer in degree of the second, therefore it is decreed that John de Balliol shall have seisine of the realm of Scotland ... saving always the right of the said King of England and his heirs, whenever they shall choose to put it forward."

It is beyond all question that, according to the law of primogeniture, as it has since been interpreted and as it would take effect at the present day, this was an equitable decision. This law, however, was not firmly established at that time, and the Scottish