Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

of Randolph Earl of Moray with the Papal Court, to engage it to bestow the title of King on Robert Bruce.

· The King of Scots, on his side, resolved to send ambassadors for soliciting a reconciliation with the church. Previous, however, to this embaffy, he judged it expedient that his nephew Randolph should endeavour to found the dispositions of the Papal court.

« The Pope fent'a narrative to the King of England of the conversation which passed between 'him and Randolph. The narrative is exceedingly curious and characteristical.

Randolph having been admitted to an audience, informed the Pope, that he had made a vow to repair to the Holy-land, but that he could not accomplish it without the permission of the Papal fee; and that the main purpose of his journey to Avignon was to seek the indulgences usually bestowed on those who undertook that religious expedition.

The Pope made answer, that it was not fit to grant such permission and indulgences to one who, as a fimple individual, could not perform any effectual services; and, as an excommunicated person, could not further his own salvation in Palestine: but, he added, that he would hereafter lend a favourable ear to this petition, if Randolph did his utmost endeavours for procuring the establishment of peace between the two nations.

• Randolph then said, that. ambassadors were speedily to be sent from Scotland, to solicit a reconciliation with the church, and he requested the Pope to grant them his own pasport in ample form.

· The Pope, although he could not grant this, offered to issue letters requisitorial for their safe conduct, addressed to all the Princes through whose territories they might have occasion to journey.

Randolph next produced a commission from his uncle of the following tenor : « The King of Scots makes offer to the Pope, that he will accompany the French King in his intended expedition to the Holy-land; and, if that expedition fhould not take place, that he himself will repair in person to the Holy-land, or send his nephew, Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray, in his stead.”

• To this proposal the Pope made anfwer, “ that, until Bruce concluded a peace with England, and was reconciled to the church, it would not be decent to receive him as a crusader, either in society with the French King, or by himself.”

• Then the threwd ambassador observed, that his own wishes were most ardent for- peace with England, and for a perfect reconciliation with the Catholic church: that to this end he would sincerely labour, were he allisted by the good offices of

his

his Holiness; but that, for rendering fuch interposition effectual, it would be expedient, and indeed absolutely necessary, that a bull should be addressed to Bruce, under the appellation of King. He was confident that a bull, with that conciliating title, would be reverently received; but he greatly feared, that if the name of King was with-held, that which had happened formerly would again happen *, and the bull would remain unopened.

- The

[ocr errors]

This refers to the following transaclions, in 1397 (fix years before the negociation now mentioned) viz. ' After the return of the King of Scots from his expedition into Ireland,' [in which, as our Author temarks, he had the glory of over-running that kingdom, at the expence of the lives of many of his most faithful subjects) 6. Pope John XXII. issued a' bull commanding a truce for two years between England and Scotland, under pain of excommunication. He dispatched two Cardinals into Britain to make known his commands, and he privately impowered them to inflia the highest spiritual cenfures on Robert Bruce, and on whomever else they thought fit.

“ There is extant an authentic account of the negociations of the Cardinals: it may be said to exhibit the best original portrait of Robert Bruce which has been preserved to our times.

About the beginning of September 1317, the Cardinals sent two messengers to the King of Scots. The King graciously received the messengers, and heard them with patient attention. After having consulied with his Barons, he made ansier, “ That he mightily defired to procure a good and perpetual peace, either by the mediation of the Cardinals, or by any other means. He allowed the open leta ters from the Pope, which recommended peace, to be read in his presence, and he listened to them with all due respect; but he would not receive the sealed letters addressed to Robert Bruce governing in Scotland.: :Among my Barons, faid he, there are many of the name of Robert Bruce, who'share in the government of Scotland ; these letters may possibly be addressed to some one of thein, but they are not addressed to me, who am l.ing of Scotland; I can receive no letters which are not addrefied under that title, unless with the advice and approbation of my parliament. I will forthwith assemble my parliament, and with their advice return my answer.

• The messengers attempted to apologize for the omiffion of the title of King : They said, * That the holy church was not wont, during the dependence of a controversy, to write or fay ought which might be interpreted as prejudicial to the claims of either of the contending parties." “ Since then, anfwered the King, my spiritual father and my holy mother would not prejudice the cause of my adversary, by beitowing on me the appellation of King during the dependence of the controversy, they ought not to bave prejudiced my cause by withdrawing that appeilation from me. I am in pobel fain of the kingdom of Scotland; all my people call me King; and foreign Princes address me under that 'title; but it seems that my parents are partial to their English fon. Had you prefumed to pre0 2

fent

"The Pope hastily consented to a proposal made with so much appearance of candour ; but recollecting the consequences of what he had done, he endeavoured to apologize for it to the King of England. “ I remember to have told you, said he, that my bestowing the title of King on Robert Bruce, would neither strengthen his claim, nor impair yours. My earnest defires are for a reconciliation and peace; and you well know, that my bull, issued for attaining those falutary purposes, will never, be received in Scotland, if I address it to Bruce under any other appellation but that of King. I therefore exhort you,

fent letters with such an address to any other sovereign Prince, you might, perhaps, have been answered in a harsher style ; but I reyerence you as the messengers of the holy see.” He delivered this sarcaftical and resolute answer with a mild and pleasant countenance.

"The messenger next requested the King to command a tem porary cessation of hostilities. “ To that, replied the King, I can never consent, without the approbation of my parliament, especially while the Englifh daily invade and spoil my people.”

• The King's counsellors told the meffengers, that if the letters had been addressed to the King of Scots, the negociations for peace would have instantly commenced. They imputed the slighting omiffion of the title of King to the intrigues of the English at the papal court, and they unguardedly hinted, that they had this intelligence from Avignon.

“ While the title of King is with held, said the messengers to their constituents, there can be no hopes of a treaty."

. On receiving this intelligence, the Cardinals resolved to proclaim the papal truce in Scotland. In this hazardous office they em. ployed Adam Newton, guardian of the monastery of Minorites, at Berwick : he was charged with letters to the Scottish clergy, and particularly to the Eishop of St. Andrews. He found the King of Scots with his army in a wood near Old Cambus, making preparations for the assault of Berwick. Although personal access to the King was denied, the obedient Monk proclaimed the truce by authority of the Pope. When the King of Scots was informed that the papal instruments still denied him his titles, he returned them back, saying, “ I will listen to no bulls, until I am treated as King of Scotland, and have made myself master of Berwick.”

• The Monk, terrified at this answer, requested either a safe con• duct to Berwick, or permission to pass into Scotland, and deliver let. ters to some of the Scottish clergy. But both his requests were de nied, and he was commanded forthwith to leave the country. In his return to Berwick he was way-laid, stripped, and robbed of all his parchments, together with his letters and inftructions. The robbers, it is said, tore the Pope's bull.

• In the whole transaction concerning the truce, the Pope appears to have been the servile tool of England. Edward submitted to an ordinance which, probably, he himself had projected, and which he saw to be necessary in the present exigencies of his affairs ; but Bruce despised and derided is.'

in your royal wisdom, that you would be pleased, patiently to suffer me to give him that appellation. I hear that reports have reached you, as if Randolph had made other propofals, prejudicial to you, and your kingdom; but you may affure yourself, that I would not have permitted any proposals of that nature to have been so much as mentioned in the absence of those to whom you have committed the superintendency of your affairs. Besides, Henry de Sully, a person of known zeal for your honour and interest; was present at the audience which I gave to Randolph; he heard all that passed, and he would not have suffered me, even if I had been so inclined, to receive any proposals prejudicial to you, or your kingdom,” 13th January 1323-4)

This narrative displays Randolph in the character of a confummate politician.

· His first request to the Pope was merely personal, exprersing his own zeal in the service of the church, and the estimation in which he held her indulgences; this he represented as the chief business of his journey to Avignon. Although the Pope could.nor grant the first and principal request of Randolph, yet he declared himself willing to liften to it whenever a proper opportunity should offer; and he made his future favour to depend on Randolph's fincerity in promoting the establishment of peace,

• Randolph then talked of a reconciliation with the church, an effential preliminary of peace; he mentioned an embassy from Scotland, having that obje&t in view; and he demanded a passport for the ambassadors in a form which would have persuaded the world that the Pope himself had invited a reconciliation. The Pope perceived the tendency of the request, and eluded it.

• Randolph next produced his commision from the King of Scots, offering to perform a service meritorious in itself, and connected with the glory of the French King, which could not fait of being interesting to a Pope born a Frenchman, and reliding at Avignon. · The Pope eluded this offer also, but without 'thewing any marks of difpleasure at the extraordinary propofal, that a person lyinġ under the curse of the church, Thould engage in a crusade by authority of the Pope.

• After Randolph had soothed the passions, and conciliated the favour of the Pontiff, he opened the true business of his embaffy; and that, not as from the King of Scots, but merely as the amicable suggestion of his own zeal for peace, and the honour of the church ; and he so judiciously enforced the topics of persuasion, that the Pope consented to give the title of King to one excommunicated person, by the advice of another.

Edward,

03

? Edward, however, was not convinced by that casuistry which held, “ that, to bestow the title of King on his antagonist, was a matter of indifference.” He remonstrated against: the concession which the Pope was willing to make; he said, that it was a thing dishonourable to the church, and highly prejudicial to the claims of the English crown: and he added, with great shew of reason, " that the Scottish nation would naturally conclude, that the Pope intended to acknowledge the right, where he had given the title.Neither did Edward omit to retort the maxim of Papal policy, “ that no alteration in the condition of the parties ought to be made during the subsistence of the truce.”

In the first volume of this work, the Author led the Public to expect that he designed to continue the Annals of Scotland till the restoration of James I. He has, however, concluded his performance at the accession of the House of Stewart; and he observes that there are various and invincible reasons which have influenced him to take this resolution. What these reasons are we inquire not. But we cannot help approving his conduct; for if he had followed his original intention, he must have broke off abruptly after having given but an indifferent specimen of the monarchs of the Stewart line, in the adminiftrations of Robert II, and Robert III. Robert II. did not maintain the reputation which he had acquired in his youth; and Robert III. was infirm in body, and feeble in mind ; so that the Duke of Albany actually ruled Scotland during the greater part of his reign, under the title of Governor or King's Lieutenant.

From the additions and corrections, which appear at the end of the second volume of the Annals, we perceive that Sir David Dalrymple has taken advantage of the observations communicated to him by friends and correspondents. His readiness to admit of criticisms, and to listen to information, is to be considered as very commendable and candid. It is infinitely perferable to the supercilious neglect, and the haughty averfion with which writers in general are so apt to receive them.

To conclude: it is with pleasure that we recommend this work to the attention of the Public; and we hope, that the example of the Author wiil induce other learned men of his nation to inquire into its history, and to court distinction by adorning its more important events, and by removing the difficulties with which it is almost every where perplexed.

ART.

« VorigeDoorgaan »