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Sir William Wallace
Chapter VIII The Betrayal and Death of Wallace


'IN the history of the next five years' after the battle of Falkirk, writes Lingard, Wallace's 'name is scarcely ever mentioned.' The suggestion seems to be that Wallace ceased to be an influential factor in the course of events. But after all Lingard is driven to acknowledge the force of Wallace's personality, at the expense of his own consistency. He comes to admit that 'the only man whose enmity could give' Edward a 'moment's uneasiness, was Wallace.' The statement looks remarkably like a reproduction Of an English scribe's assertion that, after the submission of Comyn and the other nobles, there was left but 'one disorderly fellow (unus ribaldus), William Wallace by name, who gave the King just a touch of uneasiness' Edward

himself, it is plain, had formed a" very different estimate of that touch. He was well aware that the other Scots leaders would stand with him or against him according to the strength of his grip on the country; more than once he had beheld both sides of the political coats of most of them. The more dangerous of them—three or four—he could muzzle effectivelyenough by a short period of banishment, during which he would reduce the inflammability of the materials they could work upon. Wallace, however, was a conspicuously abler man than any of the time-servers; he was the one prominent Scot that had never submitted; and he was known to be resolutely irreconcilable. There remained only one course: Wallace must be destroyed.

Edward, with the siege of Stirling before him, would not have been likely to allow resentment to overbear policy in the case of any of the Scots leaders, unless he had become convinced that the particular offender was either not worth consideration or else hopelessly recalcitrant. There must, indeed, as Lingard says, have been 'something peculiar' in Wallace's case, 'which rendered him less deserving of mercy' than the others. Wallace alone was expressly excluded from the treaty of Strathord. Sir John Comyn, the head and front of the immediate offending, escaped easily by the ignominious door of abject humiliation. The Steward and Sir John de Soulis, who had on previous occasions bent to like necessities, were let off with two years' banishment south of Trent. Sir Simon Fraser and Thomas du Bois— both men that compelled the respect of their opponents —were more severely dealt with, by exile for three years from Scotland, England, and France. Yet Edward must have had very distinctly in his mind the mortifying defeat of Roslin, achieved by Comyn and Fraser. The chameleon Bishop of Glasgow, 'for the great harm he has done,' was merely banished for two or three years. In any case, these judgments were but slackly enforced, even in those instances where enforcement was within Edward's power. But Wallace—'he may come in to the King's grace, if he thinks good.' It is idle to speculate what Edward would have done with him if he had then 'come into the King's grace.'

Edward had certainly made attempts to conciliate Wallace. By the agency of Warenne, he did so just before the battle of Stirling. He may even have offered the patriot his royal pardon, with lordships and lands. Bower says he did. He may, though not at all probably, have dangled before him the crown of Scotland under English suzerainty. The record of the judgment pronounced on Wallace mentions that after Falkirk the King had 'mercifully caused him to be recalled to his peace'; and the reference is probably to some specific overture, and not merely to the general summons. Bower reproduces the story that Wallace's friends now urged his acceptance of the proposed terms, and that Wallace thereupon delivered his sentiments as follows:-

'O desolate Scotland, over-credulous of deceptive speeches, and little foreseeing the calamities that are coming upon you! If you were to judge as I do, you would not readily place your neck under a foreign yoke. When I was a youth, I learned from my uncle, a priest, this proverb—a proverb worth more than all the riches of the world—and ever since I have marked it in my mind

And therefore, in a word, I declare that, if all Scotsmen together yield obedience to the King of England, or part each one with his own liberty, yet I and my comrades who may be willing to adhere to me in this behalf, will stand for the freedom of the realm ; and, with God's help, we will obey no man but the King, or his lieutenant.'

Whether this striking scene was ever enacted or not, there can be no doubt that the writer represents with - fidelity the attitude of Wallace.- The rejection of the King's proffered clemency, even if but indirectly or generally proffered, would naturally sting his proudly sensitive feeling. In any case, Edward was fully satisfied that he would never have peace in Scotland while Wallace was in the field, and that Wallace would contemn alike his threats and his promises, and succumb only to superior force or to insidious policy.

Early in 1303-4, Edward had made up his mind that he would receive Wallace on no terms short of unconditional surrender, and he was determined to have him in his power at the earliest possible moment. To somewhere very near this period—say February—must probably be assigned an undated draft of letters-patent, whereby Edward grants to his 'chier vadlet' (dear vallet), Edward de Keith, afterwards Sheriff of Selkirk, all goods and chattels of whatever kind he may gain from Sir William Wallace, the King's enemy, to his own profit and pleasure. At this date, certainly, Edward was putting all irons in the fire to accomplish his intense wish to lay hands upon the redoubtable Wallace.

About this time Wallace and his followers appear to have been hovering not very far away, south of Forth. Sir Alexander de Abernethy, Warden between the Mounth and the Forth, had been despatched by the Prince of Wales to Strathearn, Menteith, and Drip, to guard the passage of the river. Sir Alexander appears to have written to the King on the subject of terms to Wallace. In his answer, dated March 3, Edward laid down definitively, once more, the requirement of unconditional submission:-

' In reply to your request for instructions as to whether it is our pleasure that you should hold out to William Wallace any words of peace, know that it is not at all our pleasure that you hold out any word of peace to him, or to any other of his company, unless they place themselves absolutely (de haut ci de bas) and in all things at our will without any reservation whatsoever.'

The final corrections of the original draft of this letter indicate how careful Edward was to express his stern resolution with unmistakable precision and emphasis. Wallace must surrender at discretion.

There is nothing to show whether Sir Alexander Abernethy had put the point to Edward of his own motion, in view of contingencies, or on the prompting of some application addressed to him from the Scots side. It seems more likely that he was hopeful of success, and wished to fortify himself with definite instructions. The first paragraph of the letter shows markedly the King's sense of the importance of Sir Alexander's service: he urges the knight to all possible diligence; he signifies where aid, if necessary, may be had; and he orders that Sir Alexander shall not leave his service in these parts unaccomplished, 'neither for the parliament nor for any other business.' The same day (March 3), Edward wrote to 'his loyal and faithful Robert de Brus,' applauding his diligence on that side the Forth, and urging him, 'as the robe is well made, you will be pleased to make the hood.' Two days later he directed the Prince of Wales to reinforce Abernethy at the fords and passes above Drip; and on March i i he sent special instructions also to the Earl of Strathearn to see to the guarding of the fords and of the country about, so that none of the enemy might cross to injure the King's lieges on the north side. The proximity of Wallace, and the hope of putting him down finally, no doubt had a foremost place in Edward's calculations. It does not seem likely, though it may have been the case, that application had been made to Abernethy on behalf of Wallace; perhaps the King's reply would have specifically indicated the fact. It is not to be believed for an instant that any such application would have been made with the sanction or knowledge of Wallace himself.

But for the absurd bias of Langtoft, one might be inclined to connect an episode of his with the negotiations that issued in the treaty of Strathord and with Sir Alexander de Abernethy's letter. After Christmas 1303, Langtoft says, Wallace lay in the forest—the glen of Pittencrieff has been suggested as the particular spot— and 'through friends' made request to the King at Dunfermline 'that he may submit to his honest peace without surrendering into his hands body or head, but that the King grant him, of his gift, not as a loan, an honourable allowance of woods and cattle, and by his writing the seisin and investment for him and his heirs in purchased land.' The whole bent of Wallace's mind was undoubtedly against any such application. Anyhow, 'the King,' says Langtoft, 'angered at this demand, breaks into a rage, commends Wallace to the devil, and all that grows on him, and promises 300 marks to the man that shall make him headless.' Whereupon Wallace takes to the moors and the hills and 'robs for a living.'

Wallace, however, had very different business on hand. Apparently he had found it hopeless to effect the passage of the Forth or to communicate with Stirling Castle; Sir John de Segrave, the Warden south of Forth, had joined hands with Bruce and Clifford to attack him. He had therefore retired into Lothian, Sir Simon Fraser with him, and the English force in pursuit. A renegade Scot, John de Musselburgh—let his name be pilloried!— guided the English commander to the retreat of his countrymen. Wallace and Fraser were brought to bay at Peebles (Hopperewe) in Tweeddale, and defeated. The news was brought to Edward at Aberdour on March 12; and on March 15, John of Musselburgh received from the gratified King's own hand the noble guerdon of 10s.

Already Edward was deep in preparations for the siege of Stirling, which, as we have seen, absorbed his whole energies from the middle of March till late in July. On July 25, 1304, the day after the formal surrender of the obstinate castle, he was in high good humour. There has been preserved the roll of magnates and others that served under him in this campaign; and one of the paragraphs informs us how the King on that day commanded fourteen barons therein named to settle in what manner they and the others on the roll should be rewarded for the services they had rendered. At the same time his mind recurred with renewed energy to Sir William Wallace. A later paragraph represents him as attempting to enlist the Scots leaders whose terms of submission had been arranged in the beginning of February, in a comprehensive hunt after Wallace. There is no crude mention of a specific blood-price in marks. But on the success of the hunt their own future treatment is made very expressly dependent. Comyn, Lindsay, Graham, and Fraser, who had been adjudged to go into exile, as well as other Sects liegemen of Edward, were enjoined to do their endeavour 'between now and the twentieth day after Christmas' to capture Wallace and to render him to the King. The King will see how they bear themselves in the business, and will show more favour to the man that shall have captured Wallace, by shortening his term of exile, by diminishing the amount of his ransom or of his obligation for trespasses, or by otherwise lightening his liabilities. It is further ordained that the Steward, Sir John de Soulis, and Sir Ingram de Umfraville shall not have any letters of safe- conduct to come into the power of the King until Sir William Wallace shall have been surrendered to him. It stands to the eternal credit of the comrades of Wallace that they do not appear—not one of them—to have taken a single step to better or shield themselves by ignominious treachery to their undaunted friend.

Apparently Wallace and Fraser had got together some followers again, after their defeat at Peebles, and had drawn towards Stirling in the hope of effecting some diversion in favour of the gallant garrison. They do not, however, seem to have been strong enough to contribute any useful support. After the capitulation of Stirling Castle, an English force appears to have proceeded against them, for in September there is record of a pursuit after Wallace 'under Earnside.' But there are no particulars available: the record affords but a momentary glimpse into the darkness.

Meantime the attempt to capture Wallace was steadily kept up by Edward and his emissaries. On February 28, 1304-5, Ralph de Haliburton, who was—unhappily for his honour—one of the Scots survivors of the siege of Stirling Castle, was released from prison in England, and delivered to Sir John de Mowbray, 'of Scotland, knight,' to be taken to Scotland 'to help those Scots that were seeking to capture Sir William Wallace.' It stands on record that Sir John and others gave security to re-enter Ralph at the parliament in London in three weeks from Easter (April iS), 'after seeing what he can do.' But, so far as appears, the miserable renegade was not able to do anything effective. Is this possibly 'Ralph Raa'?

Somewhere about this period may probably be placed an episode in the chequered career of a Scots squire, Michael de Miggel, who had been in Wallace's hands, if not actually of his company. Michael had done homage to Edward in the crowd on March 14, 1295-96, but had promptly repented, for in six weeks' time he was taken prisoner in Dunbar Castle. For eighteen months thereafter he was confined in the Castle of Nottingham; which may probably indicate that the English officers were aware that he needed to be strictly looked after, On September 1, 1305, an inquisition was held at Perth 'on certain articles touching the person of Michael de Miggel,' the substantial charge apparently being that he had been a confederate of Wallace. The sworn statement of the inquisitors was 'that he had been lately taken prisoner forcibly against his will by 'William le WTaleys; that he escaped once from William for two leagues, but was followed and brought back by some armed accomplices of William's, who was firmly resolved to kill him for his flight; that he escaped another time from said William for three leagues or more, and was again brought back a prisoner by force with the greatest violence, and hardly avoided death at William's hands, had not some accomplices of William's entreated for him; whereon he was told if he tried to get away a third time he should lose his life. Thus it appears,' they concluded, 'he remained with William through fear of death, and not of his own will.' The explanation served. The date 'lately' in all probability places the episode in the last few months of Wallace's career. It at least confirms the strenuous persistence of Wallace, as far as his means would permit, against the enemies of his country, and their relentless hunting down of all his adherents.

Unable to maintain himself in the east, Wallace retired to the west. Whether Harry be right or wrong in making Sir Aymer de Valence bargain with Sir John de Menteith for the capture of the patriot, matters little; the result is the same. Menteith, in any case, took up the hunt. It has been somewhat strangely urged in palliation of his infamy, that he was then Edward's man. True, he was Edward's man; and since March 20, 1303-4, he had been Constable of Dumbarton Castle and town, and Sheriff of Dumbartonshire. He was therefore acting in the plain way of duty. At the same time, the previous question remains to be disposed of: why was he, a Scots knight, the man of the English King? Instead of palliating his infamy, his official position only deepens its blackness. The despised Harry finds a much more plausible excuse for the poor-spirited creature. Harry depicts him as displaying reluctance; as urging to Sir Aymer-

'He is our governor; For us he stood in many a felon stour, Not for himself, but for our heritage: To sell him thus it were a foul outrage.'

Harry appears to think that Menteith was Constable of Dumbarton in Wallace's interest; and the dramatic remonstrance he puts into Menteith's mouth is sufficiently transparent. However, it elicits from Sir Aymer a promise that Wallace's life shall be safe, and that Edward will be satisfied if his great enemy be securely lodged in prison. On this promise, Menteith consents. True or untrue, it is the only decent plea that has ever been suggested on Menteith's behalf; and even then it disgraces his intelligence. Harry further indicates that Menteith, after all, delayed somewhat in the execution of the project. He says that Edward wrote to Menteith privately, and 'prayed him to haste.' The infamous wretch sorely needs the full benefit of Harry's palliations.

Menteith proceeded to carry out his scheme. Harry says he got 'his sister's son' to attach himself to Wallace's personal following, with full instructions for the betrayal. The youth was to inform Menteith of Wallace's movements, so as to enable him to effect the capture under the most favourable conditions. This subordinate tool is said to have been named Jack Short: the authority of Langtoft is usually given, but mistakenly; it is not Langtoft, but Langtoft 'illustrated and improved' by Robert of Brunne, that mentions 'Jack Short his man' as the instrument of Wallace's betrayal, adding by way of explanation, that 'Jack's brother had he slain.'

The desired opportunity soon offered. According to Harry, Bruce, in reply to an invitation to come and claim the crown, informed Wallace that he would devise an excuse for leaving the English court, and endeavour to meet him on Glasgow Moor on the first night of July. Attended only by the ever - faithful Kerly and the treacherous emissary of Menteith, Wallace rode out on several evenings from Glasgow to Robroyston, in expectation of Bruce. On 'the eighth night,' Menteith received notice, and with sixty sworn men—'of his own kin, and of kinsmen born'—he hurried to the scene. About midnight, Wallace and Kerly went to sleep - a very unlikely thing for Kerly to do in the circumstances. The traitorous attendant then is said to have removed their arms, and given the signal to Menteith. Kerly was instantly despatched. Wallace started up, and, missing his arms, defended himself with his hands. Menteith then came forward, and represented that resistance was in vain, the house being surrounded by English troops; that the English really did not wish to kill him; and that he would be safe under his protection in his (Wallace's) own house in Dumbarton Castle. Wallace thought that Menteith, his gossip—nay, 'his gossip twice' (for Major, in consonance with Harry, records that Wallace had stood godfather to two of Menteith's children)—might be trusted; still he made him swear. As Harry remarks, 'That wanted wit; what should his oaths avail any more, seeing he had been long forsworn to him?' The oath taken, Wallace resigned his hands to the 'sure cords' of Menteith.

As they fared forth, Wallace saw no Southrons, and he missed Kerly—to him convincing signs of betrayal. Still Menteith protested that the sole intention was to keep their prisoner in security; there was no design against his life. The truth, however, was at once evident. Menteith did not proceed to Dumbarton, but took his way right south with all speed, 'aye holding the waste land,' for 'the traitors durst not pass where Scotsmen were masters,' and it was essential to their purpose to gain time on Wallace's men, and to baffle the certain pursuit. On the south side of 'Solway sands,' Menteith delivered Wallace to Sir Aymer de Valence and Sir Robert de Clifford, who conducted him 'full fast' to Carlisle, where they threw him into prison. His real custodian, however, appears to have been Sir John de Segrave, the Warden south of Forth.

Such writers as exculpate Menteith from participation in the capture of Wallace lie under the obligation of explaining the following facts. There still exists a document that looks like a memorandum of business for Edward's parliament or council. It notes that 40 marks are to be given to the vallet who spied out (espia) William Wallace; that 6o marks are to be given to the others, and that the King desires they shall divide the money among them; and that £ioo in land is to be given to John de Menteith. Again: shortly after the middle of September, when the Scots commissioners attended the English parliament for the special purpose of agreeing to regulations for the settlement of Scotland, nine, instead of ten, appeared; and in place of Earl Patrick, who was the absent member, Sir John de Menteith 'by the King's command was chosen.' By one of the regulations then agreed to, Sir John de Menteith was confirmed in the governorship of Dumbarton Castle. Further: on November 20, 1305, a signal mark of royal favour is recorded with peculiar emphasis. At the request of 'his faithful and loyal John de Menteith,' Edward commands his Chancellor to issue letters of protection and safe-conduct in favour of certain burgesses of St. Omer passing with their goods and merchandise through his dominions; the letters to be framed in such especial form as John de Menteith shall wish 'in reason,' to last for two or three years as pleases him most. The Chancellor is to deliver them without delay to Menteith, and to no other; for the King has granted them to him 'with much regret,' and would have given them to no other than himself. And finally, on June 16, 1306, Edward commands Sir Aymer de Valence to deliver to Sir John de Menteith the temporality of the bishopric of Glasgow towards Dumbarton, during pleasure; and on the same date he informs Sir Aymer that he has ordered the Chancellor and Chamberlain to prepare a charter granting the Earldom of the Lennox to Sir John de Menteith, 'as one to whom he is much beholden for his good service, as Sir Aymer tells him, and he hears from others,' and he commands Sir Aymer to give him seisin. Harry may have mixed up the facts a little, but it is plain that he has got hold of the main thread. Apart from the capture of Wallace, it is simply incredible that Menteith's services would have been deemed so markedly valuable in the eyes of the English King.

Having apprised Edward of the capture of his great enemy, Valence and Clifford brought Wallace on to London. Harry says Valence and Clifford, but no doubt he ought to have said Sir John de Segrave; at any rate, Wallace was in the custody of Segrave on August 18. The news of Wallace's coming had spread far and wide, and as the cavalcade approached the capital, it was met by a multitude of men and women, curious to gaze upon the rebellious savage—says Stow, 'wondering upon him.' The illustrious captive was lodged in the house of Alderman William de Leyre, in the parish of Allhallows Staining, at the end of Fenchurch Street. It may seem strange that he was not taken to the Tower. In any case, it is in the last degree improbable that the fact points to any intention of Edward to make a final attempt to secure Wallace's submission to his grace. There is certainly more probability in Carrick's conjecture, that the reason was 'the difficulty which the party encountered in making their way through the dense multitudes who blocked up the streets and lanes leading to the Tower.' Anyhow, it is a point of very subordinate interest. The date of the arrival was Sunday, August 22.

No time was lost. Everything was in readiness. The very next morning, Monday, August 23, 1305, Wallace was conducted on horseback from the City to Westminster, to undergo the farce of trial. Sir John de Segrave was in command of the escort, and with him there rode the Mayor, Sheriffs, and Aldermen of London, followed by a great number of people, on horseback and on foot. Arrived at Westminster Hall, Wallace was placed on the bench on the south side. It is said that, as he sat there awaiting his doom, he was crowned with a garland of laurel leaves. The popular English fancy absurdly associated this strange procedure with an alleged assertion of Wallace's in times past, to the effect that he deserved to wear a crown in that Hall. Some writers regard it as a mark of derision. Llewelyn's head had been exposed on the battlements of the Tower crowned with a wreath of ivy—said to be in fulfilment of a prophecy of Merlin's. Sir Simon Fraser is said, in the ballad, to have been drawn through the streets to the gallows with 'a garland on his head after the new guise'; though Langtoft says Fraser's head was fixed on London Bridge 'without chaplet of flowers,' as if the omission were a noticeable breach of custom. It is a mistake, then, to suppose that the garland was a special insult to Wallace. It may have marked the satisfaction of victory over a notable enemy. It may be taken as the fillet of the destined victim.

The Commissioners appointed to try Wallace were Sir John de Segrave; Sir Peter Malory, the Lord Chief Justice; Ralph de Sandwich, the Constable of the Tower; John de Bacwell (or Banquelle), a judge; and Sir John le Blound (Blunt), Mayor of London. They had been appointed by Edward on August 18. They were all present. The indictment was comprehensive, charging sedition, homicide, spoliation and robbery, arson, and various other felonies. The charge of sedition or treason was based on Edward's conquest of Scotland. On Balliol's forfeiture, he had reduced all the Scots to his lordship and royal power; had publicly received homage and fealty from the prelates, earls, barons, and a multitude of others; had proclaimed his peace throughout Scotland; and had appointed wardens, his lieutenants, sheriffs, and others, officers and men, to maintain his peace and to do justice. Yet this Wallace, forgetful of his fealty and allegiance, had risen against his lord; had banded together a great number of felons, and feloniously attacked the King's wardens and men; had, in particular, attacked, wounded, and slain William de Hazeirig, Sheriff of Lanark, and, in contempt of the King, had cut the said Sheriff's body in pieces; had assailed towns, cities, and castles of Scotland; had made his writs run throughout the land as if he were Lord Superior of that realm; and, having driven out of Scotland all the wardens and servants of the Lord King, had set up and held parliaments and councils of his own. More than that, he had counselled the prelates, earls, and barons, his adherents, to submit themselves to the fealty and lordship of the King of France, and to aid that sovereign to destroy the realm of England. Further, he had invaded the realm of England, entering the counties of Northumberland, Cumberland, and Westmoreland, and committing horrible enormities. He had feloniously slain all he had found in these places, liegemen of the King; he had not spared any person that spoke the English tongue, but put to death, with all the seventies he could devise, all—old men and young, wives and widows, children and sucklings. lie had slain the priests and the nuns, and burned down the churches, 'together with the bodies of the saints and other relics of them therein placed in honour.' In such ways, day by day and hour by hour, he had seditiously and feloniously persevered, to the danger alike of the life and the crown of the Lord King. For all that, when the Lord King invaded Scotland with his great army and defeated William, who opposed him in a pitched battle, and others his enemies, and granted his firm peace to all of that land, he had mercifully had the said William Wallace recalled to his peace. Yet William, persevering seditiously and feloniously in his wickedness, had rejected his overtures with indignant scorn, and refused to submit himself to the King's peace. Therefore, in the court of the Lord King, he had been publicly outlawed, according to the laws and customs of England and Scotland, as a misleader of the lieges, a robber, and a felon.

It was laid down as not consonant with the laws of England, that a man so placed beyond the pale of the laws, and not afterwards restored to the King's peace, should be admitted either to defend himself or to plead. Still it is recorded that Wallace, whether regularly or irregularly, did reply to Sir Peter Malory, denying that he had ever been a traitor to the English King. He is also said to have acknowledged the other charges preferred. There are allegations of wanton and extravagant misdeeds that undoubtedly merited denial, and could not have been positively acknowledged by Wallace. It may be that he considered it futile to raise any further objection, and heard the charges with the contempt of silent indifference.

Sentence was pronounced:

'That the said William, for the manifest sedition that he practised against the Lord King himself, by feloniously contriving and acting with a view to his death and to the abasement and subversion of his crown and royal dignity, by opposing his liege lord in war to the death, be drawn from the Palace of Westminster to the Tower of London, and from the Tower to Aldgate, and so through the midst of the City, to the Elms.

'And that for the robberies, homicides, and felonies he committed in the realm of England and in the land of Scotland, he be there hanged, and afterwards taken down from the gallows;

'And that, inasmuch as he was an outlaw, and was not afterwards restored to the peace of the Lord King, lie be decollated and decapitated;

'And that thereafter, for the measureless turpitude of his deeds towards God and Holy Church in burning down churches, with the vessels and litters wherein and whereon the body of Christ and the bodies of saints and relics of these were placed, the heart, the liver, the lungs, and all the internal organs of William's body, whence such perverted thoughts proceeded, be cast into fire and burnt;

'And further, that inasmuch as it was not only against the Lord King himself, but against the whole Community of England and of Scotland, that he committed the aforesaid acts of sedition, spoliation, arson, and homicide, the body of the said William be cut up and divided into four parts; and that the head, so cut off, be set up on London Bridge, in the sight of such as pass by, whether by land or by water; and that one quarter be hung on a gibbet at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, another quarter at Berwick, a third quarter at Stirling, and the fourth at St. Johnston, as a warning and a deterrent to all that pass by and behold them.'

In execution of this atrocious sentence, Wallace was dragged at the tails of horses through the streets of London to the Elms in Smithfield (i.e. Smoothfieldlater Cow Lane, now King Street). At the foot of the gallows, he is said to have asked for a priest, in order to make confession. Harry seems confused in placing this incident before the procession to Westminster and his representation of the Archbishop of Canterbury as shriving Wallace, in defiance of Edward's express general prohibition, is at any rate highly coloured in the details. Harry further records that Wallace requested Clifford to let him have the Psalter that he habitually carried with him; and that, when this was brought, Wallace got a priest to hold it open before him 'till they to him had done all that they would.' The sentence was faithfully carried out through all its stages. The English chroniclers gloat over the inhuman savagery, some of them describing details of dishour to the heroic victims's body such as may find no place on this page. The head was fixed

formality of trial was a mere abuse of judicial process, calculated to befool people already disposed to be befooled. Once more Edward took care to shelter himself under the forms of legal procedure.

The elaborate series of. niheiits..assigned to the various categories of Wallaces's alledged misdeeds illustrates forcibly the base vindicitudes of Edward. A soldier like him might have been expected to show soldierly appreciation of the most gallant enemy he ever faced. The zeal manifested in vengeance for the alleged dishonour to God and the holy saints is sufficiently edifying, even for the early years of the fourteenth century. It cloaks the malignant gratification of personal malice with the dazzling profession of the championship of religion. When the spacious Abbey of Dunfermline was burnt to the ground only eighteen months before, that was presumably not for the dishonour, but for the glory, of God and the holy saints. The point of view is notoriously important.

Wallace was dead. His body was dismembered, and distributed in the great centres of his activity and influence, as an encouragement to English sympathisers, and a sign of retribution to Scots that might yet cherish. the foolishness of patriotism. The moral has been well rendered by Burton

'The death of Wallace stands forth among the violent ends which have had a memorable place in history. Proverbially such acts belong to a policy that outwits itself. But the retribution has seldom come so quickly, and so utterly in defiance of all human preparation and calculation, as here. Of the bloody trophies sent to frighten a broken people into abject subjection, the bones had not yet been bared ere they became tokens to deepen the wrath and strengthen the courage of a people arising to try the strength of the bands by which they were bound, and, if possible, break them once and for ever.'
Wallace had done his work right well and truly, as builder of the foundations of Scottish independence. He had sealed his faith with his blood. Probably he died despairing of his country. Yet barely had six months come and gone when his dearest wish was fulfilled. The banner of Freedom waved defiance from the towers of Lochmaben, and in the Chapel-Royal of Scone the Bruce was crowned King of Scotland.


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