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The Scottish Nation

BRUCE, or as it was anciently written, BRUS, the name of a family of Norman descent, which became one of the most illustrious in the annals of Scotland. The name, originally Brusi, had its origin among the Scandinavians or Northmen, and appears – through their matrimonial alliances with the vikingrs of Norway, who subdued the Orkney islands – in connection with the royal family of Scotland at a very early period of its authentic history. Sigurd the Stout, jarl or earl of Orkney, who married the daughter of Melkolm, probably Malcolm the Second, king of Scots, had four sons, Thorfinn, Sumarled, Brusi, and Elinar. Brusi, the third son, the Orkneyinga Saga, as quoted in the ‘Collectanea de Rebus Albanicis,’ printed for the Iona Club, informs us, was a very peaceful man, and clever, eloquent, and had many friends. After the death of Sumarled, disputes arose amongst the brothers about the division of his lands in Orkney and Caithness, and wars and scarcity ensued, but Brusi was contented with his third of Orkney, and “in that part of the land which Brusi had there was peace and prosperity.”

      From a branch of this family came, accordeing to Burke, Robert de Brusi, a descendant of Einar, fourth jarl of Orkney, brother of the famous Rollo, (great-great-grandfather of William the Conqueror,) who in 912 acquired Normandy, and became its first duke. This Robert de Brusi built the castle of La Brusee, now called Brix, in the diocese of Coutanse, near Volagnes. By his wife, Emma, daughter of Alain, count of Brittany, he had two sons, Alain de la Brusee, lord of Brusee castle, (married Agnes, daughter of Simon Montfort, earl of Evreux,) whose posterity remained in Normandy, and Robert de Brusee, the ancestor of the Bruses, and the first of that name who appeared in England. He accompanied William the Conqueror there in 1066, but died soon after. By his wife, Agnes, daughter of Waldonius, count of St. Clair, he had two sons, William and Adam, who both attended their father into England, and acquired great possessions, the former in Sussex, Surrey, Dorsetshire, and other counties, and the latter in Cleveland, of which the barony of Skelton was the principal. Adam died in 1098, leaving, by Emma his wife, daughter of a knight named Sir William Ramsay, three sons, namely, Sir Robert his heir; William, prior of Guisburn, and Duncan. After the death of his father, Sir Robert had forty-three lordships in the East and West Ridings of that county, and fifty-one in the North Riding, whereof Guisburn in Cleveland was one [Dugdale’s Baronage, v. i. p. 447.]

      His son, Robert de Brus of Cleveland, served as a companion in arms under Prince David, afterwards David the First of Scotland, during his “residence,” says our authority, “at the court of Henry the First of England;” but in reality, and as in all probability and consistency, during the conquest and a part of the period of his government of Cumbria – the district comprising the Lothians and Galloway as bestowed on that prince upon the death of his brother Edgar, – and received from him, along with the hand of a lady, a native of the land and heiress thereof, as his second wife, a grant of the lordship of Annandale, comprising all that territory called in Norman French Estra-hanent, ‘beyond or across Annent or Amnant,’ (afterwards altered into Strathannan or Annandale,) and all the lands from Estra-nit (Strathnith) the bounds of the property of Dunegall, (ancestor of the Randolphs, earls of Moray) into the limits of Ranulph de Meschines, then lord of cumberland, with a right to enjoy his casdtle there, with all the customs appertaining to it. The charter by which this large domain was conferred upon him established the tenure by the sword; that is, gave a right to take possession and retain by force of arms. For this princely gift, which he held by the tenure of military service, he did homage to the Scottish king. In 1138, during the civil war between King Stephen who had usurped the throne of England, and Matilda, the rightful heiress, niece of the king of Scots, when the latter, in support of the claims of his relative, had led an expedition into England and advanced as far as Northallerton, de Brus was sent, by the barons of the north of England, (who, if not attached to the cause of Stephen, were satisfied it was their safety to maintain it and had assembled a force for that purpose,) in order to gain time to increase their strength, to negotiate, or rather to remonstrate with him. At the commencement of the war, he had renounced his allegiance to David, and resigned his lands in Annandale to his son by his second marriage. He represented that the English and Normans, against whom he was then arrayed, had repeatedly restored the power and authority of the Scottish monarchs when driven out by their subjects of the ancient races of the country, and that they were more faithful to the royal family than were the Scots themselves, who rejoiced at this unnatural war, because it afforded them an opportunity of displaying their resentment against those who had often frustrated their treasonable devices. He dwelt on the savage outrages which that portion of the army, consisting of native forces, had committed, urged him to prove the truth of his disavowal of them by withdrawal, assured him of the determined resistance of the Yorkshire barons, and concluded (as reported by their common friend Aldred) in the following affectionate strain: – “It wrings my heart,” said he, “to see my dearest master, my patron, my benefactor, my friend, my companion in arms, in whose service I am grown old, thus exposed to the danger of battle, or to the dishonour of flight,” and then he burst into tears. David also wept, but his resolution to maintain the rights of his sister’s daughter, to whom as her first subject he had sworn fealty, continued unchanged. The battle of the Standard followed, 11th August, 1138, in which the army of King David, after a partial succession the first onset, was completely defeated. At this famous battle de Brus took prisoner his second son, Robert, a youth of fourteen years of age, who, being liegeman to the Scottish king for the lands of Annandale, which had been renounced in his favour by his father, had fought on the Scots side. Robert de Brus, first lord of Annandale, founded a monastery at Guisburn, now Guisborough, in Yorkshire, in 1119, and amply endowed it with lands and possessions, in which he was joined by Agnes, his first wife, daughter of Fulk Paynell, with whom he got the manor of Carleton in Yorkshire, and Adam his son and heir. His death took place 11th May 1141, when his English estates were inherited by his eldest son Adam, whose male line terminated in Peter de Brus of Skelton, constable of Scarborough castle, who died 18th September 1271, leaving his extensive estates to four sisters, his co-heiresses, all married to powerful English barons.

      Robert de Brus, his son by the second marriage, inherited Annandale in right of his mother and by cession of his father, was by him, after the battle of the Standard, sent prisoner to King Stephen, who ordered him to be delivered up to his mother. On telling his father that the people of Annandale had no wheaten bread, he conferred on him the lordship of Hert and the territory of Hertness in the bishopric of Durham, to hold of him and his heirs, lords of Skelton. He soon, however, returned to Scotland, and gave to the monastery of Guisburn, founded by his father, the churches of Annand, Lochmabel, Kirkpatrick, Cummertrees, Rampatrick, and Gretenhou (or Graitney, now Gretna), and entered into a composition with the bishop of Glasgow, concerning these churches, to which that prelate laid claim. “To show that he looked upon his chief settlement to be in Scotland he quitted his father’s armorial bearings (argent, a lion rampant, gules) and assumed the coat of Annandale (or a saltire and chief gules.)” King William the Lion conferred on him by a charter yet extant, dated at Lochmabel, the grant of Annandale made to his father by David the First. He and his wife Euphemia gave to the monks of Holmeultram the fishing of Torduff in the Solway Firth. He had two sons, Robert and William.

      Robert, the elder son and third lord of Annandale, described as “a nobleman of great valour and magnanimity, and at the same time pious and religious,” married, in 1183, Isabella, a natural daughter of William the Lion, by whom he had no issue. He died before 1191. His widow married, a second time, a baron named Robert de Ros.

      The second son William had a son named Robert, fourth lord of Annandale, surnamed the noble, who took to wife Isobel, second daughter of David, earl of Huntingdon and Chester, younger brother of William the Lion, and thus laid the foundation of the royal house of Bruce. “By this royal match the lords of Annandale came to be amongst the greatest subjects in Europe; for, by the said Isobel (as coheiress, with her two sisters, of her father’s property,) Robert, exclusive of his paternal estate in both kingdoms, came to be possessed of the manor of Writtle and Hatfield in Essex, together with half the hundred of Hatfield. She likewise brought him the castle of Kildrummie and the lordship of Garioch in Aberdeenshire, and the manor of Connington in Huntingdonshire, and Exton in Rutlandshire.” He died in 1245, and was buried with his ancestors in the abbey of Guisburn, in Cleveland.

      His eldest son, also named Robert, was the competitor with John Baliol for the crown of Scotland. He died in 1295.

      Robert de Brus, his eldest son, sixth lord of Annandale, and first earl of Carrick of the name, [see ANNANDALE, lord of, and CARRICK, earl of], maintained his pretensions to the Scottish throne. Nevertheless, he accompanied Edward the First into Scotland, and fought on the English side at the battle of Dunbar. He died in 1304.

      His eldest son, Robert de Brus, (as it was written and used by all parties in that Norman French which was the spoken language of Scotland during his lifetime, but in after ages not very accurately translated into English as The Bruce,) the conqueror at Bannockburn, and the restorer of the Scottish monarchy, was the seventh lord of Annandale, and second earl of Carrick in right of his mother.

      In the genealogy of the royal line of Brus, it appears that there had been nine persons in direct descent from de Brus of Doomesday Book to de Brus of Bannockburn, the first king of the name, inclusive, eight of whom were named Robert, and one William, the latter being the grandson of the Norman knight Robert de Burs, and younger brother of the third Robert.

      Of the lives of the three last of these Bruces as more particularly connected with the history of Scotland, the details are more fully given in their order, as also that of Edward, one of the brothers of King Robert; viz.: –

BRUCE, or DE BRUS, ROBERT, fifth lord of Annandale, is known in history as Bruce the Competitor, to distinguish him from his son, and his grandson the conqueror at Bannockburn. He was born in 1210, and on the death of Margaret of Norway in 1290, being then in his eighty-first year, he became a claimant with John Baliol for the crown of Scotland. [See BALIOL, JOHN.] On this occasion, he alleged that more than fifty years before, or in 1238, while in the 28th year of his age, when Alexander the Second was about to proceed on an expedition against the western isles, and then despairing of heirs of his own body, he was acknowledged by that monarch, in presence and with consent of his barons, as the nearest heir in blood to the throne, but the birth of a son to Alexander by his second wife, in 1241, put an end at that period to his hopes of the succession. Lord Hailes thinks Brus’s allegation a fiction; Sir Francis Palgrave, with fuller materials, certainly shows reasons for believing it correct. [Documents Illustrative of Scottish History, 1837, Introduction, pp. xxiii - xxix.]

      In 1252, on the death of his mother the princess Isobel, he did homage to Henry the Third as heir to her lands in England, and in 1255 he was constituted sheriff of Cumberland and constable of the castle of Carlisle. The same year, on the breaking up of the regency of the Comyn party, which was that of the independent interest as being opposed to the English supremacy in Scotland, he was appointed one of the fifteen regents of the kingdom, during the minority of the young king, Alexander the Third. Nine years later, that is in 1264, during the famous struggle of King Henry the Third with his barons headed by Simon de Montfort, in conjunction with John Comyn and John de Baliol, de Brus led a large Scottish force to the assistance of the English monarch, who, however, was defeated at the battle of Lewes, 14th May of that year, when de Brus was taken prisoner, along with Henry and his son, Prince Edward. After the battle of Evesham, 5th August, 1265, which retrieved the fortunes of King Henry, Bruce was set at liberty, and was reinstated in the governorship of Carlisle castle.

      On the death of Alexander the Third in 1286, a parliament assembled at Scone, 11th April, in which a regency, consisting of six guardians of the realm, was appointed, three for the country north of the Forth, namely, William Fraser bishop of St. Andrews, Duncan earl of Fife, and Alexander Comyn earl of Buchan; and three for the country south of the Forth, namely, Robert Wishart bishop of Glasgow, John Comyn lord of Badenoch, and James the Steward of Scotland. Then properly may be said to have commen ced the contest for the succession to the crown, between the partisans of Brus and Baliol, although these were not the only claimants. The heiress to the throne, Margaret, granddaughter of Alexander and grand-niece of Edward the First, was still alive and in Norway, but she was an infant, and the different competitors began to collect their strength and indulge in ambitious hopes, in the anticipation of a struggle for the sovereignty. The most powerful of the Scottish barons met, September 20, 1286, at Turnberry, the castle of Robert de Brus, earl of Carrick in right of his wife (see the following article), son of Robert de Brus, the subject of this notice, lord of Annandale and Cleveland. They were joined by two powerful English barons, Thomas de Clare, brother of Gilbert, earl of Gloucester, brother-in-law of the lord of Annandale, and Richard de Burgh, earl of Ulster. Among those assembled at Turnberry were Patrick, earl of Dunbar, with his three sons; Walter Stewart, earl of Menteith; de Brus’s own son, the earl of Carrick, and Bernard de Brus; James, the high Steward of Scotland, who had married Cecilia, daughter of Patrick, earl of Dunbar, with John, his brother; Angus, son of Donald the lord of the Isles, and Alexander his son. “These barons,” says Tytler, “whose influence could bring into the field the strength of almost the whole of the west and south of Scotland, now entered into a bond or covenant, by which it was declared that they would thenceforth adhere to and take part with one another, on all occasions, and against all persons, saving their allegiance to the king of England, and also their allegiance to him who should gain the kingdom of Scotland by right of descent from King Alexander, then lately deceased. Not long after this the number of the Scottish regents was reduced to four, by the assassination of Duncan, earl of Fife, and the death of the earl of Buchan; the Steward, another of the regents, pursuing an interest at variance with the title of the young queen, joined the party of de Brus, and heart-burnings and jealousies arose between the nobility and the governors of the kingdom. These soon increased, and at length broke out in open war between the parties of de Brus and Baliol, which for two years after the death of the king continued its ravages in the country.” Tytler adds that this war, hitherto unknown to our historians, is proved by documents of unquestionable authority. [Hist. of Scotland, vol. i. p. 56 and notes.] It will be remembered, although the popular impression is to the contrary, that at this period the Comyn party, to which belonged John de Baliol, lord of Galloway, whose sister Marjory was the wife of the Black Comyn and mother of the Red Comyn (afterwards slain by Robert de Brus), were and had been the constant supporters of the Scottish or independent interests, and the de Brus party, which appeared to be the strongest, had all along been in alliance with England. A pleading of de Baliol, in old Norman French, then the language of statee affairs both in England and Scotland, addressed to Edward the First, during the suit for the crown, and stating reasons why his claim was preferable to that of de Brus, is still extant. The seventh and last of these reasons is that Brus had committed acts of rebellion against the peace of the realm during the regency, by assaulting the castles of Dumfries, Wigton, and a place called Bot... , [the latter part of the name is obliterated], and expelling the troops of the queen therefrom. [ Palgrave’s Documents, &c. Introduction. pp. lxxx, lxxxi.]

      In the negotiations during the years 1289 and 1290, relative to the proposal of a marriage between the infant queen and Edward, the young son of Edward the First of England, the lord of Annandale was actively engaged, and with the bishops of St. Andrews and Glasgow, and John Comyn, he was one of the Scottish commissioners at the conference at Salisbury, who signed the treaty there. Although it is reasonable to suppose that the anxiety manifested throughout these negotiations, to avoid any concession prejudicial to the independence of the Scottish crown was strongly felt by the parties then in power, yet it would be unfair without further grounds to infer that the nobles who were leagued against the Comyns were not as earnest for the same result. On the death of Margaret, it is well known that King Edward interfered in the settlement of the succession to the throne. Two of the regents, William Fraser bishop of St. Andrews, and John Comyn lord of Badenoch, had set aside their colleagues, the Steward and the bishop of Glasgow, and had taken into their own hands the entire administration of the realm. It was their policy to appoint John de Baliol to the vacant throne, and on the 7th October 1290, before the report of the death of the young queen had been certaily confirmed, Fraser write a letter to King Edward recommending Baliol in a particular manner to his favour. By their own authority the joint regents had nominated sub-guardians of the realm, and delegated to them the right of maintaining order. These sub-guardians had, in name of the two regents, adopted violent measures for endorcing their authority in various parts of the kingdom, and especially in Moray. A large portion of the nobles and community of Scotland were opposed to the proceedings of the regents, and maintained the right of Robert fe Brus to succeed to the crown. It now appears that the intervention of Edward the First in the affairs of Scotland, which has been so much misunderstood by historians, was caused not by the famous letter of Fishop Fraser, as has commonly been supposed, but by three formal and regular appeals made to him by three competent parties, namely ‘the seven earls of Scotland,’ Donald earl of Mra, and Robert de Brus lord of Annandale. Claiming it as their privilege, by immemorial custom, as a peculiar estate in the realm, to appoint a king, whenever there was a vacancy, and to invest him with the royal authority, the seven earls came forward and appealed, on the ground that the regents were infringing, or intended to infringe, this their constitutional franchise. Donald earl of Mar, one of the seven earls, appealed against the unconstitutional appointment of sub-guardians, and against the damages done by certain of these guardians in the lands of Moray, and Robert de Brus lord of Annandale appealed against the understood intention of the regents to appoint Baliol to the throne, and thus violate his rights, and the rights of the seven earls. [See Palgrav’e Documents Illustrative of Scottish History.] The consequence of these appeals was the famous summons of the English monarch that the nobility and clergy of the Scottish kingdom should meet him at Norham, in the English territories, on the 10th of May 1291. Having accordingly met him at the time and place appointed, after declaring that he was ready to do justice to all the competitors, he required them, in the first place, to acknowledge him as lord paramount of the kingdom. To this unexpected demand no reply for a time was given. At length some one observed that it was impossible to give an answer whilst the throne continued vacant. “By holy Edward, whose crown I wear,” said the imperious king, “I will vindicate my just rights or perish in the attempt.” He then granted them three weeks for deliberation.

      On the 2d of June the Scottish barons and clergy again met King Edward at Upsettlington, when eight competitors for the cdrown were present. These were, Robert de Brus, lord of Annandale; Florence, count of Holland; John de Hastings; Patrick de Dunbar, earl of March; William de Ros; William de Vesey; Robert de Pinckeny; and Nicholas de Soulis. John de Baliol, lord of Galloway, attended next day. The chancellor of England, addressing himself to de Brus, demanded whether he acknowledged Edward as lord paramount of Scotland; and he expressly and publicly declared that he did. On the same question being put to the other competitors, the same answer was given. Baliol, on his appearance on the following day, after some hesitation, also acknowledged the same. These preliminary steps being taken, after a full investigation of the claims of all the candidates, Edward, upwards of seventeen months after the commencement of the inquest, pronounced in favour of Baliol, on the 17th November 1292. There is no reason to believe that in this decision Edward was otherwise than influenced by a just regard to the true law of succession; and there are many considerations that would have induced him, and he was understood privately to incline, to favour the cause of de Brus.

      The appeals of the Seven Earls having, as we have seen, constituted the foundation of all the proceedings of Edward above recorded, it may be proper here to inquire, in what sense did the Seven Earls and the others appeal to Edward? Was it in the sense in which he accepted the appeal, – namely, as an appeal of a portion of the community of Scotland to him as their lawful superior; and was the reluctance which, we are informed, the Scottish nobility and clergy exhibited to comply with his demand, that they should acknowledge him as Lord Paramount, the mere reluctance of the rest of the cummunity to give their assent to a proposition already virtually admitted by the appellants; or, as possibly may have been the case, was it the reluctance also of the appellants themselves, to make a formal and open averment of a proposition necessarily implied in their appeal, but which, as they knew it to be unpopular, they would have been glad to escape avowing in so express and glaring a manner, as that in which the wily Edward made them do it?

      Sir Francis Palgrave, who, with so much ability, and with the advantage of the additional light afforded by the documents which he has given to the world, has revived the long obsolete question of the English supremacy over Scotland, holds that, in appealing as they did to Edward, de Brus and the Seven Earls meant to admit his title to give judgment as the lawful Over-Lord of the Scottish kingdom. They submitted to Edward’s judgment, he says, “not as to an arbitrator selected to determine a contested question, but as to a lawful superior whose protection and defence they implored.” [Palgrave, Documents, &c. Introduction, p. xxi.] And farther on, expanding the same remark, he says, “The Scottish writers upon Scottish history, warmed by the courage and heroism of de Brus and Wallace, as represented in the poetry and popular legends and traditions of their country, have characterized the repeated submissions to the English king as acts of disgrace, and stains upon the national honour. But the justice of the cause must be judged according to the conscience of the parties; and if the prelates, the peers, the knights, the freeholders, and the burgesses of Scotland, believed that Edward was their Over-Lord, it is not their obedience, but the withdrawing it, that should be censured by posterity. ... There is not any reason for believing that, until the era of Wallace, there was any insincerity on the part of the noble Normans, the stalwart Flemings, the sturdy Northumbrian Angles, and the aboriginal Britons of Strathclyde and Reged, whom we erroneously designate as Scots – in admitting the legal supremacy of the English crown, until the attempts made by Edward I. to extend the incidents of that supremacy beyond their legal bounds provoked a resistance deserved by such abuse.”

      Now, so far as the appeals of de Brus and the Seven Earls are concerned, it cannot be denied but that Sir Francis Palgrave is in the right. The language of the appeals themselves it would be difficult to interpret otherwise than as a recognition of the superior authority of the crown of England over the Scottish nation, although it may certainly be remarked that the writers seem to have been studious to avoid any explicit statement of that fact in so many words. The question, however, as regards de Brus, would be set at rest, if it could be shown that Sir Francis Palgrave is right in supposing that the following letter, published by him for the first time, along with the appeals, in the volume above referred to, was written by de Brus. The letter, which is written in Norman Franch, is evidently that of a competitor for the Scottish crown, who wishes to ingratiate himself with Edward by inordinate eagerness to admit his claim to the feudal superiority over Scotland. We translate as literally as the gaps will permit: – “I have heard from my father, and from ancient men of the time of King David, that there was war between the king of England and king David. And in that time that Northumberland was lost, there was a peace made between the king of England and the king of Scotland; to wit that, if the king of Scotland should ever in anywise refuse obedience to the king of England, or to his crown, then the Seven Earls of Scotland should be bound by oath . . . to the king of England, and to his crown. . . in . . . Afterwards . . . obediences were made. But afterwards came King Richard, and sold the homage of the king of Scotland. . . We do not think that this sale can be valid; for well is the king of England who is so wise, and his council also, able to advise, whether the crown can be dismembered of such a member. And seeing that the crown ought to be kept entire, let it be known to him by Elias de Hanville, that At what hour he will make his demand regularly, I will obey him, and will aid him with myself, and all my friends, and all my lineage. . . my friends will do. And I pray your grace for my right, and for the truth which I wish to manifest before you; and meanwhile I . . . by speaking with the ancient men of the land, to find out the evidence of your interests, as . . .”

      Sir Francis Palgrave’s statement, however, that “the prelates, the peers, the knights, the freeholders, and the burgesses of Scotland, believed that Edward was their Over-lord,” is too sweeeping. It ignores the fact, that a feeling had existed with a part at least of the Scottish community, for nearly a hundred and fifty years previous to this memorable epoch, of antipathy to this very claim of English supremacy. There was a germ and a root of repugnance to England in the Celtic portion of the nation. But a network of Norman colonization had overspread nearly the whole British island, which remained entire and connected throughout its whole length, so that the northern part of it, i.e. the Scoto-Normans, did not feel themselves yet separated from the southern part of it, i.e. the Anglo-Normans. Besides this, another strong tie co-operated in enabling England to grapple Scotland towards herself. This was the traditional claim of legal supremacy asserted by England over Scotland, a claim which as Sir Francis Palgrave’s investigations have made clear, had, whether well or ill founded, a real place in the beliefs of the period. Edward the First seems clearly to have believed that, in virtue of certain old transactions, he, as king of England, had a claim upon the allegiance of the people of Scotland. Looked at from this point of view, therefore, his crime in the matter of Scotland may have been, as Sir Francis Palgrave calls it, a mere attempt to “extend the incidents of his legal supremacy beyond their legal bounds.” On the other hand, too, it seems pretty clear that, among the Scottish nobles, there was, during the whole of the period referred to, no decided conviction that the claim of English supremacy was illegal in any absurd degree. The feeling of at least a portion of them, relative to this claim, seems to have been rather a desire to disencumber themselves of it, than such a contempt for it as would have been inspired by a sincere belief that it was the mere pretext of an invader. Hence it is found that, during the whole of that period, though inclined to escape the claim of homage to England whenever they could, on the least pressure they were found ready to yield to it.

      The lordship of Annandale being held, as already stated, by the tenure of military service, to avoid doing homage to his successful rival, Robert de Brus resigned it to his eldest son, retaining only for himself his English estates. “I am Baliol’s sovereign, not Baliol mine,” said the proud baron, “and rather than consent to such a homage, I resign my lands in Annandale to my son, the earl of Carrick.” He seems thenceforth to have lived in retirement. He died in 1295, at his castle of Lochmaben, at the age of eighty-five. He had married an Englishwoman, Isabel, daughter of Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester, one of the most powerful barons of England, and by her he had Robert de Brus, earl of Carrick, two other sons, and a daughter.

BRUCE, or DE BRUS, ROBERT, eldest son of the competitor, and father of King Robert the Bruce, accompanied King Edward the First of England to Palestine in 1269, and appears to have enjoyed the confidence and friendship of that monarch. On his return, he married, in 1271, Margaret, the young and beautiful countess of Carrick, whose husband, Adam de Kilconath, (Kilconquhar?) earl of Carrick in her right, was slain in the Holy Land. By this lady, who was the only child of Nigel, earl of Carrick and lord of Turnberry, and Margaret, a daughter of Walter, the high steward of Scotland, de Brus had his celebrated son Robert, afyterwards king of Scotland; Edward de Brus, lord of Galloway, crowned king of Ireland in 1316; three other sons and seven daughters.

      The circumstances attending this marriage as related by our historians, are of as singular and romantic a character as any in Scottish annals. One day in the autumn of 1271, while Martha, as she is generally called, though Marjory, or Margaret, appears to have been her proper name, countess of Carrick in her own right, was engaged in the exercise of hunting, surrounded by a retinue of her squires and damsels, in the grounds adjoining her castle of Turnberry in Ayrshire, the ruins of which still remain, she accidently met with de Brus, then about thirty years of age, who had just returned from the Holy Land, and was passing on horseback through her domains. Struck by his noble figure, the young countess invited the knight to join her in the chase and to be her guest for a time. Aware of the peril he encountered in paying too much attention to a ward of the king, as the countess was, de Brus, it is said, declined the invitation so courteously given, when, at a signal from the countess, her retinue closed in around him, and the lady, seizing his bridle reins, led him off, with gentle violence, to her castle at Turnberry. He was thus constrained to partake of the hospitality of the countess, and, after fifteen days’ residence with her, he married her, without the knowledge of the relatives of either party or the consent of the king, which, as she was a ward of the crown, ought to have been previously obtained. So flagrant a violation of his feudal rights provoked even the good tempered Alexander the Third, and the castle and estates of the countess were instantly seized. By the intercession of friends, however, the king was induced to pardon the youthful offenders, first inflicting on the lady the payment of a heavy fine. Her husband became in her right earl of Carrick, and their eldest son was Robert de Brus, the greatest of our monarchs, this union being thus an auspicious event for Scotland. Such is the tale told by our historians, and in most points it is true, but to take away somewhat from its romance, one account, which seems the most probable, states that de Brus had been the companion in the Holy Land, as well as the fellow-crusader of the lady’s first husband, Adam de Kilconath, and it is not unlikely that, on the death of the latter without issue, he returned to Scotland with the design of marrying his widow, who, besides being young and beautiful, had a proud title and extensive estates to confer on whomsoever she bestowed her hand. His solitary ride through the woods of Turnberry was thus not without an object.

      When the future monarch of Scotland was yet a minor, his father, following his grandfather’s example, to avoid doing homage to Baliol, resigned to his son the earldom of Carrick, which he held in right of his wife, just then deceased. The youthful de Brus, on obtaining the title and lands, immediately swore fealty to Baliol as his lawful sovereign. His father shortly after retired to England, leaving the administration of the family estates of Annandale also in his hands. In 1295, the same year in which the aged de Brus, the competitor, died, Edward the First appointed de Brus the elder, the father of king Robert, constable of the castle of Carlisle. In 1296, when Baliol, driven to resistance by the galling yoke which Edward endeavoured to force upon him, (by attempting to exercise a jurisdiction in Scottish affairs which none of his predecessors had ever pretended to possess,) revolted from his authority, and, assisted by the Comyns, took up arms to assert his independence, de Brus the elder, cherishing no doubt, the natural hope that as the next heir to the throne he might, on the event of the overthrow and deposition of his rival, receive the vacant crown from thre English monarch, accompanied Edward’s expedition into Scotland, and with his party, which was numerous and powerful, gave their assistance to the English king. Our Scottish historians indeed assert that a promise to this effect was made to him by Edward, but it receives no countenance in English history, and is quite inconsistent with what we know of Edward’s character or purposes. Baliol, in consequence, seized upon the lordship of Annandale, and bestowed it on John Comyn, earl of Buchan, who immediately took possession of the castle of Lochmaben.

      After the decisive battle of Dunbar, 28th April 1296, in which the Scottish army was defeated, and Baliol compelled to surrender the sovereignty, it is said by the writers referred to that the elder Bruce reminded Edward of his promise to bestow on him the vacant crown, and receiverd the following reply: “What! Have I nothing else to do than to conquer kingdoms for you?” But although Tytler does not venture to omit this incident, later writers have so far treated it as doubtful as to soften the request into a simple application, without reference to any previous promise, a mode of regarding it more consistent with probability and with the well known character for probity borne by Edward. [Papers on Robert Bruce in Lowe’s Edinburgh Magazine, March 1848, p. 345.] After this he seems to have retired to his English estates. In 1297, Sir William Wallace, one of the greatest heroes of which the annals of any nation can boast, nobly stood forward as the defender of his country’s freedom; but his patriotic achievements failed to rouse de Brus from his inactivity, or to induce him to consider Wallace as seeking more than either to restore Baliol or as aspiring to the throne himself. In the fatal campaign of 1298, which concluded with the disastrous battle of Falkirk, our Scottish historians represent Brus the son to have accompanied the English monarch, and to have fought in his service against his countrymen. After a gallant resistance, they assert that Wallace was compelled to retreat along the banks of the Carron, pursued by de Brus at the head of the Galloway men, his vassals. Here a conference is represented to have taken place between the two leaders, which ended in de Brus’s resolving to forsake the cause of Edward.

      Wallace is described as having upbraided de Brus as the mean hireling of a foreign master, who, to gratify his ambition, had sacrificed the welfare and independence of his native land. He is represented to have urged him to assume the post to which he was entitled by his birth and fortune, and either deliver his country from the bondage and oppression of Edward, or gloriously fall in asserting its liberties. By Wallace’s reproaches and remonstrances, de Brus, it is said, was melted into tears, and swore to embrace the cause of his oppressed country. Such is the story of Wynton and Fordun, and of course of Boece, Blind Harry, and Buchanan, and it may be accepted as one of the most curious instances that could be adduced of the operation of the mythical or dramaturgic faculty to the falsification of history. Not only do the old Scottish writers make Bruce fight on Edward’s side at the battle of Falkirk, but in contradicition to all possibility they make him and Anthony Beck, bishop of Durham, jointly decide the fate of the battle against the Scots. It is certain, however, that the younger de Brus was not at the battle of Falkirk at all, but, as stated by an author who was in Scotland and with Edward’s force at the time (Heningford), he was then in guard of the castle of Ayr, in the interest of the Scottish cause maintained at Falkirk by Wallace. Since this fazct was brought to light by Lord Hailes, writers – including a recent translator of Buchanan – have represented that it was de Brus the father who was present at Falkirk and had the interview with Wallace, but there is no warrant in the older historians for this transposition of the person referred to. All early accounts state that de Brus the father ceased to take any interest in Scottish affairs after the refusal of Edward to accede to his request for the vacant crown. It could not be de Brus the elder who fought on the side of Edward at Falkirk at the head of his Galloway vassals, as th original story has it, when he had no vassals in Galloway, and when all Galloway was then in the power of the patriots, with young de Brus his son, at the head of his Carrick tenatry, as their leader. The part moreover assigned to young de Brus in that fight, viz., the moving behind the Scottish ‘schiltrons’ and attacking them in the rear, is precisely that described by the historian eye-witness to have been taken by Sir Ralph de Basset, who was second in command to Anthony a Beck, the warlike bishop of Durham. It was this Sir Ralph, and not young de Brus that, as described by Synton (who wrote 110 years after the event) –

            “With Sir Anton the Beck, a wily man,
            (Of Durham bishop he was than),
            About ane hill a well far way,
            Out of that stour then pricked they.
            There they come on, and laid on fast;
            Sae made they the discomfiture.”

It is not impossible, therefore, that the whole story may have originated in a blunder in some old document, – a circumstance not uncommon in copying the writings of that age, – and that Sir R. Basset may have been misread or miscopied, as Sir R. Brus. [A singular instance of this nature occurs in a document referred to in the next life, where Irvine is rendered Sir William Wallace, thus ‘Escrit a Irewin,’ (written at Irvine) for ‘

escrit a Sirewm,’ afterwards divided into Sire Wm., and again elongated into Sire Willaume, as printed in Rymer. Hailes naturally supposed it to mean Sir William Wallace.] The famous meeting, therefore, of de Brus with Wallace after the battle of Falkirk – the most exquisite, it is admitted, of Scottish legends – is a mythus, an imaginary fact or circumstance, in which the popular national feeling regarding the two heroes has bodied itself forth. At the death of de Brus in 1304, he transmitted his English estates to his son, the future king of Scotland, who was then thirty years of age; whether, at the same time, he bequeathed to him a nobler legacy, namely, that of atonement and true patriotism, exhorting him, with his latest breath, to avenge the injuries of his suffering country, and to re-establish the independence of Scotland, as is asserted by authors in connection with the legend above referred to, is more than doubtful. This at least is clear, that the crown of Scotland, to which both conceived they had an undoubted right, was never out of the view of the latter, who, in gaining it, secured at the same time, the independence of his kingdom.

      The following seal of Robert de Brus the father represents only the arms of the ancient earldom of Carrick:

BRUCE, or DE BRUS, ROBERT, the restorer of the national monarchy, eldest son and second child of the preceding, and of the Lady Martha, sole daughter of Nigel, earl of Carrick, was born on the 121th of July 1274. It has been generally believed that Turnberry castle was the place of his birth, and in his Lord of the Isles, canto v., stanza 33, Sir Walter Scott assumes this to have been the case; but there is no evidence on the subject. Tradition on the contrary, if we may assume it to be represented by the mendacious Boece (Bellenden’s Translation, xiv. 5.), describes him as “an Englishman born;” and that excellent authority, Collins’ Peerage (article earl of Aylesbury), expressly states that on his return from the Holy Land, de Brus went to reside in England. Although, however, the lines of welcome to its halls on the occasion of his return from Rachrine, described in that poem,

      “Once more behold the floor I trod
      In tottering infancy!
      And there the vaulted arch whose sound
      Echoed my joyous shout and bound
      In boyhood, and that rung around
      To youth’s unthinking glee!”

cannot be literally true, there can be no doubt that Turnberry castle became the abode of his father during a part of his boyhood, and whilst the events, described in the life of his grandfather as occurring there from 1286 to 1290, were taking place.

      In conformity with the practice of the barons of that age to send their children to the household of some noble, superior in rank, there to acquire the graces of society and the art of arms, young de Brus appears to have been placed in the household of Edward, king of England, where he was trained in those exercises of war and chivalry for which he became afterwards so distinguished. That this was the consequence of the early friendship that existed between his father and that monarch, of which the language of a deed still extant bears witness, and not because the family of the elder de Burs was considered as aliens to Scotland, appears from the circumstance, that his grandfather continued to reside until his death in the ancestral castle of Lochmaben, and that all his sisters, six in number, were in early life married to Scottish barons. In 1293, when just entering his seventeenth year, young de Brus was infefted in his mother’s lands, and in the title of earl of Carrick, which devolved on him through her, lately deceased, and he rendered homage to Baliol for the same at his second parliament, held at Stirling in August and September of that year. One chief cause of this infeftment was the unwillingness of his father to acknowledge the title of Baliol. At the time this took place, as we are informed in the Scoto Chronicle, young Robert was “a young man in King Edward’s chamber,” when he was sent for by his father. He also conferred on him the administration of his lands in Annandale at the same time. In 1294, on the occasion of a war breaking out between England and France, a writ appears to have been sent to him as earl of Carrick by Edward, to serve in person during the expected campaign, but whether he complied with it does not appear. He seems to have taken the same part as his father in aid of the English monarch, during his invasion of Scotland in 1296, on the occasion of the revolt of Baliol, which led to their castle of Lochmaben in Annandale being temporarily seized by Comyn, earl of Buchan, leader of the Scottish army; and after the decisive fight of Dunbar, 28th April, he was employed to receive for Edward the submissions of his own men of Carrick. In August of the same year, when Edward held a parliament at Berwick for the settlement of Scotland, Bruce, then earl of Carrick, with the rest of the Scots nobility, renewed his oath of homage to the English monarch. Up to and ever after this period, it is probable that not only both father and son but all the Scottish magnates of their party, who joined with them in that act of homage, entertained the expectation that when all was tranquilly settled in Scotland, the English king would confer the government of that kingdom as a king-fief of his crown upon the former. The idea of his ruling it, even as lord paramount, except through the instrumentality of a native prince, was in antagonism not only to all historical precedent, but must have been repugnant to every feeling of nationality in their bosom. If so, however, the establishment by Edward, on his leaving for England later in the autumn of that year, of the earl de Warenne as governor of Scotland, with Cressingham and Ormesby as treasurer and justiciary, proved the futility of their hopes.

      That young de Brus was dissatisfied with this settlement of the kingdom it was but natural to suppose, and on the appearance of Wallace, in the following summer (1297), carrying on a private warfare against the English in the south-west of Scotland, in which he was joined by various chiefs in the neighbourhood, his conduct became so equivocal, that, as Hemingford relates, the English wardens of the western marches summoned him to Carlisle to renew his oath of fidelity to Edward. Probably being then unprepared to act on the offensive, he proceeded there with his vassals, and took a solemn oath on the consecrated host and the sword of Thomas à Becket, to assist Edward against the Scots and all his enemies. To prove his sincerity, on his return to Annandale he made an inroad with his armed vassals upon the lands of William lord Douglas, knight of Liddesdale, one of the insurgent lords; and, after wasting them, carried off his wife and children to his castle at Turnberry.

      No sooner, however, was the danger over than the correctness of their suspicions was manifested by his joining the conspiracy of the Scottish leaders, and attempting on his return to Carrick to induce his father’s vassals to rise with him. In this perhaps he was not so much an active as a passive agent. The revolt against the English rule had become so general, says Hemingford, as entirely to assume a national character, and the vassals of the barons could not be restrained by their chiefs from adhering to it.  By opposing it his own safety was likely to be compromised, and it seemed probable that all chance of his claim to the throne ever being recognised by the nation would be cut off. There seems to have been strong hopes held out to him that the insurgents would adopt his cause. It was publicly at this time reported, according to Hemingford, that he aspired to the throne. All the leaders of the insurrection, except Wallace and Sir Andrew Moray, were those who had invariably supported the claims of his family. Wishart, bishop of Glasgow, who had counselled their rising, was hie firm friend, and the Comyns, who were his rivals in their own right and in that of Baliol, were with their partisans in confinement in England. The men of Annandale, however, at first hesitated, asked a day to consider the matter, and quietly dispersed to their homes during the night. With his own vassals of Carrick, however, he took up arms, and might, notwithstanding of his youth, have rendered important service to the national cause, had unity prevailed in their counsels, and had not the English forces been too active to permit it. Wallace had determined to support the cause of Baliol. He was the soul of the party, and not a few of the insurgents joined in his views. The Comyns also had adherents in the camp. The Scottish forces were numerous and strongly posted, but their leaders were actuated by opposing views. First one, then others of them,, left the camp and went over to the English. Being thus taken at disadvantage by an army under Sir Henry Percy and Sir Robert Clifford, commanding in Scotland, the confederates were constrained to yield upon conditions at Irvine, on the 9th of July 1297. The document embodying their submission has been published in its original Norman French by Sir F. Palgrave, and is that referred to in the note in the preceding life as having contained an error in transcription. On this occasion so much difficulty was felt by the English commanders with respect to de Brus, that, as appears by another document of the same date, his daughter Marjory, then about four or five years of age, was required to be delivered to them as an hostage, and three magnates, of whom two were parties to the convention, became joint securities for his loyalty “with their lives, limbs, and estates,” until that hostage should be delivered into their hands. The Marjory was his only child by his first marriage with the daughter of the earl of Mar, who survived this bereavement only for a few months. The conduct of Wallace on this occasion shows a fierce and intractable disposition. although included in the capitulation he refused to accede to its terms. Ascribing the arrangement to the counsell of Wishart, bishop of Glasgow, he set fire to his house, plundered all his goods, and led his family captive. The other barons honourably fulfilled their engagement.

      In the subsequent struggles of Wallace and his party, de Brus took no active part; but in 1298, when Edward entered Scotland with a formidable army, he shut himself up in the castle of Ayr, and maintained a doubtful neutrality. After the defeat of Wallace at Falkirk, Edward was about to attack the castle of Ayr, when de Brus, dreading the consequences, razed it to the ground, and retired into the recesses of Carrick. In 1298, when Wallace had resigned the regency, John Comyn of Badenoch and Sir John Soulis were chosen guardians of the kingdom. About a year afterwards, Lamberton, bishop of St. Andrews, and the earl of Carrick then only in his twenty-fifty year, were, by general consent, added to the number.

      The conduct of de Brus, at this juncture, as throughout the entire period prior to his assumption of the crown, not being understood, has excited the wonder and regret of posterity. supple, dexterous, and accommodating, – now in arms for his country, and then leagued with her oppressors, – now swearing fealty to the English king, and again accepting the guardianship of Scotland in the name of Baliol, it seems to require all the energy, perseverance, and consummate prudence and valour of after years to redeem his character from the charge of apparent and culpable weakness. De Brus the guardian of Scotland in the name of Baliol! Says Lord Hailes, is one of those historical phenomena which are inexplicable. Yet this conduct we have attempted to explain, and in part to vindicate, by the peculiarity of his circumstances, which necessitated a course different from what he would have chosen. His grandfather, after vainly endeavouring to establish his pretensions to the throne of Scotland, had quietly acquiesced in the elevation of Baliol. His father, sometime earl of Carrick, had submitted uniformly and implicitly to the superior ascendency of the English monarch. Bruce, therefore, though convinced of his right to the Scottish throne, and determined to assert it, could not in the meantime, with decency or hope of success, urge a claim in his own person. In doing so he would have had to contend with a rival who was at that time one of the most powerful men in the kingdom. Baliol had renounced for ever all claim for himself, and his son was in captivity; but the claims and hopes of his family centered in John Comyn, commonly called the Red Comyn, the son of his sister Marjory, who was allied to many of the noblest families in Scotland and England, and who, by the decision of Edward, possessed, in succession, a clear right to the Scottish crown. Between the families of Bruce and Comyn there had existed for many years all the jealousy and hatred which rival and irreconcilable interests could create. The movements of both families, not only during the contests which occurred between the abdication of Baliol and the death of Wallace but long afterwards, seem to have been decided rather by a regard to family interests than the good of their country. They were uniformly ranged on opposite sides, with the exception of the brief period now referred to, when Bruce and Comyn were associated in the regency of the kingdom.

      All writers seem to think that this coalition had been mainly produced by a desire to crush Wallace, whose patriotism and influence endangered their common pretensions, and that that end once gained they returned to their former course of factions opposition and strife. That the existence on the part of both of this feeling is true, and that, as respects Comyn at least, this was the ruling motive, we are not prepared to deny. It was only the leaders of the army, however, who refused to serve under Wallace. But de Brus was not with the army, nor in communication with it, until some time after the appointment of Comyn as guardian. the battle of Falkirk was fought on 22d July 1298; Wallace’s resignation followed immediately thereafter, as well as the appointment of Comyn as guardian, whilst the first appearance of the name of de Brus in connection with the office is on 13th Nov. 1299. It has been supposed that de Brus was pressed upon the other guardians by Lamberton, the primate, as a condition of his (Lamberton’s) accepting the same office, and for the sake of union and conciliation, and Lamberton was a friend of Wallace raised to the primacy by the determined will of that patriot alone [Palgrave documents.] A more satisfactory explanation of his conduct may therefore be found in the not improbable conjecture, that the regency of 1299 was the result of a compromise in which the claims of Baliol, then in hopeless captivity in England, were understood to be abandoned. The joint guardianship, whether established or not on this understanding, lasted only for a short time. Lamberton and de Soulis went over to France as commissioners, with five others, there to watch over the national interests. A cautious and far-seeing, but selfish policy, must have taken alarm on the prosperous appearance which Baliol’s affairs soon afterwards began to assume, and probably offence at the proceedings of his representatives thereupon. When the cause of the late imprisoned and abdicated king was taken up by the courts of France and Rome; when the genuineness of the deed of his resignation of the throne was denied by the Scottish emissaries at the latter court; when his person was released from prison, and delivered over to the Pope’s nuncio at Witsand, 18th July 1299; and when a bull admonitory, in his interest, was served on Edward himself, by no less a personage than the archbishop of Canterbury (June 1300), we find that soon thereafter, – his lands of Annandale and Carrick having in the meantime been laid waste by the army of Edward, – de Brus once more abandoned a cause which had become again not that of his country but of his rival, and made his peace with Edward, by surrendering himself to John de St. John, the English warden of the western marches.

      This view of the character of the guardianship of de Brus, amongst other proofs too minute for detail, receives confirmation from the circumstance that in the only public transaction occurring during its brief existence of which authentic documents have descended to us, namely, the adjustment of a truce with Edward, no mention is made by either party of Baliol as king of Scotland. During the three successive campaigns which took place previous to the final subjugation of Scotland and the submission of the Comyns in 1304, de Brus continued faithful to Edward. In all the proceedings which ensued upon that occasion, de Brus was treated by Edward with favour and confidence, and the settlement of Scotland, was arranged by the English king on the plan recommended by de Brus.

      On the death of his father in 1304 he received possession of his lands in Annandale and in England, and became one of the most powerful of the northern barons. There is no evidence that up to the death of Comyn in 1305-6 de Brus had entertained serious thoughts of attempting to assert his right to the Scottish crown. He certainly was occupied in strengthening his friendships by bonds of the character of those that were common in that age, and that with the ulterior object of improving any occasion that might arise for this end. But his knowledge of the character of Edward, and the closeness with which his proceedings were watched, were likely to induce him to postpone all hostile projects until more favourable circumstances should arise.

      The murder of John Comyn, younger of Badenoch, 10th February 1305-6, is one of those passages in the obscure history of that period which has exercised the patience and tried the candour of historians. The contradictory and most improbable details of this event given by our Scottish historians, written as they were long after the event took place, can only be regarded as the embodiment and embellishment of national traditions, and unfortunately the contemporary writers of England are silent as to nearly all but the fact itself, and the accounts of later ones are as difficult to reconcile with probability as those of the Scottish. Dismissing not a few particulars now proved to be either impossible or false, the circumstances which these historians relate as having led to and accompanied this murder are as follows: That at a conference which took place between the rivals at Stirling, de Brus, after lamenting the misery to which the kingdom was reduced, made to him this proposal: – “Support,” says he, “my title to the throne, and I will give you all my lands; or bestow on me your lands, and I shall support your claim;” that Comyn cheerfully acceded to the former alternative, waiving his own claims in favour of his rival; that a formal bond was, in consequence, drawn up and signed by the parties; that de Brus returned to London, matters not being yet matured sufficiently for open resistance to the English; and that Comyn, anxious to regain the favour of Edward, betrayed the plot to that monarch, and transmitted to him the agreement signed by de Brus.

      It is added that King Edward, on receiving this information, cherishing the design not only of seizing his person, but of involving him and his brothers in one common destruction, was so imprudent as to discover his purpose to some of the nobles of his court; that that very night the earl of Gloucester, under pretence of repaying a loan, sent de Brus a purse of money and a pair of gilded spurs – a hint which the latter understood; and, accompanied by a single attendant, he took horse and escaped with all speed into Scotland; that when near the Solway sands, he met a messenger travelling alone, whom he recognised as a follower of Comyn; that his suspicions were now awakened, and slaying the courier, he possessed himself of his despatches, in which he found further proofs of Comyn’s treachery, accompanied by a recommendation to Edward to put his rival to instant death; that Bruce proceeded hastily on his journey, and repairing to Dumfries, requested a private interview with Comyn, which was held February 4, 1305, in the church of the Minorite Friars; that at first the meeting was friendly, and the two barons walked up towards the high altar together; that Bruce accused his rival of having betrayed their agreement to Edward, – “It is a falsehood you utter,” said Comyn; and Bruce, without uttering a word, drew his dagger and stabbed him to the heart; that hastening instantly from the church, he rejoined his attendants, who were waiting for him without; and that seeing him pale and agitated, they eagerly inquired the cause, – “I doubt I have slain the red Comyn,” was his answer, “You doubt!” cried Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick fiercely, “Is that a matter to be left to doubt? I’se mak siccar,” (I will make sure;) and rushing into the church with Sir James Lindesay and Sir Christopher Seton, they found the wounded man, and immediately despatched him, slaying, at the same time, Sir Robert Comyn, his uncle, who tried to defend him. Lord Hailes, however, investigated this obscure transaction in 1767, with his usual impartiality and discrimination, and the conclusions at which he arrived have not been invalidated but rather confirmed by subsequent researches.

      We concur with him in thinking it was most improbable that de Brus should have made such a proposal to Comyn as is there stated, or that Comyn could suppose him to be sincere in doing so. Fordun does not say which alternative Comyn accepted. Barbour makes the proposal to have come from Comyn. The answer given by de Brus was, “I will take the crown; it is mine of right;” an answer likely to revive the old contention. Barbour and Fordun represent the agreement to have been by indenture, of which each held a copy signed by the other – a most extraordinary circumstance, as they must have called a third party. Winton, on the other hand, describes it as a mere conversation as they were “riding fra Stirling.” It is most improbable that Edward, in possession of such a document, should have concealed or delayed his purpose of apprehending de Brus for a single day. Barbour reports that on receiving Comyn’s part of the indenture Edward summoned a parliament, at which de Brus appeared; – that he there exhibited the indenture, and accused de Brus of treason; – and that de Brus asked to look at the paper till next day, and then disappeared. Of course we know there was no such parliament, nor would that be the mode of procedure at one. Not less unlikely is it that Edward would in a moment of unguarded festivity reveal his purpose against de Brus, if he was, as is stated, anxious to secure his absent brother. It is altogether incomprehensible that the king’s son-in-;law Ralph de Monthermer, called by courtesy the earl of Gloucester, should have betrayed the secrets of his sovereign and benefactor. Our historians have, evidently under mistake, meant this for the previous earl’s father, who was a relation of de Brus’s mother. The purse of money and pair of gilded spurs should be “twelve pence and a pair of spurs,” as in Fordun, a most mysterious and improbable restitution and mode of communication of danger.

      The whole antecedents would appear to be prepared, under the inventive powers of tradition, to account for the murder of Comyn as an act contemplated beforehand, whereas it is most evident that it was as unexpected on the part of de Brus as on that of his victim. It was a hasty quarrel between two proud-spirited rivals. De Brus had made no preparations to assert his pretensions to the crown, nor had he a single castle except Kildrummie in Aberdeenshire at his disposal. Amidst a mass of contradictory improbabilities one genuine public contemporary document is worth a hundred conjectures. In his first public instrument after the slaughter of Comyn, King Edward expressly says, that he reposed entire confidence in de Brus [Faed. ii. 938]. It is not easy to see how he could have done so, if he were possessed of written evidence to prove that the intentions of de Brus were hostile. It was as little likely that de Brus could have known Comyn was to be present at Dumfries as that he would have proposed a sanctuary – a place so tremendous in the notions of those days – for the scene of action. It is probable, however, that Comyn might have been endeavouring to instil some suspicions into the mind of Edward from Jealousy of de Brus; and indeed there is a hint to this effect given by Hemingford, the most authentic because the best informed contemporary, and that reports of these might have reached the ears of de Brus or been referred to by Edward himself. On meeting Comyn, therefore, de Brus demanded a private interview and an explanation. In their conversation some hot words took place, and de Brus struck Comyn with his dagger. The impetuous zeal of his followers aggravated the crime, and gave to the whole transaction the appearance of premeditated assassination. Such is the conclusion at which we have been compelled to arrive, after a careful consideration of all the circumstances of an event which decided de Brus’s destiny.

      Two months thereafter, March 27, Bruce, as we shall now call him, was crowned king at Scone. The whole proceedings indicate haste and lack of preparation. The regalia of Scotland, with the sacred stone and the regal mantle, had been carried off by Edward in 1296; but on this occasion the bishop of Glasgow furnished from his own wardrobe the robes in which Bruce was arrayed; he also presented to the new king a banner embroidered with the arms of Baliol, which he had concealed in his treasury. A small circlet of gold was placed by the bishop of St. Andrews on his head; and Robert the Bruce, sitting in the state chair of the abbot of Scone, received the homage of the few prelates and barons then assembled. The earl of Fife, as the descendant of Macduff, possessed the hereditary right of crowning the kings of Scotland. Duncan, the then earl, favoured the English interest, but his sister Isabella, countess of Buchan, with singular boldness and enthusiasm, repaired to Scone, and, asserting the privilege of her ancestors, a second time crowned Bruce king of Scotland, two days after the former coronation had taken place.

      The news of the murder of Comyn reached Edward while residing with his court at Winchester, whither he had gone for the benefit of his health. He immediately nominated the earl of Pembroke governor of Scotland, ordered a new levy of troops, and, proceeding to London, held a solemn entertainment, in which his eldest son, the prince of Wales, with three hundred youths of the best families in England, received the honour of knighthood; and, with the king, made a vow instantly to depart for Scotland, and take no rest till the death of Comyn was avenged on Bruce, and a terrible punishment inflicted on his adherents. The earl of Pembroke and Henry Percy having reached and fortified Perth, Bruce, with his small band of followers, arrived in the neighbourhood, and sent a challenge to Pembroke, whose sister was the widow of the red Comyn, to come out and fight with him on the 18th of June. Pembroke returned for answer that the day was too far spent, but that he would meet him on the morrow. Satisfied with this assurance, Bruce retreated to the wood of Methven, where his little army, towards the close of the day, was unexpectedly attacked by Pembroke. Bruce made a brave resistance, and after being four times unhorsed, was at last compelled, with about four hundred followers, to retreat into the wilds of Athol. Here he and his small band for some time led the life of outlaws. Having received intelligence that his youngest brother Nigel had arrived with his queen at Aberdeen, he proceeded there; and, on the advance of a superior body of the English, conducted them in safety into the mountainous district of Breadalbane. The adventures through which, at this period, the king and his followers passed, and the perils and privations which they endured, are more like the incidents of romance than the details of history. The lord of Lorn, Alexander, chief of the Macdougalls, who had married the aunt of the red Comyn, at the head of a thousand Highlanders, attacked the king at Dalry, near the head of Loch Tay, in a narrow defile, where Bruce’s cavalry had not room to act, and he was compelled to retreat, fighting to the last. At Craigrostan, on the western side of Benlomond, is a cave, to which tradition has assigned the honour of affording shelter to King Robert Bruce, and his followers, after his defeat by Macdougall. Here, it is said, the Bruce passed the night, surrounded by a flock of goats; and he was so much pleased with his nocturnal associates that he afterwards made a law that all goats should be exempted from grassmail or rent. Finding his cause becoming every day more desperate, he sent the queen and her ladies to Kildrummie castle, under the charge of Nigel Bruce and the earl of Athol; while he himself, with his remaining followers, amounting now only to about two hundred, resolved to force a passage to Kintyre, and escape from thence into the northern parts of Ireland. On arriving at the banks of Loch Lomond, there appeared no mode of conveyance across the loch. After much search, Sir James Douglas discovered in a creek a crazy little boat, by which they safely got across.

      While engaged in the chase, a resource to which they were driven for food, Bruce and his party accidentally met with Malcolm earl of Lennox, a staunch adherent of the king, who, pursued by the English, had also taken refuge there. By his exertions the royal party were amply supplied with provisions, and enabled to reach in safety the castle of Dunaverty in Kintyre, where they were hospitably received by Angus of Isla, the lord of Kintyre. After a stay of three days the king embarked with a few of his most faithful adherents, and, after weathering a dreadful storm, landed at the little island of Rachrine, about four miles distant from the north coast of Ireland. On this small island he remained during the winter.

      In his absence the English monarch proceeded with unrelenting cruelty against his adherents in Scotland. Nigel Bruce, with those chiefs who had aided him in the defence of Kildrummie castle, which they were compelled to surrender, were hurried in chains to Berwick, and immediately hanged. Many others of noble rank shared a similar fate. Even the female friends of Bruce did not escape King Edward’s fury. The queen, her daughter Marjory, and their attendants, having taken refuge in the sanctuary of St. Duthac, in Ross-shire, were sacrilegiously seized by the earl of Ross, and committed to an English prison. The two sisters of Bruce were also imprisoned. The countess of Buchan was suspended in a cage of wood and iron from one of the outer turrets of the castle of Berwick, in which she remained for four years.

      Bruce’s estates, both in England and Scotland, were confiscated, and he himself and all his adherents were solemnly excommunicated by the Pope’s legate at Carlisle. Of these dire national and personal misfortunes, the king, in his island retreat, was happily ignorant; and he had so effectually concealed himself, that it was generally believed that he was dead. On the approach of spring, 1307, Bruce resolved to make one more effort for the recovery of his rights. He set sail for the island of Arran, with thirty-three galleys and three hundred men. He next made a descent upon Carrick; and, surprising at midnight the English troops in his own castle of Turnberry, then held by the Lord Henry Percy, he put nearly the whole garrison to the sword. He now ravaged the neighbouring country, and levied the rents of his hereditary lands, while many of his vassals flocked to his standard.

      Meantime, an English force of a thousand strong being raised in Northumberland, advanced into Ayrshire, and, unable to oppose it, Bruce retired into the mountainous districts of Carrick. Percy soon after evacuated Turnberry castle, and returned to England. This success was counter-balanced by the miscarriage of the king’s brothers, Thomas and Alexander Bruce, who, with seven hundred men, attempting a descent at Loch Ryan, in Galloway, were attacked by Duncan Macdowall, a Celtic chief, and almost all cut to pieces. The two brothers being taken prisoners, were conveyed to Carlisle and executed.

      While English reinforcements continued to pour into Scotland from all quarters, Bruce, shut up in the fastnesses of Carrick, found himself with only sixty men, the remainder having deserted him in the belief that his cause was hopeless. Beset on every side by the English, he was also exposed to danger from private treachery; and his escapes were often almost miraculous. Among the most inveterate of his foes were the men of Galloway, who, hoping to effect his destruction and that of all his followers, collected about two hundred men, and accompanied by bloodhounds, came to attack his encampment, which was defended in the rear by a rapid mountain stream, the banks of which were steep and covered with wood. Bruce received timely notice of his danger, and crossing the stream at night, withdrew his men to a swampy level at a short distance frm the rivulet, which had only one narrow ford, over which the enemy must necessarily pass. Commanding his soldiers to remain quiet and keep a strict watch, he and two followers went forward to reconnoitre. The pathway which led to the ford could allow only one man at a time to advance through it. The yell of a bloodhound in the distance told him of the approach of his enemies; and in a short space he perceived, by the light of the moon, the Galloway men on horseback on the opposite bank. They soon passed the ford, and one by one began to make their appearance up the path to the spot where the king stood, calmly awaiting their coming. On first seeing them, he had sent off his attendants to order his soldiers to advance instantly to his relief. The foremost of his foes rode boldly forward to attack the solitary individual who was thus hardy enough to dispute the passage; when a thrust of Bruce’s spear laid him dead on the spot. The next and the next shared the same fate, and as each fell, Bruce, with his short dagger, stabbed their horses; and the dead bodies formed a sort of rampart against the others. At length, the loud shout of the king’s followers, advancing to the rescue, with Sir Gilbert de la Haye at their head, warned the enemy to retire, after sustaining a loss of fourteen men. Bruce was shortly afterwards rejoined by Sir James Douglas, but his whole force at this time did not exceed in all four hundred men, with which he resolved to meet the earl of Pembroke, and his old enemy John of Lorn, who, with a superior army of English cavalry and savage Highlanders, were advancing against him. Being attacked by the English in front, and at the same time by the men of Lorn in the rear Bruce’s little band suddenly divided into small parties, and fled in separate directions. Lorn had with him a bloodhound which had once belonged to Bruce himself, and which being now let loose, singled out his master’s footsteps, and followed on his track; until, coming to a running stream, the king, who was accompanied only by a single follower, plunged into the water, and turning with his companion into the adjoining thicket, continued his retreat in safety. Having regained the place agreed upon as the rendezvous of his followers, that night the advanced post of the English was surprised by Bruce, and upwards of a hundred put to the sword. The earl of Pembroke in consequence retired to Carlisle.

      Bruce now ventured down upon the low country, and reduced the districts of Kyle, Carrick, and Cunningham. Having received a reinforcement from england, the earl of Pembroke again advanced into Ayrshire at the head of three thousand men, principally cavalry, and was met, May 10, 1307, by Bruce at Loudon Hill, with only six hundred men, when the English sustained a total defeat. It was here that Bruce first learned that great lesson in warfare, which now forms one of the most efficient features of modern strategy, namely, that of a firm unflinching infantry, drawn up in square, can successfully resist the encounter of mounted troopers; and this secret it was the more important for him to know, as the English excelled in cavalry. Three days after, Bruce encountered Ralph Monthermer, earl of Gloucester, and defeated him with great slaughter. These successes so animated the Scots, that they flocked from all quarters to the national standard.

      Edward the First at this time lay upon his deathbed at Carlisle; but, roused by intelligence of the repeated victories gained by Bruce, whom he thought dead and Scotland totally subdued, he summoned the whole force of his kingdom to assemble; and hanging up his little, in which he had hitherto accompanied his troops, above the high altar of the cathedral of Carlisle, he mounted his war-horse, and attempted to lead his army northward. But the hand of death was upon him. In four days he had only advanced sic miles, and he expired at Burgh-upon Sands, an obscure village on the Borders, July 7, 1307, in the 69th year of his age, and the 35th year of his reign. With his last breath he directed that his heart should be sent to Jerusalem, and that his skeleton, after the flesh had been boiled from the bones, should be carried at the head of the army, to frighten the Scots into subjection. Edward the Second solemnly swore to observe the dying requests of his father, but he performed neither – the deceased monarch being buried, with his heart entire, and his bones unboiled, at Westminster. The new king marched as far as Cumnock in Ayrshire, appointed the earl of Pembroke guardian of the kingdom, and then hurried back to London.

      Bruce now made an expedition into the north of Scotland, and brought under his dominion the territories of Argyle, and afterwards took the fortresses of Inverness, Forfar, and Brechin. Conducting his army into Buchan, the country of the Comyns, he wasted the land with fire and sword, and nearly depopulated the district. He soon after stormed and demolished the castle of Aberdeen, which was held by an English garrison. In the meantime, Sir James Douglas was not idle. For the third time he took his own castle of Douglas, and reduced the whole forest of Selkirk, besides Douglasdale and Jedburgh, to the subjection of Bruce. Bruce and his army next attacked and defeated the Lord of Lorn at the pass of Brandir, in the Western Highlands, and gave up his country to plunder. The Lord of Lorn having taken refuge in the castle of Dunstaffnage, was besieged in that fortress and compelled to surrender, when he swore fealty to the conqueror.

      In February 1309, the clergy of Scotland met in a provincial council at Dundee, and issued a declaration that the Scottish nation had chosen for their king Robert the Bruce, who, through his father and grandfather, possessed an undoubted right to the throne; and that they willingly did homage to him as their sovereign. Edward the Second, harassed by the dissensions of his nobility, found it necessary to agree to a truce, which, though only of short duration, enabled Bruce to consolidate his power, and complete his preparations for the invasion of England. At the expiry of the truce he accordingly advanced into Durham, laying waste the country with fire and sword, and giving up the whole district to the unbridled license of the soldiery. In the same year, Edward, in his turn, with an immense army, invaded Scotland, and proceeded as far as Edinburgh, but the winter approaching, and finding that the Scots had removed all their provisions into the mountain fastnesses, he was compelled ingloriously to retreat to Berwick-upon-Tweed. After this the Scots, now inured to conquest, again and again broke into England, ravaging the country, and driving home the flocks and herds of their enemies. At one period Edward sent his favourite Gaveston, earl of Cornwall, with an army into Scotland, but that doughty commander was not the most likely person to vanquish Robert the Bruce and his hardy Scots. The town of Perth, one of the chief garrisons of the English in Scotland, was soon afterwards gallantly stormed, the king himself being the first person who scaled the walls.

      In harvest 1312, Bruce again invaded England; and several towns, among which were Hexham and Corbrigg, were given to the flames. although repulsed in their assaults on Carlisle and Berwick, the Scots only consented to a truce on the immediate payment of a large sum of money by the clergy and inhabitants of Durham, Northumberland, Cumberland, and Westmoreland. The castle of Linlithgow was taken by a countryman, named William Binnock or Binnie, who, concealing eight men in a load of hay, with several more lying in ambush in the copsewood near the castle gate, surprised that strong fortress, and put the whole of the English to the sword. The strong border fortress of Roxburgh was also captured by Sir James Douglas, and, about the same time, the castle of Edinburgh, which, from its situation, was considered nearly impregnable, fell into the hands of Randolph, the son of Isabel Bruce, the king’s sister. In the same year, nearly all the fortresses in the kingdom remaining in the possession of the English, were taken, one after another, by the Scots.

      Bruce himself had led an expedition against the Isle of Man, which, after having expelled the powerful sept of the Macdowalls, his inveterate enemies, he reduced to his sway. On his return home in the autumn of 1313, he found that his brother, Edward Bruce, was engaged in the siege of the castle of Stirling, which was held by Sir Philip Mowbray for the English. Mowbray gallantly defended it for some time, but as the garrison began to suffer from famine, he prevailed on Edward Bruce to agree to a treaty, by which he bound himself to surrender the castle, if it was not relieved by an English army before the 24th of June in the ensuing year. This agreement the king of Scotland heard of with displeasure; nevertheless, as the honour of his brother was pledged, he resolved to abide by it. King Edward, on his part, roused himself from the lethargy into which he had fallen. He reconciled himself for the time to his nobles, and summoned all his barons and fiefs, not only in England, but in Ireland and Wales, to aid him with all their followers; and he appointed the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed to be the rendezvous of the forces, on the 121th June. The troops collected there that day amounted, at the lowest calculation, to a hundred thousand men, the most numerous and best appointed army that had ever advanced against Scotland. Of these forty thousand were cavalry, three thousand of whom were armed, from head to foot, in plate and mail. To this force Bruce could only oppose an army of thirty thousand men; but these were hardy, brave, and experienced troops, led by the first warrior of his age, and all burning to avenge the wrongs of their country. The camp-followers, baggage-drivers, sutlers, &c., amounted to about fifteen thousand more; and these, though useless in the field of battle, were destined to perform a signal service in the approaching struggle. Bruce judiciously chose his ground at Bannockburn, within four miles of Stirling. On his left, where the ground was bare and open, and favourable for the movements of cavalry, he caused parallel rows of pits to be dug, each about a foot in breadth, and about three feet deep, which, after having sharp-pointed stakes placed in them, were carefully covered over with sod. His brother Edward Bruce, his nephew Randolph, earl of Moray, Walter, the high steward of Scotland, and Sir James Douglas, were the leaders of the principal divisions. The king himself took the command of the reserve, consisting chiefly of his own vassals of Carrick and the men of Argyle, Kintyre, and the Isles. The battle of Bannockburn was fought on the 24th of June 1314.

      At the moment when the English, vigourously attacked by Bruce himself at the head of the reserve, seconded by the divisions under Edward Bruce, Randolph, and Sir James Douglas, were, throughout their whole line, thrown into confusion, the waggoners, sumpter-boys, and followers of the camp, having formed themselves into squadrons, with sheets, blankets, &c., fixed upon poles, to look like military banners, suddenly appeared on the summit of the Gillieshill, and at once decided the fortune of the day. The already dispirited English, supposing them to be a fresh army come to the assistance of the Scots, threw down their arms, and fled in all directions. thirty thousand English were left dead upon the field; and among them were two hundred knights and seven hundred esquires. Twenty-seven of the noblest barons of England were laid with their banners in the dust. The young earl of Gloucester, the brave Sir Giles d’Argentine, Sir Robert Clifford, and Sir Edward Mauley, seneschal of England, were among the slain. King Edward himself only escaped by the fleetness of his horse. So great was the moral effect of this memorable victory, that, according to Walsingham, a contemporary English historian, at this time a hundred of his countrymen would have fled from before the face of two or three Scotsmen. The day after the battle, the castle of Stirling surrendered, and Sir Philip Mowbray entered into the service of Scotland. The earl of Hereford, escaping to the castle of Bothwell, was retained a prisoner by Sir Walter Fitz-Gilbert, who held it for the English king, but who, changing sides at this critical juncture, received a grant of lands and became the founder of the noble house of Hamilton. For the earl of Hereford, the wife, sister, and daughter of Bruce, with Wishart, bishop of Glasgow, and the young earl of Mar, were exchanged by the English, and restored to their country. Three times within the same year did the victorious Scots invade England, ravaging the districts through which they passed, and returning home laden with spoil.

      The Irish of Ulster having solicited aid from the king of Scots, Edward Bruce passed over to that country, whither he was soon followed by the king himself, who, after defeating the Anglo-Irish, under the baron of Clare, returned home in safety, leaving his brother to pursue his projects of conquest, till his defeat and death in the battle at Dundalk in 1318. In the meantime, the war with England was renewed, but the events connected with it belong rather to history than to the personal details of Bruce’s life. Baffled in all his attempts against the Scots, Edward the Second procured from the Pope, John the Twenty-second, a bull, commanding a truce for two years between Scotland and England. Two cardinals were intrusted with this mission, and they also received private authority from the Pope to excommunicate the king of Scotland, and whomsoever else they thought fit, if necessary. The cardinals, on their arrival in England, sent two messengers into Scotland, to convey the apostolic mandate. Bruce listened with attention to the Pope’s message; but when the letters sealed and addressed “Robert Bruce, Governor of Scotland,” were presented to him, he firmly but respectfully declined to receive them. “These epistles,” he said, “I may not open or read. Among my barons there are many of the name of Robert Bruce, and some of them may have a share in the government of Scotland. These letters may possibly be intended for one of them – they cannot be for me, for I am King of Scotland!” The nuncios attempted to excuse the omission, by saying, that “the Holy Church was not wont, during the dependence of a controversy, to say or do aught which might prejudice the claims of either contending party.” The reply of the king, the nuncios, with all their sophistry, found it impossible to answer. “Since then,” said he, “my spiritual father and my holy mother would not prejudice the cause of my adversary by bestowing on me the title of king during the dependence of the controversy, they ought not to have prejudiced my cause by withdrawing that title from me. It seems that my parents are partial to their English son! Had you,” he added with dignity, “presumed to present letters with such an address to any other sovereign prince, you might perhaps have been answered more harshly; But I reverence you as the messengers of the Holy See.” The disappointed nuncios returned to England, upon which the cardinals sent a priest, named Adam Newton, to Scotland, to proclaim the papal truce. He found Bruce encamped with his army in a wood near Old Cambus, preparing for the assault of Berwick, which still remained in possession of the English. On demanding to see the king, he was ordered to give what letters he had to the king’s seneschal, who would deliver them to his master. These, addressed as before, were instantly returned to him unopened, with a message from Bruce that “he would listen to no bulls until he was treated as king of Scotland, and had made himself master of Berwick.” The monk was refused a safe conduct home, and, on the road to Berwick, he was attacked by four outlaws, who tore and scattered to the winds his papers and credentials, plundered him of his bull and the greater part of his clothes, and left him to find his way as best he could.

      Berwick shortly afterwards fell into Bruce’s hands, and, in the spring of 1318, the Scottish army invaded England by Northumberland, and took several castles, returning home, “driving their prisoners like flocks of sheep before them.” Resolved to recover Berwick, Edward the Second, on the 24th of July 1319, invested that town by land and sea, but was unsuccessful in all his attacks. Douglas, to create a diversion, invaded England, and September 20, defeated a large army of priests and rustics under the archbishop of York, at Mitton on the river Swale. On account of the great number of ecclesiastics who fell in this battle, it is known in history as “the Chapter of Mitton.” The siege of Berwick was in consequence raised; and the English king attempted in vain to intercept the Scottish army on their homeward march. Bruce having been, at the instigation of Edward, excommunicated by the Pope, the estates of the kingdom, April 6, 1320, transmitted a spirited manifesto to his holiness, which caused him to recommend to Edward pacific measures, to which that ill-fated monarch would not hearken. He led a great army into Scotland as far as Edinburgh, but Bruce having laid waste the whole country to the Firth of Forth, his soldiers were in danger of perishing for want of provisions. A solitary lame bill, which they picked up at Tranent, was all the prey that they could secure in their march. “Is that all ye have got?” said the earl de Warenne to the foragers as he eyed the sorry animal: “By my faith, I never saw beef so dear!” Edward was compelled to retreat, and on their way back to England, his half-famished soldiers in revenge burned the monasteries of Dryburgh and Melrose; after plundering the shrines, and murdering the monks.

      Bruce himself, subsequently, at the head of an army, invaded England, and after besieging Norham castle, defeated Edward once more at Biland Abbey, in Yorkshire.l A truce was in consequence ratified between the two kingdoms at Berwick, June 7, 1323, to last for thirteen years. Bruce was now anxious to be reconciled to the Pope, and accordingly despatched Randolph to Rome for the purpose, when his holiness agreed not to renew his former censures. In 1327, on the accession of Edward the Third to the English throne, hostilities between the two kingdoms almost immediately recommenced; but the Scots being again victorious, the English government were at last convinced of the necessity of agreeing to a permanent peace. After several meetings of the commissioners of both countries, the treaty was finally ratified in a parliament held at Northampton, March 4, 1328; the principal articles of which were the recognition of the independence of Scotland, and of Bruce’s title to the throne, and the marriage of Joanna, sister of the king of England, to David, the son and heir of the king of Scots. Bruce’s glorious career was now drawing to a close. This last act was a fitting consummation of his labours. He had achieved liberty, independence, and peace for his country, the three greatest blessings he could bequeath to it, and he now prepared to depart in peace. The hardships and sufferings which he had endured had reduced his once strong constitution, and he became sorely afflicted with a disease in his blood, called a leprosy, which brought on premature old age. The last two years of his life were spent in comparative seclusion, in a castle at Cardross, on the northern shire of the Firth of Clyde, where he devoted his time principally to the building of ships, and to aquatic and fishing excursions, hawking, and other sports. He was very charitable to the poor, and kind and courteous to all who approached him. It is also known that, among other animals, he kept a tame lion beside him, of which he was very fond. He contemplated the approach of death with calmness and resignation. The only thought that troubled him in his dying hours was, that he was still under the excommunication of the church; and to make all the reparation in his power, he commissioned Sir James Douglas to carry his heart ot Palestine, and bury it in the holy city. This great monarch, unquestionably the greatest of the Scottish kings, expired June 7, 1329, in the 55th year of his age, and 23d of his reign. His heart was extracted and embalmed, and delivered over to Douglas, who was killed fighting against the Moors in Spain, and the sacred relic of Bruce, with the body of its devoted champion, was brought home, and buried in the monastery of Melrose. Bruce’s body was interred in the Abbey Church of Dunfermline, where, in the year 1818, in clearing the foundations for a third church on the same spot, his bones were discovered. King Robert the Bruce was twice married; first to Isabella, daughter of Donald, tenth earl of Mar, by whom he had one daughter, Marjory, the wife of Walter the high steward, whose son was afterwards Robert the Second; and, secondly, to Elizabeth, daughter of Aymer de Burgh, earl of Ulster, by whom he had David, who succeeded him, and two daughters.

BRUCE, EDWARD, crowned king of Ireland, was the brother of Robert the Bruce, and companion in many of his exploits. In 1308 he was sent by his brother, with a considerable force, into Galloway, to reduce that country to subjection. He took and dismantled several castles and strongholds held by the enemy; defeated the English twice, once under Sir Ingram de Umfraville, and again under the earl of Pembroke; and, after encountering and dispersing a numerous army of the inhabitants under Donald of the Isles, and Sir Roland, a Galwegian chief, he made himself lord of Galloway. He was actively engaged in all the scenes of strife and contention of that eventful period. In 1313, after having besieged for a long time the strong castle of Stirling in vain, he concluded an agreement with Sir Philip de Mowbray, the English governor, that the castle should be surrendered, if not relieved by Edward the Second before the feast of St. John the Baptist, at the ensuing midsummer. This agreement led to the decisive victory of Bannockburn, which secured the independence of Scotland, and, with the subsequent successes of the Scots, induced the Irish to solicit their aid against their English oppressors. In 1315 a number of the chieftains of Ulster and others made an offer of the crown of Ireland to Edward Bruce, on condition of his assisting them in expelling the English from the island. Edward, though deficient in the coolness and sagacity that distinguished his brother, possessed a chivalric bearing, and a dashing impetuous valour, which was not exceeded by any warrior of his time. “This Edward,” says Barbour, “was a noble knight, of joyous and delightful manners, but outrageously hardy in his enterprises, and so bold in what he undertook, that he was not to be deterred by any superiority of numbers, as he had gained such renown amongst his peers, that he was accustomed very commonly to conquer a multitude of the enemy with a handful of his own men.”  He was of a fierce disposition, restlessly ambitious, and fond of dangerous enterprises. In many points, both of his character and life, making due allowance, of course, for the difference of times, he strongly resembled Joachim Murat, king of Naples. Eagerly embracing the offer, Edward Bruce embarked at Ayr, in May 1315, and landed on the 25th of the same month, near Carrickfergus, at the head of a small army of six thousand men; having with him as leaders, Randolph, earl of Moray, Sir John Soulis, Sir John Stewart, Sir Fergus of Ardrossan, and other knights. No sooner had he found a footing in Ireland, than he attacked the English wherever he met them; and in spite of their superior numbers, was always victorious. He soon made himself master of the province of Ulster, and was crowned king of Ireland, May 2, 1316. His small army being much reduced by the constant fighting in which he was engaged, he received an accession of force from his brother; and in the spring of 1317, King Robert himself arrived in Ireland with reinforcements. After gaining a victory over the Anglo-Irish army near Carrickfergus, and penetrating a considerable distance into the country, King Robert, from the vast superiority of numbers of the English, and the fickleness and treachery of the Irish, soon became convinced that the permanent occupation of Ireland was impracticable, and returned to Scotland, Edward Bruce, on his part, remained in Ulster, resolved to maintain with his sword the precarious crown he had won. But his life and conquests were terminated at once by the fatal battle of Dundalk, October 5, 1317. The Scottish prince, with only two thousand men, resolved to encounter the English army, which amounted to nearly forty thousand troops. On this occasion the Irish deserted their Scots allies, and retreated to a neighbouring eminence; and the English, as might have been expected, gained a complete victory. Edward Bruce was killed in an early part of the battle. He had been singled out by an English knight named John Maupas, who, after a desperate hand to hand combat, slew h im, but not before he had himself received his death-wound. At the close of the battle, the bodies of the two champions were found lying stretched upon each other as they had fallen. The English leaders ungenerously mangled and divided the body of Edward Bruce into four quarters, and preserved the head in salt in a little kit or barrel, to be sent as an appropriate present to the king of England. But, according to Barbour, the body thus ignominiously treated was that of Gilbert Harper, a yeoman belonging to Edward Bruce’s household, whose intrepidity on a former occasion had saved the Scots army on being surprised at Carrickfergus; and who, by a customary practice of those days, wore the armour and surcoat of the king, his master, on the day of battle, whilst Edward Bruce himself was plainly dressed, and without any ornament or indication of his rank. The small remnant of the Scottish army, under the command of John Thomson, leader of the men of Carrick, retreated to Carrickfergus, whence they embarked for Scotland.

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From the Bruces of Clackmannan, whose direct male line became extinct in July 1772, most of the families of the name in Scotland trace their descent. The progenitor of that house was Sir Robert Bruce, who obtained from King David the Second a charter, – granted to his “beloved and faithful cousin,” delecto et fideli consaguineo suo Roberto Bruis, – of the castle and manor of Clackmannan, dated 9th December 1359. Bu his wife Isabel, daughter of Sir Robert Stewart, ancestor of the family of Rosythe, he had a numerous issue. He died about 1390. Sir Robert, his eldest son, married a daughter of Sir John Scrimgeour of Dudhope, ancestor of the earls of Dundee, and had two sons. The elder carried on the line of the family. Thomas, the younger, was the progenitor of the Bruces of Kennet near Clackmannan, which family having terminated in a female, Margaret, only daughter of the sixth Bruce of Kennet, by his wife, a daughter of Kinninmount of that ilk in Fifeshire, she married, in 1568, Archibald Bruce, son of David Bruce of Green, and grandson of Sir David Bruce, the sixth baron of Clackmannan. Robert Bruce, great-grandson of this Archibald, was father of David Bruce, from whom the family of Kennet are descended, one of whom, Robert, was a lord of session, under the title of Lord Kennet. He was the son of Alexander Bruce of Kennet, by Mary, second daughter of Robert, fourth Lord Burleigh. He passed advocate 15th January 1743, was appointed professor of the law of nature and nations in the university of Edinburgh, 22d June 1759; in the following year he was constituted sheriff depute of the counties of Stirling and Clackmannan, and 4th July 1764, was promoted to the bench, and took his seat as Lord Kennet. On the 16th November 1769 he became a lord of Justiciary. He died at Kennet 8th April 1785. Through Lord Kennet’s mother the laird of Kennet claims the barony of Burleigh. [See BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH, Lord, ante.] The Rev. Alexander Bruce of Gartlet, second son of the above Robert, and brother of David Bruce of Kennet, was an eminent divine. His line is now represented (1856) by William Downing Bruce, F.S.A. of Lincoln’s Inn, barrister-at-law.

      Sir David Bruce, the sixth baron of Clackmannan, was father of Sir Edward Bruce of Kinloss, whose grandson, Edward Bruce, the celebrated lawyer, was created in 1602 Lord Bruce of Kinloss. Thomas Bruce, the grandson of the latter, was, in 1633, created earl of Elgin in Scotland, and made a baron of England by the title of Lord Bruce of Whorlton. [See ELGIN, earl of.] From Sir George Bruce of Carnock, younger brother of the first lord Bruce of Kinloss, the present earl of Elgin is descended in a direct male line.

      Henry Bruce, the fifteenth and last baron of Clackmannan, chief of the Bruces, married Catherine, daughter of Alexander Bruce, Esq., of the family of Newton, by whom he had two daughters, who both died in infancy. His own death took place in 1772. His widow died in 1796, at the advanced age of ninety-five. In August 1787 she was visited by the poet Burns, accompanied by Mr. M. Adair, (afterwards Dr. Adair of Harrowgate,) who, in his account of the excursion says, “A visit to Mrs. Bruce of Clackmannan, a lady above ninety, the lineal descendant of that race which gave the Scottish throne its brightest ornament, interested the poet’s feelings powerfully. This venerable dame, with characteristic dignity, informed me, on my observing that I believed she was descended from the family of Robert Bruce, that Robert Bruce was sprung from her family. Though almost deprived of speech by a paralytic affection, she preserved her hospitality and urbanity. She was in possession of the hero’s helmet and two-handed sword, with which she conferred on Burns and myself the honour of knighthood, remarking that she had a better right to confer that title than some people.” At her death she bequeathed to the earl of Elgin, the representative of her family, and chief of the house of Bruce, the sword and what was said to have been the helmet of Bruce above spoken of. They were long preserved in the tower or keep of Clackmannan, (the remains of a castle of King Robert Bruce,) a view of which is given in Grose’s ‘Antiquities of Scotland,’ and are now at Broomhall in Fifeshire, a seat of the earl of Elgin.

      Sir Alexander Bruce of Airth, in the county of Stirling, lineally descended from Sir Robert Bruce, knight of Clackmannan, married Janet, daughter of Alexander, fifth Lord Livingston, and had several sons. Sir John Bruce, the eldest son, was ancestor of the Bruces of Airth, represented by Bruce of Stenhouse in Stirlingshire, whose ancestor was created a baronet of Nova Scotia in 1629.

      The Rev. Robert Bruce, the second son, whose life is subsequently given, became the progenitor of the Bruces of Kinnaird, and also of the Bruces of Downhill, in the county of Londonderry, Ireland, on which latter family a baronetcy was conferred in 1804.

      Thomas Bruce, another son, was ancestor of Robert, Viscount de Bruce of Paris.

BRUCE, EDWARD, an eminent lawyer and statesman, the second son of Sir Edward Bruce of Blairhall, Fifeshire, by his wife, Alison, daughter of William Reid of Aikenhead, county of Clackmannan, sister of Robert, bishop of Orkney, was born about the year 1549. He was educated for the law, and soon after being admitted a member of the faculty of advocates, he was appointed one of the judges of the commissary court at Edinburgh, in the room of Robert, deal of Aberdeen, who had been also a lord of session, and was superceded in January 1576, on account of his “inhabilitie.” From the Pitmedden manuscript in the Advocates’ Library we learn, that on the 14th of July 1584, Bruce appeared before the judges of the court of session, and declared, that though nominated commissary of Edinburgh in the place of the dean of Aberdeen, he would take no benefit therefrom during the life of Mr. Alexander Sym, also one of the commissaries, but that all fees and profits of the place should accrue to the lords of session. On the 27th July 1583 he was made commendator of Kinloss, under a reservation of the liferent of Walter, the abbot of Kinloss. About the same time he was appointed one of the deputes of the lord justice general of Scotland. In 1587, when the General Assembly sent commissioners to parliament to demand the removal of the Tulchan bishops from the legislature, Bruce energetically defended the prelates, vindicating their right to sit and vote for the church; and addressing himself directly to the king, who was present, he complained that the Presbyterian clergy having shut them forth of their places in the church, now wanted to exclude them from their places in the state. Mr. Robert Pont, a Presbyterian minister, one of the commissioners of the church, was interrupted in his reply by the king, who ordered them to present their petition in proper form to the lords of the articles. When it came before the latter is was rejected without observation. In 1594 Bruce was sent on an embassy to Queen Elizabeth, to complain of the harbour afforded to the earl of Bothwell in her dominions, when, rather than deliver him up, she commanded the earl to depart the realm of England. In 1597 Bruce was named one of the parliamentary overseers of a taxation of two hundred thousand pounds Scots, at that time granted to James the Sixth, for “Reiking out ambassadors and other wechty affairs;” and on 2d December of that year he was appointed one of the lords of session. In the subsequent year he was again sent to England, to obtain the queen’s recognition of James as her successor to the English throne. although he failed in the object of his embassy, his skill and address enabled him to secure many of the English nobility to his sovereign’s interest. In 1601 he was for the third time despatched to England with the earl of Mar, to intercede for the earl of Essex, but they did not arrive till after the execution of that unhappy nobleman. Not wishing, however, to appear before Elizabeth without an object, the ambassadors adroitly converted their message into one of congratulation to the queen on her escape from the conspiracy in which Essex had been engaged. On this occasion Bruce did not neglect his master’s cause, having had the good fortune to establish a correspondence between James and Cecil, which contributed materially to James’s peaceable accession to the throne of England. On his return he was knighted, and raised to the peerage by the title of Baron Bruce of Kinloss. Two years afterwards he accompanied King James to England, and March 3, 1603, was nominated a member of the king’s council. shortly after he was made master of the rolls, when he resigned his seat as one of the lords of session. He died January 14, 1611, in the 62d year of his age, and was buried in the Rolls chapel, in Chancery Lane, London, where a monument was erected to his memory, with his effigies in a recumbent posture, in his robes as master of the rolls, an engraving of which is inserted in Pinkerton’s Gallery of Scottish Portraits, vol. i. He had married Magdalene, daughter of Sir Alexander Clerk of Balbirnie, in Fife, some time lord provost of Edinburgh, by whom he had two sons and a daughter. Through one of his sons he was ancestor of the noble house of Aylesbury in the British peerage, and through the other of that of Elgin and Kincardine in Scotland. The male lines of both houses are now extinct. [See ELGIN, earl of.] The daughter was the wife of William, second earl of Devonshire, to whom King James, with his own hands, gave ten thousand pounds as her marriage portion.

BRUCE, ROBERT, a distinguished minister and a principal leader of the church of Scotland during the reign of James the Sixth, was born, some accounts say in 1554, and others in 1556, but according to Wodrow, about 1559. He was the second son of Alexander Bruce of Airth, in the county of Stirling, by Janet, daughter of Alexander fifth Lord Livingston, and Agnes, daughter of the second earl of Morton. By descent, he was a collateral relation of his great namesake King Robert the Bruce, while James Bruce the Abyssinian traveller, was his descendant in the sixth generation. His father, a rude and powerful baron, was occasionally engaged in feuds with his neighbours, like others of his class, and we find it recorded in Birrel’s Diary (p. 13.) That on the 24th November 1567, at two in the afternoon the laird of Airth and the laird of Wemyss met in the High Street of Edinburgh, when they and their followers fought a bloody skirmish, many being wounded on both sides, with ‘shot of pistol.’ The eldest son, as he was to inherit the family property, was educated at home, but the second son, being designed for the law, after attending a course of philosophy in the university of St. Andrews, was sent to Paris, where, and at the university of Louvain in the Low Countries, he studied humanity and the principles of Roman jurisprudence. He completed his education at the university of Edinburgh, and conducted for some time his father’s affairs before the court of session, as well as managed such business as was intrusted to him by his friends and acquaintances. ‘His reputation,’ says Wodrow, ‘for knowledge in law and practice was so much daily advancing that a design was formed to make him one of the senators of the college of justice; and with this view his father provided him in the lands and barony of Kinnaird.’ It is stated that the corrupt system of those days, which extended even to the court of session, enabled his father to secure for him a judgeship by patent. He preferred however to enter the ministry, contrary to the wishes of his parents, and in particular of his mother, who only consented, after his father had given his reluctant permission, on condition that he relinquished the estate of Kinnaird, in which he had been infeft. ‘That,’ he says, ‘I did willinglie; cast my clothes from me, my vaine and glorious apparell; sent my horse to the faire, and emptied my hands of all impediments.’ [Calderwood’s History of the Kirk of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 636.] In October 1583, he went to the university of St. Andrews, to study theology under Andrew Melville, then professor of divinity in the New College, and continued there till 1587. He said to Mr. James Melville, one day while walking with him in the fields, ‘that ere he cast himself again in that torment of conscience which was layed on him for resisting the calling of God to the studie of theologie and ministrie, he had rather goe through a fire of brimstone half a mile long.’

      In the beginning of February 1584, Andrew Melville was summoned to appear before the secret council at Edinburgh, for using certain expressions in a fast-day sermon, which were held to be seditious. On his appearance he denied the charge, declined the authority of any civil court in matters of religion, and appealed to a trial at St. Andrew’s by his brethren, and the testimony of his own congregation. The university sent Mr. Bruce, then a student in theology, and Mr. Robert Wilkie, with an attestation signed by thirty of that body, declaring his innocence. To avoid imprisonment, however, he was obliged to retire to England; but in April 1586 was permitted to return to St. Andrews, and while Bruce enjoyed the advantages of his lectures as theological professor, he seems to have imbibed no small portion of his indomitable spirit. In June 1587, he accompanied Melville to Edinburgh, and in the General Assembly which met the 20th of that month, and of which Melville was elected moderator, he was chosen one of the assessors. He was also appointed one of the commissioners to present the acts and petitions of the Assembly to the king and parliament. By Melville he was recommended as a fit person to succeed the deceased Mr. James Lawson, the successor of John Knox, as one of the ministers of Edinburgh. He was accordingly chosen by the Assembly, but at first declined to accept the charge, promising, however, to preach till the next Synod, as he preferred rather to go to St. Andrews, where he had a call, “for,” he says, “I had no will of the court, for I knew weill that the court and we could never agree.” A deputation was, however, soon sent to St. Andrews, to invite him back to Edinburgh. A few weeks after his return, being present at the administration of the sacrament, one of the ministers employed in the service desired Mr. Bruce to sit beside him, and after having dispensed the ordinance in part, left the church, and sent a message to Mr. Bruce to serve the rest of the tables. Imagining the minister to have been taken suddenly ill, and being pressed by many in the congregation to undertake the service, he proceeded to the remainder of the dispensation. He afterwards accepted the charge, but would never submit to ordination, deeming that he had sufficient warrant, in the unanimous call of the people and the approbation of his brethren, for undertaking the duties of the ministry, and as he had dispensed the sacrament \he would not allow any subsequent ceremony to disannul that act.

      On the 6th February 1588, he was chosen moderator of an extraordinary meeting of the General Assembly, called to consider the great dangers to the protestant faith and the realm, arising from the intrigues of the popish party, previous to the threatened invasion of the Spanish Armada. In the ninth session the chancellor, by desire of the king, appeared and accused James Gibson minister of Pencaitland, of stating in one of his sermons that the king had been the real cause of all the evils brought upon the church by his favourite the earl of Arran; and that, if he persisted in his injurious measures he would be ‘like Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the last of his race.’ Gibson was cited before the Assembly in its fourteenth session, but not appearing when called upon he was judged contumacious, and ordered to be suspended. This manifest yielding to the court seems to have been much against the conscience of the moderator Mr. Bruce, who withdrew himself when the sentence was about to be pronounced, having the previous night been admonished in a dream not to be present on the occasion, by a voice saying to him, “Ne intersis condemnationi servi Dei.” Mr. Gibson’s suspension was taken off by the following Assembly. Thenceforward Bruce’s name appears prominently in all the proceedings of the church, and especially in those contests, for supremacy on the one hand and independent jurisdiction on the other, that were constantly taking place between the king and the clergy.

      On the thanksgiving day appointed for the overthrow of the Spanish armada, Mr. Bruce preached at Edinburgh from the 76th Psalm. His two sermons on this subject were printed by Waldegrave in 1591, and display a strength of sentiment and language seldom to be met with in the writers of those times.

      At this juncture there were three parties in Scotland, namely, the popish faction, the church party, and the courtiers. The popish faction consisted chiefly of the earls of Angus, Errol, and Huntly, the murderer of the “bonnie earl of Moray,” and their followers, with whom the turbulent earl of Bothwell, although a protestant, had joined for his own purposes. The party of the church included those lords who had been banished for the raid of Ruthven, the object of which was to carry off the king, many of whom had acted in the Reformation in Scotland, and now depended for support on the English court. The court party, with the king himself at its head, was composed of the secret favourers of episcopacy, the titular bishops, and the immediate servants of the crown. The commission of the church, of which Mr. Bruce was a principal member, was appointed at this time to meet weekly, and the popish party were prosecuted throughout the kingdom by a regularly organized body, with the utmost severity.

      On the 17th February 1589, the queen of England transmitted to King James intelligence of the discovery of a conspiracy of the popish lords, abetted by Spain. Huntly, Errol, and Bothwell, who were then at court, were immediately imprisoned. They soon found means of gaining the king’s pardon, but the church insisted on their public repentance, before being admitted to favour again.

      On the 22d October of the same year, King James sailed to Norway, to marry his queen, the princess Anne of Denmark. Previous to his departure he constituted Bruce, for whom he entertained feelings of blended respect and fear, a member of the privy council, and desired him to take cognizance of the affairs of the country, and the proceedings of the council, in his absence, professing that he had more confidence in him and the other ministers of Edinburgh than in all his nobles. Nor was he disappointed, for the country was never in greater peace than whilst the king was out of the kingdom on this occasion. Under the supervision of the clergy, the nobles suspended for the time their feuds and faction fights, and the people enjoyed an interval of repose from the disorders and bloodshed which usually distracted the realm. Desirous of gaining the good will of the clergy, the earl of Bothwell, who with the duke of Lennox had been left joint governor of the kingdom, offered to Mr. Bruce and Mr. Robert Rollock, to make his public repentance. Accordingly, on Tuesday the 9th of November, after a sermon by Bruce, from 2 Timothy ii. 22-26 (printed with his other sermons in 1591), the earl humbled himself on his knees in the High Church (in the Little Kirk beforenoon, and in the Great Kirk afternoon, says Calderwood), and, with tears, confessed his licentious and dissolute life, promising to prove another man in time coming; which, indeed, he proved by becoming worse instead of better. That same night, according to Calderwood, or soon after, he carried off the earl of Gowrie’s daughter from Dirleton, and his evil courses were so far from being restrained that the atrocity of his past conduct was soon exceeded by greater crimes.

      From Upsal in Norway the king wrote a friendly letter to Bruce, thanking him for the care he had taken of the peace of the country in his absence, and acknowledging that he was worthy of the quarter of his “petite kingdom.” He subsequently received two other letters from his majesty, dated from the castle of Croneburg, 19th February and 4th April 1590, announcing his intention of returning home, which, in the former, he said would be “like a thief in the night,” and desiring him to take order that he and his queen might have a proper reception on their arrival. The chancellor Maitland, who was with the king, also wrote him three letters on state matters, which, with the king’s, are all given in full in Calderwood’s History.

      On the 1st May 1590, the king returned, with his queen, at whose coronation in the Abbey church of Holyrood, on Sunday 17th May, Messrs. Bruce, Lindsay, Balcanquhal and the royal chaplains were appointed to assist, and Bruce had the honour of anointing her majesty with oil. This he did, not as a religious rite but a civil ceremony. On the 24th the king went to the Great Kirk and returned thanks to Mr. Bruce and the clergy for the religious and civil care of his kingdom which they had taken in his absence. On the 9th of the ensuing June Bruce himself was married to Margaret, daughter of James Douglas of Parkhead, when his father restored to him his inheritance of Kinnaird. His father-in-law, Douglas, some years afterwards became known in history as the assassin of James Stuart, earl of Arran, the former favourite of King James, and the inveterate enemy of the clergy.

      Next to Andrew Melville, Bruce had the greatest influence in the church, and he at all times used the utmost boldness in his admonitions to the king, both from the pulpit and in his private conferences with him. The spirit of the age knew not toleration, and the characteristics of the leading clergy at this period were a want of charity for those of a different opinion, an uncompromising and contemptuous public censure of the sovereign and the court, and a constant dictation to the civil government, in matters of state as well as of religion, altogether unwarranted, and which often led to sedition and anarchy. austere, however, as were their doctrines, their lives were pure and their motives upright, while the discipline which they established in Scotland has for long preserved the religion of our countrymen.

      From James’ want of due energy in administering justice, the feuds and disorders of the nobility and people broke out again, after his return from Denmark, with increased violence. On Sunday, 6th June 1591, the king attended divine service in the Little Kirk, when Mr. Bruce preached from Hebrews xii. 14, 15. In the course of his sermon he asked, “What could the great disobedience of the land mean now, when the king was present, seeing some reverence was borne to his shadow when he was absent? It meant,” he said, “the universal contempt of his subjects; therefore, he counselled the king, to call to God, before he either ate or drunk, that the Lord would give him a resolution to execute justice upon malefactors, although it should be with the hazard of his life; which if he would enterprise courageously the Lord would raise many to assist him, and all these impediments would vanish away, which are now cast in the way; otherwise,” he added, “you will not be suffered to bruik (enjoy) your crown alone, but every man will have one.” [Calderwood, vol. v. p. 129.] This rebuke rankled in the king’s mind, and on the Tuesday following, he called the ministers of Edinburgh before him and the court of session, and complained of these personal censures from the pulpit, but without effect. The ministers, and particularly Bruce, continued their public exhortations to his majesty, whenever occasions arose to call for them, of which numerous instances are recited in Calderwood’s History of the Kirk. The freedom with which Bruce opposed the encroachments, and censured the follies and vices, of the court had begun to excite feelings of jealousy and alarm in the breast of the king, and his fearless maintenance of the rights and privileges of the church, joined to his great power over the people, added to his majesty’s growing hatred of him.

      On 21st May 1592, Mr. Bruce was again elected moderator of the General Assembly. On the 5th of the following month parliament passed the long and anxiously expected act by which presbyterianism was established as the religion of Scotland. In November of the same year Mr. Bruce and other ministers were appointed a standing council of the church at Edinburgh, to watch the designs of the papists, who, at that juncture, were particularly active, arising, in a great measure, from the favour shown to the popish lords by the king himself. This council of the clergy was viewed with great dislike by James as an encroachment on his prerogative, and in the following December, irritated at the opposition given by the ministers to the arrival at court of his favourite, Captain Stuart, sometime earl of Arran, and the countenance supposed to be shown by them to the turbulent earl of Bothwell, after the raid of Falkland, he sent for the magistrates and ministers of Edinburgh, and brought a special charge of treason against Bruce, for harbouring that restless nobleman. Bruce denied the charge, and demanded the author. Several were promised, but none were given. On the following Sunday he and Balcanquhal, at the request of the king, warned the people against Bothwell from the pulpit, and desired them not to give him any encouragement or protection. On the 8th of the same month some of the ministers went down to the palace to urge a proof of the treason whereof Bruce was accused. The king, however, had had time for reflection, and he wished the matter passed over. This would not satisfy the ministers, and a day was fixed for producing the accusers; – or whom two, the Master of Gray and Mr. Thomas Tyrie, were named. On Sunday, the 10th of the same month, Bruce, lecturing from 1 Samuel xii., said that the king was surrounded with liars, and that he would discontinue preaching until he were freed from that heinous accusation which had been brought against him, namely, that he and others had conspired to take the crown off the king’s head, and put in on Bothwell’s. The presbytery, the kirk session, and the town council, as well as Bruce himself, were urgent for a trial, and the Master of Gray, mentioned as the principal accuser, indignantly quitted the court, and by letter vindicated Bruce from the charge, offering ‘on Bruce’s honest quarrel in that behalf,’ to fight no man, except the king himself. Assuredly, for such an unfounded calumny the pusillanimous monarch was sufficiently harassed. On Thursday, the 14th of December, the day appointed for the production of the accusers, Bruce, accompanied by the kirk session and others, again proceeded to the palace, and demanded that they should be brought forward, but none were forthcoming, and the king, who was heartily tired of the whole business, and ‘mislyked’ that it had been insisted on so far, put them off with fair promises, and so the matter ended. On the 7th of the following January, Bruce exhorted the king, in his sermon, now to execute justice impartially, otherwise, the Chronicles, he said, will keep in memory king James the Sixth to his shame. After Bothwell had forced his way into Holyroodhouse, in August 1593, it is well known that he got a remission for his past offences from the king, till the tenth of November, when the parliament should sit and confirm it. An agreement was subsequently entered into betwixt the king and Bothwell, that the former might go to Falkland, or where he pleased, and take what persons he liked with him, and the latter should refrain from the court, and in the meantime would not be molested. To this agreement Bruce was a witness. In the month of September, however, the king, in violation of it, published a severe proclamation against Bothwell. On the 8th of October the three popish earls were excommunicated by the Synod of Fife. The king, notwithstanding, continued to show them countenance, and by his influence got the act of abolition passed in their favour. This act, sometimes called the act of oblivion, allowed liberty to the accused to pass freely among the king’s subjects, on certain conditions. Alarmed at this, the friends of the church met, as they had long been accustomed to do, in the gallery of Bruce’s house, and framed a petition to the king that the popish lords should be closely committed to prison till they made their public recantation. Mr. Bruce, preaching before the chancellor, secretary, and justice-clerk, December 16th, said that the king’s reign would be short and troublesome, if the act of abolition were not rescinded. In March 1594, after the forfeiture of Bothwell, and his mustering men to appear in arms against the king, Bruce told James from the pulpit that, however Bothwell were out of the way, he should never want a particular enemy till he fought the Lord’s battles against the wicked; that Lord Bothwell had taken protection of the good cause, at least the pretence thereof, to the king’s shame, because he took not upon him the quarrel, and he understood now how he could pursue Bothwell, till he had proven the last band broken and indenture betwixt them, whereto he was one witness. These speeches, says Calderwood, galled the king. On the 9th of April, Sir Robert Melville and the laird of Carmichael were sent by the king to the presbytery of Edinburgh, to ask their advice as to how Bothwell’s forces could be dispersed. Deeming this but a snare the brethren gave a general answer, and though pressed for a more particular one, they declined it. Sir Robert complained that the nobility had left the king. Mr. Bruce said that the king’s doings and proceedings lost him esteem among all his subjects, especially the meaner sort, who were oppressed, and though the ministry should exhort them to assist him, they would not if he amended not; therefore his advice was that he would turn and repent of his sins.

      The year 1596 is marked by her historians as the period when the Presbyterian church of Scotland had attained to her full glory. In the summer of that year, Mr. Bruce was appointed by the assembly to visit the churches in the province of Glasgow, where he was received with the greatest respect and honour, so high was his reputation for faithfulness, wisdom, and usefulness. The king, offended at the warmth of his reception in the west, vowed he should lose his head for his conduct in regard to Bothwell. It is related by Maxwell, bishop of Ross, in a pamphlet entitled, ‘The Burden of Issachar,’ published in 1646, that when Bruce returned to Edinburgh, “entering the Canongate, King James, looking out at his window in the palace of Holyrood, with indignation (which extorted from him an oath), said, Master Robert Bruce, I am sure, intends to be king, and declare himself heir to Robert de Bruce.” If this be true, the story told by the same writer, and by Spottiswood, and repeated by all the episcopalian historians, as to Bruce’s saucy bearing and insolent answers to the king, in the matter of the proposed recall of the three popish earls, cannot be relied upon. As Bruce was, at this time, entirely out of favour at court, it is not at all likely that he would have been consulted by the king on such an occasion. He is said to have been sent for to Holyrood, and on being ushered into the king’s bedchamber, James opened unto him his views upon the English crown, and his fears lest the papists in Scotland, of whom these lords were the chief, should join with the Romanists in England, and endeavour to prevent his succession. He proposed, therefore, to pardon and recall them, in order to gain them to his interests. To this Bruce is represented to have answered, “Sir, you may pardon Angus and Errol and recall them, but it is not fit, nor will you ever obtain my consent to pardon or recall Huntly.” The king desired him to consider the matter till next day, but he continued inexorable, and finally declared to the king, “Sir, I see your resolution is to take Huntly into favour, which, if you do, I will oppose, and you shall choose whether you shall lose Huntly or me, for both fo us you cannot keep” [Spottiswood, p. 417.] We do not believe the statement. The crisis of the church’s fate had arrived, and Bruce’s own troubles and sufferings were now about to commence, so that his word had ceased to have any effect on the self-will and determination of King James, who may be said to have been the first of his family that aimed, in a systematic manner, at arbitrary power. This he did by endeavouring to overthrow the church, which had proved such a strong check upon his proceedings. The clergy, on their part, contended for complete independence. On both sides the encroachment was great. The ministers were perpetually asserting the liberty of the church, to which the king, from the belief that it interfered with his prerogative, and the freedom and frequency of their personal rebukes, had conceived an utter aversion. It is impossible to defend the conduct of either party. The popular impression has for long been against the king, but whoever examines, with a candid and impartial spirit, the histories of Knox and Calderwood, will readily discover that the high-handed conduct of the clergy approached to an intolerable tyranny. Charles the First and his two successors persecuted both the church and the people of Scotland, but his father only opposed a dominancy on the part of the clergy which, if not thwarted as it was at the outset, would in time have overturned the monarchy.

      The banished noblemen, finding favour at court, returned without formal leave, and to the mortification of the clergy and the astonishment of the people, the countess of Huntly made her way into the confidence of the queen, whilst Lady Livingston, also a papist, was intrusted with the care of the infant princess. The grievances of the church were immediately carried to the throne, but they were heard with coldness, or dismissed without relief. Bruce and Melville were appointed by the Assembly to wait on the queen, and treat with her about the religious reformation of her household, but they were denied admittance, as she was engaged at a dance! The ministers appointed the first Sunday of December as a day of fasting and humiliation for the dangers that threatened religion. In the meantime one of the ministers of St. Andrews, named David Black, was cited by the king, before the privy council, for using in a sermon certain expressions, alleged to be seditious, against the king and queen, and against Queen Elizabeth. Black declined the authority both of the king and the privy council, till the church first took cognizance of the matter. The clergy supported him, and the court and the church were now at open and irreconcilable collision with each other. The proceedings of the court were sufficiently arbitrary. On the 15th December a proclamation was issued charging the commissioners of the General Assembly to leave Edinburgh, which was at once obeyed, and on the night of the 16th another appeared commanding twenty-four of the citizens to depart from the town, under pain of treason. Next day, the famous 17th December 1596, a tumult was suddenly raised by the populace of Edinburgh, for which, though mainly incited by the two rival court parties, the Cubiculars, or gentlemen of the bed-chamber, and the Octavians, as the eight commissioners of the treasury were called. the clergy were blamed; and his majesty took advantage of this unhappy riot to carry out his designs for a change in the whole framework and constitution of the church. On the day mentioned, Balcanquhal preached from the pulpit of St. Giles’, to a numerous concourse of people, consisting of the well-affected citizens of Edinburgh and of such nobleman and gentlemen as supported the protestant cause, and after sermon, he requested those present to assemble in the east or Little Kirk, to consider how the danger threatening religion might be avoided. At this meeting Mr. Bruce made an exhortation, showing the perils of the church from the return of the popish lords, and he desired all present to hold up their hands and swear to defend the present state of religion against all opposers whatsoever. A petition to the king was agreed to, praying that his majesty would secure them from the dangerous plots of the papists, and that the citizens who had been banished without a cause, might be put upon their trial, or have liberty to return to their homes. A deputation, consisting of the Lords Lindsay and Forbes, the lairds of Bargeny and Balquhan, two bailies of Edinburgh, and Messrs, Bruce and Watson, was sent to present the petition to the king. A minister named Cranston, till the return of the deputies, read to those assembled the history of Haman and Mordecai, and similar passages of Scripture. James was, at the time, sitting with his privy council in the Tolbooth adjoining St. Giles’, in a room above that where the court of session was held, and on entering, Bruce, addressing him, said, “They were sent by the noblemen and barons convened in the Little Kirk, to bemoan the dangers threatened to religion by the dealings that were against the two professors.” The king demanded “What dangers?” Bruce replied, “Our best affected people that tender religion are discharged of the town; the Lady Huntly, a professed papist, entertained at court, and it is suspected her husband is not far off.” Without deigning a reply, the king inquired “who they were that dared to assemble without his authority?” “Dare!” said Lord Lindsay, “we dare more than that, and shall not suffer the truth to be overthrown, and stand tamely by.” This language and the pressure of the people into the apartment alarmed the king for his personal safety, for which he was, at all times, nervously apprehensive. He abruptly quitted the room, and hurried down stairs to the hall where the judges sat. The deputation returned to their friends, and while acquainting them with what had taken place, the people without, fancying that the ministers were in danger, flew to arms, and displayed the Blue Blanket, the banner of the city. The uproar was increased by an enthusiastic citizen, named Edward Johnston, crying out, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon against the courtiers, enemies of the truth.” [Balfour’s Annals, vol. i. p. 400.] The riot was at last suppressed, and the king, highly incensed against the clergy and the inhabitants, retired next day to Linlithgow, after issuing a sever proclamation, ordering all who were not indwellers to remove out of Edinburgh, and appointing the courts of justice to be held at Perth. On the part of his brethren, Bruce wrote a letter to Lord Hamilton, requesting him to intercede with his majesty for the ministers, and to defend them against the machinations and calumnies of their enemies, but instead of doing so, that nobleman sent a garbled copy of his letter to his majesty, which much enraged him. On the 20th December two proclamations were issued, the one charging the four ministers of Edinburgh and some special citizens, to enter in ward in the castle, and the other commanding them to compear before the council at Linlithgow on 25th December, to answer for treasonably stirring up the tumult of the 17th of that month. Mr. Bruce proposed to remain in the city as he had not mixed in the tumult, but his friends, convinced of his danger, pressed him to withdraw himself. He and Mr. Balcanquhal, therefore, retired into England, but before his departure he wrote a spirited declaration of his innocence. This characteristic monument of his eloquence, his independence, and his injuries, will be found in Calderwood. He also wrote a litter of bitter remonstrance to Lord Hamilton, renouncing his friendship, and saying that even the earl of Huntly, his lordship’s nephew, would not have acted in the manner that he had done.

      In the course of a few months after, the king was reconciled to the city, and Mr. Bruce obtained permission to return, with the rest of his brethren. On the 24th April 1597, they got access to the king, who approved of their leaving the country, and said if they had not fled he might have done that in his fury which he might have afterwards repented of. They were not, however, permitted to preach till the 24th of July. Soon after, Mr. Bruce and his colleagues were ordered to remove from Edinburgh to any place they might select. They answered that this was quite contrary to the last conference they had with his majesty, and before they would submit to such an ignominy, they would renounce the favour they had obtained, and submit themselves to trial, though it should bring their heads under the axe. In January 1598, when the proposed appointment of four new ministers to Edinburgh came before the commissioners of the Assembly, Mr. Bruce objected to the settlement of Mr. Peter Hewatt and Mr. George Robertson, two of those named, as being too young and not acceptable to the people. Calderwood gives a detail of the many turns that took place in this matter, which occasioned Mr. Bruce fresh trouble and perplexity, and copies his meditations on the subject from his own Diary or Journal. It was not till the meeting of the Dundee assembly of that year that the king declared himself reconciled to Mr. Bruce and the other obnoxious ministers. Before James was brought to this point, says Calderwood, Mr. Bruce offered five or six times to enter in ward, and abide the law for the tumult of the 17th December. The king said that were it not for pleasuring the commissioners of the Assembly, with whom he professed to take plain part, a dozen fo them had trotted over Tweed ere that time. [Calderwood’s History, vol. v. p. 691.] In this Assembly Mr. Bruce joined his brethren in maintaining that ministers should have no vote in parliament, a measure proposed by the court, in order to introduce bishops into the church. The measure was carried, as the assemblies were now managed entirely by the king, and even the commissioners of the church were all pre-appointed by the court.

      In May of the same year (1598) Mr. Bruce was admitted to the Little Kirk of Edinburgh. At first he refused the imposition of hands, thinking that it would invalidate his former ministry. The king and the commissioners of the Assembly, who were entirely subservient to his majesty, insisted upon it, and after a good deal of disputation with them, the full details of which will be found in Calderwood’s History, he ultimately submitted to it as a ceremony not of ordination but merely of confirmation and entry. His troubles however did not end there. The king was determined to cause him as much annoyance as possible, and took every opportunity to molest him. It really looks as if he had a special delight in tormenting and personally persecuting him. In January 1599, he was called before the council, with the other ministers, for their freedom in reproving the prevailing vices of the time, and the king vainly attempted to persuade them to promise to obey certain acts of assembly passed according to his own purposes, and to refrain in future from meddling, in their sermons, with any of his laws or proceedings. In the following month he arbitrarily deprived Mr. Bruce of a pension which had been conferred upon him out of the abbey of Arbroath, of twenty-four chalders of victual, by a gift under the seals, for his life, and transferred it to Lord Hamilton, the nobleman who had garbled Mr. Bruce’s letter, as already stated. But Mr. Bruce raised an action against his lordship before the court of session, and had judgment pronounced in his favour, in spite of an attempt on the part of the king to overawe the judges. His majesty’s wrath against Mr. Bruce rose to such a pitch that for fifteen weeks he sent some frivolous message or other to him every Saturday, to disturb him in his studies, so that he was most anxious to leave Edinburgh. In the following December the king in the absence of Bruce in the country, ordered the process to be revived or as it is technically called, ‘wakened,’ in the court of session, relative to his pension. The lords were threatened not to give judgment in his favour, and even the advocates were debarred from pleading in his behalf. On his return he went to the king to remonstrate. “I have,” he said, “Your majesty’s grant, written with your own hand, wherein you were pleased to say I deserved it, though it had been the quarter of your kingdom; which I shall keep as a monument to posterity, as your majesty also bade me.” The king turned calm, and said, “Save my honour, Mr. Robert, and I shall not hurt you.” “What way?” asked Bruce. “Come up the morn,” said the king, “submit to my will and render the gift.” “Pardon me,” said Bruce, “I will not benefit my enemy, nor give my right to any subject; but if your majesty will have it to your own use, I will give up my grant most willingly, providing you gratify not my competitors, nor bereave me causelessly of my right, for the pleasure of any other subject.” This the king promised. Next day, when the case was called in the court of session, Mr. Bruce appeared for himself, and declared, “I had my gift of his majesty’s free liberality. If his majesty think that gift meet for his own use, look, how freely his majesty gave it me, I will as freely render it again. But as for my Lord Hamilton, or any neighbour man of the ministry, I am no way obliged to them, so I look that his majesty will suffer me to enjoy my right against them.” But the chancellor, under the control of the king, who was present, refused Mr. Bruce’s bill. The decrees in his favour were annulled, and the pension was bestowed on the minister of Arbroath.

      In August 1600, the Gowrie conspiracy took place, and Bruce, being unfortunately for himself and for the church, one of those who entertained doubts as to the treason of the earl of Gowrie, (who had been brought up under his direction,) and his brother, refused to offer up thanks in the pulpit for his majesty’s deliverance from the conspiracy, though he had no objection to do so in general terms for his preservation from danger. Although the king himself had related the story in public at the cross of Edinburgh, Bruce and three of his brethren absolutely refused to repeat it to their congregations. “Ye have heard me, ye have heard my minister, ye have heard my council, ye have heard the yerle of Mar,” exclaimed the enraged monarch with eagerness, that half betrayed the suspicion of his heart. the chancellor instantly pronounced a sentence dictated by the council, prohibiting them from preaching in the kingdom under pain of death. On the day following, they gave in a supplication, with articles of the extent to which they were willing to comply, but they were ordered to beg the king’s pardon, believe the whole report, and publish it as truth. Still refusing, the ministers were summoned to Stirling for their obstinacy. Mr. Bruce offered to publish it from the pulpit as far as he understood the conspiracy, and to believe in it for his own part, if Henderson, the earl of Gowrie’s servant, should confess at his execution that he had been put into the secret room to assassinate the king. Sir David Murray the comptroller, interrupted him by saying, “Will ye believe a condemned man better than the king and council?” “My lord,” replied Bruce, “if he die penitent I will trust him. If God receive his soul, I think we may receive his testimony.” “You will not trust me, and the noblemen that were there with me, except ye try me,” said the king. “Will cannot be restrained,” was Bruce’s answer. “I may well lie to you with my mouth, I cannot trust but after trial.” The other three ministers, on their submission, were allowed to return to their charges, but Bruce was ordered to enter into ward in the tower of Airth, a fortress built by his ancestors, and celebrated in popular tradition as the scene of one of the exploits of Wallace. Thence he was ordered to quit the kingdom on the eleventh of November, and continue in exile during the royal pleasure. “A great impediment to the course of episcopacy,” says Calderwood, “was thus removed out of the way. From that time, the banner of the truth was never so bravely displayed in the pulpits of Edinburgh as before.”

      Knowing James’ character as he did, and his determination to get rid of every one who was at all obnoxious to him, Bruce might justly have fancied that the king had very much exaggerated the circumstances of the case, and it must be confessed that there was enough of mystery in the conspiracy as described, to cause grave doubts to be entertained regarding the exact truth; but there can be no question that Bruce’s conduct in stickling as he did, on such a matter, gave the king a mighty advantage, and tended to hasten the overthrow of the church of which he was one of the most influential leaders. His proscription and banishment, at the time of her greatest danger, removed a formidable obstacle in the way of James’ designs for the full introduction of episcopacy, and proved fatal to the independence and almost to the existence of the presbyterian church, which she did not recover till the memorable year 1638, when, as if to prove how “the whirligig of time brings about its own revenges,” one who had been converted by his preaching, the celebrated Alexander Henderson, was the principal instrument of her restoration.

      Bruce sailed from Queensferry at midnight of the 5th November (1600) for Dieppe in Normandy, where he arrived in five days. At the moment of his embarkation, a luminous glow spread itself over the heavens in an unusually brilliant manner, which the people, ignorant of such phenomena, superstitiously imputed to the divine approbation of his conduct. In May of the following year, the Lady Mar obtained a license to Mr. Bruce to go to London to confer with Lord Mar and Edward Bruce, Lord Kinloss, the king’s ambassador, who had previously sent for him twice. He accompanied his lordship to Berwick, where he remained till October, when he received his majesty’s permission to return to Scotland, though he still refused to proclaim Gowrie’s treason from the pulpit, saying he was not persuaded of it. He was commanded to keep ward in his own house of Kinnaird, where he continued till 15th January 1602. He afterwards had a conference with the king at Brechin, and another at Perth, and on june 25th Subscribed a resolution to the effect that he was convinced of his majesty’s innocence and the guilt of the Ruthvens, according to the acts of parliament. This, however, he did as a subject, not as a minister. When the commissioners of the church urged him to proclaim his acknowledgment of the conspiracy, and ask pardon for his incredulity, he boldly answered that he could not preach injunctions, to which the Scottish church had never been accustomed; that in the chair of God he would preach the words of truth as the Spirit should direct, and that he plainly saw they were not anxious about his obedience to the act, but the disgrace of his ministry. In consequence he was not allowed to preach in Edinburgh. The people of his former charge were most anxious to have him back again, and sent two commissioners to the Assembly which met in November 1602, to desire that they would restore him, one of whom was the celebrated George Heriot, who was a firm friend of Bruce. After several conferences, from which no good resulted, he resolved to retire from the unequal contest, and on the 25th February 1603, his church was declared vacant by the Assembly. His last interview with King James took place April 5, 1603, at the moment when his majesty was setting out for England, but though very well received and rather as a baron than a minister, there was nothing said of his being restored to his charge in Edinburgh. After the king had mounted his horse, Mr. Bruce went again to him, when the king, at parting, said, “Now all particulars are passed between me and you, Mr. Robert.” Notwithstanding this gracious reception, he had resolved that Bruce should never again be a minister of Edinburgh.

      The various conferences that took place between Mr. Bruce and the king and privy council, on the subject of the Gowrie conspiracy, are given in full both by Calderwood and Wodrow. The ‘Narrative by Mr. Robert Bruce, concerning his troubles,’ printed in the Bannatyne Club Miscellany, also contains a considerable portion of them. Mr. Pitcairn, in the second volume, and in the appendix to the third volume of his ‘Criminal Trials,’ has gathered together a valuable collection of materials for illustrating the truth of this famous conspiracy, and with his usual discrimination has done ample justice to Bruce’s character. “Throughout the protracted controversy,” he says, “between Bruce and the king, the latter obviously had the worst of the argument, and tyrannically put down his able but dauntless and pertinacious antagonist by a most unlawful stretch of arbitrary power, after he had failed in all his attempts at foiling him with his own weapons.”

      Beyond a threat by the Commissioners of the Assembly to bring him to trial for his disobedience and distrust in the Gowrie affair, he does not seem to have been again disturbed till February 27, 1605, when they summoned him to Edinburgh to hear himself formally deposed. On his appearance, after a good deal of debate, they inhibited him from preaching. He appealed to the Assembly, and still continued to preach. In August, he was ordered to Inverness, under pain of outlawry, where for four years he preached every Sunday forenoon and Wednesday afternoon. One day, while passing through Fisher street in that town, with two of his friends, he was shot at by a gun, but the ball fortunately missed him. At the request of the magistrates of Aberdeen he went to that city, where he remained about a quarter of a year, but was afterwards charged to return to Inverness. On a vacancy occurring at Forres, he preached there for some months, at the desire of the magistrates and people, but subsequently went back to Inverness. In August 1613, at the solicitation of his son, who was then at court, he received permission to return to Kinnaird. He preached for some time at Stirling during a vacancy. Afterwards he obtained leave from the privy council to retire to his house at Monkland, but in consequence of his preaching to those who came to hear him, he was, at the instance of the bishop of Glasgow, obliged to return to Kinnaird. In 1621, when the Scots Estates were about to ratify the celebrated five articles of Perth, Bruce ventured to appear in Edinburgh, and in consequence of a letter from the king, he was cited before the council, and after being questioned, was committed to Edinburgh castle, where he remained for several months, after which he was again banished to Inverness. The council wrote to the king interceding for him to be allowed to stay at his house of Kinnaird till the winter was past, but his majesty, hearing of the crowds that flocked to hear him, refused him any indulgence, saying in his answer, “We will have no more popish pilgrimages to Kinnaird, he shall go to Inverness.” He continued there till September 1624, when he obtained a license to return to Kinnaird about his domestic affairs. In the following March King James died, when the severity against h im was much mitigated, and he was not required to go north again. In 1629 Charles the First wrote to the council to restrict him to Kinnaird and to two miles around it. The church of Larbert, which was within his limits, having been neglected and left without a minister by the bishops, he not only repaired it, but preached there every Sunday to large congregations. Amongst others who came to hear him was Alexander Henderson, minister of Lauchars in Fife, who by one of his sermons on John x. 1., was converted from episcopacy, and afterwards, as above stated, took a prominent part in restoring presbyterianism to its former supremacy. At the celebrated Shotts communion in 1630 Mr Bruce was present and took part in the services. He died August 13, 1631. On the morning of that day, having breakfasted with his family in the usual manner, he felt death approaching, and warned his children that his Master called him. He then desired a Bible to be brought, and finding that his sight was gone, he requested his daughter to place his hand on the two last verses of the Epistle to the Romans. When his hand was fixed on the words, he remained for a few moments satisfied and silent. He had only strength to add, “Now God be with you, my children; I have breakfasted with you, and shall sup to-night with the Lord Jesus Christ.” He then closed his eyes, and peacefully expired. He was buried in the aisle of the church of Larfbert; and Calderwood says that between four and five thousand persons followed his body to the grave.

      The person of Robert Bruce was tall and dignified. His countenance was majestic, and his appearance in the pulpit grave, and expressive of much authority. His manner of delivery was slow and engaging. In public prayer, which with him was always extemporary, he was short and sententious; but so emphatic was his language, so ardent were his expressions, that he appeared to his audience to be inspired. His knowledge of the Scripture was extensive, and accurate beyond the attainment of his age. His skill in the languages and in the science of those times, as well as his acquaintance with the laws and constitution of the kingdom, was equal of not superior to that of any of the Scottish reformers. Less violent than Melville, more enlightened than Knox, says a writer in the Scots Magazine, he viewed with a brighter and milder eye the united interests of the church and nation. His capacity for civil affairs was perceived and acknowledged by his sovereign, and to this may be imputed his misfortunes and disgrace.

      The subjoined portrait of Mr. Bruce is from an engraving by J. Stewart, from an original miniature in the possession of Bruce of Kinnaird, prefixed to the Scots Magazine for December 1802.

      His sermons, of which sixteen were printed during his life, in two volumes, (1590 and 1591) display a boldness of expression, a regularity of style, and a force of argument seldom to be found in the Scottish writers of the sixteenth century. Being written in the genuine Scottish of the time of James the Sixth, a translation of the two volumes into English was published at London in 1617, 4to, and is that which for a long time was most common in Scotland. An edition of his sermons, with his life by Wodrow, was printed in one volume for the Wodrow Society in 1843, from the MS. in the library of the university of Glasgow.

      By his wife he left a son, Robert, his successor in the lands of Kinnaird, and two daughters.

      Contemporary with the subject of this notice was another Robert Bruce, a trafficking popish priest, whose letters are, in the ‘Scots Worthies,’ most erroneously ascribed to this leading minister of the Reformed Church of Scotland.

BRUCE, SIR WILLIAM, designed of Kinross, an architect of eminence in the seventeenth century, was the second son of Robert Bruce, third baron of Blairhall, by Jean his wife, daughter of Sir John Preston of Valleyfield. He was a steady loyalist, and, according to Sir Robert Douglas, having got acquainted with General Monk, he pointed out to him in such strong terms the distress and distractions of our country, and the glory that would be acquired in restoring the royal family, that the general at last opened his mind to him, and signified his inclination to serve the king, but said it must be done with caution and secrecy. [Douglas’ Baronage, p. 245.] This, however, is extremely unlikely, as it is well known that Monk kept his intentions closely concealed from every one to the very last. Bruce had the honour, it is farther stated, of communicating Monk’s plans to the king himself, in consequence of which, when Charles the Second came to the throne, he appointed him clerk to the Bills, the very year of the Restoration. Subsequently, in consideration of his great taste and architectural skill he was appointed master of the king’s works and architect to his majesty. He acquired the lands of Balcaskie in Fife, and was created a baronet by his majesty’s royal patent to him and his heirs male, 21st April 1668. From the earl of Morton he obtained the lands and barony of Kinross, by which he was ever after designated. When after the Restoration it was determined to erect additions to the palace of Holyroodhouse, Sir William Bruce designed the quadrangular edifice as it now stands, connecting it with the original north-west towers, now forming part of the quadrangle. In 1685 he built the mansion-house of Kinross, which was originally intended for the residence of James duke of York (afterwards James the Second of England and Seventh of Scotland) in the event of his royal highness being prevented by the Exclusion Bill from succeeding to the throne. In 1702, he designed Hopetoun house, the seat of the earl of Hopetoun, in Linlithgowshire. He also designed Moncrieffe house, Perthshire. He died in 1710. Sir William Bruce was twice married, first to Mary, daughter of Sir James Halket of Pitfirrane, Bart., and secondly, to Magdalene Scott. His son, Sir John Bruce, married Lady Christian Leven, daughter of John duke of Rothes, and widow of the third marquis of Montrose, but died without issue, when the title devolved on his cousin, Sir Alexander Bruce, second son of the fourth baron of Blairhall, on whose death, as he never married, it became extinct. The estates went to Anne, sister of the second baronet, who married, first, Sir Thomas Hope of Craighall, by whom she had three sons, and, secondly, Sir John Carstairs of Kilconquhar, and had to him one son and three daughters. After her death, this son inherited the estates of his grandfather, Sir William Bruce.

BRUCE, JAMES, a celebrated traveller, eldest son of David Bruce, Esq. of Kinnaird, and of Marion Graham of Airth, was born at Kinnaird House, in Stirlingshire, December 14, 1730. His family were descendants of a younger son, by his grandmother, Helen Bruce, the heiress of Kinnaird, of Robert de Bruce, and the estate had been in possession of her family for upwards of three centuries. His grandfather, David Hay, Esq. of Woodcockdale, changed his name to Bruce on marrying that lady and succeeding to Kinnaird. At the early age of eight he was sent to school in London, and after three years spent there, he was removed to the celebrated seminary at Harrow-on-the-Hill, in Middlesex, where he made great proficiency in classical knowledge, and where he remained till May 1746. On his return to Scotland, he was, in the winter of 1747, entered at the university of Edinburgh as a student of law; but, not liking the pursuit, and partly on account of his health, he soon went home, where he took great delight in the sports of the field. His views being directed towards the East Indies, in July 1753 he went to London, for the purpose of soliciting the permission of the East India Company, to go out and settle under their auspices as a free trader. In the metropolis he became acquainted with Mrs. Allan, the widow of an opulent wine-merchant, whose daughter, Adriana, he soon married, in February 1754; and, becoming a partner in the business, was induced to give up his intention of going to India. Mrs. Bruce falling into a consumption, her husband set out with her to the south of France, in the hope that she would be benefited by a residence there; but she died at Paris, within a year of her marriage. Bruce continued in the partnership, but, committing the principal management of the business to another, he applied himself to the acquirement of the Spanish and Portuguese languages, which he learnt to speak with accuracy and ease. In July 1757 he proceeded on a journey, first through Portugal, and afterwards through Spain. While at Madrid, he was very anxious to explore the collections of Arabic manuscripts, buried in the monastery of St. Lawrence, and contained in the library of the Escurial, but, by the jealousy of the government, was refused permission.

      He afterwards visited France and the Netherlands, and on receiving the intelligence of his father’s death, he returned to London in 1758. Some of his remarks on the countries through which he passed are quoted from his manuscript journals, in his Life by Dr. Murray. The family estate to which he succeeded yielded him an income, which, though moderate, was sufficient to enable him to retire from the wine trade, which he did in 1761. He now devoted himself to the study of the languages of the East, particularly the Arabic and the Ethiopic; and to improving himself in drawing. There being a rumour of a war between Great Britain and Spain, Bruce, through his friend Mr. Wood, then under-secretary of state, obtained an introduction to Mr. Pitt, afterwards Earl of Chatham, to whom he submitted a project for a descent upon Spain, at Ferrol in Galicia. He was soon after informed by Mr. Wood, that the minister intended to employ him on a particular service, and advised him to settle his affairs in Scotland, and be ready at a moment’s notice. The resignation of Mr. Pitt put an end to his hopes of employment at that time. But a memorandum of the intended expedition which he had drawn up for Mr. Pitt, had been laid before the king, and was strongly recommended by Lord Halifax. He also received some encouragement from Lord Egremont and Mr. George Grenville, but, by the death of the former, his expectations were again disappointed. At the beginning of 1762, Lord Halifax, at the suggestion of Mr. Wood, proposed to him a journey to the coast of Barbary, with the view of exploring the interior of that country, and making sketches of the Roman antiquities, which, according to Dr. Shaw, were to be found there. In a conversation which Bruce had with his lordship, the discovery of the source of the Nile was one of the topics touched upon, and the adventurous spirit of our traveller was at once kindled into enthusiasm at the idea of such an enterprise. To investigate those remains of Roman art, and Grecian colonization, which had hitherto baffled the researches of modern travellers; to penetrate to the mysterious sources of the Nile, which Julius Caesar had in vain desired to discover, were pursuits worthy of his ambition, and gratifying to his fondest wishes. Sweden had just sent out Hasselquist, Kalm, and others, pupils of the great Linnaeus, to explore the most distant regions of the earth. The king of Denmark had lately employed a company of scientific missionaries, to investigate the ancient and present state of Arabia, and other Eastern countries. France and Spain were sending out philosophers to Siberia and Peru, with the object of ascertaining, by means of an astronomical process, the precise figure of the earth. The love of science, and the desire to promote the civilization of mankind, had everywhere inspired a wish to prosecute discoveries; and Bruce, impelled by similar motives, and urged by the most generous ambition, promptly acceded to the proposal that was made to him, and was appointed consul-general at Algiers, which at that juncture became vacant. After being supplied with the best instruments necessary for his purpose, he set out for Italy through France. At Rome he received orders to proceed to Naples, to await his Majesty’s commands; from Naples he again returned to Rome, and proceeding to Leghorn, he embarked there for Algiers, where he arrived March 15, 1763, taking with him an able Italian draughtsman. While he remained in Italy, he spent several months improving himself in the study of drawing and of antiquities. He made sketches of the temples at Paestum, which he caused to be engraved, and intended to publish; but as he afterwards complained to his friend, Mr. (subsequently Sir Robert) Strange, some one had obtained access to the engravings at Paris, and published them by subscription at London. He spent about two years at Algiers, and, having a facility in acquiring languages, he in that time qualified himself for appearing on any part of the continent of Africa, without the help of an interpreter. He also learned the rudiments of surgery from the consulate surgeon. A dispute with the Dey, relative to Mediterranean passes, had detained him longer than he expected at Algiers, but it was at last adjusted; and Bruce seems to have throughout sustained the functions of his official character with spirit and firmness. In May 1765 a successor was appointed, on whose arrival he proceeded to Mahon, and thence to Carthage. He next visited Tunis, and travelled to Tripoli across the Desert. He journeyed over the interior of these states, and made drawings of the architectural remains which he met with in his way. At Bengazi, a small town in the Mediterranean, he suffered shipwreck, and with extreme difficulty saved his life, though with the loss of all his baggage. He afterwards sailed to Rhodes and Cyprus, and, proceeding to Asia Minor, travelled through a considerable part of Syria and Palestine, visiting Hassia, Latikea, Aleppo, and Tripoli, near which last city he was again in imminent danger of perishing in a river. The ruins of Palmyra and Baalbec were next carefully surveyed and sketched by him, and on his return to England, his drawings of these places were deposited in the royal library at Kew; “the most magnificent present in that line,” to use his own words, “ever made by a subject to a sovereign.” He published no particular account of these various journeys; but Dr. Murray, in the second edition, introduced from Bruce’s manuscripts some account of his travels in Tunis. In these different journeys several years passed, and he now prepared for the grand expedition, the accomplishment of which had ever been near his heart, the discovery of the source of the Nile. In the prosecution of that perilous undertaking, he left Sidon, June 15, 1768, and arrived at Alexandria on the 20th of that month. He proceeded from thence to Cairo, where he was introduced to Ali Bey, the chief of the Mamelukes, from whom he received letters to the shereef of Mecca, the naybe of Masuah or Masowa, and the king of Sennaar. He also met at Cairo father Christopher, a Greek whom he had known at Algiers, who was now archimandrite, under Mark, patriarch of Alexandria, and was furnished by the patriarch with letters to several Greeks in high stations in Abyssinia.

      On the 12th of December following he embarked on the Nile, and sailed up the river as far as Syene, visiting in the way the ruins of Thebes. From the Nile he crossed the desert to Cosseir, on the Red Sea, frm whence he sailed for Jidda, in April 1769; but instead of going direct, he went up the gulf to Tor, and thence along the Arabian coast to Jidda, where he arrived on the 3d of May. There he had the good fortune to meet a number of his own countrymen from India, ship-captains and merchants in the service of the East India Company, who paid him every attention, and kindly exerted their influence with the authorities on his behalf. Metical Aga, the minister of the shereef of Metica, who was originally an Abyssinian slave, interested himself warmly in Bruce’s welfare. He ordered one of his confidential servants, Mahomet Gibberti, a native of Abyssinia, to accompany him in his journey, and he wrote to Ras Michael, the governor of Tigre, at that time the most powerful chief in Abyssinia, recommending the traveller, as an English physician, to his protection.

      In September 1769 Bruce sailed for Masuah, the maritime key of the entrance into Abyssinia, on the western coast of the Red Sea. He was detained there for several weeks, exposed to great danger of his life by the villany of the naybe, a chief whose cruelty and avarice caused him to be dreaded by all travellers. After many perils frm the fierceness, the deceit, and the thievish rapacity of the inhabitants, he at last made his way to Gondar, the capital of Abyssinia, where he arrived about the middle of February 1770. At that time, the country was engaged in one of the fiercest civil wars that had ever wasted it. Ras Michael and the young king were absent with the army; but Bruce became acquainted with Ayto Aylo, a man of rank and influence; and having been successful in curing many persons of the smallpox, which was at that time raging in the capitol, he was introduced by Ayto to the iteghe, or queen dowager, and to her beautiful daughter, Ozoro Esther, the wife of Ras Michael, who, with several of the young nobility, became his friends and protectors, and continued to be so during his stay in Abyssinia. When Ras Michael and the young king returned to the capital, he was presented to them, and received a very flattering reception. His expertness in horsemanship, and his boldness and intrepidity, recommended him to the Abyssinians generally, while the king and his minister conceived a warm partiality for him. The Alexandrian patriarch had, by a pastoral letter, enjoined the Coptic and Greek Christians, then in Gondar, to pay him all honour and homage. He endeared himself to most of the young nobility by instructing them in some of the military exercises of Arabia and Europe. High offices in the court were offered for his acceptance. To obtain the protection necessary to enable him to accomplish the purposes of his journey, he accepted the government of a small province, and even enrolled himself among the lords of the Bed Chamber of the Abyssinian monarch. Several months were employed in attendance on the king, and in an unsuccessful expedition round the lake of Dembea. He obtained at length a feudal grant of the territory in which the fountains of the Nile had been so long hidden; and towards the end of October he set out for the sources of the Bahr el Azrek, which he supposed to be the principal branch of the Nile, though it is now generally agreed that the main stream is the Bahr el Abiad. At this long-desired spot, the source of the Nile, he arrived on the 14th of November; and his feelings on the occasion were of a very singular and mixed character. At first he felt a degree of exultation that he had seen what, he imagined, no European had ever witnessed before him; but immediately the most afflicting dejection overpowered his spirits when he compared the small benefits likely to result from his labours, with the difficulties which he had already experienced, and the angers which he had still to encounter. Having accomplished the chief object of his journey, he now directed his thoughts towards returning to his native country. He arrived at Gondar, November 19, 1770, but found it was by no means an easy task to obtain permission to quit Abyssinia.

      The country being distracted with a civil war, several engagements took place between the king’s troops and the forces of the rebels, particularly three actions at Serbraxos, on the 19th, 20th, and 23d of May, 1771. In each of them Mr. Bruce acted a prominent part, and for his valiant conduct in the second he received, as a reward from the king, a chain of gold, consisting of one hundred and eighty-four links. At Gondar, after thus distinguishing himself, he again earnestly solicited the king’s permission to return home, but his entreaties were long resisted. His health at last giving way, from the anxiety of his mind, the king consented to his departure, on condition of his engaging, by oath, to return to Abyssinia in the event of his recovery, with as many of his kindred as he could engage to accompany him. After a residence of nearly two years in that wretched country, Mr. Bruce left Gondar, December 16, 1771. Convinced that if he should again put himself within the power of the naybe of Masuah, he would not be allowed to escape so easily as he did before, he did not attempt to return by the same route as that by which he had entered Abyssinia. He preferred rather to journey through those deserts, hitherto unexplored by European travellers, in which the armies of the Persian Cambyses had perished in ancient times.

      When he left the capital of Abyssinia he was accompanied by many friends, at parting with whom he shed tears. That province, of which he himself had been solicited to accept the government, was the last within the limits of the Abyssinian empire through which he had to pass. A Moor, named Yasine, who had accidentally been the companion of his journey on his first entrance into Abyssinia, and who had been appointed by him deputy-governor of the province, took this last opportunity of testifying his gratitude to his benefactor, by entertaining him with respectful hospitality, and negotiating for his friendly treatment by the Arabs, through whose territories he was next to travel. Committing himself to the desert, he made his way, in a few days, to Teawa, where he arrived, Marcy 21, 1772. Carrying powerful recommendations to the sheikh of this place, Bruce expected to be hospitably entertained, and to obtain fresh camels, water, and guides; but he was miserably disappointed. The sheikh Fidele was one of the most faithless, rapacious, and needy of all the Arabian chiefs, and a great deal worse than the naybe of Masuah. Fancying that the traveller possessed immense riches, he resolved, either by craft of violence, to make these riches his own. But Bruce not only refused to comply with his demands, but signified his determination to resist force by force, and secretly despatched messengers to solicit assistance from Abyssinia and Sennaar. In the meantime he was supplied with lodging and entertainment; the sheikh’s own wives cooked his meals, and he was called, under his character as a physician, to administer remedies to the Arab chief and his family. On one occasion, when the sheikh was under the influence of intoxication, he menaced the traveller with instant death unless he produced his treasures; but Bruce, who always carried arms, quickly overpowered th treacherous and cowardly Arab by his promptness and intrepidity. He had won the favour of the chief’s daughter, and, warned by her and her women, he was enabled to guard himself against the secret snares of the wily sheikh. At last sufficient protection arrived for him; and having predicted an eclipse of the moon, which was exactly accomplished on the 17th April, the sheikh was glad to get rid of him. Camels, guides, water, and other necessaries, were now readily supplied; and at parting, Bruce, much to the sheikh’s astonishment, bestowed upon him a handsome but an ill-deserved remuneration.

      After encountering many perils, he arrived, April 29, at the capital of the kingdom of Sennaar. Here the selfish knavery of a banker, on whom he had an order for a supply of money, which he declined to pay, reduced him to the necessity of disposing of the greater part of the gold chain which he had earned by his bravery at Serbraxos; by which he was enabled to make preparations for his dangerous journey through the deserts of Nubia. He left Sennaar, September 5, and arrived, October 3, at Chendi, which he quitted on the 20th, and travelled through the desert of Gooz, to which village he came, October 26, and left it November 9. He then entered upon the most dreadful and perilous part of his journey. He and those with him travelled in constant dread of being suddenly attacked and robbed by the wandering Arabs. Their water began to be exhausted; their camels became lame; and their own feet were lacerated and swollen. To add to their miseries, the direful simoom, whose blast is death, repeatedly overtook them; and had they not, though with infinite difficulty, avoided inhaling its poisonous breath, they must have all instantly perished. Gigantic columns of sand started suddenly up in ranks before and behind, and approached with rapid and tremendous movements, as if to overwhelm them. Even their camels, at last overcome with fatigue, sunk under their burdens and expired. They were now under the necessity of abandoning their baggage in the desert; and it is impossible to describe the anguish of Mr. Bruce’s feelings when he saw himself obliged to relinquish his journals, his drawings, his collection of specimens, his precious Ethiopic manuscripts; every memorial, in short, that could testify to the inhabitants of Europe that he had indeed travelled into Abyssinia, and penetrated to the sources of the Nile. With the greatest difficulty he reached Assouan, where he arrived, November 19. After some days’ rest, having procured fresh camels, he returned into the desert and recovered his baggage. He now proceeded gaily down the Nile to Cairo, where he arrived, January 10, 1773, after more than four years’ absence. an act of kindness to one of the officers of Mohammed Bey, who had by this time supplanted Ali Bey in the administration of the Egyptian government, proved the occasion of introducing him to that ruler. Grateful for the favours he had received from the servants of the East India Company at Jidda, he procured from Mohammed Bey a firman, permitting British vessels belonging to Bombay and Bengal to arrive at that port with their merchandise on the payment of more moderate duties than had ever before been exacted from them in any port of the Red Sea.

      This was Bruce’s last memorable transaction in the East. At Cairo his career was nearly finished, by a disorder in his leg, occasioned by a worm in the flesh. This accident kept him five weeks in extreme agony, and his health was not established till about a year afterwards, at the baths of Porretta, in Italy. On his return to Europe, he was received with all the admiration due to his enterprising character. After passing a considerable time in France, particularly at Montbard, with his celebrated friend the Count de Buffon, he at last arrived in England, which he reached in the summer of 1774, having been absent from it about twelve years.

      His reception at court was very flattering. The drawings which he presented to the king were accepted to enrich the collection fo his sovereign at Kew; and his majesty bestowed upon him, in return, the sum of two thousand pounds. These drawings were so exquisitely beautiful, that it was insidiously stated that they were not executed, as he pretended, by his own pencil. During his long absence, his relations considering him dead, took measures to possess themselves of his property. A number of lawsuits was the inevitable consequence of his return. He was also, soon after retiring to his paternal estate, attacked aby the ague, which he had caught at Bengazi, and which tormented him from time to time for sixteen years.

      He married a second time, May 20, 1776, Mary, eldest daughter of Thomas Dundas of Fingask. By Mrs. Bruce, who died in 1784, after a long and lingering illness, he had two sons and one daughter. His travels were not published till 1790, when they appeared in five large quarto volumes, embellished with plates and charts, and dedicated to the king. The work abounds with adventures so extraordinary, and describes instances of perseverance and intrepidity so wonderful, and gives such curious accounts of the manners and habits of the people of Abyssinia, that it startled the belief of many. The statement, in particular, that the Abyssinians were in the practice of eating raw meat cut out of a living cow, was deemed altogether unworthy of credit, and set down as a fabrication of the author’s fertile imagination. De Tott in France, and Dr. Johnson and others in England, doubted the accuracy of many of his statements, and treated his pretensions to veracity with ridicule. Bruce was vindicated, however, by Daines Barrington, Sir William Jones, and Buffon; and posterity has done him ample justice. His statements have been verified and corroborated by every traveller who has since been in or near Abyssinia. From his discoveries, geography and natural history have derived considerable improvements; and his illustrations of some parts of the sacred writings are both original and valuable.

[Bruce’s mansion-house at Kinnaird]

      Mr. Bruce spent the latter years of his life chiefly at Kinnaird, the mansion-house of which he rebuilt, and of which a representation is annexed, dividing his attention betwixt his museum, his books, and his rural improvements. His figure was above the common size, being upwards of six feet high; his limbs were athletic and well proportioned, his complexion sanguine, his countenance manly and good-humoured, and his manners affable and polite. He excelled in all personal accomplishments, and was master of most languages; being so well skilled in oriental literature, that he revised the New Testament in the Ethiopic, Samaritan, Hebrew, and Syriac, adding many useful notes and observations. The first edition of his work was disposed of in a short time, and he was preparing a second edition for the press when death interrupted his labours. On the evening of April 26, 1794, on the departure of some company whom he had been entertaining at his house at Kinnaird, in handling a lady to her carriage, his foot slipped on the stairs, and he fell down headlong. He was taken up speechless, his face, particularly the forehead and temples, being severely cut and bruised, and the bones of his hands broken. He remained in a state of insensibility for eight or nine hours, when he expired on Sunday April 27, 1794, in the 65th year of his age. His usual dress, when in the country, was a spotted flannel jacket and a turban, with a long staff in his hand. – Life by Capt. Head.

      The following is a full length portrait of him, from an engraving by Kay:

BRUCE, MICHAEL, a tender and ingenious poet, the fifth son of Alexander Bruce, weaver, was born at Kinnesswood, in the parish of Portmoak, Kinross-shire, March 27, 1746. His mother belonged to a family of the same name and humble rank in the neighbourhood. Both parents were Burgher-Seceders, and were remarkable for their piety, industry, and integrity. He early discovered superior intelligence, which, with his fondness for reading and quiet habits, induced his father to educate him for the ministry. In his younger years he was employed as a herd on the Lomond Hills. He received the usual course of instruction at the village school of Portmoak, and the neighbouring town of Kinross. In 1762 he was sent to the university of Edinburgh, where he applied himself, during the four succeeding years, with no less assiduity than success, to the study of the several branches of literature and philosophy. Before leaving home, he had given evident signs of a propensity to poetry, in the cultivation of which he was greatly encouraged by Mr. David Arnot, a farmer on the banks of Loch Leven, who directed him to the perusal of Spencer, Shakspeare, Milton, and Pope, supplied him with books, and acted as the judicious guide and friendly counsellor of his youthful studies. Mr. David Pearson, of Easter Balgedie, a village in the neighbourhood of Kinnesswood, a man of strong parts, and of a serious and contemplative turn, also contributed, by his encouragement and advice, to lead him to the study of poetry; and the names of these two unpretending individuals, for their disinterested kindness to the friendless Bruce, are worthily recorded in all the memoirs of his life.

      Soon after his coming to Edinburgh, he contracted an acquaintance with Logan, then a student at the same university. A congenial feeling and a similarity of pursuits, soon led these two poets to become intimate companions. When not at college, Bruce endeavoured to earn a scanty livelihood by teaching a school. In 1765 he went to Gairney Bridge, near Kinross, where he taught the children of some farmers in the neighbourhood, who allowed him his board and a small salary. This he quitted in the summer of 1766, in which year he entered as a student in the divinity hall of the Burgher Synod, and removed to a school at Forrest Mill, near Alloa, in which he appears to have met with less encouragement than he expected. At this place he wrote his poem of ‘Lochleven.’ In the autumn of that year, “his constitution,” says Dr. Anderson in his British Poets, “which was ill calculated to encounter the austerities of his native climate, the exertions of daily labour, and the rigid frugality of humble life, began visibly to decline. Towards the end of the year, his ill health, aggravated by the indigence of his situation, and the want of those comforts and conveniences which might have fostered a delicate frame to maturity and length of days, terminated in deep consumption. During the winter he quitted his employment at Forrest Mill, and with it all hopes of life, and returned to his native village, to receive those attentions and consolations which his situation required from the anxiety of parental affection and the sympathy of friendship.” He lingered through the winter, and in the spring he wrote the well-known and deeply pathetic elegy on his own approaching death; beginning: –

                        “The spring returns; but not to me returns
                              The vernal joy my better years have known;
                        Dim in my breast life’s dying taper burns,
                              And all the joys of life with health are flown.”

      This was the last composition which he lived to finish. By degrees his weakness increased, till he was gradually worn away, and he expired July 6, 1767, in the twenty-first year of his age.

      Soon after his death his poems, which are not numerous, were revised and corrected by his friend Logan, who published them at Edinburgh in 1770, with a preface; but in this edition several other poems were injudiciously inserted to fill up the volume, which afterwards led to much uncertainty as to which were really Bruce’s. The beautiful ‘Ode to the Cuckoo,’ the episode of ‘Levina,’ in the poem of ‘Lochleven,’ the ‘Ode to Paoli,’ and the ‘Eclogue after the manner of Ossian,’ which are clearly ascertained to have been the composition of Bruce, were subsequently claimed by Logan’s biographer as his. Logan himself, it seems, put forth some pretensions to being the author of the ‘Ode to the Cuckoo,’ and in July 1782 applied for an interdict in the court of session against John Robertson, printer in Edinburgh, and William Anderson, Bookseller, and afterwards provost of Stirling, who were about to bring out an edition of Bruce’s works, containing the poems mentioned; which interdict was removed in the succeeding August, Mr. Logan not being able to substantiate his pleas. The attention of the public was called to Michael Bruce’s poems by Lord Craig, in a paper in the Mirror in 1779, and they were reprinted in 1784. In 1795 Dr. Anderson admitted the poems of Bruce into his excellent collection of the British poets, and prefixed a memoir of the author. In 1797 a new edition, including several of Bruce’s unpublished pieces, was published by subscription, under the superintendence of the venerable principal Baird, for the benefit of the poet’s mother, then in her ninetieth year. In 1837 appeared a new edition of Bruce’s poems, with a life of the author, from original sources, by the Rev. William Mackelvie, Balgedie, Kinross-shire, which contains all the information that can now be collected regarding the poet. In Dr. Drake’s [Literary Hours,’ there is a paper written with a view of recommending the works of Bruce to the admirers of genuine poetry in England, as Lord Craig, in the Mirror, had long before recommended them to readers of taste in Scotland. In 1812 an obelisk, about eight feet high, was erected over Bruce’s grave in Portmoak churchyard, bearing as an inscription merely the words – “Michael Bruce, Born March 27, 1746. Died 6th July, 1767.”

      Bruce’s characteristics as a poet are chiefly simplicity and tenderness. He possessed in a high degree judgment, feeling, and sensibility; and without much imagination or enthusiasm, he is always graceful, elegant, and pleasing. His ‘Lochleven,’ the longest and most elaborate of his poems, is in blank verse, and shows considerable strength and harmony. His ‘Sir James the Rose’ contains all the attributes of the historical ballad. His two Danish odes possess the true fire of poetry, and appear to have been modelled upon the Norse odes of Gray. His song of ‘Lochleven no more’ is full of a sad and touching pathos which goes directly to the heart. The ‘Ode to the Cuckoo,’ has been characterised by no less a judge of literary merit than Edmund Burke, as “the most beautiful lyric in our language.”

BRUCE, ARCHIBALD, the Rev., a voluminous writer, and eminent minister of the Secession church, was born at Broomhall, near Denny, Stirlingshire, in 1746. He gave early indication of decided piety, and even from his boyhood his views were directed to the office of the holy ministry. Having received the elements of a classical education at a country school, he prosecuted the study of the languages and philosophy at the university of Glasgow. He studied divinity under Professor Moncrieff of Alloa, and in August 1768, was ordained minister of the Associate (Antiburgher) congregation at Whitburn. After the death of Mr. Moncrieff of Alloa, in 1786, he was elected professor of divinity in his room, by the General Associate Synod, and continued to occupy the chair till the year 1806, when he separated from that body, owing to his disapproving of the doctrines of the ‘Narrative and Testimony,’ on the subject of the powers of the civil government in religious matters. He and three others having declined the authority of the Synod, and withdrawn from its communion, formed themselves into what was then called the “Constitutional Associate Presbytery,” afterwards the “United Original Seceders,” at the formation of which Mr. Bruce presided as moderator. He disobeyed the summons of Synod to appear before the presbytery of Edinburgh, and sentence of deposition was accordingly pronounced against him. Two of those who had joined with him, Mr. James Aitken, minister at Kirriemuir, and Mr. Thomas M’Crie, of Edinburgh, afterwards the celebrated Dr. M’Crie, were also deposed. The fourth Mr. James Hog, minister at Kelso, escaped deposition, by dying during the progress of the proceedings in the church courts against him. The reader is referred to the life, in this collection of Dr. M.Crie, for the reasons of this secession. The majority of the Synod of Original Seceders was at the meeting of the Assembly of 1852, united to the Free Church of Scotland, of which they are now a component part.

      After Mr. Bruce’s separation from the General Associate Synod, he continued to superintend the theological class connected with the Constitutional Presbytery. He died February 28, 1816. About the beginning of that year he was seized with occasional fainting fits, which alarmed his friends, and on the day of his death, which was the Lord’s day, he had performed as usual, though somewhat indisposed, the exercises of the pulpit. After returning home, and while conversing with a member of his congregation, he almost instantaneously expired, without a struggle or a groan. He was in the seventieth year of his age. “He possessed,” says Dr. M’Crie, “talents of a superior order, which he had cultivated with unwearied industry. To an imagination which was lively and fertile, he united a sound and correct judgment. His reading, which was various and extensive, was conducted with such method, and so digested, that he could at any time command the use of it; and during a life devoted to study he had amassed a stock of knowledge, on all the branches of learning connected with his profession, extremely rare. He was more qualified for writing than public speaking; but though his utterance was slow, and he had no claims to the attractions of delivery, yet his discourses from the pulpit always commanded the attention of the judicious and serious, by the profound views and striking illustrations of divine truth which they contained, and by the vein of solid piety which ran through them. His piety, his erudition, his uncommon modesty and gentlemanly manners, gained him the esteem of all his acquaintance; and these qualities, added to the warm interest which he took in their literary and spiritual improvement, made him revered and beloved by his students.” In a note appended to the Life of Dr. M’Crie, by his son, the latter says, “It may be mentioned as a curious illustration of the zeal with which Mr. Bruce prosecuted his literary labours, that he brought a printer to Whitburn, and employed him exclusively for many years in printing his own publications.”

      Of his numerous works a list is subjoined:

      The Kirkiad, or Golden Age of the Church of Scotland, Canto I., a satire on the reign of Moderatism, published anonymously, 1774. This poem he intended afterwards to have continued, but graver subjects prevented him.

      Free Thoughts on the Toleration of Popery, published under the assumed name of Calvinus Minor, Scoto Britannus, 1780, a work frequently quoted by Mr. M’Gavin in ‘The Protestant,’ as evincing much talent and research.

      True Patriotism, or a Public Spirit for God and Religion recommended, and the want of it reprehended; a Sermon preached before the General Associate Synod, on a day appointed for humiliation, from the text. Judges v. 23, ‘Curse ye Meroz,’ &c. 1785.

      Annus Secularis, or the British Jubilee, a Review of an Act of Assembly, appointing the 5th of November 1788, an anniversary thanksgiving in commemoration of the Revolution, 1788, large 8vo. In this work, which was published under the assumed name of Calvinus Presbyter, the author enters, at great length, into the origin, progress, and tendency of religious festivals both in ancient and modern times, and seems to have bestowed a great deal more labour on the subject than its practical utility appears to have required.

      The Catechism Modernized, and adapted to the meridian of patronage, and late improvements in the Church of Scotland, with suitable Creeds and Prayers; a small anonymous treatise, 1791. This was a cutting satire on the chief promoters of patronage, in the shape of a parody on the Assembly’s Shorter Catechism, each question in the Catechism having its corresponding question in the treatise. The parody, it was thought, was carried too far, and in the advertisements of his publications, this treatise was never included.

      Reflexions on the Freedom of Writing, and Impropriety of attempting to suppress it by Penal Laws, occasioned by a proclamation issued against seditious publications, 1794; published under the character of a North British Protestant.

      A Penitential Epistle and Humble Supplication to his Holiness the Pope, in the name of the People of Great Britain, for a perfect reconciliation and perpetual alliance with Rome, 1797; a clever anonymous poem, in which he is very successful in exposing and ridiculing the superstitions of the Romish church.

      Introductory and Occasional Lectures to Students, as read in the Theological Hall at Whitburn. Vol. i., 1797. The second volume was in the press, and nearly ready for publication, at the time of Mr. Bruce’s death. It was completed and edited by Dr. M’Crie.

      A Translation, from the French, of Pictet’s Discourses on True and False Religion, with a vindication of the religion and reformation of Protestants, and an account of the life and writings of the author prefixed, 1797.

      Principal differences between the religious principles of those called the Anti-Government Party and of other Presbyterians, especially those of the Secession in Scotland, on the head of magistracy. A small pamphlet, 1797.

      A Historico-Politico-Ecclesiastical Dissertation on the supremacy of civil powers in matters of religion, 1798. This was a subject which, at that period, was keenly agitated in the Secession Church, on the bringing forward their new ‘Narrative and Testimony.’

      The same year (1798) he edited, from a manuscript in the theological library at Whitburn, Memoirs of the Public Life of James Hog of Carnock, and of the Ecclesiastical Proceedings of his Times. This interesting pamphlet contains notices of some of the leading events in several meetings of Assembly immediately after the Revolution.

      A Review of the proceedings of the General Associate Synod, and of some Presbyteries, in reference to the Ministers who protested against the imposition of a new Testimony. One volume 8vo of 400 pages.

      Poems, Serious and Amusing, by a Rev. Divine, 1812. In this small volume are collected the poems which, in the course of several years, he had sent to the periodicals of the day.

      A critical account of the Life of Mr. Alexander Morus, a celebrated preacher and professor of theology in Geneva and Holland, with select Sermons of Morus appended, translated from the French by Mr. Bruce, 1813.

      Shortly before his death, he was engaged in preparing for publication a volume of sermons on Practical Subjects.

      Besides the publications here noticed, Mr. Bruce wrote several pamphlets on questions that were keenly agitated in his day, which were published anonymously.

BRUCE, JAMES, the Rev., a miscellaneous writer, born of parents in a humble station in life, was a native of the north-west part of Forfarshire. About the year 1780 he was a distinguished scholar at the university of St. Andrews. He afterwards removed to ‘Cambridge, where he became a Fellow in Emmanuel college, and took his degree of M.A. He subsequently entered into holy orders in England, where he remained many years in the capacity of a curate. About the beginning of the present century he returned to Scotland, and became a clergyman in the Scottish episcopal church. About the year 1803 he began to furnish reviews for the Anti-Jacobin Magazine and Review, now discontinued, and to the British Critic, two monthly publications, which were then the only periodical works which devoted any part of their space to the interests of the Church of England. These two publications were for a long time chiefly conducted and supported by Mr. Bruce, and his friend, the late Right Rev. Dr. George Gleig, bishop of Brechin, and Primus. Notwithstanding his talents and his varied and solid attainments, Mr. Bruce never rose to any church preferment; but died in the year 1806 or 1807, in comparative obscurity in London, after leading a most laborious literary life. He does not appear however to have published any separate work, except –

      A Sermon preached at Dundee on the death of George Yeaman, Esq., entitled The Regard which is due to the Memory of Good Men, 1803, 8vo.

      Mr. Bruce’s Reviews extend from vol. xv. to vol. xxii. of the Anti-Jacobin. Of the following, among many other works, the criticisms were written by him: – Overton’s True churchman; Gleig’s Sermons; Abdollatiph’s History; Skinner’s Primitive Truth; Bishop of Lincoln’s Charge; Danbeney’s Vindiciae; Pinkerton’s Geography; Repton’s Articles; Bisset’s History; Grant’s Poems; Dialogues, &c.; Godwin’s Life; Hill’s Synonymes, a very able and learned critique; Academicus’ Remarks; Davis’s Attic Researches; Martin’s Sermons; Barrow’s Travels; Remarks on Bishop of Lincoln;’s Charge; Hill’s theological Institutes; and Godwin’s Fleetwood.

The name Bruce in the Dictionary of National Biography

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