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It may be easily supposed, that the Scots, eren if united, were but ill able to resist such an army, commanded by such a king; but their own mutual diffentions served to render them ftill more unequal to the contest, and to prepare Edward's way to an easy triumph. The Scotch were headed, by three commanders, who each claimed an equal share of authority; these were the steward of Scotland, Cummin of Badenoch, and William Wallace, who offered to give up his command, but whose party refused to follow any other leader.. The Scotch army was posted at Falkirk, and there proposed to abide the assault of the English. They were drawn up in three separate divisions, each forming a complete body of pikemen, and the intervals filled up with archers. Their horse were placed in the rear, and their front was fecured with pallisadoes.
Edward, though he saw that the advantage of fis tuation was against him, little regarded such a fuperiority, confident of his skill and his numbers ; wherefore, dividing his force also into three bo dies, he led them to the attack. Just as he advanced at the head of his troops, the Scotcb set up such a fhout, that the horse, upon which the king rode, toost fright, threw and afterwards kicked him on the ribs, as he lay on the ground; but the intrepid monarch, though forely bruileul with his fall, quickly mounted again with his usual alacrity, and ordered the Welch troops to begin the attack. There made but a feeble retiltance against the Scotch, who fought with determined valour; but Edward seeing them begin to decline, he advanced in person at the head of another battalion; and having pulled up the pallisadoes, eharged the enemy with such an impetuosity, that they were no longer able to resist. In this distress, Wallace did all that lay in the power of man to
sustain and avert the Mock; but the division commanded by Cummin quitting the field, both the divisions of the lord Iteward, as well as that of Wallace lay exposed to the English archers, who at that time began to excel those of all other nations. Wallace, for a while, maintained an unequal contest with his pikemen; but finding himself in danger of being furrounded, he was at last obliged to give way, and flowly to draw off the poor remains of his troops behind the river Carron. Such was the famous battle of Falkirk, in which Edward gained a complete victory, leaving twelve thousand of the Scotch, or as some will have it, fifty thousand, dead upon the field of battle, while the Englim had not an hundred slain.
A blow so dreadful, had not as yet entirely crushed the spirit of the Scotch nation; and after a short interval they began to breathe from their
calamities, Wallace, who had gained A.D.
all their regards for his valour, thew1299. ed that he still inerited them more by his declining the rewards of ambition. Perceiving how much he was envied by the nobility, and knowing how prejudicial that envy would prove to the interests of his country; he resigned the regency of the kingdon, and humbled himfelf to a private station. He proposed Cunimin as the properest person to supply his room; and that nobleinan endeavoured to thew himself worthy of this pre-eminence. He soon began to annoy the enemy; and not content with a defensive war, he made incursions into the southern counties of the kingdom, when Edward had imagined him wholly A. D.
subdued. They attacked an army of the
English lying at Rollin, near Edin1 302
burgh, and gained a complete victory. The renown of the Scottish arms foon began to fpead dismay among the English garrisons left in
that kingdom ; and they evacuated all the fortrela ses, of which they had for some time been put in possession. Thus once more the task of conquest was to be performed over again ; and in propore tion to their losses, the Scotch feemed to gather fresh. obftinacy,
But it was not easy for any circumstances of bad fortune to repress the enterprizing spirit of the king. He assembled a great feet and D. army; and entering the frontiers of Scotland, appeared with a force which "303. - the enemy could not think of resisting in the open field. The feet furnished the land army with all necessary provisions ; while these marched securely along, and traversed the kingdom from one end to the other, ravaging the open country, taking all the castles, and receiving the submislions of all the nobles. This complete conquest emplo; ed Edward for the space of two years; but he seeined by the severity of his conduct, to make the natives pay dear for the trouble to which they had put him. He abrogated all the Scottish laws and customs; he endeavoured to fubstitute chose of England in their place; he entirely razed or destroyed all their monuments of antiquity; and endeavoured to blot out even the memory of their former independence and freedom. There seen ed to remain only one obstacle to the final destruction of the Scottish monarchy, and that was William Wallace, who still continued refractory; and wandering with a few forces from mountain to mountain, fill preserved his native independence and usual good fortune. But even their feeble hopes from him were soon disappointed; he was betrayed into the king's hands by Sir John Monteith, his friend, whom he had made acquainted with the place of his concealment, being surprized by him as he lay asleep in the neighbourhood of Glasgow. The king, willing to strike the Scotch with an example of severity, ordered him to be conducted in chains to London, whither he was carried amidst infinite crowds of spectators, who flocked to see a man that had often filled the whole couniry with consternation. On the day after his arrival, he was brought to his trial, as a traitor, at Westminster-Hall, where he was placed upon an high chair, and crowned with laurel in deri. fion. Being accused of various imputed crimes, he pleaded not guilty, and refused to own the ju. . risdiction of the court, affirming, that it was equal. Jy unjust and absurd to charge him with treason against a prince whose title he had never acknowledged; and as he was born under the laws of another country, it was cruel to try him by those in which he was a stranger. The judges dirregarded his defence ; for considering Edward as the immediate sovereign of Scotland, they found hiin guilty of high-treason, and condemned him to be hanged, drawn, and quartered, the usual punishment for such offences. This sentence was executed with the most rigorous punctuality ; and his head and quarters were exposed in the chief cities of England, Such was the wretched end of a brave man, who had through a course of many years, with signal perseverance and conduct, defended his native country against an unjust invader.
Robert Bruce was among those on whom the cruel fate of Wallace had made the deepest impression. This nobleman, whom we have already fren as competitor for the crown, and whose claims, though set aside by Edward, were still secretly pursued, was now actually in the English arniy. He never was fincerely attached to the English monarch, whom he was in some measure
compelled to follow; and an interview with Wallace, some time before that champion was taken, confirmed him in his resolution to fet his country free. But as he was now grown old and infirm, he was obliged to give up the flattering ambition of being the deliverer of his people, and to leave it in charge to his son, whose name was Robert Bruce also, and who conceived the project with ardour. This young nobleman was brave, active, and prudent; and a favourable conjuncture of circumstances seemed to conspire with his aims. John Baliol, whom Edward had dethroned and banished into France, had lately died in that country; his eldest son continued a captive in the fame place; there was none to dispute his pretensions, except Cummin, who was regent to the kingdom ; and he also was soon after brought over to second his interests. He, therefore, resolved upon freeing his country from the English yoke ; and although he attended the court of Edward, yet he began to make secret preparations for his in. tended revolt. Edward, who had been informed not only of his intentions, but of his actual engagements, contented himself with setting spies round him to watch his conduct, and ordered all his motions to be strictly guarded. Bruce was still busily employed in his endeavours, unconscious of being suspected, or even of having guardians set
upon his conduct; but he was thought to understand his danger, by a present sent him, by a young nobleman of his acquaintance, of a pair of giit ipurs, and a purse of gold. This he confidered as a warning to make his escape, which he did, by ordering his horses to be shod with their shoes turned backwards, to prevent his being tracked in the snow, which had fallen.