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which attacked him in his kindest and tenderest relations, 'he never abused a victory, but conquered often as effectually by his generosity and kindness, as by his great military talents. We know, however, from his interview with the Papal legates, that when he chose to express displeasure, his look was stern and kingly; and at once imposed silence and ensured obedience. He excelled in all the exercises of chivalry, to such a degree, indeed, that the English themselves did not scruple to account him the third best knight in Europe. His memory was stored with the romances of the period, in which he took great delight. Their hair-breadth scapes and perilous adventures were sometimes scarcely more wonderful than his own, and he had early imbibed from such works an appetite for individual enterprise and glory, which had it not been checked by a stronger passion, the love of liberty, might have led him into fatal mistakes. It is quite conceivable, that Bruce instead of a great King, might, like Richard the First, have become only a kingly knight-errant.
"But from this error he was saved by the love of his country, directed by an admirable judgment, unshaken perseverance, and a vein of strong good sense. It is here, although some may think it the homeliest, that we are to find assuredly the brightest part of the character of the king. It is these qualities, which are espe, cially conspicuous in his long war for the liberty of Scotland. They enabled him to follow out his plans through many a tedious year with undeviating energy; to bear reverses, to calculate his means, to wait for his opportunities, and to concentrate his whole strength upon one great point, till it was gained and secured to his country for ever. Brilliant military talent and consummate bravery bave often been found amongst men and proved far more of a curse than a blessing; but rarely, indeed, shall we discover them united to so excellent a judgment, controlled by such perfect disinterestedness, and employed for so sacred an end. There is but one instance on record where he seems to have thought more of himself than of his people, and even this, though rash, was heroic.”—Tytler's Hist. of Scot. vol. i.
The greatest defect, however, in Sir Walter Scott's History of Scotland, is his want of references to historical documents; for we cannot during the perusal divest ourselves for a moment of the idea that we are reading the narrative of the great writer of romances, and, without the backing of respectable authorities, we are ready at every step to infer that he finds it easier to draw upon his fertile imagination, than to consult and compare the accounts of musty tomes and manuscripts not easily deciphered. We can trust more however, to his account of the manners of early times, the brief sketches of which, are the best things we have met with in the
volume. We shall, therefore, conclude this article by an extract ::! or two from this part of the work.
• In the day of Alexander III. and his predecessors, the various tribes whom these kings commanded, were divided from each other by language and manners; it was only by residing within the same common country that they were forced into some sort of connection : but after Bruce's death we find little more mention of Scots, Galwegians, Picts, Saxons, or Strath-Clyde Britons. They had all, with the exception of the Highlanders, merged into the single denomination of Scots, and spoke generally the Anglo-Scottish language. This great change had been produced by the melting down of all petty distinctions and domestic differences in the crucible of necessity. In the wars with England all districts of the country had been equally oppressed, and almost all had been equally distinguished in combating and repelling the common enemy. There was scarce a district of Scotland that had not seen the Bruce's banner displayed, and had not sent forth brave men to support it; and so extensive were the king's wanderings, so numerous his travels, so strongly were felt the calls on which men were summoned from all quarters to support him, that petty distinctions were abolished; and the state, which, consisting of a variety of half-independent tribes, resembled an ill-constructed faggot, was now consolidated into one strong and inseparable stem, and deserved the name of a kingdom.
• It is true, that the great distinction between the Saxon and Gaelic races in dress, speech, and manner, still separated the Highlander from his Lowland neighbour; but even this leading line of separation was considerably softened and broken in upon, during the civil wars and the reign of Robert Bruce. The power of the Macdougals, who had before Bruce's accession, acted as independent chiefs, making peace and war at their pleasure, was broken both in Galloway and Argyleshire. The powerful Campbell, of Norman descent, but possessed of large Highland possessions by marriage with the heiress of a Celtic chief, called Dermid O’Duine, obtained great part of their Argyleshire possessions, and, being allied to the royal family, did much to secure the people of that country from relapsing into the barbarous independence of their ancestors. There were other great Lowland barons settled in the Celtic regions, of whom it may be briefly remarked, that like the Anglo-Norman barons who settled in Ireland beyond the margin of the pale, they speedily assumed the Celtic manners, assumed the authority of mountain-chiefs, so flattering to human pride, and, to conclude, adopted the titles and genealogies, however far-fetched, or even if actually forged, by which bards and sennachies connected their ancestry with the names of ancient Celtic heroes, whose descendants were entitled to honour and obedience. Yet still the Campbells, and other great Lowland or Norman families, who were settled in the Highlands, did not dream of pursuing the wild conduct or aiming at the absolute independence affected by the Macdougals, and other native princes among the Gael. The former owned the king's authority, and procured from the sovereign delegated powers under which they strengthened themselves, and governed, or, as it happened, oppressed their neighbours. Thus the Highlands, though still a most disorderly part of Scotland, acknowledged in a great degree the authority of the king, which they had formerly disputed and contemned.
• But the principal consolidating effect of this long struggle lay in the
union which it had a tendency to accomplish between the higher and inferior orders. The barons and knights had, as we have before remarked, lost in a great measure the habit of considering themselves as members of any particular kingdom, or subjects of any particular king, longer than while they held fiefs within his jurisdiction. By relinquishing their fiefs they conceived they were entitled to choose their own master; and the right which any monarch possessed to claim their duty in respect of the place of their birth did not, in their opinion, infer any irrefragable tie of allegiance. When they joined the king's standard at the head of their vassals, they accounted themselves the Norman leaders of a race of foreigners, whose descent they despised, and whom, compared to themselves, they accounted barbarians. These loose relations between the nobles and their followers were altered and drawn more tight when the effect of long-continued war, repeated defeats, undaunted renewal or efforts, and final attainment of success, bound such leaders as Douglas, Randolph, and Stewart to their warriors, and their warriors to them. The faithful brotherhood which mutual dangers and mutual conquests created between the leader and the followers on the one hand, betwixt the king and the barons on the other the consciousness of a mutual object, which overcame all their other considerations, and caused them to look upon themselves as men united in one common interest-taught them at the same time the universal duty of all ranks to their common country, and the sentiments so spiritedly expressed by the venerable biographer of Bruce himself:
Ah, freedom is a noble thing;
That’s compass’d in the name of thrall.'-—pp. 166–169. Our next quotation shall be selected from a more recent period, with which Sir Walter appears to be even much better acquainted than with the more antique times; for his antiquarian reading does not appear to go much farther back than the time of the Crusades.
“We must be understood to speak only of the Lowland countries of Scotland : for the Highlands were as different from the Saxon part of their countrymen as they were in the beginning of the eighteenth century.
· War was almost constantly the state in which the sister kingdoms stood in relation to each other; so much so, that the two portions of the same island most fitted by their relative position to be governed by the same laws and rules, might be considered as looking upon each other in the light of natural enemies. In such a contest it would be idle to enquire whether either nation possessed over the other any superiority in strength of person or bravery of disposition; advantages which nature distributes with impartiality among the children of the same soil. Different degrees of discipline, different species of arms, different habits of exercise, may be distinctly traced as the foundation of advantages occasionally observable
either in the victories of the English over the Scots, or in those obtained by the inhabitants of the northern parts of the island over their southern neighbours.
• The superiority of the English arose from two principal circumstances: first, the better discipline and conduct of their armies, which at an early period maneuvred with considerable art and address, for which we shall presently show some reason; and, secondly, on their unrivalled skill in the use of the long bow, the most formidable weapon of the age, which neither Scot, Frenchman, Fleming, nor Spaniard, could use with the same effect as the yeomen of England. These men possessed a degree of independence and wealth altogether unknown to the same class of society in other kingdoms of Europe. They placed their pride in having the most excellent and best-constructed bows and shafts, to the formation of which great attention and nicety were necessary: and they had attained the art of handling and using them with the greatest possible effect.
Their wealth enabled them to procure weapons of the first order, and their mode of education brought the use of them to the highest pitch of perfection. Bishop Latimer says of himself that, like other children, he was trained to shoot first with a small bow suitable to his age, and afterwards with one fitted to his increasing strength; and that consequently be acquired a degree of skill which far surpassed that of those who never handled a bow till they came to be young men. Neither was the shape of the weapon less fitted for its purpose. The bow was of considerable length and power, and the arrow, constructed with a small head of sharp steel, was formed so as to fly a great distance and with much force. On the contrary, the Highlanders were the most numerous, if not the only archers in Scotland. These mountaineers carried a weak bow, short and imperfectly strung, which discharged a heavy arrow with a clumsy barb, three or four times the weight of an English shaft. To these advantages on the part of the English must be added the dexterity with which archery was practised by their yeomen, who always drew the bow-string to the right ear, while the bowmen of other nations pulled it only to the breast, and thus discharged a shorter shaft from a much less formidable bow. The superiority of the English in archery cannot be better expressed than by the Scottish proverb, that each southern archer bore at his belt the lives of twenty-four Scots, such being the number of arrows with which he was usually supplied.
• In the possession of much greater wealth, the English had another advantage over their neighbours scarcely less effectual than that of their archery. This enabled them at pleasure to summon into the field considerable bodics of mercenaries, either horse or foot, whose trade was arms, and who maintained themselves by selling their services to those who could best afford to pay for them. It was natural that such bands, who were constantly in active service, should be much better acquainted with the art of war and the discipline of the times than the natives of Scotland, who only occasionally adopted the profession of arms. What was even of greater importance was the habit of obedience in military matters which these men had learned to practise, and which (provided always they were regularly paid) rendered them prompt and obedient to orders, and amenable to discipline. The English armies were, especially after Henry VIIth's time, augmented by bands from Flanders, Spain, Italy, and
the most warlike countries then in the world, led by commanders whom long experience had made completely acquainted with the art of war, which was their only profession, as the camp was their only home. Their discipline was an example to the native troops of England, and showed them the advantage to be derived from implicit obedience during the campaign and on the field of battle. All these troops were placed under the command of a general of approved abilities, who received his orders from the king and council, presenting thus the absolute authority which is requisite to direct the movements of an army.
• Besides this peculiar advantage of hiring regular troops, the wealth of England enabled her chivalry to come to the field in full panoply, mounted on horses fit for service, and composed of men at arms certainly not inferior to any which Europe could boast. She had also at command money, stores, provisions, ammunition, artillery, and all that is necessary to enable an army to take and to keep the field.
The Scottish armies, on the other hand, were composed of the ordinary inhabitants of the country, who, unless they chanced to have a few Frenchmen at arms, were destitute of any force approaching to regular soldiers. Their own men at arms were few and ill-appointed; and though they had in their armies numerous troops of hardy horses, they were too light for the actual battle. They always fought on foot, a circumstance which exposed their broad masses of spearmen still more to devastation by the English archers, who could remain at a distance and pour on them their fatal shot without encountering the brunt of their pikes. Their hosts were, indeed, nominally under command of one general; but wanted all that united force and energy acquired by a large body acting with a common purpose and under the authority of a single individual. On the contrary, they rather consisted of a number of little armies under separate chiefs, unknown to or perhaps at variance with each other, and acknowledging no common head save the king, who was not always fit to command in person, and to whom implicit obedience was not always rendered.
* These great advantages of superior address in the missiles of the period, and in superior wealth for the formation and support of armies, were particularly observable in general battles upon a large scale ; which the Scots, in their impatience and poverty of means to keep the field, hazarded far more frequently than was politic, and received a succession of dreadful and sanguinary defeats, so numerous and apparently decisive, that the reader may be surprised how they could escape the total subjugation which seemed so often impending. But Scotland, to balance these disadvantages, was superior in some circumstances highly favourable to the nation, when her arınies could withhold themselves from general actions.
· When the nations met with moderate numbers on each side, the dissensions so frequent in a Scottish camp did not exist, and the armed natives of some particular districts fought with unanimity under a Stuart or a Douglas, whose command was acknowledged by all in the field. Such was the case at Otterbourne and many fields of combat, where neither host exceeded a few thousand men, and still more frequently where the numbers were much smaller. The Scottish inferiority in archery was on many occasions balanced by the advantage which their national weapon, the Scottish spear, gave them over the English bill, with which that nation maintained the combat, when they joined battle hand to hand. The strength