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"If Europe is ever to be ruinel, it will be by its warriors.'
William Wallace-Edward the Black Prince-Earl of Warwick – Thomas
Howard, Earl of Surrey-Sir Philip Sidney—Duke of Marlborough-
T H E quotation at the head of this chapter would not
A hold good were all warriors like the first to be Ces spoken about.
Never, perhaps, was the fame of any man more cherished, and more deservedly so, by a people, than that of William Wallace is by the Scottish nation. His exploits have been for ages the darling theme of all ranks of the people; and in those parts of the country where his adventures chiefly lay, there is scarcely a lofty rock, high fall of water, lonely cave, or other remarkable object in nature, which is not connected with a name dear to every romantic, youthful, and patriotic mind. The recorded feats in the life of Wallace rank him not - only among the first patriots of his nation, but among the first of all who have deserved that honourable appellation. He made his appearance in the theatre of active life at a most interesting period. A disputed succession to the Scottish crown had been submitted to the decision of Edward the First of England. The office of umpire gave the English king a fatal ascendancy over the Scottish nobles, and especially over the competitors for the crown. Baliol was preferred on condition that he would acknowledge the dependence of Scotland upon the English crown ; but at last, under the mortification of repeated insults, he resigned the crown altogether into the hands of Edward on the 3d of July 1296.
All Scotland was now overrun by an English army, and the government placed in the hands of English deputies, who made it odious to the people by their exactions and oppressions. At this critical moment was the standard of freedom first unfurled by William Wallace, the youngest son of a private gentleman, Wallace of Elderslie. To great bodily strength and activity, and a courage which delighted in danger, he united an inventiveness in enterprise, a fertility of resources, and a generous gallantry of manners, well calculated to gain him an authority over the rude and undisciplined multitude who answered his patriotic call.
In May 1292, Wallace began to invest the English quarters, and soon made his numbers formidable. The first person of note who joined him was Sir William Douglas. With their united forces, these two allies attempted to surprise Ormesby, the English Justiciary, while holding a court at Scone; but a precipitate flight disappointed them of their expected prey. After this, the patriotic band roved over the whole country, assaulted castles, and slew the English wherever they met with them.
Several men of the highest rank now joined the standard of freedom; among others, Robert the Steward of Scotland, and his brother Sir Alexander de Lindsay, Sir Andrew Murray of Bothwell, Sir Richard Lauder, and Wishart, bishop of Glasgow. But, unfortunately, they brought more splendour than real spirit to the cause. Wallace, though the master-spirit of the whole enterprise, was of too humble a rank among the gentlemen of Scotland to be readily acknowledged by them as their chief; and where merit like his was not recognised as the best title to supreme command, it is easy to conceive that the conflict of pretensions must have been endless. All the leaders claimed to be independent of each other; and to nothing, even of the most obvious advantage, could their common consent be obtained
While the Scottish army, thus enfeebled by dissension, lay posted near Irvine, a chosen and numerous body of troops, which had been sent from England by Edward, approached to give them battle. All the nobles and barons who had joined the party of Wallace, Sir Andrew Murray of Bothwell alone excepted, consented to treat with the English, and for them. selves and their adherents made submission to Edward.
Wallace and Murray refused to have any concern with the ignoble capitulation, and collecting together a few faithful companions of their fortunes, retired indignantly towards the north. Under the conduct of these two able leaders, the patriotic band soon recruited its numbers, and when the English advanced to Stirling, was prepared to dispute with them the passage of the Forth.
The English general approached the banks of the river on the southern side. He sent two clergymen to offer a pardon to Wallace and his followers, on condition that they should
s mo thu Amme But such was not the purpose of the Aged with champion of Scotland.
Los Mari Ro Warrenne,' said Wallace, and tell him We will tell the panton of the King of England. We are not
it is die purpose of treating of peace, but of abiding battle, We were firedom to our country. Let the English come wow More Het them to their very beards.'
the Mintis, upon hearing this haughty answer, called Iwat my he led to the attack. Their leader, Sir Richard
dit Scottish knight who had gone over to the enemy at polith Arsitated, for he was a skilful soldier, and he saw that,
sveth the Scottish army, his troops must pass over the lehet Hattuw wooden bridge, so that those who should get over
Hilight be attacked by Wallace with all his forces, before pode det i ho remained behind could possibly come to their assis
w the therefore inclined to delay the battle. But Cresam the Treasurer, who was ignorant and presumptuous,
that it was their duty to fight and put an end to the once; and Lundin gave way to his opinion, although
ham, being a churchman, could not be so good a w of what was fitting as he himself, an experienced officer. We English army began to cross the bridge, Cressingham
w the van or foremost division of the army; for in those py days even clergymen wore armour and fought in
That took place which Sir Richard Lundin had fore. Wallace suffered a considerable part of the English army w the bridge without offering any opposition ; but when
rere over, and the bridge was crowded with
following, he charged those who had crossed strength, slew a great number, and drove the er Forth, where the greater part were drowned.