exempt it from being adjudicated upon like the other tenures of the realm? 'On these two questions,' says Burton, 'King Edward's own council of twenty-four were alone consulted. "Those of Scotland," as the persons selected by Bruce and Balliol were termed, had no opportunity of recording their opinion on these, which, of all the questions put, were the most eminently national in their character.' This is a somewhat startling result, in view of the expectations raised by the terms of appointment. 'Yet,' Burton proceeds, 'it was so managed that they too should appear to have had a voice. It was put to the claimants, Balliol and Bruce, and to the eighty of Scotland selected by them, whether they could show any cause why the kingdom of Scotland—a fief of the King of England—should be treated differently from earldoms, baronies, and other tenures. Under nice distinctions in the ways of putting questions, the broad fact can be distinctly traced, that the twenty-four of England were advisers or referees of the supreme judge, Edward himself, as to the judgment to be given, while the eighty of Scotland were merely the advisers of the two claimants as to the position they should take up as litigants—what they should admit, and what they should dispute. Accordingly, the eighty are not heard in answer to the questions put; the competitors, Balliol and Bruce, give the answers.' Even, however, if the apparent intention to constitute a single board of 104 had been consistently maintained, the result would have been practically the same. The Balliol and the Bruce men would have neutralised each other, and the English twenty-four would have decided every point—and that, too, inevitably in the sense conformable to the mind of the King of England. The whole process was a gigantic palaver, impressing the grandeur, the legality, and the considerateness of Edward, while utilised as a cloak and a means for the remorseless prosecution of his designs upon the independence of Scotland.
It remains to inquire briefly into the substantial validity of the claim of over-lordship. It might augur industrious adventure to penetrate to the misty age of Brute the Trojan and Scota the daughter of the King of Egypt. It would be little less futile to trace the records of the chronicles collected by Edward from the time of Edward the Elder down through four centuries. It is hardly worth while even to deal with the submission of William the Lion when he was accidentally captured in 1174, before Alnwick Castle, on a raid into the north of England. The facts have been obscured by the greater anxiety of historians to fit them in with their preconceptions than to ascertain precisely the meaning of the plain record. If the release of William's obligations by Richard for 10,000 marks, to eke out his preparations for a crusade, has any meaning at all, it means clearly the restoration of the absolute independence of Scotland. The treaty of Falaise 'created the new condition of vassal and superior from that date'; and the Canterbury transactions released William from all the engagements that Henry II. thereby 'extorted from him,' as Richard's charter phrases it, 'by new deeds and by consequence of his captivity.' The competitor that submitted to Edward that Richard could not legally release the homage of Scotland, was either praise-worthily exhaustive or hopelessly barren of argument. It seems to demand a facile credulity to believe that William gave 10,000 marks to be released from one ground of an obligation that still remained valid against him on another ground not even specified in express terms, or that Richard placidly went off to the crusade, leaving on the northern marches of England an inviting opportunity to an active and aggrieved neighbour. That William should do homage for his estates in England was a matter of course, but quite a different matter.
Henry III. appears indeed to have entertained the claim of over-lordship. There is no reference to homage, however, in connection with the treaty of Newcastle. Henry and Alexander II. simply engaged not to abet each other's enemies, and not to invade each other's territories without just provocation. Nor, when Alexander III. succeeded to the throne in 1249, at the age of seven, did Henry put forward any claim of wardship—a fact especially significant of the relations between the kingdoms. It is no doubt true that Henry prayed Pope Innocent IV. to prohibit the anointing and crowning of the child King of Scots, on the ground that Alexander was his liege vassal; for so much appears from the Pope's letter of refusal, dated 1251. But Henry does not seem to have proceeded further in the matter. It is stated that, on the occasion of Alexander's marriage with his daughter Margaret in 1252 at York, Henry demanded homage for Scotland as a fief holden of England; and that the reply of the boy King, that he could not take such an important step without the knowledge and assent of his parliament, closed the question. The reply bears evident witness to the vigilance of Alexander's advisers. The like vigilance is to be remarked in the terms of the safe-conduct of Alexander and his queen to England in 1260. Neither the King nor his attendants should be required to treat of State affairs during the visit. In fact, Henry III., whatever his theoretical claims, never exercised the right of over-lordship. On the contrary, whenever he did interfere in the affairs of Alexander's kingdom, it was in the capacity of a friendly father-in-law, and under the style of 'Principal Councillor to the illustrious King of Scotland.'
The case of 1278 is strikingly illustrative. In that year Alexander did homage to Edward I. at Westminster, and the fact is recorded in a transcript of a Close Roll in absolute terms: 'I, Alexander, King of the Scots, become liege man of the Lord Edward, King of the English, against all nations.' Allen verified the entry, and found that the writing was upon an erasure. The suspicion aroused by the erasure is not lightened by the record of the proceedings preserved in the register of Dunfermline Abbey. There the scribe expressed the homage of Alexander very differently: 'I become your man for the lands which I hold of you in the kingdom of England, for which I owe you homage, saving my kingdom.' Furthermore, it is added: 'Then said the Bishop of Norwich, "And saving to the King of England, if he right have, your homage for your kingdom," to whom the King instantly replied, saying openly, "To homage for my kingdom of Scotland no man has right, except God alone, nor do I hold that kingdom otherwise than of God alone."' The vague and insidious use of such expressions as 'if he right have,' or 'whatever right he may have,' or 'whenever he chooses to exercise his right,' fostered the tendency to elevate a claim into a right. It indicates that there actually existed no right capable of definite formulation on firm grounds, or at any rate no right capable of assertion. The gross falsification of such records permits us to hold the Dunfermline scribe as at least an equal authority with the Westminster scribe. This convenient vagueness of suggestion of right reappears with like tameness in the tail of the treaty of Brigham.
Did King Edward honestly believe that he was entitled to the homage of the new King of Scots? The question may be least ungraciously answered by another question: Supposing the sides reversed, would Edward have submitted with intellectual conviction to the same claim advanced against himself on the same grounds? We decline to libel his intelligence. It is impossible to believe that he cared one atom for the chronicles he