marshalled so industriously, except for indirect purposes. It is easy enough to understand that his conceptions of policy could readily justify a wrong as ministerial to what he conceived to be a higher right.
THE TRIUMPH OF AGGRESSION.
Uneasy lay the head that wore the crown of Scotland. The flatteries of King John's friends could not blind him to his isolation. The formal respect rendered to him often betrayed, not merely reluctance, but defiance and contempt. The leading men of the dissident factions soon proceeded to remove his friends from his side and to surround him with strangers, and even to take out of his control the direction of affairs. The St. Albans Annalist records that John dare not open his mouth, lest his people in their rage should starve him or throw him into a dungeon; 'he was like a lamb in the midst of wolves.'
John's uneasiness was not mitigated by the action of his suzerain. Edward mixed his early complaisances with disagreeable reminders. Thus, on December 31, 1292, he required John to attend at Newcastle on the appeal of Roger Bartholomew, a burgess of Berwick. It was in vain that John pointed Edward to the convention of Brigham, under which no Scotsman was to be required to plead in any legal proceeding out of the realm of Scotland; Edward insisted on the cancelment, not only of the convention, but of every document, known or unknown, calculated to restrict in any way the free exercise of his superiority. Again, on March 8, John was cited to answer in the English court for denial of justice to the indefatigable John Mazun, a merchant of Gascony, who had a big claim against the late Alexander III. In a fortnight's time, March 25, John was again cited to appear before the English parliament to answer an appeal of Macduff of Kilconquhar from a decision of the Scots parliament in February. John did not appear. He was again cited to appear on October 14. He did appear then, but the only answer to be extracted from him was that he dare not act without consultation with the Estates of his realm—an answer probably put in his mouth by his Stirling parliament in August. He was cast in heavy damages; and, on the principle that the wrongdoer should be curtailed in the means of wrongdoing, it was resolved that the three principal castles in Scotland, with their towns, should be delivered over to the Lord Superior till his vassal should have purged his contumacy. John humbled himself, however, before judgment was formally given, and Edward granted a further postponement. Meantime, in June and September, two more summonses had come; and two more followed in November. The English parliament had, indeed, passed certain standing orders, including one that admitted no excuse of absence from either party. John was bound to be constantly trotting up and down, on the most trivial matters. Edward was undoubtedly within his technical rights, and, as Lord Hailes says, he was bent on exercising them 'with the most provoking rigour.' 'It is easy to see,' as Burton remarks, 'that his immediate object was to subject his new vassal to deep humiliation.'
Meantime the King of France was preparing to mete out to Edward the same measure as Edward was meting out to John. He summoned Edward to answer before the Twelve Peers in December for certain acts of aggression of Englishmen upon French subjects in the preceding spring. Regarding the summons as a pretext for the annexation of his French dominions, Edward stayed at home and temporised; but in February Philip declared him contumacious, and in May pronounced forfeiture of his fiefs. Edward kept up negotiations, but prepared for war; and, as over-lord of Scotland, he summoned Balliol and twenty-one Scots magnates to join him with their forces at London on September 1, 1294. John attended the English parliament, and contributed three years' rental of his large English estates. But his magnates disregarded the summons, and, when pressed, alleged their inability.
Edward's difficulties between France and Wales, as well as at home, furnished both encouragement and opportunity to the discontent seething in Scotland. A parliament was held at Scone. The Estates dismissed all English court officials, and appointed a Council of Twelve, probably after the model of the Twelve Peers of the King of France, to conduct the government. John was formally reduced to a figure-head. Urged by his Council, and stung by the humiliations heaped upon him by Edward, he entered into a secret alliance, offensive and defensive, with Philip of France, under which his son and heir, Edward Balliol, was to marry Philip's niece, the eldest daughter of Charles, Count of Valois and Anjou. John accredited his envoys to Philip in July 1295; the treaty was signed by Philip in October; and John ratified it at Dunfermline on February 23, 1295–96, with the assent, not only of his prelates and nobles, but also of the chief burgh corporations and other public bodies of the kingdom. The scheme was carefully placed 'on a broad popular basis,' and it seems to have been arranged with as little publicity as was consistent with a wide representation of the nation. 'This was the starting of that great policy which had so much influence for centuries on both sides of the British Channel—the policy of France and Scotland taking common counsel against England.'
In the course of the early autumn of 1295, it is likely that Edward got wind of John's treasonable doings. He issued summonses for his memorable parliament of November. Perhaps as a feeler, he required John to expel all Frenchmen and Flemings, his enemies, from Scotland; otherwise, to put in his hands the three castles and towns of the eastern frontier—Berwick, Roxburgh, and Jedburgh. The first alternative was firmly refused; but it appears from an existing document that the castles were delivered over to the Bishop of Carlisle. On October 16, there are two remarkable records: one is the engagement of Edward to his 'beloved and faithful' John to redeliver the three castles and towns at the end of the French war; the other is a circular order to all the sheriffs in England to take into the King's hand all the lands and goods of Balliol and of all other Scotsmen staying in Scotland, within their respective jurisdictions. Were these castles ever delivered to Edward? That is to say, was the engagement of October 16 (with the order to the Bishop to take delivery, dated October 12) only anticipative, and never operative? There is, indeed, strong historical support to the view that the Scots absolutely refused both alternatives, and shook in Edward's face Pope Celestine's absolution of them from homage and fealty. The confiscation order was probably Edward's counterstroke. It was followed up on February 13 by an order for the sale of all goods on such lands, excepting only agricultural stock and implements, the proceeds to go into the Exchequer.
The inevitable collision was precipitated by an outbreak at Berwick, in which some English merchants were killed and their goods seized. On February 23, Edward issued urgent orders to hurry up the forces appointed to meet him at Newcastle-on-Tyne, directing that 'neither for assizes, gaol deliveries, or any other business' is the Sheriff of York to hinder the men of his county from arriving on the day fixed, apparently March 1. He summoned John to Newcastle to answer for the Berwick riot and his breaches of allegiance, but of course John declined the invitation.
About the middle of March, Edward moved to Wark, just abandoned by the romantically traitorous Robert de Ros; but he appears to have had scruples about commencing the invasion of Scotland till Easter was past. Then, on March 28, he passed the Tweed with 30,000 foot and 5000 armed horse, and on March 30 he took Berwick town without any effective opposition. As