At Arbroath, 6th April, 1320
EDWARD II. after the defeat of his aggression at Bannockburn (24th June, 1314), got Pope John XXII to write to the Scots that they should submit themselves to English rule. This provoked the Arbroath Declaration of Independence, in which the Scots asserted their right to complete Self-Government and to depose any King who failed to defend Scottish interests.
Outstanding passages of the Arbroath Declaration are as follows:-
“Our Nation hath hitherto lived in freedom and quietness, till the magnificent King Edward did under colour of friendship and alliance, or confederacy, with innumerable oppressions infest us… It is impossible for any whose own experience hath not informed him to describe the injuries, blood and violence, the depredations and fire, the imprisonments of Prelates, the burning, slaughter and robbery committed upon holy persons and religious houses, which that King committed on this people without sparing any age or sex…
“But at length it pleased God to restore us to liberty… by our King Robert, who like another Joshua or Maccabeus, underwent all manner of toil and hazard. The due and lawful consent and assent of all the People made him our King and Prince… But, after all, if this Prince shall leave these principles and agree that we or our Kingdom be subjected to the King or People of England, we will immediately endeavour to expel him and will make another King… So long as there shall but one hundred of us remain alive we will never submit to the dominion of the English. For it is not glory, is not riches, neither is it honour, but it is Liberty alone that we fight for, which no honest man will lose but with his life.
“Exhort the King of England (who may well rest satisfied with his own possession, since England of old use to be sufficient for seven or more Kings) to suffer us to live at peace in Scotland, since we desire nothing but our own…”