This, however, could scarcely be true; the event showed that Edward had either misconceived or misstated the purpose of Alexander. He appeared before the English parliament at Westminster, and offered his homage in these words:— "I, Alexander king of Scotland, do acknowledge myself the liegeman of my Lord Edward king of England, against all deadly." This Edward accepted, reserving his claim of homage for the kingdom of Scotland, when he should choose to prefer it. The King of Scots then requested that the oath should be taken for him by Robert de Bruce earl of Carrick, which being granted, that earl took the oath in these words:—
"I, Robert earl of Carrick, according to the authority given to me by my lord the King of Scotland, in presence of the King of England, and other prelates and barons, by which the power of swearing upon the soul of the King of Scotland was conferred upon me, have, in presence of the King of Scotland, and commissioned thereto by his special precept, sworn fealty to Lord Edward king of England in these words:— 'I, Alexander king of Scotland, shall bear faith to my lord Edward king of England and his heirs, with my life and members, and worldly substance; and I shall faithfully perform the services, used and wont, for the lands and tenements which I hold of the said king?" Which fealty being sworn by the Earl of Carrick, the King of Scotland confirmed and ratified the same. Such is an exact account of the homage performed by Alexander to Edward, as given in the solemn instrument by which the English monarch himself recorded the transaction.
Alexander probably had not forgotten the snare in which Edward's father had attempted to entrap him, when still a boy; and the reservation of an unfounded claim over Scotland might justly have incensed him. But he wished not to break with Edward: he held extensive territories in England, for which he was willing, as he was bound in duty, to pay homage; yet he so guarded his attendance at Edward's coronation, and his subsequent oath of fealty, that the independence of Scotland as a kingdom, and his own independence as its sovereign, were not touched in the most distant manner; and the King of England, baffled in his hope of procuring an unconditional homage, was forced to accept it as it was given. It is material to notice, that in the instrument drawn up afterwards, recording the transaction, Edward appears to declare his understanding, that this homage was merely for the Scottish king's possessions in England, byagain reserving his absurd claim of homage for Scotland, whenever he or his heirs should think proper to make it.