The English faction put down by the Comyns
Alan Durward meanwhile precipitately fled to England; and the Comyns, eager to press their advantage to the utmost, assembled their forces, and marched with the king against the English party. A negotiation at length took place at Roxburgh; and the nobility and principal knights, who had leagued with Henry, engaged to submit themselves to the king and the laws, and to settle all disputes in a conference to be held at Forfar. This was merely an artifice to gain time, for they immediately fled to England; and the Earls of Hereford and Albemarle, along with John de Baliol, soon after repaired to Melrose, where the Scottish king awaited the arrival of his army. Their avowed purpose was to act as mediators between the two factions: their real intention to seize, if possible, the person of the king, and to carry him into England.But the plot was suspected; and Alexander, with the Comyns, defeated all hopes of its success, by appointing for the scene of their conference the forest of Jedburgh, in which a great part of his troops had already assembled.
The two English earls, therefore, resumed their more pacific design of negotiation. It was difficult and protracted; so that in the interval, the king and the Comyns, having time to collect a large force, found themselves in a situation to insist upon terms which were alike favourable to their own power and to the liberty of the country. The King of England was compelled to dissemble his animosity, to forget his bitter opposition against Bishop Gamelin, and to reserve to some other opportunity all reference to the obnoxious treaty of Roxburgh. A new regency was appointed, which left the principal power in the hands of the queen-mother and of the Comyns, but endeavoured to reconcile the opposite parties, by including in its numbers four of the former regents. Meanwhile the country, torn by contending factions, was gradually reduced to a state of great misery. Men forgot their respect for the kingly authority, and despised the restraint of the laws; the higher nobles enlisted under one or other of the opposite parties, plundered the lands and slew the retainers of their rival barons; churches were violated, castles and hamlets razed to the ground, and the regular returns of seed-time and harvest interrupted by the flames of private war. In short, the struggle to resist English interference was fatal, for the time, to the prosperity of the kingdom; and what Scotland gained in independence, she lost in improvement and national happiness.