The King of France's efforts to bring about peaceIt is now necessary to allude to an attempt at a pacification between Edward and the Scots, which some time previous to this had been made by Philip of France; as the negotiations which then took place conduct us to the termination of Baliol's career, and throw a strong light on the character of the King of England.
John Baliol, whom the Scots still acknowledged as their rightful monarch, had remained a prisoner in England since 1296. On the conclusion of a truce between the Kings of France and England in 1297, the articles of which afterwards formed the basis of the negotiations at Montreuil, and of the important peace of Paris.J Philip demanded the liberation of Baliol, as his ally, from the tower. He required, also, that the prelates, barons, knights, and other nobles, along with the towns and communities, and all the inhabitants of Scotland, of what rank and condition soever, should be included in the truce, and that not only Baliol, but all the other Scottish prisoners, should "be liberated, on the delivery of hostages. These demands were made by special messengers, sent for this purpose by Philip to the King of England ;§ and it is probable that John Comyn the younger, the Earl of Athole, and other Scottish barons, who had left Edward on his embarkation at Hardenburgh in Flanders, and repaired to the Court of France, prevailed upon Philip to be thus urgent in his endeavours to include them and their country in the articles of pacification. Edward, however, had not the slightest intention of allowing the truce to be extended to the Scots. He was highly exasperated against them, and was then busy in collecting and organizing an army for the purpose of reducing their country. He did not, at first, however, give a direct refusal, but observed, that the request touching the king, the realm, and nobles of Scotland, was so new and foreign to the other articles of truce, that it would require his most serious deliberation before he could reply.Immediately after this, he marched, as we have seen, at the head of an overwhelming army into Scotland; and, after the battle of Falkirk, found leisure to send his answer to Philip, refusing peremptorily to deliver up Baliol, or to include the Scottish nobles in the truce, on the ground, that at the time when the articles of truce were drawn up, Philip did not consider the Scots as his allies, nor was there any mention of Baliol or his subjects at that time. "If," said Edward, "any alliance ever existed between Baliol and the French king, it had been deliberately and freely renounced.'' To this Philip replied, "That as far as the King of Scots, and the other Scottish nobles who were EdwardV prisoners, were concerned, the renunciation of the French alliance had been made through the influence of force and fear, on which account it ought to be considered of no avail; that it was they alone whom he considered as included in the truce; and if any Scottish nobles had afterwards, of their own free will, submitted to Edward, and sworn homage to him, as had been done by Patrick earl of Dunbar, Gilbert earl of Angus, and their sons, the King of France would not interfere in that matter.
Edward, however, who, at the time he made this reply, had defeated Wallace at Falkirk, and dispersed the only army which stood between him and his ambition, continued firm, notwithstanding the earnest remonstrances of Philip. The mediation of the pope was next employed; and at the earnest request of Boniface, the king consented to deliver Baliol from his imprisonment, and to place him in the hands of the papal legate, the Bishop of Vicenza. "I will send him to the pope," said Edward, "as a false seducer of the people, and a perjured man."Accordingly, Sir Robert Burghersh, the Constable of Dover, conveyed the dethroned king, with his goods and private property, to Whitsand, near Calais. Before embarking, his trunks were searched, and a crown of gold, the Great Seal of Scotland, many vessels of gold and silver, with a considerable sum of money, were found in them. The crown was seized by Edward, and hung up in the shrine of St Thomas the Martyr; the Great Seal was also retained, but the money was permitted to remain in his coffers. On meeting the legate at Whitsand, Burghersh formally delivered to this prelate the person of the ex-king, to be at the sole disposal of his Holiness ; but a material condition was added, in the proviso "that the pope should not ordain or direct anything in the kingdom of Scotland concerning the people or inhabitants, or anything appertaining to the same kingdom, in behalf of John Baliol or his heirs." Edward obsequiousness to the Roman See even went farther, for he conferred on the pope the power of disposing of BalioFs English estates.
These estates were many and extensive. They were situated in nine different counties, and gave a commanding feudal influence to their possessor. But the king had not the slightest intention of paying anything more than an empty compliment to Boniface; for he retained the whole of Baliol's lands and manors in his own hand, and, some years afterwards, bestowed them upon his nephew, John of Bretagne.