Soon after his return from his expedition into England, Wallace, in an assembly held at the Forest Kirk in Selkirkshire, which was attended by the Earl of Lennox, William Douglas, and others of the principal nobility, was elected Governor of Scotland, in name of King John, and with consent of the community of Scotland. Strengthened by this high title, which he had so well deserved, and which the common people believed was ratified by the express approval of St Andrew, who presented to the hero a sacred sword, to be used in his battles against the English; % he proceeded to reward his friends and fellow-soldiers, to punish his enemies; and, despising the jealousy and desertion of a great majority of the nobility, to adopt and enforce those public measures -which he considered necessary for securing the liberty of the country. He conferred the office of Constable of Dundee upon Alexander Skirmishur, or Scrimgeour, and his heirs, for his services in bearing the royal banner of Scotland. By a strict severity, he restrained the licentiousness of his soldiers, and endeavoured to introduce discipline into his army. In order to secure a certain proportion of new levies, at any time when the danger or exigency of the state required it, he divided the kingdom into military districts.
In each shire, barony, lordship, town, and burgh, he appointed a muster-book to be made, of the number of fighting men which they contained, between the age of sixteen and sixty ; and from these he drew at pleasure, and in case of refusal under pain of life and limb, as many recruits as he thought requisite. In a short time, such were the effects of his firm and courageous dealing in the government, that the most powerful of the nobility were compelled, by the fears of imprisonment, to submit to his authority, although they envied him his high elevation, and whenever an opportunity presented itself, took part with the King of England. J But although few of the earls had joined him, the lesser barons and gentry repaired in great numbers to the banner of the governor, and willingly supported him with all their forces.