He is crowned at SconeBruce's first step was bold and decisive. He determined immediately to be crowned at Scone, and for this purpose repaired from his castle of Lochmaben to Glasgow, where he was joined by some of the friends who supported his enterprise. On the road from Lochmaben, a young knight, well armed and horsed, encountered his retinue, who, the moment Bruce approached, threw himself from his horse, and kneeling, did homage to him as his sovereign. He was immediately recognised as Sir James Douglas, the son of William, the fourth Lord Douglas, whose estate had been given by Edward to the Lord Clifford, and was affectionately welcomed; for his father had fought with Wallace, and the son had already shown some indications of his future greatness. Douglas immediately joined the little band who rode with Bruce; and thus commenced a friendship, which, after a series of as noble services as ever subject paid to sovereign, was not dissolved even by death: for it was to this tried follower that in after years his dying master committed his heart to be carried to Jerusalem.
From Glasgow, Bruce rode to Scone, and there was solemnly crowned, on Friday, the 27th of March. Edward had carried off the ancient regalia of the kingdom, and the famous stone-chair, in which, according to ancient custom, the Scottish kings were inaugurated. But the ready care of Wishart bishop of Glasgow, supplied from his own wardrobe the robes in which Robert appeared at his coronation; and a slight coronet of gold,* probably borrowed by the abbot of Scone from some of the saints or kings which adorned his abbey, was employed instead of the hereditary crown. A banner, wrought with the arms of Baliol, was delivered by the Bishop of Glasgow to the new king; and Robert received beneath it the homage of the prelates and earls who attended the ceremony. On the second day after the coronation, and before Bruce and his friends had left Scone, they were surprised by the sudden arrival of Isabella countess of Buchan, sister of the Earl of Fife, who immediately claimed the privilege of placing the king upon the throne. It was a right which had undoubtedly belonged to the earls of Fife from the days of Malcolm Canmore; and as the Earl of Fife was at this time of the English party, the countess, a high-spirited woman, leaving her home, joined Bruce at Scone, bringing with her the warhorses of her husband. The new king was not in a condition to think lightly of anything of this nature. To have refused Isabella's request, might give to his enemies some colour for alleging, that an essential part of the ancient solemnity had been omitted in his coronation. The English historians would have us believe that the lady was influenced by tenderer feelings than ambition or policy; but this is doubtful. It is certain, that on the 20th of March, the king was a second time installed in the regal chair by the hands of the countess, who afterwards suffered severely for her alleged presumption.
Bruce next made a progress through various parts of Scotland, strengthening his party by the accession of new partisans; seizing some of the castles and towns which were in the possession of the enemy; committing to prison the sheriffs and officers of Edward ;and creating so great a panic, that many of the English fled precipitately from the country. His party, nevertheless, was small; the Comyns possessed the greatest power in Scotland, and they and their followers opposed him, not only from motives of policy, but with the deepest feelings of feudal enmity and revenge; while many earls and barons, who had suffered in the lata wars, preferred the quiet of submission, to the repeated hazards of insurrection and revolt.
Edward had returned to Winchester, from a pleasure tour through the counties of Dorset and Hampshire, when he received the intelligence of the murder of Comyn and the revolt of Bruce. Although not an aged man, he had reached the mature period of sixtyfive; and a constant exposure to the fatigues of war, had begun to make an impression upon a constitution of great natural strength. He was become unwieldy, and so infirm that he could not mount on horseback or lead his armies; and after twenty years of ambitious intrigue, and almost uninterrupted war, now that he was in the decline of his strength and years, he found his Scottish conquests about to be wrested from him by a rival, in whom he had placed the greatest confidence. But although broken in body, this great king was in his mind and, spirit yet vigorous and unimpaired, as was soon evinced by the rapidity and decision of his orders, and the subsequent magnitude of his preparations. He instantly sent to strengthen the frontier garrisons of Berwick and Carlisle, with the intention of securing the English Borders on that )Side from invasion; and he appointed the Earl of Pembroke, with Lord Robert Clifford and Henry Percy, to march into Scotland, directing them to proceed against his rebels in that kingdom.