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Sigurd
Monday, September 25th, 2006, 10:31 AM
http://images.scotsman.com/2005/02/04/declarationb.jpg

WHEN Robert the Bruce defeated the English at Bannockburn in 1314 this did not end the 20-year War of Independence. England wanted Scotland, and Edward II was determined to take it.

Scotland may have been in a strong position at home, but it was weak abroad. It did not enjoy good relations with the papal power base, unlike England, which persuaded the Pope to excommunicate the whole of Scotland. (Bruce had already been excommunicated for his part in the murder of John Comyn in a church). Although Pope John XXII subsequently sent two cardinals to England in 1317 in an attempt to negotiate a truce, Edward II was stubborn and peace looked a dim prospect.

In response to the papal intervention Robert the Bruce wrote two letters to the Pope. Accompanying these letters was the Declaration of Arbroath, a document drawn up by Scottish barons, clergy and other nobles, which formally set out Scotlandís case for independence. It was drawn up at Arbroath Abbey (in now what is the local council of Angus) on 6 April, 1320, probably by the Abbot, Bernard de Linton Ė Chancellor of Scotland.

The declaration explains Scotlandís struggle to become an independent state, and tries to persuade the Pope of the legitimacy of Scotland's case. It also warns the Pope that unless he accepts the Scottish argument the war will continue, and any deaths would be his responsibility. To modern eyes the history is ludicrous, but what comes across even today is the sincerity of the men who wrote it: "It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom Ė for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself."

The Declaration was sent to Pope John XXII in Avignon along with two letters from King Robert Bruce. It does not seem to have unduly influenced the Pope, although it could have persuaded him to intervene between the countries and prepare the way for the Treaty of Northampton in 1328, when the English finally relinquished their claim to Scotland.

What makes the Declaration of Arbroath so different from anything that had gone before is that for the first time it sets the will and wishes of the people above the king. By doing so, it marks the first expression of the idea of a contractual monarchy, which became the prototype of contractual kingship in Europe.

It also must surely be counted as one of the most eloquent expressions of nationhood ever written, promoting the right of freedom for all men and manís right to defend this freedom to the death. It is interesting that it records an idea of Scottish nationalism that rises above the feudal obligations that had characterised the country less than a quarter of a century before.

It influenced the American Declaration of Independence (ratified on 4 July 1776), but was mostly forgotten in Scotland after the 17th century. It was only rediscovered popularly in the 19th century and is now used as a political tool by nationalists and quoted by proud Scots everywhere.


Read the full text of the declaration here (http://heritage.scotsman.com/timelines.cfm?cid=1&id=41552005)

Willow
Monday, September 25th, 2006, 10:23 PM
And now take a look at the state of the country - we're at the mercy of foreigners. :~(

Galloglaich
Sunday, July 29th, 2007, 12:07 AM
What a fabulous document! I have always thought that you could see the inspiration it contributed to the American Declaration of Independence and typifies the independent and freedom loving mindset that has become a founding cornerstone of Western culture. We are in danger of losing that mindset today. I have always taken an extreme pride in my Scottish ancestry, and this document is a testament as to why. Now, if only the modern Scots would revive that sentiment...

Dunkeld
Monday, December 15th, 2008, 09:29 AM
I have been to Arbroath and have seen the text of this famous declaration there.

Quite moving!

May I quote a few lines from it:


..for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.

Astrid Runa
Saturday, December 25th, 2010, 06:02 PM
"for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself."

We should be living up to that today.
We want Freedom, dammit!
It would appear to me that William Wallaces efforts to keep Scotland a free country were in vain, as where are we? Still under English rule.
Bah. :thumbdown

Collie Dog
Saturday, December 25th, 2010, 06:34 PM
And only have yourselves to blame your problems on? (insert smiley thing)
Seriously if I get my passport stamped can I still go Munro climbing ?