King Robert Bruce was born on July 11, 1274; 738 years ago. Much has been written about Bruce, and Scott had much to say, in “Tales of a Grandfather”, some of which is below.
‘The Rise of Robert the Bruce.
I Hope, my dear child, that you have not forgotten that all the cruel wars in Scotland arose out of the debate between the great lords who claimed the throne after King Alexander the Third's death, which induced the Scottish nobility rashly to submit the decision of that matter to King Edward of England, and thus opened the way to his endeavouring to seize the kingdom of Scotland to himself. You recollect also, that Edward had dethroned John Baliol, on account of his attempting to restore the independence of Scotland, and that Baliol had resigned the crown of Scotland into the hands of Edward as lord paramount. This John Baliol, therefore, was very little respected in Scotland ; he had renounced the kingdom, and had been absent from it for fifteen years, during the greater part of which time he remained a prisoner in the hands of the King of England.
It was therefore natural that such of the people of Scotland as were still determined to fight for the deliverance of their country from the English yoke, should look around for some other king, under whom they might unite themselves, to combat the power of England. The feeling was universal in Scotland, that they would not any longer endure the English government; and therefore such great Scottish nobles as believed they had right to the crown, began to think of standing forward to claim it.
Amongst these, the principal candidates (supposing John Baliol, by his renunciation and captivity, to have lost all right to the kingdom) were two powerful noblemen. The first was Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick, the grandson of that elder Robert Bruce, who, as you have heard, disputed the throne with John Baliol….
Now, this Robert the Bruce was a remarkably brave and strong man: there was no man in Scotland that was thought a match for him except Sir William Wallace ;and now that Wallace was dead, Bruce was held the best warrior in Scotland. He was very wise and prudent, and an excellent general ; that is, he knew how to conduct an army, and place them in order for battle, as well, or better than any great man of his time. He was generous, too, and courteous by nature; but he had some faults, which perhaps belonged as much to the fierce period in which he lived as to his own character. He was rash and passionate, and in his passion, he was sometimes relentless and cruel…’