Monday, August 23, 2010

William Wallace's Execution

Walter Scott wrote about William Wallace's life in "Exploits and death of William Wallace, the Hero of Scotland".  On this, the 705th anniversary of Wallace's execution (August 23, 1305), this text from Scott's work:

'...But what Edward prized more than the surrender of the last fortress which resisted his arms in Scotland was the captivity of her last patriot. He had found in a Scottish nobleman, Sir John Monteith, a person willing to become his agent in searching for Wallace among the wilds where he was driven to find refuge. Wallace was finally betrayed to the English by his unworthy and apostate countryman, who obtained an opportunity of seizing him at Robroyston, near Glasgow, by the treachery of a servant.

Sir William Wallace was instantly transferred to London, where he was brought to trial in Westminster Hall, with as much apparatus of infamy as the ingenuity of his enemies could devise. He was crowned with a garland of oak, to intimate that he had been king of outlaws. The arraignment charged him with high treason, in respect that he had stormed and taken towns and castles, and shed much blood. "Traitor," said Wallace, "was I never." The rest of the charges he confessed and proceeded to justify them. He was condemned, and executed by decapitation, 1305. His head was placed on a pinnacle on London bridge, and his quarters were distributed over the kingdom.

Thus died this courageous patriot, leaving a remembrance which will be immortal in the hearts of his countrymen. This steady champion of independence having been removed, and a bloody example held out to all who should venture to tread in his footsteps, Edward proceeded to form a species of constitution for the country, which, at the cost of so much labor, policy, and bloodshed, he had at length, as he conceived, united forever with the English crown. ...'

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