Shortened transcript of the Declaration
of Arbroath, 1320
1. The historic strength of the Scots
Most Holy Father, we find that among other famous nations
our own, the Scots, has been graced with widespread renown,
but nowhere could it be subdued by any people, however barbarous.
The Britons it first drove out, the Picts it utterly destroyed,
and, even though very often attacked by the Norwegians, the
Danes and the English, it took possession of that home with
many victories and untold efforts; and, as the histories of
old time bear witness, they have held it free of all servitude
[slavery] ever since.
2. Scotland's 'ally', King Edward I of
Thus our people under their protection did indeed live
in freedom and peace up to the time when that mighty prince
the King of the English, Edward, the father of the one who
reigns today, came in a guise of a friend and ally to harass
them as an enemy. The deeds of cruelty, massacre, violence,
pillage, arson, imprisoning prelates, burning down monasteries,
robbing and killing monks and nuns and yet other outrages
without number which he committed against our people, sparing
neither age nor sex, religion nor rank, no-one could describe
nor fully imagine unless he had seen them with his own eyes.
3. Scotland's rescue by King Robert
But from these countless evils we have been set free by
our most tireless prince, King and lord, the lord Robert.
To him, we are bound both by his right and by his merits that
our freedom may be still maintained, and by him, come what
may, we mean to stand.
4. Scotland's declaration
Yet if he should give up what he has begun, seeking to
make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the
English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out
as our enemy and a subverter of his own right and ours, and
make some other man who was well able to defend us our King;
for, as long as a hundred of us remain alive, never will we
on any conditions be subjected to the lordship of the English.
It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that
we are fighting, but for freedom alone, which no honest man
gives up but with life itself.
5. Scotland's request
Therefore it is, Reverend Father and Lord that we beseech
your Holiness that you will look with the eyes of a father
on the troubles brought by the English upon us and upon the
Church of God. May it please you to warn and urge the King
of the English, who ought to be satisfied with what belongs
to him, to leave us Scots in peace.
To conclude, we are and shall ever be, as far as duty calls
us, ready to do your will in all things, as obedient sons
to you as His Vicar, and firmly trusting that He will inspire
us with courage and bring our enemies to nothing.
Given at the monastery of Arbroath in
Scotland on the sixth day of the month of April in the year
of grace thirteen hundred and twenty and the fifteenth year
of the reign of our King aforesaid.