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RE: George A. Sinclair

Laurel wrote> No, but I bet someone will be able to help.  What was it

Honestly Laurel - not sure.  Not my area of interest.  Just thought it was
interesting that it was a Sinclair to write the article so -

Here is the text of the article -

Scottish Historical Review  Vol XIX, No. 75 April 1922  'A Franco-Scottish
Conspiracy in Sweden' By George A. Sinclair

"The madness of Eric XIV of Sweden led to his deposition on January 25th,
1569, and the accession of his brother as John III.  During the next seven
years three rebellions with the object of reinstating the ex-king agitated
the country.  His place of residence was changed many times, and he spent
three years of rigorous confinement in the Castle of Gripsholm on Lake Malar
before being finally removed to his prison at Orbyhus, where he died
apparently of prison.  Before this event took place desperate efforts were
made for the release of Eric, and the Mornay Conspiracy resembles in several
of its details the Babington Plot.

The principal actors in the drama were Charles de Mornay, a Frenchman, and
Archibald Ruthven and Gilbert Balfour, who cannot be regarded in any sense
as typical Scottish settlers.  Their antecedents show that they were likely
to prove apt pupils in the art of dissimulation then so common.  Ruthven was
the son of that brutal lord who instigated the murder of Riccio, and rose
from a sick bed to perpetrate the deed.  He was recommended to King John by
the Regent Mar in 1572, attaining the rank of Swedish General, so that there
can be no doubt of his treachery.  Gilbert Balfour had no scruples in
deserting one political party for another.  He was like his discreditable
brother, Sir James Balfour, who was a fellow-prisoner with John Knox in the
French galleys and afterwards abandoned the Reformers, taking good care to
purchase his own safety at the fall of Queen Mary by surrendering the Casket
Letters and the Castle of Edinburgh to the Confederate Lords.

The arch-conspirator was Mornay, who signed himself in contemporary
documents as Baron of Varennes.  He came to Sweden in 1557, and rose to high
rank in the favor of Eric, being employed by him in his unfortunate
matrimonial missions to the English and Scottish Courts when the king in
turn solicited the hands of Queen Elizabeth and Mary, Queen of Scots.
Unsuccessful as a diplomatist and as a soldier in the Danish War, Mornay
began indulging his passion for intrigue.  Doubtless he was bound to Eric by
ties of gratitude; but, while scheming on his behalf, he did not hesitate to
win his way into King John's favour and to accept daily proofs of his

In June 1573 certain Scottish levies arrived in Sweden, and Mornay
approached Ruthven and Balfour with a view of trading on their cupidity.
His plan was to represent the king as a  bad paymaster, who, whilst availing
himself of their services, intended to banish them and their troops to a
distant place where they would die of cold and hunger.  When he saw that he
had made some impression, he unfolded his plans in detail.  The king was to
be slain at the Royal Palace during the performance of a sword dance - a
novelty at the Swedish Court - and Eric was to be liberated. The reward was
to be 100,000 thaler each and three months' pay for their men.  The sword
dance was actually performed at a brilliant banquet given by King John in
the palace; but, like many similar attempts, the plot failed owing to the
presence of a traitor in the camp, one Hugh Cahun, who disclosed the secret
designs of Mornay and the Scottish officers.  Either the signal was not
given at the right moment or the conspirators realized that the attempt
would be hopeless, as the king was strongly guarded.

Then followed a hue and cry after the persons implicated.  Mornay, in order
to throw dust in the eyes of the Court and to screen himself and the others,
boldly accused Calhun of having long borne a grudge against Ruthven.  He
demanded his seizure, and so powerful was the Frenchman's influence that the
unfortunate man was executed, the weak king assenting to this.  The tables
were soon turned on the plotters, for the Scottish regiments were ordered to
Reval with Ruthven.  He wrote to the king and tried to exculpate himself by
casting the blame on Balfour, who after an attempt to escape by sea was
captured.  Before long Ruthven was also put under arrest, and the two Scots
were sent under a strong escort to Stockholm.  Meanwhile Mornay, to avoid a
similar fate, fled to the king's brother, Duke Charles.

But the toils were fast closing around the three conspirators.  Mornay was
soon surrendered for trial, found guilty and executed on the Market Place of
Stockholm, his last words being: 'To-day Carolus shall die, he by whose
leniency King John lives,' a strange admission of his share in the plot.
Balfour was condemned 'to the loss of life, goods and honour,' being kept in
prison while the trial of Ruthven proceeded.  The Scottish Government then
took up the cause of the prisoners, and Morton in the name of James VI.
wrote to the Swedish king, even sending over a special envoy to plead on
their behalf.  Fresh plots broke out, and after several postponements
Balfour was executed in August 1576.  He seems to have admitted his
complicacy in the conspiracy, but stated that after having satisfied himself
as to the payment of his soldiers he took no further part in Mornay's
treasonable plans.

Ruthven's life was spared and he was imprisoned in the Castle of Vesteras
for nearly four years, being given a certain amount of freedom as he was
allowed to walk about the town.  He did not long survive, and died in
February 1578.  He continually complained of want of proper food and
clothing, and at his funeral there was not even enough money left to pay the
sexton for toiling the bell."

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