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James Muir was a Scotsman in Swedish service from the late sixteenth century, probably first arriving in Sweden during King Johan III's reign 1569-1592. He remained in service until his execution for killing a blood relative in 1622. He was probably the father of Thomas Muir [SSNE 4799].

In 1609 James Muir served as the field commander's "court" (surely Provost) Marshal in 1609. 

The Murder of James Logan

On 4 May 1622 two Scottish burgesses, George Gardner [SSNE 7352] and George Logan [SSNE 7368] appear before the Stockholm magistrates on behalf of the unnamed widow of the late James Logan [SSNE 49]. On the widow's behalf the two burgesses accuse James Muir and Captain Alexander Forrat [SSNE 4146] of causing the death of ensign James Logan nothe previous Tuesday, 30 April 1622, at Gerdt Specht's house on Norrmalm. Logan was a relative of Muir's and newly taken into Swedish service as an ensign. AS yet it is unclear whether Logan was any relative of burgess George Logan.

The Stockholm magistrates asked James Muir to give his account of events. Muir said that he and Captain Forrat had been invited to dine at Admiral Richard Clerk's [SSNE 4137] house on Norrmalm on 30 April. Apparently James Logan arrived just as they were finishing their meal, joining them for some socialising. The group then all went to neighbour Gerdt Specht's house, where they all drank some beer. Captain Forrat began to harass James Logan, saying that regardless of his recent entry into Swedish military service, he still owed money in a dispute involving Thomas Duncker (another Scottish burgess in Stockholm. To which Logan replied that he had no truck with the captain, and that Captain Stewart (probably Simon [SSNE 1644] was present and he could take it up with him. Captain Forrat suddenly punched Logan in the face, leading Logan to unsheathe his dagger. James Muir spotted this and threw a pewter beer mug at the pair of them, striking John Clerck [SSNE 4159] on the arm. Captain Forrat grabbed the mug and smashed it off Logan's head. This caused Logan to rush at Forrat, grabbing him round the throat, and thrusting him to the floor, punching him around the mouth. Logan still had his dagger on him, pointed it at Forrat's chest and said "Your life is in my hands". To which Forrat replied "Well, let's leave it there, I will keep what I have received and you will keep what you have", which Logan agreed to. However, at this point James Muir rushed over to Captain Forrat's servant boy, and relieved him of his 'husbondes wäria' (peasant sword), slashing out with the weapon at Logan. John Clerck stepped in to stop Muir, who apparently said of Logan "you murderer, let Forrat go". James Muir stated before the magistrates that he did not remember whether he struck Logan then or not. Muir also clarified that he had no ill-will towards Logan and had in fact stood up for him, even offering my own property to resolve the dispute between Logan, Forrat and Dunker, especially given that Logan was his blood relative. Therefore, James Muir continued, I don't understand what would have caused me to lay a hand on him. "As God is my witness I never meant him any harm, far less intended to do any harm to him". At this point James Muir broked down in tears and said it broke his heart to think he had hurt a blood relative.

The Stockholm magistrates then asked Captain Forrat how he could deny involvement in the murder, given that he had attacked Logan, thrown a pewter mug at him, and may unseen have wounded Logan with a knife as he was pinned down by Logan? Forrat admitted to throwing the beer mug at Logan but denied that that could have caused the man's death, and even though he had a pair of small 'gönåser' on him. Logan, however, had held his own dagger pointed at Forrat and said "I don't want your blood, if you settle for what I have given you then I will give in and settle for what I have received from you and we can end this". Suddenly James Muir approached with a sword which he had taken from my servant boy and slashed Logan. The weapon also hit John Clerck. James Muir struck Logan again as Forrat got up from the floor. "I would be 1000 lives on the fact that no-one but James Muir struck Logan". Captain Forrat also recounted how John Clerck had then said to James Muir "May God forgive you Muir, you have struck the man, leave". Captain Forrat followed James Muir out, and Muir asked him how Logan was and what he should do now. Forrat's servant boy replied that Logan was dead, to which Forrat reported that James Muir sighed and said "What a great misfortune that this injury should have happened, the sword was pointed at Logan's trousers, but I don't know whether I wounded him." 

James Muir denied the latter and said that he had seen a hole in Logan's trousers but did not know whether it was caused by the wound. On hearing that Logan had died Captain Forrat allegedly said to Muir that "Two should not die for this, if either of us should die it should be me as I have the greatest share in the course of events". Muir then replied "May God forgive you, you should never have laid a hand on him, not punched him or thrown anything at him, then this would not have happened. You were the first to strike him"

The Stockholm magistrates then asked the other witnesses for their accounts. Captain John Clerck swore on oath that events had occurred as had been presented: after arriving at Specht's house, Captain Forrat began to speak harshly to James Logan about the dispute with Thomas Dunker. Captain Clerck had told them now was not the time for such talk, but Forrat mentioned that Logan's recent entry in military service would not help him and he had to pay his debts, before punching Logan in the face, Logan grabbing Forrat by the throat, a pewter mug being thrown at the pair which struck Clerck on the arm (although he did not know who threw it). Forrat struck Logan in the face with the mug, causing Logan to bleed. Logan took out his dagger, but Clerck grabbed it out of Logan's hand. Logan then threw Forrat to the floor. Suddenly someone was slashing about with a sword, which Clerck struck out at with the dagger, only then seeing it was James Muir. By then blood was pouring out of James Logan's trousers. Clerck said to James Muir "May God forgive you you have slashed the man" and then James Muir left the house. John Clerck ran out to get the barber surgeon. As they waited James Logan said to Clerck "My good friend, stay with me, I am weak, my head is so cold and my blood is gushing out." Clerck told him it would be alright. "No", said Logan, "there is no coming back from this" and he was laid out on the bed and died shortly thereafter.

The hostess, Margareta, said that as she came into the room with the beer jug she saw James Logan lying ontop of Captain Forrat and James Muir slashing out 2 or 3 times, but that Clerck struck out with the dagger. She ran out into the garden, shouting in through the window "Don't kill him". When she returned to the room Logan was covered in blood on the floor. She then asked Clerck to get the barber surgeon, which he did.

A (muster writer?) named Fredrik Williamson swore on oath that while Forrat and Logan were fighting James Muir approached with a sword, slashing out at their heads 3 or 4 times, although Clerck intervened. When the two fighters separated he saw how blood was pouring out of Logan's trousers. But he never saw who caused the wound or when.

Three musicians were also present, Måns Jönsson, Mats Pedersson, and Peder Olofsson. The first said he saw James Muir slash about with the sword, and after Clerck intervened, he saw James Muir slash Logan's left thigh, tearing his trousers and causing blood to gush out onto the floor. He never saw a dagger drawn. The second musician said he heard the pewter mug hit Logan in the head, causing Logan to pull out his dagger against Forrat, but that Clerck pulled the knife off of Logan. That was when "old Muir" slashed out at Logan, striking Clerck as well, and as Forrat lay under Logan Muir struck Logan with the sword, but the musician could not say whether it wounded him or not. The third musician said that when James Muir saw that the strike aimed at Logan had hit Clerck instead he struck out at Logan again, but he could not say whether he made contact.

Captain Forrat's servant boy confirmed that James Muir took the sword from him, striking first at Logan and then leaving. 'John' Muir's servant boy (must be a typo, the records must mean John Clerck's boy) saw Forrat hit Logan in the head with the mug and that after Logan pulled out his dagger James Muir ran to get the sword, striking out at Logan asking him not to murder Forrat. Finally two barber surgeons, Baltasar Salinus and Hans were summoned, who stated that after Logan had died, two wounds were visible on his head, either from a fall or a punch, and there was a hole the size of a finger in his 'länder' and when they placed their instruments inside they went very deep, all the way to the bladder. 

After all this James Muir was further examined, and interrogated asking whether they had secretly conspired to cause Logan harm. James Muir said "God knows such an idea never crossed my mind and rather than blame Captain Forrat I would rather suffer death alone". Muir confirmed that he had frequently tried to resolve the dispute between Logan and Forrat.

In the ensuing trial Forrat was found guilty of starting the fight, fined and ordered to take any additional punishment imposed by the king. Muir was sentenced to death for killing a relative, though the text does not say whether the sentence was carried out. 

Sources: Swedish Krigsarkiv, Muster Roll, 1609/5. The James Logan murder is recorded in Stockholmsstads tänke böcker, 1622-1623 (Stockholm, 1978), pp. 26-31, 4th May 1622. See also Svenska Sjöofficerare vol II, p.256; Steve Murdoch, Network North: Scottish Kin, Commercial and Covert Associations in Northern Europe, 1603-1746 (Brill, Leiden, 2006), p.39.

Service record

Arrived 1609-01-01, as HOFMASTARE
Departed 1619-12-31, as HOFMASTARE
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY