Certainly no plot was laid by James to entrap the Ruthvens, and the only question is, was the brawl in which they fell accidental, or had a plot hatched in deep secrecy been frustrated by unexpected circumstances?
A treaty projected on the news of the massacre of St Bartholomew, by which Mary should be sent back to Scotland for immediate execution, was broken off by the death of the earl of Mar, who had succeeded Lennox as regent; nor was it found possible to come to acceptable terms on a like understanding with his successor Morton, who in 1577 sent a proposal to Mary for her restoration, which she declined, in suspicion of a plot laid to entrap her by the policy of Sir Francis Walsingham, the most unscrupulously patriotic of her English enemies, who four years afterwards sent word to Scotland that the execution of Morton, so long the ally of England, would be answered by the execution of Mary.
They therefore sent a joint deputation of Pharisees and Herodians to entrap Him with a question as to the Roman tribute, in answering which He must either lose His influence with the people or else lay Himself open to a charge of treason.
Metternich was anxious to secure an apparent unanimity of the powers to back the Austrian intervention in Naples, and every device was used to entrap the English representative into subscribing a formula which would have seemed to commit Great Britain to the principles of the other allies.
The inevitable suspicion arose that this might be a triple-decker CIA cake with Ian Fleming icing to somehow entrap Ramparts.