In the vast autograph collection in the archive from Ericsberg there are a lot of letters addressed to Magnus Stenbock (1663-1717), Governor of Scania, Field Marshal, Councillor of the Realm etc. etc. Stenbock was in many ways a complicated character. Born into one of the most prominent and influential families as the son of Count Gustaf Otto Stenbock, Admiral of the Realm and a member of the regency during the early years of Charles XI, the young Magnus had everything. However, in the late 1670's his father fell into disfavor and lost much of his possessions. This possibly made Magnus Stenbock acutely aware of how fast things could change and how necessary it was to keep good relations with the monarch. When war broke out in 1700 Stenbock seems to have quite rapidly earned the favor of Charles XII, partly because of his considerable military experience and ability. However, of perhaps even greater value was Stenbock's sense of humour and his talent in creating amusements for the King. From the letters exchanged between the two during the Polish campaign it would seem that Stenbock reached a level of personal friendship with Charles XII that no one (family excepted) at that point had been able to reach. However, as the son in law of Bengt Oxenstierna, the old President of the Chancellery, it is clear that Stenbock also had one foot in the camp of those who wished to see a different foreign policy. From preserved letters it's obvious that Magnus Stenbock at the very least tried to give "the opposition" the impression that he worked for their interests - while on the other hand seemingly being one of Charles XII's most trusted advisors.
After the treaty of Altranstädt had ended the conflict with Augustus II, Stenbock was sent home to govern the province of Scania as Governor. In 1709 it fell upon him to organize the defense against the invading Danes and his victory at the battle of Helsingborg in 1710 made him an instant hero in the eyes of the Swedish public. The Council of the Realm, which after Poltava had taken a larger share in the governing of Sweden, rewarded him with the Field Marshal's baton - something that did not particularly please Charles XII. Not because he didn't appreciate what Stenbock had achieved, but because he was sensitive to intrusions into what he considered to be his prerogative. This was a position which Stenbock apparently found hard to accept, perhaps because he always needed fresh proof that the King still liked him.
Next: Letters to Stenbock from Bender.