Anglo-French Relations The Cloak of Secrecy A personal voyage of detection

The Characters of Balzac's 'La Comédie Humaine': Fact or Fiction?

It seems that we were granted the Irish lands to facilitate the continuance of these two activities. The Annesley family were involved in the government of King Charles II, and supported the change from King James to William of Orange. Our family records state that we were great supporters of William of Orange. We must have been regarded both as trustworthy and useful to have been granted use of the Bantry property. Bantry Bay was at that time regarded as strategically critical. It was the most protected deep-water bay in Ireland and as such ‘the back-door to England’. Hence it was vulnerable to a French invasion fleet. We were at war with France at that time and all trade with France was banned. Despard and White were illegally trading with France, and it is impossible that the authorities did not know this, so they must have allowed it to continue.

From 1660 onwards Philibert de Gramont had a close connection with both Kings Charles II and James II, although it was with King Charles that he maintained a particularly close association. From 1670, and as a result of the ‘Secret Treaty of Dover’, King Charles was effectively subsidised by the King of France. This enabled him to pursue policies frequently different to the wishes of the English Parliament.

Many of Charles’ policies eased or supported the policies of the French King. One of these was his war with William of Orange, and another was the enforcement of the Catholic religion in England. Philibert was active in all these manoeuvrings, and so was Arthur Annesley. I suspect that we too had a role, and that resulted in our move to Ireland after William’s defeat of King James and the Jacobite forces.

Our name Despard or d’Espard was I believe created as a substitute for our earlier English name, and that Philibert de Gramont was involved in this process. Philibert de Gramont’s sister died on 31.7.1688. As a result he inherited properties including the Baronnie des Angles in Bigorre/Bearn, and next to this was the Baronnie d’Esparros. As mentioned earlier, this had been the property of André de Foix – referred to in the state papers as ‘Desparcoix’.



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