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



An Instrument of French Foreign Policy: The Secret Treaty of Dover

Upon this occasion Courtin, in a letter to Louis XlV, 5th November, 1676, writes thus: “He took me into a closet, where, after having shut the door, I have, said he, good news to tell you, which is, that I believe I have at this instant the peace in my own hands. He charged me to conjure your Majesty, instantly, to let him know your intentions, to the end that upon this knowledge he may regulate himself to make a proposal.”

The 500,000 crowns above mentioned, which Louis secretly gave Charles in the year 1674, to prorogue his parliament till April 1675 saved France from the possibility of an English armament in the campaign of the year 1675. The abovementioned secret pension given in the beginning of the year 1676, made him secure of Charles’s baffling the attempts of his parliament to engage him in a war with France in the campaign of the year 1676. Yet in the beginning of the year 1677, the clamours of parliament and of the nation having increased for a war with France, the French redoubled their attentions to Charles, the particulars of which follow.

The parliament of 1677 was opened with Charles’s becoming the instrument to bribe his own subjects with French money to prevent a French war. On the 2nd February, 1677, Courtin advises his court to offer 400,000 crowns extraordinary to Charles to prorogue or dissolve his parliament.

Courtin writes thus to Louis XlV, on the 14th February, 1677 : ‘Sire, I received the bill of exchange for 11,000L sterling on the October quarter : it came very apropos for the King of England wanted money to gain those who are accustomed to make a noise only in order to be the better bought.’

On the 1st April, 1677, he writes thus again: ‘To my knowledge, he (Charles) has distributed all the money he received from my hands, to gain the votes he stood in need of: he has so well served the King to this hour, that he deserves to be assisted in his necessities, and it will be very important to take care to keep him in the good disposition in which I left him yesterday evening.’

On the 21st April, 1677, Courtin’s dispatch bears that he had got a power to make this offer. What consequence this had does not appear.

 
 

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