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



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

His Majesty also gave me his word to make the same declaration to all the other ministers of the confederates at the same time : Thus, instead of your Majesty’s desire (agreeable to your orders of the 20th of last month), that this resolution should be made known towards the end of October, I can assure you that the report will be spread throughout all England before the 1st of September, and that by the 15th of the fame month the truth of it will be known at the Hague, Copenhagen, Berlin, Vienna, and Madrid.’

The pension stipulated in this bargain was regularly paid. Charles was sometimes premature in his demands. Barillon, even before the dispute about the 200,000L was ended, writes thus to his court, on the 20th September, 1677: ‘Mr Chiffinch is very careful to pay me visits; and the first functions of my embassy have been to sign orders for paying bills of exchange’

And thus the King of France sent the treaty written by another hand, with which the King of England was obliged to be contented, for the reasons which they gave him. It was the more easy to make him satisfied with them that he soon after touched money, about 400,000 crowns. ‘In proportion as the money was paid him, he gave a discharge signed with his hand, of which some are written in my hand; and his ministers knew nothing of it, only Mr. Chiffins, his valet de chambre and confidant, to whose lodgings the money was carried, and with whom I went to the merchants houses to receive it.’

The English side of these negotiations, to the extent that records remain, is no less enlightening. Ralph Montagu was Ambassador in Paris 1676-8 and handled the negotiations with the French Court on instructions from King Charles. In the loop is the Earl of Danby, Lord High Treasurer to whom Montagu writes as follows:

 
 

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