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



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

4.4.1677 from Paris – reminding of the prodigious advantages that have come to the French King from King Charles’s neutrality, and is at the same time informed that the most absurd misconceptions prevail in France at the magnitude of the English king’s reward for the inactivity that benefits the Crown of France so enormously: ‘I am sure that there is not a man in France, except the French ministers that know the contrary, that does not conclude that our Master for his neutrality has every year subsidies to the value of three or four millions. I am sure it is worth three times that to the French King… I will be answerable you will find it as true that, when our Master shall think fit to insist upon it, he may have from the French money or moneys worth to put him considerably at ease in his own affaires. It is in my post, my lord to tell you what may be.’

7.8.1677 from Paris – covering the 600,000 crowns offered by the French King and the higher price of 200,000L demanded by Montagu for Charles’ neutrality: ‘I have undertaken to give it for him that it will be impossible for the King my master to subsist and support his government with a less sum than 200,000 pounds sterling whilst the war shall last and to commence from the first of August… considering how hard it is to secure it and of that greater advantage the increase of the sum at present will be to our master’s affairs’.

12.8.1677 from Paris – with some indication of his shame at the business: ‘I congratulate very heartily with your Lordship that Mr Chiffinch is to be the French Treasurer. That office can never do you any good and may do you hurt. You may be confident of my secrecy about this whole affair, both for the King’s, your Lordship’s and my own sake, for it would be no popular nor creditable thing if it were known’.

He then writes with some irritation that Charles had directly involved himself in the negotiations indicating different terms to Courtin in London and hence undermining Montagu’s negotiations in Paris. That resolved he asks for 2,000 Louis d’or to distribute at his discretion to persons who have been or may be useful in removing difficulties in the way to a prompt and satisfactory settlement of this delicate business.

 
 

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