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



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

The ‘Stop’ caused terrible damage. The Goldsmiths (included Vyner, who was owed £416,725, Blackwell, Snell, Snow and Thomas Rowe, owed £17,615 – and many of these families were related) and about 5,000 of their customers ended up losing about £500,000 out of £1.3m of deposits. Many went bankrupt and confidence was destroyed. The balance of this debt was never paid.

There would have been very little goodwill towards King Charles and Clifford at that time, and so I think that it is very unlikely that any of those Goldsmiths were involved in the routing of funds from France to King Charles.

After the declaration of war on 27 March 1672, Charles issued his Declaration of Indulgence suspending the penal laws against Catholics, but was quickly forced to withdraw it. The Test Act replaced it, requiring office holders to swear allegiance to the Anglican Church. With that, Clifford departed and Danby (Thomas Osborne) stepped into his shoes as Lord Treasurer in 1673. With public confidence shaken by the Stop of the Exchequer, he did not have the ability to issue ‘instruments’, so he did a complete about-turn and reverted to loans from Sir Stephen Fox (who borrowed from others) secured against receipts of the excise.

Danby used revenues to buy votes to support his policies. These included peace with Holland (February 1674) and the marriage of James, Duke of York’s daughter to William of Orange (November 1677). In spite of this Parliament (rightly) harboured suspicions that Charles and James were attached to France.

This attachment was only natural since their mother was Henriette Marie (1609-69), the daughter of Henri IV and Marie de Medici, and their sister Henriette had married King Louis XIV’s brother, and Louis himself was their cousin. Beyond the familial ties, and to bring about the Treaty of Dover and all the subsequent accords, a greater degree of discretion was required. For this the Ambassadors and facilitators carried out their royal master’s instructions. Philibert de Gramont was one of those who operated in the open, but also behind the scenes.

 
 

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