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

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

On 23.10.1664 King Charles writes to his sister Henriette a letter carried by the de Gramonts who are returning to France with their newly born son. ‘I hope you will be well satisfied with the last letter I wrote to you, for in it I said nothing but what came from my heart, and as I then told you, I do now again, that if I did not intend what I write, I would not address it to you. The Comte de Gramont will give you this, and he will tell you how kind I am to you. I pray be kind to him, and to his wife, for my sake, and if at any time there be occasion to send hither one of his talent, there is nobody will be more welcome to me than him. I will say no more to you now, because this letter will be long upon the way, only again recommend them both to your protection, and desire you to believe that I am entirely yours, CR.’

J.Cartwright’s 1894 book ‘Madame’ records not just the foregoing letter but also two more of interest: Henrietta to Henry Bennett (later Lord Arlington) on his appointment as Secretary of State – ‘I would not write to you so soon since the Ambassadors start on Monday, and will not only give you all news, but business enough to occupy you for a long time to come, but the new honour which the King has done you, obliges me, as one of your friends, to assure you that no one is better pleased than I am, or wishes you the continuance of his favour more warmly than I do’.

And then on 8th April 1665 Henrietta writes to Charles, ‘Madame de Fiennes having told me that you would be glad to see a pattern of vests that are worn here I take the liberty of sending you one and am sure that on your fine figure it will look very well. M de Verneuil will arrive soon after this letter and as I do not think he will succeed in making peace with Holland, and that I do not think it desirable for the King to take their parts, I beg of you to consider if some secret treaty could not be arranged, by which you could make sure of this, by giving a pledge on your part that you would help in the business he will soon have in Flanders, now the King of Spain is ill, and which will certainly be opposed by the Dutch, but will not be contrary to your interests. Think this over well, I beg of you, but never let anyone know that I was the first to mention it to you, only remember there is no one in the world who would so willingly serve you, or wishes for your welfare as heartily as I do. My enemies here look so suspiciously on all I do that soon I shall hardly venture to speak of your affairs! So when you wish me to say something, send me word, and when I have a message to give from you, I shall have a right to speak on the subject’. This is the writing of an active and intelligent participator in the affairs of both France and England!



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