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



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

In Jan 1676 de Gramont was in England with the Duchess de Mazarin (Mazarin’s niece had escaped from a ghastly marriage and arrived tantalisingly dressed in man’s clothing and eventually became one of Charles’ mistresses). On 17.2 there was another treaty with Louis for 100,000 livres pa, and in March de Gramont returned to France.

There were subsequent visits, also after the death of King Charles, but Philibert does not appear to have been on such good terms with King James. His wife Elizabeth Hamilton received a small monthly stipend from English secret service monies from 1679 until 1683 and then again in 1687.

In June 1688 the birth of a son to King James brought Philibert de Gramont to England again as an envoy with Louis’ congratulations to the happy parents. While de Gramont might not have been a spy before, this time he had definite secret instructions (dated 25.6.1688) to ascertain the state of readiness and strength of the army and navy and the condition of strongholds as well as the disposition of the commanding officers; he was also instructed to discover who were the principal opponents to the King and the Catholic religion and then get some knowledge of their plans ‘using his insinuating manners’. His report indicated a low level of awareness of the potential risk from an invasion by William, and that James did not understand Louis’ concerns (even though Louis had practical experience of fighting William!). De Gramont also offered James, on behalf of Louis, French naval support against a potential attack by William, but James turned this down.

Some of Philibert’s leisure time was spent in the Duchess of Mazarin’s salon where he encountered a number of the recent Protestant exiles, including Henri de Ruvigny (son of Henri, Louis’ Emissary of earlier mention; he was the exiled General of the Huguenots in France, who was created Earl of Galway by King William after he distinguished himself at the Battle of Aughrim, and he was granted considerable forfeited estates in Ireland) and Armand de Bourbon (whose mother was Lord Feversham’s sister; Armand became an ADC to William of Orange and also served in Ireland). Philibert seems to have returned to France in September.

 
 

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