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

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

Claire Eliane Engel in her 1963 book ‘Le Chevalier de Gramont’ states, perhaps rather too strongly, that de Gramont was not a spy for Louis. In the sense of his being a ‘secret agent’, I agree with her. Both courts knew him well and as a result knew that part of his ‘currency’ was to bring news and views from one court to another. Being good company, he was welcomed in both courts, but they will also have known how much to disclose to him. He was probably what we call today a ‘Facilitator’.

From the foregoing it is clear that certain people were key to securing the co-operation of Kings Charles (and subsequently James) to the wishes of King Louis. While Charles was not always accommodating, he did enough to justify the payment of substantial sums by France for influence over English foreign policy. He did this without the knowledge of the English parliament, and with the specific intent of avoiding parliament’s control over his activities and policies. Montagu’s unease was well justified, and many of those involved must shared this unease.

Those involved with facilitating all of this were rewarded by both the King of France and King Charles. The merchants will have taken their profits. Members of the government and the administration received financial incentives or rewards. The close circle who supported or arranged ‘The Secret Treaty of Dover’ and the subsequent agreements received additional rewards.

The Treaty was signed on 1st June 1670. It provided for a payment of 750,000 livres to King Charles three months before the declaration of war, and a further payment of 750,000 livres at the time of a declaration of war, and a payment of 1,500,000 livres six months after the declaration of war with Holland. War was declared on 27 March 1672.

It is therefore interesting to note the following appointments and their dates:

  • Henry Howard (Treaty signatory) became Earl of Norwich on 19.10.1672 and regained the title ‘Earl Marshall of England’
  • Thomas Clifford (CABAL member and Treaty Signatory) was created Baron Clifford of Chudleigh on 22.4.1672


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