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

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

Although d’Epernon was dead by 1670, it might be reasonable to consider that the merchanting of wine from the extensive de Foix and de Gramont estates may have had a role in the flow of Louis’ funds. For the Duc de Gramont to have purchased the territory and Lordship of Lesparre from the estate of Bernard d’Epernon in April 1672, he will almost certainly have had to deal with Henri Francois de Foix-Candalle, Duc de Randan and other family members (claimants and beneficiaries of d’Epernon’s estate) to have secured good title. Tree 2 shows that a close familial connection existed between the de Gramonts and the de Foix family.

In England I suspect that the Annesley family and John Thompson were involved in facilitating the flow of funds. The families of Hutchinson and White, as leading merchants may also have been involved. In looking at the list of East India Company adventurers in 1692 the following names stand out as significant: Richard Hutchinson invested £13,900 and his son Richard a further £1,100, Stephen and Richard White £3,000, Thomas Rowe £500 and a James St Amand £1,000. In 1690-1 Richard Hutchinson and Stephen White attended 54 out of 55 meetings – they were probably the most active committee men that year.

If these people were involved in the Treaty of Dover funds flow, then the continuance of this trading relationship into 1692 onwards would link to Richard White’s marriage to Margaret Hamilton, who was the niece of Philibert de Gramont. White was John Despard’s business partner in Ireland, and they were both trading illicitly with France at least from 1692, when England was at war with France. They were using circa 10,000 acres at Bantry Bay granted by the Annesley family. (Also active there and associated with them was Hugh Hutchinson.) The authorities seem to have done nothing to prevent this (which might imply consent or protection) and this might have been because intelligence was also being gathered and sent to Ruvigny, for use by King William in his war with France. John Despard’s sister or cousin, Elizabeth Anne, had married a Thompson circa 1670, as recorded in William Despard’s testament. These connections and activities make one wonder about the Despard family’s earlier trading activities.



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