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



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

Poison being suspected, a formal post-mortem was held in the presence of the English Ambassador and other witnesses who included James Hamilton (who, as Charles’ Groom of the Bedchamber, had also been a message carrier between Charles and Henriette). Both the English and French physicians agreed that there was no evidence of poison. On 21st August a funeral service was held in the Abbey of Saint-Denis with a full French court presence together with the English Ambassador and Buckingham, Lords Arundel, St Albans, Sandwich, and James Hamilton and the Comte and Comtesse de Gramont.

The following, which provides a fascinating insight into the French mechanics of the Treaty negotiation, comes with minor editing from Sir John Dalrymple’s 1771 ‘Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland’ Volume 1’. Colbert de Croissy was the negotiator for King Louis XIV in London, Courtin was the French Ambassador who was followed by Barillon.

‘While the arrangements subsequent to The Secret Treaty of Dover were going on, the young Prince of Orange had come upon a visit to see his uncles in England.

Colbert, in a letter to Louis XlV dated 23rd October, 1670, says, that King Charles had proposed to him to detain the Prince of Orange in England, and to tempt him with the sovereignty of Holland; but that he, Colbert, had demurred at the proposal.

A letter from Colbert to Louis dated I3th November 1670 shows that the French court approved of his conduct in not consenting to King Charles’s proposal regarding the Prince of Orange.

When the treaty was finished, there appear in the dispatches the first strokes of that arbitrary disposition and contempt of parliaments in the Duke of York, which afterwards drew ruin upon him. After the treaty, a dispute arose in King Charles’s councils whether to assemble parliament in order to get money. Buckingham was much against it and Monsieur Colbert represents the Duke of York’s sentiments in the following words:

 
 

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