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

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

It is not impossible that, for the reasons given in the ‘Review of the events of the reign of Charles’, Charles’ original intention was to prolong the war between France and Holland, under the pretence of being the mediator of peace, partly to get money to himself from both sides, and partly to give England an opportunity in the meantime to run away with the trade of the world. Charles, in a discourse with Courtin, the French Ambassador, once let the last of these consequences drop from him. Courtin writes to Louis, 21st June 1677, that Charles said to him, ‘That at the bottom England enjoyed a profound tranquillity, and enriched herself, while all the neighbouring states were drained or ruined by the war; and that the English would one day thank him for having kept them by his prudence in so happy a state, and so advantageous for their commerce.’

The Peace of Westminster (9.2.1674) closed the offensive alliance between France and England, and England from then on maintained a neutral stance.

To London in 1674 had come the Marquis de Ruvigny, well known to King Charles II and his family, the Marquis, together with Philibert de Gramont was one of the first to condole Henriette-Maria on the execution of her husband in 1649. The Marquis had paid several visits to England before 1674 (in 1660 he was sent by Louis to congratulate King Charles on his restoration and to negotiate the marriage of Henriette, Charles’s sister, to Phillippe d’Orléans, and also in 1662, 1664, 1667, 1673), and it seems certain that he had been admitted to a diplomatic interview with King Charles after the fall of Lord Clarendon, and not long after the funeral of Thomas Wriothosley, Earl of Southampton, the Lord High Treasurer, who died May 16, 1667. Ruvigny’s sister had married Southampton, and their daughter Rachel had married William Russell, executed in 1683 for his involvement in the Rye House Plot (Tree 1).



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