"P.S. I entreat you, Madame, to be so good as to interest yourself in the trial about the capture of the 'Ackermann,' the most unjust and scandalous that has ever occurred at sea: I have an interest in it amounting[p. 173]
to fifty thousand crowns, and Messrs. Emery and Co. of Dunkirk are commissioned to demand restitution of the vessel. I beg of you once more to have justice done to me by the Royal Council, to which this iniquitous case is shortly to be referred. You will kindly remember that you promised last summer not to allow injustice to be done to us."
The Hague, March 21st, 1760.
(Answered 31st by M. d'Affry.)
"M. le Duc,
"The Comte Rhoone de Bentinck has not only informed me through M. de St. Germain, but has also caused me to be told by other persons, how much he wished to be associated with me and in the most urgent way; I replied that not having had hitherto any connection with him, it appeared to me useless to begin it, that I should nevertheless be always ready to form one with persons who, as good Dutch patriots, would feel it well for their country to cultivate the friendship and good-will of His Majesty; that I knew that he (M. de Bentinck) had always cast aside those principles, so desirable for his Country and for himself, and that his conversion in this respect would require proofs lasting longer than he would care to attempt; he was informed of my reply, and was not discouraged by it.
"I felt bound to inform the Pensionary, M. de Selingulande (?) and the Comte de Hompesch. They told me that M. de Bentinck only desired to approach us in order to renew his credit here and in England, where it is ever falling, and that he probably wished to be nominated one of the Plenipotentiaries at the future Congress of the Republic. . . .[p. 174]
Versailles, March 31st, 1760.
"M. le Comte d'Affry,
"On the report, Mons., that I made to the King regarding the indirect steps that M. le Comte de Bentinck has taken in order to induce you to enter into some special negociations with him, His Majesty commands me to inform you, that his desire is, that you should confine yourself, as you have hitherto done, with respect to M. de Bentinck, within the limits of becoming courtesy. . . ."
The Hague, April 3rd, 1760.
"M. le Duc,
". . . I have reason to believe that M. de Bentinck, no longer seeing M. de St. Germain coming to my house, and knowing that I have openly discredited him, is ready to disavow him, and to say that he only continues to see this adventurer because he is a kind of fool who amuses him, but the Republican Chiefs know that M. de Rhoone too well not to be aware that he would have taken advantage, and eagerly, of the proposals that the fellow has taken upon himself to make him, if they had been accepted." D'AFFRY.
The Hague, April 5th, 1760.
(Answd. 11th. No. 207.)
"M. le Duc,
"I reply to-day to the letter that you did me the honour to write me on the 19th of last month concerning M. le Comte de St. Germain. I have not been able to[p. 175]
do so earlier, because the indiscreet conduct (to say no more) of this adventurer seemed to me to require thorough investigation before reporting it to you, but this conduct is such, that I consider it my duty to bring it to the cognisance of His Majesty.
"The day after the receipt of your letter, M. de St. Germain, who had arrived from Amsterdam, came to see me. He came with the Chevalier de Bruhl and M. de Kauderbach, and told me that those gentlemen were going to take him to see the Comte de Goloikin at Riswick, where I was also to go. I said to M. de St. Germain that I wished to speak to him before he left, and I told him at once the substance of what you had written to me about his scheme. He was overwhelmed by it, and I ended my conversation with him by requesting him to come to my house at 10 o'c. the following morning. The next moment I imparted to M. de Kauderbach the contents of your letter, which determined him at once not to take M. de St. Germain to Riswick.
"M. de St. Germain did not come to my house, and as I believed that what I had very clearly explained to him would be enough to make him prudent, and even to determine him to leave the country, I did not consider that I ought to urge him to come to my house again, and that it was enough to have communicated here what you had written to me, to the chief Ministers of the Republic and to some Foreign Ministers, and to have written to M. d'Astier at Amsterdam to warn the principal Bankers to be on their guard against the proposals that M. de St. Germain might make to them.
"M. d'Astier has informed me that Messrs. Thomas and Adrian Hope among others were greatly annoyed and embarrassed at having had him to stay with them,[p. 176]
and that they would take the first possible opportunity to get rid of him, but the two packets that you were so good as to forward to me from M. le Marechal de Belleisle, appeared to me to show that this man was not keeping to the instructions I had given him, and that he might involve us in fresh difficulties. I received these letters on Tuesday. I sent to M. de St. Germain to come to my house on the Wednesady morning; he did not come, and the day before yesterday, Thursday, M. de Brunswick, in the presence of Messrs. Goloffkin and de Reischach, and after having communicated to him our counter-declarations, told me he had learnt that His Majesty had been so good as to order the letters to be sent to me that M. de St. Germain had written to Versailles, and that I should probably soon receive others, since he knew that M. de St. Germain had written some very lengthy ones since I had forbidden him my house, but that he had positively refused to see him; that he had nevertheless learnt that he had seen others than himself, and that the fellow was still hatching plots here l That if not accused of anything, still he was a very dangerous character in our times and place and that a man of such effrontery might embarrass and retard a negociation by a single step. I then thought I ought to speak, and I told Prince Louis that I was fully authorised to declare to him and to Messrs. de Goloffkin and de Reischach that M. de St. Germain was a man absolutely disavowed by us and that no trust or confidence should be placed in anything he might choose to say about our affairs or our Government. I said further to M. de Brunswick that when he had an opportunity, perhaps that very day, of seeing Mr. Yorke, I begged him earnestly to make the same declaration to him for me. I also made it yesterday morning to the Pensionary and the Registrar.[p. 177]
"On my return from Riswick the evening before last, I sent to request M. de St. Germain to pay me a visit. He was not found at home: I sent him a card of invitation to come to me here yesterday morning at eight o'c. I was obliged to send again to find him, and he came at last. I did not think I ought to pass on to him the letters of M. Belleisle, for fear of the bad use he might make of them, but I told him that M. le Marechal had told me by the express order of the king that I was to listen to all he had to say to me. I asked him if there were overtures relating to our soldiery, and he said 'no.' I asked him if they concerned our Navy or our finances. And again he said 'no,' to which I replied that they could only be political, and thereupon I read him all that you wrote me as to the fate that awaits him if he returns to France. At first he affected great indifference, then he expressed astonishment at the treatment with which such a man as himself was threatened, but he seemed to me to be at last troubled by it. Since, however, he did not appear to me resolved to abandon the schemes which his disquietude suggests, I warned him very seriously again, as we parted, that if he chose to meddle in any way whatever with His Majesty's affairs and interests, I should report it to you, and I should say publicly here, that all that he had put forward was absolutely repudiated by His Majesty and by His Ministry. I went at once to keep my appointment with Mr. Yorke, after having dismissed the matter which I reported to you in my despatch under No. 575. I asked Mr. Yorke if M. de St. Germain had been at his house. He told me that he had been there twice; that on the first visit he had spoken to him of the Peace, and that he had replied merely with generalities about the sincere desire of England to see an end of the War; he said that on the[p. 178]
second visit, he, Mr. Yorke, had become more reserved because he then knew that my house had been forbidden to M. de St. Germain. He added that the Duke of Newcastle had written to him with reference to the report he had given of this man's first visit, that he might tell him in reply that overtures of peace on the part of France would always be welcomed in London, thro' whatever channel they might come, but I do not know whether Mr. Yorke communicated this reply to him.
"I beg of you, M. le Duc, to communicate this despatch to M. le Marechal de Belleisle and I am very sure that he will cease all correspondence with a man whose conduct is such as I have described to you. I add here a packet for M. de Belleisle by private express, in which I return him with my letter the two letters which he had sent me for M. de St. Germain.
"I ought to tell you further that M. de St. Germain has the assurance to assert everywhere, and even to tell me that his Majesty has been so good as to grant him Chambord, on the same terms as granted to the late M. le Marechal de Saxe, excepting the revenues . . . which he said he should not have wished to have." D'AFFRY.
The Hague, April 8th, 1760.
(Recd. 12th. Answd. 24th. No. 209.)
"M. le Duc,
"I was informed yesterday that altho' M. de St. Germain continued to see M. de Bentinck de Rhoone, I might rest assured that M. de St. Germain had said that I could not do otherwise than carry out your wishes; that he knew you did not like him, but that if you had[p. 179]
a place in His Majesty's Council, he also had the same! I replied that assertions so absurd could mislead no one, and that I should consider it derogatory to my Ministry to contradict them. This information was given to me by one of the Republican Chiefs who in fact is an enemy of M. de Bentinck, but whom I have always known as an honourable man.
"M. de St. Germain is absolutely discredited, and he will meet with no credence here from any Foreign Minister or Minister of the Republic; but I considered it my duty to make you acquainted with all this, because this man may give false impressions and such as would be disadvantageous to us, as to a pretended division in our Ministry, which does not exist. . . ." D'AFFRY.
Versailles, April 11th, 1760.
"To M. le Comte d'Affry.
"I will reply first, Monsr., to the letters that you have done me the honour to write me on the 3rd instant as to the different objects of the Despatches which formed the correspondence which was forwarded to you by my last courier. . . .
"You have seen, Monsr., by the special letter that I had the honour of writing to you about M. de St. Germain the opinion that I held as to this insufferable adventurer; I assure you that every one of His Majesty's Ministers holds the same opinion as myself, and the King has commanded me to tell you expressly not only to discredit in the most humiliating and most emphatic manner by your words and by your actions, this so-called Comte de St. Germain, among all those whom you may suspect of knowing this rascal throughout the whole Dominion[p. 180]
of the United Provinces, but His Majesty further desires that through the friendliness of the States General towards him, you may arrange that they should have this fellow arrested, so that he could be transported to France and punished in accordance with the heinousness of his offence. It is to the interest of all Sovereigns and of Public Faith that this kind of insolence should be put down, which with no authority, chooses to meddle with the affairs of such a Power as France. I think that the case in question should be regarded as at least as much 'privileged' as those which usually demand the reclamation and extradition of a malefactor. Thus the King has reason to hope that on your statement, this M. de St. Germain will be arrested and conducted under safe escort to Lille.
"I confess that I have thought you very lenient towards him, and that I perhaps should not have been prudent enough to refrain from ordering him a good sound drubbing after the last conversation that you had with him.
"What he told you about Chambord is an imposture of the highest degree. In short, Monsr., the King absolutely wills that this adventurer shall be cried down and disgraced in the United Provinces, and that he shall if possible be punished as his attempt deserves. His Majesty has strictly charged me to desire you by his authority to give this matter your best attention.
"P. S. Would it not be possible, besides the request to the States General for the arrest of this St. Germain to have an article inserted in the Dutch Gazette which would set down this rascal once for all? And be an example to all impostors who may wish to imitate him? The King furthermore, has approved of this course and you will carry it out in full, if you consider it possible."