The Secret of Kings: A Monograph


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"I said further that M. de Bentinck's behaviour on the departure of M. de St. Germain from the Hague did not appear to me to show any sign of the desire he suggested to oblige us. M. Alaman replied that he did not know what had occurred as to that, but that he could assure me that M. Bentinck had a real desire to know me. I replied coldly that he might assure him that I should always be glad to show him the courtesy due to a man of his rank and occupying one of the highest posts in the Republic.

"If M. de Bentinck continues the desire to approach us, I shall behave towards him outwardly as His Majesty commands me, but in such a way, that the Republicans cannot take umbrage at it and that M. de Bentinck cannot take advantage of it in any way.

"This new departure of his, coming from a man who has been uniformly devoted to him for the last twenty years, convinces me that the so-called Comte de St. Germain had really spoken in his name, since he had acted very much like Alaman.

"M. de Bentinck has always openly opposed us, and with so much bitterness that it is impossible to believe that the wish to oblige us should make him renounce his principles in order to further our interests, and I am

[p. 190]

strongly of opinion that all he is doing to approach us is merely owing to his great desire and need 'to maintain and increase his credit here.

"He must feel that the surest way of raising it would be to get into close relations with the principal foreign Ministers, who may be charged with endeavouring to promote Peace, and I think that on the contrary it is most essential that instructions should be issued here that M. de Bentinck should never have any trust placed in him by us. I even consider it necessary in the last place, that M. Grimaldi should be informed of the conduct of M. de Bentinck and of the report that I have given of it to you, before he leaves Paris to come here." D'AFFRY.

No. 586.

Folio 399.

The Hague, April 29th, 1760.

(Recd. May 3rd.--Ansd. May 10th, No. 212--M. d'Affry.)

". . . . The westerly winds detained the English Mail Boat at Helvoet till the 10th. Easterly and north-easterly winds followed, so that the last letters received from London are of the 21st. We shall be unable to receive news from England until these latter winds have ceased.

"I have received the letters that you did me the honour to write to me the 24th of this month. I shall have the honour of replying to them by Friday next.

"I will take the opportunity of presenting to the States General the Memorial concerning the so-called Comte de St. Germain." D'AFFRY.

(Here ends the first volume 4 (?) '1760.)

[p. 191]

No. 221.

Folio 3.

(Here begins the 2nd volume--May-August.)

The Duc de Choiseul to M. d'Affry.

Versailles, May 1st, 1760.

"I have received, Monsr., the letters that you did me the honour to write to me on the 21st, 22nd, and 25th, of last month. . . . I doubt the so-called Comte de St. Germain having gone to England. He is too well known there to have any hope of taking people in."

No. 587.

Folio 5.

The Hague, May 2nd, 1760.

(Ansd. 10th, No. 202, M. le Cte. d'Affry.)

"M. le Duc,

"I now reply to the two letters with which you have honoured me, of the 24th of last month, under Nos. 207 and 209. Yesterday morning I carried out His Majesty's orders in delivering to the President of the (week?) the Memorial of which I here append copy. This Memorial has been taken ad referendum by all the Provinces, under the pretext that M. de St. Germain being no longer here, it was enough that each Province should be informed of His Majesty's demand, in case this adventurer should reappear in any of the Provinces. It seems to me that this is really sufficient, as this fellow is no longer here, and as the publication of my Memorial in the gazettes discredits him everywhere, and for ever; wherefore I shall let the matter drop, if His Majesty sends me no fresh orders on the subject.

"The wind has varied since the day before yesterday, but it has returned to the point of the north-east; so that we have still no news from England. . . ." D'AFFRY.

[p. 192]

Folio 8.

Memorial presented by M. d'Affry to the States General in order to unmask the so-called Comte de St. Germain, and to reclaim him in the name of the King.

"An unknown person who goes by the name of the 'Comte de St. Germain,' and to whom the King, my master, has generously given shelter in His Kingdom, has abused this favour.

"He came some time ago to Holland, and recently to The Hague, where, without authority from His Majesty or His Ministry, and without any commission, the impudent fellow took it into his head to announce that he was authorised to negociate in the affairs of His Majesty.

"The King, my master, expressly commands me to make this known to your High Mightinesses, and publicly, so that no-one throughout your dominions may be taken in by this impostor.

"His Majesty further commands me to reclaim this adventurer as an unauthorised man who has abused in the highest degree the shelter given to him, by meddling with and discussing the Government of the Kingdom, with as much impropriety as ignorance, and by falsely and boldly asserting that he was authorised to treat on the most important interests of the King, my master.

"His Majesty does not doubt that your High Mightinesses will administer the justice that He has a right to expect from your friendship and equity, and that you will give orders for the arrest of the so-called Comte de St. Germain and his removal under safe escort to Antwerp, to be taken thence to France.

[p. 193]

"I hope that your High Mightinesses will grant me this request without delay."

Issued at the Hague, April 30th, 1760.

Signed--L. C. D'AFFRY.

No. 588.

Folio 11.

The Hague, May 5th, 1760.

"Monsr. le Duc,

". . . I have appealed to the Pensionary, I have requested him to clear away this difficulty--[it is a question of guns and ammunition sent from Sweden to Amsterdam]. He has not ventured to undertake it, and has constantly declared to me that it was necessary that I should present a Memorial to the Committee of Rade, and that I should send it to M. de Bentinck who is at the head of it. The Registrar told me the same thing, and I had gone to the latter Minister in order to know what had happened relative to the Memorial that I had presented against the so-called Comte de St. Germain. M. de Bentinck came to join me; I took this opportunity of saying before him, all that I thought of this adventurer: I even said that he had compromised him in his letters, and that I was fully persuaded that it was unauthorised by him, but I said nothing to him of what I knew he had done to countenance the man before his departure. M. de Bentinck made no reply and remained greatly embarrassed. I then spoke of the Memorial that I had to send to him, and nothing could be wetter than the way he talked of that. I went to see him the next day; he received me in his grand apartment, and gave me the most cordial welcome. He told me that what I demanded would not raise the slightest difficulty, and in fact I received that very day the order from the Committee of Rade not only for permitting the passage of our

[p. 194] [paragraph continues] Artillery. but also for the immediate return of the money deposited at the different bureaux.

"M. de Bentinck has affected to assist us on this occasion as promptly as we could well desire, but we can only attribute this to its being to his interest to appear on good terms with us; but I shall never swerve from the line of conduct that His Majesty has deigned to indicate to me regarding him." D'AFFRY.

No. 590.

Folio 17.

The Duc de Choiseul to the Comte d'Affry.

Versailles, May 10th, 1760.

"I have received, Monsieur, all the letters that you have done me the honour of writing to me (Nos. 585, 586, 587), the last of which have been forwarded to me by the express that you sent me on the 5th inst. and which I return to you without delay. M. de Bentinck does not deserve that we should trouble ourselves very much about him. We have long known how far to trust his designs, and some very equivocal demonstrations of repentance will not undo twenty years of odious and improper proceedings on his part, relating to France. . . .

"I have already seen in some gazettes your Memorial on the so-called Comte de St. Germain; I will have it inserted also in that of France, and this publication will at least in part accomplish our object regarding this adventurer. . . ."

No. 593.

Folio 37.

The Hague, May 12th, 1760.

"M. le Duc,

". . . M. de Galitzin also informs me that the so-called Comte de St. Germain, on reaching England, found a State messenger who prohibited him going further, and

[p. 195]

who had orders to re-embark him on the first vessel that sailed. He has probably returned to Helvoet, but it is clear that he would not have lost a moment in leaving the territory of the Republic. I will however speak to the Pensionary about it this very day. M. de Galitzin adds that the English Minister would not allow the Comte de St. Germain to be in London, because he believed that we only affected to be displeased with him in order to give him a pretext for going there and more assured means of serving us there; but the Memorial which I have published can leave no further suspicion as to this." D'AFFRY.

No. 595.

Folio 45.

The Hague, May 14th, 1760.

"M. le Duc,

"Yesterday afternoon I saw M. Yorke; I dictated to him what was underlined in your despatch. . . .

" . . . Before we parted I asked M. d'Yorke the history of the so-called Comte de St. Germain. He told me that this adventurer had not been arrested at Harwich, but that he had been so on reaching London, under an order from Mr. Pitt, and that a head clerk of this Minister had been to question him; that the evidence of this head clerk showed that the Comte de St. Germain had seemed to him a sort of lunatic, in whom, however, he discovered no evil intent. On this report the Minister desired this adventurer to be told that having here and elsewhere given proofs of his incautiousness, it was not fitting that he should be permitted to be in London, nor in England, and consequently he has been reconducted to Harwich. He returned to Helvoetsluis and went on immediately to Utrecht, and from thence to Germany. M. d'Yorke thinks that he will go to Berlin, or join His

[p. 196] [paragraph continues] Prussian Majesty. I asked him if it was true that this proceeding on the part of this adventurer had really been caused by the distrust of the English Minister. He replied that he was entirely ignorant of the motive, but that he had informed his Ministry that he had no doubt that it was from a wish to oblige us." D'AFFRY.

Folio 142.

The Hague, June 27th, 1761.

"M. le Duc,

"A man who calls himself a gentleman of Franche Comte who bears the name of Linieres, and who seems formerly to have called himself 'Montigni,' came here some years ago, about the same time as the so-called Comte de St. Germain: they had formed a society, in which, however, St. Germain did not appear publicly, for the construction of hydraulic machines suitable for cleansing Ports, Canals and Rivers. They had issued shares in order to provide funds for this undertaking. During this time Linieres came to tell me that he had offered the machinery to our Ministry, but that M. de Bellidor who had examined it, had told him that it could be accepted only by Commissioners nominated by our 'Academy of Sciences'; that he, Linieres, not being able to entrust his secret to so many persons, had decided to come here to offer his machine, with the certainty of thus being able to preserve his secret intact. I thought it my duty to put some questions to him, in order to see if this machine could really be of much use to us in the clearing of our ports or of our rivers, but his replies were so uncertain and showed so little capacity that I found he did not know even the first principles of mechanics. He undertook and carried out the construction of this machine in the town of Woorbourg, near here, and he invited me some months ago, to go there to see it tested,

[p. 197]

which did not prove successful. . . . [here follows a description of the machine].

"There is a second one which has succeeded better. It is a pump which has much less friction than ordinary pumps, but I believe it is the same as that which has been used at Besancon for several years.

"M. de Linieres, convinced that these machines are of great use, has begged me to allow him the honour of writing to you about them and of sending you the papers which he sent me on the subject, and which I here append. You will find in them a request to the King, a scheme of privilege, a memorial of observation concerning these inventions; a translation of an extract from the resolutions of the States of Holland respecting these machines and lastly an account of the products of the machine of (?) in order to compare them with the results of M. de Linieres' new machine; but this last paper contains nothing but a calculation, which is absolutely false on consideration and after the experiment which I witnessed and which has not been verified since. M. de Linieres is settled at Vienne, and if you think it worth while to send any answer to what I have the honour of telling you, I will communicate it to him as soon as your reply reaches me. . . ." D'AFFRY.

No. 793.

Folio 299.

The Hague, March 23rd, 1762.

The Comte d'Affry to the Duc de Choiseul.

(no cipher).

"Monsieur,

. . . The so-called Comte de St. Germain who came here two years ago, who gave out that he was entrusted with full powers to negociate a treaty between us and England, and with regard to whom I received orders

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