The Secret of Kings: A Monograph


[p. 198]

to reclaim him as an impostor, has since then strayed into the Provinces of the Republic and their environs, under borrowed names, and carefully concealing himself; but within the last few days I have learnt that under the name of an Amsterdam merchant, named Noblet, he has purchased an estate in Guelders, called Huberg, which was sold by M. le Comte de Weldern and on which, however, he has not yet paid more than about thirty thousand francs in French money. I have thought it my duty to inform you of this fact, and to ask you if it is His Majesty's wish that I should take proceedings against this man by a fresh Memorial to the States General against him, or if His Majesty considers that I had better let him alone, since the principal object of my actions has been gained by discrediting him in such wise that he has not ventured to show himself since, and he is reduced to trying to make dupes of people with his chemical secrets to gain a living." D'AFFRY.

No. 311.

Folio 327.

Versailles, April 10th, 1762.

The Duc de Choiseul to M. d'Affry.

(no cipher).

" . . . We have punished the so-called Comte de St. Germain for the insolence and imposture of his attempt, and we must leave to this adventurer the task of completing the general discredit into which we have plunged him. . . ."

No. 506.

Folio 54.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs to M. d'Affry.

No. 245.

Versailles, Jan. 25th, 1761.

". . . The article you noticed in the Brussels Gazette of the 12th practically does for the Count of St. Germain

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or the adventurer who bears his name, and it is a blunder on the part of the manager of the Paper in the absence of the Editor who is at the moment in Paris.

"What especially struck me was the fact that the Editor of the Gazette has been correctly informed as to the message you received from the Marechal de Belle-Isle with regard to the Comte de St. Germain. . . ."

The Comte de St. Germain, by Isabel Cooper-Oakley, [1912], at

[p. 200]



Sunday, March 9th, 1760.

He (St. Germain) told me . . . that there would be no obstacles on the part of England to the Peace, that the obstacles would come from France . . . that the King of France and Mme de Pompadour, the whole Court as well as the whole of the country, were passionately longing for Peace; that one mars alone prevented it, viz. the Duc de Choiseul, won over as he was by the Court of Vienna (the Queen of Hungary) . . . that all the confusion and misfortunes in Europe were due to the Treaty of Versailles in 1756 . . . in which there was a secret clause giving the Flanders to the Infante, in exchange for Silesia, which latter had to be subdued, given up, and made over to the Queen of Hungary. . . . There was but one way to get out of it, and that was by concluding Peace between England and France; that the usual methods of "Preliminaries, Congresses, and Conferences" would mean spinning out things indefinitely and would cause War again, the mere idea of which makes one shudder; he was of opinion that if only some possible propositions were brought forward, or if only some honest men in whom people could put faith would intervene, Peace would be made . . . it being as

[p. 201]

necessary to England as it was to France; that the King and Mme de Pompadour wished it fervently, that the King of England wished it not less, that the Duke of Newcastle and Count Granville (Charles Foronshead) were very much in favour of it (speaking of Chesterfield, he said firmly while looking fixedly at me to see what I would answer: "Chesterfield is a mere trifler"), that Pitt who now made common cause with the two others, had always crossed him hitherto, but that Pitt was hated by the King . . . that a Scotchman of the name of Crammon who lived in Paris had received a letter from Neuville in Amsterdam, in which he was warned to be prepared to receive him, that Crammon received another letter from London which came actually via Brussels, and that this latter contained suggestions for making a separate Peace between France and England; that these suggestions came from the Duke of Newcastle and from Lord Granville; that this letter had been communicated to him by Mme de Pompadour (he gave details . . . "she was in bed"); that her delight was great, she told him to mention it to Choiseul; that he remonstrated but ended by obeying; that Choiseul rejected everything. . . . Concerning Amsterdam, St. Germain spoke of its greatness, of the number of its inhabitants, its treasures, its money circulation, its superiority in this respect to London, Paris and any other city in the world."

Tuesday, March 11th, 1760.

He told me that he had informed Mme de Pompadour of what had passed between himself and me . . . and that he had also written to the Minister to that effect. When I asked him how the Minister would receive the news, he said with a smiling but assured look that changes would be soon taking place at Versailles, giving me to

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understand that it would not be in Choiseul's power to prevent Peace for long.

Wednesday, March 12th, 1760.

That he had spoken to d'Affry on the subject of myself, and had told him that he would do wrong and fail in his duty to his master if he neglected me.

Sunday, March 16th, 1760.

The whole of the conversation was so varied and so full of extraordinary anecdotes, together with the singularity of the man himself and other circumstances (which I, however, knew already more particularly from Yorke and d'Affry), dealing with his relations with the King and Mme de Pompadour, that it occurred to me to take advantage of it in order to fathom the depths of this business, and thus forestall the false information of various people engaged in it who are only thinking of their own interests, put right the wrong impressions which are rife as to the policy of this Country, and insinuate myself into an affair which it is most important that I should understand clearly, despite the inclination which is shown to exclude me from it. In pursuance of this plan I egged him on by my queries to which he replied promptly and clearly. . . . (He speaks like a mere "rattlepate," although I would not venture to say that he is one.) I evinced great impartiality for all nations except my own; professed to desire Peace for humanitarian reasons alone, and to share the personal grief of the King with regard to the condition of the French Nation, of which he (St. Germain) gave me a vivid and detailed picture, as that of a man who knew more than others on this subject. He spoke with so much precision of people, that I went on as I had begun and

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told him of my hopes, of the silly rumours and the absurd and ridiculous stories which the foreign Ministers here wrote to their masters. . . . I egged him on, making him speak (which is easy enough!) and he continued smoothly. . . .

Wednesday, March 26th, 1760.

. . . That he had decided on Monday to call on d'Affry, who told him that he had received letters from Versailles ordering him to tell him (St. Germain) that he had got himself into a bad scrape at Court by writing about me to Mme de Pompadour, into a bad scrape indeed! That he mixed himself up far too much with things which did not concern him! And that he (St. Germain) was ordered in the King's name to mind his own business! That d'Affry had spoken as if he thought he could scare him into leaving the place; that he had also told him he had orders not to see him (St. Germain), but to deny him admittance!

Listening to him to the end, he (St. Germain) had finally answered that "if anyone had got into a bad 'scrape' it was not himself but d'Affry . . . that as regards what had been enjoined on him in the name of the King, he (St. Germain), not being his subject, the King could not order him to do anything; that moreover he believed that M. de Choiseul had written it all on his own initiative and that the King knew nothing about it! If he were shown an order (written) by the King himself he would believe it: but not otherwise. . . ." He (St. Germain) told me that he had written an "Instructive Memoir" which he intended to send d'Affry and which he read aloud to me. He laughed and I did the same, thinking of the effect that his "Instructive Memoir" would have on d'Affry. He called the latter "block-head,"

[p. 204] [paragraph continues] "poor fellow" and "this poor d'Affry who thinks he can awe and bully me, but . . . he has come to the wrong person, for I have trampled under foot both praise and blame, fear and hope, I, who have no other object but to follow the dictates of my benevolent feelings towards humanity and to do as much good to mankind as possible. The King knows very well that I fear neither d'Affry nor M. de Choiseul."

Thursday, March 27th, 1760.

The Comte de St. Germain told me under pledge of secrecy, as "he did not wish to conceal anything from me," that he had spent this day four hours with M. Yorke, who had shown him the answers that he had received from England on the 25th, dated the 21st, from the Duke of Newcastle, Mr. Pitt and Lord Holdernesse, relating to what Yorke had written them about his previous conversations with him (St. Germain). He thereupon showed me three little notes which he had received and which he made me read; in one of these notes Yorke expressed the wish to talk with him and specified what was required from the Comte in order that they might speak with one another without being disavowed in their public or private positions . . . it was demanded that he (St. Germain) should be "officially empowered" or something akin to that, in order that it might be possible for York to speak openly with him, without fear of being compromised.

He (St. Germain) told me that Yorke had given him the original letters of the before-named ministers to read; that he knew the handwriting of each of them except that of Pitt, and that these letters were most complimentary to him. . . .

. . . Do what he might, d'Affry was now powerless,

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and he (St. Germain) held the question of Peace in his own hands; the only remaining obstacle in his way was M. de Choiseul who might "perhaps fail to extract all the benefit possible for Europe in general and France in particular from this opportunity."

Upon this I told him he should find some device wherewith to control M. de Choiseul's actions. He asked for my opinion (just as if I knew the French Court and the strong and weak points of the people in it!). I said it "was for him to find any such means," etc. . . . he seemed to be anxious about the reply he would get from Choiseul, whom he dared not ignore but whose real desire for Peace he strongly doubted. . . .

Monday, March 31st, 1760.

. . . He told me he possessed something which would "knock Choiseul into a cocked hat," that all decent people in France desired Peace . . . that Choiseul alone wished to continue the war . . . that he had a powerful weapon against Choiseul in the letters which Yorke had written him, and of which he kept the originals to use if necessary against Choiseul whom he did not fear in the least . . . that d'Affry was the slave of Choiseul . . . that Choiseul would not dare to conceal letters of which Mme de P. and the Marshal de Belle-Isle were informed.

Friday, April 14th, 1760.

Councillor Pensionnaire (Stein) told me that d'Affry had informed him that the orders he had received from Choiseul with regard to St. Germain consisted mainly in disavowing everything that St. Germain had done or would do here, with regard to the Peace . . . that by them he was obliged to communicate this to St. Germain adding that if he mixed himself up in the matter he would be

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imprisoned on his return to France. . . . The Recorder Fagel said to me much the same thing as that which "had told him only this morning." . . . The same day St. Germain dined with me and told me that "d'Affry had communicated his orders to him and shown him Choiseul's letter"; he had answered that this "would not hinder him from returning to France, that these orders would never be put into force . . . that they only emanated from Choiseul . . . that he had known Yorke from his childhood, 17 years back, and that the Yorke family had always been kindness itself to him "; . . . that d'Affry had also objected to his frequently calling upon me, which St. Germain had owned to doing and had added that he "intended to continue doing so." That d'Affry had shewn him Choiseul's letter together with the one that he (St. Germain) had himself written about me to Mme de Pompadour (to this he added that he was convinced that Choiseul had stolen it from Mme de P.); also that d'Affry had repeatedly told him that France would never trust me. . . . On the whole it seemed as if he cared very little for the orders which d'Affry had received with regard to him, and still less for M. de Choiseul! . . . and that the whole matter remained undecided; . . . that France would run the risk of War again and that if such a thing happened he (St. Germain) would "go to England and then see what he could do."

Tuesday, April 15th, 1760.

The Councillor Pensionnaire told me, in his room, that d'Affry had shown him the orders that he had received the night before by a courier declaring that St. Germain was a "mere vagabond," and that everything that he might have said should be disowned 1 That a complaint should be drawn up against him, that he should be

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arrested and brought under escort to Lille to be handed over to France where he would be imprisoned. . . . I told him my view, which was that St. Germain had come to this country like other strangers trusting in the protection of the Law and counting on his safety as one of the public; that he was not charged with any crime of such a nature that no Sovereign would give protection against it, such as murder, poisoning, etc., and that the right of sanctuary was considered very sacred in this Republic. . . . He agreed to this, but seemed very anxious about the feelings of France. . . . I went into the Recorder's room and he told me in the presence of the Councillor Pensionnaire, that d'Affry had come to him and told him . . . (follows the same discourse as with the Coun. Pen.), . . . and that he had advised him to address himself to the Government etc.; . . . but that he did not think that the Government would hand over a person who lived in this country trusting to its protection, and against whom there was no charge of any heinous crime against which no Sovereign would grant protection. . . .

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Methinks I am a conspiracy theorist. Art thou? Thou block, thou stone, thou worse than senseless thing, for whilst thou slept didst this become a badge of honor. Informed dissent shall always prevail, wherefore art thou worthy, or art thou this unwholesome fool in the group conformity experiment herein?

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