"'And he is menaced?'
"'Yes; no longer will "happy as a king" be said, and still less as a queen.'
"'Farewell, then, Monsieur; in truth I wish I had not listened to you.'
"'Thus it is ever with us truthful people; deceivers are welcomed, but fie upon whoever says that which will come to pass! Farewell, Madame; au revoir!'
"He departed; I remained absorbed in deep meditation, not knowing whether I ought to inform the Queen of this visit or not; I decided to wait till the end of the week, and to keep silence if it teemed with misfortunes. I arose at last and when I had found Laroche again I asked him if he had seen the Comte de St.--Germain as he went out.'
"'The Minister, Madame?'
"'No, he has long been dead; the other.'
"'Ah! the clever conjuror?'
"'No, Madame; did Madame la Comtesse meet him?
"'He went out just now, he passed close to You.'[p. 92]
"'I must have been distracted, for I did not notice him.'
"'It is impossible, Laroche, you are joking.'
"'The worse the times are the more respectful I am to Madame.'
"'What! by this door--close to you--he has passed?'
"'I do not mean to deny it, but he did not strike my eye.'
"'Then he had made himself invisible! I am lost in astonishment'." [*1]
These are the last words that the Countess d'Adhemar writes in connection with the Comte de St. Germain or that friend who had tried so vainly to save them from the storm which was then raging on all sides. One important note which has been already noticed may, however, here again be fitly quoted. It is evidently from the pen of the biographer that we get this important little memo, which is as follows:
"Note written by the hand of the Countess, fastened with a pin to the original MS. and dated the 12th May, 1821. She died in 1822. "I saw M. de St. Germain again, and always to my unspeakable surprise: at the assassination of the Queen; at the coming of the 18th Brumaire; the day following the death of the Duc d'Enghien; in the month of January, 1813; and on the eve of[p. 93]
the murder of the Duc de Berri. I await the sixth visit when God wills.'"
Thus does a voice from the dead contradict the malicious diatribes made against this teacher, and also refute the unfounded assertions about his death in 1784, made by Dr. Biester of Berlin, which have been already fully noted. Perhaps the most interesting passages are those which give the utterances of the Comte de St. Germain with regard to the future of France. It is now a hundred and thirty years since those words were uttered, and we can see that they have been accurately correct in every detail. The Bourbons are now but a private family. The honour of France has been wrecked by those who had arrogated to themselves positions of honour and trust, in which their moral characters were not able to stand the strain; cases may be cited as instances illustrating, but too clearly, the truth of the sorrowful forecast made by the Mystic Messenger of the last century. He might have fitly quoted the words of the Prophet forerunner, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness." [*1] But, alas for France, neither prophecies nor warnings availed her; slowly and sadly has the wheel of her life turned round, proving the veracity and accuracy of that prophet who was sent to warn her of the doom to come.
^75:1 ADHEMAR, op. cit., iv., 1.
^76:1 ADHEMAR, op. cit., iv., p. 63.
^80:1 ADHEMAR, op. cit., iv., pp. 74-97. The date here mentioned is 1788.
^85:1 ADHEMAR, op. cit., iv., pp. 189-193.
^88:1 The italics are in the original.
^92:1 ADHEMAR, op. cit., iv., pp. 254-261.
^93:1 Isaiah, xl. 3.
The Comte de St. Germain, by Isabel Cooper-Oakley, , at sacred-texts.com[p. 94]
THE earliest definite hint of any political work on the part of the Comte de St. Germain is from the pen of Madame d'Adhemar. [*1]
When sketching the portraits of those who were received into intimacy by Louis XV. at Versailles, she says: "The King was also much attached to the Duchesse de Choiseul, nee Crozat; her simplicity, her frankness, more virtues than were necessary to make a success at Versailles, had triumphed over the drawback of her birth, and she was frequently present at the suppers in the smaller apartments. One man also had long enjoyed this favour, the celebrated and mysterious Comte de St. Germain, my friend who has not been rightly known, and to whom I shall devote some pages when I have to speak of Cagliostro. From 1749, the King employed him on diplomatic missions and he acquitted himself honourably in them."
This passage would remain incomprehensible, unless we glance briefly at the history of the[p. 95]
period. Dark and stormy is the scene on which we enter; difficult indeed is it to disentangle the knotted web of European politics which enmeshed the various nations. Austria and France had signed in 1756 an offensive and defensive alliance, especially directed against England and Prussia; Russia was with them; during the Seven Years' War the throne of Prussia tottered more than once, until the Austrians were defeated at Torgau in 1760. Poland, that "Niobe of Nations," was watching the clouds gather slowly on her horizon; racked within by strife stirred up by Russia, she struggled vainly against the stronger Powers; her day was slowly ending. England, at war in America and with France, striving also to conquer India, was also a centre of discord. All Europe was in dissension.
Into this arena of combat the Comte de St. Germain was asked to step by the King of France, in order to make that peace which his Ministers--involved in their own plans--could not, or would not, make.
Louis XV. was practically the originator of the whole system of secret diplomacy, which in the eighteenth century seems to stand out as a new departure in the diplomatic political world. The Gordian knot which could not be disentangled, Louis XV. tried to cut; hence we find the King of France employing secret agents, men[p. 96]
who could be trusted with delicate missions, men foredoomed to bear the blame of failure, fated never to be crowned with the palm of success.
Outside the various Foreign Offices, or beyond the pale of their secret archives, it is very little known that the Comte de St. Germain had any diplomatic mission whatsoever. In many histories and memoirs there is no mention of this phase of his life; therefore it is necessary to cite such writers as are available to bear their testimony on this point.
Not least amongst these stands Voltaire, the sceptic, who in his voluminous correspondence with Frederick of Prussia says, April 15th, 1758: "Your ministers are doubtless likely to have a better outlook at Breda than I; M. le Duc de Choiseul, M. de Kaunitz, and M. Pitt do not tell me their secret. It is said to be only known by a M. de St. Germain, who supped formerly at Trent with the Council Fathers, and who will probably have the honour of seeing your Majesty in the course of fifty years. He is a man who never dies, and who knows everything." [*1]
The allusion "supped at Trent" is a reference to the gossip which originated from Lord Gower's impersonation and misrepresentation of M. de St. Germain, of which mention has already been[p. 97]
made. The important point in this letter is that Voltaire refers to a political connection of M. de St. Germain with the Prime Ministers of England, France and Austria, as if he were in the intimate council of these leaders. The Baron de Gleichen gives some details in his memoirs, and as he became later deeply interested in the mystical work of the Comte de St. Germain, his version is of much value, giving as it does an insight into some of the complications in France. He writes: "The Marshal [de Belle-Isle] was incessantly intriguing to get a special treaty of peace made with Prussia, and to break up the alliance between France and Austria, on which rested the credit of the Duc de Choiseul. Louis XV. and Madame de Pompadour wished for this special treaty of peace. . . . The Marshal drew up the instructions; the King delivered them himself with a cipher to M. de St. Germain." [*1]
Thus, then, is the mission duly signed and sealed by the King himself, but, as we shall see, even the royal protection could not avert the suspicion and distrust which so unpleasant a position naturally incurred, and when M. de St. Germain arrived at the Hague he came into collision with M. d'Affry, [*2] the accredited Ambassador from France.[p. 98]
Before entering on the ambassadorial despatches there are a few words from Herr Barthold to be noticed, giving an interesting account of this diplomatic mission; he--after criticising somewhat severely, and with good reason, the unreliable statements about our philosopher made by the Marquise de Crequi and the Markgrafin von Anspach--goes on: "But of this mysterious mission of the Adept, as financier to the crown and diplomatic Agent, to which he was initiated, not at the ministerial desk, but in the laboratory of Chambord, she makes no mention. Nor has this point--so essential to the understanding of the way business was conducted in France, both in Cabinet and State, at this period--ever been much commented on. About this time we find St. Germain at the Hague, evidently on a private mission, where the Comte d'Affry was French Ambassador, but the two had no relations with each other. Voltaire, who is generally a good reporter, ascribes the Comte's appearance to the Secret Treaty of Peace." [*1] The date mentioned by this author is not quite accurate, as we shall see.
That the Duc de Choiseul was profoundly[p. 99]
annoyed when this information reached him, is to be understood; his pet schemes were in jeopardy, his intrigues against England were on the eve of failure; it appears that M. d'Affry "bitterly reproached M. de Choiseul for having sacrificed an old friend of his father, and the dignity of an Ambassador, to the ambition of making a Treaty of Peace under his very eyes without informing him of it, through an obscure foreigner. M. de Choiseul immediately sent back the courier, ordering M. d'Affry to make a peremptory demand to the States-General to deliver up M. de St. Germain and, that being done, to send him bound hand and foot to the Bastille. The next day M. de Choiseul produced in Council the despatch of M. d'Affry; he then read his own reply; then, casting his eyes haughtily on his colleagues, and fixing them alternatively round on King and on M. de Belle-Isle, he added: 'If I did not give myself time to take the orders of the King, it is because I am convinced that no one here would be bold enough to desire to negotiate a Treaty of Peace without the knowledge of Your Majesty's Minister for Foreign Affairs!' He knew that this Prince had established, and always maintained, the principle, that the Minister of one department should not meddle with the affairs of another. It turned out as he had foreseen. The King cast down his eyes like[p. 100]
a guilty person, the Marshal dared not say a word, and M. de Choiseul's action was approved; but M. de St. Germain escaped him. Their Highnesses, having made good their assent, despatched a large body of guards to arrest M. de St. Germain, who, having been privately warned, fled to England. I have some grounds for believing that he soon left it again to go to St. Petersburg." [*1]
No better account could be given than this, by one present at the French Cabinet Council, of the way in which Louis XV., weak and irresolute, allowed his arrangements to be cancelled without a word. Passing, however, rapidly on to follow the events at the Hague, we next have some interesting despatches from M. de Kauderbach, Minister from the Saxon Court at the Hague, wherein he recounts much that has already been given in these pages in praise of the Comte de St. Germain, of his powers and knowledge and then goes on to say: "I had a long conversation with him on the causes of the troubles of France, and on the changes in the choice of Minister in this kingdom. This, Monseigneur, is what he said to me on the subject: 'The radical evil is the monarch's want of firmness. Those who surround him, knowing his extreme good nature, abuse it, and he is surrounded only by[p. 101]
creatures placed by the Brothers Paris, [*1] who alone cause all the trouble of France. It is they who corrupt everything, and thwarted the plans of the best citizen in France, the Marshal de Belle-Isle. Hence the disunion and jealousy amongst the Ministers, who seem all to serve a different monarch. All is corrupted by the Brothers Paris; perish France, provided they may attain their object of gaining eight hundred millions! Unhappily the King has not so much sagacity as good nature; he is not, therefore, aware of the malice of the people around him who, knowing his lack of firmness, are solely occupied in flattering his foible, and through it are ever preferably listened to. The same defect as to firmness is found in the mistress. She knows the evil and has not courage to remedy it.' It is he then, M. de St. Germain, who will undertake to cure it radically; he takes upon himself to put down by his influence and operations in Holland the two names so prejudicial to the State, which have hitherto been regarded as indispensably necessary. Hearing him speak with so much freedom, one must look upon him either as a man sure of his ground, or else as the greatest fool in the world. I could entertain your Excellency much longer with this singular man and with his knowledge of physics,[p. 102]
did I not fear to weary you with tales which must seem rather romantic than real." [*1]
The Saxon diplomatist, from whose despatches these extracts are gathered, very shortly changed his friendly tone, on finding that the Duc de Choiseul did not favour the plans of Louis XV.; the self-respecting diplomat then began to disparage the man whom so lately he had lauded as a prodigy, hence the next despatch is amusingly different in tone, and runs as follows:
"April 24th, 1760. I have this moment heard that the courier whom the Comte d'Affry received last Monday brought him an order to demand from the State the arrest and extradition of the famous St. Germain as a dangerous character, and one with whom his most Christian Majesty has reason to be dissatisfied. M. d'Affry, having communicated this order to the Pensionnaire, this Minister of State reported it to the Council of Deputy Commissioners for the province of Holland, an assembly of which the Comte de Bentinck is President. The latter gave the man warning, and made him start for England. The day before his departure, St. Germain was four hours with the English Minister. He boasted of being authorised to make peace."