The Hague, April 17th, 1760.
(Answd. 24th. No. 2091–M. le Comte d’Affry.)
“M. le Duc,
“I have thought it my duty to delay till to-day returning the express that you sent me, that I might report to you more fully the way in which I have tried to carry out the orders of His Majesty regarding the so-called Comte de St. Germain. Yesterday, I visited the Pensionary, to whom I read all that you have done me the honour to write to me concerning this rash adventurer, and I demanded from him the arrest and extradition in the name of His Majesty.
“He appeared embarrassed by it, but nevertheless promised me to do all that depended on him in the matter.
“The Duke of Brunswick told me that he could not appear in it, but that he would meet us in all that might facilitate it, and that I well knew how much he himself desired that such a fellow should be unmasked.
“The Registrar told me that he did not doubt that this man would be given up to us, but that as M. de Bentinck is the Head of the Committee of Rade (?) and this affair must be considered there, during the absence of the States of Holland, I feared instantly that the escape of M. de St. Germain would be facilitated, and what I feared has happened.
“I expected news of this affair yesterday morning when M. de Kauderbach came to see me. He asked me if I knew of the departure of M. de St. Germain. I told him I did not; he informed me that the evening before last, between 7 and 8 o’c., M. de Bentinck had been to the house of this adventurer, that he had left it again before[p. 182] [paragraph continues] 9 o’c., that then M. Pieck de Zoelen had come there, that he did not stay very long, that afterwards M. de Bentinck had come again between 9 and 10, and that he had remained there until after midnight; that M. de St. Germain had gone to bed, and that at 5 o’c. in the morning he had taken his tea, and that a lackey of M. de Bentinck’s had appeared at the door with a hired carriage and four, into which this rascal stepped, but the landlord could not tell what road he had taken, nor could he say if M. de Bentinck’s lackey went with him.
“This departure was so hasty that he left at the house of the landlord his sword and his belt and a packet of “coepeaux” (?) either silver or tin, and some bottle of some unknown liqueur. I controlled myself enough to conceal from M. de Kauderbach the indignation that I felt at the conduct of M. de Bentinck. I said nothing to him as to my orders about the reclamation and extradition. I simply asked if he were certain of all the particulars that he had just given me. He told me that he had them from M. de St. Germain’s landlord himself, who was a Saxon. He suggested sending him to me. We sent for him; he came, and confirmed all that M. de Kauderbach had told me.
“When M. de Kauderbach had left my house, I sent to request the Pensionary to let me see him; he had only returned home from a grand dinner at which he had been present at 7 o’c. and he put off my visit until this morning at 9 o’c. I went to him and asked him what about the affair of M. de St. Germain. He replied that he alone could not take the responsibility on himself, that it was quite necessary that I should present a memorial to M. de Bentinck, President of the Committee of Rade; that he thought that this Tribunal would decide on the arrest of M. de St. Germain, but not on his extradition before being authorised so to do by the States of Holland[p. 183]
at their approaching Convocation. I replied that I should certainly not present a memorial to M. de Bentinck, and that I would tell him why. I then told him the particulars of M. de St. Germain’s departure, and of what preceded it, excepting the circumstances which might compromise the host, and I told him these details in a way to make him believe that I had discovered the comings and goings of M. de Bentinck in the house, and the appearance of his hired lackeys with the carriage, only thro’ the careful watching of my spies. He seemed to me to be honestly indignant at all that he heard. I said that since the escape of the adventurer had been furthered by the Hague, he had perhaps sought refuge at Amsterdam, and that I was going to write to our Commissary of Marine, M. d’Astier, to request that this scoundrel be arrested in the name of His Majesty, and detained under safe guard until I received final orders. In fact I wrote him the letter of which I now append a copy. I then told the Pensionary that as the adventurer might take refuge in some other Province of the States General, I should at once request His Majesty’s permission to present a public Petition to their High Mightinesses, and that if the Province of Holland in particular, or any other, should refuse this act of justice or seek to evade it by furthering the escape of M. de St. Germain, we should know very well where to find him again and that I felt sure, whether he were found in England or elsewhere he would be given up to us directly Peace was declared. This last seemed to me to embarrass the Pensionary greatly, and I should not be surprised if he were arrested at Amsterdam on our requisition, but I am persuaded that he will not be there, and that he will have already gained the frontier of the Republic. The Memorial which I request your permission to present to the States General, and of which I here[p. 184]
append the rough draft, may appear, if His Majesty approves of it, in all the Gazettes, and will cast a stigma on this adventurer from which he can never recover. It is a kind of injudicial condemnation, which will brand him throughout Europe.
“I believe the rascal to be sorely pressed for money. He has borrowed from the Jew ‘Boas’ two thousand florins for which he has deposited with the Jew three opals, real or false, in a sealed paper. The two thousand florins should be repaid on the 25th inst. and Boas told M. de Kauderbach yesterday that if the letter of exchange for the money did not arrive on the 25th, he should put up these opals for public sale. I shall act with regard to M. de Bentinck as you desired me in your last despatch, unless His Majesty should give me fresh orders in this respect, and if I meet him one of these days I shall speak to him of M. de St. Germain and his departure, without committing myself, but so as to force him to disavow his conduct altogether, and his connection with this adventurer.” D’AFFRY.
Letter from M. le Comte d’Affry, of April 17th, 1760, to M. d’Astier at Amsterdam.
“The so-called Comte de St. Germain, Monsr., whom you saw at Amsterdam and who has been sent here from thence, is an adventurer and impostor.
“He has had the impudence, without any authority or commission from His Majesty or His Ministry, to busy himself with working and negociating about the most important interests of His Majesty and of the Kingdom.
“After my report of this to the King, and after the letters which he himself wrote to Versailles, His Majesty[p. 185]
issued orders to me for the reclamation of this impudent impostor and that I should demand his extradition, to be sent to us.
“As he suddenly left The Hague yesterday morning, and he may perhaps be at Amsterdam, I authorise you in this case, and command you in His Majesty’s name, at once to demand from the Magistracy of Amsterdam the arrest of this impostor and his detention in sure and safe custody until we have agreed on the method of transporting him to the Austrian Netherlands, to be taken thence to the first of our fortifications.
“I here append a letter for Messrs. Horneca (?) and Co. in which I request them to be security for you in the expenses that this commission may require, for which you will answer in my name and under the guarantee of these gentlemen.”
Rough draft of memorial to be presented to the States General for the exposure of the so-called Comte de St. Germain and to demand his arrest and extradition.
“High and Mighty Lords,
“An unknown person who styles himself the Comte de St. Germain and to whom the King, my master, graciously granted an asylum in his kingdom, has abused it.
“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, this indiscreet fellow chose to announce that he was authorised to discuss the affairs of His Majesty. The King, my master, gives me express orders to make this known to your High Mightinesses, and publicly, so that no-one throughout your dominions may be deceived by such an impostor. His Majesty further authorises me to proclaim this adventurer as a man without authorisation,[p. 186]
who has taken advantage of the asylum granted him by the Prime Minister to meddle with the government of the Country, with as much impropriety as ignorance, and falsely and boldly declaring that he was authorised to treat of the most essential interests of the King, my master.
“His Majesty does not doubt that your High Mightinesses will do him the justice that he has the right to expect from your friendship and equity, and that you will give orders that the so-called ‘Comte de St. Germain’ be arrested and taken under safe escort to Antwerp, to be sent from thence to France.
“I hope that your High Mightinesses will grant me this request without delay.”
Versailles, April 24th, 1760.
To M. d’Affry,
“I have received, Monsr., all the letters that you have done me the honour to write to me, and of which the last, No. 582 (581?), is of the 18th inst.
“The King approves, Msr., of your presenting to the States General the Memorial of which you have sent me the draft, concerning the so-called Comte de St. Germain. . . .”
Recd. 29th (Answered May 1st).
The Hague, April 25th, 1760.
“M. le Duc,
“It is believed that the so-called Comte de St. Germain is gone to England; I am even told that the fear of being arrested disturbed him so much that he did not[p. 187]
dare to remain in the town of Helvoetsluys (?) and had taken refuge at once on board a Packet boat, on which he remained up to the moment of his departure, without choosing to set foot on land. Others believe that he made for Utrecht, whence he must have reached Germany.
“The line of conduct that M. Bentinck de Rhoone has maintained with this adventurer is now notorious, and still further lessens his credit in all classes of the State.
“One of the chief Republicans has given me the translation which I here append of a passage from the second volume of the history of the Country, which has just appeared. You will see from it, M., that an attempt is made to unmask M. de Bentinck, not only to those who compose the Government but also in the Bourgeois class and among the people, by means of a Dutch book which is generally read in the Seven Provinces. The indecency with which he strove to make himself agreeable to the people at the time of the Revolution is a thing that we could never forget.” D’AFFRY.
The Hague, April 27th, 1760.
(Ansd. May 10th, M. d’Affry.)
“M. le Duc,
“A Professor of mathematics at the University of Leyden, named Alaman, and who is the man most closely connected in this country with M. Bentinck de Rhoone, came to see me yesterday under the pretext of repeating the invitation that he once gave me to go and dine with him and to see the collections of machinery and of Natural History of which he has the care, but he really only visited me to speak about M. de Bentinck.[p. 188]
“He began by asking me if I knew of a man named Lignieres who called himself a gentleman of Franche Comte, and who had come here accompanied by a Swiss, named Vivet, to introduce a machine for hollowing the beds of rivers and cleaning the canals. I replied that this man had been to see me, that I had asked him if, as a subject of the King, he had offered this machine to our Ministry before taking it to foreigners; that Lignieres had told me that he had performed this duty, but that the machine had not been accepted; that I did not think much of it from what Lignieres told me and from what I knew of forcing methods and their friction. I added that what gave me the worst opinion of this undertaking was the protection given to its promoters by the Comte de St. Germain, who had recommended them to me. Alaman told me that he was very glad to have the opportunity of gaining information as to everything concerning this celebrated man, if I would kindly give it to him. I replied that I would conceal nothing from him, and I then gave him the whole history of this adventurer since his arrival in Holland, assuring him that I was convinced that M. de Bentinck would altogether disavow what such an impostor had put forth in his name. Upon that I gave him a detailed account of all the impostures that the adventurer had practised here. He seemed surprised at it, and I did not conceal from him how much surprised I was myself at the conduct of M. de Bentinck up to the moment of the adventurer’s escape. M. Alaman made but a poor defence for him on that point, and then leaving M. de St. Germain, he spoke of M. de Bentinck exactly as M. de St. Germain had done, telling me among other things that M. de Bentinck throughout his conduct, had no other object than the interests and the welfare of the country; that my estrangement with regard to him[p. 189]
was merely because I knew him only from the reports of his enemies, and that if I would take means to become personally acquainted with him I should soon give up my prejudices against him. I replied, that at the beginning of my residence here I had endeavoured to make M. de Bentinck’s acquaintance, and this is the simple truth, but that he had always refused the advances I had made, and I owned that they did not continue long, because I soon saw that he did not respond to them.