The Secret of Kings: A Monograph

Mr. St. Germain is still at the Hague, but has not as yet produced anything new from France, and it is highly probable that after the noise his first letters made, nobody will care to risk a direct correspondence with him, which may cross the Duc de Choiseul’s measures; Mr. d’Affry pretends that that French Minister is

[p. 227]

desirous of Peace, because His Most Christian Majesty is, and that it is serving his Master according to his wishes. Indeed, the reserve the French Ambassador observes towards the Ministers of their Allies here, the awkward uneasiness he shewed lest they should know we had met, and several expressions he let drop about them and their Courts, would incline me to think, that Peace is the object of France, and that the pacific party is the most prevalent: but for the proof of that we must wait for the answer to the Communication I have just made, which is so fair and so confidential, that if they don’t come into it, there cannot remain the least doubt hereafter of their determination to try the fate of the Campaign.

I am infinitely obliged to your Lordship for encouraging me with the assurance of His Majesty’s approbation of my conduct, and I humbly recommend myself to the indulgence of His Majesty and of His Servants, in the course of this delicate affair. . . .


From Mr. Mitchell to Lord Holdernesse.

Head Quarters at Freyburg,

Thursday, March 27th, 1760.

My Lord,

Twice I had the honour of your Lordship’s Courier of the 4th by Badmore, and of the 14th by a Prussian Courier; I have communicated the same to His Prussian Majesty’s friendship, and unreserved confidence. He said he would follow the King’s example. . . .

The King of Prussia thinks, that nothing certain can be concluded from all that has passed between Gen. Yorke and the French Ambassador, to the 4th inst., but he added he was in daily expectation of hearing something

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from France, that might be depended upon; that he already had had accounts, that the person sent from the Court of Gotha had been well received: that the Bailli de Froulay, immediately upon reading his letter, went to Versailles; and that he had promised to the emissary, to procure him a permission for sending of expresses and couriers and passports for himself to return, when it should be thought proper: he concluded with saying that so soon as he had any certain notice of what was passing at Paris, he would send a courier directly to England.

The King of Prussia was pleased then to give me some account of a most extraordinary conversation, which Count St. Germain had had with General Yorke, on the 15th, at the Hague, the particulars of which need not be mentioned, as your Lordship will have them more authentically: he observed that though the manners were of the most uncommon kind, yet Gen. Yorke had done . . . to give your Lordship an immediate account of what had passed, that it was very probable the Count may have been employed in this secret commission by the marshal Belleisle, without the knowledge of the other French Ministers as the Cabinet is extremely divided. He asked me if I was acquainted with this St. Germain, who, as he was informed, had been some time in England. I answered I had seen him there, but did not imagine he would ever become a negotiator. His Prussian Majesty answered that he heard the Count had found a way to insinuate himself into the good graces of the French King, whom he had amused with some experiments in Chemistry, and that the French King had made him a present of the Chateau de Chambord. [*1]


[p. 229]

Letter from Mr. Mitchell to Lord Holdernesse.

Freyburg, April 9th, 1760.

My Lord,

His Prussian Majesty mentioned me a letter from Monsieur de Bouille, lately intercepted, in which that minister says that the French Court are inclined to peace; that the disputes in Canada will be settled to the liking of the English; to whom, likewise, Minorca will be restored, and Cape Breton to the French, but he hesitates much about the cession of Guadeloupe. He also said that Count d’Affry had, by order of the Duc de Choiseul, disavowed to the allied ministers, everything that Count St. Germain had said to General Yorke; and that the Court of Vienna, at the solicitation of the French Ambassador, had at last consented to send Ministers to the congress; but Kaunitz hinted they should be empowered to do nothing.



^228:1 Compare with Appendix I.

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

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Some of these letters contain passages in cipher, with the writing as here given between the lines. The cipher is composed of a series of numerals, and may of course contain direct contradictions of the written words. But since the cipher of that period is changed, and the key is necessarily only known to those who have the charge of these affairs, it is impossible to burden the pages with useless matter.

Extract from a letter from M. Kauderbach.

(Rec. March 20th, 1760).

The Hague, March 14th, 1760.

To Prince Galitzin.

The courier of M. de Reischach has at last returned, but he has not brought the answer so anxiously expected. This minister must receive his orders from the Count de Stahremberg at Paris, just like the Count de Beschicheff. These gentlemen expect to receive them in two or three days. So we shall soon see what will be the end of this great affair.

It is singular that we cannot ascertain whether England will really send a body of troops to Germany, and of what strength it will be. It is said that the King of Prussia and Prince Ferdinand earnestly request this transport, but that they are not hurrying themselves about it in London.

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We have here a very singular man. It is the celebrated Count de St. Germain, known throughout Europe for his learning and his immense wealth. He is charged with an important commission in this country, and he talks much of saving France by different means from those formerly used by the famous Maid of Orleans. We must see how he will set about it. He has a store of precious stones of the greatest beauty. He claims to have snatched from Nature her highest secrets and to know her throughout. But the most curious thing is that he is said to be over 110 years of age; he looks, however, not more than 45. Gaudeant bene nati. I wish I could get at his secret for your benefit, monsieur, and for my own also! He is a warm supporter of Mme de Pompadour and of the marshal de Belleisle; and he detests the two brothers Paris, to whom he attributes all the misfortunes of France. He talks very freely of all that concerns this kingdom–from king to clown.

The letters from Germany have brought us nothing new.

Copy of a letter from M. Kauderbach.

(Rec. March 25th, 1760).

The Hague, March 19th, 1760.

To Prince Galitzin.

You will already have seen, monseigneur, the List of the Prussian Armies which a courier has brought to London, and which has also been communicated to M. Verelat at Berlin. The King of Prussia at the same time offers to verify its reality by causing a review of these forces to be held before Mr. Mitchell. After this offer, how can the English Parliament fear to throw itself headlong into the projects of His Prussian Majesty and to support him vigorously until his work is done and he can turn to something else?

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If you have read the Philosopher of Sans Souci, you will find like many others that he keeps his foremost desires always at the bottom of his heart. This abominable work, which the Prussians extol as the master-piece of the human intellect, has been blasted and anathematised as it deserves from the pulpits of Amsterdam, and has caused many enthusiasts to open their eyes to the fine principles of their Gideon. Others carry their blindness to the further point, and persist in looking on this production as a forgery by his enemies.

We are still awaiting the famous Reply, of which, it is said, the only difficulty lies with France. M. d’Affry received a courier on Thursday, but he says not a word of what he brought. It would seem that he is waiting for something before sending him back, for he still retains him here.

I spoke to you in a former letter, monseigneur, of the famous St. Germain, who is at this moment in Amsterdam, where he is staying with Sieur Hoope. He has seen Mr. Yorke at his house and remained there three hours. He has neither sent nor applied here to M. d’Affry and yet he told myself that he was charged with an important commission. But, to tell the truth, he appears to me too presuming and too incautious to believe him to be a highly trusted negotiator. I place him in the category with the famous Macanas, whom your Excellency knew here in 1747, or at least in that of the Count de Sekkeudorff, who came here last year. I shall be much mistaken in him if he succeeds in his commission. Our Dutchmen are too thick-skulled to indulge in refinements. However, I have no longer any doubt that there are important negotiations on hand. . . . This man told me that France would cede Guadaloupe . . . if at this price she could obtain Peace; . . This would perhaps be

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no evil . . . if England abandoned Prussia to her own forces. . . . What do you think about it? . . .

M. Wassemar informs me that the Count de Bristo has had a long audience of the King of Spain, immediately after which he despatched a courier. All else is matter of speculation. Germany offers me nothing of interest to communicate, except the cruel and ceaseless sufferings of unhappy Saxony. The Prussians loudly declare that they will make it a desert. May God have mercy on this poor country.

Extract from the letter of Prince de Galitzin.

(Rec. March 25th, 1760.)

London, March 25th, 1760.

To M. de Kauderbach.

I know the Count de St. Germain well by reputation. This singular man has been staying for some time in this country, and I do not know whether he likes it. There is someone here with whom he appears to be in correspondence, and this person declares that the object of the Count’s journey to Holland is merely some financial business. The gazettes and the people say that the King of Prussia reckoned on attacking the Austrians on the 25th inst. and the persons in office assert that this monarch will open the campaign with 150,000 men

It is certain that the Allies will muster in formidable strength this year in the campaign.

There is some likelihood that the unexpected death of the Count de Bestouchef may delay the reply in question; though on the other hand, however, Prince de Galitzin, my first cousin, has already for some time past been authorised to remain as Minister to His Most Christian Majesty.

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Copy of the letter from the Sieur Kauderbach.

(Rec. March 31st, 1760.)


The Hague, March 28th, 1760.

To Prince Galitzin.

People here are talking more than ever of a private negotiation between England and France, and if one could judge by appearances one would be tempted to believe these reports had some foundation. I know for a certainty that Messrs. d’Affry and Yorke, after taking different routes in order to meet at the Bois, did effect an interview there. I know further that they have had a second similar meeting on the Ryswick Road. I leave you to judge what may be the reason for this affectation of conferring in public, and which of the two is most to the point.

The Prussians here say loudly that if the two Empresses do not lend themselves to Peace, France will go her own way. I hope that this may be only presumption on their part. M. de Reichach says “fear nothing” and he is sure of the harmony that reigns between his Court and France; but I am not so easy as he is.

I have spoken to you of the Comte de St. Germain, who is here just now. M. d’Affry, after receiving him at his house where I have seen him in the best society, has just forbidden him the house, by order of his Court, and he has made this known to us. M. de St. Germain says that this order comes from M. de Choiseul, that he is reproached with having meddled with the affairs of the Peace, and that in fact he has made a report to Marshal Belleisle, from whom he shows letters full of confidence, of certain dispositions which he discovered in a conversation with M. Yorke; that he also made it known that

[p. 235] [paragraph continues] M. d’Affry was too neglectful of a certain person of rank here, who appeared very well disposed. Indeed this story will make a sensation. It is certain that M. St. Germain has a passport signed by the King of France, which is very honourable to him, and in which mention is made of his mission to Holland. It is also sure that he was charged with a commission the result of which M. de Belleisle awaited with keen impatience, as is shown by one of his letters. Mme de Pompadour, of whom M. de St. Germain is a great apologist, is also mixed up with it. But it seems that this gentleman is not prudent enough with regard to M. d’Affry, and to tell the truth that gentleman did seem to me rather a fool. I entreat your Excellency to keep these particulars to yourself, for it is better that I should not mix myself up with these stories.

Your Excellency will see by the Leyden Gazette that the King of Prussia has, for urgent cause, just withdrawn the commissions of the Shipowners of Emden. That means something. The Swedish Minister here has told me that in England they have set completely at liberty, with an indemnification of a thousand pounds, a Swedish vessel captured by a Prussian armateur, and that the latter has been declared a privateer.

I add to this some remarkable writings of the philosopher of Sans Souci, and you will see what judgement is passed upon them in Switzerland. They have just accorded a kind of approbation to this book in Berlin, where it is to be reprinted by authority. It will be applauded by miscreants, but abhorred by all honest people, and the Supreme Being who is infamously outraged in it, will one day confound the impiety of its author and of those who give him their plaudits.

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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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