The Comte de St. Germain, by Isabel Cooper-Oakley, , at sacred-texts.com
RECORD-OFFICE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (PARIS).
The Hague, Feb. 22nd, 1760.
(Received Feb. 26th, answered March 10th.)
"M. d’Astier writes to say that there is at Amsterdam a certain Comte St. Germain whom I believe once spent a long time in England and who affects many peculiarities.
"He speaks in an extraordinary way of our finances and of our Ministry, and affects to be entrusted with an important Mission with respect to the financial position of the Country. . . ." D’AFFRY.
D'Affry to the Duc de Choiseul.--In cipher.
STATE RECORD OFFICE, THE HAGUE.
March 7th, 1760.
"People who came here from Amsterdam for the festivities (the wedding of Princess Caroline with the Prince of Nassau-Dillenburg) as well as a letter from
[paragraph continues] M. D'Astier which I received to-day, go to prove that M. de St. Germain continues to make the most extraordinary assertions in that town."
The Hague, March 10th, 1760.
"M. le Duc.
"M. le Comte de St. Germain came here to see me the day before yesterday; he held much the same language to me as I was told that he held in Amsterdam. He has just left my house and his conversation has been on the same subject: he told me in the first place that he could not give me a sad enough picture of the state of our finances: that he entertained a certain scheme (the marriage of the Princess Clementine Caroline) for recruiting them, and, in a word, that he would save the kingdom. I let him say as much as he would, and when he left off talking I asked him if the Controller General knew of his scheme. He said 'no' and he took the opportunity of telling me much evil of the predecessor of M. Bertin. He seemed to me to be especially inimical to Messrs. Paris de Montmartel and Du Verney. He told me that he was closely connected with M. the Maréchal de Belleisle and he showed me two letters from him that he has received since he came to Holland, in which M. de Belleisle speaks graciously to him of the ardour of his zeal, but they contained mere generalities and no particulars.
"I confessed to M. de St. Germain that I did not altogether understand his scheme, and he owned on his side that he explained it badly and said he would bring me the plan of it to-morrow. I asked him what his journey to Holland had to do with this scheme; he did
not answer me very clearly to the point, but told me that his object in general was to secure the credit of the principal bankers there for us.
"I shall have the honour of reporting to you next Friday, M. le Duc, what M. de St. Germain may have said and communicated during the day, to-morrow. I do not know whether all that he gives out is founded on the most exact truth, but he certainly holds very extraordinary notions."
"M. de St. Germain has communicated to me his scheme, which is known and even recommended by M. Bertin. I will send you a report next Friday of our conversation on this matter. . . ." D’AFFRY.
The Hague, March 14th, 1760.
(Received March 18th. Answered the 20th.)
"M. le Duc,
"I have seen the scheme of which M. de St. Germain had informed me. I have sent it back to him, and I shall take the first opportunity of telling him that affairs of this kind have nothing to do with the Ministry with which I am honoured. I could not meddle with them unless so commanded, and desired to exert myself to find credit for His Majesty's funds in Amsterdam or in other towns in Holland. I think I have discovered the cause of M. de St. Germain's antipathy towards Messrs. Paris de Montmartel and Du Verney, in article 11 or 12 of the draft of the Edict, which states that there will be a 'cash account.' As this article struck me on first reading it, I remarked to M. de St. Germain that this 'cash' might prove an immense treasure to those who
managed it. He replied briskly that if Messrs. Paris were allowed to become masters of it, they would soon become so of the whole finances of the kingdom, and that he had come to Holland solely to complete the formation of a Company adequate to the responsibility of this Fund; in which case I think he would be annoyed to see it pass into other hands than those of his associates, if this scheme were adopted.
"M. de St. Germain told me that M. Bentinck de Rhoone had complained to him of my reserve towards him, and that I never spoke to him on matters of business. He added that M. Bentinck had assured him that no-one was less English than himself, that he was a true Patriot and more French than I believed. I replied to M. de St. Germain with general common-places, so as to make him feel, however, that I thought it strange that M. de Bentinck should have given him this commission, and still more strange that he should have undertaken it. I have considered it my duty to report to you all that has taken place between this man and myself." D’AFFRY.
Versailles, March 19th, 1760.
"I send you a letter from M. de St. Germain to the Marquise de Pompadour which in itself will suffice to expose the absurdity of the personage; he is an adventurer of the first order, who is moreover, so far as I have seen, exceedingly foolish. I beg you immediately on receiving my letter to summon him to your house, and to tell him from me that I do not know how the King's Minister in charge of the Finance Depart. will look on his conduct with regard to this object, but that--as to myself--you are ordered to warn him that if I learn
that far or near, in much or little, he chooses to meddle with Politics, I assure him that I shall obtain an order from the King that on his return to France he shall be placed for the rest of his days in an underground dungeon!
"You will add that he may be quite sure that these intentions of mine concerning him are as sincere as they will surely be executed, if he give me the opportunity of keeping my word.
"After this declaration you will request him never again to set foot in your house, and it will be well for you to make public and known to all the foreign Ministers, as well as to the Bankers of Amsterdam, the compliment that you have been commanded to pay to this insufferable adventurer."
Letter from the Comte de St. Germain to the Marquise de Pompadour.
March 11th, 1760.
"My pure and sincere affection for the welfare of your esteemed Nation and for yourself, not only are unchanged in whatever part of Europe I may be, but I will not remain there without making it apparent to you in all its purity, sincerity and strength.
"I am just now at the Hague, staying with M. le Comte de Bentinck, Seigneur of Rhoone, with whom I am closely connected. I have been so successful that I do not think France has any friend more judicious, sincere and steadfast. Be assured of this, Madame, whatever you may hear to the contrary.
"This gentleman is all-powerful here as well as in England, a great Statesman and a perfectly honest man.
[paragraph continues] He is absolutely frank with me. I have spoken to him of the charming Marquise de Pompadour from the fulness of a heart whose sentiments towards you, Madame, have long been known to you and are surely worthy of the kindness of heart and the beauty of soul which have given rise to them. He was so charmed with them that he is quite enraptured: in a word, you may rely on him as on myself.
"I think with good reason that the King may expect great services from him, considering his power, his uprightness and sincerity. If the King thinks that my relations with him can be of any help, I will not spare my zeal in any way for his service, and my voluntary and disinterested attachment to his sacred person must be known to him. You know the loyalty that I have sworn to you, Madame: command, and you shall be obeyed. You can give Peace to Europe without the tediousness and the difficulties of a Congress; your commands will reach me in perfect safety if you address them to the care of M. le Comte de Rhoone at the Hague, or if you think better, to the care of Messrs. Thomas and Adrian Hope, with whom I reside at Amsterdam. What I have the honour of writing to you appears to me so interesting, that I should greatly reproach myself if I kept silence on it towards you, Madame, from whom I have never hidden and will never hide anything. If you have not time to reply to me yourself, I entreat you to do so thro’ some safe and trustworthy person; but do not lose a moment, I implore you, by all the affection, all the love you bear to the best and worthiest of Kings. . . .
"P.S. I entreat you, Madame, to be so good as to interest yourself in the trial about the capture of the 'Ackermann,' the most unjust and scandalous that has ever occurred at sea: I have an interest in it amounting
to fifty thousand crowns, and Messrs. Emery and Co. of Dunkirk are commissioned to demand restitution of the vessel. I beg of you once more to have justice done to me by the Royal Council, to which this iniquitous case is shortly to be referred. You will kindly remember that you promised last summer not to allow injustice to be done to us."
The Hague, March 21st, 1760.
(Answered 31st by M. d’Affry.)
"M. le Duc,
"The Comte Rhoone de Bentinck has not only informed me through M. de St. Germain, but has also caused me to be told by other persons, how much he wished to be associated with me and in the most urgent way; I replied that not having had hitherto any connection with him, it appeared to me useless to begin it, that I should nevertheless be always ready to form one with persons who, as good Dutch patriots, would feel it well for their country to cultivate the friendship and good-will of His Majesty; that I knew that he (M. de Bentinck) had always cast aside those principles, so desirable for his Country and for himself, and that his conversion in this respect would require proofs lasting longer than he would care to attempt; he was informed of my reply, and was not discouraged by it.
"I felt bound to inform the Pensionary, M. de Selingulande (?) and the Comte de Hompesch. They told me that M. de Bentinck only desired to approach us in order to renew his credit here and in England, where it is ever falling, and that he probably wished to be nominated one of the Plenipotentiaries at the future Congress of the Republic. . . .
Versailles, March 31st, 1760.
"M. le Comte d’Affry,
"On the report, Mons., that I made to the King regarding the indirect steps that M. le Comte de Bentinck has taken in order to induce you to enter into some special negociations with him, His Majesty commands me to inform you, that his desire is, that you should confine yourself, as you have hitherto done, with respect to M. de Bentinck, within the limits of becoming courtesy. . . ."
The Hague, April 3rd, 1760.
"M. le Duc,
". . . I have reason to believe that M. de Bentinck, no longer seeing M. de St. Germain coming to my house, and knowing that I have openly discredited him, is ready to disavow him, and to say that he only continues to see this adventurer because he is a kind of fool who amuses him, but the Republican Chiefs know that M. de Rhoone too well not to be aware that he would have taken advantage, and eagerly, of the proposals that the fellow has taken upon himself to make him, if they had been accepted." D’AFFRY.
The Hague, April 5th, 1760.
(Answd. 11th. No. 207.)
"M. le Duc,
"I reply to-day to the letter that you did me the honour to write me on the 19th of last month concerning M. le Comte de St. Germain. I have not been able to
do so earlier, because the indiscreet conduct (to say no more) of this adventurer seemed to me to require thorough investigation before reporting it to you, but this conduct is such, that I consider it my duty to bring it to the cognisance of His Majesty.
"The day after the receipt of your letter, M. de St. Germain, who had arrived from Amsterdam, came to see me. He came with the Chevalier de Bruhl and M. de Kauderbach, and told me that those gentlemen were going to take him to see the Comte de Goloikin at Riswick, where I was also to go. I said to M. de St. Germain that I wished to speak to him before he left, and I told him at once the substance of what you had written to me about his scheme. He was overwhelmed by it, and I ended my conversation with him by requesting him to come to my house at 10 o'c. the following morning. The next moment I imparted to M. de Kauderbach the contents of your letter, which determined him at once not to take M. de St. Germain to Riswick.
"M. de St. Germain did not come to my house, and as I believed that what I had very clearly explained to him would be enough to make him prudent, and even to determine him to leave the country, I did not consider that I ought to urge him to come to my house again, and that it was enough to have communicated here what you had written to me, to the chief Ministers of the Republic and to some Foreign Ministers, and to have written to M. d’Astier at Amsterdam to warn the principal Bankers to be on their guard against the proposals that M. de St. Germain might make to them.
"M. d’Astier has informed me that Messrs. Thomas and Adrian Hope among others were greatly annoyed and embarrassed at having had him to stay with them,
and that they would take the first possible opportunity to get rid of him, but the two packets that you were so good as to forward to me from M. le Maréchal de Belleisle, appeared to me to show that this man was not keeping to the instructions I had given him, and that he might involve us in fresh difficulties. I received these letters on Tuesday. I sent to M. de St. Germain to come to my house on the Wednesady morning; he did not come, and the day before yesterday, Thursday, M. de Brunswick, in the presence of Messrs. Goloffkin and de Reischach, and after having communicated to him our counter-declarations, told me he had learnt that His Majesty had been so good as to order the letters to be sent to me that M. de St. Germain had written to Versailles, and that I should probably soon receive others, since he knew that M. de St. Germain had written some very lengthy ones since I had forbidden him my house, but that he had positively refused to see him; that he had nevertheless learnt that he had seen others than himself, and that the fellow was still hatching plots here l That if not accused of anything, still he was a very dangerous character in our times and place and that a man of such effrontery might embarrass and retard a negociation by a single step. I then thought I ought to speak, and I told Prince Louis that I was fully authorised to declare to him and to Messrs. de Goloffkin and de Reischach that M. de St. Germain was a man absolutely disavowed by us and that no trust or confidence should be placed in anything he might choose to say about our affairs or our Government. I said further to M. de Brunswick that when he had an opportunity, perhaps that very day, of seeing Mr. Yorke, I begged him earnestly to make the same declaration to him for me. I also made it yesterday morning to the Pensionary and the Registrar.
"On my return from Riswick the evening before last, I sent to request M. de St. Germain to pay me a visit. He was not found at home: I sent him a card of invitation to come to me here yesterday morning at eight o'c. I was obliged to send again to find him, and he came at last. I did not think I ought to pass on to him the letters of M. Belleisle, for fear of the bad use he might make of them, but I told him that M. le Maréchal had told me by the express order of the king that I was to listen to all he had to say to me. I asked him if there were overtures relating to our soldiery, and he said 'no.' I asked him if they concerned our Navy or our finances. And again he said 'no,' to which I replied that they could only be political, and thereupon I read him all that you wrote me as to the fate that awaits him if he returns to France. At first he affected great indifference, then he expressed astonishment at the treatment with which such a man as himself was threatened, but he seemed to me to be at last troubled by it. Since, however, he did not appear to me resolved to abandon the schemes which his disquietude suggests, I warned him very seriously again, as we parted, that if he chose to meddle in any way whatever with His Majesty's affairs and interests, I should report it to you, and I should say publicly here, that all that he had put forward was absolutely repudiated by His Majesty and by His Ministry. I went at once to keep my appointment with Mr. Yorke, after having dismissed the matter which I reported to you in my despatch under No. 575. I asked Mr. Yorke if M. de St. Germain had been at his house. He told me that he had been there twice; that on the first visit he had spoken to him of the Peace, and that he had replied merely with generalities about the sincere desire of England to see an end of the War; he said that on the
second visit, he, Mr. Yorke, had become more reserved because he then knew that my house had been forbidden to M. de St. Germain. He added that the Duke of Newcastle had written to him with reference to the report he had given of this man's first visit, that he might tell him in reply that overtures of peace on the part of France would always be welcomed in London, thro’ whatever channel they might come, but I do not know whether Mr. Yorke communicated this reply to him.
"I beg of you, M. le Duc, to communicate this despatch to M. le Maréchal de Belleisle and I am very sure that he will cease all correspondence with a man whose conduct is such as I have described to you. I add here a packet for M. de Belleisle by private express, in which I return him with my letter the two letters which he had sent me for M. de St. Germain.
"I ought to tell you further that M. de St. Germain has the assurance to assert everywhere, and even to tell me that his Majesty has been so good as to grant him Chambord, on the same terms as granted to the late M. le Maréchal de Saxe, excepting the revenues . . . which he said he should not have wished to have." D’AFFRY.
The Hague, April 8th, 1760.
(Recd. 12th. Answd. 24th. No. 209.)
"M. le Duc,
"I was informed yesterday that altho’ M. de St. Germain continued to see M. de Bentinck de Rhoone, I might rest assured that M. de St. Germain had said that I could not do otherwise than carry out your wishes; that he knew you did not like him, but that if you had
a place in His Majesty's Council, he also had the same! I replied that assertions so absurd could mislead no one, and that I should consider it derogatory to my Ministry to contradict them. This information was given to me by one of the Republican Chiefs who in fact is an enemy of M. de Bentinck, but whom I have always known as an honourable man.
"M. de St. Germain is absolutely discredited, and he will meet with no credence here from any Foreign Minister or Minister of the Republic; but I considered it my duty to make you acquainted with all this, because this man may give false impressions and such as would be disadvantageous to us, as to a pretended division in our Ministry, which does not exist. . . ." D’AFFRY.
Versailles, April 11th, 1760.
"To M. le Comte d’Affry.
"I will reply first, Monsr., to the letters that you have done me the honour to write me on the 3rd instant as to the different objects of the Despatches which formed the correspondence which was forwarded to you by my last courier. . . .
"You have seen, Monsr., by the special letter that I had the honour of writing to you about M. de St. Germain the opinion that I held as to this insufferable adventurer; I assure you that every one of His Majesty's Ministers holds the same opinion as myself, and the King has commanded me to tell you expressly not only to discredit in the most humiliating and most emphatic manner by your words and by your actions, this so-called Comte de St. Germain, among all those whom you may suspect of knowing this rascal throughout the whole Dominion
of the United Provinces, but His Majesty further desires that through the friendliness of the States General towards him, you may arrange that they should have this fellow arrested, so that he could be transported to France and punished in accordance with the heinousness of his offence. It is to the interest of all Sovereigns and of Public Faith that this kind of insolence should be put down, which with no authority, chooses to meddle with the affairs of such a Power as France. I think that the case in question should be regarded as at least as much 'privileged' as those which usually demand the reclamation and extradition of a malefactor. Thus the King has reason to hope that on your statement, this M. de St. Germain will be arrested and conducted under safe escort to Lille.
"I confess that I have thought you very lenient towards him, and that I perhaps should not have been prudent enough to refrain from ordering him a good sound drubbing after the last conversation that you had with him.
"What he told you about Chambord is an imposture of the highest degree. In short, Monsr., the King absolutely wills that this adventurer shall be cried down and disgraced in the United Provinces, and that he shall if possible be punished as his attempt deserves. His Majesty has strictly charged me to desire you by his authority to give this matter your best attention.
"P. S. Would it not be possible, besides the request to the States General for the arrest of this St. Germain to have an article inserted in the Dutch Gazette which would set down this rascal once for all? And be an example to all impostors who may wish to imitate him? The King furthermore, has approved of this course and you will carry it out in full, if you consider it possible."
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
[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
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
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
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,
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
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.
"He began by asking me if I knew of a man named Lignières who called himself a gentleman of Franche Comté, 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 Lignières 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 Lignières 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
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.
"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
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.
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.)
(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."
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.
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.
"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.
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
[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.
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. . . ."
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
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.
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
[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.
The Hague, June 27th, 1761.
"M. le Duc,
"A man who calls himself a gentleman of Franche Comté who bears the name of Linières, 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 Linières 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, Linières, 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,
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 Besançon for several years.
"M. de Linières, 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 Linières' 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 Linières 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.
The Hague, March 23rd, 1762.
The Comte d’Affry to the Duc de Choiseul.
. . . 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
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.
Versailles, April 10th, 1762.
The Duc de Choiseul to M. d’Affry.
" . . . 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. . . ."
The Minister of Foreign Affairs to M. d’Affry.
Versailles, Jan. 25th, 1761.
". . . The article you noticed in the Brussels Gazette of the 12th practically does for the Count of St. Germain
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 Maréchal de Belle-Isle with regard to the Comte de St. Germain. . . ."