The Comte de St. Germain, by Isabel Cooper-Oakley, , at sacred-texts.com
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.
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?
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
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.
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
[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.
Copy of letter from Prince Galitzin.
(Rec. April 1st, 1760.)
London, April 1st, 1760.
To M. de Kauderbach.
I have read not without surprise the envenomed shaft of abominable impiety contained in fragments of the book in question, which you were kind enough to send me, although indeed nothing ought to surprise us on the part of this impious author. This latest production of his perverse mind is worthy of his odious sentiments. I shall be greatly obliged to you, monsieur, if you will kindly send me some time the whole of this book. I am not astonished that on the complaint of the Count de Galofkin the sale of this wretched book has been prohibited, but I am very much so that . . . dares to announce publicly the printing of such blasphemy; and it seems to me that he may be made to repent of his boldness.
I am utterly ignorant of what foundation there is for speaking, with you, of a private negotiation between England and France. Here, we do not hear the slightest hint of such a thing, and if it were so, I should have been able to learn something of it. Those promenades spoken of in the Bois and at Reswyk do not appear of sufficient consequence to make one credit such rumours, telling at most only of presumption on one side and of imprudence on the other. Nevertheless, perfectly innocent as this conduct may be, it is, I venture to say, very much out of place under present circumstances. Still less can one approve of this eager and confident affectation of insinuating to the same persons that it is only owing to a certain court that a certain Reply, so much wished for, does not arrive. Insinuations of this kind, being all reported here, cannot remain unknown to the persons interested.
As to the language of the Prussians, it is well to pay no attention to it, and so all that they say about the two Empresses and France regarding the peace, is unworthy of consideration. All the world is equally anxious to conclude a peace, but a peace stable and honourable. The behaviour of the Count d’Affry by order of his court towards the Count de St. Germain who has emancipated himself from wishing to meddle with the affairs of the peace without the concurrence and participation of all the allied courts, sufficiently proved the falsity of the rumours which are current with you of a private negotiation, of which I have just spoken above. M. de St. Germain has everywhere been treated on the footing of an illustrious adventurer. Here, owing to his imprudence and his unguarded behaviour, he had been taken for a spy and treated accordingly. As for me, I, like yourself, think him somewhat of a fool.
You, monsieur, have better means than I have of knowing the truth of the article in the Leyden Gazette that you have sent me concerning His Majesty the King of Prussia, who has just withdrawn their commissions from the ship-owners of Emden. All that I know about it is that the Baron de Kniphausen formerly gave these commissions from the King his master to all the English who wished to sail over the seas under the Prussian flag. Commissions of this kind were sold here by an Englishman, who was no longer of a mind to make use of them himself, to another. One may easily guess what disorder these kinds of venality would produce. I do not know whether it was owing to the representations of certain courts, which you will easily guess and of which the Swedish minister ought no longer to be ignorant, or that justice alone has had the principal share in it, that these great abuses and disorders have been mentioned to
[paragraph continues] M. de Kniphausen, who has withdrawn several of these commissions of the King his master, and if not all of them as yet, it is to be believed that, the above-mentioned Leyden Gazette showing the true mind of His Prussian Majesty on this matter, the remainder of these instruments of pillage will be withdrawn forthwith.
M. de Kniphausen yesterday received a courier from the King his master, but up to the present he seems disposed to keep the contents of the despatch to himself. The courier also brought a letter from the King through his minister. . . .
Copy of letter from the Count Laurwig to the Count de St. Germain, at Paris.
Copenhagen, April 3rd, 1760.
My inclination would certainly have led me to continue the honour of your acquaintance by letter, when no longer happy enough to be able to see you. But I have not had the pleasure of knowing your address, and I did not venture to trouble you until the Chamberlain, the Baron de Gleichen, gave me the assurance that you honoured me with your remembrance. Accept this token of my gratitude and of the joy that I feel in having once more found an opportunity of thanking you for all the kindness and friendship with which you honoured me in England. The sword which you presented to me and the letters which you wrote to me, I have kept as a possession too valuable for me ever to part with; but the honour of your remembrance of me is too deeply graven on my heart to allow me to lose this opportunity of assuring you of the profound esteem which is due to your dear self. Pray give me news of yourself and your commands if I can be of use to you in any way in this country; and believe
me, I am so rejoiced to find my friend again (allow me to use this term) that I know not how to express all my gratitude to you. Pray receive this letter kindly, and believe that it is with true pleasure that I can repeat that I am and shall be throughout my life. . . .
P.S. The address which is on this letter was given me by the Baron de Gleichen; he told me that you wished to be written to in this way. Should you, my dear Count, honour me with a reply, my address is: Count de Danneskeold Laurwig, Knight Chamberlain and Admiral.
To the Comte de St. Germain, at the Hague.
Amsterdam, April 27th, 1760.
If a thunderbolt had struck me, I could not have been more confounded than I was at the Hague when I found that you had left. I will play my last stake and make all conceivable efforts in the hope of being able to pay my respects to you in person, for I am well aware, Monsieur, that you are the greatest lord on earth; I am only grieved that rascally people dare to give you trouble, and it is said that gold and intrigues are employed in opposition to your peaceful efforts. For the present I can breathe a little, for I am assured that M. d’Affry left suddenly on Thursday last for the Court and I hope from that that he will get what he deserves for having failed in what he owes to you, and I take him to be the cause of your long absence, and thus of my misfortune. If you find that I can be of use to you, count on my faithfulness; I have nothing but my arm and my blood, but this is gladly at your service. THE COUNT DE LA WATÙ.
Copy of the letter of Mr. Cornet to the Count de Haslang.
The Hague, April 29th, 1760.
A foreigner who calls himself the Comte de St. Germain, whose origin and native country no one knows, but who is said to be extremely rich and very well received at different Courts in Europe, especially at that of France, after a residence of about three months which he has made here, has just disappeared when it was least expected. He has been intimately connected with the French Ambassador though he has been assiduous in seeing the Anglo-Prussian Ministers and partisans. Then, he has confided to some persons of distinction his correspondence with the Marshal Duc de Belleisle, who according to him was inclined to the re-establishment of peace between France and England, which he had in his pocket. The Count d’Affry made this known to the Duc de Choiseul who commanded him to see him no more and to threaten him with the Bastille if he continued to use such a language. The ambassador having given him this message in writing, the Count de St. Germain said publicly some days after that this minister had made enquiries about his health, that he had been extremely anxious about it and that he begged him to come and see him, the sooner the better; but that he had excused himself, on the pretext that having regard to orders received from his own court, he would not risk it. This contradictory conduct on the part of the ambassador is attributed to an order that had come to him from the Duc de Belleisle, and is regarded as a clear proof of the little unanimity reigning between the two French Secretaries of State. However that may be, the Count de St. Germain continued to say that what he had asserted was exact truth. On a second report that the
[paragraph continues] Count d’Affry made on this to his Court, he was commanded to have him arrested and to demand his extradition to the King his master; getting wind of which, M. de St. Germain departed first for Helvoet Sluys. As we know that the Count was in the good graces of the King and in regular correspondence with the Duc de Belleisle, people are generally persuaded that he was charged with some commission, and that his disgrace was caused either by his indiscretion, or by the want of union which is said to exist in the French ministry.