D'ANTRAIGUES SETS UP AS A SECRET AGENT IN ENGLAND [ANTRAIGUES (Louis de Launay, 1753-1812, Comte d', French publicist and political adventurer)]

Third person autograph letter from "Mr Cowper" to the "Count Dantrangues" (sic), saying he "is very sorry only now to have received Captain Bridges Letter, ... the bearer having misread the Direction & left the Letter with a person of the Name of Cook, in Lincoln's Inn, who forwarded it to another of the same Name, & it was only received by Mr Cowper from the latter," explaining that "he is confined today, by Indisposition, to his House in the Country, but hopes for the Honor of paying his Respects to Count Dantrangues tomorrow Morning", 1½ sides 4to.,West End, Hampstead, 9th September

'Captain Bridge(s)' must have written within a day or so of D'Antraigues' arrival in England on 3rd September 1806. D'Antraigues was still in the pay of Russia, and that country's chargé d'affaires saw his baggage through customs as a 'diplomat'. The Count, a Gascon of the Cevennes, had been a Republican in 1788, a member of the Assembly of 1789, a Monarchist in 1790 and had then emigrated to Venice, Vienna, Dresden and finally London, his love of intrigue being stronger than his ambition. He was the confidant and correspondent of the Comte de Provence (Louis XVIII), Maria Carolina of Naples, the Tzar, and, once in England, of Canning. D'Antraigues was a fast worker: the Courrier d'Angleterre of the date of the present letter (September 9th) has his observations on the abdication of the Holy Roman Emperor, and BL Add. 31230 contains his summaries of the situation and prospects of France (15th October) and Russia for the use of the British government. His credibility, it was rumoured, was increased by revealing in advance the terms of the treaties of Tilsit, June 1807, by which Napoleon and Russia took large slices of Prussia. At the end of his career he lost credibility and he and his wife, the singer Saint-Huberty, were assassinated in mysterious circumstances, by a servant dismissed the previous day, outside their cottage in Barnes Terrace.

Item Date:  1806

Stock No:  9158      £125

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