[A collection of twenty letters, or drafts, referring to French negotiations with Great Britain and the settlement of Canada. From the papers of the Earl of Rochford, ambassador to Paris.]
CANADA ; NASSAU DE ZUYLESTEIN William Henry 4th Earl of Rochford (1766-1768].)
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Twenty manuscript items of various size and pagination, as described below, written variously in English and French. Overall bright, clean, and legible. Very good. [Various places,
A diverse archive concerning issues that remained between Great Britain and France regarding Canada after the close of the French and Indian War.
Though the 1763 Treaty of Paris officially ended the war, a large number of flash-point issues remained. These circumstances occasioned a sort of cold war between France and Great Britain for the remainder of the decade, as each worked to undermine the designs of the other, all the while carrying out necessary negotiations. This environment of intrigue and subtle conflict is born out in the present archive. Most of the papers here seem to be associated with the British ambassador in Paris, the Earl of Rochford, and his negotiations with the French Foreign Office over various points that needed to be resolved. The other communications, from Lord Shelburne, the Secretary of State for the Southern Department, and notes on various spying activities, would also be consistent with the Ambassador's papers, and it is likely that this is where this group of material originated. Many of the letters are addressed to Rochford. Whether the material came from Rochford's papers or was passed to Shelburne is unclear. The items are listed below, categorized by the language in which they are written.
Documents in English:
1) [Manuscript Letter from an Unnamed Party to Lord Shelburne Regarding Canada and Discussing Current Secret Intelligence]. Paris. May 25, 1768.
pp. Captioned "Secret and Private," this letter to Lord Shelburne notifies the recipient that there is a British spy attached to Nadault de Belaire, a French officer lately returned from Canada, and that Nadault is apparently preparing for some sort of naval action. The author writes that he has paid the spy for his information and that the spy is taking special care not to raise suspicion.
2) [Autograph Letter, Signed, from a Mr. Guinard to the Earl of Rochford Regarding the "Canada Reconnaissances"]. London. Dec. 25, 1767. pp. This letter concerns the repayment of French debts to Canadian residents who had recently become British citizens via the Treaty of Paris. The author is responding to a French edict converting the outstanding debts into future contracts.
3) [Autograph Letter, Signed, from Anthony Vialars to the Earl of Rochford Regarding Payment of Monies Owed Him]. Paris. Dec. 13, 1766. p. A letter of gratitude to the Earl of Rochford, expressing thanks for his assistance in the repayment of Canadian paper debts.
4) [Anonymous Manuscript Note Detailing "Business Depending with France"].
[ca. 1766]. p. A short bullet-point list of outstanding concerns by an unknown author, including the "maintenance of prisoners in India," "Canada paper," "Deduction claimed by France for honoring accounts of Prisoners,"
Documents in French:
5) [Autograph Letter, Signed, from M. Durand to an Unnamed Party]. London.
Sept. 24, 1766. pp. on folded quarto sheet with secretarial docket on conjugate blank. Evidently from a French representative at the British court, promising to show a memorandum from the British ambassador to the French court, regarding British claims and "Papier du Canada," apparently referring to bearer bonds, stocks, and other forms of paper currencies and properties that had been affected by the war and subsequent peace arrangements. M. Durand reiterates reasons why the demands are contrary to the articles of the Convention.
6) [Letter in a Secretarial Hand to the Comte ce Rochford, Signed by the Duc de Choiseul]. Versailles. Oct. 9, 1766. pp. on folded sheet with secretarial docket on conjugate blank. Acknowledges receipt of a letter from the Earl of Rochford containing a memorandum with the protest of "les Vialars" at their exclusion from the settlements signed at London the previous Nov. 18. The Duc de Choiseul refers the matter to the Duc de Praslin. The docket title, in another hand, dates the letter Oct. 15, 1766.
7) [Copy in a Secretarial Hand of a Letter Sent by the Earl of Shelburne to the Comte de Guerchy]. Whitehall. Oct. 31, 1766. pp. Shelburne points out the arbitrary nature of the terms of the Convention, which he describes as favorable to the French, and applied "not only in general [with] rigidity against the English proprietors, but to the prejudice of many of them," and he also complains about the French Commissioner, M. Lescallier, whom he says makes rulings "without any reasons, or offers only frivolous [ones]."
Shelburne insists upon two specific issues: first, he demands that all legitimate claims submitted by or before the deadline of Oct. 1 must be paid; and second, he concedes that all claims submitted after that date, even if the proprietors were not properly informed of the deadline, must be rejected.
8) [Copy in a Secretarial Hand of an Agreement Reached Between the Earl of Shelburne and the Comte de Guerchy]. London. Nov. 18, 1766. pp. on folded sheet ( leaves). A document stating the agreement reached between Shelburne, the British Secretary of State, and the Comte de Guerchy, the French ambassador, enumerating lists of specific persons and the recompenses they are entitled to receive.
9) [Letter in a Secretarial Hand to the Comte de Rochford, Signed by the Duc de Choiseul]. Versailles. Jan. 18, 1767. pp. on folded sheet ( leaves). The Duc de Choiseul informs the Earl of Rochford that he has pursued the matter of the claim made by the nuns at the General Hospital in Quebec, referring it to the attention of the Duc de Praslin and the Comte de Guerchy, who will ensure that the payment is made.
10) [Autograph Letter from the Duc de Praslin to the Comte de Rochford Regarding the Claims of Mr. Vialars and His Son]. Versailles. Oct. 9, 1767.
pp. on folded sheet ( leaves). The Duc de Praslin acknowledges receipt of the Earl of Rochford's letter and the attachment concerning the claims of Mr. Vialars and his son, protesting that he thought this matter long since settled. The Duc states that the variations in the amounts claimed by Vialars and his son raised the "suspicions" of the Comte de Guerchy. At a meeting with Lord Shelburne and the Comte de Guerchy on Sept.
[?] 18, 1766, the Duc asserts that father and son were accused of fraud, the son made a "most indecent" scene, and Lord Shelburne had him removed. The Duc de Choiseul further asserts that Shelburne and Guerchy agreed at that time that no further consideration should be given to the Vialars' claims.
Enumerating further details, the Duc declares that the pair are "guilty" and should consider themselves fortunate not to have been given over to "the full force of the law."
11) [Manuscript Letter to the Duc de Praslin Regarding the Claims of Robert Foley and Co.]. Fontainebleau. Oct. 10, 1767. p. with docket title on verso. A letter from an unknown correspondent on behalf of Robert Foley & Co., whose claims had been rejected by the British for a lack of supporting documentation. The author hopes that the Duc will give consideration to "the justice" of their request and authorize payment from the French authorities for their Canadian holdings.
12) [Letter in a Secretarial Hand, Signed by the Duc de Praslin, Concerning the Claims of Robert Foley and Company]. Fontainebleau. Oct, 11, 1767. p.
on folded sheet ( leaves) with docket title on fourth leaf. Evidently a reply to the letter (11) above, rejecting the claim for indemnification as a matter that must be decided by the British court, but granting Robert Foley and Company relief from the "fin de non-recevoir," by special dispensation of the French King.
13) [Manuscript Letter to the Duc de Praslin from an Unnamed Party on Behalf of Daniel Vialars]. Paris. Nov. 11, 1767. pp. on folded sheet (
leaves) with docket title on fourth leaf. A renewal of the pleas on behalf of London businessman Daniel Vialars, currently in Paris, concerning his Canadian papers. The author declares that all the required documentation is now at hand, that the plaintiff has the support of the British court, and that the late Comte de Guerchy also promised his support at their last meeting.
14) [Letter to the Duc de Praslin, in Two Different Hands, Concerning the Affairs of Messieurs Vialars and Rybot]. Paris. Dec. 14, 1767. pp.
Renewing with still further details the case of Daniel Vialars and appending the additional case of another London businessman, M. Rybot, and asking for consideration of "all the circumstances" of the latter's situation, at the request of the British court.
15) [Letter in a Secretarial Hand to the Earl of Rochford from the Duc de Praslin, Signed by the Duc, Concerning the Affairs of Messrs. Vialars and Rybot of London]. Versailles. Dec. 29, 1767. pp. on two folded sheets bound with blue ribbon, with docket title on seventh leaf. The Duc de Praslin rejects the further appeals on behalf of M. Vialars, but is willing to approach his king about the related claims (Vialars appears to have been acting for others besides himself) if he can obtain assurances from the British court that this will be the end of the affair. As for M. Rybot, the Duc regrets that he has been swindled by one Joncaire Chabert, who had no authority to sign for the French government, and although it is regrettable for M. Rybot, the French authorities cannot reimburse a fraudulent claim.
16) [Autograph Letter from the Earl of Rochford to the Duc de Praslin Regarding Discussion of Remaining "Affaires de Papier"]. Paris. May 8, 1768.
p. on folded sheet with docket title and memorandum on fourth leaf. The British ambassador cancels his meeting with the Duc de Praslin because of illness, and proposes to send in his stead his secretary, Mr. Porter.
17) [Autograph Letter from the Duc de Praslin to the Earl of Rochford].
Paris. May 8, 1768. pp. on folded sheet with docket title on fourth leaf.
The Duc de Praslin is sorry to hear of the illness of the British ambassador and is ready to receive M. Porter whenever he should call; however, the Duc believes that the few remaining problems are best handled by the Maitre des Requêtes, M. de Vilevault, who has been authorized by the King in this capacity.
18) [Autograph Letter from the Earl of Rochford to the Duc de Praslin].
Paris. May 21, 1768. pp. with docket title on fourth leaf. The Earl reports the results of the meeting between his secretary, Mr. Porter, and the Maitre des Requêtes, M. de Vilevault, specifying the amounts decided upon in the case of Mr. Vialars and those persons he represented. The Earl regrets that his illness still keeps him confined, but is eager to report the Duc's response to the remaining affairs of Canadian papers to the British court.
19) [Manuscript Letter to the Duc de Praslin from an Unnamed Person on Behalf of Henry Lyon]. [Paris? 1767]. p.,  blank leaf, p.,  leaf with docket title. On the first page, written in French, is a plea on behalf of the Canadian claims of one Henry Lyon, by an unnamed author. On the third page, in a different hand, is a notation in English, apparently reminding the author ("Your Lordship") that he should mention that Lord Shelburne will concur with the Duc de Praslin's decision, fearing that otherwise the latter will make the excuse that there is not enough time to consult with the British about this settlement.
20) [Manuscript Memorandum Reporting an Important Meeting]. [Np. nd]. p.
A mysterious missive, apparently from a spy, reporting that there is to be an important meeting, the purpose of which he (or she) has not yet determined, but which he will do his utmost to discover. The author also mentions the departure of "six engineers" for Canada, and reports further that the concierge states that "his master had a conference with the ambassador of France" that lasted an hour and a half, and that his master has been in bad humor ever since. The final paragraph appears to make arrangements for a clandestine meeting. The French is somewhat awkward, and suggests either a person of little education or a non-native speaker.
These documents provide a vivid picture of Anglo-French negotiations and intrigue following the French and Indian War.
Stock Code: 223982