Classified communication in secret cipher: Sweden should make Peace

Louis XIV, King of France (1638-1715). Letter signed ("Louis" in secreterial hand).

Saint-Germain-en-Laye, 18 Feb. 1679.

Folio. 9 pp. on double leaves. With address.


To Isaac de Pas (1618-1688), Marquis de Feuquières, French ambassador to Sweden. In French, but mostly written in secret cipher, above which the recipient has transcribed the French meaning. Louis explains that, despite appearances, France cannot continue to support Sweden due to the superior naval power of England and is unable to send a flotilla of ships in her aid. Instead, he orders movement of French land forces; he also approves the suggestion of marriage between the King of Sweden and the daughter of the Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg: "[...] A squadron of 20 or 30 ships that I might send to Sweden's aid would be too weak to withstand the forces of England; nor is it suitable to the state of my affairs to [...] support this war by putting to sea a flotilla equal to that Crown's [...] Sweden's affairs are everywhere in such a bad state, yet she does not blame her own ill conduct. I have even learned that her ruin in Prussia is so great that it is no longer possible to negotiate for peace with them until [Sweden is] convinced of the nearly insurmountable obstacles to naval assistance that they have expected from me [...] Since the greatest interest of the King of Sweden in marriage is that it contributes to make peace and to re-establish him in the Empire, I would view somewhat indifferently the choice that he would make [...]" (transl.).

The Treaties of Nijmegen, signed in 1678 and 1679, brought an end to the Dutch Wars. Sweden was among the last of France's allies to cease hostilities, as it had tried to regain lost territories.

Countersigned by secretary of state for foreign affairs Simon Arnauld de Pomponne (1618-1699). Minor scattered toning; short closed separations at folds.

Stock Code: BN#28422 Tag: