JAMES II, King of England (1685-1688). Autograph letter signed ('Jacques R') to the Duke of Lauzun, Quenesville, 20 May 1692, in French, 2 pages, 4to, integral address leaf, seal (seal tear, remains of former mounting).
The exiled King waits, on the coast of Normandy, for news of the attempted invasion of England by Tourville, who is held back by strong winds in the Channel. 'Me voicy encore, les vents contraires ont empeché Tourville de gaigner cette Rade, ils continuent encore, il a fait grand vent a l'Est tout hire (sic) et aujourdhuy, et a moins qu'il nay esté a l'encre ou deriere l'ile de Portland ou a Torbay il aura eu de la paine a demeurer dans la manche, j'attens avec beaucoup d'impatience de ces nouvelles, et ce que sont deveneu deux escadres Anglois et un Hollandois'. The Irish regiments are ready, and James is pleased with his French troops who wait only to embark, 'pas un soldat a deserté depuis qi'ils sont en ces quartiers'. Stafford (his envoy to Louis XIV) is empowered to deal with rebellious subjects in the service of the Prince of Orange.
An optimistic letter dated the day after the defeat of the French fleet off La Hogue (of which James appears not to have received news). Actively intriguing with both the English Jacobites and Louis XIV for an invasion of England, James succeeded in the spring of 1692 in persuading the French government to underwrite an expeditionary force including Irish regiments, and a fleet commanded by Tourville. Lauzun, a great favourite of Louis XIV, to whom James II gave the Order of the Garter, had taken 6,000 men to support the Jacobites in Ireland three years earlier.