This identification of Pregnani with James de la Cloche is, however, intrinsically incredible.
There would still remain, no doubt, the possibility that Pregnani, though not James de la Cloche, was nevertheless the "man in the mask."
In The Man of the Mask (1908) Monsignor Barnes, while briefly dismissing Mr Lang's identification with Martin, and apparently not realizing the possibility of reading Louvois's letter of July 19, 166 9, as indicated above 1 deals in detail with the history of James de la Cloche, the natural son of Charles II.
The story of James de la Cloche is indeed itself another historical mystery; he abruptly vanishes as such at Rome at the end of 1668, and thus provides a disappearance of convenient date; but the question concerning him is complicated by the fact that a James Henry de Bovere Roano Stuardo, who married at Naples early in 1669 and undoubtedly died in the following August, claiming to be a son of Charles II., makes just afterwards an equally abrupt appearance; in many respects the two men seem to be the same, but Monsignor Barnes, following Lord Acton, here regards James Stuardo as an impostor who traded on a knowledge of James de la Cloche's secret.
According to Monsignor Barnes's theory, James de la Cloche, who had been brought up to be a Jesuit and knew his royal father's secret profession of Roman Catholicism, was being employed by Charles II.
Monsignor Barnes's theory is that Pregnani alias James de la Cloche, without the knowledge of Charles II., was arrested by order of Louis and imprisoned as Dauger on account of his knowing too much about the French schemes in regard to Charles II.
We are asked to read into the Pregnani story a deliberate intrigue on Charles's part for an excuse for having James de la Cloche in England.
Already in 1662 the king had sent Sir Richard Bellings to Rome to arrange the terms of England's conversion, and now in 1668 he was in correspondence with Oliva, the general of the Jesuits in Rome, through James de la Cloche, the eldest of his natural sons, of whom he had become the father when scarcely sixteen during his residence at Jersey.