Friday, January 17, 1936

“Old Bill” Suggests—

Buried treasure has the lure of something for nothing, like the Drake estate and many other get-rick-quick swindles, but it is usually trivial in amount in comparison with the sums which are made daily in the ordinary course of business. There was much less gold in the world in those days.

One treasure store, reminiscent of Dickens in its reintroduction of the familiar subject of King Charles’ head, is the galleon Florencia, treasure ship of the Armada, which was blown up in the Tobermory bay, on the coast of Scotlnad, in 1588.

The seventh earl of Argyll, who owned the bay, went to Spain and found what the ship had carried. The eighth earl found Charles I claiming the wreck and bought it back for cash, with the proviso that the Spanish crown, if found, should go to the king. But unlucky Charles lost his own crown and head long before the wreck was located.

Under Charles II the earl was beheaded for treason, chiefly because, so rumor hath it, several of the king’s favorites wanted a chance at the treasure themselves. The ninth earl was also beheaded on a similar pretext. As Charles II would have been horrified at such a plot, it must go down as another example of the inevitable intrigue which has made mankind distrust political aristocracy.

No one can hold personal power without being tempted to have favorites. Few favorites are as virtuous as their master. And, last ironic touch of all, when ownership was settled in the case of the Florencia, not enough treasure was found to pay the cost of the diving equipment.

As far as we have observed, the surest way to get wealth is to create some. Even then, there are plenty of thieves, but with luck and a stout defense there is a fair chance of keeping part.


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