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The Birmingham age-herald. [volume] (Birmingham, Ala.) 1902-1950, November 03, 1912, MAGAZINE SECTION, Image 53

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85038485/1912-11-03/ed-1/seq-53/

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By FRANK G. CARPENTER
^bmPAL'pALLISEROnniS’WAY To
hunt Treasure In Cocos Island.
(Copyright, 1912, by Frank G. Carpenter.)
Punta Arenas, Costa Rica.
GOSTA RICA has one of the fabled
treasure islands of the world.
This is Cocos, which lies south
west of here in latitude 5 degrees 32 min
utes and longitude 87 degrees 2 minutes.
It Is claimed that on the island is buried
gold to the amount of millions of dollars.
One of the treasures was carried there in
1720 at the time of the revolution In Peru
when the people of Lima and Callao char
tered the little vessel lying at the wharves
and escaped to Cocos with their plate,
bullion and other valuables. They were
* chased by a Peruvian man of war, but
outran it in the darkness. They landed
11 boatloads of treasure at Cocos amount
ing in value, It is said, all the way from
$60,000.000 to $100,000,000. Among the objects
was a life sized statue of the Holy Vlr
--~vwn, made of solid gold, and there were
smaller golden statues of St. Joseph, St.
Peter and others. There was a great
quantity of silver plate, and, in all, a vast
treasure.
After burying this, the vessel started
back to Peru, but on its way it met one
of the revolutionary men of war and was
4 bombarded. As a result every Peruvian
on board was killed and only two men,
an Englishman and an American, were
saved. The American afterward disap
peared. His name was Thompson. This
left the Englishman, a resident of New
foundland, named Keating, as the sole
owner of the secret. Keating went home
ard a short time later started out two
expeditions to get the treasure, one
of these his vessel was wrecked and in
the other he and his crew were arrested
at Panama and sent back home. He left
his charts, however, to his descendants,
and some years ago they were still In the
hands of one of them, a Mrs. Young,
who was then living in Boston.
Another treasure buried on Cocos is
said to have been left there by William
Dampler, who blockaded Panama In 1684
and took during the year following a
big treasure ship which was coming
north from Peru, intending to send its
silver and gold on horses across the
isthmus to Porto Bello and thence to
Spain. E>ampler, it is alleged, buried six
boatloads of silver on Cocos and made
several trips there after that with similar
freight.
There Is a third story which says that
In 1821, during the revolution when the
Central American* colonies broke away
from Spain, the native Spaniards living
here in Costa Hica loaded a schooner
with gold, gems and silver plate and sent
it to Cocos to be kept there until the
troubles were over. They gave the treas
ures over into the hands of six men,
each of whom had a chart of the exact
place where the stuff was buried. One of
these men was killed during the revo
lution and two others died from natural
causes before it was over. When peace
was restored the remaining three started
for Cocos to bring back the wealth, but
their boat was driven on the rocks of the
Island and ail on board perished. That
was about 1830.
Hunting the Treasure
These facts have long been current in
this part of the world and many people
believe that the above named treasures
still exist there. The government of
Costa Rica has given a number of per
mits to parties to hunt for them, and not
long ago a squad of soldiers and a scien
tist in charge of the Costa Rican gov
ernment survey went to Cocos accom
panied by a Colorado man who claimed
that he could hold a stick in his hand
and that it would turn over and point
down when he passed over gold. I have
seen men looking for water in the moun
tains of Virginia using the forked limb
of a peach or apple tree in much the
same way. Well, the Colorado man's
charm did not work In Cocos. J don’t
know what was the matter. He went
there, but claimed he had not a fair
trial. %
Another set of treasure hunters came
here about five years ago from Ehgland.
I was at Panama at the time their boat
was in the harbor. That expedition was
headed by Earl Fitswilliam, who is said
to have an Income of $1,000,000 a year and
to own 100,000 acres of land in Ireland.
He had bought a yacht named the Ve
ronique, and had come out with Admiral
Palliser, who at one time was the com
mander of the British fleet on the Pa
cific. The adtnlral had been sent to Cocos
by the government some years before to
Investigate the claims of a man 'framed
Hartford, an Englishman, who had a
concession from Costa Rica to hunt for
this treasure. He was on the Imperteuse
at the time, and he and his sailors did
some digging and then went away. Pal
11; er, however, was confident that the
treasure existed, and he got the earl to
put up $300,000 to purchase this yacht
and equipment. They had a full corps
of men, including sailors and diggers.
They came around through the Strait of
Magellan and made the Island all right.
In looking for the treasure, however, they
used dynamite, and In the explosion which
followed the earl and the admiral were
so badly Injured by rocks that to make
a long story short they went back to
Panama with nothing but disgust for
their pains.
Another party started out to look for
this treasure was headed by a New
foundland woman, the widow of a ship
chandler. She went over to the Pacific
and outfitted a ship from Victoria. Her
captain wras a man named Fred Hackett,
and she had with her a transfer from
Hartford of his permission from the Costa
Rican government to search for treasunre
on Cocos, the understanding being that
the latter was to have half of the find.
When she came to Cocos the Island was
lnhabitated by a castaway who was
dressed like Robinson Crusoe. He had
nothing on but skins of beasts, nnd he
looked crazy. At first he could not speak,
but after they had given him some whisky
he told in broken language his story. He
said he and others had had a conces
sion from Costa Rica to search for this
treasure, but that the others had become
disgusted and left. He could not say
how long he had been on the island. At
first he had kept tally of the days by
nothing a stick, but he lost the stick,
and he had about given up In despair
when the schooner arrived.
In the meantime other parties, Includ
ing some of our canal employes, have
been planning to excavate Cocos, but so
far no one has discovered either the buc
caneer hoanf or the Madonna of gold.
1 am told that concessions can be gotten
from the Costa Rican government if any
one cares to search,
The Hidden Hold of Central America
There is no doubt that there are great
treasures hidden on the islands and
also on the continental part of Central
America. On Mona Island $200,0J0
v/orth of silver is buried. This is not
far from Porto Rico.
I have myself seen here and at Pan
ama at least a half peck of solid gold
images which have been taken from
the old grave mounds of Central Amer
ica. No one knows who burled them
and some suppose that they date back
lor hundreds and e ven thousands of
yearn. I saw A quart of these Images
in the bank of Khrman & Co. In Pan
ama City and I am told that Minor O.
Keith has a collection of them In New
York which Is said to be worth sev
eral hundred thousand dollars.
I took a photograph of the Images in
the Panama bank. They ar© of all sizes
from that of a man's thumb nail to
the palm of your hand. Rome are quite
heavy and the gold in them must he
worth several hundreds dollars Rome
represent frogs, others birds, and some
are \Yomen with a hawk head of Hath
or, or what looks very much like it.
Indeed, the most of the images have an
Egyptian cast and they remind one of
tbe treasures found in the pyramids.
The most of these came from the Chirl
qui province in the northern part of
the Panama republic, where it Joins
Costa Rica.
I am told that a large part of the
Keith collection came from Costa Rica,
and that they are now finding some
about the Gulf of Agua Pule©. At San
Jose there is a Jeweler who has some
of these images for sale, and down here
at Punta Arenas I have been offered
two very fine ones for $S0 and $40
apiece. I should Judge that this equals
Just about half the value of the gold
in them. Pr. spencer Franklin, who
has them for sale for a native, says
that thpy are probably one or two thou
sand years old.
The workmanship on these images is
exquisite. Rome of them are beautifully
carved and some are lifelike in feature.
Among the treasures of Mr. Rhrman are
a great many breastplates of so'ld gold.
These are round disks with a nipple in
the center ranging in diameter from
two to six inches. The gold Is n thin
plate and is unalloyed. He has also a
bracelet which would fit around the
biceps of a prize fighter and which Is
about four inches wide. This is also
f* solid gold.
J understand that many such images
are being discovered and that in all
cases they come from those grave
mounds of the past.
Some of the lakes of the Central Ameri
can highlands are said to contain treas
ures put there by the Indians at the time
they were persecuted by the Spaniards.
There is one on the top of a mountain in
Columbia, not far from Panama, out of
which Images like those I have described
have been taken. The most of them have
teen found near the shore, and it is said
that a party of Englishmen are now
planning to drain the lake and mine the
bed for the treasures. They are making
a tunnel to let off the water.
I heard of similar treasuro hoards in
this same region of South American there
la one in Ecuador said to contain the
treasures of the Incas, and another in
Peru where It Is claimed that something
like $16,000,000 worth of gold was thrown
at the time Pizarro broke faith with Ala
hualpa and caused his death.
You may remember part of the story.
Plsarro had conquered Peru and was
taking away the silver by the shipload
That metal was so common that the
.Spaniards had their horses shod with it.
It was at this time that Plstarro, the
Spanish general, had captured the Inca
king Atahualpa. who was also a sort of
a prophet und high priest of the people.
Me offered to ransom the latter If the
Indians would fill the room In which th#
king was imprisoned with gold.
The room was seventeen feet wide,
twenty feet long and nine feet high. The
gold was brought In in great quantities.
It comprised gold platen torn from the
TeYnple of the Sun at Cuzco, and cases
wonderfully carved, Immense gold basins
and hundreds of drinking cups and dishes
of various kinds. There was so much
of It that it took the Indian goldsmith
a whole month, working day and night,
to cast It Into ingots, and so much that
It filled the room, as Pizarro demanded.
After Pizarro got the gold he treacher
ously killed the king, and It Is said that
the Indians then gathered together such
gold as they had left and buried It Jn
that unknown lake.
There are said to be gold hoards at
the bottom of Make Titicaca, but that
can never bp drained. There are other
geld hoards In the nitrate fields farther
south, and Indeed no one knows just
whore the greatest treasures of the past
lie. It Is very probable that there Is
some on the Isthmus of Panama, and the
excavation of old Panama City, which Is
about to begin when the new road there is
completed, will unearth some which were
hidden at the time that Morgan took and
destroyed the city. Morgan is said to
have taken away 175 horse loads of Jewels,
silver and gold, and he tortured the peo
ple to make them confess where the
money was hidden.
APictureOf
THe Images-**
If treasures ore found at old Panama
It is not Improbable that, jewels and
pearls may be found among them. The
waters adjoining Panama and other parts
of Central America have long been noted
for their magnificent pearls. Some of
those in the crown of Spain came from
here, and In the cathedrals in Seville and
Toledo are strings and clusters of peai Is
which the early explorers took from the
Indians. Columbus met. natives wearing
ropes of pearls while he was in this part
of the world, and he took one pearl
weighing 300 grains home to the Queen.
Cortez found black pearls which cama
from the waters of Lower California,
while Ferdinand Da Sota is said to have
robbed one of the Indian queens of t
great string of fine pearls.
There are pearl fisheries ^ust outside
Panama bay and the diving is going on
now. I find pearls for sale here in Punta
Areras and the waiters at. the hotel ta
bles will untie knots In their handker
chiefs and ask you to buy them between
bites. Home of the pearls are only seeds,
but others are as big us a pea. In the
stores you will see little bottles of pearls
which can be bought by the lot for all
sorts of prices, but as a rule the pearls
are either very small or not perfectly
round. I was told that one was taken
out a few years ago which weighed 50
karats and 1 have heard of another
which a 12-year-old boy found In an oys
ter and sold for $4000. It was taken to
Panama and there sold to a banker and
in time It reached Paris, where It was
valued at 110,00*1. Not long ago some
pearls were found near our canal sani
tarium on Taboga Island, and one of
them brought $2000.
The most of the pearls, however, ''ome
from the Pearl islands, which lie on the
west side of Panama bay, about 30 miles
from the islands on which we are now
building tho fortifications which com
mand the western end of the Panama
canal. There are 10 of these Islands, the
most of them small. They are populated
chiefly by the Indians, who are engaged
in pearl diving. The men use diving suits
and they brng up the pearl oysters in the
shell. After the shells are on board
the boats they are opened and the oys
tern fir'' searched over for pearls, the
shells being cleaned and sold to make but
tons, knife handles and other such things
In which mother of pearl is employed. 1
am told that the shells found are worth
about as much as the pearls and that
they are the sure part of the profit. The
divers may work for days without find
ing a pearl, but the shells always sell,
and It is on that account that the* busi
ness Is profitable. In talking with one of
the dealers here 1 asked him whether
it was true tnat pearls could be made
by putting a grain of sand Inside an oys
ter so that it irritated Its flesh and mane
it secrete the solution which composes
the pearl. He replied that ho had no
faith in the theory and that he had found
pearls of considerable size in very voting
oysters and that there was no rule as
to just where they were. Said he;
“A pearl if like an onion. It is made
of a series of coats and you can grind
off the outside one to find those within
Intact. As a rule the pearls now found
are small and not of great value, al
though there Is no telling when fine ones
may be discovered.
A Pearl as Riff as an F?e
T am told that the Pearl Islands have
be#n fished for pearls for almost :100 ' ears,
and that pearl fishing Is carried on all
along this coast from southern California
to Mexico. The black pearls of the Oulf
of Lower California have boon exported
since the days of Cortez, and more t ar
1200 ounces were shipped to Spain In "no
year. That was In 1715. About two years
ago a diver found a p ail as big as a
patrldgo ege. and It was sent to Paris,
where It sold for $5000. That pearl was
of a light steel color, but greenish black
at the base.
On the other side of the isthmus pearls
have been found off tire coast of South
America. Tt is said that Venezuela is pro
ducing something like $900,000 worth every
year. It Is that region which Is called
the “Oulf of Pearls.’’ and it was from
near there on the Island of Margerlta,
that a pearl of 250 carats was taken in
1579. That pearl was worth perhaps *50,.
000. It became the property of the King
of Spain. Another gem which adorns the
Spanish crown came from the waters of
Mexico. It weighs 44)0 grains.
Two Thousand Tons of Blue Books May Bury Their Makers
BY HAYDEN CHURCH
London. November 2.—(Special.)—
John Bull's blue book factory is going
to move. It is a case of got to. John
Bull has been publishing “blue books,"
‘ which is the name given to all gov
ernment reports in this country, though
some of them are white and others red
—for over 150 years now, and in that
time he has issued nearly 400,000 of
them. The complete collection of blue
books which is housed in Mr. Bull’s
factory weighs over 2000 tons, so L
was stated the other day by the blue
book maker-in-chief, who added that
this weight is far too heavy a burden
for the walls and floors of the ratner
rickety old eighteenth century build
ing where the blue bookmaking In
dustry has been carried on for just
fchort of a century.
This building, which is known offi
cially as his majesty’s stationery office,
Is in Princes street, Westminster, just
one American block from the famous
Abbey, and it looks every day of its
nge. A few years ago, pillars were
put in to strengthen It, but 2000 tons
of hard facts take a lot of supporting
and the denizens of the stationery of
fice, who number forty-odd, are living
in terror for fear some part of it should
give way all of a sudden and they be
buried under an avalanche of blue
books. Lack of space is another rea
son why the stationery ofTice will not
r< main—ahem !—stationary—but will
move across the Thames after a bit
to a site near Waterloo station where
a new home is now being built for it.
^ The new building is being construct
ed on the American principle of con
crete over Iron, and will be fully equal
to the task of supporting the tremen
dous and constant increasing burden
which it will be ca.led upon to bear.
Ibis will be a relief to the compilers
of blue books, for ypis no fun to have
a couple of thousand tons of informa
tion likely to fall on you at any mo
ment.
It costs John Bull over five million
dollars a year to print his blue books,
which are probably the dul’est reading
on earth. Th^r** are exceptions, >f
course, a lc' of ptories of real life as
dramatic as novel‘st ever invented hav.
li.g first been told between the covers
of these soh^r reports o' various
branches o' the British eroverrmerr. bn?
as a general rule 'he rhrne* "as dry 3s
a blue book" is nm^ly justified
The one blue book in a thousand
that makofl good reading is the reoort
of some British commander in Asia or
Africa on the results of a “punitive"
^Lor other expedition into an unknown
dangeroua region: the annual rr r.ort
■ of one of his majesty’s admin'etrators
* In odd corners of the emnire—’ ho are
Virtual rulers of th* territories for
Which they are responsible—vvPh pic
tpresque account" of their duties and
of the ways of the natives, or that of
one of King George’s consuls—who
mostly aren’t to be compared w*th Un
«!• flam's when it comes to alertness,
ute and careful study. When the voyage
was over, scientists of many nations, In
cluding Ernest Haeckel, the famous au
thor of 'The Riddle of the Universe,"
were asked to write on the results of the
expedition, and their articles are Includ
ed in the biggest of all blue books, which
Is published in 50 parts, finely illustrated
with colored prints. The price of it prob
ably will remain a record. Generally
speaking, the top price for a blue book \n
30 shillings or about >7.50.
On an average 3000 blue books are pub
lished every year, most of them having
been asked for by members of the house
of parliament. That is the usual genesis
of a blue book. When one of the mem
bers of the house of commons has a fan
cy to know what any particular depart
ment of his majesty's government is up
to, he asks to have a report of its activi
ties laid on the table of the house. Then
It Is the business of the chief of the said
department to prepare a report which,
after the house has discussed It, generally
is ordered to be printed. When It Is in
cold type, It is called a "bluo book, ’
though It may lack the customary azure
binding and be, officially, either a "white
paper’’ or a red book. All acts of parlia
ment are published In blue book form.
Certain government departments, like tho
admiralty and the war office Issue their
reports as "blue books" automatically,
and a few records such as the reports of
military operations are “presented to both
Building John Bull’s New Blue Book
l actory
br.t who occasionally contrive to fur
nish a worlu-feensa».lon, as aid dir Roger
Casement with h»s account of the inn*
doing* ot‘ ihe rubber companies at r'ut
ima>o. Even blue bouaa lute these,
no*.t»ir, ewttontd as'th*.y are, in prosy,
ofliclal language (lor there are lev/
&t>iibi3 aim ,ewer humorists in *he ser
vice of the brnihh govei nrnent), maae
talrly stnf rcaulng, and for every oluo
cock of this kina there are 5oU that
are the absolute limit of uryness. Gov
ernment reports, of course, are not sup
posed to fmnish light literature, but
iiziUsh ones hold the worlds record
tor ponderosity and have any other
known soporific beaten hollow.
The subjects they cover ia..ge from
foreign i elutions to fl es (these latter hi
their capacity as disease carriers), ar.d
there aie bice books on boiler explosions,
on beetles (of the Colorado variety)* and
on the disease of lilac trees. Blue Looks,
of course, can be bought by anybody who
has the strange taste to want to read
them, the lowest price for a single copy
being one cent, or a halfpenny in Eng
lish money. The most expensive blue
book ever issued will cost you $o05 if you
are to invest In it. It gives a complete
account of the round-the-world voyage of
H. Af. S. Challenger, which began in 187i
and ended in lS7d- A lot of leading lights
of the world of science were on board and
the mighty deep and its denizens and veg
The Present Heme of John Bull’s Blue Book Factory, Officially Known as "His Majesty’s Stationery Office’
t
houses by command of his majesty”
(who has nothing whatever to do with
it really), but blue books that are pub
lished In either of these ways are the
exceptions to the general rule.
it is when parliament bun ordered a
government report to be printed that his
majesty's stationery office comes In. Its
head is J. E. Ellis, whose official title is
clerk of publications, and, as suoh, he
is blue book maker in chief. Considering
that he not only has to read every blue
book that is published,-but is responsible
for every last comma and decimal point
therein, he looks surprisingly hearty.
The blue book In embryo comes to El
lis from parliament and he decides which
of the printing firms with which the sta
tionery office has dealings shall have the
Job of putting it in type. There are eight
of these, one of which, whose headquar
ters are in Dr. Johnson's old haunt. Fet
ter Lane, has a monopoly of the actual
sale of blue books. Of course, every gov
ernment department is aifxlous to nave
the blue book recording its activities pub
lished ahead of those of every other de
partment, and the clerk of publications
has to make each one of them wait for
their turn, and incidentally has to see to
it that the cost of publishing every blue
book is kept down to as little as possible.
“It Is hard to say exactly when the
making of blue books began,” said Ellin,
"but we have them here as far back us
1730. What are the first ones about?
Well, they deal with poor laws, local tax
ation, tobacco growing and other subjects
that were of prime importance in those
days. That was before the age of rail
ways and steamboats, of courso, and, in
cidentally before your country had gained
its Independence.
"Wp have our 'best sellers’ among
blue books Just like other publishers,”
the* clerk of publications went on. "Our
editions run from GO to 200.000 copies,
and quite often an edition la entirely
sold out. Last year, for' example, a
blue book on Infantry training was
issued, 200,000 copies being printed at
the price of a shilling each. *11 was
a work that every British soldier who
Is keen on his profession ought to poa
se-“s and the demand was so great that
I doubt if we have more than a few
hundred copies left In stock. Every
year, of course, there la some act of
parliament which. In blue hook form la
in great demand. Last year the on on
which there was perhaps the heaviest
run was the new minegiact, this year
the national Insurance act and the
home rule bill represent our 'best sell
ers.’ ” „
Ellis declared there was romance
even in blue books if one read them
discerningly. Perhaps some day some
body will make an effort to dig out
all the dramatic stories that are
buried away in these tomes of British
officialism, but If so nobody will envy
him the task. Compared with the Job of
wailing through all the hundreds of
thousands of blue books that have been
pu' 11.shed since 1730 the labors of Her
cules appear like a summer afternoon's
loaf in a hammock. The man who ac
complished it, if he survived, would
deserve the Victoria £ross.
Yet It would he hard to name any
thing in Action more thrilling: than
Sir Garnet Wolseley's story of the
Ashanti campaign, as told in the blue
hook library, or the account of Kit
chener's handling of the F&shoda situ
ation In the Upper Nile country. Soon,
too, there Is likely to be a blue book
on the dramatic pursuit und capture
of James Wood Rogers, the American
ivory hunter, by a British punitive ex
pedition in central Africa, a story from
real life that equal* the mo9t exciting
chapters of Haggard's African tales,
and few weeks pass by without bring
ing some queer records between these
dull blue covers.
The stories of the cases that con
before the Judicial committee of ty
privy council alone would make a pi
turesquo volume. This great court o
appeal for the whole empire settle:
disputes between rival god* with the
same imperturbability that it brings^
to squabbles over "tied public, houses
and rival telegraph companies," and its
appellants Include all sorts and con
ditions of men from opulent native
rulers to needy widows and orphans.
The court recently had to settle a case
regarding the custody of an 800-year
old Indian idol, which was supposed to
partake of 11 meals a day and enjoyed
an income of $7000 a year. The blue
hook published in connection with the
case contained sorfto terribly tunny re
ports couched in choice Babu by the
native whom the local courts appoint
ed custodian of the Idol, and also de
scribed how the attendant priests de
coyed pilgrims Into the inner shrine
of the temple where the image dwelt
and there despoiled them of their nose
rings and any loose change they hap
pened to have about them.
A recent blue book, too, this time
embodying the report of the British
governor of Papua, gave a picturesque
account of that one-time cannibal land,
where there is keen rlvaly for the job
of policeman at $2.60 a year, where
wives are paid for In pigs, and where
th< feet of corpses are pointed toward
village after village In the neighbor
hood until a "sign" is elicited which
Is supposed to Indicate the dwelling
place of the person who has slain the
deceased by "witchcraft."
A Queenly Queen
From the Christian Herald.
Carmen Hylva, the queen of Rou
ntania, had her eyes bandaged for
weeks while she laboriously learned to
write Braille, the raised letters for the
tlind. It Is said that not only did her
eyes ache, but her right hand as well;
but by the process she became one of
the most helpful friends the blind peo
ple In all the world have ever had. She
established a school for them where
tney are taught music and many In
dustries. so that they could earn their
own livelihood.

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