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TO SEEK A NEW TREASURE ISLAND
T.R. MacMechen MUCH treasure has been spent In seeking the famous buried treasure of Cocos Island- That niyste rK*s» sea-srept land on* the coast ct Chilt has h«en dug cv«r many times by gold hunters seeking the fabulous millions believed to have been cached there by pirates. Its cost in lost lives cad suffering has made Cocos Island an Island ot Despair. Now comes an amaziug new phase ol the celebrated mystery of the lost loot. It Isn't buried on Cocos Island at all bow, and hasn"t been there for years, according to a remarkable story told by Capt. James Brown, eighty years old, but full of vigor after a life of adven ture studded with tragic and roaiantic Incidents. It was dug up aua hidden on a lonely aad remote isle of the South Seas years ago, buried in caves on a coral island rarely visited even by the rov ing traders! So convincing was the narrative to several hard-headed business men that a steam yacht has been fitted up secret ly in an inlet near to New York, and even now may be on its picturesque cruise. The expedition was organized by George E. Crater jr. of Bensouhurst, who is a lawyer with an office in Mah hattan, and who also represents the Pill Mall Safe Deposit of London. Some of Mr. Crater's friends who are prominent in banking and business in New York have financed the haz ardous venture. Edward F. Carruth ers, a prominent business man of Chi cago, Is also of the party, and others are from St Louis. Capt Brown, white-bearded and | straight as aa Indian despite his age, ' has provided tbat his secret sbail not , die with him. Charts giving the island's exact j longitude and latitude and a diagram- 1 matic key to the cavern that hides the j treasure have been placed In the j vaults of the United States Safety De petit Company, only to be opened if j nothing is heard from the treasure ; seekers after six months. in this I event the secret passes to the immedi- ! &te relatives of those furthering the j quest If successful Brown receives ; one-half of the prize. Nothing could be more gripping than j tbe old seaman's recital of the crafty •cheme by -which, after securing the treasure, every member of the crew was sent to his death except one. That one was Capt. Brown, whom the pirate goia has mocked through a life of misadventure, to be defeated in his pursuit of the yellow loot that once trickled through his fingers. Hers is the grizzled Captain's story, as he dictated it to me at the home of Mr. Crater: "No treasure will ever be found on Cocos Island. I helped dig it up. I saw It and handled It, between three hundred and four hundred tons of it, with my own hands. 1 figured it out to be' sixty millions or thereabout The treasure is gold sovereigns, gold bars, bullion, silver dollars. Some is gold crosses, gold plate and gold ang-ls that they took out of churches, and plenty of diamonds. I was first mate, and wben it came on board I took count and entered It on the book. "Well, we start- 1 shipped as first mate on the schooner Sea Foam—wait. I shipped in New York on board a ves sel bound for Kingston, Jamaica. Signed as second mate. We arrive-, at Kingston and fell in with a skipper, who was Henry Smith, commanding ♦he schooner Sea Foam, 400 tons reg THE INVALID'S REWARD. ffTNTO the sunlight! Roll me Into \\ the sunlit corner of the ve randa." It was the invalid's first spring day out of doors after the long winter. She stretched her hands into the blessed rays and her thin fingers moved as if she could clutch handfuls of the golden glow of the morning. Then she drew the long breath of God's great open. Such an hour of realization of hopes to "get out again was itself a reward of waiting far be yond what any healthy person could know. Circled around most invalids is a guard of defending hands. They are defended from frets and small wor ries, from all greater care and unkind approach. Defense has no such mean ing, the globe around, as it has for the comfort of the sick. Defended from fc/iat and cold, from fear and all labor. a wonderful array of armed love in every street and city, in camps and on sea. Infancy, the invalid, old age,' Financed in New York, Captained by James Brown, a Maine Skipper, They Hunt for $60,000,000 in Gold and Gems TAKEN from Cocos Island and Buried ELSE WHERE—DupIi- cate of Chart in Safe Deposit. ister. I took a hand in a row ne waa in and he asked me to ship with him I signed as first mate. He told me he was fitting out to go pearl fishing Well, we sailed in July, 1850. After we were at sea four days he told me tie was going to Cocos Island, three hun dred miles off Costa Rica, to get some treasure his father buried there jn 1822. Then he told me about his father, Jon athan Smith. He commanded the schooner Black Witch, out of Salem, Mass. Smith told me his father was on the west coast off Peru, when the Spaniards were fighting there in 1820. Before his father died, Smith told me, jhe gave him the secret. Every one | was robbing right and left in Peru, j The pirates Benito and Blair and some | other pirates were picking up Spanish [treasure ships. Smith said his father these are our treasures, la earlier centuries they were accounted bur dens, now these are proudly carried. This changed treatment is a milestone of progress. When scxe shut-in reads this, some one who leans upon a staff, let him be glad that he is the proud charge of all good men and women. The sensation of resting is to the] invalid far more vivid than to the! healthy person. Rest itself is to us i all a most exquisite feeling, though i all too little praised. After fatigue.! repose is nature's own wages. But j to the sick person the rest that la, woven in like threads of gold be- j tween painful hours is simply be-1 yond all description. It has all the j seeming of luxury. It ir. a bed of rosea, j it is physical joy. The cessation of; pain, with the wonderful conscious-1 ness of repose, has often been said | to be worth the price of the pain. The ] very nerves that in health give us pleasure have yet one higher power,' and that is their release from con- '■ veylng a pang. It is this often overlooked fact that got in touch, with some of the oUierjs, with some of the Spanish ships. Didn't say old Smith was a pirate. Howso ever, I draw my conclusions ou thai- He took all their treasure from some of them and tne other pirates kldtj tbeir share. They took the treasure to Cocos Island and buried it iv three parts, separate. They were af-aid of being pursued by the Chilian fleet that was pursuing the Spaniards. "We sailed out of Jamaica short handed. Only twelve men and the cap | tain, first mate, second mate, and cook. Well, we put in to Bahia, and the cap tain picked out ten or twelve and ten more at Rio, lit at Buenos Ayres. and then we rounded the Horn through the Straits. We called at Valparaiso, then Callao and sailed straight lor Cocos Island. Arrived in September. We had a good English longboat and went ashore. The captain had charts where the treasure was buried. Right up to then I took it for a yarn- Well, the yarn was true. In three places it was buried at different parts of the island, and that and gales took us about six months to get It off. It wasn't burled very deep, and it was in boxes and ; barrels, some in chests and jars. We sent a different gang off every day to dig—changed them about that way and served short grog. The captain stayed I ashore when the digging was on. I ! stayed aboard and weighed the treas -1 ure. The dead weight was about three ! hundred and eighty-six tons, if I re member. "Well, all was on board. This was about February. 1851. We set .sail for the South Seas. The captain gave out Iwe was bound for Australia. That was In some measure explains tbe allow ance of pain in the realm of a benevo lent Creator. What waves of thank fulness are at this moment moviug round the human world as tides travei the seas, thankfulness for the sweet repose after the pain has died away! The consciousness of courage in its highest self-compliment belongs only to the 6ick. "1 know —do I not know —that 1 have been brave?" Who does the most complaining in this world? Not the invalids. For hours on hours they lie there, secretly resolving. "Let me make myself less a sorrow to others than 1 was yester day.'' And these are victories, grander far than those of war. When these moral conquests are extended over months, perhaps years, the he roic sufferer's room often becomes & chamber of comfort to all who are unhappy. What a triumph when to the cbair of some grand martyr come the friends of a wide circle that her gentle hand may wipe away their tears. These are the uncrowned queens of our race. En almost every home there is a name above every name, that of the sweet and patient invalid. "No treasure mill ever le found on Co cob Island. I helped dig it up. I saw it and handled it—be tween three hutulred and four hundred tons of it — with my own hands. The treasure is gold soy- er<*i<7»is. OoM barn, buliwn, silver dollars — some in gold j tresses, gold plate and gold angels that j they took out of churches, and plenty of ft He. A ship with sixty millions la irea6ure aboard ain't nothing to fool with—leastways it's bad with forty or I fifty men that dug it in port, aud every one of 'em claiming prize money, and only twenty-eight years after churehea was scuttled and Women living that lost their precious stones; a crew spinning the tale and the whole world reading in the papers. Smith lied. | After we was at sea seven days he told me to bear off the track. We had o find a good island. When I heard that I knew every mother's son of that crew would never see home. A thing in the captain's eye told me that. It was a short shrift for the poor devils- It was 4 o'clock tn the morning, before daylight, we sighted an island. As soon as the captain came on deck he said it was the island he was look ing for. It lies some three thousand miles off South America. That's aa near as I can say. We didn't stand in close for the reefs. We had it rough taking the treasure ashore in the longboat; two typhoons set us back and the surf was rough in good weather. So it was a long pull to take the boat between ship and shore. "The captain built a hut on shore. Eight of the crew was shifted to the hut. Then we searched the island for a good place to put the treasure- I stayed on the ship with sixteen picked men—them that was the most likely not to get ideas in their heads. The captain took sixteen men ashore to beat the island for caves. The eight men in the hut manned the boat. W T ell, we found a cave and it opened on the sea; was full of water. It ran up in the mountain, and there was an open ing higher up, about the centre of the island. We closed up the sea end; I sawed out blocks of coral and set 'em |in brick-like. Then we pumped the water out- If they was ever moved the sea would fill it. W r e moved all treas i ure ashore and It was put away high up in the cave, all but a half million In gold sovereigns that was left in the but. Seven months It took to get the cargo off, with the rough coast and bad weather and short-handed shifts. You see, the men they died off; first 1 I one he'd go. then another. ' "The captain he kept laying it to the climate of the island and the things they was eating. He shot plenty of birds and caught fish. He gave the j men some of th? ship's medicine chest, but they just kept dying. The eight I men in the hut they died first. Then be put eight more in the hut and they went the same way. Looked like it might be something on the island. After every man but the captain, me and the cook was dead I told myself the captain had poisoned the men. The ! cook comes to me when the captain | was down below, and he was pale about j tbe gills he was that deadly afraid. J Then he asks me if he was the next | I told him not while we had to eat. "Well, it was October, 1851, when ! Smith gave the order to burn tbe | schooner. We fitted out tbe longboat i and 6towed away the half million sov | ereigns. Then we went to Australia. I When we was out four weeks and well ! past the Feejees the cook comes to me and said he didn't like the way the captain was acting. He said the way be looked at him made him feel un comfortable like. The captain and me had the watch about. In the mid dle watch that night I was sleeping forward; just with one eye open. It was the captain's watch at the wheel. I saw him lash the wheel and come forward, I knew it was the cook be fore me and I laid tight. He bent over and he passed his left hand three ttmes across my face. He went right to my belt and be slipped my pistol out and took all the loads out and put back empties. When it came my watch and he fell iv the bunk below 1 went to the magazine and put in good car tridges and said nothing. "Well, about noon I was taking ob servations wben I beard a shot and I pulled ray pistol. The captain came toward me, grinning, and he says: 'Well, I shot the cook. Why don't you shoot me?' I had my gun in my hand. I said: 'I don't want to shoot you.' 'Well, by God, then I'll shoot you,' he said. &y pistol was on the aim and his arm was down. I shot him through the head. Then 1 heaved him over to the sharks. But I sewed up the cook and gave him burial. Then I set sail and steered to Australia. I was a good navigator by the stars. "I had plenty of time to think it all out I didn't worry about the crew; they was tramps. Howsoever, 1 didn't suspect but Smith might have some one waiting for him to come back who had the secret about Cocos Island. It was like him to give a man trouble after he was dead, not that I believe in spooks. Well, I decided to lose myself. Australia was a good place. Only convicts lived there then. Eng land sent them to Tasmania and they used to get away and get into Aus tralia. They peopled Australia. 1 steered for Cochin Bay, southeast of Melbourne. Then 1 run In and found a deserted place and 1 carried the half million of treasure ashore and buried it In the rocks, but 1 held out $20,000 that 1 put in a belt under my clothes. Then I took the longboat and put out to sea. Wben 1 was off the reefs outside, where the surf pounded hard, I stood off shore a mile, i set her sail and lashed tbe wheel to run her aground. Then l jumped over board and swam ashore through the surf. And 1 was hard put to make a little beach between the rocks. I saw the longboat racing toward the wind and leaving me behind. I'd set her course true. As I came up on a comber I saw her pointing right for the rocks. She struck hard and went to pieces. Capt. James Brown, who buried the treasure on a South Sea island. "Then I started to tramp to Ben digo, the gold diggings. In four days I arrived. I worked there for wages, all the time snickering as 1 saw my pile stowed safe down by the sea. I was lucky then. I found a nugget. Then I wanted to go to Portland Bay. 1 went back to the biding place and got enough to rent a Government farm. Nobody could buy from tbe Govern ment. I went Into sheep raising and stayed there fifteen years. Then it was time for a holiday. I had plenty and I dug up the rest on shore and went to London and got caught—got a wife. I had my fling and lived it through. Got into bad company and bad business. The land sharks they got me, where I dodged them in the water at Cochin Bay. You see, I was a fool. I owned that sixty millions, hey-ho! I thought but to whistle if I wanted it. I was broke. It was time, so I turned to Australia after four years in London town as a fine buck. Yah, they trimmed me, as you say. "I got a pilot's license at Melbourne and back I goes to sea. This was in 1869. I had to earn the money to go j after the treasure. Once I got enough j together after nigh ten years' work, j I outfitted a small sloop but got wrecked on one of the Samoas. That J settled that. That was in 1879. I was , downhearted in Australia, so I shipped i to the United States with the wife and j buys a farm in New England. After being ashore 1 went to sea again in four years. 1 got the money itch to go after the treasure, so I went to filibustering in Cuba and Central America and Venezuela, I was at it up to 1898. when the United States' licked Spain. Well, I was in prison! for getting too thick in revolutions, j tut IJtiad an eye on the Pacific ail ths while. I got twenty thousand dollars together smuggling arms in during the war. In 1900 I got a schooner and laid my plans to go after the treasure, this time sure. 1 outfitted her in New York, but the customs seized the boat. They knew Brown. Then I was out j again and I had no money. Right J after that I fell and broke my neck, i That was the way Mr. Crater heard ! my story. I was afraid my shrift was' a short one, so I told part of the se- i cret to him. But I got better and I kept the island to myself. But I told j him about the treasure and he prom-: ised to outfit a boat. Well, it looks like we'd get that treasure this time." Mr. Crater, speaking for himself and his friends while plans for the vessel were shaping, said: "Myself and my associates are suffi ciently impressed by Capt. Brown and his statement of the existence of this treasure to furnish the vessel and money to enable him to go to the island of which he alone claims the secret. I do not care to say where the yacht is being outfitted, as that would Interefere with our plans, ia ttte matter of annoyance from out siders, a desire to be very careful in selecting a crew and a further desirs to avoid being trailed on our Journey from either this country or from some other part of the world if our plans are spread broadcast- For the same reasons we prefer not to make public the exact date on which the yacht will sail or anything about the boat Ths same precautions will attend our movements after we have arrived at the island if it is our good fortune to load the vessel with the treasure. We do not live in the days of pirates, but we are not foolish enough to take everybody into our confidence. Other gentlemen who are associated with me in this enterprise are busi ness men who prefer not to court the kind of publicity that such an adven ture invites. That is all I can say about the expedition." Capt. Brown's story is at least the flrst consistent explanation of tbe rea son many other expeditions have re turned empty handed from Cocos Isl and. History gives considerable color to the tradition of buried pirate hoards on its waste. Lord Cochrane, an adventur ous English nobleman who was made admiral of the Chilian fleet sent into Peruvian waters to capture Spanish prizes, tells in a book he wrote of the revolution how he pursued Spanish frigates convoying $30,000,000 of golden booty taken by the Span iards from Lima. Cochrane and the Chilian Gen. San Martin split over this treasure. Cochrane scoured the seas but failed to find the Spanish vessels, and there is no record that any one of them ever reached Spain. Hovering off the coast were notori ous pirates. Benito de Sota, the most rapacious, was afterward executed at Gibraltar. Cochrane captured Blair, an English pirate, right at Cocos Island during his chase of the Spanish galleons. The following day, at the same island, he captured one of his own ships which had deserted with a [ mutinous crew and turned pirate. 1 These records serve to give a founda j tion to the tradition that Cocos Island ! was a haunt of pirate craft. But ; while Cochrane got the pirates at j Cocos he found nothing on board and jit never occurred to him to search the I scraggy little waste that has since lured so many diggers for treasure.