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A Third-rate Ship Sinks with 10 Tons of Gold Aboard *

The HMS Sussex is on a secret mission. The Sussex is a third-rate ship-of-the-line leading a convoy of over 40 war ships and 166 merchantmen into the Mediterranean. Convoy protection is a normal function of the British Navy, but the Sussex is carrying its own secret cargo... 10 tons of gold coins worth over 344 million dollars (as of December 2015). The gold is destined for the Duke of Savoy. As the convey passes the rock of Gibraltar, a sudden storm sends HMS Sussex to the bottom. Only two sailors will survive and the Admiral's body will wash up on shore, dressed in his nightshirt. [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
One can only guess why gold was going to the Duke of Savoy, so let's guess. The War of the Grand Alliance against France was in progress. Savoy had almost quadrupled his army and took the war to French soil, but in 1695 the Duke signed a secret peace treaty with France. If gold was headed to the Duke in 1694, it may have been to help with military expenses. (Or maybe it was a really big bribe, but what are the chances of that? Perish the thought.) When the gold went to the bottom, the Duke cut his losses and made peace. Recently the wreck of the Sussex may have been found off the coast of Spain but currently the exploration project has been put on hold until Spain can get guarantees that the exploration company simply won't sail off with all the treasure. It happens. [5] [6]

It's the Bank of ENGLAND! What Could Go Wrong?

In the war against France, King William the 3rd of England is running out of money, especially after the recent disastrous Battle of Beachy Head. He needs to build a modern navy, but the King can't get credit to save his life. If he cannot win this war (or at least not lose it) he will literally lose his life and the previous King James the 2nd will return from France to take the British throne. So, in order to get financing, King William starts the Bank of England and allows the bank to handle the British government accounts. This close association between the government and the bank lends respectability to the Bank of England. People start making deposits; the bank lends that money to England and the King builds his navy. [7] [8]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
People want to trust their government, so when the government puts its faith in a bank, the people figure that they can't get hurt too badly if they put faith in the bank too. This was how Congress and President Bush got caught during the Subprime Mortgage Crisis. The government implied that losses from failed subprime mortgages would be covered because certain financial institutions were "too big to fail." Well... apparently some institutions were just the right size to fail along with a lot of individuals such as the actor, William Devane. He played the President of the United Stated on the TV series '24'. Now I see him on TV commercials trying to sell gold. Thank you, Mr. President. I'll look into that. This is called "an argument from authority" and in William Devane's case, a FAKE authority. Since the news media treats the President of the United States as if he is an expert on the economy, and if he tells people to buy gold, then that is best thing to do. Right? Don't bet on it. [9] [10] [11]

A Chapel for the Shroud of Turin

The city of Turin is located within Duchy of Savoy. Several years ago the Turin Cathedral began construction of a chapel to house the Shroud of Turin. That construction is completed this year. The shroud is purported to be the cloth that the body of Jesus was wrapped in when his body was removed from the cross and placed in a temporary tomb. The actual history of the cloth has not been well documented until after the mid-1400s. It will remain the property of the House of Savoy until 1983 when it will be transferred to the Catholic Church in Rome. [12] [13] [14] [15]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Most people want to know if it really is the death shroud of Jesus. I'm not sure how one would prove it for sure. Carbon-dating was done on the cloth, and that places the date at no earlier than 1260. That was approximately when reports on the existence of the cloth begin. I'm not sure that it matters whether the shroud is the actual one. If someone made an error, then it was an error. If the cloth never existed, would Christianity dissolve into nothing? I doubt it.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1694, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. HMS Sussex 1694 - Shipwreck found off Gibraltar by Oydessy Marine. Andalucia.com (2015). Retrieved on 15 December 2015. “Research indicates that her Admiral also had a secret mission: to pay a large sum of money to the Duke of Savoy, an ally of Britain in the War of the League of Augsburg. This was a coalition, also also known as the Grand Alliance, against the Sun King, Louis XIV, whose expansionist ambitions for France they wanted to curb.”
  2. HMS Sussex (1693) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 15 December 2015. “As the flagship of Admiral Sir Francis Wheler, she set sail from Portsmouth on 27 December 1693, escorting a fleet of 48 warships and 166 merchant ships to the Mediterranean.”
  3. HMS Sussex Facts - HMS Sussex History - HMS Sussex Information. Monaco Rare Coins (2015). Retrieved on 15 December 2015. “At the time the ship was believed to merely be a member of the British Navy fleet fighting in the battle against the French Forces. But nearly 310 years later it has been revealed that the British Admiral was really part of a secret diplomatic mission.”
  4. Gold Price Calculator (2015). Retrieved on 15 December 2015. “On December 15, 2015, the price per ounce of gold is $1,076.90.”
  5. Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 15 December 2015. “In 1695 and 1696, he secretly negotiated a separate treaty with Louis XIV of France which included the return of Pinerolo to Savoy.”
  6. Alex Shrugged notes:, a "third-rate" ship-of-the-line is actually the best all around ship for the type of broadside war tactics that they used near the end of the 17th century. Thus "third-rate" is not a disparaging label. It simply means that it carries 80 guns on two decks.
  7. Lombard Street: A Description of the Money Market. gutenberg.org (2015). Retrieved on 15 December 2015.
  8. Bank of England - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 28 August 2015. “England's crushing defeat by France, the dominant naval power, in naval engagements culminating in the 1690 Battle of Beachy Head, became the catalyst for England's rebuilding itself as a global power. England had no choice but to build a powerful navy. No public funds were available, and the credit of William III's government was so low in London that it was impossible for it to borrow the £1,200,000 (at 8 per cent) that the government wanted. To induce subscription to the loan, the subscribers were to be incorporated by the name of the Governor and Company of the Bank of England. The Bank was given exclusive possession of the government's balances, and was the only limited-liability corporation allowed to issue bank notes. The lenders would give the government cash (bullion) and issue notes against the government bonds, which can be lent again. The £1.2m was raised in 12 days; half of this was used to rebuild the navy. As a side effect, the huge industrial effort needed, from establishing iron-works to make more nails to agriculture feeding the quadrupled strength of the navy, started to transform the economy. This helped the new Kingdom of Great Britain – England and Scotland were formally united in 1707 – to become powerful. The power of the navy made Britain the dominant world power in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The establishment of the bank was devised by Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax, in 1694, to the plan which had been proposed by William Paterson three years before, but not acted upon. He proposed a loan of £1.2m to the government; in return the subscribers would be incorporated as The Governor and Company of the Bank of England with long-term banking privileges including the issue of notes. The Royal Charter was granted on 27 July through the passage of the Tonnage Act 1694.”
  9. Subprime mortgage crisis - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 15 December 2015. “Examples of vulnerabilities in the public sector included: statutory gaps and conflicts between regulators; ineffective use of regulatory authority; and ineffective crisis management capabilities. Bernanke also discussed 'Too big to fail' institutions, monetary policy, and trade deficits.”
  10. William Devane Rosland Capital Commercial: Protect Your IRA. YouTube (2015). Retrieved on 15 December 2015. “After the economic collapse in 2008, the government bailed out the banks, but who bailed you out?”
  11. James Heller - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 15 December 2015. “In season 9 it is revealed that Heller is the President of the United States.”
  12. Chapel of the Holy Shroud - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 9 December 2015. “The chapel was constructed to house the Shroud of Turin (Sindone di Torino), a religious relic believed by many to be the burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth.”
  13. Turin - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 9 December 2015. “Turin is well known as the home of the Shroud of Turin, the football teams Juventus F.C. and Torino F.C., the headquarters of automobile manufacturers FIAT, Lancia and Alfa Romeo, Iveco and as host of the 2006 Winter Olympics and, in the same year, the 37th Chess Olympiad. Several International Space Station modules, such as Harmony and Columbus, were also manufactured in Turin. It was the capital of the Duchy of Savoy from 1563, then of the Kingdom of Sardinia ruled by the Royal House of Savoy and finally the first capital of the unified Italy.”
  14. Shroud of Turin - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 9 December 2015. “The Shroud of Turin or Turin Shroud (Italian: Sindone di Torino) is a length of linen cloth bearing the image of a man that is believed by some Christians to be the burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth. Radiocarbon dating has dated it to the Medieval period. The shroud is kept in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, northern Italy.”
  15. Turin Cathedral - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 9 December 2015. “The Chapel of the Holy Shroud, the current resting place of the Shroud of Turin, was added to the structure in 1668–94.”

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