The Gold Mines of Nova Scotia, Oak Island, and the works of William Shakespeare.
One of the enduring mysteries associated with Oak Island is the said discovery of pottery mercury flasks on the north end of the Island in 1937. The most popular theory as to why these flasks may be there includes the use of mercury for conserving any documents that may be stashed in the money pit. This is an interesting theory in that even Sir Francis Bacon had written of this method of document preservation and it is indeed some of his works that many theorize as being hidden in the Money Pit.
(Doug Crowell: Blockhouse investigations: https://www.oakislandcompendium.ca/blockhouse-blog/mercury-flasks-on-oak-island)
Despite this theory there is another possible explanation as to why these vials of mercury were present on Oak Island. It would be important to obtain some of the pottery fragments and place them into a known typology of period ceramics. Catalogs of ceramic types and date ranges are very well documented and any fragments remaining could be placed into a relative date range. This does not require carbon dating at all.
Some of my research indicates that this mercury could have also been used in primitive mining operations in the search for gold. Early techniques using mercury to extract gold from a soil matrix or ore do not include smelting or heating the ore but in crushing it and mixing it with mercury in an apparatus known as as arrastra. Mercury attracts gold like a magnet. In this process ore or gold bearing earth is placed in a small structure that resembles a stone well extending from three to four feet above the ground surface with the bottom often lined with compacted clay or other stones. (This author has found arrastras associated with the very early period of the California Gold rush). Again this method does not require any smelting operations and separates the gold from the matrix in which it was found.
In the 1860’s a well recorded Gold Rush took place in Nova Scotia including along the Gold River which empties into Mahone Bay just north of Oak Island. It may be possible that this gold deposit was known of by early explorers and investors in the colonial ventures that included what is now Nova Scotia. In short this gold could have been clandestinely mined in an effort to keep this deposit’s existence from royal interests. This effort may have begun as early as the expeditions of Sir Humphrey Gilbert in 1581. This may represent an alternate theory as to what is going on at Oak Island and why the Money Pit was constructed in the first place. Alternately this gold could have been used by Charles I in the English Civil War which he eventually lost possibly resulting in the continued working of this deposit in secret by his former supporters who opposed the Parliamentary regime that had ousted the King.
Coincidentally Gilbert was personal friends with Philip Sidney who had even planned to go on one of his voyages to the New World. This is interesting in that Sidney had also planned to accompany his other friend Sir Francis Drake on his circumnavigation voyage. Since Sidney was one of Queen Elizabeth’s favorite courtiers she prevented him from going on both of these voyages. It may be that Sidney’s association with these two men is the real reason that the original Oak Island Money Pit folklore story was included in Sidney’s “Arcadia” which he finished in 1580.
Records that state Gilbert went to Nova Scotia dispute many others that say he only went to Newfoundland and lost his life when his ship the Squirrel sank on its return voyage to England. Gilbert’s claim to Newfoundland represents the earliest English claim to any land in North America. Some of the following theory may involve him going to Nova Scotia and noting gold there and after this it becoming a secret of those that had invested in his efforts to claim “Norumbega.”
There are many aspects of Gilbert’s life that associate him with a circle of people who were known to be included in the intelligence circles of Queen Elizabeth and James I. This would of course include Philip Sidney, John Florio, Ben Jonson, Sir Francis Bacon, Francis Walsingham and many others. Indeed three of the major players in this story are even suspects as to who actually had created the works of Shakespeare. Gilbert’s life story reads like a who’s who of period intelligence gathering concerns. It is not out of the realm of possibility that this group of people had known of something important and used their intelligence gathering skills to hide the truth of this saga from the public at large.
Any source that states Gilbert went to Nova Scotia seems to be only speculation with no solid sources found to date. For instance the wikipedia for the Nova Scotia Gold Rush states that Gilbert could have gone there and found gold and this notion is repeated in many other sources with no documentation. Given this we may examine the era of French and Scottish occupation of Nova Scotia in the era of Charles I as being the time period in which any natural gold deposits could have been exploited in Nova Scotia in a secret manner. At this time there would have been enough people present in Nova Scotia to make this feasible. This fits my theory of united French and Scottish families working together to make a separate country out of Nova Scotia during this same era. It may have not been a secret treasure of relics and Templar gold that had been left in Nova Scotia but a much more complex story.
In my studies I found what seems to be references to the Money Pit in Philip Sidney’s literary work entitled “Arcadia.” As it turns out Sidney invested in and was awarded a large portion of what would be Nova Scotia by Gilbert as part of the claim he made while in Newfoundland or possibly during his unrecorded visit to “Arcadia.” Philip Sidney had a personal claim to Nova Scotia land and this makes it even more amazing that the story of the Money Pit appears in his “Arcadia.” Is it possible that Sidney’s book was even the reason the French named the region “Acadia” which is French for “Arcadia?” This may be true. Other Shakespeare suspects such as Bacon and John Florio also held interests in Jamestown, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia. Sidney and Gilbert held close personal associations with all these people.
We do know that later in about 1620 (though sources vary on the date) that the Baron of Nova Scotia and Earl of Stirling William Alexander amended Sidney’s “Arcadia” and added a chapter that linked a kind of weak spot in the original story together. This did not include the portion that refers to the Money Pit but alludes in proper form to what seems to be Scottish history. Alexander may have been intentionally attempting to add Scottish imagery to a book that he knew referred to his dominions in Nova Scotia. As a courtier of both James I and Charles I William Alexander had a personal association with Philip Sidney, Florio, and Bacon. It is also likely that Alexander had been associated with John and Robert Beale as well. These two Beale's seemed to have been spies working for Walsingham with John even a member of the "invisible college."
All of this adds weight to the theory of James McQuiston that the Alexander family may have had something to do with the creation of the Money Pit.
William sent his son William to Nova Scotia in an attempt to colonize the region in response to French interests that were there also. The strange story of the Alexander’s being able to maintain their properties in Nova Scotia after Charles I gave it back to France is also interesting given this theory of the exploitation of natural gold deposits. Sir William Alexander had already displayed knowledge of mining operations in his mining efforts in Scotland so it is no surprise he may have also held an interest in repeating his attempts in his new holdings in Nova Scotia.
There are sources that state a man named Alexander Alexander owned what would later be named New Ross, Nova Scotia even after France regained control of Acadia. This is illustrative of the fact that there may have been some inside French and Scottish related families attempting to take advantage of this gold deposit for their own reasons. It is even possible that Charles de La Tour had let these Scottish people stay at that time.
The Baron of Nova Scotia’s previous interest in mining in Scotland would have also made him aware of the use of mercury in association with an arrastra. This is a very low tech method of retrieving gold from ore and earth that also is very toxic and dangerous. Of course in this era they may not have been aware of how toxic mercury really was. There are even some stone laid features at New Ross that may have been misidentified as wells when they are indeed arrastras.
Note: Above link discusses the use of mercury in association.
This scheme may also be noted in the relationship of Charles and Claude de La Tour and the Alexander family. As Claude and his son Charles had embarked for Nova Scotia Claude’s ship was captured and he was returned to face the court of James I. At that point Claude went over to the Scottish interests of Baron of Nova Scotia William Alexander and accepted a Baronetcy of Nova Scotia. There are many aspects to the story of Claude’s capture that indicate it may have been a pre-arranged set up. Eventually Charles de la Tour reached Nova Scotia and became the first French Acadian Governor of the province. At this point in the mid seventeenth century several family relationships had been established between the Rochefoucauld and de La Tour families. As time went on these relationships came to include members of the royal Stewart family of Mary Queen of Scots and Charles I and also included the family of the Marquise de Lafayette. It is likely that William Alexander was also associated and knew many people from this family group.
As the story progressed Claude returned to Nova Scotia and approached his son Charles with the offer of a Baronetcy of Nova Scotia if he would go over to the Scottish and English side. Charles refused and a battle ensued between he and his father Claude who was now on the Scottish side. Charles held out and won this confrontation but the political winds of change in French Acadia were already blowing against him.
Eventually Charles was ousted by a rival French faction at which time he accepted his title of Baronet of Nova Scotia and began to work with his father for the other side. All of this intrigue on Claude de La Tour’s part may have involved any gold deposit the Scottish may have known of being present in Nova Scotia. This is interesting in later history when we see Louis de la Tour who likely held the right to the title of Baronet of Nova Scotia living in Lynchburg, Virginia at the time the Beale Papers were released to the public. The presence of gold in Nova Scotia may also be the reason that Claude de La Tour’s capture by the English Captain Kirk (true) seemed to have been pre=arranged with Claude eventually accepting a Baronetcy of Nova Scotia. (later in this saga we also note a Jean Luc Picard who worked with the Cassini family in France! lol)
It may be possible that the lore and associations of Nova Scotia and the Money Pit to Philip Sidney’s “Arcadia” are there in relation to any clandestine exploitation of gold deposits located there. Is it possible that these people were exploiting the gold there for their own ventures which may have included the creation of a country called Nova Scotia or Acadia? It is certain that during the era of Charles I the King and his supporters would likely have not revealed this fact to their enemy Parliamentary faction. It may have been subsequent to Charles defeat and execution that any relics or manuscripts were brought to Oak Island.
Though lacking a lot of documentation this would be a natural result of any operation whose existence was being kept a secret. If true then this would explain why there are only scant and circumstantial sources that indicate this could be true. If they had been obtaining gold in this manner it is no surprise that in a way Oak Island may have been used as a bank or storage place for this gold and any other wealth or relics that were valued. It may even be that privateers associated with is group of investors had used Oak Island as a repository and a place to maintain their vessels.
When Charles I was beheaded it may be that his supporters had brought some of his personal belongings or historical items associated with his family to store at Oak Island. The same may be true of the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots during this same era. Both Mary Queen of Scots and Charles I were known to have owned religious relics. These items may have then been valued in a way similar to the concept of a Palladium in the Greek culture. A Palladium is a sacred civic relic usually associated with Pallas Athena that was carried in battle before armies. To the supporters of Charles and his grandmother Mary Queen of Scots these items would have held immense symbolic value.
(My take on what the Shepherds Monument at Shugborugh really represents involves this same theory including a Palladium of Charles I brought to Oak Island)
If true this theory would also serve to link together why the works of Shakespeare, Sir Francis Bacon, and now Philip Sidney are associated with the Oak Island saga by many people including this author. All of the major land holders and investors in Nova Scotia and in “Norumbega” of Sir Humphrey Gilbert were major players in English intelligence operations with three of them even being suspects into the question of who authored the works of Shakespeare. Is it possible these literary works encode the truth of this entire story as a result?
The notion of natural gold deposits and them being exploited secretly would also explain many of the blanks in the story of what ever is hidden in the Money Pit. None of this means that relics or other important information is not part of the Oak Island story. It would only be natural for these men to have hidden the truth of all of this in their literary works. Is this the reason the story of the Money Pit is included in Sidney’s “Arcadia?” If Oak Island was a repository for secret found gold then it would have also made the island a good place to hide any sacred items associated with Mary Queen of Scots and Charles I later. The timeline of how this whole story progresses also backs this notion up. This may also explain the information Petter found in the First Folio of Shakespeare that was dedicated to Philip Sidney's nephews William and Philip Herbert the Earls of Pembroke and Montgomery.
It may be that specific literary and artistic references such as Poussin’s “The Shepherds of Arcadia,” Sidney’s literary work “Arcadia,” the works of Sir Francis Bacon and Shakespeare had encoded the truth of this scheme in allegory and metaphor that only someone directly involved would have been initiated into. This does indeed resemble similar methods used by Freemason’s later and earlier in history the fabled Knights Templar, Stonemason's guilds, and Rosicrucians. There are indeed many people associated with literature, early Freemasonry and Rosicrucian ideals directly involved in this saga.