The Sinking

The Ship

The Survivors

The Deceased

Source Documents

Survivors accounts

Capt. Hudson's report

Capt. Pearson's report

U.S. Consul's letter

  - Lodge Letters

July 10, 1864

San Francisco

Lodge2 PDF, p. 14


I.A.W. Harper, Esqre.

Dear Sir

The trial in the civil suit against Smiley commences on Saturday next the 16th. Trust I believe I would get a verdict against excepting that the American underwriters keep aloof entirely. These gentlemen in their artfulness think that if I am successfull (sic) they can then easily obtain their ends with comparatively little cost. They do not take into consideration the fact that if they were cordially with me my chances of getting a verdict would be greatly increased. Smiley believes that I can prove he recovered a large amount of treasure and he knows that I can prove it was mine but if the others were with me we could easily prove it was ours. The great dificulty (sic) in the case is that Smiley started on his expedition with the intention of stealing everything he could recover & took his measures accordingly. His divers took down with them the end of a hose through which a steam force pump drove water at a rapid rate. This force of water naturally washed away sand and other light obstructions and left treasure at the bottom of the hole.

These divers were weighted with lead attached to their feet above the soles so that they could feel anything under the sole of the foot.

When a box or bar was thus felt it was sent up & a person was appointed to receive it but before it was raised above the surface of the water a piece of bagging was thrown over it so that no mark or number could be verified to …

I do not expect to get one dollar out of Smiley but I think it is outrageous that he should be able to profit himself of his illgotten gains without question.

It can not escape me that I am fighting the cause of morality in the world generally but I hope to be able to prove by the results that my immediate employers are not to any appreciable extent injured by my proceedings.

I fear much that the £2000 recovered last year & the money recovered from the Irelan party this year will be expended but I do not think that there is likely to be any fresh call on the underwriters.

I have a slight hope that I may wrest something out of Smiley. In any case I hope to be able to prove that the underwriters are not to be robbed with impunity.

I have been engaged for the last week in endeavouring to persuade the Pacific Mail Steam Ship Co. that it would be in their interest not to make any charge for towing the “Golden Age” from Acipulco (sic) to San Francisco.

Their first claim was for $100,000 for that service. Since then they are willing to settle for $50,000.

I maintain they have no claim for salvage & only a doubtfull one for damage.

I am yours, your obedt. sert.

Francis W. Lodge

P.S. I take it for granted that you know about the “Golden Age” breaking down & the “Golden City” towing her here.





Revision: 11/1/2010