Interesting historical notes … by George Laidlaw

George Laidlaw is a novelist and President of the Ottawa Independent Writers.

A billion dollar bribe — sleaze, greed, traitors, and politicians

It is no longer a surprise when once again we hear of a politician receiving questionable payments.

Some might shrug and say it's all part of modern life. Such resignation may be an example of how low our expectations are for our country leaders — politicians or the CEOs of many of our big companies.

But receiving questionable amounts of cold cash to influence a country's, or a company's, direction is not a recent phenomenon. One bribe that has gone down in history as significantly large was a bribe of one million pounds in 1693 by William III of England to the Duke of Savoy to keep him on the Protestant side while the Grand Alliance were fighting against Louis XIV.

In 1693 166 merchant ships filled with the tools of war left Dover, Portsmouth and Plymouth after Christmas accompanied by 40  men-of-war. Among the naval ships was the H.M.S. Sussex, the pride of the British navy (80 guns) with nine tons of gold in coin for the Duke of Savoy.

In the Bay of Biscay the convoy hit a terrible storm that sank many ships including the H.M.S. Sussex; 800 sailors died including the Admiral. The gold sank to the bottom of the Bay of Biscay.

This bribe in today's value is more than a billion dollars.

To learn more about this interesting story read  Traitor’s Wait by George Laidlaw