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The Beale Papers (1885 pamphlet)

From Kook Science

The Beale Papers
The Beale Papers, Containing Authentic Statements Regarding the Treasure Buried in 1819 and 1821 Near Bufords, in Bedford County, Virginia, and Which Has Never Been Recovered
Publisher Virginian Book and Job Print
Location Lynchburg
Pub. date 1885
Language English
Subject Buried Treasure Cipher

The Beale Papers, Containing Authentic Statements Regarding the Treasure Buried in 1819 and 1821 Near Bufords, in Bedford County, Virginia, and Which Has Never Been Recovered is book of ciphers, apparently published in 1885 by James B. Ward (per the copyright notice) with letters and ciphers attributed to one Thomas Jefferson Beale, which contains a set of three codes that, according to the author, relate the location and content of a treasure hoard buried near a Buford's Tavern in Bedford County, Virginia between 1819 and 1821. The pamphlet itself contains the solution to the second of the three codes, but, to date, neither the first nor third of the codes have been publicly solved by cryptographers, and as yet no treasure has been reported recovered; and, according to some skeptical observers, the entire project is likely a hoax.

The Story

By way of introduction to the mysterious Beale codes, the author of the pamphlet relates briefly: an account of the life of Robert Morriss, who received the papers from Thomas J. Beale in the spring of 1822; the circumstances that led to the author being granted the Beale Papers by Morriss; and transcriptions of letters purportedly sent by Beale to Morriss, detailing a treasure that was, it was alleged, buried near Buford's Tavern in Bedford County, Virginia, the provenance being a mine situated near Santa Fe de Nuevo México, where it had been mined by the group supposed to be named in the third code.

The Ciphers

I. The Locality of the Vault

71, 194, 38, 1701, 89, 76, 11, 83, 1629, 48, 94, 63, 132, 16, 111, 95, 84, 341, 975, 14, 40, 64, 27, 81, 139, 213, 63, 90, 1120, 8, 15, 3, 126, 2018, 40, 74, 758, 485, 604, 230, 436, 664, 582, 150, 251, 284, 308, 231, 124, 211, 486, 225, 401, 370, 11, 101, 305, 139, 189, 17, 33, 88, 208, 193, 145, 1, 94, 73, 416, 918, 263, 28, 500, 538, 356, 117, 136, 219, 27, 176, 130, 10, 460, 25, 485, 18, 436, 65, 84, 200, 283, 118, 320, 138, 36, 416, 280, 15, 71, 224, 961, 44, 16, 401, 39, 88, 61, 304, 12, 21, 24, 283, 134, 92, 63, 246, 486, 682, 7, 219, 184, 360, 780, 18, 64, 463, 474, 131, 160, 79, 73, 440, 95, 18, 64, 581, 34, 69, 128, 367, 460, 17, 81, 12, 103, 820, 62, 116, 97, 103, 862, 70, 60, 1317, 471, 540, 208, 121, 890, 346, 36, 150, 59, 568, 614, 13, 120, 63, 219, 812, 2160, 1780, 99, 35, 18, 21, 136, 872, 15, 28, 170, 88, 4, 30, 44, 112, 18, 147, 436, 195, 320, 37, 122, 113, 6, 140, 8, 120, 305, 42, 58, 461, 44, 106, 301, 13, 408, 680, 93, 86, 116, 530, 82, 568, 9, 102, 38, 416, 89, 71, 216, 728, 965, 818, 2, 38, 121, 195, 14, 326, 148, 234, 18, 55, 131, 234, 361, 824, 5, 81, 623, 48, 961, 19, 26, 33, 10, 1101, 365, 92, 88, 181, 275, 346, 201, 206, 86, 36, 219, 324, 829, 840, 64, 326, 19, 48, 122, 85, 216, 284, 919, 861, 326, 985, 233, 64, 68, 232, 431, 960, 50, 29, 81, 216, 321, 603, 14, 612, 81, 360, 36, 51, 62, 194, 78, 60, 200, 314, 676, 112, 4, 28, 18, 61, 136, 247, 819, 921, 1060, 464, 895, 10, 6, 66, 119, 38, 41, 49, 602, 423, 962, 302, 294, 875, 78, 14, 23, 111, 109, 62, 31, 501, 823, 216, 280, 34, 24, 150, 1000, 162, 286, 19, 21, 17, 340, 19, 242, 31, 86, 234, 140, 607, 115, 33, 191, 67, 104, 86, 52, 88, 16, 80, 121, 67, 95, 122, 216, 548, 96, 11, 201, 77, 364, 218, 65, 667, 890, 236, 154, 211, 10, 98, 34, 119, 56, 216, 119, 71, 218, 1164, 1496, 1817, 51, 39, 210, 36, 3, 19, 540, 232, 22, 141, 617, 84, 290, 80, 46, 207, 411, 150, 29, 38, 46, 172, 85, 194, 39, 261, 543, 897, 624, 18, 212, 416, 127, 931, 19, 4, 63, 96, 12, 101, 418, 16, 140, 230, 460, 538, 19, 27, 88, 612, 1431, 90, 716, 275, 74, 83, 11, 426, 89, 72, 84, 1300, 1706, 814, 221, 132, 40, 102, 34, 868, 975, 1101, 84, 16, 79, 23, 16, 81, 122, 324, 403, 912, 227, 936, 447, 55, 86, 34, 43, 212, 107, 96, 314, 264, 1065, 323, 428, 601, 203, 124, 95, 216, 814, 2906, 654, 820, 2, 301, 112, 176, 213, 71, 87, 96, 202, 35, 10, 2, 41, 17, 84, 221, 736, 820, 214, 11, 60, 760.

II. Description of the Treasure

115, 73, 24, 807, 37, 52, 49, 17, 31, 62, 647, 22, 7, 15, 140, 47, 29, 107, 79, 84, 56, 239, 10, 26, 811, 5, 196, 308, 85, 52, 160, 136, 59, 211, 36, 9, 46, 316, 554, 122, 106, 95, 53, 58, 2, 42, 7, 35, 122, 53, 31, 82, 77, 250, 196, 56, 96, 118, 71, 140, 287, 28, 353, 37, 1005, 65, 147, 807, 24, 3, 8, 12, 47, 43, 59, 807, 45, 316, 101, 41, 78, 154, 1005, 122, 138, 191, 16, 77, 49, 102, 57, 72, 34, 73, 85, 35, 371, 59, 196, 81, 92, 191, 106, 273, 60, 394, 620, 270, 220, 106, 388, 287, 63, 3, 6, 191, 122, 43, 234, 400, 106, 290, 314, 47, 48, 81, 96, 26, 115, 92, 158, 191, 110, 77, 85, 197, 46, 10, 113, 140, 353, 48, 120, 106, 2, 607, 61, 420, 811, 29, 125, 14, 20, 37, 105, 28, 248, 16, 159, 7, 35, 19, 301, 125, 110, 486, 287, 98, 117, 511, 62, 51, 220, 37, 113, 140, 807, 138, 540, 8, 44, 287, 388, 117, 18, 79, 344, 34, 20, 59, 511, 548, 107, 603, 220, 7, 66, 154, 41, 20, 50, 6, 575, 122, 154, 248, 110, 61, 52, 33, 30, 5, 38, 8, 14, 84, 57, 540, 217, 115, 71, 29, 84, 63, 43, 131, 29, 138, 47, 73, 239, 540, 52, 53, 79, 118, 51, 44, 63, 196, 12, 239, 112, 3, 49, 79, 353, 105, 56, 371, 557, 211, 505, 125, 360, 133, 143, 101, 15, 284, 540, 252, 14, 205, 140, 344, 26, 811, 138, 115, 48, 73, 34, 205, 316, 607, 63, 220, 7, 52, 150, 44, 52, 16, 40, 37, 158, 807, 37, 121, 12, 95, 10, 15, 35, 12, 131, 62, 115, 102, 807, 49, 53, 135, 138, 30, 31, 62, 67, 41, 85, 63, 10, 106, 807, 138, 8, 113, 20, 32, 33, 37, 353, 287, 140, 47, 85, 50, 37, 49, 47, 64, 6, 7, 71, 33, 4, 43, 47, 63, 1, 27, 600, 208, 230, 15, 191, 246, 85, 94, 511, 2, 270, 20, 39, 7, 33, 44, 22, 40, 7, 10, 3, 811, 106, 44, 486, 230, 353, 211, 200, 31, 10, 38, 140, 297, 61, 603, 320, 302, 666, 287, 2, 44, 33, 32, 511, 548, 10, 6, 250, 557, 246, 53, 37, 52, 83, 47, 320, 38, 33, 807, 7, 44, 30, 31, 250, 10, 15, 35, 106, 160, 113, 31, 102, 406, 230, 540, 320, 29, 66, 33, 101, 807, 138, 301, 316, 353, 320, 220, 37, 52, 28, 540, 320, 33, 8, 48, 107, 50, 811, 7, 2, 113, 73, 16, 125, 11, 110, 67, 102, 807, 33, 59, 81, 158, 38, 43, 581, 138, 19, 85, 400, 38, 43, 77, 14, 27, 8, 47, 138, 63, 140, 44, 35, 22, 177, 106, 250, 314, 217, 2, 10, 7, 1005, 4, 20, 25, 44, 48, 7, 26, 46, 110, 230, 807, 191, 34, 112, 147, 44, 110, 121, 125, 96, 41, 51, 50, 140, 56, 47, 152, 540, 63, 807, 28, 42, 250, 138, 582, 98, 643, 32, 107, 140, 112, 26, 85, 138, 540, 53, 20, 125, 371, 38, 36, 10, 52, 118, 136, 102, 420, 150, 112, 71, 14, 20, 7, 24, 18, 12, 807, 37, 67, 110, 62, 33, 21, 95, 220, 511, 102, 811, 30, 83, 84, 305, 620, 15, 2, 10, 8, 220, 106, 353, 105, 106, 60, 275, 72, 8, 50, 205, 185, 112, 125, 540, 65, 106, 807, 138, 96, 110, 16, 73, 33, 807, 150, 409, 400, 50, 154, 285, 96, 106, 316, 270, 205, 101, 811, 400, 8, 44, 37, 52, 40, 241, 34, 205, 38, 16, 46, 47, 85, 24, 44, 15, 64, 73, 138, 807, 85, 78, 110, 33, 420, 505, 53, 37, 38, 22, 31, 10, 110, 106, 101, 140, 15, 38, 3, 5, 44, 7, 98, 287, 135, 150, 96, 33, 84, 125, 807, 191, 96, 511, 118, 40, 370, 643, 466, 106, 41, 107, 603, 220, 275, 30, 150, 105, 49, 53, 287, 250, 208, 134, 7, 53, 12, 47, 85, 63, 138, 110, 21, 112, 140, 485, 486, 505, 14, 73, 84, 575, 1005, 150, 200, 16, 42, 5, 4, 25, 42, 8, 16, 811, 125, 160, 32, 205, 603, 807, 81, 96, 405, 41, 600, 136, 14, 20, 28, 26, 353, 302, 246, 8, 131, 160, 140, 84, 440, 42, 16, 811, 40, 67, 101, 102, 194, 138, 205, 51, 63, 241, 540, 122, 8, 10, 63, 140, 47, 48, 140, 288.

Deciphered (by the Author)

I have deposited in the county of Bedford, about four miles from Buford's, in an excavation or vault, six feet below the surface of the ground, the following articles, belonging jointly to the parties whose names are given in number three, herewith: The first deposit consisted of ten hundred and fourteen pounds of gold, and thirty-eight hundred and twelve pounds of silver, deposited Nov. eighteen nineteen. The second was made Dec. eighteen twenty-one, and consisted of nineteen hundred and seven pounds of gold, and twelve hundred and eighty-eight of silver; also jewels, obtained in St. Louis in exchange to save transportation, and valued at thirteen thousand dollars. The above is securely packed in iron pots, with iron covers. The vault is roughly lined with stone, and the vessels rest on solid stone, and are covered with others. Paper number one describes the exact locality of the vault, so that no difficulty will be had in finding it.

According to the author, this cipher was a substitution, using the first letter of each numbered word, based on a copy of the United States Declaration of Independence, which was provided and roughly numbered in the pamphlet. His copy and numbering of the Declaration included the following peculiarities: the addition of the word a as 155 (producing "institute a new Government"); the removal of the word a as 246 (hence, design is 246: "same Object evinces design," not "same Object evinces a design"); the double-counting of 480, resulting in the words "He has refused for a long time after such dissolutions" being excised; the removal of the word our as 639 (hence, legislature is 639: "Consent of legislature," not "Consent of our legislature"); and word 680 counts the two words Acts of as one. Two further modifications are notable in the author's decoding: 811 becomes y, not f (from "fundamentally"); and 1005 becomes x, not h (from "have").

i115 h73 a24 v807 e37 d52 e49 p17 o31 s62 i647 t22 e7 d15 i140 N47 t29 H107 e79 c84 o56 u239 n10 t26 y811 o5 f196 B308 e85 d52 f160 o136 r59 d211 a36 b9 o46 u316 t554 f122 o106 u95 r53 m58 i2 L42 e7 s35 f122 r53 o31 m82 b77 u250 f196 o56 R96 d118 s71 i140 n287 a28 n353 e37 x1005 c65 a147 v807 a24 t3 i8 o12 N47 o43 r59 v807 a45 u316 L101 t41 s78 i154 x1005 f122 e138 e191 t16 b77 e49 L102 o57 W72 t34 h73 e85 s35 u371 r59 f196 a81 C92 e191 o106 f273 t60 H394 e620 G270 r220 o106 u388 n287 d63 t3 h6 e191 f122 o43 l234 L400 o106 w290 i314 N47 G48 a81 R96 t26 i115 C92 l158 e191 s110 b77 e85 l197 o46 n10 G113 i140 n353 G48 j120 o106 i2 N607 t61 L420 y811 t29 o125 t14 h20 e37 p105 a28 r248 t16 i159 e7 s35 w19 h301 o125 s110 e486 n287 a98 M117 e511 s62 a51 r220 e37 G113 i140 v807 e138 N540 i8 N44 n287 u388 M117 b18 e79 r344 t34 h20 r59 e511 e548 H107 e603 r220 e7 w66 i154 t41 h20 t50 h6 e575 f122 i154 r248 s110 t61 d52 e33 p30 o5 s38 i8 t14 c84 o57 N540 s217 i115 s71 t29 c84 d63 o43 F131 t29 e138 N47 h73 u239 N540 d52 r53 e79 d118 a51 N44 d63 f196 o12 u239 r112 t3 e49 e79 n353 p105 o56 u371 n557 d211 S505 o125 f360 G133 o143 L101 d15 a284 N540 D252 t14 h205 i140 r344 t26 y811 e138 i115 G48 h73 t34 h205 u316 N607 d63 r220 e7 d52 a150 N44 d52 t16 w40 e37 l158 v807 e37 p121 o12 u95 n10 d15 s35 o12 F131 s62 i115 L102 v807 e49 r53 d135 e138 p30 o31 s62 i67 t41 e85 d63 n10 o106 v807 e138 i8 G113 h20 t32 e33 e37 n353 n287 i140 N47 e85 t50 e37 e49 N47 t64 h6 e7 s71 e33 C4 o43 N47 d63 W1 a27 s600 m208 a230 d15 e191 d246 e85 c94 e511 i2 G270 h20 t39 e7 e33 N44 t22 w40 e7 n10 t3 y811 o106 N44 e486 a230 n353 d211 c200 o31 n10 s38 i140 S297 t61 e603 d320 o302 f666 n287 i2 N44 e33 t32 e511 e548 n10 h6 u250 n557 d246 r53 e37 d52 a83 N47 d320 s38 e33 v807 e7 N44 p30 o31 u250 n10 d15 s35 o106 f160 G113 o31 L102 d406 a230 N540 d320 t29 w66 e33 L101 v807 e138 h301 u316 n353 d320 r220 e37 d52 a28 N540 d320 e33 i8 G48 H107 t50 y811 e7 i2 G113 h73 t16 o125 f11 s110 i67 L102 v807 e33 r59 a81 l158 s38 o43 J581 e138 w19 e85 L400 s38 o43 b77 t14 a27 i8 N47 e138 d63 i140 N44 s35 t22 l177 o106 u250 i314 s217 i2 n10 e7 x1005 C4 h20 a25 N44 G48 e7 t26 o46 s110 a230 v807 e191 t34 r112 a147 N44 s110 p121 o125 R96 t41 a51 t50 i140 o56 N47 a152 N540 d63 v807 a28 L42 u250 e138 d582 a98 t643 t32 H107 i140 r112 t26 e85 e138 N540 r53 h20 o125 u371 s38 a36 n10 d52 d118 o136 L102 L420 a150 r112 s71 t14 h20 e7 a24 b18 o12 v807 e37 i67 s110 s62 e33 c21 u95 r220 e511 L102 y811 p30 a83 c84 K305 e620 d15 i2 n10 i8 r220 o106 n353 p105 o106 t60 S275 W72 i8 t50 h205 i185 r112 o125 N540 c65 o106 v807 e138 R96 s110 t16 h73 e33 v807 a150 u409 L400 t50 i154 s285 R96 o106 u316 G270 h205 L101 y811 L400 i8 N44 e37 d52 w40 i241 t34 h205 s38 t16 o46 N47 e85 a24 N44 d15 t64 h73 e138 v807 e85 s78 s110 e33 L420 S505 r53 e37 s38 t22 o31 n10 s110 o106 L101 i140 d15 s38 t3 o5 N44 e7 a98 n287 d135 a150 R96 e33 c84 o125 v807 e191 R96 e511 d118 w40 i370 t643 H466 o106 t41 H107 e603 r220 S275 p30 a150 p105 e49 r53 n287 u250 m208 b134 e7 r53 o12 N47 e85 d63 e138 s110 c21 r112 i140 b485 e486 S505 t14 h73 c84 e575 x1005 a150 c200 t16 L42 o5 C4 a25 L42 i8 t16 y811 o125 f160 t32 h205 e603 v807 a81 R96 l405 t41 s600 o136 t14 h20 a28 t26 n353 o302 d246 i8 F131 f160 i140 c84 u440 L42 t16 y811 w40 i67 L101 L102 b194 e138 h205 a51 d63 i241 N540 f122 i8 n10 d63 i140 N47 G48 i140 t288

i have deposited iN tHe county of Bedford about four miLes from bufoRds in an excavatioN or vauLt six feet beLoW the surfaCe of tHe Ground the folLowiNG aRtiCles belonGinG joiNtLy to the parties whose naMes are GiveN iN nuMber three Herewith the first deposit coNsistcd oF teN huNdred aNd fourteen poundS of GoLd aND thirty eiGht huNdred aNd twelve pounds oF siLver deposited nov eiGhteen niNeteeN the seCoNd Was made dec eiGhteeN twenty oNe and consiSted of niNeteen hundred aNd seveN pounds of GoLd aNd tweLve hundred aNd eiGHty eiGht of siLver also JeweLs obtaiNed iN st louis in exChaNGe to save traNspoRtatioN aNd vaLued at tHirteeN rhousand doLLars the above is secureLy pacKed in iron potS With iroN coveRs the vauLt is RouGhLy LiNed with stoNe aNd the vesseLS rest on soLid stoNe and aRe coveRed witH otHerS paper number oNe describeS thc exact LoCaLity of the vaRlt so that no diFficuLty wiLL be had iN findiNG it

There are four spelling errors in the deciphered code, as follows:

  • consistcd (84 57 540 217 115 71 29 84 63), rather than consisted (84 57 540 217 115 71 29 85 63);
  • rhousand (53 20 125 371 38 36 10 52), rather than thousand (54 20 125 371 38 36 10 52);
  • thc (14 73 84), rather than the (14 73 85);
  • vaRlt (807 81 96 405 41), rather than vault (807 81 95 405 41; where 95 is unalienable, not inalienable).


(For your consideration, a simple spreadsheet showing the work: https://hatch.kookscience.com/cipher/Beale_Cipher.ods)

III. Names and Residences

317, 8, 92, 73, 112, 89, 67, 318, 28, 96,107, 41, 631, 78, 146, 397, 118, 98, 114, 246, 348, 116, 74, 88, 12, 65, 32, 14, 81, 19, 76, 121, 216, 85, 33, 66, 15, 108, 68, 77, 43, 24, 122, 96, 117, 36, 211, 301, 15, 44, 11, 46, 89, 18, 136, 68, 317, 28, 90, 82, 304, 71, 43, 221, 198, 176, 310, 319, 81, 99, 264, 380, 56, 37, 319, 2, 44, 53, 28, 44, 75, 98, 102, 37, 85, 107, 117, 64, 88, 136, 48, 151, 99, 175, 89, 315, 326, 78, 96, 214, 218, 311, 43, 89, 51, 90, 75, 128, 96, 33, 28, 103, 84, 65, 26, 41, 246, 84, 270, 98, 116, 32, 59, 74, 66, 69, 240, 15, 8, 121, 20, 77, 89, 31, 11, 106, 81, 191, 224, 328, 18, 75, 52, 82, 117, 201, 39, 23, 217, 27, 21, 84, 35, 54, 109, 128, 49, 77, 88, 1, 81, 217, 64, 55, 83, 116, 251, 269, 311, 96, 54, 32, 120, 18, 132, 102, 219, 211, 84, 150, 219, 275, 312, 64, 10, 106, 87, 75, 47, 21, 29, 37, 81, 44, 18, 126, 115, 132, 160, 181, 203, 76, 81, 299, 314, 337, 351, 96, 11, 28, 97, 318, 238, 106, 24, 93, 3, 19, 17, 26, 60, 73, 88, 14, 126, 138, 234, 286, 297, 321, 365, 264, 19, 22, 84, 56, 107, 98, 123, 111, 214, 136, 7, 33, 45, 40, 13, 28, 46, 42, 107, 196, 227, 344, 198, 203, 247, 116, 19, 8, 212, 230, 31, 6, 328, 65, 48, 52, 59, 41, 122, 33, 117, 11, 18, 25, 71, 36, 45, 83, 76, 89, 92, 31, 65, 70, 83, 96, 27, 33, 44, 50, 61, 24, 112, 136, 149, 176, 180, 194, 143, 171, 205, 296, 87, 12, 44, 51, 89, 98, 34, 41, 208, 173, 66, 9, 35, 16, 95, 8, 113, 175, 90, 56, 203, 19, 177, 183, 206, 157, 200, 218, 260, 291, 305, 618, 951, 320, 18, 124, 78, 65, 19, 32, 124, 48, 53, 57, 84, 96, 207, 244, 66, 82, 119, 71, 11, 86, 77, 213, 54, 82, 316, 245, 303, 86, 97, 106, 212, 18, 37, 15, 81, 89, 16, 7, 81, 39, 96, 14, 43, 216, 118, 29, 55, 109, 136, 172, 213, 64, 8, 227, 304, 611, 221, 364, 819, 375, 128, 296, 1, 18, 53, 76, 10, 15, 23, 19, 71, 84, 120, 134, 66, 73, 89, 96, 230, 48, 77, 26, 101, 127, 936, 218, 439, 178, 171, 61, 226, 313, 215, 102, 18, 167, 262, 114, 218, 66, 59, 48, 27, 19, 13, 82, 48, 162, 119, 34, 127, 139, 34, 128, 129, 74, 63, 120, 11, 54, 61, 73, 92, 180, 66, 75, 101, 124, 265, 89, 96, 126, 274, 896, 917, 434, 461, 235, 890, 312, 413, 328, 381, 96, 105, 217, 66, 118, 22, 77, 64, 42, 12, 7, 55, 24, 83, 67, 97, 109, 121, 135, 181, 203, 219, 228, 256, 21, 34, 77, 319, 374, 382, 675, 684, 717, 864, 203, 4, 18, 92, 16, 63, 82, 22, 46, 55, 69, 74, 112, 134, 186, 175, 119, 213, 416, 312, 343, 264, 119, 186, 218, 343, 417, 845, 951, 124, 209, 49, 617, 856, 924, 936, 72, 19, 28, 11, 35, 42, 40, 66, 85, 94, 112, 65, 82, 115, 119, 236, 244, 186, 172, 112, 85, 6, 56, 38, 44, 85, 72, 32, 47, 63, 96, 124, 217, 314, 319, 221, 644, 817, 821, 934, 922, 416, 975, 10, 22, 18, 46, 137, 181, 101, 39, 86, 103, 116, 138, 164, 212, 218, 296, 815, 380, 412, 460, 495, 675, 820, 952.

Claimants to the Solution

Several people have claimed to have deciphered the Beale Codes, including:

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