|In 1746, when the Jacobites waged
their last battle to restore the Stuart line to the British throne,
England was at war with France. France didn't send much help to the
Jacobites. Jacobite families were friendly with French families.
Scotish Jacobites often married French citizens. And when Bonnie Prince
Charlie was defeated, he took refuge in France. But France
didn't come to the Jacobites' aid in time of war.
In retrospect, had they done so, they might
have helped defeat England on another front and removed British soldiers
from French soil. As it was, the Jacobites lost the war and while many
Jacobite supporters still live in Scotland, no one has tried since to
restore the Stuart family to the throne of England. According to
some stories, the retreating Jacobite soldiers dumped their gold and
jewels into Loch Ness on their way home to keep the victorious British
from claiming them as spoils of war.
In 1775, nearly 30 years later, the French and
British were still fighting with each other, when America began her war to
gain independence from Britain. This time the French decided to help
the enemy of their enemy. The Jacobite treasure was still at the
bottom of Loch Ness. So was treasure from earlier visits by
Vikings. Did Nessie help treasure hunters find the gold
to help finance the French participation in the American Revolution?
And did some of this gold help finance the
scientific collaborations between Cavendish (from England) and Lavoisier
(in France) in which they discovered the nature of hydrogen and oxygen and
water? They also worked with Priestly, a British researcher living in
America, who discovered that oxygen is the gas released from plants and
from red mercury oxide. Lavoisier organized the gunpowder industry
in France just in time to supply the American armies. Britain and France
share the idea that a mere war should not impede scientific cooperation
and discovery. That is something Nessie would approve.