Meinen Blog-Lesern ist wieder einmal ein toller Erfolg gelungen: Norbert Biermann, Thomas Bosbach und Matthew Brown haben die verschlüsselten Briefe von Karl I. gelöst, die ich vor ein paar Wochen vorgestellt habe.

English version (translated with DeepL)

Der englische König Karl I. (1600-1649) war bis kurz vor seiner Hinrichtung etwa ein Jahr lang auf der Isle of Wight, einer Insel vor der englischen Südküste, inhaftiert.

Quelle/Source: Wikimedia Commons

Wie man auf der Webseite von Satoshi Tomokiyo nachlesen kann, schrieb er von dort mehrere verschlüsselte Briefe an seinen Sohn. Ein weiteres Schreiben, das Satoshi aufführt, ging an den Adligen Edward Worsley.

Quelle/Source: British Library

 

Norbert, Thomas und Matthew finden die Lösung

Am 11. April 2021 habe ich die besagten Briefe auf meinem Blog vorgestellt. Norbert Biermann, den meine Leser längst als hervorragenden Codeknacker kennen, analysierte diese Kryptogramme und veröffentlichte seine Zwischenergebnisse als Kommentare zu meinem Artikel. Thomas Bosbach und Matthew Brown, ebenfalls keine Unbekannten auf diesem Blog, schlossen sich an. Als es zu umständlich wurde, die Diskussion über Blog-Kommentare zu führen, nahmen die drei miteinander Kontakt auf und tauschten sich fortan per E-Mail aus.

Mit Erfolg: Norbert, Thomas und Matthew konnten einen Nomenklator, den Karl I. für seine Briefe verwendet hatte, rekonstruieren. Damit konnten sie die Briefe vom 2. September, vom 3. Oktober sowie vom 6. und 7. November 1648 entschlüsseln. Die Briefe vom 1. August (an den Sohn) und vom 22. Mai (an Worsley) wurden dagegen mit einem anderen Nomenklator verfasst und bleiben daher vorläufig ungelöst.

Ich muss wohl nicht betonen, dass ich einmal mehr begeistert bin. Norbert, Thomas und Matthew haben etwas Tolles geleistet. Ich bin stolz, darüber auf meinem Blog berichten zu dürfen. Dazu muss ich mir noch nicht einmal viel aus den Fingern saugen, denn Norbert hat mir eine Beschreibung der Lösung geschickt, die keine Wünsche offen lässt – sogar inklusive englischer Übersetzung! Vielen Dank! So macht das Bloggen besonderen Spaß.

 

Vorbemerkungen

Norbert, Thomas und Matthew schreiben zu ihrer Lösung:

Beim Buchstabenteil des Nomenklators sind wir uns sehr sicher (Codegruppen 1 bis 90). Wegen der schönen Regelmäßigkeit konnten auch Codegruppen, die in den Briefen gar nicht vorkommen, zugeordnet werden (in der Übersicht grau dargestellt).

Der Wortteil eines Nomenklators aber kann normalerweise nicht komplett eindeutig rekonstruiert werden, und das gilt besonders, wenn so wenig Chiffrat zur Verfügung steht wie hier: es wird immer Codegruppen geben, die im Geheimtext selten auftauchen und bei denen verschiedene Zuordnungen möglich erscheinen. Im schlimmsten Fall kann jedoch ein falsch geratenes Wort den Sinn eines ganzen Absatzes völlig entstellen. Wir mussten deswegen sehr behutsam abwägen, ob unsere Annahmen sicher genug sind, und haben uns so gut wir konnten in den historischen Kontext eingearbeitet. Letztlich haben wir uns für ein „Ampel-System“ entschieden: grün markiert sind die Wörter, die wir für so gut wie sicher halten, gelb hingegen Vorschläge, die wir recht plausibel finden, ohne uns ganz sicher zu sein. Wörter, für die wir nur einen sehr spekulativen Vorschlag haben, sind rot markiert. Historiker sind bestimmt in der Lage, hier noch mehr Klarheit zu schaffen.

Hier ist der von Norbert, Thomas und Matthew rekonstruierte Nomenklator:

Quelle/Source: Biermann, Bosbach, Brown

 

Anmerkungen

Hier sind noch einige Anmerkungen der drei erfolgreichen Dechiffrierer:

  • Bei der Schreibweise einiger Wörter (wie „wai“ statt „way“) haben wir uns an Charles orientiert.
  • 9x: Eine Zeile im Brief vom 2. Sept. hört mit „9“ auf (über „uncertainty of“). Wir vermuten, dass hier eine Ziffer x abgeschnitten ist und dass es sich bei 9x um eine Null handelt.
  • 142 = Argyll: Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquess of Argyll, der in Schottland die sogenannte „kirk party“ anführte und der wichtigste Gegenspieler der „Engager“ in Schottland war. Würde hier gut passen, ist aber reine Vermutung.
  • 189 = Culpeper: John Colepeper, 1st Baron Culpeper of Thoresway, der ein Vertrauter und Berater sowohl von Charles I als auch von Charles II war. Wird im Brief vom 7. November im Klartext namentlich erwähnt, aber wir haben keine direkten Belege, dass er „189“ ist.
  • 278 = fleet: Prinz Charles verfügte zu diesem Zeitpunkt tatsächlich über eine kleine Flotte (siehe z. B. hier, auf Englisch)
  • 334 = help: Hier könnte auch ein Ort bezeichnet sein, den Prinz Charles mit seiner Flotte ansteuern sollte.
  • 583 = Newport: Dieser Eintrag scheint als einziger nicht zur alphabetischen Sortierung zu passen. Wir halten es aber für möglich, dass Newport zusammen mit anderen Orten, die auf der Isle of Wight liegen (wie z. B. Carisbrooke Castle), unter W eingeordnet wurde.

 

Der historische Hintergrund

Norbert hat mir in seiner Mail außerdem folgende Hintergründe geliefert:

  • 14. November 1647: Charles I., der aus Hampton Court geflohen war, erreicht die Isle of Wight. Der dortige Gouverneur Robert Hammond lässt ihn auf Carisbrooke Castle festsetzen.
  • 26. Dezember 1647: Schottische Unterhändler unterzeichnen in Carisbrooke Castle das sogenannte „Engagement“, in dem u. a. Charles militärische Unterstützung zugesagt wird.
  • Januar 1648: Das englische Parlament beschließt, alle Verhandlungen mit dem König abzubrechen („Vote of No Addresses“).
  • Sommer 1648: Prinz Charles hat in Den Haag eine Affäre mit Lucy Walter.
  • 17.-19. August 1648: Die Armee der Engager wird in der Schlacht von Preston von Cromwell entscheidend geschlagen, was Charles zu erneuten Verhandlungen mit dem Parlament zwingt.
  • 2. September 1648: erster Brief von Charles I aus Carisbrooke Castle (mit Nachtrag vom 5. Sept.)
  • 18. September 1648: Beginn der Verhandlungen zwischen Parlament und König in Newport
  • 3. Oktober 1648: zweiter Brief (aus Newport); die Nachricht, dass Lucy Walters von Prinz Charles schwanger ist, hat offenbar bereits ihren Weg auf die Isle of Wight gefunden (sie wird am 9. April 1649 einen Sohn gebären, von Charles umgehend als sein Kind anerkannt).
  • 6./7. November 1648: dritter und vierter Brief (aus Newport)
  • 29. November 1648: Ende der Verhandlungen in Newport

 

Die Briefe im Klartext

Hier sind die vier entschlüsselten Briefe (dechiffrierter) Geheimtext in Blau. Die Art der Codierung wird durch Bindestriche angezeigt (z. B. kodiert Charles das Wort „then“ mit zwei Codegruppen, eine für “the” und eine für “n”; wir schreiben the-n). „Charles R“ steht für „Charles Rex“, also König Charles.

2. September 1648

Quelle/Source: British Library

Quelle/Source: Biermann, Bosbach, Brown

3. Oktober 1648

Quelle/Source: Google Books

Quelle/Source: Biermann, Bosbach, Brown

6. November 1648

Quelle/Source: British Library

Quelle/Source: Biermann, Bosbach, Brown

 

7. November 1648

Quelle/Source: British Library

Quelle/Source: Biermann, Bosbach, Brown

 

Fazit

Noch einmal vielen Dank an Norbert, Thomas und Matthew für diese Meisterleistung! Ich bin sicher, dass diese Entschlüsselungen auch für Historiker interessant sind. Wer es den dreien gleichtun will, kann sich ja auf die beiden noch unentschlüsselten Briefe stürzen. Viele Erfolg!


Further reading: The Top 50 unsolved encrypted messages: 34. Unsolved nomenclator messages

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Kommentare (32)

  1. #1 satoshi
    Yokohama
    6. Mai 2021

    Congratulations, Norbert, Thomas, and Matthew! This is a great job.

    In my own report of this achievement, I proposed “la Grand Mademoiselle” for the identity of “mademoiselle.” If it refers to Lucy Walters, of whose pregnancy the King had heard, the King did not have to confirm if the prince liked her person.

    @Klaus
    I think the finding of the additional materials by you and Elonka allowed this solution.
    About the still unsolved cryptogram to Worsley, I was wondering whether Worsley refers to Richard Worsley, Robert Worsley, or James Worsley, all mentioned in “History of the Isle of Wight”. Where did you find “Benjamin Worsley” mentioned?

  2. #2 Norbert
    6. Mai 2021

    S. Tomokiyo, who has already commented on our decipherment on cryptiana, writes there that Charles I would not have considered Lucy Walters a “good match” for his son, and suggests that “Madamoiselle” could be Anne Marie Louise d’Orléans, Duchesse de Montpensier, known as “La Grande Mademoiselle”.

    She was cousin to the Prince, bore the title “Mademoiselle” as sole heiress to the Duchy of Montpensier, and was the richest woman in France and the highest-ranking woman after the Queen, according to Wikipedia.

    Henrietta Maria, the English queen, had already tried to arrange a marriage of her son with Mademoiselle in 1646.

    Thus, Satoshi has many good arguments on his side.

    This does not change the deciphered text itself – only its interpretation.

    In my opinion, it remains a possibility that the king was aware of the prince’s affair with Lucy Walters and also of her pregnancy: perhaps he repeats the royal marriage plans for the very reason that he fears the prince might rashly marry Lucy Walters?

  3. #3 Norbert
    6. Mai 2021
  4. #4 Matthew Brown
    7. Mai 2021

    Interestingly it seems the original letters to Edward Worsley are on display at the Carisbrooke castle museum;
    https://carisbrookecastlemuseum.org.uk/overview/

    I found this video of the exhibit;
    https://ne-np.facebook.com/kingcharlesireturn/videos/751102788764838/?__so__=permalink&__rv__=related_videos

    They look to be the same 2 letters from;
    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=TDYQAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA236#v=onepage&q&f=false

  5. #5 Norbert
    7. Mai 2021

    See also

    with a good close-up at approx. 00:58

  6. #6 Thomas Ernst
    Nekropolis
    7. Mai 2021

    Suggestion for 334: Hurst.

  7. #7 satoshi
    Yokohama
    7. Mai 2021

    Indeed, Edward Worsley seems right. He is mentioned in many other sources including Pauline Gregg, King Charles I. According to The Isle of Wight Timeline of History, after the Restoration, Charles II visited the Isle of Wight and knighted him in 1665.
    There is even a famous story about a watch given to Edward Worsley by Charles I just before the King left the Isle of Wight in November 1648 (Wight Life), which may be apocryphal (British Museum).

  8. #8 Thomas Ernst
    Nekropolis
    8. Mai 2021

    Nine letters exchanged between Henry Firebrace and Charles I regarding the failed window escapes, as well as the most comprehensive key to the persons letter-coded by Charles can be found in Peter Barwick’s “Vita Joannis Barwick”, begun in 1671, first published in Latin in 1721, translated into English in 1724, “The Life of the Reverend Dr. John Barwick, D.D. […]”. Peter’s brother John Barwick (1612 – 1664), at the time at Cambridge, wrote weekly (enciphered) updates about events in Scotland and England to Charles I or Francis Cresset, and he was a key-player on the Royalist side during the Newport negotiations. Hillier (1852) identified four letters from the Titus-correspondence, Nichols (1811) a few more from the Firebridge-correspondence, Barwick knew even more. Neither Barwick nor Nichols had second thoughts about Worsley:

    A = Francis Cresset; Steward and Treasurer to Charles I;
    B = Mrs. Mary, Assistant to Lady Wheeler, Laundress to his Majesty;
    C = Colonel William Legge, Groom of the Bedchamber;
    D = Henry Firebrace;
    E = Lucy Hay, Countess of Carlisle;
    F = Abraham Dowcett;
    G = Prince Charles;
    H = Lady Wheeler;
    J = Charles I;
    K = Lady Aubigny (widow of George Stewart, 9th Seigneur d’Aubigny);
    L = Mr. Richard Osborne (Attendant of Charles);
    M = Queen Henrietta;
    N = Jane Whorwood;
    O = Mr. Low[e], Merchant in London;
    S = Duke James;
    T = Mr. John Burrows [Burroughs?];
    W = Captain Silas Titus;
    Z = Edward Worsley.

  9. #9 satoshi
    Yokohama
    8. Mai 2021

    Thank you. So, it’s Edward Worsley.
    The list can be found on p.395 of the English Edition.

  10. #10 Klaus Schmeh
    10. Mai 2021

    @Satoshi, Norbert, Matthew, Thomas:
    Thank you very much for this additional information!
    I will change “Benjamin Worsley” to “Edward Worsley”.

  11. #11 Thomas Ernst
    Nekropolis
    11. Mai 2021

    The story of the royal watch in the British Museum (link by satoshi, # 7) is detailed by Sir Richard Worsley, for some years governor of Wight, in his „History of the Isle of Wight” (1781, p. 134; Google), a project begun by his grandfather, continued by his father, and finished by Sir Richard. On the early December morning in 1648 when Charles I was being hastened from Carisbrooke to Hurst Castle, the king „happening to see Mr. Edward Worsley in this journey, gave him the watch out of his pocket, as a token of his remembrance. The watch is now in the possession of James Worsley, Esq. of Stenbury.” James Worsley was, successively, a Member of Parliament for Yarmouth and Newtown. According to Wiki-wisdom „it appears that he never spoke in Parliament.” Regarding Richard and James, see: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/3a30d6a6-9791-4317-8cad-5a46eabd4329. The watch in the British Museum was donated in 1948 by Clement Francis Worsley. The right bottom corner of the Worsley family pedigree that Clement Francis had printed as a broadside in 1902 – perhaps as a Christmas greeting to lesser people – runs out on the Worsleys of Appuldurcombe, Wight (https://digital.nls.uk/broadsides-from-the-crawford-collection/archive/188072337?mode=fullsize). 1648, 1781, 1948: the last Worsley to own the watch may have deemed it appropriate to donate it to the British Museum 300 years after Charles had given it to his ancestor Edward. – According to the British Museum, the watch is inscribed „Johannis [sic] Bayes Londini fecit” and „is said [why not be more precise?] to have been presented to Sir [he had not yet been knighted] Edward Worsley in 1647 [1648]. What has happened to the care in curators’ comments? – Shakespeare’s Richard II may have been on Charles’ I mind, when he gave his watch to Edward Worsley: „I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.”

  12. #12 Thomas Ernst
    Nekropolis
    11. Mai 2021

    Klaus: could you open a separate strand on what I call the „Worsley-cipher”, i. e. the cipher and nomenclator employed by Charles in his letter from 22 May 1648 to Edward Worsley, today on display at Carisbrooke Castle (Norbert’s video, # 5), first printed by Richard Worsley in 1781? Charles’ letter from 16 May implies that Worsley did not yet have his own cipher, but a week later he does. The construction appears very similar to the Titus-cipher (deciphered in Hillier, 1852): successive identical letters and possible blanks in the two digit range, more or less alphabetically arranged nomenclator in the three digit range. Two words in the Worsley letter suggest that homophones of individual letters are bunched successively, though probably not in alphabetical order: 2 20 3 230 388 45 36 must be the same as 1 20 2 230 388 46 36, that means 1, 2, 3, and 45, 46 stand for the same letters, and there will be more like it. The „repertoire” of the Worsley letter is:

    1, 2, 3: | 4: | 5: | 6: | 7: | 8: | 9: | 11: | 12: | 14: | 17: | 18: | 19: | 20: | 21: | 23: | 25: | 28: | 31: | 32: | 35: | 36: | 37: | 38: | 39: | 40: | 42: | 43: | 45, 46: | 50: | 51: | 53: | 62: | 64: | 66: | 68: | 74: | 78: | 82: | 86: | 88: | 96: | 97: | 204: | 205: | 206: | 208: | 213: | 230: | 231: | 236: | 240: | 248: | 257: | 267: | 268: | 270: | 282: | 294: | 303: | 308: | 343: | 348: | 354: | 355: | 356: | 363: | 379: | 380: | 388: | 395: | 396: | 416: |

    Am currently reconstructing the complete Titus-cipher from Hillier (briefly summarized by Satoshi), because I think it comes closest to the Worsley-cipher. – While it is possible that the letter to Charles jun. from 1 August 1648 is written in the same cipher, the lack of numbers in the 100-range in the Worsley-letter is curious enough to consider the latter by itself.

  13. #13 Matthew Brown
    11. Mai 2021

    I’ve been continuing to look at the Worsley cipher and have similar thoughts to Thomas. If the sequential pattern holds for all the homophones it may be possible to attack it in this way, although it will still be difficult with so few repetitions.

    My guess for the structure of the nomenclator would be something like;

    1-90: homophones and nulls
    90-100: Punctuation
    100-200 Word list I (specific words which are unused in this letter)
    200-380 Word list II (common words)
    380-420 Names and misc. additions

    We know from the previous letter that 395 is a man’s name but is not Titus.

    I’m unsure but there’s a possible transcription error, the second appearance of 38 falls on a fold in the paper and could possibly be 381?

    There is an interesting description of the escape attempt which took place just days after this letter where Worsley was waiting with horses (p.324);
    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=LGqLPPeu7KUC&lpg=PA323&dq=edward%20worsley%20royalist%20letters&pg=PA324#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Perhaps a hill climber with the added constraint that the homophone groups must be continous would have some luck here?

  14. #14 Norbert
    11. Mai 2021

    @Thomas Ernst: I am glad to see you comment, and must admit I had a bit of a hunch that the Worsley letter would catch your attention! I do think it can be deciphered. Maybe not to the point of earning Klaus’ “Solved!” stamp, but partially at least.

    As a matter of fact, I believe to have a good suggestion for the first two sentences until before “I desyre you”, but I cannot quite get beyond that.

    First of all, the first letter to Worsley from May 16 is highly interesting because one code group is already used (we can well assume that the nomenclator is the same as in the second letter, only Charles was not sure whether Worsley had already received it):

    “[…] that you would go to Southampton […] where you will finde W: [i.e., Titus] and deliver to him the inclosed […] the other is to 395 which I desyre you send safely and speedely to him”

    Below, Charles cumbersomely explains who 395 is, in case Worsley has not yet received the nomenclator. It could be Firebrace, but maybe someone else. In any case, 395 seems to be a proper name, but not Titus. (I did consider the possibility that 395 actually might stand for “you”, but dismissed it in the end.) And if 395 is one, then 396 could be another proper name as well.

    So my first proposition is that section 204 to 388 are alphabetically sorted words/syllables (with 388 strongly qualifying for “you”), that 395 and 396 are two proper names, and 416 … unidentified for the time being.

    @Matthew: I just saw that you have just now also written about 395. Sorry for repeating your point on that.

  15. #15 Norbert
    11. Mai 2021

    Now to the passages 1 20 2 230 388 46 36 and 2 20 3 230 388 45 36:

    1, 2 and 3 must have the same meaning, but which one? I’ve been racking my brains for a long time (“e-x-e-cut-ion”? “a-w-a-re”? Or just “d-i-d”?) without getting any further.

    Then a passage in the letter to Titus of May 22 catched my eye: “send me a word” (i.e., a password) is encoded there as follows:

    340 (send) 250 (me) 3 (_) 23 (a) 4 (_) 55 (w) 280 (or) 58 (d)

    The one-letter word “a” is framed by two nulls! Couldn’t it be the same in the letter to Worsley?

    Another observation: In the Titus code the numbers 1 to 4 are nulls. The order in which Charles uses them in the letter of May 22 is as follows:

    1, 2, 3, 4

    Nicely in sequence! Let’s have a look at the order in which the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 are found in the Worsley letter:

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

    Striking, isn’t it? Thus, my second suggestion is: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 are nulls, and the three sequences
    2 20 3
    1 20 2
    4 28 5
    all mean the same, though not “a”, but … “I”!

    In the Titus letters, as well as in the letter to prince Charles deciphered by Wallis, “I” as one-letter word has its one three-digit code group, probably to be distinguishable from “i” in the middle of a word. But for the Worsley cipher, Charles decided to encipher “I” with a “normal” code group for “i”, flanked by two nulls. This was obviously unfamiliar to him, which in turn explains why he made a mistake at exactly such a point and crossed it out.

  16. #16 Norbert
    11. Mai 2021

    The identified nulls and “I”s reveal a great deal of the structure of the text. The beginning seems quite easy (nulls marked by underscores):

    [cleartext: I am verrie well satisfied with the discreete & carefull account that you have given me of my Business & particularly that you did]

    as-sign one l-e-t-t-e-r _ t-o [N.N.1]; yet _ I _ desyre you t-o _ d-e-l-a-y my escape:

    [cleartext: now it will be]

    o-n _ S-u-n-d-a-y.

    Apart from the somewhat awkward “assign one letter”, which I’m not so sure about, this looks convincing to me.

    But if it is correct, then the single letter part of the nomenclator is not as simply structured as it first seemed to us: 45 and 46 both stand for “t”, but also 86 and 40 do (while 43 does not). This prevents the deciphering of the next sentences from being a piece of cake… Nevertheless, I do believe that I am on the right track.

    I’m very curious about your thoughts on this!

  17. #17 Norbert
    11. Mai 2021

    As I said, I’m very much at a loss as to what the following sentences are. For the very last one, my favorite would be:

    [cleartext: in the meane Tyme lett me know] where _ I _ shall take [cleartext: the] b-o-at-e.

    Charles asks the question about the boat several times also to Titus. However, in the illegible place after cleartext “the” there would have to be two code groups, for “b” and “o”. Yet, there is not enough space for that.

  18. #18 Thomas Ernst
    Nekropolis
    12. Mai 2021

    The most likely candidate for 395 is Colonel William Legge, who, together with John Ashburnham, by May 1648 sat events out somewhere in Hampshire, just not at „Mrs. Pit’s house”, where Worsley was supposed to meet with Titus. Ashburnham was King Charles’ I money man, and also the one who initially conveyed him from London to Wight. However, as early as 1650 doubts arose as to Ashburnham’s loyalty, although he did have a successful career under Charles II. Between the two letters to Worsley from May 16 and May 22, on May 19, Legge and Ashburnham were arrested, but sent to two different prisons. In his „Vindication”, Ashburnham claims in a footnote that he remained unquestioned in the „king’s going away“ (the failed second attempt on 28 May 1648); after two months he was exchanged against someone else, this supposedly because of Charles’ written intercession on his behalf. That sounds like a lot of two-faced crock. Legge however, by all accounts, was as loyal as they come, even though he wasn’t treated well in the wake of the Rupert affair. – Charles was supposed „to cross the channel to the coast of Hampshire, where horses were intended to be in readiness, with relays to convey him to the residence of Sir Edward Alford, near Arundel, in Sussex.” (Hillier, pp. 136-137). Legge would have covered that second stage of the escape. – Since Charles’ ultimate destination was the Dutch Republic, with the future Charles II living at The Hague at the time, 395 could also have been “The Prince”. In the August-letter, however, Charles did not know of Junior’s whereabouts. So my vote goes to Legge.

  19. #19 Matthew Brown
    12. Mai 2021

    Great work Norbert! I think your theory about the nulls makes a lot of sense.

    The decryption seems promising but it’s a little odd that a very common word like “to” wouldn’t be in the word list and would have to be spelled out.

    I worry that without the added constraint of grouped homophones it would be possible to create many plausible plaintexts.

  20. #20 Thomas Ernst
    Nekropolis
    12. Mai 2021

    @Norbert: „on Sunday” is beautiful; „379” = „when” (or „which”) likewise; similarily 208 = „as[-]” at the tail end of the a-nomenclator, with (at least) 204, 205, and 206 preceding, albeit Charles’ nomenclators run against our dictionaries: 102 = „ac[c]-”, 103 = „am”, 104 = „as”, 105 = „about”, 106 = „al[l]”, 107 = „any”, 112 = „after” in the Titus-cipher. Charles’ nomenclators remind me a little of his wanting his body to fit through the window because his head could; they display a certain attention deficit: he begins alphabetically with „a-”, but after a short while breaks down on alphabetically sequencing the second letter, and finally adds words with „a-” that he initially forgot, like 202 = „and”, 437 = „assist” in the Titus-cipher. – Back to the Worsley: 379 = „when” or „which” makes 343 = „-sign” unlikely. I have been pondering „ac-” and „at-” verbs that could join up with 208, but can’t think of anything that bridges to the distant 343. 208 = „ask”, and 343 = „whether” would a possibility, although that’s still a long stretch to 379. However, given the numerical upper limit of this cipher, the unique 343 could possibly stand for a name: „ask Titus” (other candidates being Firebrace and Whorwood), and turn „l-e-t-t-e-r” into „w-h-e-t-h-e-r”, or „w-he-t-he-r”, or „w-e-h-t-he-r” till you run up against 395 = [possibly] „Legge”. „w-e-h-t-he-r” would leave the 45 to remain a single „h”, which, in turn, would allow for a possible „enoug-h” or „muc-h” or „suc-h” before the new sentence: „[I]n the mean tyme …). – Though Charles believed in the trinity, somehow the three „i/I” flanked by nulls don’t feel right. At any rate, these thoughts are all improviso.

  21. #21 Thomas Ernst
    Nekropolis
    12. Mai 2021

    Meant „w-h-e-t-he-r” and not „w-e-h-t-he-r”; the spelling bee stung me ….

  22. #22 Thomas Ernst
    Nekropolis
    12. Mai 2021

    248: escape, 268: me, 270: my?

  23. #23 Thomas Ernst
    Nekropolis
    12. Mai 2021

    208 343 294: ask whether our/other?

  24. #24 Norbert
    12. Mai 2021

    Though Charles believed in the trinity, somehow the three „i/I” flanked by nulls don’t feel right.

    But it’s an elegant way of saying “I” and meaning “we” – or was it a reminiscence of those sessions in Van Dyck’s studio?

    By the way, Hillier makes a few mistakes in his deciphering of the Titus letters. In my opinion, 102 does not stand there for “ac”, but for “an”, and what Hillier takes for “one night may faill and accomplish it” should in fact be “one night may faill and another hit”. Page 154 Hillier considers the sequence 660 : 639 : 643 as three nulls, but Charles obviously continued writing on another day (“Tuesday sixteen”).

  25. #25 Thomas Ernst
    Nekropolis
    12. Mai 2021

    Or: 208 343 294: ask what/when our; then 379 when/whether/where.

  26. #26 Thomas Ernst
    Nekropolis
    12. Mai 2021

    Van Dyck’s three Charlies grace the cover of one of my favourite CDs by Fretwork with some of the viol consorts à 5 and 6 by William Lawes, „Concord is Conquer’d”. Absolutely miraculous music that one never tires of. That WL lost his head for Charles I is more tragic than the latter losing his. – Yes, I noticed Hillier’s „inconsistencies”, as well as print-typos. Hillier’s footnote on the three supposed nulls appear to be a joke by someone who could afford to joke. He must have been one of those entertaining people you want to invite to dinner: according to Wiki, Hillier forged manuscripts, and sold real artifacts to a pawnbroker, all the while knowing what was real, and what was not. A fine ability of distinction, which appears to recede quicker and quicker into the past.

    208 = „ask”: ahistoric, my mistake; Charles would have said or written „e/inquyre”, or „ask of”, but hardly plain „ask” followed by a dependent clause. „k” can go. Which, in turn, opens the possibility of 208 343 294: as we had …

  27. #27 Thomas Ernst
    Nekropolis
    13. Mai 2021

    Late night thoughts: 28-31: o, 45, 46: h, 82-88: e, 96, 97: y, 204: any, 205: and, 206: acqu/ack, 208; as, 230: shall, 236: she, 248: since; 354: obtain, receive, 388: be, 395: Osborne (or Dowcett), 396: Jane Whorwood. First sentence perhaps: „… that you did as cer taine t – h e t i – m e Osborne and – I – shall be h o – l d f o r escape since now it will be o n – S u n d a y.” Closing words perhaps: „ … when I shall obtain/receive the p aque t/p acke t.” The torn out number probably a „p”. The package contained the nitric acid, from Jane with love.

    Norbert’s Van Dycks remain. You don’t argue with Bellaso, I learned that during the Kortum-days …

  28. #28 Thomas Ernst
    Nekropolis
    13. Mai 2021

    „ … but for this you need to en qu y r e and t en d m y acqu aintance since – – I – shall be h o sted as e v ery – – m or – n ing 416 …”?

  29. #29 Norbert
    13. Mai 2021

    So many suggestions, that’s great! All my proposals should be questioned, otherwise we won’t get ahead. A few thoughts on my part:

    – Meanwhile, I consider not only my suggestion “assign one letter” questionable but, alas!, also “delay … on Sunday”. The reason is the following: On May 22, Charles writes to Titus that he wants to escape on Wednesday, the 24th. Then, on May 24 itself, he reports that the escape had to be postponed to the following Sunday because the duty schedules of the bribed soldiers have been changed at short notice. Since the letter to Worsley is dated May 22, this twist could not yet have happened. So no “delay”, no “Sunday”.

    – With “S-u-n-d-a-y” thrown out, I would suggest for the sequence 248 416 303 78 9 68 45 (before “in the meane Tyme”): escape Wednesday night n-e-x-t. Then “Wednesday” would be part of a new section in the nomenclator, similarly to the one used with Titus. And it’s idiomatic, too (cf. “Wednesday next” and “Sunday night next” in the Titus letters).

    – I don’t think Charles would have put a null in the middle of a word. I could not detect this in his other letters (but I may be wrong).

    – Matthew is correct that the transcription has an error, and that the code group before 1 20 2 is most likely 381.

    – I continue to firmly believe that 1 through 5 are nulls, but one could also experiment with having the enclosed 20 and 28 stand for something other than “i”. “a” is possible … perhaps even a super-encryption of the letter-coded persons, say 4 28 5 = _ N _ = Miss Whorwood? This looks unnecessarily complicated, but it cannot be ruled out completely imho …

  30. #30 Thomas Ernst
    Nekropolis
    14. Mai 2021

    The letters of May 22 and 24 do not rule out „on Sunday” at all. Charles could have written earlier on the 22 to Titus, then found out about the guard change, and then have written to Worsley about it, still on May 22. More importantly, this implies that communication with the mainland – at least through Worsley – could be effected within one day: on the 22 Charles writes to Worsley of the change, Worsley goes up to Southampton, has Titus informed by the 23, who in turn asks Charles for confirmation and probably the cause, of which Charles informs him on the 24 („… to which my answer is …”). Since Charles did not separate words by nulls, „the time” is cryptologically implausible, and chronologically impossible, since Titus would not yet have known about the change to Sunday. The first part of the Worsley letter now a semantic and syntactic problem. „… that you did … must be of a more general nature then: „that you did acquaint yoursel with …” or sth. To me, the „now it will be on Sunday” implies causality and a dependent clause, beginning not necessarily with „since”, but perhaps with „because” or ”that”. That makes 395 Osborne/Dowcett the likely subject of a new sentence to the possible tune of „Osborne/Dowcett has informed me …”, or, to keep the royal „I”, Osborne/Dowcett and I have been …”. But would Charlie have mentioned himself in second place? With 2 20 3 = I in first place, the first period would have to end on 380. Without the van Dyck, the first period could end on 82 or 395. Matthew’s reconstructed 381 – the 1 being obscured by a paper crease, as can be seen in the Carisbrooke video – bears on the meaning of the earlier 380 before 2 20 3, not to mention the 379 near the end. Since 379 cannot be an infinitive, all three are more likely to be part of a w-nomenclator: when, where, which, who, what, why …

  31. #31 Thomas Ernst
    Nekropolis
    15. Mai 2021

    Follow-up on the watch given to Worsley, and Charles’ words „Remember this night”: Charlie was transferred from Carisbrooke to Hurst on Friday, 1 December 1648, at 8’o clock in the morning: https://www.british-history.ac.uk/rushworth-papers/vol7/pp1349-1378#highlight-first.

  32. #32 Norbert
    18. Mai 2021

    Noch ein paar recherchierte Hintergrundinformationen zum einleitenden Klartext der anderen ungelösten Nachricht vom 1. August 1648 an Prinz Charles (Quelle: Antonia Fraser, King Charles II):

    I had written to you sooner had I knowen where you had been; and particularly that express which, upon Saterday last, I directed to your brother I had sent to you, but I thought that 379 361 185 …

    Prinz Charles hatte sich seit 1646 in Frankreich aufgehalten (wo er u. a. mit der Grande Mademoiselle bekanntgemacht wurde). Ende Juni 1648 war er von dort aufgebrochen.

    Was Charles I annehmen musste, war, dass der Prinz nach Schottland gesegelt wäre. Das nämlich war der Plan, der seit März desselben Jahres verfolgt und mit den Schotten offiziell verhandelt worden war: der Prinz sollte sich der schottischen Engager-Armee anschließen. Wenn es so gekommen wäre, hätte es der Reputation der Engager-Armee in England gutgetan (sie wurden nicht als Befreier des Königs, sondern als Invasoren wahrgenommen, daher schlossen sich ihr kaum Royalisten an). Wahrscheinlich hätte es sogar den Lauf der Geschichte entscheidend verändert: entweder die Royalisten hätten gesiegt, oder im Januar 1649 wären gleich zwei royale Köpfe gerollt …

    Der Plan wurde aber im letzten Moment geändert, offensichtlich ohne Rücksprache mit dem König: Es gab eine kleine aufständische englische Flotte von Royalisten, an deren Spitze sich der 14-jährige Prinz James gestellt hatte und die bei Den Haag (genauer: Hellevoetsluis) ankerte. Charles (II) segelte statt nach Schottland dorthin und übernahm als der ältere Bruder das Kommando. Gut möglich, dass das Verhältnis der Brüder in diesem Moment nicht spannungsfrei war, und wenn dann, wie offenbar geschehen, ein Brief des Königs an den jüngeren ankommt, obwohl der ältere den Befehl über die Flotte innehat, ist das natürlich ein Fauxpas. Zweifellos spielt Charles I darauf an.

    Am 17. Juli segelte die Flotte los (Zeit genug für die Affäre mit Lucy Walter), und das Ziel war – wieder nicht Schottland, sondern England: am 24. war man vor Great Yarmouth, und von dort ging es weiter über Colchester und die Downs zur Blockade der Themse. Zu dieser Zeit verfügte die Flotte über 11 Schiffe und fast 300 Kanonen. Am 10. August kam der schottische Earl of Lauderdale zu Besuch, um Charles an das ursprüngliche Abkommen zu erinnern – zu spät, denn gut eine Woche später wurden die Engager von Cromwell in der Schlacht von Preston entscheidend geschlagen.

    Also, sinngemäß (!) sollte der Satz
    But I thought that …
    wohl ungefähr so weitergeführt werden:
    … you had sailed to Scotland / you had joined the Scots army …