Reported 280 years ago (March 1739): Ship sights strange object far to the west of Donegal

The front page of the Belfast News Letter of February 23 1738 (March 6 1739 in the modern calendar)
The front page of the Belfast News Letter of February 23 1738 (March 6 1739 in the modern calendar)

From the Belfast News Letter of February 23 1738 — March 6 1739 in the modern calendar. The new year did not begin until late March, and so December, January and February were all part of the same year:

Extract of a Letter from Capt. Falconer, of the Mary, bound from Seville to Bergen.

THAT on the 22nd of July, about Ten in the Morning, being fine fair Weather, I saw under our Lee Chestree somewhat like a Rock about 20 Yards distant, and as there was but little Wind we had much ado to weather it, which however we did, brought to the Ship, hoisted out our Boat, and I went with some Hands, and with the deep Sea Lead sounded round it; had within three Yards of the Top of it 35 and 40 Feet; about 30 Yards from it no Ground on 120 Fathom: It is not above three Feet broad on the Top, and but two Feet above Water; it being almost calm I could see it five or six Feet under Water, appearing in form like a Pyramid, compleatly round and smooth, in no ways ragged.

At noon the same Day I had a good Observation, by which is likes in Lat. 55 Deg. 15 Min. N. Longitude, by Account from the Meridian of London 11 Deg. 40 Min. W. it lies W. half N. distant 36 Leagues from Island Tory, on the N. W. Coast of Ireland which is the nearest Land to it.

Having got an Observation the Latitude is good, there is nothing disputable but the Westing or Meridinal Distance, which we have confirmed by making the North End of Lewis Island, exactly according to the Bearings and Distance as per Account.

[This unexplained object was seen around 50 miles to the northwest of Donegal]

Can any Thing represent Trade in a more languishing Condition than it must necessarily be when the high Interest of Money, and the low and uncertain Profits of Trade, tempt the man of Substance to withdraw from Business, and put his Money into the Stocks?

1. The trading interest must be deprived of many of its principal Members and Friends, who will be turned over to the contrary Interest.

2. If their Places are filled at all, it must necessarily by People (whatever their Skill may be) less able to carry on Trade to their own, and the publick Advantage.

3. Many Traders must be Persons of little Substance of their own, who, consequently, will carry on Business with other People’s Money or Stock, the Interest of which, together with the Dependency created by it, will be a heavy dead Weight on Commerce. The honest Man in such unfortunate Circumstances, will go on with Business without Spirit: The dishonest Man, very like, will make bold Pushes on his borrow’d Credit; at last prove Bankrupt, and draw many unfortunate Families in to the Gulph of his Ruin!

And 4. These Traders on Credit will be apt, many of them, to become great Oppressors of their poor under Servants, such as Sailors, Manufacturers and others in their Wages.

Many pathetick Arguments have been used in our Days against reducing the Interest of Money, and a great and good Man, still living, hath been insulted for only proposing it: But I am apt to think, if Masters were thoroughly examined, it would be found, that against one would suffer a little by the Reduction, a hundred do actually suffer much for want of it. Besides, our present sufferers are such People as are the chief Support of our King and Country; where Creditors, being a Sort of idle Men, maintained out of the Labours of others, have been discouraged by most wise and good Lawgivers, nay, by the All-wife GOD himself; and have seldom made any great Figure in any State, till, as it were, the Eve of its Ruin or Slavery (to be continued). [The paper does not say who wrote this financial comment]

LENT ASSIZES, 1738-9

North East Circuit.

County of Meath at Trim March 22

County of Monaghan at Monaghan March 28

County of Armagh at Armagh March 31

County of Antrim at Carrickfergus at Carrickfergus the same Day.

County of Down at Downpatrick, Wedensday April 11

Co of Louth at Dundalk, Tues . April 17th

Co. of the Town of Drogheda at the Tholsel, Friday April 20th

Lord Chief Justice Reynolds, Mr Justice Ward, Justices

North West Circuit of ULSTER.

Co. of Westmeath at Mullingar, Monday March 12th

Co. of Longford at Longford, Wed. March 21st

Co. of Cavan at Cavan, Saturday March 24th

Co. of Fermanagh at Enniskillen, Thursday March 29th

Co. of Tyrone at Omagh, Monday April 2d

Co. of Donegall at Lifford, Friday April 6th

City and County of Londonderry at Londonderry, Tuesday April 10th

Mr. Justice Gore, M. Prime Serjeant Singleton, Justices

BELFAST: Printed by FRANCIS JOY, at the Peacock, in Bridge-street;

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