Reported On This Day 280 years ago (March 3 1739): France expels black people

The front page of the Belfast News Letter of February 20 1738 (March 3 1739 in the modern calendar)
The front page of the Belfast News Letter of February 20 1738 (March 3 1739 in the modern calendar)

From the Belfast News Letter of Tuesday Feb 20 1738 (March 3 1739 in modern calendar)

FRANCE. Paris, Feb. 6.

It is assured that a Declaration of the King will soon appear, whereby all Negroes will be enjoin’d instantly to depart the Country, with a Prohibition against any ever coming again into it.

[There was dispute at this time about residency rights of slaves from French territory. The then king was Louis XV, who reigned until his death in 1774. He was succeeded by his grandson, Louis XVI, who was beheaded in 1793, as the News Letter would later report]

Letters from Constantinople, say that the Grand Vizir, who is in the highest Favour at the Porte, soon after his Arrival there summon’d the Bashaw of Bender to give an Account of his Conduct; why he did not pursue the Russians in their Retreat. The Bashaw alledg’d the Grand Signior’s Orders, for not passing the Dniester; which not satisfying the Grand Vizir, he order’d him to be beheaded; which was executed accordingly, to the great Regret of the People, who esteem’d him a brave Officer. [Grand Seigneur was Ottoman emperor, Grand Vizier was prime minister, Porte was the government]

THE House wherein Miss Sarah Wills lives, adjoining to the Hanover Quay, and also the House wherein William Cudbert lives, in Harrison’s-Lane, are both to be set (sic) at May next. Enquire at Mr. James Mc.Clure.

[Hanover Quay was a dock-side site with housing, on land that had been reclaimed decades earlier. It was in that part of Belfast that now has Lagan Lookout, near to Custom House Square and Queen Elizabeth II bridge]

STOLEN or straid, out of a Stable belonging to Samuel Hamilton of Drummadorony, in the Parish of Drumaragh, in the County of Down, in the Night-time, between the eleventh and twelfth of this Instant February, a black Horse, without any white Marks, wide ear’d, a Bite of a Horse on his far Ear not yet whole, hath an open in the Hoofe of the far hind Foot, near to the Hair: Whoever gives Notice to the said Samuel Hamilton of the said Horse, so as he may get him, and discovers the Thief, so as he be convicted, shall have Half a Guinea Reward paid him by the said Samuel Hamilton, or by the Printer hereof. [The reward is £120 in today’s values. Horses were valuable, and their theft a hangable offence]

On Thursday Night was a very numerous and splendid Appearance of Nobility and Gentry at the Masquerade in the Hay-Market, where, among the many whimsical and humorous Characters which were seen there, the most remarkable, and which seem’d the most to engage the Attention of the Company, was a Spaniard very richly dressed, who call’d himself a Knight of the Ear; as a Badge of which Order he wore on his Breast something in the Form of a Star, whose Points seem’d ting’d with Blood, on which was an Ear very curiously painted, and, round it written in Capital Letters, as the Motto of his Order, the Word JENKINS, and across his Shoulder hung, instead of a Ribband, a large Halter, which he held up, from Time to Time, to several Persons disguised like English Sailors, who seem’d to pay him great Reverence; and, falling on their Knees before him, with many Tokens of Fear and Submission, suffer’d him very tamely, to rummage their Pockets, which when he had done very insolently dismissed them with Strokes of his Halter: But what serv’d to make the Jest still more compleat, was, that several of the Sailors had a bloody Ear hanging down from their Heads, and on their Hats these Words, Ear for Ear; while on the Hats of others of them was written, No search or no Trade: with more short and witty Sentences, all alluding to the same Matter.

[These London partygoers are satirising a 1731 incident off Florida when a Spanish commander boarded a British boat and cut off the captain’s ear. Later in 1739 tensions over it led to the War of Jenkins’ Ear]