Reported This Week 280 Years Ago (Jan 20 1739): Great tensions between the Danes and the Hanoverians over Steinhorst

The fifth surviving News Letter, dated January 9 1738 (which is in fact equivalent to January 20 1739 in the modern calendar)
The fifth surviving News Letter, dated January 9 1738 (which is in fact equivalent to January 20 1739 in the modern calendar)

From the fifth surviving Belfast News Letter. The edition is dated January 9 1738 but that is in fact Jan 20 1739 in the modern calendar, which Britain adopted in the 1750s:

Letters from Hanover, of the 12 of December O.S. say, That on the 4th Instant a Detachment of Hanoverians, consisting of 500 Men with two FieldPieces, marched to take Possession of Steinhorst which belongs to the privy Counsellor Wederkop wherein were posted 30 Dragoons in the Service of the King of Denmark.

The Colonel Who commanded the Detachment no sooner arrived, but he sent a Lieutenant to the Danish Captain in the Castle, to acquaint him, that he was come with Orders to take Possession of it, and if he refused, to turn him out by Force. The Danish Captain having answer’d the Lieutenant, that he was commanded to repel Force by Force; the two Officers had such high Words that they drew their Swords and fought in a Duel, in which the Danish Captain was killed on the Spot, and the Lieutenant mortally wounded, the Hanoverian Colonel having advanced with his Troops in the Interim to begin the Attack, a very smart Skirmish ensued, wherein several Soldiers were kill’d on both Sides. The Danes then plucked up their Draw Bridges, and retired into the Castle, where they defended themselves a while, but the Hanoverians having, by means of great Hooks, pulled down the Bridges, they entered the Castle and took Possession of it, by virtue of an Instrument drawn up by a Lawyer and a Scrivener, whom they had sent for from Hamburgh for that Purpose. The Danes being instantly disarmed, were carried to the Frontiers, where they had their Horses and Arms restored to them; and such of their Men as had been killed upon this Occasion, were put into Carts, and likewise carried to the Frontiers. ‘Tis said that M. de Wedderkop got away in Time.

Some Passengers come from the Neighbourhood of Steinhorst, say, that Redoubts are actually building about the Castle; and that all the Trees in the Garden are pulled up to make Palisades.

They write from Hanover, of the 5th Dec. O.S. That the Troops of that Electorate, which have taken Possession of the Castle of Steinhorst, are intrinched there; and as some Pieces of Cannon are sent there; they are actually in a Condition to defend themselves, if attack’d, till such Time as the Forces arrive that are on the March to support them.

They say here, that the King of Denmark has sent Orders to several Regiments that are in the Island of Fuhuen, in Jutland and in Holstein, to march forthwith to the Bailywick of Steinhorst, and that they are tobe reinforc’d by a Regiment of the Foot Guards, and by the Body of Grenadiers which is in Garrison at Copenhagen. It is hoped, however, that the Differences that have arisen betwixt this Electorate and Denmark, on Account of Steinhorst, will soon de (sic) amicably adjusted by the Mediation of a neighbouring Power, who we are assured has already offered his Mediation.

They write from Hamburgh, Dec. 12 O.S. that M. John, the Danish Minister, received an Express from his Court, with Dispatches relating, as it is said, to the Affair of the Bailywick of Steinhorst, which may be attended with fatal Consequences, if it be not accommodated very soon; for, it is reported, that the King of Denmark has order’d several Regiments to be ready to march in case of Need, to support the Detachment which has dislodged the Danes from Steinihorst.

Mean Time the Regency of Hanover has published a Manifesto to justify his Britannick Majesty’s Title to it. It is affirmed, that the Right of Sovereignty over the Territory of Steinhorst, in the Possession of M. de Wedderkop, who is a Privy Counsellor to the Duke of Wolsenbuttle, belonged formerly to Magnus, the Duke of Saxe-Lewenburgh, who mortgaged it for 16,000 Crowns to the Derles[?word unclear due to the age of the paper] of Busweld. This Territory was afterwards sold for 27,000 Crowns, by the Duke Francis, to Duke Adolphus of Holstein Gottorp, who having resigned his Right to it for a certain Sum of Money, to the Court of Hanover, the Regency thinks itself authorisd to take Possession of the said Bailywick, and to re-unite it to the D [?unclear] of S [?unclear] Lewenburgh, but the Danish court disputes it.

[There was a dispute between Hanover and Denmark over the lordship of Steinorst that, as reports on this page show, almost spilled into war. Hanover was allied to Britain and the first Hanoverian king was George I, father of George II, who was ruling at the time of these early News Letters. War was averted. Steinhorst is in a part of Germany, Schleswig-Holstein, which itself was subject of a complex dispute with Denmark]

Hanover, Dec. 26. It is hoped that the Difference arisen between this Electorate and the Crown of Denmark, on occasion of the Territory of Steinhorst, will soon be amicably determined, by the Interposition of a neighbouring Power, who it is said has already offered his Mediation.

[This paragraph, which appeared on the front page of the two-page paper, is similar to the one cited further above, which appeared on the back. Its repetition is a reflection of news gathering at the time, based on multiple letters from multiple locations, often with contradictory information due to the time lag between events and news of them reaching faraway places]

The following is an Account of the Russian Affairs, by a Letter from Paris.

IT was with Difficulty that the Russian Ambassador here was brought to own that Oczakow was abandoned; which Place, we are told, has cost the Russians very dear, 16000 Men having been killed or wounded at the storming of it; since which half of the Garrison is dead of the Plague, and most of the other half in its Retreat were cut in Pieces by the Turks. The Army under the Command of the Count of Munich, which at the Opening of the Campaign consisted of 70,000 Men, was upon its Return into the Ukraine reduced to 37,000. Out of the Bessels of which the Russian Flotilla was composed the last Campaign, there remains no more than about 60,200 of them having been lost by a Tempest, the Turks took a hundred and burnt and sunk as many more. The Marquis de Villeneuve, the Ambassador at Constantinople, remarks, that the abandoning of Oczakow will be an Obstacle to a Peace. The Imperial Court was much chagrin’d at receiving the News of the Russians quitting so important a Place, and is very apprehensive that the Burthen of the War will be thrown upon his Imperial Majesty, the Russians [missing words] to act so vigorously.