Reported 280 Years Ago (May 1739): Pope urges Venetians and Poles to join fight against Muslim Turks

The front page of the Belfast News Letter of May 18 1739 (which is May 29 in the modern calendar)
The front page of the Belfast News Letter of May 18 1739 (which is May 29 in the modern calendar)
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From News Letter of May 18 1739 (May 29 in modern date):

Letters from Venice say, that the Pope has sent a courier thither with a brief to the senate, where in his holiness exhorts them in the most pathetick terms to join with the Emperor against the Turks, but that as the government has lately given the Porte assurances of neutrality in the present war, it is very much doubted whether the Pope’s brief will have any effect on them.

Those letters add, that his holiness has sent another brief to the republick of Poland, who seems to be in the same dispositions as the Venetians in regard to the Turkish war.

But the holy father ought first of all to convince the Venetians that France would tamely sit still and see her Mahometan ally torn to pieces: When he satisfies the senate on that head, they may possibly have a little more regard for his briefs. [Russia was at war with the Ottomans. The reference above to emperor seems to be to the Holy Roman Empire, the Austrian part of which backed Russia. Christian France was in alliance with the Turks but did not back them militarily in this. As evident above, there was concern it might do so]

A private letter from Paris to a foreign minister at the Hague, gives advice of its not being only certain that the Marquis de Vaugrenant does not go at all to Russia, but at the same time gives assurance that this lord is actually disgraced, and tells the following circumstances of his fall.

A minister of the court of France, who happens not to be of a very high birth, (which people say was M. Orry, comptroller-general of the finances) desire the marquis de Vaugrenant to draw up an estimate of the expences necessary for his ambassy, which he accordingly did, and delivered a few days afterwards.

Now as the marquis had made a very high calculation of his charges, the minister before mentioned, after having examined it, told him, That the estimate he had drawn up had very much the appearance, from the number of articles, of a Taylor’s bill: At which the marquis being a good deal shock’d, answer’d the minister with some warmth, That for his part he did not pretend to understand the nature of Taylor’s bills so well as he seem’d to do, his family not being so much accustomed to make them out as the minister’s had been.

This latter being offended at an answer like this, carried his complaints of it to court, where it seems neither the conduct of the marquis at the court of Spain, nor the unwillingness which he afterwards shew’d to go into Russia, had given any satisfaction; nay, he had even, by some freedoms of speech there, given offence; all which circumstances put together occasioned his disgrace.

SPAIN. Madrid, April 21.

Mr. Keene, the British plenipotentiary, had another conference three days ago with the marquis de Villarias, who declared to his excellency that the king would not desist from any of the conditions stipulated in the last convention; that his Majesty being resolved to execute punctually what he promised, he hoped to be used in the same manner; that it was upon that footing his commissaries should open the conferences with those of his Britannick Majesty; but that the Assiento treaty should be quite out of the question since the South-Sea company refuse to pay the 68,000l. Sterl. which they owe the king, tho’ the payment of that sum was stipulated in the declaration given a few days before the convention was signed. [Benjamin Keene was British negotiator with Spain. A deal he struck was unpopular at home]

They write from Cadiz, that some difficulty has arisen which retards the distribution of the effects or treasure lately arrived from Buenos Ayres. It relates to 100,000 piastres which the Governor of Buenos Ayres has stopt out of the royal treasure to discharge what was due for freight, &c. It is a question, whether the commerce must make good that sum to the royal treasure, or not: however an express has been dispatch’d to Madrid, to know the sentiments of the court thereupon.


A few days ago there was conducted to the Hotel-Dieu, a woman aged 128 Years, she has preserv’d her senses and understanding to this time.

LONDON May 10.

This day a council was held at St. James’s on the affair of lord Santry, lately voted by his peers guilty of murder in Ireland.

The parish of Croydon in Surry, hath lately had a hopeful legacy left them, by means of this accident; a man, his wife and daughter, who liv’d in that town, took in children to nurse, (it is suppos’d merry-begotten ones) and they all dying within a short time of each other, and nobody left to take care of the poor infants, the neighbours went in to see after them, and found eighteen children, some of them almost starv’d, and the oldest not above four years old.

Dundee, May 4. The seceding brethren have undertaken a circuit to Angus and Mearns, viz. messieurs Mair and Fisher, set down their tent upon Thursday on the ground of Dyrburgh, within a mile of this town; the latter had his text in Isaiah, ch. xiv. v. 32. What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation? That the LORD hath founded Zion.

Tho’ there was a great storm of wind and rain, curiosity brought a great number of hearers, but few staid long; upon this occasion a countryman spoke the following comment unpon the text ex tempore.

When messengers of nations come,

And no new message bring;

We answer, Your commission’s sought,

E’er we dance to your spring.