Reported On This Day 280 Years Ago (July 24 1739): The Pretenders see unusual thistles as a good omen

The Belfast News Letter of July 13 1739 (July 24 in modern calendar)
The Belfast News Letter of July 13 1739 (July 24 in modern calendar)
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From the Belfast News Letter of July 13 1739 (July 24 in the modern calendar):

ITALY. Rome. June 2. O.S.

In the wall of the Chevalier de St. George’s chappel there have been lately found three hold thistles, with actual stalks and leaves, which have their root in the stone work; where it is suppos’d to have been form’d without any human concurrence.

As there is in Great Britain an order of the thistle instituted by king James v. of Scotland, and solemnly re-established by king James the second of England, the Partisans of the chevalier think it a good omen for their master, and are very watchful to see what turn the dispute takes between Spain and England, especially considering the indifference which the cardinal de Fleury has shewn hitherto to prevent the consequences apprehended from it, at a time when his eminence takes such notable pains to accommodate the difference of such a variety of powers and nations, infidels and protestants, schismaticks and catholicks.

A match is also talk’d of in consequence of these reflexions, between the chevalier’s eldest son and a princess, the daughter of one of the chief crown’d heads in Europe.

[James, Chevalier de St George, was son of the Catholic King James II, who lost the 1690 Battle of the Boyne and died in 1701. The pope gave him residence in Rome where he died in 1766, after 64 years as Jacobite pretender to throne.

His son, mentioned above, was the so-called ‘Young Pretender,’ or Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Cardinal de Fleury was effectively the prime minister of France, a Catholic country, so any perceived lack of support for the pretenders would have been a major blow to them]

Rome, June 20.

The chevalier de St. George arrived a few days ago from Albano, to whom the duke de St. Aignan, ambassador from France, paid a visit, after having had a conference with the cardinals Corsini and Otboni.

LONDON, July 3.

On Saturday his majesty, attended by several persons of distinction, went to the late queen’s house at Richmond,and dined there,and returned to Kensington at night.

[George missed Caroline who died in 1737]

LONDON, July 5.

This afternoon South-Sea trading stock was 14 + half. [The South Sea Bubble had happened in 1720]


On Tuesday last Arthur Upton, Esq; with his new married lady, were here at the Assembly from Castleward, and returned thither next day.

On Wednesday night last the Right Hon. Edward Southwell, Esq; principal Secretary for Ireland, arrived in this town;

and next day went to the seat of the Hon. Arthur Hill, Esq;

near this place.

DUBLIN. July 10.

Yesterday his grace the lord primate of all Ireland, set out on his triennial visitation through the province of Ulster.